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Goat Cheese, Radish, and Kale Spread

This easy spread, created by Lisa Rochon, won an honorable mention at Peachtree Road Farmers Market’s 2010 “Market Mash-Up” vendor recipe contest. It can be used as a dip, as a simple appetizer or first course served with sliced bread, or as the base for a fabulous sandwich.

1/2 bunch baby kale, thinly sliced
5 radishes, diced small
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
6 ounces soft goat cheese
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon dried fines herbs (or 1 teaspoon each chopped fresh parsley, chives, and tarragon)
1/4 teaspoon celery salt

In a mixing bowl, combine kale, radishes, and garlic. Stir in goat cheese, mayonnaise, mustard, herbs, and celery salt. Mix until softened and well combined. Serve immediately or chill up to 24 hours before serving.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups. Preparation time: 10 minutes

Fennel, Apple, and Asher Blue Cheese Salad

Affairs to Remember executive chef Ahmad Nourzad shares this autumn dish featuring Georgia ingredients.

1/4 cup lemon juice
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Savannah Bee Company Tupelo honey
Kosher salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 North Georgia Gala apple, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon currants
1 medium fennel bulb, quartered, cored and thinly sliced crosswise (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup crumbled  Sweet Grass Dairy Asher blue cheese

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, honey, salt, and pepper. Toss with the apples, currants, and fennel until well combined. Gently toss in the blue cheese. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Makes 4 servings. Preparation time: 10 minutes

“Mother-in-Law” Beet Salad

Marc Sommers, executive chef of Parsley’s Custom Catering, says he “borrowed” this recipe from his Belarusian mother-in-law. The recipe is both vegan and gluten-free.

2 small 0nions—one quartered for boiling, one diced for salad
3 red beets
3 or 4 russet potatoes
4 or 5 large carrots
1 quart jar whole dill pickles (homemade and spicy if possible), drained and chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Parsley for garnish

Bring a pot of lightly salted water to boil. Add the quartered onion. Boil the beets, carrots, and potatoes until they are fork tender, removing each when it is done to prevent overcooking. Discard the onion. Cool and peel the cooked vegetables; cut into small cubes. Toss with the pickles, garlic and enough olive oil to moisten. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate a few hours before serving to allow the flavors to meld. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Makes 10 servings. Preparation time: 35 minutes

Grit-Style Chilaquile Casserole

From The Grit Cookbook by Jessica Greene and Ted Hafer

Another way to enjoy Grit Pintos or, in a pinch, canned seasoned pinto beans. Ideally, toss on some Grit Salsa just before serving.

Grit Pintos:
1 quart dried pinto beans, sorted and rinsed
Water to soak and cook the beans
1 small or 1/2 large yellow onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
1 scant tablespoon cumin powder
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Additional water as necessary

Grit-style Chilaquile Casserole:
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1 small or 1/2 large yellow onion, finely chopped
1 large or 2 small garlic cloves, minced
1 small zucchini, chopped (approximately 2 cups)
1 medium yellow squash, chopped (approximately 2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon cumin power
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
5 soft taco-size (8-inch) flour tortillas (white or whole wheat), divided
4 cups shredded white cheddar cheese, divided
1 medium jalapeño pepper (or 2 if desired), minced
2 cups Grit Pintos or canned seasoned pinto beans
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/4 teaspoon dry or prepared mustard

Grit Pintos:
1.Soak beans overnight, or for at least 6 hours, in water to cover (or boil beans for 2 minutes in water to cover and set aside, covered, to soak 2 hours).

2. Drain and rinse beans and combine with all other ingredients except salt in a large cooking pot. Add enough water to cover, plus 1 1/2 inches. Bring to a full boil, loosely covered. Reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until beans are very tender, 1 hour or more. If necessary, add water in small increments to avoid burning and maintain simmer. When beans are tender, add salt and stir well.

Makes approximately 12 cups.

Grit-style Chilaquile Casserole:
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9 x 13-inch pan or glass casserole dish with 1 tablespoon butter and set aside.

2. In a large skillet or frying pan, melt 1 tablespoon butter over high heat. Add onion and garlic, and sauté until onions are softened. Add zucchini, squash, dry spices, and salt. Tossing frequently for even cooking, sauté until vegetables are fully tender and onions are caramelized. Set aside.

3. Tear 3 tortillas by hand into random strips 2 to 3 inches wide. Distribute tortilla strips into bottom of casserole dish, layering evenly (retain remaining 2 tortillas for top crust). Spread 2 cups of shredded cheese over torn tortillas. Sprinkle minced jalapeño evenly over cheese, followed by a layer of the pinto beans. Spread sautéed vegetables over this, and top evenly with remaining cheese. Tear remaining 2 tortillas as before and distribute on top to form upper crust. Beat eggs together with buttermilk and mustard. Pour mixture over casserole and place in oven. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until bubbling at the edges and well browned on top. Cool for 10 minutes before serving. Top with Grit Salsa.

Makes 8 servings.

