Blog Archives

I just could not wait…

for the garden to produce a fat juicy ripe tomato to slice for a BLT.DSC_8557 (1600x1060)I suppose we could have gone with the grape or cherry tomatoes that are coming ripe but they are not the same.  We have a few tomatoes from Kroger’s that are closing in on their use by date.  That is a commercial blend of Creole seasoning sprinkled on the sammy.

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Chicken Schnitzel

DSC_7912 (1600x1060)A  schnitzel is a boneless cut of meat – could be chicken, pork, veal, or just about anything – that has been pounded flat, coated with flour, egg, and bread crumbs and then fried.  These are chicken “tenders”, part of the breast, and they are tender indeed.  If you are too enthusiastic with the meat tenderizer they will disintegrate.  They got an Italian seasoned bread crumb final coat.

Waffle Pr0n

DSC_7778 (1600x1060)Mmm… waffles with chicken and white gravy and an egg…DSC_7782 (1600x1060)with maple syrup.  My only regret is that the egg broke while in the pan and I didn’t get a good runny yellow shot.

Crispy Baked Chicken and Gadget Update

Chicken à la noir.

Kinda wish I had that lighting all the time.

This was going to just be a gadget update, but I thought the chicken turned out so good,  I figured I’d include it.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about my newest gadget and I’ve been using it pretty consistently since it arrived. I thought I’d give an update, because I’m really pleased with it. It’s almost all pros. It’s a breeze to use, it doesn’t take a lot of force to penetrate the meat. I love the way it infuses the meat with whatever seasoning or marinade I cover it with – quite literally it helps the meat absorb all the marinade in a couple of seconds. Another plus is how neat it is while tenderizing – the meat, especially chicken, doesn’t need to be wrapped before pounding – there is no meat flying around the kitchen. The real plus is how easily it cleans. Because of the guard between the base and the meat, stuff doesn’t get all caught up in the tines. A bit of soap and hot water and the thing is spotless. Really important with chicken. The one con I have, and it may be a strength issue for me, is that sometimes the tines get caught in the meat and I have to pry it out, kind of like pulling a stick out of mud, and start again. This happens with the thicker parts.

Today I used it to tenderize chicken breasts before breading and oven roasting them. When making this basic oven fried chicken, breasts can be difficult because they can dry out easily. Pounding them flat first makes for quicker cooking, less chance of drying out.  And here’s the recipe I used today:

Oven Fried Chicken:

First I seasoned the boneless breasts with salt and lots of pepper. I pounded them on both sides. Then I dipped them in an egg wash (1 egg and 2 tbsp of water per 4 breasts) and then dredged them in a mixture of bread crumbs, panko bread crumbs and seasonings – I used garlic powder, basil, sun dried tomato flakes, rosemary and a touch of oregano.  I lined them up on a foil covered baking sheet, covered them with foil and baked at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Then I raised the oven temp to 425 degrees, removed the foil and baked for an additional 5-7 minutes until crisp.

They were very moist on the inside, with a nice crisp crust. Leftovers will be great in lunch salads…

Breakfast Pr0n

Mmm… sausage egg and cheese muffin.  Mrs J bought a box of whole wheat muffins at the store yesterday, intending to have them with jelly for breakfast.  I had a better idea.

Hot and Sour Soup

I’ve been dithering a bit on using that tofu but I finally managed to use up about half of the block on this Tyler Florence recipe.  I used the dried mushrooms I have in the pantry, some shiitakes I believe, but the original packaging is gone.  I keep them in a big plastic jar.  I looked for some pork to use in this thing but settled on a half chicken breast.  I think I used too much corn starch thickener because the final instruction in the recipe was to stir the soup to set up a swirling current so the egg would self-incorporate.  This was so thick that that just wasn’t going to happen so I stirred it with a spoon as the egg drizzled in.  I never get the egg right in these things.

I’ll get around to that miso soup I talked about the other day, I swear!

Thursday Recipe Exchange: Awesome Chocolate Chip Cookies

Time for cookies. Chocolate chip cookies to be specific. JeffreyW cleaned out his pantry one day and came up with the ingredients for his Awesome Cookies w/Coconut.

JeffreyW’s Awesome Cookies w/Coconut

When I’m in the mood for a double dose of chocolate I make Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Cookies. You just can’t go wrong with chocolate chips.

There are a few recipes I get requests for often. My dark chocolate chip cookie recipe is hands-down the recipe that I get requests for the most. And instead of wanting a copy of the recipe, most people want me to make them, convinced they couldn’t get them to turn out as good. I disagree. There are a couple of simple tricks that make these foolproof. One is to melt the butter before mixing with the sugars. This gives you a crispy on the outside, gooey on the inside cookie. Another is to let the mixture rest in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or more, this brings out the toffee flavors in the dough. And finally, pull them from the oven just before they’re done and let them finish on the baking sheet for the last minute or so, this gives you a perfectly browned cookie and lets them set up just enough to transfer to a…PLATE. I’ve tried a baking rack and they are too gooey and get stuck on the rack. You can put parchment paper on it first, which I’ve done, but a plate works just fine.

