In which I try to kill us both

There are a lot of risks in surfing the internet, as almost anyone can tell you. One minute, you’re clicking along all innocently, looking at dog supplies and reading blogs, and the next thing you know, you stumble onto something obscene… something unspeakable… something tempting.

Yes, you’ve discovered porn – food porn.

Glossy websites jam packed full of artfully lit shots of chipotle cinnamon chocolate cupcakes, salted caramel ice cream, and pan seared polenta. Blogs detailing the author’s adventures in creating the perfect butter cream frosting. Recipes for booze soaked french toast. My hips widened just taking it all in.

Fried chicken, corn bread, sweet potato fries and garlic green beans

But, I’m weak, so I ended up drifting over to a few sites about southern cooking, and was overwhelmed with the urge to make some fried chicken. Seeing as how I live north of the Mason Dixon line – waaaay north – I suppose I shouldn’t be ashamed to admit that I’ve never in my life fried chicken before. Nope, not ever. I’m not hopeless, though, as I can (and frequently do) make a wicked bourbon ribs with collard greens. I also do some pretty amazing Jamaican oxtail with fried plantain, but that’s another story.

I decided to make corn bread, fried chicken and green beans. Sean then decided that, since the frying pan was going to be full of hot oil, and we were both already going to carb purgatory, we might as well make sweet potato fries. I topped his suggestion with a remark about aioli, and he countered with ‘white gravy’. It was all pretty much down hill from there.

That’s the finished project over in the photo, and it all turned out pretty good. In case you’d also like to try killing off your loved ones via deep frying, here are the recipes.

Oven Fried Chicken

I combined Ina Garten’s recipe for oven fried buttermilk chicken with the seasonings from the recipe on Simply Recipes. I like the Barefoot Contessa’s cooking method, but her seasonings seemed insipid, so this was a pretty good compromise.


1 (3 pound) fryer, cut into pieces
2 cups buttermilk
1 large onion, sliced
1/4 cup chopped mixed fresh herbs (parsley, tarragon, thyme) or a teaspoon each of the dried herbs.
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon onion salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper
2 cups grapeseed oil, or other high smoke-point oil such as canola oil, or peanut oil

Soak chicken overnight (at least 8 hours and up to two days) in buttermilk with onions, herbs, paprika, and cayenne pepper.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Drain in chicken in colander, leaving some herbs on chicken. In a large paper or plastic (sturdy) bag, mix flour with seasonings. Meanwhile, heat 2 cups oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet (cast iron, stainless steel, or anodized aluminum – something that can take the heat) on medium high heat until a pinch of flour starts to sizzle when dropped in the hot oil (but not so hot that the pan is smoking). Remember when working with hot oil, always have a pan lid close by.

Working in batches, carefully place several pieces of chicken in the oil and fry for about 3 minutes on each side until the coating is a light golden brown (it will continue to brown in the oven). Don’t crowd the pieces. Remove the chicken from the oil and place each piece on a metal baking rack set on a sheet pan. Allow the oil to return to 360 degrees F before frying the next batch.

When all the chicken is fried, bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is no longer pink inside.

Buttermilk Cornbread Recipe

This is what I guess you’d call ‘northern’ style cornbread – sweeter and more cake like than a true southern corn bread is. It also makes a nice muffin, if you’re so inclined. I’ve added all kinds of stuff to this recipe – grated sharp cheese, canned corn, chopped serrano peppers, diced canned jalapenos. Go nuts.


* 1/2 cup canola oil or softened butter
* 3 tablespoons honey or natural maple syrup
* 2 large eggs
* 1/8 cup chopped chives or green onions
* 1 cup buttermilk
* 1/2 cup yellow corn meal
* 1  1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
* 1 tsp. baking soda
* 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
* pinch cayenne pepper


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray an 8-inch square baking pan or a cast iron skillet with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Stir together dry ingredients in large mixing bowl. Beat together all wet ingredients in separate bowl. Fold wet into dry using a wooden spoon. Don’t over mix.
3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake 35  minutes, or until the bread is golden brown. Cut the corn bread into squares and serve warm with butter.

(note: if you like a crispy crust outside your cornbread, pre heat the pan for about ten minutes, then add the batter to the hot pan before baking)