WINNER WINNER Chicken schnitzel dinner

When I’m making a meat dish that’s breaded I skip the flour, beaten egg and bread crumb process.  I streamline it by making a slurry of cornstarch and egg white to hold the bread crumbs.  This creates a well coated piece of meat and the coating won’t separate from the meat while cooking.

Chicken Schnitzel with melted mozzarella and salad
Chicken Schnitzel with seared tomato, melted mozzarella and salad

4 boneless chicken breasts pounded to about a 1/4 inch thick

salt, pepper, garlic powder

2 egg whites

1/4 cup of corn starch

2 tablespoons of cold water

1 teaspoon lemon juice

2 cups bread crumbs

1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil

Part skim mozzarella cheese ( not the fresh kind, it’s too watery for this purpose)

1 tomato, sliced

chopped parsley

lemon wedges

Heat the oven to 250 degrees.

Use a skillet large enough to hold 2 pounded chicken breasts.  You will need a cookie sheet to put the chicken in the oven

Season the pounded chicken with garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Beat egg whites,  water and corn starch together.  Dip the chicken breasts in the corn starch mixture then dredge in bread crumbs.  Saute in oil for about 4 minutes each side on medium high heat until the chicken is cooked through.

Drain the chicken on a paper towel then put cooked chicken on a cookie sheet and top with sliced cheese (please don’t put the paper towel in the oven) .  Place in warm oven for 5 minutes to melt the cheese.  Sear the tomatoes and place on top of the chicken breast, sprinkle with parsley and serve with lemon wedges and a salad.

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because BACON! That’s why!

I’ve been curing and smoking my own bacon (insert yo mama joke here) for quite a few months and it’s one of the best things I’ve ever learned to do in the kitchen.  It’s so good that I’ve totally given up on purchasing bacon from the grocery store.  Here’s the recipe, let me know if you give it a try, I think you’ll be happy that you did.

We’ve been out of bacon for a quite a while, which I don’t mind because we don’t need to eat it everyday.  If it’s in the house it WILL be eaten so it’s best not to have it available all the time.   My people were starting to crave it.  My Mom asked why I didn’t bring any on my last visit and my youngest son has been walking around the house singing the bacon pancake song (yes, that’s a real thing) so I had to get a batch started.  It’s not difficult to make but it is time consuming.  It takes over a week but it’s well worth it.

My latest batch is finally ready and this is what we did with it:

bacon, sliced thick and ready to cook
bacon, sliced thick and ready to cook
tomatoes
tomatoes, shallots and herbs
A plate of thick bacon, ready and waiting
A plate of thick bacon, cooked, ready and waiting
BLT with two kinds of tomatoes because one is not enough
BLT with two kinds of tomatoes because one is not enough
It looks good, doesn't it?  mmmm, yeah it's so delicious
look at it. It looks good, doesn’t it? mmmm, yeah it’s so delicious
Marinated tomato salad with bacon
Marinated tomato salad with bacon

MARINATED TOMATOES

2 Cups of fresh tomatoes chopped into1 inch pieces

1 shallot thinly sliced (2 tablespoons)

1 teaspoon of sea salt

1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Mix all ingredients together and let marinate refrigerated for about an hour

 
Bacon kettlecorn with rosemary. Oh yes I did.  A little salty sweet herbal and bacony goodness
Bacon kettle corn with rosemary. Oh yes I did. A little salty sweet herbal and bacony goodness
   

BACON AND ROSEMARY KETTLE CORN

 

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 tablespoon bacon fat

½ cup unpopped popcorn kernels

¼ teaspoon fine salt

¼ cup granulated sugar

½ cup bacon, finely chopped and cooked until crisp

½ teaspoon fresh rosemary chopped

Use a large heavy bottomed pot with high sides and a lid.  Please be careful.

Add canola oil, bacon fat and three popcorn kernels into the pot ( these three kernels are used to test the heat of your oil), cover and heat over medium/high flame.  When the popcorn kernels start to pop your oil is ready to add the rest of the popcorn kernels, sugar and salt. Cover and shake the pot to keep the kernels from burning, carefully moving the pot off and on the heat.

 

6 Comments

Food trucks and work outs

Hail Caesar truck at RRFTWeekends
Hail Caesar truck at Roswell River Food Truck Weekends

Here’s a quick photo tour of the kick off of Roswell (GA) River Food Truck Weekends at Don White park.  It was a small round up of trucks with Pressed for Time, Masala Fresh and Hail Caesar.  We ate well and got a little exercise, fun all around.  Don White park is super active with people heading to the river to go kayaking, rafting and all sorts of watery fun.  The family wants to go back next weekend for tubing…we’ll see.

