June 6, 2006

Another one of my comfort foods

When I was a kid I can remember my grandmother and mother cooking fried chicken. It was a once of the week meal at our house. Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, cornbread (unsweetened), green beans from the garden and a piece of homemade pie to finish everything off with.

I know what you are thinking...."That's a heavy meal!" And you're right it is, but eating this meal every now and again isn't that bad for you.

Today in my household I would say this meal is only cooked once a month, and that's because I'm usually tampering with new recipes or trying to improve old ones. But, fried chicken is another one of my comfort foods.

I have used the word "comfort foods" before and I've had some people ask me exactly what a comfort food was. So, here it goes:

Comfort foods are recipes that remind me of my childhood. Recipes that I remember baking in the oven at my grandmother's house or special meals my mother would put together. These foods are ones where I feel relaxed, at home and can remember the ones that I have lost in my life. My grandmother on my mom's side is the last living grandparent I have. Grandmother Hart is 84 years young. I continue to listen to her words of wisdom and gather her recipes. We need to think about those in our lives that are still around to pass down there amazing recipes to the future "family cooks." Because when they are no longer living....who will carry on their cooking traditions?

Southern Fried Chicken
by Paula Deen

3 eggs
1/3 cup water
About 1 cup hot red pepper sauce (recommended: Texas Pete)
2 cups self-rising flour
1 teaspoon pepper
House seasoning, recipe follows
1 (1 to 2 1/2-pound) chicken, cut into pieces
Oil, for frying, preferably peanut oil

In a medium size bowl, beat the eggs with the water. Add enough hot sauce so the egg mixture is bright orange. In another bowl, combine the flour and pepper. Season the chicken with the house seasoning. Dip the seasoned chicken in the egg, and then coat well in the flour mixture. Heat the oil to 350 degrees F in a deep pot. Do not fill the pot more than 1/2 full with oil.
Fry the chicken in the oil until brown and crisp. Dark meat takes longer then white meat. It should take dark meat about 13 to 14 minutes, white meat around 8 to 10 minutes.

House Seasoning:
1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder

Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Dark Rum Pecan Pie
by Lane

1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
3 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups pecan halves
3 tablespoons good-quality bourbon
1 (9-inch) deep-dish pie shell, unbaked

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, stir together the sugar and melted butter. Add the corn syrup, eggs, pecans, and bourbon, and stir until all ingredients are combined. Pour mixture into an unbaked pie shell, and place on a heavy-duty cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F, and continue to bake for an additional 25 minutes, or until pie is set. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

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