B. Matthews

Review – B. Matthews (Savannah, GA)

Breakfast of Champions

Savannah is one of those towns where you can not really go wrong.  Booze and food tend to be uniformly good – with better than average options.  That being said, there are a few standout places.  B. Matthews happens to be one of them.  I first heard about the place on Youtube.  Several videos mentioned them as a go-to place for brunch.  Upon further research, we discovered they do breakfast every day till 11.  We decided to visit.

Great decision.

The wife and I are decidedly in favor of good breakfast places.  We both *love* breakfast.  On my days off, I usually do breakfast as a given.  When we travel though breakfast tends to be hit or miss. Blame me for that, I like to drink on vacation and getting up early is generally not my idea of fun while on vacation.  That being said, we knew we would be in downtown Savannah early enough for breakfast and I decided to try something new.

Boy howdy, am I glad Anna agreed to my suggestion. Continue reading →

My summer pasta

Spring Pasta Recipe

Read the article here.

Ingredients

~1lb chicken cutlets

Montreal Steak Seasoning

Olive Oil

4 strips thick cut bacon (diced)

2 leeks (diced)

4 cloves garlic (sliced)

1/4 cup white wine

1/2 cup chicken stock

1/4 cup butter

1 package pasta

2 cups chopped spinach

1 cup roasted red peppers (diced)

10oz frozen peas

1/4 cup shredded parmesan

salt & pepper Continue reading →

My summer pasta

Spring Pasta – A Meal to Enjoy with Friends

Get the recipe here.

Spring is Near

The weather is finally starting to change (last week it was sunny, this week it snowed – welcome to Spring in the Tennessee Valley).  It is time to enjoy the weather, while also enjoying some of the delicious vegetables that the season has to offer.  If you are at all like me, you’re also trying to take it easy after a winter spent eating everything in sight that looks good.

Sometimes it’s good to skip the cream sauces and go a different route. Continue reading →

Blackened Chicken with Wine Pan Sauce aka My Favorite Roast Chicken Recipe

Get the recipe here.

The Story:

I love blackened chicken.  Hell, I pretty much love everything blackened.  I always have some sort of blackening seasoning in the cupboard where its easy to get to.  Generally I am partial to and ‘s line.  As with most things, you should try a couple and find one that makes you happy. Continue reading →

Blackened Chicken with Wine Pan Sauce Recipe

Read the article here.

Ingredients:

2lbs Chicken Breasts or Tenderloins

16oz Buttermilk

1/2 Cup Blackening Seasoning + 1/2 cup for dredging

1 tbsp Kosher Salt

3 tbsp Olive Oil

2 tbsp Butter (unsalted)

1/2 cup Chicken Stock

1/2 cup Red Wine

Method:

In a large mixing bowl or a resealable bag, add buttermilk, salt, and chicken.  Add 1/2 cup blackening seasoning and mix to combine.  Marinate at least 2 hours – but best when done for 24hours.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees if your chicken is particularly thick.

Drain chicken.  Dredge or dust with remaining blackening seasoning.

Heat a skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium high heat.  Add olive oil, and sear chicken on both sides.  Remove from pan and let rest on a plate.

Add wine, broth, and butter to pan and stir to incorporate the crusty bits from the bottom of the pan.  Simmer over medium heat.  Taste and adjust seasoning to your tastes.  You’ll want it thicken a bit so it will lightly coat a spoon.

Return chicken to pan and baste with your pan sauce.

Serve.

*If your chicken is particularly thick, pop it into the oven for 20-30 minutes with the pan sauce to insure doneness.  Raw chicken is bad.  Clear juices running out of the chicken = done.

Blackened Chicken Mac and Cheese

Blackened Chicken Mac and Cheese

Get the recipe here.

Mac and Cheese is Heaven

As I move past the age of forty at a stately pace, there are many memories that stand out for me.  As you might guess from this blog, many of those memories are centered around food and the people I have enjoyed good food with.  There are plenty of great dining experiences I can recount; also plenty of great dining companions.  This article focuses around something slightly more humble.  What dish pray tell am I speaking of?  Why, Mac and Cheese of course.

Many people will scoff at the simple and wonderful glory of this dish.  I am not one of them.  I grew up enjoying the dish in many permutations – from various boxed varieties to homemade and restaurant versions.  When I was in my single digits, my esteemed Mother and I created a recipe for the dish which she still makes for me on occasion.  While I myself only barely remember the genesis of that recipe, I smile every time I see the joy on my Mom’s face when she recounts the story.

