Thursday, May 28, 2015

Deep-Fried Creamy Chicken Gravy – Almost Chicken Croquettes

There are two kinds of chicken croquettes. They all have a crispy, deep-fried exterior, but some are firm, meaty, and nugget-like, while others are much softer and creamier. It was that second kind I was attempting here, and I got so close.

To make a long shorty short, I used too much butter, and milk, and while they did stay together enough to form the signature, golden-brown crust, the inside was positively sauce-like.

I had no intention of turning this classic into some kind of gimmicky attempt at a viral video, but as I ate them, I couldn’t help but think of how much they tasted like deep-fried chicken gravy. Yes, I sometimes put a little ham in my chicken gravy.

I’ve listed exactly what I used in the ingredient list below, and also a second version, which theoretically would come out closer to an actual chicken croquettes. I hope you get this, or that, a try soon. Enjoy!


The Deep-Fried Creamy Chicken Gravy Version:
Makes about 16 appetizer sized portions
2 packed cups finely chopped cooked chicken meat
1/2 cup finely chopped ham
2 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
pinch freshly ground nutmeg
pinch cayenne
1 tsp salt, plus more to taste

The More Like Chicken Croquettes Version:
Makes about 16 appetizer sized portions
2 packed cups finely chopped cooked chicken meat
1/2 cup finely chopped ham
6 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
pinch freshly ground nutmeg
pinch cayenne
1 tsp salt, plus more to taste

For breading:
2 beaten eggs
flour as needed
2 cups bread crumbs

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Sea Bass a la Michele – Just the Way She Likes It

Whenever I can’t decide on what to do with a piece of fish, I usually opt for this easy and crowd-pleasing technique, which involves roasting seafood after it’s been slathered in a highly seasoned vinaigrette. And by crowd, I mean wife.

The acidic bath seems to do something to the sea bass as it roasts, and not only do you get a very flavorful exterior, but the inside it seems to stay moister and more succulent, than if you just used a spice rub. In fact, Michele loves this roasting method so much, that I decided to name it after her. Also, I couldn’t think of a name, and if I called it Spanish-something sea bass, all the “that’s not Spanish-something sea bass” people would be after me.

By the way, there are a few sustainable sources for Chilean sea bass around, if you look hard enough, and do some research. Having said that, I didn’t do any research. I got mine at Whole Foods, and I assume/hope they’ve done their homework.

When it comes to ways of adapting this technique to your particular tastes, the skies the limit. While we really love sherry vinegar with the smoked paprika, I’ll sometimes switch it up with different combinations; and the same goes for the veggies underneath. No matter what you use, Michele and I hope you give this delicious sea bass recipe a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 2 portions:
2 thick-cut boneless, skinless Chilean sea bass filets (about 8-oz each)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp kosher salt, plus some sprinkled on top
1 sliced red jalapeƱo
1/2 cup sliced green onions
4 or 5 small potatoes, cooked and quartered

Monday, May 25, 2015

Celebrating Memorial Day – Paying Tribute to Those Who Literally Fight for Your Right to Party

Photo (c) Flickr user Vince Alongi
I always feel a little guilty grilling on Memorial Day. Being surrounded by all kinds of tasty food and cold beer seems inappropriate considering the holiday's solemn meaning. Maybe it would be better to honor our vets by eating what they had to survive on while defending our country.

What if instead of gnawing on a stack of sticky barbecued ribs, while sitting in a lawnchair, we dug a hole in the ground, and enjoyed something squeezed out of a pouch instead? There aren't many delicious things that come in squeezable pouches.

So, if the chicken get a little dry today, or whoever made the beans was just going through the motions, don't think of it as a disappointing meal; think of it as unintentional tribute all those brave souls who sacrificed for our freedoms. Enjoy!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Braised Lamb with Radishes and Mint (and Anchovies, but Don’t Tell Anyone)

I had a fantastic appetizer recently featuring lamb belly, radishes, anchovies, and mint, which inspired today’s post. It sounded amazing, but I’d only glanced at the description, so when it came, I was more than a little surprised to see the radishes were fully cooked.

This was a new one for me, and I absolutely loved it. Like most root vegetables, radishes don’t have a ton of flavor, but I found them slightly sweet, earthy (duh), and aromatic. Plus, they seemed to have effectively absorbed all the other flavors in the dish.

One thing led to another, and I adapted the approach to create one of the more interesting and delicious things I’ve had in a while. I called it a “flavor bomb” in the video, but “umami bomb” would be more accurate. This was as savory, as savory gets.

Because of all the sweet flavors going on, I decided not to add any sauteed onions or garlic, which is contrary to most braised meat recipes. It probably wouldn’t have hurt anything, and I might try it next time, but to be honest, this came out so perfectly balanced, that I’m a little scared to change anything.

And no, you can't taste the anchovies. That doesn't mean you should tell anyone they're in there, but I did want to mention, in case you're scared. I would like to thank Aatxe for the inspiration, and I really hope you give this strange, but exciting braised lamb dish and try soon. Enjoy!


Makes 4 Portions:
4  lamb shoulder chops (10-12 ounces each)
1 tablespoon kosher salt (or about 2 tsp of table salt)
1 teaspoon black  pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
4 oil-packed anchovy fillets
1 1/2 cups low-sodium or no sodium chicken broth (the anchovies and spice rub on the lamb usually provide enough salt, plus you can add at the end after sauce is reduced)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 bunches breakfast radishes, trimmed
2 tsp minced fresh rosemary
5 or 6 fresh mint leaves finely sliced
1 tbsp cold butter

- Braise at 275 F. for about 3 hour , or until meat is just barely tender, then finish at 425 F. to brown. Serve with de-fatted and reduced sauce.