Mike’s Atomic Chicken Buffalo Tenders


This is a tried-and-true recipe that never fails to please. The secret is the second-run through the egg wash. It allows the breading to set up better. The result is a fantastically light, crunchy coating enhanced by the addition of corn starch which helps keep it from getting too dense, while locking in the juices.  You can use a digital meat probe to test for doneness. The chicken should be golden-brown and read 165° F in the thickest part. If you trim the pieces as indicated, you will not have any issues.  You’ll also get great results using wings — keep in mind they cook faster, so watch them carefully.

A note on the wing sauce — this is a favorite of mine from Buffalo, New York; the undisputed wing capitol of the United States. It is, however, by no means “suicidal.” It has plenty of heat and a lot of tang; the balance being just right for my taste. Try it. I think you’ll agree.

 

Ingredients:

2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1.5 quarts peanut oil
Original Anchor Bar Suicidal Buffalo Wing Sauce

~For the Egg Wash:
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 – 3/4 cup buttermilk
2 tbs. fresh-squeezed lemon juice

~For the Seasoned Flour Dredge:
3/4 cup white flour
1/4 cup corn starch
1 tsp. garlic granules
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. smoked Spanish paprika
1/2 tsp. ground ancho chili powder
1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper

~For the Breading:
equal parts plain, unseasoned bread crumbs and Japanese Panko bread crumbs

~For the Sides:
Buffalo Bleu Cheese Dressing
Thinly sliced scallion as a garnish
4-inch celery stalk planks

 

Directions:

Using a large cutting board, lay out the chicken breasts and cover with a double-folded piece of plastic wrap. Pound flat with a meat mallet. This ensures even cooking with no underdone spots in the middle.

Cut the chicken into 1″ strips against the grain to ensure they are tender. Then trim the strips so they are about 3 to 4″ in length.

Prepare the egg wash mixture by whisking the eggs in a wide, shallow bowl. Add the buttermilk and lemon juice. Whisk again. Add the chicken pieces. Coat well and set aside for at least 20 minutes.

Prepare the flour dredge ingredients in a separate bowl and mix well. Prepare the breading mixture in another bowl.

Preheat 1.5 quarts of peanut oil in a heavy cast-iron 4-quart chicken fryer until the temperature reaches 375° F.

Using a tongs, remove the chicken pieces from the egg wash and dredge in the flour mixture until evenly coated. Shake off the excess flour and set them aside on another plate while you work. Then quickly dip the tenders back in the egg wash and roll in the breading.

Working in batches of 3 or 4 tenders, carefully dip them into the hot peanut oil. A Chinese spider-strainer works great for this. Cook for no more than two minutes per batch, turning once at one minute until golden-brown. Remove and set aside on paper towel.

Place the tenders in a large mixing bowl and add the wing sauce to taste. Carefully toss until evenly coated.

Serve with the Buffalo Bleu Cheese Dressing and celery planks.
Garnish with the green scallion, sprinkled over the top.

 

Serves 4 comfortably.
Each breast will yield about eight tenders.

Note: Culinary Compost never endorses products for profit, and has received no monetary compensation for the content of this post.

Pan-Seared Japanese Shishito Peppers


Pan-Seared Japanese Shishito Peppers | Culinary Compost Recipes

This is a classic Asian appetizer recipe, traditionally served in Japanese restaurants as an accompaniment to sushi. The peppers are impossible to find in local supermarkets here, but I’m told you can get them fresh at Trader Joe’s — my brother had the foresight to plant them in his garden this year and was nice enough to share. While the chilies are reputedly very mild, the rumor is that one-in-ten are mind-numbingly spicy — so proceed with caution if you’re planning on serving them to hapless guests.  The recipe also traditionally calls for the Japanese Yuzu fruit, instead of a lemon or lime. If you can find one, use it.


Ingredients:

10 fresh garden Japanese Shishito peppers
2 heaping tbs. Panko bread crumbs, toasted in a skillet over medium-low heat
1 fresh lime – cut into eighths
Kosher salt
1 tbs. Sesame oil

Dipping Sauce:
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tsp. hot chili sambal paste
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger root
Dash of fresh lime juice

 

Directions:

Rinse the peppers under cold water in colander. Pierce each with a toothpick and leave the stems on. Set aside. Preheat a cast-iron pan or wok over medium heat on a stovetop or outdoor charcoal grill.

Toast the Panko bread crumbs in a small cast-iron skillet over medium heat; about six to eight minutes, shaking often. Remove and transfer to a small serving bowl.

Prepare the dipping sauce ingredients and whisk together. Transfer to a small serving bowl.

When the skillet or wok is preheated, add the Shishito peppers and toss with about 1 tbs. sesame oil to coat. Spread them out and let them char slightly before turning. Turn and watch them so they don’t scorch. Total cooking time is roughly 10-12 minutes depending on the temperature of your grill or burner. Remove from the heat and add a dash of lime juice and Kosher salt. Stir and then sprinkle with the toasted Panko bread crumbs.

Serve with the soy dipping sauce.

Serves 4-6

Pan-Seared Japanese Shishito Peppers | Culinary Compost Recipes

Caper Spread for Smoked Salmon


This is amazing paired with smoked salmon. Some people shred the salmon and mix it in with the spread. I feel this kills the presentation. Let the fish take center stage by adding it chunked on a cracker with this spread as a flavorful base.

