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I’m currently sitting in bed. I’m sitting in bed and I’m trying to take care of myself. It hasn’t been easy lately. Every since having our second baby, I feel like I’m in a constant game of catch-up. I know this sounds crazy, but I’m not sure why having the second kiddo destroyed me as much as it did. OK, “destroyed me” is a little dramatic, but I can’t seem to stay awake past 9pm, which means I average a decent night sleep. And, thank Gd, my kids are pretty decent sleepers. So why am I so tired?

I’ve decided there are tons of answers to this question. Maybe it’s the fact that I over-schedule my day, just like most every other person I know. It also probably has to do with not exercising as much as I should but mostly I think it has to do with the amount of stuff I have reeling around in my head. I appreciate the feminist movement and I consider myself a feminist but I’m not sure the feminist movement of the 70s knew what it was getting into when it rallied for fair and equal employment opportunities for women. But, I am grateful. I used to work in a school whose administration over-valued stress and exhaustion. People were heralded for working long hours; the bags under their eyes their little red badges of courage. Now I work for a school where taking a ‘mental health day’ is understood. I have a boss who openly talks about why she doesn’t want us answering texts and phone calls after working hours — the boundary of work and life firmly in tact and celebrated. But still, I get home after picking up the girls and I still struggle with balancing all my responsibilities. When beloved friend and co-author, Sarah at The Patchke Princess started her Sheet-Pan Dinners Instagram handle, I started following immediately. She’s a lot braver than me when it comes with experimenting with sheet-pan dinners, but nevertheless, she has inspired the recipe in this post. We eat meat at least once a week, aside from Shabbat, and being able to throw it on a sheet pan, combine it with roasted vegetables and the perfect seasoning without having to clean anything else makes me so happy. I mean seriously, it is the little things and no additional cleaning is to be celebrated as a big ‘little thing’. Consider this sheet pan chicken a blank slate for which to experiment for further dinners. I hope you enjoy.

 


 

 

Sheet Pan Chicken

Ingredients:

2 chicken leg quarters, cut at bone and separated

3 carrots, skinned and cut into 1/4-inch rounds

5-6 Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered

1 medium onion, quartered

1/2 pint cherry tomatoes

3 garlic cloves, diced

1/4 cup olive oil

3 tbsp parve Ranch dressing mix powder

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 tbsp kosher salt

1/2 tbsp black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 400°F. Place a large 9 x 13″ rimmed baking sheet in the oven while the oven is heating. While that’s heating, combine Ranch dressing mix, mayonnaise, kosher salt and black pepper into a medium-sized bowl. Stir to combine. Set aside.

Clean chicken and dry well. Using a spatula or spoon, coat the chicken in the Ranch mayonnaise mixture. Place the chicken skin-side down on the pre-heated baking sheet. Let that cook for about 10 minutes.

While the chicken cooks, combine all the vegetables into a large bowl. Add olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper to the bowl and stir until well-combined. Once the chicken has cooked for 10 minutes, add the vegetable mixture to the sheet-pan, making sure that none of the vegetables overlap, and cook for another 20 – 25 minutes or until vegetables are soft.

Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

 

Buffalo fried chicken sandwich

 

Oh. Hi. I’m not sure we’ve met yet. My name is Whitney Fisch. A few things about myself:

  1. I have two daughters who are so cute sometimes I scrunch up my face and make a, ‘GAH!’ noise in order to manage the overwhelmingness of the cuteness.
  2. I am a school counselor so I spend a lot of my time hanging with high schoolers, which I never thought I would love but, as it turns out, I do!
  3.  I LOVE BUFFALO WINGS! I WANT ALL OF THEM ALL THE TIME.

Buffalo fried chicken sandwich

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while now, you may have already known the above information. I have written about my love of wings before here. It’s not so much the wings as it about the sauce. I LOVE buffalo wing hot sauce. I love it so much. I want to take a bath in the stuff. As a teenager, a favorite snack of mine was canned corn mixed with my mom’s buffalo wing sauce and blue cheese salad dressing. Also, did I mention that I led a super healthy lifestyle as a teenager?

