Category Archives: Kitchen disasters

LCHF Fail: buttermilk fried chicken

Please note: this post doesn’t have any pictures of the actual chicken.  I did take some, but, they ended up getting deleted off the camera before I got around to creating this entry.  So, instead of pictures of my cooking disaster, I’ve provided some… alternate illustrations.  Enjoy!

I had a genius idea the other day.  I’d seen an episode of Good Eats where Alton Brown make buttermilk fried chicken.  Who doesn’t love buttermilk fried chicken?  The tender chicken, the crispy skin, the crunchy breading.  It takes a lot of work, but the end product is well worth it.  The problem, of course, is that it requires all-purpose flour, something that isn’t allowed with LCHF and I’m avoiding gluten so I don’t even want to splurge on it.  Then I thought… could almond flour be used as a substitute?

I recreated the recipe precisely, but just replaced the AP flour with almond flour and switched out the shortening for ghee.  I soaked the chicken pieces overnight in buttermilk, I created the necessary flouring/seasoning stations.  I had my trusted cast iron skillet all prepped and ready to go.  After breading the chicken, everything looked great, just like it would with AP flour.  Since I don’t have pictures of the actual process, I give you a picture of this cute bunny instead.

Okay. Back to the cooking.  I placed the chicken in the skillet exactly as outlined in the episode: thighs in the center, breast and drumsticks on the outside.  Oil came up exactly where it should and was at just the right temperature, sizzling away.  I flipped the chicken at the 12 minute mark.  This is where things started to go downhill.  Again, sorry for the lack of pictures, so here to make up for it I give you a picture of a jack o’ lantern.

 

 

 

English: A Jack-o'-lantern.

English: A Jack-o’-lantern. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The almond flour breading was REALLY dark.  It was a dark brown.  This probably would have been okay for a wheat-based flour, but nuts oxidize when subjected to heat for long periods of time.  I was starting to really regret this.  I’ve breaded boneless chicken before which cooks quickly, but bone-in chicken takes a lot longer to cook.

By the time the chicken finished cooking through, the breading was dark brown on all sides and could only be best described as “meh”.  It was not the heavenly crispy delicious fried chicken recreation I was hoping for.  The texture was wrong, the flavor was wrong, I was worried about the oxidation, and the chicken wasn’t moist anymore.  There are some things that just should be left behind, and fried chicken is one of them.  I will just continue to cook my awesome oven cast iron skillet chicken sans any breading.

Here. Have a cow.

Cow!

Cow! (Photo credit: StickerEsq)

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Skillet Eggplant Parmesan

My fridge was being overrun with eggplants, thanks to my mother’s very fruitful (vegetableful?) garden.  I decided I was going to make eggplant parmesan.  Here was my plan: fry the eggplant, then finish baking in the oven with the rest of the ingredients.  I preheated the oven while frying up the eggplant.  The oven was getting unusually smoky… and I suddenly remembered that Superhusband had spilled bacon grease one day while baking bacon and hadn’t cleaned it up yet.  I turned off the oven since I didn’t want to risk a house fire.  I had to figure out what to do now, since the oven was off-limits… could eggplant parmesan be made totally in a skillet?  Turns out, it can!

Skillet Eggplant Parmesan

  • 2 eggplants, mine were about the size of a lb of butter each
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup parmesan
  • 1 cup shredded cheese… I used mozzarella and cheddar
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt
  • ghee (clarified butter), or oil of your choice that can get to frying temperature

Cut the tops off the eggplant and peel the eggplant skin.  Slice the eggplant about a 1/4 inch thick.  Generously salt both sides of the eggplant, and set in a strainer to let any excess water drain out.  This will prevent the dreaded soggy eggplant.  After about 30 minutes, wipe off excess salt with a damp towel and squeeze any more water out of the eggplant.  Heat a deep skillet with enough ghee/oil that it will come halfway up the eggplant.

Once the oil comes up to frying temp, dip the eggplant in the egg and coat in almond flour.  Put the eggplant in the skillet, without overcrowding.  Cook one side until golden brown, then flip, probably about 2 minutes.  Once both sides are golden brown, remove and place on paper towel.  Continue with the rest of the eggplant.  Once you’ve fried up all the eggplant, dump excess oil out of the skillet and turn down the burner to medium low. place a layer of fried eggplant on the bottom (probably about half of it), then about half the sauce and spices (mix sauce and spices together).  Add half the shredded cheeses and parmesan on top of that.  Repeat.  Cook covered until cheese is melted.  If you don’t have a cover for the skillet, just cover the skillet with aluminum foil.

