It is a rainy Saturday morning in Connecticut on April 16, 2011; a good day to make lentil soup and prepare for the Easter week ahead. Like many families, the kids are coming home for the holiday and thoughts of sandwiching myself between my two babies fills my heart with fun anticipation reminding me of just how blessed I am. It’s delightful to be planning a menu around their favorite dishes. As my thoughts turn to Crispy Coconut Chicken Dippers with Wowee Maui Mustard the doorbell rings.
Through the window are two men in uniform. My heart begins to race and before I say hello I ask, “Why are you here? He has been safely home from Afghanistan for 6 months. “ All I could do was invite them in, turn off the soup, wait for Bill to come home and hope to wake up from this nightmare. My head is spinning handing the military chaplain a photo album illustrating the last 5 years of William’s life and commitment to the Navy. The only sound comes from the front porch where the Navy and American flags are trembling in a rain of tears.
Cooking and baking are so very therapeutic. There is nothing like getting into the kitchen and banging a few pots and pans together to de-stress and express something from one’s heart. The food is about who I am, where I’ve been and those who inspire me. It’s a generous piece of me on a plate. Find something you are passionate about and just do it. Be inspired by the ones you love and the ones you’ve lost. Out of chaos comes creativity and our very survival depends on that.
As I am constantly tinkering with my recipes I rarely make the same thing twice. This recipe is an exception. After all it is one of my children’s favorites and won the “Kid’s Category” at the Southern Living Magazine Cook-Off in 2005.
[recipe title=”Crispy Coconut Chicken Dippers with Wowee Maui Mustard” servings=”4-6″]
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup lime-flavored seltzer water
2 cups sweetened flaked coconut *
1 cup fine dry breadcrumb
vegetable oil ( for frying)
Maui Wowee Dipping Sauce
1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 cup red pepper jelly
3 tablespoons whole grain mustard
Cut each chicken breast into 4 to 6 (1-inch) strips. Whisk together flour and next 4 ingredients in a bowl. Combine coconut and breadcrumbs in a large shallow dish. Dip chicken pieces in flour mixture, and dredge in coconut mixture. Pour oil to a depth of 2 inches in a deep skillet or Dutch oven; heat to 350°. Fry chicken, in batches, 2 to 3 minutes or until golden. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle lightly with salt, if desired. Serve with Wowee Maui Dipping Sauce.
To make the dipping sauce simply mix all the ingredients together in a bowl
*Note: unsweetened coconut works well, too. I like Bob’s Red Mill unsweetened shredded coconut[/recipe]