Best. Fried. Chicken. Ever.

We spent last weekend in Connecticut with family- who also happen to be friends. An amazing and awesome coincidence !! Lucky us- they also happen to love food and wine. Umm… Wait- maybe that IS the reason they are friends!
The conversation came around to a favorite of mine…food and wine and…. fried chicken. And suddenly I had a craving. One that didn’t go away.
So, the next day, when I saw this recipe for fried chicken tenders with mango slaw I knew I had to try it. I will be making this in the future for my fellow foodie and wino, Mary.

Normally I am a purist when it comes to fried chicken. Fried chicken. Biscuits. Just regular, down home fare. But something about this recipe called to me.

Here is what you need:

Mango Slaw

1/2 cup diced mango

2 large jalapenos, seeded and chopped

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon water

1 small shallot minced

1 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

2 garlic cloves finely chopped

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

salt and freshly ground pepper

7 cups shredded coleslaw mix ( 1 entire bag )

Chicken Cones

3 cups cornflakes

6 tablespoons slivered almonds

6 tablespoons sesame seeds

6 tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons crushed red pepper

1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup milk

all purpose flour for dredging

six 5 ounce skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, sliced lengthwise 1 inch thick

vegetable oil for frying

6 10 inch flour tortillas, warmed

Fried Chicken

In a saucepan,  combine the mango, jalapenos, vinegar, sugar, water and shallot.

Fried Chicken

Cover and simmer about 10 minutes or until mango is softened.

Transfer the mixture to a food processor and puree. Scrape into a large bowl.

Fried Chicken

Stir in the mayonnaise, cilantro, garlic and lime juice and season with salt and pepper.

Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken

Add the coleslaw mix and toss to coat.

Fried Chicken

Cover and refrigerate.

Next came the chicken.

Wipe out the food processor and add the cornflakes, almonds, sesame seeds, sugar, red pepper and salt.

Fried Chicken

Pulse until coarsely chopped. Transfer to a shallow bowl.

In a second bowl, whisk the eggs and milk. Fill a third bowl with flour.

Fried Chicken

Dredge the chicken strips in the flour. Dip them in the eggs and then roll them in the cornflake mixture. You know the drill.

Fried Chicken

Set a rack over a rimmed baking sheet. In a large skillet, heat 1/4 inch of oil.

Working in batches, fry the chicken over moderate heat, turning once, until golden brown, about six minutes.

Fried Chicken

Transfer to rack.

Set the fried chicken on the tortillas and top with the mango slaw. Roll and eat.

Now truthfully, I made these ahead of time. I planned on serving them for dinner and I didn’t want to be prepping and cooking and frying. I wanted to enjoy the company.

But, I couldn’t resist a little taste for myself. Immediately after cooking.

Fried Chicken

Best. Fried. Chicken. Ever.

Oh yes!!!

Oh my! Did you ever eat something and all the while you were eating it you just kept making these sounds and noises that were completely out of your control. Oh, that is exactly what happened to me when I ate this chicken.

The magic of the funky sweetness of the slaw and the spicy, crunchy, sweet heat of the chicken combined in a perfect pairing and simply made this the best fried chicken ever.

I couldn’t wait to get George’s reaction.  Normally a man of few words when it comes to food,  he practically waxed poetic about these fried chicken roll ups. He too proclaimed them the best fried chicken ever. And then he actually told me never to make any other kind of chicken. Wow. Double wow.

We couldn’t get enough of these. We were supposed to have someone over for dinner. Lucky for us they never showed and we could devour these fried chicken tenders all by ourselves. Sorry Brittany!  Greedy fried chicken eaters that we are, we didn’t stop until they were all gone..

I followed the recommendation at the bottom of the recipe that we drink a full bodied, fruity Chardonnay with this.

Fried Chicken

We drank this MacRostie Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2011. Priced at just under $20.00

Elegant and full bodied with crisp apple and ripe pear, this wine is dry with a great long, smooth finish. And on the finish there was lime, mango, lemon and pineapple. A real fruit explosion. Delicious.  Loved the wine, not sure however, that it was the best pairing.

Next time I might try this dish with a Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling or a Prosecco Rose.

Anyway,  this is a simple recipe to make and one you will add to your roster of great dishes. And the slaw would also be fantastic atop a tuna burger or a regular burger. Or just as a side with… use your imagination!

