Cock-a-Doodle Dooooo

I’ve made up my mind, I’m giving fowl up again and going back to being a pescetarian (fish eating vegetarian… If such a thing exists). But, before I depart, I’m giving the remaining birds in my fridge one last hoorah.

You may remember me mentioning to you that I was a pescetarian for many years, then joined civil service and took up eating the featherlings again. Well, I’ve been eating chicken since summer of 2009. More importantly, in 2011, I became acquainted with fried chicken in the form of a sandwich.

I don’t know why I never ate fried chicken sandwiches before, but ever since I sank my teeth into a #1 from Chick-Fil-A, its become a Saturday afternoon tradition. Wake up, dilly dally, jump in line at Chick-Fil-A at 10:53am, lunch is served by 11:00am.

I love Chick-Fil-A so much, I’ve tried perfecting their recipe…albeit unsuccessfully; I’ve gotten as close as common folk can get without copyright infringement. I’ll share that recipe with you one of these days, but here’s a good start, mind you, this one needs a little tweaking, it’s tasty nonetheless.

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This past weekend, I had a fried chicken sandwich that gave Chick-Fil-A a run for their money. It was from Rooster’s, a quaint eatery in Jackson, Mississippi, located in the popular Fondren neighborhood. Part of the Glenn Foods restaurant group, Rooster’s offers a variety of steak and chicken sandwiches, burgers, salads and side items. But it’s the fried chicken sandwich that you want.

Offered on a variety of breads, I opted for the jalepeno cheddar bun. The sandwich is served with onion, pickle, tomato and lettuce and your choice of side. I got the curly fries, my beloved, the onion rings. Speaking of my boyfriend, true to form, he got me on camera devouring 13 fries at a time.

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I told you there would be lots of these photos.

Man. This sandwich though. It was amazing. Crispy, golden batter, tender juicy chicken. A near perfect recipe. Amazing. There, I said it…twice.

A fellow diner and his wife suspiciously lurked around our table. Finally, the man said “excuse me, but what is that you’re eating?!”, when I told him, he replied “clearly, I’ve ordered the wrong thing. I got a grilled chicken salad.” Yeah buddy, you did. This isn’t the time to be stingy with the calorie intake. I almost made that same mistake and got chicken fingers, never again. This sandwich is where it’s at.

The only gripe is that Rooster’s doesn’t have hot sauce. Tabasco, yes, but not hot sauce. No biggie, just put some in your handbag. Plus, our service was great.

If you’re ever in Jackson, Mississippi, do yourself a favor. Try. This. Sandwich.

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Bringing Something New to the BBQ

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There is something so great about traditional barbecue food. The smells, the sauce, the smoke… Just the atmosphere. Delicious. But with people becoming more and more health conscious, it doesn’t hurt to have a few new twists on some old favorites.

Who doesn’t like a grilled burger? If you say “me”, go away, this isn’t for you. Maybe not all the time, but sometimes a nice burger off the grill or in my case out of the pan, is right on time.

Anyways, I found this recipe in People magazine and did it my way:

Garden Turkey Burger

Ingredients:
1lb. Ground Turkey (lean)
2 tbs. Fresh Italian Parsley (chopped)
2 Cloves Garlic (minced)
1/2 Plum Tomato (diced no seeds)
1tbs. Green Bell Pepper
1tbs. Red Bell Pepper
2tbs. Chopped Carrots
2tbs. Chopped Red Onion
2tbs. Diced Crimini Mushrooms
1 Egg (whites only)
1tsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tbs. Italian Bread Crumbs
1tsp. Ground Cumin
1tbs. Worcestershire Sauce
Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
Salt and Pepper to taste

Should look like a salad, no meat in sight.
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Get your hands dirty. Mix this jive all together.

Now. The choice is yours, you can either A.) make it into lady palm sized meatballs so that when you mash them down on the grill or in my case, the pan, they turn into little sliders. Or B.) make a fist sized hunk of meat into a big ass burger. Do you.

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I like to make my patties and refrigerate them for a spell. Or overnight. Or if I’m just making one for myself, I freeze the rest.

They’re grill ready (or pan). Cook for about 6 mins on each side depending on the thickness of the burger, but cook it all the way through. This is turkey, not beef; Bloody=Salmonella in this case, k?

Slap your sliders on Hawaiian rolls or tiny Ciabatta rolls, or serve it up open-face on your favorite bread, I prefer pumpernickel… But only because it’s incredible.

Heat a pan, add 1tbs. of butter or Olive Oil and toast your bread. Or brush the bread with oil and let it get warm on the grill. Either way, serve with warm bread. Makes it even better.

Oh… And feel free to add cheese. Found something called Jalapeño White Cheddar that rocks my socks.

And in case you were wondering, that’s pesto mayonnaise on that burger. Store bought pesto, 2tbs. Lemon juice, 2 tbs. Mayonnaise…fin.

Moving along to a delicious side item. A co-worker passed along a recipe for French Potato Salad, and after sampling her’s I had to give it a shot. Except, of course I had to do it my way. And it turned out delicious.

Cajun French Potato Salad

Ingredients:
6-8 Large Red Skin Potatoes (chopped into 4ths, skin on)
1 Small Red Bell Pepper
1/4 Large Red Onion
2 Cloves of Garlic
2 tbs. Chopped Italian Parsley
1 tbs. Creole Mustard
1 tbs. Cajun Seasoning
Pinch of Cayenne
2 tbs. Olive Oil
3 tbs. White Wine Vinegar
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Parboil potatoes. For those of you that have never done it, it’s simple. Boil for about 12 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes. You want them to be somewhat firm. Drain and dump them in an ice bath. Scoop them out and set them in a bowl.

