Monday, November 20, 2006

The Colonel can't touch this!

Inspired by what may be the best video on Youtube, I decided to cook up some fried chicken as my sister & nephew were coming to visit.

Now I've made fried chicken before, but 3 things made this attempt really shine. Firstly, I marinated the chicken in seasoned buttermilk overnight & used the buttermilk as the binding agent for the flour instead of eggs - far superior.

The last time I used my stainless steel All-Clad pans (which I was just getting used to at the time) & I did have some trouble with the chicken sticking to the pan. My non-stick 14" Caphalon pan eliminated this problem altogether.

Instead of cooking the chicken entirely on the stove, I browned them a bit & then finished them off in a 350 degree oven, ensuring crispy skin on the outside, but tender meat on the inside.

I made a simple macaroni salad, so there we have it, fried chicken, macaroni salad, ketchup & hot sauce... Boom! The Colonel can't touch this!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Round 8 - Leg 3

Thursday Club is a chance to create new dishes and eat new foods we wouldn’t necessarily eat. Now that 24 meals are in the book, the majority of the animal kingdom has been fried, braised, sautéed, steamed then covered in various sauces. This week was no exception as two more species were added to (or scratched off of) the list. Teddy, Jason’s cousin Alesha and I were treated to a perfectly executed menu:

- Sautéed Frog Legs with parsley/garlic butter
- Roasted Cornish Hen w/sautéed potatoes & string beans & a mustard sauce.
- Chocolate Mousse

The frog legs were dredged in buttermilk and the parsley-garlic butter adhered to the crisp outer layer. Based on the fact that Jason cooked rabbit last time and frog this time, I can only assume the Fraggle Rock village will be the next to be thrown into a pot. No way would they taste as good as these little guys.

From the moment the Cornish hens poked out of the oven, the aroma of the rosemary, lemons and other aromatics stuffed inside made all of our mouths water. The first bite was filled with all of those flavors too. The lemons kept the bird unbelievably moist and the mild mustard sauce complimented the bird and sides equally well.

The chocolate mousse was a hell of a cap to the evening. Regardless of how many egg yolks and pads of butter were mixed in (wait for the lab reports from my cardiologist), it was completely worth it. Smooth and rich, just the way it should be.

Since it was the first day for 2006 Beaujolais Nouveau, it would have been silly not to have a few bottles. But since white meats were the bulk of the menu, we had some terrific whites as well. Enough to sink a ship……

Monday, November 13, 2006

Fishes from the Sea, Cheeses from the Goat

From a boy fed on chicken wings and pizza growing up in Buffalo, a man who "did not really care for fish", our Adams has turned into a raging fish-o-philic madman. First scallops, salt cod, and now whole fish fillets and wings. His menu this week:

- Pan Fried Skate Wing Fingers, with Lemon Aioli

- Tomato, Onion and Goat Cheese Tart

- Salmon Roulade (crab meat stuffing) with Dill-Mustard Sauce

We actually started with the goat cheese tart, which was, ahem...tart, sweet with baked red onion and lusciously juicy with baby tomatoes. Even the pastry was good, although I believe our boy had enlisted the help of a certain Mr Pillsbury. It was a great starter, perhaps too great - I was virtually full by the time the last forkful went in. Thank God the next course was a personal favourite, and I don't mean Martini Pie.

Skate is absolutely the sweetest flesh in the ocean. Those long strips of silky sweet flesh bound and harnessed by thin spindles of cartilage have me in raptute every time. And to Adam's credit, he made an excellent lemon aioli to dredge the strips in. Personally, I'm a bit of a purist when it comes to tasting the fish, but I couldn't resist a couple of cheeky dunks. We washed this down with a lovely Chardonnay, and then cracked the red open for a rest before the big push.

Our nemesis came in the form of a steroid-enhanced piece of salmon. It was the biggest fillet I have ever seen, no shit. A salmon 'duvet' would have been smaller. Into this, he placed about 3 lbs of crab meat each. And then attempted to roll it. After a few attempts, he gave up. I think physics prevented it's shaping. When I heard roulade, I thought of dainty parcels of pink salmon encapsulating a smidgen of sweet crab meat. What we got was a tombstone of salmon smothered in the entire crabmeat quota for Alaska. It was baked anyway, with some delicious balsamic onions on the side. Just looking at the mountain of pink on my plate, I felt done for. I did have to take it home to finish - on a stretcher I might add.

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