Musician John Vaughn returned to Aiken recently to continue his music career and he wasted no time getting a taste of Southern cooking. Vaughn teamed up with Eileen Hutson on her show “Cooking with MadJon and Friends” broadcasting now on ASTV, Channel 95 on Atlantic Broadband, and on aikenstandard.com/astv/madjon.


Vaughn will be in Aiken through the winter season and is playing piano at the Willcox Inn each Friday night. But he had a craving for some home cooking that Hutson was happy to oblige.


“We talked about his music and old Aiken,” Hutson said. “We had a lot talk on history in Aiken. He played some wonderful music and we cooked some Southern food that he had asked me to cook.”


After spending some time oversees recording an album, Vaughn was looking forward to cooking with MadJon.


“I’ve been in England for the past year, and I haven’t had any Southern cooking,” Vaughn said. “It was delicious. I even brought me some home.”


Vaughn and Hutson have known each other for years, back when he was a frequent customer of hers in a different field.


“He used to come in and buy from me when I was an antique dealer,” Hutson said.


Vaughn added, “I would just fill my studio up with stuff she had.”


They also share a common passion for music, it being Vaughn’s career and one Hutson debated.


“We have an interest in music because that was a career I thought about doing when I was a teenager,” Hutson said.


As for the menu, it was Southern cooking at its finest. There was MadJon’s Southern Fried Chicken, buttermilk biscuts, buttermilk macaroni and cheese, fried okra and chocolate cake with strawberies on top.


“It was really easy. ... I had never cooked before,” Vaughn said. “It was really good. I hadn’t had Southern food in a long time so it was a real treat.”


Hutson was equally pleased with her guest chef.


“He was a real delight to work with. He’s a real nice guy,” she said.


Hutson’s show with Vaughn airs this week through Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. each day.


Hutson is also heading to Nashville, Tenn., this weekend to audition Season 4 of the Fox reality cooking show Master Chef.



RECIPES Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

Total time: 40 minutes


Prep time: 20 minutes


Cook time: 15-20 minutes


Yield: 8 servings


Difficulty: Easy


Self-rising flour


2 ¼ cups, shifted, plus flour for rolling out the dough


Baking soda 1 tsp.


Butter, 1 stick (½ cup) softened


Shortening, 2 tbsp.


Buttermilk, 1 cup


Directions:


Pre-heat oven to about 425 degrees. Grease a baking dish for the biscuits. Shift the flour with the baking soda and place into a mixing bowl. Add the butter and shortening to the mix and blend well. Slowly add the buttermilk, working the dough to mix well. Add more flour if you need to. You want it soft, but firm so it may be rolled out on a floured surface to about 2-inch thick. You want a tall biscuit. Top the biscuits with melted butter for browning and bake in pre-heated oven for about 15 minutes or until brown.



MadJon’s Southern Fried Chicken

Total time: 1 hour


Prep time: 15 minutes


Cook time: 45 minutes


Yield: 8 servings


Difficulty: Medium


Whole chicken, cut up


Flour, 3 cups


Buttermilk, 3 cups


Salt and pepper, to taste


Onion and garlic powder, 2 tsp. each


Seasoned salt, 2 tsp.


Mrs. Dash, 2 tsp.


Oil for frying


Place chicken into a gallon bag and add some salt and pepper to taste, then add the buttermilk and let sit overnight to tenderize. Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl. Heat the oil in a pan to about 300 degrees. Dip the buttermilk chicken into the flour mix until it is well-coated. Cook till the chicken is browned, about 20 to 25 minutes per piece. Your fork will enter the chicken easily.



Buttermilk Macaroni and Cheese

Total time: 1½ hours


Prep time: 20 minutes


Cook time: 1 hour


Yield: 12 servings


Difficulty: Easy


Macaroni, 1 lb. box, cooked about 8 minutes, drain


Butter, 1 stick (½ cup)


Salt and pepper, to taste


Onion powder, 2 tsp.


Yellow prepared mustard, 2 tsp


Cheddar cheese, shredded, 3 cups


Buttermilk, 3 cups plus enough to cover macaroni


Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Pour cooked and drained macaroni into a greased 9x11 pan. Add the butter, salt and pepper stir till the butter is melted. Add the onion powder and mustard and mix. Add 2 cups of the cheese and mix. Pour the buttermilk into the pan on top of the macaroni noodles covering the noodles. Cook the macaroni and cheese covered for about 40 minutes. Uncover the dish and stir the mix. Add 1 cup of cheese on top and return to bake for about 20 more minutes.



Southern Whole Fried Okra

Total time: 20 minutes


Prep time: 10 minutes


Cook time: 10 minutes


Yield: 6- 8 servings


Difficulty: Easy


Whole okra, 1 lb. cleaned


Salt and pepper, to taste


Corn meal, 1 cup


Flour, 1 cup


Onion powder 2 tsp.


Mrs. Dash, 2 tsp.


Eggs, 2 beaten


Oil


Directions:


Salt and pepper the cleaned okra. Beat the eggs in a bowl. Mix the flour, corn meal and spices together to make a dry mix. Heat about 1-inch of oil in a oil in a pan and heat to about 300 degrees. Dip the okra in the egg and then in the dry mix, coat well. Cook in the hot oil until brown on both sides.


Chris Walsh is the arts and entertainment reporter for the Aiken Standard. He graduated from Valdosta State University.