Tuesday, 21 June 2011
A Front Porch Party!
Good morning friends! Today is the first day of summer and it's time for Rhondi's Annual Porch Party! She holds it every year and I have always loved participating. It's a beautiful opportunity to dream and to play . . . to meet up with some old friends and to make some new friends!
So come on in the porch is waiting. Bring the whole family. There's chairs enough for everyone! The men can sit in the corner, smoke and talk politics while us ladies can rock and knit and bring each other up to date on all the happenings in our families and lives over the past 12 months, as the children chase each other and the dog around the lawn.
The breeze which blows through the porch be filled with the smell of roses and sweet peas . . . petunias and geraniums. The air will be filled with the sound of children's laughter and Red Rover Red Rover as they play amongst themselves . . . and the sound of women's chatter and "You don't say!" and "Well, I never's!" We'll learn all about Uncle John's gout and Aunt Mary's newest pickle recipe, and everything in between.
We'll all chuckle at Uncle Earnie who's sleeping in the hammock over in the corner and snoring for all he's worth . . . the children tickle his nose with long strands of grass, and we watch as he tries to brush the flies away in his sleep.
Mid afternoon we'll break out the lemonade and big plates of sandwiches and sugar cookies . . . just to whet the appetite for what's coming. We'll drag out the checker boards and if we're lucky Uncle Bob will take out his harmonica and we'll sing a tune or two . . .
If we're lucky a few more will have brought their instruments as well, and we'll be treated to a sing song of beautiful proportions . . . Toes will tap to "You are my Sunshine," and "Kumbaya," and it will feel like the party we are having.
And then the feasting begins in earnest . . . trays of Grandma's Fried Chicken and big bowls of Aunt Eleanor's Potato Salad appear. There's plates of cucumbers and fresh tomatoes. Grandma's baking powder biscuits and Sophie's coleslaw and lot's more cold lemonade. We'll eat until we protest that we just can't eat any more . . . and then . . . we'll eat some more as the Aunties bring out tall cakes piled high with fluffy frosting . . . and fruit pies and . . . freshly churned ice cream . . .
Finally leaning back in our chairs, filled to bursting . . . top buttons undone on the men's trousers and pipes lit . . . we'll watch as the sun begins to deline in the western sky and the children flit off across the lawn to chase fireflies . . . and we wish that we had their energy and imaginations . . .
And then . . . as the day finally does come to an end . . . we say a prayer or two for safety, and goodbyes are shared as we bundle the sleepy children into the cars . . . shedding a tear or two, andheartfelt hugs . . . promising not to let so much time pass before we do it again . . . and knowing that we will . . . knowing too, that next year when we do meet again, a few will have left us, and a few will have joined us, but in the months and even years that follow we will have the happy memory of this day, and the comfort of knowing that we are family, and families . . . are . . . forever.
I hope you enjoyed my little porch party here today. Hop on over to Rhondi's and visit some of the other ladies. I'm sure your heart will be touched and uplifted and who knows, you may even make a new friend or two!
*Buttermilk Fried Chicken*
Serves 6 to 8
Crispy on the outside and tender juicy on the inside!
2 cut-up fryer chickens
1 quart plus 1/4 cup buttermilk
5 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons seasoned salt (like Lawry’s)
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup milk
canola or vegetable oil for frying
Place the chicken in a large bowl with 1 quart buttermilk, turning to coat it all over. Cover with cling film and refrigerate overnight. The next day when you are ready to fry, remove chicken from bowl to a large tray, and let it sit on counter for 30 minutes to take chill off.
Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4. Stir together the flour, seasoned salt, pepper, thyme, paprika and cayenne in a very large bowl. In another smaller bowl combine the 1/4 cup buttermilk and the milk. Pour the milk mixture into the flour and use a fork to mix until little lumps form throughout.
Heat 1 1/2 inches of oil in a deep skillet or dutch oven over medium high heat to 190*C/365*F. Working in batches, thoroughly coat each buttermilk-soaked chicken piece with the breading, pressing to help it adhere. Add the chicken to the hot oil, three to four pieces at a time. Cover the pan and fry for five to seven minutes, checking to make sure chicken isn’t getting too brown. Turn the pieces over, re-cover and cook the chicken for an additional three to five minutes more. Monitor the temperature of oil to make sure chicken doesn’t burn, and keeping in mind that the chicken will finish cooking in the oven. Remove the browned pieces to a couple of large baking sheets as you finish browning the rest of the chicken.
Once all the chicken has been browned and placed onto the baking sheets, slide them into the oven and bake the chicken for 10-15 minutes, until chicken cooked through, and the juices run clear when pierced by a fork.
Cooking over in The English Kitchen today, a delicious Cherry Clafoutis made with wonderful Spanish Picota cherries!