Category Archives: Food

Husk: Charleston, SC

 

“If it ain’t Southern, it ain’t coming in the door,” – Sean Brock

 

Brunch, lunch or dinner, Husk delivers every time. Make a reservation and get in there anyway you can, you won’t regret it.


My expectations of going into Husk was one of excitement, but I was more than a little apprehensive about how good the food would actually be. The novelty of Husk has surely faded, the limelight and praise from magazines and Sean Brock (the owner) being on Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown is a thing of the past.

There are also four locations now. Four locations? Doesn’t that make it a chain restaurant? Won’t that dilute everything?

Going in I thought sure, this will be fun but not mind-blowing. It would be yet another solid Southern restaurant.  Sometimes, it’s hard to live up to the hype. Sometimes you’re just not sure what all the fuss is about … why so many people are talking about it. If you are like me, you can build something up in your head that can never live up to reality.

I really wanted to like Husk, but as I sat down and waited for my food to arrive I was waiting to be disappointed.

I never was …


Walking up to Husk you see a two-story white home that looks  something like a colonel era hotel. You can imagine Rhett Butler drinking a mint julep and smoking a cigar on the second story balcony .  As you walk through the black iron gates, a towering magnolia canopy looms overhead. Making your way to the doorstep you pass a small garden and fountain brimming with flowers. You are quickly transported to another era. It’s quintessential Charleston in every sense of the word.

The inside of the house is open and welcoming, with beautiful pine flooring, fireplaces, and multiple rooms for people to dine. It’s rustic, yet charming.

The chalkboard at the bottom of the staircase lets you know who the good folks are that are responsible for what will soon be on your plate. Local farmers and fishermen (add more here)

On the surface, Husk is everything southern … an establishment with a passion and zeal for selling the romantic south, hard.

Servers are dressed in denim shirts with full-length grey aprons.  I can’t speak for dinner, but during our brunch, the atmosphere was calm and pleasing.

We were seated upstairs but inside as it was cold on the day we went.  However, when the weather is nice and warm there is a patio balcony where couples can dine outside.


Time To Eat

The great thing about Husk is that their menu is always changing so you can have a different experience each time you go. The changes with what the region’s producers provide daily, but there are some rules about what can go on the plate. If it doesn’t come from the South, it’s not coming through the door.

Personal Touch

Our weekend in Charleston was a celebration of Valentine’s Day and my birthday. And if you know me, I like to make a big deal out of it every year. My wife has kindly obliged me on this over the years, and with every activity and restaurant planned she strived to make it especially, special. When she made the reservation, she let Husk know it was for my birthday, and they took it to the next level. We live in a society that loves customization, and it no more present than in the South where anything that can be monogrammed, is monogrammed. Another perfectly Southern touch that didn’t go unnoticed was this happy birthday at the top of the menu.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bloody Mary to Start

Bacon and bloody mary’s are a dime a dozen, but have you tried prosciutto? Down home Southern and elegance is felt throughout the establishment and the theme continued with the food. The salty brine of the prosciutto married with the picked jalapeño and fresh tomato mix made this for a smooth intro to the meal after a night of sipping wine with my wife.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Herbed Cheddar Cat Head Biscuits, Smoked Black Pepper Bacon Gravy, Pepper Mash

The true testament of another Southern restaurant is biscuits and gravy. You can’t survive without a solid ode to this classic brunch dish. The ultimate test of good biscuits and gravy – the need for a nap shortly there after. It was a long 3 hour drive home to Charlotte. Fresh-made biscuits were doused in a well-balanced gravy that had the perfect amount of heat. Another sign of great gravy, you find yourself embarrassingly scrapping the bowl for every last drop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joyce Farm’s Pork Spareribs, Sweet Baby Dave’s Brown Sugar BBQ, Heirloom Field Peas, Fried Egg

Fall off the bone, finger licking good is the sign of a good sparerib, but this was an exceptional spare rib. Admittedly, I wanted more. The sauce tasted like a sweet crime, I wanted to commit over and over again. The field peas with their earthy and unassuming presence brought me back, making a true balance of the dish. I am licking my lips as I write this, as I could go another round here and now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pork Rind “Churros,” Spiced Chocolate Sauce

