Browsing Category



Blossom’s Gumbo Recipe

February 28, 2017

Fat Tuesday (or as I call it: Tuesday) is the day before Ash Wednesday, aka Lent, when good Catholics give up something dear to them for 40 days to represent the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the desert. In a more secular sense, it’s also Mardi Gras, the biggest party in New Orleans. And what says Mardi Gras like a bowl of steaming seafood gumbo?

Photo via Yelp

Charleston’s Blossom restaurant has you covered for all your gumbo needs.  Locals are encouraged to head into Blossom to satisfy their Cajun cravings, while home cooks can kick up their Mardi Gras parties with Blossom’s essential recipe. Featuring jasmine rice, gumbo filé and a mix of the South’s best seafood, this traditional Mardi Gras favorite is simple to create in the comfort of one’s kitchen to celebrate this festive time of year.


  • 2 pounds unsalted butter
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 head finely chopped celery
  • 1 large finely chopped onion
  • 1 finely chopped poblano pepper, seeds removed
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 can (up to 14.5 ounces) unseasoned chopped tomatoes
  • 1 gallon (16 cups) lobster stock or chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 4 bay leaves, tied in cheesecloth
  • 1/3 cup Tabasco
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon gumbo file
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 pounds andouille sausage, cut lengthwise then into 1/2-inch pieces (half-moon shape)
  • 1 pound okra, ends removed and coined
  • 6 ounces cooked chicken or shrimp (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a saucepot, melt butter. Combine flour and mix well to make the roux. Transfer roux to a casserole dish and place in pre-heated oven. Continue to cook until dark, approximately for 1 1/2 hours while stirring every 10 minutes.
  3. Remove from oven and add celery, onions, and peppers. Mix well and set aside. Allow to rest for 20 minutes before adding liquid.
  4. Over medium-high heat in a large heavy-bottomed stockpot, add Worcestershire, tomatoes, stock, thyme, bay leaves, tabasco and seasonings; bring to a boil. Slowly add roux until well incorporated.
  5. If you have an immersion blender, purée the liquid mixture over medium-low heat; otherwise, remove from heat, cautiously purée in a blender and return to pot.
  6. If the mixture is too thick, add more stock as needed.
  7. Over medium heat, add the sausage, okra and chicken/shrimp; adjust seasoning to taste.
  8. Tip: A great way to prepare the okra before adding to mixture is to quickly sauté over high heat or flash-fry in a fryer. This will help the okra be less slimy.

Laissez les bons temps rouler!


Brunch Cocktail Recipes

February 19, 2017

So one of my favorite activities every year is watching the Academy Awards with my besties from Atlanta. I spend the first part of the year trying to watch all the nominated films so that I’m prepared to have an opinion on which one is best (I still have 1 more to go, so I’ll hold off on my opinion until then). We spend all day prepping food (similar to the Super Bowl), and then get all dressed up to watch the show. It’s the best.

But no Oscar Watch Party is complete without some fancy cocktails! Here are a few you can whip up in no time using your favorite vodka (from my friends at Dixie Vodka)!

Dixie Firefly

  • 1.5 oz. Dixie Black Pepper Vodka
  • 1.0 oz. ruby red grapefruit juice
  • .75 oz. lime juice
  • .50 oz. simple syrup

Shake and pour over ice. Garnish with a fresh jalapeno

Beau’s Berry

  • 1 oz. Dixie Citrus Vodka
  • 4 oz lemonade
  • Muddle 2 blackberries in tumbler

Shake with ice and strain into ice-filled glass.

Dixie Shandy

  • ½ bottle Dixie Southern Vodka
  • ½ bottle Dixie Black Pepper Vodka
  • 5 cups cranberry juice
  • 1.5 cups simple syrup
  • 5 cans (16 oz each) dry hard cider
  • a few sliced lemons
  • a few sliced limes

Chill vodka, cranberry juice, and dry hard cider. Combine first four ingredients in a large punch bowl. Top with hard cider and slices of lemons and lime. Serve with ladle and enjoy!


