Chicken and Waffles

Authentic Southern cooking is one of my favorite types of food. Sometimes in another life, I totally believe that I was meant to live in the South just for the sake of cornbread, Carolina barbecue, Sweet Tea and peach cobbler.

Now although I can’t eat this food 24/7, I do enjoy indulging in traditional Southern food from time to time. Besides barbecue, one of other my favorite Southern meals that comes to mind is Chicken and Waffles. I actually already featured this recipe on this blog about a year ago; however, the pictures from that post definitely didn’t do it justice. Since I made it again this past weekend, I figured I’d put up some new pictures to share!

Although I didn’t make blackberry butter (or some other fruity combination with butter) this time, this recipe still tasted delicious. Usually I’m all about the sauces. In my opinion, these can “make it or break it” as it relates to recipes. But, in this case, it was all about the seasonings. We added a bit more than the recipe called for and I’m incredibly happy with the end result of tender and especially flavorful chicken by itself.

Besides the food, I appreciate the traditional Southern mantra and phrase of “Food is Love”. No matter what type of food is your favorite, I think all of you reading can agree with that one!

Cheers!


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Salt & Straw

I’m such a sugar fiend. I know I have a problem when ice cream seems like it could take the place of a meal such as breakfast, lunch or dinner. But, on top of craving bouts of sugar all of the time, I also crave variety. And, by “variety”, I mean that I like to try things that might be considered simply atypical. For example, some of my friends might “mix it up” by ordering pumpkin pie ice cream instead of a standard vanilla or cookies ‘n cream flavor. For me, I need something a little bit zanier, something that just peaks my curiosity just a little bit more…

I first read about Salt & Straw through an article in Portland Monthly Magazine. All it took was just one glance at the menu on their website and I knew I would be instantly hooked. How did I know so quickly? I saw the words pear and blue cheese combined into an ice cream flavor. Now, although that might not have been my flavor of choice, I knew that ice cream similar to that flavor realm would be completely right up my alley.

So, this past weekend, my boyfriend and I ventured to Salt & Straw. Not only did I try delicious and unusual flavors of ice cream, but the people that worked at Salt & Straw were absolutely delightful, incredibly helpful and even let me try multiple samples. After sampling a few different flavors that included the likes of Honey Balsamic Strawberry With Cracked Black Pepper, Brown Bread Stuffing With Apricot and an ESB flavored ice cream, I finally settled upon Banana With Spicy Caramel and Walnuts while my boyfriend ordered a flavor that tasted exactly like blueberry pancakes with maple syrup (alas, I cannot remember the name!). Besides the most important fact that the ice cream encompasses a unique batch of flavor-intense ingredients, Salt & Straw is a farm-to-cone ice cream shop that uses local, sustainable and organic ingredients. As a result, this just makes me appreciate their establishment even more and elated for the chance to go back.

All in all, let’s just say, delicious ice cream + friendly service + a sunny afternoon= one happy camper.

Cheers!

Chicken and Waffles

A few years ago, we held a family reunion in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Although vastly different than the Pacific Northwest, I thoroughly enjoyed that vacation and absolutely fell in love with the scenery, food, and people.  Prior to this trip, I had never been informed about Waffle Houses and a Southern favorite: Chicken and Waffles. I then became highly intrigued as to how savory fried chicken eaten jointly with sweet waffles and syrup would taste. Unfortunately, we ran out of time in Tennessee and I regretfully never tried Chicken and Waffles.

Now, it wasn’t until recently that I was reminded of Chicken and Waffles after flipping through Bobby Flay’s Cookbook. Instantly, my first thoughts reverted to my family’s trip to Tennessee and my regrets for never trying the esteemed dish of Chicken and Waffles. Well, luckily for me, my boyfriend and his roommates happen to love fried chicken. So, with little convincing, the decision was made to make these on a weekend morning.

We chose to make Melba Wilson’s Fried Chicken and Eggnog Waffles with Strawberry Butter from that cookbook. However, we didn’t have eggnog or strawberries (oops!). Instead, we substituted buttermilk and blackberries. The waffles were very similar to a recipe that I used a few weeks ago for brunch (as seen here).

