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Southern Fried Chicken Sandwich

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Dan and I are the first of our group of friends to get married, which has put us in a unique position.  As I’ve mentioned here before, we’re well… homebodies.  We go out occasionally, but we really prefer to entertain at home- both our guests and ourselves.  And when we do go out, we go out with other couples, do the dinner at a restaurant thing.  It’s been a while since we partied with Solo cups.

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The thing is, most of our friends and a lot of our siblings and cousins (alright, my siblings and cousins- Dan’s are all settled down and mature) are still living the carefree and single lifestyle.  A lifestyle that we only mostly remember.  So when we party with them, we either get drunk under the table or we’re incredible uncomfortable (and awkward).  It’s the consequence of being at different places in life, I guess.

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Last weekend we were invited to our friend Dave’s country birthday party (that started at 4pm), and I did a stupid thing.  I assumed, because the party started before dinner and was to last until well into the evening, that there would be food.  Because it’s been so long since I’ve been to a party where they didn’t have food that I forgot.  I forgot there was such a thing as a party with multiple kegs but not a dorito in sight.  Free beer, but BYOD.

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About an hour after we got there my stomach was growling so violently that I could envision skewering one of the many corgis running around.  So Dan and I made a trip out to one of his college haunts, a place called Bubba’s.  On the drive to Cockeysville Dan regaled me with tales of eating at Bubba’s two, three times a day.  It was so good. So I had reasonably high expectations and was delighted when we got there and the menu featured a sandwich called the “Southern Fried Chicken Sandwich.”

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Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but the ONE ingredient that you would think the “southern fried chicken sandwich” would have would be FRIED CHICKEN.  No.  That would be one of those assumptions that would make you and I into donkeys.  Because this sandwich included deli meat, cheese, and bacon.  And by deli meat I mean what looked like packaged chicken from the grocery store that had been tossed on the griddle.  Not breaded.  Not fried chicken pulled off the delicious, moist bone.

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It was one of the most disappointing sandwiches I’ve had… ever.  But that’s what I get for ordering something titled “southern” outside the south.  I always do that, and I’m always disappointed.  You see, when I saw that sandwich my mind immediately raced to the most delicious sandwich on Earth, the Shrimp Boat chicken sandwich.  Shrimp Boat is a restaurant in Durham, and while I’ve never had their shrimp, their fried chicken sandwich is to die for.  It’s chicken that is fried, pulled off the bone, and paired with lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise on a soft bun.  Nothing extravagant, nothing gourmet, but out of this world good.

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dan & i with the birthday boy, dave.  it’s worth noting that we had a great time at the party.  next time we’ll be bringing our own fried chicken sandwiches ;)  photo by avery knox.

Southern Fried Chicken Sandwich

2 chicken breasts, bone in/skin on

2 buns

1 romaine lettuce heart

1 tomato

4 tbsp mayonnaise

3 cups buttermilk

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp cayenne

1/2 tsp chipotle

1/2 tsp garlic

Salt & pepper

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

2 cups flour

2 slices bread

Peanut oil for frying

Soak the chicken in the buttermilk and half the spices for at least 2 hours.

Toast the bread, dice, and combine it in a food processor with remaining spices.  Combine with flour.

In a large skillet, heat your oil to 350 degrees.  Dredge each breast in breading and fry for 10 minutes on each side.  Set aside to cool.

Toast your buns.  Spread 2 tbsp mayo on each bun.  If you’re going to skip the mayo, you might as well skip the sandwich- it’s that crucial.

Chop the lettuce and slice the tomatoes.  Pile onto buns.  Top with fried chicken that you’ve pulled off the bone in strips.

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Cantaloupe Sorbet

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Recently, during a B&B stay, Dan and I were served fresh cantaloupe with lime juice and cranberries.  And it was a taste revelation!  I’ve always been a big melon fan, especially during the summer, but this totally reinvented the taste sensation.  Dan and I immediately tried to figure out how we could translate this flavor combination into another medium.  Soup?  No, cantaloupe soup is best with yogurt, and that wouldn’t jive.  It needed to be something water based- sorbet!  Genius!

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My original recipe included just cantaloupe, simple syrup, lime, and lime zest.  But it felt… lacking.  It needed something, I just couldn’t put my finger on it.  Basil?  I took my thought process to twitter and facebook and our friend Lauren nailed it.  MINT!  Mint had the flavor I was looking for from basil but was more… direct?  It was perfect.  It added a dimension that made the whole sorbet more interesting, and played nicely off the sweetness of the cantaloupe and the tartness of the lime.  It was so delicious, in fact, that I can’t stop eating it.

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Cantaloupe Sorbet

1 small cantaloupe

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

5 limes, juiced

1 tbsp lime zest

1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped

Start by making your simple syrup.  Heat together sugar and water until sugar is dissolved.  Cool.

Peel, pit, and cube the cantaloupe.  Combine in food processor with mint.  Blend until smooth.

Juice limes, and add the juice and zest to the simple syrup.  Combine with cantaloupe mixture.  Churn in ice cream maker, then freeze at least 4 hours.

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Caramel Apple Pie

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Internet, meet my food weakness.  While mountain pie is certainly the most emotionally important pie to me, I always thought that apple pie was my favorite to eat.  And now, I know that caramel apple pie is my favorite pie to eat.  It’s delicious.  It’s so incredibly delicious, I don’t really know what else to say.  This may be my shortest post ever because I don’t know where to go with this except- drop everything you’re doing and make this pie.  Now.  Right now.

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Okay, I’ll say more.  I’ll describe what makes this pie so incredible.  It’s the caramel.  It’s making your own caramel so that it has this nutty, toasty flavor.  I used the same caramel recipe I used for my caramel fried green tomatoes, the caramel recipe from the recipe book Seasoned in the South. I was worried about the pie being way too sweet, so I added lemon juice.  I like adding a little acidity to my pies to balance the sweetness, and in this case it accentuated the caramel flavor.  I almost feel as though I could have added more caramel.  I’m not sure, I guess my only  choice is to make it again.  Oh no!

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Caramel Apple Pie

 

6 apples

1/2 cup caramel (recipe here)

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp cinnamon

2 tsp nutmeg

Pie dough (recipe here or here)

2 tbsp butter

Peel and slice your apples.  Melt butter in your pan.

Add your apples, half of the caramel, and spices.  Toss and cover.  Allow to cook over medium temperature with a lid on for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Roll out your pie dough.  Add half the apples (and juice) to the pan.  Drizzle with caramel.  Add the remaining apples, and drizzle with the remaining caramel.

Cover with pie dough top.  Slit the top.

Bake at 400 for 30-35 minutes.

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