  • Muddle 2 strawberries in tumbler
  • 2 oz. Dixie Citrus Vodka
  • juice from ¼ lemon
  • 4 basil leaves, torn

Shake with ice and top with soda (or champagne if you’re feeling frisky).

Charleston Charmer

  • 2 oz Dixie Mint Vodka
  • 4 oz Cannonborough Grapefruit Elderflower

Georgia Twang

  • 2oz Dixie Citrus Vodka
  • 4oz Nehi Orange Soda
  • shake with ice
  • squeeze of 1/4 lime

Cherry Picker

  • 2 oz Dixie Citrus Vodka
  • 4 oz Cheerwine
  • shake with ice
  • squeeze of 1/4 lemon
  • squeeze of 1/4 lime

Big Game Recipes

February 1, 2017

So we all know that the “big game” 🏈🏈🏈 is coming up this weekend, and no Super Bowl watch party is complete without some delicious grub! Here are some of my favorite dishes to bring with me to watch the VICs (that’s Very Important Commercials).

Loaded Tater Tot Casserole

Is there anything better than tater tots? No. No there is not.


  •  1 bag Ore-Ida tater tots (I prefer Extra Crispy)
  • 1/2 cup ranch dressing
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup swiss cheese
  • 1/2 cup bacon bits
  • green onions for garnish


  1. Cook tater tots according to directions on package. Mix cheese together.
  2. Mix together ranch dressing, half of the cheese combo, bacon, and sour cream.
  3. Remove tots from oven, but keep oven on. Toss with cheesy-ranch mixture and top with remaining cheese.
  4. Bake for 5 minutes (or until cheese is melted) and sprinkle with green onion.
  5. Enjoy!

New England Clam Chowder

Serve it in a bread bowl if you want to be super fancy!



  • 1 LB butter, unsalted
  • 1 LB All Purpose Flour
  • 5 LB Red Bliss Potato, Diced ½”
  • ½ LB Bacon Raw, Diced ½”
  • 3 LB Yellow Onion, Diced ¼”
  • 1 LB Celery, Diced ¼”
  • ½ GAL Whole Milk
  • ½ GAL Heavy Cream
  • 1 GAL Clam Juice, Canned
  • 2 oz Clam Base, or Clam Paste
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 TB Tabasco Sauce
  • 1 TB Fresh Thyme, Chopped
  • 1 TB Garlic, Chopped
  • 1 LB Corn, Frozen
  • 4 LB Shucked Clam Meat
  • 1 GAL Water
  • To Taste Salt & Black Pepper


  1. In a saute pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Slowly whisk in the flour and cook for 5 minutes until the mixture resembles wet sand. Set aside.
  2. Clean potatoes and cut into ½” dice. Place in a pot, cover with water, and cook through over medium-high heat (approx. 20 minutes). Reserve.
  3. In a large stock pot add the bacon then place on the stove over low heat. Render the fat and cook until crispy. Remove bacon bits and leave fat in the pot.
  4. Add the onion and celery and cook until translucent. Add bacon back to pot.
  5. Whisk in clam base until fully incorporated. Add milk, heavy cream, clam juice, Worcestershire, tabasco, thyme, garlic and corn. Whisk to incorporate and then bring to a simmer.
  6. Once at a simmer, slowly add the roux (cooked butter and flour) in small batches, whisking after each addition before adding the next batch. Whisking often, bring to a simmer.
  7. This step is optional: The soup will be very thick at this point. Using UP TO the 1 GAL of water, slowly whisk in water and thin out to desired consistency.
  8. Add cooked potatoes and clams then bring to a simmer. Season to taste.

