Triple Berry Pie

triple berry pie-1triple berry pie-2Last night I had an inspiring conversation with my friend, Ashley, where we spoke of our frustration with “keeping up appearances” with our photography, Facebook, Instagram, whatever it is that we somehow feel compelled to keep going in order to please our various audiences (mostly those audiences just include my oversized ego.)  I had said that this blog was suffering because while I have been cooking pretty much every meal over the last few months and some of those meals have been really good (like mozzarella stuffed rice balls rolled in panko and fried), I just haven’t felt like taking our meals’ pictures.  And then she said, “Do it because you enjoy the process…remember life before the internet?”

Remember life before the internet?

Well, I do, even though a lot of “kids these days” don’t. And what I remember is that we just…did things. All the time. And no one knew about it. No one saw it. We did crafts and went outside and ate burritos without ever documenting the occasion. And I seem to remember enjoying life before the ever present, all-encompassing documentation of all the things in life.  No one in their right mind would spend valuable money on film to take a picture of their cup of coffee…every day.

But I WOULD have liked to share recipes I really love. And I would’ve written the recipes down on cute little cards and maybe even take a photo and put it in a book or send it to a friend. That, I would have done and those are going to be the types of recipes I share on this blog.

Like this pie. I had a brief moment of modern-woe yesterday in which I wished I had made it prettier so that I could’ve blogged about it. Shoot. It’s delicious – who needs it to be picture perfect?! I went all hodgepodge with the top crust instead of doing something perfectionist and I put lots of heart cut outs because I have little girls. So there you go. And I was super proud of the results. Perfect juice in this pie – not runny, not dry! No soggy crust – flaky throughout and super buttery and slightly grainy (in a good way).  I used a white whole wheat and added a bit of extra sugar for the crust and it gave the entire thing this hearty cornmeal-esque effect. Loved it. It’s perfect. And I think there was something to using all frozen fruits. So I can’t vouch for this if you use all fresh, although I bet you’d just have to adjust bake time. Whatever you do, try it. And take a picture to share with your friends if you want, but remember to just enjoy the process.

Thanks, Ashley. 🙂

triple berry pie-3

Eleanor waiting patiently while I did something utterly confusing to her… triple berry pie-4 triple berry pie-5 triple berry pie-6 triple berry pie-7

Triple Berry Pie

3 1/2 cups mixed frozen berries – I used blueberries, blackberries and raspberries
1 cup sugar
3 TBS flour (I used white whole wheat)
1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 sticks of butter (8 oz) cut into tiny cubes and reeeeally cold
2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
2 TBS sugar

Deep dish pie plate (if you don’t have a deep dish, you could easily make two small pies with this recipe)

For the crust, combine one cup of flour in a large mixing bowl and add the salt. With the paddle attachment and your mixer on medium, add all the cubes of butter in little increments until each addition stops beating against the side of the bowl. After all your butter is incorporated, add the second cup of flour and the two tablespoons of sugar and mix on low until well incorporated. Add a splash of icy cold water until the dough comes together. If it feels a bit too wet, add in a little more flour. I think I used about an extra 1/8th cup. Divide your dough into two portions with one being slightly bigger than the other and shape into discs, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Roll out the bigger portion and line your pie plate and let it sit in the fridge while you mix up your filling.

Preheat the oven to 400F. Mix the fruit, sugar, 3 tablespoons of flour and cinnamon in a big bowl and let it sit for a few minutes, then stir to incorporate again. Pour the filling into your pie crust, top with whatever fancy shapes, basket weave, self portraits you want, brush with a beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar.

Place on a rimmed baking sheet and put on the center rack of your oven. REDUCE the heat to 350 and bake for 1 – 1.5 hours until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. It took mine a full hour and a half because of the frozen fruit, but if you’re using fresh, you may only need 45 minutes until it bubbles.

triple berry pie-10

New Mexican Posole

Pork PosolePork Posole from scratch
This is a beautiful recipe. We have made it several times over the past couple years and each time it surprises me how good it really is. The warmth of the spices and the rounded flavors from the fatty pork, combined with the brightness of the cilantro hit the spot every time. It’s home in a bowl. This weekend looks to be dark and rainy for a lot of us across the Texas/New Mexico/Oklahoma region and I can think of no better recipe to make for staying inside and taking comfort in being home than this one.  Serve it with tortillas or cornbread for extra comfort!

