A Few Ric Orlando does Americana Recipes (Sort of)
If you live near me ( North of NYC, and you are planning a few road trips this summer, these are dishes you may (or may not) enounter.

Rhode Island Clam Chowder
So New England is creamy and Manhattan is tomato-y, but what is Rhode Island?
Neither.  It is the pure goodness of the clams, potatoes and clam borth, lightly thickened. It truly brings the flavor of te clams to the top!

Makes 1/2 gallon
4 oz salt pork, diced small
1 and 1/2 sticks butter (12 oz)
2 cups diced onions
1 cup diced celery
2 cuos diced potatoes
2 cups chopped clams
½ cup flour
32 oz clam juice
3 cup water
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 fresh bay leaves
black pepper to taste
salt? Might not need any but taste to be sure

In a heavy pot sauté the salt pork until golden.
Add the onions, celery, potatoes and one stick of the butter and cook slowly until everything is wilted and the potatoes are al dente.
Add the remaining butter and melt.
Whisk in the flour and cook gently to make a paste.
Ad the water and clam juice gradually, whisking to incorporate.
Add the herbs, and the clams and simmer for 10 minutes to heat through. Do not boil hard.
Season with a generous amount of black pepper,  and then add salt to taste if desired.
Serve with Westminister Oyster crackers


Southern Style Mac and Cheese.
This is a recipe is adapted one of the greatest southern cooks ever, Edna Lewis.  It is cheesy as can be, crisp on the edges and simply luscious!
Serves 12
2 lbs elbow macaroni                                                                                                     

Salt for pasta water                                                                                                                

6 cups extra sharp cheddar cheese 4 cups cubed small, 2 cups shredded for topping. 
1/3 cup ap flour                                                                                                                      

1 tablespoon dry mustard                                                                                                          

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper                                                                                   

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper                                                                                                    

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg                                                                                                  

1  cup sour cream                                                                                                               

4 eggs, lightly beaten                                                                                                                        

1 medium grated onion                                                                                                            

 3 cups half and half                                                                                                                      

 3 cups heavy cream                                                                                                                       

 2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce                                                                                             

 1 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
Preheat the oven to 350 F                                                                                             

Cook the pasta in salted water until tender. Remove and drain. Place the drained pasta into a large mixing bowl                                                                                           

Mix the spices, flour, grated onions, eggs and all other wet ingredients together well. Mix the cubed cheese into the pasta and put into one large to tow medium casserole dishes or cast iron skillets. Pour the wet mix over the macaroni and tap the pans to settle it in.  Mix the panko with the shredded cheese and sprinkle over the top of the entire mess. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until juts bubbling and then let cool for 10 minutes. The cooling helps it set up  and keeps you from burning your tastebuds off.





No Mayo Horseradish Slaw
This is crisp, light, refreshing and perky—perfect to pair with the rich foods of summer BBQ.

Makes enough for a backyard BBQ
1 head green cabbage, cored, diced in 1/2" squares
1 heads red cabbage, cored, diced in 1/2" squares
1Red onion, grated
4 carrots, grated

DRESSING
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dijon mustard
3 tbls coriander seed
1/2 cup prepared horseradish or to taste
2 tsp kosher salt
2 ttsp black pepper
1 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup neutral vegetable oil

Whisk together all ingredients except the oil.  Add the oil slowly to emulsify.  Toss well with veggies, mixing well with your hands. 

Rocking Creamed Spinach
Creamed spinach has been around for generations. It is in style, out of style, in style, out of style---in my book, like a broken in pair of Levis, awesomeness is never out of style.
This is super simple
Serves 8
2 lbs frozen spinach, thawed and squeeed out or 3 lbs fresh spinach blanched and cooled, squeeed out
6 oz butter
6 oz flour
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/3 cup scallions, sliced
16 oz milk
salt cayenne and nutmeg to taste
Melt the butter. Add the scallions and cook one minute. Whisk in the flour, cooking 3-4 minutes to “cook” the flour. Add the milk, whisk well and gently bring to a low simmer,stirring constantly. Season this white sauce with salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. I like the nutmeg in here.  Add the spinach and stir well to incorporate. Heat through gently and serve.


Paper Bag Fried Chicken
Fried chicken is a classic American meal that really satisfies. Unfortunately there has been much confusion on the subject of frying in America and so we tend to make it less at home, opting for an occasional fast food fix instead. But that is the problem. There is a huge difference between frying in good, clean, natural fat at home and eating fast food fried in highly processed hydrogenated oils used in most restaurants.
The entire world fries at home. Real fat is not an issue is used in moderation.  Processed fat is the worst thing there is.

Get a fry thermometer

feeds 4

1 3 lb free range frying chicken
2 cups flour
1/2 cup corn meal
2 tbls sea salt
generous cracking of black pepper
pinch of dry thyme

2 quarts rendered duck or goose fat, schmaltz or pork lard
or..yes, you may substitute peanut oil or corn oil

Cut the chicken into the following portions:
2 legs
2 thighs
2 full wings
one back, cut to the “oyster” as follows
4 breast pieces - done by splitting the whole breast into two single breast pieces and then cleaving each of those pieces in half.

Put all of the seasoning in a large, clean paper grocery bag.
Add the chicken pieces and shake well.
Let the chicken stay in the bag while you heat the oil.

Using a heavy cast iron kettle with a lid ( a Dutch oven or an electric fry pan works also) heat the fat to 335˙.  Remove the chicken from the bag to a cookie sheet. Make sure the chicken is fully coated with the flour-seasoning.
It is best to do two batches here. Why? Because the breast will cook more quickly then the dark meat . So cook the dark meat and the back first and hold it while you cook the breasts and wings. Carefully put the legs and thighs into the oil--as many as you can without crowding. Fry the chicken for 7-8 minutes on one side and gently turn over to finish, total cooking time is about 15 minutes. Use a probe thermometer to make sure the deepest part of the thigh reaches 165.
Remove the first batch to a pan lined with paper towels and hold in a 200˙ oven while the second batch finishes. Don't cover it with foil, however. Covering it will contain the escaping steam and that will soften its crispy crust.
Now bring the oil back to temp and add the breast and wing pieces, Cook about 6 minutes before turning, cook and addition 6-7 minutes to finish. Total time for the breast pieces

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