Unlocking Memories

Unlocking Memories
Revealing Old Memories and Creating New Ones

Thursday, December 22, 2016

My Husband's Oven Fried Chicken

This is thee bomb chicken. It's moist and tender with a flaky, flavorful crunch. Make this one for your family and they will sing your praise. It's versatile also. You can add a little orange zest or lemon zest to it also. So, without further ado . . . here's the recipe . . .

Buttermilk Brine
2cups buttermilk
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp hot sauce (we used Louisiana)
1/2 yellow onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic (smashed)
kosher salt
ground black pepper
5 sprigs fresh thyme 
2 tsp turmeric

Corn Flake Coating Mix
2Cups crushed corn flakes (pick a brand that tastes good to you)
3/4 cup grated SPICY parmesan cheese
Salt
Pepper

3 Lbs. chicken (bathed and pat dry)


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Fit a sheet tray with a wire rack and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  • To make the buttermilk brine, mix together buttermilk, lemon juice, hot sauce, onion, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the chicken and coat with mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 3 hours or up to 12 hours.
  • To make the corn flake coating, mix corn flakes, parmesan cheese, thyme, salt and pepper.
  • Remove the chicken from the brine, letting the excess liquid drip off, and dredge in the corn flake coating. Press firmly to make the coating adhere to the chicken.
  • Place the chicken on the prepared wire rack/tray and bake 45 minutes or until golden, crisp, and juices run clear (cooking time will vary depending on the size of the chicken parts and your oven).

Monday, December 21, 2015

Delite-ful Buttermilk Waffles

Waffles! Hot . . . rich . . . buttery . . . pillowy soft . . . waffles! Slightly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

I love waffles. Waffles bring back memories of Grandfather (yes, we did call him Grandfather and he was exactly that . . . a Grand Father). My Grandfather loved waffles and whenever he came to our house or we visited his house, waffles were on the menu. He, or we, made them on a very large, old, square waffle iron that pumped out waffle after waffle, with perfection every time. There are a few scents that bring back memories of my Grandfather - car paint and auto body repair products, corn chips, orange juice, and . . . WAFFLES!!!


I introduced my children to fresh, homemade, waffles from my own recipe when they were just old enough to eat solid foods. I may have overdone it on the waffles. I made them fresh from scratch every time. Then a period of time came when we needed convenience. These waffles are great tasting AND convenient. It doesn't take long to mix up a batch and, better yet, you can premix the dry ingredients and store them in batches like an instant mix. Just add the wet ingredients when you're ready to make them.You can also make batches of waffles, stack them with squares of wax or parchment paper in between each waffle, and freeze them. WALLAH! Now you have frozen waffles ready to pop into the toaster, oven, or microwave in a jiff!

This recipe is my base recipe for greater recipes. This can be a savory/sweet breakfast or a sweet-tooth fulfilling and healthy dessert base. You can add blueberries (just roll them in a little bit of flour or the dry mix before adding the wet ingredients), pecans, apples, cinnamon and nutmeg, whatever your fancy is. You can even replace half of the flour with oat flour (just take some rolled oats and put it in the blender or a food processor for flour ... or buy it at your local grocer).

Let's talk about buttermilk before we start. Unless you like to drink it or you cook with it often, you probably don't have buttermilk in your refrigerator. If you're making multiple batches of waffles then it makes sense to buy your buttermilk from your grocer. However, if you only need enough to make a batch then here is an easy way to avoid waste.

MAKE YOUR OWN BUTTERMILK!

Here's how.

In your measuring cup, add a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar or fresh organic lemon juice. Fill the rest with the measure of whole milk that you need (whole milk thickens better because of the higher milk fat, but you could use 2% milk if you like). Let that sit for a few minutes and there you have it . . . BUTTERMILK!

I hope this recipe brings warmth to you and your family the way it does mine. By the way, you'll want to pair this with Real Maple Syrup. No corn-based syrups for this one (unless that's what you prefer).

Let's gather the necessary ingredients for these delicious waffles (and of course if your an organic or vegetarian foodie, go ahead and use your organic or vegetarian ingredients).

