Friday, November 28, 2014

I Love Buttermilk

So A few things up front:

1. I love buttermilk.
It’s tangy deliciousness and it’s ability to do an uncountable amount of good things for food and beyond, the fact that it is low fat and quite good for you despite it’s -not so good for you- sounding name.  Oh!!! I could wax and wane over the beauty of buttermilk all day and I thought I knew just about all of its tricks until last week.

I said a few things…

2. I love cottage cheese.
I have been on a constant quest to find the best cottage cheese. I have tried every brand from the average store brands to the organic and all natural to the artisan brands only found in specialty stores and really only one did I feel was the right texture, creaminess, and sodium content.  It came from a store that I don’t frequent; in fact, I would just go there to get the cottage cheese. So I decided to start some research on making my own at the beginning of this year. I pulled a bunch of recipes off line and started studying.  Needless to say I never followed through with it and can’t even find the folder of all the things I printed off to learn about it. Part of it I believe was a little intimidation and even though I love a challenge, I really hate failure.

Fast forward several months later and to a book signing for The Short Stack Editions* that I attended with some crazy talented authors and friends of mine (Angie Mosier and Virginia Willis) at The Preserving Place** in Atlanta.
Although another good friend of mine, Tamie Cook, had given me their books as a gift and I had looked through them previously I decided before the event to revisit them. What did I discover in Angie’s book about Buttermilk you ask????
WHAT, who knew?

It couldn’t be easier. Heat buttermilk until the whey separates from the curd, drain it, add some cream and salt if desired and chill. But don’t throw out the whey…there are many things you can do with it…put it in your smoothie…no more protein powder, use it in replacement of liquids in baking, throw it in your stock or soup, I think you can even use it in your garden to improve the soil. Oh, and it freezes well too.

Ok, I know I am a nerd. It’s the little things that get me excited but now my cottage cheese quest is over. I have found the one I love and I now take great pleasure in knowing that it is one that I can make myself!!!

Thank you Angie!

Now go buy the book, or better yet all of them…I can’t wait to try the Tomato Pie!

*a collection of small format cookbooks on a single subject written by top culinarians from around the U.S.

Happy Curds and Whey!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Modern Post: Strawberry Fruit Leather

The Modern Post: Strawberry Fruit Leather

The beautiful and talented Heidi Rew, a fellow blogger, and TV/radio personality, recently approached me to take part in a pilot she was shooting called The Modern Post. I was beyond flattered and agreed to help her out with the food segment portion of her pilot! The Modern Post is a concept designed around a way for people to view quality lifestyle blog posts. Each episode has a different theme and will feature expert bloggers on the subjects of Home Décor, Fitness, Fashion, and Food.  The theme for the pilot was DIH--- “Do it Herself”.  So for my segment I demonstrated how to make Strawberry Fruit Leather. Strawberries may be out of season now but you can do this with just about any fruit! It is crazy easy, healthy, and delicious you’ll wish you knew how to make this simple and cool recipe earlier.

The Modern Post Pilot is going to go live THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2014.
Check it out at:

Also check out all the other Blogger’s sites:
Fitness: Donna Burke:
Home Décor: Kristin Jackson:
Fashion: Jessica Camerata:

Strawberry Fruit Leather

4 cups hulled strawberries
Local honey-2 tablespoons-1/4 cup, depending on sweetness of the strawberries, less is better
Heat an oven to the lowest setting possible, mine is 170°F. Puree all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and pour the mixture onto the pan. Spread the puree into a thin layer, tilting the pan to get as even as possible. Bake in the oven for several hours until it is no longer wet to the touch but not yet crispy, ours took about 4 hours. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Cut into 1-inch wide strips, leaving the paper on. Roll up and store in an airtight container for a few weeks or in the fridge for several months.
Notes: The cook times will vary from fruit to fruit, depending on how juicy the fruit is. Sometimes with certain fruits like apples, you may need to add a little water to get them pureed to the right consistency. This can be done with just about any fruit, even frozen fruits.  Apples with cinnamon, blueberries and lime zest, even pumpkin… you can get creative too with different combinations and flavor combos!


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Summertime Tomatoes

Summer Time Tomatoes

It’s been a while since I posted, over a year in fact. I’ve been busy with a career, a family, and just plain life. On top of not having the time I have been lacking inspiration. Food is my life. I work with it everyday, sometimes to the point of not being interested. When I am not working, however, I love to cook and more importantly: EAT.
I found inspiration last week in the bounty of tomatoes my husband pulled from the garden. He had been bringing in a handful or two of cherry tomatoes every few days or so then one day he brought in the mother load. I had no idea what was going on in the back yard!!! He then left town for a week for work telling me that he wanted me to save him some for when he came back. A few have endured but most were getting past their prime. I shared a few with my family, I was throwing them in salads, making omelets stuffed with them and just cutting them up to eat with some salt and pepper at every meal. I still had too much for me to eat!
I was trying to think of something fun to do with them. I could make sauce to freeze, I could make ketchup but then I remembered a truly memorable meal I had about a year ago at the Southern Food Ways Alliance Symposium in Oxford, Mississippi.
Not only is it one of the most fun, food filled weekends of the year it brings to the forefront some fantastic chefs. Each year there is a focus on what the Symposium is about and last year was Women at Work. One of the meals was prepared by Chef Vivian Howard and was the one that sticks in my mind.  She is the part owner of the restaurant The Chef and the Farmer with her husband in Eastern North Carolina. In that meal that she prepared there were two unbelievably delicious dishes. Simple, not fancy at all, just made with high quality ingredients and with so much care you could taste it.
The two dishes she made that I can’t ever stop thinking about were her mother’s (Scarlett) Chicken and Rice and her Tomato Pie. I got online and began searching, not very hopeful that I would find the recipes but maybe a way to contact her directly to get them. Luckily in my search I discovered that she has a show on PBS called A Chef’s Life where she explores Southern food with a focus on farm to table. I began looking at the episodes and there they were out of the 13 episodes I found the Tomato Pie and the Chicken and Rice recipes. I quickly set to making both and although it never tastes the same as when someone else makes it for you they both were pretty darn close!
Here are some pictures of the Tomato Pie and some links to the two recipes.