Christine-a-Lena’s Guacamole

Don’t tell her I gave you this recipe


  • 4 hass avocados
  • 1 lime
  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 1/2 tsp of garlic
  • a boatload of cilantro (optional if you’re a monster who hates cilantro)
  • salt & pepper


  1. Cut up and cube the avocado and add the garlic to a large bowl.
  2. Small dice the Roma tomato, shallot, and jalapeño and add to bowl.
  3. Juice the lime, cilantro, and salt & pepper to the bowl.
  4. Mix well.
  5. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips!
Guides Recipes

Winter Cocktail Recipes

December 23, 2016

Now that we’re well into the winter season, there’s nothing like a boozy holiday drink to save the day. Holiday cocktails are the best way to cap off a long day of traveling or holiday clean-up, and basically the only way to get through those family feuds. Of course, like most delicious things in life, it helps to have a little guidance.

Let’s all try to stay sane this Christmas, k?

On Forty-One Gran’ma’s Hot Cocoa – Makes 1 Serving

Chocolate + Alcohol = Happiness

Spiked hot chocolate is the perfect example of an adult take on holiday traditions.  While it would be simple to grab the nearest booze and pour it right into your hot cocoa, you, holiday warrior, are better than that. Leave it to the pros at One Forty-One in Charleston, currently serving up a healthy dose of mint and chocolate like your most trusted neighborhood girl scout. Bitter orange cognac brandy, cool and sweet candied peppermint vodka, and a dollop of whipped cream make Gran’ma’s Hot Cocoa the best hot cocoa around.

  • 1oz Grand Marnier
  • 1 oz Dixie Mint Vodka
  • 2-3 dashes of Fee Brother’s Black Walnut bitters
  • 6 oz hot cocoa
  • mint whipped cream topping
  • garnished with a Vienna finger

Magnolia’s Egg Nog – Makes 12 servings

The only egg nog I’ll drink!

Magnolias serves a super indulgent eggnog during the holiday season that doubles as dessert. With cloves, vanilla bean, cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom, it’s that perfect combination of sweet and spice. Plus, dark rum gives Magnolias’ eggnog a special twist, along with a dollop of whipped cream.

Magnolias’ recipe has been perfected by Pastry Chef Andrea Upchurch, and is perfect for holiday parties, or even just treating yourself at home. It’s only “eggnog season” for a few weeks out of the year, so why not get in the holiday spirit while sipping eggnog that actually tastes good!

  • 4 1⁄2 cups whole milk
  • 3 1⁄2 cups heavy cream
  • 5 each whole cloves
  • 1 each vanilla bean (split & scraped)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1⁄2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1⁄4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1⁄4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 dozen egg yolks
  • 1 1⁄2 cups sugar
  • 2 1⁄4 cups dark rum
  • Directions:

Combine milk, cloves, vanilla bean & seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, half of sugar, and salt in a saucepan. Heat on medium-low till the mixture comes to a heavy simmer. In a large bowl whisk together egg yolks and other half of sugar until light & fluffy. Whisk hot milk mixture slowly into the eggs. Pour mixture back into saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for approximately 2-3 minutes, or until thick. You do not want the mixture to simmer or boil. Strain through a fine mesh strainer. Stir in the heavy cream and rum. Put mixture in a metal container on an ice bath to cool completely.

High Wire Cider Wassail – Makes 12 Servings

Get warm in my tummy!

Although it doesn’t tend to get too cold in Charleston in the winter (it’s all relative, baby), it helps to get more in the winter spirit with a hot toddy! I love this recipe that’s a take on my mom’s classic cider wassail, using some locally-made High Wire whiskey. Enjoy!

  • 1 quart apple cider
  • 2 cups High Wire bourbon whiskey
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup DOLE® Canned 100% Pineapple Juice
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 cinnamon sticks (3 inches)
  • Dash ground cinnamon
  • Dash ground cloves

Combine all of the ingredients in a pot and ring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover, simmering for 25 minutes. You can also cook in a slow cooker by combining all ingredients and simmering on low heat for 4-6 hours.

Random Fodder Recipes

Poogan’s Smokehouse Spiced Banshee Cocktail Recipe

August 19, 2016

I don’t usually drink cocktails when I’m eating BBQ (beer feels more right to me), but I was talked into trying one of the fabulous cocktails last time I visited Poogan’s Smokehouse, and boy am I glad I did! Their cocktail menu is varied to please any palate, and artfully crafted so you know you’ll enjoy whatever you order.

