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Chris Amirault

Fried Chicken--Cook-Off 5

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I agree about the problems of thermometer readings with shallow fat/oil. You do't want the thermometer tip touching the pan-bottom, but you want it well covered...almost impossible. That's why it's a good idea to pay attention to how the fat behaves at different temps, so you can guess accurately at the temperature - is it smoking, how hot does it feel when you hold your hand about 3-4 inches from the surface, how does a gob of batter dropped into it react, etc.

Electric skillet sounds like a great idea. I have no idea how people can deep fry on an electric stovetop...whenever I tried it at my mother's house in NZ, I never seemed to be able to keep the oil hot enough. Gooooo, gas!

Deepfrying is all about practice...I've seen my share of burned-but-raw items!

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This is such an inspiration, I want to do american style fried chicken right now!

But anyway? what is Buttermilk? I have no idea, i'm not american..

Originally, the term "buttermilk" referred to the liquid left after whole milk was churned into butter. Nowadays the buttermilk available in US stores is commerically made, separate from butter-making, by fermenting milk with bacteria--a little like yogurt, but more fluid, and a different flavor (I'm guessing because it's a different bacterium than the ones used in yogurt-making).

Side-effect of my chicken experiment: I have reminded myself of how much I like buttermilk. And I've got most of a container left over--time to make some home-made ranch dressing ...

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If your fried chicken is overcoloring, pull it out of the oil right away and stick it on a rack in a hot oven until it's cooked through. It won't be as good as chicken fried totally in the pan, of course, but it's hella better than burnt chicken and you won't give yourself salmonella in the process.

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Side-effect of my chicken experiment: I have reminded myself of how much I like buttermilk. And I've got most of a container left over--time to make some home-made ranch dressing ...

Sigh. I like buttermilk, too, and I'm dying to have a chicken fry-down. Or fry-up. However, I can't find buttermilk in my neck of the woods AT ALL. Is the vinegar-or-lemon-juice in milk trick going to work as a substitute for this? Or do I take the yogurt route, per Eden's post? What say ye, friers? :blink:

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Sigh. I like buttermilk, too, and I'm dying to have a chicken fry-down. Or fry-up. However, I can't find buttermilk in my neck of the woods AT ALL. Is the vinegar-or-lemon-juice in milk trick going to work as a substitute for this? Or do I take the yogurt route, per Eden's post? What say ye, friers?  :blink:

I'd say that yogurt thinned with a bit of milk probably would come closer to the right flavor. You could also try ordering some of the buttermilk culture (starter) I mentioned to Kristin up-thread (she's in Japan and can't find buttermilk there).

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I'm getting ready for my chicken fry tonight, and I appreciate your sharing your problems, Mizducky. Not only you, but everyone can benefit from your difficulties.

I will be using my elecric skillet. I AM the grandmother everyone is waiting to inherit the stuff from; so mine is old and heavy duty and not non stick! But I have fairly large thighs (well mine too, but I meant the chicken). I am anxious to see how well I can overcome that problem. Why didn't I think to shop at the Oriental market? Next time.

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. . . . .

I will be using my elecric skillet. I AM the grandmother everyone is waiting to inherit the stuff from; so mine is old and heavy duty and not non stick! But I have fairly large thighs (well mine too, but I meant the chicken). I am anxious to see how well I can overcome that problem. Why didn't I think to shop at the Oriental market? Next time.

Congratulations, Dianne, on preserving that skillet. My mother had a Sunbeam that I had a great relationship with during the early 60s. I was a latchkey kid that had fun starting dinner. I made some pretty mean braises and pot roasts in that thing and mom often did the fried chicken in there. I need to ask my sister if she ever found it. Please let us know how it works out.

Thanks for my daily GulleyLaugh . . . the thighs.

Actually, if you mean to "substitute" yogurt for buttermilk, that is not a bad thing or even a step down. I have done it a couple of times and, as I recall, it was incredibly good in its own right. I believe there is a long tradition of using yogurt as a marinade in some culinary traditions. In fact, I may just use yogurt the next time around.


Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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You know, I like big thighs, including chicken thighs. But I suppose that's all a matter of personal taste. :wink::laugh:

Instead of this wrestling match with big thighs, why not practice with some legs? They are really cheap, neatly designed to have the same amount of meat all round, and they are, in my opinion, the best part of the bird. We always make extra ones to have around for cold chicken the next day or so.

Personally, I don't think that the buttermilk thing is such a big deal, but the general theory of brining is. My brother brines his chicken, occasionally, in Crystal Wing Sauce. A couple of hours in this and you end up with a piquant, but not really hot, marinated chicken part. It's delicious like this. Any kind of stuff will do, as long as you like the flavor. So, the point here is to experiment. You know?


Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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fifi's theory* on buttermilk . . .

There are many traditions of marinating meat in fermented milk. I think the lactic acid must do something and the good buggers that make that lactic acid can vanquish the bad buggers that may be on the meat and that is how it started. Southerners just had more buttermilk than yogurt. Hell, they probably didn't know what yogurt was.

*which, of course, may be bull cookies

Aunt Minnie's way of doing it combined brining and the buttermilk so you got both in one shot. Oh, and the pepper sauce, too.

Brooks, those little chickens that I gazed so lovingly upon yesterday had just the cutest little thighs. The drumsticks provoked visions of a ballerina of a chicken in a pas de deux with a rooster. If I were a guy, I could probably wax poetic on the small tender breasts but let's not go there. :laugh: Besides, smaller pieces will get you a higher crust to chicken ratio, a noble end. I gotta reprise my cutting-up-a-chicken skills.


Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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All this little chicken (chicken little?) discussion has me hankering to take a trip up to Federal Hill here in Providence to visit Antonelli's Poultry, wherein I can point at live birds in cages and watch as they prepare a few for frying. Now that I'm on parental leave for three weeks, I think that's exactly what I'm going to do! Perhaps I should bring my digital camera with me.... Eh?


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Actually, the electric skillet idea has a lot of merit.

Seems so to me, too. I'm going to start looking at Savers (resale store) for a used one from now on. Anyone have any opinions about which to look for? Sunbeam seems a winner.

edited to clarify that I shop at second-hand stores far, far more often than retail (and, truth be told, than I should) -- ca


Edited by chrisamirault (log)

Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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All this little chicken (chicken little?) discussion has me hankering to take a trip up to Federal Hill here in Providence to visit Antonelli's Poultry, wherein I can point at live birds in cages and watch as they prepare a few for frying. Now that I'm on parental leave for three weeks, I think that's exactly what I'm going to do! Perhaps I should bring my digital camera with me.... Eh?

YEP!


Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Ok, so today I went to New Orleans to watch Mardi Gras Indians at the Annual St Joseph's Day Super Sunday Celebration in Central City, New Orleans, La (aka The Hood). Anyway, while observing many, many men who looked something like this:

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I happened to run into this sign at the corner of Lasalle and Washington Ave, across the street from AC Davis (Shakespeare Park). It made me think of my chicken frying friends on eGullet.

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I had a great day. There were people on the street set up and selling barbeque of all manner, boiled crawfish, red beans and rice, jambalaya, fried chicken, tamales, and all kinds of pie by the slice (I had a great fried apple pie, one of the best I have had in a while). As usual, the indians (who are loosely organized at best, outside of their own tribes,) were running a bit late so there was plenty of time to sample and shoot the breeze with the neighborhood folks. It was a fine afternoon in New Orleans.

Oh yeah, and then I went and met my pal Varmint and The Lil Varmints (who are charming, funny, and well behaved. We should all be so lucky-the kids, I mean, Dean was Dean, not so much you can do about that).


Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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Great photo Brooks - now we know what happened to the feathers from all these chickens we've been frying :wink:

So I had my chicken fry with mixed results this evening.

Recipe-wise I tried for a balance between Alton & Aunt Minnie/Martha. I mostly used Alton's instructions, but I added in the tabasco to my marinade, and put the flavorings into my flour mix per Aunt Minnie. I also had a second batch marinated in goat-yoghurt rather than buttermilk to accomodate a dear friend who has problems with cow-milk, but using basically the same proportions of spicing etc. as the buttermilk.

Interestingly the chicken marinated in yoghurt came out much better, much less salty than the Buttermilk. (why???) also a bit richer and tangier in flavor.

