Sunday, March 16, 2014

Kitchen 101: How to Shred Chicken with Minimal Time and Effort

I'll never make chicken salad the same way again.  Ever.  Or anything else that requires shredded chicken, for that matter.

Meet Idris.  Yep, I finally got one - a KitchenAid mixer.  After years of hemming and hawing over whether it was worth the hefty price tag, and my other stand mixer that-shall-not-be-named finally kicking the bucket, I got a lovely refurbished unit for Christmas.  (I could not bring myself to ask for a new unit - not when my refurb food processor has kicked serious culinary booty for me for some time now.)  And yeah, I have to say, in the short time I've had my baby, she's worth every red cent.  But this is not meant to be a bragfest - it is to say, stand mixers are useful kitchen tools and can do the best kitchen hack for poultry lovers.

It will shred your chicken.

Okay, so it doesn't seem to be the end-all, be-all, some of you think I was building up to, but!  It means lots of time and effort saved, not to mention, avoiding the accidental wince of burning your fingers on hot, hot chicken.  I may or may not have done that several times in my kitchen career.

After cooking your boneless chicken breast with your preferred method (steaming, poaching, etc.), cut the still hot meat into 3-4 pieces and place it into the bowl of your mixer.  Affix the paddle attachment, lower the head, lock in place and start it up.  I work my way up to Speed 4 on my KA, and in a few seconds, I have shredded chicken.   Freshly cooked chicken tenders buzz up super quick.

Now don't think you are left in the cold if you don't have a stand mixer.  I haven't personally tried this yet, but from what I have read, a hand-held electric mixer will do the same helpful trick.  I would probably cut my chicken into more pieces before trying this out.  If you do happen to try it out with a hand-held mixer, please, by all means, report back on your findings!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Re-Appearing Act

Hello, darlin'.  Nice to see you.  It's been a long time.

Well, here I am.  It has been quite the busy year in reality, and very silent on the online front.  For that, I apologize.  In that time, I've did the real estate thing, browsing houses and properties. My job changed from teaching math to sixth graders to teaching reading, math, and answers to any other questions a first or second grader can ask.  Unexpectedly in the real estate tour de force, my husband and I ended up having a house built in a quiet neighborhood. (Quiet, barring the one time an intoxicated stranger and all active policemen on duty in our tiny town were in my driveway, at least.) We're still settling in, trying unsuccessfully to get grass to grow in our back and side yards.  I suppose that's fitting with my brown thumb.  There are still more boxes packed in our garage than I would like, and I'm still growing accustomed to cooking in my new kitchen.  That's a nice word - my.  After renting a townhouse for over a decade, it feels pretty darn good to have new appliances and walls that don't allow you to hear everything a neighbor is doing on the other side.  The kitchen in our new home is about the same size as our old place, but with fewer cabinets and drawers.  So this is a readjustment period for me as I am trying new ways of organizing the space.  It's going to be a work in progress for awhile, I imagine. And Pinterest.  That place will take your very soul, or at least more time than you would like to admit spending.  But I have a board full of daydreams for my house and more recipes pinned than I'll ever have time to cook.

This year long silence?  It's broken.  Let's get back to cooking and enjoying life together again.