Vietnamese Party

Have you ever had a friend in which you were in awe?  My friend, Janice, is that girl for me!  This beauty has four young children and now a blossoming Vietnamese catering business. I honestly don't know how she does it all!  As August was coming to a close and school was on the brink of beginning, I decided we need to have an end of summer soiree on a Sunday night with my favorite friends!  I called Janice and splurged on hiring a caterer, because let's be honest--entertaining is difficult, exhausting, and you end up working and cleaning the entire time and not having as much fun.  I wanted to be a guest at my own fête.

Janice didn't miss a single detail and all of her amazing food was perfection!  I highly recommend calling Little Miss Ha the next time you want to impress, take a night off from doing it all yourself, or if you don't live here but come to visit--call her and ask her to come cook for you!  We are lucky enough to have her share one of her family recipes--be warned her food is highly addictive! Find her recipe for lemongrass pork skewers below.

I always like to eat ethnic the day before and after Thanksgiving. It makes traditional the thanksgiving meal that much better!
— Carrie

The recipe for these Lemongrass Pork Skewers is below!

You'll Need

  • 4 pounds Boston pork butt or country style boneless pork
  • 3 tablespoon Vinegar
  • 3 tablespoon Table salt
  • Cold water
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tablespoon each:  chopped onion, chopped shallot, minced garlic, minced lemongrass
  • 8 tablespoons good quality fish sauce (Red Boat preferably)
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoon Sesame oil
  • 4 tablespoon Raw

How To

  1. In a large bowl or pot, clean pork by mixing vinegar and table salt with enough cold water to cover pork.  Immerse pork in water mixture for 5 minutes.   Rinse off with cold running water.  Pat pork to dry.  Set on cutting board.  Thinly slice pork into about 2” long strips.  Need not be perfect.  Place in large mixing bowl.

  2. Caramel sauce: In a small pot on high heat, add sugar and 2 tbsp of water.  Do not walk away.  Swirl the pot as the sugar melts.  When sugar melts to a light brown color, remove pot from heat.  Slowly add ¼ cup of water while swirling pot.  Place pot back onto high heat until caramel sauce turns to a dark amber color.  Remove from heat a let cool (about 15 minutes).

  3. Marinade:  Combine pork with ½ cup of caramel sauce and rest of ingredients.  Mix well.  Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

  4. Skewer pork on bamboo skewers or metal skewers.  If using bamboo skewers soak in water for about 30 minutes.

  5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place skewered pork on a wire rack over lined baking sheet.  Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown. 

Nutter Butters

This summer our family took an adventure down the Salmon River on a five day overnight rafting trip.  What a challenge this was on many levels for us all--but an amazing unforgettable family journey.  Everyday we floated down the river working together as a team trying not to let the rapids take us down. What it really did in the end was make us a stronger unit, overcoming our fears and working together to accomplish our goals.  The meals on this trip were the reward!  Each day our guides would pull over halfway through the trip and make us lunch and dinner.  What a treat that was, and if I do say so a true vacation for me.  Not many people cook for me, so this was an indulgence.  Of course at the end of the trip the one thing my girls said was their favorite were the nutter butter cookies that were served everyday at the end of lunch.  What?  Out of all that amazing homemade food made in the middle of an electricity barren homestead and you want the packaged cookies from the grocery store?  

I decided immediately we had to make homemade versions when we came home!  And so we did--we borrowed the recipe from our friends at Food 52 and they were divine.  We added a few things to make it our own but all in all I think the nutter butters will always remind us about our best family vacation to date!  

I highly recommend this trip for a family vacation. Look up Salmon River Rafting and ask for Wayne. Their website is dated but the experience was beyond any of our expectations!

You'll Need

Peanut Butter Cream Filling:

  • 4 tablespoons salted butter
  • ½ cup chunky peanut butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 8 ounces dark chocolate, melted

Nutter Butter Cookie:

  • 1 ½ cups King Arthur Flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick salted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¾ cup chunky peanut butter
  • ½ cup sugar- for rolling dough in

1. In a small bow whisk together the King Arthur Flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

2.   Using a stand mixer or hand held; beat the butter and brown sugar together for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy.

3. Add in the egg and vanilla. Mix until combined.

4. Add in the peanut butter and mix until combined.  

5. Slowly add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Cover and chill dough for at least one hour or overnight.

