Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Lemon Meringue Pie

I have been ill due to a complication with my gall bladder surgery. Since I have been cooped up in my house I felt well enough to do some baking and experimenting yesterday. When I was growing up my  Mom made the best lemon meringue pies ever when I was a kid. I have a feeling she used the boxed lemon meringue filling. Mine is a different recipe. I did sub bottled lemon juice for squeezed. I also have perfected my meringue and got to pull out my stand mixer. You can use a hand held mixer, but I found this saves the wrists.

Lemon Meringue Pie

1 premade, pre-baked pie crust (I used Martha Stewart's recipe)
3/4 cup lemon juice
3 TBSP corn starch
2 TBSP flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups water
4 eggs separated (yolks for the filling)

4 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 pinch cream of Tartar
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Poke holes and prebake the pie crust using parchment paper loaded with pie weights or beans to weigh the pie crust down. If you don't do this the crust separates from the pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove the pie weights and bake for another 5 minutes or until the pie crust is baked through. .

Add the water, corn starch, flour,  and sugar to and sugar to a medium sauce pan. Stir with a whisk until boiling. Add in the lemon juice. Stir and remove from the heat. Add the egg yolks one at a time and continue to stir. After all have been added, return to the heat and continue to mix for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for 20 minutes. Stir the mixture periodically. Put the whites in the fridge.

Use a fine mesh strainer to pour the pie filling through. Use a spoon to push it through and into the pie crust. This assures there are no lumps in the filling. Refrigerate pie for 2 hours. Remove the whites from the fridge and place in a clean metal bowl. I used a stand mixer. I began beating the meringues on low. I added the vanilla and sugar with a pinch of Cream of Tartar slowly until the whites became glossy and formed peaks. Cover the pie with the meringue and use a knife to lift the meringue up and form peaks. Place under a broiler for 5 minutes until browned. Cool for a few minutes and back to the fridge if you can wait that long!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Honey Dipped Fried Chicken

Who doesn't like fried chicken?  On Monday's at Woodman's they put all the weekend meat on
Honey chicken with mango-corn salsa.
clearance. Score for us! I got a thick ham slice for $1.50 and a whole chicken fryer for around $3.00. Again, nothing wrong with them. They were at their due date. If chicken is frozen it's good for up to 9 months. If you are using it you want to try to make it no later than 2-3 days afterward. Throw away if you notice any fowl smell or slime.

This chicken was perfect. I have this way I like to bread my chicken. I normally use a grocery paper bag. It saves the mess. I use 2 cups flour to 1/2 cup corn starch. This recipe is different using a dipping batter. Still the same principle: dip the chicken into the cornstarch and then into the wet batter. To keep the skin krispy, this recipe called for removing the chicken and letting rest half way through cooking. I didn't like this method at first. I had to rebatter some of the chicken half way though. With the bag method, you shake and fry. The wet batter only had salt and pepper. I like to add Cayanne and Thyme to my dry batter.

 But before all that I brine the chicken for a few hours first in 2 quarts water, 1/2 cup salt, and 1/2 cup sugar. Mix the sugar and salt until dissolved. You could also use buttermilk. This helps break down the fibers and makes the chicken moist.

2 cups flour (1/2 cup reserved)
1/2 cup corn starch
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2  cups water

Honey Coating:

3/4 cup honey
2 TBSP hot sauce

Remove the chicken from the brine patting dry with paper towels. Prepare the batter mixing in a little water at a time. Fill a cast iron skillet half way with canola oil. Heat to 350-375 degrees. Use a thermometer to verify temp. Coat the chicken in the reserved flour on both sides. dip into the batter and into the hot oil. I fit all of my chicken in together. You can also do this in batches. Fry for 7 minutes a side. Remove the chicken from the oil and let rest for 7 minutes. (Or fry the next batch)

Return the chicken to the hot oil. Fry the breasts 20-25 minutes or until the internal temp is 160 degrees. Thighs take 15-20 minutes, smaller pieces like drums and wings may be done at 14 minutes. Drain oil off chicken on paper towels, season with salt,  and make the honey dip. Dip each piece of chicken in the honey and serve!