Well, hello friends!
Apologies for my unplanned vanishing act. By the end of Day 1 of summer vacation, I was pretty sure I’d never make it out alive. I fought the chaos tooth and nail for the first week. Then I just I surrendered. Summer swallowed me whole and belched as I went down.
I ran on reserve power for most of the summer, focusing on only my most integral functions, like preventing the boys from maiming themselves during their daredevil play routines and rinsing the mud from their summer bodies three times daily.
I thought that once the school year began, I’d be able to climb my way from the pit of chaos and promptly begin posting again, but I’ve been saying that for three weeks now. Alas, the school year brought upon us its own special kind of insanity and I still find myself with too many balls in the air. If only I knew how to juggle…
Hear no evil. See no evil. Speak no evil.
I’m going to make it up to you today though, with an entire menu’s worth of recipes. Have we got any Breaking Bad fans out there?
I recently read some comment that watched in reverse, AMC’s Breaking Bad tells the inspiring story of drug lord who cleans up his act, beats cancer, reunites his family, and becomes a school teacher. Sounds like a Lifetime movie. In actuality, for the last five seasons, we’ve watched the tale of a seemingly normal man’s struggle with cancer and providing for his family crumble into the most unimaginable chaos, up to the point where last episode left off, with a suggestion that perhaps there’s nothing left of that kind, normal man. The show is widely considered one of television’s best dramas and for good reason. I’m approaching the series finale with mix of eager anticipation and deep sadness for its ending.
In honor of its finale, the good folks at Cinema Blend asked me to put together a little Breaking Bad themed dinner party menu. Though not in any way a show about food, Breaking Bad gives us no shortage for dinner party inspiration. Many of the shows pivotal confrontations occur over some of the world’s most awkward meals. The following menu, designed with a New Mexican flare for the show’s setting, should give you a few good ideas for hosting your own Breaking Bad series finale dinner party.
Check out Cinema Blend for all of the latest coverage, recaps, and reviews of Breaking Bad.
During the past season, Walt, Skyler, Hank and Marie met for the world’s most awkward double date at a Mexican restaurant. At the height of the tension, an upbeat waiter arrives, eagerly pushing the joint’s signature tableside guacamole. (You can see the clip here.)
Make this guacamole tableside to your guest’s liking, or prepare it ahead of time. *Squeeze a bit of lime juice over the top and cover securely with plastic wrap to prevent browning.
Heisenberg’s Tableside Guacamole
- 2 ripe avocados, halved
- 1/4 red onion, finely diced
- 1/2 jalapeño, ribs and seeds removed, very finely diced
- 1 small tomato, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- Salt and pepper
Smash the avocado using the backside of a fork, a potato masher, or with a mortar and pestle. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Adjust quantities as desired.
Serve with Walt’s signature blue tortilla chips and Jesse’s favorite Funyuns. To go full Breaking Bad style, wait to offer this to your guests during the most tense part of the evening. Orchestrate tension, if necessary.
No Breaking Bad menu would be complete without some fried chicken, from Gus Fring’s Los Pollos Hermanos, the fried chicken joint which played heavily into the show’s third and fourth seasons. We served our boneless fried chicken tenders over a spicy salsa verde, drizzled with a bit of chipotle mayo.
Gus Fring’s Los Pollos Hermanos Fried Chicken Tenders over Salsa Verde with Chipotle Drizzle
- 2 pounds chicken tenderloins
- 3 cups buttermilk, divided
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
- 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Vegetable oil, for frying
Soak the tenderloins in 2 cups of the buttermilk in a covered container in the refrigerator for a few hours.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan over medium/medium-high heat, until sizzling hot.
Whisk together the remaining cup of buttermilk and the eggs in a large bowl. Transfer the chicken tenders to the egg mixture.
In a small baking dish, stir together the flour, garlic powder, salt, paprika, and cayenne pepper.
Remove the chicken tenders from the egg mixture. Allow the excess to drip off. Press the chicken into the flour mixture until well coated on both sides. Place in the hot oil. Cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side, until cooked through and golden brown. (The chicken should sizzle when placed in the oil.) Drain the cooked tenders on a paper towel. Repeat in small batches until all of the chicken has been cooked.
Slightly modified from Rick Bayless’ Salsa Verde
- 8 tomatillos
- 1 jalapeno pepper or 1-2 serrano peppers, halved, stems and ribs removed*
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 white onion, coarse chopped
- 10-12 cilantro sprigs, bottom portion of stem removed, coarse chopped
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- Salt, to taste
*Use jalapeño for a spicy sauce. Use serrano for a more mild sauce.
Preheat your broiler.
Remove the husks from the tomatillos. Rinse. Cut off the stem, then halve. Place the halved tomatillos, garlic cloves, and jalapeño or serrano pepper on a baking sheet. Lightly rub the tomatillos, peppers, and garlic with olive oil. Roast a few inches under the broiler for about 5 minutes. Flip them over and roast the other side for about 5 minutes. Once cool, transfer the entire contents of the tray (including the juices) to a blender. Add the onion and cilantro. Blend to desired consistency. Season with lime juice and salt, to taste.
