Friday, June 26, 2015

Rosie Makes A Leisurely Lunch On A Rainy Day.

We had some wonderful rains the other afternoon for several hours and then again the next day for several hours.  I love it and my garden loves it, especially since I just threw out all sorts of seeds right before.  There's nothing like a good rain to kick start a garden.  And there's nothing like a good rain to kick start me in the kitchen.
I'm actually "planning" lunch today, something I rarely do, but I had a few things I wanted to make.
I have some boneless, skinless chicken thighs that I want to fry.  Yes, I'm battering and frying skinless thighs.  I'm making skillet cornbread because I can.  And I have green beans which I'm going to crank up with ginger and soy sauce and hot red pepper flakes.

First, I'm making a marinade for the chicken thighs.

 And would you look at that.  I'm still fueling on coffee.
My mug is from my favorite set I got at the "Aztec" Ruins in Aztec, New Mexico.

4 1-inch chunks frozen ginger (Explanation later.)
3 garlic cloves
4 TB tamari sauce

 Now, I shall explain to you about the wonders of frozen ginger.  When I want ginger, I want it now.  I don't want to have to go to the store to buy ginger for whatever I'm making.  Sooooo, I buy fresh ginger in bulk, cut it into one-inch pieces, and freeze it.  That way, whenever I want ginger, I have it on hand.   BUT WAIT!  THERE'S MORE!!   There's ginger juice.  I love to use ginger juice in marinades, stir fries, sauces, you name it.  And there's only one way I know to easily extract ginger juice.  You take a frozen ginger cube and nuke it for about 25 seconds, until it's slightly hot.  Then squeeze it between thumb and forefinger.  The juice will flow out.  Alternately, you could use a garlic press.

 I have 4 cubes of ginger with its juice and 3 garlic cloves.
 Throw out the fibrous ginger.
  Or compost it.

 Add in the tamari sauce and drop the thighs in, turning to coat.
 Let marinate for at least 2 hours.

Next up, the green beans.
Green Beans 
That many green beans. (See above picture.)
And this much red pepper, green pepper, and onion. (See below picture.)
3 TB brown sugar
3 TB tamari sauce
1 TB rice vinegar
1- 2 tsp hot red pepper flakes (I like mine on the hot side.)
1 TB sugar
1 TB unsalted butter
kosher salt to taste
Cook green beans in boiling salted water for 1 minute.  Drain and plunge into ice water bath to stop cooking.  Drain well and dry with paper towels.
Combine brown sugar, tamari, vinegar, and pepper flakes, stir well, then nuke for about 25 seconds or until sugar dissolves.  Set aside.
Toss beans, peppers, and onion in sugar.  
Heat 1 TB butter in skillet over medium high until sizzling.  Add in beans, peppers, and onion to pan. Cook, tossing for about 5 minutes or until slightly blackened.  Taste test.  Season with salt.  Remove from heat and add to the dressing mixture.  Toss to coat.

 Only 1 minute in salted boiling water.
 Drain and immediately plunge into ice water.
 This stops the cooking, keeping the beans al dente, and sets that beautiful green color.

 Brown sugar, crushed red pepper, and tamari sauce.

 I tossed the vegetables in a little sugar,
 then sautéed them in butter over medium high heat about 5 minutes.
  You want the vegetables slightly caramelized.

 Toss the beans, peppers, and onion with the dressing.
Cover and set aside.

On to my cornbread, made with fresh corn.

1/2 cup self-rising cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp kosher salt
2 ears corn, cut from cob
4 TB unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs

Note:  I generally don't have self-rising cornmeal, but accidentally picked the self-rising instead of plain.  If you have non-self-rising, you can make self-rising by adding 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt to 1 cup plain cornmeal.

Heat oven to 400°.

Whisk cornmeal, flour, baking soda, and salt together.

Cut kernels off cob and process in a blender about 2 minutes, scraping down sides.  Melt 1 TB butter in small skillet and add corn purée.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until very thick, about 8 minutes.  I ended up with 2/3 cup of purée.

Remove from heat and add 2 TB butter.  Whisk until butter is melted.  Add buttermilk, whisking, then add eggs, whisking until incorporated.  Fold corn mixture into cornmeal mixture until just combined.

Melt remaining tablespoon butter in 8-inch iron skillet until sizzling.  Pour batter into skillet and spread evenly.  Cook a minute or two over medium high, then place pan in oven.  Bake 15 minutes or until top is nicely browned and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Kernels from two ears.

Corn purée goes from this ...

...  to this.

Whisk in butter.

And eggs.

Pour corn mixture into dry ingredients.

Fold in until just incorporated.

Spread evenly into skillet.

Ta daaaaa!!!!!!

Fried Chicken Thighs
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 cups flour
2 TB freshly cracked black pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup milk
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
oil for frying

Combine flour, pepper, and salt.  Mix well.
Whisk milk into yogurt until smooth and the consistency of buttermilk.
Dip thighs first in the flour mixture, then in the yogurt mixture, then back in the flour again.
Heat about 1/4 inch of oil in a large iron skillet.  When the oil reaches 350°, add in 4 of the thighs. Remember not to crowd the pan.  When the first side is nicely browned (about 3 minutes), turn over and brown the other side (2-3 minutes).  Drain and place thighs on rack.

Crisp on the outside.  Check.
Juicy and flavorful on the inside.  Check.

Fresh corn flavor.  Check.
Tang from buttermilk.  Check.
Moist from butter and eggs.  Check.

Green beans
Al dente.  Check.
Caramelized.  Check.
Excellent dressing.  Check.

And dip that cornbread in the green bean dressing.  That's some kinda good!

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