Hey, remember when I used to blog about cooking? Those were good times. I thought you might have been missing it, so here’s a post about cooking.
In my dinner club, we’ve been eating and drinking and sitting around each others’ houses for years now. We’re running out of things to cook. Themes to play off of. John and I have done a 4/20 dinner, breakfast for dinner, Italian theme, sandwich theme.
So when it was our turn last week, we wracked our brains coming up with a theme.
It was John’s idea to play off of fast food. We decided to do a McDonald’s theme, with chicken nuggets, burgers, fries, and hand pies. We even went to McDonald’s and asked if they would give us some Happy Meal boxes, fry packages and burger wrappers. Did you know they rotate Happy Meal boxes and bags every week? We would up getting the bags. And you can totally buy McDonald’s packaging for the price of extra sauce (five cents). It’s a pretty clever theme, isn’t it? What themes would you use for a dinner party?
The meal started with chicken nuggets, made extra delicious by double battering them. I found an article on Serious Eats that surmised that McDonald’s sweet sauce tasted like duck sauce with red pepper flakes. So that’s what we made.
They were a hit! Also, it’s super weird to process meat until it’s a paste. Really weird. And gross.
Next up, bacon cheeseburgers wrapped in papers, fries in paper packets, all in McDonald’s Happy Meal bags, complete with toy. There was a lot of vrooming going on for a bunch of grown ass adults.
We also made cherry hand pies, but no one took pics of them. Probably because they were so delicious, we forgot to. Recipes ahoy! I didn’t include one for the cheeseburgers, because we didn’t use one. I mean, they’re burgers. We used grass-fed beef, and thick cut bacon.
- 2 boneless skinless Chicken Breasts (that’s 4 breast fillets)
- 1 teaspoon of Salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of Parsley flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon of Oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon of Onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon of Pepper
- 2 Eggs, beaten
- 1 Cup of Flour
- about 1.5 Cups of Oil for frying (I used Sunflower seed oil)
- Heat oil in a heavy-duty skillet (like a cast iron skillet) on medium-high heat while preparing the chicken nuggets – it should be ready to work with once half of your nuggets are ready to go in.
- Cube chicken and place in a food processor. Blend chicken until it has all been taken apart and is a fine paste. Remove to a bowl and add salt, parsley, oregano, onion powder, and pepper, and combine well.
- Pour out flour on a plate and have your beaten eggs in a small bowl ready to work with.
- Roll the chicken paste mixture into 34 ping-pong ball-sized balls (smaller than a golf ball).
- Roll ball a “chicken ball” in flour, then in egg, and then in flour again. Then, press the ball down to make a nugget.Set nuggets aside.
- Sprinkle the hot oil with some flour and if it bubbles really quickly right away, your oil is ready for frying. Place as many nuggets as possible in the oil, and fry until the bottoms are golden, turn and fry until the other side is golden. Will take about 4-5 minutes per side. Remove to a towel-lined plate (to catch any excess oil).
From Serious Eats
- 2 pounds russet potatoes (about 4 large), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch by 1/4-inch fries (keep potatoes stored in a bowl of water)
- 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
- Kosher salt
- 2 quarts peanut oil
Place potatoes and vinegar in saucepan and add 2 quarts of water and 2 tablespoons of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for 10 minutes. Potatoes should be fully tender, but not falling apart. Drain and spread on paper towel-lined rimmed baking sheet. Allow to dry for five minutes.
Meanwhile, heat oil in 5-quart Dutch oven or large wok over high heat to 400°F. Add 1/3 of fries to oil (oil temperature should drop to around 360°F). Cook for 50 seconds, agitating occasionally with wire mesh spider, then remove to second paper-towel lined rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with remaining potatoes (working in two more batches), allowing oil to return to 400°F after each addition. Allow potatoes to cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Continue with step 3, or for best results, freeze potatoes at least over night, or up to 2 months.
Return oil to 400°F over high heat. Fry half of potatoes until crisp and light golden brown, about 3 1/2 minutes, adjusting heat to maintain at around 360°F. Drain in a bowl lined with paper towels and season immediately with kosher salt. Cooked fries can be kept hot and crisp on a wire rack set on a sheet tray in a 200°F oven while second batch is cooked. Serve immediately.
Cherry Hand Pies
From Bon Appetit
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 cups fresh cherries, stemmed and pitted, or about 12 ounces frozen pitted cherries, unthawed
- 2/3 cup dried cherries
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 14-ounce package all-butter puff pastry (preferably Dufour), thawed in refrigerator
- Flour (for dusting)
- 1 large egg white
- 1 1/2 teaspoons raw sugar
Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Stir cornstarch and 1 1/2 tablespoons cold water in a small bowl to blend. Combine fresh cherries and next 4 ingredients in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until cherry juices are released, about 5 minutes. Add cornstarch mixture; bring to a boil, stirring often. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface to an 18×15″ rectangle. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut dough into nine 6×5″ rectangles. Whisk egg white and 1 tablespoon water in another small bowl for egg wash.
Working with 1 pastry rectangle at a time, place on a work surface and brush edges with egg wash. Scoop 3 tablespoons cherry mixture onto one side; fold dough over filling so that short ends meet, forming a 5×3″ packet. Crimp edges with a fork to seal. Using a sharp knife, cut a few slits in top of pie to vent. Place on prepared baking sheet; repeat with remaining dough and filling.
Brush tops with egg wash, then sprinkle with raw sugar. Chill for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°. Bake pastries until tops and bottoms are golden brown, 30-40 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes on baking sheet. Transfer to wire racks; let cool completely. DO AHEADCan be made 1 day ahead. Let stand at room temperature.