Tag Archives: Southern

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

10 Jun

fried chicken

One thing I try to focus on when creating dishes is being able to eat and make what I love, without having to compromise much. Unfortunately, I suffer from a digestive disorder – what kind of cruel joke is that for a chef and “foodie”?! I’ve done quite a bit of trial and error on my diet to try to keep myself in good health and pain-free. Although I’m not allergic to wheat or gluten, I find that I feel much better when I don’t eat it. It seems a lot of people can benefit from reducing the amount of wheat they consume. With that said, I don’t want to give up my favorite foods or feel like I’m missing out on anything and this fried chicken is the perfect example! The buttermilk marinade adds to the flavor and moisture of the meat while the cornstarch helps to keep the breading from falling off while frying. If you haven’t tried brown rice flour yet, I highly recommend it!

Time: 45 minutes + marinate time                   Serves: 4


  • 1 chicken cut into 8 pieces – about 2.5 pounds
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp rainbow peppercorns
  • 1 handful celery leaves
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce
  • 2 tbsp cold water
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • neutral oil, for frying

How to make it

  • Combine buttermilk,salt,pepper,paprika,rosemary,onion,garlic,celery stalks & leaves in a large plastic zipper bag. Seal and toss to incorporate. Add chicken pieces, reseal, and refrigerate for at least 12 hours, and up to 36 hours.
  • Place cornstarch in a bowl.
  • Place egg, hot sauce, and water in another bowl.
  • Place flour, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper in a third bowl. Mix to incorporate.lunapic_137046272434386_28
  • Remove chicken from fridge. Heat oil in a medium stock pot to about 350F – a cube of bread should brown in one minute when the oil is ready.
  • Remove chicken from buttermilk mixture, letting excess drip off. Dredge first in cornstarch, then dip in egg wash, and finally dredge in seasoned flour. Place in hot oil and cook for about 20 minutes. Wings may need less time and larger pieces may need a few more minutes. I went about 25 minutes on the breasts, 20 minutes on the legs and thighs, and 15 minutes on the wings. Remove and transfer to a paper towel lined cooling rack. Fry in batches if needed. (I like to fry in smaller batches in a smaller pot to use less oil and give the pieces room to brown well without sticking).

fried chicken 2

Cornmeal Fried Okra

6 May


I was going to prepare the okra I got from the farmers market as Sambal Bendi with chili paste and dried shrimp but then I thought… I’ve been posting a lot of Asian inspired recipes lately, and while there’s nothing wrong with that b/c I love to cook and eat Asian cuisine, I wanted to give you all some variety. Now let’s bring it back to the bottom of the map. Somewhere I stumbled at, somewhere they eat gumbo at. Yes, I am paraphrasing Lil Wayne. Most people who know me know that I get amped up on hip hop to start my day. Plus my momma is from New Orleans so this recipes has me really excited!

Time: 15 minutes                     Serves: 4


  • 1 pint fresh okra, rinsed & patted dry – try to avoid large pods as they tend to be tougher
  • 1/2 cup stone ground cornmeal
  • 2 tsp Creole seasoning
  • 1 tbsp flour (I used brown rice flour for a wheat-free option)
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • sea salt, to taste

How to make it

  • Preheat oil to 375F in a deep fryer or wok.
  • Cut tops and ends off okra pods, then cut into about 1″ discs.
  • Combine cornmeal, flour, and Creole seasoning in a large, shallow dish. Add okra slices, in batches, and toss to coat.
  • Working in batches, drop okra into hot oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes until golden brown and crispy.
  • Remove and transfer to a paper towel lined. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Sweet Potato Cornbread Muffins

18 Feb

sweet potato cornbread

Today is “National Cook a Sweet Potato Day”, so why don’t we do just that and use it in this dandy little recipe? Another recipe inspired by the Southern Soul Food restaurant I worked at as a teen. I opted to make these gluten-free and they  can easily be made dairy-free but feel free to use wheat flour and the milk. The results won’t vary much if at all.

