Two friends recently invited me to their “Furniture-Warming Party.” Not a “Housewarming Party,” but a “Furniture-Warming Party.” They figured that they had lived in their apartment for a while already, so it was already warm. Little did I know that, as a guest, it was literally going to be warm.
Why? Well, when you decide to fry in Manhattan-size apartments, there’s really no place for the hot air to go. But here’s the thing, I am not knocking this. Rather, I’m applauding them for this. I knew that my friend Kara was making curry fried chicken. On top of that, she was making sliders, Mexican-style corn with the real-deal seasonings and Cotija cheese, and God knows what else she would decide to whip up.
Getting off the elevator, I already smelled the chicken cooking. I was slightly sweaty because I had walked faster than I thought I was walking to their apartment. I felt a blast of fried chicken air hit me as I opened the door, but soon cooled off with a couple glasses of sangria. Kara doesn’t cut corners when it comes to cooking, and she likes a lot of flavor in her food, so I was excited for whatever was to come.
I first noticed little slider-size burger buns. I’m always down for a good slider. She used some coarse ground beef and mixed in some garlic chives to make the burgers, then topped them with fresh mozzarella, burst cherry tomatoes, brown sugar pepper bacon (Bacon Candy) and sautéed ramps (wild leeks). This slider was pretty damn good. I didn’t have just one…I didn’t have just two…well, I’ll stop there.
Along with the sliders was the much-anticipated curry fried chicken. This was not your basic fried chicken. It was broken down into eight pieces and marinated overnight in Greek yogurt and plenty of Indian spices: cumin, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, a dash of allspice, ground ginger, some curry powder for good measure (even though she knew that the blend, itself, was already curry powder) and some chili powder. Half of the spices were toasted in a pan first and then added to the yogurt. The other half went in the flour. After the chicken had marinated overnight, she took off some of the yogurt, shook it in a brown paper bag with the seasoned flour, then fried it to golden brown perfection. It was super–delicious, and while you could taste the curry flavor, it wasn’t overwhelming. She served it with lime wedges to squeeze over the top.
I brought along a Jalapeño Bacon Cole Slaw. After all, what better side to go along with some fried chicken than cole slaw? (recipe below)
We weren’t done. Last, but certainly not least, Kara and Jeanette put their friend Mandie up to the ultimate test: a dessert that is not a cake, cookie or pie. Mandie shocked the house with a beautiful, fresh meringue. We were treated to a Pavlova, the Russian meringue dessert. With a consistency and sweetness that was just right, it was topped with fresh berries and almond whipped cream.
As for the fried chicken, I’ll be making more of that at home, before the summer heat sets in.
Jalapeño Bacon Cole Slaw
1 cup mayonnaise
2-3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar, to taste
2 teaspoons sugar, to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 package (14 ounces) cole slaw cabbage mix, store-bought or fresh cabbage, shredded*
1-2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped
6-8 slices bacon, cooked and rough chopped
In a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise, vinegar and sugar to make a dressing and season with salt and pepper. If you like your slaw more vinegary, by all means, go for it. If you like it less sweet or more sweet, adjust the sugar, to taste.
In a larger mixing bowl, add the cabbage, chopped jalapeños and the cooked and chopped bacon. Add the dressing and toss to combine. Let the slaw sit in the fridge for a good hour or two to let the flavors come together. It’s even better the next day!
* If you are using fresh cabbage and shredding it yourself, you can use one small head of white cabbage and one half small head of red cabbage. You can add one shredded carrot, too.