Finger Lickn’ Good – Fried Chicken

Allow me to begin this post by stating that my mom’s fried chicken is a hard one to beat. I think I am getting there, however. In the past, I have soaked chicken for a couple of hours in salted water, rinsed, and drained. I then would season, coat in flour, put it in an egg wash, then back in flour, then fry it. Trust me, that recipe is really good. This past weekend allowed me to experiment with a new recipe, and you should try this one.

Growing up, my mom always fried her chicken in a cast iron skillet. After researching the skillet, and recently purchasing one, I thought of my mom’s recipe, and I could not get it off my mind. I decided not to use her recipe, however I did attempt (and succeeded) to make my own. Overall, I think the cast iron is key, along with the following information:

Ingredients:

  • Whole Chicken, cut up (legs, thighs, wings, breast)
  • Buttermilk
  • Seasoning (I used garlic, kosher salt, pepper, paprika, onion powder)
  • Cooking Oil (I used corn oil, but would recommend lard or Crisco or something of that sort)

Add the chicken to a large ziplock bag, season with pepper, and add a quart of buttermilk. Seal it and put place in a bowl to prevent any leakage. Soak the chicken overnight, preferably 12 to 24 hours.

Let the games begin. When you are ready to go, heat enough oil, preferably 1/8 of the bottom of the meat and bring to about 350 degrees. During this time, drain the chicken in a colander. Mix your seasonings and moderately season. Dredge the seasoned chicken in flour (I shake the pieces in a ziplock bag full of about 2 cups of flour). I placed them on a wire rack and let them set for about 10 minutes. The oil will be ready by then.

Place the chicken pieces like this; skin side down, thighs in the middle, legs, wings, and breasts on the edges. Cook them for about 10 minutes, carefully not to burn, flip, and continue on the other side. I attempted to take the temperature of the meat, however that did not do much to me. Instead, I went with my instincts, took the chicken out, and drained on paper towel.

I served this dish with our favorites, mashed potatoes and corn. Overall, my wife said this was the best chicken she has ever had, one of my boys ate two legs (unheard of), and the other ate close to an entire breast (unheard of). Based on those facts, I think I will make this dish again.

Fettuccine Alfredo

Alfredo SauceLet me start by saying that I am not a big fan of pasta. Maybe it is simply the red sauce, not sure. Growing up, pasta was around the table, however I simply chose my pasta and sprinkled parmesan cheese on it, no red sauce. Never red sauce. My wife on the other hand, as she grew up easting pasta and parmesan cheese, loves the red sauce. I almost feel guilty that I do not cook pasta that often, even though I love my wife dearly, she doesn’t see the red sauce very often. There is one dish that we come to agreement on, and that is alfredo. So yesterday, I decided to make my own alfredo and enhance it to something out of this world.

Lets begin by saying how easy it is to make the sauce. Lets get going here because I know your mouth is probably watering.

Ingredients:

  • Heavy Cream
  • Butter
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Chopped Garlic
  • Fettuccine Noodles
  • Basil (optional)
  • Bacon or Pancetta (optional)
  • Peas

Fettuccine AlredoUsing a sauce pan on medium heat, add two tablespoons of butter and chopped garlic. Let melt, then add the heavy whipping cream. I added the entire container, approximately 1 to 1 1/2 cups. Lower the heat and bring to a simmer. The cream will begin to thicken, approximately 10 minutes or so. Keep stirring as it could burn on you. During this time, bring salted water to a boil and cook the noodles for approximately 10 minutes, or al dente. Once the pasta is cooked, drain, and add the pasta back to the pan and get ready to boogie. The sauce should be close to being done. Add 1 1/2 cups of parmesan cheese. Now the sauce is coming together. Add the sauce to the pasta and toss.

If you want to do what I did, here is the skinny. While the sauce was cooking, I added a cup of frozen peas. I precooked six slices of bacon, and roughly chopped. I topped the dish with the bacon and basil. TRUST ME…. This one is a keeper.

In Search of the Enchilada

EnchiladaI’ve been told over the course of the last two years that my enchiladas are really good. I’ve made these many times over for my wife, and have made them on family vacations. Ok, keyword, family vacations. I do not like to spend much time in the kitchen on vacations, (well, I actually do) so this dish has a few things to it; it is easy to make, it is diverse in what you want to add, and it is delicious.

