End of Season Shortcake

The autumnal equinox officiated the end of summer last week (September 23), and with it comes the end of peach season. To honor both summer and one of its more divine gifts, what could be more appropriate than shortcake?

Biscuits, prepared with Trader Joe’s Multigrain Baking & Pancake Mix, according to recipe on the box:

  • 1 cup of baking mix
  • 1/3 cup milk and
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil

Combine, knead, roll, cut and bake.

Cool Whip topping or, if you’re feeling ambitious, make your own:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
Whip cream until soft peaks begin to form. Beat in vanilla and sugar and continue to beat until peaks form. Do not over-beat, you’ll end up with butter.
  • fresh peaches, sliced  (about 1/2 peach per serving)
  • honey  (to taste, approximately 1 1/2 tsp per serving)*
Halve biscuits. Layer sliced peaches and whipped cream to form a sandwich. Drizzle with honey.

Brenna’s Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken

As my mother’s first-born, I am the only one of my siblings who has any substantial recollection of the cabinets in our childhood home aflame, my mother literally tossing my sister into the grass of the yard, and the neighbor dragging the garden hose from the yard, through the living room and into the kitchen to extinguish the danger before the sirens even arrived. Which is why, for me, fried chicken is a tad anxiety provoking despite its claim as the trademark of wholesome, down home, Southern hospitality.

Fortunately, my sister, perhaps a whopping 30lbs at the time, has no memory of flying through the air out the front door. Nor does she suffer from the same qualms about deep-frying in home kitchens.

Which is fortunate because fried chicken still always feels like a feast. And, I must admit, is steadily transforming into a symbol of sisterly generosity and the heroics of neighbors.

Brenna’s Fried Chicken

  • 1 (3 pound) whole chicken, cut into pieces
  • Italian bread crumbs
  • salt to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • vegetable oil for frying
  1. Season chicken pieces with salt, pepper, and paprika. Roll in bread crumbs.
  2. Add about 3/4 inch oil to a large, heavy skillet. Heat to approximately 365. Place chicken pieces in hot oil. Cover, and fry until golden, turning once, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder

Although I am an unabashed fan of pork, this recipe is just about the biggest bang you can get for your buck: an inexpensive cut, little preparation, utterly delicious. Homesick for Savannah, Georgia, I served this beast with collard greens and corn muffins. Leftovers make terrific pulled pork sandwiches and carnitas taco filling.

1 bone-in, skin-on fresh pork picnic shoulder (mine was 8.5 lb)
1 head garlic
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground Cheyenne pepper (or seasonings of your choice)

1. Rinse pork and pat dry. Score skin in a crisscross diamond pattern, making 1/8-inch-deep cuts about 1 inch apart. Separate and peel garlic cloves. In a mortar and pestle, crush garlic, salt, and pepper into a coarse paste (or mince garlic, then mix with salt and spices). Rub garlic paste all over roast. Set roast, skin side up, on a rack in a roasting pan, preferably on a rack.


2. Roast in a 450° oven until deep golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes.

3. Reduce oven temperature to 225° and bake until a thermometer inserted through the center of thickest part at bone reads 170° to 175°, 8 to 9 hours