[item title=”Double Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Honey Lemon Drizzle”]First, break down a whole chicken into separate pieces (or buy one prebutchered), making sure to leave the skin intact. Additionally, halve each individual breast so you end up with 10 total pieces. Place in a large sealable plastic bag or container.
Place the following items in the bag or container with the chicken, and let sit for at least four hours in the refrigerator. (For better results allow 12-24 hours.) Remove and pat dry, then set aside.
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups room-temperature water
1/8 cup of honey
8 sage leaves
2 sprigs of each rosemary and thyme (plus extra for garnish)
1 head of garlic, cut in half
1/4 cup salt
1 tsp ground pepper
Juice and zest of 2 lemons
Mix together the following, and equally divide into two shallow bowls:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp onion powder
3 tsp All-Seasons salt
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp black pepper
In a separate mixing bowl, mix together the following ingredients. Place the bowl on your prep surface between the two bowls of seasoned flour.
2 cups buttermilk
1 cup half-and-half cream
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp All-Seasons salt
5 dashes of Crystal hot sauce
Coat each piece of chicken with flour, shake off excess, then dip in the buttermilk, and finally dip in the second dish of flour. Shake off excess, then set aside for about 15 minutes before frying. Repeat until all the chicken is prepared.
To fry, pour about 2 inches worth of oil into a large, deep-sided, cast-iron skillet or large pot, or use a small personal fryer up to its specified amount (about 1/2 to 1 gallon). Peanut oil or a mild-flavored vegetable-based cooking oil is preferred. Heat oil until a thermometer reaches 320 degrees F. Carefully and slowly place chicken into oil, making sure to not splatter. Also, do not overcrowd your cooking surface. Cook for 13-15 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees F. Remove cooked pieces and place on a wire rack lined with paper towels.
To make the honey lemon drizzle:
1 cup honey
Juice of 2 lemons plus zest from 1 lemon
1½ tsp ground mixed or black pepper
3 dashes of Crystal hot sauce
Pour all items into a sealable jar, then close and shake until well mixed. Use a spoon to drizzle desired amount onto chicken. Sprinkle torn bits of the reserved rosemary and thyme sprigs onto chicken.[/item]
[item title=”Robuchon-Inspired Mashed Potatoes”]I’ve adapted this from a memory of the best potatoes I’ve ever eaten. The biggest problem with the original is the time-consuming technique, as well as the ungodly amount of butter that it called for. This is considerably lighter and requires far fewer kitchen tools. The only item you may need to purchase is a serviceable food mill which can be found at your local Crowder Bros. Ace Hardware store. Four simple ingredients is all it takes!
2 pounds gold potatoes
1/2 cup half-and-half
2 sticks unsalted butter
Pepper, to taste
Peel potatoes. Roughly dice into 1-inch cubes and place in a large pot of tepid water. After all of the potatoes are chopped, place pot on a burner at high heat. Once water begins to boil, add a pinch of salt and boil for an additional 5 minutes. Lower the temperature to simmer. Add 1/4 cup of the cream and cook 10 more minutes or until potatoes are fork tender. Remove from heat, but keep the burner on Low. Strain out the liquid by placing potatoes in a colander, then turn through a food mill, quickly working the potatoes back into the pot. In stages, add butter, about 2 Tbsp per addition, until each pat is completely melted, leaving 2 Tbsp for the final touch. Next, very slowly stir in the cream until incorporated thoroughly. Add salt to taste and place potatoes in a serving bowl. Dab the remaining butter atop the final product, allowing pools of melted butter to form. Finish with a pinch more salt and a turn or two of fresh cracked pepper.[/item]
[item title=”Garlicky Collards”]2 bunches of collard greens (washed, with ribs removed and cut into thick chiffonade)
1 head of garlic, finely minced
Juice from 1 lemon
2 Tbsp olive oil
In a large sauté pan, heat oil on Med-High until you see slight whiffs of smoke appear, then immediately add the greens. It might look like they won’t all fit, but don’t worry, everything will shrink down. Let sit for about a minute, then toss. Lower heat to Medium, then add garlic and a few sprinkles of salt. Continue to toss until tender for about 3 minutes. Squeeze the lemon juice right into the pan just before serving.[/item]
[item title=”Fresh Corn Spoonbread”]Spoonbread is a cornmeal-based, pudding-like hybrid. If you’re weary of your cornbread always turning out too dry and crumbly, this is the answer.
