Strawberry-Basil Sauce and How To Use It

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You can find me at the Forsyth Farmers’ Market in Savannah just about every Saturday morning: A food lover’s paradise!

Strawberry season is officially here and if you’ve visited your local farmers’ market lately, you know exactly what I mean! After a trip to the Forsyth Farmers’ Market over the weekend, I brought home a gallon-sized bucket full of farm-picked, red-ripened strawberries and developed the most luscious and sweet sauce oozing with strawberry flavor. Continue reading “Strawberry-Basil Sauce and How To Use It”

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Celebrating National Small Business Week with Brazzlebox

Great Infographic provided by Brazzlebox, a free community built by and for small business owners.
Great infographic provided by Brazzlebox, a free, online community built by and for small business owners.

When it comes to buying and shopping locally, you can bet, I’m a supporter–and not just where food is concerned. That’s why when Brazzlebox reached out to me about helping spread the word on National Small Business Week coming up May 1 – 7, I jumped at the chance. Based in Syracuse, New York, Brazzlebox is a 32,000-member online community network built by and for small and home-based business owners. The national recognition week is set aside each year in the spirit of helping small businesses connect and succeed. A bunch of entrepreneurs helping each other out is definitely a cause I can get behind! Continue reading “Celebrating National Small Business Week with Brazzlebox”

Georgia Cocktail Meatballs Make a Perfect Party Appetizer

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Some Kinda Good Georgia Cocktail Meatballs

Grape jelly combined with apple hickory BBQ sauce and hot pepper jelly is an unlikely combination, but when paired together with perfectly seasoned meatballs, they make the most decadent and savory bite. Continue reading “Georgia Cocktail Meatballs Make a Perfect Party Appetizer”

Shop Local for Wild Georgia Shrimp & Grits

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Wild Georgia Shrimp & Grits is a classic Lowcountry dish, and one of Rebekah’s favorites.

Shrimp and Grits: The Lowcountry staple has been around for more than 100 years and you can hardly visit a restaurant these days without seeing it on the menu. In 2011, Shrimp & Grits was the most popular dish served at weddings across the United States. Continue reading “Shop Local for Wild Georgia Shrimp & Grits”

Celebrate Summer with Local Blackberry-Georgia Peach Crumble

wpid-0622142020b.jpgSummertime may be my absolute favorite time to visit the farmers’ market and fruit may be my absolute favorite thing to purchase. On Saturday morning, I scored a large package of plump blackberries and the season’s first Georgia peaches. You can imagine my excitement when I came across a delicious recipe for Peach-Berry Crumble in the latest edition of Southern Living. Sunday afternoon just got better.

Fruit from the fields of Screven County.
Fruit from the fields of Screven County.

I paid $5 for this huge container of blackberries. You can’t beat that! Well worth the money, especially knowing I’m supporting the local farming community. Thanks Ricardo from Poor Robin’s Produce! The peaches came from my friends at Jacob’s Produce. I snuck a few pieces while slicing them for the crumble. Irresistible, juicy and sweet.

Blackberry-Peach Crumble
Blackberry-Peach Crumble

Crumbles make the perfect summer dessert. Simple to throw together, they’re special enough for entertaining yet quick enough for a post-dinner weeknight treat.

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I substituted 1/2 cup of uncooked regular oats with Honey Bunches of Oats with Vanilla. It’s what I had on hand and it got the job done! Assembling this dessert is so much fun because it’s rustic and hands-on. Butter makes everything better.

wpid-0622141830a.jpgBake for 40-45 minutes at 375 degrees.

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The end result is a crunchy, buttery topping filled with warm, sweet fruit. Serve with cold vanilla ice cream or sweetened whipped cream. Garnish with fresh mint. Savor summertime!


 

wpid-0622142020b.jpgHere’s a quick glance at the recipe. Thanks Southern Living for the inspiration!

Peach-Berry Crumble
Serves: 6-8
Prep Time: 1 Hour, 20 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 cups fresh peach slices (about 3 medium)
  • 2 cups fresh blackberries
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup uncooked regular oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • Vanilla ice cream

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Place first 2 ingredients in an 11- x 7-inch (or 2-qt.) baking dish. Stir together egg, egg yolk, and next 4 ingredients with a fork until mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle over fruit; drizzle melted butter over topping. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until light brown and bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes; serve warm with ice cream.