Thanks to Food and Wine for sharing Jeff Blank and  Executive Chef Robert Rhoades recipe for Hot and Crunchy Chicken 


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A Marvelous Malbec

Last night I opened a bottle of wine. Not so extraordinary for me. But what was extraordinary was the absolute deliciousness of this Malbec.

It was a bottle of Finca Flitchman Malbec Roble 2012 from Argentina. First of all it was priced at under $10.00.

Secondly I was impressed by the inky dark purple color of this wine. Just beautiful!

And lastly- and most importantly- it was wonderful!!

Finca Flichman Malbec Roble 2012

This wine rocks plum and cherry and spice. This wine is so plummy I couldn’t help but fall in love with it. There is oak on the lovely lingering finish. I will definitely be buying this one again and again.

I did not pair it with any food. I just enjoyed it and savored the end of day!

Buy this one for sure if you happen to see it.


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Matzoh Balls-Cheese Balls – Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off!

My family celebrates both Passover and Easter.

This year my personal work schedule does not allow me to make a Passover Seder. I thought to make it on the Sunday before the official start of the holiday but that day happens to be Palm Sunday. So this year both holidays will cancel each other out.

Not that I won’t be doing something; just that that something does not include a big family gathering for either event.

Sunday I will be making Cheese Balls. In George’s family the holy trinity of foods consists of bread, cheese and eggs. So healthy, yes?? And what better way to follow the no meat tradition of Palm Sunday by combining all three of these ingredients and maybe just a touch of parsley to make it appear healthier. Not really fooling anyone. But it does taste good. So for those of you who have never had these pseudo meatball marvels I will share the simple recipe. It is kind of a grandma recipe. You know – the one where when you ask how to make it they just list the ingredients and tell you to use your best judgement. You will know when it is ready they always say. So here you go- use your judgement. You will know when the consistency is right.

Cheese Balls

Combine breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese in a 1/3 to 2/3 formula.

Add beaten egg.

Cheese Balls

Parsley and pepper to your liking.

Cheese Balls

Do not add salt – the cheese makes it salty enough.

Mix ingredients together and form meat (cheese) balls.

Cheese Balls

And of course the grand finale to this healthy combination is to fry them up until nicely browned.

Cheese Balls

Add to a simple marinara sauce.

Cheese Balls

And there you have it.

Cheese Balls

Serve these over your favorite pasta.

And what wine pairs with these funky, nutty, salty, savory, buttery morsels? Something  festive – Prosecco!

Ponte Prosecco

This Ponte Prosecco is priced at under $15.00. A bit of floral on the nose, it is fresh and fruity with a hint of lemon and mineral.  It is a good balance for the richness of these cheese balls.

Monday night, in dietary diligence,  I will resign myself to eating a piece of matzoh.


Maybe I will spread a bit of fig preserve on this matzoh and wash it down with some more of the Prosecco- if there is any left!

Happy Easter and Happy Passover!!!


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In Praise of Chardonnay

I had eagerly been awaiting my delivery of wines from Passaggio. I dutifully tracked my package on the UPS website. Expected delivery was Thursday.  I waited.  I waited and waited. At 7PM I went on the UPS website again and it still said – on the truck for delivery. I waited. 8PM. No wine. I gave up for the night. Disappointed and not sure what happened; I figured I would call UPS in the morning. At 9PM there was a knock at the door. I peered through the window and saw a figure in brown. WINE!!! Yes!!! Wow,  those guys work late. He told me he still had 8 more stops to make before he could call it a day. Wow and thank you.

Now my biggest decision was which wine I would try first. I had ordered both the Unoaked Chardonnay, of which I had heard so much about, and the Unmarked Code Seven Pinot Noir. I loved the name of that one; kind of mysterious and intriguing.


In the end the Chardonnay won out. I planned on making a nice dinner and doing a little pairing.

We had flounder in a lemon and butter sauce with grilled asparagus and orzo.

passaggio unoaked chardonnay

Most of the time I follow my rule of keeping my wine purchases under $20.00 . This one squeaked in at just over that. Well worth the money. This Chardonnay is a lovely burst of lemon, lime and grapefruit with a hint of pear on the finish. Crisp and bright with great minerality on the nose. I loved this wine. And although I don’t know Cynthia Cosco personally, we’ve talked back and forth on various social media platforms, I feel as though she is a friend. Her warm personality shines through her Passaggio Wines blog and Passaggio Wines website  where you can buy her wines and Passaggio Wine Facebook page in much the same way that the fruit shines through on it’s own in this wine.

