DDD #72 – Vegan New Year’s Day Hoppin’ John & Collard Greens for Instant Pot or Not

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2017

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Hoppin’ John is a traditional southern dish, typically served on New Years Day to bring a prosperous new year.  Here is WIKIPEDIA’S explanation.  I didn’t add peas to mine but you certainly can & I love the idea of serving each bowl with a coin beneath it to ramp up the good fortune.

This is CRAZY easy to make & tastier than you might guess.  I made these in my Instant Pot with dried beans but these can be done very quickly on your stove top with canned beans or with dry beans in a slow cooker.


Click the image above to watch the video.

Vegan New Years Day Spicy Hoppin’ John 

Serves 4 very well

INGREDIENTS

1 lb dried black eyed peas (or 2 lbs canned – drained & rinsed – if you are going stove top)

1 medium onion – diced

3-6 garlic cloves – diced

4 celery stalks – diced

1 red bell pepper – diced

1 4oz can diced green chilies or jalapenos (optional)

2-3 chipotle peppers in adobo – diced (more or less – to your taste)

1 TBS ground cumin

1 TBS olive oil

4 cups vegetable stock

S&P to taste

GARNISH OPTIONS:

Diced tomatoes

Scallions – sliced

Fresh Italian parsley – chopped

Fresh cilantro – chopped

Red onion – diced

Avocado – sliced

Tabasco, Crystal (or other hot sauce)

COINS (Pennies – silver dollars?  Your call) – for placement under each serving dish

Cooked rice

DIRECTIONS

Cook your rice according to the package instructions.

INSTANT POT:  Using the saute setting, heat 1 TBS olive oil & saute the onion, celery & bell pepper until soft.  Add the garlic & saute one minute.  Add the rest of the ingredients & cook, sealed, on the manual setting for 45 minutes.

SLOW COOKER: If you are using dried black eyed peas – bring a pot of water to a rapid boil.  Add the black eyed peas & boil for ten minutes.  Turn off heat, cover & let stand for an hour. Drain & RINSE WELL.

In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil & saute the garlic, onion, red pepper and celery until the vegetable are soft.

Once your vegetables are sauteed, you simply combine the already partly cooked beans with the vegetables, chipotle, green chilies, cumin, and S&P with 4 cups of veggie stock to your slow cooker.    Heat on high for 5 hours.

STOVE TOP:

Use canned beans.  Heat 1 TBS olive oil & saute the onion, celery & bell pepper until soft.  Add the garlic & saute one minute.  Add a cup of vegetable stock and the rest of the ingredients & simmer until heated through & al the flavors meld.   Add more stock if the get too dry.  Cook on high if they are too watery.

Folded Money Collard Greens

INGREDIENTS

24 oz collard greens – trimmed, chopped & washed

1-2 TBS olive oil

1 large onion – diced

6 (or more) celery stalks – diced

6 garlic cloves – diced

1 TBS crushed red pepper

3 cups veggie stock

1 tsp smoked paprika (optional)

1/4 tsp liquid smoke (optional)

2 tomatoes – diced

Hot sauce as garnish (optional)

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DIRECTIONS

Heat olive oil in a pan.  Saute the onions & celery until they soften.  Add the chopped garlic & crushed red pepper.  Saute another 1-2 minutes.

Add the stock and collard greens & smoked paprika, stock.  Bring to a boil & then reduce heat to low, cover & simmer – covered – for about 20- 30 minutes.  Add chopped tomatoes & liquid smoke.  Stir in & let sit on low heat – or removed from heat – for about 30 minutes.  Don’t add salt…unless you really like being dehydrated & being unable to remove your rings.  Somehow – this is QUITE salty just from the stock.

And – HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

 

Leftover Hoppin’ John Fritters with Heirloom Tomato & Avocado Salsa

Collard Green Burrito Wrap with Hoppin’ John Leftovers

Hoppin’ John – Revisited ~ SoCal-Style

 

DDD #49 – Spicy Vegan Red Beans & Rice

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2017

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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vromans back

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Click the image below for a video of this recipe.  In it there is an easy & inexpensive recipe, a peek at all my dogs & look at my trip to Chicago to see 90210 The Musical! Complete with a clip from the show! #EmilyValentine


OK – I decided I had to make these for two reasons.  1) Sir Mix-a-lot & his Baby Got Back song.  Is there EVER a time when this song doesn’t sound great?  For a novelty-sounding song – it really holds up over time.  Anyway – one line is “Red beans & rice didn’t miss her.”   While that makes it sound like red beans & rice give you a huge ass – this recipe is clean & healthy.  I hear this song at the gym rather frequently & it always makes me crave red beans & rice.

2) It has been hot as FUCK this week and these can be made stove-top (or in a crock pot) – minimizing the heat added to my already sweltering kitchen.

I am sitting at my desk in my un-air-conditioned office (the hottest room in my house) – I will simply show what it was like outside before 10AM today:

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Yes.  That says 100 degrees at 9:58 am.  UGH!!!!!!!!

So – I will keep this brief & slink down to my kitchen – the coolest room in my house – for the remainder of the day.

One note – I used two kinds of veggie sausage here but I am not 100% certain either is vegan (though I think they are).  Just check the brand you use to be sure – assuming you are vegan.

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Also – I browned the two Field Roast links you see there before adding the other ingredients & that was sort of a waste of time because they just got sort of soggy after the stock was added.  So – I browned additional sausage:

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and set it aside & just added it at the end – sort of like a garnish.  That way, it retained it seared qualities.  You can do this – or not – your call.  Combined – the two varieties of sausage made this a “meatier” dish than it need be but those fake sausages are yummy – so fuck it.  I did add a couple of zucchinis to lighten the beans up a bit.

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QUICK SOAK METHOD

Presoaking beans overnight not only cuts down on cooking time by up to 25 percent, it also helps the beans cook evenly without splitting. It’s easy, too (if you remember to do it). Still, we prefer the “power soak” method. Not only is it faster than soaking beans overnight, it also breaks down more of the complex sugars that can make beans hard to digest. The process is simple: Place beans in a pot and cover with water by three inches. Bring to a boil and simmer briskly for two minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for one hour. Drain. Your beans will be ready to use in your favorite recipes.–Kay Chun

Healthy Spicy Vegan Red Beans and Rice

Feeds a lot – 6 or more

INGREDIENTS

Cooked rice ( I used brown basmati)

1 lb dry small red beans (soaked overnight or quick-soaked as outlined above) – try to use small red but kidney will do in a pinch

Olive oil

4 celery stalks – chopped

1-3 chipotle peppers in adobo (I used 3 & these beans were SPICY!) – minced

1/2 large onion – diced

2 zucchinis – cubed (optional)

1-2 jalapeno peppers – seeded & diced (I used two)

4 garlic cloves – minced

1 bell pepper – diced (traditional in the dish – but I didn’t have one & I didn’t miss it)

2 tsp dry thyme

3 bay leaves

1 TBS dry rub (I used that Road Kill stuff above but any rub you like will do)

1-3 tsp Creole seasoning (I used Zatarain’s)

Vegan sausage (I ended up using 6!) – in a quantity you feel suits your taste – sliced

5+ cups vegetable stock

Scallions for garnish

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DIRECTIONS

Quick-soak the beans if you did not soak them overnight (instructions are above).  The soaking helps to stop the gas beans are famous for giving us.

As I explained above, you might want to brown your sausage & set it aside – and add it at the very end – so it retains its texture better.  If texture doesn’t matter to you – just add it with the onions.  Or – divvy it up & do a little of both – as I ended up doing.

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Cook your rice.

Heat 2-3 TBS olive oil in a LARGE stock pot & saute the sausage until browned & either set it aside or just continue.   Some vegan sausage is pretty dry & you might need more olive oil.  Add onions, celery, bell pepper (if using), jalapeno & saute til softened a bit.  Again – add more olive oil if you think it is getting too dry.  Add chipotle, zucchini, dry rub, thyme, Creole seasoning, bay leaves & garlic & stir to incorporate & then add the red beans & 5 cups of stock.