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Roasted chicken, plus “How I almost set my kitchen on fire”

I promise to always be honest when I screw up a recipe or act clumsy in the kitchen, because I’m sick of reading blogs of people that cook all these dainty things that look all perfect and I bet they never spill flour or get eggshell pieces when they crack an egg.  Well, that ain’t me.  Lemme tell you the story about this hard-earned meal tonight.

First, let me tell you where the chicken came from.  I’ve talked about the importance of getting your meat locally, and your farmer’s market is a great place to get that.  There is a stand at our farmer’s market where I’ve been getting grass-fed beef and pastured eggs, and I finally picked up a pastured chicken this past week.  Whole chickens are generally so much cheaper than getting it cut up that I will get them when I make my chicken stock and just never bother to even cook it first.  Whole chickens sort of scare me (if you’ve read my post on making chicken stock, you’ve seen how bad I am at cutting up a whole chicken) and it seemed a little intense.

Well, if you buy a pastured chicken you’re going to be paying a lot more per pound because you’re getting a much higher quality meat.  I just couldn’t justify not cooking it first and then saving the carcass for making stock later.  I needed to roast the chicken.  I don’t have a roasting pan (why would I, if I never roast anything?), but I did have my trusty cast iron skillet.  If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, seriously, you need to get one.  And I’d heard about something called splaying a chicken, which meant I didn’t have truss the chicken.

I heated up the oven, put my skillet on a burner, and unwrapped my thawed bird.  Okay, toss aside the gizzards, there we go.  We got 2 nice size thighs, and 3 wings…. wait, what?   Nooo…. that’s not a wing.  That’s a NECK.  Noooo no no no no.  a NECK?  Seriously?  Why leave that on?  I text my friend “Any idea how to decapitate a chicken?”

Okay, so I finally find a page to explain how to remove the chicken neck.  Wasn’t as bad as I had expected, but, I was pretty shocked to see that neck there.  I did save the neck since the page did mention it’s good for stock and that’s my end project with the bones and leftovers.

Next, I splayed the chicken, which I’ll get into in the recipe, seasoned the chicken, and placed it in the pan, drizzled it with a little oil, and threw it in the oven.    If you’ve never used a cast iron skillet, know that you need to use oven mitts whenever you move it because it doesn’t have stay cool handles or anything.  I throw down the mitts, and go to clean up the decapitation mess.  Until… something smells funny.  I had THROWN THE MITTS ON THE HOT BURNER, which I had failed to turn off.  The mitts were actually smoking.  Nice, Ellie.

Okay, from there, dinner was pretty drama-free.  Chicken came out delicious, and I have the carcass left over so I can make chicken stock!

Juicy yummy chicken!

Drama-free Roasted Chicken

Equipment:

  • cast iron skillet
  • sharp knife
  • oven mitts (preferably not setting them on a burner)

Ingredients:

  • Whole chicken
  • salt, 1/4 cup
  • paprika, 1/4 tsp
  • garlic powder 1/4 tsp
  • black pepper 1/4 tsp
  • Olive oil (macadamia nut oil or melted lard would be fine too)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.   Place cast iron skillet on a burner and heat on medium.  While both those are heating, you’ll be preparing the chicken.  Unlike other recipes, you don’t need to truss the chicken.  What you’ll be doing is something called splaying.  You’ll be cutting part of the thigh so the legs lay flat.  If you’ve ever broken down a whole chicken, you’ll be familiar with finding the joint where the leg meets the body, you’re basically cutting into that (without separating the leg totally from the body) and then popping the leg out of joint so it can lay flat.  If none of that makes sense, check out this video.

Mix the salt, paprika, garlic powder, and black pepper and spread it all over the chicken.  You can throw some inside the chicken too. Drizzle some oil on the chicken breast, it’ll help it crisp up.  Place chicken in the hot cast iron skillet breast side up.  Turn off the burner, and place the cast iron skillet in the oven.  Cook until chicken breast registers at 170 degrees, about 45 minutes for a 4 pound chicken.  Let chicken rest 10 minutes before serving.  This would go great with mashed cauliflower!

 

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