Category Archives: Intermediate

The Best Fried Chicken in the WORLD right from your kitchen!


We don’t eat fried chicken a whole lot but every once in awhile Evan or I will get a hankering for some good ole fried chicken. Usually when this happens we hit up our “go to” place = Max’s Wine Dive.  It’s always an expensive trip (the wine always gets us damn it…) and it’s quite far from us now that we live out in the boonies. This time we gave it a go at home. It was awesome!

Prep: 24 hrs (if you can wait that long)

Cook Time: 15-17 min per batch

Serves: 4 with sides

Finger Lickin'


  • 4 Thighs and 4 drums (separated) with the skin on.
  • 2 Cups Buttermilk
  • 1 Jalapeno
  • 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 Cups all purpose flour
  • 2 Eggs, beaten
  • Peanut oil for frying
  • More salt and pepper


  1. Blend jalapeno, buttermilk, salt, and pepper in a blender or food processor.
  2. In a large glass mixing bowl: add marinade and chicken and cover with plastic wrap, let sit overnight.
  3. Heat peanut oil up in fryer to 325 degrees F.
  4. Add 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper to flour.
  5. Take chicken out of marinade and let sit for about 20 min on a baking sheet just to warm them up a bit so the fryer oil doesn’t drop drastically. Pat dry, dredge in flour, then egg wash, then flour again.
  6. Fry pieces in several batches, how many will depend on your fryer’s size. Fry for 15-17 min.
  7. Place on wire rack and keep warm in oven if you are doing several batches.

Serve with cayenne honey and a side of collard greens and a starch 🙂 I did mashed sweet potatoes. Mmmm!


Sausage and Porcini Pizza with a Homemade Pesto


Here’s the pizza I promised and let me tell ya… it was an amazing pizza! Everything was made from scratch (minus the cheese, but I’m working on changing that). I can’t tell you how much better homemade crust, sausage, and pesto is!!! If you haven’t made any of these by hand it’s time to start and here’s why:

Store bought pizza crust: Like Boboli for example are about $3-5 and contains all of these ingredients some of which are GMO: Unbleached enriched wheat flour [flour, malted barley flour, reduced iron, niacin, thiamin mononitrate (vitamin b1), riboflavin (vitamin b2), folic acid], water, palm oil, yeast, salt, milk casein, sugar, mozzarella cheese (milk, cheese cultures, salt and enzymes), preservatives (calcium propionate, sorbic acid ), fumaric acid, modified food starch, sodium phosphate, whey, monoglycerides, lactic acid, natural flavor, garlic, artificial color.  Making your own consists of much less: Flour, yeast, water, oil, and salt… all for approximately 60 cents!

Store Bought Pesto 4oz: For about $4-7 Contains: Basil, Soybean Oil, Garlic, Romano Cheese (Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes), Olive Oil, Spice, Salt, Lactic Acid, Torula Yeast, Citric Acid, Natural Flavors (Soy). Contains Soybeans, Milk. Making 8oz of your own: Basil, Olive Oil (good stuff), Pine nuts, Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese, Garlic, Salt and Pepper for about $5-6

Store Bought Sausage 1lb: For about $4-6 Contains: Pork (high fat content), Water, Salt, Corn Syrup, Monosodium Glutamate (AKA MSG), Dextrose, Spices, Natural Flavors, BHT, BHA, Citric Acid. Making your own: Pork, Turkey, Identifiable spices that I’m proud to disclose, Shallots, Garlic, Green Onion for about $ 2.50

Yes it’s work, it is much harder than picking up the phone and calling Domino’s! In the end- not only is better for your wallet and your body but it’s also fun to create meals you can feel good about eating that won’t come back to haunt you the next day… or even next couple of days for that matter, you know what I’m talking about…