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Living the Dream Through Cupcakes and Caffeine

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CAKE 
Statesboro, Georgia

It’s mid-morning on a sunny Saturday, after a satisfying brunch and visit to my local farmers’ market. Dressed completely casually with nowhere to be, I stroll along East Main Street in downtown Statesboro to find an inviting sidewalk chalkboard and the doors open wide at CAKE Bakery and Cool Beanz Espresso Bar. Upon entering, I discover much more than cupcakes and caffeine. Here two kindred spirits — one culinary artist and one head coffee geek — have joined forces to make their dreams a reality.

wpid-0407141733.jpgMeet David Hoyle, former senior project manager for a technology integration company, turned owner of Cool Beanz Espresso Bar. Here’s a guy who said, ‘It’s now or never,’ and dove head first into his passion–pure coffee, expertly brewed. He started down the path of coffee discovery after tasting his first cup of lightly roasted coffee on a business trip in Caracas, Venezuela. Before, David says he was a fan of triple grande, 3-pump skinny mochas. When it came to drinking coffee, he would disguise its bitter taste with heavy doses of cream and sugar, consuming what he calls “coffee-flavored sugar milk.” Curiosity led him to begin experimenting with various brewing methods which can alter and enhance the flavor profile of a coffee bean. Now, just over two months into his new business venture, he’s having the time of his life offering three different brewing techniques to Southeast Georgians everywhere: Pour-over, Immersion and Espresso. He prepares every single cup by hand. Armed with the finest local ingredients, he’s ready to rock your coffee world.

Two Statesboro-based coffee companies supply all David’s coffee beans: Three Tree Coffee Roasters and Iron Wedge. Java isn’t all he’s serving up. You can order hot chocolate, frozen chocolate shakes, chai tea lattes and milk. On my last visit, I ordered Three Tree’s Ethiopian coffee. Naturally bright and sweet with a hint of berries, every sip was smooth going down, not wanting for anything.

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Contributed Photo

This is Shannon Ward, bakery owner. A former registered radiologic technologist and sonographer, Shannon enjoyed her career in the medical field but needed a job that would allow her creative spirit to soar. After becoming a stay-at-home-mom, she began baking cake pops and cakes for extra income. She gained quite a following in Screven and Bulloch Counties, and with the support of many encouraging friends and family, gained the confidence to open CAKE. 

wpid-0509141720.jpgIn addition to those tried and true flavors like chocolate, birthday and red velvet cake, Shannon enjoys changing up the menu daily, offering creations like the baklava cupcake with all the essentials–lemon, honey and pistachios–or her maple and bacon cupcake. She says she loves the freedom of coming into her kitchen early in the morning, looking at what she has on hand and whipping up something unexpected and amazing. So far, I’ve tried the PB&J and Key Lime flavors. I also love her nod to all things local, from the ingredients she bakes with to the Georgia Southern-inspired True Blue cupcakes. Based on customer requests and her own inspiration, Forrest Gump might equate the ever-changing menu to a box of chocolates–you never know what you’re going to get. 

wpid-0407141728a.jpgFrench Macaroons are also offered daily, along with homemade quiche.  Birthday and other special occasion cakes are made to order. Tying the knot? Wedding cakes are available too.

wpid-0407141727.jpgCAKE is a small space with big impact. Chic and modern with exposed brick walls and quaint little tables, the atmosphere is inviting and cozy. The artwork hanging in the bakery is all for sale and painted by a local artist. Even the fresh flowers on each table are provided by a neighboring florist. Food is served on dinnerware with metal utensils. These small touches really enhance each visit. You get a happy and pleasant energy the moment you enter, and those kinds of details keep me coming back.

My Ethiopian coffee along with a Peanut Butter & Jelly cupcake.
My Ethiopian coffee along with a Peanut Butter & Jelly cupcake.

With a name like CAKE, what’s not to love?



New to Some Kinda Good?
Thanks for stopping by! If you like this post, you may also be interested to read about a few of the other local restaurants and bakeries I’ve reviewed. As the Statesboro Herald food columnist and a Georgia Southern University alumna, the ‘Boro is a second home to me. Be sure to like Some Kinda Good on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter, to keep up with all my latest, local food discoveries.

CAKE Bakery & Cool Beanz Espresso Bar on Urbanspoon

An Easter Feast of Roasted Leg of Lamb and Mint Chutney

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An Easter Feast featuring Roasted Leg of Lamb with Mint Chutney, Roasted Root Vegetables, Rosemary Mashed Potatoes and Blanched Snap Peas.

At my house, it wouldn’t be a dinner party without the smoke alarm sounding at least once or my Shih Tzu, Ewok howling to the top of his lungs and doing the happy dance each time a new guest arrives at the door. That was the scene on a rainy Tuesday night recently when I invited my boyfriend and two close friends over for an early Easter feast. It was an occasion special enough for fine china and the antique, linen seashell napkins my mother gave me. On the menu?