Louis’s Brown Oyster Stew with Benne Seeds

From The Food, Folklore, and Art of Lowcountry Cooking by Joseph E. Dabney

For this traditional Lowcountry stew, I am indebted to the prize-winning Chef Louis Osteen of Charleston, Pawleys Island, and Captiva Island, Florida fame (and now at Lake Rabun Hotel northeast of Atlanta). He says this is one of his most popular winter soups.

“It’s a very old recipe, coming from an antebellum rice plantation in South Carolina’s Georgetown County,” Louis says. “And of course, the benne plant, more commonly known as sesame seed, was brought into the Lowcountry from Africa and was thought to be a lucky plant.”

The number of oysters in the stew, Louis says, can vary due to size and the cook’s taste. They may be big singles or little ones from clusters, in which case add as many more as you like.

4 tablespoons benne seeds
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 tablespoons finely diced Benton’s Bacon (about 1 ounce)
2 tablespoons very finely minced yellow onion
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
24 oysters, shucked, with liquor strained and reserved
1 1/4 cups fish stock or bottled clam juice
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chervil or Italian parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Place the benne seeds in a small, heavy-bottomed sauté pan over medium heat and dry roast them by cooking them for about 9 minutes or until they become dark and fragrant. Remove from the stove. Roughly crush half the benne seeds with a spoon and reserve.

2. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat. Sauté the bacon for about 5 minutes, or until crisp and lightly browned. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to drain. Leave the oil and any fat from the bacon in the saucepan.

3. Add the onion and crushed benne seeds to the saucepan and sauté them for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently to ensure that they brown but don’t burn. When the onions are lightly browned, add the flour, stir well to combine, and cook for 2 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the cream in a separate pan to just below a simmer.

4. Add the reserved oyster liquor, fish stock, and thyme leaves and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk until the mixture simmers happily and without lumps. Add the warm cream and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the oysters, the remaining 2 tablespoons of benne seeds, the lemon juice, sesame oil, and chervil or parsley. Leave the oyster stew on the heat until the oysters just begin to curl. Quickly remove the saucepan from the heat and add a pinch of salt and a grind of black pepper, or to taste.

5. To serve, divide the stew into four warmed soup bowls. Garnish with the reserved chopped bacon and serve immediately. Accompany with oyster crackers or buttered toast fingers. At the table, the stew would be hot and steamy and the oysters plump and juicy.

Makes 4 servings.

Meatloaf with Tomato Sauce

From Mary Mac’s Tea Room by John Ferrell

A very good, hearty meatloaf re-created in Mary Mac’s kitchen by Flora Hunter for more than thirty-five years — and it is as popular as ever.

2 pounds ground beef
1 1/2 cups diced onion
1 cup diced green bell pepper
1 cup uncooked oatmeal
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons Heinz 57 sauce
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Tomato sauce (recipe follows)

Tomato sauce:
1 tablespoon salted butter
1 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Makes about 1 cup sauce

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan. Combine all the ingredients except the tomato sauce in a large bowl. Place the meat mixture in the loaf pan and bake for 55 minutes. Pour off the drippings and bake for 10 minutes longer to brown. Remove from the oven and pour the tomato sauce over the top to serve.

Tomato Sauce:
Melt the butter over medium-low heat in a small, heavy saucepan. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve warm with the meatloaf.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Potato Crêpes with Fresh Herb Cheddar Cheese Sauce

From The Grit Cookbook by Jessica Greene and Ted Hafer

2 large eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons butter

8 medium boiling potatoes, such as round white, round red, or Yukon Gold, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 broccoli crowns, trimmed and torn or cut into florets
1/3 cup sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced

Fresh Herb Cheddar Cheese Sauce:
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 1/2 cups milk
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley or 1 teaspoon dried
1 teaspoon finely minced dill or 1/2 teaspoon dried
3 tablespoons chopped green onions (dark green parts only)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper

1. Whisk all ingredients together and let stand for 10 minutes. Heat a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Spray with nonstick spray. Add just enough batter to pan to lightly coat the bottom of pan and swirl pan to coat evenly. Cook until top appears dry and crêpe slides easily in pan, about 45 seconds. Flip or turn and cook until brown spots appear on other side, about 30 seconds. Turn crêpe out onto plate. Repeat with remaining batter, spraying skillet with nonstick spray as needed and stacking crêpes on plate.

1. Boil potatoes until barely tender, approximately 15 minutes. Add broccoli and continue cooking 5 minutes. Drain; set aside.

2. Sauté onion and garlic until translucent. Add to potato and broccoli mixture and stir lightly, add sour cream and combine thoroughly, then mash all lightly together.

3. Spread about 2 tablespoons of the filling on each crêpe and roll up jelly-roll fashion. Arrange 2 crêpes, seam sides down, on each of 6 plates. Serve with Fresh Herb Cheddar Cheese Sauce.

Fresh Herb Cheddar Cheese Sauce:
1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes.

2. Whisk milk into roux, 1/2 cup by 1/2 cup, whisking well after each addition. Cook until thick, whisking constantly. Add cheese and stir until melted. Add herbs and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes.

