Cook the Book: Mary Mac's Tea Room: czken, honeybea, jonagerlach, redoakdoor, and BostonDiner. Cook the Book: The Perfect Finish: janes4, singing chef, sophieangeline, Mizbee, and amusebouche. Winners have been notified by email and also appear on our Contest Winners page. Thanks to all who entered.
'Mary Mac's Tea Room' on Serious Eats
After frying up a batch of exemplary fried okra I decided to use the still-hot oil to fry the green tomatoes I had picked up at the farmers' market. Fried Green Tomatoes I've tried before ranged from forgettable to truly transcendent (fried green tomatoes Benedict, anyone?)—but I'd never made them from scratch. With tomato season just beginning, I was anxious to see how my lovely green tomatoes would fry up.
I'm pretty sure that this recipe for Country Fried Steak and Gravy from Mary Mac's Tea Room by John Ferrell is the most serious plate of food in the entire book, and should only be tackled by those those who feel no guilt when met with a deep fried steak topped with a gravy made from meat drippings and plenty of butter.
The following recipe is from the July 14 edition of our weekly recipe newsletter. To receive this newsletter in your inbox, sign up here! If you've ever had really good collard greens you know that the secret to making them...
I've always thought of okra as one of the cuter vegetables, with its fuzzy little ridged pods and almost cap-like stem. But as adorable as okra is, some folks find it off-putting due to its tendency to become slimy when cooked. This recipe for Fried Okra from Mary Mac's Tea Room by John Ferrell is a wonderful way to convert the okra-averse since the quick-fry leaves the okra soft with an amazingly crisp crust. It's even more addictive than a plate of fries.
While I can't call the cobbler I made an authentic Georgia Peach Cobbler since I'm pretty sure my peaches hailed from New Jersey, it was incredible. The peaches are peeled and sliced, and then mixed with sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, a bit of cornstarch, and then dotted with an entire stick of butter. The topping is somewhere in between a pie crust and a biscuit, made in the stand mixer and incredibly easy to roll out. While baking the peach juices mix with the butter and sugar, creating a liquid that seeps up over the crust and is delicious enough to eat by the spoonful.
When I heard that all newcomers to Mary Mac's Tea Room are greeted with a piece of cornbread and a small bowl of pot likker (the liquid left behind after boiling greens) I was anxious to see just what type of cornbread it would be. While most recipes have fairly similar ingredients, the proportions vary as do the textures and flavors. In John Ferrell's Cornbread, he includes buttermilk for moisture and tang, self-rising flour for a wonderfully airy texture, and a quarter cup of bacon drippings.
Perhaps the most well-known of tea room establishments is Mary Mac's Tea Room in Atlanta, a bustling dining room that has been pouring sweet tea and serving up some of the best mac n' cheese since 1945. For those of us who haven't had the pleasure of dining at Mary Mac's, owner John Ferrell has put together a new cookbook that includes all of the tried and true recipes. Mary Mac's Tea Room includes all of the classics: Chicken and Dumplings, Fried Chicken, Salmon Croquettes, and of course, all of the wonderful sides that really make the meal. Enter here to win a copy.