We’ve officially been Southerners for 5 1/2 years now (holy crap has it been that long?) and I am still slowly earning by Southern credentials. So far I’ve mastered the art of grits and buttermilk biscuits, although my fried chicken still needs work.
Thanks to a new book by local Nashville foodie Chris Chamberlain, I can continue to hone my down-home know-how with delicious results.
The Southern Foodie is Chris’ compilation of 134 recipes from 100 of the South’s best restaurants and eateries. Subtitled “100 Places to Eat in the South Before You Die (and the Recipes That Made Them Famous),” the book is a mouthwatering collection of southern fare: both traditional and groundbreaking. It serves as both a cookbook and a travel guide in one (and be sure to click through to the end of this post for your chance to win a copy!)
Although I’ve got nearly a dozen recipes in this booked marked as MAKE IMMEDIATELY, this roasted pumpkin recipe seemed like a logical starting point given the season and the fact that I had two beautiful heirloom pumpkins sitting on the hutch from our CSA.
(A side note: this recipe comes from the Capitol Grille, a Nashville gem located inside the Hermitage Hotel. Recognize the name? Maybe because my last decadent recipe was also inspired by a CG dish. Perhaps I need to get my butt down there sooner rather than later, eh?)
For those outside of the Southeast, sweet sorghum syrup is syrup made from sorghum cane, a grass in the same family as sugar cane. It is sweet with a complex, molasses-like flavor. If you can’t find sorghum where you are, a mild molasses would be a good substitute in this recipe.
I could see this recipe elevating the side dishes on your Thanksgiving table to epic new levels. We topped this vegetarian side with a leg of duck we had leftover in the freezer (I try to ignore the fact that the cat got to eat the other leg during one of his many homemade food trials). Simply browned in a skillet and baked at 325 for about 90 minutes, the leg was tender and savory and was a perfect compliment to the sweet and sticky pumpkin.
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Do teenagers still plaster their walls with magazine pages and pullouts of their favorite boy band heart throbs? While I was never one to obsess over famous strangers when I was younger, now that I’m older I feel like I’m making up for it. Except my perforated pages aren’t photos of shirtless boys, but rather of decadent desserts.
Despite my penchant for losing things I managed to hold on to this one for a while. The worn out page kept reappearing every time I reorganized the stack of magazines, or the pile of linens and photo props. I kept putting it back somewhere safe, forgetting about it, only to rediscover it months later when the resurgent mess demanded another purge. Despite all the books and papers and piles of stuff to throw or give away, it managed to stick around.
I think it was meant to be.
Now that I’ve brought the glossy daydream to life…
Let me tell you about this pie.
This pie deserves its own centerfold.
It’s chocolate peanut butter chess pie, yes. But you know what you could also call it?
Brownie batter pie, that’s what.
Brownie batter pie with a ribbon of peanut butter, delicate crispy edges and a chocolate cookie crust. Gooey and fudgy and rich enough to reach a higher tax bracket. Have some ice cream or milk handy because oh boy is it intense.
For the love of all things pie you might want to drop what you’re doing and make this, like, immediately.
You have to admit you’d choose this pie over that little Bieber kid any day (Justin who?)
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I am so excited to announce the launch of the 2nd Annual Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, hosted by myself and Julie of The Little Kitchen! This event brings together food bloggers from around the world in celebration of all things scrumptious. Last year we had over 600 bloggers send nearly 22,000 cookies around the world! Now that’s a lot of cookies! (And if you’re curious, you can see ALL the cookie recipes from last year’s swap here and here.)
The premise is this: sign up. Receive the addresses of three other food bloggers. Send each of them one dozen delicious homemade cookies. Receive three different boxes of scrumptious cookies from other bloggers. Eat them all yourself (or, you know, share. If you want. No judgement either way.) Post your cookie recipe on your blog. See everyone else’s cookie recipes. Salivate. Get lots of great ideas for next year’s cookie swap. Rinse and repeat.