I am a born and raised Southern man, and wasn’t raised on the finer side of the street so cheap and delicious pork rinds were a staple of life – any road trip, you could bet a stop at the gas station for a bag was in tow. So here I am, thinking how can you make pork rinds fancy? Well, shit you add some Mexican chocolate and it was a whole other world for me. First, these pork rinds were so fresh out of the frier that they were cracklin with every bite. My wife and I kept giggling as we crunched down on each one. This was truly a match made in heaven, I never knew could exist. That’s the very magic that Chef Brock brings to the table.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wood-fired funnel cake! Served with preserved FL strawberries, Celeste’s ricotta, black walnut, & basil

My wife, who’s a bona fide foodie and spent 8 years of her life rubbing elbows with top chefs in a former career, including Sean Brock, exclaimed “It tastes like a breezy summer morning. The dish is innocent, like a young child smelling fresh strawberries in the field for the first time. The basil brings the sophistication and ricotta the balance.” Now let me tell you, my wife rarely selects sweet dishes over savory, but the pull from this one was much too tempting and she happily caved in.

 

 

 

 

 


Verdict

It’s hard to live up to the hype. It’s easy to coast on trendy sentiment and romantic Southern culture, but Husk was everything I thought it would be and more. From the creative menu, to the ambiance to the food itself, it blew me away and we can’t wait to go back.

Roots Cafe

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Great Places to Eat in Charlotte, NC

Roots Cafe

With food being such a huge part of our lives, we are always on the lookout for a new eating spot here in Charlotte, NC.

Roots Cafe, which is located at 2135 Southend Dr. Suite 109, has just become one of our new favorite places!

These guys serve up fresh meals with quality, locally sourced ingredients that come straight from the area. Their dishes are both beautiful and delicious!

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The atmosphere is small, yet cozy … the staff, extremely friendly. The menu is diverse and every option is a damn good one. And wait time is no time at all.

Jillian tends to lean towards the healthier of dishes and on both occasions we visited, opted for the root vegetables topped with a fried egg, adding a slice of the bacon which she says “is a MUST.” “The flavors work so well together creating this fresh, feels like comfort dish,” she says. Adding “and the portions are just right, keeping you full and satiated, but not needing to be rolled out.”

She’s also a connoisseur of potato pancakes, having grown up in Jewish community with no shortage of both homemade and deli-made versions. While no one beats her grandfather’s homemade potato pancakes, she says Roots fills the void when she’s 1000s of miles from her family’s recipe.

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As for myself,  I’m a firm believer in saying, ” Is it too much to ask for both?” Thats why I’m a Steak & Eggs or Chicken & Waffles kinda guy. Why limit yourself to just one thing? Why not have both breakfast and diner at the same time? Give either one of these dishes a try and you will not be disappointed. Beware, the Chicken and Waffles may not always be on the menu…but if it is…do it.

When you plan your visit, I would suggest bringing your appetite and just trying a few dishes, not just one. When you walk in, you order at the counter first then sit down. While at the counter, be sure to turn around and grab you some UpDog  Kombucha and be sure to try the coffee. They use Enderly Coffee from Charlotte, NC

Small Venues to Rent in Charlotte, NC

Roots Cafe, Charlotte, NC

Want to have a small get together? Need a intimate venue for a few of your closest pals?

The café is actually available for rent any day of the week/weekend from 5:00pm -9:00pm.

It is $300.00 to rent the café and they require a minimum bar tab of $200.  The maximum number the café can comfortably fit is 50.

Catering is provided by Roots Catering.  The full catering menu can be found at www.roots-catering.com.

 

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You can take a look at there different  menus below. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Roots Cafe Menu

 

Sautéed Shrimp and Okra

Shrimp and Okra

A little bit on Okra

In my opinion, Okra is the most underrated and under-appreciated vegetable we have. It’s actually a very versatile vegetable  that gets a bad rap because people think it’s “slimy”. How you prep okra will help dictate how “slimy” it gets. Water enhances the “sliminess” so don’t wash the okra until you are ready to cook it.  Also, let the okra sit at room temperature for a while before using it.

