Anatomy of a Dinner Party: a day in the life of a hospitalityaholic

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Tuesday, October 11th, 2016

Good Morning Darlings!

Last week John was in town and so we had to celebrate. We chose Venkman’s, one of faves. There was also an acoustic set of Beatles tunes thrown in for free.

Have you been to Venkman’s? Named after Bill Murray’s character in Ghostbusters. Thursday night their special is an entire fried chicken served with pickled veggies, slaw and potato wedges. All for $29. Eric and I decided to go for it and were rewarded with crunchy on the outside, moist on the inside chicken with puckery pickled veggies and creamy slaw. The potato wedges were a nice foil to all the tartness. And after we ate our fill of chicken, there was still plenty left to craft into a fabulous breakfast hash on Saturday.

And jalapeno corn muffins, too!

And jalapeno corn muffins, too!

I love Venkman’s. You should go. And say hi to Chef Nick Melvin.

xoxo, Patti

Wednesday Nights With Watershed!

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

Good Morning Darlings!

I love fried chicken. On Tuesday night here at the house I tried to fry some chicken for some friends. How did it go? I dang near burned the house down trying to fry chicken. It was wildly embarrassing. We ended up grabbing take out. See? It’s not all glam parties at my house. Every once in a while we have a clunker. But sparkling conversation made up for my kitchen gaffes and my husband’s running out to grab edible eats saved the night.

There is hope!

I Found My Thrill…On Cardamom Hill

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Good Morning Darlings!

How is 2012 coming along for you? Do you need something to spice your life up?

Come on in!

A Bittersweet, But Delicious, Goodbye

Monday, August 9th, 2010

Good Morning, Darlings!
Over the past year you have met so many of our favorite folks. Chioke has been a guest star in many of these posts. Remember his movie night here, our taco and candy night here? Those are just a few of the times we’ve shared and I’ve shared with you.

But now Chioke is moving to THE big city, New York City, to continue his education, and will be gone for three years. Three years I will not be able to walk two blocks for a hug or a special cocktail. Three years I will not be able to hear the sound of his smooth voice and laugh at his wicked jokes.

My heart is a little heavy today.

We spent our last evening together for a while doing what we do best – eating. Eric, Holly, Chioke and I met up at JCT. Kitchen in Atlanta for a (semi) celebratory meal. I first introduced you to  JCT on my first meeting with Eddie and Jaithan.

Since JCT. does southern cuisine best, it was a fitting place to say our goodbyes.

JCT Kitchen

What Did We Order?

July 4th Weekend-Part Two

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

Good Morning, Darlings!

On day one, after spending the afternoon on the Crush Pad with Doug, Sharon and Chef Dairen, we drove home to Atlanta where Eric had made dinner reservations at Abbatoir. It was a splendid affair, although no pictures. A couple needs to have some private time, after all.

But on Sunday, we made our favorite baked potato salad and headed over to Jay and Valerie’s house for their fabulous fried chicken, and Curtis’ world famous pulled pork and lots of other goodies. And of course, I brought my camera!

She's A Grand Old Flag, She's A High Flying Flag....

Join Me Inside For Some Tasty Treats!

Fried Chicken Wednesday

Monday, February 15th, 2010

Good Morning, Darlings!

You might remember that I’ve been trying to use up the food in the house in an attempt to be frugal.  When I spotted some chicken thighs in the freezer, I knew we needed to have fried chicken night.  Ok, so it was necessary to pick up a few things at the grocery store, but I think that’s all right.  I invited Diane, Jonathan and Tracy over and set about prepping the meal the night before.

I took the thawed chicken and placed it in a gallon size Ziploc bag and then poured  enough buttermilk in to cover the chicken and put it in the fridge over night. The next day, I drained the chicken, took some flour and put it on a dinner plate, seasoned it with salt and pepper and got out another plate, in which I put four beaten eggs.  Into the pot went about three inches of vegetable oil and set the burner to medium.  The chicken first got dunked in the eggs, let excess drain off and dredge in the flour. Then it goes into the hot oil for about 8 minutes. Repeat until all pieces are ready. Place the fried chicken onto a baking sheet and put into a 200F oven so it can stay warm while you are frying the remainder of the chicken.

Steam your green beans. Warm up the amazing mac and cheese Tracy brought. Warm up the dinner rolls. Pour copious amounts of wine. Enjoy!

Perfect Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken Makes Everyone Happy!

For dessert?  Oh my goodness, I tried a recipe from Framed (such a cute website!) It was a peach crumble cake and it was fabulous! Find the recipe here.  It was pretty sweet, so I might cut that next time with some fresh whipped cream. But I bet everyone will love it. What’s that you say? You’re horrified because it is made with cake mix? Oh, darlings – you can’t make everything from scratch – well, I guess you could, but it might cut into time with your guests, and to me, that is much more important.

