Chicken Burgers, Devil’s Food Cooler Cake

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Food writer and cookbook author Nicole A. Taylor stops by AUJOURD’HUI’s kitchen to celebrate Juneteenth with festive recipes from its new cookbook, “Watermelon and Red Birds: A Cookbook for June 16 and Black Holiday Celebrations.” She shows us how to make grilled chicken burgers, fresh pea and corn salad with buttermilk dressing, and chocolate glazed cake with homemade wafers.

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Beatrice da Costa

In “A Different World,” a late 1980s sitcom set at the fictional Hillman College, the throwback weekend episodes are the most memorable storylines. At The Pit, the campus cafe owned and run by Vernon Gaines — played by the late Lou Myers — half-price victory burgers were served during football games, and the Pit’s order window, filled with bus buckets, was more than a place to laugh and fries; it was a television that asserted itself, both ambitious and a time capsule of black life. Because beef burgers are always on the menu, I challenged myself to create an equally satisfying juicy chicken burger.

Pea, Green Bean and Corn Summer Salad with Buttermilk Dressing

Beatrice da Costa

In my American South, fresh shelled chickpeas, crowders, cream peas – delicate and pearl-shaped – appear in the neighborhood market as a welcome sign of summer. But frozen varieties of these delicious peas are so much more common that I’ve gotten into the habit of making a mental note of where I can buy them. At Forsyths Farmer’s Market in Savannah, Georgia, Joseph Fields Farms sells shelled peas in sealed storage bags, placed in coolers. Farmview Market, a local food store in Eatonton, Georgia, stocks its varieties in a refrigerated section alongside Rock House Creamery Buttermilk. When I’m in Athens, I stop at Bell’s Food Store, a family store and country kitchen emporium.

Devil's Food Cooler Cake

Beatrice da Costa

June 19 coincides with the summer heat. It’s a time when many of us try to spend as little time as possible in the kitchen. This dessert requires minimal cooking and is therefore perfect for the heat waves of June. When you think of red foods and black food traditions, red velvet cake might come to mind, but red food coloring was a luxury until the late 1930s and cream cheese frosting has was introduced in the 1940s. In fact, it was probably a moist dark brown cake made with chocolate or cocoa that showed up at black celebrations. I give it back its original color with this dessert.

If you love these festive June 19 recipes, you should also try these:

Sweet Summer Corn Relish

Erin Scott

Nashville Catfish Hot Po'boys

Courtesy of Will Coleman


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