Okra does have a substance inside it called mucilage which acts as a natural thickener and is helpful when cooking gumbo and other stews.

Okra was transported across the Atlantic sometime in the sixteenth century from southern Ethiopia.

High in fiber, okra also offers the bulk of the recommended dietary allowance of vitamin K, manganese, folate and vitamin C, as well as antioxidants.

Though you can find it year-round in some parts of the country, okra comes into its peak season from May through September.

Be sure to choose pods that are small and crisp and avoid pods that have brown spots or blemishes or are shriveled. To store fresh okra, wrap it up and keep it in the fridge for up to 3 or 4 days.

Now for the Recipe

INGREDIENTS 

  • 1 tablespoon Vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs. chopped okra
  • 1 lb. peeled shrimp
  • 2-3 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced jalapeño (be careful not to add too much)
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Minced parsley, to taste (about 2 teaspoons)
  • Minced thyme, to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 1 cup diced tomato

REPARATION

  • Place a cast-iron skillet over medium heat and add enough oil to coat the bottom.
  • Add okra and cook until it begins to brown, stirring occasionally. (If okra starts to stick, add more oil.)
  • Then add the next 5 ingredients. (Shrimp, garlic, jalapeño, ginger, and onion).
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Cook for 5 minutes.
  • Next, add herbs and tomato
  • Cook until shrimp is ready,  (about 2 to 3 minutes more).

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Have a Dish (or Two) at Haberdish

Haberdish

Charlotte, NC

In the South, food is serious business. There is a lot of sweat, and pride that goes into this region’s dishes. With the knowledge and the alchemy of seasoning  one must master, it’s easy to get it wrong and you certainly can’t fake it. I’ve lived in the South all my life and I have seen establishments fall by the way-side as they try to fabricate a stereotypical southern menu … some feeble attempt at being “cute” or “quaint”.  It’s always a menu of what they think Grandma would have made that typically just ends up being a bland, and overcooked hot mess. Places like this try to hide the poor quality of food by the decor,  serving it up on plates that have “Ya’ll” or “Bless Your Heart” on it … like that is suppose to make it all ok.

No, it takes real skill to cook southern food. This region’s cuisine pulls from all cultures and ethnic backgrounds and you have to know what you are doing to get it right.

We have found a place in Charlotte, NC that pulls this off very nicely. It’s called Haberdish,  a southern kitchen and craft cocktail bar who dishes out southern inspired food influenced by the history of the mill town of North Charlotte (known as NoDa) .

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This place is rustic and open, with shelves of delicious booze against a handsome looking white-clay brick wall. The bar top is a magnificent soap stone that came from a quarry in Virginia. They also have salvage denim on their interior seating that was produced in Cone Mills, N.C. and their table tops are hand crafted locally in Charlotte. The bar taps are reused spindles from a former mill, and the beautiful copper lights are hand-spun,  designed and assembled in Charlotte as well.

It’s a very welcoming and intimate place.  The hostesses are nice and accommodating. We tried to sit outside in the front of the restaurant but it started to rain, so they nicely  and quickly moved us to the side patio that has a unique pergola from Belgium where the overhead slats open and close which allows customers to still sit outside without getting wet. Once it stopped raining they opened the slates back open so the sun could shine through. Ingenious idea!

Now, lets get to the good part.

The Food and Drinks

When we looked at the menu we were surprised to see the selection.  There were many signature southern items, but they were anything but typical.

  • Smoked Deviled Eggs
  • Liver Mush Toast
  • Kale Grits
  • Smokey  boiled peanuts

Thats just to name a few small items.

A true sign of a good restaurant is when you have trouble ordering because you want all the things! So, what we ended up doing, and something we recommend, is choosing a few different items and share. You can check out there menu right here

The first move was towards the hush puppies (served with this delicious sweet tea butter). Next, went went with the pickles because well…I love pickles.  With the pickles you can choose from dill, bread & butter or the daily pickles. On this particular day, they had these spicy pickles which were just damn dynamite! They had a huge kick to them  but they were fantastic!

