Extra Crispy Fried Chicken Fingers

How hungry do these make you?  Let me assure you that as good as they looked they tasted even better.

You may have noticed that things have been a little quiet from this end for the past week.  I have only myself to blame.  The weather has rocketed back and forth between too beautiful to write and too lousy to be inspired.  And when I was inspired in spite of the weather the lighting was so derned awful that I couldn't take a photo that I could show you in good conscience.  Yea, varily, I tell you that  in addition to the uncooperative weather, there is more... The vehicles are still giving us the trouble.  The Evil Genius has been using the big, manly, violet colored mini-van for his daily commute so we pulled the car seats out and put them in the barn just in case I had to go somewhere with the children in an emergency situation. Say for instance if one of them decided to pull a stunt of epic proportions and required a rapid trip to the ER in some kindly neighbor's vehicle.  They didn't pull one, but I'm not holding my breath that they won't.  I know my children. I was pulling the car seats out of the barn to put back into the van last Thursday for a trip to the co-op and slid on a nice slippery patch of nothing in particular under the eave of the barn.  While flying bum over tea-kettle I had the brilliant idea to 'save the car seats from mud' which went pretty well.  The car seats were indeed mud-free upon landing.  But the landing took place on my shoulder.  We'll leave it at this.  I've been hefting 50 pound bags of flour just a little less the past few days. The … {Read on...}

Homemade Tortilla Chips Two Ways

Can you smell the cinnamon sugar?  Mmmm.  Commence drooling.

Sometimes a gal just needs something good and greasy and salty to make her feel everything is right with the world.  This past weekend was one of those moments.  With the vehic-ules on the semi-permanent fritz, not being able to grocery shop in person ("No, honey.  I know chocolate chips are expensive, but please get them anyway... And yes, we DO need more milk."), the kids having just recovered from not one, but two pernicious Spring bugs, and a host of other minor annoyances I needed a little bit of pampering.  And I don't mean Pampers.  I've seen enough of THOSE for quite some time, thankyouverymuch.  Not that I'd pay that much for diapers, mind you, but Pampers in the diaper sense as Bandaids are to adhesive bandages.  I mean to say that I needed something that was good for my soul if not for my middle which is a lost cause at this point anyway after carrying and birthing five baby boys.  And -whatever this may say about my imperfections as a human- there is nothing like some fabulous deep fried goodies to lift my spirits. Because the trips to the store lately have been limited (as in non-existant) I've been relying on hitting up my freezer and pantry to feed the beasts (and here I refer to all of us...  I have no 'girly' appetite.  I can eat most men under the table.)  I've been doing a pretty good job of it and my deep-fried endeavours were no exception.  Whenever I get to town, I reflexively stock up on whatever tortillas I can find most cheaply.  Last time the 28 … {Read on...}

FMC Mango Salsa

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I am about to become your best friend forever because I am sharing with you the formula for the easiest and most delicious side dish ever, ever, ever.  It is so good that it deserves a 'Hallelujah' and 'Amen'.  My FMC Mango Salsa has its roots in desperation, as most of my favorite recipes do.  One day many moons ago I had grilled a pork tenderloin and planned on accompanying it with a fresh pineapple salsa.  Much to my chagrin I had neglected to put into my grocery cart the crucial pineapple.  There were mangos (goodness knows why I had bought mangos and forgotten pineapples) in my fruit bowl so I did what cooks through the ages have done in times of need.  I substituted.   And woah baby, did I hit pay dirt.  Now I know I'm not the first person to make mango salsa and I sure won't be the last, but it was a revelation.  The combination of sweet and soft mango cubes with the hot and fruity jalapeno, the pungent red onion, the hot garlic and the tangy lime juice took away my breath.  I practically forgot about the gorgeous grilled tenderloin sitting on my cutting board.  And I surely forgot about the pineapple. * *Don't get me wrong.  Fresh pineapple salsa is fabulously delicious, too.  But the unexpected deliciousness of the mango substitute that day quickly dispelled my disappointment at missing the pineapple.   I still loves the pineapple salsa, folks, but given the choice between the two I'd take the mango any day of the week... If you've never tackled a mango, don't … {Read on...}

Spicy Saucy Black Beans

Spicy Saucy Black Beans.  Who doesn't love saucy beans?

I know I promised the Spicy Saucy Black Bean recipe would be up in the wee hours last night.  I did not get to it. When The Evil Genius got back to our lair we talked, laughed, tucked kids in, and ate our way through an indecent quantity of homemade mint ice cream with deadly chocolate syrup.  And the black beans went and slipped my mind.  But here I am, beans in hand, and I think you'll find they were worth the wait. This black bean recipe is the third installment (see one and two) of our bean series encouraging you to eat more of the musical fruit with every meal.  Outside of 'refried beans', black beans are probably the most picky-eater friendly. They cook quickly since they are so small and they are wonderful in soups, dips, stews, and on their own.  As with most beans, they freeze well for about a month or two when packaged properly.  You can even prepare this entire dish and freeze it in individual serving portions.  Reheat each portion in the microwave or in a covered saucepan over low heat with a tablespoon or two full of water.  It's fantastic for you and it's delicious.  That's fast food that makes your heart swell with happiness, not clogged arteries.  And it's vegetarian friendly for the friendly vegetarians in your life.  Hey!  Whaddya know?  I can cook something without bacon fat.  (But I'd be lyin' if I said I never make this with bacon fat in place of the olive oil.  I am fallible...) I make it using beans that have been rehydrated and cooked because, … {Read on...}

Slow-Cooked Cuban Pork: Part II, Day 3

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For a brand new, printable version of this recipe that has all the steps included, click here! "I meant what I said and I said what I meant.  An elephant's faithful.  100%!" As promised yesterday,  I am back to show you how to shred that gorgeous slow-cooked Cuban Pork shoulder that should have chilled in your fridge overnight.  Of course, I didn't forget the sauce or black beans, either, but I'll post the recipe for spicy black beans later today.  I'm behind schedule.  Why you ask? Monsieur Le Evil Genius experienced a set-back in his quest for world domination yesterday when his car broke down 1 hour and 25 minutes into his 1 hour and 30 minute commute.  Mercifully, he was within sight of his office's parking lot and he worked with a man who had a winch.  (Not THAT kind of wench you gutter-brains...  I'm talking about the mechanical sort of winch that attaches to the front of a big ol' truck.  A wench is...Never mind.)  He got the car to the parking lot, examined it and declared it unable to move until he could procure a fuel pump.  Being the cheapskates that we are, you could also insert the sub-clause "and replace it himself".  'Cause we'll be darned if we'll pay someone to replace the fuel pump when Evil Genius can do it himself.  That's just how we're wired folks.  Compounding the inconvenience is the fact that our family vehicle, also known as "The Purple People-Eater" is up on ramps in the barn waiting for him to fix it.  And that all boils down to the fact that … {Read on...}