Recipes From The Heart XIX

These dishes almost beg for a patio feast or a picnic in the park. They represent tradition, invention and, of course, flavor. Chef Edna Lewis prepared her legendary fried chicken without shortcuts. Each bite affirms the power of freshness and originality. Florida native Art Smith continues to showcase the best of the Sunshine State with interpretations of classics. Banana pudding has been served here from time immemorial.  The wonderful appetizer comes from an Atlanta tavern. Enjoy these with iced tea, fresh lemonade or a chilled bottle of NV Villa Wolf Pinot Noir Sparkling Rosé.

One of the acclaimed cookbooks by Edna Lewis


Irby’s, Atlanta


Andouille sausage

Pimento cheese, Preparation:

1 small can of diced roasted red peppers
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup mayo
1 tblspn minced garlic
1/4 cup minced onion
1 tblspn sriracha

S&P to taste.

Thoroughly combine.

Corn Dog Batter, Preparation:

2 cup yellow cornmeal
2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
½ cup sugar
3 tblspn baking powder
2 eggs
2 1/4 cup milk

Cut Andouille sausage in half, going the length of the sausage. Then with each half make a V-cut removing the inner meat. When the 2 halves are put back together there should be an hollow center. Using the Pimento cheese fill the void area in each half of the sausage and then put them back together. The cheese will act as an adhesive for the 2 halves. Once all your sausages have been filled with Pimento cheese place them in a freezer to firm up. About an hour. After the composed sausages have firmed up cut them into 1 inch pieces. Using skewers stick the cut pieces making sure the skewers go all the way through. Take each skewered bite and dip in the corn dog batter, thoroughly coating the bites. Take each coated bite and fry at 350 degrees for 4-5 mins.



Edna Lewis, The Gift of Southern Cooking | Alfred A. Knopf, 2003.

Edna Lewis Recipe for Fried Chicken is worth the effort.

This recipe blends fried chicken styles of Virginia and Alabama.

Brine the chicken by soaking it in a Kosher saltwater solution for 8-12 hours before cooking.

Drain the chicken well on crumpled-up—not flat—paper towels or a wire rack.


1 (3-pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces
1 quart buttermilk (either low-fat or full-fat)
1 pound lard
1 (4-ounce) stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup country ham pieces or 1 thick slice country ham, cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) strips (90 g or 3 oz)
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


To prep the brined chicken for frying, drain it and discard the brine. Rinse out the bowl it was brined in. Return the chicken to the bowl and pour the buttermilk over the chicken. Cover and refrigerate for additional 8 to 12 hours. Place the chicken on a wire rack to drain, discarding the buttermilk.

Meanwhile, prepare the fat for frying by putting the lard, butter, and country ham in a heavy skillet or frying pan. Cook over low heat for 30 to 45 minutes, skimming any foam as needed, until the butter ceases to throw off foam and the country ham is browned.

Use a slotted spoon to remove the ham from the fat. Just before frying, increase the temperature to medium-high and heat the fat to 335°F.

Prepare the dredge by blending together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and pepper in a shallow bowl or on wax paper. Dredge the drained chicken pieces thoroughly in the flour mixture, then gently shake to remove all excess flour.

Slip some of the chicken pieces, skin side down, into the heated fat. (Be careful to not crowd the pan. Fry in batches if necessary.) Cook for 10 to 13 minutes on each side, until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through. The exact timing may vary depending on the size of your chicken.

Drain thoroughly on a wire rack or on crumpled paper towels. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.



Art Smith serves as primary consultant for FSU’s Food Program

Disney Springs, Florida


A Traditional Banana Pudding.

3 cups whole milk
2 vanilla beans, split with seeds scraped out
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 large eggs yolks
2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
12 ounces shortbread cookie- such as Lorna Dune, ‘Nilla wafer etc.
4-5 bananas cut into rounds
2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon super fine sugar


Bring milk and scraped vanilla seeds and empty vanilla pods to a simmer in a heavy medium size sauce pan. After 2 minutes, Using tongs, remove the pods from the warm milk.

Thoroughly combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt in a medium sized bowl. Add in yolks and whisk well.

Add a ladle of the hot milk to the sugar/egg mixture to temper. Add a few more ladles of hot milk until yolks are warmed. Scrap out the entire remaining yolk mixture into the hot milk and whisk constantly until pudding comes to a boil and thickens.

Remove from the heat and stir in butter.

Transfer to a bowl, cover surface of pudding with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Let rest for 30 minutes.

In a decorative glass bowl or trifle dish, ladle one cup of the pudding on the bottom of the dish. Add one layer of cookies then pudding then bananas etc. repeating each layer and ending with pudding. I slide sliced bananas around the inside the bowl so you can see them as well. You can also use small mason jars for layering. Looks adorable.

Cover and chill at least 4 hours, but I prefer overnight .

Whip cream and superfine sugar until stiff peaks form. Remove plastic from chilled pudding. Spread whipped sweetened cream over pudding mixture.

Crumble additional cookies on top of pudding.

Serve cold.


Stay Safe. Eat Well. Love One Another.



Old school journalism describes the style and stories produced by Doc Lawrence. “In everything I do,” he says, “there is a beginning, middle and an end.” One of the top travel writers in the country, Doc is steeped in the heritage of the deep south. Traveling the back roads from Texas to Virginia and on down to Key West inspires stories about local food and wine preferences, community theater, folk art and music often leading to clues for a good story. Heroes include Faulkner, Hemingway, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Ralph Ellison, Dorothy Parker and Willie Morris. An Atlanta native, Doc keeps a well-stocked wine cellar and bar and two outdoor grills. He enjoys entertaining and believes that the greatest challenge for a writer is to keep searching for a higher life. |
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