Monday, February 27, 2012

Chicken and Kale and Cauliflower, Oh My

Do I even need to say we've been busy around here lately? (Or does the lack of posts say it for me?)

I'm certainly not complaining: We've done some really fun stuff during the past week. My super awesome nephew spent his Winter Break with us, which was the perfect excuse to get out and enjoy a few of our area's attractions. We visited Huntley Meadows, the Smithsonian Air & Space museum and Natural History museum... the National Zoo. Visiting the museums during this "off season" is really great. By late March/early April, it will be Cherry Blossom time, and MUCH more crowded... until pretty much the end of fall. It was so nice to just park right around the corner from Air & Space. There is plenty of meter parking available before 11, and with the pay-to-park app on my phone -- it's a cinch. OH! and any visit to Air & Space ought to begin and/or end with a trip to Gravelly Point Park, just north of National Airport on the GW Parkway. You can sit right underneath the planes taking off and landing. (It also happens that my favorite bakery is on the way to this park, too.) Just so you know.

Hmm, what else? I used my mom's recipe for chicken fried steak on thin-sliced chicken breasts, and it turned out AWESOME. I also tossed some "fennel rings" in with the onion rings, Mom. It was really good. Going to have to do a whole other Chicken Fried Steak post another time. That meal is properly served, of course, with green beans and mashed potatoes. Cream gravy goes without saying. And any good CFS will cover most of the plate.

Anyway, the leftover chicken and rice made for excellent and easy burritos the next night. Gotta love that.

Never you mind that greasy paper towel! And the serious lack of green on this table. 

Found out Baked Brown Rice works just as well with a wild-rice blend.

Chicken-fried chicken

Onion and fennel rings are dredged in leftover egg & flour...

...and fried.

Sometimes you just gotta fry! Maybe it's just the Southerner in me? But frying food (and then eating it) makes me extremely happy. (Enjoyed in moderation.)

I like hearing about fried things, too. Yesterday, listening to The Splendid Table on NPR, the Road Food team were discussing barbecue in North Carolina.... Someplace down there serves their pulled pork with fried macaroni and cheese. Made me smile. And don't even get me started on all the stuff that gets fried -- and put on a stick no less -- at the Texas State Fair! Man oh man.

Lastly, and in complete contrast to anything served at a TX fair: Kale Chips. I suppose I could do a whole separate post on this one, but it's so simple, and so posted about elsewhere.

De-stem and rinse a bunch of kale (any variety), toss with a TB of olive oil and some seasoning... bake in a single layer on parchment-lined cookie sheets at 325 for 10-15 minutes or until crisp, but not burnt.  The kids LOVE this stuff. Plus, you can crumble it over other dishes, like roasted potatoes or use it as a popcorn topping. How cool is that?

Even cooler is the 12 oz. bag of already-rinsed and chopped kale you can get at Trader Joes. All you have to do is remove the bigger stem pieces as you toss with the oil. No muss, no fuss.

Lastly for this lengthy update, I was directed to this recipe a couple of weeks ago, and finally tried it out. Cauliflower pizza crust. No flour (no gluten). Very interesting. And I think I mean that in a good way. I will have to try it again. It made both Josh and me think of a very thin frittata, topped like a pizza, that you can sort of pick up and eat like a pizza (though it's easier to eat with a fork). Tasty, nonetheless. And the kids seemed to like it. 

Speaking of kale chips:

Patted into shape, but not baked yet.

Done with initial bake and ready for toppings. Then, it goes back in the oven for just long enough to melt cheese.
I couldn't help crumbling some up into our cauliflower pizza crust. This was eventually topped with marinara sauce and just a little mozzarella. Probably the healthiest pizza we've ever eaten.

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