Monday, June 27, 2011

Chicken Fried Chicken

If you've followed me on this blog at all, you know I'm a Dane who loves spicy food.    It doesn't matter if it's Indian curries, Thai, Chinese Szechuan, Mexican or Cajun, I'll try it and probably like it.   
Chicken Fried Chicken

The other day I had a craving for some spicy chicken, but all I had in the house were some boneless, skinless chicken breasts and they tend to fry up dry.  

But, I did have some buttermilk in the fridge and got one of those AHA moments.  Soak the chicken in buttermilk, add some cayenne pepper, a little onion powder and some parsley.

So I did.   Let it soak in the fridge for a couple of hours, and took it out and dredged it in some flour, salt and pepper, onion powder and cayenne, lots of cayenne.   (giggle)

After I dredged it, I dipped it back into the buttermilk mixture and then back into the flour mix again.

You'll get these happy little chunks of buttermilk and flour on the chicken which are so good, when they're fried.
 
And serve it on a nice bed of mixed lettuce,

add a drizzle of my semi-homemade blue cheese dressing;
and enjoy.
I had to show you how pretty it looks, cut up on top of some spring mix.

This made such a nice meal, and the best part, there were leftovers, so I was able to do a repeat for lunch the next day.

Semi-homemade Blue Cheese dressing
1 bottle Wishbone Ranch dressing
2-4 oz. Blue Cheese crumbles
a little buttermilk, if needed.

Whiz together in a food processor until the blue cheese is incorporated a little, and then serve. 

Recipe:  Chicken Fried Chicken

3 half breasts, cut into cutlets.   (As if you were butterflying the breast, just cut all the way through)
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp (or to taste) Cayenne pepper (less if you don't like spice)
1 tsp Onion powder
1tbsp. Fresh Parsley, chopped

Dredging mixture
2 cups flour
1-2 tbsp. Cayenne Pepper
1-2 tbsp. Onion Powder
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp Pepper

Peanut Oil to fry in

Mix buttermilk and spices together and pour over chicken in a container, place the lid on and put it in the fridge for a couple or more hours.   You can actually do this first thing in the morning, and let it marinate all day.   The buttermilk helps to tenderize and moisten the meat.

Prepare flour mixture.   I use a large aluminum pan, (buy the 30 pack at Sam's Club, about $7 and it works out to less than 30 cents a pan).    I didn't measure the flour, but I'm guessing I used about 2 cups of flour, I wanted to make sure I had enough.   Mix the spices in with the flour.    At this point I moisten a finger tip and touch the flour and taste.   You should be able to taste the spices, and at this point you can adjust and add more Cayenne or salt or ...   If you find it's too strong, just dump in a little more flour.   I also cut a small piece of chicken, dredge it and fry it, and taste test there as well.   (and it's an excuse to nosh a little bit if you're way hungry).    Then just fry each breast cutlet, until golden brown.   When the chicken is in cutlets like this, it cooks more evenly, and you don't end up with a dark brown exterior and a raw interior.   After each pan is fried, I take the cutlets and place them in a warm oven and continue frying.   You don't want to cook too many at once, and you do want to let the oil come up to temp again between each pan full.

And...
If you fry up some extras, you've got a nice little lunch for the next day or so.  I like making more than we can eat in one meal.  
You just never know when a snack attack will hit. 



Sunday, June 26, 2011

Tapa's night for June

It was the second Saturday after Boat Club yesterday, which meant it was Tapa's/Appetizer night at our place.  We didn't have as big a turnout as usual, several people were out of town for family things, but we still had a few people in.

I decided to make California Rolls again, now that I seem to have figured out the knack for it, it seemed like a no-brainer.   
Grated carrots for the Sushi

Ready to roll up.

But I wanted to try making something new as well.   I saw this recipe on  Foodgawker and thought it would be fun to try.    Here's the link to the recipe, it's called Tri-Colored Terrine .   So I got all the ingredients, and started my journey.   Little did I realize how long it would take, I mean how hard is it to blanch Broccoli or Cauliflower or Carrots, yeah right.

And then there was the process of getting them processed with just a blender and not being able to beat the egg whites cause the Kitchenaid's bowl was in the dishwasher and then ...   At any rate, I'm not about to let a little thing like that get the better of me, so I followed the directions, well, mostly, I couldn't get the vegetable processed finely enough in the blender without adding some more liquid, so I did add a couple of tablespoons of cream to each batch.
First layer, Broccoli

Next layer, carrots

In the oven

And finally had it ready for the oven, just in time for it to cook and be able to cool down to room temp before my guests arrived.     At any rate, I will make this again, but next time I'll cut the nutmeg back, a lot, it overpowered the delicate flavors of the broccoli and the cauliflower.    And maybe add some white cheddar to the broccoli and some parmesan cheese to the cauliflower.   I think it will amp up the flavors a little.  

