Monthly Archives: June 2012

Kids Choice: Fried Chicken

Are your kids like my kids?

They love vegetables, and sure they really do love great food, in general.  But the second they see that fast food sign, everything they knew about real food vanishes from their reality.   The ever alluring promise of the “happiest” meal they’ve ever experienced accompanies the smell of french fries and hamburgers.  It immediately turns them into fast food zombies (meaning instead of brains, they request chicken nuggets).

Honestly, I’m not that strict about it.   I fear the backlash if I ever told them they weren’t allowed to have something, so the only “strict rule” we follow is moderation with all things (including moderation on occasion).   However, this chicken is at the top of my kids list of all time favorites.  It is the only chicken that I can make that will always trump the fast food industry that occasionally enslaves their senses.

In the first few years of motherhood, I tried those baked chicken tender recipes and they just weren’t cutting it for the boys.   They wanted the hard stuff on occasion.   I can’t blame them.  Fried stuff tastes good when done properly.   Not greasy minced up pieces of processed chicken and fillers deep fried and dunked in an excess of sugary sauce.   No, these are crispy and crunchy on the outside, juicy and tender on the inside.

They’re a hit with the kids…and grown ups, honestly.  If ever you have a picky eater on your hands, this is the recipe to go for.  Paula knows what’s up , so I originally went to her to find out what the method is.   This recipe is based on hers, even though it’s a bit different.

I hope you enjoy it as the people around me do.   This dish gets the most compliments from the little ones.  Even Trey said they don’t even need ketchup.  That’s a great compliment coming from a five year old; I will gladly accept.    This meal is nice for me as well because it’s so easy, I can just throw some black beans and corn and a simple salad on the side and I am done.

They’ll be so thankful they’ll do the dishes with a big smile on their faces that says, “Thanks for the fried chicken, Mom.  You’re the greatest!”.   It happens when I make this for dinner… every single time, I swear.    I never question it, honestly, I just put my feet up and declare kid-loved-fried-chicken victory.    Not bad considering I’m a vegetarian and all.

 Kids Choice: Fried Chicken

  • Peanut oil for frying
  • 1 1/2 cups self rising flour
  • 1 pound organic thin sliced chicken breast
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt + more for chicken
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper + more for chicken
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder + more for chicken
  • 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs

 

Bring chicken breasts to room temperature, lightly sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder on all sides.   In a mixing bowl, add flour.  Dredge seasoned chicken in the flour and set aside.  Whisk eggs in a mixing bowl and add hot sauce, ketchup, lemon juice and mustard.  Drop dredged chicken into the egg mixture.   To the remaining flour used for dredging, add seasoned breadcrumbs with half a teaspoon of salt, half a teaspoon pepper and a quarter teaspoon of garlic powder and stir to combine.   Drop the chicken from the egg mixture into the seasoned flour and breadcrumb mixture and then into preheated oil.   Fry for about six minutes, or until golden brown, then remove from oil and drain on paper towel lined plates and rest for 3 minutes before eating.

 

Adapted from Paula Deen: Paula’s Home Cooking

Posted in All, Dinner, Entertaining, For Kids, Lunch | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Peach Granita

Sorry I’m a little late this week.   I got distracted by gardening.

Trey has taken an interest in these plants too which is nice since it means he’s willing to help water.

No carnival peppers or sweet 100 tomatoes to speak of yet, but they are on their way.    So, while we water and wait…and watch the plants grow multiple inches each night, we slather up the sunblock, blow up our floaties, and head to the pool.

Where they go completely wild.  

Once they’re sufficiently exhausted and manageable, I pull them out of the pool with the promise of something delicious.  It could be anything, really.  But, today, I had a massive amount of awesomely ripe, sweet and juicy peaches.    I don’t have an ice cream maker yet, so ice cream isn’t really an option…yet.

However, making a peach granita only requires a blending apparatus and a freezer, which is ideal for a simple summer treat.

When the peaches are ripe enough, you don’t even have to cook them, as so many recipes call for.    According to Martha, you can go ahead and pop them into a blender or food processor with a little citrus water and sugar…and that is it for the mix.

Nice, right?    I know.   That’s why I made it.

  Peaches are perfect as they are. I find it difficult to do much to them without missing that special something, which is why I love this recipe.   It saves all that ambrosial raw peach lusciousness and simply beautifies it further.

 A purely delicious cup of frosty peach heaven.

Peach Granita

From: Martha Stewart Living, July 2010

  • Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

  • 4 ripe peaches (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled, halved, pitted, and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar, plus more if needed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh basil (optional)

 

Puree peaches, water, sugar, lemon juice and coarse salt in food processor or blender. Add sugar to taste, if needed.  Pour into an 8 x8 inch baking dish and freeze for two hours, raking with a fork every twenty minutes to evenly break up ice crystals.   Top with fresh basil if desired.

