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Sage-Battered Mushrooms with Cheddar Funduta

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DIFFICULTY: 3 of 5 (5 being hardest)

This dish just works. Oyster mushrooms are great fried because they stay nice and firm. To keep the mushrooms from getting greasy, I use a thin, tempura-style batter that fries up fast and super-crisp. For something creamy, the fonduta acts like a classier version of ranch dip (it’s always good to have something creamy with fried

Oven Roasted Chicken

DIFFICULTY: 1 of 5 (5 being hardest)

A roasted chicken can be incredibly satisfying when it’s done the right way. It can be equally disappointing when it’s done poorly. My goal is to make sure the bird, come hell or high water, stays juicy and flavorful. So I separate the skin from the meat and slather it with flavored butter. I like

Closed-on-Sunday Chicken Sandwich

DIFFICULTY: 2 of 5 (5 being hardest)

The fast-food chain Chick-fil-A is based here in Atlanta. They’re closed on Sunday for religious reasons. I respect that. But why is it that I crave a Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich almost exclusively on Sundays? Like most food companies, they guard their secret recipe. But it’s a breaded fried chicken breast on a bun with pickles. I figured I could come up with something pretty close.

Grilled Pork Steak with KC-Style Barbecue Sauce

DIFFICULTY: 1 of 5 (5 being hardest)

Pork steak is basically a bisected shoulder blade that still has the bones. It has a ton of different muscle groups, and they’re all connected by little pieces of fat and connective tissue. The fat and connective tissue melt as the steak cooks, so a pork steak is essentially self-basting. It’s one of the most idiot-proof cuts you could ever throw over a fire.

Chili Slaw Dawgs

DIFFICULTY: 1 of 5 (5 being hardest)

When my mom was pregnant with me, she craved hot dogs from The Varsity, a fast-food institution in Atlanta. She ate Varsity dogs for nine months straight. My aunt Pat even brought her a Varsity dog at the hospital right after I was born. Those chili dogs are in my blood.