Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Braves Game

Last night, I went to the Braves game with my sister and a couple of friends, and we had such a good time. I really enjoy going to see the Braves during the summer, hanging out and eating hot dogs. And hot dogs were the food of choice that I was looking forward to. I love the Georgia dog that they serve at the stadium.

The hot dog is topped with Vidalia Onion relish and coleslaw, and then I put a little bit of ketchup on top. I know it doesn't looks really appetizing, and the hot dog is hidden somewhere in that mess, but it was so yummy. And Margaret certainly enjoyed it as much as I did.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Strawberry Shortcake.

Sorry I haven't blogged in a while, but things get busy and you just can't seem to find the time to blog. Well, last weekend, I spent some time up at Lake Lanier with a friend at her lake house, and as an expression of my gratitude, I made dessert. And since it is still strawberry season, I decided to fix Strawberry Shortcake. Now, the thing that is different about this recipe is that instead of using a biscuit or a scone, I tried using shortbread. It was suggestion from my mother, and she told that it was how her grandmother fixed, so I decided that it would be fun to try.

Cream together 1 cup of room temp. butter and 1/2 cup of granulated sugar together until light and fluffy. Slowly add in 1 1/2 cups of All Purpose Flour. Your dough will still be a bit sticky once it's all been blended together. Scrape all of the dough onto a sheet of Cling Wrap, wrap it up, and stick it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Once the dough had rested, roll it out on a well floured board. If you're not careful the dough will stick so be generous. I found that I was able to pat it out with my hands pretty easy. Using a biscuit cutter, cut out round and place on a non-greased baking sheet. Preheat your oven to 350. Once your shortbread is ready, place it in the oven, and immediately turn it down to 225. Let it bake for 45 to 1 1/2 hours (depends on your oven) Do not let it get too dark. It should be a nice golden brown, but if it gets to dark, even if it isn't burnt, it will a bit of an off flavor, so be careful. You should have a crunchy, buttery cookie at the end.

For the strawberries, I hulled and quartered probably a pound of strawberries and then sprinkled 1/4 cup of sugar on top. Be generous with your sugar because it helps to form the syrup from the strawberries. These need to sit for at least an hour so that some syrup can form.

For the whipped cream, I used 1 cup of heavy whipping cream, a tablespoon of sugar, and a trickle of vanilla. Whip it in a bowl that has been sitting in the freezer with beaters that have also been in the freezer. Don't whip the cream until right before you need it.

To assemble, place a cookie down on your plate, spoon over the strawberries, top with whipped cream, and if you would like, put another cookie on top. It's different from your normal everyday Strawberry Shortcake, but it's still very good. Has more of a bite to it rather than just bread. I'm sorry that there's no picture, but it was very pretty, and while I might still try another recipe with a biscuit or scone, you should give this one a try. It was yummy!

Thursday, June 12, 2008


This is a sort of add-on to the previous post. While I was thinking about this recipe today, I was thinking about different ways that you could personalize to fit your tastes. One example, if you're not a big cheddar fan, you could switch up the cheeses to suit your fancy; you could use goulda or fontina or mozerella, whatever you like. Also, throw some other yummy stuff in there, like maybe bacon or pancetta or some pretty vegetables, like peas or roasted red pepper. Really, the possibilities are endless.
Also, something that might make this recipe a little more friendly for only a couple of people, dish it into an buttered individual ramekin. You'll probably have to change the baking time; I'm not really sure what it would be, but I would definitely keep on eye on it.
So, get your creative streak going, and do something to individualize your mac and cheese.

Mac and Cheese

I light of my so called "writer's block", my sister told me to put up a recipe that she could fix for her husband at home. Well, here you go Giles (I want comments on how it turns out). I found this recipe in the Food & Wine Magazine and since I was dieing to try it, I've now assigned it to her.