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Then bring this all to a boil.  Lower the heat & cover & simmer for 2 hours or so – or until the beans are tender.  Stir every once in a while & add water if it gets too thick.  I added 1-2 cups of water by the time it was all said & done.  At some point – when the beans are soft – smash a cup or two with a wooden spoon against the pot – or (as I did) – drop an immersion blender in there & mash a cup or two – so there is a thick broth.

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When you are ready to serve, put some rice on each plate, add the red beans & garnish with sausage (if you set some aside) & chopped scallions.  A cold beer or two – and you are good to go!

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Spicy Vegan Southern Chickpea Stew with Rice

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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I know I say a lot of my dishes are easy – but – if I say that is true.  And not just true for experienced cooks but easy for beginners & those in a hurry.  EASY.  This one is impossible to mess up – short of burning it or over-salting it.  Beyond that – really fucking easy.

Simple & easy-to-find ingredients.  You control the spice.  If I were to make this again – I would use maybe only half the can of tomatoes – but that is because I prefer the chickpeas to the tomatoes. Or – maybe I’d add a second can of chickpeas.  Whatever.  The point is – you can play with this & customize it to your tastes.   Better yet – the stew will be done before you rice is – that is how fast & easy this is.

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Spicy Vegan Southern Chickpea Stew with Rice

Serves 2 with rice

INGREDIENTS

Cooked rice for 2

Olive oil

1 (14.5 oz) can of diced fire-roasted tomatoes

1 (15.5 oz) can chickpeas – drained

1 jalapeno – seeded & diced (optional)

1 red (or other color) bell pepper – seeded & chopped

1-3 cloves garlic – minced

2 tsp Cajun (or Creole) seasoning

1/2-1 tsp chipotle pepper (less if you don’t tolerate heat well)

Liquid Smoke (very optional)

S&P

Parsley – chopped as garish

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DIRECTIONS

Cook the rice.

Meanwhile, heat a TBS or two of olive oil over high heat & cook the bell pepper & jalapeno until soft.

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Add the garlic & stir for one minute.  Add the chickpeas & tomatoes (maybe not all the can of tomatoes – if you like a less tomato-heavy stew.  These photos show an entire can) & spices.  If you are using liquid smoke – start with one or two drops & increase according to your taste for this stuff.  I find it goes from “barely noticeable” to “OmyGod – this whole dish is ruined” very quickly.  Too much liquid smoke is fucking nasty.  Trust.  So – go easy.

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Heat through & serve over rice garnished with parsley.

Told you it was fucking easy, didn’t I?

Enjoy!

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Cauliflower & Southern Greens Pesto Pizza with Burrata

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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So – yeah!  THAT is happening!  In June!  In Pasadena!

And, yeah, I feel lame posting another pizza but that is exactly what I am going to do.

But first – look what showed up at my door today!

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I used to use this service & get weekly delivery of produce but I could never seem to get through it before it went bad – so I canceled the deliveries.  This box wasn’t meant for me.  It had a completely different address on it – wrong house number & the wrong street.  So – I called & told them & asked if they wanted to come get the box.  I was informed that, due to food safety laws, the vegetables could not now be delivered to the proper person.  So – I got to keep it!   Yay!  Maybe I will make something other than pizza, now.

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So – again – here is the pizza dough I use – and all I do is throw everything in my bread machine & let it run on the dough cycle.  SO EASY!  Then I let it sit & rise or a hour & either use it immediately – or use a bit & store the rest in plastic wrap in the fridge.

PIZZA DOUGH

MAKES FOUR 12-OZ. BALLS

INGREDIENTS

2 tbsp. sugar (⅞ oz.)
1 tbsp. olive oil, plus more (½ oz.)
½ tsp. active dry yeast
5½ cups flour
2 tbsp. kosher salt (¾ oz.)

