Monday, April 28, 2014

The One That's Almost Southern

Southern fried chicken, to me, has always appeared to be the best fried chicken there is.  It is moist and juicy on the inside and the crispy coating is a sinful delight I am more than willing to commit.  I have made two or three attempts in the past to recreate this rather iconic American dish but have failed miserably.  Either the chicken was dry on the inside or the coating was too sticky because of too much flour.

Recently, I decided to give it one more try.  Armed with a recipe I found online, I made a few tweaks and, lo and behold!!!  An almost perfect Southern fried chicken!

Here’s the recipe:

1.  In a bowl, mix buttermilk (make your own:  about a cup of milk and a tablespoon of vinegar), cayenne pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and white pepper.  

2.  Place the chicken pieces in the marinade and allow flavors to seep in the chicken overnight.

3.  Next, mix flour, cayenne pepper, paprika, garlic powder, salt and black pepper in a shallow bowl.  At this point, you can leave the seasoned flour as is or try adding dried herbs of your choice.  Take note that the flavor will alter depending on the dried herbs you have chosen to add.  Also, I don't measure when I cook.  I eyeball everything but about a teaspoon of each of the spices and herbs will do.

4.  Coat the chicken with the seasoned flour.  You can do double coats (coat with flour, dip in buttermilk again, and then coat with flour for the second time).  I did double coats and then, I tweaked the recipe by coating the chicken in breadcrumbs.  It resulted to a crispier chicken.

5.  Fry the chicken in batches.

I say that it’s almost perfect Southern fried chicken because I only used a few herbs and spices.  Now if I can just figure the other ones that wonderfully complement chicken (or the rest of KFC’s 11 secret herbs and spices!), that would spell out success in this feathery quest for the Holy Grail of fried chicken!

But as it is, it is already more than good.  It’s unbelievably savory and has an incredible kick in every morsel of chicken.  Marinating it in flavoured buttermilk gives it the moist and juicy meat.  I paired it with buttered veggies, mashed potatoes with homemade gravy, and a Southern accent for good measure. :)

Friday, April 25, 2014

The One About the Chocolate Cheesecake Brownies

The most recent holiday had me missing baking.  I am not claiming I am good at it but the few attempts I have made have churned out ooey gooey baked lovelies.  This batch of chocolate cheesecake brownies is no exception.  The sweet goodness of chocolates swirled with the tanginess of rich cheesecake makes for an incredible tandem for a party in anyone’s mouth.

Here's what you'll need:

An 8x8 baking pan
150g butter, chopped
300g dark chocolate, chopped
3 eggs
1 cup caster sugar and another 2/3 cup caster sugar for the cheesecake batter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
250g cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
a pinch of salt

Here's how to whip up a lovely batch:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2.  Grease the baking pan and line it with parchment paper.
3.  Heat butter and dark chocolate in a saucepan or microwave until melted and well-mixed.
4.  Pour butter and chocolate mixture into a big bowl.  Whisk in sugar, 2 eggs, vanilla extract, and salt.
5.  In another bowl, sift together flour (I used half all-purpose flour and half cake flour;  the result was super moist brownies) and cocoa powder.
6.  Slowly add the flour mixture by batches to the chocolate mixture. When everything has been mixed, pour batter into the baking pan.
7.  To make the cheesecake batter, in a food processor or blender, mix the cream cheese, 2/3 cup sugar, and the remaining egg.
8.  Pour the cheesecake batter over the chocolate batter in the baking pan.  Using a chopstick, make swirls to mix the two batters.
9.  Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until a fork/skewer comes out clean when inserted.  Set aside to cool and cut into squares.

Whipping up a batch of these babies is the perfect pick-me-upper for those less-than-eventful days.  They go so well with coffee or tea.  Or with your husband by your side, happily devouring his share. :)

Try it.  You’ll love it.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wednesday Nugget

This quote stuck to me after a visit to my parents' house last Easter break.  It's always refreshing how a simple conversation with my mom pushes me to go after my dreams and plans.  She never filters my goals and ideas no matter how far-fetched and crazy they may be.  She's my number 1 cheerleader. :)  

Have a lovely midweek. :)

Monday, April 21, 2014

The One About The Blog Edit

When 2014 ushered in new beginnings, I placed all my goals under the collective mantra “Become a better version of myself” (you can read about it here).  As I welcomed the new year, one of my promises to myself was to become a better blogger.  I began this blog back in 2009, the sole reason being I wanted to be able to document all my crafty endeavours.  Apart from that, this blog also served as a reminder for me to manage my workload and make time to make something with my hands.  I am, after all, more than my job.  Much as I love being a teacher, my crafting has permitted the lovely balance between my passion for my work and my passion for my interests.  The fact that I have a rather small but loyal audience is a bonus I am thankful for.

Still, I thought my little virtual space could use more TLC.  Having declared my intention of becoming a better blogger, Little Miss Pinay Crafter will be undergoing a blog revamp.  Okay, maybe “revamp” is a rather huge word for slight tweaks.  Blog edit, if you may.

These past few days, I have been poring over resources, blog samples, and inspirational pegs.  There are so many things to do:

A blog identity

Better template

A blog color motif

More tutorials

Blogging goals

Focused posts and entries

A blog moodboard

I'd like to make it clear that this will still primarily be a craft blog.  The blog edit will allow me to focus on my blogging intentions.  While I admit that the blog edit will take a huge chunk of my blogging (and even crafting) time, there is no need to fret over the lack of blog posts from yours truly.  I will still regale you all with my stories (Chocolate cheesecake brownies, anyone?  How about a handsewn kimono cardigan?  Will be blogging about them soon!) and, hopefully, you will notice the blog tweaking that will occur in the next weeks or so...or months!

And so, while it is lovely that I get all these “When are you posting something new on your blog?” queries, I hope you can shell out a little more patience and understanding for this blog edit.  I feel that this is something that I owe myself after having achieved maintaining a blog for almost five years now!  This time around, I’d like to make it better.  Excellence in blogging may be too big a goal to achieve but I haven’t even started the journey yet, and I am already basking in enjoyment.