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How to Make Delicious Chicken Tenders

posted on 2011-01-28 00:20:32

For about two years I've been occasionally throwing parties to play video games or watch TV and movies. Over that time, I started luring people in with the promise of Fried Chicken and I think I've refined this recipe enough that it's pretty good. There are a good number of other things I cook but they tend to be stolen recipes (say from the Pioneer Woman or Alton Brown) and this is the only one I can come close to calling my own. At any rate, here we go.

This recipe makes ~3 lbs of chicken tenders which works out to between 18 and 24 pieces. There are three parts to these tenders. There is a hot sauce we'll marinade them in, the breading and the tenders themselves. Aside from the list of ingredients you'll need a deep frying pan, tongs, a mixing bowl, the usual measuring cups and some gallon freezer bags. I tend to get a bag as close to ~3lbs as I can of Chicken Tenderloins the same day I plan to cook them and leave them in the sink to thaw for 4-5 hours before I cook them. The breading and hot sauce don't take very long so they can be done early or just before cooking the chicken.

First comes the sauce...

3 Tbs. Butter
3 Tbs. Olive Oil
4 (large-ish) to 6 (small-ish) cloves garlic, minced
2 Tsp each: Cayenne Pepper, Sea Salt or Kosher Salt, Black Pepper
2 Bottles of Texas Pete Buffalo Wing Sauce. Approx 18 oz. each.

Start by melting the butter and olive oil in a saucepan on medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add the garlic and sautee it until golden brown. Mmm...Garlic

Normally I'm good and mince (or talk someone else into mincing) fresh garlic but I was lazy and used some of the pre-minced stuff this time. You'll be pretty distracted with other aspects of the hot sauce anyway. CHEATER!

Next you'll want to get 2 teaspoons of Cayenne Pepper, Sea Salt or Kosher Salt (Kosher here) and Ground Black Pepper ready along with 2 bottles of Texas Pete Buffalo Wing Sauce.
Flavor Country Add the spices once the garlic is golden brown, then pour in the first bottle of Texas Pete and stir. Stir Once it's blended nicely, add in the second bottle of Texas Pete and stir occasionally until it begins to boil. You can have a taste if you like but your nose should give you fair warning of what you're in for. Once it starts boiling, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 5 minutes, then remove it altogether and allow it to cool. This will make enough for at least 2 batches of tenders, probably 3 or 4. The sauce is excellent on a few sides as well and refrigerates fine so I just try to keep some on hand. Yummy Hot Sauce See? Plenty. That's got to be 4 cups at least.

Now let's prepare the breading...

3 Cups Flour
4 Tsps. Kosher Salt or Sea Salt
3 Tsp. Paprika
2 Tsp each: Garlic Powder, Cumin, Cayenne Pepper, Black Pepper
1/3 cup Buttermilk

The breading is good because we just the throw the damn spice rack at it. Here's our cast of characters. The Cast Start by putting 3 cups of flour in a mixing bowl and then add the other spices but hold off on the buttermilk for now. You should have a lovely splash of colors in there. Flour and Friends Now stir gently with a fork until the flour appears blended. Before you start cooking the tenders, slowly pour in the buttermilk while stirring with the fork. Better Flour + Buttermilk = Breading This will help the breading adhere to the tenders and makes a wonderful difference in how consistently your tenders retain their breading.

Finally! Let's make some chicken.

~3 lbs. Chicken Tenders/Tenderloins
1 Cup Hot Sauce
3 Tbs. Cornstarch
A bunch of vegetable or canola oil.

This is the gross and rather unpleasant part. We're going to reach into our bag of mostly thawed chicken tenderloins and drop them into a gallon freezer bag filled with a cup of Hot Sauce and 3 tablespoons of Cornstarch. Oh, did I forget that part? Grab a gallon freezer bag and mix those two together in it. Then set the two bags up in your sink and you're ready to go. The Setup Get some warm to hot water running, take each tenderloin out of the bag, give it a little rinse to make sure it isn't stiff and at the very least has all the ice off it then plop it in the marinade. Once you've done this with all the tenderloins, seal the bag (I recommend Ziploc) and shake it around a bit until everything seems well coated. Once that's done you'll want to marinade the chicken for 1-2 hours at room temperature. Lay them down flat and even somewhere and set a timer. Go do something useful. I suggest writing code or making good playlists. Do Something Else

Once the tenders are almost done marinating you can go ahead and start heating the oil and cooking other parts of the meal. It'll take 20-30 minutes to cook 3lbs of tenders 3 at a time once the oil is hot. As a side, I heartily recommend some Crispy Crowns. No Tater Tots aren't good enough and no, Kroger brand knock-offs won't quite work. Ore-Ida, contact me for payment details. Subtle Product Placement

Put your deep frying pan on the stove, add several inches of Canola or Vegetable Oil and set the stove to medium. Now we'll start breading the tenders. Pick them up from the bag and give them a little shake to drip off any excess marinade, then toss them into your mixing bowl and shake it around a bit. It's all in the wrist. Also, if anyone wants to buy me a Lumix GF1 I'll take better pictures. Promise. After the black box shaking magic, you'll get some nice, well-breaded tenders. If you're not satisfied feel free to use your hands to lightly rub or pat some breading into them. Then lay them on some plates with paper towels. Output