Here's my staging areas set up (raw hot & finished) per Alton's directions, with the crisco about to be melted.

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Lacking the official cast iron chicken frying skillet :wink: I started in my two leCreuset Dutch ovens.

The yoghurt batch was cooked in the smaller LeC and cooked exactly to time and came out golden & lovely, just a little trouble with sticking to the bottom of the pot on the second side.

I had some real temperature control issues with the larger LeC and eventually because the oil was clearly burnt) ditched it for a large heavy bottomed teflon skillet with much happier results. What surprised me the most with the large LeC was that when I put in my chicken I had a temperature spike UPWARD rather than downward!!! :blink: Because of this, the chicken ended up browning much too quickly & had to finish in the oven, it was just OK. The subsequent batches from the skillet were just fine...

here's a shot midfry...

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None of the batches came out greasy even the overcooked ones, I was very happy with that & will definately try this again, possibly bowing to peer pressure & acquiring an official cast iron chicken frying skillet next time. Oh and I heartily reccomend having two thermometers if you're going to cook in two pans. Switching back & forth was awkward.

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Unfortunately, between playing with hot oil & talking to my guests I didn't remember to take photos of the finished chicken till after dinner, so here 's what the last of the buttermilk chicken looked like - not beautiful I'm afraid, but still tasty. I'm looking forward to eating it cold standing up with the fridge door open :biggrin:

I also made Alton's Southern Biscuits, which although he doesn't say so, would prefer to be cooked in a round cake pan to help keep them tall, but were quite good and still fluffy in spite of some "middle age spread" :raz:

Our friends brought a very nice coleslaw, which I'm normally not so keen on, but this was GOOD, very vinegary, not too cabbagey tasting...

Bill's experimental "Cream of Coconut" sorbet refused to freeze (too high a sugar content) so we drizzled it over my mini chocolate bundt cakes in lieu of icing & they were perfect together!

with many glasses of Kir & good friends to chat with we had a lovely evening in spite of some minor problems with the chicken.

Thanks everyone for the support through this - these cook-offs are such great learning experiences!

oh and please forgive that I could not trim the photos, for some reason image gullet didn't like the cropped files...

edited for irritating typos...


Edited by Eden (log)

Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

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I am happy to report that we had an outstanding fried chicken dinner last night. I don't have pictures, so I can't show you the nice brown crust I managed in the electric skillet. Even the large thigh pieces did not burn and the skillet did a fine job of maintaining the temp. I sort of felt that I was cheating, this was so easy.

I really like the idea of seasoning the chicken before dredging in the flour. Our chicken was the tastiest I have ever produced.

We also had biscuits. I use Shirley Corriher's recipe which is the one that works for me. To digress a little (and I am sure there is a proper place for this), I find our Ontario AP flour too hard for proper biscuits, so I use a mix of half AP and half cake and pastry flour. Then I get results very similar to the results I get with Southern White Lily flour.

Thanks to everyone or the tips and insights. This has been a lot of fun.

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Regarding the buttermilk - all I can find in my grocery store is 'low-fat buttermilk'. Will this work for the soak, or should I really try to seek out the full-fat stuff?


He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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I've got chicken soaking today a la Brooks. More fried chicken tonight!


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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My participation in the EG chicken frying experiment was actually the second time I have done a controlled experiment on fried chicken (as well as the second time I have *made* fried chicken). The first was about a year ago, to compare the use of eggs in the dredge with the more traditional straight buttermilk. Results: eggs create a thicker crust, which is yummy, but prohibit the skin-crust merge that is possible with just a buttermilk soak followed by flour.

But that was last time....this time I tried two different methods for holding pre-fried chicken to allow for the nasty chicken frying smell to dissapate.

I soaked 2 cut-up 3.5 pounders in 3 cups buttermilk with 1T kosher salt and a bunch of cajun seasoning (where did my hot sauces go? Someone's been rifling my pantry). The soak was planned for about 20 hours, but ended up going 44 hours because my pregnant self was unable to rally and cook fried chicken for a "southern cooking potluck" on Saturday night. I was concerned about over-brining, ending up with mushy or over-salted chicken, but texture did not seem to suffer. And I purposefully omitted the salt from the flour when dredging to avoid over-salting.

