Monthly Archives: April 2012

New England Clam Chowder

New England Clam Chowder

Having lived in New England for just under fifteen years, I consider myself a bit of a clam chowder (or “chowdah” as I used to say) snob. There are countless recipes for New England Clam Chowder, many of which claim to be “traditional.” Of course traditions vary from region to region and family to family, but there are just certain ingredients (leeks, carrots, corn, bell peppers) which, in my opinion, do not belong in authentic New England style Clam Chowder. In addition to disparate opinions about ingredients, there are long standing disagreements (even within my own household) as to the proper thickness of the chowder. I like a really thick and hearty chowder, but I don’t think it meets the “traditional” criteria. To me, traditional chowder is creamy and buttery, but not stick to the spoon thick. So, as you embark on your clam chowder journey, ask yourself what kind of chowder you like, and make it that way. It’s easy enough to thicken the chowder, so you can literally make chowder to suit the different preferences of your family (a necessity for me since they are my critics). If you follow this recipe, you will have the opportunity to further thicken the chowder at the end. I reserved about 1/3 of the chowder in its original thickness and thickened the other 2/3.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 Slices of Good Quality Bacon – finely chopped
  • 1 Medium Onion (sweet, white or Spanish) – finely chopped (about 1 Cup)
  • 2-3 Ribs of Celery – finely chopped (about 1/2 Cup)
  • 4-5 White or Golden Potatoes – peeled and diced (about 1/3- 1/2 inch pieces)
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1/4 Cup Flour
  • 4 TBS. Unsalted Butter
  • 32 Oz. Bottled Clam Juice
  • 3-4 Cans (6.5 Oz.) of Chopped or Minced Clams* or 1 Lb. Fresh Chopped Clams
  • 3 Cups of Milk or Cream (I use 1 Cup Cream+ 2 Cups of Milk)**
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 3-5 TBS. Corn Starch (Optional – use for extra thickening)

INSTRUCTIONS:

In a large pot, cook bacon until browned. Add onion and celery to pot, cook until tender. Add butter and flour and cook over medium heat for an additional 5-8 minutes to make a roux. The bottom of the pan will be sticky and gross, don’t worry, it will be deglazed. Add clam juice and scrape the bottom of the pot to remove all browned bits, add bay leaf and bring mixture to a boil. Add potatoes and clams.Simmer until potatoes are cooked but still firm. Add milk/cream mixture and season with salt and pepper. If you would like to further thicken chowder, transfer about 1 cup of liquid from the pot to a bowl and add 3 TBS. of corn starch; mix until corn starch is incorporated with no lumps. Return mixture to pot and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes. If desired thickness is not reached, repeat previous step with remaining 2 TBS. of corn starch. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Thickened version of New England Clam Chowder

* Use chopped clams if you like heartier clams; use minced clams if you want the clam flavor without the larger (sometimes chewy) clam pieces. I use a combination of both (2 cups chopped, 1 cup minced). If you like a lot of clams in your chowder, use 4 cans (any combination).

**You can save a lot of calories by using milk (1-2%) instead of cream. If you are going to go the thick route and add corn starch, you won’t notice the difference. If you aren’t going to thicken with corn starch, you will probably appreciate the richer creamier flavor gained by the addition of at least 1 cup of heavy cream or 1/2 and 1/2.

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Soy Ginger Marinated Flank Steak

Soy Ginger Marinated Flank Steak (pictured with Wasabi Mashed Potatoes

This is a variation on the flank steak my mother made. She didn’t like to cook with wine, so she used 1/2 cup of water – which is fine, but I like wine! I guess such a substitution is nothing original -Jesus was probably the first to change water into wine.  Anyhow, if you’re like my Mom, substitute water for wine. Speaking of wine, I used a chardonnay, because that’s what I had on hand, but you could certainly use something drier and less fruity. I also added the orange juice, the garlic, and the pepper to the recipe. I used regular soy sauce, but I have a pretty good tolerance for salt, but low sodium soy would be perfectly fine if you’re watching your sodium intake.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Flank Steak (1.5 – 2 lbs.)
  • 1/2 Cup Soy Sauce (regular or low sodium)
  • 1/2 Cup White Wine
  • 1/3 Cup Orange Juice
  • 1 TBS. Vinegar (white wine, pinot grigio, champagne, sherry or white balsamic)
  • 2 Cloves of garlic – finely chopped
  • 2 TBS. Grated Fresh Ginger (about 1 medium root)
  • 1 TBS. Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Freshly Ground Pepper
  • 3 Scallions (Green parts only) chopped (for garnish)