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With our appetizers we ordered some cocktails. Jillian got the Smoked Mint Julep and I got an Old Fashion.  The Smoked Mint Julep was everything we had hoped for. Most places butcher this cocktail but Haberdish delivered the goods. For those who have never had a Mint Julep, you must try theirs and for those who love this cocktail like we do, you will appreciate their take on it.

As for the Old Fashion, most places can’t make a proper one, leaving you wishing you had never ordered it in the first place and I always judge a bar by their Old Fashion. Haberdish yet again came through. They just know how to make cocktails, period.

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For the Main Dishes we went for the Pork Shank and the surprising good brined, and Smoked Chicken, a juicy concoction glossed with Alabama-style white barbecue sauce. We also had the BBQ glazed carrots and charred okra.

The chicken might be one of the best menu items we have tasted in a long time and if you go, you must absolutely have this dish. The portion size is great for two people.

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Every single dish was thoughtful, exciting and delicious. Hiberdish does an fantastic job of giving you a complete dining experience without having to spend loads of cash on pomp and over priced food accompanied with ill-made cocktails. This place has both style, and just a great vibe to it. You back all that up with great food, and you almost get into the realm of perfection. Take a bow Haberdish … well done!

FOR YOUR VISIT: No, they do not take reservations. BUT, wait, the good news! They use the No Wait app so you can see your wait times and even add your name to the waiting list before you arrive.

 

 

Asheville for a Ladies Weekend? Yes, Please!

Written by: Jillian Hillard

With Asheville exactly 2 hours to the minute from our home in Charlotte, it’s the ideal get away for many occasions. As the last of my girlfriends sail away to marital bliss, it has been a popular spot for Bachelorette parties. The city’s beautiful mountains, laid back culture, thriving local food and brewery scene, truly provides a great setting for a lady’s last hoorah of singledom. Get ready to check off your #squadgoals, with some musts in Asheville.

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Staying in Asheville

Asheville is one of those cities that you can do the traditional hotel stay, but if you aren’t Airbnb or VRBO’ing it in the mountains or historic districts, then you are missing out on the lure of fresh mountain air and nostalgia. Also, what group of girls doesn’t love the opportunity to have an open space to chit chat in their pj’s while sipping mimosas together?

Note to caution, depending where you are just make sure you have good directions for the Uber or call the local cab company. For the smaller of the two bachelorette parties, we stayed in Montford, which was about a 10 min walk into the city, and the area couldn’t have been cuter!

Friday Night Dining

Like any classy bachelorette party, Friday night both times in Asheville started out with a delicious dinner at a top spot. I had the pleasure of eating at both Posana and Rhubarb, each offering their own version of “local” cuisine. They are actually right next to each other in the heart of downtown Asheville. Rhubarb’s craft cocktails and fresh farm roasted chicken sealed my sentiment for their offerings, while Posana’s Carolina Bison and Beet Tartare is unlike any tartare I have had before.  I keep dreaming of the next time I can bite into it. It’s also worth mentioning that the last bachelorette party I attended had 17 girls and due to some transportation issues, half the party arrived much later. Posana was extremely accommodating keeping the drinks flowing for the girls there and getting the girls who arrived later quickly lubricated. Both times, a good dinner followed by a few night caps at local watering holes ended the night so we could be ready to take on the next day.

Tip: Make a reservation.

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Saturday All-Day Funtivities

It’s the Saturday all day funtivities that deserve the bulk of this article. Keeping up your figure in your 30s is a real struggle. Both bachelorette parties sought to start the day with some physical activity which is readily available surrounding Asheville. A mountain hike or any of the many 5K-10K runs in the city are a great way to energize for the let’s be honest, day drinking to follow. So without further ado, the two day drinking activities I recommend most.

Asheville Brewery Tours

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With the tagline, “let the locals drive you,” our driver Lindsay Lee of Asheville Brewery Tours was phenomenal. It felt like a longtime friend fresh with the knowledge of the local brewery scene picked you up. Our particular tour started at noon and took us to three of Asheville’s own Green Man Brewery, Hi-Wire and Catawba. At each we received a tour and background info, multiple tastings and enough time to sit and enjoy the atmosphere before hopping to the next one. It was a well-timed trip ending at 4pm.

