The Jucas Girls

A little bit of everything…

FRIED CHICKEN March 21, 2010

Filed under: Restaurants & Recipes — thejucasgirls @ 2:04 am

Fried chicken is something we always ate and LOVED growing up…but it was Kentucky Fried Chicken.  Fried chicken was something my mother just didn’t make…it was messy and always better store bought.  I have to agree that a bucket of The Colonel’s Recipe is pretty divine.  There is a story about Mother trying to impress my dad on a picnic when they were dating.  She said she would pack homemade fried chicken.  Well, she did…but she didn’t make it.  She conned her step-sister into making it for her and hid her little secret for years.  I think that chicken won my dad’s heart (fried chicken is one of his faves), so it was a good thing she kept it to herself.  I think this is one of the reasons I have NEVER considered making it in my kitchen.  I had these visions of grease fires, burns on my hands, and flour all over the kitchen.  Well, I conquered my fear today.  I’m happy to say that I made my first batch of fried chicken and it didn’t turn out half bad.  I think I was more surprised that it was actually pretty tasty :).  I looked through recipes and most of them called for soaking the chicken in buttermilk overnight.  Problem for me was that I didn’t have buttermilk or overnight!  I had a hungry husband and three chicken breasts.  Kept looking for a “quick” recipe and stumbled on one from Olivia Sipes from the Food Network.  I made my own changes, and here is what I came up with..

Ingredients

3 chicken breasts/bone in

3 cups flour

3 Tbs Cayenne Pepper (adjust to taste)

3 Tbs Paprika (adjust to taste)

salt & pepper to taste

1/2 cup Crisco Solid Vegetable Oil
Directions

Toss the flour, paprika, and cayenne pepper together in a bowl

Rinse chicken breasts

Coat each breast with flour mixture and shake off extra flour

Place each breast in very hot grease and cover for 5-7 minutes

Turn each and salt/pepper–cover and cook other side for 5-7 minutes

Remove lid and turn–salt and pepper second side

Continue turning often until desired golden brown color

Allow to cool on a wire rack lined with a paper towel for 7 minutes

YUMMY!!

 

I’ve been thinking… March 8, 2010

Filed under: Restaurants & Recipes — thejucasgirls @ 10:50 pm

I am still open for comments and suggestions, but I’ve been doing some “food project/blog” thinking.  Since my “casserole queen” idea is clearly not gaining any momentum, let’s scrap that idea and start fresh.  How about a dining, cooking, and entertaining around the world project?  I would love to take a month and learn all about cuisine from a certain part of the country….study, learn, eat, cook.  At the end of each month, I host a small dinner party to include a full meal/entertaining ideas from that particular country.  Thoughts???  For example, say I choose Italy first.  I will read and study traditional Italian cuisine–maybe take a class and/or find a friend who knows how to cook authentic cuisine and shadow him/her.  I will practice different meals throughout the month and when I have mastered one appetizer, entrée, dessert etc, it’s time for a party!  This is a work in progress, so leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts.  Now…which countries to choose?

 

A project of my own! March 6, 2010

Filed under: Restaurants & Recipes — thejucasgirls @ 4:52 pm

Well, I’ve finally watched Julie & Julia.  What a wonderful, feel good movie.  My dad watched it when it first came out and raved about it.  He even perfected Julia’s speech and acted out the egg scene where she flips the egg and half of it falls out.  Hilarious!  He went on to buy the cookbook for me as a Christmas present.  Love it.  As I laid in bed with my husband watching this movie, we kept laughing at the parts that probably weren’t supposed to be funny because I could see myself in her, and he could see me in her too.  I found myself relating to Julie more and more.  First of all, I love to cook!  I have no formal training, but it is a total stress reliever for me-always has been.  I love projects–rarely finish one.  I love to write and set out to write a children’s book at the urging of my mother 10 years ago.  Status–incomplete.  My sister and I started writing a cookbook devoted to my mother’s recipes and entertaining traditions.  Sataus–incomplete.  Take this blog for example.  My sister and I thought it would be so much fun to blog about whatever was on our minds.  So far, it has been going for almost one year and we have so few entries on here it is pitiful.  And, like Julie, (at least in the beginning) our comments are only by family members.  Let’s be honest, NOBODY reads this blog!!  Why don’t I update?  I forget…am lazy…or start a new project of the moment.  As I am typing this, I have a half painted picture in my kitchen that I started last week.  I “borrowed” a canvas and paints from my sister (though this will be news to her) and began working on my new hobby.  It is pretty bad, but I still stand by the fact that if I would commit to it and practice, I could be decent.  I hoped to get into biking.  I own two bikes, and I can count on one hand the amount of times I’ve gone for a bike ride in the last 5 years.  Sadly, I could go on.

My point is, like Julie and maybe even Julia, I too am searching for my calling.  If money were no option, I would have a wine, cheese, and chocolate shop.  It would be sort of like Dean & Deluca without the produce and meats.  Since I don’t have the luxury of throwing money at a dream, I continue to dream and say…”one day.”

After watching the movie last night, I have since spent time going back over the Julie/Julia Project blog and can’t get enough.  Is this another one of my crazy ideas like biking, painting, and writing?  What sort of “project” could I do and blog about?  Is it too cliche to do something so similar?  I need some thoughts.  Ok–Dad/John, please give me your thoughts.  You are the only two who read, so I need some help.  Though I do love French cooking…and eating, I can’t do the exact same thing as Julie.  What can I do?  A new casserole each week?  See, this is one of my ideas to pitch to the cooking network– a series called “Casserole Queen”!!!  Is that stupid or what?  This is what I think about everyday.  Hmmm…Lithuanian cooking?  Are there any other greats out there that I can learn from?  Sure, I love Ina and Giada, but like Julia Child, you are never fully appreciated until you are OLD.  I just don’t think the Food Network stars are near old enough for this sort of project.

Thoughts?  I’ll be waiting to hear from you.

Love y’all,

Tracy

 

Uncle Sirini’s Brussel Sprouts! December 2, 2009

Filed under: Restaurants & Recipes — thejucasgirls @ 8:08 pm

Ok, I said the same thing…..Brussel sprouts! ugh!  But trust me.  Anything Uncle Sirini cooks is bound to be delicious.  Maybe it’s the cilantro and cumin? I don’t know, but his Indian heritage is such a blessing to our family, especially to our family gatherings when food is involved.

Here is the basic recipe, but I warn you…he and I were enjoying cocktails as we talked about this yummy recipe, so the details may be a little off.

Steam the brussel sprouts….in his words “steam the dickens out of them.”  As they are steaming (note: do not boil, all of the good nutrients boil right out into the water) lightly fry in oil cumin seeds then mustard seeds.  After they “pop” add diced onions and minced garlic.  Sautee really well then mix brussel sprouts and onion/garlic mixture together with fresh cilantro to taste and mash.  Again, in Uncle Sirini’s words “mash the dickens out of them” and add a tablespoon of mayonaisse.  Tadahh!  Last night I ate it chilled and today for lunch I warmed some up!  Either way, delicious!  You will never think of brussel sprouts the same way again!