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Sausage and Waffle and Fried Chicken Breakfast Lasagna | “The Boondocks”

by Blake Stilwell

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I’ve always come short of writing direct Thanksgiving recipes. As Eaten has a recipe for a nice holiday dessert. We have a recipe to tell you what to do with Thanksgiving leftovers. I’m not one to tell you what to do with your Thanksgiving food, no matter how bad it might be. Today we have a Thanksgiving-related post, not in terms of the kind of food or celebration of the holiday, but today we celebrate what comes after. This post is a celebration of The ‘Itis.

Itis: /ī-təs/ n. – The general feeling of lethargy and well-being experienced after eating a large, usually high calorie meal. This phenomena is particularly triggered by foods high in carbohydrates and red meat.

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In season 1, episode 10 of the critically acclaimed and often controversial animated series the Boondocks, Robert “Granddad” Freeman (John Witherspoon) cooks up Huey’s (Regina King) broccoli with pork, to which Huey says “vegetables cooked with pork counts as pork!” The meal he makes for entrepreneur Ed Wuncler (Ed Asner) and a local couple, the Dubois, inspires the creation of The Itis, a restaurant with beds instead of tables and a menu that, according to Huey, “will cause death.”

The signature menu item is the “Luther,” a one-pound burger, soaked in butter and cheese, served with five strips of bacon on a grilled Krispy Kreme doughnut.

So why opt to make the breakfast lasagna, instead of the Luther, featured so heavily in the episode? The Luther is pretty common by now, you can even order one for Sunday brunch at Churchkey in Washington, DC. Also, Krispy Kremes are hard to come by in Upstate Central New York. Also, if you watch the rest of the episode, you know the terrible effects the Luther can have on a community, and I wouldn’t want to inflict something like that on you, dear reader. I also promised to make a real dish this time, instead of another sandwich.

Also, the irony of writing a blog post, creating a recipe from an episode of a show that is not only a scathing indictment of the movie Soul Food, but also of soul food itself, is not lost on me.

Ingredients:

This is a six-part miniseries. You’ll need waffles instead of lasagna noodles, made for multiple layers, as well as layers of eggs, a sausage layer, a fried chicken layer, and enough sausage gravy and cheese for other layers.

Maple Syrup
Pepper Bacon
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Pepper to Taste

Sausage Layer:
4 fresh sausage links
maple syrup

Fried Chicken Layer:
6-8 boneless fried chicken thighs
large bottle of vegetable, peanut, or canola oil
4 cups flour
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp salt

Sausage Gravy:
3 tbsp butter
2 fresh sausage links, casings removed
1/4 c flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 cups milk
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Waffle Layer(s):
You could always buy Eggos, which is waffle blasphemy, or make an instant waffle mix, which is less horrifying.

1 3/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

Scrambled Egg Layer:
6 Eggs
3/4 c Ricotta Cheese
1/2 lb Shredded Cheddar
Salt/Pepper

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  1. For the scrambled eggs, whisk eggs and salt together in a large bowl. Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. When foam subsides, add eggs and stir until eggs are almost cooked but still runny in parts, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in ricotta until incorporated but clumps of cheese are still visible.
  2. To make fried chicken, mix the dry ingredients with the flour, then place seasoned flour in a paper bag. Add 4 to 5 pieces of chicken to the bag and shake, coating thoroughly in seasoned flour. Fill a large skillet 3/4 full with good, clean oil. (I used canola, but granddad probably used peanut or vegetable). Heat the oil to 325° F and put chicken one at a time into the oil. Don’t let the chicken pieces touch. Cook until juices start to flow out of the chicken. Turn with tongs, cook another five minutes. Place chicken onto paper towel-lined plate. When in doubt, use a meat thermometer. Chicken should be cooked to 158°.
  3. To cook the sausage gravy, heat butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until foaming. Add sausage and cook, breaking it up into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon, until the meat starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add flour, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute. Gradually stir in milk, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, until the mixture has thickened slightly, about 1 minute more. Remove from heat.
  4. To cook the sausage, fry the sausages until the fat and juices start to fill the pan. Once there’s a layer of  fat in the pan, add a tablespoon of maple syrup to each link and cook thoroughly. Slice the sausage at an angle.
  5. For the waffles, separate the yolks and the whites. Set the whites aside and mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Make a crater in the middle and mix the wet ingredients (except the egg whites) there. Then mix the whole batter.Whip the egg whites until stiff, then fold the whites into the batter bowl. Cook in a waffle iron.
  6. Fry bacon until crispy, keep in long strips and dry on a paper towel.
  7. To assemble lasagna, butter a 8×8-inch casserole dish. Place waffles side by side in the bottom of the dish. Spread 1/4 cup of maple syrup evenly over the waffles. Top with half the scrambled eggs. Layer sausage slices on top of the eggs. Sprinkle half the cheddar evenly over the eggs. Top with half the sausage gravy. Repeat these layers once more. Finish by arranging bacon strips in an even layer on top. Add extra pepper, liberally at any level, because black pepper is awesome.

Bake at 400°F for 15 minutes. Lasagna can be assembled the day before, covered, and refrigerated until ready to serve. Remove lasagna from oven and let sit for 30 minutes before slicing and serving.

