Chicken and Dumplings

Ingredients

  • CHICKEN
    • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, divided
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    • 1 broiler/fryer chicken (about 3 pounds), cut up
    • 2 tablespoons canola oil
    • 1 large onion, chopped
    • 2 medium carrots, chopped
    • 2 celery ribs, chopped
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 6 cups chicken stock
    • 1/2 cup white wine or apple cider
    • 2 teaspoons sugar
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 5 whole peppercorns
  • DUMPLINGS:
    • 1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 3/4 teaspoon salt
    • 2/3 cup 2% milk
    • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • SOUP:
    • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
    • 2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley
    • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
    • Additional salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  • In a shallow bowl, mix 1/2 cup flour, salt and pepper. Add chicken, 1 piece at a time, and toss to coat; shake off excess. In a 6-qt. stockpot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Brown chicken in batches on all sides; remove from pan.
  • Add onion, carrots and celery to same pan; cook and stir 6-8 minutes or until onion is tender. Add garlic; cook and stir 1 minute longer. Stir in 1/4 cup flour until blended. Gradually add stock, stirring constantly. Stir in wine, sugar, bay leaves and peppercorns. Return chicken to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, 20-25 minutes or until chicken juices run clear.
  • For dumplings, in a bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, whisk milk and melted butter until blended. Add to flour mixture; stir just until moistened (do not overmix). Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto a parchment-lined baking sheet; set aside.
  • Remove chicken from stockpot; cool slightly. Discard bay leaves and skim fat from soup. Remove skin and bones from chicken and discard. Using 2 forks, coarsely shred meat into 1- to 1-1/2-in. pieces; return to soup. Cook, covered, on high until mixture reaches a simmer.
  • Drop dumplings on top of simmering soup, a few at a time. Reduce heat to low; cook, covered, 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center of dumplings comes out clean (do not lift cover while simmering). Gently stir in cream, parsley and thyme. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Beef Bourguignon di Rubino

Marinade:

  • 2 large carrots, cut on the diagonal in ½” pieces
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 stalk of celery, cut into ½” pieces
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • ½ cup brandy
  • 1 bottle Rubino Estates Ferrario

Stew:

  • 3 lb. beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1” cubes
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 6 oz. thick cut bacon, cut cross wise into ¼” slices
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 ½ cups beef stock
  • 24 pearl onions
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 5 oz. mushrooms, quartered
  1. Place the marinade ingredients in a bowl with the cubes of beef. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Strain the marinade into a sauce pan. Remove the beef to a paper towel lined tray. Place the vegetables and bouquet garni aside. Bring the marinade to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Skim off impurities from the liquid.
  3. Preheat the oven to 325F. In a flameproof casserole with a tightfitting lid, fry the bacon in oil until crispy on medium heat. Remove the bacon and set aside. Pat the meat dry and brown in the bacon fat in small batches–do not crowd the pan. Once browned, set the meat aside and pour off the bacon fat. 
  4. Saute the vegetables until softened. Add the farlica and tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes. Add the flour and blend with the vegetables. Carefully pour the boiled marinating liquid to the casserole and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. 
  5. Add the meat and bacon to the casserole. Add the beef stock and boquet garni, bringing the liquid level to the top of the meat. Cover the casserole dish and bake in the oven 1 hour and 30 minutes, or until the meat is tender. 
  6. Meanwhile, place the onions, butter, sugar, and salt in a deep skillet and add water to cover the onions. Cook the onions over medium heat until the water is nearly evaporated. Swirl the skillet until the onions are golden, then set aside. Fry up the mushrooms in butter and add to the onions. 
  7. Once the beef is cooked, skim off any excess fat. Add the cooked onions and mushrooms. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, and serve. 

Limoncello

Ingredients

  • 3 cups 100 proof vodka (the higher quality, the smoother your ’cello will be)
  • 1 cup 190 proof Everclear
  • 12-18 lemons (the more lemons you use, the stronger your lemon flavor will be)
  • 2 cups white sugarYield About two and a half 750 ml bottles.

Steps

Get the most from your lemons

1. Pour the vodka and Everclear into a large mason jar.

2. Using a very sharp vegetable peeler, remove the peels of your lemons. Take care to avoid any pith on your peels. The thinner your peels, the better. (You can remove any piths from your peels using a small spoon or paring knife.)

