Tuesday, July 12, 2011

UnBirthday Lunch

Right now our kitchen looks like it was hit by a tornado. Dishes from cooking, serving, and dining litter the counter and sink as each of my aunts and I take our turns making a little bit of headway in the mess. Perhaps I should work on being a tidier cook... perhaps not. With the luxury of a dishwasher, missing from my life while living in college apartments, the cleanup work after having company happens at such a better speed!

Today we hosted lunch to pre-celebrate Rosalie's birthday. Though I don't eat meat, and have only cooked it once to my memory in the past five years, I took the plunge to find a good chicken dish that would impress this crowd. It just so happens that Pat and Gina Neely of Down Home With the Neelys had exactly what I was looking for--Buttermilk Baked Chicken. I read the recipe thoroughly, then scrolled through many of the reviews for any additional hints or tips. When I went to the grocery store to purchase the meat I ended up on the phone with my mom, wondering "Skin on or skinless?" I chose skinless, then immediately thought I'd ruined the whole recipe when I read the note at the bottom, Cook's Note: Remove the skin to save calories. Ok, phew, crisis averted, this might just work out after all! And it did! I ended up cooking 3 thighs, 3 drumsticks, and 3 breasts, for which I doubled the buttermilk marinade from the recipe.

The chicken was served alongside my amazing lemon pasta, and it got good reviews.

Then for dessert, a wonderful strawberry cobbler! I usually prefer to use less sugar, but the sweet syrup that this recipe creates makes it so yummy! And I did a really poor job of taking photos today--we were having too much fun to worry about such things!

This is my go-to cobbler recipe, I vary the fruit but use the basic guidelines for the crust all the time.
For filling:
6 cups fresh strawberries, halved
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoon flour

For crust:
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold butter, cubed

Basically, mix the sugar and flour together, then mix with strawberries. Transfer to a greased 11x7 baking dish.
In a separate bowl mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and butter for crust. Cut butter in with a fork, though I quickly move on to using my fingers until the mixture is crumbly. There's so much butter in the recipe that there's usually enough moisture, so you could add 1/2 a cup or more if needed/desired.
Bake in 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes, until browned and bubbly! In this house, you don't eat cobbler without ice cream, so be sure to add a big scoop!

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