Keep in mind, when you are at a restaurant where they serve enchiladas, you will most likely have your choice of chicken, beef, or pork. Seriously, this recipe will handle either meat product well, or heck, if you chose, lose the meat.

IngredientsLet’s discuss the simple ingredients. I should note that you could really do sauce, corn tortillas, and cheese, and I bet they would be really nice, however here is what I have used in the past, of which, have served up to 15 people.

Ingredients:

  • Chicken, cooked and shredded
  • diced whole onion
  • fresh tomato, diced
  • monterrey jack cheese, lots
  • enchilada sauce
  • cooking oil
  • corn tortillas
  • whatever else you want to throw in

Here is the process, of which is super simple. Trust me, this meal is a throw together in less than 20 minutes.

Naked EnchiladaCook your meat however you want. In my case, I grilled the chicken breast. Let it cool, then shredded.
While the chicken is cooking, dice your onion and tomato and set aside. Also during this time, heat nearly 1/4 cup of oil in a pan, round enough to fit a corn tortilla. Please do this part, as the warmed, oil, tortilla really brings out texture and flavor of this dish. Once the oil is warmed, place a tortilla in the pan for nearly 20 seconds. Then with your tongs, pick up the tortilla and add once underneath. Continue this process, stacking the tortillas, depending on how many you are cooking. I cooked eight the other night, of which fed the family for two days. Ok, once tortillas cook for 30 seconds or so, take the stack and let them cool, covered with paper towel as to let the oil soak through a bit.

Enchilada SauceLets assume everything is ready. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. During this time, have your cheese, sauce, meat, and ingredients ready. Do the wrap. Grab your tortilla (get over the fact that it has some oil on it, you can wash your hands later), place some cheese, meat, sauce, onion, and whatever else inside it, BUT, keep in mind that you have to be able to fold this thing and place it in a pan. Continue this process with the rest of the tortillas. Once the pan is full, or the tortillas are gone, add the remaining sauce on top of the naked enchiladas. Cover with cheese, and bake for 25 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Get your enchilada on. P.S. I like mine spicy, so you can add chipolte sauce, hot sauce, or chili flake. 🙂

Wrap Your Wiener, Seriously…

If you’ve never wrapped your wiener, you should. It is the best thing, or at least one of the better things that have came through this house this summer. My wife has always talked about going to her grandma’s cottage when she was young. She would be called in for lunch up in Green Bay, Wisconsin, during the summer months, and her and her sisters would rush in, and say “oh… hot dogs!” and their grandma would say “nope, their wieners!”. Ever since then, when I mention hot dogs, or wieners, I stand corrected in some way or another. Here is what I know. Hot dogs are the stuff you buy in packages, typically Oscar Mayer. Wieners on the other hand are what you purchase from the deli.

Bacon Wrapper WienerHere is my take on the difference between the hot dog and the wiener. The wiener tastes better and has more of ‘snap’ when biting into it. Hot dogs on the other hand, are simply easy to cook and have less of a snap, still delicious, salt, and fun for most everyone if you get past the fact that they are ‘lips and assholes’ from the pig. 🙂

Anyway, I love both the wiener and the hot dog. Regardless, this past week, I had a serious craving for a chicago hot dog. So, I put it in place, however this time, I did it with a twist. I started off with wieners, however, I wrapped them with a slice of bacon. Bacon, you ask? Yes, bacon. The thing that makes pork or whatever a wiener is, even better, TRUST ME.

Take a wiener, wrap it in bacon, and cook it on the grill. Heck, wrap several of them because, TRUST ME, you will want another one. Once the bacon cooks on the grill over medium to low heat, butter up (optional) some fresh buns, and place them on the grill for a few minutes; careful not to burn.

Bacon Wrapper WienerOnce you are ready to place, take the wieners and buns off the grill. Here is how I had mine. The kids and my wife set theirs up differently.

Bacon wrapped wiener on a bun.
Thin slice of cheese on the side
Mustard, Ketchup
Fresh tomato
Sauerkraut
Onion
TRUST ME. Wrap your wiener from here on out. It is worth it.