My Son Can Cook

Last week, my son, Sean, and his fiancee, Olivia, invited us for a Sunday supper with fried chicken as the star of the evening.  Needless, to say, I had my doubts.  I mean, who makes southern fried chicken, for the first time, and doesn’t end up with a hard learned lesson?  Well, Sean does.

Sean borrowed my Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook Stories and Recipes for Southerners and Would-be Southerners, and decided to use their recipe.  This made me a bit anxious, because the Lee brothers use a recipe I wasn’t brought up on.  Still, I figured, cut the kid a break, he’s trying.  I said nothing.

Sunday rolled around, and I chose a few dishes to contribute to our evening:  skillet cornbread with honey butter, collards, and southern tea cakes.

I’m going to apologize in advance for the terrible photographs, but this was the best I could do in kitchen lighting.
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ABOVE: I’d like to lie and tell you these Southern Tea Cakes are shaped like bears, but truth be told, they are supposed to be pigs.  They spread like crazy when baked.

If you’ve never eaten a southern tea cake you’re in for a wonderful surprise.  They are soft on the inside and have a slight crisp on the outside.  These cookies are very old fashioned, and they can be sprinkled with a hint of nutmeg, sugar, or a cinnamon and sugar mixture.  I prefer mine with a pinch of nutmeg.  Be warned, they’re addictive.

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ABOVE: Skillet honey cornbread

Certainly, not a cake like cornbread, but a perfect cornbread to lap up the pot liquor from the collards.  The pot liquor is the liquid you cook your greens in, and it’s full of iron and vitamins.

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ABOVE: Collard Greens with a little chard and bacon

I am addicted to these greens.  I took a southern cooking class up here in Seattle, and I was shocked that everybody who tried the chef’s collards, refused to finish them.   You’ve never heard so many whiny northerners!  I guess it is an acquired taste. Although, Olivia had never tried them before, and the girl put the greens down!  Good for her!

Sean and Olivia served up some boarding house biscuits, sweet tea, mashed taters, homemade buttermilk salad dressing, and some of the best damn fried chicken I’ve eaten in years!

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ABOVE: Sean frying chicken in his kitchen

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ABOVE: Sean’s sous chef/ fiancee, Olivia

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Come on, you know I’m incredibly proud of these two right now!

Sean played Hank Williams on his computer, and we all had a great time just visiting and laughing.  It reminded me of the days of my youth–minus the family fights of course—when the relatives would gather around and sing and play guitar.  My grandma would fry up the best batch of fried chicken known to mankind, and we’d all eat like we were half starved.

I’m quite impressed with Sean’s cooking.  Every since he returned from Paris, he is obsessed with cooking.   Oh, and when he comes for a visit, the first thing he does is turn on the Food Network.  He watches the programs like some people watch sports–yes, there is hootin’ and hollerin’. Okay, I admit it, I do it too!

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Now, let’s et!

Some recipes just might be hiding behind the cut below…

Southern Tea Cakes (Paula Deen’s)

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl sift flour, baking soda, and baking powder together. Add remaining ingredients and blend well. Dough should be soft. Roll dough out onto a floured surface until approximately 1/4-inch thick. Cut dough into desired shapes and bake on a slightly greased sheet for 10 to 12 minutes.

Angelnina’s Collards

enough chopped collards to loosely fill an 8qt pot (throw in some chopped chard if you’l like)

add about a quart of chicken stock(low sodium)

boil till starts to wilt

add about a teaspoon or to taste of Old Bay seasoning (this will make it salty, so go light)

add crushed red pepper to taste–i like minehot  spicey so I add about a teaspoon

add about 5 slices of bacon

grind some fresh pepper

cover and low boil for about 1-2 hours or till

as it cooks, add more stock if needed to just slightly cover them–not swimming in it

Skillet Cornbread and Honey Butter (Not the recipe I used, but pretty darn close)

1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cups well-shaken buttermilk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
Honey Butter

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Put a dry, well-seasoned 9- to 9 1/2-inch cast-iron skillet in middle of oven to heat.

Stir together cornmeal, baking soda, and salt, crushing any small bits of baking soda.

Whisk eggs in another bowl until blended and whisk in buttermilk.

Remove hot skillet from oven carefully and add butter, swirling gently to coat bottom and sides of skillet. (If butter begins to sizzle and brown around edges, so much the better.) Whisk hot butter into buttermilk mixture and return skillet to oven. Stir cornmeal into buttermilk mixture just until moistened. (The batter doesn?t have to be smooth ? a few small lumps are good.) Scrape batter into hot skillet and bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Invert skillet over a platter and cool bread at least 3 minutes.

Honey Butter
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons honey

Mix it together and serve.

Southern Sweet Tea

I will update with the sweet tea as soon as I get my cookbook back from Sean.


You can get the fried chicken and buttermilk salad dressing recipes from the Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook.  It’s really worth buying or at least checking out from your local library!

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17 thoughts on “My Son Can Cook

  1. I have friends.. a couple, who argue about whether cornbread should be sweet or not. He loves it sweet, she does not.. I think you have solved their problem.. I will be passing along the honey butter recipe with a sample.. thanks!