  • Roasted Leg of Lamb with Mint Chutney
  • Locally Roasted Root Vegetables: Turnips and Carrots
  • Rosemary Mashed Potatoes
  • Blanched Snap Peas
  • Open-Faced Apple Pie
  • Malbec Red Wine

I had visited the Statesboro Main Street Farmers’ Market earlier that day for some help with side dishes, and came across these beauties from Poor Robin’s Produce grown in Screven County. Though they took more work to prepare, roasted with a good quality olive oil and some freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt, the vegetables were tender to the taste and colorful on the platter. These vegetables keep giving and giving…with the leftover roasted vegetables from dinner, the next day I made the most hearty and comforting Roasted Turnip and Carrot Soup with homemade croutons. I’ve begun to think like a real chef, using up every ounce of the produce possible. I even garnished my soup with the green carrot tops. Turnip greens are up next.

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Roasted Leg of Lamb with Mint Chutney surrounded by Locally Roasted Carrots and Turnips

For the Leg of Lamb:

  • One 4 -Pound Leg of Lamb
  • 3-4 Garlic Cloves, slivered
  • Good Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil, such as Bella D ‘Olivia
  • Kosher Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper

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Directions:
Leave the fat on the lamb. Don’t trim it. It adds flavor and keeps the meat moist throughout roasting. Pre-heat the over to 450 degrees. With a sharp knife, make small slits throughout the meat. Insert the slivered garlic cloves into the slits. Season the lamb with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle the meat with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, then massage the seasonings and oil all over the meat. Place the meat in roasting pan, fitted with a rack. If you don’t have one, a 9 x 13 casserole dish will work just as well. Fill the roasting pan with an inch of water.  Roast the meat at 450 degrees for the first 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and check to see if the water has evaporated, if so, add more. Reduce the heat to 400 degrees. Cook the meat for 20 minutes per pound for medium well, or 15 minutes per pound for medium rare.

Reason #429 to visit your local farmers’ market: TO GET RECIPES!! When I purchased a large Zip-Lock bag of fresh mint, this little jewel was attached to it with a paper clip.

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The mint chutney (pictured at right in the jar) was bright and refreshing with the bold flavor of lamb.

For the Mint Chutney:

  • 2 1/2 Cups Chopped Fresh Mint Leaves
  • 1/3 Cup Minced Onion
  • 1/4 Cup Distilled White Vinegar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/3 Cup White Sugar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt

Directions:
In a medium bowl, mix the mint, onion, sugar, vinegar, cayenne pepper and salt. Cover the mixture and refrigerate 2 hours, or until chilled.

wpid-0415142003.jpgI took  great pleasure in carving the meat at the table to the sound of my guests’ ooos and ahhhs.

These side dishes and our dessert rounded out the meal perfectly.

wpid-0415142012.jpgLeg of Lamb is definitely a cause for fine china.

wpid-0415142108a.jpgEmpty plates all around = full bellies and full hearts.

wpid-0417142228.jpgThe sign that hangs above two french doors in my kitchen sums up the evening perfectly.

Have you eaten lamb before? If so, how did you prepare it and what did you think?

St. Patrick’s Day Episode of “Statesboro Cooks” including Featured Recipes On Air Now

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 Seasonal Strawberries and Candied Georgia Pecans
Mixed Green Salad with Seasonal Strawberries and Candied Georgia Pecans

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

Directions:
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.

Shepherd's Pie Featuring Hunter Cattle Company's Grass-Fed Beef
Shepherd’s Pie Featuring Hunter Cattle Company’s Grass-Fed Beef

Shepherd’s Pie

  • 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

Directions:
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!

The spread!
The spread!

Irish Coffee
Serves 1

  • 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.

Breakfast Locally Inspired

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Cinnamon Sugar Pecan French Toast with Smoked Bacon

Food tastes better when you buy local. For Sunday morning brunch recently, I made french toast and bacon, but not just any french toast and bacon. On Saturday, I visited the Statesboro Mainstreet Farmers’ Market where I purchased a pecan loaf from Sugar Magnolia Bakery and Cafe and a pound of smoked bacon from Hunter Cattle Company. The sweet bread was the perfect thickness when sliced just right, and the Georgia pecans provided a nice crunch and texture that regular loaf bread lacks. Dusted with a touch of confectioner’s sugar, it was all I could do to take one picture before I savored every bite. And the pig. Never have I tasted the flavor of hog meat so profound and assertive.


Only available on Saturdays, the $4.50 pecan loaf at Sugar Magnolia Bakery and Cafe is hand-shaped into a round and baked. When the bread comes out of the oven, the top is sliced into what resembles a tree to allow steam to escape. When purchased, the bread is so fresh, you can still see the white flour on top in its brown paper sack. It’s so rustic and fun. For french toast, slice the bread about a 1/4 inch thick.

wpid-20130922_121044.jpgFrench toast is awesome for a few reasons: 1) It breaks up the monotony of pancakes and waffles, 2) Everything you need to make a batter for it is usually readily available on-hand or easy to get, and 3) It takes no time! For the batter, beat two eggs, whisk in a cup of milk or half & half, cinnamon sugar and a pinch of salt. Soak slices for about 30 seconds on each side.

wpid-20130922_121052.jpgMelt half a stick of butter in a skillet over medium heat. Toast slices about 2 minutes on each side until golden brown and beautiful like the one in the center. Flip. Repeat.


