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Greens: A Southern Tradition

19 Nov

In my family no Thanksgiving would be complete without greens.  Last year, I hosted my first Thanksgiving Dinner and it was also my first year as head chef.  Of course, I was under the watchful eye of my Mamaw, but I did the majority of the prepping, and I’m happy to say I think I’ve finally mastered the art of making greens.  However, I must admit, earlier today I placed a call to my Mamaw just to make sure I was doing it right. After all, she was raised in Rappahannock County Virginia (Vah-ginah, as she says), where you ‘bet not mess up dem greens.

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Mamaw’s Fried Chicken

5 Nov

All my Mamaw has to do to get the family together, is tell us she’s making fried chicken.  I love her chicken so much, I incorporated it into Christmas!  I’ll be sure to share those traditions in a future post.  My Mamaw does not make her chicken very often because it’s not exactly the most healthy food.  When you want to indulge, my Mamaw’s fried chicken is an absolute guilty pleasure.  Now I probably shouldn’t be messing with perfection, but as I was researching different fried chicken ingredients I noticed one common denominator.  Buttermilk.  You see marinating the chicken in buttermilk, is supposed to make the skin crispier, think KFC.  So I decided to test this theory against my Mamaw’s Family Favorite Fried Chicken.  Here we go.

Mamaw’s Fried Chicken

Servings 4 (I’m never shy about big portions)

Cooking Time: 30-45 minutes

Marinade: 30 minutes – overnight marinade, if using buttermilk

Ingredients (Commentary? Heck Yeah!)

12 Pieces of Chicken

You can do an assortment of chicken: 2 Breasts, 2 Thighs, 4 Wings, 4 Drumsticks.  You get the point, if they have a family pack at the grocery store, just make sure you get chicken with the bone-in.  Cheaper, and it holds flavor really well.

3-4 Cups of pre-made Frying (Seasoned) Flour

You can find this in the baking aisle of most grocery stores near the regular flour or spices.  The measurements don’t have to be exact, but in this case, I’d rather you have more than less.

3 Tablespoons of Salt and a dash for good measure

I really don’t like giving exact measurements because everyone’s tastes are different.

3 Tablespoons Garlic Powder

3 Tablespoons Paprika

2 Tablespoons of Black Pepper

4 Cups of Buttermilk

Only if you’d like a more flaky crispy wing, but if you don’t have it, don’t worry about it! Mamaw will be happy, she’d probably say you shouldn’t mess with the best! Ha! I love her! I’m only adding it for my own curiosity.

6 Cups of Vegetable Oil – don’t have it? Use Canola Oil instead

Time to Prep.

First make sure you clean your chicken, and pull off any feathers that may have been left.

Chicken with Buttermilk: Place all chicken into a baking dish (I use my glass brownie dish).  That way the chicken can be fully covered by the buttermilk.  Add the buttermilk, cover with plastic wrap, refridgerate and marinade for 30 minutes.  You can also let it sit overnight, but you must use it within one day.

Chicken without Buttermilk: All you have to do is clean the chicken and then follow the directions below.

I have an electric skillet, which is perfect for frying, if you have one too, set that baby to 350˚F.  You can also use a heavy frying pan, or a large saute pan about 3-4 inches deep on medium heat.  Use anything where the chicken will fit, and be covered by the frying oil.  The oil should take about 10 minutes to properly heat, but you can always check by sprinkling a little of the flour in the oil.  If it sizzles immediately then it is ready to work.  While you wait for the oil to heat you can flour the chicken.

Is that a plastic bag you put the flour on?  Why yes it is.  Flouring (putting the batter) on the chicken can be such a mess to clean up.  My Mamaw taught me this little trick, mostly for quick clean up.  Just make sure you rinse and dry the plastic bag before you use it.  Place the flour on the inside of a pre washed plastic bag, and add salt, garlic powder, paprika, and pepper. Mix.  Dredge the chicken, coating it in flour mixture, and set aside in a bowl or large plate.  Once finished you should be able to lift the handles of the plastic bag leaving the left over flour on the inside of the bag, and throw it away.  Quick and easy clean up.

When the oil is hot enough (around 350˚F), use tongs to place the chicken in the oil.  BE CAREFUL!  The oil WILL pop.  You will probably have to place the chicken in batches, but make sure you give each piece room to fry.  Cover to avoid splatter.  Let cook untouched for about 5-10 minutes, depending on the size, then turn.  The bigger the piece the more time it will need to cook.  Repeat.  You will know when the chicken is ready because it will brown, and will float on the top of the oil.  Place finished chicken on a serving tray lined with paper towels.  This will help absorb excess oil.  You can either remove the paper towels or serve as is.


Mamaw's Fried Chicken

On the left is my Mamaw’s Recipe with no added buttermilk, and on the right is fried chicken with buttermilk.  I will add more pictures soon, but used this recipe to make Honey BBQ Wings.  This is before I coated the chicken with sauce.  I can see a difference as the wings with buttermilk are flakier.  However, when it comes to taste, well, I’ll let you be the judge.  Can you tell the difference?

