This week I am At Home in the Kitchen with James Farmer. James is a southern born and breed, interior designer, gardener, and frequent lecturer. He is also a prolific author. His titles include:  A Time to Plant; Sip & Savor; Porch Living; A Time To Cook; Dinner on the Grounds; A Time to Celebrate and A Place to Call Home.  His most recent publication, Arriving Home, is one of my favorite books. This beautiful book is filled with classic southern style and traditional charm that stands the test of time.

When James is not in his garden you will find him in his kitchen and entertaining family and friends. In our sit-down, James  talks about his grandmother, Mimi, who instilled in him the mantras he lives by each day. “We eat with our eyes first. And secondly we feed people, body and soul, when we gather at the table.” James also notes that growing up on a farm allowed him as a young child to experience the best of the seasons, not only for food, but tabletop decor. Enjoy the podcast.

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MY MENU FOR JAMES:
GLUF COAST OYSTERS
JALAPENO BUTTERMILK DRESSING
PAN-FRIED SOFT-SHELL CRABS
SCOTCH BONNET CORNBREAD
LEMON ICEBOX PIE

Jalapeno Buttermilk Dressing
1 cup mayonnaise
½ cup low-fat buttermilk
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 lemon juiced
1 tablespoon minced chives
2 tablespoon minced cilantro
1 jalapeño deseeded and chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt

In the bowl of a food processor, add all the ingredients. Pulse until creamy. For a thinner dressing, additional buttermilk. Taste for salt and lemon juice; adjust seasoning if necessary.

Soft Shell-Crabs
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 small (4-inch-wide) live soft-shelled crabs, cleaned
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons clarified butter
1 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Combine milk, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish and soak crabs 5 minutes. Lift 1 crab out of milk, letting excess drip off, and dredge in flour. Knock off excess flour and transfer to a tray. Repeat with remaining crabs, arranging them in a layer.

Heat clarified butter in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot, but not smoking. Add the crabs, sauté upside down for 2 minutes. Turn over and sauté until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes more.

Transfer crabs to a serving dish. Add butter pieces to skillet and cook until golden brown. Add lemon juice and parsley, once the mixture bubbles remove from heat. Season sauce with salt and pepper and drizzle over crabs.

Scotch Bonnet Cornbread
½ Scotch bonnet, seeded and finely diced
1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 egg
1/3 cup light olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 F. Butter a 10-inch cast iron skillet. In a mixing bowl, whisk the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a separate bowl lightly whisk the milk, egg, and oil. Pour the milk mixture into the cornmeal mixture. Lightly whisk to combine the two mixture. Add the Scotch bonnet and mix well to incorporate. Pour into prepared pan. Bake in a preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until baked through.

Lemon Icebox Pie
For the crust:
14 whole graham crackers
¼ cup sugar
¼teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and still warm

For the filling:
2 (14-ounce) cans condensed milk
1 ¼ cups strained lemon juice
Zest of 2 lemons
8 large egg yolks

For the chantilly cream:
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼cup confectioners’ sugar

To make the crust:
Heat the oven to 325°F. Break the graham crackers into small pieces and place in the bowl of a food processor along with the sugar and salt. Pulse 8 times, until the cracker crumbs are semi-fine (they shouldn’t be powdery but not in large shards either) and the crackers and sugar are combined. Pour in the butter and pulse until the butter is blended in and the mixture isn’t crumbly and holds its shape when you squeeze it, about twelve 1-second pulses. Transfer the crust to a 9-inch springform pan and push and press the crumb mixture into the bottom and two-thirds of the way up the sides of the pan. Use the bottom of a measuring cup to press the crust into place. Set aside.

To make the filling:
Whisk the condensed milk with the lemon juice and set aside. Whisk the zest with the egg yolks in a medium bowl until pale, 30 to 60 seconds, and then whisk in the lemon juice-condensed milk mixture. Place the springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet, pour the mixture into the crust, and carefully transfer the baking sheet to the oven. Bake until the center jiggles slightly, like a soft-setting custard, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 1 hour on a cooling rack. Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap (be careful not to let the plastic wrap touch the top of the pie) and freeze for at least 6 hours or overnight.

To make the chantilly cream:
Pour the heavy cream into the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand mixer). Add the vanilla and sift in the confectioners’ sugar. Whip on low speed to combine and then increase the speed to medium-high and whip until medium-stiff peaks form, about 1 1/2 minutes.

Before serving, wrap a wet, warm kitchen towel around the edges of the springform pan to release the pie from the pan’s sides. Unclasp the pan and remove the pie. Fill a pitcher with hot water, dunk your knife in, wipe off the blade, and slice. Top with a dollop of chantilly cream and serve immediately, or keep in the freezer for up to 1 week.


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