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Batter fried chicken

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Mmmmm fried things! Have you ever wanted to eat delicious chicken tenders at a restaurant, but they were never quite up to snuff? With a crispy crackling outside, and tender juicy middle, the fried chicken we made tonight was incredible. So incredible, we decided to blog about it after a very long absence! From the most awesome cookbook ever, The Best of America’s Test Kitchen 2011 (seriously, we’ve loved everything we’ve ever made from it), the secret to this recipe is brining the chicken beforehand to keep them nice and juicy.

Cornstarch is a magical ingredient!

We supplemented the fried goodness with corn muffins from a mix from Dad DePuy, a salad, cold beer, and the Patriots/ravens game. Life is good ūüôā

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Method:
Dissolve salt and sugar in the cold water in a large bowl. Submerge the chicken in the brine and refrigerate, covered, for 30 minutes. Next, whisk together the remaining dry ingredients (flour, cornstarch baking powder and spices) then mix in the cold water. The batter will be a light brown-red with black pepper speckles.

Heat oil in a large pot (be sure to have a splatter screen!) to 325-350 degrees. Remove the chicken from the brine and pat it dry with paper towels to catch the excess water. Put about half the chicken in the batter and mix them around to make sure they’re nice and covered. Using tongs to grab the chicken pieces one at a time, let some of the batter drip off before placing gently in the hot oil. Don’t crowd the pot and try to keep the oil between 300 and 350 degrees. Let them cook about 10-12 minutes until they are a light golden color (the oil makes them look lighter than they actually are). Remove and place on a wire rack to cool and the oil to drip off. Let the oil heat back up to 350 or so before repeating with the remaining chicken. Don’t put too many chicken pieces in at the same time or the oil will cool off too much and not cook properly!

Ingredients:

  • 3 quarts vegetable oil
  • brine
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1/4 cup salt
    • 1 quart cold water
  • batter
    • 1 cup flour
    • 1 cup cornstarch
    • 5 teaspoons ground black pepper
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon paprika
    • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 1 3/4 cups cold water

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Written by Brent

September 23, 2012 at 7:48 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Whole Grain Rotini with Seasoned Chicken and Saut√©ed Veggies

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Veggies!!!! And Curly Pasta!!!!


This is a pretty basic dish that’s both tasty and has a lot of flexibility with what goes in it. Zucchini and Yellow Squash provide some nice colors and compliment the pasta well. Overall, it was a good meal, but the Whole Grain Rotini would’ve been much better covered with a nice red meat sauce along with the saut√©ed veggies.

Start heating the water for pasta and a skillet to cook the chicken breast. Cook the chicken breast in a pan with garlic, oil, salt, pepper and assorted spices over medium heat ~4 minutes on each side. When the chicken is about halfway done, turn the heat up to high and toss in the veggies. The pasta water should be about boiling, add rotini and cook al Dente (~8 minutes). Just before the pasta is finished, remove the skillet from heat and prepare your plates! Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle parmesan.

Ingredients:
1/2 lb Whole Grain Rotini pasta
1 Zucchini
1 Yellow Squash
1 Chicken Breast
Olive Oil
Assorted Spices

Makes 3 servings. Total Time: 15-20 minutes. ~2$/plate. Veggies, protein, starchy-stuff, more veggies!

Written by Brent

May 19, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Chicken, Spinach & Hummus stuffed in a Baguette = Yum.

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It was a scrounger tonight. Used the last of a 6lb bag of frozen chicken breasts, the last of the broccoli, and some neglected personal sized French bread loaves. This was very easy & simple to prepare, just takes a while to actually cook. Would make for a great weeknight meal too. Hummus makes everything better!

Hungry Hands makes for Blurry Pictures


I most definitely cheated and used a rice pilaf mix, so follow the directions! Also know that the rice takes ~35 minutes to cook so start it early. I started it then checked email and stuff for 15 minutes before starting the chicken and veggies. Now would also be a great time to preheat the oven for the baguettes so they’re nice and warm when we’re ready. Season the chicken with a pinch of salt and plenty of ground pepper before cooking. Heat oil (I used Grapeseed Oil, but it didn’t really change the flavor much) in a skillet until starting to smoke, add chopped onion and let them caramelize before putting the chicken in. I added a glob of honey on top of the chicken… I was thinking caramelizing needs a sugar or something to help, or something. Be sure to push the chicken around with the onions to get some of that flavor! While the chicken was cooking, I was trying to think of a sauce or something to put on the chicken so it wouldn’t be soooooo dry in the baguette. Luckily ESC came to the rescue with Roasted Garlic Hummus (any flavor of hummus will be delicious)!