These past few weeks have been hard. One or more of us has been sick since the very beginning of March. We’ve had the flu, some weird pink eye thing, a cough that lasted three weeks, the stomach flu and double ear infections – twice. I’ve felt at times over these weeks that it doesn’t really matter what I cook – everyone is just going to either not be in the mood to eat, barf it up, or wish they just had a cracker, anyway. It’s so hard to keep going and to keep doing what you love when life starts throwing crap your way. It’s so easy to give up and get fast food every day. (And I did.) But then, you feel worse. And so you go through the cycle again and it just doesn’t get better until you step back and plan ahead and make a few meals a week that FEEL good and nurture your body AND your spirit. (That can include cookies.) You don’t have to do it every day – but a couple times a week, it’s worth the effort. And it pays off in really good leftovers. 🙂

I hope you are all well this week. And if you’re not, seriously, text me and let me know and I’ll bring you some soup.New Mexican Posole

Posole

New Mexican Posole

  • 1 ½ pounds hominy
  • 3 ounces dried red New Mexico chiles (about 10 large chiles)
  • 4 pounds pork shoulder, not too lean, cut in 2-inch chunks
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled, halved and stuck with 2 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted until fragrant and coarsely ground
  • 2 cups finely diced white onion, soaked in ice water, for garnish
  • Lime wedges and cilantro for garnish

Drain hominy and put in large soup pot. Cover with water and bring to boil. Let simmer briskly for 30 minutes.

Toast dried chiles lightly in cast-iron skillet or stovetop grill, just until fragrant. Wearing gloves, slit chiles lengthwise with paring knife. Remove and discard stems and seeds. Put chiles in saucepan and cover with 4 cups water. Simmer 30 minutes and let cool. In blender, purée chiles to a smooth paste using some cooking water as necessary. Purée should be of milkshake consistency.

Season pork generously with salt and pepper. After posole has cooked 30 minutes, add pork shoulder, onion stuck with cloves, bay leaf, garlic and cumin. Add enough water to cover by 2 inches, then return to a brisk simmer. While adding water occasionally and tasting broth for salt, simmer for about 2 1/2 hours more, until meat is tender. Skim fat from surface of broth.

Stir in 1 cup chile purée and simmer for 10 minutes. Taste and correct seasoning. (At this point, posole can be cooled completely and reheated later. Refrigerate for up to 3 days.)

To serve, ladle posole, meat and broth into wide bowls. Pass bowls of diced onion, lime wedges, cilantro and oregano, and let guests garnish to taste.

*recipe adapted from the New York Times Cooking

Cherry Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Cherry Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies 2

Cherry Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
I’m sitting here after putting my “baby” down for a nap a few minutes ago (praying she’ll go longer than her usual 45 minutes) and Peg and Cat are singing loudly in the background as my very grown up four-year old gets out of taking a nap because I want her to be exhausted enough to go to sleep at nine instead of ten tonight.

I’m winging it this week – Matt is away on a company trip for three days and I’m a few hours in and feeling so, so tired. I have lots of coffee and a good sense of humor, so I’m sure I’ll be fine. But having help from 5:30-9 every night is vital to my sanity. There’s something about getting a fresh set of not-exhausted-yet hands to hold the babies or take them outside and swing them so I can cook dinner in peace. And he is kind of the best there is and the most helpful person on the planet, so it’s extra hard to be without him. So I’m going backwards with my usual routine – I’m cooking lunches this week and keeping dinners simple. Because the last thing I want to do after finally getting both girls in bed is to clean my dirty dishes. I plan on reading a book or doing half of a yoga routine. And while I don’t ever recommend eating your feelings because that’s a silly thing to say and they would probably taste like sauerkraut, anyway – just eat these cookies instead. All eating is emotional eating, after all.

It’s good to be back, friends 🙂

Cherry Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies 3 Cherry Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookies

Cherry Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

  • Servings: about 24 cookies
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1.5 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup softened, unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla or vanilla bean paste
1 egg
2 cups rolled oats
1.5 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 cup chopped, dried cherriesHeat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, stir brown sugar and butter until blended. Stir in vanilla and egg until light and fluffy. Stir in oats, flour, baking soda and salt; stir in chocolate chips and cherries.
Onto ungreased cookie sheet, drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart.
Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.