Combine all marinade ingredients. Put flank steak in large non-reactive bowl or baking dish and pour marinade over. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to marinate at least two hours, but 4-6 hours is better. Remove flank steak from refrigerator one hour before cooking to allow to come to room temperature. Preheat broiler to high. Broil 4-6 minutes on each side. Remove from oven, tent with foil and allow meat to rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Going against the grain of the meat, slice into 1/4 inch slices. Garnish with chopped green onions and serve immediately.

Grilled Oysters

Grilled Oysters

Talk about life changing… I just embraced raw oysters about two years ago after years of a suppressed memory of my parents feeding me an oyster at the age of 3 – which, as the story goes, I politely put in my mouth and then unobtrusively let “slither” out of the side of my mouth. So, 40 years later, I came to love oysters (raw) and could hardly get enough. I even converted Bryan, and we became regulars at Tom’s Oyster Bar and Northern Lakes Seafood. I bought an oyster knife and got a personal shucking lesson at Papa Joe’s and taught Bryan how to shuck (he proved to be a natural, so now he’s the official shucker). We have enjoyed oysters at home ever since. And then, we experienced grilled oysters while vacationing in Muskegon last summer. The grilled oysters were amazing, so we asked how they were prepared. What we learned was that the chef put the seasoned oysters on the grill and immediately covered them (sort of a steaming technique). So, here it is late April (not a  month that ends in the letter “R” but I managed to find amazing oysters at a local specialty grocery (while on my never-ending hunt for Spring bounties like ramps, fiddleheads, and morels). I decided we should grill them. So, after some internet research, we decided to prepare a “butter” made with the incredible bacon we had purchased from our favorite pork farmers at Melo Farms.  The unfortunate part is that I only had a dozen oysters – rather than, like four, so we savored every one (and froze our leftover “amazing oyster butter” for another round). I bought the varieties of oysters we like to eat raw (typically small ones from P.E.I or New Brunswick), but I would recommend buying larger “meatier” varieties for grilling.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 24-48 Fresh Raw Oysters
  • 3 Slices Good Quality Smoked Bacon (Applewood or Hickory)
  • 2 Sticks Unsalted Butter
  • 4 Cloves Fresh Garlic – peeled
  • 1 TBS. Dried Italian Herb Blend (or your favorite blend of herbs)
  • 2 TBS. Fresh parsley (or 1 TBS. dried)
  • 1/2 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Fresh Ground Pepper
  • 2 TBS. Dry White Wine (optional)
  • 2 Lemons

INSTRUCTIONS:

Cook bacon until crispy; allow to drain on a paper towel. Put bacon in food processor or blender, add butter, garlic, herbs, cayenne, salt and pepper. Blend until all ingredients are completely incorporated. Scrape down sides of bowl of processor. With machine running, add wine and blend for another 30 seconds. Cut a piece of plastic wrap or wax paper (enough to cover a 2″ x 6′ log of butter) and lay on a work surface. Scrape butter mixture onto wrap/paper. Form butter into a log about 2″ in diameter. Wrap and chill until firm (about 2 hours in refrigerator or 30 minutes in freezer). In the meantime, preheat grill to about 400-450 degrees. Shuck oysters and leave in bottom shell – do NOT drain the delightful “oyster liquor.” Place oysters on a plate of ice, just as you would if serving raw. Once butter is chilled, cut into 1/4″ slices and place one slice on each oyster. Place oysters on the grill and cover with a lid (one large or several small). We used the lid to a large soup pot and it worked great. Cook covered oysters for 4-8 minutes (depending on size of oysters) until butter is fully melted and browned. Transfer oysters to a serving platter and squeeze fresh lemon over the top of oysters – serve immediately.

