03 August 2010

The middle


(Hey, it's better than "Well." Right?)

I'm in the middle of upgrading two Vista computers to Windows 7. It shouldn't be that big a deal, but these are the kids' computers and I have miles of film to back up. And the books they write and what not. Old homework assignments. And interminable virus scans because these things require so damn many files to run.

Anybody remember DOS? Yeah.

(Alright, I've just decided not to go down that road.)


Because I can't be content with tearing my hair out over computers, I completed a major clean out project this morning (because my house needs to be empty before I tear down half of it, along with tearing out my hair), and then made fried chicken, biscuits and buttered green beans for dinner.

Yes, from scratch. I even grew my own green beans.

(No, I didn't. They were frozen.)

Fried chicken has been big on the agenda of late, what with the spouse ordering it at Glacier Park Lodge, and then the daughter reading all those southern-fried recipes. Yesterday, while grocery shopping, I was looking for a whole chicken, but found large packs of good-quality leg sections and half-breasts for $0.97/lb.

(Okay, not going down that road either. Yes, I did delete half of that last paragraph. If you know me or have read here long, you probably know that I'm extremely picky about the food that I buy. Suffice to say we're just not going there today or...no.)

So, I was able to purchase enormous quantities of chicken for about $7.00. Tonight I fried up about half of it, and put the other half in the freezer for barbecuing at a later date. I learned a basic, southern-style pan-frying method (I've been making fried chicken since I was 12, which was when I was charged with making dinner every night my mother was working), which involves soaking the chicken in milk and then dredging it in a flour/spice combination. Tonight, I kept it simple with flour, salt and black pepper. It's a good, easy recipe, susceptible to many variations. The crust turns out crispy and the meat is moist without being greasy.

And everyone watched in horror as I carefully denuded my chicken of its crust, but that's how I roll.

Buttered green beans. Honestly. You steam green beans and then put a small pat of butter on them. Then you eat them. Delicious.

People have this misguided notion that biscuits are difficult to make. Please, please, please allow me to divest you of that notion. Skip the whomp-'em biscuits (that's what my mother calls the things that can be found in cardboard tubes in the refrigerated section of the grocery. Because you whomp 'em on the counter to open the tube. And chemicals spew forth everywhere. Ew.) and make yer own. Seriously. A bag of self-rising flour, butter or shortening and buttermilk or sweet milk, and you have biscuits. Homemade fluffy golden biscuits! The trick to speeding up the process is that you make drop biscuits rather than rolled and cut. Granted, drop biscuits often aren't so easy to cut in half, but with a little finesse, your rounded spoonful of dough will yield a respectably round biscuit.

Simple Drop Biscuits

2-1/2 c. self-rising flour
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 c. butter, cut into pats
1-1/4 c. buttermilk or milk

Preheat oven to 425F. Mix flour and sugar in a medium bowl. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal (don't worry, a few larger bits of butter are ok. "Cutting in" just means that you're chopping the butter into tiny pieces and mixing it evenly with the flour). Stir in milk and mix just until you have a soft dough. Drop dough by rounded spoonfuls onto an ungreased baking sheet, leaving about an inch between biscuits. Bake about 12-15 minutes until golden brown. Makes about a dozen biscuits that should be eaten hot with more butter, and honey or jam.

Or even better, sausage gravy!

Okay, I know that wasn't on tonight's menu...

(Recipe adapted from the one that appears on the back of the Gold Medal Self-rising Flour bag.)

Go listen to some good music: "The Middle" from the album Jimmy Eat World by Jimmy Eat World. It just takes some time...Must. Get. Out. Of. Here. Were it was so easy.

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