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

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Orange Buttermilk Chicken

Orange Buttermilk Chicken

 

I’m a Florida girl, oranges are everywhere so why not with chicken. This chicken is tangy  (And I would say moist except I really hate that word) and flavorful, a perfect to wake up your weeknight meal.

Orange Buttermilk Chicken

4 chicken cutlets

1/2 c buttermilk

1/4 c orange juice (I used Florida fresh squeezed)

1 t hot sauce

1/4 t pepper

1 t salt

1 1/2 c panko bread crumbs

2T olive oil

 

Mix buttermilk, orange juice, hot sauce and salt and pepper in a bowl. Mix together. Place chicken in a shallow dish or large ziplock bag and pour marinade over top, making sure to thoroughly coat all side of the chicken. Cover or close bag and place in refrigerator for 2-8 hours, turning occasionally. Preheat oven to 350. Place bread crumbs on a shallow plate, dredge chicken in crumbs, making sure to coat all sides. Place on a greased baking sheet (olive oil or cooking spray) and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for about 25 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. You could also pan fry this and it would be delicious.

Orange Buttermilk Chicken

Orange Buttermilk Chicken

Old is New Again: Pimento Cheese

Pimento Cheese

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.

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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

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using your fingers or small knife peel all the black parts off of the pepper.

roasted red pepper

Then chop the top off of the pepper and removed the seeds, chop into tiny pieces.

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Now you are ready to make the cheese.

Pimento 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.

Pimento Cheese

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.

I’m a Little Bit Country: Classic Tomato Pie

As much as I like big bold flavors and exotic dishes, sometimes I just have to get back to my roots. Born and raised in the South, comfort cooking will always have a place in my heart and kitchen. One of my favorite recipes is old-fashioned tomato pie. I love this easy, take anywhere, dish. The tomatoes have been good here the last couple of weeks so I decided to whip one up. These are great for a vegetarian dinner, bring along to a potluck, picnic or party or as a side to some classic southern fried chicken.

1 9″ pie crust cooked ( I used the frozen variety)

2 large ripe tomatoes sliced

2 T chopped fresh basil

1 c mayonnaise

1/2 c cheddar cheese

1/2 c mozzarella cheese

1 T chopped chives

Salt

Cut tomatoes in slices, place in colander and sprinkle with salt. Let sit for about 20 min, so juices run out. Preheat over to 350.

Place a layer tomatoes in bottom of cooked pie crust

Sprinkle with chopped basil, then repeat with another layer of tomatoes and basil.

Mix mayo, chives and cheeses in a medium sized bowl

Spoon mounds of the mixture on top of the pie

Then smooth out evenly over pie and bake for 30 minutes or until top is browned.

Let cool before slicing, serve warm or at room temperature.

A Nod to My Northern Neighbors: Peach Pecan Pie

 

It’s that time of year here in Florida where you can’t drive on a major road and not see a sign for fresh Georgia peaches. We are lucky to be a neighboring state. Georgia also grows delicious pecans so I decided to try to use them both in a dessert. My oldest son’s favorite dessert is pecan pie which he usually gets only once a year at Thanksgiving, so I decided to lighten it up with the fresh peaches and make it into a summer dessert. Turned out delicious and best of all this recipe doesn’t contain any corn syrup.

Peach Pecan Pie

1 9″ ready to bake pie crust

2 eggs

1/2 c melted butter

2 T flour

1 c brown sugar

1 T milk

1 t vanilla extract

1/4 t salt

3/4 c pecans

1 c fresh peeled and diced peaches

Beat eggs with a whisk in a large mixing bowl, add melted butter and continue whisking. Stir in flour, sugar and salt. Add milk and vanilla and then stir in peaches and pecans.

Pour into pie shell and bake 45 minutes. Tent with foil if crust starts to get too brown.

 

It is done when sides are set and there is only the slightest jiggle in the middle

 

Let cool and serve with whipped cream if desired

 

Andouille Sausage and Peppers over Smoked Gouda Cheese Grits

It’s been a week of go to, easy favorites for dinner in our house. We have graduations, birthdays, and baby showers to plan, not to mention Memorial Day. My kids are not huge seafood fans so this is a nice alternative to the classic shrimp and grits which I regularly crave. It is super quick and easy, yet filling and comforting.

5 links andouille sausage ( you could use Kielbasa if you don’t like the spice or the spice doesn’t like you ) sliced on the bias into bite sized rounds

1 green pepper sliced into thin strips

1 small yellow onion sliced

Saute the sausage in a large skillet for about 3 minutes, add onion and peppers and continue cooking over med heat until they are soft and sausage is cooked through.

Meanwhile cook 4 servings of Quick grits (not instant) according to package directions.

Add the following to the cooked grits:

2 T butter

1/2 c of milk

1 clove of minced garlic

2 cups shredded smoked gouda cheese

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 t cayenne pepper

1/2 t salt

1/4 black pepper

Stir to combine, add more milk if needed

Add grits to serving bowls and top with sausage and pepper mixture.

Best Ever Barbecued Shrimp and Sausage with Grits (and I’ve tried a lot)

No Easter Brunch, or any brunch or Mardi Gras celebration is complete without Shrimp and Grits. It is one of my favorite comfort foods and my go to order at restaurants. So I have had my fair share, and feel like I am a good judge of this dish. The winner for me is this recipe , from one of my heavily used cookbooks, Southern Living’s All Time Favorites. The sauce I use is pretty much the same but I add Cajun Style smoked sausage because my kids are not huge seafood fans.  I have had many compliments and given the recipe to many friends. This is a must have in your recipe file.

2Lbs unpeeled, extra large raw shrimp, cleaned and deveined (don’t be tempted to take the peels off, the shrimp will be dry and will not have as much flavor, the mess is worth it)

4 links Cajun style smoked sausage cut into 2 ” chunks (if you prefer add another pound of shrimp and skip the sausage)

1/2 c butter

1/2 olive oil

1/4 c chili sauce ( I use Heinz)

1/4 c Worcestershire sauce

2 lemons sliced

4 garlic cloves minced

2T Creole Seasoning

1T chopped fresh parsley

2T lemon juice

1t smoked paprika

1t dried oregeno

1t ground black pepper

1/2 t of your favorite hot sauce

Line a large baking sheet with foil, spread shrimp and sausage on pan evenly

Combine butter and remaining ingredients in a med saucepan over low heat stirring until butter melts and ingrediants are combined

Pour over Shrimp and Sausage, cover and chill in refrigerator for 2 hours, turning shrimp once ( I have even marinated them overnight and  just cooked them for a little less time)

Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until shrimp are opaque

Serve over cheese grits, sprinkle with chopped chives or parsley