Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Armstead's perfect Fried Chicken

In the movie 'The Help', Minnie the Maid, wonderfully played by actress Octavia Spencer, made the statement that there is something about Fried Chicken that makes everyone feel good. Or something like that. Never have truer words been spoken. We're talking real live, authentic, home brewed fried chicken over here. While KFC is decent chicken and all, if you have more than four pieces in a sitting you're not going to be feeling real good for a while. What you may not know is that your boy Armstead, that's me, makes arguably the greatest fried chicken wing in the history of existence of the universe. Arguably. Unlike KFC, if you eat twenty of Armstead's chicken wings, which is recommended for health reasons, the only thing you will be thinking about is that twenty first chicken wing. For real. And here's how it's done.

The ingredients are simple. Grab about a dozen chicken wings, obviously. Not dings, but full wings. This isn't BW3. The fatter the wing the better. Get yourself about three cups of flour, some popcorn salt (found at most dollar stores), onion power, garlic powder and black pepper. You'll need about a cup of hot sauce... not Frank's or Louisiana because it's too thick, but something they sell at the dollar store that's more watery, and make sure you get the hottest available. It won't make the finished product hot, but it will integrate the flavor better. And you'll also need about a cup of soy sauce. And one of those empty Country Crock butter tubs. Anything will do, but I prefer those.

The key to this is the hot sauce, soy sauce wash. Others use an egg wash, I use this. Put the hot sauce and the soy sauce in a bowl, mix it up real good and drop you wings in the wash and roll them around real good like.

With the wings still in the wash, put your flour in the tub, cover the flour with a coating of the popcorn salt... don't go heavy on this... then a covering of onion powder and a covering of garlic powder, then a good five shakes of the black pepper. Shake it all up.

When frying, I use a deep fryer. Personally, when I batter my chicken, which this recipe isn't, I pan fry in my skillet, but when flouring the chicken I use a deep fryer. Not everybody has an electric deep fryer, so pan frying does work, just be very careful if you've never done it. Too much vegetable oil, pan frying and an electric stove set too high=house fire. And another note, the older the oil your using, the better the chicken will be. Brand new vegetable oil will make for a beautiful looking piece of chicken, just a little less flavor.

So your soaked chicken is well covered in the wash, you pull it out of the wash, drop it in flour mix and shake it all up. At this point your chicken is potentially great fried chicken, but the key to realizing that potential is in the actual frying, and that's when things get tricky for the uninitiated. If you have a decent deep fryer a lot of the guess work in frying is removed from the equation, but as we pointed out, not everybody has one. So you get your oil nice and hot, if it's a gas stove I'd put it on medium, hell if I know what to do with an electric stove since I despise them,but if a small drop of water dances on the oil, it's generally ready to fry.

Drop your chicken in the oil, I have no time restrictions for you since it has to pass your personal eye test, but I know you know what good Fried Chicken looks like. If you pan fry, make sure you flip your chicken. Once the eye test has been passed, drop your chicken on a paper towel to soak up the extra oil... expensive paper towels since cheap ones will leave paper on your chicken... no one wants that. And always eat a piece first to make sure it's okay before you continue on with the rest of the frying process. Just in case you need to tweak your flour mixture or adjust the heat on the oil. But please, stop at one or no else will get any. You've been warned.

There you go, best fried chicken wing ever. I can't tell you if it works with other pieces of the bird because all I ever fry is wings. I use my rotisserie for the rest of the bird, and if someone makes a movie about rotisserie chicken, I'll give up that awesome recipe too.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Touchpad MADNESS!!!

Last Friday when I went to sleep I didn't want an HP Touchpad, just like nobody else on the planet Earth wanted an HP Touchpad. In fact I didn't want any kind of tablet since I don't particularly have a use for one. Then that Saturday when I woke up... since nobody on the planet Earth wanted an HP Touchpad... HP discontinued the HP Touchpad and had a fire sale. $99 for an HP Touchpad. I figured 'why not get an HP Touchpad'. What I didn't realize is that $99 is the sweet spot for massive insanity, chaos, mayhem, and essentially the end of society as we know it. As it turns out I'd have a better chance at a romantic interlude in Paris with Gabrielle Union while Salma Hayek is waiting at the hotel for us to finish up, than getting a $99 HP Touchpad. Oh wait... That's Paris thing has happened already. Forget I mentioned it.

