Tag Archives: crunchy

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

10 Jun

fried chicken

One thing I try to focus on when creating dishes is being able to eat and make what I love, without having to compromise much. Unfortunately, I suffer from a digestive disorder – what kind of cruel joke is that for a chef and “foodie”?! I’ve done quite a bit of trial and error on my diet to try to keep myself in good health and pain-free. Although I’m not allergic to wheat or gluten, I find that I feel much better when I don’t eat it. It seems a lot of people can benefit from reducing the amount of wheat they consume. With that said, I don’t want to give up my favorite foods or feel like I’m missing out on anything and this fried chicken is the perfect example! The buttermilk marinade adds to the flavor and moisture of the meat while the cornstarch helps to keep the breading from falling off while frying. If you haven’t tried brown rice flour yet, I highly recommend it!

Time: 45 minutes + marinate time                   Serves: 4


  • 1 chicken cut into 8 pieces – about 2.5 pounds
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp rainbow peppercorns
  • 1 handful celery leaves
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce
  • 2 tbsp cold water
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • neutral oil, for frying

How to make it

  • Combine buttermilk,salt,pepper,paprika,rosemary,onion,garlic,celery stalks & leaves in a large plastic zipper bag. Seal and toss to incorporate. Add chicken pieces, reseal, and refrigerate for at least 12 hours, and up to 36 hours.
  • Place cornstarch in a bowl.
  • Place egg, hot sauce, and water in another bowl.
  • Place flour, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper in a third bowl. Mix to incorporate.lunapic_137046272434386_28
  • Remove chicken from fridge. Heat oil in a medium stock pot to about 350F – a cube of bread should brown in one minute when the oil is ready.
  • Remove chicken from buttermilk mixture, letting excess drip off. Dredge first in cornstarch, then dip in egg wash, and finally dredge in seasoned flour. Place in hot oil and cook for about 20 minutes. Wings may need less time and larger pieces may need a few more minutes. I went about 25 minutes on the breasts, 20 minutes on the legs and thighs, and 15 minutes on the wings. Remove and transfer to a paper towel lined cooling rack. Fry in batches if needed. (I like to fry in smaller batches in a smaller pot to use less oil and give the pieces room to brown well without sticking).

fried chicken 2

Jeweled Kale and Cabbage Salad with Maple Mustard Dressing

4 Jun


We all know how good leafy greens are for us, but did you know how downright tasty they can be to boot? I learned the technique of cooking off the rawness of the kale and cabbage from Chef Lulu Powers who I worked for when I was out in LA a few months back. These simple ingredients come together for a wonderful balance of flavors and textures. Enjoy! 

Time: 15 minutes                         Serves: 6


  • Salad

  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries (or cherries)
  • orange juice or lemonade – enough to cover dried fruit
  • 3 cups shredded kale
  • 3 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan Reggiano Asiago cheeses
  • Dressing

  • 1 tbsp Creole or other grainy mustard
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • sea salt and black pepper, freshly grated – to taste

How to make it

  • Salad

  • The day before you plan to make this salad, combine dried cranberries and juice in a small container. Seal and let sit overnight to reconstitute the fruit.
  • Preheat oven to 425F. Spread shredded kale and cabbage out on lined baking sheets giving room so as not to crowd.
  • Bake kale and cabbage for 6 minutes. Transfer from baking sheets to a large mixing bowl.
  • Add reconstituted cranberries, pine nuts, and cheese. Toss with dressing and serve.
  • Dressing

  • Combine mustard, lemon juice, maple syrup in a small non-reactive bowl. Whisk to incorporate. Add olive oil and whisk to emulsify. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cornmeal Fried Okra

6 May


I was going to prepare the okra I got from the farmers market as Sambal Bendi with chili paste and dried shrimp but then I thought… I’ve been posting a lot of Asian inspired recipes lately, and while there’s nothing wrong with that b/c I love to cook and eat Asian cuisine, I wanted to give you all some variety. Now let’s bring it back to the bottom of the map. Somewhere I stumbled at, somewhere they eat gumbo at. Yes, I am paraphrasing Lil Wayne. Most people who know me know that I get amped up on hip hop to start my day. Plus my momma is from New Orleans so this recipes has me really excited!

Time: 15 minutes                     Serves: 4


  • 1 pint fresh okra, rinsed & patted dry – try to avoid large pods as they tend to be tougher
  • 1/2 cup stone ground cornmeal
  • 2 tsp Creole seasoning
  • 1 tbsp flour (I used brown rice flour for a wheat-free option)
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • sea salt, to taste

How to make it

  • Preheat oil to 375F in a deep fryer or wok.
  • Cut tops and ends off okra pods, then cut into about 1″ discs.
  • Combine cornmeal, flour, and Creole seasoning in a large, shallow dish. Add okra slices, in batches, and toss to coat.
  • Working in batches, drop okra into hot oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes until golden brown and crispy.
  • Remove and transfer to a paper towel lined. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Baked Crab Rangoon

29 Nov

My favorite appetizer to order from Chinese restaurants is crab rangoon. Most of the time they are disappointing with too much cream cheese and not enough crab. Plus, they’re deep-fried so must remain a once-in-a-while treat. Shangri-La here in Detroit makes really good ones but I decided to go the baked route so I could enjoy them more often. Creamy, crabby, flavorful inside with a nice crisp layer of won ton crust on the outside.