Apple Pie Roses

apple pie roses
So I saw this really fun video circulating on Facebook a few weeks ago and like everyone else, it gave me the confidence to try it out myself! These little roses are so much fun to make and they are so beautiful! I thought they’d make an excellent special occasion type dessert. I did the recipe exactly like the video said and I was pleased with the process but not really the results. I mean, they’re okay, but they are definitely prettier than they are tasty. And I honestly think that’s the point. It was a super fun and easy “cooking craft” to do with Olive and so I’ll give it points for that because not every baking recipe is truly kid-accessible. But I decided to alter the recipe to be as delicious as it is beautiful. Here’s a couple problems the original recipe has:

1. The bake time is long and the thin apple slices burn on top, so we cover them during part of baking.
2.They stick like dadgum superglue to the muffin pan and get ripped apart when you take them out, therefore…
3. I fixed that by removing them from the pan while they were still super hot, but…
4. There’s the problem with eating super-baked tiny shreds of apple peel. It gives it that rose look, however…
5. The apple peel feels like tough strings in your mouth. Not really two adjectives you want for your baked goods.
6. The apples snap in half from the original recipe, so I fixed that by soaking them in hot lemon water instead of cold.
7. They just fall flat, taste-wise, so I added a bit of scrumptiousness into the filling along with the apple slices by adding cinnamon roll type flavors.
8. Also, I’m a pie crust junkie, so I switched to pie crust instead of puff pastry and it was indeed more delicious, but…
9. The falling apartness was magnified with the pie crust, so you fix that once and for all by…
10. Using greased muffin liners to bake these babies in. Voila. Most of the problems solved.

So my suggestion for the final round of 100% deliciousness is to peel the apples. How to fix the “but they don’t look like a rose, anymore!” problem? Add a couple drops of red food coloring to the warm water while the apples soak, OR pomegranate or cranberry juice and BOOM! Red roses. I didn’t do this for my final pics because everyone in my house was getting rather sick of eating these tiny apple roses, BUT I did color some apple slices in pomegranate juice and they were BEAUTIFUL. So I’ll try them like that again and make a special Christmas rose wreath edition of this recipe for those who care. Which I think might be 5 people, total. In any case, I present to you:
apple roses Apple Rose

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Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies

Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies3
Hello there! This is a delightful little cookie that takes no time at all to make and is so much fun for little helpers! I had this idea a while back whenever I saw powdered peanut butter in the grocery store and have wanted to try it out. It took a little tweaking, but I loved the texture of the cookie itself. One word of advice: don’t use jelly! I know, I know, it’s a riff off of peanut butter jelly sandwiches, but use something a little thicker like a jam or preserve. I used grape jelly because it’s iconic and it really ran out of the cookies more than I would have liked. This did not stop them from being utterly addicting; it just kept them from looking super pretty.

Thumbprint cookies have always been a favorite of mine and this version is so fun and really makes you feel like a kid again. With Thanksgiving and Christmas around the corner, I think this would be a great recipe to have for a cookie exchange! Drizzle it with a bit of white or dark chocolate to make it even more fancy! Enjoy!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies2

Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies


makes about 2 dozen

1 cup salted butter, softened
½ cup confectioners’ (powdered) sugar, plus ¼ cup more for dusting
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup peanut butter powder

about 1/2 cup fruit preserves or jam

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, blend butter and sugar until fluffy and light, 2 minutes. Add vanilla and salt, scraping down bowl as needed. Pick up the baby, who has been crying at your knee for the past ten minutes and hold her while you try to measure out peanut butter powder. Let her sneeze into it. Do everything with one arm tied behind your back. Switch to low and gently mix in flour and peanut butter powder, just until combined.

Roll tablespoonfuls of dough into 1-inch balls. Create some interest by making some pea-sized and some into the shape of a carrot. Pretend to eat them, but then actually do. Place dough balls on parchment lined baking sheets. Press down the center of each ball with your thumb, making a slight depression, or a hole clean through to where you can see the bottom of the baking sheet.

