Chicken Fried Chicken? Chicken Fried Steak?

The phrases “chicken friend chicken” and “chicken fried steak” are weird to me for more than one reason. First, I think the phrases are interchangeable while at the same time sounding like different things (like flammable and inflammable). Second, this dish isn’t something I grew up eating. Let me rephrase that. I have yet to eat this dish. This is the ultimate man meal in my recipe collection.

chicken fried chicken? steak?

I don’t really follow a recipe when making this. I just make sure spice is a major component – otherwise I wouldn’t get those smiles of approval from C. I start off marinating a chicken breast in buttermilk for a few hours. And when I say buttermilk, I mean milk + white vinegar. I’ve never actually bought buttermilk.

After a few hours in the refrigerator, I turn on my oven to 350° and heat a pan to medium high. I start by flattening a chicken breast with the flat side of my meat tenderizer. Then I set up my two stations – flour/lots of cayenne and other spices/dried parsley/freshly ground black pepper in my 8″ round cake pan (haha!) and my egg wash(with 1 raw egg, scrambled, salt, fresh ground black pepper, and a dash of hot sauce) is my second station and hangs out in my glass pie dish.

I dip the chicken in egg, then the flour mixture, then repeat (who doesn’t love a good double breading?). I make sure my pan is really hot before placing the chicken in. I sear a few minutes on each side then throw it into the oven (350 for 10ish minutes) to make sure the middle is cooked through. Since my chicken marinated in that milk and vinegar, I can trust the vinegar tore down muscle and made them tender and the milk has made it moist and juicy. I don’t worry that a few minutes extra in the oven will ruin the taste.

After the chicken is in the oven (in a glass baking dish), I use this time to put flour and water in a small glass and shake them. I learned this from my MIL. I pour small amounts into my pan with brown bits left in it. Using a whisk, I pour flour/water while scraping those off the bottom. Somehow, this turns into magical gravy. Poured on top of mashed potatoes and the chicken fried steak, I always get those smiling eyes of approval. Enjoy!

Buttery Cloverleaf Rolls

The first time I decided to use my beloved stand mixer to make bread, I was daunted by how a small package of yeast (gross, right?), flour, and other kitchen staples can turn into this:

Buttery Cloverleaf Rolls

I brought these to supper club after C said my offer to bring “just rolls” was a cop out. I got so many compliments at supper club that night. I imagine it had something to do with how rarely we eat freshly baked bread. It could’ve had a little something to do with how much butter went into these. It was my first attempt and I usually don’t alter a recipe the first time I make it, especially when baking (i.e. straight up chemistry!) is involved.

How Sweet It Is: Buttery Cloverleaf Rolls
makes about 30 rolls
4 1/2 teaspoons (2 packets) active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 1/2 cups warm milk
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large egg
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons salt
5 1/2-6 cups all-purpose flour, or more if needed
melted butter for brushing
In the bowl of your electric mixer (with an attached dough hook), combine warm water, yeast, olive oil and 1 tablespoon honey and mix with a spoon. Let sit until foamy, about 10-15 minutes. Add warm milk, remaining honey, egg and butter, and mix on low speed until just combined, then add in 2 cups of flour and salt. Mix on low speed, gradually increasing to medium as flour becomes incorporated. Slowly add the remaining flour 1 cup at a time, stopping at 5 cups. Knead the dough on medium speed for 4-5 minutes, then check to see if the dough is sticky. If it is too sticky, add a bit more flour and knead until it becomes smooth, but you want some stick to it. Remove dough from the bowl and form into a ball with your hands, covering with a bit more flour until it is no longer sticking to your hands.
Brush a large bowl with melted butter. Add dough to the bowl, turning once or twice to cover in butter. Place a towel over top and let rise in a warm place for 1 1/2-2 hours. Punch dough down, then transfer to a floured workspace. Tear small pieces of dough off the larger piece, and roll into balls slightly larger than one inch wide. You will end up with about 90 dough balls. Brush a muffin tin with melted butter, then add 3 dough balls to each tin. Cover and let rise again, in a warm spot, for about an hour.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush the tops of each clover with a hefty glug of melted butter. Bake for 11-12 minutes, or until tops are just golden brown. Remove from over and brush tops with melted butter again, repeating the brushing another few times as the rolls cool. Remove from the tins and serve.
The muffins are best when eaten on the same day they were baked, however if you’d like to make them the day before, make sure to let them cool completely and store in an air-tight container.