6. Preheat oven to 350.

7. Roll 1 tablespoon of dough into logs that are 1 inch long. Roll each log into the sugar until coated.  Place dough 2 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet.

8.  Using a fork, make a criss-cross pattern in the dough.  Pinch the middle to make the dough resemble a peanut. Place dough in freezer for 15 minutes.

9. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until cookies are lightly golden.  They will still be soft to the touch and that is ok.  Let the cookies set on the baking sheet for 5 minutes.  Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.

11. Make the peanut butter cream filling.  Using a stand mixer or hand held; mix the peanut butter, butter, powdered sugar, milk and vanilla until combined.

12. Spread a thick layer of the cream onto one cookie and then sandwich another on top. 

 

 

13. Dip half of each sandwich into the melted chocolate and place onto wax paper.  Place in the refrigerator and chill until chocolate has hardened.

14. Enjoy!

Roasted Rosemary Lemon Broccoli

My daughter Sarah claims that her favorite vegetable is broccoli, although when I serve it for supper, it mysteriously is the last thing left on her plate!  To be honest, it's not my favorite either so I set out to make myself--and Sarah--love the broccoli she claims is her fave!  This quick and easy roasted vegetable recipe is perfect for your rushed weeknights because it's just a few ingredients. Roasting vegetables in the oven will make you look like a culinary superstar.  I just might have a new favorite veggie after all!

You'll Need

  • 2-3 heads of broccoli, rinsed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 3-4 tablespoons of lemon Dijon vinaigrette
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Pinch of red chili flakes
  • Pecorino cheese for garnish

How To

  1. Preheat your oven to 400. 
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl toss together the broccoli, rosemary, lemon vinaigrette, salt and pepper.
  4. Spread the broccoli out into a single layer on the parchment lined baking sheet.  Roast for 25-30 minutes or until the edges of the broccoli and are slightly charred and crispy.
  5. Remove from oven. Squeeze the lemon juice all over the broccoli. Sprinkle with red chili flakes. And grate as much pecorino cheese as you desire over the broccoli.
  6. Eat and enjoy!
I told you that lemon dijon vinaigrette would come in handy!
— Carrie

Mama's Cabbage

My Mama certainly knew how to make the most out of a little and to make it taste unbelievably good!  She had many mouths to feed and she set the flavor bar really high--unintentionally of course.  This super simple skillet cabbage and bacon side is just what I need after long nights with my girls doing homework and endless carpooling to sporting events!

You'll Need

  • 1 head of green cabbage, sliced very thin
  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Tabasco to taste

How To

  1. Cook the bacon in a sauté pan until cooked through and crispy. Remove from pan, let drain and crumble.  Reserve ½ cup of the bacon drippings.
  2. Add the diced onion to the same sauté pan along with the bacon drippings.  Cook until onions are soft and translucent; about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the cabbage to the sauté pan with the onions. Add the crumbled bacon back in and 1/4 cup of chicken broth.
  4. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until cabbage is tender. About 20 minutes. 
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste. Squeeze in the lemon juice. And a couple of dashes of Tabasco.
  6. Serve immediately and enjoy!  
Mama was my grandmother on my dad’s side. She left me with a plethora of memories and recipes!
— Carrie

Israeli Couscous and Scallops

I have always been intimidated by cooking scallops. When they are cooked perfectly, they are divine! So I set out to broaden my culinary horizons and broaden my children's eating horizons as well. They always look at something new with that turned down face and turned up nose! This is why I specifically paired these seared scallops with one of our family favorites, Israeli couscous. I was betting on the fact that one of those scallops would slip into their mouths while they were shoveling those savory little pearls down their mouths. It worked and they were a hit!

I learned that the key to the perfectly seared scallops is drying them out for a long time, searing them on a super hot smoking skillet, and not touching them other than the one time you flip them. So between my girls liking something new and me having seared scallop success, I am logging this as a good day in the kitchen!  And we used our lemon dijon vinaigrette with this dish too!

You'll Need

  • 2 cups mixed medley tomatoes, rinsed and cut in half
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/3 cups Israeli couscous (if you buy a flavored couscous, discard the seasoning packet)
  • 2 3/4 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 tablespoons bacon grease (or vegetable oil)
  • 12 scallops, rinsed and dried completely on paper towels
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons lemon dijon vinaigrette
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 green onions, diced
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2. Toss the tomatoes, onions and garlic with olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour onto the parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes.