Photo Credit: Holger Obenaus

Photo Credit: Holger Obenaus

I was fortunate enough to get the inside scoop on one of their amazing cocktails, the Spiced Banshee (their take on a Painkiller). It features locally-made Striped Pig spiced rum, banana sherry, pineapple, housemade curry bitters, and nutmeg. Garnished with nutmeg and a few slices of banana chips, the cocktail offers the perfect balance of sweetness and spice made for sipping on the beach – or simply from an air conditioned barstool to escape Charleston’s humid summer weather.

Photo Credit: Tammy Davis

Photo Credit: Tammy Davis

In the words of cocktail ace (and beverage director at Poogan’s Smokehouse) Kyle DeGolyer,

“We wanted a tropical drink that didn’t fit the mold of the typical painkiller or pina colada. I glanced at a chef’s recipe one day and saw all of the spices that went into our dry rub and bbq sauces and that got me going. We don’t use an abundance of curry anywhere but that is where I ended up after figuring out the drink needed some body and spice. There weren’t any curry bitters readily available on the market and honestly the curry bitters are the best part. I have used them with gin and peaches, lime and scotch, you name it. It’s fun to see where a drink can go off of just one flavor.”


  • 1.5 oz. Striped Pig spiced rum
  • .75 oz. banana infused sherry
  • 4 dashes housemade curry bitters
  • 1 oz. pineapple juice


Shake hard and strain into a collins glass. Garnish with banana chips and cinnamon.

Photo Credit: Leslie McKellar

Photo Credit: Leslie McKellar




Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe

August 1, 2016

First, there was pomegranate. Then there was kale. Now, the newest superfood craze to sweep the nation is turmeric. While I was hesitant to jump on board the previous craze(y) trains (kale is sour, bitter, and chewy, and pomegranate is like a weird alien fruit that takes 3 hours to extract like 15 nibs…no thank you), I’m 100% ready to join the turmeric cult. Not only is it orangey-yellow (which happens to be my favorite color of the moment), but it’s also prevalent in Thai and Indian cooking (which happen to be my favorite cuisines).

It's just so colorful and pretty!

It’s just so colorful and pretty!


Whilst stumbling down the rabbit hole that is recipes-on-the-Internet, I found a pretty cool turmeric power smoothie recipe, which I tried and was delicious. Inspired, I set out to make more foods with turmeric in order to really reap the health benefits of this alleged superfood. Since I’ve really been craving Indian food lately (but I don’t know anyone who will actually go eat it with me), I decided to make my own version of chicken tikka masala.

Pictured: most of my friends.

Pictured: most of my friends (coughlaurencough).

This recipe from is one that I used to use in college (the first time was when we rented Slumdog Millionaire and wanted to really get in the spirit of things) and really enjoyed, so I thought I’d use it as inspiration for a slightly modified and not at all authentic (probably) recipe.


The marinade

  • 2 cups Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp freshly minced ginger
  • 4 tsp season salt
  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces

The sauce

  • 1 tbsp ghee or clarified butter
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 medium jalapeño pepper
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 8-ounce can of tomato sauce
  • 1 8-ounce can of coconut milk
  • cilantro to garnish (optional)
  • Basmati rice or naan bread for accompaniment.


I mixed together the yogurt and marinade spices and then folded in the chicken breast chunks until they were nice and coated. I covered with plastic wrap and let it marinade in the fridge for about 3 hours.

The word "folding" in recipes always makes me giggle.

The word “folding” in recipes always makes me giggle.

10 minutes before the chicken is ready to come out of the fridge, mince 3 cloves of garlic and dice the jalapeño (discard the seeds, unless you’re into that kind of thing). Add the ghee to a large frying pan on medium heat. When the ghee melts, toss in your minced garlic and jalapeño and sauté for about 1 minute.

It doesn't look like much yet, but it's getting there!