In large part, this recipe comes from my Mom.  While the technique, ingredients, and flavors are very different from my Mother’s dish the way they make me feel and the enjoyment I get from the dish are all Mom.  That said, there are a lot of influences I can point to regarding this dish.  Chief among them would be the delicious (and now extinct) Mac and Cheese my wife and I used to get at the Thirsty Monk Pub in Asheville, NC. They used to make a decidedly wicked version with smoked gouda.  Add to this my absolute love of all things blackened…  And here you go.

It is most definitely not boxed mac and cheese.  It is not boring mac and cheese.  This is the Mac and Cheese I make for my mom.

(photos courtesy of my son Liam’s 4th birthday – your Grandson loves it, too, Mom)

Notes:

This dish has a lot of moving parts but it’s less difficult to prepare than it looks.  The roux is the most difficult part to prepare, and even that is pretty easy to master.  Spend an afternoon on a lazy day drinking a beer or three and making this dish.  You will thank me for it.  Right before the food coma hits.

I like using three or four good cheeses for this dish.  The Parrano cheese mentioned in the recipe is one thing I think really makes the dish.  That particular cheese just really plays well off the flavors of the overall dish.

Get some good blackening and cajun spices.  They really are worth the money.  At some point I will probably try making up my own blend, but for now I recommend the ones mentioned in the recipe post.

Blackened Chicken Pasta

Blackened Chicken Mac and Cheese Recipe

Read the article here.

Ingredients:

16 oz buttermilk

1 lb chicken tenderloins*

6 oz Blackening seasonings (I recommend Paul Prudhomme’s)

4 tbsp Cajun seasoning (I recommend )

4 tbsp + 1/8 cup olive oil

1/8 cup unsalted butter

2 large shallots (diced)

2 cloves garlic (diced)

1/4 cup all purpose flour

1 tbsp thyme

1 tsp black pepper

4 tbsp salt

12 oz beer (I recommend a good Porter)

24 oz heavy cream

8-12 oz milk

4 oz sharp cheddar (grated)

4 oz gruyere (grated)

4 oz aged gouda (grated) – (I highly recommend )

1 lb pasta (shorter noodles work better, but your choice)

Method:

In a bag or bowl, marinate the chicken with a combination of 2 oz Blackening seasoning, 1 tbsp Cajun seasoning, and the buttermilk.  Marinate overnight.

Preheat over to 385 degrees.

Drain chicken and sprinkle some of the remaining Blackening seasoning over the chicken. Heat a skillet or cast iron pan over medium high heat and add 4 tbsp olive oil.  Sear chicken in pan on both sides.  Remove chicken to a sheet pan and cook in oven for ten minutes.

Remove chicken from heat and allow to cool. Reserve any pan drippings for later.

Get your water boiling for your pasta.  Add 3 tbsp salt to water.

In a heavy bottomed pot (dutch oven works great) over medium heat, add your butter and remaining olive oil.  Add shallots and garlic.  Saute until the shallots begin to darken slightly.  Add any drippings from the skillet you cooked the chicken in.  Add remaining blackening and cajun seasonings, thyme, 1 tbsp salt, and black pepper.  Stirring frequently, cook for about a minute.  Add flour and whisk to incorporate.  Cook 1 min, stirring constantly.

Add 12 oz beer and stir quickly.  This will make a lumpy paste.  Add heavy cream, and 4 oz of the milk.  Whisk to prevent lumps.  Bring to a simmer, sauce will thicken.  You want it to be slightly thinner than you’d like your finished product to be.  If it is too thick, add some milk to thin the mixture.

While the mixture is coming to a simmer, dice up your chicken.  Add any pan drippings to your sauce.

Turn heat off, and add shredded cheese a handful at a time, reserving 1/4 of the cheese for topping. Whisk to incorporate.  Add diced chicken.  Taste mixture and add salt/pepper as necessary.

Add pasta to cheese mixture either in dutch oven or a deep casserole dish.  Sprinkle remaining cheese over the mac and cheese and cover with a lid or foil.  Bake at 385 for 30 mins and remove lid.  Bake for 15 mins or until browned on top.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Enjoy!

Notes:

*- A little extra chicken is a good thing in this dish.  It adds a nice texture component as well as protein.

Sierra Nevada makes an excellent Porter that is readily available in most states.

The Parrano cheese mentioned above is an excellent cheese that contrasts nicely with the flavors from the chicken.

Pairing:

This goes great with a nice Riesling or Pinot Grigio.  I recommend a drier version of either.

For a bit of green you could go with a salad, or some steamed broccoli.

Also great with a slice of Roasted Herb Bread.