Three Practical Ways to Cook with Fresh Herbs

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Six pots filled with fresh herbs line Rebekah’s backyard post. From left: Basil, Thyme, Mint, Flat Leaf Parsley, Italian Oregano and Cilantro.

One Saturday afternoon recently while cleaning out the shed, my husband and I came across several Terra Cotta clay pots left behind by the previous dwellers of our new Savannah home. I’ve never been one to plant or garden, but I knew if I used them for anything, I would want to plant something I could cook with, something that would enhance the flavor of food. Continue reading “Three Practical Ways to Cook with Fresh Herbs”

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Sharpening My Mind and My Knives: Culinary School 101

The countdown is on! In less than two weeks, my first semester of culinary school will be behind me. I haven’t written about school since Week 2, so I wanted to take this opportunity to share a little of what I’ve been up to, along with a few pictures from the kitchen and our garden. I’m having so much fun and learning more every day.  Continue reading “Sharpening My Mind and My Knives: Culinary School 101”

5 Farmers’ Market Recipes to Make Right Now

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Poor Robin Gardens from Screven, County is one of my favorite vendors to purchase produce from at the Statesboro Mainstreet Farmers’ Market. Meet Ricardo, the farmer!

The return of the Farmers’ Market for me each season is just about as exciting as Christmas Day. With fresh herbs and local produce on my mind, I love getting up on Saturday morning, throwing on my yoga pants, a tank top, a pair of favorite flip flops and my over-sized sunglasses and heading out the door. Sometimes, I even pack up my 11-pound Shih Tzu, Ewok, and we ride with the radio up and the windows down on the way.  Continue reading “5 Farmers’ Market Recipes to Make Right Now”

Easter Entertaining: Recipes and Recollections

The Lingenfelsers hosted a traditional Easter Sunday dinner for family in Claxton, Georgia.
After church, a traditional Easter Sunday dinner is served at the Lingenfelser home in Claxton, Georgia.

 

Few things bring me greater joy than entertaining family and friends around my kitchen table. Easter Sunday was such an occasion. I hosted dinner for my parents and sweet in-laws, plus my husband’s beloved Aunt Polly. From Ina Garten’s Coconut Cake to deviled eggs and brown sugar-mustard glazed ham, our celebratory feast was Some Kinda Good, and as Southern and traditional as it gets. Continue reading “Easter Entertaining: Recipes and Recollections”

Your Take on E-Commerce Food – Take it or Leave it?

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My best friend texted me this photo of the dinner she cooked from Blue Apron last week: Spiced Roast Chicken & Collard Greens.

Okay, y’all. I’m really curious to know your thoughts about something. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last couple of months, you’ve noticed the TV commercials and advertisements promoting the “dawn of e-commerce food,” essentially the creation of perishable food manufacturing businesses. Dozens of companies like Hello Fresh, Blue Apron and Plated, are springing up around the country with this notion of revolutionizing the way we shop for groceries and stock our refrigerators. We’re talking about changing the way people think about food or as one employee at Plated puts it, “Changing the world by making our food system fundamentally better.” When it comes to our foodways, is quality and convenience upstaging tradition?

I find the concept absolutely fascinating! I mean, if I had told my great grandmother Elnora, that one day, she could visit a website, click a button or make a phone call, and within a few days have meals delivered straight to her door, she would have looked at me as if I had three heads! The strides we’ve made in technology are seriously amazing.

Each company basically boasts the same message: Fresh food delivered to your door, at a better value than you can get at your local grocery store. And not just fresh food, but perfectly proportioned, farm fresh ingredients sourced locally and seasonally, including step-by-step chef-concocted recipes. Foolproof! Genius! Why haven’t we thought of this before? But when something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Or is it? Take a look at these ads:

My first thought about these services was they must be for folks who either can’t cook or aren’t able to drive themselves to get their own groceries. As I’ve considered it more closely however, I see the appeal for everyone! Not only does the service save you time and the laborious weekly trip to the supermarket, but it exposes you to new ingredients and takes the guesswork out of weeknight dinner planning (all the while supporting local farmers). I’m having a very hard time seeing the downside. We’ve discussed a few positives, so let’s consider some potential negatives:

  • Proportions don’t allow room for seconds. What if I’m still hungry?
  • Relying on delivery could become problematic. What if I live in a rural area and they aren’t able to find my location?
  • Cost. Is the quality really “at a better value than my local grocery store?”

