Buttermilk Fried Chicken Tenders

The first cold blast of the season hit this week, and it’s time for some comfort food.  For today’s recipe, I’m throwing in a winner that my girlfriend found about 6 weeks ago.  A little fried chicken fingers with my first attempt at a homemade creamed corn, served with a broccoli/cheese rice casserole.  The girlfriend and I started trying to do one homemade meal per week. With our work/hobby schedules, it’s a bit of a challenge, but one well worth taking, as you can see from the results.

The recipe here is only for the chicken. Click the title of this post, and it will take you to the recipe we used.  I’ll be sure to post the recipe for the broccoli/cheese rice casserole and the homemade creamed corn another time.  The honey-mustard sauce is homemade, and pretty easy to make.  It’s a 50/50 split of honey and mustard.  That’s really it.  Once it reaches a nice consistency, you can add a little milk or cream (your choice) to thin it out just a bit.  If you have thinned it out TOO much, put it over low heat with a smidge of corn starch to thicken it.

When finished, just spread on the plate using a spoon.  (No glopping! – Yes, WordPress, “glopping” is a word I made up…stop trying to correct it))  Guys, if you want to get REALLY fancy, throw that honey-mustard sauce into a squeeze bottle, and lay out some small dots on the plate in a random pattern, or a straight line.  Just keep it simple, and don’t over-complicate the plate with enough dots to make it look like someone with lots of freckles. 🙂

Quick lesson (mostly for the guys):  other than the cooking utensils, the only thing I used to get that plate looking half-way decent was a biscuit cutter.

“But Mario, I don’t have one of those…anything else I can use?”

I’m glad you asked! While not as elegant, you definitely CAN use an empty soup can or an inverted ramekin.

NOTE:  My microbiologist girlfriend wants me to remind you here, that you should remove the label, wash the can thoroughly (dish washing cycle preferable) before using a soup can for plating purposes.

Now, back to the previous paragraph which I interrupted for your safety announcement.  Use an empty soup can, a ramekin, or a biscuit cutter to form the corn into an attractive round shape.  You can also use a wide biscuit cutter to form pasta.  I’ll show you an example of that on another day.  In my case, the creamed corn wasn’t sturdy enough to hold the chicken fingers and retain its shape.

If you try this recipe and want to show off similar plating, I’d suggest maybe using the rice casserole as the item formed by the cutter on the plate.  If that doesn’t work because the mutant-sized chicken fingers are too large and heavy, just plate the fingers around the object like my example above.  No big deal!

You’ll notice this is a very ‘yellow’ plate. You could use some chopped parsley on the formed object for a little dash of extra color contrast for more visual appeal.  If you use a round plate, try to find a square object to plate a smaller amount so you don’t have circles on circles.  That’s not a ‘win’ for plating, typically.

For kids, you could actually use a cookie cutter for the right amount of creamed corn or rice casserole.  Since kids eat less, you don’t have to worry as much about plating a large amount of either the corn or casserole, and you could have fun with different cookie shapes.  I’d get a good laugh at a ginger-bread cookie cutter forming some creamed corn for their plate.  It helps kids ‘eat’ with their eyes, and is an interesting trick to help, you as a parent, cut into the picky eating syndrome.

Now get out there, and enjoy some good food!



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