Spinach Pasta with Chicken, Morel Mushrooms, Jerusalem Artichokes and Creamy Pesto

Pasta with Chicken, Jerusalem Artichokes, Morel Mushrooms and Creamy Pesto Sauce

Wahoo!!! I went to the local specialty grocery store today and there they were…Morels – GAME ON.  As if I didn’t have enough reasons to love Spring, morels just bring me GREAT HAPPINESS! I am trying to think what might be a better scenario: my community garden friend Dave found out that I am infatuated with Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes) and brought me some from the M.S.U farmers; so that was my starting point. I wanted to do something other than stewing them, so I thought I would brown them and include them in a pasta recipe. While I don’t quite have basil available in my own garden, it has been looking beautiful in the stores, so I decided I must incorporate it. And then it happened…I spotted the morels in the store. My kids have always loved my standard creamy pesto with chicken and broccoli over pasta recipe, so I figured I’d just amp it up a bit. Time wise, this is a viable weeknight recipe (I picked up my daughter from LAX at 6:15, got home at 6:40, and served dinner at 7:45 – I even unloaded the dishwasher). If you have time, make homemade pasta; I didn’t have the luxury, so I bought a good quality Spinach Papareadelle.

Aren’t they beautiful?

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3/4 Cup Fresh Basil
  • 1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese (plus additional for sprinkling)
  • 3 TBS. Pine Nuts
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 1/3 Cup Olive Oil + 2 TBS.
  • 1 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 3 TBS. Unsalted Butter
  • 8 Oz. Ricotta Cheese
  • 1/3+ Cup Chicken Stock/Broth
  • 3 Chicken Breast – trimmed and thinly sliced (freeze for a couple hours to make cutting thinly easier)
  • 1.5 Cups Jerusalem Arthichokes (Sunchokes) cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1- 1.5 Cups Morel mushrooms – thickly sliced
  • 12 Oz. Spinach Pasta (plain would be fine as well)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Prepare the pesto sauce: put basil leaves, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and garlic cloves in a blender or food processor. Process until all ingredients are well chopped. With machine running, (medium) drizzle in olive oil and blend until olive oil is fully incorporated. Add more oil if necessary. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.

In a large pot, heat water for pasta. In the meantime, heat 2 TBS. olive oil in a large saute pan. When oil is hot, add Jerusalem artichokes and brown on all sides (or at least two). Reduce heat to medium, add chicken stock to pan (enough to at least cover bottom of pan so Jerusalem artichokes can simmer/steam), cover saucepan and simmer for another 15 minutes (checking to make sure there is still liquid in the pan). In the meantime, heat cream and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat (do not allow to boil or scald). When heated through, add pesto and keep warm over low heat. Cook pasta according to directions, reserving about 1 cup of pasta water. After Jerusalem artichokes have simmered for 15 minutes, check to see that they are tender but still firm (if not, continue to cook for a few additional minutes). Add chicken to saute pan with Jerusalem artichokes, increase heat if necessary. Saute chicken until cooked through. Add sliced morels and saute for another two or three minutes – just until tender. Turn off heat, add ricotta to pan, mix until melted and incorporated. Add creamy pesto sauce to pan. If too thin, add more ricotta; if too thick, add a little pasta water. Taste for seasoning, add salt and pepper if necessary. Serve prepared sauce over pasta, add additional Parmesan cheese if desired.

This received a unanimous “Delish!”