About now it's time to test if the oil is hot. Toss a little pinch of breading in and you should see this happen: The Oil is Hot! If it did, you are now "Go for Chicken". Lower 3 pieces in with the tongs and get excited. They should bubble up somewhat substantially. We are go for Chicken I tend to cook them about a minute and a half a side. After 3 minutes (or a little more, use your own discretion) is up, take them out one by one with the tongs letting any excess oil drip off before placing them on a serving plate to cool. Let me know if you have any suggestions for improvements. Decadence

From Distro-Hopping to Good Easy

posted on 2008-07-07 17:47:20

Linux is a complicated beast. Unlike Windows and Mac there are literally hundreds of different competing versions or distributions vying for attention and often catering to a specific niche. Beginning Linux users are often all waved towards the two or three most popular and general-purpose distributions and with good reason. While three distributions in particular (Ubuntu, Fedora, Suse) seem to dominate and are good places to start, I have often experienced a desire to see what else exists with Linux since there is so much in the way of choice. Additionally, Linux distributions tend to have one release or more a year while Windows and Mac tend to see a new version only every few years. The three distributions I mentioned earlier all strive to issue a new release every six months and they all do so at roughly the same time often with no more than a month separating them.

While this may at first seem undesirable there is no pressure to upgrade but there is also no cost to upgrade (remember, they're free!). Some upgrades have a few more bugs or new features than others but upgrades tend to be relatively safe and easy. Moreover, because of the regular releases large changes happen gradually and there is little to no learning curve. It's also worth noting that upgrading does not require you to reinstall the operating system. It's usually just an hour or two of downloading and a reboot.

So, "Distro Release Season" comes twice a year if you use Ubuntu, Fedora, or Suse. That's even better than Christmas! However, this release cycle rather disappointed me. Ubuntu's Hardy Heron was a bit buggier than I'd like. Fedora 9 seems better and better every time but they still lack a few software packages I want. To be honest, I've never been interested in Suse much. I'd also been meaning to move to a more stripped-down version of Linux for a long time. Ubuntu and Fedora come with a lot of bells and whistles that I may not necessarily need and that slow my system down.

It was time to try something new and, this season, I decided to go with Arch Linux. I won't go too deeply into my decision to use Arch. There are a lot of very good things about it and though it's not easy the way Ubuntu is, it's simple and worth the effort you put into it. You can make it into whatever you want it to be and that's precisely what I've done. I've spent about a week setting it up to perform as I'd like and with the programs I'd like. I've documented the entire process and will post that here as my personal "Good Easy". A good easy, for those who haven't heard of one, is a detailed description of someone's computer configuration. One reason I'd like to do one is that it's handy in case I have to duplicate it at some point in the future. It might be nice to do a Good Easy for my server at some point as well. I detail a bit at the end how to turn your installed system into a Live CD. I plan to do a little bit more work and remove personal data to turn that Live CD into something I could distribute at some point though mostly just to a few nerd friends. I wouldn't expect, or want, to take users from the wonderful Arch Linux after all.

My Good Easy...

The Obligatory New House Post

posted on 2008-06-04 19:36:53

Well, I've been talking about doing this for a while but I'm just now getting the time to sit down and do it. For reasons of security, this will not be a full photo tour of the house. Only a few photos of the interior and exterior. If you want to know where I live (the address to drop by or what have you), do feel free to ask. Particularly, It's easier to get me to tell you if I already know you somehow.

So, living in the house is really nice. I like my roommates, I like the location, I like the price, I like the Static IP from my ISP that keeps this website up. I'm in the basement of the house and I think that's awesome. One reason is that it stays pretty cold down there and I like it relatively cold. Another is that the downstairs is just a bedroom, bathroom, and a combination kitchen/living room with a washer/dryer room off to the side. I think of it almost like a studio apartment separate from the upstairs and that's perfect for me. We also have newer appliances than the upstairs folks. The biggest problem is just keeping it clean, mostly because my roommate Ben has some...deficiencies when it comes to taking care of himself (cooking + cleaning, frankly). I knew that from rooming with him at Oglethorpe though so it hasn't been a surprise. Any messiness in these photos beyond the floors needing to be mopped I attribute to him. :-)

Beyond here there be dragons...or something like that. Click for the photo tour.

Encounters with an XO

posted on 2008-04-15 03:28:56

So, I recently received my OLPC XO. After playing with it a bit I'm pleased with it but I don't think that has terribly much to do with the device itself. I didn't really buy it to support One Laptop Per Child though I think the idea of a small, comprehensible system would go a long way towards engendering a new generation of hackers the way something like the Commodore 64 or Amiga did. OLPC: Way more hardcore than your middle school's Laptop Program. It is a goal I can identify with and support but I did this because I think it's a neat piece of hardware produced by passionate people. It may not be the next Lisp Machine but it's pretty cool nonetheless.

