OK, so full disclosure. This dinner party series came out of unsuccessfully trying for a FoodBuzz 24×24 dinner in February. So a photographer friend of mine, who is playing with the thought of starting his own food blog, suggested we just do our own thing. And thus this dinner was born. It’s inspired by Southern foods, as that was what Adam requested – and since that’s not really German or European, I tried to bring a little German influence into it whenever possible.
My friend Adam’s specialty is mac & cheese, and he also offered to make his to-die-for black raspberry chicken barbeque. My contributions were corn fritters and a cherry-apple pie, along with a simple tossed salad. We were at it cooking and photographing for the entire day from 10 AM until 6 PM – time really gets away from you when you’re having fun. The last exposures (all with natural light, BTW), were insanely long, but that’s why you have a tripod, right?
I’m dividing this series up into
- appetizer and salad: Southern corn fritters and simple tossed salad (4/23/2012)
- main course: mac & cheese and black raspberry chicken BBQ (4/25/2012)
- dessert: cherry/apple pie with granola/nut topping (4/27/2012)
All of the recipes are originals, and the hard part was that there are so many really good photographs it was almost impossible to choose which ones to use.
What’s your favorite Southern appetizer/dish?
Sofie’s Southern Corn Fritters
As I was looking for a Southern appetizer, I stumbled upon numerous recipes for corn fritters. There are several versions out there, some based on corn meal, some with creamed corn and some with kernel corn. I personally liked the ones with kernel corn the best, and since all the ones I could find sounded a little bland (and I hate shortening), I decided to “invent” my own. They turned out so deliciously that they were literally gone with the blink of an eye. I have since made them in different versions, yet I always come back to the one I made that day. Optional is the taco sauce for dipping – they really don’t need it.
This recipe was inspired by one I found on allrecipes.com, but I’ve so completely altered it that I believe I can call it my original.
Simple Tossed Salad
We eat at lot of salad at our house. It’s the German way of doing dinner – just some bread and butter, maybe some cheese etc. and a simple salad. Our big hot meal of the day is lunch, and even after almost 16 years in the US we still do it that way. I personally believe your body has more of a chance to digest better if you keep dinner light.
The vinaigrette I made for this salad also fits for, say, a carrot salad or a cucumber salad. It’s that versatile.
- 432 g (1 small can) kernel corn
- 113 g (1 can) diced, hot chilies
- 250 g (2 cups) all-purpose flour, sifted
- 100 g (1 cup) grated cheese (parmesan, romano or asiago work best)
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 170 g (3/4 cup) milk
- 50 g (3½ tbsp) melted butter
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 10 g (1⅔ tsp) salt
- 5 g (2½ tsp) pepper
- 6 g (1⅓ tsp) baking powder
- pinch of sugar
- oil for frying
- any salad greens of your choice
- 6 tablespoons* (3 tbsp) olive oil
- 1 tablespoon (1/2 tbsp) lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon (1/2 tbsp) white balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon* (3/4 tsp) salt
- ½ teaspoon (1 tsp) black pepper
- Drain the kernel corn and diced chilies.
- Melt the butter and let stand for a little bit.
- In a bowl, combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly until all flour is hydrated and everything forms a batter. Take care not to pour the hot butter directly onto the egg.
- Heat up the oil in a non-stick baking pan. You should have about ⅛ inch of oil in the pan.
- With a spoon or scoop, place small amounts of batter into the hot oil. Fry them on one side until they turn golden brown, then turn and flatten. Keep cooking the fritters until they are golden brown on both sides and completely done inside. Drain on paper towels.
- Repeat with the remaining batter until all fritters are done. Optional: serve with a mild taco sauce for dipping.
- Mix all ingredients thoroughly.