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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Junk Food Friday - A Tutorial

Sooooooo....with lots of snow everywhere, Dear Husband and I were craving fried chicken, crunchy slaw, and golden French fries. What to do? MAKE IT! I know what you are thinking - that is a lot of work, right? Well, not really. Time is a beautiful thing. First, I turned milk into buttermilk, by adding a tablespoon of lemon juice, and letting it sit for ten minutes. Then, I took our four, meaty drumsticks, and let them marinate in the mixture. Yes, that is hot sauce in there, too. Do not worry...there's not enough of it in there to be too spicy!
As with most empty-nesters...we do not eat a ton of food any longer...this is more than enough for the two of us! Then, it was time to cut potatoes into fries, and soak in some water that I added vinegar to...like so...
This step, as well as par-frying (you'll see in a bit) are key to making delicious and crispy fries. While they soaked, I took a harmless vegetable.....and cut a part of it to smithereens.....the BEFORE shot...

Sweet, crunchy cabbage...how I love thee. I wish thou loved my innards as much as I love your crunch. OK - enough of the ode to cabbage. Dice it up pretty well, and add carrot and green onion...

Then, add salt, pepper, sugar, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, and white and black sesame seeds....

Mix all together, and let the wonderful Asian-slaw flavors marry....

I loves me some crunch-tastic slaw! Then, get ye a large frying pan, and melt some shortening in it....high heat, and be careful, grease fires are no fun. Never fill a frying pan more than half full...when you put food in it...the oil level is going to rise! NOT rocket science...


Then, drain your potatoes which have been soaking all this time...and dry them thoroughly. Water and oil are not good buddies. Preheat your oven to about 210 - to keep the fries nice and toasty while you finish supper...dry them with lots of paper towels....
Then, begin to fry them in the hot oil...
Now...you know your oil is hot enough, when there is enough bubbling going on. Here's the semi-tricky part...pull those fries out after about TWO minutes...when they have just begun to get a little golden on the edges...like this..
And yes, you are going to finish frying them. Continue this par-frying with the rest of your fries. Why? Because when you use this method, the fries have a crispy exterior, and a soft and tasty interior! Another shot of a batch after it's first, short fry...

Draining on paper towels, and ready for the second fry. Fry them again, until crispy and browned, and place on a plate lined with paper towels, salt them, and put them in that warm oven.

Yum.....Now, let's turn our attention to the chicken. Get some flour...about a cup or so, and season with salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, etc.

Drain the chicken from the buttermilk in a colander

Coat it well in the flour mixture, and shake off the excess flour...

Lay them carefully in your hot oil. You do not have to deep-fry, to get fried chicken! Just do one side at a time, like this...

After about six minutes, turn them over and fry the other side. There may be spattering going on, and I don't know about you, but I simply cannot stand a greasy kitchen. Go buy a spatter screen (under ten bucks)...and use it! Like this...

After you turn them to fry on the second side...this is what they will look like...crispy brown and delicious...

After they fry on the second side, an additional six minutes or so, pull them and drain on paper towels. Place in that warm oven, just for about five minutes or so. This step drains fat, and ensures a crispy exterior.


Now....your slaw is made, your fries are also done and keeping warm, and you have just saved at LEAST ten bucks! Is it worth it? You decide...

I feel that scratch-cooking is becoming a lost art, in a way. I feel that there are entire generations who think that the only way to get fried chicken, coleslaw and fries.....is to buy them. Was it work, in a way, to make this supper? Yes. I must say, however, that because I do not use mayonnaise in my slaw, and because I know every...single...ingredient that went into my food, I feel like it is work of the most honorable and rewarding kind! 

I guess that is the point of this post. Some may view cooking as work. I view cooking as an art form. Once again, I'm brought back to the quote I read many years ago..."Cooking is the only art form which affects people at the cellular level". I don't quite remember who said that, but I do remember the profound effect it had on my thinking. I change people, by what I put into their bodies! Never forget that precious assignment! Never forget that preservatives and chemicals lodge in our major organs, and eventually become tumors, or other abnormalities. Never.....ever...forget.

Eat well, my friends...and nourish more than your soul with your food. Love and kindness to all,

                                                                             Pixie

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