Wet Ingredients
1/2 c Melted Butter
3 Large Eggs
1 1/2 C Buttermilk
1 tsp Vanilla Extract (or any flavor you like)
1 tb Honey

Dry Ingredients
1 3/4 C Flour (or 1C white + 3/4 C whole wheat if you prefer)  *if you use spelt, you         will have to adjust the amount of flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 C sugar (raw cane, coconut, date, or processed white cane)
1/4 tsp salt



  1. Measure all dry ingredients into a bowl and sift together. Make a depression in the center.
  2. In another bowl, lightly beat eggs together with vanilla, buttermilk, and cooled melted butter until well combined and a little frothy.
  3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredient's depression and stir rapidly until the batter is smooth and rich (it should be thick like cake mix and not runny).
  4. Depending on the size of your waffle iron, use a measuring scoop to pour the batter into the center of the waffle iron and follow your manufacturer's instructions. My iron is small so I used just about 2 scoops using my 1/4 c scoop.
  5. Serve with warm maple syrup, preserves, Knott's Berry Farm flavored syrups, ice cream, fruit filling and whipped cream, pecans, dates, vanilla yogurt and berries,bananas, chopped honey apple, dark chocolate . . . you get the picture right???
Fresh strawberries, blackberries, and agave syrup

Build this beauty on top of your waffle with chopped honey apple, vanilla or plain yogurt, dark chocolate, cinnamon and all-natural peanut butter


Monday, December 14, 2015

Sweet Potato Pie Manley Style

Well . . . My husband won't allow me to publish this recipe, but I can say this much about it . . . this is the pie your Southern grandmother used to make.



Why Manley Pie? Well, this is actually a recipe given to me from my mother. It's one of a few recipes she used to make sweet potato pie and it's my favorite one so far. This is that pie that takes you back to your childhood every single time. So, one day I asked her to walk me through the process of making this pie and I took the time to write down every step of it. Now, the measurements are not your standard units of measure. The units of measure are "country measurements." What is that? I'm glad you asked. Country measurements are "a little of", "a pinch of", "10 taps of", "15 sprinkles of", " a couple scoops of", "a handful of", etc. 
While I cannot give you the exact recipe (it's top secret, locked away in the vault, guarded by angels), I just had to write something about this pie that is better than ALL other pies I have had (and yes I have had some good ones, okay ones, and bad ones).

Here we go . . . 


Start with fresh yams. I like to use the larger ones. I place them in a pot with about an inch of water.


 Cover, and place in the oven. Bake at 350 degrees until they are tender and thoroughly cooked. Then scrape out the insides into a separate bowl.

Next, I add all of my standard ingredients as well as secret ingredients that give these pies layers of flavor. Not just sweetness, but FLAVOR!

Mix well with the cake mixer. I set mine to low so the liquids don't splash and all the ingredients marry nicely.

You know those strings that some people have in their pies? Those will gather around the mixer paddles. LEAVE THEM THERE ... DO NOT SCRAPE THESE BACK INTO YOUR BOWL. 

Next, pour the filling into your shells, place the pies on a cookie sheet (this ensures that the bottom crust gets nice and flaky) and bake them at 425 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350 degrees and bake for an hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. This method of slow baking ensures that the edges of your crust do not over brown.


Cool to room temperature before covering to prevent condensation from gathering.

There you have it! That's all I can tell you. Enjoy!








Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Can't Catch Me, I'm the "Dangerbread Man!"

Today's focus - stop the business, ignore the sickness and make the kids happy.

My daughter has been looking forward to making "dangerbread" men for a while now. I love the way she says it! It sounds more like she's saying dangerbread. Believe me . . . this recipe that I found is exactly that. DANGER! I searched for the perfect recipe - not too simple and bland, yet not too complicated. I found the perfect recipe at Food Network (foodnetwork.com), courtesy of Alex Guarnaschelli.  

This recipe is super easy to follow and these are the best gingerbread cookies I've ever make. The orange zest really comes through in a subtle way, and the other flavors are layered so perfectly. The orange glaze really pulls it all together. Dip this cookie into a glass of ice cold whole milk or enjoy it next to your favorite cup of hot chocolate and feel the coziness of winter and Christmastime settle in. I'm even tempted to spread a little orange marmalade on it. These are scrumptious! 

In addition to the great flavor and cozy feeling you get from these cookies, the decorating part adds an extra memory. I'm no cake decorator, but this was easy for my first time. My son joined in and the toddler in him came out in such a joyous way.  I had to take a few pictures to share.  Below the pictures is the recipe. Alex Guarnaschelli, you are one awesome cook! Thanks for this topnotch recipe. It's a keeper and will be added to our family tradition with just one twist . . . these will forever be in our family as "Dangerbread" cookies in honor of our daughter's way of saying it and her daily victory over autism and adhd. 

Ingredients

The foundation:
1 1/2 sticks lightly salted butter, softened
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 orange, zested

The dry ingredients:
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1/2 cup additional for rolling, if needed
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground dry ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

The wet ingredients:
2 eggs
1/2 cup dark molasses
1 lemon, juiced
Easy Orange Frosting:
1 cup powdered sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
1 to 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 teaspoon orange liqueur
1/4 teaspoon light corn syrup

Directions

This recipe has been in my family for a long time. The smell will send friends and family running for the warmth of the kitchen. A note about good cookie baking: Halfway through, I always rotate the tray in the oven so the cookies bake evenly on all sides. This recipe is no exception.