Prep: 1 hr

Cook Time: 20-25 min

Makes: 8 Slices or serves 2-3



  • Sausage balls
  • Porcini mushrooms
  • 8 oz Fresh Mozzarella, sliced into medallions.
  • 1/4 C. Pesto
  • 1/4 C. Parmigiano reggiano, the GOOD stuff!
  • 1/4 lb Ground pork
  • 1/4 lb Ground turkey
  • 1 Garlic clove, minced
  • 1 TBS scallion, chopped finely
  • 2 TBS Shallots, chopped finely
  • 1 tsp. Marjoram
  • 1 tsp. Sage
  • 1/8 tsp. Tarragon
  • 1/2 tsp. Ground pink peppercorn
  • 1/8 tsp. Cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. Black pepper
  • 1 tsp. Salt
Mix well and roll into marble sized balls. Cook in large skillet until cook through. Reserve for pizza
Basil Pesto (this makes a cup) you can store or freeze what you don’t use.
  • 2 C. Fresh Basil Packed, big stems removed
  • 2/3 C. Olive oil
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • 1/4 C. Pine Nuts
  • 1/2 C.- 3/4 C. Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese
  • Salt and pepper
Mix all ingredient in processor, season with salt and pepper to taste.


  • 1 (1/4 ounce) Package active dry yeast
  • 1 C. Warm water
  • 1 TBS. Sea salt
  • 2 tsp Olive oil
  • 2 1/2-3 1/2 cups Bread flour


  1. Dissolve yeast in warm water in warmed bowl.
  2. Add sea salt, olive oil, and 2 1/2 cup flour.
  3. Attach bowl and dough hook, turn to speed 2 and mix 1 minute.
  4. Continuing on speed 2, add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until dough clings to dough hook and cleans sides of bowl. Knead on speed 2 for 5 minutes. If making 2 pies split dough into 2 balls.
  5. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top.
  6. Cover, let rise in warmest place in house away from draft until doubled in bulk (about 1 hour).
  7. Punch dough down each ball.
  8. Roll out dough as you like and place on your cooking surface. (stone, tin, pan, etc.)
    I pre bake my crust for about 5 min on the stone to firm it up… this ensures that the meatballs don’t roll off when you slide it in the oven.
    To Top: Spread pesto evenly, then place mozzarella on top, then porcini’s and meat balls, Finally sprinkle with Parmigiano reggiano.
    Bake for 20-25 min until bubbly and golden  :)
    Enjoy and Cheers!
    DON’T FORGET there’s still time to enter my OXO Giveaway if you haven’t already!

Roasted Fennel and Carrot Salad with a Balsamic and Yuzu Reduction Chicken and Gnocchi Surprises


This is a nice warm salad that’s fresh and seasonal. I usually don’t make warm salads but this dish was a reminder of how good they are and I think I will be doing this again soon! It’s great as a side dish or main meal.

Prep: 20 min

Cook Time: 45 min

Serves: 2-3


  • 2 chicken breasts, fresh
  • 5-7 Carrots, sliced in half long ways
  • 2-3 Fennel bulbs, quartered
  • 1 C. Gnocchi (cooked as you like) I do butter garlic and parsley
  • 4 C. Mixed Spring Salad
  • 1 Shallot, sliced into 1/4 inch slices, long
  • 1 Garlic clove, minced
  • 1/8 C. Balsamic (for carrots, shallots, and fennel).
  • 1/8 C. Chicken stock (for carrots, shallots, and fennel)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1/8 C. Yuzu (for chicken breasts)
  • Balsamic and chicken stock (for chicken breasts) I’m not giving amounts on these so just have the containers available because you will have to eye ball it.


For roasted carrots, fennel, and shallots: Pre heat oven to 425 F. Cut produce and lay out on a large baking dish or pan (It’s helpful to line well with foil) add garlic, then drizzle with:

  • 1 Garlic clove, minced
  • 1/8 C. Balsamic (for carrots, shallots, and fennel).
  • 1/8 C. Chicken stock (for carrots, shallots, and fennel)
  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper

Bake covered with foil for 20 and uncovered for 10-20 more min until done.

