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My Nemesis: Frozen Whole Chicken...

((Sigh, enter rant))...

I know better than to freeze whole chicken, because no matter what I try in terms of defrosting methods, the darn thing will never, ever properly defrost. I usually shop at a wholesale members only type vendor and get a great deal on two whole chickens 5lbs each for $9-10 (compared to the $8-10 for the same size for just one chicken at my local grocery store). Normally because my horrible luck with defrosting them once I freeze them = I cook both within a few days of each other for various meals and/or dinner then freeze whatever we don't use once its all carved up etc. Well the last time I purchased some chickens a few months back, I wasn't able to do this and wound up having to freeze one of them (and I beyond dread doing this because of my luck).

With all that being said, after doing some major shopping a week ago at the wholesaler - I needed to make some room in my freezer and took out the whole chicken unused from months ago along with about maybe 6 pounds of chicken thighs to defrost and cook up. For the record, all this chicken (in its original packagining) was put into my fridge to defrost back on the early evening of 3/12/2013 in the bottom drawer of my fridge (as that was the last "best suggestion" given to me to resolve my luck with defrosting whole chicken).

Well, I've checked daily and come today a week later the damn whole chicken is still mostly frozen a tad softer than a rock, but the thighs seem finally mostly defrosted. So while I've pretty much given up on ever getting a frozen whole chicken to properly defrost, my question to you good people is whether or not the whole chicken is still good to cook? I think the thighs are ok as when I checked them yesterday they were mostly solid; today they are finally a bit pliable. I've been searching the net and a lot of the guidance I've found is that if its been defrosting for a week its bad even if still mostly frozen. I don't want to waste it - so I thought I'd put it up here for discussion and advice from the good people of Chow. Given what I've read online for cases like this, I'm unsure of whether or not it still being frozen would indicate its still ok to use. I'm scared of Salmonella poisioning not because i'm overly cautious/paranoid - but rather because I had the extreme displeasure of eating smoked salmon that was contaminated late last year and was violently ill with Salmonella to then find out a few days later that it had been recalled for the same. I've never been that sick in my life, so I don't even, ever want to repeat that level of illness, I can't even fathom eating smoked salmon ever again or at least anytime soon because of the vivid memories it brings. So what do you think? Mostly hard/frozen still safe or no because of extended exposure to below freezing temperatures? Many thanks in advance everyone!

Mar 19, 2013
Resplendent in Home Cooking

Any memories of "poor people food" from your childhood that you still crave?

ROTFLMAO, you and my husband must be related because he said something very similar when he met me and I explained my background. As for Yuca Kugel, hmmm.... give me a few days and I bet I could birth and rock such a new recipe! Actually, I've never hybridized the ethnic cooking styles, but its more like I cook both. So for example, on Christmas I do a bunch of traditional hispanic fare along with Jewish fare. Or on a regular day, I might make a Spanish Torta for Breakfast along with a Matzoh Brei, split one half of each onto plates and that what's me and the hubby will eat for breakfast. So basically it's like constantly cooking with a split personality, LOL. I take great joy in cooking foods from my childhood - as since all my family is gone and all I have is my husband, it's the best way for me to remember and include those who have gone before me and who I miss very much; whether its in a moment or on the holidays. Plus, when we finally have children of our own, it will be the best way for me to share my own family with my child, as I can cook them a childhood meal I grew up with and tell them a story about such and such relative, and allow them to still come to know their grandmother, great-grandmother/grandfather, aunts uncles etc whom they will never have the opportunity to meet in this lifetime. Sure I have plenty of photos etc, but nothing can bring them closer to feeling an emotion towards their relatives no longer here and imagining their prescence than through the tangible memories I create with them through a meal that lives on through me from recipes handed down, (i.e. they will always be Grandma's Brownies etc).

Mar 07, 2013
Resplendent in General Topics

Any memories of "poor people food" from your childhood that you still crave?

