6.27.2012

Corn Spoon Bread




There is nothing like a simple old fashioned southern recipe. They don't need to be dressed up with what Granny would call "These New Fancy Ingredients". Southern classics are the best when cooked with the same ingredients (or close to the same) as your grandma and her mama before that.
One of my all time favorites is Spoon Bread.  Some might confuse this with cornbread, they might even tell you that it is just that... Cornbread. But my Aunt Mabel would tell you there is a difference and dare you to challenge her theory. Spoon bread is more custard like, baked often like a casserole and served with a spoon.
Or if you have them, cute little cast iron skillets.
This dish is great to eat with a side of greens or fish, maybe even ice cream.
Okay maybe not ice cream.
This recipe I adapted slightly from a little homemade cookbook that the ladies of Granny's church put together in 1984. It's very similar to Corn Pudding, but we will save that recipe for another day.
If you like these mini skillets you can order them here.
Get creative with your next dinner party appetizers and serve them in these little beauties.





Corn Spoon Bread 


You might need these:

1 1/2 cup of milk
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup fresh corn kernels
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper flakes


Preheat oven to 400
In medium saucepan, whisk together milk, cornmeal and salt. Stir constantly over medium high heat until the mixture thickens. Mix in 1/2 the cheese, corn, and green onions. Then remove from heat and  stir in eggs until combined.
Pour mixture into 1- quart baking dish, sprinkle with the red pepper flakes and remaining cheese.
Bake  for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.
For the little skillets, I divided the batter among 8 mini skillets, placed them on a baking sheet and baked for about 15 minutes.

Enjoy!


6.22.2012

Dill Pickle Salsa


Fresh salsa is one of my favorite things to make this time of year.. It’s a great
 “Look what I brought to your party.. Don’t I rock” type dish. 
Mainly because it can be dressed up in all kinds of drippings from black beans, grilled corn, avocados, watermelons, strawberries.. You want me to keep going or are ya with me..
Cool
Salsa is prefect to eat with chips while sipping on that corona watching the waves crash against the beach from your lounge chair…. while gazing sweetly down at Michael Fassbender as he rubs your feet..

Wait.

Sorry.. I’ve been looking at him on the cover of this GQ magazine that is sitting on my coffee table

It’s distracting..

Back to the subject.. if you love salsa the way that I do… next time you’re chopping your tomatoes and squeezing those limes..

add some dill pickles..


Dill Pickle Salsa


Dear Lord, Please let my tomatoes look like this next year. Amen.





You might need these:

4 Vine Ripe Tomatoes, diced
1/2 Red Onion, diced
2 Jalapenos, finely diced
1 Dill Pickle, Diced
3 tablespoons minced cilantro, more if desired
2 limes, the juice of
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Combine tomatoes, onion, jalapenos, dill pickle and lime juice in a bowl.
Add cilantro, and salt mixing to combine all the ingredients. Then refrigerate
for about an hour to combine all the flavors before serving.

Get some chips, tacos, tequila or beer or "E" all of the above... and enjoy! 



6.18.2012

I'm back with Buttermilk Fried Chicken Tacos


 Hola

I’ve been slighty MIA.. I know.. Been traveling alittle.. eating a lot and enjoying this warm weather..

But back to business….

Atlanta GA is where I currently call home. That is... until I move to the French country side and purchase that Lavender farm that I’ve always dreamed of. 

I will probably live in Georgia for a very long time.

Anyway, this post isn’t about demographic locations, it is about a pledge that I took to raise awareness of Pasture Raised Poultry in Georgia.


Yes, I am one of those.. Always looking for the locally grown, grass-fed, free range.. raised down the street tag on my food.
The first annual Pastured Poultry Week took place June 11th- 17th. There were chef demo’s at local farmers markets and several restaurants in the Atlanta and surrounding areas helped educate folks on the positive impact to your health and the environmental benefits of pastured poultry.



I think Chefs are cool.. they are "Mad Cool" with an arm full of tattoos...

Me, never being one to miss out on some culinary education (for free) went to a couple of the demos.. ate at some of the participating restaurants..

And I made ya’ll some Buttermilk Fried Chicken Tacos, using my own free-range pastured chicken from White Oak Pasture in Bluffton South Carolina, which I prefer to cook with. Mainly because I lived in South Carolina a few years back and had a chance to meet some lovely people that worked at White Oak Pasture, they were so nice to me, that I said that I would always try to buy their meats... 

Being nice goes a long way, wouldn't you say..


Moving on



The tasty corn mixture on the top of these yummy tacos, is Sweet Corn Ceviche. Which is a recipe that I slightly adapted from Sprouted Kitchen.


Ya'll know I love corn.. and never miss a chance to fry chicken.. so this combination was simply bombtastic.. on so many levels...

