Friday, August 17, 2007

Southern Comfort Food - Fried Faux "Chicken"

I grew up in Virginia and sometimes the country girl in me comes out. I have days when I'm filled with a longing for certain foods, smells and such. I usually either make some Maxwell House (I'm not a coffee drinker, but this is what I grew up drinking so it reminds me of Virginia when I smell it) or I make this. Hey - it's way better than wishing for something really hick like Budweiser or Nascar. A girl has to have some standards after all.


This is super yummy and doesn't take that long to make. Don't be intimidated, it really is easy, I'm not just saying that. (Though there are those times when I do say things just to amuse myself... this is not one of those). Flippertygibbet! (Okay, that was one of those.)

I went to the market the other day and they had some fresh corn. I couldn't resist. I don't have anything against corn on the cob, but sometimes I just don't feel like dealing with the mess of eating it that way. If you've never cut corn off the cob, now's your big chance! There really is nothing like fresh corn, it's so crisp and juicy and sweet. mmmmmmmm....

To cut the kernels off of the cob, hold the corn vertically on a cutting board and cut downwards. Like this:


Steam or boil the corn for 10-15 minutes. To add some extra yummies, you can add some olive oil or margarine to the water that you're boiling it in. Make some mashed potatoes and gravy to go with this and you're well on your way to a most excellent meal. I usually like to also steam some kale or collard greens, but I forgot to pick some up at the market. What can I say? It's been a long week of late nights at work this week. I was bound to forget something. (Well, really I forgot like 6 things, but I'm sure that no one cares if I have cotton balls in the bathroom when reading a food blog).

Vegan Fried Faux Chicken

1 Cup Soymilk
1 package vegan faux chicken or a bunch of seitan
1 Cup Flour
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper (depending on how spicy you like it)
1/4 teaspoon salt
dash fresh ground pepper
canola or peanut oil for frying

In a small to medium bowl, add the soymilk, then let the faux chicken pieces take a bath in it. They've had a hard day, let them relax in the cool beaniness of it for a bit while you're doing other stuff. (This is usually where I start cutting the corn off of the cob.) You want to let this soak for at least 10 minutes, but longer is totally okay. The point of soaking the faux chicken (or seitan if that's what you're using) is to keep it juicy after frying. Trust me, you don't want to skip this step. I've tried it with and without soaking and you're going to get a much tastier meal this way. (Besides, we all know that my way is the best way, sheesh). Faux meats have a tendency to dry out when they're cooked sometimes.

In another bowl mix the flour, cayenne, salt and pepper until it's all combined. Take the faux chick pieces out of the soy milk and put them on one side of a plate. Don't dry them out, immediately toss them one at a time into the flour mixture to coat them. Put the coated pieces back on the plate. Then dip in the soymilk again and toss in the flour one more time. Make sure you're coating everything with the flour really well. You don't want any bare places. This is not a peep show!


This is what my fingers look like after the breading. Monster fingers! Hehe

Heat the oil in a frying pan on medium heat until hot. You don't need to use a lot of oil, just a half inch or so. Like this:


You can tell it's hot when a few drops of water flicked into the pan sizzle immediately and quickly. Using tongs, lower the floured faux chick pieces into the oil one at a time so they can luxuriate in the nice oil spa. After about 2 minutes, flip the pieces over with the tongs and cook on the other side for 1-2 minutes. They should be a nice golden brown on both sides. Remove from the pan with the tongs (I really shouldn't have to keep saying to use tongs, but with people in the world that need a warning label on their coffee to know that it's hot, you just never know) and place them on a plate that has a couple of paper towels on it to absorb the oil. You'll probably need to cook the faux chick in a couple of batches or so. You don't want to crowd it too much in the pan as it's cooking. We all need some personal space, after all.

Now put everything on a plate, eat it and think wonderful thoughts about how awesome I am for opening up your world to fried vegan faux chicken. Yeah, you know you're salivating right now. This is so not the most healthy thing in the world (but there's corn.... that's got to count for something) but it's uber yummy.

Aww... look, Piper's helping me make dinner!


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