Chicken and Waffles a la Danny

eggotyson nuggets

There is a really interesting restaurant in downtown Raleigh called Beasley’s Chicken + Honey.  Ashley Christensen has become a famous local chef and entrepreneur who has worked to bring good food and spirits to our city.  She owns Beasley’s.

This hip joint has tables with stools and serves fried chicken on a waffle – with honey.

I ate there a while back, and it was good.  Reminded me a bit of my grandma’s southern (South Carolina) cooking.

After the girls went one night with Uncle Jesse and came back with rave revues, I figured Ashley might be on to something.  I’m always looking for new meals!

So – I bought a box of Eggo’s and some Tyson chicken nuggets.  I plugged in the toaster and turned the microwave on high.

I was so looking forward to THE early evening question…

“Dad, what’s for dinner?”

“You’re gonna like this one!  Remember when you went downtown with Uncle Jesse to that cool restaurant?”

“The one with chicken and waffles?”

“Oh yeah,” I said with slight bit of swag.

I am THE man!  I couldn’t believe I was so clever.  I remembered something they liked and had put this meal together ON MY OWN!

As I brought the plates to the table, I could see their faces fall.

“Get the ketchup,” Michelle dourly requested.

DJ was more blatant in her criticism.

“This is disgusting.  Can I eat the waffle now and come back in thirty minutes for the nuggets?  It’s like two different meals.  YUCK!”

I don’t understand.  They do this on Good Morning America every week!  They have a model come out in a very expensive dress that looks nice, and they find a similar outfit that came from Walmart.  No one can every tell the difference.

I mean it was the exact same combination that Ashley had served up the week before – which they loooved!

What is wrong with these people who live with me???

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Poofles for Breakfast

It is really difficult to get under DJ’s skin. I mean her sisters and I get on her nerves on a frequent basis, but nothing really fazes her. She just sort of rolls her eyes and rolls with the punches; a lot like her mother.

I so long to really irritate her. Not always, but on occasion. It gives me such pleasure.

The other day though, I thought I had.

For years we’ve exchanged fake plastic poop with my brother’s family. I’m not sure who originally purchased it, probably that difficult niece of mine – the one who froze all of my boxers at the beach last summer.

You might find the poo in your suitcase when you return from the family beach trip. Or, it might be wrapped in a Bailey’s box for Christmas. Imagine the disappointment my sister-in-law felt when she anticipated a Pandora bracelet from me and instead discovered plastic poop underneath the white and gold striped tissue paper!

Our only issue seems to be that we misplace our family poo from time to time. No one on my branch of the family really knew where it was this year so when DJ found some at a new store called Five and Below (cheap-cheap), she tossed it in her bag and brought the prize home.

“This will be perfect for Cam (my nephew).” DJ and I agreed that he could use a good dose of doo!

We gently set it on the desk in the kitchen so nothing would happen to it before the holidays. I’m sure guests in our house during the month of December were a bit alarmed.

“Is Danny having health issues?” I could hear my Sunday School class members discussing on the way home from our Christmas party. “I noticed he messed on his kitchen desk. Raising these girls has really been tough on him.”

On the Monday before Christmas, the girls enjoyed sleeping in on their first real day of vacation. I, being the caring father that I am, surprised them with waffles when they awoke at 11. Michelle and Stephanie were downstairs first. DJ seemed to be struggling to get out of bed.

As I finished her golden Bisquick creation, I eyeballed Cam’s gift.

Hmmmm. Might as well use it twice, I thought to myself.

I set the waffle on her plate and headed to the desk. I gently placed the poop in the middle of her meal anticipating her disgust, perhaps even a screech!

photo (2)

“DJ, your breakfast is getting cold. Better hurry.” I was giddy with anticipation.

She sauntered down the stairs after her shower and headed toward the bar. She gently lifted the poop off the plate, and began to pour her syrup. Hardly a blink.

If I found poop on my breakfast, I think I’d at least turn up my nose.

Not my child. It’s as if I served feces as a side on a regular basis.

I so want to annoy her. Any suggestions?