Now, what’s your favorite type of cookie? Chocolate, fruit, sugar, peanut butter? I’m always on the look out for the perfect peanut butter cookie. I’m still looking…

Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2 sticks butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugarcacao chips
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp dash of salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 12 oz 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chips
  • 1-1/2 cups walnut halves, roughly chopped

mixing bowl and cookie sheet

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Cream together butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla, mixing well. Sift together salt, soda, and 2 1/4 cups flour, then add to butter mixture, blending well. Add more flour as needed. Add nuts and chocolate chips. Refrigerate for 15 minutes or longer.  Keep remainder refrigerated while baking each batch.  Spoon onto cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  Remove just before done and let finish cooking on the baking sheet. Cool on plate or baking rack covered with parchment.

Melting the butter gives you a chewier, crispier cookie.  Letting it rest in the refrigerator enhances the toffee flavor from the brown sugar.  Big cookie bakeries let theirs rest overnight before baking.  I don’t have that kind of patience, I want cookie!  Though I’ve been known to double or quadruple this recipe and refrigerate in an airtight container for a week and make a fresh dozen each day.

You can also freeze the dough balls on parchment paper placed on a baking sheet and then store the balls in an airtight container for quick baking later.

Cross-posted at Balloon-Juice.

Crispy (and spicy) Chicken Breast Sandwiches

The other day on another blog, someone mentioned making chicken patties. There were some questions about the recipe, so I went and took a look. It sounded great and I thought, I should make that. But when I went to make it, remembered it called for ground, cooked chicken and thought, eh, too much work. I prefer a chicken breast cutlet with a crisp, spicy crust, anyway. So I decided to play with ingredients to come  up with something that made me feel guilty eating it. All spicy and crispy. This what I came up with:

Crispy Chicken Breast Sandwiches

  • 4 large boneless-skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup dill pickle juice
  • 1 egg (if you’re going to bake, add 1 tbsp of olive oil to egg)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup panko
  • 1 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • Olive oil

Spice Mix

  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried marjoram
  • 2 tsp dried sage
  • 2 tsp dry basil
  • 2 tsp of celery seeds
  • 1 tsp of black pepper
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp cayenne powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp of paprika

Sandwich Fixin’s

  • 8 crusty sesame sandwich rolls
  • Mayonnaise
  • Tomato slices
  • Lettuce
  • Dill pickle (or for extra spice, jalapenos – my choice)

skillet

Fillet breasts to make two thin fillets from each breast and then soak in pickle juice for 30 minutes. Transfer chicken to buttermilk and let marinate for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, mix together panko, bread crumbs and spice mix. Beat egg.

Remove chicken from buttermilk mixture, dip in egg and then dredge in breadcrumb mixture, coating well. Fry in skillet with 1-2 tbsp of oil, turning until golden brown on both sides. Or alternately, bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes. (I covered it for the first 10-15 minutes to keep it moist, then uncovered to get it crispy).

Serve with sandwich fixin’s.

Cooked fillets can be frozen and reheated in the oven at 450 degrees until heated through.

Perfectly Crispy and Chewy Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

It’s another cold day here in the Rocky Mountain State.  Snow again tomorrow.  This calls for baking.

We’ve been here before, but I’ve updated a few techniques I’ve learned for chewier cookies with a deep toffee, chocolate taste.  Changes are in purple.

 I love my little cookie scoop.  Good for perfect cookies and filling muffin tins.

Let cool slightly before moving to baking rack.

Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

(this is a half-batch)

  • 1 stick butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Chips
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • dash of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup + 1 to 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chips
  • 1 cup walnut halves

mixing bowl and cookie sheet

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Cream together butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla, mixing well. Sift together salt, soda, and flour, then add to butter mixture, blending well. Add nuts and chocolate chips. Refrigerate for 15 minutes or longer.  Keep remainder refrigerated while baking each batch.  Spoon onto cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Cool on cooling rack.

Melting the butter gives you a chewier, crispier cookie.  Letting it rest in the refrigerator enhances the toffee flavor from the brown sugar.  Big cookie bakeries let theirs rest over night before baking.  I don’t have that kind of patience.  Though I’ve been known to double or quadruple this recipe and refrigerate for a week and make a fresh dozen each day.

You can also freeze the dough balls on parchment paper on a baking sheet and then store in an airtight container for quick baking later.

Mmm…Mexi-corn

Well, that’s what one of the big food companies calls their version.  I cut the kernels off three ears of fresh sweet corn, diced some bell peppers, a few cloves of garlic, and half an onion.  Saute the veggies in an olive oil/butter mix, salt and pepper and Yum!  Cooks with more tolerant spouses will add minced jalapenos or the like, and maybe a sprinkle or two of chili powder, or some ground chipotles and/or anchos.

Standard meatloaf-hamburger, sweet Italian sausage, onions, an egg, parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, some dried herbs, chopped bell peppers, salt and pepper, garlic powder-you know the drill.  This one was reading 180+ degrees in the center after 50 minutes at 350 so I took it out- the lack of toasty brown crust notwithstanding.  That’s Heinz chili sauce on the top, just a wee bit tastier in this application than ketchup.  YMMV

The chunks of Yukon Gold potatoes were tossed with a garlic-y olive oil and roasted.  Kosher salt and fresh black pepper finished them off.

All in all, a decent dinner:

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