Monday, September 5, 2011

2011.09.01 - Chik-Fil-A Nuggets, Tomato Salad, Potatoes with Peas and Mint

I had never encountered Chik-Fil-A until we moved to the south in the 90s.  Later, back north, there was one in my college science center's cafe, which fueled more all-night computer programming sessions than I'd like to admit, until they closed it down to bring in "healthier options" (pizza??).  A first got exposed to the wonders of Chik-Fil-A down in Arizona, and ever since we make a point to eat there once when we head down to AZ or back east.  I've had a candy/frying thermometer that's been sitting unused far too long, so when I saw this taste-a-like recipe flying around on Pinterest, I decided to give deep frying a go. 

Chik-Fil-A Nuggets

I've never deep fried anything.  The thought of it terrified me, and I didn't have the proper equipment.  This time, I had the aforementioned thermometer, and I used my 6 qt dutch oven as the oil vat.  After trying it this time, I don't foresee doing it much in the future.  The amount of oil used is wasteful (I know you are supposed to filter and reuse, or something?), the whole process is messy, and when you can only cook a few things at a time, it takes forever to get dinner on the table.

These nuggets were good, but did not taste much like the Chik-Fil-A I remember.  Even with the powdered sugar added to the flour mix, I did not think they tasted sweet enough.  Frying does give a pretty awesome crunchy texture and a very moist chicken though.

Tomato Salad

The recipe made way too much dressing, but other than than, a good simple recipe.  I love my tomatoes in any form (except red sauce).

Potatoes with Peas and Mint

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this side dish.  The peas and mint really freshened up the potatoes and made it feel like a spring/summer dish.  I could not get my peas to mash into a paste (maybe I didn't cook them quite long enough), but even keeping the peas mainly whole, this was still very enjoyable.  It isn't the prettiest thing, but I'd make this again.

2011.08.25 - Italian Antipasto Salad, Herb Cheese Bread, Cantaloupe Basil Sorbet

This meal all started with the bread.  I came across it in my internet travels and couldn't stop thinking about it.  While walking the dog, I puzzled over what to make with it.  The idea of antipasto salad stuck with me, so I looked up a recipe (Giada seemed like a good place to start, and lo and behold she had one).  To combat the excess of cheese and meats, I decided a sorbet for dessert would be best.

Unfortunately we were so caught up in the food that none of us took any pictures!

Italian Antipasto Salad

The lettuce and beans make you almost forget that you are eating a salad filled with fatty meat and cheese :)  I enjoyed this salad a lot, but would individually dress each portion next time.  The dressing decimated the lettuce as it sat and made for leftovers with a bunch of really soggy, wilty lettuce.  Ew.

Modifications: I used just romaine and butter lettuce and left out the iceberg.  I see no reason to eat iceberg lettuce (even though my dad contests that is the only TRUE lettuce).  I bought a Trader Joe's appetizer pack that had prosciutto, salami, and capicola, and augmented with a bit more salami.  I think that the combination of meats was a lot better than just using salami -- the prosciutto in particular added great flavor. 

Herb Cheese Bread

I liked this bread a lot, although I think it could have been well served by reducing the amount of cheese by half.  I wished that the herb flavor would have come out more.  It is a nice alternative to garlic bread, though.

Modifications: Omitted garlic, per usual.  I used a par-baked ciabatta from TJ's, since it had to bake to melt the cheese filling anyway.

Cantaloupe Basil Sorbet

When I was planning the meal, I kept thinking that cantaloupe was the green melon.  Of course when I got to the store, I realized I had been thinking of honeydew, and that cantaloupe was the orange melon.  I am not a huge fan of cantaloupe, but charged forward regardless.  I think I would have preferred a honeydew/mint or a watermelon/basil combination, but this was fairly refreshing and inoffensive.  Not great praise for a dessert.  There's a lot still sitting in my freezer, which is telling.

2011.08.18 - Tomato and Corn Pie, Blueberry Fool

When I started this post, I typed: "Tomato and Corn Pie was a revelation when I made it last year" and then looked back at my last write-up.  Sure enough, I discovered that I called it a revelation back then too.  Tomato and Corn Pie = revelation.

Tomato and Corn Pie

I used the same substitution as last time - greek yogurt for mayo.  I don't know why I don't make this way more often.  Once a year is not enough.

Blueberry Fool

The heart cookie in the picture is a lemon almond cookie from Trader Joe's.  I found it to be too crunchy and too almondy -- was expecting more of a lemon shortbread.

I added too much lemon juice to the blueberry sauce, but otherwise this fool was a nice dessert.  Sweet but not too sweet and light as air.  And a GREAT color :)