Fried in trans-free Crisco in my electric frying pan. I have a gorgeous cast-iron skillet, but my electric fying pan is a double-wide, and I got a bit of a late start, so I went for batch-volume over tradition, with great results. My chicken was gorgeous, copper-penny brown, tender inside. Crisp, crisp, crisp. I drained on a rack over a pan, which worked well for me (as opposed to a paper towel or brown bag drain). Scarfing a wing over the sink, I patted myself on the back for superlative Yankee fried chicken skills ( similar self-pats take place after frying up a batch of my famous Shiksa (is this an offensive term? I apologize if so...mixed opinions)latkes in late November every year....the only other thing I really fry. But I've been thinking about doughnuts lately. Darn pregnancy hormones).

But guests weren't arriving for another hour, I needed a shower, and my Yankee friends aren't as open to room temp fried chicken as true Southern purists might be. So I split my chicken into two groups, one went into the oven on low, on the draining rack, and the other went into brown paper bags, folded over at the top. In retrospect, I should have known that the brown paper bags would be kryptonite for my crispy crust (it's how I steam roasted red peppers in bulk) but I saw it on a FoodTV show.

The truth: neither method was particularly good. The oven-warmed chicken definitely suffered some moisture loss. The crust stayed crisp, but crisp crust alone does not a good chicken fry make. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't worth the mess/calorie hit. And the bagged chicken, although very moist, had a slight wilt to the crust. Rats. Because it was SO good over the sink, right out of the pan. None of these flaws kept 6 people from eating every last morsel of those 2 sacrificial birds.

Moral of the story: train your friends to appreciate room temperature chicken, or just go ahead and fry away while they are there. Because fried chicken is a once-a-year treat for many of us, olfactory comfort may need to be sacrificed for optimal chicken.


Edited by jphilg (log)

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Instead of this wrestling match with big thighs, why not practice with some legs? They are really cheap, neatly designed to have the same amount of meat all round, and they are, in my opinion, the best part of the bird. We always make extra ones to have around for cold chicken the next day or so.

By legs, I assume you mean drumsticks and not the whole drumstick-thigh combination? If so, I've always thought the drumstick was the worst part of the bird as it tends to have an unpleasantly dry and mealy texture. Fried drumsticks do seem to be somewhat better than other preparations, however. Usually when cooking drumsticks, I cut off the knuckle or run a shark knife around the knuckle end to sever all the tendons. This allows the meat to naturally contract as it cooks, and seems to provide a more "thigh like" texture to the drumstick meat.

Regarding the buttermilk - all I can find in my grocery store is 'low-fat buttermilk'.  Will this work for the soak, or should I really try to seek out the full-fat stuff?

No, low fat is what you want. I'm actually not sure there is any such thing as full fat buttermilk. Remember, modern "buttermilk" is a facsimile of the real stuff from the old days. Back in the day, buttermilk was the liquid left over when cream was churned into butter -- cultured butter, that is, because all butter was cultured butter, since it was made from raw milk. Since the leftover butter liquid would be very low in fat (the whole point is that all the fat stays with the butter) modern buttermilk uses lowfat milk as a stand in, and then adds a bacterial culture to that lowfat milk as a stand in for the "cultured" part.


--

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Regarding the buttermilk - all I can find in my grocery store is 'low-fat buttermilk'.  Will this work for the soak, or should I really try to seek out the full-fat stuff?

Nullo, according to Alton Brown, low fat buttermilk is the buttermilk of choice for fried chicken.

Alton's fried chicken recipe from Good Eats

Edit: Um, and also according to slkinsey, above. Duh, I should read before replying.


Edited by patti (log)

"I like 'em french fried pertaters." (Billy Bob Thornton as Karl, in Sling Blade.)

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OK, I'm starting my fried chicken process this afternoon. I have two just barely under 4 lb whole chickens to be cut up. I figure each bird will give me 12 pieces (cut the breasts and back in half). I have buttermilk to soak it in and plan to spike that with hot sauce and salt. Anything else? I tried scanning the first couple pages of this thread, but there don't seem to be any actual recipes posted, or are you all using variations on Alton and Martha?

So today I need help with the brine/marinade.