- 1 chipotle (from can of chipotles in adobo), pureed or very finely chopped
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons of adobo sauce (from can of chipotles in adobo)
Combine all ingredients until well blended.
The fifth season’s episode “Fifty-one”, finds Walt, Skyler, Hank and Marie seated once again at a dinner table on Walt’s 51st birthday, reflecting back the past year, with Walt spinning a web of lies while Skyler silently contemplates an escape for herself and her children. Attempting to break the tension, Marie offers a compliment about Skyler’s mashed potatoes, eager to learn how she removed all of the lumps. Skyler distractedly credits the use of a potato ricer, though her potatoes were actually store-bought and microwaved.
It may not truly be Skyler’s trick to creamy potatoes, but a potato ricer is in fact the ticket to smooth, non-gummy potatoes. By pressing the cooked potatoes through the ricer, lumps are thoroughly removed, without disturbing the cooked starches too much. I’ve had my eye on a potato ricer for many years now, though the idea to purchase one always corresponds with the holiday season, when I’m bleeding money and just can’t wrap myself around the added expense. I bought myself one yesterday in honor of this dish. Those are some smooth potatoes!
Skyler’s Creamy Potatoes with Cheddar and Jalapeño
- 8 large russet potatoes, peel and chopped into 1″ chunks
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 jalapeño, ribs and seeds removed, very finely diced
Place the potatoes in a large saucepan. Add water to just cover the potatoes. Bring the water to a boil. Cook for about 10 minutes, until fork tender. Allow to cool slightly. Mash the potatoes in a potato ricer or food mill. Alternately, use a potato masher. Stir in the sour cream, cheese, milk, and jalapeño, just until blended. Do not over-stir. Add more milk, as desired, to reach your preferred consistency. Season with salt, to taste.
Oh, Jesse, Jesse, Jesse… poor conflicted man, with any chance of living his American dream looking pretty hopeless right about now. Trapped in a concrete cell by some uber-creeps, Todd (no doubt the creepiest one of all) offers him some Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, giving him a choice between Peanut Butter Cup and Stephen Colbert’s Americone Dream.
Stephen Colbert’s Americone Dream combines vanilla ice cream with fudge coated waffle cone and caramel. This ice cream pie is inspired by the crave-worthy Ben and Jerry’s flavor. A waffle-cone crust gets coated with rich chocolate ganache then filled with vanilla ice cream and drizzled with caramel.
*Did you know that you can make a pie crust out of just about anything that crumbles? Combine two cups of crumbs with enough melted butter to make it stick (I usually use 10-12 tablespoons for 2 cups of crumbs, though other recipes use less butter), then press it into your pie shell and bake for a few minutes to set.
Jesse’s “Americone Dream” Inspired Ice Cream Pie
- 2 cups ice cream cone crumbs (sugar cones or waffle cones)
- 10-12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream
- 1/4 cup caramel sauce
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Stir together the ice cream cone crumbs and melted butter, until it sticks together when pressed. Press the mixture into a deep dish pie pan. Bake the crust for 10 minutes. Cool.
Bring the cream just to a boil, then remove from heat. Stir the hot cream into the chocolate chips. Stir until melted. Pour the ganache onto the bottom of the pie crust. Use a spatula to spread the ganache in an even layer on the bottom and up part of the sides of the crust. Cool.
Allow the ice cream to soften at room temperature. Spread the softened ice cream into the prepared crust. Place the pie in the freezer to set.
Before serving, drizzle with caramel sauce.
For more of a Breaking Bad effect, garnish the pie with little bits of blue rock candy or crushed blue hard candy. *You might want to wait until the kids go to bed before adding the crystal blue garnish. It just didn’t seem right to have the kids around pretend drugs, even if they’re clueless about the reference.
Blue is Walt and Jesse’s signature color. This crystal blue cocktail is oozing with orange flavors. I used an orange infused simple syrup to sweeten the drink, in order to preserve the beverage’s crystal transparency.
*This is a strong one, folks. Drink responsibly.
Crystal Blue Martini
- 2 ounces orange vodka
- 1 ounce triple sec
- 1 ounce blue curacao
- 2 ounces orange infused simple syrup
- Lemon juice, to taste
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour off the ice. Garnish with orange peel.
Orange Infused Simple Syrup
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- Peel of an orange, pith removed, thinly sliced
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring until sugar is completely dissolved. Simmer gently for about 3-5 minutes. Remove the orange peel and reserve for garnish. Cool.
Here are a few other fun ideas you could incorporate for a Breaking Bad viewing party:
Rooftop Roasted Pizza, just how Walt likes it. – Try any of the pizza recipes in the pizza section of my recipe collection.
Green Beans Almondine, like the store-bought ones that so impressed Jesse during his dinner at the White’s.
Breakfast with a number made of bacon, Walt’s annual way of bringing in his birthday. *This pic is from my son’s fifth birthday dinner. He is nothing like Walter White, except that he like breakfast foods and bacon.
Gus Fring’s Seafood Stew
Huevos Rancheros or this Huevos Rancheros Pizza
Rice ‘n’ Beans – Say it again. Rice ‘n’ Beans. Get it? Ricin Beans ** WARNING** DO NOT USE ACTUAL RICIN. It’s poison.