Category Archives: Review

Best Butcher/Chef Videos: The Scott Rea Project

If you haven’t run across these videos on your own, check out The Scott Rea Project on YouTube. Whether you want to learn how to butcher a cow—well, that’s too big a job for my kitchen—or how to make a rack of hare, Rea’s channel is your video library:

Rea is easy to follow because he gives all the details and shows all the steps, taking his time so you can see what’s in store for you when you try it. It’s one of the places I went to learn how to debone a turkey a couple of years ago:

Sometimes he even takes you hunting first, as in this video on rabbit kebabs:

Rea takes the mystery out of how to tackle those meat butchering skills that will make you a more interesting cook, and I recommend the videos to you, even if you just want to be entertained.

Recipe Review: Crispy Fried Chicken

I’ve tried many methods for fried chicken. The ones that use only flour, or the three stage flour–egg–breadcrumb process, or the buttermilk marinade followed by breading, but it seems like the crispness doesn’t hold up for more than a minute or two past frying. They all taste good, but I really expect a crisp coating if I’m going to go to the trouble of frying. This recipe—Crispy Fried Chicken from Taste of Home—delivers. The name says it all.

What they do differently than most recipes is add flour to the egg wash, so that you are really dipping it in a batter before adding a final coating of seasoned flour. The final coating makes a shaggy layer that crisps up all over the chicken. Sometimes you get that shaggy look when you start with a buttermilk soak, but I find this egg–water–flour batter works even better than buttermilk.

I usually use an electric deep fryer, but I only made four pieces today, so I used a high-sided stock pot with a couple inches of oil. Unlike the original recipe, I did not use bone-in chicken; I used boneless thighs, which cook more quickly, about a total of five minutes in 375° oil for each piece.

Crispy Fried Chicken

  • Servings: will coat about 4 lbs
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients
  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons garlic salt or garlic powder plus 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons  white or black pepper
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons poultry seasoning—I used a combination of sage and celery seed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • up to 4 lbs chicken pieces, with or without skin. I used boneless thighs.
  • cooking oil for frying
Preparation
  1. Combine the first five ingredients in a large bowl for the final coating and set aside. The original recipe suggests a plastic bag, but I find patting on the flour works better, creating a shaggier coating that has lots of crispy edges.
  2. In another large bowl, whisk together the eggs and water, then whisk in the second amount of flour and salt, until the batter is smooth.
  3. Coat chicken pieces in batter then dredge in seasoned flour, patting the flour on until all the batter is covered and the coating is dry enough to handle and set aside.
  4. Heat cooking oil to 375° not allowing it to fall below 350° between batches. Fry chicken in small batches, depending on the size of your fryer, so that you keep the oil temperature high throughout. My boneless thighs cooked in 5 minutes, one piece at a time. The original recipe suggests that bone-in pieces would take about 5-6 minutes per side. My oil was deep enough that I didn’t need to turn my pieces over.

★★★★★ = Five Stars

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Recipe Review: Edible Irish Soda Bread

I’m not sure yours will be so green

If my Ancestry DNA profile is correct, I have 22% Irish ethnicity. Not that you’d know it by anything in my upbringing. Apparently my maternal grandfather was bullied as a Protestant dog by the Irish Catholic boys in his small Ohio hometown, so he was determined to just be a “red-blooded American.” Thus, I wouldn’t know an Irish custom, or any other ethnic custom, unless I read about it. I have read about Irish soda bread and have tried many different recipes for it, only to be disappointed. All the recipes I’ve tried come across as poor tasteless cousins of the scone, but maybe I’ve been expecting the wrong results. Luckily, I ran across this “nouveau” version, and it is a game changer, even if it might lack in authenticity.

I’m testing and reviewing “Nouveau Irish Soda Bread” from Food 52, which I discovered through A Pug in the Kitchen, where the original recipe was adapted, mostly by leaving out the vegetables. Vegetables? Yep. That’s one reason why I call this soda bread edible.

I followed the recipe exactly, except for the beer. The recipe calls for an Irish-style lager—I don’t even know what a lager is. Not being a beer drinker and at the mercy of whatever my husband might have on hand (he doesn’t drink much nor often), I used 4 oz of the one lone bottle of Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat beer in the fridge and poured the rest down the drain. Otherwise, I carefully measured the celery and green onions, and I actually had fingerling potatoes on hand, although they were multi-colored (does that matter?). I used a good Greek yogurt and a good enough tablespoon of honey. Maybe I shouldn’t have used the one purple potato, though, because the cooking water was definitely purplish, but that doesn’t explain how green the bread turned out. I mean shamrock green!

Please follow the original recipe for Nouveau Irish Soda Bread and flip through the photos at the top of the page, where you’ll see some green, but not as much as mine.

I baked the bread for the full 45 mins, tenting the loaf with foil for the last 15 so the edges wouldn’t burn. The internal temperature was 190° when finished. It slices best after resting for a while.

This is a moist and delicious bread, even if it doesn’t connect with your ideas of what Irish soda bread should be. If it’s not what you’re looking for on St. Patrick’s Day, all the more reason to make it whenever it suits you. We ate it with venison white bean stew yesterday, and I ate a slice this morning. It is still moist.

Five stars: ★★★★★

Reading my Recipes in the WP Reader

I dislike the WordPress Reader for one reason: the way it strips our posts of any of the design features we chose when we made our sites.

Photos that we may have inserted as a thumbnail next to a sentence or in a bulleted list shows up full size in the text as just another image. What’s the point of choosing a size and placement if our readers aren’t going to see it that way? How might it affect their perception of the post?

Sometimes, I indent my ingredients under one direction (as in add 1/2 cup of each of the following), but I recently discovered that those indented lines just show up justified to the left like any line in the text. I can’t go back and fix all my recipes that date back to 2014, but I’m going to try to keep in mind not to use indented lines, but to use bullets instead. For example, I did go in and change the recipe for my recent Banana Bread recipe to have bulleted lists where it makes sense (and I took out the thumbnail that shows up too big).

Probably, I’ll discover new ways that my posts don’t look as intended to my readers. Yes, it only affects readers who use the app, but I think that adds up to a lot of people. Sometimes, I visit your sites to see what I’m missing about your design choices, and it does tell me things about you that I would have missed in the Reader.

The Reader is absolutely convenient for a quick look at your newest posts, but for me, I feel that I’m losing something. I don’t see how the Reader, which is a feed of sorts, could reproduce our posts as they look on each of our sites, but it doesn’t hurt for us all to be aware of what we’re missing.