Purchase Danny’s Book Laughter, Tears and Braids: Amazon or Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh

If you have read the book and are willing to write a short review, it would be helpful: Click here. And thanks

Here Little Chickie Chick…

Posted by Danny

What in the heck is inside of this chicken?  I bought it at Harris Teeter the other day.  It was on sale for $5.  I wasn’t sure what I was gonna do with it, but it seemed like a lot of meat for a little money – so I nabbed it.

I knew I had a chicken, but I didn’t know it came with a prize in the middle.  Sort of like a cereal box but wet and squishy.  I personally prefer a Hot Wheel.

I remember the first time Lisa cooked a turkey – it was Thanksgiving and we decided we’d host that year.  Someone warned Lisa to look between the turkey’s legs before putting it in the oven.  She gasped when she opened him.  I came running.

“What’s wrong baby?”

“There’s a bunch of gross stuff inside the turkey.”

“What?”

I had to see for myself.  I spread his legs and thought he was excited to see me.  My mom later told me it was his neck bone. 

How disturbing – you kill the poor fella and then stuff his neck between his legs.  That’s just not right.

But that wasn’t a neck in this chicken.  It was a ball of bloody muck.  I started to leave it in there but was afraid it would get mixed up with the rest of the bird, and I’d end up with a mouth full of chicken innards.  When I put my hand in to get it, I was shocked at the chill.  My digits nearly froze off.  If I ever bruise something, forget the ice pack.  I’m just gonna stick my wound inside of a $5 chicken.  It’s economical, and I’m certain it would stop the swelling.

I didn’t know how to cook this dude so I asked some women at the office.  I told them I wanted a chicken like they sold at the grocery store deli. 

“What do you call those whole little chickens they sell over by the good cheese?” I asked.

“Rotisserie?”

“Yeah.  That’s it.  Can I make one of those?”

“Do you have a rotisserie?” one woman inquired.

“I don’t think so.”

“Then no.”  Apparently she had work to do and didn’t want to be bothered with my poultry problems.

Who knew you had to have a special appliance to roast a chicken like that?  Harris Teeter is so lucky.

Thankfully a nice lady who works in accounts receivable quietly called me to her cubical.  She told me a secret way to get nearly the same taste, and all you had to have was an oven and a pan!

I’ll have to admit that it turned out pretty good, but that’s my last time cooking one of those things.  I don’t like sticking my hand in there.  If I wanted to be a urologist, I’d have gone to med school.

I’m sticking with the boneless breast of chicken – nothing in there but good ole white meat.

Roast or My Boots?

Best thing on the menu, provided by the guests

Posted by Danny

I simply can’t cook.

I woke up this morning knowing that the family was coming over for dinner – 13 and a baby. I was planning on cooking up some Mexican fare but my sister-in-law called and said they were bringing a tomato pie. She then informed me that tomato pie went with ANYTHING. Have you ever seen tomato pie on a menu at Dos Taquitos? I don’t think so…

I knew I could cook a pot roast but I sort of felt like mine was too crock pot and cream of mushroom soupy. My mother-in-law is such a good cook, I sort of thought I should put in a little more effort – less onion soup from a box and more clove of real garlic. By the way, took me twenty minutes and two children to find a clove of garlic in the fresh food section at the Kroger. It was hidden behind the avocado – another thing I’ve never purchased.

I found a recipe on-line – someone’s grandma’s oven baked pot roast. It looked simple.

I got home at 1:30 in a panic. Grandma called for her chuck roast to cook for four to five hours – she must have been retired. Who has time to cook a five-hour meal? That should have been my first clue.

The second should have been a dish that required alcohol. Frozen burritos do require alcohol, but in a glass while you’re eating them. This chuck roast called for searing (had to Google that) followed by a bath in red wine. It killed me to waste a good pino noir like that.

It first called for me to rub salt and pepper all over Chuck.  I found it difficult to believe that I was giving a dead cow a rub down.  I closed my eyes and pictured Meg Ryan.  Didn’t work.  I’m sure her skin would have been softer and warmer.

After searing, chopping, poking, daydreaming, basking and simmering, I finally tossed my new friend into the oven in a big silver pot with an enormous silver lid.  This large kitchen item has not been used since my wife died. And I’m not sure it has ever been used, although it has taken up an entire cabinet since 1995. 

