Monday, June 13, 2011

bakesale betty's fried chicken sandwiches and lemon ice

A long time ago, I posted about going to Bakesale Betty's in Oakland. It was so inspiring and delicious. If I opened my own storefront, I'd love to run it similar to her business model. The last week I was in SF for work, I stayed the weekend to hang with the parents, and I dragged them out to this giant White Elephant Sale, then to Bakesale Betty's. I've been craving that lemon ice since I first had it years ago and I just wanted them to see this place that really inspired me to want to do my own thing with food one of these days (someday? hopefully?). When we were ordering in line and Ms. Bakesale herself realized my mom had never been there and we were just getting lemon ice's, she gave us two of their famous fried chicken sandwiches—on the house. Seriously, I love this woman! We took it home and split them up between the parents and myself. We were all blown away. A few weeks later, my dad did his thing and found the recipe for this online and for the lemon ice that haunts me on the daily. Fast forward to Memorial weekend, when my parents and I were visiting two of my sibs in Southern California. Needless to see, we made these ridiculously good sandwiches and the drink. Everyone LOVED it! The cole slaw that you make really puts it over the top. My rad sis-in-law who haaaaaates onions totally got down with these bad boys. I'd call this success for all parties. See recipes below.

Bakesale Betty's Fried Chicken Sandwich
Serves 4
You'll have some breading left over, even after dipping twice. This makes a hefty sandwich in all regards - you'll need two hands to eat it.

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, about 6 ounces each (we sliced the chicken breasts in half, to make sure they weren't too thick. Or you could pound them to be flatter, if you don't want to slice them)
Kosher salt to taste
1 quart buttermilk
The vinaigrette1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
The coleslaw1 small red onion, very thinly sliced (we used half this amount)
1 cup red wine vinegar
2 jalapenos, seeded, cut in half and sliced crosswise
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 green cabbage, core and outer leaves removed, and very thinly sliced
Kosher salt
The breading1 pound all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon kosher salt + more to taste
11/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 quarts vegetable oil, for frying
4 Acme Bakery torpedo rolls, sliced lengthwise (we found rolls as close to this as possible. We also buttered and toasted the buns, to avoid soggy bread)

Instructions: Season chicken breasts with kosher salt. Let sit at least 5 minutes. Fill a wide, shallow nonreactive bowl or casserole dish with buttermilk. Add the chicken and soak in the refrigerator for 1 hour up to overnight.
For the vinaigrette: Combine mustard, vinegar and salt in a bowl. Slowly whisk in olive oil until well blended.
For the coleslaw: Macerate onions in red wine vinegar, and let sit at least 20 minutes. Remove onions and discard vinegar. Toss onions with jalapeno, parsley, cabbage and salt. Toss with vinaigrette until evenly coated.
To fry chicken: Pour vegetable oil into a large stockpot. Do not fill up more than halfway, or the oil could splatter. Bring oil up to 365°, using a digital thermometer/candy thermometer to monitor the heat. Prepare the the breading while waiting for oil to heat up.
In a wide shallow bowl, mix flour, cayenne, salt and pepper. Pull a chicken breast out of the buttermilk one by one, letting excess drip off, and dredge completely in flour. To create a thick crust, place in buttermilk and dredge in flour a second time. Do not drain or shake off excess buttermilk or flour during the breading process.

When the oil is at 365°, carefully place chicken pieces into oil one by one. Let it cook for a minute before disturbing chicken, then help it "swim" in the oil with tongs, until it is evenly cooked, about 5-7 minutes. Remove chicken from oil and drain on paper towels. Season immediately with salt.

For the sandwich: Place fried chicken breast on bottom of torpedo roll and top generously with coleslaw.
(recipe found via)

Bakesale Betty's Lemon Ice
Makes about 5 drinks
This recipe is from Alison Barakat (a.k.a. Betty), owner of Bakesale Betty in Oakland, where the lemon ice is kept frozen in a slush machine. This is an adapted version for home cooks.

3/4 cup sugar
1 cup hot water
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained
Instructions: In a 2-quart pitcher, whisk sugar with hot water until sugar is dissolved. Add 2 cups cold water and the lemon juice, and stir until combined.

Pour 2 1/2 cups of the lemon mixture into ice cube trays and freeze. Store the rest in the refrigerator. Add lemon ice cubes and liquid mixture to a blender and pulse until you get a slushy consistency. Pour into 5 glasses and serve immediately.

(We used an ice cream maker and mixed it until it was slushy enough, since we didn't have time to make the cubes.)
recipe found via

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

chocolate chocolate cookies with caramel bits

I could probably think of a more fancy sounding name for these cookies, but why not call a spade a spade? Or a chocolate chocolate cookie with ooey-gooey bits of caramel just what it is? I wanted to make a cookie and I was feeling really uninspired at the time, so I called me oldest sis for some guidance. We both are recent Cuisinart food-processor owners (her even more recently), so she pointed me to a double chocolate cookie recipe from the cookbook that comes with the food processor. We clearly come from the same gene pool, because we both thought the dough would be chocolatey, with chocolate chips to boot. Don't tell anyone but, I often break the cardinal rule of baking—which is—READ THE RECIPE before you start baking. But, since I take after my mom and have a very well stocked kitchen, I almost always have what I need on-hand, or can substitute something better, I sometimes just dive in without reading. This time was no exception; most of the way into the recipe, I realized that "double chocolate" meant white chocolate chips and milk chocolate chips. Whoopsie! I don't really like milk chocolate chips anyway, or white for that matter, so I made some swaps and added my favorite ingredient: CARAMEL. Yums Magee! I tried these out on my family and they approved. You could ask my niece, who swiped the cookie from her mother and shoved it in her mouth, but her favorite word is bubble, so she may not be able to wax too poetic -- so, you'll just have to take my word for it. Here is my altered recipe:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup pecans
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 to 1/3 cups cocoa powder (depending on how rich you want these)
2 large eggs
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup caramel bits (I cut up Kraft caramels into little bits - I also tried a recipe using the pre-made bits, but I liked the chopped up version better. See how dedicated I am to making the perfect recipe??)

Preheat oven to 375°

Put flour, pecans, soda and salt in bowl of food processor; process to combine and finely chop pecans (pecans should not be chunky—they should mix in will with the consistency of the flour). Reserve.

Process eggs and sugars for 1 minute. Scrape work bowl. Add butter, vanilla and cocoa; process for 1 minute. Scrape work bow. Add reserved chocolate, caramel bits and flour mixture. Pulse until combined.

Drop by rounded tablespoons, about 1 inch apart, onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake until golden brown, for 10 minutes (the tops should crack). Allow to cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack.