River Run Cookbook: Southern Comfort from Vermont

Overview

Since Jimmy and Maya Kennedy opened their River Run café in 1991, the Plainfield, Vermont, eatery has attracted hordes of local followers. This woodsy establishment is much more than a restaurant: it's a welcoming home-away-from-home, whose menu reflects a tantalizing blend of traditional Southern favorites with a Northern touch.

The Kennedys have teamed with noted food writer Marialisa Calta to create a book that celebrates River Run's unique food and community. Offering more ...

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Overview

Since Jimmy and Maya Kennedy opened their River Run café in 1991, the Plainfield, Vermont, eatery has attracted hordes of local followers. This woodsy establishment is much more than a restaurant: it's a welcoming home-away-from-home, whose menu reflects a tantalizing blend of traditional Southern favorites with a Northern touch.

The Kennedys have teamed with noted food writer Marialisa Calta to create a book that celebrates River Run's unique food and community. Offering more than 10 recipes for dishes like buttermilk pancakes, catfish jambalaya, pulled pork barbecue, and banana pudding, The River Run Cookbook is a joy for cooks and lovers of small-town live. the illustrations and photographs reflect the charm and personality of the community.

About the Authors:
Jimmy and Maya Kennedy, a cook and an illustrator/graphic designer, respectively, live in Plainfield, VT.

Marialisa Calta is a well-known food writer whose work has appeared in the New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, and Bon Appètit, among others. A winner of the 1994 IACP award for food journalism, she lives in Calais, VT.

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Editorial Reviews

David Mamet
The best place on earth.
Library Journal
River Run Caf is a homey, much-loved restaurant in the small town of Plainfield, VT. It's usually open only for breakfast and lunch, serving down-home fare, much of it inspired by chef Jimmy Kennedy's Southern background: Chicken-Fried Hamburger Steak, Grit Cakes, Corn & Oyster Casserole. Stories and photographs of the caf 's loyal patrons and employees scattered throughout the text convey a sense of the warmth that attracts its customers. Still, the recipes themselves are unremarkable, and most collections could skip this. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060195250
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/1/2001
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 8.79 (w) x 9.79 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Famous Buttermilk Pancakes

Yield: 6 or 7 very large (6- to 8-inch) pancakes,
about 3 servings

These pancakes were famously popular with our customers way before the New York Times wrote them up ("terrific pancakes, thick and puffy, but dense and crisp around the edges," Sunday Travel section, 9/21/97). One of our secrets is whipping the egg whites. Another is serving the pancakes with pure maple syrup from Bill Smith's sugarhouse, just up the road.

Ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
3 cups buttermilk
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and allowed to cool slightly

Solid vegetable shortening or vegetable oil, for greasing pan
Fruit of choice: blueberries, sliced peaches, sliced strawberries, sliced bananas, etc. (optional)
Warm maple syrup, for serving
Ground cinnamon, allspice, and/or nutmeg, for sprinkling (optional)

Instructions:

Put the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Stir with a whisk to mix and to break up any lumps in the brown sugar.

Separate the eggs; add the yolks to the flour mixture and refrigerate the whites until ready to use (cold egg whites will whip better).

Add the buttermilk to the flour mixture, whisking to combine. Add the melted, slightly cooled butter and whisk gently some more. (If the butter is too cold, it will congeal; if too hot, it will cook the eggs.) The batter should be fairly smooth.

Whip the chilled egg whites until very, very stiffand scrape them on top of the batter. Using a poking motion with your whisk, incorporate the whites into the batter. They should not be totally mixed in; you should still be able to see a bit of egg white here and there. The batter will be thick and gluey.

Heat a griddle or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 or 2 teaspoons shortening (don't use butter -- it will burn) and swirl to coat the bottom. Test for proper heat by sprinkling a few drops of water on the heated surface; the water will form little sizzling, dancing beads when the skillet is ready.

Spoon a generous cup of batter onto the skillet to form a pancake about 6 inches in diameter. Cook until the bottom is browned and bubbles start to form on top (about 3 to 4 minutes). If you want to make fruit pancakes, add some sliced fruit at this point, just before you flip it over. (If you put the fruit right into the batter, the juices will make it too runny, and it will be difficult to cook the pancakes through.) Flip and cook the other side until browned (3 to 4 minutes more). The pancake should be cooked through.

Continue until the batter is used up, keeping an eye on the heat and adjusting the temperature as necessary. Grease the pan as needed.

Serve plain, with warm maple syrup, with fruit on top, and/or sprinkled with spices.


Catfish Jambalaya

Yield: about 10 servings

This recipe won the 1996 Catfish Institute's Restaurant Award, which was given to ten restaurants nationwide. It's got a lot going for it: it's easy, you can make it ahead of time, it feeds a lot of people, and it's kind of special.

Ingredients:

1 pound andouille sausage or kielbasa, cut into 1-inch pieces (see note)
1 pound ham, in a chunk (not sliced), cut into 1-inch pieces
2 medium onions, peeled and chopped (about 2 cups)
1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and chopped (about 1 cup)
3 small stalks celery, trimmed and chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
One 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, with juice
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
7 cups fish or chicken stock, canned chicken broth, or fish or chicken broth made from bouillon
1 3/4 cups uncooked white rice
3 pounds catfish fillets, cut into 1-inch pieces
Chopped green onions, for garnish (optional)

Instructions:

Heat a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the sausage pieces and cook, turning, until lightly browned. Add the ham and continue cooking for 10 to 15 minutes.

Add the onions, bell peppers, celery, and garlic and stir to mix; continue cooking for another 10 to 15 minutes. Add the tomatoes (and juice) and seasonings, stir to mix, and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring and chopping up the tomatoes with your spoon as you stir.

Add the stock (or broth or bouillon) and simmer, with the pot mostly covered, for 1 hour. Add the rice and cook, stirring occasionally, for 25 to 30 minutes. The rice should be tender and should have absorbed most of the cooking liquid. The jambalaya should be pretty thick, not soupy. Cook a bit longer, if needed.

Now add the catfish, stir gently, and cook for about 10 more minutes, or until the catfish is cooked through (slice a piece to check). Be careful when stirring the jambalaya so that the catfish doesn't break up too much. Taste for salt and spices and add any more that you want.

Serve on rimmed dinner plates or in shallow soup bowls. Garnish with chopped green onions, if desired.

Note: Kielbasa is much less spicy than andouille sausage; if you use it, you might want to increase the amount of pepper (cayenne, black, and white).

River Run Cookbook. Copyright © by Jimmy Kennedy. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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