Fill cookie centers with a teaspoonful of preserves and be sure to lick the spoon between each cookie. Makes it better. Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown and puffy, but take care not to over-bake. Let cool a few minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to finish cooling on wire rack.

When cookies are completely cooled, eat seven or eight with a glass of milk while singing every song you know in your best cat voice. Cookies can be kept in airtight container at room temp for a few days. Emphasis on “can.”

*recipe adapted from Chew Out Loud

Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies

Chicken in a Biskit Fried Chicken on a Biscuit

fried chicken and cream biscuits with maple butter
You read that right. Buttermilk-brined chicken thighs, breaded in ground up Chicken in a Biskit crackers and fried. Served on top of a fluffy cream biscuit and finished off with a spread of salted maple butter.
I make no apologies. For any of it. It was one of the best little chicken sandwiches I’ve ever had. And it really wasn’t that difficult! We had the idea a while back and thought it was too good of a play on words to not do it. So we did it! Matt put the chicken thighs in the brine the night before but the meal itself took less than an hour from start to finish. And a made a side of carrot “fries” to go along with everything.
Have you ever had Chicken in a Biskit crackers? If you haven’t, you should try them. Oddly addicting. They have a sweet/savory flavor combo that I’ve tasted in other crackers, but this one, in my opinion, was the first of its kind and remains the best. It’s an old cracker (well, not literally, but the brand is old!) I can remember these crackers as a kid and I honestly hadn’t bought a box since, but for this little project, it’s well worth it.

Start this the night before you want to eat it so that you can get your chicken in the brine. The rest doesn’t take that long – about an hour from baking the biscuits through frying the chicken.  Enjoy and let me know if you love it as much as we did!

Chicken in a Biskit Fried Chicken and Biscuits with Maple Butter

Chicken in a Biskit Fried Chicken on a Biscuit

  • Servings: 6-8 sandwiches
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For the Biscuits* (taken from Smitten Kitchen – which looks a lot like the scone recipe I use from America’s Test Kitchen – both are awesome and yield similar results):
3 tablespoons (45 grams) melted butter
2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the surface
1 tablespoon (15 grams) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon (15 grams) sugar (optional)
1 1/2 cups (355 ml) heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Melt butter in a small pot or microwave dish, and set aside. Sift two cups flour, the baking powder, salt and (if using) sugar into a large bowl. Fold in 1 1/4 cups cream. If the dough is not soft or easily handled, fold in the remaining 1/4 cup cream, little by little. (I ended up using two additional tablespoons, or half the unused cream.)

Turn dough onto a floured surface, mound it into a ball and, using your hands, press it to a thickness of about 3/4 inch. Cut into rounds, 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Gather dough scraps and continue to make rounds. Dip the top of each round in melted butter and arrange on the baking sheet. Bake until golden, 12 to 15 minutes.

chicken in a biskit fried chicken on a cream biscuit

For the Chicken:

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs; trimmed and cut in half
Buttermilk brine (we use Serious Eat’s Southern Fried Chicken for nearly every fried chicken recipe we do):
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg

For the Dredge:
1 cup flour
1 egg + 1/4 cup buttermilk
1 box Chicken in a Biskit crackers, pulsed fine in a food processor

vegetable oil for frying
Combine the paprika, black pepper, garlic powder, oregano, and cayenne in a small bowl and mix thoroughly with a fork.Whisk the buttermilk, egg, 1 tablespoon salt, and 2 tablespoons of the spice mixture in a large bowl. Add the chicken pieces and toss and turn to coat. Transfer the contents of the bowl to a gallon-sized zipper-lock freezer bag and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, and up to overnight, flipping the bag occasionally to redistribute the contents and coat the chicken evenly.

Take the chicken out and pat dry with paper towels. Dip the thighs in the flour first, then the egg/buttermilk mixture, then the cracker crumbs. I double dipped each piece to get lots of crunch (so dip once more in the egg and then the crackers.) Set aside till you’re done with all the pieces before frying.

Preheat your oven to 200F. (Your oven should still be hot from the biscuits! You’ll keep your fried chicken pieces in the oven to stay warm and crispy while you finish setting your table or wiping kids’ butts or whatever it is you have to do while you try to make dinner.)

