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Robert St. John

Restaurateur, author, enthusiastic traveler, & world-class eater.

New Years Hopes and Wishes 2008

February 4, 2008

New Years Hopes and Wishes 2008

In keeping with my annual tradition of not committing to anything that might make me change my eating habits, once again, I will not make New Year’s resolutions. Instead, I submit my annual list of culinary hopes and wishes for 2008. Some old, some new, all heartfelt:

1. I hope to finally be able to recreate my grandmother’s leg of lamb.
2. I hope to eat a minimum of one around-the-dinner-table, home-cooked, family meal each day with my wife and two children.
3. I wish more restaurants would serve fresh, hand-cut French fries.
4. I hope that sometime during the year, someone will deliver a homemade chicken pot pie to my house (this actually worked two years ago… I’m keeping my fingers crossed this time).
5. I hope that someone finds a health benefit in eating freshly baked croissants and bagels every morning.
6. I wish that I could still eat donuts and not feel badly afterwards.
7. No head cheese.
8. I hope that every father will take his daughter out to eat in a fine-dining restaurant at least once in the coming year.
9. I wish more restaurants would focus on preparing unusual and flavorful salads.
10. And when they do, I hope that they don’t drown the salads in too much dressing.
11. I wish more barbeque restaurants would smoke their meats in real wood-burning pits instead of using propane.
12. I hope everyone gets to attend at least one covered-dish supper in 2008.
13. I wish positive cash flows on all restaurateurs.
14. I wish multiple bushels of sweet corn for everyone.
15. Two words… Black Grouper.
16. One word: Ceviche.
17. Four words: Second helpings of each.
18. I wish restaurants would place more focus on service and less on atmosphere.
19. I hope Mississippi has a record-breaking shrimp season in 2008.
20. No pates or terrines, ever again.
21. To my friends, gallons of corn and crab bisque, to my enemies— fruitcake, mincemeat pies, and potted meat.
22. I still wish multiple messes of greens for everyone, be they turnip, mustard, or collard.
23. May your chocolate cake be moist and your banana pudding be close at hand.
24. No aspic or congealed salads.
25. I hope to eat home-cooked fried chicken at least once-a-week in 2008.
26. I hope that when I am eating my once-a-week fried chicken, it is accompanied by English peas in a nest of homemade mashed potatoes.
27. Don’t forget the biscuits.
28. It is my New Year’s wish that all “gourmets” and “foodies” drop the pretention and begin to see the beauty and perfection in an expertly made chicken pot pie (friends and family please see wish # 4).
29. I still wish someone would bring back the Marathon candy bar.
30. May you eat boatloads of jumbo lump crabmeat and never once find a shell.
31. I hope that the drought in Georgia doesn’t affect this year’s peach crop.
32. If it does, I hope Chilton County, Alabama has a record-breaking peach year.
33. I still hope that short-order food counters and drugstore soda fountains make a comeback.
34. I wish a minimum of 12 fried oyster po-boys for everyone in 2008 (and plenty of hot sauce on all of them).
35. I hope customers will solidly support the independent restaurants and culinary entrepreneurs in their communities.
36. I hope that every local soup kitchen sees their contribution levels increase by a minimum of 25% in 2008.
37. I wish more non-restaurant businesses would be as focused on customer service as those in the restaurant industry.
38. I hope that everyone eats well, whether at home or in a restaurant, and goes back for seconds, thirds even. Remember— doggie bags are for quitters.
39. Warning: Shameless Plug Alert— I hope that everyone who purchased my Southern Seasons cookbook will purchase my new cookbook New South Grilling, in stores this April.
40. I hope everyone gets plenty of the Five F’s in 2008: faith, family, friends, food and fun.
41. I hope we all do everything we can to see that no one in this country ever goes hungry.

Chicken Pot Pie

1 /2cup Butter
1 /2 cup Flour
1 /2 cup Carrots, diced
1 /2 cup Onion, diced
1 /2 cup Celery, diced
1 /2 cup Butter beans, cooked
1 /4 tsp Thyme, ground
2 tsp. Salt
1 1 /2 tsp Black pepper
2 1 /2 cups Chicken broth, hot
1 1 /2 cup Chicken, cooked, diced
2 Pie crusts

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add flour to make a blonde roux. Cook four to five minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add vegetables and continue to cook five to seven minutes. Add thyme, salt and pepper. Slowly stir in hot chicken broth. Simmer 10 minutes stirring often to prevent sticking.

Add diced chicken and remove from the heat. Allow filling to cool in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Roll out the piecrusts. Place one on the bottom of a 9-inch pie pan. Fill with the chicken mixture. Top with the remaining piecrust and crimp edges to seal. Using a paring knife cut six slits into the crust so the pie can vent. Brush with egg wash.

Bake one hour. Allow to rest 15 minutes before cutting and serving. Yield: 8 servings

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