Monday, June 27, 2011

How to make great fried chicken

There are things in this world that some people are better at making than others. I know for one I can bake sweets better than my mom not that she does not make some tasty stuff but I experiment more than her with baking so I have some more experience with it. However, on the other hand, my grandmother makes really fantastic fried chicken. So does my mom. I have only pan fried chicken once in my life. It was when I was twelve. I burnt myself and made my grease nasty because I heated it too hot. Yes you can burn that oil. So since then I have deep fried some chicken tenders in a huge pot with tons of oil. So let me tell you the story about why today is fried chicken day instead of homemade Oreo day.  My grandparents that have been featured in the pecan pie blog live in Tennessee.   My mother went to visit them this weekend, and since I work during the week and she’s off for the summer she’ll be there for a few days sans me.  Leaving me in charge of cooking for test subject dad, this would not be an issue but she stole her camera…yes I know it’s hers so she’s not really stealing it. But this is my blog so deal with it. Anyway, she took her camera away…with my photos of how to make Oreo’s…not good! So I said “Mom! You took your camera! I had photos on that for my blog!” Her response you ask? “Well I guess you’ll have to make something out of the chicken in the fridge…oh and make something your dad will eat!” This limited the possibilities…but I thought well I always trash talk test subject Akeem’s chicken even though it’s good…how hard can this be? It’s only been…23-12….11! 11 years since I last made chicken. I saw a good eats episode I’m good! So now let’s get to the good part. ANYONE CAN MAKE THIS! Follow my instructions! I will guide you through “Frying up a mess of chicken” Yes...a “Mess” if chicken…I do not know what measurement that is but it’s what I was told to do. So let’s get started!
What you will need:
10 in cast iron skillet…no it does not have to be cast iron…but I like it
1 -2 lbs chicken
2 c butter milk or sour milk (1 1/2 c milk and then add vinegar to it to make two cups)
1 tbs Salt
2 tbs paprika
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper (more or less for spiciness)
Flour for dredging
Shortening to fry in
Now this is Mr. Alton Brown’s recipe he used on good eats so I trust him. But I will tell you right now this is not like any other way I’ve seen to make chicken. First we are going to soak the chicken for up to 12 hours. Just let it sit in a closed container in the fridge.

Has it been long enough? Mine is ready! Okay so take your shortening and melt it in your cast iron skillet or whatever you are using over medium heat. It took 2 1/2 c. for me. You only want about 1/2 inch or so of oil.

Okay now moving along. Drain that chicken and let it sit for a moment. Get a plastic container for the flour, something big enough for the chicken to be tossed in it. I used something with a lid. Okay now mix all your seasonings in a bowl by themselves. Put the flour ONLY in the container. Take your chicken and coat it with the seasonings liberally. Yes ON THE CHICKEN NOT IN THE FLOUR! I know weird huh? Okay so now what? Oh yeah, take your chicken and “dredge” or toss it in the flour. Continue until you are done dredging all of the chicken. Now your oil should be about 325 degrees, and it should be ready to fry in. You don’t want it hotter than that. So now place some pieces in the pan.

 If you’re using bone in chicken the larger pieces should be in the center and the legs and stuff on the outside. So…yeah…but I’m lucky, we had boneless chicken thighs! Okay so cook it until it is 180 degrees inside or about 10-12 min per side. Then drain on a cooling rack with some newspaper to wick off the extra grease.  Then serve. Uh yum! So how did it taste you ask. My father gave me the biggest compliment ever “It’s just like my grandmothers!” Apparently that’s a good thing…test subject Peter ate three pieces so must have been good!

As always I am accepting ideas for the blog! Facebook, twitter, or email me! JLThacker06@gmail.com and happy eating!













Monday, June 20, 2011

Crepes? What? More french food?!