The assembly was kinda interesting and creative. I wasn’t really sure what the outcome would look like so I just made it up as I went. Slice the baguette down the side to make a sandwich type of thing. Slather a spoonful of hummus on one or both sides of the bread. Take a small handful of spinach leaves and crush them in your hands. When they’re uncooked they’re pretty stiff, so they need to be put in their place! Add spinach along the spine of the loaf leaving enough room for the chicken. Slice the cooked chicken and stuff it in! Voil√†! Now add the rice to the plate and inhale. Smells wonderful, don’t it?

Ingredients:
1 large chicken breast, chopped
2/3 cup raw spinach
2 spoonfuls Hummus
1 glob of honey
2 8″ baguette loafs
1 box Near East Rice Pilaf

Serves 2 with a cup of rice for leftovers. 40 minutes. ~$5.00/plate. Probably high in carbs and the rice can be pretty salty.

Written by Brent

April 21, 2010 at 10:03 pm

Carne Asada Tacos

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Tacos Tacos Tacos! ¬†These tacos turned out mighty fine. ¬†I’ve never made a carne asada before, and figured it was about time I should try!

The beef should marinate for at least 2 hours in the fridge to get the tasty flavors infused into the meat (Four hours would probably be best).  Combine all of the marinade in a gallon freezer bag or a large tupperware container. Cut the beef into small dice-sized chunks and add to the marinade, mixing well.

Artsy Side View

When it’s about dinner time, start chopping the lettuce, tomatoes, shredding the cheese and heating the tortillas. ¬†Add a small amount of oil to a large cast iron skillet. Spoon beef into skillet, reserving as much marinade as possible (the stuff will smoke in the pan and has icky beef juices). Cook the beef for 7-10 minutes, or until starting to blacken. ¬†If there is too much marinade in pan, the beef will boil and wont actually turn that glorious blackened color you see on a piping hot plate of fajitas at your local casual dining restaurant chain. Assemble & devour tacos ASAP before roommates/siblings/spouses inquire why it smells so awesomely delicious in the kitchen.

I used Lemon Juice instead of the traditional Lime Juice and I didn’t notice any substantial difference. ¬†Executive Sous Chef muses that the tacos need some guacamole or¬†saut√©ed¬†onion to mix up the flavors and consistency. I agree, guac or even just sliced avacados would be an excellent addition to the tacos.

We have a bottle of spiced rum that we’re not really sure what to do with, so we made up a drink: ¬†1 shot Spiced rum, 1/3rd OJ, 1/3rd Cranberry Juice, slather some mystery popsicle over ice. It was quite delicious… I had to find out that rum and OJ doesn’t go well together, luckily Sous Chef was there to save the day with her critical thinking skills!


Ingredients:
1.5lbs Marinated Beef (skirt or flank steak)
15-20 White Corn Tortillas (teeny-tiny ones)
1 cup grated cheese (mozzarella & cheddar)
1 cup chopped head lettuce
2 Roma tomatoes, diced pico style
1/2 can Refried Black Beans

Marinade:
4 Garlic Cloves, diced
1/2 cup Olive Oil
Handful of Cilantro, diced
1/3 cup Fresh Basil, diced
2 tbsp White Vinegar
~1/2 cup Lime or Lemon juice
1 tsp sugar

Makes ~ 8-10 4″ tacos. Total Cost: ~3$/plate (The beef was on ridiculous super sale). Healthy? Not really, lots of cheese & oil and not too many healthy veggies, but add a good side salad or something and that should be good enough.