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Combine sugar, oil, yeast, and 2 cups cold water in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook; let sit until foamy, 8-10 minutes. Mix flour and salt in a bowl. With motor running, slowly add flour mixture; mix until a smooth dough forms, 8-10 minutes. Transfer dough to a greased baking sheet; cover with plastic wrap. Let sit at room temperature 1 hour.

2. Divide dough into 4 balls; transfer to a greased 9″ x 13″ dish; brush tops with oil. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate 48 hours (or get impatient like me & use it immediately).

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Cauliflower & Southern Greens Pesto Pizza with Burrata

INGREDIENTS

Dough

Burrata or other mozzarella

1/2 head cauliflower – cut into tiny florets

Olive oil

1- 3 tsp crushed red pepper – depending on your tolerance for heat

6 cloves garlic – chopped

8 oz southern greens (I used a collard, turnip, mustard greens & spinach blend)

1/4 cup pecans

1/4 Parmesan

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

2 sun-dried tomatoes (optional)

1/4 cup fresh basil

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 450-500 degrees.

Make the pesto by boiling water & blanching the chopped greens for about 3 minutes.  Drain & set aside.

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Toast the pecans in a dry pan for a few minutes or until they begin to toast a bit.  Be careful not to burn them.

In a food processor, blend the pecans & FOUR of the cloves of garlic & the sun-dried tomatoes.  Once they are chopped well, add the greens, Parmesan, apple cider vinegar, basil & a tsp of crushed red pepper (optional).  Pulse until well blended & then, while the machine is running, drizzle in about 4 TBS olive oil.  Taste & adjust S&P.  Set aside.

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In a saute pan with a lid, heat 2-3 TBS olive oil over medium heat.  Add your crushed red pepper (I used a lot) and the cauliflower florets.  Stir to combine & cook about 5 minutes.  Add 3 TBS water & raise the heat to high.  Cover the pan & steam the cauliflower for 3 minutes or until it is tender.  Lower the heat to medium again & add the remaining to cloves of garlic.  Stir for about a minute, adding olive oil if it needs it & add S&P & set aside.

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Now – simply assemble the pizza.  I love parchment paper but a greased pan is just as good.  Roll out the dough & put it on the cooking pan.  Pierce it all over with the tip of a knife or a fork.  This keeps the dough from bubbling up & displacing the toppings.

Smear some pesto on there, add some cauliflower & top with the cheese.  Cook that sucker up for about 10-15 minutes or until it looks ready to you.  Devour!

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Easy Spicy Southern Chicken Spaghetti

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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My debut novel is out!  Check it out!  I think it is HILARIOUS!  I hope you will, too!

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I am from Boston.  I had never heard of chicken spaghetti.  My badass boyfriend, Miles, is from Little Rock and, apparently, grew up on it.  It can be a tricky business to attempt to recreate a dish you have never tasted yourself.  And Miles is a finicky eater & likes his stuff the way he likes it.  I repeatedly asked him to describe chicken spaghetti to me but, not a cook himself, he seemed at a loss.  I asked him to get the recipe from his grandmother – but he neglected to & now she is gone – her chicken spaghetti secrets gone along with her.

Still – I persisted.  I badgered him & I researched and, ultimately, it seemed to me that chicken spaghetti was basically a version of Miles’ own “World Famous Cheese Dip” – with chicken & spaghetti added.  I made it the other day & Miles declared it the best he’d ever had!  So – I present it to you now.

One thing, though.  My oven staged a mutiny & refused to stay at the suggested 350 degrees.  It kept mysteriously dropping to under 200.  At that temp, the cheese would never get all melted & bubbly.  The result was that it sat in the oven for twice the 45 minutes I initially planned.  The result was a VERY crunchy top:

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I like a crunchy top but the interior was also more dry than I had intended.  Miles ate it happily but the next day, when I reheated some for him, I tossed it in a little newly melted additional Velveeta heated with a bit of milk.  It worked wonders & I recommend this step in reheating yours.  The two photos at the very top show the results directly from the oven & the other shows the reheated portion with extra cheesy sauce.  Also – know this is a VERY easy dish to prepare.  It could be made without the chicken or with some vegan substitute.  If you do this – use a vegetarian soup, too.  It is really all about the cheese & the spice!

