No matter where my travels have journeyed, how short or long they last, my heart strings are always left yearning for Maysville, Kentucky. The last year my food truck has certainly had me on the go. Traveling across the state to various breweries in random small towns and larger cities and it’s hard to not compare the people, the roads, the rivers, heck even the Main Streets, to the town that always has my heart. For the longest time I thought it was the hills and the river that pulled me back in, but as I’ve gotten older I realize how wrong I was. Not to diminish the beauty that is Maysville, but the true heartbeat of our town is the people.
Most of us choose to live in the river valley because we want to be somewhere folks aren’t shy about saying hello. Say what you might about society changing in good and worse directions, other small towns lack the sophistication and most definitely the manners our little town holds onto. I’ve thought long and hard about why these values are so instilled in those of us derived from the river valley, and the conclusion I continue to loop back to are our mothers.
The mothers and grandmothers of our area have a way of looking out for not only their own, but including all the kids, neighbors, and friends around them in that circle. The mothers of our area keep an eye out for our achievements, our failures, our smiles, and even our pain. They know how to extend a hug, and even extend a hand when we least expect it.
Recently, a trip to the grocery store felt more like a family reunion than a shopping excursion. I ran into so many friends mothers and grandmothers asking how I was and how the rest of the family were doing, I think my heart was more full than my grocery cart. Their eager sincere smiles made me feel a warmth and love I’m certainly not going to find at any other grocery store out of town. Each one of these lovely ladies had carts full of ingredients, eager to spoil their families and friends because in this town one of the most sincere ways we show our love is through food. When my grandmother was alive, one of her favorite afternoon activities was passing out small jars of pimento cheese to her neighbors and friends. Food is for sharing, and mothers and grandmothers know how to do that best.
Today I have included two of my mothers favorite recipes. The first, roast chicken with rosemary, garlic, and potatoes, is a favorite to cook for herself or family. The second, garlic dill salmon, is her favorite to have made for her. “But only if they know how to make it right,” she would tell you. These recipes are both simple but use good and real ingredients. If you wanna show your mother, grandmother, or a female figure in your life that has shown you kindness and compassion when you’ve needed it most that you care, spoil them with something they don’t have to cook for a change. Give one of these recipes a try. I promise they won’t disappoint, and they will certainly be appreciated.
Good luck and enjoy!
Roasted Chicken with Garlic, Rosemary, and Potatoes
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
10 garlic cloves
1 onion diced
4 large sprigs of rosemary, diced or 3-4 tablespoons chopped rosemary Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
One whole chicken, 4-6 pounds
3 pounds potatoes, halved or quartered (Red or yukon are best but others will work.)
In a large bowl, mix all ingredients except chicken and potatoes. after thoroughly mixing rub potatoes with mix and place them into a large flameproof roosting pan. Next take chicken and rub down with mix. Place into roasting pan. Stuff chicken with potatoes and some of the remaining mix, especially the garlic. Stuff the mix under some parts of the skin without tearing skin to much. If you can’t stuff those areas, don’t worry, if the mix is over the skin the oil will help the flavors dissolve into the meat. Add more salt and pepper to skin if you like.
Set the roasting pan and roast for about ago hour. If your chicken is going to be too close to the top of the oven, cover with aluminum foil.
Remove chicken from rack and remove foil if used. Place back in oven and roast for another 30-45 minutes.
Chicken may be served immediately, or transported to a friends house to be eaten shortly after. Chicken may also be covered and refrigerated for a later meal or tomorrows lunch.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Get a large piece of foil that could fully encompass salmon piece. Using another piece of foil, line a baking sheet.
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 fresh squeezed lemon juice
zest of one lemon
10 garlic cloves, sliced and or minced
4 tablespoons fresh diced dill or dried dill
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
2-3 pounds salmon (Wild is the healthiest, and my personal preference.)
In a small bowl, whisk oil, lemon juice, garlic, dill, salt and pepper. Place salmon on full piece of foil and place into baking dish (already lined with foil). Spoon mix over salmon and rub all across and underneath fish. Fold sides of foil over salmon, completely covering and sealing packet closed.
Place in oven and bake until cooked, about 15-20 minutes. Open foil and cook an additional 2-5. Serve immediately and garnish with dill or lemon pieces. They look lovely but not necessary. If there are any leftovers, this chilled salmon is delicious served over a spinach salad or included in an omelet.
The recipes and photos used in todays article are from the kitchen of Chef Babz ([email protected]) with a little help from her mother, Dr. Rita Goldman.