For Chicken:

  • Clean breasts and trim fat.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • In a large skillet heat 1-2 TBS of olive oil on medium high and add breasts.
  • This is where you will start with 1/8 C. Yuzu, 1/8 C. Balsamic, and 1/8 C. Stock all equal parts into a measuring cup.
  • Add a dash at a time coating the breast it will reduce and get thick.
  • Though out the duration of cooking the chicken until done you will keep adding balsamic and stock when it starts to diminish. Make sure your last time you put a bit more in so you have some reduction left to pour on top of salad.

Enjoy and Cheers!

Panko Encrusted Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Spinach, Mushrooms, & BACON


I haven’t stuffed chicken breasts in a while so I figured I do something a little different than the usual “cordon bleu” style. These tuned out fantastic! The hardest part is making the incision into the breast big enough and so that you don’t pierce the backside, you really want to be able to stuff as much goodness in there as possible (and keep it in)! 🙂

Prep Time: 20 min

Cook Time: 25-30 min (depends on thickness of breasts used).

Serves: 2


  • 2 Free range chicken breasts, place a large slit in breasts without piercing through other side.
  • 1 C. Spinach
  • 1 C. Arugula
  • 2 Slices of cooked bacon, chopped
  • 1 Shallot, or 2 TBS, minced
  • 1/2 C. Baby bella mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 Clove of garlic, minced
  • Parmesan Reggiano, shaved 2 TBS
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. Paprika
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • 1 C. Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 TBS Butter


  1. Cut produce as described above, and heat medium skillet on medium high with 1 TBS olive oil. Once hot add garlic, shallots, and greens. Saute for 2 min until softened. Add the chopped crispy bacon to mixture and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  2. Prep Chicken. Divide greens mixture and insert into breasts. Nestle the parmesan shavings on to the top of mixture inside of breasts.
  3. Pre-Heat oven to 375 F.
  4. Prepare two bowls one with beaten egg (add salt, pepper, and paprika to this beaten egg and mix well). The other bowl will have the panko. Dip each breast into the egg and spice mixture then into the panko, make sure you coat the breast evenly and thoroughly. Repeat with other breast. Refrigerate for 10 min to set.
  5. Heat medium or large skillet on medium heat with 1/2 TBS butter and wait until hot. Add breasts and DO NOT FLIP or touch for 3-4 min (time it or your panko will fall off the breasts). I often will spray the tops of the breasts with olive oil spray while the bottoms cook so that when I flip them they will have something on them to “brown” and not burn… instead of using more butter… So you will cook the breasts for 3-4 min on each side then transfer to the oven for 20 min or until done.
Serve with a salad or veggie of choice 🙂 and enjoy!

Hatch and Serrano Chili Panko Encrusted Tilapia with Smashed Potatoes and a Pistachio and Citrus Salad


This is a great way to use the hatch chilies that you might be seeing all over town right now!  I chose tilapia for this dish but you could use catfish or cod.

Prep Time: 20 min

Cook Time: 30 min

Serves: 2


  • 2 Fish filets, your choice on how big (a little under 1/2 a pound each will do).
  • 1/2 Hatch chili, minced finely
  • 1 Serrano, (1/2 sliced very thin, 1/2 minced finely).
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 C. Panko bread crumb
  • Salt, pepper, and fine herb blend 1/2 tsp of each
  • 2 Potatoes, scrubbed, cut up to boil (leave skin on, that’s where all the nutrients are).
  • 1/4 C. Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1/2 C. Light sour cream
  • 3 TBS Butter
  • 1 tsp. Black truffle salt
  • 2 TBS Shallot, minced (for whole recipe you will need one medium sized shallot, half for potatoes and half for dressing).
  • 2 Green onions, sliced
  • 1 Clove of garlic, minced
  • 2-3 Cups of fresh baby spinach
  • 1 Grapefruit, cut this way
  • 2 TBS Pistachios, shelled (Fresh)
  • 1/2 Orange, zest it
  • 1/2 Orange, juiced
  • 1/8 C. Red wine vinegar
  • 2 TBS Olive oil
  • 1 TBS Agave nectar
  • 1 tsp Fine herb blend
  • 1 TBS Shallots, minced
  • 3-4 TBS Olive oil or you can use Pam to cut calories


