Friday, December 30, 2011

New Years Day - A Southern Dinner Menu

Now ribs or pot roast are the more typical meat for a New Years Day dinner.  However, ribs are not practical to cook in my Buckhead apartment, and I made pot roast last week!  So, we are going with spicy fried chicken.  The cobbler is the only thing that takes a little finesse, so even some of you less handy folks should be able to manage this meal.  I'll post pictures on Sunday - before we dig in of course.

Fried Chicken
·         6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
·         Buffalo hot sauce
·         Seasoning:
o   1/2 tablespoon salt
o   1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
o   1/2 tablespoon paprika
o   1/2 tablespoon chili powder
o   1/2 tablespoon red pepper
o   1 teaspoon ground black pepper
o   1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
1.       Marinate chicken 12-24 hours in hot sauce.
2.       Heat grease to 350 in a deep fryer (or in a deep pot - just don't fill the pot more than 1/2 full!).  While the chicken is still cold, shake excess sauce from chicken and drop in the fryer.  Estimated cooking time is 8-10 minutes - check to be sure chicken is cooked thoroughly.
3.       Remove chicken from fryer.  Shake seasoning over both sides of chicken.

Corn Bread (started with the traditional Betty Crocker and kicked it up a notch)
·         1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
·         2 teaspoons baking powder
·         1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
·         1 teaspoon salt
·         1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
·         1 1/2 cups buttermilk
·         2 large eggs, lightly beaten
·         1/4 cup vegetable oil or shortening
·         2 tablespoons minced garlic
·         1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
·         1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce (or more...some like it hot!)
1.       Preheat oven to 450.  Grease all sides of a pan (9" round, 8" sqaure, or a 10" skillet) with shortening.  (You can use butter if you don't have shortening).
2.       Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, and blend on med-high for about 30 seconds.  Pour into your pan of choice.
3.       Bake pans for 25-30 minutes or the skillet for 20 minutes until golden brown.

Spicy Black Eyed Peas (combination of Paula Deen's recipe and my mother's)
·         16 oz packaged dried black-eyed peas, washed
·         1 can of Rotel (recommend the spicy)
·         1 can chicken broth
·         1 teaspoon salt
·         1 teaspoon chili powder
·         1 teaspoon white pepper
·         1 cup water
·         4 slices bacon
1.       Cook 2 strips of bacon until crisp in a large saucepan.  Remove and set aside.
2.       Saute onion in the bacon drippings until transparent.
3.       Add the other 2 strips of bacon to the pan and cook for about  30 seconds on each side.
4.       Add peas, Rotel and seasoning, and cook over medium heat for about 1 hour until peas are tender.  Be sure to check back every 20-30 minutes to add water if necessary.
5.     Crumble the bacon that was set aside at the beginning onto the top of the finished dish.
Southern Peach Cobbler
Preface: If you are a beginner baker (or just lazy) then don't follow the below.  Instead, make the peach mixture (step 2 and 6) and pour into a premade pie crust.  Be sure to still use a 2 quart baking dish and not a shallow pie pan.  Cover with another pie crust and pick back up at the last step.  Adjust baking time as necessary.
·         8 peeled and sliced peaches (should be about 7 cups)
·         3/4 cup sugar for mixing, and a few tablespoons for sprinkling
·         Whiskey - Gentleman Jack is preferred - 1/4 cup for the cobbler (the rest can be served on the rocks if you wish)
·         1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
·         2 teaspoons baking powder
·         1/2 teaspoon sald
·         2 sticks unsalted butter (needs to be cold)
·         1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
·         1 teaspoon spices(cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves) for sprinkling
·         3/4 cup heavy cream, and another tablespoon for brushing
·         Ice cream for the side (I recommend cinnamon or old fashioned vanilla)
1.       Preheat the oven to 375.
2.       Combine peaches, 1/2 cup sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and whiskey in a large bowl and briefly stir.
3.       Sift the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder and salt into a separate bowl.
4.       Cut the butter into small pieces and add 75% of it to the flour mixture.  Cut in with a pastry blender (or your hands) until the mixture becomes crumbly. 
5.       Pour in the heavy cream and mix briefly just so the dough begins to come together - you don't want to overwork this step.  You want the dough to stay sticky, but be controllable. 
6.       Melt the remaining butter in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over low-medium heat, and then add the peach mixture (from step 2) and cook about 5 minutes so the mixture is heated throughout.
7.       You can leave the mixture in the skillet or put in another baking dish (2 qt). 
8.       Drop tablespoons of the dough over the warm peach mixture.  The dough will puff up, so it's okay to leave gaps.
9.       Sprinkle with all spice and sugar.  If you love cinnamon than you can add a little more.
Place the dish on a baking sheet - this sucker will probably drip over - and bake in the oven until fruit is bubbling and the top is brown.  40-45 minutes.  It is best served warm with a touch of ice cream on the side.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Why, hello there.

Or as my husband would say, y halo thar. Renee here, and I have decided to give the blogging thing a whirl.  Though I have considered the idea for years, I felt hesitant to do it.  What do I have to talk about?  Where will I find the time?  What if no one reads it!  Well, those are probably all valid questions; however, I decided now is better than later.  I heard my sister's voice echoing in my head, "before I had kid's I thought I did not have time to do that I have two kids I realized I had all the time in the world!" 

So that takes care of the time what will I be blogging about?  As an interior designer by profession there will be some of that.  In college I had the nickname Betty Crocker, so I will share cooking adventures, too.  My husband and I have embarked on the search for our first home; it has been a depressing start, but I know the new year will bring more listings!  We hope to find a place that could use a little sledgehammer action...and I love me some power tools, so eventually the main focus will be home DIY renovation.  And if this blog lasts, then one day, God willing, I will share my adventure into mommyhood.  Not yet though - I still need to rip down some walls, install herringbone wood floors, and of course take a wine tour in Italy...I do not think I am supposed to do those things when I am knocked up!

Finally - what if no one reads this...or no one comes back after reading once?  I have spent too long worrying about what other people think.  Most importantly, I have not taken time to write in YEARS.  I used to write all the time; my family drove nearly an hour from Snellville Georgia to Marietta for church on Sundays, and I either read a book, wrote novellas/poems/screen plays in a composition notebook, or sketched in my artist notebook the whole way.  Now, I never sketch, I never write, and I barely read.  (No wonder I feel my IQ has dropped.)  Here's to writing and reading more in the new year...I think I will skip the sketching; I have graduated to Photoshop for my playtime.

Raise a glass of Tempranillo, and meet me back here Saturday as I prep for a good southern New Years Day dinner...skillet cornbread, spicy black eyed peas and peach cobbler are absolutely on this menu.  The meat is still TBD, and I just cannot do mustard greens.