Monday, July 27, 2009

Chicken and Waffles, the Pilot Episode

Warning: Take your Lipitor before reading this post.

So. Fried chicken?
I know that here in the midwest we're not exactly fried chicken experts, but I had been craving some in the most intense way for a couple of weeks and not a single venue was coming to mind where I knew I could be guaranteed fried chicken that would be homemade and tasty enough to be worth the calorie bomb. It's a sad state of the affairs of food when homemade fried chicken is any part of the country.

And then, on a totally different but just as fat and cholesterol-laden subject, my neighbor, or rather my totally awesome neighbor offered to get me a re-up on Lorentz Meats bacon on his way back from a dirt-biking adventure in Cannon Falls. Because as you've heard me whine about before, I can't get the stuff around here ever since Coborns took over Simon Delivers, and I'm addicted. And my 20# stash from the last days of Simon Delivers was running frighteningly low.

So bring me bacon my totally awesome neighbor did...eighteen pounds worth! And as a means of repaying his willingness to be my bacon enabler, I offered to have him over for brunch, along with his lovely wife and daughter, and then I invited my other appreciative-of-bacon-pals Ms. Knit-Whit and her man over too. And then I started wondering what to serve alongside a big pile of bacon.

Hello? Waffles anyone?
We've been on a little bit of a waffle bender around here as I'm sure you know. So that part was obvious. But what goes better with waffles than FRIED CHICKEN? AhHA! Menu planned.

So a fried chicken and waffle and bacon feast it was:

fried chicken and waffle brunch

I had actually never made fried chicken before, which seems crazy since it's one of those things that's probably better when it's homemade no matter what and I am all about the homemade goodness. I used Art Smiths "Two Day Marinated Fried Chicken" recipe because I understand him to be the unofficial (fat white guy) king of southern cooking and I remembered seeing him talk about it on Oprah once years ago. It turned out pretty dang good, or at least good enough to make me certain that it won't be the last batch I make.
For the waffles portion of the event, I mixed up two different batches of yeast batter for a taste test. One was my stand-by Belgian Waffle recipe from the Joy of Cooking that I told you about recently, and the other was Mark Bittman's overnight yeast waffle batter because Corgi Mom (hey you!) says she likes it better than JOC's.
So we gorged on waffles topped with delicious options like warm strawberry compote, carmelized bananas, toasted pecans, fresh berries, local maple syrup and freshly whipped cream. The fried chicken hit the spot, and the six of us managed to eat our way through two pounds of bacon. But don't worry friends, I won't tell anyone we ate all that bacon.

Turns out the word on the street claims there are a few local places to get good fried chicken and waffles, but now that I've tasted my own, I'm not sure I care :)


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Holiday Ketchup

or catch up, since no ketchup was actually consumed in the creation of this post...

I finally saw fit to dose out one of the last episodes of the "Spain, On the Road Again" series from PBS. I've had them saved on my DVR for months and months, and every episode is just such insane eye candy that I was having to ration myself so as not to cause brain implosion with my lust for all things Espana.

Anyway. It was the Valencia episode, and G.P. and Mario paid a visit to the official "Zen Paella Master", who showcased a completely NOT by the books method of cooking Paella that I just had to try rightawayquick. It seemed like blasphemy, this zen masters' method, but since I've cooked quite a bit of paella in the past and never been 100% satisifed with the results I figured it would be well worth the try.

So, finding ourselves free for the long Fourth of July weekend, I took it upon myself to plan us a little paella feast, made a run to replenish my stock of Bomba rice and pimenton and busted out my paella pan and burner.

Check out this deliciousness, complete with a freshly muddled mojito and some amazingly crisp, sweet snap peas from our CSA:
seafood paella
not only is it the best looking pan of paella I've ever made, it was the tastiest and most perfect, too! Turns out the zen master is on to something with his method of adding the stock to the sofrito and bringing it to a boil before adding the rice.

In fact, that shrimp and scallop batch was so amazing that we ate every bite of it and still couldn't stop obsessing. So I had to make another pan for Sunday dinner the next night, this time with chorizo and artichoke hearts and the snap peas cooked tender-crisp:
paella with artichokes and snap peas

Best and most delicious of all, it was absolutey zero effort. Seriously like 30 minutes of work total including prep! I'm waiting on my re-up of saffron or I'd have made it again already, because it's really the perfect, cook-outdoors summer meal that I don't think I'd ever get sick of.

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Thursday, July 02, 2009

Kitty Undertail

Admit it.
You cat people have always wondered just exactly how they curl those paws up underneath themselves when they turn into muffinkitties.

The secret has been revealed.

M-Ah undertail

Now if that's not a reason to have a glass floor, I dunno what is.
And since we're on the subject, I still find it curious that dogs, whether it be ours or visitors, won't set foot out on the glass, while cats seem totally unaffected by it. What does that say about their respective intellegence, do you think?

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