 

 

Posted in All, Dessert, Entertaining, For Kids, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Bruschetta

It’s the last week of school for the little ones!   No more waking up early, no more checking homework, no more “please, go back to bed, you have school in the morning!”

Nope.  No more.   Just hanging and lounging and playing and library trips and camping and hiking and beaching it up!  All that good summer  stuff.   If you can’t tell already, I’m very excited for summer!  Everything is just a little bit brighter in the summer, including the food.  It’s light, it’s happy, it’s earthy and fresh and  I am a huge fan of all of it, particularly the vegetables.    One of my most favorite summer vegetables is eggplant.  Fry it, grill it, saute it and I will like it as long as it’s seasoned properly. But, this particular dish is one of my most favorites for summer.  Roasted eggplant and plum tomatoes combined with shallots and garlic and oil, well seasoned on top of toasted bread slices.   Fresh herbs, a little lemon and balsamic.  Done!

 

1.  Here’s the basics of what you’ll need:  This stuff in the picture, plus slices of lightly toasted Italian bread.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.  Peel and finely chop up the garlic cloves and the shallot.

3.  Pop them in a large pan coated with extra virgin olive oil.  Squeeze lemon juice over the pan.

4.  Do not forget to season them.

5.  Cook on low until soft and fragrant.  They should look like this and smell amazing.

 

6.  Add herbs while the oil is warm.  I chose basil and thyme.

7.  Using a pastry brush or a spoon, lightly coat each of the toasted bread slices with the olive oil and some of the shallots and garlic that have been softened.

8.   Roast the eggplant and the tomatoes

9.  Remove flesh from tomatoes and eggplant and add it to the saute pan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10.  Mash the tomato and eggplant flesh with a masher until well combined.  Remember to season to taste.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11. Top each slice of toasted bread with the eggplant and tomato mixture.  Top that with torn basil and a shaker of oil and balsamic vinegar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy!

 

Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Bruschetta

10 thick slices of Italian bread

1 medium eggplant

2 plum tomatoes

1 shallot

3 large cloves of fresh garlic

salt, pepper,olive oil

1/2 large lemon’s juice

fresh herbs: a sprig of thyme and a small handful of fresh basil leaves

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and place bread slices on an oven safe serving platter.  Toast in preheated oven and then set aside.

Chop eggplant and tomatoes in half lengthwise and coat in olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place open side down on sheet pan and cook in preheated oven until skin is easily peeled away and the flesh is tender , or about 45 minutes.   Remove from oven and set aside to cool slightly.

Finely chop shallots and garlic and place into a large nonstick pan coated with olive oil.  Add a pinch of salt and pepper to the pan along with the lemon’s juice and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally until soft and fragrant.  Add fresh herbs to the pan while the oil is warm.

Using a pastry brush lightly coat each slice of toasted bread with the olive oil and some of the shallot/garlic mix, reserving some for the roasted vegetables soon to be added to that pan.

Scoop the inside of the eggplant and tomatoes into the pan and mash until well combined. Season to taste. Spoon onto each toasted slice of bread and finish with a bit of torn fresh basil and a shaker of balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

 

 

 

Posted in All, Dinner, Entertaining, Lunch, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Ina’s Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

Yesterday the boys and Mike and I went to every farm stand from our house to New York where we landed at a farmer’s market in Warwick.  I picked up the most delicious garlic, basil and tomatoes.   I had acquired fresh arugula, onions and thyme as we crawled north together, so this recipe rounded out nicely for lunch today.

This is Ina’s recipe which has never failed me.  I’m not going to fix something that is far from broken, so I left it as is.  Though I did add some croutons, arugula and parmesan crisps for toppings.  If that’s a bit much for you, you can do what pleases you.  I just had to use the seeded sourdough bread that I got yesterday for the croutons.  How could I not?  It was amazing and would be even better as croutons in this soup.

I understand tomato soup is a personal thing.  Some people like to make it creamy, others prefer to add some texture.  Either way, it’s fresh and sweet and light yet fills and warms your belly with all things delicious on a rainy summer day.  There’s something about a perfect soup on a cool and rainy Monday that just makes all things right as rain again.

 

Ingredients

 

  • 3 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 (28-ounce) canned plum tomatoes, with their juice
  • 4 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 quart chicken stock or water

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss together the tomatoes, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the tomatoes in 1 layer on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes.

In an 8-quart stockpot over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the butter, and red pepper flakes for 10 minutes, until the onions start to brown. Add the canned tomatoes, basil, thyme, and chicken stock. Add the oven-roasted tomatoes, including the liquid on the baking sheet. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Pass through a food mill fitted with the coarsest blade. Taste for seasonings. Serve hot or cold.

 

Source: Food Network

Posted in Entertaining, Lunch, Vegetarian | 15 Comments