So as I mentioned last week I am currently working on planning things for my wedding. You know which has a small French theme? I’ve read tons of articles. Some say to have a crepe station for the guests.  So I thought you know what I want to try crepes I think I love them and I have not had them in years.  Therefore that is this week’s blog. Crepes, the French pancake that everyone told me was difficult to make, nay nay nay. This was simple! So let’s get started.
What you need:
1 small crepe pan or about a 7 -10 round pan to cook in
2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1 cup flour
3 tablespoons melted butter
Butter, for coating the pan
1/4 tsp of salt for savory crepes
OR
2 1/2 tsp of sugar for sweet
Whatever you want to fill it with
I did sweet crepes. So let’s get started. Alton Brown, the food god did this recipe. He states to put it all in a blender. I did not…well my blender is downstairs in a box thanks to the fact that I had to move home because school was done…so I just mixed it in a bowl then placed it in a large glass pitcher with a spout. Okay so now that we have done that take some butter and place it in the pan to let it melt and coat the pan.  More butter you ask? Yes! Its French there should be massive amounts of le burre!  (Butter) Okay so now comes the hard part that I’ve been dreading. Place about 1/4c of the mixture in the middle of your pan and swirl you pan in a circle causing the batter to spread out thinly over the pan. I do not really have too many photos of this due to lack of a helpful test subject.  Now taking applications for test subjects by the way. Let it cook for one minute flip and let cook 10 seconds. Now it’s done. No you don’t want it browned like a pancake. If you use a spatula it may break so used something like a cake frosting knife. That’s what I did.

So let’s discuss fillings. Oh there is so much to choose from. Just Google the possibilities, I did a traditional thing. Nutella and bananas. If I cook bananas I can eat them so I did so in a small pan, I added photos just to make you wish you had been here when I made crepes. So now, fill your crepes with your desired filling, roll and enjoy.

C'est parfait! That means its perfect…only I remembered one thing after I made these.  I don’t like crepes…oops…oh well C'est la vie. Overall good, will I make them again? No. I just really don’t care for them. Until next time and just as a reminder I am still accepting recipes and ideas. Email me, facebook me, or even find me on twitter, JLThacker06@gmail.com. Happy eating people! 















Monday, June 13, 2011

How to make Madeleine’s - a quick trip to France


As most of you who actually read this may know I am currently planning a wedding. Well one of the cool things we are playing with is making something called Madeleine’s. They are a French cookie; made in a specific pan…the pan is in the shape of a shell basically.  My wedding has somewhat of a French theme.  However, they are not like a cookie, they are basically a soft cake. Furthermore they are somewhat difficult to make…not that you can’t do it, after all if you can read you can do it. Well let me tell you about my trip down learning how to make these cookies. Ok first of all they are a little cake, most recipes only make 18 of them, I wanted to make them for everyone at the wedding since we are inviting 200 people it’s not looking like this is going to happen, and locating a pan in a store was nearly impossible.  I went to several stores looking for them, yet low and behold the mega awesome place known as Jungle Jim’s came to my rescue, they had my pan.  Also five million other items at my disposal, and if you have no idea what Jungle Jim’s is, Google it…you will want to visit one soon! Moving along…what you will need:


A Madeline pan – purchase online or good luck finding one!
8 Tbs of butter, divided
4 eggs
1/2 c plus 2 tbs sugar
2 tbs light brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 c of cake flour
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbs honey

Okay now we get to do something fun that I have wanted to do forever. Make brown butter. Also I would like to point out at this time that if it’s French food there is a lot of butter. So yeah…okay so medium sauce pan place 6 tbs out of the 8 of butter in the pan and basically let it melt and let it brown it will boil separate and then you will let it continue to cook all of this should be done at a low heat …at some point the butter will start to smell “nutty” this means it’s done! Do not overcook you’re butter!!  Let it sit for about 5 minutes to cool.  Now moving along once it is done cooling strain and let it sit in a bowl.  So now what? Well we are going to whip the eggs and sugars until they are light and fluffy! This should be done with a whisk or a mixer, preferably one with a whisk attachment. Luckily for me my mother has one! Okay so now we add the dry ingredients at a low speed to the egg sugar mixture. Now that all of that is mixed in pretty well add the liquids, aka honey, vanilla, and now cooled brown butter. Mix until combined and now we have two options. Either leave in fridge for up to three days or make it now…let go ahead and do it now shall we? Okay now we are going to use the other two tablespoons of butter. Grease the pans. Yes you have to use butter! If you don’t the cookie will not come out and will not taste right! Also it is a French cookie so lots of butter! So now fill the pans with the batter and bake at 375 for 5 – 8 minutes, maybe ten if your oven is like mine. Once it is done cooking flip the cookies onto a cooling rack immediately!!! Or else they will stick. Now sprinkle with powdered sugar and enjoy with some cafĂ© au lait! Or some regular coffee.