3. Remove the tomato mixture from the oven and set aside to cool.

4. Heat a dutch oven or saucepan over medium heat. Add the couscous and toast for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Slowly add in the vegetable broth. Stir until combined. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Stir couscous frequently making sure it does not burn or stick to the bottom of the pan. Simmer until the liquid has absorbed and couscous is tender. Remove from heat and let cool.

6. Heat a cast iron skillet or sauté pan over medium high heat.  Let the pan get screaming hot. Add in the bacon grease.  Pat the scallops dry one more time and then add them to the pan. You will need to work in two batches, as you do not want to overcrowd the pan.  Cook for 3-4 minutes per side. Do not touch the scallops until it is time to flip. You will know that the scallops are done when you touch them; they should bounce back slightly. Once scallops are done, remove from heat and set aside.

7. Time to assemble.  Using a large bowl or platter, combine the couscous, roasted tomato mixture and arugula.  Stir in the lemon vinaigrette.  Add in the parsley, toasted pine nuts, green onions, lemon zest, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper. Top with the scallops.

Place a sheet of foil over the pan so grease does not splatter everywhere when you’re searing the scallops.
— Carrie

Lemon Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette

I make this every week at home so we don’t buy store bought dressing. It's so hard to find a salad dressing that tastes good and is not with preservatives, a ton of sugar, and ingredients you can't even pronounce! This lemon dijon mustard vinaigrette is much more than an average salad dressing. As you will see in the coming weeks, this vinaigrette can be used for marinating meats, finishing vegetables, and more. It's truly a staple in our refrigerator!

I love using this vinaigrette in ways other than your typical cold salad!
— Carrie

You'll Need

  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon onion, minced
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How To

  1. Grab a mason jar or any container you have on hand.
  2. Add all of the ingredients into the mason jar.
  3. Shake until everything is combined.
  4. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.
  5. Enjoy!

GoGo's Killer Cookies

Every summer we drive out west and back for our Idaho July travels.  It's always fun to plan our return trip and see which way we are going to go, slowly trying to show our girls the USA, with different experiences along the way.  One of our stops a few years ago was with a great family friend--who goes by the famous name Gogo!  My girls LOVE to dress up in her closet, play by her stream and look for the horses on her property in Laramie.  Let's get this straight--Gogo doesn't cook, but she always has these "Killer Cookies' In her fridge for little hands and feet!  My girls always talk about Gogo, her amazing beauty, creativity, and energy--AND her "cookies"  I decided to make my own version, and my favorite part is they are kept in the freezer so I'm not always tempted to eat them!  Out of sight out of mind!

I used toasted pecans and added melted chocolate. Gogo uses almonds and no chocolate. Don’t be afraid to switch it up!
— Carrie

You'll Need

  • 10 ounces graham crackers
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 ounces chocolate chips, melted for drizzle
  • 1 cup Callie's Pecans, crushed

How To

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Arrange graham crackers in a single layer on top of the parchment paper, covering the whole baking sheet.
  3. In a sauté pan, melt the butter and sugar.  Whisk constantly until bubbly. 
  4. Pour butter on top of graham crackers.  Spread with a spatula making sure to cover all of the graham crackers.
  5. Using a spoon, drizzle the melted chocolate all over the graham crackers.
  6. Sprinkle the crushed pecans all over the graham crackers.
  7. Freeze for at least one hour.
  8. Remove from freezer and break into pieces.  Enjoy!
Store your leftovers in the freezer!
— Carrie

Lemon Butter Cast Iron Shrimp

Every so often my mom, Callie and my brothers come over for family meal.  With all of us "cooks" in the kitchen, it is so fun to work together prepping for the meal.  It starts really through a series of texts in the days before, talking about what we are all craving...  This shrimp recipe was a last minute thought--an add on to a Sunday supper that really ended up being the star of the show!  It proves that simple is always better and a couple great ingredients equal some amazing home cooked food!

Don’t skimp on the garlic and lemon! Remember, it doesn’t take much sautéing to cook shrimp. Oh, and please devein those shrimp!
— Carrie

You'll Need

  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 stick butter
  • 12 cloves garlic, minced
  • Juice and zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Crusty bread
  1. Heat a large sauté pan or cast iron to medium high heat. 
  2. Add in the butter, 1 tablespoon olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Once pan is hot, add the shrimp.  Cook for 5-6 minutes or until shrimp turn pink and are cooked through. 
  4. Add the lemon zest to the cooked shrimp.
  5. Serve immediately with crusty bread to soak up all of the garlic buttery lemon sauce.  Enjoy!

