Twas the day after the Super Bowl and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even an Atlanta Falcons fan. Continue reading “Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Dip for the Win”
I have just one week of finals to go before I complete my second semester of culinary school. Finals week marks the end of the most rigorous 16-week schedule I’ve experienced yet, and come December 9, it will be time to celebrate! Continue reading “Finals and Finishing Strong”
It’s that infamous time of year in The Hostess City when everyone, no matter who your people are, becomes Irish for a day. Since I met and married a bonafide Savannahian, my life has never been the same. On March 17 each year, come rain or shine, we will don our green and orange, raise our glasses, pack our picnic baskets and join the hundreds of thousands of others in the Spanish moss-covered oak tree city of Savannah, Georgia.
EXTRA! EXTRA! Read all about it!
I couldn’t be more excited to announce that the Paula Deen team contacted little ol’ me this week with some GREAT news! I’ve been invited to attend Paula Deen Live! in Savannah as a special guest on Friday, August 8 where I’ll be LIVE tweeting and posting about the show on Facebook from the historic Lucas Theatre!
The surprise came earlier this week when I checked my food blog’s email account. The subject line read, “The Heart of Home Cookin’ Coming to Savannah, GA!” It was Paula’s social media coordinator requesting my presence in the Hostess City. Be still my heart. As a life long fan of Paula’s, you can imagine my excitement when I read these words:
To get right to the point, we came across your blog, Some Kinda Good – and we love it! Paula is so excited about her LIVE event, and she wanted to invite some of her biggest fans and supporters, specifically Southern bloggers and influencers.
Do y’all know how many Southern bloggers there are in the world?? I am beside myself and honored that they chose me. Mama and them already purchased their seats!
If you’d like to join the fun, check out Paula’s website for all the details or, follow me on Twitter and LIKE Some Kinda Good on Facebook so you don’t miss a thing. Join the conversation on social media using #PDLIVE. During the event, word also has it that there’ll be a few small surprises in store for you! Paula’s come back tour kicks off on Friday, August 1 with stops all over the country. Be sure to check back after the event for a follow-up post, too. I can’t wait to tell you all about it!
Here’s a sneak peek at the fun that awaits. Good times…See you soon PAULA!
A brand new episode of “Statesboro Cooks” is on air now! You can watch the 30-minute program featuring my St. Patrick’s Day menu on local cable Channel 99 at 7:30 p.m., 1 a.m. and 1 p.m. daily, or right now by clicking on the video below. Featuring the musical talent of lead vocalist and guitarist Justin Dukes of The Tiger Creek Band, this show was the most fun episode to film yet! Special thanks to Hunter Cattle Company, Sugar Magnolia Bakery & Cafe, and Simply Sweet Cakery for all your help in making the meal Some Kinda Good! Without further ado, enjoy the show and the recipes below. Cheers to St. Patrick’s Day!
“Statesboro Cooks” is a Georgia Southern University Department of Communication Arts multimedia communications team production.
Mixed Green Salad with Fresh Strawberries
- Organic Mixed Greens
- Seasonal, Fresh Strawberries, hulled and halved
- Candied Georgia Pecans, toasted
- Dried Cranberries
- Feta Cheese
- Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette
Toss all ingredients (except dressing) together in a trifle bowl. Serve alongside Shepherd’s Pie and Irish Soda Bread. To candy pecans, dry roast the nuts in a saucepan until fragrant. Add about 1/4 cup of brown sugar, stirring until melted and coated evenly. Remove from the heat. For the dressing, combine equal parts balsamic vinegar and olive oil by whisking briskly. Add 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard and season with salt and pepper. Dress salad lightly.
- 2 pounds Hunter Cattle Company Ground Beef
- 4 Large Potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 1 stick of Unsalted Butter
- 8 oz. Sour Cream
- 1/2 Cup of Heavy Cream
- 1 Bundle of Walker Farms Rainbow Carrots
- 1/2 Cup Frozen Peas
- 1/2 Cup Frozen Corn
- 1 Large Onion, Diced
- 2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
- 1 1/2 Cups of Sharp Cheddar, Grated
- Bella D’ Olivia Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Flat Leaf Parsley, for Garnish
- Salt, Pepper, Dried Thyme
Fill a large stock pot with water and bring it to a boil. Liberally salt the water. Add potatoes and cover. Let boil for 20-25 minutes until fork tender. Meanwhile, melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a cast iron skillet or 10-inch frying pan. Add in diced onion and carrots stirring until soft. Season with salt and pepper. After about 5 minutes, add in ground beef and brown. Stir in garlic. Season again with salt and pepper, adding in thyme. Incorporate peas and corn. Let cook for about five minutes. Drain potatoes and put them back in the same stock pot. Add in butter, heavy cream, sour cream, salt and pepper. Mash with a potato masher. Grease a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish. Pour ground beef mixture into the dish. Spread mashed potatoes evenly over the top. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes, until cheese is melted and slightly browned. Garnish with fresh parsley. Enjoy!
