Not many people know much about me, except for the fact that I am a Yankee married to a Southerner who lives in Maryland and likes to cook. After I started working with The Hungry Southerner, I entered into the terrific world of teaching first grade. I never thought that I would wish so much more for extra hours in a day until I spent one full week in the classroom. I love my little kiddies, but I miss my free time. And the kitchen. My poor husband has had two home cooked meals in the past 30 days.
Category Archives: Yankee Challenge
I have been searching through my grandmother’s recipes, look for some family heirlooms. It just so happens our friend Ashley over at Ice Milk Aprons has us looking for something special (Project: Preserve The Blog). During my search, not only did I discovered my Great Grandfather’s Cafe Chicken & Dumpling recipe but also this month’s Yankee Challenge. It’s time to pass down a soulful family Southern dish to our favorite Yankee cook.
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.”
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.
Ahh…. Red Velvet Cake. What a fantastic challenge! The first time I ever tasted Red Velvet Cake was six years ago at Regas Restaurant in Knoxville, Tennessee. I was reluctant to try a nibble after I was told the cake was made with cocoa and the frosting made with cream cheese. Cocoa and cream cheese = icky. However, after my mother-in-law convinced me to take a bite of her piece, I ordered a ginormous piece of my own. It was SO stinkin’ good!
I started making my own yogurt about 5 years ago when I was on a low
carb diet and wanted to control the sugar in my food. Once I got into
it, I really appreciated the fact that making our own food helps
reconnect us with lost traditions and reminds us where our food comes
from. Making your own yogurt is simple, saves money and allows you to
create your own custom flavor combinations…and it’s delicious.
Growing up my Sisters would watch Steel Magnolias, over and over. So you can imagine that I’ve managed to see this, modern, Southern classic once or twice. About midway through the film, there is this great scene where the “mean old” Ouiser is serving the, Armadillo shaped, red velvet groom’s cake, and she chops the tail off and serves it to Tom Skerritt. Seeing this scene makes me laugh every time, which brings us to this month’s Yankee Challenge. This month you’ll be baking Southern Red Velvet Cake.