Easy Orange Frosting:
Why not have a little frosting on your gingerbread?

In a medium bowl add all of the ingredients and whisk together to combine. If too thick in consistency, add a touch more orange juice or water to thin out.
Use a pastry bag fitted with a star tip to pipe the frosting between 2 of the gingerbread cookies. Press the 2 cookies halves gently together. These cookies are so beautiful, they can stand alone. Or...make gingerbread sandwiches using the above frosting as the filling...

(I made the frosting first, put it in the bag, and refrigerated it until I needed it)


Cookie Dough:

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, add the butter, sugar and orange zest and beat until smooth, 5 to 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, dry ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Whisk to blend. Set aside.

In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, molasses and lemon juice.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
When the butter and sugar are integrated, lower the speed of the mixer and add the dry ingredients. Add the egg mixture and when blended, remove the bowl from the machine. Divide the cookie dough in half. Press the first half of the dough in between 2 sheets of waxed paper or plastic wrap and chill for 15 minutes. Repeat with the second half. This step will make it easier to finish rolling out the dough when it has chilled. It will also mean you only have half of the dough getting warm as you roll it.

Lightly flour a flat surface. Use a floured rolling pin to gently roll the first half of the dough about 1/2-inch thick. Lightly flour the cookie cutter(s) and cut the shapes, making as few scraps as possible. Use a metal spatula to gently transfer them, cookie by cookie, (the cookies should be similar size) to a baking sheet. Repeat with the other half of the dough and transfer them to another baking sheet.

 A note about crowding the tray(s): these particular cookies can spread a little. Leave room between the cookies. Better to use 3 baking sheets with fewer cookies than to crowd them on 2 trays. 

Bake until brown around the edges, 8 to 10 minutes.

Got scraps? Form the scraps into a ball, press it flat and chill in the refrigerator. These cookies may be a little more "tough" because the dough will have been worked a little more than the others.



Recipe courtesy Alex Guarnaschelli
© 2014 Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved
Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alexandra-guarnaschelli/gingerbread-cookies-for-the-holidays-recipe.print.html?oc=linkback

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Hamantaschen Time!




Hamantaschen are great to make in advance because they keep at room temperature for up to 5 days (though chances are they will be eaten on the 1st day).

Let's begin with a little background information before we delve into the recipe.

Purim

Purim is a holiday that celebrates the deliverance of the Jewish people from Haman the Agagite. Jews and Christians alike may be familiar with the Megillah (the story of Esther).

Purim celebrates Esther (a Jew) who became Queen of Persia by marrying King Ahasuerus (a non-Jew). She called for a fast and saved her Jewish people from genocide by the order of Haman.
According to the story, once Haman had convinced King Ahasuerus to kill all the Jews in his realm, Queen Esther’s cousin, Mordecai, told her of Haman’s plans. He asked her to use her position as queen to speak with the king and ask him to annul the edict. However, entering the king’s presence without an invitation was a capital offense, even for the queen.  Esther decided to fast and pray for three days before speaking with the king and asked the Mordecai and other Jews in the kingdom fast and pray as well. In commemoration of this fast the ancient rabbis decreed that Jews should fast from sunrise to sunset the day before Purim is celebrated. http://judaism.about.com/od/holidays/a/Purim-Food-Customs.htm

 It’s also the story of a successful intermarriage between a Jew (Esther) and a non-Jew (King Ahasuerus of Persia).

What are Hamantaschen?

Hamantaschen are delicious little sugar cookies stuffed with delicious fillings (typically fruit). These cookies are pinched into little triangle “hats” to represent Haman the Agagite. Haman the Agagite was the man who wanted to rid the ancient Persian empire of the Jews. It is said that Haman wore a hat that was in a triangular shape (much like “Napoleon hats or French hats”) This is where we get the name: HAMAN-taschen or the singular hamantash.

"Hamantaschen” is Yiddish for “haman’s pockets.” In Israel they are called “oznei Haman,” meaning “Haman’s ears.”

The triangular shape of hamantaschen represents a triangular-shaped hat worn by Haman, the villain in the Purim story. We eat them as a reminder that his plot was foiled and HAMAN WAS HUNG.

Once again, this is a recipe that I gathered bits and pieces of from various sources, put it all together, and made it my own, to my liking.

Step into my bakery.

LET'S BAKE HAMANTASCHEN!



Filling and Syrup                                                 

1 C Almonds, ground or grated
1 C Sugar
1/4 tsp Salt
1 TBSP Cinnamon + 1 stick
1 tsp Nutmeg
6 TBSP Orange Juice
1 Orange zested
3 TBSP sweet butter
3/4 C Honey
1/2 C Water

  • Toast almonds in 300 degree oven for 10 minutes, then stir in melted butter.
  • Mix with 1/2 C of sugar,  salt (1/4 tsp), orange juice (3 TBSP)/zest, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Set aside.