Meanwhile, cook your bacon. For one pound of Hunter Cattle Company smoked bacon, you’ll pay a little less than $10, and when you think about what you’re getting, you can’t put a price tag on your health. Learn how choosing pastured pork can benefit your well-being. You’re guaranteed to taste the difference.

wpid-IMG_20130923_120314.jpgDrizzle it with syrup or eat it without. You decide. There you have it. Breakfast locally inspired.  

Join the Grass-Fed Beef Conversation with Hunter Cattle Company

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Hunter Cattle Company
Brooklet, Georgia

In my everyday life, I’m connected–connected to my friends on social media, my emails and text messages. Like a large percentage of the human population, I too have a smartphone that I couldn’t do without. Over the weekend however, I experienced a different kind of connection, one I don’t experience often enough–to land and food–at Hunter Cattle Company in Brooklet, Georgia.

The cast iron skillet is a work horse in my kitchen.
The cast iron skillet is a work horse in my kitchen.

Despite the rain, I put my boots on and ventured about 14 miles Southeast of town to taste my first grass-fed hamburger and meet the good folks behind this family owned and operated farm I’d heard so much about. On my ride down the two-lane country roads to get there, I passed cotton fields and pecan orchards and a deer that never had a chance. I came upon the 350-acre property and turned onto the dirt road that led me to MooMa’s Farm Store. Immediately, I spotted a few cats–one golden, fat kitty asleep under a bush and another gray kitty purring happily curled up in a ball on the porch. Having grown up in rural Georgia myself, I felt at home as I entered the screeching screen door to the store. Cast iron pans served as wall art on the outside of the red barn-like exterior.

A few family members of Hunter Cattle Company in front of MooMa's Farm Store. From left: Kristan, the oldest daughter; Del, "Pa"; Debra, "MooMa"; and Anthony, the oldest son.
A few family members of Hunter Cattle Company in front of MooMa’s Farm Store. From left: Kristan, the oldest daughter; Del, “Pa”; Debra, “MooMa”; and Anthony, the oldest son.

Over nine years ago, Del and Debra Ferguson along with their oldest son and daughter (pictured left), found the land and decided to relocate there to raise their families and grow their own food. Today, the family’s “accidental business” provides grass-fed beef to restaurants all over Southeast Georgia, many right here in Statesboro like Chops on Main and South & Vine Public House and at Savannah’s popular Green Truck Pub and Moon River Brewery.

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The natural color of these eggs are beautiful! It takes 24 hours to lay an egg, and one chicken produces one egg per day.

Local businesses like Sugar Magnolia Bakery also sell Hunter Cattle Company’s free-range eggs. They participate in the Statesboro Mainstreet Farmers’ Market (which kicks off April 6 this spring!) and the Forsyth Farmers’ Market in Savannah. Most recently, Hunter Cattle Company earned the University of Georgia sponsored 2013 Flavor of Georgia Food Product Contest in the meat category for their pork sausage. They’ve been featured in Southern Living magazine, The South magazine and Savannah magazine among countless other news outlets, solely by word of mouth.

Now, about that hamburger. I could try and describe the flavor to you, but I like the way my butcher friend, Chad of Carne Bellingham, described the difference between grass-fed cattle vs. “factory” farm meat best: “It’s like Chips Ahoy versus mom’s homemade cookies.”


Hunter Cattle Company’s passion for education is evident. Their animals receive no added growth hormones, steroids, or antibiotics and are not subject to feedlots or cages. Committed to the humane treatment of all the animals, the pigs and chickens are free to roam and graze and are raised on Georgia grass. After spending just a few hours at the farm, I was enlightened to learn:

    • Factory farms use 80% of the United States’ antibiotic supply for livestock
    • If cows, chickens and pigs are given the ability to roam freely and eat what they were created to eat, they are healthier, and as a result so are we!
    • Livestock living conditions and diet are key factors when considering healthy benefits of American meat

I will certainly never look at a package of ground beef at the grocery store the same again!

If you’ve never had the opportunity to see a newborn baby pig, it’s a must. The pigs were my favorite part of the day.


They even have peacocks and turkeys!

If Southern hospitality describes anyone, it would be the Ferguson family. They fed me, showed me around and even sent me home with a Hunter Cattle Company T-shirt. By the end of my time there, I was hugging their necks and feeling like one of the family. Whether you’re local or not from around these parts, make time to visit Hunter Cattle Company. From birthday parties to overnight accommodations, they have it all. Most importantly though, you’ll be reminded what it’s like to hear the chickens peck, smell the cow manure and watch little boys drink from a garden hose.