Chicken Stir Fry

Chicken Stir Fry with Jasmine Rice

This is a weeknight staple in our household. I always have frozen chicken breasts on hand, as well as plenty of leftover vegetables. This is a pretty standard version, but I’ve made this stir fry with all sorts of different vegetables – really whatever I’ve got in the refrigerator. I also mix-up the sauce quite a bit. Because of my affinity for Asian cooking, I usually have a multitude of sauces around, everything from sweet chili sauce to black pepper bean curd. If you have to choose just one, go with Teriyaki- it’s always a hit. You could certainly make this dish with pork, or beef, shrimp and/or scallops or even tofu for a vegetarian version. Cutting up the meat and vegetables is certainly the most time consuming aspect of this dish – yes, you can cheat and buy pre-cut vegetables. In fact, in this version, I did use shredded carrots – that’s right, straight from the bag- because I had them around from when I made coleslaw the lazy way. Everyone in my family, except the dog, who meticulously picks them out of his bowl, likes water chestnuts, so I always have a can or two on hand. Lizzie pitches a fit if I don’t include baby bok choy, and since I’ve got my awesome supplier at the weekend market, I usually have that in the veg drawer. Garlic is a must, unless, of course you don’t like it, and I usually include some sort of onion (green, sweet, red, shallot – whatever I’ve got). Following the recipe, I’ve included a list of vegetables that I’ve used in the past, as well as some sauces you can use. One tip that I’ve learned over the years is that if you want to be able to slice raw meat thinly, put it in the freezer for an hour or two. If you’re starting with fully frozen meat, let it defrost for maybe an hour. You may find that your knife dulls a little more quickly, but that’s what sharpeners are for.  (Serves 5-6)

INGREDIENTS: (as pictured)

  • 3 Large Chicken Breasts – trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 – 1.5 Cups Broccoli florets
  • 1 Cup Carrots, cut into 1″ matchsticks
  • 1/2 Onion – sliced into thin rounds and then cut into 1″ lengths
  •  2-3 Cups Baby Bok choy – separated into leaves
  • 3/4 Cup Celery – chopped
  • 1 Can Sliced Water Chestnuts
  • 4 Cloves of Garlic – finely chopped
  • 3 TBS. Sesame Oil
  • 1/2 cup Teriyaki Sauce
  • 1/4 Cup Hoisin Sauce
  • 1 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2-3 TBS. Corn Starch

INSTRUCTIONS:

Prepare chicken and vegetables (cut into sizes as directed above). Heat sesame oil in a wok or deep saute pan over medium heat. Add garlic and saute until fragrant – monitor heat, do not allow garlic to burn. Add chicken and stir fry (stirring/flipping frequently) until cooked about half way through. Add remaining vegetables and red pepper flakes and continue to stir fry until chicken is thoroughly cooked and vegetables are tender. Add hoisin sauce. Combine Teriyaki sauce and corn starch in a bowl and whisk until corn starch is dissolved. Add mixture to wok and continue to cook until meat and vegetables are well coated and sauce is thickened. If sauce becomes too thick, add additional Teriyaki sauce or water. Serve over rice.

ALTERNATIVES:

  • Pea Pods (my favorite, but I don’t often have them on hand)
  • Asparagus
  • Sliced Peppers (Red, Yellow, or Green)
  • Mushrooms (sliced) – add later than other vegetables because they cook quickly
  • Baby Corn (canned)
  • Bamboo Shoots (canned)
  • Napa Cabbage
  • Spinach
  • Cashews
  • Peanuts
  • Garlic Chili Sauce
  • Sirachia sauce
  • Fish sauce (very salty)
  • Soy sauce

Homemade Teriyaki Sauce:

  • 2/3 cup mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 7 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 dash red pepper flakes
  • black pepper to taste