3. Add the peels to the alcohol mixture, and make sure they are fully submerged. Seal and allow to sit in a cool place for at least five days and up to a month. The longer you let this mixture sit, the stronger the lemon flavor will be.

Making the simple syrup

1.  In a saucepan over medium heat, simmer equal parts sugar and water (2 cups each).

2. Allow the mixture to simmer for an additional five to eight minutes and let cool.

3. Seal in a glass container and store.

Straining your solution

1. Once your alcohol and lemon peel mixture has sat for at least five days, remove the lemon peels by straining them through cheesecloth and a conical sieve, and save the solution.

2. Keep the lemon peels in the cheesecloth and use your hands to squeeze any excess liquid from the peels.

Story Coffee Bourbon Sirloin Tips

One of the amazing drinks on the Story Coffee menu is their Whiskey Latte. I have created an amazing Sirloin Tips recipe inspired by this standout coffee drink.

Ingredients

Story Coffee-Bourbon BBQ Sauce Marinade

  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 small onion small dice
  • ¼ c blackstrap molasses
  • ½ c brown sugar
  • ½ c sherry vinegar
  • ½ c Don Guyamo brewed coffee
  • ¼ c bourbon (and a shot for the chef)
  • 1 c tomato sauce
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper

Directions

Story Coffee Bourbon BBQ Sauce Marinade

  • In small saucepan, add olive oil. Once oil is hot, add garlic and onions, and sauté on medium heat until translucent.
  • Add brown sugar and molasses and stir until melting. Add sherry vinegar, coffee, bourbon kosher salt and ground black pepper, then reduce by half. Let this go for a while, you will start to smell and see the change.
  • Add tomato sauce and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Cool sauce completely.

Grilling

  • Marinate sirloin tips in sauce for 8-24 hours.
    • Pro Tip: I drop and ice cube into the marinade
      to ensure it’s still not too hot for the beef
  • Place tips in an aluminum pan and cover.
  • Preheat Traeger to 225º – Super Smoke.
  • Remove from grill when meat thermometer inserted into thickest part reads 130°F.
  • Rest for at least 10 minutes.
  • Serve over rice, or mashed potatoes, or skewer with some grilled veggies for a nice presentation.

2020 Quarantine Podcast setup

It was time to update my home office with new equipment. I needed a balance of best of breed and budget.

Here is what I settled on:

2020 Mac Mini 32GB/1TB

AudioEngine A5+ Desktop Speakers with DAC and Bluetooth

192KHZ/24BIT MAONO PM420 USB Condenser Cardioid Microphone with Shock absorbing stand and telescoping arm

Logitech StreamCam, 1080P HD 60fps Streaming Webcam with USB-C and Built-in Microphone, Graphite

And some cool software to take it over the top

My friends over at Rogue Amoeba have some killer tools for audio tweaking. If you haven’t used the apps yet, try before you buy. Click to download Audio Hijack, Loopback, Farrago, and Fission all at once!

Google WiFi

When it comes to my home internet I’m a bit obsessive. I check my speed several times a day, and I am very cognizant of latency. I’ve read deeply into cable modems and the “channels” they can handle as well as twisted pair DSL, and Fiber.  I digress into something more helpful.

I have always felt that 20Mbps should be enough for most homes, and my plan is currently at 200Mbps!  Even at these speeds my Netflix was buffering, and when I have multiple kids on Minecraft and the Wii the network feels like dialup. We have been through so many wireless routers that I have a graveyard of the ones that didn’t get returned. (anyone want a nighthawk?)

Mesh network technology has been around for a long time in internet years. It’s a sound technology and usually reserved for complicated setups and administration in businesses, and especially warehouse spaces. So when I was reading what Google and Eero and other companies were doing I was intrigued, but not enough to keep messing with my routers and my settings.

Then one fateful day I was walking through Lowes with Tina and we ended up in the home automation section (not shocking). I was explaining the various devices and how we should probably get some more Nest smoke detectors, when we came to the wifi devices. As I explained to Tina how these work,  it all clicked for me. Why would I NOT be using these!  Google had just conveniently discounted their 3 Pack to $269  I could not wait to find the time to install them.

