All posts filed under: New Southern Classics

Getting to Yes – Double Dipped Buttermilk Chicken Nuggets

The airwaves have been inundated with the talk…  10 nuggets for $1.49. How good could they be, really. And that’s the basis of this whole exercise. The thing is, I don’t make very good fried chicken, and Jane knows it. I didn’t get that grandmotherly gene of tempering flavor / heat / coating to make bone-in Southern Fried Chicken work.    So… a dollar forty-nine, a cheap, easy way to get that crispy fried soulful satisfaction – it seemed like a doer. It’s not. Aside from the questionable oil that it’s fried in, it honestly isn’t even chicken. I’m not sure a chicken walked very close to the factory where they were made. They’re stodgy, spongy… kinda rubbery…. with the most notable flavor being an overabundance of soy protein. And to be brutally honest, it’s the same with any mass-produced, faster – than – prudent establishment serving up the little crispy jewels. So, it’s back to the drawing board and finding a way to get maximum flavor out of a relatively tasteless piece of protein where you …

Under Pressure – Crowder Pea Shellies & Dried Beans

 Another Test on the Cook’sEssentials 4.5 Qt Microwave Pressure Cooker I remember long, hot, late Autumn afternoons, when the lawns have had their last cut, the drying grass  filling the air with such a deep herbal sweetness. I remember visits to my grandparents, sitting on Evelyn’s screened porch, shelling beans and peas… which is an art. There’s a considerable difference between fresh beans and shellies. While a fresh bean can be wickered apart by snapping or with some quick thumb work with a pairing knife, shellies have to be… well, shelled. The long tough side strings have to be removed, a deft thumb employed to separate the casing, then re-positioning said thumb to push through the drying gauntlet; freeing the more than slightly matured beans as you go. For Evelyn and my great grandmother, it was second nature. They’d talk and gossip, all the while casings flying apart and shelled beans dropped efficiently into a pot in their lap. Me?… not so much. Either the strings wouldn’t release, or the casings cracked and broke, or I’d …

Taste of Summer – Herbed Shrimp Burgers

  Long, many years ago there once was a shack at the far end of Tybee Beach that served Shrimp Burgers. Two gals ran the place – One hidden in the back, whacking and chopping fresh Thunderbolt shrimp into mincemeat; while the other fried them up and slung the finished burgers out to a long line of adoring, albeit overly brown and oily, fans. It wasn’t fancy. It was primarily just whack-a-chopped shrimp, coleslaw, and a bun. But, you know, they were probably one of the best things I’ve eaten on a beach. Granted, a patty of pure, fresh, chopped shrimp is going to be a little chewy, and it was… a little. But I swear – I still dream about them. Herbaceous Shrimp Burgers Makes 6 Burgers Ingredients 1/2 Cup Fresh Bread Crumbs – About 2 slices of bread. I’m not going to say “use the best bread you can find” Because in reality… it’s a binder. However, make sure it’s something you like eating and is fairly non-desript in flavor. (ie. don’t use …

“Royale With Cheese”

“And you know what they call a  Quarter Pounder with Cheese in Paris?”  … a Royale with Cheese. “ Okay, its not That Royale … but there is cheese. I’m still working my way through the Big Box O- Cheese  from Artisanal Cheese That Ed gave me over the holidays. This time, I’m doing something with the Stella Royale that came in the box…. so cheese purists, look away. To quote their webstore: “Royale is a traditional style of pressed sheep milk cheese from northwest Spain. The milk for this especially nutritious cheese comes from the Churra breed, a native of the region that is able to thrive throughout the extremes of the seasons. The high quality milk produces a cheese with a full-flavored  nutty flavor that lingers luxuriously on the palate.” Stella is delicious with some sliced pears, roasted Brussels sprouts, or caramelized onions. I’ve decided to utilize two of those in a re-imagined southern favorite – Macaroni & Cheese. If you aren’t familiar with it, my family has always made a custard based macaroni and cheese. The cheese …

Curb Market Crawl – Muscadines

(Hillbilly Grapes) About a mile or so down the road, where the road widens just a bit to accommodate a bridge, there’s this guy. He has the requisite battered pick up, the frayed plastic-strapped lawn chair, and a propane cooker teaming alive with bobbing brown gold ( goober peas…. boiled peanuts). Most days I pass him by. I’m a fully developed Southern man..I know how to boil my own peanuts… and on the rare occasion that I want some, I do my own. But this time as I was cutting the corners off the road as it winds down towards the Etowah River, my eye caught a new addition to  the ramshackle set up. A small card table stacked high with little quart baskets… each one brimming with those unmistakable black-purple orbs. Muscadine Season has arrived to the Mountains. Now, I know, it’s a love / hate thing with muscadines – there’s no middle ground, they are an acquired taste. Not everyone can handle that tannin assault of the skins, the uber tartness, or that odd, over-ripe, Mogen David muskiness of the fruit. But, if …

Curb Market Crawl – The Cob & Run Culprits

Every other day for the past week, there has been a bushel of corn on the front porch. Those wonderful, well-meaning do-gooders are keeping me up to the ears (pun intended) with juicy fresh corn…. and I’m not complaining….. …yet. You’ll find three distinct types of good corn up here in North Georgia. Note, I said good. I grew up on Silver Queen, Country Gentleman and Trucker’s Delight – all of which are less sweet varieties. I’ll get hate mail for it, but I consider sweet corn and the hybrid Super Sweet varieties an abomination. The sweeter the kernel the less true corn flavor comes through. All you get is sugar… and that’s fine for a Snickers Bar, or creamed corn (which is kinda the same thing)…. but not in my vegetables. In the less sweet varieties – if you reduce the sugar, you increase the starch.. which is a mighty fine thing when you’re frying corn. (Which is how we roll). Silver Queen White Corn With tight, plump, even rows Slightly tough skin Silks …

Curb Market Crawl – Dried Apples

I stopped in to Mack ~Aaron’s Apple Barn yesterday to pick up a bag of preservative-free dried apples. They dry their own apples and these taste just like the ones my grandmothers had quietly wrinkling on sheets in the back pantry. Slow air-drying apples creates a wonderful deep, rich flavor as the drying fruit concentrates all the residual juices into tart, slightly chewy, little bits of apple leather. As kids, I remember sneaking into the back pantry, dizzy with the aroma of drying fruit and stealing a handful of my grandmother’s carefully prepared apples. I have to say, dried apples make the perfect apple pie. Don’t get me wrong, I love fresh apples as much as anybody, and a fresh apple pie with those crisp, juicy slices of apple suspended in that thick, syrupy filling is all but impossible to beat. But…   Dried apple slices, lightly spiced, cooked into a near apple sauce consistency and packed into a fresh flaky crust, just produces a much denser, immeasurably more intense flavored pie. Especially as a fried …