A personal favorite was Green Man with its newly opened facility and great décor (and light fixtures I want for my home).

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I really enjoyed the English Porter, but I am not much of an IPA gal so sorry for those looking for an IPA review. My fellow ladies who are into IPAs found H-Wire more their jam. While at Hi-Wire we also enjoyed the Foothills Meats food truck with again “local farm-to- table” ingredients. Their Cuban sandwich paired with beer was everything needed for a day of drinking.

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In addition to beer, all of the breweries offered some form of live music, outdoor spaces and games from cornhole to Jenga. Asheville in March at 70 degrees is hit or miss, but we hit well not having to worry about transportation and getting a cultured beerucation!

The tour drops you back off in downtown Asheville, close to many other breweries. This led us to tour one more brewery, the popular Wicked Weed, which is also great for non-beer drinkers, and people who love dogs. This brewery does a good job of attracting people and puppies.

Zen Tubing

Oh, what fun you will have floating down a river for 4-5 hours! I mean it, this is one of the best times I have had at a bachelorette party. It’s simple, you rent your tube and rent a tube for a cooler, and proceed to float down the French Broad River while drinking your own spirits and chomping on snacks with your best friends. It’s for all ages and if you do the Midtown one, it will end you just minutes away from the New Belgium Brewery in case you didn’t bring enough to drink on your float! As you float you pass the majestic nature scene of Asheville, while also meeting and passing other floaters along the way. There are “professional” floaters with “Taj Mahal-like” floats that are sure to initiate a giggle and photo op. We did get caught in a storm but it was part of the fun to be honest, and allowed us to meet some fellow floaters for more cheers along the way.

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Sunday Brunch

All successful Southern bachelorette parties generally comes to a close with the traditional Southern brunch (note: NC laws will not allow alcohol before noon, so don’t stumble in before that if you are seeking “hair of the dog” with some of Asheville’s famous Bloody Mary’s and Mimosas). On these two occasions, we experienced Mayfel’s and The Marketplace Restaurant & Lounge. Mayfels, opened by Loretta Woolley in the spring of 2003, brings Louisiana-style cuisine to Asheville’s brunch scene, and for a cute story on the name check out the site. It’s a rather small footprint so plan for a smaller bachelorette party. As an avid eggs benedict bruncher, I had to go with the Mountains to Sea Crab Cakes, and the generous pieces of crab softly bunched together as a patty showcased they know how to do a proper crab cake. The atmosphere here is warm and friendly, and the bright colors will help you feel more energetic after a hard hitting weekend.

For a bit of a more upscale experience, and larger parties, The Market Place hit the spot. The restaurant has been a fixture in downtown Asheville since 1979 and is currently headed up by Chef William Dissen who has a list of accolades to be proud of. Chef’s Dissen’s commitment to the “local” can be seen in the menu choices. My favorite thing is to buddy up with a friend and share two entrees to get a taste of both the savory and sweet side of breakfast rather than decide. On this trip, my girlfriend and I split the Banana Bread French Toast with mascarpone, bourbon macerated raspberries, and maple syrup; and the Spinach & Goat Cheese Omelet with herb roasted potatoes and a jalapeno biscuit. If I had to choose one, the Banana Bread French Toast was just on its own level. I am sitting her salivating as I write this because its hands down one of the best brunch dishes I have ever had, and that is generous considering the food I have experienced in life. It was fresh, it was sweet, it was melt in your mouth delicious.

Asheville has a little bit of everything and I only skimmed the surface with the fun things to do there for a bachelorette or any event really.

Helpful Planning Tips:

  •  Rent a home through AirBnB or VRBO
  • Make a reservation for hot restaurant spots, Curate is another great place
  • Do plan an outdoor activity, be it hiking, tubing, etc.
  • Brunch is a must because that’s what the South does best on Sundays
  • Bring a jacket or sweater at night, it’s the mountains and gets chilly
  • If you aren’t beer drinkers, call ahead to breweries to check on their liquor, cider and wine offerings; some do options for everyone
  • Go to a brewery, it’s a part of the Asheville scene, I would also recommend coffee shop stops too
  • Casual is key, you can still look super cute but this laid-back town isn’t it for sparkly dresses

The Memory of a Perfect Brunch “Preserved” in My Mind

Article written by: Jillian Hillard

To create the perfect brunch, there are a few MUST elements. Most obvious, great food and company, but add in perfect weather and a picturesque setting, and voilà!

