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  • Popovers

    One of the choices this month for the Barefoot Bloggers was Ina Garten’s Popovers from her fabulous cookbook Parties.I have always wanted to try Popovers or Yorkshire Pudding, but always seemed to talk myself out of it. I was making a roast, so it seemed this would be the ideal time to try this recipe.

    I have to tell you that my son spent half the meal imitating of the character of Billy Sparrow from My Blue Heaven – he repeated “It’s a popover” over and over again. Sigh.

    • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus softened butter for greasing pans
    • 1 1/2 cups flour
    • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
    • 1 1/2 cups milk, at room temperature

    Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

    Generously butter or oil aluminum popover pans or Pyrex custard cups.This recipe makes 12 popovers so you’ll need enough pans for 12.

    NOTE: This was the first time I was making any sort of Popover or Yorkshire Pudding type thing, so I was hesitant to buy anything special. I used a cupcake tin.

    Place the pans in the oven for exactly 2 minutes to preheat.

    NOTE: I am not sure why EXACTLY two minutes, but hey, I go with the flow the first time through a recipe. Do the Popover Police show up ig you leave the pans in there for 2 minutes and 30 seconds? Do they flop of it 1 minute and 45 seconds?

    Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, salt, eggs, milk, and melted butter until smooth. The batter is thin. Fill the popover pans less than half full and bake for exactly 30 minutes. Do not peek.

    NOTE: It is very tempting to peek. But unless you can peek through the window in your oven DON’T OPEN THE DOOR! 30 minutes was a minute or 2 too long. I should  have buttered the cupcake cups more, but for the most part the Popovers popped right out. Now, they are completely hollow, so they do seem to be a little silly – especially when you come form a family of bread eaters – but good nonetheless, especially with a lot of butter!

    Oven Fried Chicken

    First I must apologize to the folks over at Barefoot Bloggers for this entry being so unbelievably late. Those of you who personally know me understand that my household has been a complete lunatic asylum for the last 5 months and no light at the end of the tunnel just yet.

    One of the last recipes for the Barefoot Bloggers to try was Ina Garten’s Oven Fried Chicken from Family Style – which happens to be my favorite Ina Garten cookbook. If you couple this with fried chicken being one of my absolute favorite comfort foods you practically have a match made in heaven.

    I was in the mood for fried chicken, cole slaw, my fav potato salad (Italian salad from a pal on Contessa’s Kitchen) and my grandmother’s biscuits.

    I have to say at the outset that while the end result was really good, crispy, flavorful (with my tweeks), this by no means, in no way shape or form OVEN fried chicken! This is what happens when you have a family affliction of not reading recipes all the way through! I read everything I needed to do to prep – ingredients – check, chicken in butermilk marinating – check. But I totally missed the fry the chicken before oven frying part. This little factoid totally screwed up my timing. It takes a long time to fry dinosaur sized chicken thighs (I only used thighs) for 3 minutes on each side and not crowd them!

    This aside, this was so very good and with proper time management would definitely be something to do again!

    • 2 chickens (3 pounds each), cut in 8 serving pieces
    • 1 quart buttermilk
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
    • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
    • Vegetable oil or vegetable shortening

    NOTE: Chicken thighs were on sale so I used equivalent weight of all thighs – they were HUMONGOUS.

    Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl and pour the buttermilk over them. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

    NOTE: I didn’t do this overnight, but from early morning to the time I began cooking.

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

    Combine the flour, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Take the chicken out of the buttermilk and coat each piece thoroughly with the flour mixture. Pour the oil into a large heavy-bottomed stockpot to a depth of 1-inch and heat to 360 degrees F on a thermometer.

    NOTE: Also, I had read in the blogosphere that others making this recipe had complained about the blandness of the coating. I added a favorite BBQ spice mix to the flour and it was really terrific.

    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.

    NOTE: See where the oven frying goes RIGHT OUT THE WINDOW? This was a huge pain in the tushy but I used a stock pot – next time I’ll use a larger one so more pieces can go in, or brave using a large cast iron skillet.

    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. Serve hot.

    NOTE: The baking just brings this chicken up to a whole new level. The inside was so tender and moist. The outside seriously crispy. You heard nothing around our dinner table but really loud crunching!

    Raisin Pecan Oatmeal Cookies

    No matter what type of cookie I bake, it always comes back to an oatmeal cookie. The boy is away working for the summer and sends messages – Please, send cookies! For future reference, a little ‘Hi Mom’ gets you a long way, my son!

    I had been wanting to try Ina Garten’s Raisin Pecan Oatmeal Cookies from Back to Basics for a while, so here we go!

    •  1 1/2 cups pecans
    • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
    • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 3 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
    • 1 1/2 cups raisins

    NOTE: We are not really raisin fans in our house, so I swapped out the raisins for dried cherries.

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

    Place the pecans on a sheet pan and bake for 5 minutes, until crisp. Set aside to cool. Chop very coarsely.

    NOTE: I solved this pain by buying already chopped pecans from Trader Joe’s.

    In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, add the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla.

    Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt together into a medium bowl. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Add the oats, raisins, and pecans and mix just until combined.

    Using a small ice-cream scoop or a tablespoon, drop 2-inch mounds of dough onto sheet pans lined with parchment paper. Flatten slightly with a damp hand. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Transfer the cookies to a baking rack and cool completely.

    NOTE: I will definitely make this again. I didn’t do the flattening part – just seemed a little silly. These cookies don’t spread much, so maybe I will flatten them a little next time.  These travel really well so they’re great for shipping. My only dislike is there is no chocolate in them …