Time: 45 minutes            Services: 30 pieces


  • 2 tbsp plain Greek yogurt (I used 0%)
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened (may use reduced fat)
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tsp soy sauce (I used reduced sodium)
  • 1 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1 4.25 oz. can crab meat, drained (I used Trader Joe’s brand @ $1.99 & was impressed at the flavor & quality)
  • 30 won ton wrappers
  • cornstarch + water

How to make it

  • Combine yogurt, cream cheese, green onion, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, Worcestershire, sugar, and red pepper flakes in a bowl. Fold in crab.
  • Combine a bit of corn starch with cold water in a small bowl. Whisk to combine.
  • Preheat oven to 400F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Spray paper with cooking spray.
  • Lay out 4 won ton wrappers at a time. Place about 2 tsp filling into center of each. Wet edges with corn starch paste. Fold wonton wrapper over filling, creating a triangle shape. Press down edges and seal tightly, removing any air pockets. Set aside and repeat until all filling is used.
  • Place rangoons onto prepared baking sheets. Spray liberally with cooking spray. Place in oven and bake for 7 minutes. Turn and bake an additional 5-7 minutes, or until edges are golden brown.
  • I served these with a Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce I purchased from Trader Joe’s.

Covert Apple Cranberry Crisp

3 Oct

Called covert because I used Northern Spy apples. Feel free to use another tart apple of your choice, but if you can get the Spies do – they are “a baker’s dream” 🙂 If you like a sweeter crisp, add a bit more sugar to your taste. Based off a recipe I found on Food & Wine’s site.

Time: 20 min prep, 55 min cook              Serves: 6


  • Filling

  • 4 medium Northern Spy apples (Granny Smith work too), peeled, cored and cut into 1/2 inch wedges
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup apple cider
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • Topping

  • 1/2 cup AP flour
  • 2/3 tsp cinnamon (more or less to your taste)
  • 6 tbsp butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt

How to make it

  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Filling

  • Put apples in a large bowl. Add sugar and lemon juice, toss well. Add cranberries, cider, and butter. Toss well. Spread filling into an 8×8 baking dish.
  • Topping

  • Place flour into a mixing bowl. Add cinnamon and incorporate. Add butter and cut with pastry cutter or your fingers until it starts to resemble a coarse meal. If needed, add a bit more flour at this point. Add oats, sugar and salt and mix to incorporate. Sprinkle topping evenly over the apples. bake in upper third of the oven for 55 minutes. Let cool slightly and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream if you have it.

Baked Chimichangas

10 Sep

All the crispiness of a chimichanga but baked for less guilt. Feel free to experiment with the filling. Easily adaptable to your tastes and dietary needs – can be made vegetarian or with corn tortillas for a gluten free option.

Time: 30 minutes             Serves: 4


  • 1 pound ground beef (may sub ground turkey or chicken)
  • 1 batch of Best Ever Taco Seasoning Mix or your favorite taco seasoning
  • 1 cup black beans or pinto beans
  • 1 cup salsa, plus more for garnish
  • 1 cup grated cheese (I used a Mexican blend) + a bit more for topping
  • 4 large flour tortillas (I used whole grain)
  • cooking spray
  • 1/4 sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
  • 4 cups leaf lettuce, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes or cherry/grape tomatoes halved
  • 2 avocados, sliced
  • 1 large/2 small limes cut into wedges

How to make it

  • Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.
  • Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup water. Add ground beef and taco seasoning. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned. Drain & set aside.
  • Divide beef, beans, salsa, and cheese between the tortillas. Gently fold and wrap tightly.
  • Place seam-side down onto baking sheet. Spray each with cooking spray. Bake for 10 minutes. Sprinkle a bit more shredded cheese on each and bake an additional 5 minutes.
  • Top with more salsa, and a dollop of sour cream. Serve with lettuce, tomatoes, avocado slices, and lime wedges for squeezing over all.

Rustic Heirloom Tomato Tart

27 Aug

A lovely celebration of one of summer’s greatest offerings: Heirloom Tomatoes, which are marinated in balsamic and nestled atop cheesy flaky crispy goodness.

