granny’s fried chicken

Here’s the funny thing about being a foodie … the more you love food, the less you know what foods you really want to eat at any given time. I find the biggest arguments I have with my beloved are truly about what to have for dinner. Sometimes there’s just no correct answer. But today (insert thankfulness) there is one.

Granny's Fried Chicken

Granny’s Fried Chicken

Now, I’m not saying MY grandmother is the only one who knows what to do by way of fried chicken. But, for a gal that refuses to eat hot foods cold – this is the recipe that breaks all bounds. It took me 20 years to realize that more often than not – simple is truly better. I’m honored to share this one with you. *Please note, there may be some terms that make no sense to you (if you’re not Southern or at least from these here parts, but keep at it. It’s well worth your time.

What you’ll need:

  • 12 drumsticks (although, works with any chicken cuts you desire). Nope. Leave the skin on and all in tact.
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • Iodized (you know, like Morton’s) salt
  • A lot and I mean a lot of pepper
  • Canola/ peanut oil (enough to coat your skillet and fill to 1/2 an inch)

What you’ll do:

  1. Heat oil in skillet to medium high.
  2. Place chicken in the largest bowl you’ve got.
  3. Salt generously – don’t worry about shaking it or anything fancy. *If you have more layers (due to constrained bowl size, fret not! Simply salt each layer generously. And yes! It’s normal to think you’ve got too much salt going. Again, DO NOT WORRY!
  4. In another bowl, pour flour. Then add chicken pieces (no more than 6 at a time). Toss to coat thoroughly. Do not, again DO NOT be shy.
  5. Place first batch of chicken into skillet and turn heat up to high (the temperature of the chicken drops the temperature of the oil – thus this is the most important step folks)!
  6. Generously pepper the chicken (while in the skillet).
  7. When the edges of the chicken turn “kindly” or golden brown (about the shade of a toffee candy), flip your chicken.
  8. Pepper generously again.
  9. When all sides of the chicken are toffee colored or 165 degrees, remove and …

Enjoy!

smoked gouda mac ‘n cheese with bacon + kale

Smoked Gouda Mac 'n Cheese with Bacon & Kale

Smoked Gouda Mac ‘n Cheese with Bacon & Kale

Let me just go ahead and get this out of the way. Confession: I’ve had a long standing love affair with mac ‘n cheese – homemade concoctions, boxed shortcuts, and restaurant versions alike. Celebrations, pot lucks, down on your luck, fed up with it all and just because … all perfectly sound reasons to break out the good stuff.

I can admit, I have fixated just a bit. You know, gone overboard. But being an all or nothing girl definitely has it’s perks. This is the first … hope you enjoy!

What you’ll need …

  • 16 oz. cooked and drained penne pasta
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 4 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 2 cups half & half
  • 1 cup shredded smoked gouda
  • 1 lb. quality diced (1/2″ cubes) bacon
  • 2 shallots minced
  • 2 cups fresh kale
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • salt & pepper to taste

What you’ll do …

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium saucepan cook bacon pieces. When nearly cooked crispy, add shallots and kale. Once kale is wilted. Remove mixture from heat and set aside.
  3. In the same saucepan, add 6 tablespoons of butter. Allow to melt slowly, whisking consistently. Then add one at a time, the tbsp of flour … again, whisking to combine rapidly and consistently. Add the half & half in the same fashion.
  4. Once sauce begins to thicken. Add smoked gouda, nutmeg, salt & pepper.
  5. Toss the cooked penne with the kale mixture. Then pour cheese sauce over the the pasta in a 9×9 pan.
  6. Bake at 350 until top is golden brown and edges are bubbling.

this bloggin’ life

This morning’s happenings …

  1. I have a crick in my neck
  2. I have writer’s block; A common side affect of crick in my neck
  3. The photos of my turkey mini-loaves look like dog food with fancy sauce
  4. My iPad charger is on my desk … at work
  5. I realized today – I missed a software class yesterday
  6. Someone has to clean my house
  7. I have no groceries, so no cooking today

This afternoon’s revelations …

Sometimes there are simply not enough hours in the day, days in the week and beyond. I can certainly bank on a failed recipe, an awful photo or two and a few site blunders along the way. But, like really a really great roux – once you get it, it’s yours and you’ll know what to do!