It doesn’t look like much yet, but it’s getting there!

Add in the spices from the sauce ingredients and stir to coat. Take the chicken out of the fridge and using a slotted spoon (to remove excess yogurt), add the chicken to the frying pan. Cook for about 8 minutes, or until the chicken looks to be cooked completely, stirring frequently.

Much like me in the sun, it gets redder as it simmers.

Much like me in the sun, it gets redder as it simmers.

Stir in the tomato sauce and coconut milk until thoroughly combined. Once the mixture comes to a boil, turn the heat to low and let simmer for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Consider covering your pan, as it may splatter. (If you’re making basmati rice to serve the tikka masala with, this would be a good time to start cooking that so they’ll both finish about the same time).

I'm really into brown rice right now.

I’m really into brown rice right now.

Once the chicken is done and the sauce has thickened, serve over rice or bread and garnish with cilantro.

Ta da!

Ta da!

To easily make this recipe vegetarian, simply replace the ghee with olive oil and the chicken with tofu, and omit the marinating process.

How do you incorporate turmeric into your diet?

Random Fodder Recipes

Molli Sauces Review

June 2, 2016

One of our goals for the summer is to try and cook more & post more recipes on the blog. We’ve been practicing honing our cooking skills by ordering Blue Apron to learn to cook with new techniques and styles. So when we were offered an opportunity to try Molli, a new brand of authentic Mexican cooking sauces available at Southern Season, we jumped at the chance to try cooking something new! We both tried the sauces and are offering our take below:

Molli Sauces

Yucatan Mojo Marinade

All of my favorite carbs.

All of my favorite carbs.

Dish: Grilled Pork with Fried Yucca, Tostones, and Rice & Beans

The Yucatan Mojo Marinade was described as being a “unqiue medley of European, Mexican, and Caribbean flavors.” The ingredients were simple, “Water, Fresh Garlic, Lime Juice, Orange Juice, Salt, Cinnamon, and Spices.” Although the website has a number of recipes available, I was really craving fried yucca, so we decided to create our own recipe. We marinated the pork overnight in the Yucutan Mojo Marinade and then put it out on the grill.

Big grill, little pork.

Big grill, little pork.

I followed a few recipes I found on Pinterest for the Fried Yucca and Tostones, put rice in the rice cooker, and opened up a can of black beans (which I added a few spices to in order to make it feel more homemade). It’s the easiest dinner I’ve ever made.

Even though deep frying things terrifies me.

Even though deep frying things terrifies me.

The pork was really juicy and flavorful and I liked that there was a nice hint of cinnamon and lime juice without being overpowering. Overall, I thought it was a perfect complement to our dinner menu, and since it was extremely easy to make, I can see myself making this a lot more over the summer.



Morelos Cooking Sauce

Why is Mexican food so hard to look pretty?

Why is Mexican food so hard to look pretty?

I cannot tell you how refreshing it is to read the ingredients of something and not see it wrap around the entire package. I’m excited that Molli is not only using natural ingredients, but they are also trying to stay as true to the authentic recipes. I love that each sauce/marinade comes from a certain region/area of Mexico and highlights a recipe from the area.

Dish: Beef Picadillo with Quinoa and Avocado

I cooked with the Mölli Morelos Cooking Sauce that’s based off of the State of Morelos, Mexico. The recipe I made was beef picadillo and was SO easy. I used a recipe that they suggested, but I modified it a bit (I didn’t have a potato and I cut it in half since I was just feeding me instead of 6).

Does anything smell better than cooking onions and garlic? No.

I had it with quinoa because I didn’t have any rice and I had a side of avocado because, AVOCA-DUH.

Beef. It’s what’s for dinner.

Beef. It’s what’s for dinner.

The ease of this dish alone would make me make it again. But the flavor was great, not too spicy even though it has chipotles in it. I think this dish would be great in a taco or with some eggs over it. One of the other recipes they suggest is Huevos Rancheros, which I bet would be delicious. I only used half of the bottle in this recipe, so I will definitely be using it in another recipe.