Marja's Mac and Cheese
8 to 10 servings ( you can cut it in half if you need to, but leftovers would be yummy)

3/4 pound elbow macaroni
Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup of whole milk
1 cup of half and half
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 1/2 cups of shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese (4 oz)
1 1/2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese (4 oz)
1 1/2 cups of shredded Monterey Jack cheese (4 oz)
4 oz cold cream cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubdes

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the macaroni for 3 minutes (it will still be very chewy). Drain the macaroni and return it to the pot. Drizzle lightly with the olive oil and toss well.
2. Butter a 10 X 15 in baking dish. In a large bowl, whisk the heavy cream with the half and half, the whole milk, eggs, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Stir in the cheddar and Monterey jack cheeses and the macaroni. Spread the mac and cheese in the prepared baking dish and scatter the cream cheese cubes on top.
3. Bake the macaroni for 5 minutes. Using the back of a large spoon, spread the melted cream cheese cubes evenly over the surface. Bake for 40 minutes, until bubbling.
4. Remove the baking dish from the oven and preheat the broiler. Broil the mac and cheese about 3 inches from the heat source until richly browned, about 2 minutes. Let stand for at least 10 minutes and up to 20 minutes before serving.

Make ahead: The assembled mac and cheese can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before baking, or add 15 minutes to the baking time.

I hope that you enjoy this Giles, plus it would make really good leftovers for Dean while you're in London. I want to see pictures if you fix it. :)

I think this would be wonderful served with a fresh salad or with a side a sauted sugar snap peas. Some that's a bright, vibrant green; it would be a wonderful contrast and a pretty picture. Also, since it is Food & Wine magazine, the wine that was served in combination with this meal was a 2005 domaines ott rose. I hope that it makes a wonderful meal, and I will try and post more.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

So, I feel that I've run into a little bit of a problem: writer's block. Well, maybe you can't call it writer's block because I'm not really much of a writer, that's my sister's job. I guess it would be better to call it lack of inspiration. I just haven't run into a food, in the last two days, that has inspired me to write anything about it. So here I am, writing about my lack of writing; seems a little bit ironic. Maybe something will come up later today....or maybe tomorrow........I guess we'll see.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Classic Sunday

One Sunday out of every month, our family will have fried chicken for a Sunday meal after church. This is the quintessential Southern meal, and I love every minute of it. Our favorite place to get fried chicken is Mrs. Winner's. They serve crisp, peppery chicken with buttery, flaky biscuits. We love to serve it with green beans and creamed corn. Then we'll have the biscuits for dessert with honey or jam.

It's so, so yummy and crunchy and delicious. Maybe you'll try it for a Sunday meal.

