Mother Nature wasn't so cooperative with the plan, however, and a snowstorm covered New York on Sunday, and the airports didn't open until Monday afternoon. Our flight home was canceled and we were unable to get a flight home until Thursday. This left us stranded in Chicago for a few days. We made the best of it. Kevin's brother put us up in rather nice accomodations and we spent time time exploring some of the museums I've wanted to see. Sadly, I once again missed seeing other Chicago bloggers or eating any of the Chicago food specialties.
It's good to be home, cooking my own meals and playing with my Kinect. Once I was back in the kitchen, it was time to answer another Blogger challenge.
If you were to ask me what my favorite food is, I would have a hard time coming up with any one thing. I love fried chicken and dishes of Thai coconut curry, and NY pizza and good Mexican tacos, and jars of Nutella and chocolate chips cookies and ice cream. I have been known to sum up my favorite foods as, "Anything spicy, fried, or chocolate." There is an addendum to that about things covered in melted cheese, but for today's purposes, we must stick to the spicy, fried, and chocolate theme.
I mentioned in one of my Fry Daddy posts about my love of things spicy, fried, or chocolate. It was meant as a passing comment about why I should use my Fry Daddy more often, when the challenge came via comment from Peter. "You owe it to yourself and to the internet to make something spicy, fried, AND chocolate."
Easy for Peter to say. Have you ever seen his blog? He could charge money to let people view his refrigerator because I never cease to be amazed at what he just happens to have lying around the house. The things he creates from these ingredients are works of art. Imagine Thanksgiving quails (another challenge to throw quails in the Fry Daddy?) or the most exquisite Asian noodle soups. I'm sure he could come up with something that is simultaneously spicy, fried and chocolate by blindfolding himself, opening his refrigerator, and simply pointing randomly to stuff.
For me it was a little harder. What could I fry that would be contain something spicy and something chocolate?
I came up with a fairly obvious answer: Mole! Mole is spicy and it's made from chocolate. Now how could I fry it?
It didn't take too much brain squishing to come up with the idea of a mole-spiced fried chicken. I could simply incorporate the ingredients commonly used in mole sauce as a chicken coating. I assembled the usual suspects.
Chicken was first soaked several hours in buttermilk. Normally I add hot sauce, but this time I used crushed, dried arbol chilis.
Next I toasted some pepitas until they just took on a little color. Do you know how good this smells?
I spun them into a powder with cocoa nibs. Then I mixed the powder with flour (I used rice flour), ancho chili powder, cumin, and sesame seeds.
Chicken was dipped into the flour, redipped into the buttermilk, and dipped again. I let it sit for a few minutes before frying. Looks kind of gross doesn't it?
Looks much better after it fried.
I fried the legs first to test for time. I was a little afraid of the nuts burning, so I was reluctant to fry the chicken the whole way. Sure enough the legs got a bit black when cooked in the time the Fry Daddy instructions suggested. I ended up finishing the rest of the chicken in the oven. Oh well. So much for saying a Fry Daddy would mean I could fry the chicken the whole way. Maybe if I used just plain flour without burnable nuts it wouldn't turn black so quickly.
The taste? Pretty good, but needed more spice. I think the frying kind of overpowered the mole flavors. We enjoyed it, but we enjoyed it because it was fried chicken more than because it was fried with special spices.
It was the best smelling fried chicken ever though. Even reheating it made the the kitchen smell delicious. Warm chocolate, sesame and pumpkin seeds have a magic scent.
I believe I will continue my quest for the ultimate spicy, fried, and chocolate food. Perhaps a cinnamon-laced doughnut filled with chocolate-chili cream, or maybe lace that cream with cystallized ginger?
If my kitchen experiments aren't what I had hoped, should I keep blogging about them?
Mole Spiced Fried Chicken
1 quart buttermilk
2-4 dried arbol chiles, crushed
1 chicken cut up into 8 pieces
1/4 cup pepitas
2 Tbl cocao nibs
1 cup flour
2 tsp ancho chili powder
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp salt
1/4 cup sesame seeds
Mix buttermilk and crushed chiles in a large bowl. Place chicken in the buttermilk and refrigerate several hours.
Heat oven to 350.
Toast pepitas in a pan until they become fragrant and slightly brown. Place in a small food processor or other grinding device and process until it's a fairly fine powder.
Mix flour, cumin, chili powder, salt, sesame seeds and cocao nib-pepita mixture in a shallow bowl.
Remove chicken pieces from buttermilk. Let excess drip off. Dip in flour. Place them on a rack over a pan to rest for a few minutes.
Fill a deep fryer with oil and preheat. Once oil is hot, place chicken pieces in and cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Then place on cookie sheet and cook an additional 20 minutes.