The Tousey House Tavern – Burlington, KY

We were looking for someplace unique for Mother’s Day dinner a few weeks ago and made a reservation at the highly-recommended Tousey House.  When we pulled up in front of the historic federalist-style home, I had a feeling we were in for a treat.  Beautiful decor throughout this period home provides a comfortable atmosphere with ample seating inside and out.  Whether inside, outside or in the tiny bar area, you’re swept away to era gone by.

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Our friendly server shared with us the menu and a few stories to introduce us to the location.  As expected, there’s a beautiful selection of southern fare along with some local and updated dishes.  While we didn’t have an appetizer, I was longing for the fried green tomatoes or shrimp and grits.  The goetta egg rolls really had me intrigued as well, but we were sticking to dinner and dessert.  Salads were fresh, crisp and a good portion size – the Ceasar looked especially good.  We went about ordering and enjoyed warm homemade biscuits with our drinks.

My wife ordered the ribeye which is served with a smoked tomato-rosemary demi-glace and crispy onions.  A huge piece of beef, it was cooked to perfection.  The sauce was a beautiful highlight to the tender beef.  A few people at the table ordered the Tousey Hot Brown – a traditional execution of ham, turkey, tomato and bacon served over toast points and covered in Mornay sauce and melted cheese.  While not as creamy as others we’ve had, it was delicious!  Being the traditionalist, I had to order the fried chicken.  The four large pieces (half a chicken) were lightly breaded and crispy golden brown.  It was a terrific execution and served with mashed potatoes (a bit average) and southern-style green beans.  We felt the southern hospitality as we enjoyed the home cooking and tasty favorites.

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We really enjoyed our dinner as well as a few sweet treats – it’s a variable dessert menu, but the chocolate cake and berry cobbler were grandma-worthy preparations!  Executive chef Jonathan Weiss has done a beautiful job with the menu and delivers on every expectation.  Open for lunch and weekend brunch as well, you’ll want to stop in or make a reservation soon.  It’s too good to not make a special trip!  Find out more about the history, location and menu at touseyhouse.com.  Dig in!

Rosie’s Fish Fry Coating

For many years my wife’s grandparents lived on Lake Okeechobee in Florida and would bring us the best lake perch caught and cleaned by papaw himself.  In fact, there was always money waiting if you could find a bone – he never had to pay out on that one!  Rosie would fry that fish in a light crispy cornmeal coating that always seemed impossible to make myself.  Eventually, she passed down the recipe and I have been using it, and the very specific ingredients, ever since.

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ROSIE’S FISH FRY COATING

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Mix all ingredients together in a 13×9 dish.  It will be easier to coat fish this way.
  • Dip fish or chicken fillets in whole milk and then into your fish fry coating.
  • Allow to rest on a wire rack for 15 minutes.
  • Fry in 350 degree oil until golden brown and cooked through.
  • Remove and drain on paper towels or wire racks and then serve immediately.

You’ll love the crispiness of this mix in all it’s fried golden deliciousness.  It’s perfectly seasoned, slightly herby, a little salty and great on both fish and chicken.  For chicken, I dip them a second time in milk and dry mix again before letting them rest another 15 minutes – it makes an extra-crispy crust!  Give it a try and stay true to the ingredients listed, Rosie would insist.  Dig in!

Crispy Hush Puppies

Fall vacations on Myrtle Beach every year make me think of one of our favorite places and their incredible hush puppies!  Since we decided to have a fish fry on a 70-degree day in February I wanted to make hush puppies for the gang to snack on.  Finding the right combination of soft, crunchy, sweet and savory can be a challenge, but I love how these turned out.  Give them a try and use them as a base recipe for other variations as well.

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CRISPY HUSH PUPPIES

Ingredients

  • 3 Cups Weisenberger Mills Self-Rising Cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 Cups Flour
  • 1 Tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 Tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 1/2 Tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 Tsp. Black Pepper
  • 5 Tbs. Sugar
  • 2 Eggs, Beaten
  • 2 1/4 Cups Whole Milk
  • 1 Medium Onion, Finely Chopped

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, mix all dry ingredients and mix well.
  • Add onion and stir to coat with dry mixture.
  • Add milk and eggs and stir just enough to mix.  DO NOT BEAT.
  • Mixture will be stiff, but should not be dry.  You can add more milk if you need it to come together better.
  • Cover mixture and place in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  • Using a 1/2 or 1-inch cookie scoop or a small spoon, drop hush puppy batter into 340 degree frying oil (I use a mixture of peanut and soybean).  Do not overcrowd the oil.
  • Fry for 5-10 minutes until outside is a deep golden brown and inside is cooked through.  You will need to turn them through the cooking process and may need to cut one open to be sure it is cooked through.

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These are best served immediately, but are great for another day.  Eat them plain or with butter or honey butter (1 stick salted butter mixed with 1/4 cup clover honey).  Again, this is a great base recipe that can be elevated by adding whole fresh corn or diced jalapeño.  What else do you love to flavor hush puppies with?  As for the cornmeal, I always use Weisenberger Mills from Kentucky.  You might not be able to find it in the store, but you can definitely order it online.  I swear you’ll taste the difference!  Try these for your next get together – dig in!