The install took about 20 minutes. That is, from the time I opened the box to having placed the devices and we were up and surfing!  Our perceived bandwidth went from slooooooooow to almost predictive. Facebook on iOS no longer lagged on loading below the fold, Netflix was crystal clear…the whole show, and no one wondered when I paused their internet, if it was me or Comcast. Reliable home internet! Yay!

Buttermilk Brined Fried Chicken

Buttermilk-Brined Fried Chicken

Ingredients

3 cups buttermilk
1/3 cup coarse salt
2 tablespoons sugar

2 1/2 pounds meaty chicken pieces (breast halves, thighs, and drumsticks)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon black pepper

2 Pints Peanut oil

Directions

In a resealable plastic bag, set in a bowl for stability, combine the 3 cups buttermilk, the coarse salt, and sugar. Cut chicken breasts in half crosswise. Add all chicken pieces to the brine; seal bag. Turn bag to coat chicken with brine mixture. Put in fridge for 2 to 12 hours.

In a large bowl combine flour, salt, and pepper. Dip chicken into flour mixture, turning to completely coat. Dip flour-coated chicken in the buttermilk, turning to coat. Coat again with flour mixture. Lay 3 pieces at a time on a tray and get ready to fry it up.

Preheat a large Lodge Cast Iron skillet, (or lesser vessel) heat 2-3 inches oil to 350 degrees F. Using tongs carefully add a few pieces of chicken to Dutch oven. (Oil temperature will drop; maintain temperature of 325 degrees F.) Fry chicken for 12 to 15 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink (170 degrees F for breasts; 180 degrees F for thighs and drumsticks), and coating is golden, turning once.

Important: Let oil drain on a cooling rack, otherwise you’ll have soggy chicken!

Keep fried chicken warm in a 120 degree F oven while frying remaining chicken pieces.

Makes 6 servings.

Sunday Supper
Sunday Supper

Additional fun:

Spicy Buttermilk-Brined Fried Chicken:

Prepare as above, except add 1-2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper to the flour mixture, and 2 tbsp of hot sauce to the brine.

Nutrition Facts per 3 ounces chicken: don’t worry about it.

Andy’s Barbecue Sauce

Homemade brown sugar barbecue sauce with a kick. Smoky and sweet. Easy to make!

Ingredients:

2 C brown sugar
8-9 crushed and peeled tomatoes (or sub a 32oz can)
2 Tbsp of Spanish Smoked Paprika (or sub 5 dashes of liquid smoke)
3 Tbsp molasses 1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp ground mustard
2 Tbsp paprika
1 Tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 cup Gentleman Jack

Directions:

Add all ingredients except last one to a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to boil, stir frequently. Reduce heat to low, continuing to cook for an additional 20 minutes, while simmering, pour Gentleman Jack into a tumbler and sip. Remove sauce from heat. Use immediately. Alternately sauce may be cooled and transferred to an airtight container. Store in refrigerator, if there’s actually any left.

TTC – Hot Cider NOG

Today would be a great day to enjoy my famous Tender Tennessee Christmas Hot Cider Nog!

nog

 

Ingredients

2 cups half and half
1 cup milk
1 cup apple cider
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon ? Tasty tip
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt

1/2 cup bourbon (not optional)
1/2 cup whipping cream (whipped)
1 stick cinnamon

Prep

Whisk together first 8 ingredients in a heavy saucepan; cook over medium-low heat, whisking occasionally, until mixture thickens and coats a spoon (about 15 minutes). Stir in bourbon, if desired. Top each serving with whipped cream. Garnish, if desired.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Chicken:
3-4 Chicken Breast Tenderloins
1 cup flour
1 cup cornstarch
1 cup pineapple chunks
2 cups bell pepper chunks
1 cup pearl onions
Salt and pepper
2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup canola oil

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. While the oil is heating, cut the chicken breasts into 1-inch pieces. Season with salt and pepper. Place the cornstarch in a gallon-sized ziploc bag. Put the chicken into the bag with the cornstarch and seal, tossing to coat the chicken. Whisk the eggs together in a shallow pie plate. Dip the cornstarch-coated chicken pieces in the egg and place them carefully in a single layer in the hot skillet.

Sauce:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons ketchup
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic salt

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