As a ‘foodie’ and someone who loves Instagram and therefore follows other foodies on Instagram (especially LA-based foodies), I was seeing Chef Ludo’s Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich all over people’s feeds this summer. And then Bon Appetit magazine came out with their ‘most perfect fried chicken sandwich ever‘ and I was done. I needed a kosher-fied fried chicken sandwich and I needed it drenched in buffalo sauce STAT! Conveniently enough, I had bottles and bottles of oil in my pantry as the Chanukah season requires some serious frying. Therefore, I made my own dang buffalo fried chicken sandwich based on Bon Appetit’s recipe and it was AMAZING.

Buffalo fried chicken sandwich

Make no mistake, the sandwich is all about composition. Do not attempt this sandwich without allowing yourself the time to pay attention to the details. This sandwich is the perfect marriage of spicy sweetness mixed with tangy coleslaw and a lightly non-dairy buttered bun. It’s also crispy and crunch while still being juicy! It’s a sandwich to be enjoyed on a Sunday night surrounded by loved ones who will still love you as you sniffle and slop your way through spicy hot buffalo sauce ecstasy. Pass the hand towels, this one is a keeper!

Buffalo fried chicken sandwich

 

 

Buffalo fried chicken sandwich

Buffalo Fried Chicken Sandwich

Chicken

1 tablespoon Diamond Crystal or 2 teaspoons Morton kosher salt
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 skin-on or skinless, boneless chicken thighs

Seasoned Slaw

1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
1 teaspoon celery salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 green onion stalks, finely diced (green parts only)
1 tablespoon of Bread and Butter pickle brine
2 cups thinly sliced green cabbage

Buffalo Wing Sauce

3/4 cup Frank’s Hot Sauce (I use Frank’s and have only used Frank’s since I was a kid so have no idea how this would taste with any other hot sauce).
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
1 tablespoon margarine
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Assembly

1½ cups all-purpose flour
⅓ cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more
1 large egg, beaten to blend
1 cup almond or coconut milk
3 tablespoons hot sauce (such as Frank’s)
Peanut or vegetable oil (for frying; about 8 cups)
4 soft seeded hamburger buns
3 tablespoons unsalted vegan butter, melted
Bread and butter pickles (optional but HIGHLY recommended) plus 1 tbsp brine
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions for Prepping Chicken:

Mix salt, sugar, and baking powder in a small bowl. Season chicken all over with salt mixture (you won’t need all of it). Chill uncovered on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet or on parchment paper, at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.

Seasoned Slaw:

Combine all ingredients up until the cabbage into a medium-size bowl and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Add in the cabbage and stir to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Directions for Cooking Chicken:

Whisk flour, cornstarch, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne, and 2 Tbsp. salt in a medium bowl. Whisk egg, almond milk, and 3 Tbsp. hot sauce in another medium bowl. Working with 1 piece at a time, dredge chicken in flour mixture, turning to coat and packing into crevices. Shake to remove excess; return to rack. Pour 3 Tbsp. almond milk mixture into flour mixture and work in with your fingers. Dip chicken into remaining almond milk mixture, allow excess to drip off, then pack moistened flour mixture firmly onto chicken. Gently shake off excess; return to rack. Chill at least 30 minutes and up to 12 hours.

Pour oil into a large heavy pot fitted with thermometer to come halfway up sides. Heat over medium-high until thermometer registers 350°. Working in 2 batches, fry chicken, turning often and adjusting heat to maintain temperature, until deep golden brown, 5–8 minutes per batch. Transfer to a wire rack set over paper towels to drain.

Directions for Buffalo Wing Sauce:

In a medium-sized sauce pan, add the hot sauce and heat over medium flame. Add in Worcestershire sauce, brown and margarine and stir well. Bring to a low boil, stirring frequently. Turn heat to low and let simmer for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste a bit (if you dare) and add more brown sugar at 1/2 teaspoon at a time if you like your sauce a little sweeter. The sauce should taste spicy and sweet with a hint of sour from the vinegar in the Frank’s. Turn off the flame, cover the pot with a lid and keep warm while you prepare the buns and assemble the sandwich.