    Nice to see your youngin taking after ma… : ) The chicken looks fabulous.

  2. Thank you!

    Ya know what? I like it both ways. It depends on what I’m eating it with. I even like the cake cornbread. The amazing thing about cornbread is that it has many faces with just a few tweaks.

    The honey butter is SO good!
    I’ve missed you!

  3. So great to see more posts on lj again. I have missed your cooking. I will have to try the fried chicken but I have not been too lucky. I think I have a (too much grease fear) I need to get over, It’s fried chicken for heaven’s sake:)

  4. I have yet to eat breakfast this morning and this post is making me drool! As a southerner, I can not remember a time in my life in which I didn’t like collards. My internet is being strange and isn’t showing the photos so I’ll have to check back later and drool some more!

  5. I soak my chicken in Buttermilk- so I always like buttermilk dressing with the meal. We did almost the same meal- two Sundays ago only I made a pot of beans and corn bread instead of the collard greens.

    I crumble the corn bread in my bowl of beans. Gary likes the honey butter. Fried Chicken, cornbread and Sweet Tea are Oklahoma staples!

    I can’t belive he did it! Good job Sean! Tough meal to get right.

    All that and Hank Williams, too?

  6. Tamara, My grandma was from Oklahoma! I’d love to see your fried chicken recipe. Oh, I’m a huge fan of crumbling cornbread into my beans–I grew up on pinto beans with cornbread or fritos.
    How do you make your sweet tea? Sean made the lemon version–which is how my grandma made it. In my cooking class we had mint sweet tea, which I had never had before, and it was a great treat.
    Sean did himself proud.
    Yes, I’m lucky enough to have a kid who likes a lot of old country. Thanks for your comment!

  7. MARY: I have a bit of grease fear myself. Mostly, I worry about fat content. I just can’t resist fried chicken. I rarely indulge, but when I do, it’s like I’ve died and gone to heaven. I’m happy you dropped by my site!

    EDIE: YAY! Another collard lover! Collards such a unique green–and a southern tradition to boot. I hope you can see the photos soon. I’m trying to grow them in the garden too. Thanks for chiming in 🙂

  8. First I love Sean’s apron!! I know you are proud of him but as a southerner, I am proud of him too. The chicken and the cornbread look like something on a sunday table “down here”. I love the cornbread is not sweet or cake…and in a skillet!!!..a little tip: before you heat the skillet, put a heavy Tablespoon of bacon grease in it before you pour in the batter in the hot skillet..it gives and excellent crust. Also I don’t know how you do tea there, but steep your tea (about a quart), remove tea bags..add 3/4 cup sugar to the hot tea and let it melt (sugar won’t melt in cold water) after it has cooled down..add another quart of water…..I’m sure you know how to make it like you like it, but that’s just a southerners version if you are interested, if not disregard, lol. I love the greens too and I add mustard greens to turnips with a ham hock. That’s what you call Soul food baby!!
    BTW I am getting a Yorkie puppy the first week of April. My precious Carly passed away a few weeks ago and I have been a basket case. Gonna name the baby, Stella and I saw her the day she was born. She was the size of a mouse. I will send pics when I get her. I’m glad to have the time tho to greive before getting one the next day.

  9. A sweet tea tip:
    My husband is the cook of the household and swears by putting a pinch of baking soda into the boiling tea. He learned it from his Mama and it is supposed to take any bitterness out. I’ve never done a side-by-side taste test so I’ll just take his word for it!
    I can see the photos now, and I’m getting hungry! I’ll have to pick some buttermilk up tomorrow so I can try those teacakes!

  10. That chicken looks wonderful. Having spent this past weekend down south in Charlotte, I ate more fried food than I have in the past year (and it was damn good). I’m not a fan of collard greens, but the rest of the meal looks great.

  11. OMG! I love having your collard greens recipe. I have been loving collards ever since my old roommate, AnnJohnson, who spent 4 years in the Peace Corps in Liberia, taught me how to make Liberian Chop. It involves lots of onions, shredded collards, red pepper, chicken stock, jalapenos (or other hot fresh pepper), tomato sauce, and pre-fried chicken parts, which are added near the end when the collards have become tender. Naturally we ate it with lots of cold cheap beer. BTW the whole mess is sauteed in palm oil, which is a fragrant orange oil that can be purchased at ethnic groceries. I get it at Pike Place Market at a Mexican shop. Ever since those old Chop parties Ann and I hosted, I always have collards in my garden. I am surprised by how many Bellevue residents have no idea what collars are.

    XOXO Leigh

  12. wow how wonderful that your son and future in daughter cooked all this delicious food for you. 🙂 looks great! i’ll have to try those southern tea cakes, they sound lovely. 🙂

  13. I’m not southern, but love the meal Sean cooked and served. To me, it sounds like good old rural Ohio cooking, but maybe being so close to Kentucky has an influence on us here in southwest Ohio. Wonderful post.
    Lillian

  14. Pingback: Antique Water Kettles and Southern Tea Cakes « Angelnina’s Cottage

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