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Your Newlywed Kitchen

By Cristina Wilson

Posted: Friday, Dec. 20, 2013

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The Newlywed Chef

Nan and Byron’s is one of the hottest new restaurants in Charlotte, and executive chef Jamie Lynch is a newlywed himself. So how do he and wife Courtney Valvo divide and conquer in the kitchen? “The biggest adjustment for me was that, at home, it is her kitchen and I am the sous chef,” says Lynch, whose other credits include Barrington’s and uptown’s 5Church. “Courtney had to get over the intimidation of cooking for a chef, but with some time and playfulness she has become very skilled and confident in our kitchen.”

Try Nan and Byron’s Peruvian Roasted Chicken for a new twist on a classic dish, perfect for date-night at home or entertaining guests. Lynch shared a simple tip with us, too: “Clean as you go! There are much sweeter things I’d like to do with my wife after dinner than clean up.”

Nan and Byron's Peruvian Roasted Chicken with Jalapeño Sauce

1 organic farm-raised chicken, split in half through the backbone
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed into a pulp
1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher salt
2 tablespoons paprika
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dry oregano
2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup water

Place the chicken in a zip-close bag. Put all of your marinade ingredients into a blender and puree at high speed for 30 seconds. Pour the marinade into the zip-close bag with the chicken, seal, and shake around a bit until well coated. Marinate over night.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place on a roasting pan that is lightly greased with cooking spray. Cook the chickens for 20 minutes at 400 degrees, then turn the temperature down to 300 degrees and finish cooking, approximately 20 additional minutes. Check the internal temperature of the chicken with a thermometer; it should read 160 degrees. Remove the pan from the oven and let rest in a warm place for 20 minutes. In the mean time make the Jalapeño sauce.

Jalapeño Sauce

1 jalapeño, slit in half with half the seeds removed
1/2 bundle cilantro, washed
2 garlic cloves
1 cup mayo
1 cup sour cream
2 limes, zested and juiced
1/4 cup olive oil
Kosher salt to taste

Place all of the ingredients in the blender and blast on high for 30 seconds until completely smooth and pale green.

The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar’s Chicken Satay

1 1/2 pound chicken breast or tenders
6 skewers


1 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 ounce chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon chopped garlic

Peanut Sauce

6 ounces creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup soy sauce
Juice of one lime
1/3 cup sesame oil
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

In a large bowl, mix all marinade ingredients. Cut chicken breast into 1-inch-wide strips (lengthwise, 5-6 inches). Place each strip on the skewer, and make an effort to keep the skewer in the center. Marinate chicken for 1 hour.

For peanut sauce, mix all ingredients together and set aside.

In a medium hot pan, place chicken skewers and turn once to brown. Finish the skewers in a 350-degree oven for 15 minutes. Serve skewers over rice and sautéed vegetables (like carrots, zucchini, yellow squash, and green beans), with peanut sauce ladled on top. Garnish (optional) with chopped scallion, granulated peanuts, chopped cilantro, and bean sprouts.

Fran’s Filling Station’s Maryland-Style Crab Cakes

Prepare or have ready the following (your “mise en place”):

3 cups mayonnaise
1/4 cup Creole mustard
3/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 eggs, beaten
Old Bay seasoning
2 cups breadcrumbs made from soft white bread (pulse in food processor)
1/2 cup each red bell pepper, red onion, and celery, finely diced and sautéed in canola oil until soft, then cooled
3 pounds crabmeat, such as special, backfin, or lump (it’s okay to mix the less expensive with some lump), picked through lightly for shell
2 lemons
Hot sauce
Salt and pepper
Panko breadcrumbs

In a large mixing bowl, combine mayonnaise, mustard, parsley, eggs, and two large pinches of Old Bay and stir together. Add breadcrumbs and vegetables, then stir again.

Add crab, starting with the least expensive varieties first. Mix lightly, preferably with your hands. Add lump crab last to retain maximum texture. Be gentle! Sprinkle zest and juice of 11/2 lemons, a couple of drops of hot sauce and salt and pepper over crab mixture, then very gently mix to combine. At this point, is there enough Old Bay (should be subtle), lemon, and seasoning for your taste? If not, add what you think it needs. Mixture will be very loose.

Generously line rimmed baking sheet with Panko. Scoop (whatever size you desire) crab mixture onto Panko, being careful not to press mixture too hard. Sprinkle a little more Panko over the scooped cakes. Refrigerate uncovered for at least 3 hours or overnight.

When ready to serve, heat large sauté pan, then add blended oil (canola/olive oil is my favorite) until oil is hot, but not smoking. Sauté cakes 3-4 minutes on first side (check to see if they are deep golden brown first), then flip to other side and place in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes or so. Lightly pat underside of crab cakes with a clean tea towel or paper towel before plating. Serve with remoulade or sauce of your choice and extra lemon wedges.

e2 emeril’s eatery’s Upside Down Cake

Recipe courtesy pastry chef Stephanie Nikolic, courtesy Emeril Lagasse

3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 stick plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 firm-ripe pear, (Bosc or Anjou), peeled, cored, and sliced into 1/4-inch slices
3 tablespoons 11 ounces cake flour (2 3/4cup lightly spooned)
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
4 large eggs
2/3 cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 9-inch cake pan with nonstick cooking spray and then spoon the brown sugar evenly over the bottom of the pan. Dot with 3 tablespoons of the softened butter. Arrange the pear slices over the top of the butter and sugar in a concentric circle. Any leftover slices may be chopped and placed in the center of the circle.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut in the remaining 8 tablespoons of butter until completely incorporated. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs together with the buttermilk. Slowly stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring until just combined. (Do not over mix.) Pour the batter into the prepared pan over the pear slices. Bake until the cake is golden brown and a tester comes out clean, 45-50 minutes.

Transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool for 2-3 minutes, then carefully invert the cake onto a large plate and remove the cake pan. If any of the fruit has stuck to the bottom of the pan, carefully remove it from the pan and arrange it on the top of the cake. Serve the cake warm or at room temperature.

The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar’s Skinny Pomegranate Martini

1 1/2 ounces pomegranate/raspberry sorbet vodka
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/2 ounce agave nectar
6 ounces prosecco or champagne

In a tall mixing glass add the first four ingredients. Pour into a martini or rocks glass. Add prosecco or champagne, and garnish with fresh raspberry and lemon wedge.

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