And – as a quick aside – look what I got in the mail today!!!  I love me some Pee Wee!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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Easy Spicy Southern Chicken Spaghetti

Serves 6-8

INGREDIENTS

1 lb pasta – cooked

1 lb chicken tenders

2 TBS butter

12-16 oz Velveeta (plus extra if you want to add more when you reheat it – see above notes – or if you like a wetter dish use the full 16oz.  Go less for a mac-n-cheese texture – more for an Alfredo kinda thing.)

1 cup milk

1 10 oz can Rotel (tomatoes & chilies)

1 10 oz can cream of chicken soup (or cream of mushroom or cream of celery)

1/2 tsp cumin

2 TBS sriracha or other hot sauce

1 cup Panko or other bread crumbs

1 cup grated cheese (I used a cheddar & mozzarella mix)

S&P to taste

Parsley and/or crushed red pepper as garnish

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DIRECTIONS

Cook & drain the pasta.

Spray a grill or frying pan with cooking spray & cook the chicken tenders & then cut them up.

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Melt the butter in a deep stock pot sprayed with cooking spray, too.  The cooking spray seemed to make the inevitable browned/burned bits of cheese easier to clean off later.  Add the Velveeta, Rotel, soup, milk, hot sauce & cumin & melt it all together over med-high heat.  Add the chicken.  Toss it with the pasta.  I added about 1 TBS of black pepper here.  You add S&P to taste.

Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray & put the chicken spaghetti in it.  Top with grated cheese & bread crumbs.

Cook at 350 for about 30 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling & the bread crumbs brown a bit.

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Garnish with parsley or crushed red pepper or more hot sauce.  Eat it up & promise to join a gym after the new year.  Until then – fuck it!  Melt some more Velveeta in a pan with a bit of milk.  Reheat the leftover chicken spaghetti & toss it with the additional melted cheese.  Shove it your face.  Have some Fireball whiskey, too.  Why not?  You are gonna join the fucking gym in January – so FTW!  And while you get likkered up & gain 40 pounds of Velveeta-induced poundage – look at my recipe for Spicy Extra Crispy Southern Fried Chicken

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or my Spicy Southern Fried Cauliflower and Delta Dipping Sauce with Smashed Baked Potatoes and White Gravy and Buffalo Mac & Cheese

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and decide to make that shit, too!

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Spicy Extra Crispy Southern Fried Chicken & Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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Ok, well, I haven’t eaten chicken since the late eighties & I have never made fried chicken.  I did make a cauliflower version – my Spicy Southern Fried Cauliflower and Delta Dipping Sauce with Smashed Baked Potatoes and White Gravy and Buffalo Mac & Cheese.  I loved it!

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But my chicken-loving boyfriend, Miles, was in town this week & I had promised him for months that I would make him fried chicken on this trip.  So – we went to the amazing Super King and bought 2.5 pounds of chicken for under $4.  I got two breasts & two drumsticks.  After breading & frying, one of those breasts weighed in at 14 ounces!  That is nearly a pound of fried chicken in just one piece.  The drumsticks weighed about 8 ounces after breading & frying.  That amount of chicken could feed 4-6 people.  Crazy.

Anyway, I was somewhat intimidated to make this dish, primarily because Miles is a very picky eater & because I couldn’t try it myself to test its worthiness but – a promise is a promise – so I did it.  And I think it was a huge success!  It came out golden on the outside, moist on the inside & was very crispy.  I was dying to eat it myself but I had my fried cauliflower & Delta dipping sauce with which to console myself and console myself I did.

I included a bottle of Miles’ new favorite sipping whiskey in some photos because the bottle is pretty & because it really was what Miles washed his chicken down with.  That & a Bud Light.

Miles’ contribution to the meal can be seen in the frame with the whiskey – little bowls of the spiciest, pan-fried red potatoes.  They were little bowls because both of us kept sneaking bits out of the pan every time we went near it & pretty much devoured the lot before the chicken was ready to serve.