  1. Bring salted water to a boil in a medium pot, add cut up potatoes and cook until tender/done. While potatoes are cooking…
  2. Prepare fish, wash, gather two bowls and a plate. Crack egg in first bowl, whisk. Add panko, hatch and serrano peppers, and salt, pepper, and fine herb blend 1/2 tsp of each to crumbs and mix with hand.  Take fish filets and dip into egg mixture then into panko and coat whole filet throughly on both sides. Repeat. Place breaded fish on plate and place in fridge.
  3. Drain potatoes and place back in pot, add sour cream, cheese, butter, garlic, 1/2 of the shallots, truffle salt, and green onion and mash roughly. Cover to keep warm.
  4. Heat large skillet on medium high with olive oil or pam, add filets, and cook for 4 min without turning!!! After 4 min turn and cook for an additional 4 min without turning, after you have browned both sides cook until done (about 2 min on each side more).
  5. While fish is cooking make up your salad and dressing add spinach to bowl, add grapefruit and nuts.  For the dressing, get a plastic container with a tight sealing lid and add:
    • 1/2 Orange, zest it
    • 1/2 Orange, juiced
    • 1/8 C. Red wine vinegar
    • 2 TBS Olive oil
    • 1 TBS Agave nectar
    • 1 tsp Fine herb blend
    • 1 TBS Shallots, minced
And shake to mix well.  Dress salad and check on fish.  Once fish is done plate up your meal, garnishing with a few serranos that you sliced thinly earlier.  Enjoy!

Pan Seared Mahi Mahi with Serrano Peppers & Crispy Shallots Served with a Side of Roasted Baby Zucchini, Heirloom Tomatoes, & Purple Potatoes


I know it’s been awhile since my last post, sometimes life gets in the way of hobbies, I’m back now 🙂

You are going to love this delicious and healthy dish.  I’ve been trying to get more creative with my plating and take better photos of my food so let me know what you think!

Serves: 2

Prep Time: 20 min

Cook Time: 25 min


  • 3/4 – 1lb Fresh Mahi Mahi, cut into 2 pieces
  • 5 Baby zucchini or regular just sliced into small pieces
  • 2 Small to medium heirloom tomatoes, sliced
  • 6-8 Purple potatoes, sliced very thin
  • 1 Serrano pepper, sliced very thin
  • 1 Green onion, sliced very thin
  • 2-4 Shallots, sliced very thin
  • 1-2 Cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 Lemons, one for juice, one for garnish
  • 1/2 TBS of butter
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Dried fine herb blend


  1. Pre-Heat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Slice up the produce as directed above
  3. Place purple potato slices on a “Pamed” baking sheet, and place in pre-heated oven. Bake for 25 min.
  4. While potatoes are baking, heat up a grill skillet to medium high for your zucchini and tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil and place on heated skillet, grill on both sides until cooked.
  5. Heat another medium non stick skillet to medium high for the fish, place a 1/2 TBS of butter in the skillet and cook the sliced shallots and garlic until crispy, remove and set aside.  Then add fish, meat side down, cooking for 4 min.  Flip and cook for 4 more. Transfer Zucchini, tomatoes, and fish into a casserole dish to finish in the 400 degree oven for about 8 more min, or until fish is cooked through.
  6. Plate meal, put green onion on top of potatoes. Place shallots, serranos and garlic, on top of fish, sprinkle with salt and pepper and then drizzle with lemon juice.
Enjoy, Cheers!

Brooklyn Black Ops Russian Imperial Stout Cheesecake


This cheese cake is sinfully good without the Brooklyn Black Ops Chocolate Sauce, when the two meet it’s ridiculously… dangerously good. Be sure to have some friends around when it’s done or you may just end up eating the whole cheesecake!