See ya Tuesday!

burgundy beef stew = awesomeness!

Burgundy Beef Stew

Burgundy Beef Stew

I’m not sure about the rest of you out there, but when cold & rain combine I believe it’s a clear sign to do absolutely nothing! And that nothing, you’re busy doing on said rainy, cold day should be served with a side of beef stew.

I don’t remember growing up with beef stew as a creature comfort (shame on you, Myie)! So the recipe I’m sharing with you today is a combination of Tyler Florence’s Ultimate Beef Stew, Matoo’s delicacy arsenal and a bit of my own intuition.

What you’ll need …

1 1/2 lbs. chuck roast, cut into 2 inch cubes
1 bottle of enjoyable red wine (I used Arrington Vineyards, Red Fox Red)
2 large potatoes, peeled & diced
4 large carrots, peeled & diced
3 ribs celery, washed and diced
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
6 smashed cloves of garlic
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground, smoked paprika
2 1/2 cups stock (I used chicken, ironically – but, anything is fine)
2 cups flour
2 tbsp. quality olive oil

Season beef generously with salt, pepper and paprika. Pour flour and seasoned beef into large bag, then shake to coat. In a large dutch oven, heat oil to medium high. Add beef (shaking off excess flour) and brown on all sides. Remove and set aside. Pour bottle of red wine in, scrape bits from bottom of pan. Once heated through, add browned meat, rosemary, garlic, bay leaves, stock and cloves. Bring to a rolling boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 3 hours. Add potatoes, celery and carrots. Continue to simmer until potatoes are tender. Serve with bread, biscuits and/or small salad. Enjoy!

rosemary cornbread muffins

Rosemary Cornbread ... yes, please!

Rosemary Cornbread … yes, please!

Being a Southern woman comes with it’s perks … don’t you never mind! I’m not saying I’m a “Southern Belle”, but when it comes to cornbread, one can do no wrong. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, side item … serve it up! If you’re not a fan of rosemary, live a little! Add your own combination of your favorite fresh herbs. Granted, this variation is a tad bit more savory than I’d kick off just any day – but, it’s delicious all the same.  Enjoy!

What you’ll need …

2 cups plain white cornmeal
1 large egg
1 1/3 cups milk or buttermilk
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp fine sea salt
3 springs fresh chopped rosemary

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease muffin tin (I like to use Canola spray for bakers – though I am not one) or or use some festive muffin liners. Combine all ingredients and combine until smooth and batter-like. Fill muffin tins 3/4 full and bake until golden brown. Approximately 20-25 mins. Serve with a smile.

***Got leftovers? Not to worry, we’ll be making cornbread dressing with those later this year. Throw ’em in the freezer***

my favorite (almost famous) blackeyed peas

Blackeyed Peas, if you please!

Blackeyed Peas, if you please!

Most folks are fair-weather Johnsons when it comes to blackeyed peas – thinking only of them when New Year’s comes around. That’s just wrong! Blackeyed peas are a welcome surprise to any dinner and are readily (affordably) available every day. This recipe is meant as a side, but can easily be translated into a delicious winter soup to chap the cold. Just add more stock!

