It’s official… Summer’s here! Saturday I made Potato Salad. Sunday dinner was Fried Chicken and ‘tato Salad.

That may sound like overkill, when talking about cooking for two, but it doesn’t have to be.  We both enjoy these two summer-time classics.  We can’t possibly finish off a full-blown picnic recipe of Potato Salad within what I consider to be a ‘timely’ fashion. And, simply cutting a cookbook recipe in half didn’t make it for us.  It didn’t taste ‘like Mom’s’.  So… A number of years back, I started working out a small batch recipe that does taste good, and doesn’t take a week for the two of us to eat.   Here’s how:

Potato Salad for Two

Make a dressing with:

1/4 cup Mayonnaise
3 Tablespoons sour cream
1 Teaspoon yellow mustard
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1/4 Teaspoon black pepper
(start with less salt & pepper so you can adjust to your taste)
1 small sweet white onion or 1 thick slice from a larger one – chopped fine
2 small or 1 large dill pickle  – chopped fine

 Mix together and refrigerate.

Peel and dice three medium red potatoes
Cook in salted water until just fork tender
Drain and cool under running water – they will still be warm but that’s alright.

Peel and chop three hard cooked eggs.

Fold the warm potatoes and the eggs into the cooled dressing.  Cover and refrigerate overnight or at least for several hours.    Makes four to six servings, and will keep, refrigerated, for up to 72 hours .

Fried Chicken???

We don’t have the luxury of raising our own chickens, and honestly I’m not all that sorry about it,  but we do buy good quality whole fryers (at Costco) two at a time and butcher them at home.  Okay, I know it’s possible to buy already cut up parts, but I’m old fashioned and frugal (cheap for those of you under 30).  Two whole chickens cost anywhere from ten to thirty cents per pound less than the cut-up parts. Although saving money isn’t the only reason I cut them up myself. From two whole fryers I can get four boneless breast halves, four legs, four thighs and a big pot of chicken stock for cooking.  If you doubt the value of spending the few minutes required to butcher a couple of chickens for freezing and boil up a pot of stock – do the math.  Next time you shop, add up the price for the separately packaged parts and a couple boxes or cans of prepared chicken stock.  Oh, and don’t forget to read the ingredient list on the stock box. MSG anyone?

Next time I cut up chickens for the freezer and make a pot of stock, I’ll share the how to.  But for now … the process leaves us with legs and thighs.

Around here there are only a couple of suitable ways to fix these; fried or with Mexican Rice.  Fried chicken is a specialty in lots of homes, but we’re both sensitive to the grease and partial to a specific set of spices.  So…again, I began experimenting.  Here’s what we like:

Grill Fried Chicken Legs & Thighs

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Shake together in a large plastic bag.

Add four FROZEN legs and four thighs – skin on.  Leave them frozen!  I know it sounds crazy, but it works.  Trust me!

Shake the bag to coat the chicken thickly with the spice mixture.

Grease the broiler pan and arrange the chicken pieces, leaving space between them.

Preheat the grill (or your oven) to 350° F.  Put the pan on the top rack (center shelf of the oven) and forget about ’em for 30 minutes.  Check every 5 to 10 minutes for the next half hour.  The chicken will brown, stay juicy and tender under the skin and come out crispy outside, succulent inside, and yummy.  Serve hot or cold – with sliced ‘matoes and ‘tato salad.

Happy summer, y’all.
see ya soon