Yum Yum Peach Crumble Cake!

It’s a fresh new week – enjoy!

xoxo, Patti

Fear of Frying

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

A lot of my friends and neighbors tell me that frying scares them.  I don’t want you to be afraid of anything, so lets discuss frying, shall we?

What frightens you about frying? Are you afraid you will burn yourself?  We have nice little fry pan protectors for that. They are called splatter shields and they look like this little number:

To keep the sparks from flying

To keep the sparks from flying

With this nifty gadget, you reduce your chance of getting nipped by flying grease at least 90%. That’s pretty good. So, we’ve squelched that fear.  Using oven mitts helps, too.

What’s that you say? You are afraid of burning whatever you are trying to fry?  Do you have a recipe?  If you follow your recipe to the very last detail, you should be okay.   You will also need a thermometer, if you aren’t frying in a fryer (which I assume you don’t have if you are afraid to fry).  A thermometer will help keep your frying precise. Remember though, that when the oil reaches the proper temperature, it will immediately fall when you put your food in to fry. Don’t crowd your pot and you should be fine. Putting in too many pieces to fry results in the temperature falling and then you have to wait for it to return to the proper degree.  Plus, crowding keeps you from being able to tell which is browning first so you can flip it.  And that will just frustrate you and you don’t need the stress, Darlings.

A good roll of heavy duty paper towels is something you will want to have on hand, but newspaper or a paper bag works well to drain your fried treats when they are done.  If you need to salt your food, do it as soon as it comes out of the fryer – it will stick much better and sort of melt into your food.

One last thing before we talk about what is good frying cuisine – ventilation.  If you are lucky, and have a fancy hood in your kitchen, then good for you.  If not (like me), you will want to make sure the kitchen windows are open, or, if you have no windows, keep a fan close by.  I know you hate it when the smoke alarm goes off – you have to leave the kitchen and your nice adult beverage to fan that silly gadget. What a buzz kill!

I think you are ready to fry! A great frying 101 food is chicken. Everybody loves fried chicken.  Here’s a great recipe with which to start:

Southern Fried Chicken
This fried chicken recipe makes enough for about 8 people.

  • 2 frying chickens, about 2 1/2 to 3 pounds each, cut into serving pieces
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup milk
  • vegetable shortening for frying
  • 1 tablespoon bacon drippings

Wash chicken and pat dry.

In a heavy brown paper bag or large food storage bag, combine the flour and salt and pepper; shake to blend well. Pour the milk into a wide shallow bowl.

Heat 2 to 3 inches of shortening in a deep heavy skillet over medium heat, or electric fry pan set at 375° F. Add the bacon grease. When a drop of water spatters when it hits the hot oil, dip some of the chicken pieces into the milk then place in the bag and shake to coat evenly. Arrange the chicken pieces in the fat, making sure not to overcrowd. Fry the chicken until outside is golden brown and crisp, about 15 to 20 minutes, turning once to brown both sides. Reduce heat to 350° F and fry until cooked through golden brown, about 15 minutes longer. Turn once. Drain chicken on brown paper or paper towels, adding a little more shortening and bacon grease if necessary, setting or regulating the temperature as for the first batch.

Transfer the chicken to a large platter for serving.
Serves 8.

Yum, yum!

How about some french fries to go with your chicken (if fat and cholesterol are no issues – and if they’re not, you must be 16 years old and why are you reading this blog?) Anyhoo, I like to make up these fries, put them in the freezer and when the feeling strikes, they are ready to go.

French Fries ala Patti
Serves 4-ish

  • 4 Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • Peanut oil for frying
  • Salt

Slice potatoes lengthwise and cut into strips. Set a pot of water to boil.
Boil your potatoes for about 3 minutes. Scoop out of pot and dry thoroughly.
Pour peanut oil in another large pot about 3/4 of the way up and set burner on medium high.
When temperature reaches 375F, carefully place a handful of potatoes in to fry for about 5 minutes.
Scoop par-fried potatoes out of the pot, drain on a paper towel and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
Put the potatoes into the freezer on cookie sheet. When they are completely frozen, you can move them to a airtight container or fry them immediately.
For final frying, use strained peanut oil (it gets expensive!) in large pot and bring to 375F again. Place frozen potatoes into the pot and fry until they are lightly golden brown (you don’t want them too dark, or else they will taste burnt). Scoop out of pot and sprinkle immediately with salt (seasoned salt works nicely here, too.)

Watch as your friends and family devour your handiwork in less than a heartbeat. Its embarrassing and flattering all at the same time. Please make sure you set some aside for yourself – you worked hard!

See, it’s not scary! Drop me a comment and let me know what you are frying these days.

xoxo, Patti