My fifth Yankee Challenge was a bomb. Well, the whole meal wasn’t a bomb, just the fried chicken part. The fried chicken was supposed to be the guest of honor and ended up on the back burner.Fried chicken is my new nemesis. I thought I was doing everything right – soaked the chicken overnight in buttermilk, mixed seasoning into the flour, used Crisco instead of oil, and baked the chicken after it was fried. After 30 minutes in the oven, my chicken was crispy on top, soggy on bottom, and rare inside. I didn’t follow the rule about the fryer chicken because I needed to feed 5 people and I figured ginormous chicken legs would do the trick. I was so wrong. There was so much meat on what I have decided were probably the calves of all-star-track-running-chickens. The entire time I stood in front of my cast iron skillet filled with melted Crisco and was splattered all over my apron, I tried repeating to myself, “You can’t lose to the chicken.”
Category Archives: Cooking
Though Spring seems like a distant memory, the heat has caused me to seek out something light and fresh from the Southern garden. I’ve managed to find some really great watermelons this season and I was inspired by a delicious dinner to make a cool summer salad. I’m new to this whole salad game, since I’m the carnivore of the group, but the fresh, cool flavor of the watermelon and the zip of red onion was too good to pass up. I give you my Southern fresh Watermelon Spring Salad to take the edge off this heat.
There is a Mardi Gras tradition that you won’t find in New Orleans. All along parade routes from Mobile,AL to Pass Christian, MS you’ll find krewes of revelers, riding floats, throwing beads and trinkets along with some delicious Southern sweets. Of course I’m referring to the ubiquitous MoonPie. A unique Southern food that has been enjoyed for a century, still made where it all began right here in the South. Here’s a look at this wonderful, bite sized, sweet.
As a stress cooker, I did my fair share of baking in college. Most of my friends knew that an all night study session would inevitably be followed by an afternoon of baking stuff I couldn’t possibly eat, so they’d drop by after class got out to enjoy the spoils. Most of the time I’d make some cookies, but after a really bad test, I needed cake. Pound Cake, that is. So easy, and so good. Southern food made simple.
It’s finally tomato season in the South. The farmers markets are bursting with the colors of every heirloom tomato imaginable and your home garden is probably over flowing with tomatoes of all sorts. There is nothing like the season’s first BLT, the second BLT and third, until you’re still looking at a pile of tomatoes and suddenly not so interested in another boring BLT. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing like a garden picked BLT where the star is some unknown heirloom exploding with its sweet acidic glory, but what if I could add some texture? I give you my Southern food twist on the classic BLT – the “BLORT” Bacon Lettuce Onion Ring & Tomato Sandwich.
One of the easiest ways to travel (through space and/or time) is through food. The tie between memory and taste is one of the most wonderful things about eating. Because we reminisce about our grandmother’s cooking or we miss certain dishes associated with our travels, we try to re-live those experiences in our kitchen. This was likely the reason that the French colonials living in New Orleans created the pecan praline. Longing for the almond and sugar treat known as a prasline back in their homeland, yet lacking the skills or ingredients to truly produce it, they ended up creating a distinctly American treat (less healthy, bigger portion, diabetes inducing…..) now associated with the city of New Orleans.
Have you ever noticed how, in the South, you’re never more than a mile from something resembling a fried chicken restaurant? There is one on practically every corner. We Southerners have a love affair with our fried chicken. With an abundance of lard and a steady supply of cast iron cooking utensils, Southerners have always been a little fry happy. Locally raised chickens have been abundantly available to all, who have lived in the South, (since before the Civil War) and frying them up is part of our Southern food heritage. As part of that heritage, we graciously attribute African plantation workers for the contribution of the signature Southern spices, associated with modern fried chicken recipes. With all that said, it’s time for the “Yankee” to tackle the challenge of the quintessential Southern food, Southern Fried Chicken.