The Delta dipping sauce is really a spicy Thousand Island dressing but it is delicious & I strongly suggest you try it – even on a salad.  That way – you can maximize the fat intake of a single meal.  🙂  Fuck it.

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Spicy Extra Crispy Southern Fried Chicken

3 lbs chicken

4 eggs

1/3 cup water

1 cup Frank’s Hot Sauce (or other hot sauce)

4 cups flour

2 tsp cayenne pepper

2 tsp each of S&P

2 tsp chipotle chili powder (or smoked or regular paprika)

2 tsp garlic powder

Lots of vegetable oil for frying

1 gallon zip lock baggy (not necessary but it makes life easier)

1 quart buttermilk

1 tsp each – salt, pepper & garlic powder

DIRECTIONS

Put the chicken pieces in a container & cover with buttermilk.  Marinate them like that in the fridge for a few hours.

Blend the eggs, hot sauce & water in a deep bowl.

Blend the flour, cayenne, S&P, chili powder & 2 tsp garlic powder in a Ziplock bag or a deep bowl.

When ready to cook the chicken, remove it from the buttermilk & sprinkle with S&P and garlic powder.

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Heat a lot of oil (I used enough that I could completely submerge a breast & drumstick – and cooked the chicken in two shifts) over medium heat.  MEDIUM HEAT.  If you have a kitchen thermometer – the oil should be 350 degrees.  I do not have one.  If you do not have one either – simply put the end of a wooden spoon or chopstick in the oil to test it.  When it reaches 350, little bubbles will creep up the wood.

Put the chicken in the flour mixture & completely coat it.  Then, dunk it in the egg mixture & coat it again & then back into the flour mix.  The crust should be fairy thick.  Then fry those bitches up!

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My pieces took 20-25 minutes to cook but that was because they were Flintstone-style gigantic hunks of chicken.  Normal pieces should cook in 14-18 minutes.  If the chicken seems to be browning faster than the inside is cooking – lower the heat.  Drain on paper towels.

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For the Delta dipping sauce

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 tsp lemon juice

1/8 cup vegetable oil

1/8 cup sambal oelek (or other chili sauce)

1/8 cup ketchup

1/4 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp mustard

1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

2-3 dashes hot pepper sauce (Tabasco or another brand)

1 garlic clove – minced

DIRECTIONS

Blend together & chill.

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Spicy Southern Fried Cauliflower and Delta Dipping Sauce with Smashed Baked Potatoes and White Gravy and Buffalo Mac & Cheese

11 Comments

All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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In my hunt for other recipes meant to provide a cauliflower version of fried chicken, I ran into THIS post about Popeye’s Fried Chicken.  Here is a picture from that site:

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I have never eaten at Popeye’s or any other fried chicken joint (except KFC & Dinah’s here in Glendale) and I haven’t tasted ANY fried chicken in over 25 years – but my boyfriend Miles eats it all the time.  In fact, he eats it weekly now that the famous Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken opened a few blocks away from him in downtown Little Rock.  Miles is always sending me (at my request) pictures of the food he eats & I find myself looking at fried chicken so much – I have developed an undeniable craving for it.  And – that blogger that spoke of an incredible meal at Popeye’s didn’t help.  And that Delta sauce?  I liked the sound of it & a few clicks here & there revealed that Popeye’s discontinued it.  In fact, there seems to be quite a bit of hand-wringing going on about the now-unavailable Delta Sauce and that piqued my curiosity.  Fortunately, the blogger who loved the Delta sauce posted a copycat recipe for it & I could not resist.  So – I made it & I include that recipe here.  It is like a spicy Thousand Island dressing & it is INCREDIBLE on my – wait for it – Southern Fried Cauliflower!

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Doesn’t that look just like a fried chicken plate?  I was so Goddamn happy with myself yesterday – you have no idea.  If you make any of my zillions of cauliflower recipes – I have to say – it should be THIS one!  So easy & so delicious!  And if, like me, you don’t eat meat but the reasons for that do not include any distaste for meat products – this might really satisfy any existing fried chicken craving you might be in denial about.