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Now the original recipe for the French potato salad calls for them to be prepared warm. But I did this differently, here’s why.

Add onion, parsley, and red bell pepper to your drained, cooled potatoes.

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In a small pot, or saucer or in my case, metal bowl, pour your olive oil and add minced garlic cloves. Place over the fire and let the oil get warm…Not burn. I love Garlic Oil.

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Into your Garlic Oil, add your Cajun seasoning, salt and pepper, cayenne, vinegar and creole mustard. Wisk, Wisk, Wisk… Until you have a delicious warm yellowish dressing.

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Pour on top of potatoes and vegetables, mix but DO NOT refrigerate. Leave it out and let everything come up to room temp. Mix well before serving. You won’t miss the mayo and mustard potato salad. I promise.

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Wanna make it extra good, add scallions or bacon (or turkey bacon). Enjoy.

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Seis De Mayo: Vegetarian Enchiladas

When I originally started blogging, it was with the intent of blogging about food. Who doesn’t love food? I love food. Anyways, I got away from that and started blogging about other things. Equally as important, but not as delicious. So this is the first entry of my food blog. Don’t worry, you won’t be forced to watch me cook all the time. But today you will.

Fast forward. Today I made enchiladas in honor of Cinco De Mayo and because I love them in general… And they were awesome. Why didn’t I make them yesterday you ask? Because I didn’t feel like it. That’s why. Moving on…

So, many of you know that I was a Pescetarian for some 13 years or so. Pescetarian: a fancy word for “I’m a vegetarian, oh, but I do eat fish.” And it wasn’t until I went to the Police Academy and practically soiled my shorts because I was so rattled with anxiety that I went back to eating other kinds of poultry (chicken, turkey, etc.) in order to hold my food down. Anywho…Not important, I say all of this to say, these are vegetarian enchiladas. Vegan enchiladas if you want to cut out the cheese. But why would you do that? Use vegan cheese or whatever, just don’t leave that step out.

Also, I’ll always give ways to shortcut stuff.

Starting from scratch you’ll need the following:

First, preheat oven to 400 degrees

1 red pepper

1 green pepper

1 jalapeno pepper (no ribs or seeds)

1 onion (purple or white or yellow, whatever is lying around)

1 tomato (hot house, plum, whatever is lying around)

3 large tomatillos

1/2 cup of shredded carrots

4 cloves of garlic

4 porcini mushrooms

1 small yellow squash

1 small zucchini

1 can of black beans drained

1 can of kernel corn drained

2 tbs of tomato paste

1 tbs of cumin

1 tbs of chili powder (ancho, chipotle, Mexican, whatever is lying around)

sea salt and black pepper to taste

Goya Adobo seasoning to taste

Olive or vegetable oil

1/2 small lime

10 small corn tortillas

1 Cup of brown (or white or Jasmine) rice

I’ll keep this one healthy.

First up. The enchilada sauce. You can avoid this step all together and buy the store bought kind. But if you’re up for the challenge, you’ll be rewarded.

In a medium skillet (you’ll read this a lot today), add 2 tbs of oil, 1/4 onion, 1/4 bell pepper (red and green), 2 cloves of garlic, quartered tomatillos, and one whole tomato, diced. Add a little fresh jalapeño if you’d like. Let these get soft. Season with 1 tbs of cumin, 1 tsp of chili powder, salt and pepper and Adobo. Set aside and let cool.

When cool, purée in the blender or food processor. Viola!

Part Uno:

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Dice vegetables (mushrooms, onions, peppers, shredded carrots, garlic, plus corn and black beans, zucchini and squash).

Salt and pepper, add 1tbs of cumin and the juice if 1/2 lime.

Part Dos:

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Heat medium sized skillet and add 1 tbs of olive oil (or vegetable or canola). Sauté vegetables until fork tender. Don’t make them mush, we’re not making baby food. Stuff should start smelling pretty awesome, by the way.

Set aside and let cool.

Part Tres:

Boil your cup of brown rice in 2 cups of water or chicken stock until tender.

In a medium skillet (which reminds me, I hate doing dishes), sauté 2 tbs of each; onion, bell pepper, jalapeño, and 1 clove of garlic. To that add 2 tbs of tomato paste and 1/4 water or chicken stock. Stir together and add rice. Continue to stir until mixed well; set aside to cool.

Mix sautéed vegetables with rice mixture in a bowl.

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Part Quatro:

In a medium skillet (-_-), use paper towel to coat pan with oil (or non-stick cooking spray). Heat corn tortillas on both side for about a minute each.

Add mixture to warm tortillas and roll into wee little logs. REPEAT THIS STEP. Hate to have to say that, but some people need a little encouragement.

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When you’re finished rolling up your tortillas it should look like this:

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Take your enchilada sauce and pour it on top; like so:

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Smother this with cheese (cheddar, Monterey jack, white cheddar… Just don’t leave the cheese out).

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Bake at 400 degrees for about 15-20 mins (or until your cheese is golden brown).

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Serve with cilantro rice, Mexican rice, refried beans, black beans, pinto beans, salad, cigarettes… Whatever tickles your fancy. Beer-ritas would be awesome along side these. Never had one? Too bad for you.

Although these are vegetarian, trust me, you won’t miss the meat. Carnivores, herbivores, human and dog alike will love them.

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They’re delicious! Enjoy!