Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Laura's Kitchen Sink Sopa de Lima and Farmer's Market Salsa Verde

For my first Taste and Create, I was paired with Laura of The Spiced Life. Laura has a great blog with lots of recipes so it was extremely hard to select just one. Laura's Kitchen Sink Sopa de Lima caught my eye because of the limes used the season the soup and the leftover roasted chicken in my frig that needed to be used.

This is simple recipe that packs a lot of flavor. I began by making chicken broth with the remnants of the roasted chicken last night. Today I assembled the soup using frozen tomatoes from our summer harvest and leftover corn. I also substituted flour tortillas for the corn tortillas in Laura's recipe. The results were delicious. I added jalopeno peppers to Laura's list of garnishes so Kenny can add as much heat to the soup as he wants!

Sopa de Lima

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large red onion, diced
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
20 ounces of diced tomatoes
8 cups chicken broth
2 (14 oz.) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups whole kernel corn
3 cups shredded roasted chicken
2 flour tortillas, cut into small strips
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Juice from 3 limes
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. When the pan is hot, add the olive oil and onions and cook the onions for 8 minutes or until they are translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minutes. Add the red pepper and cook for 2 minutes. Add the spices and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Add the tomatoes and cook for 8 minutes to concentrate the flavors. Add the chicken broth, beans, corn, chicken, tortillas and cilantro and simmer covered for 45 minutes. Before serving, add the lime juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with garnishes. Yield: 13 - 14 cups.

Salsa Verde
Shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Sour cream
Homemade tortilla strips
Chopped jalopeno peppers

Laura loves green salsa so I decided to give it a try and created a variation of her Farmer's Market Salsa Verde.

Salsa Verde

1 poblano pepper
12 ounces tomatillos
1/2 large onion chopped
4 cloves garlic. crushed and peeled
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
jalopenos to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar

Wash the poblano pepper and pat dry. Remove the husks from the tomatillos, wash, and pat dry. Place pepper and tomatillos on a cookie sheet and broil in the oven until the tomatillos are olive green and the pepper is charred, turning as needed. The tomatillos will cook faster than the pepper, so remove them when they are done and continue to broil the pepper until it is charred all over. Place in a bowl to cool.

Turn the oven to 425 degrees F. and roast the onions and the garlic for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until they are lightly browned.

Peel the poblano and remove the seeds. Place the poblano, the tomatillos, and juices in a food processor and pulse until pureed. Add the onions, garlic, and remaining ingredients to the food processer and pulse until pureed. Refrigerate. Yield: 1 1/2 cups.

Laura, thanks for these wonderful recipes that are sure to become a family favorite.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Shellman Bluff and Saint Simons Island

Today we leave Savannah and head south. Our first destination is Shellman Bluff. We decide to purchase a South Georgia map, just in case the GPS gets lost again. Now I will have to say that a GPS is pretty incredible. It has led us down many roads successfully but when it comes to the Georgia coast, it is lacking. Of course, we were far from marked roads and many times the GPS showed no roads at all. But our trusty map was accurate. The roads were beautiful, many covered with the limbs of live oak trees.

Shellman Bluff is like stepping back into a different time. The sandy roads are canopied with trees and lead to the water front. The homes are simple, with screened porches and shaded by huge oak trees covered with Spanish moss . Drive down to the Shellman Fish Camp in "Downtown Shellman Bluff." Hunter's Cafe and Mud Bar is across from the docks. Unfortunately we missed meal time, but you can bet we will be back! The drive along the bluff is incredible, one of the best views you can see from a car of the bluffs along the Georgia coast.

Saint Simons is our stop for the night. The weather is cold, just right for a bowl of She Crab Soup from Barbara Jean's. The soup was thick with lump crab meat and had a slight kick to it. Kenny had the clam chowder and we shared a 7-ounce crab cake. One thing for sure, Barbara Jean knows how to cook crab!

Our home for the night is the Saint Simons Inn at the Lighthouse. At sunset it's off to the pier to capture some great shots. What a great way to end a wonderful day!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Exploring the Georgia Coast

Tybee Island
Day two of our road trip takes us to the marsh land along the Georgia coast. We leave Savannah in search of seafood and interesting landscapes. Our first stop is the Sunbury Crab Company. With the aid of our GPS, we were there with no problem, traveling down a myriad of country roads, until we hit water. Unfortunately, the Crab Company is only open for dinner during the week. No problem, we just searched the GPS for other restaurants in the area. Jeff's Crab House was the pick. This time we were not as successful. Along the way, the GPS took us down a private road that ended in at a locked gate with no trespassing signs. Twenty minutes, 10 miles and a lot of country roads, we gave up and decided to try Holton's Seafood. The parking lot was full of local cars, a good sign when looking for food. Inside the dining room the lunch crowd was lively, eating and visiting with neighbors and coworkers. Kenny and I decided to split the fried shrimp. Everything, including the french fries, were coated in a light, cripsy batter and fried to perfection. The shrimp were crisp on the outside and tender on the inside, just like I like them!