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Let’s start by creating the setting. Nestled just on the outskirts of St. Augustine is the town of Lincolnville. With a rich history of its own, it’s hard not to stare in awe at its many Victorian-style homes, and particularly the large and lovely Victorian-style house with a wraparound porch just next to a sign sharing the town’s historic significance. The house is home to restaurant and bed and breakfast cleverly called Preserved due to all the time spent to restore it to its former Victorian glory. Charmingly enough, it was formerly owned by Thomas Jefferson’s daughter Maria Jefferson Shine and her husband,Dr. William F. Shine. With a reservation ready, we were seated on the porch at their version of the Chef’s Table, which had a window that peaked into the kitchen where all the magic of preparation was happening. Top this off with the sun shining in at 75 degrees with a slight breeze coming in from the salty shores at the perfect time of 11am on a Saturday, and your table is set for the perfect brunch.

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As with any idea brunch, spirits are a necessity and Preserved did not disappoint. We all went the route of mimosas, but each with its own twist. Matt settled on tradition with his classic orange juice mimosa, while my mother and I ventured out – her trying the Poinsettia and myself the Shrubmosa. Each were stupendously delicious in their own right and hit the spot in providing that little morning kick you can’t get from coffee. A Poinsetta traditionally features cranberry juice, Cointreau and a hint of orange be it from juice or zest. A Shrubmosa can be many things, but you have to discover this particular one to truly understand its pun-intended, intoxication.

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The next element and perhaps the most weighted, the food. Our noticeably British waiter had the gift of persuasion for as soon as he said “shall we start you with our homemade, warm blueberry scones with rhubarb jam,” the only answer was “yes.” So fresh you might mistake it for a cinnamon bun-scone hybrid, they were melt in your mouth good.

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The highlight had to be the main entrees and when I mentioned an element of a perfect brunch is company that to me means company who is willing to share their dishes for a true sampling of the many offerings. I went with the eggs benedict with crispy prosciutto. You know you are at a great brunch spot when they don’t ask “how you would like your eggs poached,” they just make them the way they are supposed to be made. My only critique of this dish is it left me wanting a bit more of the crispy pieces of prosciutto as they were somewhat spearing. I had convinced my mom to get their other version of eggs benedict with 102 bridge eggs and cornflour fried oysters … it was the right choice. After my bite, all I could mutter was, “It tastes of everything in the South.” And if that wasn’t Southern enough, Matt’s dish came next, the classic Shrimp & Grits with antebellum grits, Florida white shrimp, crisp bacon and creamed corn. Southern cuisine is all about comfort and I could have curled up on the porch after eating this and dozed in the warm sunshine a happy lady.

The perfect brunch, with two of my favorite people. We left bellies full and ready to take on the St. Augustine Distillery.

Learn more about James Beard nominated Chef Brian Whittington, Preserved’s local food culture and its history at www.preservedrestaurant.com.

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DAMN DELCIOUS DEVILED EGGS

Hey, y’all! My name is Meghan Rushing and I’m a Raleigh resident by way of rural North Carolina. I feel like I’ve always been a part of  the Southern Blueprint and now that I don’t have a big fat Southern wedding to plan, I’m back onboard! I’ve recently been brainwashed by health nuts and hippies, and decided to give Whole30 a try for Lent. It has been an eye-opening experience, and I now have dreams of fried chicken and my mother in law’s mashed potatoes. Like every good Southern Methodist, I take the Lenten season and covered-dish church dinners seriously, and I’ve been transforming some of my favorite recipes from the Wesley Chapel UMC Cookbook into Whole30/Paleo compliant recipes. And not the empty tasting kind. I mean good, yummy recipes. Except for oatmeal-creamed cookies. That might take some black magic. However, this weekend I decided to undertake deviled eggs for a date night dinner.