Mediterranean Lamb Stew with Jerusalem Artichokes

Mediterranean Lamb Stew with Jerusalem Artichokes

The picture doesn’t do this dish justice. I  wish I had the time to make homemade pasta, but, trust me, nobody complained. Bryan didn’t even put up a fuss about the olives, he just worked around them. I used a leg of lamb, trimmed it and cubed it. I was a little worried that it might not be as tender as a more marbled cut like shoulder, but my worries were unwarranted. I did cook it for several hours and the wine and tomato acidity helps to tender the meat. You could substitute potatoes or another root vegetable like parsnips or ruttabega, but I absolutely love the Jerusalem artichokes (also called sunchokes). They are neither artichokes, nor are they from Jerusalem. They have a texture similar to jicama or water chestnuts, but they have a subtle nutty flavor. They don’t have the starchiness of potatoes, so they maintain their firm texture and hold up well for stew. They are available at specialty grocers and a few chain grocery stores.You can also leave out the olives, or substitute with large caper berries. I used really large white mushrooms because they looked beautiful at the market; you could substitute your favorite mushroom.The stew would be great served over couscous, mashed potatoes, or, as I mentioned, homemade pasta. As with most stews, the flavors continue develop over time, so it’s almost better the next day. The hands on cooking time is less than an hour, but you’ll want to let the stew cook for 2-3 hours. (Serves 6-8).

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4-5 lb. Boneless Leg of Lamb (or 4-5 lbs. shoulder meat)
  • 1 Medium Onion (White or Sweet) – sliced into thin rounds
  • 4 Cups of Jerusalem Artichokes
  • 3 Cups Large White Mushrooms
  • 1.5 Cups Red Wine
  • 28 oz. can of Chopped or Crushed Tomatoes (San Marzano preferable)
  • 1 Cup Pitted Kalamata Olives
  • 3 TBS. Olive Oil
  • 5 Cloves Garlic – chopped
  • 1-2 TBS. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 TBS. Dried Thyme Leaves (2 TBS. Fresh)
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 3 TBS. Corn Starch
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Fresh Parsley – Chopped for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS:

Trim lamb to remove most of the fat and any silver sinew. Cut into 1 inch cubes. Season generously with salt (preferably Kosher) and freshly ground pepper. Set aside and allow lamb to come to room temperature. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In the meantime, peel the Jerusalem artichokes (this is challenging, but worth the effort) and cut into similar sized pieces (I like pieces about 3/4 of an inch). Clean and remove the stems from the mushrooms, cut into pieces if large.  Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or oven-proof stockpot. Add lamb cubes to the pot in a single layer (you will have to brown lamb in batches). Over medium high heat, brown lamb on all sides (don’t be afraid to let lamb become very brown).

Transfer browned lamb cubes to a bowl and set aside. Add onions and garlic to the pot and cook until tender. Add wine to pot and deglaze. Return lamb to pot, add tomatoes with juice, crushed red pepper flakes, thyme, and bay leaf. Cover and transfer to preheated oven.

After lamb has braised in the oven for 1 hour, add Jerusalem artichokes and olives; return to oven for 1 more hour. After another hour, add mushrooms and continue to cook for another hour; lamb, Jerusalem artichokes and mushrooms should be tender. If lamb is not fork tender, return to oven and continue to cook until lamb reaches desired tenderness. Remove stew from oven and, using a ladle, transfer 2-4 cups of cooking liquid to a bowl. Whisk corn starch into hot liquid and blend until there are no lumps. Return liquid to pot and stir until thickened. Serve over pasta, mashed potatoes, or couscous; garnish with chopped parsley.

Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing

Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing

I love spinach raw or cooked. This is a classic spinach salad with egg, bacon, and warm bacon dressing. Serves four as a side salad or two as an entree size salad. (Note: Photos are for 1/2 a batch- 2 side salads)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 Cups Baby Spinach (rinsed thoroughly and stems removed) (you can purchase triple washed baby spinach in a bag, but use fresh if possible)
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1-2 Shallots (or 1/3 red onion)
  • 4 Slices Bacon
  • 2 TBS. Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. Dijon Mustard

INSTRUCTIONS:

Add eggs to a small saucepan with at least 3 inches of water . Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer for 11 minutes. Run eggs under cold water until thoroughly cooled. Set aside. In a medium saucepan, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Transfer bacon to a plate covered in paper towel and allow to drain – reserve 2 TBS. of bacon grease in pan. Divide spinach evenly among plates. Peel eggs and slice thinly, divide evenly among plates. Slice shallot or red onion thinly and divide between plates. Crumble bacon and divide evenly among plates. Set assembled salads aside. Very finely chop 1/2 shallot or 2 slices red onion. Add shallot/onion to pan with bacon grease and saute until translucent. Whisk in red wine, sugar and Dijon mustard until well combined. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm over low heat until ready to serve. Re-mix dressing just before serving, drizzle warm dressing over assembled salads and serve immediately.

