I saved something special for our last dinner. Although I picked the recipes, the credit goes to my sister, Anne, who gave me the Williams-Sonoma: Casual Entertaining cookbook that the bulk of it came from.
Fried Chicken with Herbs, Creamy Tex-Mex Corn with Lime, and Cheddar Biscuits
Fried Chicken with Herbs
2 chickens, about 2 1/2 lb, cut into 8 pieces (I did a bulk package of drumsticks instead)
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3/4 cup dried bread crumbs
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh marjoram (I used 1/4 tsp dried)
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
canola oil for frying
2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley (I forgot this)
1. Place the chicken pieces in a bowl with 1 cup of the buttermilk. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 18 hours.
2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees (this actually could wait until step 3). In a shallow bowl, beat the egg until blended, then beat in the remaining 1/2 cup buttermilk. On a plate, mix together the flour, bread crumbs, garlic, basil, marjoram, paprika, salt and pepper (I would use a gallon-sized Ziploc bag next time).
3. Using tongs, lift the chicken pieces from the buttermilk, one at a time, and dip first into the flour mixture, coating evenly, and then into the egg mixture. Dip each piece again into the flour mixture and set aside on a baking sheet. When all the chicken pieces are coated, refrigerate them for 15 minutes while the oil heats.
4. In a deep frying pan over high heat, pour in oil to a depth of 1 inch. Heat the oil until it reaches 350 degrees on a deep-frying thermometer, or until the corner of a piece of chicken dipped into the hot oil sizzles immediately upon contact. Working in batches, fry the chicken pieces, turning as needed, until well browned on all sides, about 10 minutes total. Do not crowd the pan. As soon as the pieces are browned, transfer them to a clean baking sheet (tip: line the pan with foil).
5. When all of the pieces are browned, place them in the oven and bake until opaque throughout and the juices run clear, 20-30 minutes (I should have done it for 15, I think, but I was busy making other dishes and trusted the time--they were a little darker than I would have liked). As the pieces are done transfer them to a plate. Arrange all the pieces on a warmed serving platter and serve warm or at room temperature, garnished with the chopped parsley.
The Verdict: 4 thumbs up, 1 thumb medium. Very good fried chicken, I really enjoyed it, and fried chicken is not my favorite thing. Apparently, Isaiah doesn't love getting his hands messy either. We had dinner guests, and got good reviews from the majority of them, as well.
Creamy Tex-Mex Corn with Lime
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cups corn kernels (I used frozen)
1 large shallot, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 cup whole milk
2 tbsp fresh goat cheese (I substituted cream cheese, since I forgot to pick this up.)
1 1/2 tsp minced lime zest, plus zest strips for garnish
1/4 cup snipped fresh chives, plus more for garnish
salt and freshly ground pepper
1. In a large, nonstick frying pan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the corn, shallot, garlic, cumin, and chili powder and saute until the corn starts to soften, about 4 minutes.
2. Stir in the milk and cheese and simmer, uncovered, until the liquid thickens, about 4 minutes. Mix in the lime zest and chives and season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Transfer to a warmed serving bowl (this is essential, as it cools quickly--ours got cold too fast), garnish with the zest strips and snipped chives, and serve at once.
The Verdict: 1 thumb up, 1 thumb medium, 3 thumbs down. The seasoning in this was actually pretty good, I think, but the texture wasn't everyone's favorite. I think that was mostly because it got cold too fast. I probably won't make it again, sadly. But I might think about using chili powder, chives and lime to flavor corn when going for a Tex-Mex flavor as a side dish.
Red Lobster's Cheddar Biscuits
(This recipe comes from America's Most Wanted Recipes, and it says it makes 10 biscuits)
2 cups biscuit mix (I used 3 cups)
1/2 cup shredded mild Cheddar cheese (I used 3/4 cup)
2/3 cup milk (I used 1 cup)
4 tbsp butter (this was waaaay too much, and I made a larger batch)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Parsley flakes, for sprinkling
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Grease cookie sheet.
2. Stir together the biscuit mix, Cheddar, and milk until a soft dough forms. Beat with a wooden spoon for about 30 seconds.
3. Spoon onto a greased cookie sheet. Smooth down the tops to prevent hard points from forming.
4. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the tops are brown.
5. While the biscuits are baking, melt the butter in a pan (I did it in the microwave) and stir in the garlic powder.
6. Once the biscuits are done, brush the butter on the tops, sprinkle with parsley flakes, and serve hot.
The Verdict: 5 thumbs up, but only when spread with butter. I will definitely make these again because they were easy to whip up, but much better than your average biscuit.
Tomorrow I'll post the winners and their prize, along with a recap of the last month. Thanks again, for playing along!