Friday, December 30, 2016


"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 make it. 

2 T avocado oil
2 T unsalted butter
4 links of Andouille smoked sausage, sliced
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 pepper
1 lb. medium to large shrimp, peeled & deveined

2 T chopped flat leaf parsley
4 scallions (green onions) thinly sliced

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 paprika. 
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 minutes. 

Add shrimp, cover and simmer 5 more minutes.
Turn off heat, keep covered, and let sit another 5 minutes. . .while you set the table.

Sprinkle with chopped parsley and sliced scallions.
Take the pot to the table and serve family style or spoon onto 4 warm plates.

Serve with French bread and hot sauce.

Serves 4 to 6

Monday, December 26, 2016


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 country 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 aside.
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 chicken.

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.

Country Gravy
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 pepper

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.
Whisk in the chicken stock and milk.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serves 4


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)
½ t active dry yeast
¼ cup honey
¼ t ground ginger
1 cup buttermilk
2 T unsalted butter, cut into small pieces                                    
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 t sea salt 
½ t baking soda
½ cups unbleached bread flour    

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 the 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 the dough by hand for 2 minutes.

Lightly coat a bowl with cooking spray and add the dough.
Cover with a pizza pan, plastic wrap, or a damp tea towel and let the 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 the bread has finished rising.
Bake bread for 30 to 35 minutes.

Brush the top of the bread with the melted butter, if you want a softer crust.
Remove from loaf pan onto a wire rack to cool.

Makes one loaf

Thursday, December 22, 2016


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 heat. 
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 minute.
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 and pepper.

Spread butter on bread slices and place on a baking sheet.
Broil about 6 inches from heat until golden brown, about 2 minutes.

Spoon the cheese mixture over each slice of bread.
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.

Serves 2