Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Elise's Sesame Noodles

I don't know who Elise is but a few weeks ago Allen emailed me this recipe that he found on Yahoo. Since he rarely interjects ideas I thought I'd try it out with the caveat that I won't eat just noodles so I tried to make tofu for the first time as well. It's not a bad recipe but for the love of God do not make the whole recipe or you'll be eating it for a week.

Tofu: (some Yelpers helped me out with this one)

Take the block of tofu (they suggested straining in a colander with a heavy plate or something on top but the block I got was fairly drained) cut it into cubes, marinate in a mixture of your favorite ingredients (soy sauce, oyster sauce, hot sauce, onions, peanut sauce) and bake at 350 degrees for 30-plus minutes until it's nice and firm and has absorbed the sauce.

1 pound whole-wheat spaghetti
1/2 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons rice-wine vinegar or lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
1 bunch scallions, sliced, divided
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided (optional)
4 cups snow peas, trimmed and sliced on the bias
1 medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 cup toasted sesame seeds

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook spaghetti until just tender, 9 to 11 minutes or according to package directions. Drain; rinse under cold water.
2. Meanwhile, whisk soy sauce, sesame oil, canola oil, vinegar (or lime juice), crushed red pepper, 1/4 cup scallions and 2 tablespoons cilantro (if using). Add noodles, snow peas and bell pepper; toss to coat.

3. To serve, mix in sesame seeds and garnish with the remaining scallions and cilantro.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

I like dark meat and Allen likes white meat. It's a story that's been around as long as married couples have been squabbling over what to eat for dinner.

I was craving fried chicken and recently saw one of the Alton Brown's "Good Eats" fried chicken episodes so I when I had some leftover buttermilk sitting around I thought I'd give it a try. Turns out that I also had an "Everyday Foods" recipe for fried chicken and that's what Allen decided to use ("looks a little easier") when he ended up making the fried chicken because I was too busy.
It's a good recipe. It takes a while in the skillet and makes quite a bit of grease but I enjoyed my dark meat and the cold drumsticks turned out to be a great snack the next day.

2 cups low-fat buttermilk
Coarse salt
3 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 whole chickens (2-½ to 3 pounds each), each cut into 10 serving pieces (wings, thighs, drumsticks, and 4 breast pieces)
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups vegetable oil

Marinating the chicken in buttermilk makes the meat moist and flavorful. Chicken breasts cook faster than other parts, so fry them separately in the last batch. For fried chicken with less fat and fewer calories, remove the skin before marinating.

In each of two 1-gallon resealable plastic bags, combine 1 cup buttermilk, 1/2 tablespoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, and half the chicken pieces. Shake to coat; refrigerate up to 2 days.
In a large, shallow bowl, whisk flour with 2 tablespoons salt and remaining 2 teaspoons cayenne. (This pungent spice is made from ground dried chiles. Used in small quantities, it adds heat to dishes without being overpowering.) Dredge chicken pieces, one at a time, in mixture, shaking off excess.

In a 12-inch cast-iron skillet (or other heavy-bottom skillet), heat oil to 350° on a deep-fry thermometer (or until a pinch of flour sizzles when dropped in the oil). Carefully add 1/3 of the chicken. Cook 10 minutes; turn chicken with tongs. Cook until golden brown, juices run clear, and internal temperature is 165°, about 10 minutes more. Transfer to a rack to drain. Season with salt, if desired.

Return oil temperature to 350°. Repeat with remaining chicken.