Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Extra crispy strips?

Everybody's seen that commercial right? I mean the one for KFC where there's a crowded bus and some old guy is talking really loudly on the phone and the girl is getting really bothered by it so the guy next to her gives her some extra-crispy strips and the crunch of the strips is loud enough to block out the noise of the old guy talking on the phone?

Yea well that commercial makes those strips look pretty darn good and I'm the type of guy whose always down for some finger licking fried chicken so I decided to see if the crunch on KFC's strips was really loud enough to block out some extraneous noise in the background. More importantly, I had to see if the strips were any good.

So I went for a run beforehand so that I wouldn't feel bloated and guilty afterwards, then stopped into my good old local KFC. I picked up the strips, a biscuit and some mashed potatoes (note to self: the roasted potatoes are definitely better than mashed)then got back in my car. I turned on some awful techno, then bit into a strip, hoping that the crunch would dominate the music. It didn't. I took another bite. Same result. I turned on some rap metal and blasted it out the speakers to vent my rage. It wasn't just that the strips weren't "extra crispy" it's that they were hardly crispy at all. TGI frickin Fridays serves crispier strips!

That's not to say they weren't good however--I actually finished them on the ride home before I could get a photograph-- but they definitely did not live up to expectations. I actually stopped at Popeye's on the way home to satisfy my craving for crispy. Popeye's, now that's some good chicken...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

My favorite afternoon snack

Mushrooms are so meaty, so substantial, so much more than a vegetable. I can eat a plate of mushrooms and feel like I've eaten a meal. For that reason, they've become my favorite after-school snack, taking the position formerly held by the egg nickmuffin tm. My favorite preparation follows.

Shrooms (two big handfulls)
Handful of pre-cooked, chopped, chorizo,
2 minced cloves of garlic
1/2 shallot minced
chives to sprinkle on top
chicken stock (or water, or red wine, or anything to deglaze the pan with really)
parmesan cheese

1. Render the chorizo with enough oil to cover the bottom of a cast-iron or heavy stainless steel pan.

2. When the chorizo is browned, removed it from the pan, and continue to heat the oil until it is smoking.

3. Add your shrooms and brown them on one side. Add the garlic and shallot and spread these and the mushrooms around with a spoon. Cook for about a minute more, then add the salt, pepper and enough deglazing liquid to come up about 1/8th inch on the pan.

4. Add the chorizo back into the pan.

5. Stir around the mushrooms as the liquid evaporates, cooking until the pan is almost dry, but leaving a little moisture so that the mushrooms are nicely glazed with the liquid.

6. Sprinkle with chives and grate parmesan over the top.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Graham Cracker Toffee

I think my dentist has given up on me flossing. It's been a gradual shift in her mindset. I remember that when I was younger--maybe 9 or 10--telling me to floss was always one of her priorities. She would mandate she would demand she would insist that I floss. I hardly did. Every time I came in should would ask if I was flossing. "On occasion" was my generic response. She was stern with me the first few times. So stern that for the next two days I actually did floss, but after that her words meant nothing to me. I wouldn't see her for the next six months so what did I care.

As I grew older she began to stop pressing me. My answer of "on occasion" only warranted a "well you really should." Well I went back to the dentist a few weeks ago, and she posed that anticipated question. I decided to be frank with her. "No, not really" was my response. She didn't say a word but just nodded her head. She had conceded. The battle was lost.

Recently however, I motivated myself to floss my teeth. My mom has a few dishes in her repetoire that she does really well, and one of them is this graham cracker toffee. It's irresistible, it's to-die-for, I can't stop eating it. She got the recipe from Steve Poses' blog a few months ago and has been making it every few weeks since. I tell her to make it less. I'd be thinner. I also wouldn't have to floss my teeth.

Graham Cracker Toffee

Enough graham crackers to cover a large cookie sheet, about two packages. 1 cup brown sugar 1 cup unsalted butter 11 oz. chocolate chips (you can eyeball this it doesn't have to be exact)
Handful of chopped nuts

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Line a 17.5 by 13 inch cookie sheet with foil then top with parchment (so that no caramel sticks to your pan).

3. Lay out the graham crackers on top of the parchment, breaking pieces as necessary to fit the whole sheet.

4. Combine butter and brown sugar in a heavy saucepan and stir constantly as you heat over medium heat for 3-5 minutes until the sugar dissolves.

5. Pour over graham crackers.

6. Bake at 350 for 9-12 minutes. Make sure the caramel doesnt burn.

7. Remove from oven and evenly sprinkly chocolate chips over top. Wait five minutes then use a spatula to spread the now-melted chocolate over the caramel.

8. Sprinkle nuts and fleur de sel over top.

9. Chill in the fridge then break into pieces.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Curried Cauliflower

I'm trying to eat more veggies. Especially now that all these farmer's markets are opening back up, there's really no reason not to; well, except for that one reason, what was it, oh yea, convenience. It's kinda sad that it's easier to get a pack of Doritos and eat chips than it is to say roast cauliflower. But convenience really can become somewhat of a non-factor with such easy yet delicious veggie preparations as roasted, curried cauliflower.

It's salty and crispy if done right, and it almost satisfies the junk food craving. And the fact that it's so satisfying to simply roast and eat a bowl of veggies makes it more pleasing than eating junk. No it's not as convenient as a bag of chips, but really the preparation is minimal and in the 20 minutes it takes to cook in the oven, you can be off doing your own thing. Here's the recipe.

1 head of cauliflower
a few pinches of curry powder
a few pinches of salt
2 tablespoons of oil

--Preheat oven to 450

-- Cut cauliflower into small pieces.

--Toss with remaining ingredients

--Roast for 25 minutes on a large baking sheet, shaking the cauliflower and reversing the direction of the sheet once during cooking.

-That's all. It's too easy not to do. Enjoy.

I'm featured in food news journal

I've got a nice little write up along with a bunch of other teen bloggers in the Food News Journal. Check it out.