This year we are even more excited to be partnering with Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. We will be collecting a $4 donation from every participant, required upon sign-up. By participating in this cookie swap you are not only contributing to the food blogger community, but also supporting a great cause. Additionally, OXO® will be matching our donation DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR (up to $100k) AND all confirmed U.S. participants will receive a free Be a Good Cookie Spatula. It’s a win-win for everyone!
(I do want to reiterate that these tax-deductible donations will be made directly to Cookies For Kids’ Cancer—a recognized 501(c)3 public charity duly incorporated under the laws of the state of New Jersey—Julie and I will have no contact whatsoever with this money. 100% of it will go directly to this amazing organization).
Want to join in on the fun?
Hurry over to the official Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap website to sign up. Be sure to read through the full rules and requirements carefully to make sure you are able to meet the deadlines and fulfill the requirements. There are no refunds if you drop out prior to the sign-up deadline or if you don’t meet all the requirements. Sign ups will be accepted through Monday, November 5th.
The website will be updated regularly throughout the event, so bookmark the URL or follow us on facebook to get the most up to date info about status and deadlines. If you have any questions, feel free to email us or post a comment below and I’ll do my best to answer it promptly!
Grab a badge:
If you’re participating, spread the word! The more bloggers we have participating in this swap the more fun it’ll be. Please use the code below to add the official cookie swap banner to your blog:
<a href="http://www.fbcookieswap.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.fbcookieswap.com/images/fbcookieswap2012_badge.png" border="0" alt="The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2012"></a>
Tweeting, pinning, or instagraming? Use the hashtag #fbcookieswap.
We hope you are excited about the return of this event as we are! Hooray for cookies!
Funny how I can track the course of my entire childhood with memories of dessert.
There were the classic chocolate chip cookies my mom used to make all the time. I was never far away when she did (otherwise who was going to lick the bowl?).
There was the cake my sister and I tried to bake for my Dad’s birthday one year. When the layers started to slip and slide and no amount of frosting would glue it together, we stuck tootsie pops into the cake in an effort to hold it together. It wasn’t pretty, but boy did it taste good.
I remember my favorite cheesecake that I loved so much. The one with the chocolate swirls and the cookie crust. The recipe came to us randomly in a pile of junk mail.
I remember tackling, so bravely at the age of 10, complicated sugar candies like lollipops and salt water taffy. Yet why am I faced with a fear of cooked sugar now when back then I was completely fearless? Go figure.
And then there was La Cocina. Or LaCo as the locals called it. One of the best restaurants in our little town. It was always a special treat to go to LaCo, where you could feast on the Smiley Face platter (a plate of baked beans with a cheesy grin) and endless chips and salsa. But that’s not the reason I was always so excited to go there.
The real reason was dessert.
Suitably dubbed Chocolate Velvet, the dessert was as light and airy as a chocolate cloud. It was like chocolate mousse – but so much more. Served in a towering slice like the best piece of chocolate cake you’ve ever had, and dusted with fine chocolate cookie crumbs that stuck to your chin.
Needless to say, when La Cocina shut its doors, I was crushed. The prospect of no more chocolate velvet was more than my chocolate-filled mind could handle.
I never forgot about that dessert, and often discussed the urgent matter of the recipe with my mom. She had, at one point, acquired a copy of what was apparently the secret recipe, but the cryptic instructions were so baffling that I had never attempted it before. Finally, after a decade-long velvet void I couldn’t wait any longer.
Once I figured out that the egg whites were best folded into the chocolate mixture and not the plain cookie crumbs, and that the dark-as-night chocolate color I remember was most likely from cookie crumbs folded into the mousse (though that part was missing from the overly abbreviated recipe), the dessert came together just as I remember.
I chose to serve the dessert in mini shot glasses – because, what’s not to like about mini shot glasses? But you could certainly layer the mousse in a 9×9 baking dish instead, and slice it into (larger-than-shot-glass-size) portions for serving. That’s your call.
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