Grandma’s Sprinkle Chicken

This may go down in history as my favorite recipe of all time. It’s a recipe for baked, crunchy chicken that, in my opinion, cannot be beat by any “deep fried anything” out there. When this chicken is served at a family event, you better have quick fingers, because it is literally gone as fast as it is served.

I don’t know where this recipe came from. Perhaps you’ll find it on the side of a box somewhere. To me, however, this recipe is as old as I am. My grandmother used to make it for us kids when we would go over to her house for Shabbat dinner.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Raw chicken, unbreaded. You can use any chicken. My mom likes to use tenders or wings. My grandmother used to make larger pieces (whole breasts, thighs, drumsticks). Just use whatever you’re comfortable using. For this demo, we used 12 winglets, but we had extra breading left over.
  • 3 tablespoons of mayo
  • 1/4 cup of seasoned Italian breadcumbs
  • 1 cup of cornflake crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • (optional) a very small sprinkle of oregano
  • (optional) a pinch of cayenne pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

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If you are using frozen chicken, make sure it is fully thawed. I prefer using fresh chicken.

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Add the mayonnaise into a large bowl. Then add the chicken. Make sure they are fully coated in the mayonnaise. (Note: If you are using larger pieces, you can coat them one at a time and take them out of the bowl).

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Put that to the side and grab a second bowl. Add all the dry ingredients to the new bowl.

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Now you should have your wet, coated chicken and your dry coating. Coat the chicken in the dry coating.

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After you coat each piece, place on a rack inside a cookie sheet. This will ensure that the bottom gets nice and crispy.

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Put into the oven for 40 minutes or until the chicken is brown and crispy and cooked through. Remember, chicken can be dangerous if eaten raw or undercooked, so don’t be afraid to cut into one of the larger pieces to make sure it’s not pick inside.

And there you have it, crispy, crunchy sprinkle chicken that you and your family will grab up like it’s going out of style!

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Puffy Poffertjes

Stefan came back Saturday from his annual trip home to the Netherlands. He brought me a special surprise. A poffertjes pan!

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Poffertjes are a traditional dutch foodstuff. They’re a lot like American silver dollar pancakes. In the Netherlands, Poffertjes aren’t really eaten as a breakfast food. They’re served as brunch or lunch or as a dessert. Since maple syrup isn’t indigenous to Europe, poffertjes aren’t traditionally eaten with syrup either. They’re served with powdered sugar, butter, and sometimes lemon.

The poffertjes pan looks like this:

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It generally comes in two designs: cast iron and non-stick. Stefan got me the non-stick type, which I was really thankful for because it would have been a bitch to stick pieces of butter into each indentation before pouring the batter. Also, the cast iron is probably really heavy and unwieldy. Now, the poffertjes pan is not to be confused with an evelskiver pan which looks like this:

Aebelskivers are Scandinavian fried dough balls. The aebelskiver pan has much deeper indentations so you can actually fry the dough in each individual indent. An aebelskiver is quite delicious and it comes out almost spherical and tastes like a doughnut (here’s a recipe). However, if you want pancake-like poffertjes and you use an aebelskiver pan, you’re going to be sorely disappointed.

As this traditional recipe for poffertjes shows, they’re not a classic pancake mix, either. The batter is made with yeast instead of baking powder and uses buckwheat flour instead of refined, all-purpose flour. However, being that I am a lazy American chefette, I decided that for my first foray into the world of poffertjes, I would use the traditional American Aunt Jemima pancake mix (thank goodness my Dutch fiance had all ready gone to work because if he had tasted this abomination of his cultural icon, his head may have exploded).

There really wasn’t much to it. I just waited until the pan got hot, gently spooned the pancake mix into the indents on the pan, and used a small espresso spoon to flip each one individually once the edges were cooked:

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Once they were on the plate, I buttered them and added powdered sugar to taste (which for my tastes was A LOT):

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My parents and I enjoyed a delicious Dutch delight!

Oh, and if you’re interested in making your own poffertjes, you can actually try making them on a skillet. However, I would recommend getting your own pan. You can buy them from Amazon.

Surf and Turf New Years

My family has had a tradition for a few years now that I have lovingly named “Surf and Turf New Years”. Every year on New Years Eve, my mother and her 3 sisters converge on our house, their cooking utensils in hand, and put together a multi-course meal, complete with lobster and caveman-sized steak.

Surf and Turf New Years started when my brother, cousins and I were in high school. My mother and her sisters used these delicacies to lure us into spending time with the family before we dashed off to our respective New Years Eve parties. I have to say, it worked like a charm. Here’s a picture of me back in high school playing with live lobsters before they went into the pot:

The lure of underage drinking in a suburban basement full of teenagers had nothing on this

The lure of underage drinking in a suburban basement full of teenagers had nothing on this

This years smorgasbord was no exception. It was an impressive way to set off the new year. I should start by saying that it was my mother’s hope to finally ditch the tradition since all the kids in the family have flown the nest (except for me, the boomerang child), but her sisters talked her into the whole fiasco for at least one more year. So, my Aunt brought over the live lobsters, which were promptly steamed:

PITA, eat your heart out!

PETA, eat your heart out!

Another aunt brought over 15 pounds of NY strip steaks which were promptly rubbed with Emeril’s Essence, pan seared, and finished in the oven:

Arteries don't fail me now!

Arteries don’t fail me now!

And as the relatives marched in, the sides came with them. Course #1: NY strip with fries from Five Guys, caramelized onions, and my mom’s amazing, addictive mushroom-red wine sauce:

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Everyone loves my mom’s sauce. It goes great on beef or pasta. Here’s the recipe for those of you who were wondering:

My Mom’s Amazing Addictive Red Wine Mushroom Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 cup mushroom
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup of any good red drinking wine
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup flour

Slice any type of mushroom and put in a pan with 2 tablespoons of butter. Cook until they soften and brown. Add wine and let it simmer for about 3 minutes. Add beef broth and salt and let simmer on a low flame for 5 minutes. In a separate small pan melt 3 tablespoons of butter and add flour and mix. This is called a roux. Cook the roux for 2 minutes on a low flame, constantly stirring. Add the roux to the simmering sauce and stir until it thickens. And you’re done!

Course #2: The lobster:

Here's looking at you, kid.

Here’s looking at you, kid.

My family doesn’t mess around with lobster. I was raised Jewish but my parents obviously don’t keep a kosher home. My grandparents, however, were strictly kosher. Because they were deprived of shellfish for their entire childhoods, my mother and her sisters all developed a deep love affair with any and all shellfish. In my house, the live lobsters come home, they’re dropped into the boiling, unsalted, filtered water and my mother almost intuitively knows when they’re ready. They always come out tender and delicious and there’s always plenty of melted butter to go around.

Needless to say, it was a great way to start 2014.

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