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Monday, February 6, 2017

How We Do Super Bowl Sunday - Buffalo Fried Chicken, Home Organization & Lady Gaga

I’ve previously expressed my disinterest in the Super Bowl, but none-the-less it managed to permeate my weekend. We were generously invited to watch the game with some friends which had been our intention to do, football with gays is palatable enough, but we fell far behind our major Sunday To-Do list (thank you Saturday night decision making skills…) and decided not to leave the house. 

After spending the better part of Saturday reorganizing the office, and most of Sunday hunched over reinventing the basement system, by the time dinner time (and kick-off apparently) rolled around I was in quite the mood. You see, in a perfect world Mark is the organizer and I am the decorator, separate and sequential roles. Mark, however, is under the impression that organizing is some how a collaborative effort. I don’t get it, I always end up staring at him blankly while he dives down rabbit holes of rearranging, categorizing and labeling. I’ll occasionally get to vote yes or no on a throwaway question, or he’ll ask me to step in for heavy lifting, but other than that, it’s painfully dull and decidedly non-collaborative. His prized Christmas gift this year, a label maker, made the process even more excruciating in that it meant constant silent delays in progress as he typed, formatted and printed the dozens of tiny labels that now cover every box, bin, drawer and shelf in our home. We have a shelf dedicated to and labeled for “Small-Med Plastic Storage Containers” …Who has signage for storage for storage?!?! Anyway…

I hit a breaking point at about hour 3 and made a break for the kitchen. I don’t know if it was the proliferation of Super Bowl, Football and Gaga talk on social media or my frayed nerves, but I was craving fried food like nobody’s business.

I decided to use the guise of “Super Bowl Sunday Cooking” as an excuse for making Buffalo Fried Chicken. And yes, I do create internal narratives about all my meals, normally to justify indulgent ingredients but sometimes just because I’m crazy…What? you don't? I can’t be the only who does this…anyone?

I digress...Naturally, I wanted to take buffalo chicken to the next level so I quickly decided a roasted Brussels Sprouts and blue cheese hash would be the perfect traditionally thematic yet Instagram appropriate fancy base for my dish. I made my own Buffalo sauce (butter, more butter, hot sauce and butter) and made a quick gluten free batter using cornstarch, maseca, and unsweetened coconut milk. I cut chicken thighs into nugget sized portions and dredged them adding some salt, garlic powder, pepper, and paprika for color and flavor. Prep and frying were quick and easy and the Sprouts roasted simultaneously, overall, this was a surprisingly simple way to Super Bowl comfort food success.

We finished eating just in time for the Gaga Half time show. After a tumultuous 2016 we ended our cable relationship with Comcast (my face may be on their watch list) so I had tried to think ahead and figure out a way to stream the event live. But in the moment of truth, every which way I tried didn’t work. I was panicking. I texted my friend in desperation to see if her techie partner would have any solutions to save my night. She instantly FaceTimed me and we watched the show together in the darkness gasping and yasssing as Gaga recreated the soundtrack to my coming out story through each stop in her musical catalog…Fitting end to a trying (and frying) Sunday...

Buffalo Chicken Nuggets with Buttermilk Brussels Sprouts Hash

  • 1.5 lbs Brussels Sprouts - Stemmed and sliced thin (almost like cole slaw)
  • 6 oz Buttermilk Blue Cheese (or whatever type you prefer) - crumbled
  • 1.5 lbs Boneless-Skinless Chicken Thighs - cut into "nugget" sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon evoo
  • 1/3 cup Corn Starch
  • 1 cup Maseca
  • 1 cup Unsweeted Coconut Milk
  • 6 tablespoons Salted Butter
  • 1/4 cup Your Favorite Hot Sauce + more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Worchesterchire Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon White Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Fine Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika
  • 2 cups vegetable oil (for frying)

Preheat oven to 400F. Toss sprouts in evoo and spread in large glass roasting dish. Cover with blue cheese crumbles. Roast for 20 mins, tossing halfway through, they should be bright green when you remove from the oven. While sprouts roast. Combine cornstarch, maseca, coconut milk, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika in a medium mixing bowl. Add water as needed to achieve a runny but smooth batter texture (like you're making pancakes). Dredge the chicken in the batter and ensure even coverage. Heat the frying oil to in a high sided pot (to avoid splatter). Once hot, fry the chicken in batches, carefully turning the nuggets throughout for about 7 minutes or until golden. To make the sauce, heat a stick of salted butter in a small sauce pan. Once melted add hot sauce, vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce and stir until thoroughly combined. Put in a large mixing bowl and when nuggets are fried, toss them in the bowl until evenly coated. Serve immediately atop sprouts hash and top off with a few blue cheese crumbles.

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