OMG, it's fantastic that you mentioned matzoh brei! My step-grandfather (I counted him as none other than my full grandfather because he was the one who I was closest to and part raised me and he was Jewish) and so growing up in a fully Puerto Rican household I was actually raised as a Puerto Rican-Catholic-Jew (if anyone can grasp their head around that one LOL). My mother was disabled so we lived with my grandparents (my mother's mother and her 3rd husband). So in my house we celebrated all the Christian-Catholic Holidays as well as observing all Jewish holidays and traditions (although I went to Catholic school); even so far as on our Sundays we went to Mass First then off to temple right after - we honored both. So while the Puerto Rican/Catholic side of me grew up loving my traditional and customary meals by virtue of ethnicity and/or maternal religion, I loved (and still love to this day) all the traditional Jewish fare my grandfather would make for me and those he later taught me how to make. I loved when he would make Matzoh Brei for Breakfast. As an adult I still make it and also regularly crave Kosher/Jewish fare (my husband would argue I'm constantly pregnant with all the strange combinations of food I find as comfort food from growing up LOL).... so I love Gefilte Fish (homemade or jarred in a hurry), Lox, Borscht, Bialys, Potato latkes, Potato Pancakes, Gribbonis, fried Chicken Livers, the list could go on and on. Now as an adult I still run my own home with traditions from both, so my husband is just enamoured with the eccentricity of my culinary repetoire and all the holidays I actively celebrate and have special meals/recpies for; especially the "poor mans meals" I learned from both cultures. Good times, good times.

Mar 07, 2013
Resplendent in General Topics

Any memories of "poor people food" from your childhood that you still crave?

OMG Queen Dairy, I know this is an older thread, but I had to respond since you are the very first person who seems to possibly know what I'm talking about... in your OP you mentioned that your mother used to "fry little dough patties (flour, adobo, water) and serve it to us on a bed of white rice and beans".... my Aunt & Mother did the same thing for me growing up (along with the Sorullos de Maiz) and in my family the fried flour dumplings served with beans as a dipping sauce were called (and I'm spelling the second part of the name phonetically = "Johnny Cleh-kahs".... did your mother happen to call them that (if not what did she call them if you recall)? I swear I've spoken to so many people of a latin/hispanic background who look at me weird as they never know WTF I was talking about pertaining to the name let alone themselves never grew up with the fried dough patties served with beans and rice. I've been trying to come up with the proper "known" name for these patties to look up a recipe because that is pretty much the only thing I don't know how to make in the correct proportions and it wasn't ever handed down to me as a traditional family recipe (I'm Puerto Rican) and my Mother passed when I was young so I can not ask her and all my other relatives are also long gone who would know.... your insight would send me over the moon if you knew the correct name or perhaps could share with me a good recipe for the fried patties. Many thanks in advance!

Mar 07, 2013
Resplendent in General Topics

Dinner tonight - pasta and eggs

While I know this is an old comment from back in 2006, I found it in 2013 while looking up some ideas for a dinner that could be made with eggs. Let me just say for those of you who may come across this now or in the future that it is absolutely delicious and delectable beyond words. I used Panko Bread Crumbs to make them extra crunchy (rather than standard bread crumbs) and WOW let me tell you how truly awesome this dish is for a quick supper, and easy on the pocketbook as well. Next time I make it, to mix things up - I think adding in a shallot and wilting some Kale and/or Spinach would be even more awesome, perhaps even a sprinkling of Italian Seasoning or Herbs De Provence. As for the recipe "as is" it truly does not disappoint! Thank you, thank you, thank you to the OP of this recipe. Try it people!

Mar 05, 2013
Resplendent in Home Cooking

Help! Someone's Last Wish For Downhome Southern Fried Chicken...

I appreciate your kind encouragement. I see we think alike... I was thinking the same thing about the mashed/gravy. I think I'm also going to do Collards... as when done the right way and cooked for hours and hours - they get very soft and flavorful. I also plan on doing some iron skillet buttermilk biscuits and skillet cornbread so both of those should also be soft and fluffy and easy to palate. I think I'll finish it off with some sweet potato pie and I don't think I could get anymore "downhome southern" than that!

Jun 10, 2012
Resplendent in Home Cooking

Help! Someone's Last Wish For Downhome Southern Fried Chicken...

Yes, that is correct.... however as I do see you've referenced Google, I might respectfully add that I am very familiar with Google. My goal in consulting the good people on Chow was to find as "cream of the crop" recipie as I possibly could given the circumstances; whereas a full understanding of why I was asking for the same may inspire some suggestions and/or cooking tips to make it the very best possible beyond what has already been discussed and/or easily locatable on Google and/or previous threads. Given the circumstances and the fact that I simply don't have the time to test enumerated recipes to find the best one, I felt that a friendly discussion could inspire a "narrowing down" of what truly works and tastes awesome versus just a simply decent and average recipe that takes the edge off of an urge for fried chicken since this is such a special request. Just wanted to clarify for you...

Jun 10, 2012
Resplendent in Home Cooking

Help! Someone's Last Wish For Downhome Southern Fried Chicken...

