Tuesday, October 8, 2013

success & fried chicken

Today marks the 1 week anniversary for me leaving my job...and it's been great!  I think my husband is loving it as well because we are able spend more time together and of course, I have more time to cook.  When I asked him if there was something special he'd like me to fix, the first thing out of his mouth was fried chicken.  Who doesn't love fried chicken? but frankly, I don't make it very often only because we would most likely need to be removed from our home by crane if I did.

I have been trying over the past few years to come up with the "perfect" fried chicken and I think I finally came up with a winner.  It is an amalgamation of a few different recipes and techniques.  The result is the most tender, moist, juicy meat with an incredibly crunchy, flavorful exterior.  And for me, the finisher is a drizzle of a spicy honey.  It is amazing!

As I've been home, trying to figure out next steps I've been reading a book called Visioneering by Andy Stanley.  It has been really inspirational and challenging.  Kind of like getting a new prescription for my outdated glasses, allowing me to see with greater clarity the God-given vision for my future

Here are a few excerpts I have been mulling over this week. Hopefully they will inspire you as well.

God is using your circumstances to prepare you to accomplish his vision for your life. Your present circumstances are part of the vision. If you are "seeking first" his kingdom where you are, then where you are is where he has positioned you. And he has positioned you there with a purpose in mind. Like Nehemiah, it may be difficult for you to make the connection at this point. But in time, it will come together.  It always does.
One of the things that makes this stage in the development of a vision so difficult is our confusion regarding success. There is a tendency to confuse success with the rewards of success.  If you are where God wants you, fulfilling the responsibilities he has given you, you are successful. Granted, you may not be seeing or experiencing the rewards of your success.  But you are successful nonetheless.
Success is remaining faithful to the process God has laid out for you.  Certainly there are significant and enjoyable mile makers along the way.  But success is not the mile marker. Success is not the raise, promotion, recognition, Christian home, or wonderful children.  Those are simply enjoyable mile makers along the way.Success is staying faithful to the process that contributed to those things becoming reality. Unfortunately, we often don't consider ourselves successful until we experience the rewards.
When was Nehemiah successful? I know when he felt like a success.  The day he laid the last brick on the wall.  That was one of the most exhilarating days of his life.  But Nehemiah was successful long before then.
He was successful the day he embraced the vision God laid on his heart.  Why? Because he was faithful to what God had called him to do that particular day.  He was successful the night he laid in bed and developed a mental inventory of what it would take to rebuild the gates.  Why? because he did everything he could do to advance the vision God had given him.  He was successful the morning he asked God to grant him favor before the king. He was successful before the king granted his request. Why? because he was doing all he knew to do.
You are a success every day you get up and show up for duty.  Everyday of faithfulness where you are with what you have is a successful day. Rewarding? Maybe. Successful? Absolutely.  You are as successful now as you will be the day you see your vision materialize.  Others may not recognize your success until then. But that does nothing to diminish the significance of what was taking place along the way.
So, even though I'm still processing what God's vision is for me.  I'm thrilled to have a small measure of "success" with regards to the fried chicken.

It's good to celebrate even the small victories!


Twice Fried Chicken with Spicy Honey Drizzle

For the brine:
1/2 cup salt,
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons fennel seed
2 tablespoons coriander seed
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 bay leaves
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 ribs celery, diced
4 cloves garlic smashed
4  quarts cold water
One 4-to 5-pound chicken, cut into 12 pieces (2 breasts, halved, 2 legs, 2 thighs, 2 wings

To make the brine: In a large container, add all of the ingredients and stir to combine. Submerse the chicken pieces in the brine and refrigerate overnight. The next day remove the chicken from the brine, discarding the brine.  Rinse the chicken and pat dry.

Prepare the dredge:
3 cups all purpose flour
4 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 tablespoons seafood seasoning, such as Old Bay
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon chipotle powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Kosher salt
2 cups buttermilk
3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons Sriracha
Lard, for frying (this makes a huge difference in the texture, but another type of oil can be used as well)

In a shallow dish, combine the flour, cornstarch, seafood seasoning, coriander seeds, chipotle powder, paprika and a generous pinch of salt and mix well. Get your dredging station set up with the flour mixture and the buttermilk in another dish.
In a small bowl, combine the honey and Sriracha. Stir well and refrigerate until ready to fry the chicken.
In a large Dutch oven, put in enough lard to come 4 inches up the side of the pot. Heat the lard to 325 degrees F.
When the lard is up to temperature begin dredging the chicken pieces.  Start with the dry mixture, then the buttermilk and then back into the dry.  Set the dredged pieces on a sheet pan until all are coated.  I try to keep one hand dry and use the other hand for the wet to keep things a little under control.
Beginning with the thighs, add the chicken to the pot, making sure not to crowd. (This may take several batches.) Place the lid on and cook until golden and cooked 80 percent through, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the chicken to a wire cooling rack and repeat with the remaining chicken, if necessary. (If you're entertaining, you can get ahead by doing all work up to this point, then continuing just before you plan to serve.)
Once all the chicken is done, heat up the lard to 365 degrees F. Add the chicken in the same batches and cook until dark golden and crispy, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove onto paper towels and serve immediately with the Sriracha honey.

Thursday, October 3, 2013


Isaiah 30:18-21
"Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him.
O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious He will be when you cry for help. As soon as He hears, He will answer you. Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them.  Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, "This is the way; walk in it."

Waiting is not easy for me. it doesn't seem productive. But God's word tells us we are "blessed" when we wait for Him.  Now,  more than ever I know I need to be patient and give myself time to pray, study, and journal. 

If there is anyone out there who has been reading this blog, you probably know I've been MIA for sometime now.  For the past couple years I have been (by choice) totally immersed in a work situation, that now in retrospect looks like it was a hamster wheel.  And I was the hamster.

Thankfully, I am out of the cage that I willingly kept myself in, and am out in open space.  A little frightening actually.  But also, relieved and kind of excited about my next adventure.  I just know I don't want another cage and wheel scenario.

I love that part of the verse that talks about the voice behind giving step by step direction.  This in some ways does imply movement.  There is no point in giving direction if your just standing still. How I picture this verse is being blind folded and starting to walk.  But being incredibly attentive in listening for His voice. The Lord won't let us walk into danger, but we do have to trust Him, and believe Him at His word, that He will give the necessary direction when needed.   

This waiting period sort of reminds me of artisan bread baking.  To start baking artisan bread you first need a culture.  That involves mixing some flour and water together and letting it just sit for a few days or up to a week to get some life going.  Once you see some activity you start feeding it fresh flour and water everyday. Taking out most of the mixture, leaving a little behind.Then it can properly process the new addition. Once there is a consistent pattern of a rise and fall each day, it is ready to be used as the leaven, that gives the bread it's signature volume.

I think I'm in that "culture" stage of development.  I need to be seeking the Lord and being quiet enough that I can hear His voice saying "This is the way; walk in it."

I'm excited to see where this next adventure might take me.


I did start a culture today.  So hopefully some beautiful, crusty, delicious loaves are in my near future.