Time: 30 min hands-on 2 1/2 hours total             Serves: 8


  • Pastry

  • 3/4 cup AP flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 8 tbsp cold butter or Earth Balance, cut into pieces
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup very cold water
  • sea salt
  • Tomatoes

  • approximately 1 pound assorted heirloom tomatoes, sliced 1/4″ thick
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • sea salt & black pepper, to taste
  • To Assemble

  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 pound herb & spice havarti cheese, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

How to make it

  • Pastry

  • Place flours and butter in bowl of food processor fitted with dough attachment or S-blade.
  • Pulse a few times until butter is about pea sized.
  • Add sour cream and cold water and salt to taste. Process just until dough begins to hold together.
  • Remove from processor bowl and shape into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in fridge for at least one hour.
  • Tomatoes

  • Place tomato slices in a flat dish, such as a pie plate or similar. Cover with vinegar and season to taste with salt & pepper. Chill until ready to use (up to an hour with the pastry dough).
  • To Assemble

  • Preheat oven to 400F.
  • Remove pastry dough from fridge. Place ball of dough in center of a sheet of parchment paper. Roll out as evenly as possible into a 12-inch round, about 1/4″ thick. Alternately you could split the dough in two and make two smaller, 6-inch rounds.
  • Spread mustard on dough round, leaving a bit of an edge naked.
  • Top with cheese, followed by marinated tomatoes.
  • Carefully fold up edges of pastry, you may pipe or flute the dough if you’d like.
  • Sprinkle grated Parmesan over top, getting some on the crust as well. Place in oven and bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.
  • Best served fresh baked & warm out of the oven. May also be served at room temp.

Michigan Chicken Salad

3 Aug

A lovely summer salad for a Michigander, or anyone 🙂 I also love to prepare it in the fall during apple picking season.

Time: 5 minutes             Serves: 4


  • 4 cups cooked cubed chicken (I grilled mine withsalt & pepper and olive oil)
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted if desired (may sub walnuts)
  • 1/3 cup dried cherries (Michigan if possible)
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup diced gala apple
  • 1/4 cup green onions, chopped *optional
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped *optional
  • sea salt & black pepper, freshly ground – to taste
  • 1/4 tsp celery seed
  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

How to make it

  • Combine first 9 ingredients in a large mixing bowl. In a separate smaller bowl combine mayo, yogurt and lemon juice. Slowly add to larger bowl, mixing as you go so you don’t overdress. If you like your chicken salad with more dressing/sauce, feel free to add to your liking. Chill or serve at room temperature. Serve on a fresh croissant, bed of greens, or wrapped up in a large leaf of romaine or butter lettuce.

Zucchini Bread Granola

28 Jul

With zucchinis in abundance this time of year, a recipe I found on Tasty Kitchen for granola that incorporated them appealed to me. I tweaked it to suit my tastes and dietary needs. It smells just like zucchini bread while baking in the oven. Perfect to sprinkle on top of yogurt for a healthy, satisfying breakfast or snack.

Time: 40 minutes                Serves: about 8


  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups puffed rice cereal
  • 1/4 cup psyllium husk (optional)
  • 1/4 cup flax seeds (optional)
  • 1 cup finely grated zucchini (about 1 medium zucchini)
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • (or use 2 tsp pumpkin pie seasoning in place of cinnamon & nutmeg)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup chopped toasted pecans (may use untoasted, but add in with dry mix in first step)
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

How to make it

  • Preheat oven to 325F. Line on large or two small baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, rice cereal, psyllium husk, and fla seeds.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine zucchini, oil, honey, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and slat. Mix well to incorporate.
  • Add zucchini mixture to dry ingredients. Mix around and try to break up any clumps if any are present.
  • Put mixture onto prepared baking sheets, breaking up any clumps as needed. Spread evenly in a thin layer.
  • Bake for 10 minutes, remove and stir around.
  • Bake for 10 more minutes, remove and stir around. Add nuts, bake additional 5 minutes, remove and stir around.
  • Add chocolate chips and stir around. Place in oven for about 2 minutes or until just starting to melt. Remove from oven and give a good shake by lifting sides of parchment paper.
  • Let cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Crispy Baked Sweet Potato Fries

14 Jul

I am a sweet potato fry fan but have not been able to meet the challenge of the perfect balance between a tender center and crispy, crunchy outside in my from-scratch attempts – until now! The mystery has been revealed thanks to the info provided on The Art of Doing Stuff website, and this is my recipe considering the pointers provided by the site’s author, Karen – enjoy!

Time: 25 min + soak         Serves: 1+


  • 1 small sweet potato per serving
  • cornstarch
  • olive oil
  • seasonings of choice – I used salt & pepper

How to make it

  • Peel sweet potatoes and cut into uniform pieces about the size of medium fries (not thick steak fries or shoestrings). Let soak in a bowl of water for 1-4 hours (not mandatory but recommended).
  • Preheat oven to 425F.
  • Put about 1 tsp of cornstarch in a plastic bag and add pieces equalling about 1 potato. Twist the top of the bag so it forms a sort of balloon and shake around to distribute cornstarch. The potato pieces should be lightly dusted with cornstarch all over. Add more if needed.
  • Place dusted potato pieces onto a non-stick baking sheet in one layer, leaving a bit of room between. Repeat with remaining sweet potato.
  • Drizzle olive oil over potatoes – starting with about 1 tbsp. Season as desired. Use your hands to distribute oil & make sure they’re well coated. Add more oil as needed.
  • Rearrange on baking sheet, making sure to leave room between each one. The more space they have the crispier they’ll get.
  • Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until desired crispness is reached.
  • These are delicious served with a variety of dipping sauces, from something as simple as honey to a Sriracha mayo or Horseradish Dipping Sauce.