Even though we live and love in the same region and talk the same talk, there’s still some great debates among us Southerners. Linen or seersucker? Red or white slaw? Lexington or Eastern or South Carolina’s mustard based or Memphis BBQ? And, of course, Duke’s or Hellman’s? As a Hellman’s girl myself, mayonnaise is the base condiment to all things wonderful such as salads (chicken, egg, potato and pasta), coleslaw, my grandmother’s potato skins, and the summer’s best tomato sandwich. Mayonnaise is also the tour de force and the big boss of the perfect summer nibble–deviled eggs.

So, before we get to boiling, mashing and mixing … here’s how to make homemade mayonnaise:

Equipment:

1 glass jar or blending beaker (You can do this in a 1pt Mason jar and store)

1 immersion blender (The most amazing and magical piece of kitchen equipment)

Ingredients: 

1 large fresh egg, room temp

1 cup extra light olive oil

juice from half a lemon (about 2-3 tsp) 

1 pinch of salt

½ tsp of ground mustard

Instructions:

  1. Add the egg, lemon juice, salt, ground mustard, and ¼ cup of the extra light olive oil. Insert the immersion blender and push down the bottom of the jar.
  2. Push the power button and the oil will begin to emulsify.
  3. After about 15-20 secs, add some more oil. Continue this process until you have your new magical mayo make sure all of the oil is well incorporated.
  4. Store in the refrigerator an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Hints/Notes: 

  • Don’t even think about using EVOO—the flavor will be far too strong. 
  • You could also add a teaspoon other flavors like Dijon or artisan mustards, garlic, horseradish and fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary, or oregano). But for today, we are sticking to plain ole mayo.

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Start with your fresh egg and let it come to room temp. You can do this by setting it out for an hour on the counter. Or, place the egg in a bowl of hot water for 5-10 mins. If using a raw egg freaks you out, pasteurized eggs are also fair game.

Once it’s ready, crack the egg into the jar. Follow it with the lemon juice, salt, ground mustard (and other flavorings if your heart takes you there), and ¼ cup of the LIGHT olive oil.

Insert the immersion blender and push down the bottom of the jar. Push the power button and let the Kitchen Gods do their magic. After about 15-20 secs, you should see brilliance unfurling. Your fabulous mayonnaise will come to life and quickly start climbing all the way to the top of the jar.

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Add some more oil and continue this process until you have your new magical mayo.

Also, keep in mind that the slower you add the oil, the better. So don’t get impatient! Take your time; it will be worth it!

Continue blending for just a few more seconds. At this point, you can move the blender around and make sure all of the oil is blended.

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Et, VOILÀ! Healthy, tasty HOMEMADE mayo.

DAMN DELICIOUS DEVILED EGGS

I swear that deviled eggs are what dreams are made of. They are perfect for picnics, summer cookouts and Sunday lunches.

While making these eggs, I realized that I don’t actually know the real measurements. It’s definitely a “squirt here and a dash here” type of recipe.  I tried to guestimate actual measurements at the bottom of this post.

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Equipment:

1 small mixing bowl

1 medium bowl with ice cold water

1 saucepan

1 piping bag (I used a make shift one with a Ziploc bag and cut a hole out of a corner)

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Ingredients: 

6 large eggs 

¼ cup mayo 

1 dash of vinegar (I prefer ACV to white)

1 quick squirt of French’s mustard

1 dash of salt

freshly cracked black pepper

smoked paprika, for garnish 

Instructions:

  1. Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan and cover with water so that there’s an inch or so of water above the eggs. Heat on high until water begins to boil. Cover, turn the heat to low, leave covered for 15 minutes. Remove from the pot and plunge into an icy cold bath for 1 minute.
  2. Crack eggshells and carefully peel under cool running water. Gently dry with paper towels. Slice the eggs in half lengthwise, removing yolks to a medium bowl, and placing the whites on a serving platter.
  3. Mash the yolks into a fine crumble using a fork. Add mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper, and mix well.
  4. Spoon mixture into a piping bag for distribution or and use a spoon to disperse heaping teaspoons of the yolk mixture into the egg whites. Sprinkle with paprika and serve.