Now to one of my favorite places, Tybee Island. My first trip to Tybee was in 1979 as a county Extension agent, our 4-H camp assignment for the summer. During the day, we supervised the 4-Hers in the ocean, the marsh and at various classes. At night, the adults took turns leaving the camp for a dinner at Williams Seafood and a quick tour of Savannah. It was during my first visit that I became a fan of the area. Tybee is a wonderful old beach town with no high rise condos and lots of views of the ocean. In the winter, the water is a beautiful blue color and the winds are strong and cool.

After Tybee, we head back to Savannah to shop at Kitchens on the Square. Our treasures include 8 ramekins, 10 napkin rings, salad tongs and a knife sleeve. The ramekins will be used for my Taste and Create entry for February. The napkin rings will be a great addition to my February table setting.

Dinner tonight is at the Savannah Chart House, located in a 1790 warehouse overlooking the river. Even though the Chart House is a chain, local fare is served from a special menu. Tonight's choices include Fried Green Tomatoes and Caramelized Catfish. Both dishes were delicious. The fried green tomatoes were crisp and surprisingly full of flavor, considering this is February. The catfish was coated with brown sugar and cajun seasonings, lightly sauteed, served on a bed of grits seasoned with ham, topped with collard greens, lump crabmeat and a roasted red pepper sauce. Kenny had the prime rib and it was cooked perfectly. What a meal! With full stomachs and happy hearts we say "goodnight!"

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Savannah is one of my favorite towns. It has it all - beautiful homes, great shopping and delicious food. After checking in the Hyatt, Kenny and I hit the streets. Our first stop was at the Lady and Sons Restaurant. After making dinner reservations, we made our way to the Starbucks on Broad. As we waited in line, we realized this was our first trip since Italy. With that in mind, we ordered cappuccinos. Starbucks cappuccinos are good but they don't come close to the rich taste of the Italian version.

With coffee in hand, we make our way to The Paris Market, a unique shop with lots of home furnishings and accessories. The next stop is Kitchens on the Square to see what goodies we must have for our kitchen. I love this shop. It is packed with everything you might possibly need to plan, prepare, and serve food. The shop has changed since our last visit, adding a demonstration kitchen and on-site classes. They have a great "Lunch + Learn" class offered every Tuesday and Thursday. Before leaving we made our list of "must have" items.

Our next destination is River Street. The tugboats are busy today, leading the enormous container ships down the river. After a drink and steamed oysters at Huey's we take a quick rest in our room.

Tonight we had dinner at Paula Deen's The Lady and Sons restaurant. Paula is best known as Food Network's southern diva. This is not our first time at TL&S. In the past, I have always opted for the buffet but tonight I decided to order from the menu. Our waitress was most accommodating, allowing me to substitute the Corn and Asparagus Salad for my side dish to the Crab Stuffed Shrimp. The bacon-wrapped shrimp were cooked perfectly with the bacon crispy and the shrimp tender and succulent. The salad was crunchy and somewhat sweet. The shrimp was drizzled with a lemon basil cream sauce, but I honestly didn't taste the sauce at all. Kenny choose the bufffet and was not disappointed by the fried chicken. If you are planning a trip to Savannah, be sure and put TL&S on your list.

Monday, February 16, 2009

60 Years to Celebrate

On February 11, 1949, Bettye Jean and Clyde got married. On February 14, 2009, family and friends gathered at the barn to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary. Mama and Daddy looked great and we all have a wonderful time reminiscing. Sixty years ago, Mama was living in Panama City and she travelled to Rome for the weekend. It was during her visit that Daddy asked her to marry him. She called home to ask for permission and the rest is history. Betty Mathis was her maid of honor for the wedding. It was a double wedding ceremony that will always be remembered as a special time. Today, we honored them with a gathering at the barn. The day was cool, but the barn was warm and the food was tasty. Enjoy these pictures of this special day.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Black-eyed Peas and Turnip Green Soup

My entry for this year's Souper Bowl was from my garden. Our patch of greens has provided us with a great harvest. On a cold, winter day, I decided to try my hand at using the greens to make a soup. Use hot sausage for to give the soup a kick. For the competition, I made croutons from my Spicy Cornbread recipe. I baked the cornbread in a sheet pan, cut it into 1-inch cubes and toasted in the oven. It made for a great presentation, but not really worth the effort. Top the soup with Sweet Tomato Relish.

Black-eyed Peas and Turnip Green Soup

1 pound hot sausage
1 ½ cups chopped onion
1 pound turnip greens
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
2 cans black-eyed peas

Saute onions and sausage until sausage is browned and done. Add turnip greens, water, chicken broth and black-eyed peas. Cook until the greens are tender. Add more water if needed. Serve with cornbread croutons and tomato relish.

Alice's Key Lime Cheesecake

My favorite dessert at this year's Souper Bowl was Alice's Key Lime Cheesecake. Her presentation was beautiful and the flavor was a perfect blend of sweet and tart. This is not a quick and easy recipe, but is well worth the effort.