What you’ll need …

2 16 oz. bags dried blackeyed peas
4 tbsp quality olive oil
3 dried bay leaves
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
3 large carrots (diced)
3 stalks of celery (diced)
1/2 large red onion
4 cloves garlic (minced)
12 oz. country ham seasoning pieces *optional*
6 cups stock (vegetable or chicken)
2 cups good drinking white wine (1 for you, 1 for the peas)
8 springs chopped fresh thyme

Soak dried blackeyed peas in a large bowl with enough water to cover entirely. Refrigerate uncovered overnight. Rinse and drain peas with fresh water then set aside. In a large pot on medium heat add olive oil, dried bay leaves, and crushed red pepper flakes. Heat until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add carrots, celery, red onion and garlic. Top with a hefty pinch of salt and allow to sweat until celery and onions are close to translucent. Add 12 ounces of country ham pieces for seasoning (if you’re opting for vegetarian – skip this step). Combine thoroughly. Add drained peas and thyme. Then cover with enough chicken stock (or vegetable stock) to cover peas. Throw in the wine and take a good swig yourself. Bring to low boil for 30 minutes. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for about 2 hours or until thickened and peas softened. For additional flavor burst, serve with your favorite hot sauce and Southern Chow Chow.

***Don’t worry if you’ve made too much … these freeze amazingly well for at least 3 months! Keep that luck rolling!***

sweet + sour fried cabbage

Eat your greens!

Eat your greens!

I’m a newly converted fan of cabbage. Having only had it prepared overcooked and soupy … YUCK! I revisited this glorious veg about 3 years ago – determined to put more viable greens into my diet. This is not a healthy option per say, but it’s a tasty one. Hey! Give a little, take a little. This number is one of my grandmother’s recipes (altered just a tad) and my mother’s favorite meal side. Goes great with Chicken ‘n Dumplins or as a side for any entree you can think of.

What you’ll need …

1 medium head of green (or red) cabbage
2 tbsp quality olive oil
4 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
fresh ground black pepper *optional, to taste

Heat olive oil, unsalted butter in a skillet, apple cider vinegar, and crushed red pepper flakes over medium heat. Combine until fragrant. Cut cabbage into ribbons and add to to heated skillet. Cover and allow to sweat for 3-5 minutes. Fold in so the oil and butter mixture coats all the cabbage. Add 1 tsp. salt and 1 tbsp. sugar continuing to fold. Reduce heat to a simmer. Serve when cooked through (should be slightly translucent).

sorghum + coffee marinated pork chops

sorghum_coffee_chops
During a recent Farmer’s Market excursion, I found a local Molasses and Sorghum vendor. I never knew the difference. However, 2o minutes later … this is what I learned: Molasses is a by-product of the sugar industry, whereas sorghum is the syrup produced when the extracted juice from the sorghum is boiled down. I felt compelled to purchase said heavenly juice and have since been hunting a recipe to actually USE sorghum. Low and behold Sir Alton Brown’s “Molasses & Coffee Marinated Pork Loin” … Adaptively so – here ya go!

What you’ll need …

1 cup cooled strong brewed coffee
1/2 cup sorghum
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp stone ground mustard
3 minced garlic cloves
1/2 tsp ground ginger
8 springs fresh chopped thyme
8 boneless pork chops (approximately 1 inch thick)

Combine coffee, sorghum, vinegar, mustard, garlic, ground ginger, and thyme. Mix until thoroughly combined. Place chops into a baking dish (making sure they are flat to the dish – use a fork to pierce chops all over and through). Pour mixture over and allow to marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Remove chops and bring to room temperature for at least 30 minutes prior to cooking. Heat grill pan to high heat and sear each chop on each side for 3 minutes. Place in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes or until internal temperature is 145 degrees. Enjoy!

*** Recipe adapted from Alton Brown***

health, wealth + good fortune

Happy 2013! I hope you survived the holidays, overindulged, and kissed someone you truly love … I did!

Here in the South, we don’t simply wish health, wealth, and good fortune on our loved ones. We insist (ok, ok … demand) that our loved ones consume it! Needless to say, everyone goes bursting into the new year with a full belly and the promise of a fantastic 365-day trek ahead.

This year, I served Sorghum & Coffee Marinated Pork (for health), Sweet & Sour Fried Cabbage (for wealth), My Favorite Blackeyed Peas (for good fortune) and Rosemary Cornbread Muffins (just because). You can serve this any time the craving calls, but on New Year’s it’s a MUST. Now, it should go without saying however, for good measure make sure to have seconds.

Happy New Year, Loves!