Honey BBQ Wings vs. Chipotle Lime Wings

5 Nov

Chicken wings, chicken wings, chicken wings, or as I say CHICKEN WAY-NGS! For the record, I only added a Y in the pronunciation of WAY-NGS because a little birdie over my shoulder, who shall remain nameless, said it “sounded” like something else.  To that I say sure, it “sounds” like Wangs, you know, like Wang, the most common Chinese surname in the world. Duh!

Anywho, let’s get back to business.  For me this post is right on time, it is football season after all.  GO SKINS! Yes, I am a proud Washington Redskins Fan. I understand not everyone is a Skins fan, but don’t worry, I won’t hold it against you.  Here’s a recipe for all sports fans, and anyone who likes a good hearty snack on game day.

Are you ready for some football, I mean, WAY-NGS?  Let me present to you, two friendly opponents, both trying their best to score a touchdown, hit it out the park, compel you to yell GOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Make you do the wave, maybe even dance a little jig, you get the point.  However, let me just tell you, I made both dishes last weekend, and it appears the score is 1-1.

Honey BBQ Wings

Servings: 2-4

I’ve got a family of big guys so this would probably only feed one.

Cook Time: 30 Minutes

Ingredients: (Here comes the commentary)

12 Wingettes

They usually come in a 12 pack, so you’ll only need one, I prefer wingettes because they are much easier to prep.

2 Cups of pre-made Frying (Seasoned) Flour

You can find this in the baking aisle of most grocery stores near the regular flour or spices

2 Tablespoons of Salt

3 Tablespoons Garlic Powder

3 Tablespoons Paprika

2 Tablespoons of Cayenne Pepper or Regular Black Pepper

1 tablespoon for the flour and 1 tablespoon for sauce.

2 Cups of Buttermilk

Only if you’d like a more flaky crispy wing, think KFC, but if you don’t have it, don’t worry about it!

1/2 Bottle (2-3 Cups) of your favorite wing sauce

I use a mild sauce and then spice it up with the cayenne pepper.  Remember if you are making this for the masses, not everyone likes burn your tongue, make you cry hot sauce.

1/4 Cup Honey

5 Cups of Vegetable Oil for Frying

Use the cooking instructions from my Mamaw’s Fried Chicken Recipe to fry the wings before coating them in the Honey BBQ Sauce.

Honey BBQ Sauce:

While the wings are frying, you can make the sauce, add the 2-3 cups of wing sauce to a medium and/or large bowl (enough to fit all 12 wingettes).  Add honey, and cayenne pepper, and mix.

Using tongs, place the freshly fried wings, on a serving platter or large plate.  Make sure you line the platter with paper towels to absorb the excess oil.  Don’t want to clog those arteries too much.

Once all the wings are finished, add them to the Honey BBQ Sauce and coat.  You will probably have extra sauce, but you can store it in the fridge for another recipe, or use it as a dipping sauce.  Perhaps on french fries, chicken tenders, or put the sauce on a burger.

Remove the paper towels and wipe oil from the platter and use the dish to serve your fresh Honey BBQ Wings.  Enjoy!

Chipotle Lime Chicken Wings

Servings: 2-4

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients (Perhaps there will be commentary)

12 Wingettes

1/2 Cup Lime Juice

Instead of trying to squeeze out a half cup from fresh limes, you can use pre squeezed lime juice.  You know the juice that come in the cute little plastic bottles that are in the shape of limes.

1/2 Cup of Chipotle Sauce

1/2 Packet of Chipotle Seasoning

They are in the aisle where the taco seasoning is, it makes marinating the chicken super easy.  If you can’t find the chipotle seasoning, then get a hot chili seasoning mix.

1Tablespoon of Salt

3 Tablespoons Ground Coriander (Cilantro)

This part is optional, if you don’t have it, don’t worry.

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil or Vegetable Oil (For Baking)

Time to Prep.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and lightly spread olive oil or vegetable oil (about 1 Tablespoon) onto the paper.

While the oven is preheating, mix the lime juice, chipotle sauce, salt, and Chipotle seasoning packet in a bowl.  The bowl should be large enough to fit the 12 wingettes.  Before you put the wings in the sauce make sure you rinse them off in cold water, and remove any feathers not yet removed.

Remove one fourth of the sauce and set aside, you will use this later.

Place uncooked wings in the sauce, and marinade while the oven preheats to 375˚F

Once the oven is preheated, place the uncooked wings on the baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Should be in rows (one layer).  Give them a little space (1/2 inch) to cook. Sprinkle the wings with the ground coriander if you have it (optional).

Place wings in the oven on the middle rack and cook for 15-20 minutes, the wings should be browned.  Turn wings over and brush with the sauce that was set aside.  Cook for another 15-20 minutes.

Most of the sauce should have evaporated, if not remove from oven and discard excess juice.  Place back in the oven for another 5 minutes.  This is only if most of the sauce did not evaporate.

If you’d like to make the flavor of the wings even more intense brush the wings again with the chipotle sauce, and let rest in the now turned off oven for another 5 minutes, or until ready to serve.