Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fried Unicorn

It's no secret that E and I have dated off and on for a couple of years now. And all this time, E has talked about her fried chicken. She speaks of it in boastful sentences. "My fried chicken is off the hook!", is a constant refrain. E has made it for other people in her life...ex's, friends, acquaintances, randoms but not for the likes of me. Hmp! Finally one day, after hear her boast yet again about her fried chicken, I said that her friend chicken was a unicorn to me. Actually, I kinda lost it.

"Your goddamn fried chicken is a f_cking unicorn. I've never seen it!!!! Stop talking about this freaking fried unicorn already".

So after much freaking out on my part and much boasting of her, she offered to make it for me. We invited a couple of friends along for the ride. And so it was that last Saturday I had fried unicorn.

Now, please keep in mind, I don't make fried chicken. However, I am a fried chicken lover...I mean, for goodness sake, I am Korean American and we're all about fried chicken so I like to say it's in my blood. I have fond memories of frozen Banquet fried chicken out of the box, KFC, Popeyes etc. But nothing really compares to my friend Caroline's fried chicken. She's a master of the chicken! She spent an entire summer perfecting her recipes and I was one of her happy guniea pigs. I think she uses cornmeal in the crust and keeps it wam after it's fried in the oven. The result is a juicy chicken and a crisp, light crust that shatters upon impact with one's mouth. Yum. Caroline has made a bit of a snob out of me. Once you have really good homemade fried chicken, it's something that sticks with you. You dream about it all the time. Seriously.

So E set out to make something for me that had already reach mythical preportions in terms of the brag as well as something I already had high expectations regarding. If I had only had commericial fried chicken all my life, perhaps my standards would be low but alas Caroline ruined any chances of that.

E soaked the chicken in buttermilk over night. She asked me what sides I wanted for this imporant meal. I wasn't sure. Almost every chicken meal I had eaten with Caroline only involved chicken. I mean, afterall, wasn't it the star. I think I made something up about wanting biscuits. But then I got an idea. I'd make waffles to go along with the chicken! What could make fried chicken better? Why waffles, of course. And not just any waffle, but a Hello Kitty waffle! (A gift from Caroline, no less!).

So Saturday I made up a mess of batter. I ran out of milk and so used some buttermilk in it's place. I also developed a trick for making the batter a little lighter thanks to Emeril. I watched him use egg whites. He whipped them up and folded them into the waffle batter. Genius! So I do that now everytime I make waffle batter.

E decided that she would make biscuits, gravy, mashed potatoes and collard greens. All some of my favorites. She was going to send me to the store to buy bacon for the collards but spotted the ham bone in the freezer from my crock pot pork picnic and threw that into the greens.

How she was able to whip up all that food in two hours is kinda amazing. My kitchen was a bit of a disaster but eh.

So finally I sat down to the mythical fried chicken. (Sorry no pics. I took them all on my digital camera that I haven't bothered to download yet.) And how was it?

It was good. It was a little spicy and the crust was a little less dense than Caroline's. I liked it a lot. But perhaps it's because I've eaten Caroline's fried chicken for so long that I wasn't insane over it. Or maybe because it has been built up so much for so long? Hard to say. It was very, very good though and all the sides were fantastic. My waffles were great but got a little dense as they got cold, so eh to that! But overall the meal was beyond tasty. I can see how E is proud of her friend chicken skills.

And I got a fridge full of leftovers too! I made potato pancakes out of the leftover mashed potatoes and eat them with apple sauce on the side, yum! I heated up the biscuits for breakfast and even though they had cheese in them, I drizzled a little honey over them. Delicious!

I guess I can check eating fried unicorn off my to do list now :)

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