Pressed For Time at Roswell River food truck Weekends
Pressed For Time at Roswell River food truck Weekends
Argentinian Brisket pressed for time
Argentinian Brisket Pressed for Time
Chorizo panini pressed for time
Chorizo panini Pressed for Time
Masala Fresh at RRFTWeekends
Masala Fresh at RRFTWeekends 
kid on a unicycle
kid on a unicycle
Exercise after dining
Exercise after dining
fun on the river
fun on the river
Standing paddle board
Standing paddle board

sand volleyball

4 Comments

My trip to Tennessee…kinda

suckling pig, before
suckling pig, before

Last night my husband and I took a quick trip to Tennessee…well not really.  We to a trip to the King Plow Art Center to attend an event to promote Tennessee Tourism.  It was a lovely event with LOTS of pork (check the Instagram video), barbecue sauce, cupcakes and moonshine.  There was lots more than that but that’s what I remember.  Oh, and the music was great, check out my Instagram video for a listen.  The hospitality was wonderful and exhibits, like one of Elvis’ Jackets and a belt buckle, were great.

Our family had been contemplating a summer trip to Tennessee and after tasting Muddy’s Bake Shop’s coconut Chess Pie I’d like to go right now.  Super cute Kat Gordon and her equally cute brother Kip brought a huge variety of sweets and everything was delicious. EVERYTHING. Reminiscing about their sweets make me want to drive to Memphis tonight.

I even asked the park ranger promoting tourism of historic Civil War sites if she referred to the Civil War as the “War of Northern Aggression” she smiled and said “No, none of the rangers do”.  That made me smile.

The moonshine was strong and the pulled pork was tender, what more could you ask for?  All in all a good night, check the Pics below:

Welcome to King Plow arts center. Atlanta
Welcome to King Plow arts center. Atlanta
King Plow sculpture
King Plow sculpture
Welcome to Tennessee
Welcome to Tennessee
Wine service to start the party right
Wine service to start the party right
Bites of smoked sausage and cheese
Bites of smoked sausage and cheese
Pulled pork and ribs
Pulled pork and ribs

 

suckling pig, after
suckling pig, after
Warm bread pudding mini mason jars
Warm bread pudding mini mason jars
Kat Gordon from Muddy's Bake Shop and her beautiful dessert display
Kat Gordon from Muddy’s Bake Shop and her beautiful dessert display
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Variety, and veggies, The spice of Life

Small farmer’s markets are popping up all over and I love to drop by and browse the freshness.  I’m so happy to see the wide variety of fresh fruits, vegetables and other products that you may not find in large chain grocery stores.

Welcome to the Riverside Farmer's market, Roswell GA
Welcome to the Riverside Farmer’s market, Roswell GA
Beautiful bright yellow watermelon
Beautiful bright yellow watermelon
beautiful red beans from the market
beautiful red beans from the market
Chanterelle mushrooms from Dragonfly farms
Chanterelle mushrooms from Dragonfly farms
These cakes from Saint Rita's Cakes were absolutely DELICIOUS! They have a great cream cheese pound cake and the Fudgy chocolate pound cake is to DIE for http://www.stritascakes.com/
These cakes from Saint Rita’s Cakes were absolutely DELICIOUS! They have a great cream cheese pound cake and the Fudgy chocolate pound cake is to DIE for http://www.stritascakes.com/%5B/caption%5D [caption id="attachment_686" align="aligncenter" width="595"]Best bread baking co Best bread baking co
I have never seen red yard long beans before. AMAZING
I have never seen red yard long beans before. AMAZING
David's Garden Products
David’s Garden Products
Zocalo Salsas
Zocalo Salsas
Beautiful farmers market flowers
Beautiful farmers market flowers
And of course sweet Georgia peaches
And of course sweet Georgia peaches

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Waldrep's fresh country sausage
Waldrep’s fresh country sausage
Waldrep's fresh country sausage, cooked and on my plate. DELICIOUS!  Spiced just right
Waldrep’s fresh country sausage, cooked and on my plate. DELICIOUS! Spiced just right
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(almost)The most pleasant day, at Serenbe

Great start to our day at Serenbe.  Driving up a gravel road to the village.
Great start to our day at Serenbe. Driving up a gravel road to the village.

I had been looking forward to visiting Serenbe for months.  The idea of  this sustainable community with great architecture and farm to table dining is the perfect way for a chef (me) and an architect (him) to spend the day.  The skies opened up and dumped buckets of torrential rain on us during our nearly hour and a half long drive, but thanfully once we arrived at beautiful Serenbe the skies cleared up nicely.  I made a 6:15 dinner reservation at The Farmhouse at Serenbe but  we arrived at about 4:30 that afternoon so we could take a walking tour of the village.

