Day 17 of this cooking challenge, and the discouragement is finally settling in. How I’m going to get through 100+ new recipes this year, AND blog about them all, is suddenly a bit of a concern. I honestly don’t doubt that I’ll be able to complete the challenge – that’s not the problem. The problem is that I’m wondering what form the posts will take once I start to feel the crunch of daily life.
Until now I’ve acted as though blogging from 10pm-12:30am on a weeknight is a healthy endeavor unlikely to affect either my physical and/or mental health, or my ability to teach Monday-Friday to a bunch of challenging, inner-city teens (or to have stimulating bed-time conversations with my wife, she would like to add). The fatigue caught up to me this week, however, and in a big way. It’s difficult enough to come home from work having not yet decided on that night’s dinner, make that decision on an empty stomach, shop for ingredients, and then cook as slowly as I do. When you add to the mix the fact that most of these recipes are new to me (considerably slowing down an already snail-like pace), it’s rarely a reasonable hour once my wife and I sit down to eat. Blogging afterwards, and with little regard for actually focusing on the food instead of the story behind – or around – it, is proving to be tough. I’m afraid posts may soon jump straight into a recipe link, one or two personal variations to the ingredient lists or techniques (accidental or otherwise), and a quick picture or three. I’m hoping that fear will not become a reality, as I’m hoping to hone my writing skills just as much as my cooking ability.
Unfortunately, this post is already bordering on “Too Long, Didn’t Read” – or TLDR – territory, so I’ll get straight to the food:
- Quick Fried Chicken, from the book “Mad Hungry” by Lucinda Scala Quinn. I, however, found the recipe on marthastewart.com via Google
- The recipe told me to use two tablespoons of my favourite hot sauce. I chose to combine two different hot sauces as an act of rebellion.
- Using a full quart of buttermilk and 2 tbsp. of hot sauce was ridiculously wasteful unless you’re planning on marinating the full chicken’s worth of butchered meat for a substantial amount of time. I only soaked my chicken for 10 minutes, and next time will opt to use half the suggested amount of buttermilk and hot sauce. I fried my chicken in multiple batches anyways, so soaking the chicken can be done in batches as well to create less waste.
- Instead of using the cooking times listed in the recipe, I fried the chicken for about 5 minutes on each side (just looking for a healthy brown to the crispy coating), and then finished off the pieces all together in the oven at 350°F for about 20-25 minutes. This was due to royally burning my first three pieces thanks to unclear frying instructions, the inexperience of yours truly, and the helpful suggestion of a foodie friend who just happened to call as sh*t went wrong on the first batch.
- With finishing off the chicken in the oven, next time I’m definitely making sure to flip the chicken half-way through that latter part of the cooking process, or elevating the bird off the tray using a rack. One of my wife’s two minor critiques about this recipe was that the chicken was deliciously crispy on one side, and yet soggy on the other.
Given that the only other complaint (uh…I mean “critique”…) my wife had with this recipe is that it didn’t yield more, I can easily say that this recipe was a success. It was super delicious, and if it didn’t take so much oil and such a high percentage of my daily fat intake, I’d make it again next week.
This is what I added to my mashed potatoes (in addition to the butter, salt and milk already added):