Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Fried Chicken


I did something that I haven't done in almost a year.

I prepared a meaty dish.

And not just any meaty dish.  It was fried chicken.  Meat.  Fried.  Two things that rarely enter my cooking arsenal these days.

But here's the thing...It was requested.  And I hate not fulfilling food requests.  So they asked for fried chicken...they got fried chicken.  As well as some tater tot/fritter things, gravy and biscuits...go big or go home right?

If you hadn't caught on already, I don't eat meat.  But I couldn't make fried chicken and not try it.  So I did.  And oh my.  It was tender.  And juicy.  And crispy.  And perfectly seasoned.

KFC, move over.

Meat eaters - you should try this.  It's delicious.  And actually really fun.  Who doesn't love frying things?  Non-meat eaters - I hope this doesn't make you salivate too much.

from the Pioneer Woman's Cookbook: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl

Makes: 6-8 servings
Prep Time: 2 hours 15 minutes (but an overnight buttermilk soak is ideal!)
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours

{Printable Recipe}

2 cup-up fryer chickens
1 quart plus 1/4 cup buttermilk
5 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons seasoned salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons old bay seasoning
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup milk
canola or vegetable oil for frying

  1. In a large bowl (or 2 freezer bags) add the chicken with 1 quart buttermilk.  Refrigerate overnight if possible.  (I didn't have this much time so I let it sit on the counter for two hours and it turned out just fine!)  If refrigerating, remove chicken from bowl and let sit on counter for 30 minutes to come to room temperature.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  3. Stir together the flour, seasoned salt, pepper, thyme, old bay and cayenne in a very large bowl.  In a small bowl combine the 1/4 cup buttermilk and milk.  Pour milk mixture into flour and use a fork to mix until there are little clumps throughout.
  4. Heat 1 1/2 inches of oil in a deep skillet or dutch oven over medium high heat to 365°F.  Working in batches, thoroughly coat each buttermilk-soaked chicken piece with the flour mixture, pressing to adhere the breading.  Add the chicken to the oil 3-4 pieces at a time.  Cover pan and fry 5-7 minutes, checking to make sure the chicken isn't getting too brown.  Turn, cover and cook an additional 3-5 minutes more.  Make sure to periodically check the temperature of the oil to make sure the chicken won't burn.
  5. Place chicken on a baking sheet and continue frying the rest of the chicken.  When it is all done, bake the chicken for 10-15 minutes.  Cut into one of the pieces to ensure it is cooked all the way through.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Key Lime Pie

It's been a while hasn't it?

I would say sorry.  But that would be untrue.  How could I be sorry about spending a week lounging/eating/drinking with my parents in the sunny land of Naples, Florida and then jetting up to snowy Vermont to sit by the fire and enjoy the company of friends during my last Spring Break ever?  I couldn't.  Oh and did you catch that last word?  Last Spring Break...Ever.

It's been an unbelievable last hurrah but why can't the real world have Spring Breaks?  It only seems fair.

But I probably shouldn't hold my breath on that one.

As some of you may already's Pi Day!  You know...the whole 3.14/March 14th thing...right?  So naturally I had to share a pie with you.  What kind of themed food lover would I be if I didn't give you a pie recipe today?

I also have to dedicate this pie to Miss Ashley from The Uniqueness of Being.  She has begged and begged and begged for me to make her a Key Lime Pie.  She even requested it as her birthday treat.  And like a good friend...I never made it for her.  Which I completely blame on the fact that key limes aren't exactly available during winter in New England.  And that she abandoned me for Missouri.  But either way...I owe this girl a pie.

And this is the one she will get.  One of these days.  It's go weak in the knees good.  Perfectly tart.  Matched by the sweetness of the cream.  A magical crust.  Seriously.  You can't go wrong here.  And guess what.  I have even better news.  After doing some research...I have found that "Key Limes" aren't necessary!  If you can't find a bag of those adorable little limes just use regular limes and it will still be delicious!


Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

Makes: One 9-inch pie
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes (active) + 4 hours (inactive)

{Printable Recipe}

for the filling-
4 teaspoons grated lime zest
4 egg yolks
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh lime juice

for the graham cracker crust-
9 graham crackers, pulverized into crumbs
2 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

for the whipped cream-
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled
1/2 cup powdered sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. To make the filling-Whisk the lime zest and egg yolks in a medium bowl for 2 minutes until frothy.  Whisk in the sweetened condensed milk and the lime juice.  Set aside at room temperature to let it thicken while you prepare the crust.
  3. To make the crust-In a medium bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs and granulated sugar.  While stirring with a fork, slowly drizzle in melted butter.  Mix until all of the dry ingredients are moistened.  Transfer the crumbs to a 9-inch pie plate and evenly press the crumbs in the bottom of the pan and up the sides.  Bake until the crust is fragrant, about 15-18 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool to room temperature.
  4. Once the crust has cooled to room temperature, pour the filling into the crust.  Bake until the center is set, yet slightly jiggly in the middle, about 15 minutes.  Return the pie to a wire rack; cool to room temperature.  Refrigerate until well-chilled, at least 3 hours.
  5. To make the whipped cream-Using an electric mixer, whip the cream on medium speed until soft peaks form.  Add powdered sugar 1 tablespoon at a time while continuing to whip the cream until stiff peaks form.  Decorate the pie with whipped cream and garnish with lime slices.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Ginger Shrimp with Rice Noodles

Here's the thing.

I've never heard so many oohs and aahs after serving a dish.

And I say "serving" loosely here.  Because there wasn't really a whole lot of "serving" to this dish.  Here's what happened.  A group full of men were out playing cards.  I was at home making a pie and dinner.  (How domestic of me right?)  I politely informed them that both were done.  They immediately came knocking down the door.  One of them made a bowl, started to eat, became overwhelmed with excitement and insisted that everyone in the vicinity had to eat some.  So the one bowl became one big community bowl.

Based on their reaction I thought they must have been under the influence of extreme hunger or card playing fluids. 

But apparently not.  It's been days now...and they are still talking about it.

So this one knocked it out of the park.

As I mentioned there was also a pie.  A chocolate cream one.  I was going to share it with you.  But during that same feeding frenzy the men attacked the pie forks in hand.  And we aren't talking slices here.  The pie never left the pan.  And within several was gone.  Needless to say I didn't snap any pictures.  But don't worry.  Based on its success, I'm sure I'll be making that pie again very soon.

And just a little heads up.  I have decided that I'm going to lay off the Meal Plan Monday posts for a while.  I've got a crazy school schedule and a significant amount of traveling in my near future that won't allow me to be cooking at home every night of the week.  But don't completely skip out on Mondays!  I still have some fun things up my sleeve that will be popping up every couple of weeks!

Makes: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

{Printable Recipe}

1 lb uncooked shrimp, tails removed
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon sriracha
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic
1 head of broccoli (steamed)
1/2 red pepper (steamed)
1/2 green pepper (steamed)
1 (12 ounce) package rice noodles
scallions for garnish

  1. Place a large pot of lightly salted water over high heat and bring to a boil.
  2. In a small bowl add soy sauce, fresh ginger, fish sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, sugar, and sriracha mixing until combined.  Set aside.
  3. In a large pan heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and add shrimp.  Cook until pink, about 3-4 minutes, on each side.  Add sauce and turn heat to the lowest possible setting letting the shrimp simmer in the sauce for 3-4 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Once your water is boiling, add noodles and cook according to package directions.  Drain and rinse with cold water.
  5. To serve pile noodles, a helping of steamed vegetables (done on the stovetop or in the microwave), several shrimp and a couple spoonfuls of the sauce from the pan into a large bowl.  Garnish with scallions and dig in!

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