I made a cheese ball as well.    If you have cream cheese in the house, you can make a lot of stuff with it.   And I was in the mood for spicy so I threw an 8 oz. block of cream cheese into the Kitchenaid, added three ounces of finely grated pepper cheese, three ounces of finely grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese,  a tbsp. of Worcestershire sauce, a couple tablespoons of chopped capers, and three green onions finely chopped.   Whizzed them together, made a ball and put it into the fridge so the flavors could meld together.


I also put together  a platter with some sliced meats and cheeses.    And here's a sample of what I put together for the Tapa's night.

 Sushi, Vegetable Pate, sliced meats and cheese ball.  Check out the place mat, it's one my Mom wove.



Harriet also brought a lovely bean salad,
And I didn't get a chance to take a picture of some of the other dishes but there were also some 'wings', and a Chile Relleno casserole.   My excuse, I was too busy visiting with friends. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Vermicelli ala Sid

I had some of that tapenade left from the other day and was craving some pasta, when a friend dropped off some seriously ripe tomato's, fresh off the vine.    Well, what would you do?   I chopped up the tomato, some garlic,

cooked up some vermicelli, threw them all into a pan with a generous dollop of olive oil, and did a quick saute.



Threw on some shredded parmagiano I had in the fridge.

Then I dumped it into a bowl,


added a tablespoon of the Tapenade and stirred it up.     And here it is, my lunch yesterday, and I gotta say, for a little teeny bit of effort, it sure was tasty.




And wanted to add, if you're looking for a recipe I previously posted as Sea Palm Treasures, you can go here to find them    Sea Palm Treasures

Monday, June 20, 2011

Tapenade

I love Tapenade.  There's just something about that glorious mixture of olives, on a nice piece of crusty bread, it's making my mouth water just typing this.   And since I made some the other day I thought I'd share my version of it.   And it's so darn easy, (and no anchovies). 

I started with some leftover black olives, I'd opened a can and had only used a few for topping my nacho's the other day.   And I couldn't waste them now, could I? 

So I threw them into my teeny tiny little  food processor, and gave them a whirl with a couple of the absolute best ever garlic stuffed olives, Mezzetta Garlic Stuffed Olives   (note to self, next time chop the garlic stuffed olives a little before processing or do them first.)   Drizzled in a little olive oil and just a tad of the juice from the jar of olives.  Let them process and ended up with this.



Yummy.    I spread some of this on a couple pieces of sliced baguette, added some sliced deli meat and had a really great open faced sandwich.   And I have every intention of enjoying the rest over the next few days.   I'm thinking it might just taste good swirled into some nice angel hair pasta, topped with some lovely grated Parmesan Reggiano?  Something to think about. 

Recipe:  Tapenade
1 can Black Olives, drained
5 garlic stuffed Green Olives
2 tablespoons good Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Process in a food processor until almost smooth. A little bit chunky is alright here.  Serve with some nice crusty bread and some sliced deli meat.  

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Spice Drawer

I was at the grocery store the other day, spotted a bottle of Five Spice powder, and snagged it.  Then when I got home realized my spice drawer is a little on the full side.  I really have a good collection of spices.  And I use them all.   I took a picture of my drawer to post here and then realized that all you could see in there were the bottles.

So here they are, all lined up, in categories, lol.

I've learned to buy spices in the smallest containers I can, at least of those spices I use occasionally.   And when I open the container I mark the date on there with a Sharpie.  This gives me an idea of how long something has been opened, and when I should chuck it.
I'm like a lot of people, some spices get a workout and others tend to be used sparingly, but when I'm cooking or baking I want to be able to reach down and pull out the right spice.

I'll start with the baking spices first.    I'm Danish so I always, and I do mean always, have Cardamom on hand.   No powdered Cardamom for me, I have the whole ones and crush up what I need when I need it.  And it's amazing how often a touch of Cardamom transforms a dish.    I just picked up some whole nutmeg, which I'll use my Microplane on to just add a touch of nutmeg to recipes.  I also have whole cloves, and some powdered ginger on hand.   Cinnamon is a must, it's used in so many recipes, or you can do what I do to freshen the air in the room.   I just dump a tablespoon or so into a small pot and let it simmer for a few minutes before company comes- it's amazing what that does.  You can also add a little ginger and nutmeg to make it smell really good at the holidays.  I have some Star Anise, but that was an impulse buy, and I haven't used any of it yet.   And I have to remember the cream of tartar, which is essential for egg whites, it helps to keep the volume and reduces weeping when baked.


Then there are the cooking spices.   I don't always have garlic powder or onion powder on hand, I usually only buy them when I make my  Pulled Pork     &     Pulled Pork, part 2.     But I do have and do use all of the ones here in the picture.
 Dill, seasoned salt, Bay Leaves, Steakhouse seasoning grinders, Herb de Provence, Natures Season (salt free), Pepper Grinder, Ground Cumin, Italian Seasoning, Garlic, Paprika, Diced Green Pepper, Poultry Seasoning, Whole Celery Seed, Thyme, Fennel, Sage, Crushed Red Pepper, Turmeric, Sesame Seeds, Onion Powder, Ground Red Pepper and there is some Ground White Pepper sitting on top of the Thyme.
And then there's these:
 Thai Red Pepper, Whole Cloves, Star Anise, Cumin Seeds, Wasabi, Chervil and some Dipping Spices.
And last but not least, this really cool spice rack my sister gave me many years ago.   And the spices have been refilled from time to time.