1 cup plain yellow cornmeal
1 cup half-and-half
6 Tbsp butter (4 melted, 2 chilled)
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 ears of corn, shucked and kernels cut off the cob
2 eggs, separated
Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Place a large pie plate or baking dish inside the oven to warm up. In a large skillet or pot, heat 2 cups of water and the cornmeal over Med-High heat. Whisk constantly for about 5 minutes, then turn off heat. Slowly add the cream, then the melted butter as well as sugar and salt. Set aside. Put the separated eggs into 2 separate bowls. Whisk the yolks until well blended, and then whisk the whites until soft peaks form. Temper the yolks with 1/4 of the cornmeal batter so they do not scramble, then pour the yolks into the remaining batter. Stir in the fresh corn, and fold in the egg whites until just barely mixed.[/item][item title=”Black-Eyed Pea Gumbo (Online Exclusive Recipe)“]The absolute most important part of this recipe is the roux noir. If you burn it (you will immediately know if you did from smell alone), cut your losses and start over. Do not step away from the stove while the roux is being made unless you or someone you love is under physical duress.
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sweet onions, chopped
2/3 cup green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
2 Tbsp garlic, finely chopped
2 quarts chicken broth
1 pound ham hock
2 cans black-eyed peas, rinsed
1/2 cup pickled okra, cut into small circles (found in the pickle aisle)
Salt and Crystal hot sauce to taste
To make the seasoning blend:
1 Tbsp filé powder (pronounced FEE-lay)
1/2 Tbsp oregano
1/2 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 Tbsp smoked paprika
1/2 Tbsp white pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
(Note: If you don’t like spicy, you can cut down on the amount of seasoning. If you like it hot, a little more won’t hurt. However, if you plan on serving this dish to children, I would keep it on the milder spectrum.)
Place flour and oil into a large stock pot on Medium heat. Immediately begin stirring, as a paste will form. When the oil gets hot enough it will start to thin out and the mixture will look more like slurry. Keep stirring. After a few minutes, the color will begin to change from pale beige to a more golden color. Keep stirring. The color will keep getting darker as time goes by and the smell with remind you of nicely made toast. Keep stirring. After 30 minutes or so of constant stirring, you should have a darker brown roux. This means you are close, but you must keep stirring. You are looking for a dark brown with a crimson tint, almost like chocolate. The entire process will take about 45 minutes. This is the essence of gumbo. Without it you just have soup.
Once the roux is complete, add the onion, green pepper, celery, and garlic, and sauté for 3 minutes. Add stock and ham hock, then reduce to simmer for an additional 1½ hours, stirring occasionally so nothing sticks to the bottom. Add black-eyed peas and seasoning, and then cook for 1 hour. Take out the hock and cut meat off of the bone, removing any excess skin and cartilage. Dice the meat and return it to the pot. Just before serving, add the pickled okra and any additional seasoning you feel it may need.
Serve in a bowl atop spoonbread or white rice. Garnish with extra filé powder, spices, and chives. For the splurge, top off each bowl with slices of gently butter-poached lobster tail.[/item]
[item title=”Torticas de Morón (Online Exclusive Recipe)“]
2½ cups unbleached whole-wheat all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup cane sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
In a large mixing bowl, add flour, salt, and baking powder.
Whisk together and set aside. In a mixer with a paddle attachment, beat butter on High for 1 minute, then add sugar and beat for an additional 5 minutes until creamed. Adjust speed to Low and add egg and vanilla. Beat 1 more minute.
Slowly add flour mixture while mixer is still on Low, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl if needed. Mix until dough is just formed. Divide into two disks and wrap with plastic wrap. Chill the dough overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Take out one disc of dough and let rest for 2 minutes before rolling out to a 1/3-inch-thick sheet. Cut with a ring mold into cookie shapes. Place on a nonstick baking sheet or silicone baking mat. Sprinkle each cookie with an extra pinch of sugar. Bake for 13 minutes until golden.
As an extra: You can top the finished cookies (like Publix sells them) by making a simple chocolate ganache, then piping it into a small circle in the middle of the cooled off cookie. Simply pour 1/2 cup of warm heavy cream over 4 ounces of sweetened dark chocolate, then stir until smooth. Let it cool so that it is set enough to work with, without it falling off the edges of the cookies.
If you prefer a fruity dessert, thinly slice pitted sweet cherries and fan them out on the cut dough just before baking. Sprinkle with a touch of sugar, and you’re all set![/item]