We recently traveled to Asheville, North Carolina for a weekend brewery crawl. The craft beer there is abundant and fantastic. What I also found was the famous Tupelo Honey Cafe, a Southern foodies dream. Well worth the 3 hour wait ( don’t worry they text you when you’re getting close on the list so you are free to explore downtown while you wait) this restaurant creates new southern comfort food by adding creative twists and fresh local and seasonal ingredients to their dishes. I was such a fan I bought the cook book and have not been disappointed with anything I have tried yet. This is the best roast chicken I have ever made. The herb stuffing seeps its flavor into all of the meat while it roasts, making each bite as comforting as a bowl of chicken soup. This is a great way to use up extras from the herb garden as well. I might even try to use this recipe with my Thanksgiving turkey. I highly recommend the cookbook and their website says that there will be a new one available this Spring, I am pre-ordering mine now.
Tupelo Honey Cafe’s Herb Roasted Chicken
1 3 lb chicken
2 c peeled and diced carrots
2 c diced celery
2 c diced sweet yellow onion ( Vidalias are best)
2 T chopped fresh Thyme
2 T chopped fresh sage
2 T chopped fresh Basil
2 T chopped fresh rosemary
2 t salt
1 t pepper
1/2 c olive oil
Pre heat oven to 350. Combine all ingredients together in a large bowl to make the stuffing.
Remove giblets from chicken cavity and place on roasting pan. Stuff the cavity with the mixture until full. Add left over stuffing with the giblets on the roasting pan and place the chicken on top, use the left over oil in the stuffing bowl to rub over the skin of the chicken. Place in the oven for 1 hr 40 min or until the juices run clear. Let the chicken rest for at least 15 minutes before carving. Use the stuffing and giblets from the roasting pan to make a pan gravy if desired.
THANKSGIVING TURKEY RELISH TRAY
Here is a fun idea for your Thanksgiving vegetable platter or relish tray,arrange the items in the shape of a turkey. This is the one my son made for our dinner last year. It is a great project for kids, tweens, and teens and let’s them contribute to the big dinner. We used pickles, olives, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, celery and carrots. His head is actually a mini orange bell pepper. Be creative and use what you have hand.
MMM, this is delicious.
Cheesy Kale, Sausage, and White Bean Casserole
1T olive oil
4 smoked sausage links sliced into 1/2 ” rounds
1 carrot peeled and diced
1/2 c diced yellow onion
1 rib celery diced
1 can white beans rinsed and drained
3 c fresh baby kale
2 T flour
1/4 t salt
1/8 t black pepper
1 c chicken stock
3/4 shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 c panko bread crumbs
In a large saute pan heat olive oil over med h high heat. Add sausage, carrot, onion and celery, saute until onion is soft. Add Beans and kale, continue to saute until kale is wilted. Add flour and stir and cook about 2 more minutes. Add stock and bring to a simmer, sauce will thicken, add 1/2 c cheddar cheese and stir until melted.
Preheat oven to 350
Pour mixture into a baking dish, top with panko and remaining cheese.
Bake for 30 minutes.
There has been a lot of “buzz” about pimento cheese lately. It is turning up on restaurant menus, in food magazines, and in the dairy section of my grocery store. I remember having it as a kid and I remember hating it. I tried it on our trip to St. Augustine last week on top of broiled oysters, not half bad. So now if you know me I have to make it myself. It’s just my thing. I of course do things the hard way which means roasting my own red peppers, (they sell them in a jar right next to the pickles in my store). Not at all required, but yes I did it, also I like a little heat so I roasted some of the jalapenos from my garden, again not necessary, add some red pepper flakes or hot sauce to your cheese and I am sure it will be just as good. But in case your like me here is what I did.
Wash and dry 3 red bell peppers and 2 jalapenos. Turn on the grill ( mine is gas) You can also do over the stove if you have gas or under the broiler. Place the peppers on the grill and close the lid, roast pepper until skin is completely black, turning occasionally to get all sides.
When all sides are charred place in a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap, leave for about 15 minutes, this helps the skins peel off easily
using your fingers or small knife peel all the black parts off of the pepper.
Then chop the top off of the pepper and removed the seeds, chop into tiny pieces.
Now you are ready to make the cheese.
8 0z grated yellow cheddar
8 oz grated white cheddar
3 roasted red peppers chopped finely
2 roasted jalapenos seeded and chopped finely (omit if you don’t want the heat)
3/4 c mayo
1 T dijon mustard
2 t sweet paprika
1/4 t cayenne
Add all ingredients to a bowl and stir, and stir until the cheese starts to get pasty. cover and chill. Sprinkle with paprika and serve with crackers or celery or try it on a grilled cheese sandwich.
I guess I forgot to post this recipe, I made this for November’s Book Club for the excellent book, This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper. It is the tragic but funny tale of a disjointed family that comes together to sit Shiva after their father dies. It was one of the best books I have read in a really long time. It’s already slated to become a movie with Jason Bateman and Goldie Hawn, two of my favorites. Of course in the story friends and family drop by to bring deli platters and lots of bagels so I made a delicious shrimp salad and served it on bagel chips.
1lb shrimp peeled and deveined
1 1/2 lemons sliced
1 T plus 1-2 tsp
2 T chopped arugula
1T worcestershire sauce
1/4 c chopped onion
1/4 c celery
1/2 c mayo
1 T lemon juice
I steamed my own shrimp but you can buy them pre steamed from the store. I used the steamer part of my rice cooker, I laid the sliced lemon on the bottom of the steamer and than tossed the shrimp with 1 T of Old Bay seasoning, then turned on the cooker and steamed until the shrimp were opaque and cooked through.