There's also Mustard seed, dried dill seed, basil, good Sea Salt, and Peppercorns. 
And that takes care of all the dried spices and herbs.  For fresh I keep a lovely flat leaf parsley plant, some chives, a rosemary plant and always have fresh garlic, onions and ginger root on hand. If you keep fresh ginger root in the freezer  you can just take it out and use your Microplane on it to get some freshly ginger into whatever you're making or baking.  


I don't have anything fancy, just some of what I consider basics.  And I'm always up for trying out new flavors so I'm sure my spice collection will grow, but for now, this is it.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Hot Buffalo Bites

Yesterday was Boat Club.     As I think I've mentioned before, we get together once a month and do a potluck and also play games, cards, board games, or just visit.      Last night I brought Buffalo Bites.
Buffalo Bites

 
I was at a potluck a few weeks ago and someone brought some hot wings, well, they weren't that hot (spicy), but still, they were good. I love wings myself, and take every opportunity to try the endless, well, almost endless variations out there.  

However, and this is a big however, it doesn't matter how good the wings are, they are still messy, your fingers get greasy, and then there is the problem of what to do with the bones, and ….  well, you get my drift.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Refried Beans

I made a reference to Refried Beans on my other blog last week and realized I could walk tell you how to make them yourself.  So when I made some the other night to put on my Nacho's I took pictures.

I want to say a big Thank You to my friend Ta, as she's the one who showed me how darn easy it is to make your own refried beans, and even though I may not do it the same as her,  it's still tasty.    It's not only cheaper, but you control what you put in it, so it's always better.     As always, the recipes are subjective, you can always use more or less to suit your own particular taste.

Start with opening a can of Pinto Beans or you can also use Black Beans.


Drain a little of the liquid off and place the rest of the can in a small pan.  Or just drain off all the liquid and rinse the beans to get some of the sodium off.  Then add in about 1/2- 3/4 cup water.
Refried Beans


Heat through while you're chopping up a half or a whole jalapeno you just took out of the freezer.  (I always have fresh frozen jalapeno's in my freezer, in my neck of the woods they're not always available, so when I run across some nice ones, I freeze them).  
Add in a little cumin, 1/2 -1 tsp, or to taste, and let cook for a while, a good half an hour, stirring occasionally.   Then get your trusty potato masher and start mashing the beans.

At this point you can mash as much or as little as you want.   It will look a little soupy at this point and that's OK.  This does thicken upon standing.    

Then just use as you wish.   I used part of this can to top some nacho's I put in the oven and even though they got a little over done, they were still delicious.   
Refried Beans on Nachos
I usually top my nacho's with some diced tomatoes and sour cream and guacamole, but forgot to take the final picture, so this is what you get.

Try making your own refried beans, believe me they're worth a try.   

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Chicken Piccata


Chicken Piccata, my way. I love Chicken Piccata, I think I first had it while we were living in Malibu, but I was hooked. The tender chicken, the tangy lemony sauce, the pasta and of course, the capers. YUM. It's one of those dishes that I can keep eating on, to the point of discomfort. OK, way too much information there.

At any rate. I first tried to make it at home a few years ago, and the first time out of the gate was a home run. At least for me. I know I don't make the 'right' way, but I do make it the right way for me.

So there...
Chicken Piccata

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

My first post here, and it's not even a recipe.

I've decided to let SeaPalmTreasures go back to what I first envisioned it as, a place for me to post my pictures, show off my crafts and expound on various and sundry matters.    So, this blog is going to feature food, and recipes and ideas on making food and stuff like that.

Once a month we host a Tapas Night at our place.   I have fun with this as it means I can try out new recipes, make tried and true recipes and I get to taste lots of new things as our friends bring their offerings.


Tapas means small plates, and when you have a Tapas night you make appetizer type food.   And ask people to bring an appetizer as well when they come, if they want to.   It always amazes me the variety of foods that are brought.   And I don't know if it's just because of where we live or I just have an incredibly talented group of friends, but there are some talented cooks in our area of the woods, and they love to share, (thank heavens).   I'm going to feature recipes that I make each month and also highlight and share the recipes of some of the other dishes brought.    Also, and very important, we have two rules for Tapas night.   Everyone's invited and the more the merrier.     In other words, we encourage people to bring friends we've not met yet, cause we love to meet new people. 

And I can't forget Boat Club either.   Once a month we get together at the local boat club and have a potluck.  Everyone brings something, and the variety of dishes is amazing and somehow it always works out.   We have main dishes, side dishes and desserts.   Well, with the exception of February, we did get a little dessert heavy that month.   I'm going to share what I make for Boat Club and again, feature some of the other interesting dishes that our friends make and bring.

 And please feel free to comment on my posts, ask questions and give me some hints.