savory dishes: southern fried chicken & a beautiful ride
Have you ever gotten up and realized it was just too beautiful a day to waste doing your everyday routine? As a cool breeze gently made its way into my windows I woke up to song birds and the smell of magnolias. I thought I might still be dreaming, but I wasn’t. I heard my children get up for school, teenagers now, who don’t need my help. I lingered in bed, the sheets that perfect temperature, not too hot, not too cold. I’ve come to call that feeling PST (perfect sheet temperature). I did not want to leave my bed, but when opened my eyes I knew I had to get up and enjoy this wonderful June day.
With my boys off to school and my husband and I off from work. (Truly, we did not call in “sick”!) it was meant to be that we did something special with our day. The Marine and I packed a picnic lunch and headed out. We were off for a little mild trail biking along a beautiful river.
Our bike ride began through our neighborhood, an historic downtown area. The city began to unroll its sidewalks, merchants swept them and the train whistle blew at our backs. We made our way from the market streets to the streets lined with groomed lawns and victorian homes. The aroma of the blooms, the clicking of a sprinkler, a dog barking and the warmth of the morning sun created the scene from a charming movie.
We moved through neighborhoods until we rode onto the canal path. Aptly named as it is a path following a canal to a river, the path was speckled by sunlight as it shined down through the leaves with that warm glow particular to summer mornings that picks up the small etheral particals floating in the air. The narrow canal path widens as we enter the dirt trails that follow the river.
The trails are wide and flat for a while, but then, quickly they become hilly, rocky and winding, our bodies being brushed by the thick new growth of bright green summer leaves heavy and full having been fed by recent rains. As we bike further from humanity we can hear the river, see the glint of the sun bounce onto the bleached, round boulders lining the banks.
Some of these boulders are so flat and inviting that we stop, wade out to a particularly wide boulder of just the right shape and tilt. It is like a little island with reeds making a U shape around it. Perfect. The blanket is unrolled, the drinks and food are set out, but first, we lay on our backs, inhaling the scent of the river, watching the blue heron fly off in our periphreal vision and listening to the sounds of nature.
Our feast consisted of strawberries, cold water with lemon and left-over fried chicken. I love cold fried chicken with just a dash of salt. We didn’t have the luxury of carring a lot of food for biking and trails make it difficult to carry to much. So, what seems meager written on these pages was, for us a feast on a table set by mother nature.
Southern Fried Chicken
Recipe courtesy Paula Deen
- 3 eggs
- 1/3 cup water
- About 1 cup hot sauce
- 2 cups self-rising flour
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- House seasoning, recipe follows
- 1 (1 to 2 1/2-pound) chicken, cut into pieces
- Oil, for frying
- In a medium size bowl, beat the eggs with the water. Add enough hot sauce so the egg mixture is bright orange.
- In another bowl, combine the flour and pepper. Season the chicken with the house seasoning. Dip the seasoned chicken in the egg, and then coat well in the flour mixture.
- Heat the oil to 350 degrees F in a deep pot. Do not fill the pot more than 1/2 full with oil.
- Fry the chicken in the oil until brown and crisp. Dark meat takes longer then white meat. It should take dark meat about 13 to 14 minutes, white meat around 8 to 10 minutes.
- 1/4 cup salt (The salt in the original recipe is 1 cup, which we found to be too much. Adjust salt to taste.)
- 1/4 cup black pepper
- 1/4 cup garlic powder
- Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.