We drove past the Inn and the Farmhouse restaurant and parked near the more densely built village with shops.  I’m so jealous of this walkable community, I’d love to walk from my home to a gallery or coffee shop to meet friends.  Density has its benefits.

This little guy greeted us on our way in
This little guy greeted us on our way in
Serenbe has a fantastic variety of architectural styles and materials
Serenbe has a fantastic variety of architectural styles and materials
My Architect Husband checking the details at Serenbe. I love the way the combine  materials
My Architect Husband checking the details at Serenbe. I love the way they combine
materials. Corrugated metal and brick side by side, beautiful.
LOVE this bridge as part of the house. This was our families favorite Serenbe home
LOVE this bridge over a dry creek bed as part of the house. This was our family’s favorite Serenbe home
Beautiful modern home
Beautiful modern home
Front garden, no lawns at Serenbe
Front garden, no lawns at Serenbe
another pretty front garden, this one on a slope.
another pretty front garden, this one on a slope.

I could stroll through these streets for hours looking at the beautiful front gardens at Serenbe.  The mature, slightly overgrown greenery keeps the walkways shaded making a cool, pleasant journey.  The kids wanted to explore the trails that wound through the community so we descended a stairway behind a courtyard.  It was BEAUTIFUL…and humid,  I was sweat glistening like a rose covered in morning dew when we climbed the stairs out of the trails.

Strolling through the trails on a humid day at Serenbe
Strolling through the trails on a humid day at Serenbe
walking the trails before dinner
walking the trails before dinner

We stopped in at the Blue Eyed Daisy Bakeshop during our stroll.  The kids each got brownies and my husband got a cinnamon roll.  I didn’t get anything because I knew I was going to order dessert after dinner.  There were no raves about the treats, so I didn’t feel bad for skipping them.  I purchased a jar of muscadine preserves to bring home from Blue Eyed Daisy, I’m looking forward to tasting it on some biscuits, maybe with a little country ham.

fresh cupcake at Blue Eyed Daisy
fresh cupcake (or is it an ice cream sundae?) at Blue Eyed Daisy
A neighborhood cat
A friendly, neighborhood cat
reclaimed can art at one of the shops
reclaimed can sculpture at one of the shops
can art close up
close up of the can “leaves”
I took this picture on the drive down the gravel road from the village back to The Farmhouse
I took this picture on the drive down the gravel road from the village back to The Farmhouse
oops...we went beyond that point
oops…we went beyond that point

And now finally to dinner at The Farmhouse.  After our little  hike I was SO ready to relax with bottomless mimosas (YES, that’s right,  I said bottomless) and munch on some fried chicken. Fried chicken that none other than Martha herself claims is “The Best”, high praise indeed.

The restaurant is BEAUTIFUL, not overdone, not kitschy  just lovely.  Like the rest of Serenbe we just felt so good being there.

Love this idea, candles and plants on upright logs in the fireplace
Love this, candles and plants on upright logs in the fireplace. I am SO stealing this idea

Dinner looks good.  The chicken is golden and plump, the collard slaw looks bright and fresh.  The beans are whole which is a good sign that they are not overcooked.  The spoonbread  looks fluffy and inviting, not weepy or runny, all good signs for a wonderful meal.  I was excited until I dug in.  I really wanted to like it, but…

Serenbe's fried chicken, collard slaw, three bean salad and spoonbread
Serenbe’s fried chicken, collard slaw, bean salad and spoonbread
Serenbe's fried chicken
Looks good, doesn’t it?

It wasn’t bad.  That’s the best I can say about it.  I cut into the chicken to take a bite expecting a bit of crunch from the light coating, but there was nothing.  I expected the chicken to have the deep rich flavor of a family farm raised chicken ( check my Chicken Challenge post on family farm vs factory farm raised chicken here   http://wp.me/p2eCV7-71  )  that got to peck and scratch in an open pasture, ( I mean, we ARE dining in the Farmhouse, after all) but there was none.  I hoped for some seasoning, some herbs, SOMETHING…there was salt and only salt, not too much, but just salt.  The chicken was moist, and that was good, especially for a boneless chicken breast.  This meal made me sad.  It wasn’t bad, it was just sad.

While the kids and I all had the fried chicken, my husband ordered the country fried steak so I got to taste that as well.  It was tender and slightly more flavorful than the chicken…I think they added a bit of black pepper to this. Again there was no crunch from the coating, just a bit more of it.  A cheese souffle was offered as the vegetarian entree, but none of our family chose it for dinner.

The sides did not help much.  The collard slaw was the best of them, fresh and tender collard greens with julienne carrots and an insignificant dressing.  The spoonbread was bland and the  bean salad was, well… bland.  Again, nothing was offensive , nothing tasted bad it was just bland, boring and yes, sad.  These three sides were the only ones offered on the streamlined menu.