Grilled Asparagus and Green Onions with Shallot Yogurt and Toasted Walnuts

I'm always trying to create new things to throw on the grill as the meat or fish is coming off.  This recipe is something quick and easy but has tons of flavor!  The combination of asparagus with whole green onions topped with this cool, luscious, shallot yogurt and crunchy walnuts made this weeknight meal a shining star.

You don’t have to use walnuts! Pine nuts or pistachios would be great too!
— Carrie

You'll Need

  • 2 bunches asparagus, rinsed and trimmed
  • 2 bunches green onions, rinsed and peeled
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ medium sized shallot, minced
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • ½ cup walnuts, roasted (roast on 350 for 6-7 minutes)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil; divided
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley for garnish

How To

  1. Heat your grill to medium heat.
  2. In a small bowl mix together the yogurt, minced shallot, 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.  Let sit on the counter and allow the flavors to marinate until ready to serve.
  3. Drizzle 3 tablespoons of olive oil on the asparagus and green onions.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Grill the vegetables for 10 minutes or until cooked through and slightly charred.
  5. Serve the vegetables on a platter and top with the shallot yogurt, roasted walnuts and fresh parsley. 
  6. Eat immediately and enjoy!
Now that summer is in full swing, our family meal goal is to avoid using the oven. Dishes like this make it possible!
— Carrie

Rosé Spiked Berry Crostada

Summertime means rosé time. If you are anything like me, I'm always trying to figure out how to not drink an entire bottle myself!  This recipe helps me manage my "portions" properly.  Hee hee! 

My family and I are in Idaho for The Fourth of July. I love our traditions of decorating bikes for the Victor parade and eating a family meal that consists of my mother-in-law's cowboy beans!  I always bring the dessert and it's in my nature to do my best to make it somewhat themed for the holiday. This Crostata is so delish with a shortcake pie crust, fresh berries, and a quick rosé soak!

You'll Need

  • 6 ounces fresh blackberries
  • 16 ounces fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 1/3 cup rosé, I recommend Hogwash
  • 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1 package Callie’s Buttermilk Biscuit Mix
  • 8 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons turbinado sugar

How To

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl mix together Callie’s Buttermilk Biscuit Mix, 1/3 cup sugar and 8 tablespoons of butter.  Working with your hands, mix quickly together until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. Mix together the milk and vanilla.  Add it to the biscuit mixture.  Mix quickly with your hands.  If mixture seems too dry add in another tablespoon of milk.  Work dough into a ball. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and freeze for 30 minutes.
  4. While the dough is chilling, macerate the berries.  In a small bowl add the berries, rosé and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Let the berries sit for 30 minutes.
  5. Lightly flour your working surface.  After the dough has chilled for 30 minutes, roll the dough out carefully; pinching off a piece of dough to use as ribbon on top. Roll dough out to 10-12 inches in diameter and 1/8 inch thin.  Roll the reserved dough out to 1/8 inch thin.  Using a pasta cutter or knife, cut dough into 3 ribbons; set aside.
  6. Drain the berries.  Place the blackberries in the left upper corner of the dough.  Then place the sliced strawberries all around the blackberries and the center of the dough, leaving about an inch or so around the edge.  You want the fruit to resemble the American flag.
  7. Gently fold the edges of the dough over the berries, pinching together any open seams.  Add the reserved 3 ribbons on top.
  8. Brush 2 tablespoons of melted butter all over the dough and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
  9. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until dough is golden brown.
  10. Serve with vanilla ice cream and ENJOY!
Use whatever berries you like! I mixed it up with blackberries and strawberries instead of blueberries this time.
— Carrie

Lime Zest Grilled Shrimp

This May, Charleston Magazine featured my family and a handful of our favorite summer recipes in an article titled "Kneading Tradition." We touched on the importance of family bonding at the supper table and, of course, a good Southern meal. If there are fresh, local ingredients available--use them! When we crave a shrimp dish, I'll send the girls up to the Magwood Dock to pick up a pound or two fresh off the shrimp boat. This lime zest grilled shrimp is a flavor packed way to serve shrimp and the Charleston Magazine article has a few more recipes to make a perfect summer meal. 

