2.16.2009

Three Recipes, One Long Weekend

I started off this long weekend at the Diner, with three new recipes and all the ingredients to successfully prepare all of them, and add them to our ever-growing menu.

It started Friday with Chicken Molé. Although it smelled delicious with adobo, ancho chili powder, cinnamon and cocoa powder, there was too much mole for too little chicken and a little too spicy for HH.

Next was the Red Velvet Cake on Saturday, and my first-ever attempt of baking with cake flour. It was good, but there was nothing red about it! The organic rose food coloring, which I had on hand, was overwhelmed by the cocoa powder. Then when I went to frost the three layers with the from-scratch frosting, the light chocolate colored cake was flaking into the white cream cheese frosting! So as I was laughing in the kitchen, HH asked what was going on and I told him that when he finally gets to see it, remember it was made with tons of love! Thank goodness for the heart stencil and red sprinkles that helped me hide the debacle on top. Those red sprinkles can hide a multitude of sins.

Finally, I was back to perfecting the Fried Chicken on Sunday, since I had found a wonderful new-to-me 10” cast iron skillet with a lid (!) for just $7.95 at a local thrift store. I was ready for the final phase of excellent fried chicken, since the cast iron is supposed to conduct the heat more evenly than normal pans. I had extra buttermilk left over from the Red Velvet Cake, so I decided to soak the chicken in the buttermilk and then follow the simple flour/salt/pepper coating I did last time. The pan, and therefore the oil, got hot fast and that led to the skin browning quicker than I was ready for, even though I turned the heat down. The outcome - one step forward and two steps back.

After three not-so-perfect attempts this weekend, I said to HH I was going back to what I do best – healthy. Baked chicken breast, steamed vegetables and a salad – not as exciting, but certainly successful. And he said, with a Cheshire cat smile on his face, “Can you serve fried chicken in a bowl?” I looked at him, paused to think, and then it dawned on me, I could not help but laugh! Last week we had a string of successful meals:
Last Saturday – Potato Leek Soup (in a bowl)
Last Sunday – Red sauce with angel hair pasta, more commonly known as Spaghetti (in a bowl)
Last Monday – Albondigas (in a bowl)
Tuesday – Chili over corny cornbread (in a bowl)
Wednesday – Potato Leek Soup (again), all together now, IN A BOWL!!!

You get the picture. So if one of the merits of fried chicken was that it was served in a bowl, certainly I could be successful at it!

The good news is that this next week’s menu has proven favorites on it, and only one meal in a bowl.

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