I know some of you may be thinking why would she waste a rare delicious beer on cheesecake… okay well it was only 4 oz and I live in Texas it’s already 98 degrees outside- I wanted a pint of Black Ops and I also wanted to try a sauce with it… solution was a win win- I had my pint and made this cheesecake in 98 degree weather. Would you expect anything less from a Food Experiments Pork Experiment 3rd place winner, I think not 🙂


-15-20 graham crackers, crushed
-2 tablespoons butter, melted
-4 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
-1 1/2 cups white sugar
-3/4 cup milk
-4 eggs
-1 cup sour cream
-1 tablespoon vanilla extract
-1/4 cup all-purpose flour
-4 oz Brooklyn Black Ops, (good luck finding it, I won this at The Food Experiments : Pork Experiment for third place…3 bottles…) in that case use a stout that you love. Drink the rest of the beer with the cheesecake or dinner.
-1 C. Semi-sweet chocolate chips, get some good ones!


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9 inch springform pan.
2. In a medium bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs with melted butter. Press onto bottom of springform pan.
3. In a large bowl, mix cream cheese with sugar until smooth. Blend in milk, and then mix in the eggs one at a time, mixing just enough to incorporate. Mix in sour-cream, vanilla and flour until smooth. Pour filling into prepared crust.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour. Turn the oven off, and let cake cool in oven with the door closed for 5 to 6 hours; this prevents cracking.
5. Melt chocolate in a double boiler and then add the stout and blend until fully mixed. Let cool down for about 20 min.
5. Pour the stout chocolate sauce on top and refrigerate for a few hours before serving.

Enjoy, Cheers!

Mesquite Smoked Yard Birds with a Honey Jalapeno Citrus Glaze


This recipe will make a wonderfully tender and juicy pair of birds that everyone will enjoy!  

Serves: 10-15 with sides

Prep: 30-45 min

Cook Time: 5 hours or until done


  • 2 4.5- 5lb free range chickens, fresh is preferred


  • 1/2 C Local honey
  • 1 Jalapeno, grated (use gloves if you are a contact wearer or just love to touch your eyeballs).
  • 2 TBS butter, melted
  • 1/4 C. Sea salt
  • 2 TBS freshly ground pepper (I use pink, white, and black).
  • 1 pinch red pepper
  • 2 Lemons, juiced


  • 100-150 charcoal briquets, NOT easy light
  • 4-6 Mesquite chunks, dunked in water
  • Duraflame fire starters, about 6 pieces
  • 1/2 gallon of water
  1. Prep chicken, by  taking out innards (I feed them to Ginger, our dog) and wash the chickens and pat dry.  Place in a large pan and put back in the fridge while you prep your smoker.
  2. To prep the smoker:  I used a Weber Smoker that works perfectly.  This is the method of instructions I will give according to this kind of smoker.  In the bottom of the smoker light 6 starters on the very bottom, let completely catch on fire and add the briquets to the top of the fire starters.  Make sure ring is enclosing your briquets.  Let briquets heat for 20 min and add wood chunks evenly around fire.  Place water bowl in specified area of smoker with 1/2 a gallon of water.  Then add top grate and place your chickens on the very top.  *** DON NOT USE LIGHTER FLUID EVER WHEN SMOKING MEAT.
  3. Season chicken generously with salt.
  4. Mix all of the glaze ingredients together and use a silicone brush to apply to chicken every 30 min.
  5. Cook for 5 hours or until done, keeping the temp at a constant 195-205 degrees.
Serve with your choice of sides and enjoy!

Whole Chicken on FoodistaWhole Chicken

Valentine’s Dinner Special: Frenched Lamb Rib Chops served with Panko Crusted Potato and Ogonori Heart Cakes and Roasted Rosemary Carrots


This meal cost $50 including a nice bottle of wine, for 2 people.  That beats going out with the big crowds and spending $150+ I’ve never been a big fan of Valentine’s Day, I think it’s much more meaningful to receive flowers and surprises when your not expecting them…