It was 2:15 when I tossed him in the oven – we’d be pushing it, but Stephanie had several new constipation jokes that could entertain the guests for a good 20 minutes.

I set the timer for 5 pm just to check in on Chuck. I pulled him out of the oven and hour before the guest arrived and opened the lid. As I jabbed him with my knife, I realized he was the consistency of myboots. When I took a bite, thoughts of my summer lawn shoes filled my head.

Crap! I’ve ruined yet another meal. I called my mom, as if this woman could tenderize pounds of meat from 90 miles away.  “Is there anything that can be done for a piece of meat that taste like a bike tire?”

She didn’t flinch, “Honey, they have these great chickens in the deli at the Harris Teeter. Why don’t you go buy a couple of those?”

She used to talk me through my cooking failures.  Now she just suggests alternate arrangements. 

As we sat at the table, my oldest daughter critiqued the corn. She then explained to the family how I’d run into the house at 5:30 with a new meat. That was unfortunate since I’d already accepted the compliment of my brother-in-law’s sister who told me the chicken was delicious. I simply said, “Thank you.” Sometimes I’m prone to lying through omission my grief counselor tells me.

So – I ruined another meal. The corn was too creamy. The meat was in the outdoor trash can. The potatoes were mushy. Thank the lord the guests brought a really good salad – and several bottles of wine.

And next time, I’m sticking with Mexican – tomato pie or not.

Sunday Post 37: Teamwork 101

Posted by Danny

When Stephanie was two, we were diligently working to get her to use the potty.  Lisa was tired of the hassle of diapers.  I knew my annual income would increase by $600 when I stopped having to buy Pampers four times a month.

We tried everything:  reason, a sticker chart, the comfort argument, peer pressure.  Nothing seemed to work.  

When October hit, Lisa made her annual trip to the store to purchase candy corn.  Lisa was big on annual traditions, big or small.  Candy corn was a fall staple.

This was Stephanie’s first experience with the delectable sweet and she was hooked immediately.  A new tool!  We’d bribe her with candy corn.

That night we headed to Nana’s house for dinner.  DJ was five and excited to help teach Stephanie about the wonders of the toilet.  She understood the stakes were high for Stephanie.  Potty = candy corn.

About an hour into the evening, the two ran out of the bathroom with exuberance!  “Stephanie peed in the potty!  She gets candy corn!” our oldest reported.

Stephanie was beaming with pride.  We all ran to the bathroom and looked in the miniature commode.  It was full of urine.  Lisa and I began to clap – the accolades flying.

Nana, being a bit more seasoned than we, took a second look.  “That looks like a lot of pee for a two-year old that’s never gone before.  DJ…”

Yes, the candy corn mafia boss and her associate pooled their resources.  DJ would provide the urine and Stephanie would share the loot.  Incredible teamwork!  And we almost bought it, hook, line and sinker.

Tonight I had a work function and was headed out of the house after taking a quick shower.  When I came out of my room, I was amazed.  My three daughters were again teamed up – rather than stress me out with making dinner for another night this week, they decided to take care of themselves.  DJ took charge – scrambling the eggs.  Michelle, without being asked, set the table and got the drinks ready.  Stephanie was in charge of waffles, syrup and butter.  They teamed up and took care of business – just like before.

I wonder if it is a coincidence that we just bought the annual candy corn at DJ’s request this past weekend.  You know, those little sugar pills bring out the best in people.

Lost in a World of Utensils

Posted by Danny

I forgot how to cook.  We were gone so much this summer that I just didn’t – we ate out.

So tonight, I decided I had to get back on the wagon.  School started a couple of weeks ago and we had several meals in the freezer.  Tomorrow, I may have to pull out the pots and pans.

I began hanging out in the kitchen about midnight – trying to rebuild some kharma with the place.  I wiped the stove top off with the sponge and ran my hands across the countertop.  I counted my knives, they all seem present.  I’m coming back baby!  Together we’ll make this happen!