Time: 15 min prep, 25 min cook                  Serves: 12


  • 1 cup brown rice flour (may use any light fine-milled flour)
  • 1 cup course ground yellow cornmeal
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups mashed/pureed sweet potatoes (about 1 pound or 16 oz. can)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup milk/non-dairy beverage
  • 3 tbsp oil (I used sunflower)
  • cooking spray

How to make it

  • Preheat oven to 400F. Prepare muffin tins with liners or cooking spray.
  • Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, combine wet ingredients.
  • Slowly mix dry ingredients into wet and mix well to incorporate.
  • Divide batter among muffin tins. Bake for about 25 minutes, use toothpick test.
  • These are divine with honey butter!

These are delicious as a breakfast muffin with butter and honey, or as an accompaniment to a spicy bowl of chili or a plate of Hoppin’ John as I last enjoyed them on New Years Day.

hoppin john

King Cake

12 Feb

King cake

Laissez les bons temps rouler! I found this recipe in 2012’s February issue of “Louisiana Cookin'” in an article by Marcelle Bienvenu. She borrowed the recipe from Fleischmann’s Yeast. I cut the recipe in half, which may have affected the shape but the flavors & textures were not compromised. Though it’s a great way to celebrate Fat Tuesday, I would make this throughout the year. I would definitely use this for French Toast and think I’d try adding raisins to the cinnamon sugar sometime as well.

Time: 30 minutes + rise                   Serves: 8


  • Cake

  • 2 1/4 cups AP flour + more for work surface, etc.
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 package Fleishmann’s Rapid Rise yeast
  • 3/8 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 8 tbsp butter (1 stick)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted (I skipped this step and you can tell by my pic 😦 )
  • 1-2 tbsp milk
  • Colored Sugar

  • 3/4 cups sugar divided between 3 seal-able jars or plastic bags
  • food coloring: red, blue, yellow and green

How to make it

  • Cake

  • Combine 3/4 cup flour, 2 tbsp sugar, salt and yeast in a large mixing bowl.
  • Heat milk, water, and 6 tbsp butter until very warm – about 120-130F.
  • Add milk mixture to dry ingredients and beat with an electric mixer at medium speed for 2 minutes.
  • Add egg and 1/4 cup flour. Beat on high speed for 2 minutes.
  • Stir in remaining flour (1 1/4 cup) to make a stiff batter.
  • Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  • Melt 2 tbsp butter. In a separate small bowl, combine remaining (3/8 cup) sugar with cinnamon and mix to incorporate.
  • Punch dough down. Move to a lightly floured work surface.
  • Divide into 3 equal portions. Roll each to about 12 in x 4 in.
  • Brush each with melted butter. Then, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
  • Beginning at the long end, roll each up tightly – as if for a jellyroll. Pinch seams to form long ropes.
  • Braid. Then form into an oval – mine turned more into a (tighter) crown. Pinch ends together to seal.
  • Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover (I used a kitchen towel) and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size- about an hour+.
  • Preheat oven to 375F.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes, until lightly golden.
  • Remove from baking sheet and cool on a wire rack (I kept the parchment paper beneath, to catch glaze later). Cool completely.
  • Glaze

  • Combine sugar and milk in a bowl, starting with 1 tbsp milk and adding more if needed to reach desired consistency. Whisk until smooth.
  • Colored Sugar

  • The amount of food coloring you use depends on how dark/bold you want your colors. I’ll provide a range.
  • In a small bowl, mix 4-8 drops blue coloring with 8-16 red coloring. Add to one of the bags of sugar. Seal, and mix around with your hand to distribute the color.
  • Add 4-8 drops green food coloring into another bag of sugar. Seal, and mix around with your hand to distribute the color.
  • Add 4-8 drops of yellow food coloring into remaining bag of sugar. Seal, and mix around with your hand to distribute the color.
  • Pour glaze over cake. Sprinkle colored sugar over top.

King cake 2

Smothered Pork Chops

8 Aug

One of my beau’s favorite dishes.. I would have been making these for a while now if I knew how simple they were to prepare! I took a recipe from “The Best of New Orleans” cookbook for chicken and adapted it for pork.

