Monday, December 16, 2013

Santa's Secret Martini

If you've ever wonder how Santa keeps warm while flying around the world on those snowy Christmas Eve nights, I may have the answer.

Phillip Ivey, longtime bartender at Carolina Crossroads Restaurant and Bar, shared his holiday cocktail dubbed Santa’s Secret Martini. It should put a jingle or two in your step in addition to warming you up.

Santa’s Secret Martini

1 oz. Domanie de Canton
1 oz. Stoli Vanilla
½ oz. Kahlua
½ oz. Bailey’s
Splash of Cinnamon Schnapps ~ Just a Splash!
1 oz. cream

Add all ingredients into a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously.
Pour into a martini glass rimmed in colored sugar and cinnamon.
Garnish with a cinnamon stick.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Wow them with Sweet Potato Cake

Sweet Potato Souffle is a favorite component of holiday meals but may I suggest you go above and beyond with a Sweet Potato Cake?

Not just any cake, but a visually stunning ensemble creation from Executive Pastry Chef Sara Thomas of The Carolina Inn/Carolina Crossroads Restaurant, Chapel Hill, NC.

Sweet Potato Cake

Roasted Sweet Potato Ice Cream
 Yields 2 Quarts

12 oz. roasted sweet potato
½ tsp. cinnamon
Pinch ginger
Smidgen Nutmeg
Smidgen cloves
1 1/4 cup (250 grams) sugar                                           
2 1/8 cup (500 grams) heavy cream
2 1/8 cup (500 grams) milk
1 vanilla bean
1 1/2 cup plus a heaping TBSP. (100 grams) corn syrup
1 tsp. Maldon salt (flaked sea salt)
1 cup (240 grams) egg yolks

1. In a saucepan, heat up the sweet potato, all the spices and sugar. Mix everything together.

2. Add the heavy cream, milk, vanilla bean, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil. 

3. Temper the egg yolks with the hot mixture until you can combine the cream mixture and egg yolks completely.

 4. Place in an ice bath until cool. Place mixture in a container and refrigerate overnight.

5. Pull that vanilla bean out and spin mixture in an ice cream machine.

  Brown Butter Sweet Potato Cake
6 oz. melted brown butter                 
1 ½ cup  sugar              
2/3 cup brown sugar               
2 eggs            
1/3 cup buttermilk                     
1 ½ cup sweet potato puree               
9 oz. all-purpose flour            
1 ½ tsp. baking soda             
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon                 
1 tsp. ginger              
¼ tsp. cloves             
¾ tsp. salt                  

1.     Place butter in a pan on medium heat and cook it until it starts to brown – a medium dark color. Place in a container until cool.
2.     In a mixing bowl with paddle attachment, cream together sugar, brown sugar and eggs.
3.     Add the buttermilk and sweet potato puree. Then add all the dry ingredients.
4.     Add the brown butter until all ingredients have been incorporated.
5.     Pour mixture in two 10” cake pans.
6.     Bake at 350° (F) for approximately 10 to 15 minutes or until done.
7.     Completely cool cake. For best results refrigerate cake overnight.
8.     Slice the cake into 3 layers.
9.     Place a layer of cake on a plate and add a thin layer of icing on top.
10.  Add another layer of cake and add a thin layer or icing; repeat one more time.
11.  Refrigerate cake for approximately 2 hours.
12.  Cut cake into 12 – 16 slices.
13.  Add Toffee Sauce on plate.
14.  Place slice of cake on the plate and add a scoop of Roasted Sweet Potato Ice Cream.

Brown Butter Sweet Potato Icing

12 oz. brown butter              
24 oz. cream cheese            
1 tsp. Maldon salt       
1 cup brown sugar      
10 oz. powdered sugar         
1 TBS. vanilla extract     
1 cup pecans ~ toasted and chopped

1.     Brown the butter the night before and set aside to room temperature.
2.     In a mixing bowl with the paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese and salt until creamy.
3.     Add the brown butter and mix until completely incorporated.
4.     Add the brown sugar, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract.
5.     Finally, add the chopped pecans. 