Written by Brent

March 25, 2010 at 2:45 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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Chicken Parmesan Burger Wrapped in Chard Leaf

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After a nice warm sunny weekend, I felt the desire to make a burger like something but wanted to keep it healthy. So I pondered about what kind of burger and decided on a chicken-ish one (hoping it wouldn’t heavy like a beef burger) and eventually found a recipe that sounded both delicious and in burger form! ¬†I ran it by my newly promoted Executive Sous Chef to vet the idea. Success! Now the only thing left is the planning. And Eating.

Unwrapped & topped with basil

After reading through it the first time, I decided I didn’t want to use the French bread thinking it was calling it just to use as buns… however I later found out this was not 100% the case. The bread is used to thicken the burgers and make them noticeably less gooey/slimy and give them more volume to be burger-like. ¬†Start by toasting the bread to a medium set of burntness. ¬†Add the toast, parmesan & half the minced basil to a food processor and blend well; set aside. Add raw ground chicken, olive oil, 1/2 cup marinara, salt & other half of minced basil to a large bowl. ¬†Best get yo’self ready for some gooey dirty hands! Mix/blend/mush the breadcrumb/parmesan mixture with the bowl of chicken goop. There should be enough to make four good size patties. ¬†Note: ¬†the patties don’t reduce or shrink when cooking, so you shape them however you want (thick/thin/stars/hotdogstyle/etc). ¬†I made them on the thicker side thinking they would be easier to flip and handle while cooking, but they were pretty sturdy once one side was sufficiently cooked. Sous chef topped the burgers with a slice of tomato and mozzarella and a spoonful or two of the remaining marinara. Then wrapped the whole thing in an oversized chard leaf!

It ended up being a pretty tasty meal, but it could’ve used more spices and not burn your tongue off kind. Maybe some cinnamon or cumin or something to give the burger a stronger flavor. It wasn’t bland, just didn’t have a lot of flavor to stand out above the marinara.

Sous Chef quotes: “was more reminiscent of a¬†falafel¬†meal, more marinara sauce maybe to dunk it into”
My quotes: “What is the¬†air speed velocity¬†of an unladen swallow?”

Ingredients:
3 slices sandwich bread (toasted), whatever’s on hand
1/3 c Grated Parmesan
3 tbsp minced basil + extra leaves to top burgers
3/4 c marinara
16oz Ground Chicken
2 tbsp Olive Oil
Pinch of Salt
4oz Mozzarella, thinly sliced
4 Large Chard Leafs (to use instead of buns)

Makes 4 patties in 20 minutes.  ~ 3$/plate (more if you do more fancy sides of course).  Definitely a healthy meal with some protein!

Written by Brent

March 24, 2010 at 12:25 am

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cheesy-chicken goodness

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Chicken Quesadilla with sauteed onions. Topped with Spicy Pepper Hummus from the Hillcrest Farmer’s market. This dish seems to be missing the refried beans I had intended to put in, but it turned out great anyway. The hummus really made it. A little bit of spice make a world of difference. Plus, who doesn’t like amazing hummus?! Served with a glass of Red Truck wine (vintage 2007, ohhhh yeahhhh).

I had also intended on making a side salad with this but I was too ravenous from working all day to think about opening the bagged salad in my fridge, dousing it with one of the bazillion style of dressing from the fridge, finding a fork and devouring. Damn. I guess I should’ve done that. Oh well, the chicken’s healthy right?

–How I prepared this feast–
1 chicken breast
1/4 onion chopped kinda small
Butter to sautee awesome flavor
Hummus of some variety
~1cup cheese (or enough to keep the tortillas stuck together)
Takes about 20 mins and makes 2 quesadillas.

Sauteed 1/4 onion in butter until translucent, remove from heat, set aside. Drink wine. Cut chicken into small thin chinks/strips while onions cook. Sautee cutlets in same pan, adding fresh ground pepper as desired. While chicken cooks, eat some of that fantastic hummus with a soft pita. Remove chicken from pan & set aside. Now we assemble the quesadilla: tortilla + cheese + chicken + cheese + onion + cheese + tortilla. Flip after cheese has started to melt on both sides. May need to add a bit of butter after making the first quesadilla.

Yum!

Written by Brent

January 9, 2010 at 3:18 am

Posted in Main Course, Side Dish, Uncategorized

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