February 13, 2013 § Leave a Comment
It’s cool—you can be impressed.
We used an adaptation of Sunny Anderson’s wings recipe for the Buffalo variety, and used that to add a spin to Caribbean Jerk marinade. I kid you not, these were the best wings I’ve probably ever had. Adding the lemon juice (we added the juice of half a lemon) and herbs to the sauce completely took wings to a new level for me. (We also cut down on the butter, and just did one stick). We then added a bit of lemon, butter, and herbs to Caribbean Jerk marinade, as well.
In addition to the great flavor, the texture of this was unreal. We shook these in a bag of flour, and then we let them sit for a few hours to absorb it all. What resulted was perfectly crisp, perfectly juicy wings. Ah, I’m salivating just thinking about it.
For Valentine’s Day, we talked about making pizza with a glass of wine. We talked about going out to a fancy dinner. And all of these sounded great, until James suggested we just do what truly is nothing but fun for us.
And so, we will be having hot and spicy wings and a pitcher of beer.
October 4, 2012 § 6 Comments
If any of you know me, you know I love cheese—and if you were to guess my favorite, you might guess goat. And you’d be right. I’ve long been in love with the tangy, creamy cheese by Belle Chevre, so imagine my excitement when I was invited to participate in a virtual potluck to celebrate the release of Tasia’s Table, the new cookbook by Belle Chevre’s passionate cheesemaker Tasia Malakasis.
I loved perusing this cookbook. Tasia has combined her two loves on every page: her Greek heritage and her Alabama home. While there were so many recipes to volunteer for in this potluck, I noticed she deviated into my territory with these beautiful enchiladas. I’m so glad she did! They immediately became my number one choice.
Here’s my little tip with the sauce—if you’re a little skittish around spicy foods, you might want to decrease the serrano peppers called for from 10 to about 4. I actually chickened out and just did 6, and believe me, it was plenty spicy. (Seriously! Believe me! I love spicy foods!)
When rolling these up, don’t worry too much about exact measurements. Just know that the more goat cheese is involved, the more you’ll love it. I actually would not be opposed to trying these veggie style next time and skipping the chicken altogether. Oh, and here’s a tip: Instead of cooking and shredding a chicken (especially if you’re lazy like I am), pick up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. You’ll have lots of leftovers to play with.
Here’s another tip: The sauce might scare you with its heat! But trust Tasia. Go ahead and pour all of it over the enchiladas. Some of the heat mellows when it cooks leaving just the right amount of spice remaining.
These were amazing. I loved having the fresh peppers in there, and the goat cheese addition was just incredible. I’m so honored to be included with such amazing bloggers! Thanks, Belle Chevre! Oh, and order a copy of Tasia’s book!
Here’s the full recipe:
Chicken and Goat Cheese Enchiladas with Red Sauce
1/3 cup plus 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
10 green serrano peppers
2 medium onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup of water
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon cumin
Salt and pepper, to taste
12 6-inch corn tortillas
3 poblano peppers, seeded and cut into strips
3 cups (about) chicken, cooked and shredded
1 1/4 pounds goat cheese
Sour cream (optional)
Heat 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium-high heat, and add the serrano peppers, turning occasionally for about 4 minutes. Add half of the onions and the chopped garlic and stir occasionally for 2-3 minutes. Blend hot ingredients as well as water, canned tomatoes, cilantro, cumin, and salt and pepper to taste in a food processor.
Heat 1/3 cup vegetable oil in a heavy small skillet over medium-high heat. Using tongs, add 1 tortilla and cook until softened, turning once, about 15 seconds for each side. Transfer tortilla to paper towels and drain well. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in heavy large skillet. Add remaining half of onions and poblano pepper and cok until tender, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Lightly oil 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Spoon 1/2 cup sauce into dish. Place scant 1/4 cup chicken in center of 1 tortilla. sprinkle with 1 generous tablespoon onion mixture. Set aside 1/2 cup cheese for topping. Sprinkle 2 generous tablespoons cheese atop chicken. Roll up tortilla and place seam-side down in prepared dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas, chicken, onion mixture and cheese. Pour remaining sauce over enchiladas. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover with foil. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill.)
Preheat oven to 350°. Bake enchiladas, covered, until sauce bubbles and cheese melts, about 35 minutes. Serve with sour cream.
PS: Take a look at the rest of the amazing bloggers who participated below. A lot of them are giving away a copy of the Tasia’s cookbook. My giveaway will start tomorrow, so stay tuned!