Fried Chicken

Step 1: Marinate Chicken With
Spices and Buttermilk for 2 Hours


Step 2: Coat Chicken With Flour

Step 3: Fry Chicken in Vegetable Oil

Buttermilk Waffles

Step 1-2: Combine Dry and Liquid
Ingredients; Add Whipped Egg Whites
Step 3: Drop Batter on Waffle Iron

Blackberry Butter

Step 1: Cut Softened Butter into Cubes;
Whip in Food Processor; Pulse Berries

Step 2: Form Into “Loaf”; Put in Freezer
to Shape; Serve with Waffles

[Don’t let the picture fool you — although it doesn’t
look appetizing, the butter was one of the best parts!]

Voila: Chicken ‘n Waffles!

[All previous qualms regarding this dish and it’s
questionable taste were completely abolished.
Delicious and a great success!]

Every now and then I crave fried chicken. And, every now and then I crave waffles. But, after this meal we had this weekend, I will definitely crave chicken and waffles concurrently. Although not the healthiest, this is a perfect meal to share with friends and when in the mood for fried goodness and a sweet treat!

Cheers!

Happy 2011! New Year’s Sunday Brunch

 This year my friends and I decided to host a New Year’s Sunday Brunch. We thought this would be a perfect time to get together, catch up on each other’s lives, and cheers to a Happy New Year.

Naturally, I awoke too early on a Sunday and had plenty of time to mosey around the house before everyone arrived. With the extra time, I conjured up a few items that I think no casual Sunday brunch should be without.

Sunday Morning Paper

Different Coffee Mugs

Vanilla Candles

Flowers 

Non-Traditional Holder for Utensils

New Year’s Sunday Brunch included a Spinach and Bacon Quiche and Belgian Buttermilk Waffles with Glazed Bananas.

I chose to make a quiche for several reasons:

1. Can easily alter/modify/add ingredients

2. Option to pre-buy the crust or make from scratch

3. Simple and I have never made one before!

That being said, for this quiche, I altered the ingredients to cater to certain food preferences and allergies of my friends (I substituted cheddar cheese for swiss cheese (on one-half of the quiche only), nixed the bacon, and added mushrooms and roasted red peppers). I also chose to make the dough/crust the day before in order to avoid waking up too early to make it the day of brunch. Despite the fact that I had to bake the quiche for 20 minutes longer than the recipe suggested, the quiche turned out well and next time I’d like to experiment with other ingredients such as chicken, asparagus, and gruyere!

Step 1: Use a Blender/Food Processor
to  Make Dough; Fill 9-inch Pan with Dough

Step 2: Chop Dry Ingredients; Place in Crust


Step 3: Blend Liquid Ingredients;
Pour Onto Crust

Step 4: Bake, Cut, Serve!

The waffles seemed like the easy, go-to choice to complement a savory dish for this brunch. Plus, I couldn’t remember the last time I actually ate waffles and almost had forgotten what they taste like. That fact by itself solidified this choice as a done deal. These were very crunchy and the bananas provided a great flavorful kick in combination with maple syrup!

Step 1: Mix Dry Ingredients Together; Mix
Liquid Ingredients Together; Combine


Step 2: Preheat Waffle Iron and Pour
Batter (3 minutes each round)

Step 3: Heat Butter Until Foam Subsides;
Place Bananas on Pan for 1 Minute Each Side

Step 4: Add to Waffles, Drizzle Syrup, Enjoy!

I’m hoping that we can make New Year’s Sunday Brunch a tradition for next year too!
Cheers to a Happy 2011!

 

5 Favorite Restaurants

Through the past 2o or so years I have lived here, Portland has treated me well. But, more importantly, it has also treated my stomach well. My early high school years spiked my curiosity in other culture’s foods and new experiences which prompted everything from trying Ethiopian food for the first time to sophisticated fine dining to food carts. But, throughout this journey, I can happily say that I’ve tried a whole gamut of different food groups and flavors I never thought I’d previously taste.