Time: 20 min prep, 90 min cook            Serves: 4


  • 4 bone in pork chops (boneless work too, just check an hour into cooking for tenderness)
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil (I used canola)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bay leaf fresh (or 2 dried)
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 green onions, white & tender green parts, thinly sliced

How to make it

  • Combine flour, salt, and peppers in a pie plate or similar.
  • Heat 1 tbsp oil in skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Dredge pork chops in flour mixture and place in skillet. Brown on each side for about 5 minutes. Remove to plate.
  • Add remaining oil to skillet. Add veggies and saute, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes until softened.
  • Stir in chicken stock, scraping up any browned bits. Add bay leave. Return chops to pan along with any accumulated juices.
  • Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low. Cook, covered, stirring 2-3 times, for 1 1/2 hours or until very tender.
  • Discard bay leaf. If you’d like to thicken some of the sauce, remove skillet from heat and spoon desired amount into a small sauce pan over low heat. Add cornstarch to thicken to desired consistency .
  • Add green onions to pork chops. Serve with gravy or pan sauce spooned over top.

Cajun Mac & Cheese

26 Mar

Generally, when I get a craving for mac & cheese I go for baked. I came across a recipe in the Food Network Magazine for a stove top version that got my attention. I modified the recipe a bit and it is delicious, but I must stress this is hot & spicy! To tone it down, lessen the amount of Cajun seasoning and/or use a less spicy type of sausage.

Time: 30 minutes             Serves: 4


  • 12 oz. Conchiglie (shells) pasta – elbows ororecchiette work too
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 oz. andouille susage, diced (I used Trader Joe’s chicken variety)
  • 2+ green onions, thinly sliced to equal about 1/2 cup
  • 2+ celery stalks, diced to equal about 3/4 cup
  • 1 tbsp cajun seasoning blend
  • 2 tbsp AP flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes (I used Tillamook)

How to make it

  • Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Reserve 1 cup cooking water and drain pasta.
  • Meanwhile, add olive oil to large skillet or medium saucepan – large enough to house all ingredients eventually – over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to brown.
  • Add celery and cook, stirring occasionally for 2-3 minutes. Add scallions and cook an additional minute.
  • Add Cajun seasoning and flour. Cook, stirring, for 2 more minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk and continue to whisk until sauce is smooth and begins to thicken, about 5 minutes.
  • Add pasta and cheese and some cooking water, about 1/4 cup at a time until desired consistency is met. I used 1/2 cup.

Pasta Orleans

21 Feb

I’ve been so nostalgic for New Orleans cuisine which made this oh so satisfying. It is Fat Tuesday, after all. Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Time: 30 minutes            Serves: 4


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped parsley, divided
  • 8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 6 oz. Andouille sausage, halved & sliced (I used Trader Joe’s chicken variety)
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 3/4 pound large shrimp, peeled & deviened (I removed the tails)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp Creole seasoning blend + 1 tsp
  • about 2 cups alfredo sauce – I used one batch of sauce from Fettuccine Alfredo
  • 8 oz. linguine, cooked al dente (I used garlic basil from Trader Joe’s)

How to make it

  • Heat oil in large skillet (big enough to house pasta & sauce, etc) over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring. Add sausage and cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms and cook about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 2 tbsp parsley & spinach, toss and cook until just wilted. Remove pan from heat.
  • Heat butter in a medium skillet. Add shrimp and season with 1/2 tsp of blend and turn. Cook 2 minutes, season and turn. Cook another 2 minutes. Add remaining parsley and toss. Remove from heat.
  • Combine 2 tbsp seasoning blend with sauce and mix well to incorporate.
  • Add pasta to skillet with sausage & veggies. Add sauce and toss to coat.
  • Divide between 4 dishes & top with shrimp.

Red Beans & Rice

20 Feb

My mother is from New Orleans and my grandparents would always serve Red Beans & Rice on Mondays when we went to visit.

Time: 3o minutes          Serves: 4

  • Rice

  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup rice (white Basmati)
  • Beans

  • 2 16oz cans red (kidney beans), drained
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 lb cooked ham, cut into small cubes
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil or butter (I used bacon drippings)
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (sharp white cheddar)
  • **Note: This can be made in a vegetarian version easily. Just leave out the ham and sub vegetable stock or water for the chicken stock.

