07 October 2013

Mac and Cheese Toast

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Leftover mac and cheese?  Fry it up!  I have wanted to make this since I first saw the Good Eats episode air back in 2002.  Well, here we are in 2013 and I finally got around to it.  Let me tell you, I should have tried it sooner and I am tempted to make some mac and cheese just to cube it up and fry it the next day.
Mac and Cheese Toast
An Alton Brown application
Printable recipe

Leftover baked macaroni and cheese, refrigerated for at least overnight
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 egg beaten with 2 ounces water
1 cup panko bread crumbs
Oil for deep frying, preheated to 375 degrees

Cut refrigerated macaroni and cheese into bite size pieces, about 1.5 inches. Season the flour with salt and pepper. Dredge each piece through the flour and tap off excess. Dip in the egg mixture and then coat with the panko bread crumbs. Rest the cubes for 5 minutes so the crust can set. Carefully drop into the oil and fry until golden brown, 3-4 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack and rest for 2 minutes before serving.

21 August 2013

Alton Brown's Chocolate Chip Cookies

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The Chewy.  This could be my favorite Alton Brown recipe.  I know it is my most requested.  The Good Eats episode had three versions of chocolate chip cookie recipes, but only this one made it into the Good Eats book.  For good reason, these cookies are superior than any I have ever baked, or even eaten.  These cookies could build an empire.

I like my cookies soft and chewy, so this is the recipe for me. The slightly browned crispy edges leading into warm, chewy, melt-in-your-mouth center is exactly what I want in a cookie, and the chewy delivers.  This recipe is also what caused me to buy a digital scale, and I now prefer measuring by weight instead of volume in all my recipes.

The dough also freezes incredibly well.  So much so, that when I make them, I usually freeze them for an hour instead of putting them in the refrigerator.  By freezing them, the cookies don't flatten out as much, and the middle is just a little bit gooier. 

To do this, just dish the dough out in cookie size portions and freeze on a baking sheet. Once the cookies are frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag for storage.  This way, you can have fresh baked cookies whenever you want them without doing all the work.  
The Chewy
An Alton Brown recipe

8 ounces unsalted butter
12 ounces bread flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 ounces granulated sugar
8 ounces light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 ounce whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat, then into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the sugar and brown sugar and beat with the paddle attachment on medium speed for 2 minutes.

Next, add the whole egg, the egg yolk, milk and vanilla extract.  Continue to mix on slow until thoroughly combined.

Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda.  Slowly add the dry ingredients, until all the flour is worked in.  Lower the speed to "stir" and add the chocolate chips.

Scoop the dough into 1 1/2-ounce portions onto a parchment-lined half sheet pans and refrigerate for an hour.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Place 6 cookies per sheet and bake 2 sheets at a time for 15 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through.

Remove from the oven, slide the parchment with the cookies onto a cooling rack and wait at least 5 minutes before serving.

If not baking all the cookies, freeze the remaining cookie for later use following the same baking instructions.

18 August 2013

Blueberry Soda

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My dad got me a SodaStream soda maker for my birthday this year and I couldn't wait to get started on making my own syrups. This blueberry soda recipe immediately came to mind, so I patiently waited for blueberry season. When we finally had enough blueberries, I got to work.

Making the syrup is very simple. It's basically like making a simple syrup, except you make blueberry juice first. So, the syrup was done in no time. The hardest part was waiting for it to cool. Once it was completly cool, I made myself some carbonated water and slowly added the blueberry syrup. Just like that I had blueberry soda! 

This first thing I noticed was how beautiful the color was.  The soda is such a deep purple, and the bubbles are a delicately lighter color.  A treat of the eyes as well as the taste buds.  Speaking of taste, drinking the soda is like have a mouth full of blueberries.  As expected, the blueberry flavor shines, and the sweetness is not overpowering.  The lime juice adds a nice tartness, to make it a well rounded beverage.

Blueberry Soda
An Alton Brown Recipe

20 ounces fresh blueberries, approximately 4 cups, rinsed and drained
2 cups water
7 ounces sugar
1 lime, juiced
Carbonated water

Put the blueberries and water into a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and pour the blueberry mixture into a cheesecloth lined colander in a large bowl. Allow the mixture to cool for at least 15 minutes or until it is cool enough to handle.