Flavorful without being too spicy!

Flavorful without being too spicy!


Mexico City Cooking Sauce

Get in mah belly.

Get in mah belly.

Dish: Chicken Grillers with Spanish Rice

The Mexico City Cooking Sauce, made with Arbol chile and tomatilla was marketed as being “full of fire & spice,” much like Mexico City itself. Since I was really craving a wet burrito-type dish, and I had a lot of flour tortillas that I needed to use, this seemed like a match made in heaven. We sautéed chicken and onions in a pan and then simmered them with the Mexico City Cooking Sauce for about half an hour.

Simmering things is my favorite cooking method, because it is super easy and 100% effective.

Simmering things is my favorite cooking method, because it is super easy and 100% effective.

Once that was done, we divvied up the chicken/onion mixture into flour tortillas, folded them up, and put them on a hot cast iron skillet and used a grill press to keep them together while it grilled. We took them off after a few minutes and topped with some of the leftover sauce from the pan, along with some cheese, sour cream, and a squeeze of lime juice. We cooked the rice in the rice maker with a jar of salsa so that it got a pretty red-orange color. I had been a little worried about how spicy the sauce was going to be, but it ended up being very mild. I actually put a little hot sauce on the burrito to spice it up a bit. Although not as spicy as I thought it was going to be, the tomatillos gave the sauce a nice citrusy and sweet flavor which worked really well with the chicken.



All in all, we thought these sauces were a good find for making some easy and flavorful dinners. Using them as a base is a great start for a homecooked, Mexican-inspired meal. Check ’em out!

**Note: We received free product and compensation to try this product, but that does not impact the integrity of this review**

Spinach-Stuffed Bacon-Wrapped Bell Peppers and Corn Crack Succotash

July 13, 2015

Summer is in full swing, and I’ve been feeling inspired to cook more lately. Now that my CSA has finished, I’ve been looking for a good source of local veggies, and I actually found a great option in Harris Teeter.

Hello, freshness!

Hello, freshness!

The ‘Teet has really been stepping up its local produce offerings lately, and they even feature veggies from Freeman Farms on my very own Johns Island (which is great because the HTs in Charleston are open 24-hours, where as most of the farm stands close around 5). I still feel good about supporting local farms & artisans, while having the convenience of shopping at a grocery store.

Local is better, y'all!

Local is better, y’all!

Corn Crack Succotash

Sydney cracked corn, and it was delicious.

Sydney cracked corn, and it was delicious.


  • 4 ears of corn
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 yellow squash, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 vidalia onion, diced
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • Salt & Pepper to taste


  1. Boil, roast, or grill your corn on the cob until cooked thoroughly. Run under cold water and remove from cob.
  2. Lightly saute the squash, onion, and green pepper in a frying pan.
  3. In a bowl, combine the mayonnaise, cheese, and spices and mix together thoroughly. Fold in the corn and sauteed veggies and mix until everything is coated. Chill and serve.

Spinach-Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Bell Peppers

I guess wrapping the vegetables in bacon negates their health properties, but... don't tell me how to live.

I guess wrapping the vegetables in bacon negates their health properties, but… don’t tell me how to live.


  • 4 green bell peppers cut into 1.5 inch strips
  • 1 vidalia onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and diced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 cups spinach, chopped
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 lb bacon in strips, cut in half
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: shredded parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Saute onions, red pepper, jalapeno, garlic, and spinach 3 minutes or until soft.
  2. In a bowl, combine the cooked veggies with the cream cheese and mix until fully incorporated.
  3. Stuff green peppers with cream cheese mixture. Wrap with bacon strip half
  4. Bake in oven for 10 minutes or until bacon is crisp.
  5. Top with shredded parmesan cheese.
We're already wrapping it in bacon, might as well add cheese!

We’re already wrapping it in bacon, might as well add cheese!