For the Cilantro Pesto

  • 1 bunch cilantro, washed and stems removed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup of roasted salted pepitas
  • 1/4 cup chopped white onion
  • 1 Tbs. white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lime juice
  • 1/8 cup crumbled Cotija cheese 
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the Shrimp

  • 1 Tbs. lime zest
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1½ lbs. shrimp, peeled and deveined

For the Avocado Salsa

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 pt. fresh pico de gallo

Lime Zest Grilled Shrimp

  1. Soak wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes.
  2. Make a marinade by combining the lime zest, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Add the shrimp and let marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature.
  3. Heat your grill to 500ºF.
  4. Skewer the shrimp and place on the grill. Grill for one to two minutes per side, until the shrimp have turned pink and are lightly charred. Remove and serve with cilantro pesto and avocado salsa.

Cilantro Pesto

  1. Combine the cilantro, garlic, pepitas, onion, vinegar, lime juice, Cotija cheese, and cayenne pepper in a food processor and process until fine.
  2. With the motor running, slowly stream in the olive oil.
  3. Remove to a bowl and season with the salt and pepper to taste.

Avocado Salsa

  1. Peel, slice, and chop the avocados and mix them into the fresh pico de gallo. 
If you have leftover Cilantro Pesto or Avocado Salsa, not to worry! Put it in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to one week.
— Carrie

Head over to the Charleston Magazine "Kneading Tradition" article for Cumin-Roasted Okra, Cheesy Poblano Corn and Rice Bake, and for dessert, a Biscuit Berry Nest. 

Mealtimes aren’t just about feeding yourself, but about feeding your soul.
— Carrie

These beautiful pictures were captured by the late Christopher Shane.  We are thankful for the time that we spent with this talented soul.

Blueberry Shortcake Trifle

When the Atlanta Journal-Constitution calls and asks for a story and recipe, you say yes immediately. We were lucky enough to be featured in May talking all things biscuits. One of the questions they asked was what to do with extra biscuit dough and leftover biscuits. This, of course, is one of my favorite topics so I jumped at the chance to write a few recipes showing my go-to creations. You can find all three of our recipes at myajc.com but here is my family's new favorite summer dessert-Blueberry Shortcake Trifle With Lemon Curd, Whipped Cream and Shortcake Croutons

For the Trifle

  • 4 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed and drained
  • 16 ounces whipped cream
  • 20 ounces lemon curd
  • 1 dozen of Callie's shortcake biscuits
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar

Optional Sugared Blueberries

  • 2 egg whites
  • ½ cup fresh blueberries
  • ¼ cup sugar
This dessert is a great way to get the kids involved in the meal. They can make this recipe from start to finish... less work for you more fun for them.
— Carrie

Blueberry Shortcake Trifle with Lemon Curd, Whipped Cream and Shortcake Croutons

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Crumble the shortcakes onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Toss with the melted butter, vanilla and turbinado sugar. 
  3. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until lightly golden brown and crisp. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Reserving ¼ cup for garnish.
  4. In a trifle bowl, layer 1/3 of the crumbled shortcakes, 1/3 of the lemon curd, 1/3 of the blueberries and 1/3 of the whipped cream.  Repeat layers twice.  Finishing with whipped cream. 
  5. Garnish with reserved crumbled shortcakes, sugared blueberries and lemon zest if desired.  Cover and chill until ready to serve.

For the Sugared Blueberries

  1. In a small bowl, beat egg whites with a fork until foamy. 
  2. Brush the blueberries with the egg whites. 
  3. Roll them in sugar and lay them on parchment paper to dry for at least 20 minutes. 

In the Atlanta Journal-Constitution article, you can find the recipe for strawberry shortcakes and our buttermilk biscuit bowls.

Click here for the full article and enjoy!

Roasted Tomato and Zucchini Tart

Zucchini Tart Final.png

If you are anything like me, I'm always trying to figure out sneaky ways to get my girls and husband to eat more veggies. I've realized that if I nestle vegetables amongst their favorite things, it becomes less of a struggle. This simple, colorful, and absolutely flavor packed savory tart has done the trick! The next time my girls tell me they don't like zucchini, I'll remind them of that time when they licked this plate clean!

