Maryland Fried Chicken

This recipe uses saltines and milk to make a super tender fall off the bone fried chicken.
Serves 2
Maryland Fried Chicken
1 1/2 pounds chicken (thighs and legs), skin on, and on the bone
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1 cup smashed saltines (about 2/3 of a sleeve)
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp paprika
3 tbsp canola or vegetable oil
1 cup milk

1. Whisk together the egg and the the 1/4 cup milk.

2. Mix the crushed saltines, thyme, paprika, and pepper.

3. Add the oil to heavy duty skillet (pick one with a lid, you’ll thank me in step 7) and heat on medium.

4. Pat the chicken dry, dip in the egg mixture, and dredge in the saltines.

5. When the oil is shimmering add the chicken and cook for 10-15 minutes, rotating to make all the sides brown and crispy.

6. Drain all the oil.

7. Add the cup of milk, lower the temperature to medium low, cover and cook for 35 minutes.

8. Take off the cover and cook an additional 10 minutes.

9. Eat your delicious reward.

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Salmon, Mint, and Pea Pasta

An unexpected combination of mint, peas and salmon bring together a light pasta dish.  The lemon and the mint together make this dish pair perfectly with a mojito to wash it all down.

Serves 2
Salmon, Mint, and Pea Pasta
3/4 pound salmon
1 lemon
1/8 cup mint, chiffonaded
1/2 pound pasta (farfalla is best)
5 oz frozen peas
1 tbsp butter
salt and pepper

1. Season the salmon with salt and pepper.

2. Cook the pasta according to the package directions.

3. While the pasta cooks, zest the lemon.

4. Add the salmon to a skillet, add a 1/2 cup of water, the lemon zest and the juice of the lemon.

5. Over medium heat bring this to a boil, cover, and cook for 10 minutes.

6. Add the peas and cook for another 7 minutes.

7. Drain the pasta and add the butter.  Stir in the mint and peas and flake the salmon into the pasta.

8. Delicious!

Pan Seared Scallops with Pea Puree

Whats better than scallops?  Scallops cooked in pancetta fat!  Throw in a pea puree and you get a great blend of savory and sweet in a super fast and super delicious meal.

Serves 2
Pan Seared Scallops
6 Sea Scallops
4 oz pancetta, diced
10 oz peas

1.Cook the peas according to package directions and puree in a food processor with salt to taste.

2. Heat a saucepan to medium high and cook the pancetta until done.

3. Add the scallops and cook for 2-3 minutes per side.

4. Serve the scallops with a swab of pea puree and some of the crispy pancetta bits.

Cranapple Salmon Salad

Cranapple seems to everywhere these days from juices to porkchops.  I figured I’d hop on the bandwagon and made this up for tonight in one of those clear out the fridge dinners.  It’s basically salmon baked with cranberry applesauce over it, served over a bed of arugula.  It turned out much better than expected!  The sweetness of the applesauce and tartness of the arugula with balsamic worked perfectly.

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Serves 2
Cranapple Salmon Salad
1/2 green apple (skinned, cored, and cubed)
1/4 cup fresh cranberries
1 tbsp sugar
2 6 oz salmon fillets
2 Handfuls of arugula
Balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Put the apple cubes and cranberries in a sauce pot and top with water.  Boil then reduce to a simmer for 20 mins, stirring and mashing occasionally.

3. Add sugar to taste to the applesauce.

4. Salt and pepper the salmon generously, cover in applesauce and bake for 35 min until done.

5. Plate the arugula and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.  Place a salmon fillet on the arugula and top with thin green apple slices for garnish.

Salt Crusted Fish

Trust me, I know this sounds like a lot of salt, but it’s not for seasoning really, it create a mini oven within an oven and helps cook the fish evenly.  And by peeling away the skin (that’s touching the salt) you end up with a fillet that is lightly seasoned.  This is out of the April 2011 Fine Cooking if you’d like step by step pictures which certainly helped a lot.

