Sunday, October 13, 2013

fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way

I have a goal this week. I'm going to try to cook every night - 7 consecutive dinners. It'll likely be my last chance in my kitchen for about a month.

These Creole Chicken Fritters were a great kick-off, literally and figuratively. It's great football-watching food, especially when your football team actually manages to win. They might be even better tailgate food made into smaller, hush puppy sized fritters, but they were a fantastic entree in the 1/3rd-cupfuls of batter sizes that I made tonight. Beautifully light and airy from the whipped egg whites, but satisfying and so spicy.

I really liked the flavor and texture of the bell peppers here. The cooking time took just a little bit of the raw edge off, but they still remained crisp and bright. Might be nice to add a little fresh corn next time as well.

Creole Chicken Fritters
slightly adapted from Serious Eats
makes 12 fritters

12 oz. cooked chicken, diced finely
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. cornmeal
2 T. Tony Chachere's Original Creole Seasoning
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. cayenne
4 large eggs, separated
1 c. buttermilk
1 large red bell pepper, finely diced
1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 T. unsalted butter, melted
1 medium garlic clove, minced
2 t. Red Rooster Louisiana Hot Sauce
canola oil, for frying

1. Whisk flour, cornmeal, Tony Chachere's, baking soda and cayenne a small bowl. Set aside.

2. Whisk yolks and buttermilk in a large bowl until combined. Fold in the bell pepper, parsley, butter, garlic and hot sauce. Stir buttermilk mixture into dry mixture until just combined, then fold in chicken.

3. Place egg whites in clean, dry bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed to soft peaks. Gently fold into chicken mixture until just combined.

4. Heat 6 T. oil in 12-inch skillet over medium heat to shimmering. Drop 1/3rd-cupfuls of batter into the hot oil, and cook until both sides are golden brown and center is just set, about 2 to 3 minutes total. Transfer fritters to a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat until batter is used up, adding more oil as necessary. Serve hot with aioli on the side.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

she's so european

I'm finally home from a 10-day Europe extravaganza in which I successfully managed to eat outside of my hotel four whole times. Quite proud of myself (see below for track record). I did try to get in as much local cuisine as I could - schnitzel in Berlin, fish + chips and a full English breakfast in London, and bricks on bricks of foie gras in Paris. So much to go back and do/eat!

Now that I'm home, here is my local cuisine - Rigatoni with Sausage, Broccoli + Blue Cheese. Just a big pan-ful of all our favorite things, done in the amount of time it takes to cook the pasta and toss with the sauce. And after the aforementioned European delicacies, the broccoli was a quite welcome addition to the plate. (FYI, I just typed "pâté" instead of "plate." My heart is still in France).

Rigatoni with Sausage, Broccoli + Blue Cheese
slightly adapted from Saveur
serves 4-8

4 T. olive oil
1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, removed from casing
1 lb. rigatoni
1 c. dry vermouth
12 oz. broccoli, cut into florets
2 oz. blue cheese, crumbled
1/2 c. heavy cream
1 t. dried oregano
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the rigatoni and cook until al dente. Reserve one cup of pasta cooking liquid, drain and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large, straight-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook, stirring to break up, until browned, about 7 minutes.

3. Add vermouth to sausage and cook until reduced by one quarter, about 2 minutes. Add the broccoli, blue cheese, cream and oregano and cook until the mixture is thick and the cheese has melted, about 2 minutes. Stir in reserved pasta and season with salt and pepper, to taste. If sauce seems too thick, stir in some of the reserved pasta cooking liquid.

4. Serve immediately, with additional blue cheese crumbles for garnish.