Also, I can’t help but think about how these companies will affect grocery store chains and local supermarkets. But, maybe that’s the point. If more and more people begin using them, will grocery stores take a major hit? What will that mean for the economy? On the upside, the greatest motivating factor? Ingredients are sourced locally. I can definitely get behind organizations partnering with established farmers’ markets and local artisans.

I haven’t personally tried ordering from any of these companies, but even as someone who enjoys cooking, I’m very tempted! I’m super interested to know what you think. Have you ordered from one of them? What has your experience been? Were you able to follow the provided instructions without a hitch? Most importantly, did the food taste Some Kinda Good? Make me a believer!

As a final thought, Forbes released a great video of an Executive Chef comparing Blue Apron and Plated. See for yourself and let me know your take.

 

Three Thanksgiving Side Dishes For Your Family Table

With the biggest food holiday of the year just days away, I’ve got three side dishes to enliven your family feast. Each recipe offers something unique: 1) a family tradition, 2) a restaurant-inspired side dish and 3) an original. From sweet to savory, I’ve got you covered! Whether you’re hosting Thanksgiving at home or traveling, cook up one of these Southern sides, and you’ll have everyone chowing down with gratitude. Continue reading “Three Thanksgiving Side Dishes For Your Family Table”

A Christmastime Family Tradition at The Old Home Place

The meat is smoked for 8 - 10 hours in the pit.
The meat is smoked for 8 – 10 hours in the pit.

At the end of a long dirt driveway lined by 26-year-old pine trees in Middle Georgia, sits The Old Home Place, where my family has celebrated “The Cookin’” each Christmas for more than 30 years.

Since the mid 1950s, the Faulks have gathered in Twiggs County during Christmas week to eat, drink and be merry–and to slow roast hog meat in an outdoor, handmade fire pit. The Cookin’ began as a prerequisite to Christmas Day, when the pork would be the main event at the Faulk Family Christmas Party.

For as long as I can remember, The Cookin’ has been a part of my holiday experience. I can’t imagine a Christmas without it. Growing up, The Old Home Place was my granddaddy’s house, a large white wood framed home with a wraparound porch, where my dad and his four siblings–two brothers and two sisters– were raised. My granddad, Joe W. Faulk, Jr., or as he was nicknamed, Baby Joe, carried on his father’s tradition and passed it on to his children, who keep the practice alive still today.

From left: Uncle Norman and Uncle "Bimbo" have been a part of The Cookin' since the day they were born. The age-old fire barrel stands in the background.
From left: Uncle Norman and Uncle “Bimbo” have been a part of The Cookin’ since the day they were born. The age-old fire barrel stands in the background.

About two days before Christmas each year, my dad and uncles rise before dawn to pick up the hams and pork shoulders, slab side ribs and tenderloins from the local meat-packing house and return them to the pit, a 4 x 4 foot construction made of stacked cinder blocks fitted with a large grill grate and covered with a sheet of plywood. The meat starts cooking in the early morning for upwards of eight hours. Smoked sausage is grilled alongside the hams to keep hunger at bay throughout the day.

In the backyard near the pit, an age-old makeshift fire barrel stands tall and serves two purposes: creating oak and hickory wood chips for the pit, and putting off heat to tame the chill in the December air. Two 55-gallon metal drum barrels, ends removed, have been welded together, and a hole cut in the bottom just big enough to fit a flat shovel. Each time a log is added to the top, embers float into the air, dancing against the sky.

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Fire blazes against the night sky at the Faulk Family Christmas gathering.

The day is filled with casual chatter about fishing, memories of relatives gone on and laughter between the five siblings who are all grown now with children of their own.  Sounds of good music like, “Jeremiah was a Bullfrog” and Hank Williams’ “Family Tradition” set the tone as aunts, uncles, cousins and kinfolk gather around, sit on tailgates and walk about. Pets wander in the yard, and children play games on the property.  As the hours pass, neighbors and friends come and go as they please, bringing snacks and desserts to share.

My cousins and uncles lend a hand to help shred the meat. From left: Park Burford, James Faulk, Uncle "Bimbo," Randy Faulk and Uncle Norman.
My cousins and uncles lend a hand to help shred the meat. From left: Park Burford, James Faulk, Uncle “Bimbo,” Randy Faulk and Uncle Norman.