Gather up the edges of the cheesecloth and squeeze out as much of the liquid as possible. Discard the skin and pulp. Put the blueberry juice back into the saucepan and add the sugar and lime juice. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved, then cook for an additional 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to a glass container.

Place the syrup in the refrigerator, uncovered, until completely cooled. To Serve: Combine 1/4 cup of the liquid with 8-ounces of carbonated water and serve over ice.

25 July 2013

Homemade Mayonnaise

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I realize I have posted about making my own mayo before, but I failed to post a recipe.  What can I say?  I was young.  Back then, I had a bad habit of posting about the food I made without including a full recipe.  Well, I am now here to rectify myself. 

Mayonnaise is very simple to make, and I almost always have all the ingredients in my pantry.  It is quite versatile, too, as the seasonings can be adjusted to make it fit whatever you're wanting to make.  I have used this basic method to make coleslaw dressing and to give a more Italian flair to my pasta salad.  No matter what you're making it for, it's all about building an emulsion.

For this batch, the seasonings I used were salt, pepper, celery seed, garlic powder, paprika and sugar.  Start out by mixing together the yolk and dry ingredients, and then add the vinegar.  I have moved on from a whisk to a hand mixer, mainly because I was never able to whisk vigorously while slowly drizzling the oil into the yolk.

Once that mixture is combined, start adding the oil a few drops at a time until the mixture starts to thicken.  There's your emulsion!

At this point, you can increase the flow of oil slightly, though still slow, and continue mixing until all the oil is incorporated.

There you have it!  Homemade mayo!  Leave at room temperature for an hour and then keep in the refrigerator for up to a week. 


1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1 pinch paprika
2 pinches sugar
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 cup oil

Whisk together egg yolk and dry ingredients.  Then mix vinegar into the yolk mixture. Continue to mix and start adding the oil a few drops at a time until the liquid seems to thicken and lighten.  Once you have formed the emulsion, increase the oil flow to a constant, thin stream. Continue mixing until all of the oil is incorporated. Leave at room temperature for 1 hour then refrigerate for up to 1 week.

05 February 2013

Alton Brown's Fried Chicken

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Fried chicken is hard to get right, at least in my experience.  I don't remember the first time I attempted Alton Brown's fried chicken, but the Good Eats episode that featured the recipe, "Fry Hard II: The Chicken", first aired on April 25, 2001.  I imagine that I tried to make it shortly after, since I was trying just about every new Alton Brown application back then.

The road to success was daunting, and it was the breading that gave me fits.  It was hard to get it just right, and I was inconsistent at best.  Sometimes it would be perfectly crispy, golden brown and delicious.  Other times, the breading would be soggy and greasy, or sometimes almost mealy with too much flour.

The chicken was always delicious, though; tender, juicy and flavorful.  The spices are just right, too.  One teaspoon of cayenne pepper may seem like a lot, but it adds just the right amount of heat.  It really is subtle, because the kids eat it up, too.  So, the struggles I had with the breading was made up for by the chicken itself.  But, when I got the breading right, it really sent it over the top. 

I don't know what led me to try it, but a couple years ago, I finally found the secret to the perfect breading.  A brown paper bag.  By putting the flour and chicken in a brown paper bag and shaking it up, it created a perfect coating of flour on the chicken.

Since I have adopted this method, I get perfect fried chicken every time.

Fried Chicken
Printable Recipe

1 broiler/fryer chicken, cut into 8 pieces
2 cups low fat buttermilk
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons Hungarian paprika
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Flour, for dredging
Vegetable shortening or oil, for frying

Marinate the chicken pieces in buttermilk and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.  Add enough shortening or oil to come 1/3-inch up the side of a 12-inch cast iron skillet. Heat oil to 325 degrees.

Drain chicken in a colander or on wire rack. Combine salt, paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Season chicken with this mixture liberally.

Add flour to large paper bag then add all the chicken.  Shake the bag to thoroughly coat the chicken.  Then remove the chicken from the bag and place skin side down into the pan. Put the thighs in the center of the pan, and breast and legs around the edge.

Cook the chicken until golden brown, approximately 10 to 12 minutes per side; the internal temperature should be right around 180 degrees.  Drain chicken on a rack over a sheet pan.


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