I was born on Capitol Hill in Washington DC. My mom, Izetta, was born in Tennessee and raised in Waterford, Virginia. My dad, Charles Irving, was born in a small town outside of Leesburg, Virginia. Most of my aunts and uncles remained in Virginia. We would drive to the country every Sunday and had wonderful Sunday dinners with relatives. My mom would help cook in their big country kitchens. Nothing says comfort like southern food and. . .good ole' hospitality is truly a southern tradition.
"Jambalaya and a
crawfish pie and file' gumbo . . . " I love Creole food and my daddy loved that
song by Hank Williams, but I think he was singing about Cajun-Style Jambalaya.
Jambalaya is pronounced "Jum-ba-li-ah". Cajun-Style Jambalaya is more rural
and can include a combination of crawfish, shrimp, oysters, alligator, duck,
turtle, rabbit, squirrel, venison, and anything that was part of the hunt that
day. Cajun-Style Jambalaya does not have tomatoes and has a roux base. Creole-Style Jambalaya has tomatoes. It originated from the
French Quarter of New Orleans. This is best if you serve this on the day you
2 T avocado oil
2 T unsalted butter
4 links of Andouille smoked
6 boneless chicken thighs or 4
boneless chicken breasts cut into large chunks
1 large onion, diced
1 large green bell pepper, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup long grain white rice
1 t dried thyme
2 (14-oz) cans fire roasted diced
tomatoes or 1 (28-oz) can whole tomatoes, hand crushed
3 cups chicken stock or broth
2 bay leaves
1 T Worcestershire sauce
4 t Creole Seasoning
1 t smoked paprika
Sea salt and freshly ground black
1 lb. medium to large shrimp,
peeled & deveined
2 T chopped flat leaf parsley
4 scallions (green onions) thinly
Crystal or Louisiana hot sauce,
for the table
Sliced French bread, for the table
In a large Dutch oven or large
heavy flat bottom skillet, add oil and butter and brown sausage over medium
heat. Remove with a slotted spoon to a large bowl and set aside.
Add chicken, and cook until
golden brown on all sides, about 5 minutes.
Remove with a slotted spoon to
the bowl with the sausage.
Reduce heat to medium-low and add
the "holy trinity". . .onion, green bell pepper, and celery, and
sauté for about 5 minutes. Add garlic, rice, thyme, and cook another 2 minutes.
Add tomatoes, chicken broth, bay leaves, Worcestershire, Creole Seasoning, and
Return the browned sausage and
chicken to the pot.
Season to taste with salt and
pepper and stir to combine.
Briefly bring to a boil then
reduce heat to very low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
Stir once and simmer another 5
Add shrimp, cover and simmer 5
Turn off heat, keep covered, and
let sit another 5 minutes. . .while you set the table.
Sprinkle with chopped parsley and
Take the pot to the table and
serve family style or spoon onto 4 warm plates.
Growing up in Washington,
D.C. I spent a lot of summers in Ocean City, Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay
beaches. I love Maryland Fried Chicken or Chicken Maryland. It is pan fried and
seasoned with Old Bay. I like to take Old Bay to the table for anyone who wants
to sprinkle a little more on their chicken. Chicken Maryland was even mentioned
in the movie "Christmas in Connecticut". My mom always had chicken
gravy with her fried chicken. Serve this with mashed potatoes and collard
greens seasoned with Virginia ham or a smoked ham hock. Lee's Kitchen Tips: You can also deep fry your chicken for about 12 to 14 minutes total.
1 frying chicken cut into 10
pieces (breasts cut in half)
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 T Old Bay seasoning
1 T garlic powder
1 T dry mustard
2 t sea salt
2 t finely ground black pepper
2 t paprika
1 t onion powder
1 t baking powder
1 t cornstarch
½ t cayenne pepper
3 cups peanut oil, for frying
In a medium bowl, add the dry
ingredients and mix to combine.
Completely dredge the chicken
pieces in the flour mixture and place on a cookie sheet or pizza pan and set
In a Dutch oven, preferably
cast-iron, add the peanut oil.
If you have a candy thermometer,
place it on the side of the pan, with the tip in the hot oil.
If you don't have one, place the
end of a wooden spoon in the oil and if it bubbles all around the handle, the
oil should be hot enough to start frying.
Heat oil to 375 degrees F, if you
have a candy thermometer.
Heat oven to 225 degrees F.
Have a baking sheet fitted with a
rack ready for the cooked chicken.
Add 4 pieces at a time and
fry on one side for 7 minutes.
Turn over and fry about another 7 minutes.
Using tongs, remove cooked
chicken to the baking sheet and place in oven while frying the rest of the
chicken. Wings will cook a couple of minutes faster than the rest of the
While chicken is staying warm in
the oven, carefully pour off all but about 2 tablespoons of the hot oil into a
heat-proof container. Leave the brown bits in the bottom of the pot.
