Fried Chicken Livers

I know, I know… fried chicken livers aren’t good for you. Fine. But man, are they good! And since you don’t find them in many restaurants (and sometimes can’t find them in the grocery store), you aren’t likely to eat them enough to be a problem. So, enjoy!

Ingredients

1 pound of chicken livers

1 cup of buttermilk (can substitute milk)

2 cups of flour (self-rising or plain)

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon seasoned salt

Oil for cooking

The recipe:

  1. Chicken livers tend to pop but you can alleviate some of that by piercing them several times with a fork.
  2. In a deep skillet, add 2 inches of cooking oil and heat oil to 350 degrees.
  3. Mix flour, pepper, and season salt in mixing bowl.
  4. Use another mixing bowl for the buttermilk. Dredge the livers in the flour mix, then the buttermilk and then in the flour again.
  5. Fry for 4 to 5 minutes until golden brown. Be careful of popping and splattering.
  6. Drain on paper towels.

NOTES:

Don’t overcook the livers. Ideally, the outside should be golden brown and crispy but the inside should still have a touch of pink.

Pimiento Cheese

Ah, the perfect pimiento cheese sandwich. To me, it’s a simple thing. Don’t clutter it up with too many ingredients. Start with the right kind of cheese and you’ll be on the path to a good sandwich.

Ingredients:

8 ounces of cheddar cheese, shredded

3/4 of Miracle Whip salad dressing

4 ounce jar of diced pimiento, drained

The Recipe:

  1. In a bowl, combine the cheese and the pimientos and gently stir them together for a few seconds.
  2. Add about half the Miracle Whip and stir it in. Add additional amounts of the Miracle Whip until the consistency of the mixture is to your satisfaction.
  3. Serve on sandwich bread.

NOTES:

I prefer a sharp cheddar cheese for a little extra “bite” but you can use a mild cheddar if you prefer.

If you’re a mayo kind of person, feel free. But the extra tangy zip of the Miracle Whip works well in this recipe.

Southern Fried Catfish

If I had to pick my all-time favorite foods, fried catfish would be at the top of the list. Every Friday or Saturday night when I was growing up my parents and I would go to an all-you-can-eat catfish restaurant, sometimes driving for up to an hour to get to one of our favorites. Between my dad and me, I’m pretty sure that whichever of those restaurants we ate at lost money on us the moment we walked in the door.

When done right, there’s no better representative of old fashioned southern cooking. Done right, of course, means dredged in seasoned cornmeal and pan or deep fried to a golden brown and served hot. But there are some keys you need to know to make it come out great…

The Ingredients:

Catfish filets (See notes)

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

2 cups yellow self-rising cornmeal (see notes)

1 teaspoon season salt

1 Tablespoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

Vegetable oil or shortening for frying

The Recipe:

  1. If frozen, thaw fish according to directions on package.
  2. Place thawed fish in bowl (or zip top bag) and add buttermilk. Refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.
  3. Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  4. Heat oil or shortening to 350 degrees.
  5. Drain the buttermilk from the catfish and then dredge the fish in the cornmeal mix.
  6. Pan fry for 2-3 minutes on each side (or deep fry for 4 minutes) until golden brown. Fish should be white and flaky when done.
  7. Drain the cooked fish on paper towel covered plates and serve immediately.

NOTES:

How much fish should you cook? Two to three filets per person for average eaters will likely be more than enough but you’ll need twice that for big eaters; for purposes of this recipe, we’ll assume you’re preparing a dozen or so filets.

White or yellow cornmeal? Either will work and they’ll taste the same but the yellow will give you a golden brown crust more quickly, meaning you won’t have to overcook the fish to make it look golden brown. And I usually use the self-rising cornmeal mix rather than plain cornmeal. The self-rising mix has a little flour mixed in as well and many recipes call for adding a little flour. So if you use plain cornmeal you could substitute half a cup of flour for an equal amount of the cornmeal.

Serve with:

Of course, fried catfish must always be served with hushpuppies and coleslaw. White beans are a standard side dish in many restaurants as well.

How to Make Great Iced Tea

Nothing beats an icy cold glass of sweet iced tea on a hot summer day. Great iced tea, though, is sometimes hard to find.

Mr. Coffee Ice Tea Maker

I’ll get to the actual recipe in a moment but here are the key things absolutely necessary for the perfect iced tea:

  1. Make it strong enough. Weak iced tea doesn’t please anyone.
  2. Make the tea early enough that it can be thoroughly chilled before serving. Warm tea will leave you with weakened tea (see point #1) and melted ice (see point #3).
  3. Put plenty of ice in the glasses. Iced tea implies ice, does it not? Don’t skimp on the ice. Good southern iced tea will have ice, lots of it.
  4. Use the right amount of sugar. Southerners who travel outside the region know it can be hard to find sweet tea in restaurants. So, if you’re going to make iced tea at home, make it sweetened tea.
  5. Stick with brand-name tea bags. I prefer Lipton but other good brands are out there. Store brands will give you adequate tea but quality varies by brand.
  6. If you drink a lot of tea, Mr. Coffee’s Iced Tea Maker is a great tool for making good tea. This recipe uses the Ice Tea Maker.

Ingredients for 1 gallon of tea:

9 regular size tea bags

1 coffee filter

2 cups of sugar (optional)

The Recipe:

  1. Remove tea bags from paper wrapper, if necessary. Place the coffee filter in the steeping basket and put the 9 tea bags in the steeping basket.
  2. Fill the pitcher to the water line and add it to the tea pot and start the brewer. If your Ice Tea Maker has a steeping basket with the ability to close it and let the tea steep, leave it closed so the tea bags soak for 10 minutes or so after it finishes brewing.
  3. While the tea is still hot, put the sugar in a 1 gallon pitcher and add the hot tea.
  4. Stir until the sugar is dissolved then add enough cold water to fill the pitcher. Stir. If you prefer to add artificial sweeteners, skip this step.
  5. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

If you don’t have the Mr. Coffee Iced Tea Maker, you can boil 1 quart of water, remove it from the heat and place the tea bags in the water and let it steep for 10 minutes. Continue at step 3 above.

Welcome to Real Southern Cooking!

I love to eat. And I love to cook. Growing up in Kentucky, that meant learning to cook Southern food. Mostly. I started cooking when I was in high school. I started cooking because I wanted to eat tacos and my mother knew nothing about Mexican food (this was in the late 70s or early ...

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