Fried Chicken, Summer Tomatoes, Balsamic Potatoes, and Lemon Cookies -- Yes. All in 1 Blogpost. Yes, go ahead and do a "woop-woop!"
Let me just explain something. There are some AH-MAZING cooks in my family. I come from a long line of people who are heroes in the kitchen. I channel some, emulate others, have been inspired by all, and certainly am humbled by every recipe they developed. I can assure you, they fit more love and "mmmmm!!!" into every bite than seems physically possible. And it is for them that I post today's recipes..
So, what kind of food do they prepare? It runs the gamut actually, ranging from fancy to no-frills. They all have conquered and understand the power to nourish. And as I have said COUNTLESS times, once you understand that power, you will crave cooking, too!
Take the meal above which features buttermilk fried chicken thighs. (Don't worry, I don't always leave the skin off. Crispy chicken skin is the bomb!) I pay homage to my southern roots with this one. You cannot deny that biting into a tender and juicy piece of chicken that only yields to chewing after you have enjoyed the salty and peppery crunch sends your endorphins into overdrive. You don't indulge? Well, I say have just a few bites; a small portion. No one EVER went to their grave regretting a meal of SOUTHERN FRIED CHICKEN.
Now. A comfort-food meal is never complete without a green salad. Especially with tomatoes and a good vinaigrette.
If you love tomatoes, you know that summer is when a tomato truly becomes a tomato. They are the perfect combination of sweet and acidic, juicy and colorful, and this time of year they have enough body to stand up to a stack of bacon, or thrive in a spicy sauce.
I used to pick tomatoes in summer when I was in high school, (Note: it is NOT glamorous or easy!) and then bring them to my grandmother's house where we would slice them, salt them and pretty much DEVOUR them in a very noisy way. So it's no surprise that when I had a couple of heirloom tomatoes still on my counter, and some spring greens in the fridge, I knew the ratio of green to fruit would have to skew totally on the side colorful! Here's what I did: Two, beautiful tomatoes, and just a handful of spring greens, a splash of olive oil, a double splash of champagne vinegar, a bit of tarragon, and lots of cracked black pepper and kosher salt. THAT IS ALL.
The two terms "meat," and "potato," are surely an ancient derivative of the word "love." This recipe I created here was so pretty it almost defines that statement. Baked with the addition of leeks, and a hint of sweet and hot, it worked perfectly against the cooling tomato salad and crunchy main course.
By slicing the potatoes almost all the way through and then roasting them, you can achieve a nice, open presentation. Not to mention a place for the brown sugar to get all cozy in. Just derned purty is what I say.
I know, I know. Don't get yer bib in a twist. I have dessert as well. And it was FAST! So fast that it easily qualifies for the #fabin40 category. They're fancy enough to silence the haughty, but simple enough to be your go-to dessert, even with a gaggle of kids at your side.
By adding some lemon zest, ginger powder and cardamom to the batter, along with golden raisins, I amped up what was just a plain sugar cookie into something classy. And listen. You truly need to discover fresh nutmeg. OH MAN!!! So much different than that little tin of it you have in your pantry that tastes like a Christmas cookie from KMart. (No offense, blue-light special shoppers.) And because those little pods last forever, you really need to GET SOME.
By the time I was clearing the table I was wishing I had invited over the whole neighborhood to feast with me. Just seemed like I needed a whole mess of people patting their bellies, stuffing their faces with cookies, and just all around making me realize I just have to cook to be happy.
RECIPE: Southern Fried Buttermilk Chicken Thighs
RECIPE: Brown Sugar Balsamic Roasted New Potatoes with Leeks and Hot Peppers
Serves 4 / Click here for printable version.
4-6 large new potatoes, sliced 80% through
4 T olive oil divided
1 leek, white part only, sliced thinly
1 small red hot chili pepper seeded and julienned
3 T sweet balsamic such as fig or cranberry
2 T brown sugar
Salt and pepper
Chop the leeks and the pepper. Wash, and slice the potatoes. Mix 2 T of the oil, the balsamic and brown sugar together in a small bowl. Arrange potatoes in baking dish, and then ladle the sugary mixture on top. Sprinkle with the leeks and the pepper. Then drizzle with the remaining 2 T oil and generously salt and pepper the whole dish. Roast at 400 degrees F for 45 minutes or until potatoes are soft. To serve, place one potato on dish, slice side up. Ladle the leek, pepper sugar sauce over the top.
RECIPE: Lemon Cardamom Raisin Cookies with Nutmeg
1 17.5 oz package Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie mix
¼ C soft unsalted butter
2 T + 1 t water
1 egg, beaten
½ t ground ginger
½ t ground cardamom
Zest from 2 large lemons
Fresh nutmeg pods for grating on top of cookie
¾ C golden raisins
Mix cookies according to package directions adding the water and egg, but with the addition of 1 t more water, the spices and the lemon zest. Drop by spoonfuls on to cookie sheet, then grate fresh nutmeg on each of them; just a dusting. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 7 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom.
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Meet the Cook...
My name is Camine Pappas and I love to create beautiful and delicious food that anyone can make. My signature style is one of combining things in a way you might not expect as I work to find a hidden combination of colors, textures and flavors from the things that are in my pantry and/or easy to obtain.