Asian Style Spicy Barbeque Chicken Wings

Asian Style Spicy Barbeque Chicken Wings

I had leftover sauce from my Teriyaki Braised Chicken recipe, so I decided to try it on chicken wings. I modified the sauce a bit to include a little more sweet citrus flavor (addition of orange juice) which holds up well in the oven. I would eliminate the fish sauce if making sauce just for the purpose of wings, but if using leftover, just add a little sugar to cut the saltiness. These wings do have quite a bit of heat to them because of the dry rub ingredients and the red pepper flakes that I added to the original barbeque sauce. Again, if making sauce fresh for wings, you have the option of omitting or cutting back on the heat ingredients. Bryan, however, who does not like a lot of heat, loved these wings. These would be great served with an Asian slaw (recipe to be posted at a later date) or just as a stand alone appetizer. You could also serve them as an entree combined with some Jasmine rice and Stir Fried Baby Bok Choy (see posted recipe). (Serves 8-12 as appetizer).

INGREDIENTS:

  • 5 Lbs. Chicken Wings (separated into drumettes and flats)

For the Dry Rub:

  • 2 TBS. Chinese Five Spice
  • 2 TBS. Sugar
  • 1 TBS. Salt
  • 1.5 tsp. Pepper
  • 3/4 tsp. Cayenne

Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. You can double or triple the dry rub recipe and store it for future use.

For the Sauce:

  • 1 Cup Teriyaki Sauce
  • 1 Cup Hoisin Sauce
  • 1 Cup Orange Juice
  • 1/4 Cup Rice Wine (not vinegar)
  • 1/4 Low Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic – minced
  • 1 TBS. Fresh Grated Ginger
  • 1-2 tsp. Red Pepper Chili Flakes (optional)
  • 2 TBS. Sesame Seeds (optional)
  • 2 Green Onions (green parts only) – chopped

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan, heat over medium and keep at a simmer (sauce will reduce a little) until ready to coat wings.

INSTRUCTIONS:

If frozen, allow chicken wings to thaw. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, combine chicken wings and dry rub – toss to coat wings thoroughly. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lay dry rubbed wings in a single layer on tray. Bake at 450 degrees for 35 minutes. Remove wings from oven and reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Transfer wings to a bowl, pour enough sauce over wings to coat, toss to coat wings thoroughly. (Reserve extra sauce for dipping). Place a wire cooling rack over the baking sheet, transfer wings to rack and sprinkle with sesame seeds (if using). Bake for an additional 20-25 minutes. For extra crispy wings, you can broil wings for the last 5-7 minutes. Garnish with chopped green onion and serve with reserved sauce.

Homemade Crispy Chicken Strips

Homemade Crispy Chicken Strips (pictured with Blue Cheese Coleslaw)

