Saturday, April 26, 2008

Perfect fried chicken

The weather in upstate NY has been gorgeous lately. I love going on Saturday hikes and then coming home and making a yummy dinner. Tonight, it just may have to be fried chicken. Kyle (gbf) taught me lots about frying chickens. He can cut up a chicken more efficiently than anyone I have ever seen. He doesn't waste anything and all 8 pieces are perfect: Wings, thighs, legs, breast (although we'll occasionally cut the breasts in half thus giving us 10 pieces.) Here's the routine:
Bribe Kyle to cut up 2 fryers.
Soak cut chicken in salted ice water for a couple of hours.
While the chicken is soaking in the brine (I use kosher salt but it probably doesn't matter but for God's sake, don't waste your expensive flaked sea salt for salting water,) combine butter-milk and hot sauce. Don't ask me how much of each cause I don't really measure. You're gonna need enough to cover the chicken after you drain it from the brine. Use 3/4 buttermilk to 1/4 hot sauce. And if you don't like the spicy, don't use this recipe.
Drain the chicken. Pat it dry. Put it in a big ole glass or pyrex or whatever bowl. Cover it with the buttermilk-hot sauce and stick it in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
Now you're going to have to clear some work space. Make everyone come claim their crap off the kitchen counter. By the time you've cleaned your work space and assembled the next stuff I'm going to tell you about, it probably will have been about an hour. If it hasn't, get yourself a beer and wait.
In another large pyrex dish (or whatever you have that's big and shallow with edges on it--don't be too picky here) combine self-rising flour (this is gonna make your chicken crust amazingly light,) paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Don't go crazy with the seasonings, but don't just put a pinch either.
In another flat dish with sides, break 4-6 eggs and lightly beat them with a fork. If you want to season the egg with hot sauce, go for it. Get yourself a big ole rack like you use for cooling your cakes or cookies and put it over the sink (at least that's what I do because it saves on clean-up later. If you put them on the counter, at least put them on cookie sheets.) Heat peanut oil in the largest cast iron skillet you have or pull out the fry-daddy and heat the oil up. If you're doing lots of chicken for a big group, it's almost worth getting out the turkey fryer but I'll leave that up to you because you've now got to transfer this operation outside.
Ready? You got music playin'? Cause if you aren't listening to your favorite tunes, you might want to take a minute and make that happen. And it might be time for another beer. I'm just sayin'. Or a big ole glass of iced tea. But use a plastic stadium tumbler cause it'll get all goopy if you try to take a sip after you've started getting the chicken ready.
Get out the chicken. Let buttermilk-hotsauce drip off. Dip it piece by piece in the beaten eggs and then dredge it in the self-rising flour and then PUT IT ON THE RACKS so that the crust can dry a bit. For the love of all that's good in the world, don't just put it straight into the hot oil. It won't be nearly as tasty. Patience, as we all know, is as much a virtue as it is a pain in the ass. By the time you have all the chicken battered, the first pieces should be dry enough to fry. If the crust doesn't look kind of dry, wait. Ready to fry? Here's a tip: Don't crowd the fryer because it will lower the temperature of the oil. You really need the temp to stay between 320 and 360. If you're doing it in the cast iron skillet, cook it for 8 minutes, turn it, then 8 more minutes. Transfer back to the racks you've made someone wash while you were frying the chicken and leave it in the oven on warm until it's all done. You can also put it on brown paper bags to soak up excess oil.
I know this is pretty labor intensive and I only do it a few times a year, but hey, that's what food of love is all about. Serve with some mashed potatoes and gravy you've made in the same skilled you fried the chicken in (after you've drained out most of the oil, made a roux using the flour mixture, and then use a can of skimmed evaporated milk and chicken stock...nectar of the God's) and a nice salad or some cole slaw...dang.
I'm just sayin'.

Happy Belated Birthday, beautiful daughters

April is a big month for birthdays in my family! Fab hubby's bday was April 6, big sister's bday was April 9. Baby daughter's bday was April 10, oldest daughter's bday was April 25 and my dad's bday is April 29.
Oldest daughter is amazing. About to graduate (with honors) from college! Beautiful, marathon runner, smart, kind, funny, passionate...everything to make parents proud.
Baby daughter is pretty darn cute, too. Hard to believe she's already 8.
Happy bday to all of those in my family who have April Birthdays. Love, love y'all!

Paula, Please!

I was watching "Paula's Party" on the TV FoodNetwork last night.
I think raw oysters are one of nature's perfect foods. The only thing they ever need, in my humble opinion, are a dash of Tabasco, a squeeze of lemon juice, a saltine and an ice cold beer.
I think it is a waste of ingredients to build a bed of kosher salt and then cover already beautiful raw oysters with a mixture of cream cheese, fresh tarragon, and LUMP CRABMEAT! And then bake them! (As anyone with any sense knows, you better watch those bad boys carefully because if you're waiting for the cream cheese to get all oozy, your oysters are gonna toughen up. Tragedy.) For heaven's sake, is there any end to the indulgence? Now trust me, I'm as into indulging the senses as the next person (did ya see my new dishes?) but I think you can go a bit too far. Save the lump crabmeat for crabcakes or, perhaps, a perfect crab salad to be stuffed into a gorgeous fresh summer tomato--add some crusty bread, a lightly dressed green salad, and a glass of iced tea and welcome to heaven on earth.
I'm getting ready to go back to the Gulf Coast. My taste buds are there already. Goodbye, upstate New York, hello New Orleans!
Laissez les bon temps roulez.

Monday, April 14, 2008

China Porn Proof

I'm just sayin'.
Color is good.

China Porn

I got new dishes.
They are so beautiful I can hardly stand it.
My gbf (gaybestfriend) calls it "China Porn."
Food tastes better when eaten off of beautiful dishes.
More about this later. I have to go work out.
Cause I've been eating off my new dishes!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


Well, y'all will just have to trust me that Scuba Diving, days 3-8 were amazing.
Fab hubby took fab pics. Our dear friend and dive guide showed us dive sights that very few people get to see. The picture here is from a turtle skeleton in the Temple of Doom.
I'm not kidding. That's what it's called. You can google it.
Dear Dive Guide (DDG) said that since I'm a priest, I should visit a temple. I was scared. It was pitch black. But it was awesome. And sacred.
I'll go back.