Saturday, June 7, 2008


So last night, I watched Lions for Lambs with my family, and essentially, it's a movie about the war in Iraq and all of the political "schemes" behind it, and so on. To say the least, it's a very liberal movie (it was directed by Robert Redford) and I'm not liberal. In fact, it's kind of hard to deny that I'm anything but conservative. But besides my political beliefs, it got me to thinking about politics and its connection with food and economics.
It's seems to me that whenever food is brought up, in regards to politics, most people think of people who are obsessed with eating organic and saving our world from global warming and so on and so forth. Well, I'll tell you right now, I'm not like that. I mean, I'm all for preserving our world; it's a beautiful place that shouldn't be wasted, but there's much more behind eating organic or eating local food than just health benefits. I'm hoping that once you read this you'll be more willing to reconsidered organic and locavore eating, since the hippies put you off.
First, some definitions. Being a locavore means that you don't eat food which hasn't been grown within one hundred miles of your home. You tend to get your produce from farmers around you, and do the best you can to get meats that are grown close as well. Same with all other food groups. While this may seem extreme to some people (and in some cases it can be), there are some good things about it. For example, if you have children, you can help explain to them that food doesn't in fact come from the grocery store, and it's not from neatly piled stacks. It's actually grown in the ground and people worked hard to get them the food they need.
Also, with the "economic crisis" that we're in (I put that in parenthesis because you may not agree) eating food locally helps to stimulate the economy that you are living in. By helping those farmers around you, you in turn are helping yourself. If you have a small business, you should know this better than anyone: as soon as the small business owners begin to disappear from a town, your economy is shot because you will be losing jobs within your community. So even if you're decide not to eat locally to eat better food, do it so that you can help you economy from going bust.
There is also the benefit that you will truly be eating better food if you eat locally. What a lot a people don't realize, or what they won't admit to themselves, is that when you buy produce in your local grocery store, most of it is traveling an average of two THOUSAND miles before it reaches you. If you don't realize what this means, I'll explain it to you. The fact that your food must travel so far to reach you means that the food is picked green before it's fully ripe so that it doesn't bruise while travelling. Well, that doesn't sound to bad right? Wrong. In order for you to get ripe fruits and veggies, some chemicals are applied to it to get it closer to that point, or in some cases nothing at all. So when you pick it up, you're getting unripe produce that won't be as good.
Also, because of the advance technology within the United States, we do something called genetic engineering. As far as food is concerned, this means that we can choose seeds and make modifications for food so that it will be, for example, firmer or more round or any number of things so that they will travel better. This means that while you might get a tomato that looks prettier, you're usually getting a tomato that's completely tasteless. You might as well be eating cardboard for its taste.
So, here are a couple of things to remember, as far as locavores go, first you will be purchasing food that tastes better and looks better, plus you have the added bonus of helping the economy around you, and when you support your local economy, you will in turn begin to help the American economy. I know that it sounds kind of silly and too far off like, "How can my purchasing fruit help the American economy?" But it does! Just as any economist; when you add up all of those little economies, it makes one big one, and when the small ones are healthy, the big one will be too.
So, to sum all things, I hope that my political rant hasn't put you off, and I hope you will reconsider buying some of the local produce around you. If you don't know where you can find any, trying googling farmers markets around your home town or you can trying google your state with "organic" next to it. There are a lot of things that you can do, so go look some stuff up. Use Google or whichever search engine. Learn more about your community and help your children to learn about it too. I hope that you have a great weekend. :)

Friday, June 6, 2008

National Doughnut Day

To all pastry lovers out there (and policeman too), today is National Doughnut Day! Established in 1938, National Doughnut Day was assigned to be the first Friday of June and it's original purpose was to raise money for the "lassies" of the Salvation Army in WW1. It obviously not a really celebrate holiday so you should start; it's a good excuse to go get a doughnut. :)
Now for a little bit of history. It's thought that the doughnut was invented by Dutch settlers who brought it over to the United States, but there is some evidence that the Native Americans might have made pastries. Also, when it comes to doughnuts, there are many different kinds. Of course there's your normal doughnut and your jelly-filled, but there's also the Louisiana beignet or the Italian bombolini or one of my brother-in-law's absolute favorites: the paczki. The paczki is actually a very popular choice for Fat Tuesdays mostly in Chicago and Detroit.
So, take my advice and god get yourself a doughnut. Personally, my favorites are Krispy Kreme, which you can get in the grocery store, but they are the BEST if you go get them fresh and hot, right out of the kitchen. Happy Doughnut Day!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Atlanta Lover's Guide to Atlanta: My Way

So I was reading the Amateur Gourmet this afternoon and I stumbled upon his Atlanta Lover's Guide to Atlanta (http://www.amateurgourmet.com/2008/03/in_praise_of_at.html). And while I enjoyed it thoroughly (he highlighted some wonderful places, most notably Watershed), I feel like he left a few of the important places out. So, I decided that I was going to add to it, and make my own version. However, anything he did highlight, I will leave to him, and write down my own personal favorites.

1) South City Ktichen

There are actually two locations in Atlanta, one in Vinings, the other in Midtown, so go to which ever is closer. This restaurant serves contemporary Southern cuisine in a wonderful open envrionment. Their shrimp and grits is to die for! And there is absolutely no way you should leave without trying their desserts. Also, they are apart of a group with other restaurant, not unlike the Buckhead Life Group, so you could easily check out the others restaurants. The Buckhead Life Group is wonderful to check out too. All of the restaurants are somewhere in Buckhead and serve a wide variety of cuisine.



