Sunday, May 31, 2020


I made this the other evening to accompany our coconut shrimp.  You can made the sauce in the morning, refrigerate and heat it up in the skillet after the noodles are finished cooking.

½ lb linguini, spaghetti, or Chinese noodles
½ cup smooth peanut butter
3 T soy sauce
1 T grated ginger
Juice of ½ lime
1 T oyster sauce
3 cloves garlic, pressed or grated
1 T sesame oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 T avocado oil
1 T unsalted butter
4 scallions, thinly sliced
Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
¼ cup peanuts, crushed or chopped, for garnish
Diced cilantro, for garnish

Cook noodles in boiling salted water, saving 1 cup pasta cooking water.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, soy, ginger, lime juice, oyster sauce, garlic, and sesame oil.
Season to taste with salt and pepper

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and sauté
the scallions for 1 minute. 
Add the sauce, pasta, and some of the pasta water.
Toss to completely coat.  Add more pasta water, if needed.
Garnish with sesame seeds, peanuts, and cilantro.

Serve 2

Saturday, May 30, 2020


One of my favorite shrimp dishes, and I have many favorite shrimp dishes, is coconut shrimp.  Make the Mango Dipping Sauce up to a day before.  Bread the shrimp in the morning and place on a platter and refrigerate until ready to fry.

Mango Dipping Sauce
2 T mayonnaise
1 mango cut into cubes
Juice of ½ lime
2 t Sriracha
1 t honey
¼ t sea salt
Pinch of curry powder

Coconut Shrimp
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup cornstarch
1 t sea salt
½ t freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg
2 T water
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
½ cup panko bread crumbs
16 jumbo shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails left intact
Avocado or peanut oil, for frying

Lime wedges, for serving
Cilantro, for garnish

Dipping Sauce
Add the mayonnaise, mango, lime juice, Sriracha, honey, salt, and curry powder to a blender and blend until smooth.  Transfer to a serving bowl and set aside.

In one bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, salt, and pepper.
In another bowl, whisk the egg with 2 tablespoons water.
In a third bowl, combine the shredded coconut and panko.

Bread the shrimp by dipping them into the flour mixture, shaking off excess.
Dip them into the egg wash and finally into the coconut mixture; making sure to coat completely.

Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
Fry the shrimp in two batches until golden brown and crispy, approximately 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
Transfer to a towel-lined baking sheet and keep warm in a 225 degree F oven while frying the second batch.

Arrange on a platter and serve with the Spicy Mango Dipping Sauce.
Garnish with lime wedges and cilantro.

Serves 2 as a main course or 4 as an appetizer.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020


Corn pudding is such a Southern food staple anytime of the year.  If you want to save time, use frozen corn that has been thawed and drained in a fine mesh strainer.  If you want this to be very mild, leave out the peppers and Pepper Jack cheese (use Monterey plain cheese).  For a little heat, add one or two of these options.

2 T all-purpose flour
1 T corn flour
1 T granulated sugar
1 t baking powder
1 t sea salt
3 large eggs
1 cup half-and-half or whole milk
3 cups corn kernels
2 T unsalted butter, melted
Jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 poblano pepper, seeded and finely diced
4 green onions, finely diced
1 t chopped fresh oregano
½ cup shredded Monterey Pepper Jack cheese
½ cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
Chopped fresh oregano, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray a baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, corn flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
Whisk in the eggs and half-and-half or milk.
Stir in the corn, melted butter, peppers, green onions, oregano, and cheeses.

Pour into the prepared baking dish and bake until golden brown, about 35 to 40 minutes.

Garnish with oregano before serving.

Serves 6

Sunday, May 24, 2020


When making French toast, you first have to start with a good dense bread. I used a locally made artisan bread, that I sliced myself. You also need to soak the bread in the custard mixture for 2 to 3 minutes. You can divide the recipe in half to serve two for breakfast or brunch. A Mimosa would be excellent to serve with this for brunch.

6 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
3 T granulated sugar
Zest of 1 orange
Juice of 1 orange
3 T Grand Marnier, or other orange flavored brandy
1 t vanilla extract
½ t ground cinnamon
A pinch of ground nutmeg
8 slices sourdough, artisan, challah, or brioche bread
2 T unsalted butter, for cooking
2 T avocado oil, or other neutral flavored oil
Confectioners' sugar, for serving
Pure maple syrup, for serving

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs very well.
Whisk in the milk, sugar, orange zest, orange juice, brandy (if using), vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Dip 2 slices of bread into the mixture, letting it soak up some of the custard for about 2 to 3 minutes.

Lift bread out of custard, letting excess drip back into the bowl.

Cook slices in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat with some of the butter and the oil.
While bread is cooking, put two more slices of bread in the custard mixture to soak.

