Tupelo Honey Cafe’s Herb Roasted Chicken

Tupelo Honey Cafe's Herb Roasted Chicken

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.

Tupelo Honey Cafe's Herb Roasted Chicken

Tupelo Honey Cafe's Herb Roasted Chicken

Advertisements

Book Club: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened and Chocolate Chip Crumb Cake Loaf

Let's Pretend This Never Happened- Jenny Lawson

 

This month’s book was a real hoot, laugh out loud funny in fact. A refreshing change from our woman in peril books we often read. This is the memoir of blogger Jenny Lawson, daughter of a taxidermist who lived a bizarre childhood that you could only laugh about. she definitely puts the fun in dysfunctional as she tries to make a life for herself as a mother, wife, friend and now blogger. You can check out her blog here. We had fun with this book club with one of our member even setting a giant chicken (its in the book) on the hostesses doorstep and ringing the bell and hiding. I still don’t know how she found the chicken.

Let's Pretend This Never Happened, Giant Chicken

As for food this was a hard one because Jenny can’t cook except for the microwave and that just wouldn’t cut it at our all foodie book club. I decided to make a chocolate chip “loaf” because she tells the story of when she was trying to sell the house she stuck a whole roll of chocolate chip cookie dough in the oven for the smell, and it started on fire. It was good and even better the next day as all crumb cakes are.

Chocolate Chip Crumb Cake Loaf

Chocolate Chip Crumb Cake Loaf

 

Cake

1 1/4 c flour

1/2 c cake flour

1 stick butter

3/4 t baking powder

1/4 t baking soda

1 c chocolate chips

3/4 c sugar

1/2 c buttermilk

2 eggs

1 t vanilla extract

1/2 T lemon zest

Topping

1 c flour

1 c sugar

1/2 stick hard butter

chocolate chips

powdered sugar

 

Pre heat oven to 350. Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl and set aside. Cream softened butter in a mixer, add zest, and slowly add sugar. add in eggs and vanilla  and beat until just combined. Add 1/3 flour mixture to mixer, then 1/2 buttermilk, then 1/3 flour, 1/2 buttermilk, and finally lat 1/3 of flour. mix until combined scraping down the sides. Stir in chocolate chips and pour into a greased loaf pan.

Combine the butter flour and sugar for the topping mixing with a fork or your hand until crumbly. Sprinkle on top of the batter and then sprinkle with Chocolate chips. Bake for 40 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean. Sprinkle with sifted powdered sugar if desired.

Chocolate Chip Crumb Cake Loaf

 

 

Heading North to Get South: Finding Florida

The Floridian Restaurant St. Augustine

Florida is a unique state, it’s it the most Southern state geographically but probably the least Southern state in the South. In fact, in Florida, the further South you go the less southern charm there is, this leads us to a small identity crisis. We have lots of outside influences because many residents are from somewhere else, they came here on vacation and decided to stay. So we don’t have a lot of traditions or local delicacies, we are mostly chain restaurants and strip malls.

This past week my family and I headed North to St. Augustine, a city on the East Coast of Florida just South of Jacksonville. I had been there before and have to admit I was slightly disappointed. I thought it would be this great town with charm and history, real traditional Florida, and instead I found a tourist trap. It was complete with day glow t-shirts and cheesy attractions, just like most of Florida. Most of the restaurants there offered fried shrimp and hamburgers, all frozen from Sysco I am sure. There was beautiful architecture and beaches but it was all marred by neon signs and wax museums, not at all what I was looking for.

I am glad I gave it a second chance, this time I stayed away from St. George Street (the biggest neon offender) and hung out on the outskirts of Old Town and I was rewarded. Our first great find was a restaurant called The Floridian.They are doing what I thought was impossible in Florida, serving delicious traditional Southern recipes made from local, seasonal and sustainable food. Not only that, but the menu is full of options, you can make many of the dishes gluten-free or vegetarian. We started with some local beers, Red Brick’s Hoplanta (yes it’s from GA, but I had never had it and it’s close enough) and Intuition’s I-10 IPA. Intuition’s was more to my liking , more of a West Coast style IPA.

Red Brick's  Hoplanta and Intuition Ale Works  I-10 IPA

Then we had some appetizers, Fried Pickles, house made pickles spiced with the locally grown Datil pepper ( think a sweeter version of a habenaro) Served with buttermilk herb dressing.

Fried Pickles

and the  Oysters Floridian, broiled Oysters with  home-made pimento cheese ( a southern staple that is making a comeback) and pickled slaw.

Oysters Floridian Broiled Oyster with Pimento Cheese

For my main course I chose the N Grits with Shrimp ( other options besides the shrimp were blackened or grilled fresh catch or tofu.) The grits were actually polenta cakes topped with the shrimp in a creamy remoulade sauce with fresh strawberry salsa and local feta cheese.

N Grits with Shrimp

My husband and son also had great meals, Waffles with Pulled Pork, and a Fried Green Tomato Hoagie.

The next day my son and I tried another local eatery called Yard Bird Cafe. It is a cute cafe hidden in a plaza on King Street, it is only open for breakfast and lunch. I would call it southern favorites with a college twist. It is across the way from Flagler college and I imagine a lot of students and staff frequent this restaurant, large portions of hearty homemade food that is inexpensive and unique. Black eyed pea hummus, Peanut butter and banana french toast, Chicken with peach and fennel salsa to name a few.

I had the homemade Chicken and Biscuits, delicious, and they came with a side of collards, my favorite, made even better with the local datil hot sauce. Yes, there are biscuits under there. My son had a pulled pork cuban sandwich.

Yard Bird's Chicken and Biscuits

So this time instead of coming back from St. Augustine disappointed, I came back re-energized and inspired for my home state, I even made my own pimento cheese. We do have great local farms and dairies (and breweries), we do have traditions and local cuisine. We just need to seek it out, embrace it and make a name for ourselves. We may not be a true Southern state, but we may be something better if we try.

Tasting Party: Frush Yogurt and Fruit Shake

 

** Though not paid to write this review I was given free product to sample and promotional materials. 

Drinkable yogurt, the concept is not new, and I admit I thought of it as somewhat of a toddler drink.  I was proven wrong, I tried the new Frush Yogurt and Fruit Shake at my little tasting party. They were delicious and tasted like a milk shake. Each 8.4 oz bottle contains about 200 calories but they were very filling and would be a great meal substitute. My favorite was strawberry banana but the overall favorite was peach. They also come in blueberry and strawberry flavors.

 

They contain real fruit, have 9 grams of protein and 50% of your daily calcium requirement per serving. They are portable and have a cap so it was easy for my husband to add his daily helping of Chia and mix it with the yogurt. Trust me he usually makes a big mess, and can’t usually take his breakfast with him so he loved this new product. Even though some guests were worried about the amount of sugar, I liked the fact that they contain real sugar instead of scary chemical substitutes. I would have no problem with my two teenage boys making this their go to breakfast or after school snack. The yogurt and fruit shake was also delicious on apples and strawberries.  If you missed my tasting party but want to try this new drink click here for a coupon or check them out on facebook at www.facebook.com/gofrush