  • Boil 1/2 C sugar with 1/2 C water.
  • Add honey and cinnamon stick, and simmer for few minutes.
  • Stir in orange juice and cool. Set aside.

  •                                  
3 Eggs                                                       
1 C Sugar
1/2 C oil, shortening, or butter
zest of 1 lemon
3 TBSP Orange Juice
4 C Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/8 tsp salt
Preheat oven at 350 degrees.
  • Whisk eggs, sugar, oil, zest, and orange juice together in a large bowl. Set aside.
  • Sift flour, salt and baking powder together.
  • Stir egg mixture in with flour mixture.
  • Knead until dough comes together, form a ball and flatten.
  • Roll dough to 1/4 inch thick at the most.
  • Cut circles.
*Brush the honey mixture onto each disc.












*Place 1 TBSP almond filling in center of each disc.

*Pinch edges together to create a triangle (tri-cornered hat). Make sure there are no visible seams and that the edges are firm to prevent leaking of filling and collapse of sides.
  • Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown.

  • Cool 10 minutes, drizzle honey mixture over each cookie and remove from pan.


*Hamantaschen should keep at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Melt in Your Mouth Yeast Biscuits


Melt in Your Mouth Yeast Biscuits
Every batch of biscuits is better than the one before. Perhaps it's because of trial and error in action. Nevertheless, for those of you who would like a fluffy, airy texture this is the perfect go-to recipe. It does include rise time so you may want to make the dough ahead of time if you plan on having this pillowy goodness for breakfast. This biscuit yields less crumbs than your traditional southern baking soda/baking powder biscuit, yet it's just as flavorful and filling. It holds up for sandwiches, sauces, jams and preserves. My recipe makes 16 small-cut biscuits and within 10 minutes of taking them out of the oven . . . they were gone. My son (who is the current version of Mikey from the old 1970's LIFE CEREAL commercial) asked for more . . . that's a stamp of magnificence.

1 TBSP yeast 
(quick rise or bread machine yeast is what I used)

2 1/2 C Flour
1 tsp  Baking Powder
1/2 tsp  Baking Soda
1 tsp  Salt
2 TBSP  Sugar
1/2 C  Shortening or Butter (I used a combination of both)
1 C  Buttermilk 
(or soured milk - regular milk with 1 TBSP vinegar or lemon juice)



  1. Mix dry ingredients together (except for the yeast)
  2. Cut in shortening/butter. Make sure the butter is cold and cut into cubes or grate with a cheese grater
  3. Stir in yeast.
  4. Add buttermilk and stir until all dry ingredients are moist. It will be sticky and loose.
  5. Cover the bowl and set aside for 1 hour. You may set it in the refrigerator.
  6. Turn on to floured board and knead lightly 4 to 6 times (you may need to sprinkle additional flour).t 
  7. Roll out and cut.
  8. Place on greased pan touching. At this point preheat the oven at 400 degrees.
  9. Place in a warm area (a good place is on top of the oven) and let it rise slightly - 20 to 30 minutes.
  10. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.





Monday, December 31, 2012

Black-Eyed Pea Stew




They are here! But only for a season. These New year goodies are fresh from the field and never dried. Here's to a prosperous New year! Does everyone know why people cook these for New Years?

This is my new comfort food favorite for New Year's. I generally enjoy black-eyed peas and my husband makes a great pot-o-peas. However, last New Year's I tried this recipe that I found on Melissa's website for fresh produce. I came across this because I purchased a container of fresh black-eyed peas from my local whole food store. I followed the recipe (except for the bacon - I didn't add bacon) and the result was one of the best stew I've ever had. It was great with brown rice, great as a dip for brown rice/sea salt chips, and even great with matzo/flat bread. Give it a try.


Ingredients

  • 1 pound bacon - diced
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped bell pepper
  • 1 tub of black eyed peas (11oz)
  • 14.5 oz vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 Can diced Tomatoes - about 29 oz
  • *Note: I also opt to use fresh pico de gallo since it has the tomato, onion, cilantro, and green peppers for a zesty taste.

Directions

In a large pot over medium high heat, sauté the bacon until crisp. Set aside the bacon, reserving the fat in the pot.
Add the celery, onion and green bell pepper, then sauté 10 minutes, or until tender (I cook mine until it's nice and thickened).
Add the black eyed peas, broth and stewed tomatoes and allow to heat through, about 15 more minutes.
Top with crumbled bacon when serving.
Variations: 
Sometimes I add browned ground turkey or ground beef, ham, shrimp, or shredded chicken. 
The choice is yours! 
Plate this with country greens and buttermilk cornbread, or any variation of rice, and you've got yourself some good ol' down home comfort food.