Sunday, August 28, 2011

You are wrong

I am going to imagine for a moment that you, gentle reader, are not so busy with earthquakes, hurricanes, craft beer, pennant races, gas prices, waning summer days, jobs, lives and Jim Thome's return to the Indians that you haven't been wondering, "Why is Dianne not blogging very much these days?"

You are undoubtedly thinking, "It's because she has a baby, right? Who I guess is now technically a toddler, because he turned one last week." ("Technically A Toddler" is the name of my new band, by the way.)

You are wrong, however.

I haven't been blogging of late because I am trying to read all seven Harry Potter books and watch all eight movies in a row, in one gigantic pop culture chunk. I missed the boat completely over the past decade of Pottermania, and it is just with the release of the final movie that I decided I needed to consume the entire epic saga at once. I've been working on it since the second week of July, and am currently on page 528 of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Harry is learning Occlumency from Snape and fawning over Cho. Last night I had a dream that I was being harassed by a mob of evil blond Slytherins. And people say your priorities change when you have kids. Ha! Your priorities change when you read Potter.

Even though I'm spending a lot of my time developing a crush on Ron Weasley, that doesn't mean that I've stopped cooking. For example: I recently made this delicious cinnamon-scented fried chicken. It was flavorful, and juicy, and crunchy, and golden-reddish-brown and cooked in a cast-iron skillet (my favorite cooking vessel apart from my Potions cauldron). It was quick, coming together in no time. It satisfied me and Husband, giving him the energy to take care of the entire household while I retreated to the leather recliner, wondering why the imposter Moody didn't just make Harry's quill into a Portkey, thereby avoiding the whole Triwizard Tournament shenanigan and perhaps sparing the life of strapping young Cedric.

But then there would have been no point to the approximately 5,326 pages of ...The Goblet of Fire, and I'd be forced to resume normal adult responsibilities. Who needs that when you can have a good book and a good piece of chicken?

Next up: dragon steaks. Not just Hagrid's ice packs anymore!



2 c. water
2 T. kosher salt, divided
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or, alternatively, 1 good whole chicken, cut into pieces)
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 T. ground cinnamon
1 t. freshly-ground black pepper
Vegetable oil

Place water, 1 T. salt and Worcestershire sauce into a large bowl. Whisk to combine, dissolving the salt. Add the chicken breasts (or chicken pieces) to the bowl; refrigerate, covered, for 30 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the brine. Discard brine. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels.

Add enough vegetable oil to a large cast-iron skillet to come to a depth of about 1/2 inch. Turn heat to medium-high.

While the fat heats, combine the flour, remaining 1 T. of salt, cinnamon and black pepper in a plastic bag. Toss the chicken in the bag, 2-3 pieces at a a time, until well-coated. Place the pieces on a rack as you finish.

When the oil is hot (a pinch of flour will sizzle when sprinkled in), turn the heat to high and slowly add the chicken, a few pieces at a time. (If you add them all at once, the oil temperature will fall.) Cover the skillet with a mesh screen, reduce the heat to medium-high and cook for about 5 minutes.

Turn the chicken and continue to cook for approximately another 5 minutes. Then, turn the chicken as needed to make sure it's golden brown on both sides, cooking until a probe thermometer inserted into the white meat reads 161 degrees Fahrenheit. (If you're cooking dark meat pieces, you'll have to cook them a little longer, until they temp at 165 degrees.) Remove chicken from skillet and drain on paper towels.

Serve hot, warm or at room temperature (or even cold, if you're like Husband). I like mine with a hefty dollop of rich mashed potatoes.

Makes 4 servings.


Previously, on A Stove With A House Around It:

One year ago: blueberry-corn ice cream sundaes
Two years ago: Bread Baker's Apprentice English muffins
Three years ago: homegrown tomato salad with feta and cracked-black pepper