So I place an online order at this poor beleaguered resale outfit Onsale.com, through Amazon, for my Touchpad. Clicking 'buy now' was the amount of effort that I was willing to expend for this thing I didn't want a day before, and I don't need now. Tragically I never got a Touchpad, and I'm good with that, but what has been fascinating is watching my deal site's and peoples tireless purists for the $99 HP Touchpad. You could stand in line at Best Buy, get there real early before they open and get a ticket that will allow you to buy a Touchpad, or you could keep refreshing the HP site and hope like hell it comes back online for a few seconds, or try one one Wally's joints, his Mart or his Club which don't have any, or travel to the business stores, Staples, Offices Max and Depot, and badger the red shirts into relinquishing the ones YOU KNOW they are hiding in the back and plan to sell on Craigs List. You could do that. Or you could just buy an Ipad or a Galaxy.

But most of the anger and hostility has been levied at poor Onsale.com. Those idiots had the nerve to run out of stock of this thing that nobody wanted the day before. Where Onsale screwed up was that they couldn't update the Amazon order section to let people know that they weren't getting their orders and that it was eventually going to be cancelled for most. This gave people hope. And when that hope was destroyed, Onsale being the last chance for these poor people to get this thing they didn't want a few days earlier... Onsale has to pay. Thus Onsale, which by all accounts has been a solid online retailer, has seen their approval rating drop to unprecedented depths. You'd think they were President Obama or something.

Now these $99 dollar things that nobody wanted are showing up on Ebay and Craigslist and many other sites for a little less than they used to cost originally. And now people are buying this thing they didn't want a few days earlier. HP executives are baffled. Yesterday you thought you loved your mom. Today, you'd kidney punch your mom to get in front of her at Best Buy to buy this thing you didn't want. That nobody wanted.

Monday, August 15, 2011

3D Shmee Deee...

I'm reading one these trade magazines I get, because I'm like a really important Multimedia Professional and stuff right, and an article in this periodical is bemoaning the dropping stock prices of companies that provide 3D for movies and the poor sales for 3D TV's and the like. They observe that for the latest 3D movies, like Pirates 4 or Thor, that 60% percent of audiences opted for the regular old 2D version as opposed to the 3D versions. They theorize that because of the economy, maybe the public just isn't willing to pony up an extra 3 or 4 bucks for the 3D premium. Maybe. Or maybe the 3D in these movie suck. I'm no market researcher, but I think that's your answer Mr. Stock Analyst.

Now I didn't say the movies suck, though some surely do, but the 3D in these movies suck. Out of the fifteen or so movies I've seen in 3D, three of them have had decent 3D. 'Avatar', 'Beowulf' and 'Resident Evil: Afterlife'. That's about it. That leaves another dozen or so that suck. Off the top of my head... 'The Last Airbender', terrible movie... and I remember the credits being in 3D. 'Clash of the Titans'... terrible movie, awesome 3D credits and little else. Thor... good movie, crap 3D. I think I've put the rest out of my head because I can't remember them. Except 'Hoodwinked 2' in which the 3D sucked so bad I just took my glasses off and watched the movie regular like, and only to put the glasses back on when the screen got blurry and stuff.

Thus when the opportunity presents itself, I always opt for 2D. Conan, Fright Night, Toy Story, Tron, Narnia, the Green Hornet, Kung Fu Panda, the Green Lantern, Rio, Priest, Drive Angry... all seen in 2D and I'm pretty sure I didn't miss anything watching them in 2D outside of wearing a second pair of glasses on top of the ones I already have to wear.

It might be a little too late, but I'd be looking to move that 3D stock from your portfolio if I were you.