Frying is tomorrow. I got soy bean oil. I just can't bring myself to buy a can of Crisco. And soy bean oil is what soul food places I've been to or seen on television lately seem to use. I would think corn or peanut oil would be better, but Jason wanted to try to duplicate what a place in NJ that closed last year did.

What goes in the flour dredge? If I salt the marinade, does the flour need to be salted, or should the chicken be salted as it comes out of the fry, like other fried foods? If I put seasoning in the flour, will it burn in the oil? Also, someone above used baking soda, why and what does it do to the crust?

Thanks all.

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So this thread has finally gotten me off my ass, and I'm going to try making Fried Chicken for the first time very soon (hopefully later in the week). I have a question about cooking material. I know you all recommend vegetable shortening (maybe with some bacon fat added), but is lard better? At the grocery store right next to the blocks of Crisco there are similarly packaged blocks of lard, would this be better or worse. I've heard that some packaged lard is crap, and usually off-tasting, but I have no idea where I read that or if it's right. Any ideas?

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We too had a fried chicken dinner last night, but I can't honestly say it was outstanding. What was different for me from all those years ago when I successfully made fried chicken was -- probably #1 -- that I didn't have my heart in it; that I did the buttermilk thing (back in the day I dipped in egg before flour mixture); and that I cooked the non skin side down first.

There is good news and bad news. The bad news is that the skin/breading turned out too salty. I love salt, so that's saying something coming from me. I used the proportions someone mentioned from Martha for salt to buttermilk, and then I too generously salted the flour mixture. If it hadn't been for that, the very crispy skin would have tasted absolutely delicious. One side cooked too brown. It was the non-skin side which I browned first, as somebody talked about upthread. The good news is that inside, the chicken meat was the tastiest and the juiciest fried chicken I ever made.

This was really fun. However, it did bring home to me just how much my cooking style and my tastes in food have changed! It's not worth it to me to go through this much time and mess to eat fried chicken. I would truly rather eat the take-out we get sometimes on Friday nights from one of the Publix in town. We really do love pressure-fried chicken which is what they have. We had our favorite sources for that kind of take-out fried chicken when we lived up in Delmarva Chicken Land.

But back to the cook-off topic... We used our favorite brand of buttermilk, which is very thick and rich. The flour mixture had the same secret-ingredients-seasoning in it that I used to use, with the addition of a couple of pinches of cumin, and of course the too-much salt. I fried in peanut oil with a little bacon grease, and used both of my cast iron skillets. I failed to note how long it cooked.

I could not bring myself to make "my" bacon and egg potato salad without my son being here. This is a public forum, and if he were to read this or to otherwise find out that I made that without him here ... oh my. :shock: I'm going to make some to take with me when we go to Pensacola this week to attend and celebrate his Winging Ceremony, with the Navy.<---Proud mom words. Instead, I made mashed potatoes and a pan sauce, using ooops, I mean gravy, and corn and green beans. I felt like I was eating a Swanson TV Dinner. Just kidding.... though it looked like that, it tasted much, much better than that. We drank a bottle of 2003 Beaujolais-Villages.

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I've really had a good time with this. What a great thread. Thanks to all who have organized it and participated! Is there any idea of what and when the next cook-off will be?


Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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I got home from work about 6 and my wife, the lovely Mrs. Mayhaw, already had a giant pan of chicken sitting in the soaking solution. . . .

I set up the fry rig outside . . . and made up my egg wash and flour mix. Tonight I spiced the flour and the egg wash up a bit more than I usually do, as the boys were all demanding "hot" chicken (this is, after all, the land of Popeye's). The egg wash consisted of two eggs, a 1/4 cup of Tiger Sauce and a cup of water. The flour had random amounts (meaning the right amount, but I didn't measure :wink: ) of salt, black pepper, cayenne, garlic powder, and some hot paprika from Penzey's.

....

I heated the oil to to 375 . . . and while it was coming up the last couple of degrees I rolled the chicken in the egg wash and went straight to the flour....

See now, this is part of what confused me. Brooks, if the chicken was sitting in soaking solution, was that a water based brine, buttermilk, or the egg/tiger sauce wash? If not the egg wash, then would dipping it in the egg wash off the soaking solution? I guess if the soaking solution was just a brine, that would be OK.