Butterscotch Sauce
 Yield 12 Cups

6 oz. brown butter
3 ¾ cups sugar
2 ½ cups corn syrup
2 ½ cups heavy cream
1 ¾ tsp. salt

1.     Place butter in a pan on medium heat and cook it until it starts to brown – a medium dark color. Place in a container until cool.
2.     Add the sugar and corn syrup; bring to a boil.
3.     Add the salt and heavy cream; bring to a boil again.
4.     Refrigerate.
5.     Store in the refrigerator. Butterscotch Sauce will last for about one month.

Serve on the condition someone else does the dishes!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Hot recipe competition

Sherry Stoppelbein
If you are one of the some who like it hot, enter your favorite "Spicy Holiday Heat" recipe for an appetizer or dessert in the contest and perhaps win a stay in St. Augustine, America's oldest city.

The grand prize winner receives

•  2-nights at the St. Francis Inn
•  lunch at the Hot Shot Bakery
•  two tickets aboard the Old Town Trolley
•  two tickets to the St. Augustine Lighthouse
• a case of assorted Datil B Good jams, condiments and hot sauce
• your prize-winning recipe into one of the restaurant's menus.

You must be 18 years of age or older to enter and all recipes become the property of Hot Shot Bakery and will not be returned.

Judging will be done by Sherry Stoppelbein, owner of Datil B Good and the Hot Shot Bakery.

Send your Spicy Holiday Heat recipe via email to Leigh Cort Publicity, by Dec. 30, 2013.

• recipe and its name plus list of all ingredients and preparation instructions
• a brief (100 words max) story about the recipe
• your name, address, telephone and email
• a photo of the dish

Winner will be notified by January 15, 2014.

Sherry's already come up with the recipe for Chocolate Covered Datil Peppers.

Monday, September 23, 2013

St. Francis Inn Pear Custard Pie

We may be thinking of fall and Halloween but Inn and B and B owners are lining up their treats for Christmas.

St. Francis Inn, St. Augustine, FL.
In St. Augustine, Florida, the nation's oldest city, the historic  St. Francis Inn (circa 1791) is gearing up for its 12 Days of Christmas tradition, a dessert for every verse of the popular carol.

Janice Leary.
Chef Janice Leary, who prepares the daily Southern breakfasts, catered events and sweet treats, has her dishes in a row, from the partridge in a pear tree to all of those drummers drumming.

With pears lusciously in season, we're sticking to tradition and starting with Pear Custard Pie.

I think it works as well for fall.

St. Francis Inn Pear Custard Pie

1/2 cup Original Bisquick® mix
1/4 cup old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 TBS. butter or margarine, softened

1/2 cup Original Bisquick® mix
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 TBS. butter or margarine, softened
2 eggs
3 medium fresh pears, peeled, sliced (about 3 cups)

Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 9-inch glass pie plate with cooking spray. In small bowl, stir together 1/2 cup Bisquick mix, the oats, brown sugar and nutmeg. Cut in 1 TBS. butter, using pastry blender (or pulling 2 table knives through ingredients in opposite directions), until crumbly. Set aside.

In small bowl, stir 1/2 cup Bisquick mix, the oats, brown sugar and nutmeg. Cut in 1 tablespoon butter, using pastry blender (or puling 2 table knives though ingredients in opposite directions), until crumbly. Set aside.

In medium bowl, stir all pie ingredients except pears with wire whisk or fork until blended. Pour into pie plate. Arrange pears evenly over top.

Bake 25 minutes. Sprinkle streusel over pie. Bake 12 to 15 minutes longer or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on cooling rack 30 minutes. Serve warm. Store in refrigerator.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Indian Tacos Made for Good Stop in S. D. Badlands

Badlands of South Dakota. Photo © by Judy Wells.
Combine Indian fry bread and taco filling for a satisfying treat.

At the beginning of the 2012 inaugural Good Girls in the Badlands Road Trip, Debi Lander and I were so busy photographing the eerie landscapes (and wiping away the sweat from 105-degree temps) we forgot to photograph our first lunch in the Badlands of South Dakota. In our defense, we were also very hungry.

Which is a long way to explain why there's no photograph of Indian Tacos. A shame because the Cedar Pass Lodge Restaurant produces a great one that looks as good as it tastes. Theirs is made with buffalo meat, which I recommend, but beef can be substituted.