Dearest Friends,

You do not know me, but I've been a "Chow" lurker for years, always learning and becoming inspired by everyone in the community. I've tried my hand at recipes, helpful suggestions and plenty of tips and hints on where the best places to grab some grub should arguably be. The site is practically like family in terms of always having been a reliable source of advice I could come to at any time and gain valuable insights and ideas. Today is no different, but under rather unique circumstances I finally decided to join so that I could actually post and contribute... and I'll begin to explain why; as it is with a very heavy heart that I write this.

In some summary, back in January of this year, my husband and I relocated to a new area and met a neighbor across the way who is a firecracker of an individual brimming with personality, zeal and both a love and passion for life. Through neighborly conversations across our back alleyway and garage, we've been privileged to come to know this gentleman over the past 6 months. He has always been a unique and charismatic individual, one whose personality is the refreshing type of "in your face" "tell it like it is" attitude; a person who has learned a lot in life and through his own trials and tribulations. And ever since we met him... he has attempted in such good faith to offer back to everyone he knows the best parts of him that he can possibly offer as a result of his wisdom, experience and life lessons.

We knew early on of his significant medical issues and he has always been a trooper - come also to find out a survivor of lung cancer. But he was long in remission when we first met him - doing very well and continued to beam his personality over to us each and every time we saw him. Then one day a few months back, he had kept telling me that his dog was extremely and unusually clingy and he just didn't know why. I had suggested to him that he should go to the doctor, because given his history of cancer it was possible that his dog knew something he didn't and it would be wise just to make sure. I then asked him if he had been to the doctors recently and if everything was okay with him. He told me that a month ago everything had been just fine, so there must be some other reason the dog was acting weird. I shared with him my own personal experiences I've had and continue to have with my own two highly insightful Cocker Spaniels and my own medical issues that they both have known of before I did - as well as their knowledge of when I was pregnant before I even knew and urged him to please see the doctor. A few weeks later he did as his dog did not let up on his attachment... to eventually be given startling results: his lung cancer had returned rather furiously and he needed surgery, and at the time they gave him 6-12 months to live. Fast forward shortly thereafter... given a later unfortunate accident requiring x-rays, later then comes to find out that he now also has cancer of the spine. A few days ago he had been told by several doctors after multiple opinions that the cancers have metastasized and he is now stage 3 nearing 4 lung and stage 4 spinal cancer. They gave him less than 3 months to live if that after three separate opinions.

Given recent complications, he hasn't been able to eat and had been rather rapidly losing weight. He is now at a point however when the inflammation in his trachea and throat has gone down significantly and he can eat normally for a time, no more exclusively surviving off of Water, Ensure and Popsicles. In the meantime during the present window of time where he can eat normally, he made a request for homemade southern crispy fried chicken which he holds as the dearest of his all time favorite comfort food.

Now I like many of you have made homemade fried chicken before by both family recipe and cookbook style... and both myself and family has always been pleased. But as we all know, there are all sorts of "fried chicken" recipes from either source in terms of flavoring, seasoning, preparation etc. Ordinarily when searching for the perfect sure to please recipe, trial and error prevails... and you win some and lose some... a tweak here, a tweak there. But this is no ordinary situation and no time to not get it right when you have someone asking for it as their dying wish. If you can imagine for a moment, that you'd want to give someone a hell of a last meal and a forever lasting memory of a good time had by all while breaking bread eating down home southern comfort food... this is what I hope to accomplish, as I really need to make one helluva meal for this special human being. As I can't save his life, and know of no other way to help him except through prayer, I need to find some way to give of our family onto his with the blessings that we have and our shared love of food and cooking is the best possible and memorable vehicle to achieve this.

As I know he's been through much hardship and suffering in life and doesn't have very many people to rely on, I just want to give him a strong memory that people do care for him in this world and that much love, laughter and light can come from a shared passion of the love of food through a labor of love meant to both fill the belly and warm the heart. So you all can imagine why I am in active search for one of the truly best artery clogging fried chicken recipes possible... as sometimes many, many days can go by when he can hardly keep down water let alone liquid food and then the days when he can eat just like you and I as if nothing were wrong are growing far and few between, so I need to strike while the irons hot. As a result of the same, I am hoping that the faithful and teeming millions here on Chow can help me in this quest, to help me make one of the very best last meals possible for a wonderful and deserving human being who could use the smallest bit of happiness and levity to his coming days, however long those may actually be. With many thanks to all who may help me decide and cook this very special meal.

Jun 09, 2012
Resplendent in Home Cooking