I was ecstatic when I got the thing. Naturally, I fiddled with the initial setup a bit but quickly wanted to move on to other things, namely emacs and lisp since I'm working through SICP at the moment. It was trivial to use yum to install emacs-nox and also quite straightforward to set up quack. What surprised me was how easy it was to compile Gambit on the XO as seen on Bill Clementson's blog.

Once that was done two things really started to eat at me. 1) I wanted to try getting a Debian-based install running on the XO. 2) I wanted a different Window Manager. I just am not comfortable with Sugar for some reason and I definitely wanted a browser with tabs. Looking into getting Debian going on the XO made me realize that getting a developer key was my first priority and I'd advise anyone with an XO to do it. Then you can play with the Forth prompts at boot, etc.

As for Window Managers, I've always had a bit of a fetish for them. Of late, I've been meaning to try out a tiling window manager and I got my choices down to ratpoison (which has the most bad ass supported hardware page ever), dwm, and Xmonad. For a variety of reasons, I'm itching to try Xmonad on one of my boxes soon but that will have to get in line behind setting git up on my blog server. At any rate, Xmonad is pretty awesome and it runs on the XO. I'm not sure how much of it is Haskell Voodoo and how much of it would be beginner-friendly but I'm sure that a full-featured 1200-line Window Manager has something to teach. I'll be keeping my eye on the upcoming book. More on all that later.

I read somewhere on that they'll rebase a later build on FC9. I hope it's started before F10 hits and I hope that by F10 the 'Good Haskell Support' ticket gets completed. Long story short, I ran olpc-update debian-big on the XO and found that it's not really what I'm looking for. I'll probably later get Xubuntu Hardy on a Flash Drive and then replace the Window Manager with Xmonad but until then Sugar will be fine.

So, aside from my inane banter, is the XO any good? Well, good for what? The stock configuration is good for a limited set of uses but I imagine it'd be great for kids or if, like Luke Gorrie, you're hacking Forth.

An oft overlooked ability of the XO is it's SD expansion slot. If I was looking to do serious programming on it I'd slap the biggest SD card I could in there and hit the road. As long as what you're doing doesn't eat processor and RAM like crazy and you can port your tools over, it's a great travel box. Your hands will get used to the keyboard...eventually.

Ready for a New Year?

posted on 2007-12-29 07:20:24

I am. 2007 was more trouble than I was really looking for. I'm certain that 2008 is going to rock hard though.

Part of that is that I've been cleared to work at TVS full time starting in January. That's one thing off my mind. I'll have more details when I return from my trip to Montana on the 9th. I leave next Wednesday, if you're curious.

I've got a lot that I've been taking care of and still have to take care of before the trip. So sorry for being distant. And the blog silence. Things are picking up though. I also have a slew of interesting projects to drone on about in the New Year.

Before all that though, a Xmas Recap. Xmas was great.

Happy Xmas 07

You had this much fun too, right? I'm finally moved back into my room. Most importantly, my digital life is all pimped out.


See? I've been working on pulling so much power from one outlet that I kill the house. Unfortunately I've only succeeded in dimming the lights. Just kidding. Well, about the trying to part anyway.

Before I get any questions I should note that the iPod is Dad's. I haven't converted yet. Additionally, the old Nokia has been replaced. The setup is great. I can switch between the laptop, desktop/server, and PS3 on the LCD. Presently I keep the speakers tied to the PS3 at all times but I'll probably buy an adapter to share them across the devices. Eventually I'll get around to doing the same for the keyboard and mouse. Fear the cable nesting that will occur.

Cable Mess and Electrical and Heating Disasters, Here I come!

Now, on to projects. Of course, I'm going to start programming first and foremost. I've decided I ought to progress in the following order: Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs, then Concepts, Techniques, and Models of Computer Programming, and finally How to Design Programs. On the side I'll be working on Rosen's Discrete Math, Spivak's Calculus, and maybe Strang's Introduction to Linear Algebra. If I manage to work through even half of that this year that would be pretty good stuff. So far I own the following programming texts.

There should be a sign: SICP Coming Soon. Right next to the Sipser. Yep.

SICP is in the mail along with Discrete Math. I'm planning on ordering Spivak's Calculus and Strang's Linear Algebra later on.

Besides programming though you've got to have some stuff up your sleeve and I certainly do. I'm going to set this PC up for recording work and get some guitar doodles down at some point, just for fun. I also am filming virtual footage for a skate video. It makes me the biggest nerd possible but I don't mind. I've got 1 minute and 40 seconds of decent footie so far and some friends working on parts. Beyond that I'm going to work on getting Linux up and going properly on the PS3 and getting the speakers and input devices shared between all my systems as mentioned (probably with a KVM). I also will look into getting my PS3 to behave as a legitimate media server. Finally, I'm looking at getting my website server moved to a VM and run off my desktop. I've got the VM up and we'll see about performance issues and other testing soon.

I'm collecting Course Materials for SICP at the moment and have to run to take care of some of today's other nonsense but I'll be back for more soon. Peace!

Unless otherwise credited all material Creative Commons License by Brit Butler