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Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Skillet Fried Chicken
Recipe from Bon Appétit February 2012

This blog goes against everything I’m about.  I am a fraud… a total hypocrite.

I have subscribed to Bon Appétit for decades.  The first thing I do when it arrives in the mail every month is go directly to the back and scan the Recipe Index.  My aim is to extract anything that’s interesting.   I’ll be looking for the trends, the coolest ingredients, the oddest combinations.  I start from the back &move forward…  but not this time.    I don’t know why it was different this time but I was completely caught off guard.  The only thing the  front cover showed was one huge fried chicken leg...that was all.   It was so simple so brilliantly simple.  Good photography is everything.

I think you probably know by now that I do not like to follow other people’s recipes.  I scan &extract the ingredients I like and leave the rest.  Then I go to my drawing board and create my own version of the recipe.  Not this time.  I actually followed this one and still completely surprised I did. 

You have to agree it’s one of those foods you don’t eat all the time and you can go for long periods before you are hit with that powerful craving.  Usually I resort to good ol KFC and that will tie me over till the next uncontrollable urge.  But you will have to agree that when it’s time to eat fried chicken, it’s time to eat fried chicken. 

Not that they need my help or anything but I’m going to name drop the big one: Bon Appétit.  Check out the February 2012 issue and tell me if the cover is not brilliant.  Now let’s fry some chicken.  

This would be an excellent idea for the up and coming Superbowl.  Wings & Legs would be a big hit at your party.

Skillet Fried Chicken
1Family Pack Combination of Chicken ( 5 Legs & 5Thighs is what I used).
You can also use 1 ¾ Pound Whole Chicken cut into 10 pieces. Or 20 Wings  

Peanut Oil About 24 ounces

THE RUB (Prepare the day before, rub chicken & chill overnight)
1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
2 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper
1 ½ Teaspoon Paprika
¾ Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
½ Teaspoon Garlic Powder
½ Teaspoon Onion Powder      
Mix all ingredients in small bowl and rub each piece of chicken, cover and chill overnight.

1 Cup Buttermilk
1 Egg
½ Cup Water
Whisk all ingredients in medium bowl. (I used a  1/2  size baking tin) 

3 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
1 Tablespoon Freshly Ground Pepper
Blend and put in a 9x13x2 baking dish. (I used a ½ size baking tin.)

Let chicken reach room temp after sitting in refrigerator over night
Pour peanut oil into 10”-12”Non Stick Skillet about ¾ “ Deep.  I used an entire 24 ounce bottle of peanut oil.
Heat oil over medium heat & use Deep Fry Thermometer to register 350 degrees.  I didn't have one of these so I waited to see bubbles @ the bottom of skillet.
Working with one piece at a time dip chicken into wet batter then dredge into dry batter covering each piece completely and set aside until oil is hot. Fry chicken turning with tongs about every 2 minutes & reducing temp of oil to about 300 to 325. Fry each side till golden brown & crispy. About 12 minute for legs & thighs, 10 minutes for wings. 
Using tongs remove chicken & set on a wire rack or paper towels on baking sheet to absorb excess oil after frying.
Let cool about 10 minutes and chow down.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


I wanted to do something kind of cool for Valentine’s Day.  I love to do shapes…food shapes……  so this big heart thing going on opened the door even more to my crazy compulsion for the attention to detail. 

It’s still very cold& gloomy over here on the Hudson River so something warm & comforting & pretty was in order.   I decided that a somewhat healthy version of Empanaditas might not be so bad considering my need to eat vast quantities of gummy bears every night while watching TV.    So I ignited my freak mode and came up with this.

Pre-Heat Oven 350    Bake 20 Minutes
Set out Rolled Ready Bake Pie Crust.  Should be @ Room Temperature

1 Pound Ground Chicken
1 Cup Tostitos Chunkie Salsa (You choose the heat) Buy the large jar 24 Ounces. Will use remainder for salsa
4 Kiwi Cut into tiny cubes ( ½ goes to Filler  ½  for Salsa)
1 Cup Grated Monterey Jack Cheese
½ Cup Cilantro Finely Chopped
½ Cup Scallions
1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
½ Teaspoon Goya Adobo All Purpose Seasoning
1 Tablespoon Virgin Olive Oil
3  Boxes Rolled Ready Bake Pie Crust ( Total 6 Rolls)
2 Eggs Beaten    Put in separate bowl to be used as empanadita sealant and glaze

In skillet add olive oil low heat &cook ground chicken chopped finely.  Add 1 Cup Salsa, 2 chopped kiwi, cilantro, scallions, cumin, Adobo seasoning & add cheese last. Cook till cheese melts into chicken combination.  Let sit @ room temp.

Tostidos Chunkie Salsa (Use the remainder of Jar)
2  Finely Chopped Kiwi
½ or more Cups Cilantro Finely Chopped
1  Teaspoon Cumin
½ Cup Chopped Scallions

Add all ingredients and place in attractive dipping sauce container. Garnish with fresh cilantro and tiny pastry hearts

On floured surface, roll out pie crust.  With heart shaped cookie cutter, cut about 14 medium sized hearts (3”X3”).  With the remainder of pie crusts use an assortment of smaller heart shaped cookie cutters to cut as many as you can to be used as the pastry appliqués.  Place all hearts in a plastic zip lock bag to keep from drying out. 

You will need two hearts to assemble one empanadita.   Place one heart on floured surface, paint with egg wash &add about a teaspoon of filler directly in the center.  Place second heart directly over the filler like a sandwich & press down.  Try not to let filler go to the edge of heart.  Press edges of the two hearts together creating a seam and use fork to seal.
Brush with egg wash and add smaller cut out heart shapes in any design, giving a 3 dimensional look to the empanadita .  Anything is possible.  Design Away!!!  Make sure when you add a heart, brush with egg to glue it down.  Place on cookie cutter covered with parchment paper and bake for 20 minutes.


Thursday, January 19, 2012


I honestly did not know my next blog when I woke yesterday morning.  I was dilly dallying though my mental recipe hard drive but really couldn’t cut or copy anything.  It’s bloody January… not ready for Valentines stuff not yet…. So here’s how it went down. 

Okay so every morning I listen to a popular NYC radio station when I drive my daughter Madison to school and on this particular day they seem to have touched on a common topic of food that is brought up quite a lot on this show… the love of Chicken Parmesan.   I’ve never made Chicken Parmesan… it never even dawned on me... not sure why but today for some reason the need to try was inevitable.  Elvis Duran and his cohorts (The Z Morning Zoo) were going on about how Chicken Parmesan had gone completely out of control viral which didn’t surprise me really, as much as they talk about it.   Ah so there it was…  my next food blog and it will be knighted as “My Elvis Duran & the Z Morning Zoo Inspired Chicken Parm.”  Thanks guys!!

Love ya Love ya guys especially you Elvis Duran.  Keep talking about Chicken Parm and keep making my day. And thanks again for the idea!!

So here is my take on Chicken Parmesan.  I didn’t put too much of my freak on it amazingly enough, only when I got to the pasta parts & it isn’t so bad.    Let me know what you think &still need more blog followers please please!! 


THE CHICKEN  Feeds 4-6 people depending how much you like it. 
3 Large  Chicken Breast (Slice in half making six pieces)
2 Eggs (Lightly beaten)
2 Cups Panko Bread Crumbs
1 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese ( ½  will go into Panko ½ will be used as topping) 
8 Ounces Fresh Mozzarella (Cut into small pieces for topping)
1 Bunch Fresh Basil (For chicken, sauce & garnish)
¼ Ounce  Fresh Oregano (Optional for Garnish)
2 Tablespoons Good Seasons Italian Dressing Mix (Sprinkle over chicken & let sit)
4 Tablespoons Butter (For Frying Cutlets)
4 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (For Frying Cutlets)

Wash, cut fat and cartilage off each chicken breast & slice in half.  You will have 6 pieces.  Pound each chicken piece with tenderizer mallet about ½ inch thick.  To prevent tearing holes when pounding the chicken lay a thick plastic freezer zip lock bag between it and your mallet.  Sprinkle pieces front & back with Italian dressing mix and set aside.
I used 2 small tins 1 for the panko/parmesan cheese and one for the beaten eggs.  Add ½ cup of  grated parmesan to panko &mix it in. Dip chicken breasts into egg then coat with panko/parm, press to make it stick.  In large skillet melt butter and add olive oil on medium heat, add panko cover chicken breast and cook to a nice brown color about 2 to three minutes on both sides.  You don’t want to cook them through as they will finish baking in the oven when toppings are added.

