Venti Moonshine Latte

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     So there we are, on the front porch of a friend’s friend of a friend. There is a child’s bike in the yard, a dog sitting among piles of moving boxes on the couch, a coffee table with no glass, and a gun in the bedroom. A jar of moonshine and a pile of playing cards sit on the table, under the glow of a bare light bulb. Things had gotten very weird at Starbucks.      But let me back up. Sometimes, as a young educator, new to Alabama and a tiny bit bored with living out in the woods miles and miles from what was once considered acceptable civilization, a trip to Starbucks sounds nice. When the nearest business is a gas station with slot machines featuring displays of sequined pantsuits that...

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Stuffed Pimento Cheese Cupcakes...

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      For this fall, instead of a tailgating spread, we wanted to find one penultimate Southern tailgating food. It had to be delicious, handheld, portable, and beloved.       We believe this savory cupcake is one for the ages. You can stuff it with a variety of fillings, but our favorite is, of course, pulled pork. Other contenders are chopped barbecue chicken, brisket, drained chunky salsa, finely chopped vegetables (broccoli would be amazing!) or olive salad.      Some assembly is required, but it is unquestionably worth the payoff.  If you want to stuff the cupcakes with warm filling, do so and carry to the serving location in an insulated container. A sandwich bag in the cooler can hold the frosting, and you can snip and pipe just before serving. For a make-ahead solution at home,...

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Caramel Apple Cheesecake Blondies...

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      If you're not ready for autumn quite yet, this recipe should convince you. While it's packed with rich, buttery flavor, the still-toothsome apples bring freshness and contrast to the creamy, indulgent flavors. A hint of bourbon and a drizzle of caramel bring the whole flavor profile into one glorious fall dessert.       The recipe is surprisingly easy and comes together quickly. You can serve the blondies immediately on plates with forks (and vanilla bean ice cream if you're really into flavor dreams). Cooled, they can be cut into traditional bars, but you will probably still want a plate and fork. They are gooey and delicious.      Toasted pecans would be a welcome addition, but the bars are great as-is.  Caramel Apple Cheesecake Blondies Ingredients 1 stick (4 oz., 8 Tbsp.) salted butter 2...

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Cinco de Fryo

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     So May 5 has already arrived, but why enjoy these delicious Mexico-inspired delicacies only once per year? Gather some friends, some beverages, and pull out the deep fryer. Try our Southern twists on Mexican delights, and you'll soon thank goodness it's fry-day.       Are the recipes authentic? Nah. Are they delicious? You bet. Plus, prep is easy. All but the frying can be done in advance. Just put out the taco fixings and fry up the rest at party time.  Menu BLTacos (Hard shells, lettuce, bacon, tomato, avocado, mayo, hot sauce) Pulled Pork Tacos (Barbecue, slaw, hard shells, sauce) Queso Pimento Chiles Rellenos Churros "Fried" ice cream (Crumble well-done churros over ice cream. Trust us... we tried frying ice cream. This works far...

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Southern Wine Pairings for the Holidays...

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     If there’s anything we do right in the South, it’s the holidays. After all, these are times we bring loved ones together, over food, and you’d be hard pressed to find a folk better at that than us. Am I right, y’all?      But between all the baking, stuffing, roasting, and mashing, it can be all too easy to forget the pairing -- wine pairing, that is. This year, don’t make wine an afterthought at your holiday gatherings. After all, what would Scarlett be without Rhett, or Blanche Devereaux without her sassy comebacks?      This year, get those pairings right. I’ll show ya’ll how: Green bean casserole: Amazing what some butter and cream to do to little ol’ green beans. Bring out the snap in those greens with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc that has vegetal notes...

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A Grits Primer

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     To deconstruct grits is to relegate the dish to a pantry staple. To refer to grits as dry goods puts them in the emergency food category. But historically, grits* is both of those things. Grits has been served to visiting royalty, and it has been used to feed the troops on American battlefields, and it has been used to feed the hungry and poor.      Grits is basically ground corn. Poured between two stacked grindstones at a gristmill, the product result is about 55% corn meal (fine), 40% grits (coarse), and about 5% bran or hull that pops off during the milling. There is actually a finer bran that affixes to the grits, and if it’s not rinsed and removed by skimming, it adds a nutty flavor and texture to the dish.      There are three...

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