Then chop the cooked shrimp and add them to a bowl with the rest of the ingredients, including another 1-2 tsp of Old Bay. You could serve as sandwiches or as an appetizer on toasts, crackers or bagel chips.
Hot Chocolate Bar
Holiday entertaining doesn’t have to be difficult, it just has to be festive and fun. A couple of years ago I had a Christmas Brunch complete with a Bloody Mary bar and a Hot Chocolate bar for the kids, (and adults too, just add some Baileys’).
For the Hot Chocolate bar, have hot water in a carafe, packets or a container of hot chocolate mix, marshmallows, chocolate chips, whipped cream, festive sprinkles, and candy canes for stirring. Let the guests make there own favorite concoction, this was a big hit with the preteens.
For the Bloody Mary Christmas Bar, make pitchers of Basic Bloody Mary’s 3parts tomato juice, to 1 part vodka (have regular tomato juice on hand for those who don’t drink alcohol) Then set up the bar with ice, Worcestershire, celery salt, hot sauce, old bay seasoning, picked vegetables, lemon and lime wedges, celery, cooked shrimp, olives and any other topping or garnish you desire. Again let the guest play bartender, set out some pastries, breakfast casseroles and a salad and the party is complete.
Bloody Mary Christmas Bar
It is soup weather, this decadent, silky soup is great for guests and kids.
2 T butter
1 cup chopped leeks
1/2 c chopped celery
2 garlic cloves chopped
1 head of cauliflower, chopped
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 c half and half
1/2 t salt
white pepper to taste
2 c shredded smoked Gouda cheese
melt butter in a large pot or dutch oven, add leeks, celery and garlic, saute until leeks and celery are soft, about 8 minutes, add cauliflower and saute for 2 minutes more.
add broth and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered for 20 minutes or until cauliflower is tender. Puree mixture in a large blender. Return to pot add cream, 1 1/2 c cheese, salt and pepper. cook over low until cheese is melted. Ladle into bowls and garnish with remaining cheese.
I know this is not glamorous or creative but it is the my go to lunch that I crave. It is delicious on bread or as shown here a top salad greens.
Perfect Tuna Salad
1 can of tuna drained ( spring water or oil is fine)
1/4 c mayo
1T red wine vinegar
1 hardboiled egg chopped
1 stalk celery chopped
2 T chopped onion
1/2 t dried dill
2-3 cups salad greens
cherry tomatoes (optional)
salt and pepper
Combine tuna, mayo, vinegar, egg, celery, dill and onion in a med bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve on top of greens with tomatoes as shown or on any bread as a sandwich.
Despite it’s unfortunate color, split pea soup is a family favorite. I like to change it up a little sometimes, this time with the addition of fresh corn and a smoked turkey leg instead of a ham hock or bacon. Everyone loved it, this one is a keeper. The turkey leg had more flavor and meat than the tradition ham hock, and it was actually less expensive.
Smoked Turkey and Split Pea Soup
1 smoked turkey drumstick found by the ham hocks and ham steaks at my meat counter)
1 cup of sliced carrots
1 cup chopped onion
1 c chopped celery
1 c fresh corn removed from the cob (about 1 ear)
1 lb dried split green peas, washed and picked through for debris
2 garlic cloves
32 0z chicken broth
1/4 chipotle chili powder or smoked paprika
1 -1 1/2 c water
Prep all ingredients.
add all ingredients except water to a large crock pot
Cover and cook for about 3 hrs on high or 5 hours on low. Peas should lose their texture and soup should be thick. Remove turkey leg and pick meat off bones and add back to the soup. Check soup for any bones that may have come off the leg during cooking and remove. Add water if needed to reach desired consistancy. Stir and heat through.
I am the unofficial family historian. I am the holder of all of the old photos and mementos. I have each and every one in safe keeping. Its a job I enjoy, sometimes on a lazy or dreary day I will pull out and old album or keepsake and it always brings a smile to my face. I am lucky enough to be the keeper of my Grandmother’s recipe box. I have it right next to my own in my kitchen, I don’t often go through it, but I like just having it there. I would not describe her as a lover of food or cooking, but I am. So I am glad that I can look into it and try to see what she was thinking in the way she wrote or edited her recipes. Some were too spicy, some too expensive, so she would redo them and make them her own. I found this in her recipe box and decided to give it a try, and of course I did a little editing too, after all I do take after my grandmother.
Chicken and Lemon Dumplings
1lb boneless skinless chicken breast
2 T veg oil
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 c chopped carrot
1/2 c chopped celery
1 1/2 t chicken seasoning
1/8 t pepper
2 t chopped fresh dill
1/2 c cold water
3 T flour
1 c flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
3/4 t salt
3/4 c milk
1 t lemon juice
1/4 t lemon zest
1 t chopped fresh dill
Heat Oil in a large pot add chicken, onion, carrots, celery and chicken seasoning, saute until slightly browned. add stock, pepper and dill, simmer 5 minutes. whisk flour into cold water and add to pot. Continue to simmer.
For dumplings, combine all ingredients in a bowl, drop tablespoons of mixture into stew.
Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
Uncover and cook for 10 minutes more .