Transfer to a baking sheet and keep warm in a 225 degree F oven while frying the rest of the bread.

Place 2 per plate and serve with a garnish of confectioners' sugar and maple syrup.

Serves 4 

Sunday, May 17, 2020


All Southerners love Chicken-Fried Steak or Country Fried Steak (CFS). It is believed that it was created in Texas by Austrian and German immigrants in the mid 1800s. A common main course for the immigrants in their old country was Weiner Schnitzel (veal) or Schnitzel (pork). I imagine the gravy came later and then it was called CFS. Serve this with mashed potatoes and collard greens. 

Lee's Kitchen Tips:

Have your butcher tenderize your steaks, if they are not already tenderized. Butchers do a much better job than trying to do this at home.

4 pieces (approx. 1 lb) of cube steak (tenderized round steak)
¾ cup cornstarch
1 large egg
1 cup buttermilk 
3 to 4 dashes of hot sauce (optional)

½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup corn flour or finely ground corn meal
2 t paprika
1 t garlic powder
1 t onion powder
1 t baking powder
1 t seasoned salt
1 t finely ground black pepper

Avocado or peanut oil, for frying    

Country Gravy
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 T pan drippings
2 T unsalted butter
2 to 2 ½ cups whole milk
Sea salt and finely ground black pepper

Pat steaks dry with paper towels. 
In a shallow bowl, add the cornstarch.
In another shallow bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk, and hot sauce.
In a third shallow bowl, add flour, corn flour, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, baking powder, seasoned salt, and black pepper.

Working with one steak at a time, coat each side with the cornstarch.
Shake off excess and dip in the egg mixture.
Next dredge in the seasoned flour mixture.
Transfer to a tray or baking sheet.
Repeat with the remaining steaks.

Pour about 1 inch of oil in a large cast iron skillet.
Heat oil to about 375 degrees F or test oil with a wooden spoon to see if bubbles appear around the spoon. The moisture of the wooden spoon creates bubbles in hot oil.

Fry 2 steaks at a time for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side.
Transfer to a baking sheet fitted with a wire rack and keep warm in a 225 degree F oven while frying the remaining steaks.

Country Gravy
Spoon out about 2 tablespoons of the pan drippings to a medium saucepan.
Over medium heat, add the flour and whisk constantly until mixtures turns a very light brown, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the butter and slowly whisk in the milk.
Season with salt and finely ground black pepper.
Reduce to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Serves 2 

Thursday, May 14, 2020


The combination of fried chicken and waffles is soul food not southern. It was popularized by the Wells Supper Club in Harlem, New York City during the late 1930s. It was served to their late night-early morning clientele. Fried chicken with cornbread, biscuits or hoecakes is a southern staple and the addition of waffles is simply just another quick bread to serve with fried chicken. Roscoe's in Los Angeles, California made it famous on the West Coast. I prefer boneless chicken breasts or thighs, making it easier to eat with a knife and fork. Serve it with Kentucky Bourbon flavored maple syrup, optional, of course!

Fried Chicken Marinade
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cups buttermilk
1 t sea salt
½ t finely ground black pepper
1 t paprika
1 t garlic powder
1 t onion powder
1 t of your favorite seasoning (Cajun, Creole, or Old Bay)

Cut chicken in to about 3-inch strips or small cutlets, place on a platter and set aside.

In a large bowl, pour in the buttermilk.

Add the above spices and mix with a fork.
Add the chicken pieces, cover, refrigerate, and let marinate 4 to 8 hours.

Coating for Chicken
½ cups all-purpose flour
2 T cornstarch
1 t paprika
Sea salt and finely ground black pepper
Peanut or avocado oil for frying
Pour coating ingredients into a large bowl and mix well.
Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and dredge the chicken pieces in the flour mixture. Place back on a platter while dredging the rest.

Heat about 1 inch of oil in a cast-iron skillet.

Fry chicken until golden brown and crisp, about 5 minutes on each side.
Remove to a baking sheet lined with a rack or paper towel and keep warm in a 225 degree F oven while frying the rest of the chicken.

Buttermilk-Pecan Waffles                    

2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
½ cup pecans
2 T granulated sugar 
1 T baking powder (aluminum free, if possible)
1 t baking soda
½ t salt
½ t ground cinnamon
2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
3 T melted unsalted butter
½ t pure vanilla extract

Pour pecans and ¼ cup of the flour into a food processor and process to a medium coarse texture. 
Pour into a large bowl and add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix well with a whisk.
Add the buttermilk, then whisk in the eggs, melted butter, and vanilla. Let sit for 15 minutes.

Preheat a waffle iron and bake waffles until golden brown.
Keep waffles warm in a 225 degree F oven while cooking the rest of the waffles.

Serve with warm maple syrup flavored with a teaspoon or two of Kentucky Bourbon, if desired.

Serves 6