I then opened a random, down low, utensil drawer and I was surprised at what I found.  There are things in there that are unidentifiable to me.

What is this?

It looks sort of like a spoon but there’s a big hole in the bottom.  Actually, I’m pretty sure my urologist used a similar instrument when he gave me my vasectomy – only his was made of cold stainless steel.

And this?

I thought it was a thermometer but there are no numbers.  It’s rough around the sides like a cat’s tongue.  Actually felt good when I used it to scratch my back.  Too big for a skewer.  I’m gonna move it to the bedroom.

This one is clearly for cutting – it has really sharp teeth.  It looks like it could peel the skin off a tiger – nearly cut my finger off when I grabbed it for closer observation.  It too may have been used in a same day surgery procedure or by Anthony Hopkins in the thriller Psycho.  I’m just going to put it back in the drawer, face down.

And this contraption?

If it had more parts I’d think it could be used to mold playdough.  A telescope?  It actually came from The Pampered Chef, says so on the side.  I can almost hear Lisa –

I just had a Longaberger Basket party last week and now the Pampered Chef.  I don’t cook!  Why would they invite me to this?  And I’m going to have to buy something that we will never use!

And clearly, she did.

And this little man is cute – up on three little legs.  But what is his purpose?  Maybe he’s a cake topper.

Wouldn’t want that on my birthday cake.

I feel so inadequate.  How have I made it the past 18 months without these utensils?  What am I missing?  I bet if I could figure out what these things did my cooking abilities would increase three-fold.

One thing I loved about Lisa – I’d bet my life savings that she couldn’t identify any of these gadgets either.  We were kitchen clueless together.

If you’ve got a clue, let me know!

Pancakes vs. Waffles

Posted by Danny

We are a waffle family – we are NOT a pancake family.  I just can’t convice the girls.

It snowed today.  So what do you do when it snows?  Big breakfast when you finally roll out of bed at 10.

The kids begged for chocolate chip pancakes.  I suggested waffles – we have a waffle maker and you just slop the Bisquick batter on, close the lid and swa-la, a perfect waffle every time.  But no – they HAD to have pancakes.  What is the difference?  They are one in the same, I argued.  Bisquick, milk, egg.

“We REALLY want pancakes dad.”

If you follow this blog for long, you will realize that I am a pushover.  Jesse, not so much (he IS Lisa’s brother).  In this situation, both Lisa and Uncle Jesse would respond with, “We have a waffle maker.  I prefer to make waffles, they are easier.   You can have waffles or cereal, we have 13 boxes”.  I, on the other hand, melt at the puppy dog eyes.  Three girls in my bed, snuggling with their daddy.  “We really want pancakes daddy…please.”

When they use the word “daddy”, it just melts my heart.  And their eyes, they are so helpless yet earnest in their plea.  If I don’t make them, they’ll be so disappointed.  And really, who doesn’t deserve chocolate chip pancakes on a snow day?  They’re just so cute and beautiful.  And they love me so much.

“Pancakes it will be!”

I don’t have a nonstick pan or a griddle.  So I take out the metal frying pan which is warped on the bottom.  Michelle helps crack the eggs (I warn the others to chew before swallowing, I think a couple of pieces of shell might be in the batter).  I spray with Pam, the nonstick (not so much) cooking spray. And just like the last time I made pancakes, the sacrifical two – every time the first two I make get stuck to the pan, burn and make a mess.  I scrape them out – cursing as if I’m making Christmas cookies (see one of our first blog entries) and swear that I will NEVER make pancakes again (which I know is a lie because of the “d” word, daddy).

Step 1, make the batter

Step 2, put them in the pan

Step 3, the sacrificial two

step 4, stick to the bottom of the pan and scrape them in the sink

Step 5, remind yourself that you are a waffle family

What is it that makes me such a softy?  Is it the way I was raised?  My mother allowing me to stay home from school if I had a hangnail.  Perhaps I’m just nicer than Jesse – that’s probably it.

But this time, I’ve learned my lesson.  Today truly was the last time I’m going to make pancakes; unless I get a griddle; or unless all three girls climb into my bed and say, “Pretty please daddy with sugar on top…”

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