- 1 Cup Brewed Strong Coffee
- 3 Tablespoons of Irish Whiskey such as Jameson
- Fresh Whipped Cream
- CinnamonDirections:Stir three tablespoons of whiskey into one cup of brewed coffee. Top with a dollop of fresh whipped cream, sprinkle with cinnamon.
March is finally here and that’s something to get excited about for SO many reasons–1) I’ve got a new episode of “Statesboro Cooks” premiering this Friday, 2) Daylight Savings Time and 3) St. Patrick’s Day!
Here in Statesboro, I’m just a few miles down the road from Savannah, Georgia where one of the largest parties celebrating Irish history and culture, second only to New York City, takes place in the United States every year. Last year was my first experience at the Savannah St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and what a blast it was! My Savannah-born-and-raised boyfriend and I donned our green, packed a festive picnic including Paula Deen’s Green Grits Pie and Trisha Yearwood’s Green Punch (spiked of course) and spent the day on Johnson Square playing beer pong with complete strangers at 10 a.m., watching the horse and buggies pass us by and enjoying the sound of bagpipes. It was an unforgettable event I believe everyone should experience at least once.
On my upcoming episode of “Statesboro Cooks,” a local 30-minute televised cooking program produced by students in the Department of Communication Arts at Georgia Southern University, I share an Irish menu featuring Shepherd’s Pie and a Mixed Green Salad with seasonal strawberries and candied Georgia pecans. To round out the meal, I get a little help from some local businesses: Simply Sweet Cakery provides dessert (you won’t believe these cupcakes!) and Sugar Magnolia Bakery and Cafe sends me home with a loaf of fresh-baked Irish Soda Bread.
With a couple of extra stout Guinness beers and an Irish Coffee or 12, we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in true Savannah style. Also on the show, I couldn’t be more excited to introduce one of my dear and talented friends from Vidalia Georgia’s Tiger Creek Band, lead vocalist and guitarist Justin Dukes. Justin entertains us with one of his new singles, “Rolling with the Flow,” and the two of us join voices singing Luke Bryan’s, “Tailgate Blues.” This is my favorite episode to date and I’m on the edge of my seat just thinking about it. Good food and good company, that’s what it’s all about!
Tune in to “Statesboro Cooks”on local cable channel 99 at 7:30 p.m. seven days a week beginning Friday, March 7. The show will also air again at 1 p.m and 1 a.m. daily. Be sure to check back right here on “Some Kinda Good” to get my St. Patrick’s Day menu, including all the recipes featured. If you’re not local, no worries! The program will be available on my blog.
Now, here’s an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look on set during the filming of “Statesboro Cooks.” Will you be watching? Thanks for tuning in!
New to Some Kinda Good? Welcome!
A Season 2 Contestant on ABC’s “The Taste,” I’m the Statesboro Herald food columnist as well as host and executive co-producer of “Statesboro Cooks.” Some Kinda Good is a Southern, coastal food blog highlighting East coast restaurant reviews and Lowcountry-inspired recipes. I hope you’ll stick around, and follow me on Twitter at @SKGFoodBlog or find me on Facebook. Thanks for visiting!
During Tybee Island Restaurant Week, I had the privilege of meeting a fellow blogger–one of my longtime blog followers, and discovering a new place I had seen in the distance many times while crossing over the Lazaretto Creek Bridge, but had never taken the time to stop and explore. After a little menu research on participating restaurants, the Fried Strawberries at Coco’s Sunset Grille caught my eye and the marina filled with shrimp boats and sunset views lured me in.
Immediately, Coco’s has the feel of a fun and festive Florida vibe with its bright, cheerful paint colors and lively bar. While my boyfriend, Kurt and I were waiting to meet our friends, Jon and Lydia, we took a walk around the docks and saw the Bait & Tackle Shop and Kayak Rentals on the marina.
We kicked things off with a couple of Landshark Lagers and dove right in to making our selections. For just $25, the special menu offered choices in appetizer, dinner and dessert categories. In the appetizer round, we had our choice of French Onion Soup, a Shrimp Cake, Fried Green Tomatoes or Bacon-Wrapped Scallops.
For my main course, I ordered the Shrimp Cakes with sautéed vegetables and mashed potatoes. This was something new for me. I had eaten crab cakes before, but never a shrimp cake. Cooked to perfection, the plump, wild Georgia shrimp were sweet within the seasoned breading and left me wanting more. Rustic including the red skins, the mashed potatoes sang on the plate. The house-made remoulade was mayonnaise based and one waitress commented, “I put it on everything. I even dip my fries in it.”
