Rosemary Buttermilk Fried Chicken and Waffles

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Well good golly Miss Molly! Being from the south I’ve had my fair share of fried chicken, well actually fried everything. I’ve never been a huge fan of fried food but occasionally I have a hankering for it. A couple weeks back we were watching Master Chef and they had to make chicken and waffles for a challenge. This got me craving the southern classic and went looking for a great fried chicken recipe. I found this one in my new Food 52 Genius Recipes cookbook (which is soooo beautiful!) and it is hands down the best fried chicken I have had in a long time. The chicken brines for for up to 24 hours and the rosemary adds an extra punch to the flavor. One of the reasons I’ve stayed away from fried chicken is the dryness of the meat after frying. Brining the meat (and using dark meat) helps lock in the flavor and keep the meat extra juicy.

To make our dinner even more southern we served the chicken with waffles. If you haven’t had this combination you are missing out! The sweetness of the waffle works perfectly with the fried chicken. Add a little of this whiskey maple syrup on top and you have the perfect dinner! Now to make sure I don’t make this too often or we will be double our size!!

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Poulet Vallee d’Auge

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A few years ago I made a seven course dinner for Philip’s birthday. This was my first adventures in French food and also the beginning of my love of cooking. That party I realized for the first time that the dinner table really is a place of community and amazing conversation. From that night on I kind of decided that I was going to be all or nothing when it came to cooking…

Philip laughs at me because I used to hate cooking but now I find the kitchen to be therapeutic. I’m trying new recipes left and right these days and there constantly is flour in my hair and I am loving it. I eventually want to cook through Julia Child’s cook book but for now I will do a couple French dinners a month.

One thing I love about French food is it sounds so elegant and complicated but truth be told most of the French recipes I have tried so far are doable for an intermediate cook. For the first couple of times that I make a new recipe I follow it to the letter; that is due to my OCDness. 🙂

For this chicken dish, Poulet Vallee d’Auge, I served alongside it French bread (recipe found HERE) and a creamed garlic potato. For dessert we had a chocolate tartlet that I will blog later.

The chicken is incredibly tender and full of flavor! I bought an entire chicken that had been pre-quartered and this was a nice step to have done for me. I have a chef’s knife that is sharp enough to quarter a chicken but it does take a little while to do and I like having some of the steps done for me.

Creamed potatoes are one of my favorite side dishes to make, cause duh potatoes are delicious. A little trick I learned a while back, to give the potatoes a fuller flavor, is to boil the potatoes in chicken stock instead of water. I then cream them with butter, additional chicken stock, minced garlic, milk, and plenty of salt and pepper. I tend to add the last ingredients until I get the consistency that I desire… one of the few times I don’t measure but instead go on taste and texture alone.

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Maple Bourbon Brown Butter Peach Pie

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One of my absolute favorites things to do in the summer is go to Jones Orchard and pick fruit. We get up early and head to the orchard to beat the scorching Memphis heat. I have tons of childhood memories with my family picking peaches and berries and chasing wild bunnies. When I got to introduce Philip to this tradition a couple years back he told me that I get giddy like a school girl when it is orchard day. Seriously nothing beats picking the fruit right off the tree and knowing that it is perfectly ripe and ready to eat. This season I went a little peach happy and ended up with 20 pounds of peaches that I needed to eat or use in recipes. So a string of baking and cooking resulted from our orchard day. I’ll be sharing a few of the recipes I tried with this fresh fruit.

I know that when I’m personally looking for new recipes I like to have the recipe higher up on the blog post so that when I come back to reference it I’m not scrolling forever to get to the core of the recipe. I’ve also found a great way to showcase the recipe that allows you to print for your personal collection. So recipe first and my notes and pictures after 🙂

First up, a Maple Bourdon Brown Butter Peach Pie!

 

[yumprint-recipe id=’1′]This season we picked a mixture of yellow and white peaches. Personally I prefer the yellow for their texture and natural sweetness. I do believe that this years harvest had some of the sweetest, juiciest peaches I’ve ever eaten, and I’ve had a lot of peaches! The greatness of this crop really enhanced the flavors of the pie. I actually made this specific pie twice in two weeks for different events and both times the pie was gone as soon as it was cut into. Adding bourbon into the syrup that goes into the filling brought out a richness to the butter and maple syrup that I’ve never tasted before. I’ve recently started using bourbon instead of vanilla in a lot of recipes and I’m loving the way the harsh tones of the bourbon brings out the deeper flavors of the fruit.

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This specific pie is a little more time consuming than others I’ve made this summer. The crust requires chilling both before and after rolling so I do suggest you make the crust a day ahead. With as many peaches as we picked this year I wanted to find a quick way to peel them all. For the yellow peaches blanching the peaches actually worked wonders on the peeling! You boil the peaches for 45 seconds to 1 minute then immediately pull the peaches out of the boiling water and place them in an ice water bath. This loosens the skin and you are able to make a single slice in the skin with a knife then the skin basically falls right off when you gently push against it. This worked some on the white peaches but I did noticed that the white peaches needed to be almost over ripened for the quick peeling method to work.

As you can see in the picture below this method of peeling leaves the peaches nice and smooth without chunks missing from using a knife of peeler. My OCDness prefers this because it gives a nice even peach with no waste.

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I’m not one to take many pictures while in the actually baking process but here is the pie before going in to the oven…

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And the finished pie.

