By Janis Saunders
Democrat Food Critic
OK, I’m gonna admit it. I don’t like this 100-degree-plus weather. I don’t want to cook, I don’t want to go outside until the sun goes down, in fact, if I go somewhere and it’s not cool inside, I won’t stay.
This past weekend, Jim and I went to a get together of a group of friends. It was super cool inside, so I relaxed and did what I do best. Talk!
As it usually does, the talk got around to food and the restaurants Jim and I have gone to. We discussed the best and the worst of them and laughed about our adventures. The one thing that makes our dining out fun is meeting the people. Whether we talk to the owner-operator of a restaurant or a customer, we have met some awesome people. When people eat out they want good food in a good atmosphere and we’re all alike in that sense.
In fact, I wanted to eat out Monday, but Jim informed me he had gotten some chicken out of the freezer and wanted to know if we could please, please have some chicken and gravy for dinner.
After I had talked about how hot it was, Jim hit me with a question I couldn’t dodge. “We have central air conditioning, which means the kitchen is plenty cool, and if you get too warm, I’ll get one of our fans in and turn it on. Now, what else can I do for you?” he said.
He had me there, so I washed my hands, put on my apron and started cleaning up the chicken. Even if Jim buys chicken packed up and looking clean, I always wash it off really good.
Now, as for the chicken, I’m using a new ingredient I haven’t used before. Panko, the Japanese bread crumbs. I’ve seen them used on the TV by a lot of the chefs and I have several recipes listing Panko as an ingredient. Jim bought some, so I am going to use it on his chicken. As I tell my grandkids, I may be old, but I’m not afraid to try something new.
Here’s the recipe I came up with.
3/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
1 fryer chicken, cut-up and washed*
3 egg whites
2 teaspoons cornstarch
3 cups Panko
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
* You can use pre-cut up chicken in any type of pieces. You can use thighs and legs or breasts and thighs. It’s your choice.
In a large plastic bag, combine oil, garlic, basil and salt. Add chicken pieces, seal bag and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place a rack over baking sheet, spray with Pam.
In a dish, whisk together egg whites and cornstarch. In a separate dish, combine Panko, parsley, basil, salt and pepper.
Drain chicken and discard marinade. Dip chicken in egg white mixture, dredge in Panko mixture to coat it well. Place on prepared rack. Spray chicken lightly with Pam.
Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until chicken is golden and juices are clear. Watch closely and do not let it get too brown before it has a chance to fully cook.
The Panko gave the chicken a really crispy exterior. I have already sent Jim out to buy another box of Panko. I can see more uses for this already.
I chose carrots and corn on the cob to go with the chicken. I did make him a little bowl of gravy, so he was happy.
Now, an answer to an e-mail I received from GayLynn requesting a cherry cake recipe her mother used to make. From her description, I think it might be this one. The recipe was in a 32-year-old cook book I had, so I made it and it was very good.
1 can pie cherries with juice
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped pecans
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Drain cherries. Pour juice in saucepan. Grease a 9- x 9- inch pan. Place cherries in bottom of pan. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, chopped pecans and cinnamon together. Add egg and mix to make crumbs. Sprinkle over cherries in pan. Pour melted butter over this. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Add to juice in saucepan 2 tablespoons corn starch and 1/2 cup sugar. (It’s easier to mix the corn starch and sugar in a small bowl, then add to juice.) Boil, stirring constantly, until thick. Then pour over top of cake.
Hope this is the cake recipe you’re looking for. I have more than 100 cookbooks, so if you are looking for a particular recipe, send me an e-mail and I’ll do my best to find it for you.
Stay cool this week. Maybe it will cool off by the weekend. I guess it would be too much to ask for a little rain.
Janis may be reached at: email@example.com.