Heat about an inch of oil in a skillet over medium high heat until it’s shimmering. Fry each piece of chicken for about 4-5 minutes per side, until the chicken is golden brown and registers 170F on an instant-read thermometer. If you’re thinking you’re about to burn the breading, transfer the chicken pieces to a baking sheet and finish cooking in the oven.

maple butter

For the Maple Butter:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Combine all ingredients until thoroughly incorporated. Spread on biscuits and top with chicken pieces. We also doctored the sandwiches up with a bit of mustard, hot sauce and candied jalapenos, but just the chicken, biscuit and butter are enough.

Lamb Burgers with Cucumber and Mint

Lamb Burgers
Burgers are a favorite dinner item in this house. I can put nearly anything on a burger and my three year old will eat it. She may pick it off after a bite or two, but it’s almost like the word “burger” justifies just about anything included. I couldn’t quite sell her on having the tangy mint and cilantro lime yogurt on top, but I figure as long as she is willing to try something that looks like this, we are doing good.

I don’t really cook with lamb all that often. It’s not on my carnivore radar, but it really is deeply flavorful and lean at the same time. Because of it’s low fat percentage, I added an egg to the meat mixture, kind of reminiscent of a meatball recipe. We topped the burgers with cool slices of cucumber, lots of chopped mint and cilantro and the zesty yogurt sauce and called it a success. I think bits of feta incorporated into the patties would’ve been even better – there’s always room for creativity and error in creating a burger and that’s why it’s one of the most enjoyable dinners to make around here. Not to mention everyone can top them in their own way, so a particular palette doesn’t get ridiculed.

lamb burgers with mint, sour cream and cucumber

Lamb Burgers with Cucumber and Mint

1 pound ground lamb
1/2 sweet onion, diced fine (about 1/2 cup)
1 egg
1/2 cup chopped cilantro and mint, divided
1/2 cup full fat plain yogurt or sour cream
1 tablespoon lime juice
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cucumber, sliced
buttered onion rolls

In a medium bowl, combine the lamb, onion, egg and half the cilantro and mint. Add a teaspoon of salt and pepper and mix well to combine. Form into somewhat loose patties and cook on a buttered grill or griddle about 2 minutes per side and an instant read thermometer reads at least 160F.

Combine the yogurt, lime juice and other half of the cilantro and mint and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve on top of burgers with sliced cucumbers on buttered onion rolls.

 

Apple Crisp: Food Memories

Fall Apple Crisp
I’ve done a few posts on food memories from my own family and ones from friends and I love those posts more than any other. They are more than just recipes – they are links to the past and to feelings that can’t be accessed any other way. Food is such a tie to our heritage, to our families and to the love we felt when we first experienced those memorable dishes. I never tweak these recipes because it’s my job to post about and honor the memory, not the recipe itself. My dear friend, Becky, had this picture of her grandmother’s hand written recipe on her Instagram account and when I saw it, I knew I had to make it.

Last year, Becky invited me over to look through her grandmother’s things before they had an estate sale in the wake of her passing. I had the honor of taking home a patchwork quilt she had made. Not only do my girls play on it outside nearly every day, but I used it as a backdrop for the photos I took of the final dish. I hope it makes this post that much more meaningful for my friend.

The recipe itself is completely delicious and comforting and full of the essence of the fall season! I love that it calls for “oleo” – a sure sign the baker lived through the 50s 🙂 So this was the only tweak I made by using butter instead. I also topped the apple crisp with cinnamon horchata ice cream because I was all out of whipping cream. I’m sure if Nana could have tasted the ice cream, she wouldn’t mind the substitution.

recipe
I asked Becky to share a few thoughts about her Nana and this recipe. She also provided this amazing picture and it makes me wish I’d known her. She looked so joyful.

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My Nana (Oma Lee) was the 5th of 6 kids born in 1926 to a generous, kind-hearted family. They took in the homeless, cared for the sick, fed the hungry. They also laughed more than most.

For a couple of years while I was in college, I got to live with her and got to know her on a deeper level. She was a counselor to me, a friend, comic relief, an adult when I acted like a child. We watched Miss America pageants and Hallmark movies together and ate dilly bars from DQ.

