Every year, around Thanksgiving, I ask my Christmas Eve guests what they want at our annual soiree.
This year we settled on fairly simple, yet tasty menu:
Oven Fried Buttermilk Chicken
This will be a tweaked recipe – kind of combining two of my favorite recipes. I’ve done a couple of practice batches – can’t have too much oven fried chicken! – and once I have it perfected, I’ll post.
Loaded Mashed Potatoes
I’m doing my no boil mashed potatoes (recipe here) and serving it fully loaded with sour cream, bacon and cheddar cheese. Also gravy.
This will be a spicy mix of sausage, bacon, minced chicken hearty gravy.
Bacon, Tomato, Green Beans
Pretty simple – tossing green beans with bacon (and bacon grease) and sliced grape tomatoes in a skillet until tender.
And finally, dessert will be the ever popular Ice Cream Sundae Bar
Premium vanilla bean ice cream served with choice of toppings – caramel, chocolate, peanuts, walnuts and sliced bananas
Photos and recipes to follow.
Fried rice is one of the easiest things, but be sure to use older rice that has dried out some. This lunch was the happy result of finding a baggie of rice in the back of freezer beyond during an exploration this morning. I also used up a single link of garlic pepper sausage left over from a breakfast a few days past. Saute the sausage or ham or whatever in sesame oil, add the peas and carrots and chopped green onions and sweat those for a few minutes, add the rice and warm that up. Lastly stir in some oyster sauce and a little soy sauce. I usually add in some scrambled egg but this time I didn’t.The chicken was dredged in flour, fried, and set aside. It has a sauce of honey, garlic, ginger, chili paste, and soy sauce that was simmered to warm and reduce. Add the chicken to it and toss to coat. The green beans were steamed and chilled, then re-warmed in a pan with garlic and sesame oil.
Chicken thigh dredged in flour > egg > panko and fried till golden, then baked @350 till its juices ran clear. Green beans were steamed for 6 minutes and then chilled in ice water and set aside. For plating they were tossed in hot oil until warmed through. This is my new favorite method for green beans. Season with salt and whichever other flavor suits you. Lemon is classic, as is garlic. These were tossed with sesame oil.
The little side bowls were KFC recipe slaw and potato salad.
This is another of the beer-butt roasted chickens. I cut up those potatoes and added them into the bottom of the pan the chicken was roasting in so they could cook in the chicken juices. It was a 400 oven so I waited for the last 30 minutes to put them in.
The green beans were steamed for 6 minutes then cooled in cold running water. They were warmed for service in sesame oil in a hot skillet while the chicken was resting.
Doesn’t roll off the tongue like sticky wings but they are pretty good. I noticed that the drumsticks were cheaper than wings so I said “why not”? They got the two-step treatment, steaming then baking in the sauce.They spent 20 minutes in the steamer then I managed to crowd the entire batch into one pan with the sauce. These baked at 425 for 25 minutes then were turned over to get color on the other side.The sauce for these was me winging it: Honey, soy sauce, black vinegar, sesame oil, sweet soy sauce, rice vinegar, fresh grated ginger, and chili garlic paste.We bought a big bag of green beans and had a few of them stir fried like those in a Chinese buffet line. Cook, covered, in oil and a splash of water for 5 minutes, then add oyster sauce, soy sauce, and a teaspoon of sugar and toss to coat.
Tomatoes! So many! The weather has been playing havoc with the yields, it may have slowed but it hasn’t stopped them. Brings up the dilemma faced by most all tomato growers: What to do with them all.Everyone loves the BLTs, what we have here is a TLT. Tuna salad is a summer favorite of ours: Tuna, mayo, pickle relish, chopped celery, chopped egg, chopped green or red bell peppers, minced onion, and this one even has shredded cheddar.The classic summer salad of sliced cucumbers and tomatoes. I make a dressing of 2 parts water to 1 part rice vinegar, a splash of canola oil, and seasoned with salt and pepper. If you like you can add a bit of granulated garlic and a dried herb or 2, basil and thyme or oregano. It’s better the next day after an overnight in the fridge.Macaroni and tomatoes is one of those simple dishes that are so good you should make some right away. Drop the tomatoes into boiling water for a minute then transfer them into an ice water bath to take off the skins. Chop them up and simmer them for a half hour in a pot in which you have softened some minced garlic in a little oil. Garnish with fresh basil and eat hot or cold.Green beans boiled with potatoes in ham broth is another summer favorite. We use cured chunks of ham or smoked ham hocks. Boil the ham and a sliced sweet onion in chicken stock for a few hours then drop in the potatoes. We used fingerlings for this but any small potato will serve, or just cut bigger potatoes into smaller pieces. Give the potatoes a head start because they will take longer to cook through, then add the green beans. Don’t be afraid to cook the beans for an hour or more. Cornbread is the perfect side.I did the sous vide ribs thing again, worked great again. We ate gratin potatoes and baked beans with them this time. Mrs J declared this “a full meal deal”.The potatoes were easy enough: I sliced these with my mandoline with the skins on, then arranged them in a casserole alternating layers with sliced onions. Pour on a cheese sauce and bake, covered for 45 minutes or so, uncover for the last 10-15 so the top browns. I made this one with cheddar.This is a dish full of chicken and rice enchiladas in a tomatillo sauce. It doesn’t look like much but it was tasty.
These are cooked for a long time over low heat – that’s what the “Southern Style” is all about. This dish today was cooked with a cured ham hock, one of those we travel an hour or so north to get from a meat processor there.This is part of one, it’s been simmering in water and stock with an onion for a couple of hours. I didn’t see any of these out on display the last trip and asked for a couple. They brought out two humongous hocks and my eyes nearly bugged out. The guy asked, helpfully, if I wanted them cut up some? I nodded yes and he took them to the saw and cut them each into three parts.You have to make cornbread to eat with these beans – It Is Written. To cook these it’s not so much a recipe as much as a method. I start the hock early, then set it out to cool and add the beans to the water and chicken stock it simmered in. Bring them to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for a couple of hours. After the hock cools, remove the bones and skin and cut it up to add back, add potatoes a little later. Those little baby potatoes I used take about 45 minutes to cook at a simmer. I used salt, fresh ground black pepper, onion powder, cayenne pepper and granulated garlic to season these.