1 Can Stewed Tomatoes 14.5 Ounces
1 Can Tomato Sauce 15 Ounces
4 Large Fresh Basil Leaves
3 Gloves Garlic
1 Tablespoon Good Seasons Italian Dressing Mix
1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Honey 

In food processor add all ingredients and blend.

Preheat oven 375 degrees  On cookies sheet topped with parchment paper add partially cooked panko/parm covered chicken breasts, add sauce to just the center of each cutlet.  Don’t let it go over the edges.  Add sliced pieces of fresh mozzarella, slivers of fresh basil and top off with parmesan cheese.   Bake 20 minutes till cheese it brown and bubbling.

It’s really your choice.  I used two types because I’m the freak.  Linguini with Spinach & Whole Grain Linguini.  I’m after the colors & maybe it’s a little healthier.   

8 Ounces Linguini with Spinach (Boil separately)
8 Ounces Whole Grain Linguini (Boil Separately)
Follow cooking instruction on the box.

I did two.  One using a white platter, mutli-color pasta and fresh basil. The other with a black  platter, multi-color pasta and fresh oregano.  Both pop the colors nicely.    





Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Today I needed chili to be present in my kitchen.  It's cold, dreary & January & there is nothing better than  winter's favorite comfort creature food. It made me so happy!!! I go into this weird moody blues in need of mind altering drugs state starting in January and it really doesn't go away till May.  Though I grew up in the 70's and had my fill... I have over the last 30 years substituted new and delicious fixes to my long list of addictions. Chili being one of them along with gummy bears and Rum Raisin Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream.  Yes I could eat this concoction every day.  No I 
don't do mind altering drugs anymore.
    I really needed to make some chili.  I knew I had hamburger, I knew I had beans & stewed tomatoes & I was positive I had some McCormick's Chili Packets in my pantry. So there it is... I just cleaned out my refrigerator at that point.  You can add anything to chili except gummy bears so really nothing on this recipe is in concrete. 
    Let me know what you do to your chili. And let me know if mine is like a mind altering drug from the 70's.                

    This is from ingredients I had available. I make a double batch so I can freeze half.
    2 Pounds Lean Ground Beef
    1 Large Can (1LB. 13OZ)  Goya Black Beans (Any bean or brand will do)
    1 Large Can (1LB. 13OZ) Small White Beans (Any bean or brand will do)
    2 Large Cans (28 Ounces) Stewed Tomatoes (Generic is fine)
    1 Bell Pepper Cut into Small Squares (I used an orange one but any color is good)  
    3 Medium Tomatillos (Cut into small cubes)
    1 Red Onion Diced
    1 Tablespoon Ground Cumin
    4 Packets of McCormick’s Chili Seasoning Mix
     2 Cups V-8 Juice (Tomato Juice is fine)
    2 Cups or More Grated Gouda Cheese (Can choose your favorite cheese)
    3 Tablespoon Butter or Margarine   
    4 Garlic Gloves Finely Chopped
    1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
    2 Tablespoons or to taste Good Seasons Italian Mix (Dry)
    2 Tablespoons Red Roasted Peppers (Optional as garnish)
    2 Green Onion or Scallions  Chopped Finely (Optional as garnish)
    Small Oyster Crackers (Optional as Garnish)

    In large deep pan or  stew pot cook hamburger, make sure you pour off grease. Add stewed tomatoes, beans, packets of chili seasoning mix, cumin, V-8 juice, balsamic vinegar & Italian dressing mix.   In separate sauté pan melt butter and add garlic, onions, peppers and tomatillos.  Sauté till soft (caramelized) and add to pot of chili, let simmer and stir in cheese.
    If you want to impress your family or invited guests you can place the chili into a large festive bowl and garnish with lines of scallions, red peppers and cheese. See photos.  When serving into bowls I top it off with oyster crackers, green onion and a spot of cheese. You can cut this recipes in half if you don’t have the mouths to eat it, the space or option to  freeze.