I love her story and I am always inspired by a life well lived, a life inspired by passion and the pursuit of one’s dreams. Her motto is “follow your passion”. Passaggio means passageway in Italian. It is an homage to her roots and to her beliefs about life.


So if you know what is good for you and you love a crisp clean Chardonnay, go to her website and order some of her wine. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Thanks Cynthia for creating this wonderful Chardonnay.

George’s comment- ” Delicious dinner. Nice wine. ”


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Loving My Weekend- New York Wine Expo Style!!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis Saturday I attended the New York Wine Expo. Hundreds of wines to taste and some interesting foods to sample.

We got there just as the Expo opened on Saturday and for that first hour it was not as crowded as it got a bit later. It gave us a little more time to talk to some of the vintners that were there.

We had some interesting and different wines. I had two personal favorites and I must admit I went back to try them both more than once.

The first was Passages Pinotage 2011. This wine is a very unique wine that is only created in South Africa. It is a cross between Pinot Noir and Hermitage. On the nose there is wonderful dark chocolate and spice. Take a sip and there is chocolate, plum, cherry and spice. Absolutely delicious and very different.


I loved this wine. Here is a word from their website that explains the name Passages- “Our passages through life have been often serendipitous, many times sweet, and always soul-satisfying. We have drunk from the waters and the wines of the world, settling in South Africa, where its people have enhanced our taste for all things good. Our wine, Passages, speaks to our embrace of new people, places and things, and our desire to share the joy of our ongoing journey to the horizons”. Love that!!!

Next was an Amarone from Corte Moschina that was absolutely scrumptious!


Full bodied and fabulously intensely flavored, this wine will rock your world!! Very dark, very ripe and fruit filled with warm spices. Magic in a bottle!

Let me share some pictures with you and maybe next time you will get to be there in person.













So very glad to have had this opportunity to be an official blogger for the New York
Wine Expo!

Just a side note- the very next day I went to the Javits Center again for the International Restaurant and Food Show. Oh my!! Don’t know why I bothered to eat breakfast because I ate my way through this show and had a blast!!


Loving my weekend- wine and food galore!! What could be better! And I got to share it with my sister and George! Very grateful for my life!! Cheers!

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My Big Fat Fish Sauce Wine Pairing

I have had a bottle of fish sauce sitting on my kitchen counter for awhile now. It continues to beckon to me but I really have been consciously avoiding it. I bought it because I wanted to experiment with Asian flavors. I’ve avoided it because, truthfully, I really don’t know what to do with it. Asian cooking is not something I am comfortable with. I love it but I just don’t get it.

Years ago, when I first started living with my first future ex-husband,  I had no idea how to cook at all. Sure I had occasionally made eggs or grilled cheese but that was about the extent of it. I grew up in  a home where cooking was just something you did in order to eat. It was perfunctory at best. So, after many consecutive nights of eating hamburgers fried up in a pan by my future ex,  I happened upon an copy of Julia Child’s Art of French Cooking. It had been abandoned by a previous tenant. I worked my way through that book until cooking became like breathing, natural and integral. But the flavors and ingredients I am comfortable with and base my cooking on are those of garlic, onion, celery, carrot and yes, wine. So fish sauce… totally foreign.

This cold, wintry, February day seemed like the day to begin experimenting.

I did some research. I came up with this recipe for Vietnamese Noodle Salad with Grilled Pork or Beef. Time to go food shopping! May be perfect for that Riesling I just received!



George took one look at all that greenery and politely excused himself.

I should have realized, while I was laying it all out on the counter, that there would be a lot of prep involved in this recipe. I am all about shortcuts and improvising when I cook. There would be none of that today. I was too unfamiliar with the flavors to do that. Not my favorite type of cooking.  I do not like having to adhere strictly to directions.

First I cooked the noodles.


Next up was the marinade for the beef.

I took out some frustration with my mortar and pestle.


I pounded away at the shallots while the marinade was cooking down.




While the meat sat in the marinade I prepped the rest of the ingredients.

I followed the recipe for the Nuoc Cham – Vietnamese Dipping Sauce.

Spicy stuff.  As I pounded away at the garlic and chile pepper I was overcome. I choked and coughed my way through this one. I finished this part up as quickly as I could. George, who was sitting in the next room, never even asked if I was okay. I think he was really worried about coming into contact with all those herbs and vegetables. I was on my own.