Ingredients:

1 8oz. package cream cheese
2 tbs. capers, drained and left whole
2 tbs. minced red onion
1 tbs. minced fresh parsley
2 tbs. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 tbs. mayo (add if you need the spread to be more creamy)
Fresh ground pepper to taste
fine chopped fresh dill weed (optional)

Snack crackers

Directions:

Beat the cream cheese with the lemon juice and mayo until desired consistency is achieved. Add the capers, red onion, parsley and pepper.

Fold in until combined. Let stand in the fridge covered for about an hour.
Spread on crackers and sprinkle with the chopped dill, then top with chunked smoked salmon.

Serves 6-8

Buffalo Chicken Dip


I got this recipe from a friend over Christmas and was amazed how simple the preparation was. A definite show-stopper.
If you love no-fuss slowcooker recipes, this one’s da bomb.

Ingredients:

2 small chicken breast cooked and shredded
6 oz. cream cheese softened
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup blue cheese dressing or ranch dressing
1/3 cup Frank’s Red Hot sauce
Dash of ground chili de arbol for extra kick if needed

Chips or crackers


Directions:

Put all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mix well to incorporate. Place in a covered crock pot set on high. When heated through, reduce heat to low and serve.

Mike’s Sausage con Queso


Mike's Sausage con Queso recipe | Culinary Compost

This recipe is one of my hands-down favorites. The Chorizo sausage is rich and savory, adding just the right amount of meaty zip to round out the flavor. If you can’t find bulk ground chorizo, use the casing version by removing the casing and then browning it in a pan. Either method works well.

And my secret ingredient? Chimayo chili powder, available in bulk from many New Mexican online retailers.

Ingredients:

8 oz. spicy bulk chorizo sausage
8 oz. block Monterey Jack cheese, cubed
8 oz. block Velveeta cheese, cubed
1 tsp. pure mild chimayo chili powder
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 poblano pepper*, roasted, peeled, seeded and diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced (if you need more heat)
6 dried chiltepin peppers, crushed in a mortar (if you need even MORE heat)
1 roma tomato, cored and diced
chopped cilantro leaves or scallion for garnish

Tortilla chips for dipping

Preparation:

Prepare the poblano pepper. In a 2.5 quart cast-iron pot or heavy sauce pan, brown the chorizo sausage until no longer pink. Remove and reserve on paper towel to absorb the fat. Drain and discard the fat drippings from the pot and add the cheese. Heat on medium-low, stirring constantly until melted. Ensure that the cheese does not scorch. Add the meat back in. Add the peppers, garlic and chimayo powder and stir well until blended. Finally, add the tomato, remove from heat and serve in a dipping bowl with scallion or cilantro as a garnish.

*Note: To roast the poblano, wash the pepper and broil in your oven until the skin blackens and starts to blister off, about seven minutes per side. Remove and place in a sealed paper bag for ten minutes. Then rinse under cold water and work the tough outer skin off. You can also *carefully* use a portable propane torch with great results.

This recipe can also be prepared in your microwave oven, but there is no substitute for slow and low on the stovetop. If you can’t find chorizo sausage, Jimmy Dean spicy breakfast sausage will work well.

Serves 4-6.

Dried Chiltepin Peppers | Culinary Compost

Dried chiltepin peppers – don’t be fooled by their tiny size. They pack intense heat, measuring 80,000 Scoville heat units.

Party Meatballs and Sauce


To say this widely-circulated recipe is over-the-top addicting meaty goodness would be a misappropriation of expletives. It’s all that and more. My wife made this over Christmas and before I knew it, I had eaten twelve meatballs.

Don’t be thrown off by the jelly in the sauce. It is an integral part of what makes this dish so great. Perfect for tailgating or the holidays.

Meatball Ingredients:

2 pounds ground chuck (or you can just buy your favorite frozen meatballs)
1 cup milk
1 cup crushed Ritz® crackers
2 eggs
1 tsp. grated onion

Mix all ingredients together and then shape into 1″ diameter balls. Bake on a greased jelly-roll pan (one with the side walls) at 350° F for 15 minutes. Remove the meatballs from the pan and place on paper towel to absorb the excess fat.

Optional: Buy a two-pound bag of your favorite frozen meatballs – thaw, then add the prepared sauce ingredients as follows:

Sauce Ingredients:

1 12 oz. bottle of chili sauce
10 oz. grape jelly
1 tsp. ground chipotle pepper (optional)

Preparation:

In a sauce pan over medium heat, empty the grape jelly container. Stirring often, heat the jelly until it liquifies. Then add the bottle of chili sauce. Stir until the mixture is combined. Add the chipotle for a little kick if desired. Stir and heat thoroughly.

Place the meatballs in a slow cooker and pour the sauce on top. Stir to coat, heat on low and serve when piping hot.

Serves 6-8

Greek Chicken Skewers


Quick and tasty – perfect for a light lunch served with a salad or as an appetizer for a party. They can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated overnight if desired, which makes party planning easier, plus marinating the skewers will improved the flavor.

 

INGREDIENTS:

4 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
1 tbs. Greek Seasoning
1 tbs. Aleppo Pepper
1 tbs. olive oil
1 lemon cut into wedges
20 small bamboo skewers

PREPARATION:

Place skewers in a pan of water to soak while preparing the chicken. This will keep them from burning on the grill.

Rinse the chicken pieces and pat dry. Cut into 1/2 to 1″ cubes and place in a large mixing bowl. Add the Greek Seasoning and Aleppo Pepper, olive oil and toss to coat.

Thread about 5 chicken pieces on a skewer and cook over a charcoal grill 3-5 minutes per side. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the skewers immediately after removing them from the grill. Serve hot.

Makes 20 skewers.
Prep time: 10 minutes.
Cooking time: 3-5 minutes on a prepared grill.