That plate above includes yesterday’s recipe for Buffalo Mac & Pepper Jack Cheese.

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It also includes some smashed baked potatoes & a vegetarian white gravy.

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This is quite a decadent meal & the perfect fix on those days when the hole in your heart is bigger than your ass & you just don’t give a fuck.  You wanna eat & you wanna eat something bad.  This is as Paula Deen as I am likely to get but even with this dish – the fried chicken is really cauliflower & there is no bacon (or other meat) fat in any of it (excepting egg & milk) & the potatoes were made with a minimum of butter & WATER – because I’d run out of milk.  So – seriously – AT LEAST try the southern fried cauliflower & Delta dipping sauce.  I am certain you will enjoy!

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Spicy Southern Fried Cauliflower and Delta Dipping Sauce with Smashed Baked Potatoes and White Gravy and Buffalo Mac & Cheese

(This feeds about two (very well) so increase the recipes if you are feeding more.  The mac & cheese recipe feeds at least 4.)

INGREDIENTS

For the Southern Fried Cauliflower

(depending on the size of your cauliflower – you may need more or less of the other ingredients – so maybe have extra on hand)

1 head cauliflower

2 eggs

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup Frank’s Hot Sauce

2 cups flour

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp each of S&P

1 tsp chipotle chili powder (or smoked or regular paprika)

1 tsp garlic powder

Lots of vegetable oil for frying

1 gallon zip lock baggy (not necessary but it makes life easier)

For the Delta dipping sauce

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 tsp lemon juice

1/8 cup vegetable oil

1/8 cup sambal oelek (or other chili sauce)

1/8 cup ketchup

1/4 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp mustard

1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

2-3 dashes hot pepper sauce (Tabasco or another brand)

1 garlic clove – minced

For the smashed baked potatoes

2 large potatoes

olive oil

2 TBS butter

S&P

For the white gravy

2 TBS butter

1 large shallot – minced

1/4 cup flour

1 1/2 cups milk

1 vegetable bouillon cube

1/2 tsp dry sage

1 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp salt

For the Buffalo Mac & Cheese

See HERE

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DIRECTIONS

For the Delta dipping sauce

Whisk the ingredients together & chill.

For the Smashed Baked Potatoes

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Rub olive oil on the potatoes & sprinkle with salt.  Bake them – DIRECTLY on the oven rack – for about 45 minutes.  Remove from the oven & allow to cool a bit.  Peel the potatoes (I left bits of skin & browned spots for some color) & mash them up with the butter & some salt & pepper and as much milk or water (I used water as I was out of milk) as you need to get to a texture you like.  I used an old school hand masher & left them chunky & on the drier side.  I smashed them a bit more at the end with an immersion blender.  You do it however you like.

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For the white gravy

Heat the butter in a sauce pan & add the bouillon cube & the shallots.  Cook a minute or two until the shallots soften & the bouillon cube is dissolved.  Add the flour, sage & salt and pepper & stir constantly for about 2 minutes.  It should be quite dry.  Add the milk 1/2 cup at a time & allow it to thicken.  Continue until all the milk is incorporated and heat until the gravy is at your desired thickness.  Add milk if it is too thick.

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For the Southern Fried Cauliflower

In a bowl – whisk together the eggs, water & hot sauce.

In a zip lock bag or in a deep bowl – blend the flour with the rest of the dry ingredients.

Cut the cauliflower into the largest “drummettes” possible so they resemble chicken thighs & a few wings.  I sprayed my cauliflower with water so the flour mix would stick.

Put the cauliflower in the flour mix & toss to coat.  Dunk into the egg mix until covered & then back into the flour.  Coat again with the flour.

I do not have a thermometer to measure oil temp but I think 350 is the correct temperature for frying.  I just let it get hot, put one drummette in there & once that started bubbling pretty rapidly – I added a few more pieces

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Turn a few times & fry until they are a golden brown all over.  Drain on a paper towel.  Repeat until all the cauliflower is cooked.  Now – just divvy up the goodness & fill up that whole in your heart with some old school home cooking!

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