You'll Need

  • 3 cups zucchini, rinsed and sliced thin (about 3 zucchini)
  • 3 cups mixed medley cherry tomatoes, rinsed and cut in half
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 green onions, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 3 ounces Boursin cheese
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon flour, divided
  • 2 tablespoons shelled pistachios, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed

  1. Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. 
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the zucchini, tomatoes, garlic, green onions, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Pour onto the parchment lined baking sheet.
  3. Roast vegetables in the oven for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Remove vegetables from oven and place into a colander to drain off the excess water.  Let drain for 10 minutes, shaking off excess water.
  5. Sprinkle half of the flour onto a sheet of parchment paper.  Lay puff pastry onto the parchment paper.  Sprinkle the other half of the flour on top of the pastry; so your rolling pin won’t stick.  Roll out the puff pastry into a 10 x 12 rectangle.  Carefully transfer the parchment paper and puff pastry onto a baking sheet.
  6. Layer the zucchini and tomatoes onto the puff pastry, leaving a 1 to 2 inch border of pastry all the way around.
  7. Pinch off pieces of Boursin cheese and scatter them around the zucchini and tomatoes. 
  8. Gently fold up the edges of the pastry all the way around.
  9. Brush the edges of the pastry with melted butter and cracked fresh pepper all over the edges.
  10. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the tart is golden brown and crisp.
  11. Remove from oven and garnish with chopped pistachios and mint. 
  12. Serve immediately and enjoy.
P.S. When my girls asked me what the green round things were, I told them cucumbers. Hah! The things we do to nourish our children.
— Carrie

Salmon Salad

Salmon Salad Inspired by the Nuns

I have a guilty pleasure when I'm staying in a hotel room. It might sound silly, but I love to blow dry my hair in bed. I get back in the bed after my shower, put on the tv, and blow dry my hair because I'm allowed to be lazy! While on our family vacation in Mexico, I was drying my hair and watching the local cooking channel. It happened to be a show about nuns who cook. Since I don't speak Spanish, and the dryer was loud, there wasn't any sound. That didn't stop my mouth from watering as I watched this nun create a delicious meal. I just had to recreate it once we came home. This salad happened to be just what we needed after a week of sun, surf, chips, salsa, and margaritas a plenty.

The nun had fresh salmon, so her salad was made with raw salmon. We can't get that here in Charleston, South Carolina and Whole Foods did not have sashimi grade tuna. I opted for the freshest fish I could get and gave it a quick 2 minutes per side sear.  She also used chives and dill in her yogurt sauce, but Whole Foods had ramps and when in ramp season, use ramps! I also added the lettuce, lime, and pepitas to make it my own.

This is a layered salad with such simplicity, but has lots of depth in flavor! It is perfect for a weeknight dish and can be elevated for your most discerning dinner guests!
Watch the videos for instructions.

You'll Need

  • 2 lbs of salmon seared and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 medium potatoes boiled, cooled, and sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 2 avocados sliced (with a squeeze of 1/2 lime)
  • 1 head of butter lettuce (hydroponic) chopped
  • 1/3 cup of roasted salted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • Olive oil to be drizzled on the bottom of the platter
  • Salt and pepper to taste for seasoning the filet and liberally as you are layering the salad

For the Yogurt Sauce

  • 2 cups Greek yogurt
  • 4 ramps washed, trimmed, and finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh dill washed and chopped
  • 1 lime

Mix the above ingredients together with the juice of 1 lime.

  

I think it’s best to soak your ramps in a sink of water for at least 20 minutes. They are dirty!
— Carrie

Season the salmon filet and then give a quick two minute sear per side.

Time to dress our serving platter.

When I serve this dish again, I think I will finish the potatoes in the cast iron, maybe a quick fry in some fat to crisp them up!
— Carrie

The sofi™ Award

Specialty Outstanding Food Innovation

The Specialty Food Association has been honoring the best products in the industry since 1972. Receiving a sofi™ award is a huge honor. Winning a sofi™ gives your product brand credibility and respect within the industry. The Winter and Summer Fancy Food Shows are an opportunity for companies to showcase their creations and share what they love with distributors, specialty food stores, the press, and many more. In the past, the summer show opened with the sofi™ award show. Of course, the winners display their trophies with pride!

We won our first sofi™ in 2008 with our Cheese and Chive biscuit.  Since then, we have received four more golds, twelve silvers, and one best new product (a new category this year). One of my favorite parts of the show is seeing (and tasting) all of the fabulous products. I love seeing other local flares make their mark in the industry. It makes me incredibly proud of the South. Shout out to Bittermilk for their multiple wins this year! Here is a list of this year's winners. Congrats y'all!

