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”
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”
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”
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.
The cookbook, Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking by Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart, says the first printed copy of the original recipe, titled “Shrimp and Hominy,” was located in the 1930 edition of Two Hundred Years of Charleston Cooking. Many variations of the recipe exist today, but one thing is certain: a recipe is only as good as the quality of ingredients.
We’re especially blessed in Statesboro to live in the coastal plains where wild Georgia shrimp is easy to come by and Georgia farmers are aplenty, producing those healthful vegetables like sweet red bell pepper and jalapenos that accompany the special sauce in my shrimp and grits recipe. Statesboro is even home to Freeman’s Mill–stone grinding grits and corn meal daily. Here’s a tip: When cooking grits, always take the opportunity to layer in depth of flavor. Instead of using water, try milk or broth. I love the creamy texture milk gives grits and the flavor of them when they’re cooked in chicken or beef broth. That special touch takes the dish from mediocre to restaurant quality faster than you can say “Go Eagles.”
Whenever possible, shop local. Nothing beats sitting down to a meal grown on Georgia ground, planted by the hands of people in our own community and supporting the local farmers. One visit to the Statesboro Main Street Farmers’ Market, and you’ll be well on your way to cooking my recipe for Shrimp & Grits with a White Wine Sauce featuring Hunter Cattle Company’s hardwood smoked bacon and Prosser’s Wholesale Shrimp in Brooklet.
Open every Saturday from 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., the Statesboro Main Street Farmers’ Market is chock-full of everything you need to get cookin’.
Here’s my recipe. Enjoy!
Shrimp & Grits with a White Wine Sauce
- 1 pound of Prosser’s Wholesale Wild Georgia Shrimp, peeled and deveined
- Freeman’s Mill Stone Ground Grits or (Jim Dandy Grits in pinch!)
- Chicken Broth, heavy cream for finishing
- 1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese per every two cups grits
- 6 Slices Thick cut, Hickory Smoked Hunter Cattle Company Bacon
- Half of 1 medium Sweet Vidalia Onion
- 1 Large clove of Garlic, minced
- 1 Medium Red Bell Pepper, diced
- 1 Jalapeno Pepper, minced
- 2 Tbs white wine
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Salt & Pepper
- Old Bay Seasoning
- Green onion or chives for garnish
Cook shrimp in about 2 Tbs. of olive oil until they turn pink. Season with Old Bay. Cook grits according to package directions using the appropriate amount of chicken broth, depending on the portion size you’re serving. Season grits with salt & pepper, then add butter and stir in Parmesan cheese. Stir in a splash or two of heavy cream for added richness. Meanwhile, cook approximately six slices of bacon. Drain on paper towels. Pour off bacon grease, reserving 2 Tbs. to sauté vegetables. Add onion, bell pepper and jalapeno. Cook for about 3-5 minutes, stirring. Add garlic last. Once vegetables have married together, deglaze the pan with the white wine. Add heavy cream and let come to a simmer, stirring constantly. To plate, spoon grits in a bowl, top with white wine sauce and surround grits around the perimeter of the bowl with about 10 shrimp per serving. Garnish with green onion or chives.
Summertime 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Prep Time: 1 Hour, 20 Minutes
- 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
- 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.
- Foolproof Apple Crisp for the Love of Fall
- Fried Pie Features Georgia’s Finest Fruit
- Georgia Blueberries Star in Summer Tart
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.
Meet 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.
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.
In 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.
CAKE 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
In a medium bowl, mix the mint, onion, sugar, vinegar, cayenne pepper and salt. Cover the mixture and refrigerate 2 hours, or until chilled.
These side dishes and our dessert rounded out the meal perfectly.
Have you eaten lamb before? If so, how did you prepare it and what did you think?
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.
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.
French 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.
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.
Hunter Cattle Company
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.
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.
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.
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.