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You really can’t (shouldn’t) eat too much of this at any one time and the resulting Itis is immediate, especially when eaten in the morning.

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Fresh-Baked Kringlors with a Honey Pecan Dipping Sauce | “The Ref”

by Blake Stilwell

There are many wonderful, renowned holiday movies out there. Everyone has their favorite. Some people grew up watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” every Christmas season. There are those who love the later classics, such as “A Christmas Story.” And a new generation is growing up loving more recent Christmas takes, like Will Ferrell’s “Elf.” For me, whenever someone talks about the perennial Christmas movie, “Die Hard” always comes to mind first. Not just because it is, in fact, a great Christmas movie (which is a post for another pop-culture themed blog), but my love for Reginald VelJohnson is well-documented.

Urkel killed this buddy cop dream team.

Urkel killed this buddy cop dream team.

Today, I’m taking a recipe from none of those, though I could really go for some Chinese food right now. No, this holiday, we’re taking a page from Judy Davis’ character Caroline Chasseur in the underrated 1994 Christmas comedy “The Ref,” with Denis Leary, Kevin Spacey and I was surprised to see John Scurti when I went back and watched it again for this post.

"Yeah, I know... It's weird to see me dressed as a cop."

“Yeah, I know… It’s weird to see me dressed as a cop.”

… some of you may better remember Scurti from his role as the beloved Lt. Shea on “Rescue Me.” Some others of you have seven seasons of great television to watch. Good thing binge watching on a snowy day is what the holiday season is all about nowadays. Go, loyal readers, and enjoy the butterscotch pudding that comes with it.

Doooooooo it.

Doooooooo it.

Denis Leary plays Gus, a burglar who has to lay low while he’s waiting for his partner to fix up an escape route away from the small New England town he just terrorized with break-ins. In order to dodge the road blocks and the local curfew, Gus takes the aforementioned Caroline and her husband Lloyd (Kevin Spacey) hostage in their home, but forces the family to play it cool while Caroline’s in-laws come over for Christmas dinner. The problem with the plan is that Gus has hijacked the most dysfunctional family in New England and is forced to rely on the discretion of his hostages and compliance of their a-hole relatives (including the mother-in-law, played beautifully by Glynis Johns), who find a lot of fault with Caroline’s flaws.

Everything almost reaches a breaking point at the Christmas dinner, which has a very Scandinavian theme (one of Caroline’s flaws is that she never finished anything she ever started, including a Scandinavian cooking class). The meal includes roast suckling pig, fresh baked Kringlors in a honey-pecan dipping sauce, seven-day old lutefisk, and lamb gookins.

The reason we’re making Kringlors today, despite the fact they sound more like an intergalactic space lord who is coming to enslave humanity than a baked treat, is because the holidays are the season of baked treats. Everyone has a different opinion on the main course at dinner, be it a ham, turkey or a giant fish stuffed with poison and left out for a week. Lamb Coozins Gookins seem to be so extremely rare, that even the Internet has never heard of them. What I think everyone can agree on, however, is that baked goods of all kinds are welcome at any holiday party anywhere and the more, the merrier. We know you’ll make room for the Kringlors in your pop culture buffet line.

Or you can jump a little forward in “The Ref” and see the Orange Marzipan Cake with Creme de Menthe and Lime Zest.

Kringlors are dessert in three parts. This recipe comes from “The Superbly Swedish Cookbook.”

Part I:
½ cup butter
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon water

Mix together (like pie crust) cutting the butter in with 2 butter knives.  Then finish mixing with your hands.  Pat out very thick (1/4”) on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Set aside.

Part II:
½ cup butter
1 cup water
1 cup flour
3 eggs beaten (see note on this)
1 teaspoon almond extract

In a saucepan heat butter and water to the boiling point.  Remove from heat, add flour and add 1 beaten egg at a time, stirring after each (The texture will be unique). Add almond extract and stir well.  Spread the mixture on the dough on cookie sheet, fairly close to the edges.  Bake at 400° for 45 minutes.

Part III:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Mix together all ingredients until smooth, and spread on pastry as icing.  Serve warm or cold, cutting in half the long way and then diagonally to make pretty strips. In the film, Caroline made them into pretzel shapes, which is my personal specialty, having worked two summers at Auntie Anne’s Pretzels as a teenager.

Pictured: Expertise

Pictured: Expertise

The Honey-Pecan Sauce is much easier to make, and where better to get the recipe than the American National Honey Board?

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 cups – vanilla flavored Greek style yogurt
  • 1/4 cup – chopped pecans, lightly toasted
  • 1/2 cup – Sage honey
  • 1 teaspoon – ground cinnamon

Directions:

Combine all sauce ingredients in a blender or processor and blend until smooth. Reserve chilled. Also, I recommend real honey, and maybe throw in some of the almond extract for a nuttier flavor.

And now you can have something to talk about at the family holiday party, where most of us end up looking somewhat frazzled if we don’t.

Kringlors - The Ref_1

“Everybody… just… stop talking. STOP. TALKING. TO ME.”

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