Thursday, May 03, 2007

Two Nights

Hey ya'll. I was particularly lazy last night and didn't post our fun dinner. We decided to have a Taco Night this week. Originally we planned that for Thursday night, but due to the extremely ripe avocados, we moved it up to Wednesday.

Again, lazy, so I cheat and use the taco seasoning packet that comes with the shells. Ya know, it works. I also added about 1/2 a cup of jarred salsa to the meat mixture while it cooked. I liked that addition. I have found a recipe for a homemade taco seasoning. I'll have to try to plan that next time.

Of course, the best part about taco night was deciding to make gaucomole! I don't know when I started liking the green dip, but it happened and I've really grown to love it. This serving of guac was pretty spot on...except I forgot to get a tomato! I'll forgive myself this time. I also want to note the taco shells in the photo above. Flat bottoms! It was fun to have the shells actually stand up while filling and plating, but frankly, I didn't like the "taco approach" I had to take with these guys. You know the approach to eat a hard shell lean in and bite the bottom on the side. With the flat area, I felt like I was choppin into a crunchy box. Nice innovative product, but not really for me, I'm going to stick with the traditional round bottom shell.

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Tonight's dinner took a little advanced planning. We had Buttermilk Fried Chicken, mashed taters and corn. A favorite comfort meal of mine.

The advanced planning involves the buttermilk marinade.

This couldn't be easier. A pint of buttermilk, several tablespoons of your favorite hot sauce, salt and pepper. Stir. Add your chicken and set in the fridge for 10-24 hours.

When you're ready to make your chicken, get a bowl and fill with two to three cups of all purpose flower. Add some flavor components. Salt. Pepper. Thyme. Cayenne pepper. Some garlic and onion powder if you like. Mrs. Dash if you have it around...I did! Pick a piece of chicken, in my case tonight chicken tenderloins and drop them into the flour. Really dredge those pieces in there. Cover them in flour and maybe give them a little squeeze. This gives the final product a nice crispy coating. Place on a rack and let air dry for about 20-30 minutes. I don't remember where I read this or saw this, but this step also facilitates a nice crispy, crunchy coating.

Since I wanted to serve the chicken steaming hot, I made the potatoes in advance. Knowing I wanted to have some leftover potatoes for a little lunch at work, or maybe to try my mom's fried potato patties later this weekend, I made an extra large batch. A tip I learned a few years ago, give your boiled potatoes a quick mash, then add your butter. I understand that the butter/fat will coat the molecules of the potato so when you add your milk or cream, they will take on a smoother, creamier texture. I've been making my mashed potatoes that way for years and I have to say this method works really well. A note on butter...if you haven't bought a golden brick of Kerrygold Butter, please do yourself a favor and pick one up the next time you see it in your store. I decided tonight I'm about to make this an all Kerrygold Butter house, it's SUPERIOR to most butters I've had. Hey, if anyone out there works for Kerrygold and would like to be my supplier, I'm all ears!!!

Back to the chicken. When you're ready, get a skillet over high heat. Add your choice of vegetable oil, canola oil or peanut oil. When hot and shimmering (I didn't take the temperature), carefully add the chicken. Allow to pan fry for four to five minutes, then flip to the otherside and go another four to five minutes. Take a note from Alton Brown on frying your chicken...listen and watch the food, it will tell you when it's done. The sizzle and bubbles will subside when your food is nearly done. When the sizzle and bubbles slow down, that's when the oil will start to sneak into your food and you don't want greazie chicken!

When the chicken strips are done, remove to a paper towel lined plate to allow the excess oil to drain away. If you have more pan frying to do, place the chicken on an oven safe plate and put in a warm oven until you're ready to serve.

I craved this meal all day. Extra crispy chicken!!! Mashed potatoes!!! And corn...well frozen corn is good, but right now I'm really craving corn on the cob...have to wait a few months for the real deal I guess. Serve with a dippy sauce if you like, or drizzle on a little extra sauce...Mmmmm, hot sauce!

Ok kiddo's, I'm stuffed and tired, talk to you later.


DC Food Blog said...

You're making me crave that meal. I'll have to try out the tip on the taters. Now that the weather's nice, I need suggestions for a spring menu.

ScottE. said...

Pesto! Pesto is my favorite spring/summer dinner fixer upper. With veg, with pasta, with chicken and I could probably say fish even though I don't do too much fish.

Mmmm, pesto and grilled veg!

ANOTHER NOTE on the chicken. I first did this process with the buttermilk marinade for parts, legs, thighs, breasts. Works great, but those pieces take longer to fry, so watch your temperature and don't be afraid to turn the oil down if the chicken is going from golden brown to dark can burn quickly. If you have the exact color and crispiness you want, place on a rack, over a baking sheet and place in a 350 oven until cooked through. I've done that plenty of times.

Dancer in DC said...

I'm still baffled that I'm now all into hot sauce.

Stef said...

I showed your pics to some coworkers and we were all salivating.... both meals look deelish!

Addie said...

I always cheat and pour a little salsa in my guac if I've forgotten to pick up a tomato.