Nana shared an apple “pie” recipe with me during that time, and it’s the only apple pie I’ve ever made, because its kinda fool proof (I need that) and darn tasty.

I made it for her once and she went on and on about how delicious it was. When I reminded her it was one of her recipes, she laughed for the longest time then said in a straight voice, “well that’s why it’s so good”. Man, I miss her.

Apple Crisp 2

Apple Crisp

6 cups peeled, sliced apples
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons melted butter
For the streusel topping:
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup butter

Whipped topping or ice cream to garnish

Preheat the oven to 375F. Mix together apples, sugar, cinnamon, salt and melted butter.  Place in a greased 8″ square baking dish. Set aside.

Combine the 3/4 cup sugar and flour and then cut in the butter until the texture is fine crumbles. Sprinkle over the apples. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until apples are tender*. Serve warm with dollops of whipped topping (or ice cream!)

*Becky advised that I brown the apple crisp for a few minutes under the broiler because it doesn’t really get brown during baking.

Buffalo Chicken Tacos with Blue Cheese Celery Pico

Buffalo Chicken Taco
Buffalo sauce and blue cheese always make me think of football season. Maybe because this combination, for me, is rooted in the Superbowl array of gastronomical craziness or the fact that I see buffalo wings as “dude food” and one of my husband’s favorite flavor combinations. Whatever the reason, buffalo chicken and blue cheese is pretty darn delicious and these tacos make a more dinner-friendly version than the messy buffalo wing, fifteen-napkins-needed standard. (Guess who is Type A in our relationship?)

These tacos are AMAZING. Frying strips of boneless chicken thighs makes for extra tender pieces. We tossed the fried chicken in our standard tangy buffalo sauce, then topped them with some crunchy blue cheese celery pico and blue cheese sour cream. We did a non-buffalo version for our little girl and it was still delicious! I highly recommend this recipe for the fall season of football game get-togethers!

Buffalo Chicken Tacos buffalo chicken tacos with blue cheese cream and pico Fried Chicken Taco with Pico

Buffalo Chicken Strips We used this exact recipe, but we used boneless chicken thighs and cut them into strips before marinating and breading. I’ll post the recipe below in case you don’t want to click 🙂

  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 1/2 pounds bone-in, skin-on breasts, legs, drumsticks, and/or wings (We used boneless thighs cut into strips here)
  • 1 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 cups vegetable shortening or peanut oil

    Combine the paprika, black pepper, garlic powder, oregano, and cayenne in a small bowl and mix thoroughly with a fork.

    Whisk the buttermilk, egg, 1 tablespoon salt, and 2 tablespoons of the spice mixture in a large bowl. Add the chicken pieces and toss and turn to coat. Transfer the contents of the bowl to a gallon-sized zipper-lock freezer bag and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, and up to overnight, flipping the bag occasionally to redistribute the contents and coat the chicken evenly.

    Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, 2 teaspoons salt, and the remaining spice mixture in a large bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of the marinade from the zipper-lock bag and work it into the flour with your fingertips. Remove one piece of chicken from the bag, allowing excess buttermilk to drip off, drop the chicken into the flour mixture, and toss to coat. Continue adding chicken pieces to the flour mixture one at a time until they are all in the bowl. Toss the chicken until every piece is thoroughly coated, pressing with your hands to get the flour to adhere in a thick layer.

    Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350°F. Heat the shortening or oil to 425°F in a 12-inch straight-sided cast-iron chicken fryer or a large wok over medium-high heat. Adjust the heat as necessary to maintain the temperature, being careful not to let the fat get any hotter.

    One piece at a time, transfer the coated chicken to a fine-mesh strainer and shake to remove excess flour. Transfer to a wire rack set on a rimmed baking sheet. Once all the chicken pieces are coated, place skin side down in the pan. The temperature should drop to 300°F; adjust the heat to maintain the temperature at 300°F for the duration of the cooking. Fry the chicken until it’s a deep golden brown on the first side, about 6 minutes; do not move the chicken or start checking for doneness until it has fried for at least 3 minutes, or you may knock off the coating. Care- fully flip the chicken pieces with tongs and cook until the second side is golden brown, about 4 minutes longer.

