Monday, July 5, 2010

Y'all Come Back Now! Ya Hea?

Sometimes it seems that we don't get out  much (hello - blogging about food here - that fact should be self -evident).  Sometimes, however, we have more on our plate, socially speaking, than we feel like we can handle.  Yet if the company is good, it is permissible to have a little extra at times.  It has been observed that you can get too much of a good thing.  As far as good food and good friends go, it may, in fact, take us a while because we love both. 

H and I have, after leaving our last neighborhood filled with some very interesting and talented foodies whom we still miss, found kindred spirits in our present location and have had the pleasure of a couple of great dinner parties within the past few weeks.  Each one was excellent in it's own way owing to variations in the company and the menus.  One was couples only while the other included our children.  One was more formal while the other was a bit more casual.  One took place on a night when there was really nothing going on and one was, by way of either coincidence or by good planning, part of a Fourth of July celebration.  One was a combination of unplanned but surprisingly harmonious dishes and the other was totally planned out with a regional theme and menu.  As I said, each one was excellent.  Even so, slight edge, based solely on my love for food of the American South, to tonight's July 4 menu.

- Buttermilk fried chicken
- Baked beans
- Collard greens
- Fried zucchini
- Watermelon
- Biscuits with berries and cream 
- Peach pie
- Mint and lime slushees

So )(*&*&^*^%*(&)(*&++%$#@!!#&*( good!  See links below for the best fried zucchini you've ever had and an excellent fried chicken recipe:

Neely's Fried Zucchini

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Food for Thought
I haven't made the spicy dipping sauce included with the fried zucchini recipe but I'm sure it's great.  I have tried just good old Ranch dressing - super good.

My variation on the fried chicken was to use Panko breadcrumbs for the final coat on the double-dipped chicken.  I also recommend just an extra pinch of salt.  Also, because this chicken had to travel, I used Crisco.  I usually choose a healthier option such as canola oil - but one must ask - "If I am eating fried chicken, how health conscious am I?"  But seriously, if you know how to fry food at the right temperature and for the right amount of time, the amount of residual fat you consume is sometimes worth the difference in taste.  Anyway, back to the Crisco - if you are making picnic fried chicken, if it has to travel or be made ahead of time, or if you just like leftovers and like it cold, I definitely recommend Crisco.  Otherwise, from fryer to table - canola oil is fine.

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