Cooking with Books
Cheese and Champagne
Deep South Mag
Sale e Pepe
La Buena Vida
Story of a Kitchen
Sugar & Spice by Celeste
Once Upon A Cutting Board
Miss in the Kitchen
The Picky Eater
August 18, 2012 § 4 Comments
August 8, 2012 § Leave a Comment
But really, this is so easy—so worth the minimal effort to add an extra layer of flavor that will go well with any sandwich. Do you want to know another way Molly at Orangette uses it? She adds it to deviled eggs. Ah! Imagine crostini with a layer of this topped with egg salad. Yes, I do believe I shall.
We followed suit with The Kitchn and added this to a BALT. Or a BLAT. Or a BLT with Avocado.
There aren’t many finer things in this life than the simplicity of a BLT + A. And then add this mayo? Really, over the top.
Go forth and make this tonight. Here’s the recipe one more time: California BLT with Avocado and Basil Mayonnaise.
August 7, 2012 § 2 Comments
Hopefully you’ve heard about Freshfully by now, but if you haven’t, that’s ok! It’s a local-food store that exists both as a market in the Avondale neighborhood of Birmingham and as a website. Founders Jen Barnett and Sam Brasseale started the site in November 2011, and the store opened its doors just a year ago (they celebrated its 1-year-old birthday August 3 and 4). I love this place!
I recently got to ask Jen a few questions about who they are and what they do. And she gave some great answers. And in return, they’ve shared something with me—a special deal for my readers. So stay tuned to the bottom of this post to find out what it is!
c&k: Why start Freshfully? Why did Birmingham need this?
jen: Sam and I started Freshfully because we wanted to eat more local food, and we just couldn’t seem to find much. We had experience building large websites that listed businesses, included blogs, and sold products, and we thought we could apply that to local food to make it easier to shop and buy. I was inspired to start the business here after hearing Shaun Chavis, Wade Kwon, and Michael Nolan each speak about food at Ignite Birmingham. Out of 12 speakers at the event, three were speaking passionately about food and its importance to the community and our health. It made me want to turn our idea of Freshfully into a reality.
c&k: Can you explain how your website and brick-and-mortar location work together?
jen: Basically, the store and website are two separate entities with the same goal—making local food more available. On the site, you can order local food to be picked up around town or shipped to you. But not all food lends itself to being picked up in boxes or shipped in the mail. After we launched the site, we started meeting farmers who just didn’t have a way to physically get food to customers. Our little office park HQ became an impromptu pick-up point where we shuffled shrimp, beef, and heirloom seedlings from farmer to consumer. We built the market to address these needs and give people a simple way to buy local food every day.
c&k: What is your approach to selecting produce and goods to sell in your store?
There are times when we have to make decisions. For example, there’s no poultry in Alabama that’s both free-range and USDA inspected. For now, we’re selling Georgia chicken, and we’re looking for ways to make USDA processing more available and affordable for Alabama farmers.
c&k: Why is it important to eat and buy locally?
jen: We think there are five reasons most people seem to buy local food:
1. It’s patriotic. You’re giving your neighbor a hand and keeping your money in the community. You show local pride when you eat local food.
2. It’s more sustainable. The average bite of food travels 1,500 miles. Most of the food at Freshfully travels less than 60. You can learn first hand the growing methods farmers use, and make decisions about which methods you want to support.
3. It’s hip. I remember in the ’70s and ’80s when the fanciest restaurants in town were steakhouses and Italian eateries. Field peas and bacon and red, ripe tomatoes were everyday foods. Now, fine dining revolves around those simple, local ingredients.
4. It’s healthier. Most of the local foods we sell are fruits and veggies, lean meats and fish, and fresh dairy. Not to say we don’t enjoy the occasional Buffalo Rock ginger ale or Just Julia’s pound cake, which leads me to…
5. It just tastes better! Tomatoes that have ripened on the vine, not in a truck. Free-range farm eggs with bright orange yolks. Tender greens still covered in local soil. These are the foods of the gods, and we grow them all right here in our home state.
c&k: Why are you passionate about what you do?
jen: I’ve struggled with my weight since the first grade. Like lots of women, I’ve been on hundreds of diets and obsessed over food. I’ve wondered why it was so hard to lose weight and why obesity was so much more prevalent here in the South. When I was studying economics in business school, I had a theory that the law of supply and demand was at play—that people weighed more when food was cheaper. Human are natural economists—we want to get the most for our money. In studying this theory, I found that economics were indeed involved, but that there were so many more factors—from food subsidies to brand marketing—that encouraged us all to eat just a little bit more. Within 100 years, we’ve gone from a era of scarcity to a era of surplus, and it’s faster than our bodies can keep up. I began to believe that ditching processed food and embracing fresh, local food was the answer for me. Since creating Freshfully, I’ve lost 30 pounds, but more importantly, I’ve gained so much from knowing this community of farmers and eating the foods they raise nearby.