All my best,

Carrie

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls

You may know by now, I love being in the kitchen, and I especially love being in the kitchen with my family. These dark chocolate peanut butter balls are a fun activity to do with your kids. Plus, adding sprinkles will make them festive, just in time for Easter!

How To

  1. Mix the pulverized cookies, softened butter, and peanut butter together.

  2. Slowly incorporate the powdered sugar.

  3. Form the mixture into balls. Harden in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

  4. Dip the balls in the melted chocolate.

  5. Top with sprinkles.

  6. Cool and enjoy!

You'll Need

  • 14 shortbread cookies, pulverized

  • 1 cup softened butter

  • 1 cup peanut butter

  • 3 cups of powdered sugar

  • 3 cups chocolate chips, melted

  • Sprinkles

Charleston Wine + Food Festival

After the festival

Stories From Her Kitchen: This was such a lovely luncheon provided by a few Southern girl bosses! Ashley Christensen, Vivian Howard, Jessica Grossman, and myself joined Kerry Diamond, Ruth Reichl, and Ellen Bennett for a great conversation with the guests after the delicious lunch.

Pecha Kucha: Germaine Jenkins of Fresh Future Farm, Shuai Wang + Corrie Wang of Short Grain, Ellen Bennett of Hedley & Bennett, Weston Fennell of Limehouse Produce, Ben Towill of The Fat Radish, Stephanie Burt of The Southern Fork, and myself each gave 6 minutes and 40 second long speeches to share our stories and inspire others with Chris Winn of Tradesman Brewing Co. as emcee. I had such a great experience and am so thankful for all of the support. Oh and we biscuit bombed the audience after my speech! 

Battle of the Biscuit: Saturday we headed to the Culinary Village to just the Battle of the Biscuit. It was so fun to see the different methods of biscuit making!

The Gospel Brunch: This year the brunch took place at The Gibbes Museum of Art and we debuted our Iced Blueberry Biscuits and Sharp Cheddar Biscuits. The weather couldn't have been better and the music was delightful. Keep on the lookout for these new products soon!

Cheers to a wonderful weekend and looking forward to next years festival!


One of our favorite weekends of the year is back! 

Friday:

Stories From Her Kitchen at the William Aiken House: Carrie will be serving up pimento cheese stuffed fried okra as well as black pepper cheddar biscuits with Edwards sliced country ham, mustard butter, and Callie's famous permanent slaw. Lunch starts at noon.

Pecha Kucha: Carrie will be one of the speakers Friday night at Pecha Kucha in The Cedar Room above Mercantile and Mash. Food and drinks start at 6:30. 

Saturday:

Culinary Village: Carrie will be a judge for the Biscuit Smackdown at 1 o'clock!

Sunday:

The Gospel Brunch at the Gibbes Museum of Art: We will be debuting our two new biscuits, Iced Blueberry and Sharp Cheddar. The biscuits will be made by hand on site and brunch starts at 11.

Get those tickets now because they're selling out fast. Find more information here. See y'all this weekend for some food, wine, and fun!

Bennett Brunch and an Egg in a Biscuit Nest

Last week, Tasting Table posted an article sharing ideas of what to do with the biscuit dough that is left over once you've stamped enough biscuits for your tray. I was honored to include the Callie's method of the "snake." Tasting Table suggested using the left over dough as a tray for gravy. Inspired by the idea, I couldn't wait to try it my own way. 

This past Sunday, I went to Los Angeles for my friend and founder of Hedley & Bennett, Ellen Bennett's, for her famous brunch event. The #BennettBrunches have become quite the tasty function. I decided to test my biscuit tray idea at the brunch. I like to call it the Egg in a Biscuit Nest! Follow the buttermilk biscuit recipe and everyone will get a biscuit and an egg in the nest.

For a Dozen Biscuits,

  1. Preheat the over to 450°F.
  2. Place 2 cups of the mix into a large bowl.
  3. Cut 4 tablespoons butter and cream cheese into small cubes, and then incorporate until the mixture looks like grated parmesan cheese.
  4. Make a well in the center of the dough, add buttermilk and combine until the dough is wet and sticky.
  5. Dust the dough, rolling surface, rolling pin, and a 2-inch biscuit cutter very liberally with the remaining biscuit mix.
  6. Dump the dough onto a floured surface. Roll dough to ½-inch thick. Using the floured biscuit cutter, cute straight down into the dough, starting from the outside edge of the dough and working in.
  7. Place biscuits on a parchment lined baking sheet with sides. The biscuits should touch each other on the pan.
  8. Brush with 2 tablespoons butter.
  9. Bake for 16-18 minutes, turning the pan halfway through continuing to bake until the tops are a light golden brown.

