One of the many things I learned recently at the grilling class I took at Premier Grilling in Frisco, TX was how to make an all purpose salt that has herbs, garlic and green onions. You can check our their classes here: Premier Grilling Classes. It has me wondering why I haven't been doing this for the past 15 years?! It's that good. It's a simple process, dries out low and slow in the oven for two hours, and makes an excellent gift. Who doesn't love something delicious and homemade around the holidays?
The salt used is kosher salt. It's a great texture, and one of my favorite for seasoning everything from proteins to pasta water. It's also an affordable salt which is great when you're making a big batch of it for all your friends and neighbors. Fleur de Sel is my favorite salt for baking and it's a bit pricier.
As for the herbs, you can add anything you like, omit things you don't enjoy or don't have on hand. The ratio is 411, four cups of Kosher salt to 1 cup of garlic and 1 cup of herbs. I made a half recipe and it made enough to fill a half sheet pan and my food processor. If you don't have professional sized oven and kitchen equipment, you'll want to make the half recipe that I have listed below or do it in two batches and use two half sheet pans.
Garlic Herb Salt:
2 cups Kosher salt
1/2 cup fresh garlic cloves
1/2 cup fresh herbs
I used parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, green onions
Preheat your oven to 180F. Rough chop your herbs and remove and woody stems. Place all ingredients into a food processor and process until the garlic and herbs a chopped and everything is well combined. Do not over process. Place the salt herb mixture onto a sheet pan and place in the oven for 2 hours to dry out. You can stir it around a few times during the process. You do not want it to brown. The idea is to dehydrate the herbs and garlic, not roast it. After two hours, remove the pan or pans from the oven and allow the salt mixture to cool. Place the cooled salt mixture back into a food processor and process again to break up any larger pieces. The final texture is your preference or you can get it back to Kosher salt size. Pour into glass jars for storage and gifting!
Fried chicken so good it once brought my divorced parents together.
Can I top this recipe? Probably not in the memories department. Years ago while my father was still alive, I made fried chicken. He stopped by and picked up a bunch of it and drove it home. A short time later he called my mother and told her, "Do NOT eat that fried chicken. It is bad." My worried mother told me what he was saying and said, "I don't know George, it's possibly the best fried chicken I've ever had." My father replied, "I said don't eat it! I'll be right over to pick up the rest of it!!" We all got a laugh out it and I think I may have cried. My parents never got along before that, let alone laughed together. So you could say this fried chicken is life changing. It certainly was for me, and my parents who had a much better relationship going forward.
Wether you use bone in, dark meat, breasts, or tenders, it will all be delicious. The major difference is cooking time, and I tend to deep fry the bone in pieces as opposed to shallow fry. You can adjust the heat as well...in the buttermilk brine or flour mixture. I used to love some heat but I tend to dial it back now with a three year old in my house. Gluten-Free? That's easy! Use a gluten-free flour mixture instead! If you're making both gluten-free and traditional fried chicken for a party, make sure you cook them separate and use clean utensils for each or, cook the gluten-free first so you don't cross contaminate with the oil or buttermilk when double dipping them!
Lemon Herb Fried Chicken
Chicken (your choice, tenders are pictured)
Buttermilk, zest of 1 lemon, fresh thyme leaves (stems removed), pinch of good salt, splash of hot sauce if desired
Canola, vegetable, or peanut oil
1 lemon, zested and sliced
Garlic cloves, fresh, unpeeled
AP Flour, or gluten-free flour, salt, pepper, onion powder, paprika, garlic powder (about a teaspoon of each spice per cup of flour, but use half the amount of onion powder, and you can add a pinch of cayenne if you like spice). Or get Loveless Cafe's Fried Chicken Breading here: Loveless Cafe Store. I promise it's fabulous!
Prepare the buttermilk brine and allow the chicken to soak overnight, covered in the fridge.
Remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry with a paper towel. The thyme and zest should still stick in some places. Dredge in the seasoned flour, then dip into the buttermilk brine mixture, and then dredge again in the seasoned flour mixture.