2) Garrison's

Now, I love Garrison's. It's in Vinings, which has wonderful shopping so you can walk around before or after you eat; you can sit outside on the patio and enjoy brunch, lunch or dinner. One of my favorite dishes from Garrison's is their Salmon BLT. I mean, it's so good, it's indescribable; you just have to go find out for yourself.


3) Varsity

Ok, really. How can you talk about Atlanta and not mention the Varsity? It's semi-sacreligious. It's an Atlanta icon, just like peaches are to the state of Georgia. Now, I must admit the food isn't the best, but the atmosphere makes up for it. You walk in the door and you're immediately greeted by the shouts of "Whadayahave? Whadayahave?" There are murals on the wall and you can buy cute little tourist junk if you want. I do have one piece of advice though: don't eat too fast, you will regret it, trust me. The food's kind of greasy so eating too much, too fast will take a toll on your stomach. But other than that, it's a great place to visit.
Also, while you are at the Varsity, walk the two blocks up to the Fox Theatre. It used to be an mosque, but the owner has too much gold installed and he couldn't afford it anymore and he ended up selling it. Now, most major broadway shows go there. I've seen Phantom of the Opera and Wicked there myself, and I tell you it's an awesome experience. The decorating will wow you alone, and if you choose, you can take a backstage tour of the theatre, which makes it just that much better.

4) OK Cafe

Located on the corner of West Paces Ferry and GA41, I promise you this restaurant has been there for years. And I don't mean just 20 years, longer. They have a warm, inviting environment that just makes you want to smile. They serve classic Southern comfort food that you cannot help but enjoy. And added bonus: they have take out. Now, this isn't your normal everyday take out. You walk in, go through almost like a buffet line of freshly prepared food, and get what you want. You also have full option of desserts, drinks and breads. You're not ordering your food ahead and picking it up, you actually pick out just what you want.

Another added bonus, The Flying Biscuit is right up the street. Literally, in the next shopping center, you could stip in at their newest location and get some of their delectable biscuits.

5) Aunt PittyPat's Porch

Yea, try saying that five times fast. Located in the heart of Atlanta, this restaurant is named for the famous character from Mrs. Mitchell's outstanding novel, Gone with the Wind. It's more of an upstale restaurant, but it's so home like. As soon as you walk in, you feel like you're coming onto someone's front porch. The restaurant is actually downstairs and very good, I might add. The last time I went, I had the venison which was cooked perfectly. Again, it's contemporary Southern cuisine, but with a little more style. I think you'll enjoy it as much as I did.


6) Canoe

Canoe is a wonderful restaurant right on the Chattahoochee River off of Paces Ferry. It's not very large, but it's nice. It's great for going out to eat with someone special or just having an occasion with a good friend. You can also rent out part of the restaurant for special occasions. I've seen wedding receptions held there, outside closer to the river. I also hear that their wine selection is wonderful.

7) Willy's

While there are many Willy's locations, they are only here in Georgia. It's really more of a fast food joint that serves California style burritos. It's so yummy and tasty and such a fun filled atmosphere. It also seems to be a bit of an high school hang out (well, at least the West Paces Ferry location is). So if you're looking for a quick, easy, delicious bite, try a Willy's or a Moe's, which is almost as good (but not quite). :)

8) Swan Coach House

Last, but certainly not least is the Swan Coach House. As it's name indicates, it used to be a coach house, providing a roof for the carriages for the Swan House. The Swan House is a one of our pride and joys as it is an absolutely gorgeous historical house. If you ever get the chance, you must visit. You can buy tickets through the Atlanta History Center, which is quite literally right in front of the Coach House. There is wonderful interior decorating at the House and a lucious green front lawn. There's also a tiny art gallery as a part of the Coach House, displaying work by Atlanta artists. And if there's one thing I have to suggest for the Coach house, it would be their Fried Green Tomato sandwich. Now, don't scrunch up your nose and say, "Ewww" because you would passing up one of the best sandwiches you've ever had. And if you don't believe me, just read the book or watch the movie "Fried Green Tomatoes" and maybe that will change your mind.

