Featured country of the month: America
This month I’ve decided to celebrate the cuisine of one of the most talked about countries recently. Not only has the political fortune of the American people taken a swing, but Thanksgiving is just around the corner too. What an excellent excuse to take a deep dive into American cuisine.
So what is American cuisine? Good question. Like the people of America, the cuisine could be described as a melting pot of immigrant influences; ‘As American as apple pie’, well yes but apple pie was brought to America by British and Dutch immigrants. Burgers, hot dogs and BBQ? Germany and the Carribean. American cuisine is about taking the dishes and putting an American slant on them, after all - you’re not going to find Chicago Deep Dish pizzas in Italy, are you?
I decided to celebrate American cuisine by giving a few of the ‘quintessentially American’ dishes a go.
Cornbread is generally associated with the Southern states of America and is commonly served as a side dish to Chill. Some variations are made with creamed corn (see; Chrissy Teigen’s Cheesy Jalapeno Cornbread) but unfortunately this is not something I was able to easily find at my local supermarket. Luckily, I was able to find cornmeal instead and followed this recipe.
As you can see from the first photo - I had the oven up too high which caused a split down the middle. Other than that I was reasonably happy with the result.
Did you like it?
I have to admit at this stage, that I have never tasted cornbread before.. Is it meant to be that sweet? I didn’t love it. The jalapenos counteracted the sweetness throughout but my mouth ended up confused about if I was eating a cake or a bread.. I was always going to be a tough customer on this one, not being a fan of sweet bread (brioche = no thank you).
Marks out of 10: 4/10
Buffalo Wings & Blue Cheese Sauce
Buffalo Wings are most commonly associated with Sports games in America - typically served with celery sticks and blue cheese sauce. The wings are fried without any breading or coating and are then slathered in the hot sauce.
I decided to wing it a bit on this one and didn’t follow any exact recipe (pun very much intended). I started off with chicken wings which I split into the ‘drumettes’ and the ‘flats’. I coated them with cornflour, paprika and a bit of salt and deep fried for 10 minutes on a medium / low heat. While the chicken was cooking, I made the ‘buffalo’ sauce by melting some butter and whisking in some garlic and hot sauce. I then fried the chicken a second time at a much higher heat for only two minutes, and then coated in the sticky hot sauce. To finish it off, I served it with Blue Cheese Sauce. Here’s a secret for you now - Blue Cheese Sauce is one of the easiest things in the world to make and one of the most delicious things in the world to eat. WIN. All you need to do is heat up some double cream in a pan and throw in some blue cheese. That's all there is to it. (I didn’t say it was healthy).
Did you like it?
Yes. I love the combination of the buffalo hot sauce and the blue cheese sauce - I think next time I would try making it with cauliflower instead of the wings. Less faffy and you can pretend it is marginally healthier.
Marks out of 10: 7/10
Maple Pecan Pie
Maple Pecan Pie is a Thanksgiving classic. A traditional Maple Pecan Pie is made with corn syrup but I followed this recipe which meant I could make it without.
I don’t work with pastry all that often and so I was happy enough with the flakey buttery result. The bottom was a tad overcooked but I could live with that as the filling was delicious.
Did you like it?
Oh yes. Enough that I think I will probably try it again in the future, with corn syrup and (hopefully) a less well baked bottom.
Marks out of 10: 8/10