Ever since my move to Johns Island and my participation in the Lowcountry Local First Eat Local Challenge this year, I’ve tried to make a point to shop local and support local agriculture as much as possible, and I’m happy that Harris Teeter is helping me with that goal! Now, if only I had someone to help me eat some of these bacon-wrapped peppers…


Bacon Pasta Primavera & Apple-Goat Cheese Salad with Blueberry Vinaigrette

April 15, 2015

When I signed up for the Lowcountry Local First Eat Local Challenge, I was really excited to be able to try out some new recipes using local ingredients. I recently signed up for a CSA from Ambrose Farms (which I’ll talk about in a separate review) and received my first box last week. It was packed full of delicious and yummy goodies, like arugula, sweet onions, collards, asparagus, swiss chard, and more.

I've got a pocket, got a pocket full of swiss chard.

I’ve got a pocket, got a pocket full of swiss chard.

Living on Johns Island, I’m lucky enough to have access to such wonderful places in terms of fresh fruits and vegetables, like the Johns Island Farmers Market, Stono Market, and Blackbird Market, as well as a number of little stands and farms from which to buy fresh produce.

All the tomatoes are belong to me.

All the tomatoes are belong to me.

Using what came in my CSA, as well as some other goodies I found at the markets, my good friend Sean and I came up with the following recipe that’s about 95% local.


For the Pasta:

  • Bacon, chopped – I used the salt cured from Blackbird Market
  • 2 Pete’s Sweet Onion, diced – From my Ambrose Farms CSA
  • 1 Shallot, diced – From Blackbird Market
  • 1 Green Peppers, chopped – From Johns Island Farmers Market
  • 5 Tomatoes, chopped – From Stono Market & Johns Island Farmers Market
  • 1/2 lb Okra – From Blackbird Market
  • 3 Zucchini – From Blackbird Market
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil – I used Holy Smoke
  • Salt & Pepper – this was the only non-local thing I had in the mix

For the Salad:

  • 1/2 lb of arugula – From the Ambrose Farms CSA
  • 1 Apple of your choice, chopped – my favorite is honeycrisp. This one was from NC
  • 1 oz Goat Cheese, crumbled – I used a smoky goat cheese from Blackbird Market
  • 1 Heirloom Tomato, chopped – from Blackbird Market
  • 1/4 cup Blueberry Balsamic Vinegar – From Lowcountry Olive Oil
  • 3/4 cup Olive Oil – I used Holy Smoke


For the Pasta:

  1. Sauté the onion, bacon, shallot, and green pepper in a sauce pan until the bacon renders down.

    Mmm, salt pork.

    Mmm, salt pork.

  2. Add the tomatoes and let it simmer for about half an hour.

    Use different color tomatoes for extra fun.

    Use different color tomatoes for extra fun.

  3. While the sauce is simmering, shred the zucchini using a spiralizer until it resembles thin noodles.
  4. Lightly sauté the zucchini in some olive oil for about 5 minutes (if you don’t like zucchini, use your favorite pasta).

    But put less in at a time than I did. Don't make the same mistakes I did.

    But put less in at a time than I did. Don’t make the same mistakes I did.

  5. Serve the sauce over the zoodles and enjoy with a little freshly grated parmesan!

For the Salad:

  1. Rinse the arugula and pat it dry. Chop if you prefer smaller pieces of lettuce.
  2. Combine the arugula, apple, tomato, and goat cheese in a bowl.

    I had to serve it in a crockpot bowl because I double the recipe for my dinner party.

    I had to serve it in a crockpot bowl because I double the recipe for my dinner party.

  3. Using a food processor or immersion blender, blend the olive oil and balsamic vinegar together until fully incorporated. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to coat.

And voilá! You have a perfectly delicious and happily local dinner for you and friends! I also served it with a side of tomato pie, which I bought from Blackbird Market earlier that day because I am an impulse shopper and it sounded so good. And it was absolutely amazing, I’d highly recommend it.

And it tastes just as good as it looks, too!

And it tastes just as good as it looks, too!


