Tag Archives: Flour

I had a mental breakdown while making coconut-crusted chicken

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I’ve been trying to cook every meal at home since the new year began. I’ll delve deeper into that on Saturday when I post the first weigh-in of 2013, but, to get to the point, I’ve had all but three meals out (one breakfast and two lunches) in the last 10 days.

It wasn’t a resolution necessarily, but a goal I’ve had for a long time. For some reason, this time, it’s finally starting to click.

The idea for “coconut crusted chicken” popped into my head a couple of nights ago. I found a link to “Coconut Crusted Chicken Tenders” from the Can You Stay For Dinner blog. I went looking for chicken and left with a whole new outlook on weight loss.

The blog is written by Andie Mitchell, a 27-year-old who lost 135 lbs. by cooking and exercise. Her honesty is encouraging, and seeing that she lost so much weight without any gimmicks is inspiring. She writes about taking it one day at a time, one choice at a time, and that truly is the right mindset to make it happen.

So, back to the chicken.

I wasn’t so much looking for an exact recipe as I was just to see how someone else did it without messing it up. I planned to de-bone the chicken thighs I had cut down earlier in the week, but they were still slightly frozen by the time I arrived home. It was a pain to get the bones out and more then a few times I wanted to call it quits.

Because I wanted to add more coconut flavor, I soaked the meat in coconut milk while it came to room temperature (better for cooking evenly). Then came the batter station:

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Drain the excess coconut milk from the chicken, drop it in flour, then in egg, and finally into the coconut/panko mix. Pan fry for 3 minutes per side and bake on 400 degrees for 10 minutes.

I’m terrible with batters, especially using wet and dry hands. I’m always running back and forth from the sink. That, paired with the hunger of having to stop at the grocery store for a couple of ingredients, then waiting to marinate, AND THEN  … AND THEN!!! … fighting with monster batter hands. I had enough.

There were obscenities, more obscenities, and this: “I don’t want to BLEEPIN’ cook, I’m over this, let’s just go out already!”

I slumped against the kitchen cabinets and slid all the way to the ground in protest.

“Screw you coconut chicken.”

Nadia, who was napping before dinner, woke up, came to the kitchen and calmed me down. She said she’d help with the batter and we pushed through. The chicken was done and in the oven before I knew it. The slaw– 2 cups of shredded cabbage and 1/4 thin-sliced red onion soaked in lime juice with salt plus cubed pineapple and scallion–took about as much time to assemble as it did for the chicken to bake and then rest.

We almost went out. Because I almost gave up. It wouldn’t have been worth it, and nothing could have been better that night than the coconut-crusted chicken WE worked together to make.

There are going to be nights where I don’t want to cook, but, if I truly want to control what’s going into my body, I’m the one who has to take control.

I’m the one behind this wheel.

Now, on to the next one.

Week 28, Meal 2: Classic shrimp ‘n’ grits

Of all the stupid walls I built up around food, my preconceived hatred of grits has to be the stupidest one.

Seriously, grits are essentially cornmeal pudding, smooth and creamy, but totally filling (just like polenta, though one is yellow corn and one is white corn from what I Googled) — and polenta/grits have quickly become a food I totally love. That being said, I admit that Week 28, Meal 2: Shrimp and grits is the first time I’ve had the dish and it’s everything I was hoping it would be.

Chef Brian’s version features a spicy shrimp gravy punctuated by salty bacon, the slight burn of jalapeno and a nice kick of cayenne pepper. It’s a dish so good that you’ll want to lick the plate after you’re done.

Feel free. I won’t tell.

Continue reading Week 28, Meal 2: Classic shrimp ‘n’ grits

Week 15, Meal 3: “Fried” chicken with collard greens and ham hock

Part of the hesitation to do fried chicken on the blog was because, well, let’s face it, have you ever had oven-baked fried chicken better than the fried version?

There’s just something about buttermilk-soaked, double-breaded chicken going from drab to fab in a vat of hot oil that I never thought could be beat.

Before starting this blog, deep-fry oil and cheese were two staples of my not-so-nutritional nutrition plan. But after several weeks of eating Chef Brian’s dishes – most prepared with only 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of oil per serving – I just can’t eat oily foods like I used to.

That’s where Week 15, Meal 3: “Fried” chicken with collard greens and ham hock comes in handy.

I’ve had plenty of “oven-fried” chicken before, Shake ‘n’ Bake and homespun versions, but nothing has come close to matching the explosive flavor or undeniable crunch of Chef Brian’s baked goods. Continue reading Week 15, Meal 3: “Fried” chicken with collard greens and ham hock

Week 9, Meal 2: Red wine braised beef short ribs over spinach and cauliflower puree

The last time I had short ribs in a restaurant I paid $23 for the plate.

They were great, but I’d argue the ribs I made at home were much better, for much cheaper.

I struggled last week with The Fat Dude Diet, but one bite of Week 9, Meal 2: Red wine braised beef short ribs over spinach and cauliflower puree erased the exhaustion and laziness that prevented me from cooking to my full potential last week.

Let’s get down to business, y’all. Continue reading Week 9, Meal 2: Red wine braised beef short ribs over spinach and cauliflower puree

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