How To Fry Chicken For A Crowd

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When scheming of ways to dazzle your guests at a dinner party, fried chicken is often tossed aside as too difficult to pull off. And for good reason: if you fry chicken the traditional way, where you start it and finish it in a thick layer of hot oil, you can only fry a few pieces at a time and there’s a no way you can time it so that all of your guests get hot chicken at the same time. So you stick to more traditional dinner party fare–roast beef, leg of lamb–things you can throw in the oven and carve easily for your guests. But what if you COULD make fried chicken for a dinner party and have all the pieces–20 pieces in all–finish at the same time? Prepare yourself, then, gentle reader. I’m about to rock your world.

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Roasted Apple & Pear Sauce

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No one gets very excited when you say “apple sauce”–well no one except, maybe, people who just had their wisdom teeth out–but throw the word “pear” in there and the word “roasted” and you start to whet people’s appetites. My appetite was certainly whet when I saw this recipe in The Barefoot Contessa’s newest book, “How Easy Is That?” (When my friends Patty and Lauren saw the book title, they burst out laughing, because they recognized it as one of Ina’s favorite things to say.) To make the sauce, all you need is what you see above in my attempt at a still life, plus some brown sugar and a little butter.

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Nick and Toni’s Penne Alla Vecchia Bettola

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Once, long ago, I found the following statement on someone else’s food blog: “I’m sick of The Amateur Gourmet, all he cooks is pasta.”

I usually let such cutting criticism roll off me, but this–like a piece of wet spaghetti thrown at the refrigerator–stuck. I haven’t stopped cooking pasta (not by any means: it’s my favorite thing to cook) but I’ve blogged about it less. What was the last pasta recipe I posted? Exactly: it’s been ages. (Actually, it was my Heaven & Hell Cauliflower Pasta two months ago, but let’s ignore that.)

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The Barefoot Contessa’s Wheat Berry Salad

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There are many words one might use to describe me–“enthusiastic,” “smiley,” “mildly irritating”–but “hippie” probably isn’t one of them. Sure, I may walk around in sandals in the summer, but who doesn’t? And true, Janice is my favorite Muppet and my aunt Cindy (my dad’s sister) was photographed blowing a bubble at Woodstock (see here) but I’m too neurotic to be a hippie. My motto isn’t “Free Love,” it’s “Wash Your Hands After Touching Your Shoelaces Because They’re Really Dirty.” Which leads to a very important question: if I’m not a hippie, how can it be possible that I have not one but TWO recipes for Wheat Berry salad?

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