So, as tribute to the city and restaurants that widened my perspective, I’d like to mention a few of my favorites:

Screen DoorLiving in the Northwest doesn’t present too many opportunities to feast on Southern delights and delicacies. So, when I found the chance to go to a Southern-themed restaurant for brunch, I was absolutely ecstatic. And, trust me, my enthusiasm didn’t diminish at any point during this mid-morning outing. At first glance, when many of the dishes on the menu contained the words “Cajun, Alabama, blackened chicken, fried, and grits,” I knew it was going to be good. But “good,” doesn’t just cut it – the food was AWESOME. Just remember, this is not a joint to visit if cutting carbs, fat, and calories. Indulge in it all!

Try: Praline Bacon Waffle or Cajun Scramble

Tip: Sit at the bar and strike up conversation with the Chefs!

Kenny & Zuke’s Every once in awhile, I crave a large, hearty sandwich. If you find yourself in the same position, look nowhere else but Kenny & Zuke’s. Every sandwich here is guaranteed to feed an army, so no one ever leaves hungry or empty-handed. Personally, I haven’t found Pastrami at many sandwich shops, and if I have, I probably did not try it because I thought it was sketchy. But, here at Kenny & Zuke’s, the Pastrami is definitely un-sketchy and quite delicious. So, that coupled with it’s casual but lively and loud atmosphere keeps its customers coming back (including me) time and time again.

Try: Ken’s Special (Pastrami, chopped liver, cole slaw, and Russian dressing)

Tip: Leave plenty of time when coming here and bring a newspaper or magazine – the line is often very long!

Toro BravoIf you are an indecisive individual, you will love Toro Bravo and tapas restaurants. In Spanish cuisine, tapas basically serve as a variety of snacks or mini appetizers. This is perfect for an indecisive individual because it encourages ordering many different choices to eventually combine to make a meal. And, if you go to a tapas restaurant with friends, it is highly encouraged to share amongst all of the different dishes. But, not only do I enjoy Toro Bravo because of its element of tapas, but the food is also very fresh and flavorful as a result of Toro Bravo’s commitment to use ingredients from local farms and markets. I especially love the different spices used in Toro Bravo’s concoctions as well as the fact that the menu continuously changes!

Try: Machego & Paprika Fritters with Salsa Roja, Smoked Pork Shoulder Sandwich with Celery Root Slaw, and Moroccan Tuna with Dried Cherry Couscous

Tip: Bring as many friends as you can (and friends that like to share)!

Salvador Molly’sChina may be known for the Great Wall of China, but Salvador Molly’s is known for the Great Wall of Fire. Curious? Well, the Great Wall of Fire is a compilation of photos on the wall of contestants who successfully consumed the Great Balls of Fire (Habanero pepper ground cheese fritters). But, in addition to this contest, Salvador Molly’s serves amazing fare with its inspirations and unique flavors coming from Ethiopia, Hawaii, Thailand, New Orleans, Jamaica, and more. And, while waiting for food, make sure to take some time to look at the elaborate walls adorned with various souvenirs, photographs, artwork, and sculptures. Each piece tells an interesting story about the inspiration and food they’ve chosen to make at Salvador Molly’s!

Try: Mojo Kahlua Pork (My personal favorite – you won’t be let down, promise!)

Tip: Go at the noon hour to dine on one of the $4.95 lunch specials!

Andina — I will never forget the first time I went to Andina. After stepping foot into Andina for the first time, I sincerely thought I had left America. The impressive decorations, in-door décor, bright lighting, wafting smell of food, native Peruvian Chefs and sounds of traditional music teleported me to Peru instantaneously. At first glance, I still don’t understand about 75% of the menu; however, the first time I went I ordered a marinated chicken dish and a spicy cocktail with Habenero pepper infused vodka combined with a mango puree. At first sip, the cocktail was sweet but delivered a clever kick of spice at the end and the chicken was very flavorful. Overall, a wonderful experience and I’ve enjoyed my visits since!

Try: Seco a la Norte & Nacute (lamb-shank traditional Northern Peruvian style)

Tip: Call ahead and go on a night when the entire band is playing!

Perhaps writing this post on an empty stomach was a bad idea or perhaps a good idea that it reminded me to go to these restaurants!

Cheers!