One of my favorite places in the world is a town on a small island off the coast of Maine called Stonington. The ferny woods skirting the edge of the water, the rumble of lobster boats, foggy mornings and intensely sunny afternoons are just a few of the things I love about it. Part of my heart is always there, especially in summer when it’s 100+ degrees here and delightfully cool in Stonington.
One of my favorite people on the island is Kyra Alex, exceptional quilter, owner of Lily’s Café, chef, and cookbook author. Her brownies are so good I want to rub them in my hair! They are the perfect dessert for July 4th festivities (so good with homemade vanilla ice cream) and Kyra was kind enough to send me the recipe along with a grilled “fried” chicken.
Even though I now have the know-how to make her brownies myself they’ll never be as good as Kyra’s. They are best eaten sitting in the dining room at Lily’s in the company of the cook.
If you want to know more about Kyra visit her blog LilysHouseStonington.BlogSpot.com. While you are there, be sure to order one of her cookbooks.
Hello all and thank you so much for having me here. I am writing this from beautiful Stonington, an island off the mid-coast of Maine. I have been taking a year of pause from my busy café – Lily’s – where I had the pleasure of meeting Allen through mutual friends, oh so many years ago. As special as he makes us all feel, I know in my heart that it was my brownies that kept him coming back in, year after year.
I am happy to share the recipe for these rich chocolate delights with you, along with something else I just came up with that has made my summer entertaining easy peasy:
Fried chicken – summer style! Shedding its flour and oil coat for a crispy, charred on the grill look. Still moist and tender on the inside with that familiar spicy undertone, yet, light and easy, just like summer should be. A honey mustard dipping sauce really puts a hat on this beauty.
GRILLED “FRIED” CHICKEN
1 chicken approximately 3-4 lbs, cut into 8 pieces
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4-3/4 teaspoon cayenne (depends on how spicy you like it)
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon granulated onion
Mix all rub ingredients in a small bowl. Season chicken all over with rub mixture and place in a medium bowl, cover and chill overnight. Take chicken from fridge about an hour before you are ready to grill it to bring it to room temperature.
The key to cooking the chicken on a charcoal grill is to use indirect heat. Light your coals and pile them to one side. When the coals are white and red hot place the chicken pieces directly over the fire until you get nice grill marks on each piece, moving them over to the cooler non charcoal side as you achieve this. It should only take a few minutes for each piece, so don’t leave them unattended or you will burn your chicken.
Once all the chicken is chargrilled, arrange the pieces so they are all skin side up, cover completely with the grill lid, leaving the vent holes closed and cook until the meat is firm to the touch and the juices run clear, or until the breast meat registers 165 degrees F on a meat thermometer inserted in the middle of the meat, without touching bone. Dark meat should register 175 degrees F.
Let stand for 10 minutes before diving in!
HONEY MUSTARD DIPPING SAUCE
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoon honey
Whisk together, adjust seasoning with salt if necessary. These are approximate amounts, if you like more mustard, add it! Same with the honey.
LEE BAILEY’S OUTRAGEOUS BROWNIES
This makes a big pan of decadent brownies that are just as good the next day.
4 sticks of unsalted butter (1 pound)
16 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, plus 3 cups in a separate bowl
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
6 large eggs
2 1/2 tablespoon instant espresso powder
2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup sifted, unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups chopped walnuts
Melt together the butter, pound of chocolate chips and unsweetened chocolate until smooth. I do this in a microwave on low, removing them just before they are totally melted and stirring them until smooth. You can also use a double boiler.
Cool the melted chocolate to room temperature – this is very important.
Combine, but don’t whisk, the eggs, espresso, vanilla and sugar in a large bowl. Stir in the cooled chocolate, set aside.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix this into the batter until no white shows. Finally, fold in the remaining 3 cups of chocolate chips and walnuts. Pour into the prepared pan.
Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached. It is important not to over bake these. Allow to cool and cut into squares.