Word up..

Now let’s eat some tacos..



Buttermilk Fried Chicken Tacos w/ Sweet Corn Ceviche

You might need these: 
2 tbsp of koshe salt
1 tbsp ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp. parprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp cornstrach
8 Chicken tenderloin strips
Peanut oil (for frying)

Click here for the Corn Cerviche recipe.. it's good stuff, I used Jalapenos rather than Serrano Chile Peppers...

Let's fry some chicken.. 

I use a cast iron skillet to fry my chicken on the stove.. mainly because that is all I've been exposed to so that's what I do.. But a regular frying pan will do the trick.

Whisk first 4 ingredients (the spices) in a bowl and season each chicken strip by rubbing both sides of the strips with the rub... you may not use it all.. no worries
Place chicken in a medium bowl, cover, and chill overnight.. or if you don't have that kind of time, for a few hours in the fridge. This allows the seasoning to fully marinate the chicken and keep it juicy.

When you're ready to fry.... Whisk buttermilk, egg, and 2 tsp of water in a medium bowl. Whisk flour and cornstarch in a baking dish... 

Pour the oil into skillet (or frying pan) to about 3/4" full.  Heat the oil over medium high heat until ready. If you have a deep fry thermometer you want it to register 350 degrees before you place the chicken in the grease. 
Growing up Granny did what she called the "Flour Test" that is.. you take some flour.. say about a pinch.. then throw it into the grease.. if it bubbles up and starts to cook, the grease is ready.. 

In other words.. buy a deep fry thermometer if you don't have one.

Working one piece at a time dip chicken strip in the buttermilk mixture, then dredge in the flour mixture, tab against the side to shake off excess flour. Place about 5 strips at a time in the pan, turning about every 1 to 2 minutes, until skin is golden brown on both sides. 

Using tongs, remove the chicken from skillet and place on a paper towel layered plate.. this soaks up all that excess grease.. 

Excess grease is so good.. bad, very bad.. 

Repeat with remaining chicken then let cool slightly 

Add Chicken strip (desired amount- I used, 1 per taco) to tortilla, then top with the Corn Ceviche mixture..

Tacos are good.. so is Fried Chicken... 







6.15.2012

The Graduate

Hi there lovely people...

I'm still here.. been a little quiet in the kitchen. I know..
There's been an abundance of life events that have kinda gotten in the way of blogging..
One major event was my daughter graduated..
No.. no.. not High School.. I'm not there yet..
5th Grade..

The week prior to the big day was a bevy of exciting events.. which started with a sleepover of 12 girls.. EEK!! and ended with a sleepover of 12 girls.. but this time at someone else's house.
Amongst the parties, sleepovers and ceremony preparations.. I was tasked with the mission of locating a white dress that fit the standards of my indecisive daughter. After visiting 6 stores and trying on "I lost count" amount of dress.. we found one that was quite cute.

Dear lord, please don't let this be a sign of things to come.


When the big day arrived we were ready to go with our perfect little dress, sparkling sandals.. (it took several store visits to find those) and 100 cookies that I had no idea I was signed up to make until the evening before..

Moving on..

The ceremony was a tad bit long.. being that it was for just 5th grade but very cute none the less and ended with a slide show of baby pictures.
Thank You Jesus Moment

Kamaya (my daughter) told me to be sure to get pictures of all her friends..

I did..

On the way home she asked me what I thought of the slide show (that she helped put together) and if I had one at my 5th grade graduation.

I told her the slide show was Outstanding, Wonderful, Simply Amazing...and that Yes..I had a slide show for my graduation.. but due to the film projector and three strip technicolor process it wasn't as clear as hers...

No.. I'm kidding.. I didn't say that..

Anyway, since I've been slightly MIA I thought I would give ya'll a glimpse of what has been taking up my time.. which is almost always centered around my family..

Oh and Charlie was there too... 
"Not sure what's going on.. but it looks important"

I've got some crazy goodness coming your way.. Found a 1941 cookbook I've been playing around with... coming soon!!

That's it for now folks!


6.08.2012

Watermelon and Arugula Salad with Toasted Sunflower Seeds


Ever been to a watermelon seed spittin… yea “spittin” contest?
No... Then you’re missing out..
There is an art to the whole process.. with the end goal being that you get your seed way past the other contenders on that plastic like covering or just past the line on the floor..
I know you're thinking it’s disgusting.. but actually.. It’s entertaining..
To see a bunch of grown folks standing around watching other grown folks spit.. ack!!

When the summer time rolls around... the first thing I tend to think about is watermelon…
As a kid,Granny and I used to sit outside eating this delectable juicy treat or rather she would sit and watch me go back and forth down that shiny piece of yellow plastic that wasn’t quite thick enough to stop the sharp blades of grass from poking you… I think it was called a slip-n-slide..
She would laugh at me and call me silly while enjoying the sun as the spray from the water quenched the thirst of her rose bushes.