2 T unsalted butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken stock
2 cups half-and-half or milk
Sea salt and finely ground black
In the Dutch oven that contains a
little oil and the brown bits from the chicken, add the butter and let melt
over medium-high heat.
Add the flour and cook, while
whisking, until a light golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Back in the early 1970s, I
started making bread. I used to take pottery lessons in Georgetown, Wash. DC.
One day after my pottery class, I was supposed to buy a dress for a party that
night and I came home with an antique dough bowl instead. That was before I had
my stand mixer.
The reason why I make my
own bread is; it contains no preservatives, it's less expensive, it's fun to
do, it's very rewarding, and it certainly tastes better. If you don't have
buttermilk, squeeze about a tablespoon of lemon juice in the milk and let sit out
on the counter for about 15 minutes before using.
This bread makes excellent
sandwich bread - toasted or plain. It also makes fabulous French toast and
grilled cheese sandwiches.
Lee's Kitchen Tips:
You may wonder why I have a
small amount of ginger in the recipe. Ginger is a dough enhancer and it gives
the yeast an extra boost.
Lastly, you may wonder why
my recipe calls for yeast and baking soda. Together, they make the bread
lighter and fluffier.
½ cup lukewarm water
(about 105 degrees F)
2 t active dry yeast
2 T honey
¼ t ground ginger
½ cup buttermilk
2 T unsalted butter, cut
into small pieces
1 large egg, lightly
1 t sea salt
½ t baking soda
3 cups unbleached bread
2 t melted butter (optional)
Pour the lukewarm water
into the bowl of an electric mixer.
Add the yeast, honey, and
ginger. Let proof in bowl for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, pour milk into
a heatproof measuring cup and add the pieces of butter.
Warm the milk and butter
in the microwave or you can do this in a small saucepan on the stovetop, until
butter is almost melted.
Set aside to cool to lukewarm, about 10 minutes.
Pour the buttermilk
mixture, and enough of the flour, into the mixing bowl to make a medium batter.
Mix with a wooden spoon.
Add the egg, salt, and
baking soda; mix again.
Attach bowl to mixer and
attach a dough hook and while mixing on low speed, add the rest of the flour, ½
cup at a time.
If you don't have a stand
mixer, you can do this in a large bowl using a wooden spoon.
Mix for 3 minutes and
then transfer to a lightly floured work surface and knead dough by hand for 2
Lightly coat a bowl with
cooking spray and add the dough.
Cover with a pizza pan or
plastic wrap and let dough rise in a warm location until doubled in size, about
1½ to 2 hours.
Lightly coat a loaf pan
with cooking spray and set aside.
Punch down dough and form
into a smooth oblong shape and place into the prepared loaf pan.
Let rise in a warm place
about 30 to 40 minutes, until the bread is about one inch (no more) above the
rim of the loaf pan.
Preheat oven to 375
degrees F, 15 minutes before bread has finished rising.
Bake bread for 30 to 35
Brush the top of the
bread with the melted butter, if you want a softer crust.
Welsh Rarebit is made with a savory sauce of
melted cheese and a little bit of porter. Porter is a dark beer made from brown malt. You can
also make this recipe with a lighter beer, such as a lager, if you prefer. Get
a good quality sharp cheddar cheese and good crusty bread. Serve this for brunch or lunch with soup. You can use all yellow cheddar cheese or mix it up with a little white cheddar or with Swiss cheese, as I did.
3 T unsalted butter
2 T all-purpose flour
½ cup porter
1 t English dry mustard
½ t Dijon mustard
½ t paprika
¼ t cayenne pepper
½ t Worcestershire sauce
¾ cup grated good quality sharp cheddar cheese ¼ cup grated good quality white cheddar cheese
6 slices crusty artisan bread
2 T softened unsalted butter, for bread
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fresh chives, snipped (optional)
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over low
Sprinkle in the flour and whisk until combined.
Cook for a couple of minutes to cook out the
rawness of the flour.
Slowly whisk in the porter or ale and cook another
Add the dry mustard, Dijon, paprika, cayenne, and Worcestershire sauce.
Add ¾ of the cheese and stir with a wooden
spoon, until it is smooth and completely melted.
Remove from heat and season to taste with salt
Spread butter on bread slices and place on a
Broil about 6 inches from heat until golden
brown, about 2 minutes.
Spoon the cheese mixture over each slice of
Top with the remaining grated cheese and place
under the broiler for a minute or two until the bubbles.
Sprinkle with a few snipped chives and serve.
This is excellent with soup for a warm
comforting lunch or perfect with scrambled eggs for a hearty breakfast.