We ordered two strawberry cobblers for dessert, the kids shared one and my husband and I shared one.  Each came with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. The “cobbler” consisted of a dense, gummy sweet dough on the bottom, cooked sweet strawberries on top of that (sad) dough and then the vanilla ice cream on top.  No crispness at all to the crust and some cooked strawberries, it’s like they didn’t even try.

Dinner was a bit of a let down after a beautiful day.  If we return to Serenbe it will be on a Saturday so we can enjoy the farmers market, art galleries and other shops. We’ll bring a picnic lunch.

7 Comments

I don’t always drink beer, but when I do…

it has to have a whole bunch of other stuff mixed into it.  All you have to add is a warm day and a sunny porch.

xx beer, bourbon and ginger ale cocktail, these are a few of my favorite things
xx beer, bourbon and ginger ale cocktail, these are a few of my favorite things
4 oz mexican style beer, 2 oz bourbon 2oz ginger ale, 2oz apple juice, a squeeze of lime in a BIG glass over ice
4 oz mexican style beer, 2 oz bourbon 2oz ginger ale, 2oz apple juice, a squeeze of lime in a BIG glass over ice
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pickled Shrimp for a party

Pickled Shrimp, a great make-ahead dish
Pickled Shrimp, a great make-ahead dish

It was our turn to host movie night last weekend and I wanted to make an appetizer that could be done ahead (it’s even better done the day before) and still taste and look great.  I made this pickled shrimp dish on Friday and served it on Saturday in a large bowl, but it would have been equally as good served in individual glasses.

A different king of shrimp cocktail
A different king of shrimp cocktail

Pickled shrimp

2# medium or large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 ½ teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon paprika

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

½ teaspoon garlic powder

Vegetable oil for sautéing

2 cloves chopped garlic

½ of a red onion, sliced thin (about ½ a cup)

1 yellow or orange sweet bell pepper, sliced thin

1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, cut into halves

¾ cup olive oil

¼ cup fresh lemon juice, peel in long strips and reserve the rind (no pith please)

½ cup of red wine vinegar

1/2 cup  Worcestershire sauce

½ teaspoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons fresh parsley, chopped

2 teaspoons fresh chives, chopped

Pat the shrimp dry and season with salt, paprika, cayenne and garlic powder.  Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large sauté pan and heat over medium/high heat.

Sautee the shrimp with garlic in batches until they turn pink and curl.  Cool the shrimp in the refrigerator, then, layer the shrimp with onions, peppers and lemon rind.

Mix the olive oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar Worcestershire sauce and oregano and pour over the shrimp mixture.

Marinate the shrimp in the refrigerator overnight up to 2 days. Add fresh chopped parsley and chives when ready to serve.

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Beets…by D

beets n eggs 3beets n eggs 2

This beet and pickled egg wrap was so DELICIOUS!! The raw beets were marinated for 2 days in salt, olive oil, honey and spices making them a bit more tender. The provolone frico black pepper is crispy and sharp.
This beet and pickled egg wrap was so DELICIOUS!! The raw beets were marinated for 2 days in salt, olive oil, honey and spices making them a bit more tender. The provolone frico black pepper is crispy and sharp.
marinated beet salad with juicy fresh orange segments, cured olives and salty, crumbly feta cheese.
marinated beet salad with juicy fresh orange segments, cured olives and salty, crumbly feta cheese.

beets n olives 3

Beet salad- basic recipe ( adjust all measurements to taste)

2 beets about 2 inches in diameter peeled and grated in a food processor

1  teaspoon salt, more or less to taste

¼ teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed between your fingers

2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice

½ teaspoon cumin

1 tablespoon  olive oil

2 tablespoons honey

Mix together and store in the refrigerator.  The beets become a bit softer as they sit

Variations:

Crumbled feta

Kalamata and  Cerignola olives

Fresh mint

Chives

Orange segments

Pickled eggs ( I’ll give the pickled eggs recipe later this week)

Aged provolone  cheese ( make a frico by grating the provolone onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.  I cracked black pepper over it and baked at 400 degrees for 5-6 minutes until just lightly browned.  It will be pliable for a few seconds so you can bend it into shapes)

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Snow Crab Boil for a lazy dinner

No recipe for this really , just a big tall pot and 3 inches of water. Add chunks of smoked sausage, thick pieces of potato and pieces of corn.  simmer until potatoes are almost tender and add crab and simmer for about 7 minutes
For 4 pounds of crab.  No recipe for this really , just  fill a large pot with 8 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add chunks of Cajun spiced smoked sausage (about a pound), thick chunks of potato and 5 pieces of corn. Simmer until potatoes are almost tender then add crab and simmer for about 5-7 minutes more, occasionally adjusting the crab to heat it evenly .  This feeds my family of 4 pretty well.
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