As previously posted, I wanted to cook a lot this weekend--plus Josh's brother was visiting and I didn't want them to eat out for every meal. Josh's brother can be picky so I wanted to stick to the kind of food that everyone likes.
But first, to get my energy up for a day of cooking, I decided to make Italian Parmesan and Egg Soup (p. 124). I'm always nervous about TJOC's "Italian" recipes. I don't know, they never seem very ethnic. But I had a bunch of chicken stock and I wanted to use it. This recipe is really easy. Pretty much, bring stock to a simmer, mix an egg, Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, parsley, and garlic, combine that with the stock, and eat. The egg mix is one of the most disgusting things that I've ever seen. At this point, I wasn't very optimistic.
It isn't really that appetizing looking -- but the soup was really tasty. True comfort food--and extremely easy. Between the egg, cheese, and breadcrumbs--it was a really filling soup. I recommend it.
One of those food items that I think everybody likes is fried chicken. The problem with making fried chicken? I really don't want to bring out my deep fryer. First off, I don't have room on the countertop for it and I don't want to through out the oil every time. Second, the deep fryer is scary. I use it once a year, to make calamari at Christmas, and this ain't Christmas.
Fortunately, TJOC has anticipated this problem (well, likely not THIS problem, but...) and has a recipe for Oven-Fried Chicken with Cornmeal Crust (p. 430). I used chicken thighs because they are a) tasty and b) cheap. Dark meat is always more flavorful than white meat--I canNOT understand why some people are so in love with chicken breasts--and they take the skins off at that!
The first part of this recipe is to prepare the Buttermilk Marinade (p. 585). This is easy--you just mix buttermilk and garlic, and then lightly season it. I can't say that it smelled that great--I'm not in love with buttermilk. Heavy cream? Yes. Buttermilk? No.
You then season it more--shallots, lemon juicy, chili powder, etc. I used dehydrated shallots because I couldn't find the fresh shallots in my refrigerator. Found them immediately afterwards--but what can you do. Dehydrated shallots and dehydrated lemon peel are two of my favorite spices from Penzey's.
The chicken goes into this mess and sits for a couple hours. The marinade was just enough for the 3.5 pounds of chicken.
Next step--mix a whole bunch of dry ingredients in a shallow pan (including bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese--apparently that was the theme of the day) and an egg/butter mix in a bowl. The chicken gets the marinade shaken off, dipped in the egg, and then dredged in the cornmeal mix (is that the correct use of the word 'dredge'?). The dry mix adhered really well to the chicken.
Yum...pieces of chicken! And drizzled with butter...
I was terrified by the end of this recipe. You bake the chicken at a high temp (425) for a long time (40 minutes). It seemed to me that it was bound to burn. And sure enough, the oven started smoking about halfway through. This freaked Josh out (he was convinced I had another TJOC related fire) but the chicken looked fine, so I turned on the oven fan and didn't worry about it.
The chicken was great! Incredibly moist and flavorful. I think the marinade really added to the juiciness. And it wasn't very difficult! I think I'm almost ready for the deep fryer!