Thursday, September 09, 2010

JapaKnees Weak Chicken

This is my death row meal.  I'm not kidding.  If I ever go crazy enough to get a death sentence, this is the main course I request for my last day on Earth.  It's called Japanese chicken, but I think it's only appropriate for its name to be upgraded to JapaKnees Weak Chicken, because it will literally make you weak in the knees.  We got the recipe from my Aunt Sharon many, many years ago and I've been making it myself since I was about 15 years old.  I almost hesitated to share it because it's one of those recipes that shouldn't be shared.  I really don't want you to even know about it, but I feel bad for all you poor souls who have never tasted it.  I will stop now with my raving, but know not, I repeat, DO NOT make this meal for anyone you are not 100% friends with.  Because they will be back.  And they will want more.

Chicken (about 2-3 breasts will feed about 3-4 people with sides, but who the hell wants sides with this?)
Corn Starch
Vegetable Oil
Marinade (the longer you do this, the better.  I usually try to marinate my chicken in the morning, giving it at least 8 hours to absorb):
Soy Sauce
Peanut Oil
Red Wine
I will explain how much in a minute (sort of...measuring is not my forte).

First, cut chicken into bite sized chunks.  Place your chicken in a bowl that will allow for enough liquid to cover it.  Cover chicken almost entirely in soy sauce.  Splash a good glug of red wine in with it (maybe 1/8 cup).  Then add in about 1 tablespoon of sesame oil.  It should taste very soy saucy with a good hint of peanut oil.  I have also been adding in a splash of Mongolian fire oil because I love heat.  Stir it all together so it's combined, cover with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge.

Once your chicken has been marinating for a good 6-8 hours, get a ziplock bag and some cornstarch.  I usually use about 1/2 can of cornstarch for about 3 chicken breasts.  Put cornstarch in the ziplock and add chicken (drained of the soy mixture) in batches so everything gets evenly coated.  Place coated chicken on a cutting board.  Once all the chicken is coated, place a large pot on the stove filled with vegetable oil.  You are about to deep fry, so make sure you have enough oil for the chicken to swim in and make sure you have a fire extinguisher handy!

Heat oil in pot to 350 and add chicken to oil in batches of about 8-9 pieces of chicken.  Stir so they don't stick.  It takes about 5-6 minutes per batch.  The chicken will float when it's ready and it will be a dark brown.

Lately, I've been making a mustard dipping sauce with Country Style Grey Poupon (the grainy one) and a little mayo or sour cream, whichever you prefer.  Or you can eat it by itself.  I would eat this chicken off the floor of a barn. 

Eat up Johnny.  And don't forget...keep this one a secret unless you really love someone.  It's my most favorite thing in the whole world.  Don't make me kick your ass for passing it along to just any old Joe Schmoe.  This one is special.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

The Hummus Among Us

I need to go to Greece.  ASAP.  I once had a guy named Nicoli teach me how to say "eat shit" in Greek.  Knee-tros Skat-aah (obviously my spelling is off, but that's the phonetic version).  Or at least that's what he said it was.  I was probably going around all night telling people that I had a third nipple for all I know! 

This recipe, my friends, is the opposite of eating shit.  It is the simple, easy-to-clean-up recipe for hummus that I crave on a weekly basis.   

One can of Chickpeas (reserve liquid)
4-8 Cloves of Garlic (I like to burp up garlic for the rest of the day, so I go with 8)
1/2-1 lemon
1/4 cup of Tahini (if you can't find Tahini or you don't want to spend $9 on it, buy one of those natural peanut butters and use the oil that settles on top)
Olive Oil (about 1/2 cup)
Pita Bread (the fresher the better)
Herbes de Provence (or any dried herb you like)

Here's what you do.  Throw the chickpeas (not the liquid just yet), the garlic, lemon and tahini into a food processor and pulse until pasty.  Start to add in olive oil.  If your hummus isn't getting all smooth and creamy, add in the chickpea liquid until it's reached your desired consistency.  Add salt.  Now here's the fun part.  Taste it.  If you need more garlic, add it.  If you need more lemon, squeeze it in.  This is one of those recipes that you have to stand over the food processor and dip your finger into over and over again until you get that perfect hummus!  I even add a little cayenne to spice mine up!

Once you have made the hummus you would be proud to serve to your friends and family, preheat your oven to 350.  Take out your fresh pita (we are fortunate to live near a store that makes them fresh daily Thank you Jerusalem Market & Restaurant on Summer Avenue) and spray the top with a very light coating of PAM.  Sprinkle Herbes de Provence on the pita and add a little Kosher salt.  Bake for 3-5 minutes, just until the pita is soft and warmed through.

Knee-tros Skat-aah!  Or rather, enjoy your delicious hummus!