This may not look very complicated or exotic, but it was a milestone for me. I admit it: I have never fried chicken before. I know, I know... it’s embarrassing. What kind of good Southern girl doesn’t know how to fry chicken? Doesn’t even try.
One who doesn’t like to cook, and has always had other people who fried chicken pretty damned well. My granny, of course, made the ultimate fried chicken, with my mom’s a close second. I was always a little afraid to try. All that hot grease! The spatter, the mess, the third degree burns! What if the pan catches on fire? (Don’t laugh; have you ever seen a kitchen on fire? I have. And I don’t want to see it again. And for the record, I wasn’t the one cooking.) And -- again, my chicken phobia -- how do you know when it’s done?
But look at this photo! Look! How beautiful, all that golden crispiness you can almost taste just from the glory of its image! I fried that chicken! I totally rocked it!
This boneless, skinless chicken breast is not really quite the same as Granny’s, of course. Granny was suspicious of anyone taking the skin off a chicken on purpose. She was a true Southern cook, who knew how to raise it, chop it, pluck it and fry the hell out of it. Me? I’ve practically forgotten that chickens actually have bones.
I’m a little annoyed, however, that the Home Chef people didn’t tell me exactly what I was using to coat the chicken. An egg white wash and then a baggie of “chicken breading.” Well, what if I want to cook this again? I don’t know what I used. I mean, it was obviously some kind of flour, right? But it was yellow. Flour isn’t yellow. Is it? And it wasn’t coarse like corn meal -- unless there’s a kind of corn meal that I don’t know about? Which is entirely possible. What I don’t know about cooking could fill a lifetime subscription to “Living.”
The potatoes were lovely, and fast and easy to make, because they sent me Yukon potatoes that you don’t have to peel. That you could dare to make mashed potatoes without peeling was a revelation. It came with heavy cream... oh my sweet lord of cholesterol, heavy cream!
Apparently it is corn season, so all of the food box folks are doubling down on corn. I had corn last week, and I’m having corn twice this week. Tonight’s corn was supposed to be cut off the cob and cooked on the stove top, but as I learned from a previous recipe, cutting the corn off the cob is really a lot of work and why bother? It’s not like I was going to do anything but cook it with butter.
I actually saved the second ear of corn for tomorrow’s lunch. I found some Mexican crema at Kroger’s, and I have some of the Cotija cheese left, so I will be making elote again! That stuff is really good. The bad news is that apparently corn causes me some gastric distress as I grow relentlessly older. But bloating and flatulence is a small price to pay for yum.
What you don’t see in the photo is the “gravy” I made. The quotes should be a tip-off that what they called “gravy” was not, by my definition, actual gravy.
I understand fried chicken gravy made with the actual fried chicken drippings and some flour for thickening. I understand red-eye gravy, and I even understand Wavy Gravy, but milk gravy? I’ve never understood or cared for it. I suppose this was intended to be a sort of milk gravy, though I have never heard of milk gravy made with green onions. First, the green onions were cooked for a couple of minutes with a teaspoon of olive oil. Then a cup of heavy cream was added, and cooked “until the gravy thickens.” Well, I cooked that stuff for a good four minutes, and it never seemed to thicken much at all.
I did carry it to the table, though, and poured a little on the plate. It wasn’t too bad, actually. It had a nice creamy contrast to the salty crispy chicken.
I'm not just happy with the meal, I’m with the photograph, too. If you know me at all, you know that I tend to get carried away, particularly if it has to do with the visual. I am so obsessed now with taking good pictures of my cooking achievements that I have actually gone thrifting to find interesting odd plates to use. Isn’t the brown pattern here divine? It seemed perfectly “down-home” for fried chicken.
And because I was making fried chicken, when I saw the Mason jar, well.... it just begged me for a chance to be in the picture, too. And that little white pitcher? I bought it because it was cute and only 69 cents, but it turned out to be perfect for the “gravy.” The table cloth and the basket I already had.
Crap. I suppose this means you all think I’m crazy. And that I need to start using Instagram.