Note:

  • For the purpose of tonight’s dinner for 2, I used 3 eggs and cut the recipe in half.
  • Smoked paprika is amazing and has a bolder flavor. You can use regular ole paprika if you prefer it.

Enjoy y’all!

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For more cooking adventures be sure to follow Meghan on Instagram

Bacon Crackers

Ingredients
¾ pound (about 12-16 slices) thinly sliced bacon
42-48 Rectangular butter crackers (such as Club or Captain’s or Waverly)

(to make  Brown Sugar Bacon Crackers: Add 6 teaspoons of dark brown sugar)

Preparation
Heat the oven to 250°F. Slice the bacon slices into thirds crosswise. Wrap each cracker with a piece of bacon, overlapping as little as possible. Place the wrapped crackers ½ inch apart on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan. Bake 1½ hours or until the bacon constricts the center of each cracker and becomes crisp. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the crackers to cool on the rack before eating.

(For mine, I made a butter/garlic/Rosemary sauce. I then took a brush and lightly coated the cracker with the mix-then wrapped the cracker with the bacon).

Another option is to lightly coat the bacon with a little bit of honey before baking!

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This recipe and many other marvelous concoctions can be found in Garden & Gun’s The Southerner’s Cookbook.

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Hoppin’ John

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Southerners are a superstitious bunch, and for New Years day, having a bowl of Hoppin’ John, served with a side of greens is supposedly a promise of happiness and prosperity for the year.  The black beans are suppose to embody coins (riches), while the pork conveys optimism, because pigs forage forward and never look back.

This particular recipe (there are various ones) was pulled from Garden & Guns’s Southern Cookbook, a fantastic collection of recipe ideas that we plan to comb through and showcase here on the site.

 

Hoppin’ John
(ABOUT 6 SERVINGS)

INGREDIENTS (Stage 1)
1 lb. dried black-eyed peas, rinsed and picked over
¾ lb. Tasso ham, diced
1 onion, halved
3 cloves garlic
3 bay leaves

PREPARATION
In a large Dutch oven or kettle, combine ingredients with 6 
cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer gently until beans are tender but not mushy, 2 to
2 ½ hours. Drain the black-eyed peas and ham, saving cooking liquid separately. Remove and discard the onion pieces, 
garlic, and bay leaves.

INGREDIENTS (Stage 2)
½ lb. bacon, diced
1 onion, diced
3 ribs celery, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
½ tsp. fresh thyme
1 cup Cajun Grain rice (or a good-quality long grain rice)
6 green onions, sliced
½ bunch parsley, chopped
1 tsp. coarse salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper

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I found the more parsley the better and of course hot sauce never hurt anything! I hope you enjoy this as much as we need! Check back with us as we will have more southern recipes to share with ya’ll very soon.

Powerhouse Turkey & Spinach Muffins

This is my version of real fast food that will truly fuel your body!

During Lacrosse season, these portable muffins became one of our staple recipes! I would make them ahead of time, pair with fruit & veggies and have a healthy, delicious picnic dinner at the field. You can add any combination of vegetables, so feel free to get creative!

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Ingredients:

2 lbs. Ground Turkey

1 Egg

½ c. Almond Flour

1 heaping TBsp. Italian Seasoning

1 Onion, diced

1 TBsp. Garlic, minced

3 stalks Celery, diced

2 Carrots, diced

1 c. Spinach, roughly chopped

1 TBsp. Olive Oil

Sea salt & Pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 375. Coat 2, 12 count muffin tins with coconut oil spray.

Heat a large pan with oil & sauté onion and garlic until tender, about 5 minutes. Over medium heat, add celery & carrots, sprinkle with salt & pepper, and cook another 5 minutes. Add spinach & cook 3 mins. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, mix together turkey, egg, almond flour, Italian seasoning, salt & pepper. Add in sautéd vegetables & mix to combine. Spoon into greased muffin tins.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown.

These are great with mashed sweet potatoes! **(For Mashed Sweet Potatoes, peel and cube 4-6 sweet potatoes and boil for 15 mins, or until tender. Place in a large bowl and blend together with butter and cinnamon.)

Enjoy!

Be sure to check out Candice’s website for more amazing recipes! Also, be sure to follow her on Instagram