Summer pasta, spaghetti squash style

Summer Pasta with Spaghetti Squash

The first time I heard of spaghetti squash, I was confused. Was it spaghetti or was it squash? (I have similar feelings about chicken fried steak.) So I had to figure out the answer by using the google tool on the internet machine. Maybe you’ve heard of it?

I found out spaghetti squash is low in calories and people on the Paleo diet prefer it. I’m not on the Paleo diet, but eating things cavemen eat makes a lot of sense to me. After I got my spaghetti squash home and used my uber-strong arm muscles to cut it in half length-wise, I realized, if “spaghetti arms” translates to “can open spaghetti squash easily,” my arms have been aptly name. (I have no upper body strength and give all credit to my chef’s knife.)

The next step was removing the pumpkin-like seeds and adding olive oil, salt, and pepper to roast these two halves in the oven. I put both halves shell side up in glass baking dish that went a 450° oven for an hour. After I took it out, I let it cool for a few minutes. When it came time to scrape the “spaghetti noodles,” my question about what spaghetii squash is was answered. This is a vegetable that can be used for fooling your husband into thinking he’s being served carbs. In actuality, he’s getting squash. This is a nasty trick and I only suggest you try this if you want to see a man’s “how-dare-you” face. This went over much better with my Bachelorette-viewing girl friends.  So after the squash cooled for 5 minutes, I picked up each half with an oven mitt on and took a fork with my other hand. Using the fork, I just started scraping the squash and out came noodle-like strands! It was pasta magic!

I used my mother-in-law’s recipe from this point:

Angel hair pasta/spaghetti squash

3 garlic cloves, minced

5 leavs of basil, julienned

3 springs of green onion, minced

olive oil, salt, pepper

20-30 cherry tomatoes, halved

Directions:  Cook pasta according to package directions (or use spaghetti squash!). Heat olive oil in a sauté pan and add garlic, green onions, and basil for 3 minutes. Add dried off cherry tomatoes and salt and pepper. Cut pasta and add to pan after drying off.

Optional – top with feta and share on Instgram.

Pigskin Preparations

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If you’ve never been to Oxford, Mississippi, add it to your bucket list. Though our rivals will always hate our team, I’ve personally witnessed even those who’ve vowed against the Rebels forever choose Oxford as the town to make their wedding vows. See Oxford and Ole Miss are relatively small compared to the coverage they get, on paper, online, on television, or in magazines.

Oxford has a population of less than 20,000, and student enrollment at the home campus is around 17,000. But every year it seems, the New York Times does an article on us or ESPN features the Grove. We provide great literary inspiration. I say “we” as if I had something to do with it, but I just consider myself a mere participant. My family tree’s relation to this university goes back as far as the beautiful oaks in the Circle, but I myself can’t claim too much credit. I just show up with an ice chest, some Colonel Reb gear, and food to pregame before I go watch the Rebels play.

Take a look at Scott Burton’s time-lapsed video of the Ole Miss game day experience. Then schedule a visit to Oxford sometime this fall.

How we’ve been preparing for the Grove

So with the first game of the season a few days away, we’ve been gathering supplies and making sure we are prepared. When hurricanes hit the Gulf, North Mississippi generally gets rain and some tornado warnings. With Hurricane Isaac being a Category 1, I am not expecting too much fuss. I’ll be prepared for rain, but nothing major. Then I turned on the news (!). If you watch Shepard Smith on Fox News, he speaks like a true Mississippian. He explains how Katrina was a Category 5, how it hit Waveland, Mississippi, and that New Orleans was never actually hit by the eye. New Orleans had flooding, and the rainwater broke the levees. Shepard can also pronounce Gautier, Pass Christian, Biloxi, and New Orleans so he’s really the only newsperson I can stand to listen to when it comes to hurricanes. Don’t even get me started on calling our state a Land Mass because you can’t remember its name. Another newscaster referred to the “Louisana-Alabama” border by forgetting our existence. It’s rough being a Mississippian watching national news. We either have something embarrassing, backward, and rare haunting us or a tornado has hit and newcasters search for toothless residents to feature.

All media bias aside, we are looking forward to a fresh new football season and hope to see you in the Grove!

Hello world!

Welcome to Some Southern Hospitality! This is my very first post. I’m starting this blog in hopes our lives are interesting enough to share. Take a gander at some of our wedding pictures of get lost looking at recipes I’ve made.

Happy reading!