Allow the chicken to sit on a parchment lined sheet pan for about 20 minutes, so the coating will stick before frying. In the meantime, begin to heat the oil. Place the herbs, garlic, and sliced lemon in the oil while it is cool and allow it to cook as the oil heats up. It will be done just as the oil comes to temperature, at which point remove the herbs, garlic, and lemon and reserve for serving. Drain on a paper bag or cooling rack over a lined sheet pan.
Fry the chicken (at 350-375 degree F) in small batches until golden brown and cooked thru. Time will depend on size and type of chicken you are using.
Remove from oil and again, drain the chicken on a paper bag or rack. Top with flaky sea salt and the herbs and garlic for serving.
My obsession with avocados stems from growing up in Southern California. I will take an avocado in any form. I recently brought avocado toast to my Wednesday morning Moms of Preschoolers (MOPS) women's group and a few of the women asked for the recipe. It is so simple that I hesitate to call it a recipe but here it is in all of it's delicious simplicity. You can use any vessel for your "Toast". If you're gluten free or vegan, use your favorite bread products that fit your dietary needs, or consider roasted sweet potato slices, or organic rice cakes, which I happen to love. This recipe can be scaled to any size and I would plan on a third to half of a large avocado per serving. My favorite Everything Bagel Topping is made by King Arthur Flour and is available on their website, or Trader Joes has a great version also. I use it on everything and toast it dry, in a pan on the stove if I am using it on a product that will not be baked in the oven. You can also make your own mix of seasonings.
Everything Avocado Toast:
Toast of your choice, seedy whole grain bread or GF bread, or organic rice cakes
1 large avocado, ripe but still firm, diced small (1-2cm) or sliced thin
1/2 Meyer lemon (when in season) or fresh lemon, juice and zest
Splash of fresh lime juice, optional
Flaky sea salt, to taste
1-2 tsp Everything Bagel Topping, pan toasted (instructions follow)
In a small bowl, mix the avocado with the lemon juice, zest and optional lime juice.
Lightly toast the Everything Bagel Topping in a dry pan (no oil) over medium-low heat until golden brown. Immediately remove from heat and pan so it does not burn.
Top the toast of choice with some of the avocado mixture, a pinch of flaky sea salt and a generous sprinkle of toasted Everything Bagel Topping. Enjoy!
Guys, I have been on a mission to experiment with natural and organic food dyes for a long time. I think this may be my favorite. I have long used beets, saffron, turmeric, spinach, and more recently pitaya (dragon fruit), to add amazing natural colors to lots of my dishes. I love colorful food. Easter is a favorite holiday because of the colors. All of the pretty pastels. What has been missing is the shades of blue and lavender.
After a little research I discovered there is a flower that you can use to color things. It's called the Butterfly Pea flower and I am now obsessed. It will dye things a vibrant shade of blue. It is sold as a tea leaf but you can use it to color any liquid. Put a few flowers in your rice and it will be blue. Want to know the magic part? If you add acid like lemon juice, it turns purple! Seriously. I wouldn't eat the actual flowers but they sure make things pretty!
I ordered mine from Amazon. I get asked all the time about natural food colorings and this is now my favorite thing ever. I can not wait to experiment with more foods!
It's Fat Tuesday, and while the Mardi Gras celebrations are taking place this colorful dish made me feel like I was having a party in my Texas kitchen. It's simplicity is what I love and the balance of flavors and textures is truly magical. Using just a few ingredients and my new favorite kitchen tool, this chilled roasted beet salad comes together quickly and can be easily prepared for one portion or one hundred.
Chilled Roasted Beet Salad
Red and Gold Beets
For the beets: Wash, peel and spiralize using a small blade attachment. I use my KitchenAid spiralizer which is quick, and easily peels and spiralizes at the same time! Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Place the beets on the lined sheet pan, seeing colors separate to minimize color bleeding. Drizzle with avocado oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in a 425 degree F oven for 12-15 minutes. Allow to cool, then chill in the fridge until ready to use.
Assemble the salad. Mix together the red and gold roasted beets, top with goat cheese, walnuts and parsley. Enjoy!
Home cook, Mom, wife, and crafty creative, Mandy is from California and has traveled the world and lived in lots of places. She has fallen in love with Dallas, TX and calls it home.