I started making homemade chicken strips (or “tenders” as my kids call them) about 8 years ago. They have become a favorite of family and friends alike. They are requested for special events (birthdays, graduation celebrations, and fourth of July). I sometimes regret the introduction of the homemade strips because now my kids spurn the store bought versions. Hence, when I make a batch of tenders, I make a huge batch and freeze them in single servings (4-5 tenders in a sandwich size freezer bag). They re-heat very well in the oven at 350 degrees, but my impatient kids just heat them in the microwave with no complaints. The recipe is the same as that of my Crispy Buttermilk Fried chicken, except that this recipe uses boneless chicken breasts. I have a fryer that I use (after many years of making a mess on my stove, I finally bought a fryer), but a Dutch oven or heavy duty stockpot works just fine.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 Large Chicken Breasts (you can do a batch of up to 9 chicken breasts with this amount of buttermilk, but you may have to supplement the dry batter mixture with additional flour)
  • 1 Pint Buttermilk
  • 4-5 Cups Flour
  • 1 TBS. Corn Starch
  • 4 TBS. Salt
  • 1-2 TBS. Pepper
  • Canola or Vegetable Oil for Frying – About 1 Quart (enough to cover chicken – amount will vary depending on size of fryer or pot)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Cut chicken breast into equal size pieces (I like strips about 2-3 inches long by 1 inch thick, but you can choose what ever size and shape you like, just be consistent). Pour buttermilk into a large non-metallic bowl, season with 1 TBS. salt and about 1/2 TBS. pepper. Season chicken generously, on both sides, with salt and pepper. Add chicken pieces to buttermilk, being sure that all pieces are immersed. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least four hours or overnight if possible. After chicken has soaked for allotted time, heat the oil, in a fryer or on the stove, to 350 degrees. Prepare the dry batter ingredients by combining flour, corn starch, 2 TBS. salt and 1.5 TBS. pepper in a large freezer bag or a large brown paper bag. Meanwhile, cover a baking sheet with paper towels, and place a wire rack on top. Remove 2-3 similar size chicken pieces from the buttermilk and immediately transfer to the dry dredging/batter mixture. Do not drain off excess buttermilk – the more buttermilk that remains on the chicken, the more flour will adhere, which is what creates that awesome crispy coating. Shake the bag or toss the chicken in the flour mixture by hand, chicken should be generously coated with the dry mixture.  Carefully add chicken to hot oil or  the fryer basket (not yet immersed). If cooking on stovetop, you may need to turn up the heat for a minute or so to bring the temperature back up to 350 degrees. If using a fryer, dredge another few pieces of chicken and add to basket – when basket is full, but not crowded, lower basket into oil. Fry for 5-7 minutes depending on size of chicken pieces. When chicken is golden brown, use tongs to remove chicken pieces from oil and place on cooling rack to drain. While still hot, season chicken with additional salt. Repeat process until all chicken is cooked. To keep chicken warm (for up to 45 minutes): place a wire rack on a baking sheet (no paper towel), put chicken on rack and place in 250 degree oven. Check occasionally to make sure chicken is not getting too brown; if so, reduce oven temperature. Chicken strips freeze well and can be re-heated at 350 degrees for about 15-18 minutes.

Blue Cheese Coleslaw

Blue Cheese Coleslaw

I have to admit, I’m not a fan of traditional coleslaw. I like vinagrette type slaws when paired with barbequed or smoked meats. The addition of blue cheese to this slaw changes the flavor entirely. This slaw is creamy style, but the complimentary flavors are more savory. If you’re not a coleslaw lover, try this version and you may feel differently. I serve this with Crispy Buttermilk Fried Chicken or Crispy Chicken Strips. It’s also great as picnic fare or with hamburgers and hot dogs or barbequed ribs.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Head of Cabbage – Shredded (Savoy, Napa, or White, or any combination) * see note below
  • 2 Carrots – Shredded
  • 1 Cup Real Mayonnaise
  • 1 Cup Sour Cream
  • 1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 TBS. Sugar
  • 2 tsp. Celery Salt
  • 1 tsp. Celery Seed
  • 1/2 tsp. Coriander Seed (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 5 oz. (or more) Crumbled Blue Cheese

* You can use 2 bags of packaged coleslaw blend which will give you a combination of types of cabbage and sometimes even includes carrots; this is a huge timesaver, but the cabbage is not always as fresh.

INSTRUCTIONS:

Use a mandolin to shred cabbage and carrots. If you don’t have a mandolin, you can just cut cabbage and carrots into very thin slices. Combine cabbage and carrots in a large bowl. Add all remaining ingredients except for blue cheese. Mix well. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, pepper, or sugar to achieve desired flavor (remember that blue cheese will add a little more salt). Add blue cheese and mix again. Allow coleslaw to marinate in the refrigerator for at least one hour before serving.