Alice’s Key Lime Cheesecake

5 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar, plus 1 1/4 cups, plus 1/4 cup
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
3/4 cup key lime juice
4 eggs, at room temperature
2 egg yolks, at room temperature
2 tablespoons grated key lime zest
1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature 2 egg whites, at room temperature
Pinch of salt
2 cups sweetened whipped cream
1 cup simple syrup, (1 cup sugar, 1 cup water heated until sugar dissolves)
Rind of 2 limes, julienned
12 sprigs fresh mint

In a mixing bowl, combine the melted butter, 2 tablespoons of the sugar and graham cracker crumbs. Mix well. Press the crust firmly over the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan. Set aside.
In a saucepan dissolve the gelatin the key lime juice, about 5 minutes. Add 1 1/4 cups of the sugar, eggs, egg yolks, and lime zest. Mix well. Over medium heat, cook until the mixture thickens and is pudding like, about 7 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until smooth. With the mixer running, add the lime mixture slowly and beat until smooth. Remove the mixture and turn into a bowl and cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, stirring every 10 minutes.

In a bowl of an electric mixer with a whip attachment, place the egg whites and remaining 1/4 cup of the sugar. Whip on medium high until stiff peaks form. Remove the lime and cheese mixture from the refrigerator. Fold the egg whites into the lime mixture and blend thoroughly. Pour the mixture into the prepared crust. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, about 4 hours.

Remove from the refrigerator. Run a sharp knife along the sides of the pan and remove the spring-form. Spread the whipped cream evenly over the top of the cake.

For the candied zest: In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the simple syrup and the lime zest. Bring the liquid to a simmer and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the zest from the liquid and cool on parchment paper.

Cut the cake into individual servings. Garnish with candied lime zest and mint sprigs.

Payton's Chicken Stew

Payton was last year's winner of the Quail Hollow Souper Bowl. This year, he had two entries. A favorite of the competition was his Chicken Stew. This simple recipe packs a lot of flavor. It is sure to become a family favorite!

Payton’s Chicken Stew

1 – 28 oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
¼ cup tomato paste
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 ½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 ½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 ½ # boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 cups diced onion
2 cups frozen lima beans
2 cups frozen corn kernels
1 large bell pepper, diced
4 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
Lime wedges

Put tomatoes, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, cumin and oregano in a slow cooker. Stir to blend. Add chicken and vegetables. Cover and cook on low for 7 to 9 hours, or until chicken is tender. Remove chicken and pull into shreds using 2 forks. Return to cooker. Serve with bacon and lime wedges.

Kitty's Turtle Brownies

Kitty is known for her desserts. During our tailgating days at the amphitheater, we always asked Kitty to bring the desserts. Her Turtle Brownies were the favorites at our 2nd Annual Souper Bowl. These rich brownies were the perfect end to a fun evening.

Kitty’s Turtle Brownies
1 (14 oz.) bag of caramels
¾ cup butter (softened)
2/3 cup evaporated milk, divided
1 cup chopped pecans
1 pkg. German chocolate cake mix
1 cup (6 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips

Combine caramels with 1/3 c. milk and melt in microwave, stirring often until smooth. Set aside. Combine mix, butter, and rest of milk. Beat until firm. Stir in nuts. Press ½ of mixture into bottom of well-greased 13x9 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 6 minutes. Sprinkle chocolate chips over and cover chips with caramel. Sprinkle remaining cake mixture on top. Bake for 15-20 more minutes. (It won’t look done.) Cool and chill in refrigerator before cutting.
(I use Smart Balance instead of butter and use Duncan Hines cake mix because it has no transfat.)

Dale's Taco Soup

Dale is a great friend and a wonderful cook. I have enjoyed many delicious meals at her home so I was not surprised that she was the winner of the 2nd Annual Quail Hollow Souper Bowl. This soup is not only tasty, but is very simple to prepare.

Dale’s Taco Soup
1 large can diced tomatoes
1 can mild Ro-Tel tomatoes
1 can lima beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can pinto beans
1 can white hominy
1 small onion, chopped
1 ½ lb. ground beef
1 ½ cup water
Salt and Pepper
1 package Taco seasoning
1 package dry Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix

Drain beans and hominy. Brown ground been and onions and drain. Mix all ingredients together in a soup pot. Bring to a boil and simmer until heated. You can assemble everything and cook over low heat in a crock-pot. Serve with grated cheese, sour cream, etc. Be sure to have tortilla chips on the side.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Souper Bowl at the Barn

Souper Bowl 2009 Winners
Dale's Taco Soup and Kitty's Turtle Brownies

While the world was celebrating the Super Bowl, we headed to the Barn for our own Souper Bowl. The 2nd Annual Quail Hollow Souper Bowl was held on January 31 in the Barn. Friends and family gathered for some friendly competition. This year's event was expanded to include desserts. The weather was cold - just right for enjoying an evening of good food.

This year's soup competition had an international flair with recipes from Mexico, South Africa, Italy, and the good old USA. Eight different soups were entered and all were delicious. This year's winner was Dale's Taco Soup!
Now for the desserts. The 8 entries were yummy. My favorite was Alice's Key Lime Cheesecake. But in the end, chocolate was once again the favorite in Kitty's Turtle Brownies.

The evening ended with talk of next year's entries. So now we have a year to test and perfect our entries for next year! The winning recipes will be posted soon!

Happy Birthday to my wonderful husband!