Around 4 p.m. when the meat is hot off the grates, it’s time to get down to business.  My uncles transfer the pork to a side table and pull it apart by hand. My granddaddy’s special recipe of barbecue sauce is added, and the meat is wrapped up and put away to be eaten on Christmas Day, while other hams are divvied up for individuals to take home.

The meat is fall-off-the-bone tender after slow roasting all day.
The meat is fall-off-the-bone tender after slow roasting all day.

The Cookin’ was once just a common part of my family’s holiday routine, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to appreciate the rich tradition it is today. Food ties us to our traditions. It’s the thing that makes us feel good and connected. Even though my Papa passed away when I was just 13, one taste of that fine Georgia barbecue and it’s as if he’s right there by my side. I can see Baby Joe now scooping those wood chips from the bottom of that barrel and shoveling them into the pit.

When it comes my time to carry on the family tradition, I’ll continue it with great honor, together with my brother and our cousins. On this Christmas, I’m so grateful my ancestors began The Cookin’ so many years ago. It will be an event that creates lasting memories for years to come at The Old Home Place.

From my family to yours, Merry Christmas.

This article first appeared in the Lifestyles section of the Statesboro Herald on Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013. 

Simple Recipes Tailored for Summer Entertaining

Hosted by myself and Chad (left) of The Stylish Steed, "Nibble & Nosh and Everything Posh!" was held on Thursday, May 15  at the Gadsden State Cherokee Arena.
Hosted by myself and Chad (right) of The Stylish Steed, “Nibble & Nosh and Everything Posh!” was held on Thursday, May 15 at the Gadsden State Cherokee Arena.

As many of you know, I had the opportunity to headline a food and style event recently in Centre, Alabama with my good friend, Chad. It’s been one week ago today, and as promised, I’m sharing the recipes served during the event right here on Some Kinda Good. Whether you attended the event or just happened across my food blog, these refreshing grilled desserts, appetizers and warm weather-friendly beverages are tailored for summer entertaining and don’t even require heating up an oven. They’re simple, yet elevated and certainly Some Kinda Good!

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Bacon, Lettuce and Fried Green Tomato Sliders with Spicy Pimento Cheese

Bacon, Lettuce and Fried Green Tomato Sliders
Serves 12
Prep Time: 30 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 12-Pack of Dinner Rolls, such as King’s Hawaiian
  • 1 Package of Spring Mix Lettuce
  • 6-8 Slices of Hardwood Smoked Bacon, Cooked Crispy
Bacon, Lettuce and Fried Green Tomato Sliders with Spicy Pimento Cheese
Bacon, Lettuce and Fried Green Tomato Sliders with Spicy Pimento Cheese

Spicy Pimento Cheese

  • 2 Jalapeno Peppers, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 Large Sweet Onion, such as Vidalia, diced
  • 2 Cloves Fresh Garlic, minced
  • 2 4-oz. Jars of Diced Pimento Peppers, drained
  • 1/2 of an 8-oz block of Pepper Jack Cheese, grated
  • 1/2 of an 8 oz block of Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated
  • 1/2 of an 8 oz block of Cream Cheese, softened
  • 3 – 4 tablespoons of Dukes Mayonnaise
  • Salt, Pepper and Old Bay Seasoning to taste

In a medium bowl, blend all ingredients together with a hand mixer. To assemble a slider, spread pimento cheese onto dinner roll. Top with spring mix lettuce, one fried green tomato and crispy bacon.

Fried Green Tomatoes

  • 3 Large Green Tomatoes
  • ½ cup Cornmeal
  • ½ cup Self-Rising Flour
  • 2 Teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
  • Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
  • Vegetable Oil + Bacon Grease for frying

Slice tomatoes about ¼ of an inch thick. Place them on a flat surface and season with salt. Transfer the tomatoes to a colander and allow them to drain in the sink for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, fill a cast iron skillet or 10-inch frying pan with vegetable oil halfway full and set over medium heat. The oil will be ready for frying when sizzling occurs after gently sprinkled with water. In a small dish, use a fork to combine the cornmeal, flour, Old Bay, salt and pepper. Dredge the tomatoes in the flour mixture on each side. Roll the sides of the tomato in the flour mixture too, to ensure an even coating. Shake off any excess before dropping the tomato slices into the hot oil. Fry the tomato slices until golden brown, turning once during cooking.  Remove them from the oil and drain on paper towels.