Baked Brie With Jezebel Peaches, Coffee-Rubbed Skirt Steak, and Grilled Mexican Corn Salad

June 5, 2014

Because of my recent travels and adventures having friends in town (and my general laziness), I’ve been going out to eat a lot lately. Like, way more than I should. Although I love going out to eat (no doing dishes!), I was recently inspired to try some new recipes after perusing the June edition of Southern Living Magazine, which focused on southern food (you should really go pick it up and take a look), so I decided to make a night of it and spoil myself with a southern feast.

My goal is to make all of the recipes in this little book by the end of the summer.

My goal is to make all of the recipes in this summer cookbook by the end of August.

I had some brie that was given to me by the folks at Jarlsberg during the Food Film Festival last month, so I figured this would be a good opportunity to make use of it with the “Baked Brie With Jezebel Peaches.

I'm a fan of any kind of cheese, basically.

I’m a fan of any kind of cheese, basically.

The recipe called for a 13.2 oz round, and although mine was about half that size, I decided not to halve any of the other ingredients, and I thought it turned out great. I served it with Keeblers Assorted Toasteds crackers, and it was a big hit. I loved the combination of flavors. It was tangy and creamy and crunchy and fruity all at once. I’d definitely make this again; I imagine it would be a great hit at parties!

So melty.

So melty.

For the main course, I decided to go outside of my comfort zone and try the “Coffee-Rubbed Skirt Steak,” which looked delicious in the magazine. I’ve literally cooked steak one other time in my life, so I thought this would be a good learning experience. The first thing that I learned is that I have no idea how to buy steak at the grocery store (it took me 10 full minutes to realize that skirt steak and flank steak are interchangeable. I’m bad at reading directions). Once I’d gathered all of the ingredients, I trimmed some of the fat off the steak, made the rub and let it sit for the required time while I prepared the side dish.

Rubbin' meat like a pro.

Rubbin’ meat like a pro.


Since I don’t have a grill at my apartment, I decided I would cook the steaks in my cast iron skillet, like they’d done when I went to that cooking class at Southern Season. The problem is that the cuts of meat I’d chosen were too big to fit in the skillet together, and in retrospect I should’ve cooked them one piece at a time, but I’m stubborn and decided I would make it work cooking them both together.

So. Much. Meat.

So. Much. Meat.

I somehow managed to both burn and undercook the steaks (kind of impressive, actually), and ended up sticking the whole skillet in the oven to finish cooking them. They came out somewhere around medium-well in color, but well done in texture. When trying the steak, I thought it tasted really flavorful, but was a bit chewy. Lily loved it and ended up eating all of the leftovers, so I guess that’s a good sign! I’d definitely try this recipe again with a grill and someone who actually knew how to cook steak.

Did I cut it right? I don’t even think I know how to do that. Yikes. I’m doomed.

The biggest hit of the night, though, was the “Grilled Mexican Corn Salad.” When I was making the corn, I was a little weirded out about rubbing ears of corn with mayonnaise, but it actually turned out really deliciously. Again, since I didn’t have a grill, I put the corn in the oven at 450 and let them bake for about 13 minutes before I took them out to cut the kernels from the cob to make the salad.

Apparently my oven cooks by neon light.

Apparently my oven cooks by neon light.

The flavor of this dish was so unique, and I loved how light and refreshing it tasted with the fresh herbs, lime juice, and crispness of the corn straight off of the cob (rather than canned or frozen). Plus I’m a huge fan of any dish with feta cheese in it.

I love corn straight off the cob. It's just so much better.

I love corn straight off the cob. It’s just so much better.

The meal was delicious and as fun to eat as it was to make. With the exception of the snafu with the beef–which was really just my own personal shortcoming (what did I even learn in that semester of culinary school, anyway?!–the evening went off without a hitch, and we enjoyed our meal with a nice bottle of malbec out on my porch. Southern living really is the best kind of living.

The finished product. Not pictured: the half a bottle of wine I drank to destress from cooking that steak.

The finished product. Not pictured: the half a bottle of wine I drank to destress from cooking that steak.

Food Advertising by