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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

 

 

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Well we did it.  We moved to Los Angeles.  We live in Los Angeles.  I can’t honestly believe it.  The last month has been some of the loveliest time of our family’s life.  I’d say the only thing keeping us from calling it ‘pure bliss’ is the fact that my beloved grandmother, and last living grandparent, passed away a week and a half ago and the fact that the world is hating on Jews right now (I mean, more so than normal).  As result of the increase in the world’s hate of Jews, myself, along with some fellow kosher foodies, have experienced some serious anti-Semitism over the last weeks for no other reason but for being Jewish and/or using the word, “Israeli” in a recipe post.  So, you know, not quite ‘pure bliss’.

chicken 2

So, OK, aside from the fact that I’m scared for my people and I miss my grandmother, July 2014 has been amazing.  We left Miami on July 1 at the crack of dawn.  We were stressed.  We were emotional.  The kid had a tantrum in the middle of the Fort Lauderdale airport at 6 am, the likes of which I had never seen before.  You could see the fear in our fellow passengers’ eyes, “Please don’t let that screaming kid sit next to me.  Please don’t let that screaming kid sit next to me.” Luckily, after 20 minutes of pure rage, she got out what she needed to and went back to being herself though we were on edge for the first two hours of the flight. So yes, leaving was rough. At one point, after boarding and before take off, I locked myself in one of the bathrooms on the plane, called 3 of my closest girl friends and just let it all out—the fear, the anxiety, the stress. I guess you could say I had my own little tantrum, though mine was in the privacy of a tiny airplane restroom. By the time we landed at LAX and realized we could step outside and not immediately break out into a sweat (so long Miami), things started looking up.  All of our stuff, including our car, arrived the day we landed.  Within 48 hours of landing, we were unpacked. Our goal was to create as much order in the chaos as possible in as quick of a process as possible so that the kiddo could feel some peace. And then of course, we could find some peace. I think it worked. At least it worked for the time being until her dad goes back to Miami for 2 months and we go right back to another transition.

But let’s get to the part about how awesome July 2014 has been.  We took a break from life.  The hubs, the kid and I just took a break.  After all the planning and the stress of the move we took the last 3 and a half weeks to enjoy life.  We ate ice cream . . . a lot.  We took long walks and went on road trips and explored new beaches, drank good wine (OK, the kid didn’t but she had some lovely water), saw whales and slept. Oh, did we sleep.  I don’t know if it’s because our new place has a lot more shade (unlike our old place in Miami, which had so much direct sunlight beaming into our windows it felt as though we were, in fact, LIVING on the sun) or what, but the kid sleeps later here. I mean, there was one day when we slept to 8:15am. Did you hear me? I’m a mother of an almost 2 year-old and I slept in until 8:15! I’m telling you, the 3 of us, this little family of mine, we were on vacation.

chicken 6

And yet, with less than a week before my husband goes back to Miami for a couple months, leaving his ladies to continue on in Los Angeles without his silliness and comfort, the real world seems to be creeping in.  I’ve been dreading this for so long it’s almost to the point where I just need to rip the band-aid and get it over with. Thank Gd, we’ve already started to make friends here.  I must have done something right in this life because we got blessed with some amazing neighbors.  Just two floors up is the sweetest family with a young daughter just 6 months older than my kiddo.  Siona is officially obsessed with her and I’ll be cooking our first family/neighbor Shabbat dinner for them this coming Friday.  Lord have mercy, I gotta start menu planning.

The chicken recipe below is something I cooked up last Shabbat dinner. Since going kosher, I have missed my fair share of creamy chicken dishes and casseroles.  But then the fine folks in the health food industry created dairy alternatives and some of them are actually good.  For this recipe I used good ol’ fashion Tofutti sour cream. To be honest, Tofutti doesn’t have much flavor, which is kinda a good thing for this recipe.  It does, however, provide a lovely texture and creaminess. I like to break out this recipe to impress folks (and by folks, I mean my husband).  Works every time.

collage

 (Scenes from a Pacific Coast Highway road trip)

 

Live from L.A. – Creamy Chicken with White Wine + Mushrooms!

Ingredients

  • 1 package of boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 4 thighs)
  • 1 medium white or sweet onion, diced
  • 4 bulbs of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 carton of button mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 3 - 4 Tbsp Earth Balance margarine
  • 1/4 cup white cooking wine
  • 1/4 cup of veggie or chicken broth
  • 1 giant spoon full of vegan sour cream
  • 2 Tbsp chopped chives
  • 2 Tbsp chopped dill
  • 1 Tsp of kosher salt
  • 1 Tsp of ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Using a Dutch oven or heavy pan with a lid, place 3 Tbsp of the margarine in Dutch oven and place on stove top on medium heat. Once melted, place the chicken thighs topside down and let them brown on each side for roughly 3 minutes, sprinkling salt and pepper on each side. You're not wanting the chicken to cook all the way at this point, just brown. Once brown, take out of Dutch oven and place on a plate lined with paper towel.
  2. Next, making sure the heat is still on medium, place another Tbsp of margarine in the Dutch oven.
  3. Place onions in the pan and stir for roughly one minute or until they are translucent.
  4. Next, add the mushrooms and garlic and saute for another 2 - 3 minutes.
  5. Add the white cooking wine and stir, making sure to get all that good crispy brown stuff that has cooked onto the bottom of the pan mixed into the wine. Turn the heat down to low and let simmer for a few seconds.
  6. Put the chicken back into the Dutch oven (topside down) with the onions, garlic, mushroom and wine mixture. Pour the broth into the pan, make sure the heat is on low, stir the pan a little bit and cover, letting the mixture cook for roughly 10 - 15 minutes.
  7. Once chicken is cooked through, remove from heat and stir. There should be about an inch of liquid left over in the pan.
  8. Stir in the vegan sour cream into the Dutch oven with the chicken. Once all combined, taste, adding salt and pepper as needed.
  9. Mix in the fresh herbs to the mixture. Serve over rice or Israeli couscous.
http://jewhungrytheblog.com/live-l-creamy-chicken-white-wine-mushrooms/

 

chicken 5

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