Serves 2
Salt Crusted Fish
1 whole fish (~1.5 lbs), gutted and cleaned
4 cups kosher salt
3 egg whites
1/3 cup water
olive oil
1 lemon, cut in slices
dill

1. Preheat the oven to 400.

2. Rinse the fish with cold water inside and out and pat dry.  Stuff the insides with dill and lemon slices then lightly oil the outside of the fish so the salt won’t stick.

3. Mix the salt, water and eggs together.

4. On a baking sheet lay down 1/4″ of salf a little bigger than the fish.  Lay the fish on top and encrust the whole thing in salt.

5. Bake for 20-30 minutes until a thermometer stuck into the fillet behind the head reads 135-140 F.  Let rest for 10 minutes.

6. Crack the salt crust with the back of a spoon and expose the whole top of the fish.

7. With the spoon, gently scrape the skin off the top of the fillet an push it to the side.

8. Run the spoon along the spine to separate the fish from the bones and move the fillet to a serving plate.

9. Grip the tail end of the bones and pull them away to expose the bottom fillet, and push away the lemon and dill.

10. Use the spoon to seperate the bottom fillet from the skin.

11. Serve with a little olive oil, lemon wedges, and dill.

Pan Seared Duck Breast with Raspberry Vinegar Reduction

Lynn and I learned how to make this for Valentine’s Day 3 years ago at a cooking class.  We finally made it this year and it was delicious.  Unfortunately duck breast is really only available at Central Market as far as I’ve been able to find so it’s not an everyday kind of dish.  The crispiness of the duck though with the fatty duck meat is delicious.  We served it over chilled lentils and grilled Belgian endive brushed with duck fat.

pan seared duck

Serves 2
Pan Seared Duck Breast with Raspberry Vinegar Reduction
2 duck breasts, trimmed and scored
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup Raspberry Vinegar
1 cup chicken stock
3 Tbs butter
salt and pepper

1. Place a saute pan over low heat with a little olive oil.

2. Salt both sides of the duck and place in the pan skin side down.  Raise the heat to medium-high and give the pan a few shakes.

3. Once the duck is loudly sizzling cooking for 3 minutes longer, flip and cook an additional 3 minutes.

4. Set the duck aside and let rest, and drain the fat (there should be a lot).

5. Add the sugar and let it caramelize, stirring it around.

6. Add the raspberry vinegar (watch the steam) and stir until it becomes a syrup.

7. Add the stock and reduce by half.

8. Reduce the heat to low and add the butter.  Season with salt and pepper as necessary.

Pan Seared Lamb Chops

If you’re not watching Worst Cooks in America on Food Network you should be.  The lack of skill these people have is beyond comprehension.  Anyway last week Chef Spiky-Blonde-Hair made some lamb chops and that inspired me to try on my own.

Granted, I hate lamb, and it’s not just lamb, its also goat.  I’m an equal opportunity hater.  They both taste like someone took good food and then let it sit out too long and then added curdled milk.  But Lynn loves lamb, and I love Lynn so here we are, off to HEB to buy some lamb chops.  The only thing I really know about lamb is that people often eat it with mint, I can only imagine to wash the terrible lamb taste out of their mouths, so I got some of that too.

Turns out, not that bad.  I’m thinking maybe the lamb you get at the butcher counter wasn’t quite as lean and gamey as you’d normally find at a restaurant because this had a great fat too it that almost tasted like butter.  Also, show me a meat I can’t pan sear into deliciousness (maybe not chicken, that’s probably not safe).  As a side note, the mint was really subtle, there’s probably a better way to add that flavor.pan seared lamb

Serves 2
Pan Seared Lamb
4 lamb chops
5 or 6 mint stalks (with leaves)
grapeseed or some neutral oil
salt and pepper

1. Season the lamb with salt and pepper.

2. Heat a skillet on medium heat and add the oil.

3. Add the mint and cook until wilted.

4. Add the lamb and cook until medium (5 minutes or so a side).

5. Let it rest a couple minutes and eat.