Now, I hope that this little guide will help you to choose some places to eat while you're in Atlanta. But remember, go out and discover, I mean this list could go on forever and ever; there are ten or twelve bakeries alone that I could list off that you should go to, but you can't go to all of them. So, while you're shopping or going to the Aquarium or the World of Coke, find a nice little hole in the wall or try one of these places to stop for lunch or dinner. Now, I hope y'all enjoy your stay! Come visit us again soon!

Sweet Tea

One of the essentials for any Southern kitchen is a good sweet tea recipe. Now, I don't drink sweet tea very often, it tends to be something I drink for a party or a special occasion, but my father drinks it almost everyday so I've become very proficient at making it. Another great thing about this recipe is that it's not difficult at all! Three ingredients that's it.

3 cup of boiling water
1 family size tea bag (I prefer decaf Luzainne)
1/3 cup of sugar (don't use Splenda, it's just not the same)

Steep the tea bag in the boiling water for three to five minutes. Stir in the sugar until dissolved. Serve over a full class of ice with lemons.

There are a couple of specifics about sweet tea though, especially this recipe. Make sure it's a Family Size tea bag, if it's not, you need to use two bags. Depending on how strong you want it you can steep it longer. One last thing, don't use fake sweeteners or any substitute for the sugar. Sugar is what makes this recipe, so if you're watching you weight, just do like I do, have sweet tea at special occasions, and then unsweet tea every other time; it works wonders. :)

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Chinese Coleslaw

Because it is so hot down here in Georgia, we tend to have foods that are a bit lighter and more refreshing, and Chinese coleslaw is one of my favorites. My father also likes it a lot so we tend to fix it pretty often. The great thing about this coleslaw is that it's incredibly easy to fix and takes almost no time at all. Also, if you have anyone in your family who doesn't like mayonnaise (the traditional dressing for coleslaw) this will work wonders for you because there is no mayonnaise at all. :)

It's pretty simple to fix. First, shred a large head of cabbage. I like to use my food processor for this with the grating disc attached. I then put all of the cabbage into a large tub for mixing' a large bowl would work just as well. Then add chopped up snap peas, toasted slivered almond, water chestnuts, and two packages of crushed Ramen Noodles, saving the seasoning packets for the dressing. The picture above shows all of the ingredients before mixing.
The dressing is also very simple. Combine the two Ramen seasoning packets with 1/2 cup of vegetable oil and 6 tablespoons of rice vinegar. You can combine them in your blender or just whisk it all together. Pour over the coleslaw and mix well.
Like most coleslaws, it's usually best the day after you fix it, so try and fix it the night before if you're going to serve it for a party. If you don't have the time for that or if you don't remeber, it's still just as good fixing 5 minutes before the meal.
I hope that you enjoy this refreshing salad as much as I do. :)

Monday, June 2, 2008

Cafe Intermezzo

So this weekend, I got together with an old friend whom I've known my entire life, we grew up together, and went to lunch. We went to one of our favorite restaurants near her house called Cafe Intermezzo. It's not a very big place, but it's cute and charming. They've recently done some remodeling at this location, which is wonderful because we were able to sit outside and enjoy the warm weather and the cool shade. But what I love about this cafe is the wonderful food. They serve a wide variety of foods, everything from breakfast to dinner. They have a rather large beverage menu, but I must say that their hot chocolate is the best.
I was very happy with my Waldorf Chicken Salad Sandwich in honey wheat bread. It was absolutely delectable and very refreshing. And of course we couldn't skip out on dessert. :) They store all of their desserts in a cooler near the front of the cafe, so you can walk up, choose what you like and they bring it to you. I must confess I had a very hard time choosing something, but finely I was able to decide upon the Chocolate Pecan Torte. And it was to die for! It was was perfect for the afternoon and not too heavy. My friend had the Raspberry Linzer, which was also very good. (She let me steal a bite :) )
So take some time and go to a local cafe or restaurant with a good friend. Enjoy a glass of iced tea and definitely get dessert.