Other dinner selections included Sirloin Steak Marsala with scalloped potatoes and grilled asparagus, and Thai Tuna with wasabi mashed potatoes and sautéed veggies. Coco’s is the place to go for sophisticated flavors minus the fuss of fine dining.
The Fried Strawberries totally surpassed my expectations! After the delicious meal we’d eaten, this came as no surprise. Served with fresh, sweetened whipped cream and a pretty pink strawberry sauce, the fresh fruit was fried in pancake batter and rolled in cinnamon sugar. I can’t wait to recreate this experience at home. They were Some Kinda Good!
So much of a customer’s dining experience is affected by a restaurant’s environment. From the attitude of the staff to the sound of live entertainment and the tastefully decorated, clean bathrooms, Coco’s Sunset Grille is a place I will definitely return, especially in the summertime. Their website took the words right out of my mouth–“Just add an ice-cold beer…great music, and a few of your best friends, and you’ve got a recipe for Tybee living the way it’s meant to be.”
Special thanks to my fellow blogger and new-found friend, Jon, of “The SOG City Oracle” (SOG is abbreviated for South of Gandy). Though we’d interacted before in the blogsphere, our visit to Coco’s was the first time we’d met in person. He’d suggested a “blogger convergence” during Tybee Island Restaurant Week, and we had such a great time meeting (and eating!) together. On his Tampa, Florida blog, Jon shares his passion for food and more, with “only an occasional opinionated detour.” While reading “The SOG City Oracle,” you’ll appreciate his witty sense of humor, be enlightened by his Quote of the Day and you’ll come across several restaurants worth paying a visit.
Good food and good company, that’s what it’s all about!
Seafood on the Georgia coast with good company gets me more excited than a child on Christmas morning. Moreover, restaurants that want to show off their menu offerings at affordable prices are that much more enticing. Tybee Island Restaurant Week begins this Friday, and I can’t imagine a better way to enjoy a little taste of Tybee, from beer battered oysters at North Beach Bar and Grill or Killer Key Lime Pie at Fannie’s on the Beach to homemade pizza at Huc-A-Poos Bites and Booze. Why not join in the fun at perhaps the most laid-back destination on the Southeastern seacoast?
From January 17 – 26, 2014, each participating restaurant will offer 3-course, prix fixe dinner menus for $25-$30 per person (not including tax and gratuity). “Prix fixe” simply means the chefs have predetermined a few of the most delicious selections to showcase in each category–appetizer, entrée and dessert. You choose whatever suits your palate, then sit back and enjoy the experience. It’s a fantastic time to explore a new restaurant and experience variety in a wallet-friendly way. On my list of places to stop? Tybee Island Social Club and Coco’s Sunset Grille. Bacon wrapped scallops or fried strawberries, anyone? Yes, please!
As it turns out, many of the restaurants I’ve reviewed right here on “Some Kinda Good™”are participating! Check them out below:
The Crab Shack – “Where Friendship and Fine Food Collide”
Huc-A-Poos Bites and Booze – “A Heavenly Vibe at Huc-A-Poos Bites and Booze”
Sting Ray’s Seafood – “White Zinfandel and Wild Georgia Shrimp”
North Beach Grill – “Pastured Poultry Week: So God Made a Farmer”
Get a complete list of participating restaurants, including the restaurant week menus by visiting this page on the Tybee Island Restaurant Week website. See you on the coast!
Six days. Five airports. 4,830 miles round trip. 35 people nationwide.
Over the summer of 2013, I auditioned for Season 2 of ABC’s The Taste, a cooking competition reality show. After a two-month process of interviews, loads of paperwork and intense anticipation and waiting, I was selected out of thousands to be among the Top 35 contestants in the nation to compete on the Audition episode which premiered on Jan. 2, 2014 at 8 p.m. They flew me to Los Angeles, California and put me up in a 24-story hotel in the Hollywood Hills where I had a view of the pool, the palm trees and seven lanes of interstate.
This is my story.
Filled with big dreams, confidence and high hopes, I left rural Georgia with my California-titled iPod playlist including Kelly Clarkson’s Breakaway, Eminem’s Lose Yourself and Jay-Z and Alisha Key’s Empire State of Mind. From the airport, I posted LeAnn Rimes’ One Way Ticket music video on Facebook and sang the “West bound train” lyrics in my head.
Fast forward through Day 1: I traveled through four time zones, experienced plane delays, checked in at the hotel and got somewhat acquainted. Day 2: I shopped for ingredients. Day 3: On scene at Universal Studios, I felt like a movie star in a hair & make-up trailer and had my outfit approved by two British people in the wardrobe trailer. On-camera interviews were completed. Day 4: Showtime.
The first 15 minutes of the season on set were mine. I was the first contestant to face the mentors. I’ll never forget the moment I entered the set through the “pantry,” and rounded the corner to step on stage. There were big lights, lots of extras and over 15 cameras–from every angle–ALL pointed at me. That made some contestants nervous, but I reveled in it. “This is it,” I thought. It was my moment to shine. Everything I’d waited for. I gave it to them. I smiled. I played my Southern character with pride, relishing in the fact that I was the only contestant there from Georgia. I lived every moment. As I walked on set, I heard one producer shout to a camera man, “We got a good one!”
Aside from the challenges I faced, like my first time cooking on a gas stove, using pots and pans I’d never used before, along with shopping in a region where ingredients are titled “Southern Style Grits,” I kept a level head and remained cognizant of the time. I was given an hour to cook and plate my signature dish: Shrimp and Grits with a Creamy White Wine Sauce. While chopping vegetables and talking with producers, I burned my first pan of bacon. I also almost mistook lemon grass for my garnish because I couldn’t find green onions in the refrigerator. Nevertheless, I kept going.
I finished the challenge with five minutes remaining, having successfully plated my dish and all six tasting portions–two for beauty shots, four for tasting. I put forth the best creamy white wine sauce I’d ever made. Some memories fade and some feelings are fleeting–but one that will remain with me forever is stepping off the set and feeling that rush of fulfillment wash over me. I had done what I came to do, and I had done it well.
Then I exited the stage and was escorted to the friends and family room where I would see my boyfriend, Kurt, and two of my very best friends, Chad and Charity. They were flown out for a three-day period during my stay. Following a brief touch-up with the make-up artist, I opened the door to the family room and saw the people I love sitting on the edge of their seats with expressions of expectation so vivid. We had been separated since the previous day, and the emotion and excitement I expressed was nothing short of real.
After that high, I faced my fate. I would wait for the producer’s cue, then walk forward and stand on the spoon-shaped “x marks the spot.” There, right in front of my face, just steps away, sat Anthony Bourdain, Nigella Lawson, Marcus Samuelsson and Ludo Lefebvre–in the flesh. It was one of those moments where you’re present, but beside yourself. I saw their lips moving and heard them speaking, but had it not been recorded, I would question if it ever really happened. There I was, a food blogger from small town Blythe, Georgia and Twiggs County farm country, in Hollywood on a set at Universal Studios, in front of these well accomplished, renowned culinary experts. They had just tasted my food.
British home cook, food writer and bestselling cookbook author Nigella Lawson was the first to tell me what she thought. Nigella’s team is the one I had hoped to join. Nigella and I were wearing the same color–both royal blue dresses, so right off the bat, it was meant to be.
She asked me to introduce myself and tell her a little bit about my dish. She was interested in “the powdered seasoning” I’d used and the spice in the dish. Unfortunately, she’d decided that my shrimp were “slightly overcooked,” and the Old Bay seasoning I’d used was too much. “As you know we made our decisions before we met you,” she said and with what seemed regretful, she pushed her red “No” button.
I was crushed, and I knew my chances of joining the others’ teams were dim. Sure enough, with every comment followed the dreaded red button.
After everything I’d heard about Anthony Bourdain, I must say, I thought he’d be the toughest judge. As it turns out, he was one of the kindest to me. We agreed that food was such a personal thing. “Unfortunately for you, I didn’t have an emotional connection to your shrimp and grits,” he said. He had been surprised that I wasn’t professionally trained though, noting that the Old Bay gave my dish a restaurant quality. That was HUGE coming from a man who’s traveled the world. I’ll take it.
Marcus Samuelsson said my passion was evident, and that he liked how my dish represented the region of the country from which I came. With a quick and succinct comment, Ludo Lefebvre said “It wasn’t my thing. I didn’t like it. It’s a no.”
Everyone has their taste buds, and America would be a boring place if we all liked the same things.
So, as show business would have it, all four of the judges rejected me. It was time to pack it up and head on back to the Peach State, but not before I drank a Shirley Temple on Hollywood Blvd., got my picture taken in front of the notorious HOLLYWOOD sign and took pictures of the stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. I exited the hotel with my 50-pound suitcase in tow, containing clothes with the tags still on them, as Adele’s Chasing Pavement played over the elevator like the well-timed beat of a drum.
I won’t forget the talented people I got to compete with and the connections I made. I will carry this experience to the grave.
My appreciation for the South has never been greater than when I travel outside the South. I came home with new eyes. At the grocery store in my hometown, as I pushed my buggy through the produce department where I’m known by name, where hardly anything is gluten-free, organic or vegan, and where Johnny Cash plays on the radio, I was home. Home in my Southern, two-lane, suburban, football-loving town. If ever I needed a reminder of exactly who I am, traveling serves it purpose.
One word of advice: No matter the outcome, go after it. Always go after the things that make your heart beat.
“Find something your passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.” –Julia Child