Sunday, November 15, 2015

Buttermilk Fried Chicken and Waffles

Before the words "ew" fly out of your mouth...hold on! Chicken and Waffles is Soul Food, and I can personally attest that it's good. Really good.  The first time I tried Chicken and Waffles, was several years ago, in Oakland, California.   I was wary, but I decided I shouldn't knock it, until I tried it.

If you're still shaking your head, and way does that combo sound good-- hear me out!  Please. Waffle ingredients are very similar to biscuits. Right?  Chicken and biscuits...yes? So, why not chicken and waffles?  When you add pure maple syrup over the crispy chicken, and get that salty and spicy coating.... um, yes.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Buttermilk Waffles for Two

I've got a few tasty waffle  recipes posted on my blog (like my Gingerbread Pumpkin Waffles).  This waffle recipe is no exception.

Now that Craig and I are empty nesters, I'm looking for ways to convert recipe portions by at least half.  Sure, leftover waffles can be frozen and reheated.  I'd much prefer to have a simple recipe, that I can make in a matter of minutes-- and one that makes just enough waffles for the two of us.  This recipe delivered exactly that.

America's Test Kitchen remains one of my most trustworthy recipe sources.  I recently bought The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook, and I'm slowly making my way through many of the recipes I've bookmarked. 

There are two ingredients that you might not have in your pantry, that you will need for this recipe. One of them is buttermilk powder. It's quite easy to find-- usually in the baking section of your grocery store. I also  see that Bob's Red Mill makes one, too.   I store the  powder in my refrigerator (once it's opened) and it's come in handy for the times when I don't have buttermilk in my fridge. It's perfect for making bread and all kinds of baking. The other ingredient is seltzer water. Yep, I always have a few can of that, as well. It's great for making these Swedish pancakes.  Not only that, but I find seltzer water, mixed with fresh fruit juice is quite refreshing.

If you're familiar with America's Test Kitchen, they do a lot of testing and research before publishing a recipe. I own many of their cookbooks and I subscribe to all of their magazines.  Yes, I am a devoted fan. 

So, why seltzer water, you ask?   ATK wanted a waffle that would have a crisp, golden-brown crust with a moist, fluffy interior.  The seltzer water  gives more "oompf" in leavening along with some baking soda. . (The tiny bubbles inflate the batter the same was as a chemical leavener.)  Why not use regular buttermilk? Well, the powder produced a lighter waffle without a gummy interior. That works for me!

For the wet ingredients, I used sour cream, egg, vegetable oil, a little vanilla and the seltzer water. Whisk together.

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Sunday, November 8, 2015

Pressure Cooking: Cheesy Salsa Lime Chicken

I love my pressure cooker. I'm not afraid of it, one bit. I've never had an "explosion".  
Dear fearful non-pressure cooker readers, please believe me when I tell you that there is nothing to fear. Today's pressure cookers don't growl or bite. They have been updated with safety features that makes pressure cooking fun. Imagine, a Beef Bourguignon (Beef Burgundy) cooked in 40 minutes, instead of 3 hours!  Don't you love it?

I have as slow cooker, and I use it every so often.  The downside of slow cookers is that I don't have time to load it up with ingredients in the morning.  The night before, I'm usually worn out and don't have the energy to chop and measure. With a pressure cooker, that's not a problem!  Pressure Cookers are the Ferrari of Slow Cookers!

What I discovered, when I saw this recipe on one of my most trusted pressure cooker recipe blogs, "Pressure Cooking Today" is that I can use frozen chicken!  (Likewise, I've read that using frozen meats in a slow cooker is not recommended as being "food safety safe".)

Fortunately, I had all the ingredients on hand and I got busy setting up my winter photography lights (I much prefer natural lighting...but there ya go.)  Salsa, chopped onion, fresh garlic, tomato sauce...

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Sunday, October 18, 2015

Easy Bavarian Style Apple Strudel (Apfel Strudel)

When my mother passed away, in October 2002, we held an Oktoberfest memorial service for her. To know my Mutti, she loved a party, loved to dance, and thrived at being the center of attention.

 Rather than having a somber service, we had a fully catered German buffet with Bavarian music playing. I think she would have been very pleased with that.

My Mutti, dancing with my, then, one year old son.
Since then, I have hosted an annual Oktoberfest, for my immediate family, as a way to honor our Mutti's memory.  Being the only daughter, it looks like I'm the one to carry on my mother's traditional Bavarian recipes-- that includes her Austrian Goulash, Semmel Knoedel, German potato salad and homemade spaetzle.  
It occurred to me that I had never made homemade Apple Strudel-- the equivalent to American Apple Pie.  I also realized that my Mutti never taught me how to make one. Well, it was high time that I did so!  After researching a lot of internet recipes, cookbooks and Youtube videos, so many versions included bread crumbs and nuts.  I scratched my head, as I clearly don't remember either of these ingredients from any Apfel Strudel that I'd had.

So, I called my mother's first cousin, who is an excellent cook and baker.  She explained that bread crumbs and nuts are ingredients more commonly used, in strudel,  in the northern parts of Germany. In Bavaria, her mother's recipe used fresh apples, raisins, cinnamon, sugar. Making authentic strudel dough can be laborious, because you have to roll and stretch it so thin, that you can read a newspaper through it!  We both agreed that frozen puff pastry would make a perfect substitute.  So, I thawed a package of puff pastry in the refrigerator the night before our Oktoberfest.

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