We received our endless supply of watermelon from a gentleman who was always parked directly in front of the local Piggly Wiggly.
This watermelon was by far the beat I've ever had.
He would say they are so good because they were “His” watermelon, straight out of his own backyard.
I couldn’t argue with that because even now 20 years later, I don’t think I have found one slice of watermelon that comes close to his.
Now…when I visit and pass by that corner …. I can still see his old beat up blue pick-up truck full of watermelon and him leaning against the side with a big smile on his face because he knew his would far surpass any others you’ve sampled in the past, which undoubtedly  would keep bringing you back for more.
Although.. Granny would pop you with a switch if she caught you spittin out the seeds..

Remember that while you’re eating this salad..


Watermelon and Arugula Salad with Toasted Sunflower Seeds



You might need these:
recipe adapted from Whole Foods

6 cups of diced seedless watermelon
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup feta cheese crumbles
1/2 cup toasted sunflower seeds
6 tablespoons of balsamic dressing
5 cups baby arugula





Here is what you do:

In a large bowl combine watermelon, onion, feta and arugula. Add balsamic dressing and toss to coat. Then sprinkle with the toasted sunflower seeds and dig in. 

The balsamic dressing brought out the flavor of the watermelon, while the sunflower seeds gave it a warm crunchiness.. this salad is summer garden party perfect..



Enjoy!

6.01.2012

Black Peppercorn Salmon and Monterey Jack Grits.....


How do you feel about Grits?

Is that a weird question?

No.. really I want to know before I lead you down this path we are headed which is a post about my love for Grits..

I need us all to be on the same page..

When I first started pondering on the idea of a food blog, a friend of mine asked me not to it make only about grits, fried chicken or cornbread.. which I indulge in on a frequent basis... So I think I have done good, not once have I written one recipe containing the ingredient that I have consumed over 300 tons  of and know 100 ways to cook.

Grits..They are a southern staple that can be added to or the main ingredient in a numerous amount of dishes, this is not just limited to breakfast and brunch…
The southern substitute for lasagna.. in my opinion.. is a Cheesy Tomato Grits casserole that my grandmother used to make.. I’ll make that soon, but as I said before I am trying to keep to my promise..
Once while visiting a friend I made some grits ( I made some other stuff too..but let’s keep with the theme of this post)… when it was time to clean up I saw that she was about to throw away the leftovers…  Don’t throw away leftover grits…

Does that sound weird too?

Well, if you save them put them in a can (mason jar-preferable) put them in the fridge.. then in the morning when you get up make them into patties fry them in some oil and you’ve got yourself  what we call down here “Grit Cakes”. Should I continue… umm I’ll just get to this recipe that I have for you today…

Grits are good with butter..lots of butter.. there even better with Jelly.. but they are amazing mixed with Monterey jack cheese and topped with Black Peppercorn Salmon…

Oh just a little side tip… Cook your grits in chicken stock instead of water… and always stir the pot before you add the grits in.. not sure what this does to be honest.. but my Granny was adamant about stirring the pot.. so I stir the pot..

Now go back and count how many times I used the word "Grits" then multiply that by 3.. the number that you get doesn't even come close to the amount of ways I can cook some grits..

Let's stir the pot... shall we...


Black Peppercorn Salmon with Monterey Jack Grits 








You might need these:

For the Salmon:
1 Salmon Fillet, about 2 pounds.. I took the skin off, but if you like that crispy skin on the salmon.. leave it on and tell me how it turned out.
1 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter, room temp
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Fresh Black Peppercorn
2 teaspoons ground red pepper

For the Grits:
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup of whipping cream
1 cup quick cooking grits
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup Monterey jack cheese



Here is what you do:

With a sharp knife cutting across the width of the salmon, divide into 4 equal parts
Rub each fillet with butter, then sprinkle each side with ground red pepper.
Now rub each side with the peppercorn.. I am very fond of peppercorn so I added quite alot..

Coat a large skillet with olive oil (about 2 tablespoons) over medium heat.
When hot, add salmon and cook for about 5 minutes, turn over and cook the other side for another 5 minutes.. Keep warm while cooking the grits.

In a heavy bottom saucepan, bring the chicken stock and whipping cream to a low simmer. (remember to stir the pot.. like I said, not sure why) then whisk in the grits and return to a low simmer. Cook until thickened.. stirring often (see.. more stirring the pot) for about 5 minutes. Stir in butter and cheese.

Now you can cut your salmon up and add it to the grits or if you like me.. put some grits on a plate and top them with the salmon.

Enjoy...