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Maple Bourbon Peach Pie

Savannah

The Black Dress Series

It’s been over a year since I last posted here. This site was designed to be a place for my personal photography work and clearly by the lack of activity I haven’t been doing any personal work. There are a couple of reasons I abandoned my personal work.

During 2014 I went through a really dark time in my personal life. We walked through a pretty intense situation with some dear friends of ours and that left me in a downward spiral (secondary trauma as my therapist explained it). I’ve always been a strong independent woman and felt like I could weather any storm that came my way. Seeing myself come apart during this situation was earth shattering to me. I lost confidence in who I was and started to feel like a failure. By nature I am perfectionist and failure is my kryptonite. I kept getting deeper and deeper in self loathing and depression. Everything I tried I felt like I couldn’t achieve the level of perfection that I wanted and felt like a massive failure. Halfway through projects I would give up then beat myself up because I failed at achieving my goal. I didn’t have the energy mentally to keep putting myself through this emotional roller coaster, so I just stopped trying.

I knew this wasn’t healthy for me. I’m not going to pour out all the details, that’s what my therapist is for :), but you get the picture. I knew I needed something to kick me out of this dark place. I needed to go out and just try. Philip and I had a massive road trip planned for this spring. The main goal of the trip was to go to a photographers convention in Vegas but we tagged on some national parks to the trip so that Philip could do some landscape work. I love landscapes but 1. he is better at it than me and 2. we don’t need two shots of the same landscape, especially if his is better. I figured that this would be the perfect opportunity for me to start a new personal project.

I’m not going to lie, before this trip I was completely anxious about trying this new project. I thought I would completely fail. Let me fast forward a little now. While in a class (taught by Lanny and Erika Mann) during the photography convention, halfway through our trip, I had an awakening of sorts. These three statements hit me hard:

If you aren’t failing, you aren’t reaching far enough…
Success exist by going from failure to failure…
Being comfortable with failure leads to discovery…

Like I mentioned, failure is my kryptonite so to willing want it in my life is pretty foreign to me. If you look at the work of the Manns work you’ll see that they are at the top of their game and making some epic wins. To hear them so openly talk about how failure is such an important part of their success left me just short of sobbing in the class. For years my perfectionism has literally held me back. I cared too much about looking like I could succeed at everything single thing I tried. Part of the problem is I that am pretty good at most things I try and that just fed my perfectionism. I don’t like others seeing my weaknesses.

I decided, screw it. I sat there and mentally told myself who gives a *&^$ if I fail. What if I just tried and if I fail, I fail? But what if I don’t fail and instead succeed? What is the worst thing that could happen? Would my attempts and possible failures at taking photographs really be that life changing in the long run?

So I put myself out there and set out to at least try a personal project. And here it is, a series of self portraits done in my favorite black dress in some of the places we visited on our trip. For this project I wanted to show my love for both fashion and nature, take portraits that might not be in the most prime lighting situations, and embrace the true feelings I felt in the moment. I told Philip that no matter what I thought of the end results that I was going to force myself to edit the images and put them out there for the world to see, so I could start to get over my fear of failure.

And here you go, my Black Dress Series.
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Whitesands

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Petrified Forest

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The Grand Canyon

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Valley of Fire

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Zion

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Canyonlands

 

Snow Days

 

This past winter all I wanted was snow. Living in Memphis we rarely get good snow, actually we really only get ice that looks ugly and it dangerous. I have friends who live all over the country and via social media I kept seeing their pictures of beautiful, fluffy snow and I got really jealous. I love snow and the magic that it brings when it is falling. Our bedroom has a huge balcony window that faces out into our backyard and from the warmth of our bed we can lay in each others arms and watch the snow falling. I especially love night time snows; the whole world is quiet and at peace as the flakes make their way silently to the earth. I probably have this dreamlike perception of snow because we so rarely get more than just flurries. But Sunday night as the snow started to fall I felt giddy. While we didn’t wake up to a snowy wonderland we did find a nice covering on the ground, just enough to make it feel worthwhile. The sun came out and started to shine through the ice crystals and I stood in awe for a while as I saw the ground sparkle. The wind stirred up the snow and ice crystals and as the sun hit them it looked like glitter was filling the air… yep just magical if you ask me.

We took a short walk with Amydog (short because the wind chill was zero. Yes, as in no numbers) so that she could enjoy the glorious snow. This dog is hilarious. When it is storming or even sprinkling rain she is terrified! Nothing will get her to leave my side during storms. But snow, good gravy this dog loves the snow! She runs and dives head first into the snow and scoops it up with her nose. She’ll roll onto her back and wiggle like crazy trying to get covered in snow. Watching her excitement for the snow makes me fill with joy and laughter. She runs and leaps and prances and does circles and it is the best things ever to watch. I was extra happy that the snow fell when it did because today Amydog had to go in for a small surgery to have several fatty tumors removed. The tumors so far are not dangerous, just in the way, but knowing that they could possibly lead to something else makes me nervous. Amydog has become like a child to us and I can’t imagine what life would be like without her. This March actually marks five years since we adopted her and I’m so glad that we found that precious dog at the shelter. A day playing in the snow was just what she (and this crazy dog momma) needed before a week of surgery recovery.

As for Troubadour the cat, well she didn’t like the snow so much and you can clearly see her hatred of the cold in the image above. Amydog looks sad here too but only because we made her pose and stop rolling in her beloved snow. 🙂

Now that we have had our snow for the year I give the weather full permission to warm up and stay warm! No more of these silly single digit temperatures!