For the Biscuit Nest,

  1. Place the left over biscuit dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet once all twelve biscuits have been stamped out. You now have your "nest."
  2. Brush the nest with butter and bake for 12 minutes at 400°F.
  3. Pull the biscuit nest out of the oven and crack an egg inside each biscuit cut out.
  4. Bake for additional 7 minutes or until the egg reaches your preference.
  5. Finally, brush with butter, sprinkle with fresh cracked pepper and salt, and serve.
Add shredded cheese and bacon before the eggs for a savory variation!
— Carrie

For the Tasting Table article, click here!

Ellen and I will be participating in the Charleston Wine + Food Festival March 2nd through the 5th. Catch Ellen at Pecha Kucha and Stories From Her Kitchen. I'll be at both of those events as well as Battle of the Biscuit event in the Culinary Village on Saturday and The Gospel Brunch on Sunday. Get your tickets before they sell out!

Meeting Street Crab Dip

In honor of the Super Bowl this Sunday and my love for entertaining, I give you the Meeting Street Crab Dip. During our days baking on Meeting Street, my mom and I served Kathie Lee and Hoda our crab dip on the Today Show and had a phenomenal response. Serve this up along with biscuits, bloodys, and pimento cheese and you'll win the Super Bowl of entertaining!

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter.
  2. Whisk in the flour and let cook until golden – add the mustard, cayenne, and salt and pepper.
  3. In a separate pan, melt the tablespoon of butter and sauté the shallots.
  4. Slowly whisk in the warm cream on low heat. Then add the sherry/marsala.
  5. Remove from heat and add crabmeat.
  6. Add minced shallot and 1 cup of cheddar cheese, saving a 1/4 cup for the top.
  7. Add the chives, saving a few for the top.
  8. Put the mixture in a generously buttered casserole dish and top with breadcrumbs mixed with cheddar and chives.
  9. Drizzle with butter on top and bake at 375º until golden brown and bubbling.

You'll Need

  • 1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over all shells gone
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 4 tablespoons of flour
  • 2 cups of cream
  • 1 teaspoon of dried mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne
  • 1/2 cup of chives
  • 3 shallots minced + 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire
  • 5 tablespoons of dry Marsala or Sherry
  • A very generous cup of grated cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh breadcrumbs
While making this crab dip, double or triple the recipe and make a few extras to freeze! They make a great party hors d’ouevres or a last minute hostess gift to take or serve.
— Carrie

Cream Cheese Pie

I recently found this recipe tucked in one of my old books that was discovered during the move. I guess I had been using this recipe as a bookmark! There is something so nostalgic about seeing my Grandmother's, Mama as we called her, handwriting. I'd been meaning to make this for a while. Of course I started thinking, "How can I make this my own?" 

I decided to use shortcakes for the pie crust and it was sinful. While researching other cream cheese pies, I noticed many of them called for a topping, this sour cream topping from Food Network was exactly what I was looking for. A couple of changes were added but the final is a perfect holiday, or anytime, dessert!

Shortcake Pie Crust

  • 4 leftover biscuits pulsed in food processor, approximately 1 1/2 cups of crumbs
  • Combine with 6 tablespoons of melted butter
  • Healthy sprinkle of cinnamon
  • Splash of vanilla
  1. Mix above together with a fork then mold into a pie dish.
  2. Bake at 375° for 10 minutes.
  3. Let cool completely before adding the filling

Pie Filling

  • 9 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • Juice if one lemon
  • Sprinkle of salt
  • Splash of vanilla
  1. Mix above together in an electric mixer for 3-4 minutes until whipped and smooth
  2. Pour into cooled shortcake pie crust and bake at 350° for 20 minutes
  3. Refrigerated for 3 hours 

Sour Cream Topping

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Healthy splash of Vanilla
  1. Whip all ingredients together with an electric mixer.
  2. Top the pie before serving.
I love how Mama’s recipes were simply jotted down, no real recipe, just ingredients!
— Carrie