Cedar Pass Lodge Restaurant Indian Tacos
Serves 4

Fry Bread
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp. baking powder
1 cup water (or enough to make a soft dough)
Mix ingredients together. Using a big spoon, drop dough onto a floured surface and pat down to about an inch thick. Fry in 1 to 2 inches of oil at 350 degrees (f) until golden brown. Drain.

32 oz. refried beans
1 lb. ground buffalo meat or beef
1-2 pkgs. Taco seasonings
Brown meat, stir in refried beans and taco seasoning. Spread meat on top of fry bread. Top with cheese, lettuce and tomatoes. Make it even better by adding guacamole, sour cream and salsa.

Note: Get ready for some good Southern cookin' recipes because the Good Girls are invading Georgia this year.
Sunset in the South Dakota Badlands. Photo © by Judy Wells.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Ruth Pretty's Roasted Mushroom and Lemon Thyme Pie

Super chef and caterer from New Zealand, Ruth Pretty, created this intriguing supper dish and recommends accompanying it with a salad and pinot noir.

American cooks, please taste as you go; some amounts in this recipe have been translated from the metric system to ours.
Ruth Pretty's Roasted Mushroom Pie

Ruth Pretty's Roasted Mushroom and Lemon Thyme Pie

Serves 6

8 Portobello mushrooms, thickly sliced
28-32 Swiss Brown mushrooms, thickly sliced
24-28 white small button mushrooms, halved
1/2 cup olive oil
4 TBS. (1/4 cup) finely chopped lemon thyme leaves
flaky sea salt and ground black pepper
flour for rolling pastry
1 pound to 18 oz. puff pastry, the most buttery version you can buy
1/2 cup cream cheese, diced
4 TBS. finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 TBS lemon juice, finely grated zest of one lemon
3 spring onions, white parts roughly chopped
1 egg, separated
shaved Parmesan to garnish (optional)

• Pre-heat oven to 400-degree (F)

• Toss mushrooms in olive oil and thyme. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper and place on a low sided baking tray. Place in oven and roast for 8-10 minutes until mushrooms are soft and juicy. Drain the cooking juices (discard or save for another use) and cool mushrooms. Taste for seasoning.

• Very lightly sprinkle flour onto pastry bench and roll out pastry to a 18-20-inch round. Place round onto a low sided baking tray and place into refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

• Place cream cheese, Parmesan, egg, lemon juice, zest and spring onions into a bowl and using a wooden spoon combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.

• Spread cream cheese mixture onto the center of the pastry round leaving an 3/8-inch border. Pile roasted mushrooms on top of the cream cheese mixture.

• Place egg white in a bowl and loosen with a fork. Brush egg white around pastry border and fold pastry, pleating as you go, to partially cover the mushrooms.

• Rest pie for 30 minutes in the refrigerator, or overnight.

• Whisk the egg yolk with a tablespoon of water to make an egg wash. Brush outside of the galette with egg wash and bake for 25-30 minutes until cooked and golden brown.

• Serve hot, warm or cold. If you wish garnish with shaved Parmesan.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Level 8 bar snacks: Most addictive ever

Chef Chris Leynes at Level 8. Photo © by Judy Wells.
Chef Chris Leynes is diabolical, having produced the most irresistible bar nut mix at Level 8 atop the Hotel Duval in Tallahassee, FL. His other bar fare is great, too, but it was the nut concoction that caught my attention.

Fortunately, the diabolical chef is also generous. Here's his recipe.

Bar Snax Photo © by Judy Wells.

 Level 8 Bar Snax

1 lb. peanuts
1/2 lb. walnuts
1/2 lb. cashews
1 lb. pretzels
1/2 lb. pretzel loaf, sliced (Chris makes his own pretzel loaf but you can substitute miniature Melba rye or other bread)
1/2 cup fresh rosemary
1/3 cup lemon zest
1 lb. butter
1/2 lb. bacon (optional, says Chris, necessary say I)

Melt 1/2 lb. of the butter and brush onto the pretzel loaf or miniature breads and toast.
Zest the lemons and chop the rosemary.
Combine all the ingredients except bacon and toss.
Cook bacon to crisp and chop.
Bake the other mixed ingredients at 350 degrees (F) for 10-14 minutes.
Toss with chopped bacon and serve.

Try to eat just one handful.

NOTE: To read more about Tallahassee and what it has to offer, go to Travel on the Level.