Hello, June 2019!

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Did you know that June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month and the beginning of the Summer Season provides an abundance of colorful produce to choose from.

Remember the importance of fruits and vegetables to a well-balanced, nutrient dense diet. Fruits and vegetables are nature’s fast food that provide many vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber for overall good health.

The goal is at least 5-a-day for better health and remember to have a rainbow of delicious colors daily.

As far as the nutrition value of fruits and vegetables. If fresh is not an option at that time, frozen is the next best choice. The 3rd best option is canned fruits and vegetables. Really, it is better to have them any way you can.  Dietitians and nutritionists would like to  see you eating fruits and vegetables. Period. But don’t forget, if you are purchasing canned vegetables, try to get the “no salt added” variety for better health.

So, what fruits and vegetables are in season in June? Among other things, apricots. June stands for sweet apricots. Rich in carotene, apricots promote a natural, safe and quick suntan. If you buy unripe and sour apricots, dice them and season them with salt, extra virgin olive oil and minced fresh mint. A fresh and unusual summer salad you can serve as a starter.

In addition to apricots, here is a list of fruits and vegetables to enjoy during the month of June.

Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables for June

Apricots
Arugula
Asparagus
Beets
Black cherries
Blueberries
Broad beans
Cabbage
Carrots
Celery
Chard
Cherries
Chicory
Cilantro
Corn
Courgettes
Courgette flowers
Cucumbers
Currants
Dandelion greens
Early potatoes
Garlic
Green beans
Gooseberries
Kale
Kiwi
Lettuce
Loquats
Melons
Mulberries
Nectarines
Onions
Peaches
Peas
Plums
Radishes
Raspberries
Rhubarb
Strawberries
Sweet bell peppers
Tomatoes
Watermelons
Yellow squash

 

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Bourbon Brined Fried Chicken

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Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

For the Brine:
One 3 1/2 to 4 pound whole chicken
1/4 cup kosher salt
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
2 cups steaming hot water
2 cups ice water
2/3 cup bourbon

For Frying:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup rice flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon onion salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoons cayenne, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 1/2 cups buttermilk
Dash of hot sauce
9 cups peanut oil, for frying

Special Equipment:

6 1/2- quart  Round Deep Dutch Oven

 

Directions:

Break chicken down into 10 pieces by removing thighs, drumsticks, whole wings, and bone-in breasts; cut each of the two breasts in half

To a large saucepan, add water, salt, honey, brown sugar ,cinnamon stick and bay leaves and stir until the salt dissolves. Bring to a boil for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the ice water and bourbon and allow to cool completely. Put chicken pieces into a resealable  gallon freezer bag and pour the brine over the chicken. Seal the bag, set in a large bowl, and chill at least 4 hours, but preferably overnigh, for best results.

In a large bowl, whisk together flours, cornstarch, salt and spices. Set aside. In a second bowl, whisk together buttermilk and hot sauce, then set aside. Remove chicken pieces from the brine and pat dry. Dredge each piece of chicken in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess. Dip in buttermilk mixture and allow excess to drip off. Finally, dredge completely in the flour again, and set on a rack over a sheet pan. Repeat with remaining pieces and let stand to allow a crust to form over the chicken while the oil heats.

Preheat oven to 250º F.

Add oil to a 6 1/2-quart deep Dutch oven and heat to a temperature of 350º F.

Carefully add 5 pieces of chicken to the oil and hold temperature around 320 ºF while frying, gently turning chicken once. Fry for 12 minutes or until a thermometer reads 165 º F in the thickest piece. Remove chicken to a rack set over a sheet tray, and hold in the oven while the next batch cooks. To prevent the chicken from buring on the outside  before it cooks through, remove it from the oil and place it  on a baking sheet and place it in the oven where it can finish cooking; check temperature before serving. Repeat frying process with remaining pieces, and keep warm in the oven until ready to serve.


Kentucky Burgoo

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Photo Credit: Elise Bauer

 

Burgoo,  is  Kentucky’s most famous stew and it usually made for big gatherings such as Derby Day, church socials, barbecues and  family picnics in huge kettles. A hearty meat stew, burgoo is most often made with chicken, beef, and lamb simmered with vegetables, beans, tomatoes, Worcestershire, sorghum or molasses, ketchup, vinegar, and spices.

Burgoo predates the Civil War and as legend has it, was invented by a French chef.And in taking it’s culinary origins in that fact, the word burgoo  may have derived from the French ragout (pronounced ra-goo), also a term describing a stew.

Nineteenth-century versions of burgoo served around the South frequently included squirrel, opossum, and rabbit, and was gently simmered and stirred for up to 24 hours. Like a mulligan stew, it’s sort of a empty-the-fridge recipe. Burgoos typically have at least three different meats, and plenty of vegetables such as corn, okra, and lima beans.

While modern day cooks applaud the stamina of those early chefs, these days a good burgoo can be made in four to six hours. That is still a commitment, to be sure, but the results—spicy, stick-to-your-ribs comfort food—are worth it. Like gumbo found in Gulf Coast, burgoo has many variations. In keeping with the food theme of using Kentucky bourbon,  this  version uses bourbon in the stock, which we are certainly partial to.

As with most stews, burgoo is even better the second day. It’s excellent as a Sunday dinner when you want lunches for the coming week.

Serves 12 to 14

Ingredients:

2 pounds pork shank
2 pounds veal shank
2 pounds beef shank
2 pounds breast of lamb
One 4-pound chicken, cut into eight pieces
7 quarts cold water
1 quart chicken stock
1 1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and diced
1 1/2 pounds onions, diced
1 bunch carrots, peeled and sliced thickly
2 green peppers, seeded and chopped
One 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
2  tablespoons  tomato paste
2  tablespoons brown sugar
2 cups whole corn, fresh or canned
2 pods red pepper
2 cups  okra, sliced
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups dry lima beans
1 cup diced celery
3/4 cup Kentucky bourbon
Salt and pepper, to taste
Tabasco, to tatste
Worcestershire sauce, to taste

Directions:
Put the pork, veal, beef, lamb, and chicken into a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the water and chicken stock and bring it to a boil slowly. Simmer until meat is tender enough to fall off the bones, about 4 to 6 hours.

Lift the meat out of the stock. Cool the meat, remove it from the bones, and chop it. Return the chopped meat to the stock.

Add the potatoes, onions, carrots, green peppers, tomato tomato paste brown sugar, corn, red pepper, okra, parsley, thyme, lima beans, celery, and bourbon, to the meat and stock.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Allow the stew to simmer over low heat until very thick about 6 hours.

Season to taste with the salt, pepper and serve with a good crusty bread.