Two Southern dishes that have been transformed to accommodate the hot summer nights, via WSJ.    

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For her high school graduation lunch last week, my daughter asked for my fried chicken. Normally, I break down a chicken into 9 pieces and cook it and serve it. But we’d invited friends, bringing our total number to 20. Fried chicken for 20 is different from fried chicken for four. I had no intention of spending all that time frying while hosting the lunch. But it wasn’t until we were seated and one of the guests, while biting into a juicy drumstick, asked, “You can do this ahead of time?” did I realize that I must, must post on this subject, to deepen our understanding and encourage more cooking of one of the greatest dishes in the American repertoire. Yes, this can be done the day ahead. Follow all the steps below, though you Read On »

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Russ Parsons talks about Texas BBQ where they take their brisket seriously, via LA Times.

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Ages ago a reader requested a biscuit post and now, in something of a dreary February brain hibernation, I thought would be the perfect time. Donna shot this biscuit while I was writing Ratio and what I love about it is not the ratio itself (3 parts flour : 1 part fat : 2 parts liquid) but rather how the rolling technique results in layered flakiness. It’s kind of a cross between a pie crust and puff pastry. A pie crust is flaky because random knots of butter separate layers of dough and puff when baked. With puff pastry, one sets out to create precise layers of dough and butter, hundreds of them, by successively folding and rolling out a single block of butter encased in dough (called turns) for a uniform puff dough. Here, we Read On »

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News of tragedies has been heaped upon us, the fortunate, and actual tragedies have made the end of 2012 catastrophic for so many families. Our hearts go out to them, most of all to the parents who lost children in Newtown, CT, and all parents who have lost children of any age. (If any of my readers know actual parents, I urge you to read the novelist Ann Hood’s moving and useful words on helping the bereaved.) Meanwhile Congress seems certain to throw our economy back into recession in what is a colossal disgrace of a house divided, and I think the lot of them should be run out of town on a rail. One of the shamed, Senator Joe Manchin, put it rightly when he said, “Something has gone terribly wrong when the biggest Read On »

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