Prep: 45 min

Cook: 45 min

Serves: 2


  • 5 Lamb rib chops, frenched (I had 2, Evan had 3, you choose how many you want).
  • 5 New potatoes, quartered
  • 6 Carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3/4 C panko bread crumbs
  • 3/4 box of Ogonori, chopped from Austin Sea Veggies
  • 1/4 C white cheddar cheese, or blend
  • 2 TBS Butter
  • 1/4 C Skim milk
  • Sea Salt and fresh pepper
  • Demi-Glace (store bought or home-made)
  • Olive oil
  • 1 TBS butter


  1. Season rib chops with salt and pepper, set in fridge.
  2. Boil Potatoes until tender and mash with butter, milk, cheese, pepper to taste, then stir in green onion and ogonori until mixed well.  Ad salt to taste at very end.  Transfer to a bowl and place in freezer for 5-10 min.
  3. Slice up carrots, drizzle with olive oil, salt, and rosemary, bake for 30 -40 min on 350.
  4. Take slightly cooled mashed potatoes out of freezer and pour 3/4 C of panko on to a plate.  Shape half of mixture into a heart (it doesn’t have to be perfect) and place on plate of panko gently covering the cake on both sides, repeat with remaining mashed potato, may have a bit remaining.
  5. Bring a large skillet with a couple TBS of olive oil to medium high heat, place cakes in skillet and cook for 3 min on each side.  Transfer to oven to keep warm (Be careful with this transfer, use two spatulas), I like to do this on my bake friendly Fiesta Ware so I don’t have to worry about the heat breaking in transfer…
  6. When carrots are about 10 min from being done, get your demi-glace reducing, and heat large skillet back up to medium high, with 1 TBS butter.  Cook rib chops for 4-5 min on each side, I like them to be medium rare, don’t over cook.
  7. Plate your meal however you’d like and drizzle the demi-glace all over 🙂

The Ogonori in this dish gives the potato cakes a nice sea salt taste and has a nice texture.  You could even put a sprig of it on top of the heart, it almost looks like little veins…

Demi-Glace Sauce

Panko Breaded Chicken with a ZESTY Mushroom and White Wine Caper Sauce


It’s Zesty 🙂

Prep: 15 min

Cook: 20-30 min depends on thickness of chicken breasts

Serves: 2


  • 1 Cup japanese panko bread crumbs
  • 1 /2 TBS paprika
  • 1 TBS dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground peppercorns (I use a blend of white, black, red, and pink ground in a mortar and pestle).
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 chicken breasts, I used regular not thin ones, trim fat.
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1/2 C flour
  • 10 mushrooms, washed and sliced
  • 3 lemons juiced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup of chardonnay
  • 3 TBS butter, real
  • 1 TBS flour
  • 2 TBS capers
  • 2TBS olive oil


  1. Combine first 7 ingredients into a medium bowl and mix well.
  2. Trim chicken of fat.
  3. Arrange the next ingredients as follows: 1/2 C flour on a plate, beaten egg in a shallow bowl (that will fit one breast), Bowl of panko mix.  Salt and pepper breasts lightly and then dredge each breast in the order above so: Flour, egg, panko (making sure you cover each breast completely in each stage.
  4. Put breasts in fridge for 10 min to set breading and preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  5. While breasts are setting cut up garlic, mushrooms and measure out the rest of your ingredients.
  6. Heat large non-stick skillet on med high with 2 tbs of olive oil for about 3-4 min or until hot.
  7. Cook breast 3 min on each side, time this and do not flip or touch before 3 min so that you don’t loose your breading!  They should be nice and golden brown after 3 min on each side 🙂 place in a baking dish and cook for about 12-15 min or until done.
  8. While chicken is baking, take the skillet you used for the chicken and add your garlic and real butter on medium, cook for 1 min, then add mushrooms and cook for 1 min, then add lemon juice and wine and bring to a simmer for about 3-4 min, add capers, then that TBS of flour to thicken up a bit more.  Finally add some paprika, salt, and pepper to taste.

Serve with your choice of sides, I went with mac &  cheese and collard greens 🙂

It’s a VERY ZESTY sauce and goes wonderfully with the panko chicken!