Also, has anyone tried removing the skin from the chicken? How does the crust stick? Is it good that way, or should I not bother?

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Rachel, I'm doing Brooks's tonight. The soaking solution is ice water and 2 teaspoons of baking powder. I have no idea why.

then when it comes out of the water, it gets the egg wash. I don't recall washing off the brine after, when I did Brooks recipe during my blog, but then again, I have a short memory.

I'm going to put spices directly onto the chicken and some mixed in with the flour as well.


Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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      Along with the rumblings of cold winter weather and Holiday feasts, we turn our culinary musings to time-treasured, comfortable dishes. And so I invite you to join me in another kitchen adventure--the inimitable eG Cook-Off Series. In 2013, we've tackled the tricky cooking of Squid, Calamari and Octopus and we made delicious dishes out of the humble Summer Squash.
      (Click here http://forums.egulle...cook-off-index/ for the complete eG Cook-Off Index).
      But today we're shunning all manner of counting calories, salt or fat content--for what is rich in flavor is good for the soul my dear friends. Please join me in crafting, nuturing and savoring a dish of Confit.
    • By David Ross
      Hello friends and welcome back to a time-honored tradition--the popular eG Cook-Off Series. We're in the heat of summer right now and our gardens are literally blooming with all manner of peak of the season ripe fruits and succulent vegetables. And there's no better time of year to honor a vegetable that is often maligned as not being as colorful or trendy as the chi-chi breakfast radish or the multi-hued rainbow chard.

      In addition to not always being recognized for it's looks, every August and September it becomes the butt of jokes at State Fair competitions across the country. If you can get past the embarassment of seeing the poor devils dressed up and carved into silly, cartoon-like farm figures or pumped-up with organic steroids, you'll find a delicious, low-calorie vegetable packed with potassium and vitamin A. Yes friends, your dreams have come true for today we kick-off eG Cook-Off #62, "Summer Squash."
      (Click here http://forums.egulle...cook-off-index/ for the complete eG Cook-Off Index).

      According to the University of Illinois Extension Office, summer squash, (also known in some circles as Italian marrow), are tender, warm-season vegetables that can be grown anytime during the warm, frost-free season. Summer squash differs from fall and winter squash, (like pumpkins, acorn and butternut squash), because it is harvested before the outer rind hardens. Some of the most popular summer squash are the Green and Yellow Zucchini, Scallop, Patty Pan, Globe, Butter Blossom and Yellow Crookneck.

      My personal favorite summer squash is the versatile zucchini. Slow-cooked with sliced onion and ham hock, zucchini is perfectly comfortable nestled on a plate next to juicy, fried pork chops and creamy macaroni and cheese. But the chi-chi haute crowd isn't forgotten when it comes to zucchini, or, as the sniffy French call it, the "courgette." Tiny, spring courgette blossoms stuffed with herbs and ricotta cheese then dipped in tempura batter and gently fried are a delicacy found on Michelin-Star menus across the globe.

      Won't you please join me in crafting some delicious masterpieces that showcase the culinary possibilities of delicious summer squash.
    • By David Ross
      Welcome back to our reknowned eGullet Cook-Off Series. Our last Cook-Off, Bolognese Sauce, led to a spirited discussion over the intricacies of the beloved Italian meat sauce. Click here for the complete eG Cook-Off Index. Today we’re launching eGullet Cook-Off 58: Hash, the classic American diner dish.
      Yet what appears as a humble, one-name dish is anything but ordinary. The difficulty in defining “Hash” is exactly why we’ve chosen it for a Cook-Off—simple definitions don’t apply when one considers that Hash is a dish that transcends regional and international boundaries. The ingredients one chooses to put into their version of Hash are limitless--we aren’t just talking cold meat and leftover potatoes folks.
      I for one, always thought Hash came out of a can from our friends at Hormel Foods, (as in "Mary Kitchen" Corned Beef Hash). It looks like Alpo when you scoop it out of the can, but it sure fries up nice and crispy. After a few weeks of research in the kitchen, I’ve experienced a new appreciation for Hash.
      So start putting together the fixins for your Hash and let’s start cooking. Hash, it’s what’s for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner.
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