At this point the meat was ready for the grill.



I poured a glass of the Keuka Spring Riesling.


This is priced at under $15.00 This Riesling is off-dry and refreshing with plenty of  fruit. There is peach and lime on the finish. This particular wine has won several awards. It is from the Finger Lakes region in New York.

Best White Wine Sweepstakes Award, San Francisco Chronicle Competition
Chairman’s Award (unanimous Gold Medal) & Best in Class, Riverside International Wine Competition
Double Gold Medal, Florida State Fair Competition
Silver Medal, Tasters Guild International
Silver Medal, New York Wine & Food Classic
Bronze Medal, International Eastern Wine Competition

I received it as part of a recent wine club shipment. What a wonderful treat and it paired perfectly with the spiciness of this dish.

The Vietnamese Noodle Salad was so green and bright with lively flavors. The spice level was perfect.; not in your face, just a subtle zing in your mouth.

I loved it. It was just too much work for me. But if you have a few hours and love to putter around in the kitchen on a wintry Sunday afternoon this one is perfect to expand your cooking horizons with.


Here is the link for the recipe. Not sure how to say ‘good appetite’ in Vietnamese so let me just say Buon Appetito! Enjoy!

Posted in Cooking, Food, Life, Riesling, Wine | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

A Valentine for Wine Lovers

Okay – can you stand one more of these? I promise this is the last one. But very soon it will be Valentine’s Day and what better than chocolate and wine to celebrate. Let me say that again. Chocolate and wine. Yes- and in one very easy recipe. This recipe is so simple and it will make y0u look like you worked hard. It will score you Valentine points. And that is a good thing.

So let’s get started. There are very few ingredients to this recipe. You might even already have them in your pantry. The recipe makes about 25 truffles- that is if you can resist and not eat any while you are making them. Then you can just tell everyone that it makes 25 less whatever the quantity that you ate. In my case it made 20 truffles.

I didn’t know what 200 grams of chocolate would equate to so I used a little less than 2 bars. I used the wine I happened to have had open and miraculously there was enough left in the bottle for this recipe and half a glass to enjoy while I was waiting for the chocolate to be ready to roll.

I used Silver Palm Cabernet Sauvignon. Priced at just over $20.00, this wine is full of cherry, blackberry and spice. It’s been a favorite of mine. Easy drinking- pair it with a meal or just enjoy on it’s own.


Here are the ingredients:

200 g good quality bittersweet chocolate

10 tablespoons heavy cream at room temperature

3 tablespoons dry red wine

big pinch of salt

cocoa powder for coating  – about 3-4 tablespoons

The recipe said to melt the chocolate over a water bath. I think they meant a double boiler. I don’t have a double boiler. So I improvised. I held a smaller sauce pan over a larger one in which I had water boiling. A little awkward but it worked. More awkward because I was trying to take pictures for you so you could see what I was doing. I probably could have used an extra hand. Or two.

This first part of the recipe was done in a very short time. Less than 5 minutes.


Melt the chocolate over a double boiler.


Slowly add the cream. Keep mixing. When the cream and chocolate combine add the wine and salt. Mix until smooth. That’s it. Then pour the mixture into a flat dish and leave in the fridge for a few hours.


After you take it out of the fridge use a small spoon to dish out the chocolate and then roll the chocolate into little balls. Roll the balls into the cocoa powder and put it on a plate.

This was the really messy part. Your hands will be covered in melting chocolate. You will be smelling the chocolate and it will be impossible to not take even one little taste. You will try a ball without the cocoa and another one with the cocoa. And then maybe another one or two just to be sure that they were okay. At least that is what I did. One small trick is to rinse off your hands with very cold water after every few balls otherwise they turn into soft wet melting blobs. I tried to minimize the chocolate to hand time so after I rolled the balls I put them in the dish of cocoa powder and just moved the dish around a bit to coat the balls.


As you can see, my truffles grew in size as I continued making them.

Place the plate in the fridge for another few hours. Voila -ready for some decadent sharing!!



These sinful, simple, easy to make and even easier to eat red wine truffles are lush and winey. Perfect for lushes and winos! Cheers!! And Happy Valentine’s Day.

Posted in baking, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cooking, Eventa, Food, Holidays, Life, Wine | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment