Sunday, October 17, 2010

Battered Chicken or Fish

My Venture into Goodbyes

In the last 14 months, I've posted over 100 recipes. Over 700 people subscribe to my blog and my recipes have been printed more than 40,000 times. I've had a great time doing my blog but it is an ever-increasing drain on my time. As many of you know, I do enjoy cooking but, most of all, I enjoy new recipe development. I've been really busy at work and I haven't had much time to work on new recipes (or even cook for myself!). After weeks of thinking about it, I've decided to quit doing my blog. Sniff!

Before I sign-off for the last time, I wanted to let you know my Top 5 Recipes over the last year. They are:

#1 – Southwestern Eggrolls (a clone of Chili's Southwestern Eggrolls)
#2 – Slow-Roasted Turkey Breast with Gravy
#3 – Catherine's Sweet Potato Mousse
#4 – Clone of Taco Bell's Baja Sauce
#5 – Beef and Potato Tacos

The following posts were the most read (probably because they all contained a funny story):
#1 -- Nacho Cheesy Chili
#2 -- Klingon Chicken
#3 -- Fluffernutter Bread Pudding
#4 -- Tacos al Pastor
#5 -- Dill-icious Potato Rolls (formerly known as Hong Kong Potato Roll Thingies)

Today, I am posting my final recipe. It's a clone of the batter used on Long John Silver's Chicken Planks or fish. I used the ingredient list on Long John Silver's website as a guide to make my own version. I actually like my version of the batter better than the real thing! This batter can be used for chicken, fish, shrimp, onion rings, or even Fried Frito Pie. What?! Fried Frito Pie?! Has he gone mad?! It's state fair season so I wanted to a posting related to foods at state fairs. One of the must-try foods at our state fair was the Krispy Kreme Hamburgers. It's a hamburger with Krispy Kreme doughnuts for the buns. I didn't try this concoction but it sounds really disgusting to me.

The 2010 winner of the Texas State Fair's Big Tex Choice Fried Food Award was a recipe for Fried Frito Pie. Gosh, it seems like they're frying everything nowadays: Fried Oreos, Fried Twinkies, Fried Butter, Fried Beer… Frying Frito pie was an interesting choice so I decided to try making some using my batter recipe. As you all probably know, Frito Chili Pie is traditionally made by ladling chili over Fritos and topping the mixture with cheese (and sometimes onions). Very yummy. How would this work if the chili pie were coated in a batter and fried? It was great! In fact, the photo at the top contains a few nuggets of Fried Frito Pie (as well as a couple of my Chicken Planks). I'll probably never make Fried Frito Pie again but it was fun to try it once.

This is a sad farewell for me. I've really enjoyed and appreciated all of your wonderful comments and support over the last year. I wish I didn't have to work for a living so I could spend more time on my blog! I encourage all of you to keep cooking and trying new foods and flavors. The next time you try a new, funky food, think of me. I'll miss you Blog Buddies! Best wishes – and happy cooking!

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Battered Chicken or Fish

A clone of Long John Silver's™ Chicken Planks or Fish
(Printable Version)

1 1/2 lbs chicken tenders or a mild, white fish (such as cod)
Salt to taste
Flour for dusting

For the Batter:
1 c all-purpose flour
1 1/2 TBSP cornstarch
1 TBSP corn flour (not corn meal)
1 1/2 tsp table salt
1/2 tsp Accent (MSG), optional
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 c water plus more as needed
1 tsp vinegar

Oil for frying

Dry the chicken tenders (or fish) well. Salt the chicken tenders (or fish) and set aside. For the batter, whisk all of the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Add 1 cup of water and vinegar and whisk smooth. Set aside.

Add about 3" of oil to a medium pot over medium-high heat. The pot needs to be deep enough to hold the oil plus leave plenty of room for the oil to expand when frying. Heat the oil to 350F. While the oil is heating, preheat the oven to 200F.

When the oil is approaching 350F, whisk the batter again. If it has thickened too much, add another tablespoon of water and whisk. Toss 2 to 3 pieces of chicken (or fish) in some flour (dredge the number of pieces that will fit in your pot without crowding it). Shake off all excess flour. Dip a piece of chicken (or fish) in the batter, allow most of the excess to drip off, then slowly add to the hot oil. Repeat with the remaining piece(s). Fry until deep brown. Transfer the chicken to a wire rack inserted into a sheet pan and place the sheet pan in the oven to keep warm until all of the chicken has been fried. Allow the oil to return to 350F before adding more pieces.

Texas Fried Frito Pie

1 recipe of the batter (see above)
1 can of prepared chili (no beans)
1-2 TBSP finely chopped onions, optional
4 oz cheddar cheese
Frito Scoops
Combine the chili, onions (if using), and cheddar cheese in a medium bowl. Use a spoon to add a small amount of the chili mixture to a Frito Scoop. Place on a small cookie sheet. Repeat with as many scoops as you want to fry. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer for about 15 minutes. Freezing the scoops will make it easier to dip them in the batter.

While the scoops are chilling, make the batter and start heating the oil. When the oil is nearly at 350F, pull the cookie sheet out the oven and drop a chili-filled scoop into the batter. Use a form to coat the scoop with the batter. Using the same fork, pull out the scoop – allowing the excess batter to drip off. Add to the hot oil and repeat with additional scoops. Don't overcrowd the pot. Fry until deep brown. Drain on paper towels and keep warm in an oven set at 200F.
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