A Casual Southern Supper

Saturday night, I got together with friends for a casual supper, a pre-birthday supper for me.  There were a couple of snags, but that just makes the evening more fun.  As usual, I over estimated the amount of food I needed to fix and sent everyone home with leftovers.

I had originally planned to make these Shrimp Boil Skewers from Southern Living Magazine, http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/shrimp-boil-skewers-50400000120558/, however, due to time constraints, I decided to toss the skewers and just put everything into a big bowl and serve it along side the other dishes.  I bought some beautiful HUGE shrimp from the Alabama Gulf Coast, thanks to Paradise Seafood (http://www.facebook.com/ParadiseSeafood).  They were perfectly-fresh and delicious.  Along side the boil, I made traditional fried catfish.  I had farm-raised catfish that we seasoned liberally with a mix of paprika, salt, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper and dredged in corn flour.  I deep-fried them in Costco’s Kirkland brand Mediterranean Oil Blend (http://www.costcoconnection.com/connection/201302?pg=93#pg93) and they were delicious.  The third “star” of the meal was pan fried chicken.  I had purchased two whole, organic, fryers and cut them up myself.  I put them to soak in buttermilk for 24 hours then we seasoned them liberally with the same mix as the catfish then dredged them in all-purpose flour.  I fried them in some of the Mediterranean Oil in an iron skillet.  The crust was tasty with a bit of a kick from the cayenne and the chicken was nice and juicy.   Yes, it’s traditional to use shortening, but I prefer to use oil for frying and deep frying when I can.

For sides, we had Pecan Rice.  I used the recipe from “Screen Doors and Sweet Tea” by Martha Hall Foose (http://marthafoose.com/screen_doors_and_sweet_tea) also a Delta resident.  If you are not familiar with this dish, it is a rice pilaf with roasted pecans.  I did skip using white rice and substituted Arkansas brown rice that I bought from Earth Sprung Grains  at the Memphis Farmers’ Market downtown http://www.memphisfarmersmarket.com/.  I love brown rice and this Arkansas rice is great.    I also made macaroni and cheese from the same book.  I was a little disappointed in the result, but I think it was more my fault than the recipe.

Additionally, we had focaccia- a loaf that I’d made a few weeks ago meaning to give to a friend but forgot it and ended up freezing it.  I made the bread using a mix of unbleached white flour and spelt flour.  The texture was light and a little chewey and I enjoyed it a lot.

I had originally planned to have a banana pudding as a dessert, however, I had some “technical difficulties” with the custard and ended up skipping it.  The guests finished off the vanilla wafers and I am eating the bananas myself this week for lunch!

All in all, it was a great night and the food, in spite of the few hiccups, was perfect.

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