confessions of a double dipper

Yes, some people find it messy, gross, whatever. So I don’t do it at parties, or in polite company, or even in impolite company.  I didn’t double-dip whilst on holiday, which would seem a natural time to engage in food shenanigans.  (I was too busy drinking and getting plowed like highway snow, the memory of which will have to suffice until a friggin eternity  hell freezes over  the second coming of Christ  I give up trying  next vacation.)

I *do* double-dip at home, with alacrity and without a shred of remorse. Yes [back of hand placed delicately to forehead, looking away to the horizon with chagrin], I double-dip my chicken.

So should you.

 

Typically, I bake or roast chicken.  For chicken pieces, a soak in that Korean(ish) marinade for 45 minutes, followed by 45 minutes of covered baking at 325 degrees, then open roasting at 450 degrees for 25 minutes, produces a delightful protein that the kids leave denuded of all but the bone and the cluck.

But sometimes, I like to fry the chicken.  And when I fry, I double-dip.  As a Southerner by heritage if not by birth, soggy fried chicken or breading left in the frying pan are abominations which are not tolerated.  If it doesn’t stick, and it doesn’t crunch, it ain’t fried chicken – that’s just some mess you poached in oil, bless yer heart.

Oddly, I have no measurements.  Just a list of things that I do, which turns out moist, juicy chicken encased in flavorful crunch.  Here goes; hold my beer:

Equipment

  • 12-inch frying pan, half-full of vegetable oil and heated on medium-high until the flour sizzles
  • two sets of tongs (one for dealing with the raw chicken, one for frying)
  • catering pan (enough to hold the marinating chicken)
  • small bowl (for the egg dip)
  • 8 x 4 loaf pan (for the flour dip)
  • aluminum foil, large enough to rest the dipped chicken
  • baking sheet lined with paper towels

Marinade (catering pan)

  • milk, enough to cover chicken
  • vinegar, maybe 1t per cup of milk
  • hot sauce, enough to turn the milk pink
  • salt, eyeballed…but a 10% solution by weight works

Egg Dip

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • shitload of hot sauce (enough to turn the eggs orange)

Flour Dip (all eyeballed)

  • self-rising flour (look through my 1-2-3-4 cake recipe, or Google it)
  • Old Bay Seasoning
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Doin’ Stuff

After 2 hours in the marinade at room temp, the chicken is double-dipped, egg dip first.  I let it set up on the sheet of foil for about 10 minutes while the oil heats up, because I want that meat glue/flour mixture to cling to the chicken for dear life.

The fry time will depend on the piece.  I typically fry legs, so 6 minutes per side will get it to the color in the photo.  When in doubt, fry to the color you want, then set it in a 300 degree oven for 10 minutes or so to finish.  The nice thing about that salty, ersatz buttermilk brine is that the chicken will survive the time in the oven without becoming chicken jerky.

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the ten percent solution: brown sugar brine



The Anal Proportion (scale up/down as needed)

  • 1000g water
  • 75g table salt
  • 25g brown sugar

For this bird (12 pound turkey), I mixed 7,500g water with 562g salt and 188g sugar in a garbage bag-lined stock pot (unscented!), dropped the turkey in, closed up the bag and covered the works with a layer of frozen gel packs.  It will brine for 8 hours, get a thorough rinse and pat dry, then come up to room temp.  I’ll rub it down with butter and stuff it with aromatics (onion and sage) before sticking it into The Arsonist at 400 degrees for 60 minutes (breast side down), then 325 degrees for 60 minutes (breast side up).

I don’t have a V-rack.  I have a foil-lined 13″ X 9″ pan with two cooling racks on top.  It does the job.

If you don’t like anal, use:

The Missionary Position (again, scale to suit)

  • 1 gallon water
  • 1c table salt
  • 1/2c brown sugar

the beast is appeased



At least, partially appeased.  Got my act together and put in my AF order; if I don’t expire in a fit of foodie bliss tonight, I will certainly be ready to risk severe artery clogging with a lux mac & cheese tomorrow night.

Full confession: the kids wanted to try a piece, since they dined on other things.  Giving up a shrimp was more difficult than I have words to adequately describe.  I made them clean things first.  I’m a mean mommy.  But damn it, this scampi is GOOD.  Like, impress your boss/your mother-in-law/people who could find fault with Mister-Fucking-Rogers good.  Like, wipe the bowl clean with slices of baguette good.  Definitely like lick the bowl clean if you are avoiding bread for the next 30 days (like I am; more like sacrificing bread on the altar of Maybe-But-I’ll-Get-Back-To-You) good.

cooking with whine: shrimp scampi

If I created an evolutionary line of cooking instructional videos, somewhere on the Mars Rover side would be Bruno Albouze (French private chef; expects his viewers to have knife skills), and somewhere on the knuckle-dragging side would be Kathy Maister (American Home Ec Instructor; teaches knife skills).

Which is not a dig, but an acknowledgement that we all have to start somewhere, and that’s where I found myself when reading about cooking (Alton) was not. quite. translating. into. edible. food.  Great production values, great animations, soothing background music, focus on basic techniques and the mise en place.  Kathy has it all, and is well-worth a visit for the recipes long after the need to learn technique has waned.

One of my favorites is her Shrimp Scampi, which I will not recount here but will make tonight (and add a photo, maybe).  Two Buck Chuck is usually the wine of choice, but tonight I will use some of the Fume Blanc, which should be as delightful with shrimp swimming in it as it is straight from the bottle like a damn wino in the glass.

I was going to whine about delayed logistics spoiling dreams of a lovely view and bergamot & grapefuit scented bath bubbles, but the thought of making scampi tonight has brought with it indelible cheer.  Plus, I’m freezing my ass off on the back deck – the now-working furnace beckons.

cooking when i don’t feel like it: chicken milanese 



I suffer from a strange reaction to food – when I cook it, I don’t want to eat it and when I eat it, I don’t want to cook it.  Multi-homed satiety has its benefits and drawbacks.  Tonight was a drawback, since I was full enough from lunch that I didn’t feel like cooking dinner.  But I have two stomachs in the house that don’t cook and therefore expect to be fed regularly.  What do?

Chicken Milanese, that’s what.  It’s fun because I get to play with the food, but not labor-intensive and incorporates downtime, so I can wash the prep dishes during Intermission and don’t feel like the kitchen was hit with a hurricane when I’m done.

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dirty rice (my daddy would not approve)



I’ve been noodling over The Food Stamp Challenge, again.  Nope, still not taking it; looking at it from a home ec perspective, though.  For a family of three in Los Angeles County, the maximum monthly SNAP benefit is $511/month.  The Hillbilly Housewife has two meal plans that could take the challenge – one devoid of meat (but with eggs) and the other with a bit more variety.

The last time the author updated the meal plans was in 2009, but the core items in the lowest-cost plan can be purchased from Amazon Fresh, in most of the quantities indicated, and come in at the $511 price point for the month.  (My basket for the week was $96.81 – $20 to spend for the last two days would be pretty slim pickings).  So, in theory, one could buy through Amazon Fresh on a food stamp budget without starving.   But I think I could do better, for my specific situation, with that monthly allotment.

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the best fucking meatloaf, ever (imo)





I love Deb Perelman.  She is a goddess in the kitchen, who is not afraid to publish her failures as well as her successes.  Her book contains a recipe for meatballs which was meant to be the Anti-Meatloaf. . .but makes the best fucking meatloaf I have ever tasted.  If you buy her book (please do!) and follow the recipe, outstanding.  If you want a simplified version of it, read on.

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