Saturday, August 29, 2015

Summer Fun: Cooking with Mama

Mama has done it again:  she has had a glorious day helping the kids to make some of their favorite foods.   About a year ago, it was linguine with clam sauce and chicken marsala.  Today, Bud made beer-steamed mussels with bacon and garlic, while Sis made fried chicken.  Mercy, they eat well!  And they have such fun and pride doing it.

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Beer-Steamed Mussels with Bacon and Garlic
(from a NYTimes recipe for clams)

100 littleneck clams (Mama substituted 2 lbs mussels)1 tablespoon unsalted butter¼ cup diced chorizo or bacon, optional2 cups beer, approximately 1 can or bottle
  1. Carefully scrub the clams under cold running water to remove sand and grit, then set aside.
  2. Melt the butter in a large pot set over medium heat, and when it foams, add the chorizo or bacon, and allow it to crisp, stirring occasionally, approximately 5 minutes.
  3. Add the beer to the pot (use just 1 cup if cooking 50 or fewer clams), and allow to heat through, then carefully add the clams in layers. Cover the pot, and allow the clams to steam and open, approximately 10 to 12 minutes. Serve in the pot, or use tongs or a slotted spoon to remove clams to a platter, and serve alongside a bowl of the remaining clam broth and melted butter.

Fried Chicken from Southern Living a la the NYTimes

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
chicken with skin, about 2 1/2 pounds, cut up into 8 pieces (see note)
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups vegetable oil, like grapeseed, peanut or canola (do not use olive oil)
¼ cup bacon drippings (or use more oil)
  1. Combine 1 tablespoon salt with 3 quarts water in a large bowl or container. Add chicken, cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. Drain, rinse with cold water and pat dry. 
  2. Stir together remaining 1 teaspoon salt and the black pepper. Sprinkle half the mixture evenly over chicken. 
  3. In a large sealable plastic bag, combine remaining pepper mixture and flour. Add 2 pieces chicken to bag and shake well to coat. Remove chicken pieces, shaking off extra flour, and set aside. Repeat with remaining chicken. 
  4. Take a large (10- or 12-inch) cast-iron skillet or chicken fryer, for which you have a lid, and fit with a candy or deep-frying thermometer. Add oil and bacon drippings and heat to 360 degrees over medium heat; the oil will ripple and possibly give off a few wisps of smoke. 
  5. Using tongs, immediately add chicken pieces, skin side down (work in batches if necessary to avoid crowding pan). The oil will drop to about 325 degrees, where it should stay; adjust heat so that oil is bubbling gently around the pieces. Cover and cook 6 minutes; uncover and cook 9 minutes. Turn chicken pieces; cover and cook 6 minutes. Uncover and cook another 5 to 9 minutes, depending on size of pieces. If necessary for even browning, turn pieces over a few times toward the end. 
  6. Drain on paper towels or paper bags. Let cool at least 20 minutes before serving. 

Tip

  • If chicken is larger than 2 1/2 pounds, use a large heavy knife to cut each breast half in half again, making 10 pieces in total.

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