    Transfer the chicken to a clean wire rack set on a rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven. Cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 150°F and the legs register 165°F, 5 to 10 minutes; remove the chicken pieces to a second rack or a paper-towel-lined plate as they reach their final temperature. Season with salt and serve—or, for extra-crunchy fried chicken, go to step

    Place the plate of cooked chicken in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, and up to overnight. When ready to serve, reheat the oil to 400°F. Add the chicken pieces and cook, flipping them once halfway through cooking, until completely crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack set on a rimmed baking sheet to drain, then serve immediately.

    *taken from Serious Eats

For the Celery Pico:

2 stalks celery, sliced
1 jalapeno, diced
1/4 cup diced tomato
1/4 diced white onion
1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
squeeze of lime
pinch or two of celery salt
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all these things and adjust seasoning to taste!

For the Buffalo Sauce:
One bottle of Frank’s Red Hot
1 stick of butter
Salt to taste
1 tsp worchestershire sauce
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Combine the hot sauce and butter in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and adjust seasoning to taste.

Blue Cheese Sour Cream

Kinda self explanatory. Just take a half cup of sour cream and add in 1/2 cup blue cheese dressing and 1/4 cup fresh blue cheese crumbles. Adjust to taste with salt and pepper and lemon juice.

 

Crusty Country French Toast

Crusty Country French Toast
Everyone needs a good French toast recipe in their pocket. Especially if you are a home baker (or are married to one) and always have a stale butt-end of a loaf of bread on your counter. Matt makes bread all the time and it’s this really amazing, crusty, rustic sourdough that we plow through, typically, with only the tiniest bit on the end that dries out brick-tough that we give to our dog. But occasionally, he will make two loaves and I will have a bit more than I can use in a week. I wanted to have a French toast recipe that I didn’t have to look up – one that was easy to memorize – for just such occasions. I wanted it to work with a bread as crusty as a non-enriched loaf can get. (Enriched refers to added sugar, oil or butter that makes bread soft like sandwich bread, and makes bread less apt to get rock hard when it goes stale.) Matt just uses his sourdough starter, flour, salt and water. It makes an amazingly chewy, crusty bread, but it’s not exactly conducive to a pb&j for a little person.

This recipe will work with bread that is really tough and even soft bread like challah (the ultimate French toast bread). The difference is the soak time. If you’re using really soft, not-so-stale bread, just leave it in the mixture for less time. I left this bread in the mix for almost an hour, flipping them over after thirty minutes. I got up early to feed a baby, then she went blissfully back to sleep, so I had an hour 🙂 So the French toast had that sought-after custardy interior that is very easily obtained by using a softer loaf. Whatever bread you have, this recipe will work. Tuck it away for the weekend and try to memorize it – it’s worth it.

Country Bread French Toast Country Bread French Toast with Bananas

Crusty Country French Toast

8 thick slices of stale bread
4 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream (you can honestly use whatever milk you have, but the richer the better, obviously)
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste (or regular vanilla extract – I like vanilla)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (1/4 tsp table salt)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/8th of a teaspoon of almond extract

A few tablespoons of butter for frying

Preheat your oven to 200F.

Arrange the slices of bread in a 13×9″ dish and squeeze them in or cut them up into smaller pieces if you have to (or work in two batches if you have a smaller dish). Combine all the other ingredients in a large bowl and whip up till very well incorporated. Pour mixture over the bread and let the bread soak it up for 10-30 minutes per side, depending on the staleness of your bread. If you’re using a soft bread like Texas toast, just let it soak a few minutes per side until it oozes out if you poke it. For a rustic loaf that’s near crouton-consistency, let the slices soak for a good thirty minutes per side. If you have lots of leftover mixture (the thickness of your bread will determine this), you can save it in a sealed container for a week and use it again next weekend. Or just makes lots of batches and freeze the leftovers to pop in the toaster on another day!

In a non-stick skillet over medium high heat, melt a tablespoon of butter and work in batches, frying the toast until golden on each side, about 3-5 minutes per side. Keep the toast in a single layer in your oven to keep warm until you’re done cooking the rest. Serve with melted butter and your favorite topping. Shown below with my homemade peach preserves – hooray for summer! 🙂

Crusty French Toast