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!

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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.

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***

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***