How to make it

  • Rice

  • Bring chicken stock to a boil. Add rice, give a quick stir and then cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for about 20 minutes or until most of the moisture is absorbed. Fluff rice with a fork and return cover.
  • Beans

  • In a large saute pan, heat oil/butter/grease over low-medium heat. Add onions and cook for about 10 minutes, or until soft.
  • Add ham and stir well. Allow to cook for about 2 minutes.
  • Add garlic, stir and cook for another 2 minutes.
  • Add beans, thyme, oregano, red pepper flakes and stir well. Cover and turn heat to low (simmer) just until heated through, about 5 minutes.
  • To serve, spoon rice into bowl, spoon beans over top, add shredded cheese and a dash of hot sauce of your choice if you like. Enjoy!
  • *Serve with grilled andouille sausage for the full experience 🙂

Gumbo Yaya Bake

18 Feb

I have roots in New Orleans, LA and this was my first attempt at a gumbo. I wanted to do something traditional but still unique. My beau said to put this into the regular rotation so I guess he loved it as much as I did! I made it when my mom came to visit and even she was impressed. I done good 🙂

Time: 30 min prep, 1 hour total           Serves: 6-8


  • Gumbo

  • 1 cup onion, chopped fine
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup cooked chicken, diced (I used grilled chicken seasoned with s&p)
  • 1 cup Andouille sausage, diced (I used Trader Joe’s chicken andouille)
  • 1 tbsp Creole Seasoning Blend or your favorite Creole or Cajun spice blend
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, not drained
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • Note: Most traditional gumbo (and many other) recipes start with the Holy Trinity which is onion, celery, and bell peppers. I can’t eat bell peppers but if you can please feel free to use them, diced & added in with the onions & celery.
  • Cornbread Topping

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used Canola)

How to make it

  • Preheat oven to 425F.
  • Gumbo

  • Heat butter in a medium-large sauce pan. Add onion, celery, and sausage. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes. Add garlic and chicken and stir, cook for 1-2 minutes. Add flour 1 tbsp at a time, stirring to coat evenly. Cook for about 2 minutes. Add seasoning & bay leaves. Add tomatoes with liquid, and stock. Bring to a boil then cover and reduce to low. Simmer for at least 15 minutes, but 30+ is best. Remove from heat & remove bay leaves. Spoon mixture into a casserole dish, one deep/large enough so it allows 3 inches space above for topping.

  • Cornbread Topping

  • In a medium mixing bowl combine dry ingredients, mix well. Add wet ingredients and mix until well incorporated. Carefully spread batter over gumbo as evenly as possible. Place casserole on a lined baking sheet and place in oven. Bake for 25-30 min, or until golden brown and a tooth pick inserted (into cornbread layer) comes out clean. Let set for a few minutes before serving.

Shrimp Po’boy Sandwich Wraps

17 Feb


I had purchased all of the ingredients I needed to make shrimp po’boy sandwiches but by the time I got around to making them the French bread was too hard, so I improvised and this is what I came up with. The results were great and since the shrimp is fried wrapping it in a tortilla lightens it up a bit, at least that’s what I told myself 😉 Feel free to put this on the traditional crusty bread but beware, not many make French bread like they do in New Orleans – flaky on the outside and oh so soft and tender in the middle, ahh.

Time: 15 minutes +chill          Serves: 4


  • Rémoulade Sauce

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 1/2 tbsp spicy brown mustard, preferably creole mustard
  • 1 1/2 tbsp grated horseradish
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp minced parsley (fresh)
  • Shrimp

  • 3/4 pound shrimp, peeled & deveined, tails removed (I used Jumbo)
  • 1/2 cup corn meal (course stone ground yellow)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp Creole seasoning blend
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • vegetable oil for frying (I used canola)
  • To Serve

  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 beefsteak tomato, thinly sliced
  • 4 Kosher dill pickles, thinly sliced
  • 4 large flour tortillas (I used fire-roasted)

How to make it

  • Rémoulade Sauce

  • Combine all ingredients and mix well. This tastes best after being chilled for some time. I made it 24 hours in advance.
  • Shrimp

  • Heat oil in deep fryer or medium stock pot, enough to submerge shrimp completely. I do this over medium to medium-high heat on my stove top.
  • Combine flour, cornmeal and seasoning in a bowl, mix to combine.
  • Combine egg and milk in another bowl and whisk to combine.
  • Dip each shrimp in the egg mixture and then dredge in flour mixture.
  • Carefully place shrimp in hot oil and cook for about 3-4 minutes or until golden brown. Turn if necessary but they should cook on both sides. Transfer to paper towel lined plate.


  • To Serve

  • Divide cabbage, tomato and pickle slices between tortillas. Top with shrimp, about 4-5 per tortilla. Top with Rémoulade. Fold & wrap sandwich burrito style. Secure with toothpicks and cut in half.