Directions for Assembly:

Heat a dry large skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium. Brush cut sides of buns with margarine and, working in batches, cook, cut side down, until deep golden brown, about 2 minutes per batch.

Once done, take your cole slaw out of the refrigerator and spread a heaping spoonful onto one of the sides of buns. Add pickles to the other bun.

Pour the hot sauce into a large bowl that is big enough to dip the whole fried chicken in. Working in batches, dip one fried chicken (one at a time) into the bowl and cover with sauce. Let some of the sauce drip off into the bowl and then transfer to the buns. Do this until all chicken is complete. Serve hot and with TONS OF NAPKINS.

Buffalo fried chicken sandwich

 

 

 

vegan pasta e fagioli

Happy Chanukah, Happy Kwanzaa and a belated Merry Christmas! I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season. I am currently mid-week through the second and last week of my winter break from school (day job is as a high school counselor) and I must admit, staycations in L.A. are pretty awesome. We were originally planning on heading to Ojai for a week during this vacation break but we cancelled our plans last-minute as we are actually moving soon so needed to save that cash money for the move. But, never fear! We live in an amazing city full of extremely expensive family activities so there are a lot of things to do . . . . only we haven’t done them because of the aforementioned expensive. Ok, that’s not true. We did ice skating one day, which cost so much money it’s embarrassing. So aside from the ice skating, we haven’t really ventured out much. It’s shockingly cold in L.A. this season so we’ve done a lot of family baking/cooking projects, at-home movie matinees, neighborhood exploring (going to other neighborhoods and taking nice strolls through them) and grocery shopping. Lots and Lots of grocery shopping.

vegan pasta e fagioli

 

 

vegan pasta e fagioli

Due to the fact that it’s the Chanukah season, we have also eaten our fair share of donuts and fried foods. That is, until one day last week I decided it was time for some vegetables. I scoured Pinterest for some inspiration and settled on soup. Soup! Yes! It rained 4 days in a row this break (Baruch Hashem) so we were in the mood for something comforting and healthy. Back in my non-kosher days, the soup that would bring me this type of comfort was, no joke, The Olive Garden’s Pasta e Fagioli. The perfect combo of vegetables, greasy meat and pasta! It’s like a hug for your belly. The traditional Pasta e Fagioli is made with sausage so what’s a kosher lady to do? Use soy crumbles and lots of fennel seed, of course! You are welcome to omit soy crumbles and just season your veggies with the seasonings I’ve listed below or you can also get some vegan sausage meat and use that. I’ve kosher Pasta e Fagioli with unseasoned soy crumbles and seasoned vegan sausage meat and I actually prefer the unseasoned soy crumbles. Honestly though, both are delicious.

 

vegan pasta e fagioli

There have been donuts. LOTS and LOTS of donuts.

 

 

We did staycation right this Winter Break

 

We also ate the occasional dreidel toad-in-the-hole.

 

I joined Snapchat so that I could do a Snapchat takeover for The Feed Feed. Did you happen to see it? If not, it’ll be up on The Feed Feed’s site so check it out. But, do not look me up on Snapchat cause I deleted it yesterday. Not for me. No thank you.

 

vegan pasta e fagioli

 

Vegan Pasta e Fagioli

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup ditalini pasta
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 cups soy crumbles or soy sausage
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 3 cups veggie broth
  • 1 (16-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp dried fennel seed (1 tsp if using Italian-seasoned vegan sausage)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

Directions:

  1. In a medium pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions; drain well and set aside.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add soy crumbles/sausage to the skillet and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes. Make sure to break up the soy sausage crumble as it cooks; set aside once done.
  3. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the same stockpot. Stir in garlic, onion, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes.
  4. Next, add the seasonings to the veggies and stir. Cook, stirring occasionally for another 2 to 3 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the spices are fragrant.
  5.  Add in vegetable broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, soy crumbles and 1 cup water; taste and add more salt if necessary. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, until vegetables are tender, about 10-15 minutes.
  6. Stir in pasta and beans until heated through. Serve while hot!
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