Shiny & New

I’ve alluded to the fact that Greg & I used to exchange Christmas gifts the second we flipped the calendar from November to December slightly before Christmas.
When I mentioned that to him last night & casually threw in, “You know, we haven’t done that yet this year.  Huh.”
He rolled his eyes at me and said, “Do you wanna–“
“Yes!”  I screamed.
I am brimming with self-control.
My reason was two-fold for wanting to exchange a gift:
a) I wanted a present (obviously)
b) I had a gift for him that I hadn’t wrapped yet and I didn’t feel like dragging out the wrapping paper to do it.
Two birds.  One stone.
This is what I got:
Isn’t it gorgeous?!
Of course the first thing that I did was read it cover to cover.
Then it hit me:  I need to do a Julie/Julia-esq project with my new cookbook.
And that’s exactly what I intend to do.  I have no intention of setting a one-year deadline on myself, although I do think that it’s entirely possible to cook all of these delicious recipes in a year.  But since I already have my 101 things in 1001 2002 days list (have you checked it out lately?!  You should.  I’m a quarter of the way through with over 4 years to go!) with a deadline, I didn’t want to add unnecessary pressure on myself.
I love to cook.  I want it to stay that way.
When I told Greg about my idea he was all for it since he will get to enjoy the fruits of my labor.  Although he adamantly maintained that there are a few things in there he will not eat.
Example?  Artichoke dip.
The hell?  Does he think I’m going to argue him on that one?  I will eat a pan of that all by myself. 
One thing that I’m going to trick him into eating?  Iny’s Prune Cake which Ree swears that Marlboro Man loves and I’m pretty sure I can get Greg to eat it if I tell him that it’s just a spice cake.
Just so long as nobody tells him about our little secret.
Or if he stops reading my blog one entry ago.
Since I was all fired up & since I had a quartered chicken in my freezer & since I only needed a few ingredients and Greg was more than willing to get out of the house & away from the kids for a few minutes even if it meant that he had to go to the grocery store, I decided to start my little project last night.
I give you:
Fried Chicken.

Deep fried goodness

This is where Adrianna spent a majority of the evening.  Glued to my leg BEGGING to be picked up so she could see what I was doing.  Normally I let her “help” but since I was working with hot oil, she just had to scream at me.
An important note about fried chicken:  I’m scared of it.  Before last night, I had never successfully made fried chicken.  It was either over/under cooked, the breading wasn’t good, etc.  It’s been a recipe that I just couldn’t get.
Enter: Ree Drummond.
Things I loved:
  • The breading was divine. 
  • You bake the chicken once it’s been fried to ensure that it’s fully cooked.  No salmonella!  Yay! 
  • I had almost all of the ingredients (except the cayenne pepper which I just left out & the buttermilk which I sent Greg out for) so I wasn’t stuck scouring the grocery store for really strange items.
  • The recipe for the breading was easily halved and since I didn’t have 2 quartered chickens, it worked out great!
Things I hated:
  • I don’t have a thermometer that goes hot enough to measure the recommended oil temp of 365 so I just had to guess.  This might have been where I went slightly wrong (my mistake was easily fixed so don’t despair!). 
  • Because I don’t have a deep fryer or a dutch oven, I had to cook it in a pot on the stove.  It worked out mostly okay but still.  I may be adding a dutch oven to my “need” list.
  • I’m not sure what kind of steroids they were pumping into that chicken but the pieces were humongous!  That also served as a problem whilst frying it.  Again, easily remedied!  I just baked it a little longer than Ree’s recommended 15 minutes post-frying.
Things I learned:
  • Must buy a new thermometer so I can get the oil temperature right.
  • Must buy a dutch oven. 


  • Must serve fried chicken with homemade rolls next time
  • Must use smaller pieces & must include drumsticks per Greg’s request

I seriously cannot believe how yummy it was!  And, because I’ll be prepared next time, I’m sure it will turn out even better!

One recipe down, 64 to go!


7 thoughts on “Shiny & New

  1. I remember when any one I knew fried chicken, they always put it in the oven a) to keep it warm while cooking the rest (usually several chickens for the family) b) to ensure it was completely done c) that gave them time to mash the potatoes that are mandatory when you fry chicken.
    Mom and Dad

    • I totally cheated and made instant mashed potatoes last night. I dressed them up with some spices and the kids didn’t even notice! Which is a good thing since I forgot to put potatoes on my grocery list 😦

  2. Tara, I am so with you on not really liking to cook fried chicken. I always left it to your mom. BUT, because my younger son loves fried chicken, I’ve been cooking it on my own. And, like your mom said, it goes in the oven so I can do mashed taters and gravy. Both are deemed necessary sides. Along with watermelon and kool-aid. Don’t ask. I try not to.

  3. Tara,
    a) I love all your posts, but I REALLY love the food ones!!
    b) I watched Julie & Julia the other night. I’m sooo much more excited about the food you’ll be cooking.
    c) I thought that was a picture of your new dutch oven at first…almost thought about getting jealous. Definitely planned to ask you to bring it over when you come next time so I could carry it around and hug it 🙂

    • a) Well I guess I will have to blog about food more if it means that you come out of the woodwork & leave me comments
      b) I LOVED that movie!
      c) If I had a dutch oven I would totally bring it over so you could hug it. Also? I wouldn’t judge you. AT ALL. ::points to self:: best neice-in-law ever!

  4. Pingback: Pioneer Woman cookbook recipe #2 « Many Sleepless Nights

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