Now if you are actually trying these, and if you have been following my blog you will recall the sugar cookies that my grandmother makes…yes they taste the same…so I spent all my time making these for my father to ask “Did you make your grandma’s cookies in this pan for a reason? Where is the frosting?” I have to agree with him…this was a monumental waste of my time. Therefore I went to confer with my all knowing high school French teacher…she said what makes the cookie is the pan. Great next time I spend forty minutes making cookies I’m making shortbread cookies instead and pressing them into the mold! (If you don’t know a short bread cookie is basically butter, flour, and sugar)  Were they tasty? Yes, am I going to make 400 of them, no way!
As always please send any recipes my way! My email address is JLThacker06@gmail.com. Happy Eating! 











Tuesday, June 7, 2011

How to make homemade orange creamsicle's

 I realized late last night that I had not published my new blog. I struggled for a few moments on deciding what to actually publish. Upon thinking some more I realized that it is ninety degrees here in Ohio and what better way to celebrate than show you guys how to make Creamsicle’s! Now before we get started I would like to take this time to say I bought out all of the Popsicle molds when I went to the store but they should be back by now! Also, I would like to take this time to talk about measurements. When my blog says two cups, we all know to take two cups and measure it out. However, when you are standing in the store milk does not come in two cups. So let me tell you a secret. There is a man called gallon man. Have you heard of him? No? Well Google the gallon man! I prefer the one that is actually the G. Well I digress why do I bring him up? Well when I was standing in the store getting ready to purchase two cup of milk I had to go through the gallon man. It just taught me how to do liquid measurements and tell me exactly what I need.  The only problem with this gallon man is that he does not have my little addition. There is a photo below here:





See he’s pretty easy, however, I always write 8 oz = 1 cup in the middle. Now I am done with this silly little math lesson! Just trying to be helpful for the next time you go to the store! Now what do we need?

2 c. Orange juice (2 c = 1 pint)
1/3 c. Honey
4 Egg yolk (sorry it will be raw, so yeah, more to come on that!)
2 c. Heavy cream (2 c = 1 pint)
2 c. Whole milk (2 c …. You get it by now)
1 1/2 tbs Orange extract
1 tbs Vanilla extract
Popsicle molds or something else

Okay now let’s get started! In a large sauce pan place the two cups of orange juice and third of a cup of honey, we are now going to let it reduce. I know, I hate waiting on things to reduce too. If you follow this blog you will recall the orange chicken, we let that sauce reduce too! I am not one for waiting. Reducing takes about fifteen minutes…that’s fifteen minutes this could have been in the freezer! But I will tell you this, reducing makes the best sauce so deal with it, or do what I did, make something else while it’s reducing because watching a pot boil is about as much fun as a root canal. So once the sauce is done let it sit for like ten minutes to chill. Once that is done pull out your dairy, eggs, and extracts. Now I know what you’re thinking. Raw eggs?! No way! My little baby could get ... salmonella! Okay, I am the biggest fan of no raw eggs! But in ice cream I am always okay with raw egg. You still have a problem with them then here is a little fact only 1 of every 20,000 eggs might contain the bacteria. So did you buy them? Probably not plus I bet you eat cookie dough or let your kids lick the beater when you’re done baking a cake! So there!

Moving along, in a large bowl place your egg yolks, but what should you do with your egg whites? Well place them in a plastic bag. Put that bag in the freezer, use it next time you need egg whites, and let them thaw out the day before.  Now in the same bowl mix in the dairy, whisk it all together, now add the orange honey mixture. I am pretty sure I reduced mine too much so keep an eye on it. Mix well and place in molds. Freeze and enjoy. Test subjects this week included, Dad, Luke, Malia, Peter, and Elijah. I would like to thank test subject Elijah my four year old nephew, he was the most helpful when it came to eating. He was glad to have his photo taken and ate four, so it was pretty tasty. I was requested to add more orange next time. So if I make this again I will probably use two percent milk and double my orange juice honey thing.  However please try them first they may just be perfect for you the way they are they were for me!

As always I am accepting recipe ideas for my blog! Please email jlthacker06@gmail.com if you have anything you would like to share! Happy eating!