And now, here’s the special deal for all cactus & kudzu readers:
Freshfully is offering a 10 percent discount at the Avondale market during the entire month of August when you ask “Who’s Your Farmer?” or wear a “Who’s Your Farmer?” T-shirt in the store (Psst… buy yours here!).
I hope you head over to Freshfully soon! Thanks, Jen and Sam, for sharing your story!
July 21, 2012 § 6 Comments
Earlier this week, I shared this recipe from Saveur. It’s a Greek dish—Garides Saganaki (shrimp with tomatoes and feta)—and we made it for dinner this weekend. It was a rainy afternoon, and we were actually home with the time to cook, and this went quite well with a glass of Pinot.
I made a few adaptations. For starters, I skipped the mint since James and I aren’t big mint-in-savory-foods lovers. I used smaller shrimp, and I used an entire pound. I didn’t grate the tomatoes, I put them in a food processor, and because of that, I think there was more liquid than probably should have been. I also increased the amount of red pepper flakes.
We served this with warm French bread and a Caesar salad. Make this tonight or tomorrow!
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 scallions, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup white wine
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (add more if you like extra heat)
4 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 (4-ounce) package crumbled feta
1 lemon, halved
1. Place a rack 4 inches from top of oven, and preheat broiler. Heat oil in 10-inch ovenproof skillet, such as a cast iron skillet, over medium heat. Add garlic and scallions, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until soft.
2. Stir in tomato paste, and cook for 2 minutes. Add wine; let reduce by half, about 5 minutes.
3. Add oregano, sugar, red pepper flakes, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and let simmer until slightly thickened, about 12 to 15 minutes.
4. Stir in shrimp, season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with feta. Broil for 3 to 5 minutes. Squeeze lemon over top.
A Rainy Weekend Caesar Salad
Makes 4 servings
1 head Romaine lettuce, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup croutons
Place lettuce into serving bowl. Add garlic, salt and pepper, and squeeze lemon over salad. Let stand for about 10 minutes. About 5 minutes before serving, add croutons and desired amount of Caesar dressing. Toss, and serve.
*I used Publix brand Caesar dressing. It’s actually my favorite brand of Caesar to buy.
Have a nice weekend!
July 18, 2012 § 1 Comment
I think I’ll make this over the weekend.
This Greek dish consists of shrimp, garlic, and tomatoes topped with feta and broiled. It would go well with perhaps a chopped salad and some crusty bread. Oh, and a nice bottle of wine. What a perfect Friday or Saturday night dinner, huh? And a perfect way to break in our new cast iron skillet! If I make it, I’ll post pictures.
February 23, 2012 § 7 Comments
Yes, bread. This will be a hard one for me. And what all does giving up bread entail?
Ah – this will be hard! Hold me accountable, everyone. And expect some bread-free posts for the next 40 days. Did you give up anything for lent? What did you give up?
Image credits: The Kitchn
January 24, 2012 § 4 Comments
Y’all I am seriously hungry right now. And all I want is a big, juicy, thick burger. Oh, and some fries, too please. Here’s some web deliciousness for you to salivate over, mk?
Western BBQ Burgers — Patio Daddio BBQ
Balsamic Reduction Burger with Warm Goat Cheese Spread — food 52
German Pork Burger — Simply Recipes
Blue Cheese Burger — Pioneer Woman
Old-Fashioned Juicy Burger — The Kitchn
Ultimate Umami Burger — White on Rice Couple
Asian Turkey Burgers with Spicy Lime Mayo — How Sweet It Is
And the grand finale …
In-N-Out’s Double Double, Animal Style — Serious Eats (y’all this is a recipe for this! I want to try!)
Ok, enjoy your hunger pangs.
Oh, and Food Blog South is this weekend! I am so excited to meet and mingle with fellow food bloggers (both newbies—like me—and legends) and learn how to be a better food writer/photographer/appreciator.