Pineapple-Mango Salsa

  • 1 whole Pineapple, Cored, Peeled and Diced
  • 1 whole Mango, Diced
  • 1/2 of a Medium Red Onion, Finely Diced
  • 1 whole Jalapeno, Seeded and Diced
  • Fresh Cilantro, Chopped
  • 1 whole Lime, Juiced
  • Dash Kosher Salt

Combine all ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Serve with tortilla chips. This salsa is also refreshing alongside or atop grilled meats such as chicken or fish.

Samples of Honey Vanilla Pound Cake served with fresh macerated berries.
Samples of Honey Vanilla Pound Cake served with fresh macerated berries.

Grilled Pound Cake Served with Macerated Berries 

  • Store-Bought or Homemade Pound Cake
  • 1-2 Pints of Strawberries or a combination of Mixed Berries
  • 1/4 cup of Sugar or more to taste

Remove stems from strawberries. Slice lengthwise. Pour sugar over berries and mix until coated. Set aside and let stand at least 30 minutes. Slice pound cake. Lay on an oiled grill grate just until heated through and grill marks appear. Serve macerated berries over cake. For major indulgence, dollop with fresh, sweetened whipped cream. Any combination of fresh berries can be substituted. Blackberries or blueberries would work marvelously! Always use what’s in season and available.

 

Grilled Panzanella is a Tuscan salad of fresh, seasonal vegetables, and grilled Italian bread.
Grilled Panzanella is a Tuscan salad of fresh, seasonal vegetables, and grilled Italian bread.
Samples of Grilled Panzanella
Samples of Grilled Panzanella

Grilled Panzanella

  • 2 large bell peppers (any color), quartered
  • 1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise
  • 1 Medium Onion, cut in half
  • 1 cucumber, sliced into half-moon pieces
  • 3 medium tomatoes, halved
  • 1 loaf of ciabatta or Italian bread, halved lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup torn fresh basil
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Lemon Juice
  • Kosher Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Brush grill with olive oil, season vegetables with kosher salt and black pepper. Grill bell peppers, zucchini and onion for about 4-5 minutes, turning once until grill marks are visible. Chop the grilled vegetables into bite size pieces and place them in a large mixing bowl. Meanwhile, drizzle the bread with olive oil and grill over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and cucumber into the same bowl. Remove bread from grill, cut into cubes and toss together with the vegetables. Drizzle the mixture with equal parts of balsamic vinegar and olive oil, just enough to dress the salad lightly, and season with more salt and pepper. Squeeze about 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice over the mixture. Toss in fresh basil. Devour!

Watermelon Refresher

  •  4 cups of sliced seedless watermelon, rind removed
  • 1 16-oz carton of Lemon Sorbet
  • The Zest of 1 Lemon
  • 1 1/2 cups cold water
  • Watermelon wedges and mint, for garnish

In a blender, combine the first four ingredients until smooth. Pour over ice and serve immediately or refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Garnish with fresh mint and a wedge of watermelon. If you’d like to make this recipe a cocktail, vodka is a great addition. Recipe inspired by Paula Deen.

 Watermelon Skewers
Serves 25
Prep Time: 30 Minutes

  • Seedless Watermelon
  • Feta Cheese
  • Fresh Basil
  • Balsamic Vinegar

Using a small melon baller, scoop out 25 balls of fresh watermelon. Cut feta cheese into medium size cubes (You don’t want them too small because they will crumble when skewered). Pick 25 small basil leaves from a basil plant. Skewer ingredients on wooden skewers in this order: watermelon, feta, basil. Pour about 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar into a small bowl. With a grill brush, dip the brush into the balsamic vinegar and gingerly brush the skewers with it. If the feta cheese gets too damp, it will crumble and fall off the skewer. Serve in a tall flower or frog vase for an interesting display! 

A special thanks to all who attended “Nibble & Nosh and Everything Posh!” If you make these dishes at home, please let me know how they turn out. To see photos from the event, visit Some Kinda Good on Facebook.  Now you’re set on the menu for your summer party, but don’t forget to check out The Stylish Steed for tips on what to wear and how to decorate!

Cheers…to good food and good company.

Statesboro Cooks Starring Rebekah Faulk

This is it y’all! History in the making. Me on TV!! In this episode of Statesboro Cooks, I star as a guest host.

The show will air on local cable, Channel 99 at the following times throughout the month:

  • Monday        7:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday        1 a.m.
  • Wednesday  1 p.m.
  • Thursday      7:30 p.m.

Statesboro Cooks is a multimedia communications team production. My next appearance will be in September. Thank you for watching!