Yields 12 crêpes, enough for 6 servings.

Chicken Stock

From Seasoned in the South by Bill Smith

This is a slightly different way to produce a good chicken stock. Whole chickens are poached in a method that the Chinese call velvetizing.

2 whole chickens (about 3 pounds each), well rinsed and patted dry
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped (about 1 cup)
3 stalks celery, leaves discarded, washed and chopped (about 1 cup)
1 large onion, peeled and chopped (about 2 cups)
1 teaspoon salt (optional)

1. In a large stockpot, bring to a boil enough water (about 6 quarts) to float two chickens. Add the chickens. When the boil returns, set a timer for 15 minutes. At the end of that time turn off the heat, cover the stockpot, and let sit for 20 minutes.

2. Then remove the chickens from the broth and refrigerate. Return the stock to a boil. As soon as the chickens are cool enough, pick the meat from the carcasses and reserve it for another recipe. Add the skin and bones back into the stock with the vegetables.

3. If the broth will be used for soup, add salt now. If the broth for sauce, don’t. Simmer until the bones fall apart, about 40 minutes more. Strain and degrease the stock.

Makes about 4 quarts

For a comforting chicken pot pie recipe to use this stock with, click here

Chicken Pot Pie

From Seasoned in the South by Bill Smith

People love this when cold weather comes. I serve the pies in one-and-one-quarter-cup ramekins that look like little baked bean pots. I suppose that you could make one large pie, but I have never tried. In any case it is important to simmer the filling until it is well thickened because the pastry will not puff properly if it is sitting atop liquid. The glutens need to rest and it needs to be well chilled before you roll it out. The filling is also better if made ahead. Like soups and stews, the flavor develops better with a little time and the natural gelatins will have time to kick in for better thickening.

The pastry is a variation on the quick puff pastry that Julia Child introduced in her Julia Child & Company series on PBS back in the 1970s. Up until that time making puff pastry was an arduous task that most people would not try at home. Her new technique made it so unbelievably easy that people were tempted to use it almost casually. The first time you do this is as astonishing as the first time you make mayonnaise.

3 1/4 sticks unsalted butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold water with an ice cube in it
Flour for rolling out the pastry
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon grainy mustard

1 (about 3 pounds) velvetized chicken
1 medium onion, peeled and diced (about 1 ½ cups)
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted clarified butter
2 cups sliced mushrooms
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced into thin rounds (about 2 cups)
2 large parsnips, peeled and sliced into thin rounds (about 2 cups)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 pint pearl onions, peeled and blanched according to package instructions
1 cup frozen small green peas

1. Dice the butter into quarter-inch cubes and toss with a little of the flour to keep them from sticking back together. Place in a large mixing bowl and refrigerate to rechill for at least 20 minutes.

2. Add the flour and salt to the butter and begin to combine them with your fingers as you would for making biscuits. Do this for a few minutes until they are thoroughly mixed and the size of the butter chunks is reduced by half. You do not want the butter to completely disappear. Add the water all at once (fish out any ice that hasn’t melted) and stir it together with a spatula. Dump out on a floured table or countertop. It will look like a crumbly mess. Shape it into a rectangle of approximately 4 inches high by 6 inches long. Use a rolling pin to roll it out into an 8 by 12-inch rectangle. You will do more flattening than rolling the first time, but try to apply equal force in all directions. The pastry will not want to hold together at this point. Even though it will want to fall apart, return the rectangle back to its original dimensions by folding the long dimension back on itself by thirds as if you were folding a letter to put into an envelope. Turn the rectangle 45 degrees and roll it back out to an 8 by 12-inch rectangle. Fold again. Repeat this rolling and folding twice more. With each turn the pastry will become more and more cohesive. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.

3. When the pastry is rested and is good and cold, roll and fold it two more times, always returning to the same 4 by 6-inch rectangle. It should now look like a nice pie dough. Allow to rest at least an hour more before using, but it will keep easily for a week in the refrigerator.

4. When you are ready to make pies, roll out your dough and cut it into circles that are a quarter to a half inch larger than your pie ramekins. Beat together the egg yolk and mustard into a small bowl. Paint each top with the egg mixture and freeze the tops solid. They will be put frozen on top of the pie at the very last second before baking.

1. Prepare the chicken. When it gets cool enough to touch, pick the meat and reserve for the filling. Add the skin and bones back into the broth and cook until you have about 1 ½ quarts of stock. Strain and degrease.

2. In the soup pot, sauté the onion in the clarified butter. When it is translucent, add the mushrooms and cook until all the butter is absorbed. Add the strained, degreased stock and bring to a simmer. Add the carrots and parsnips.

3. Put the butter in a saucepan and begin to soften it over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and turn up the heat. Stir constantly until the flour is a pale tan color, 8-10 minutes. Whisk this roux into the stock followed by the cream.

4. Simmer on medium heat, uncovered, for 45 minutes, or until the filling has begun to thicken considerably. You will need to stir this often to prevent scorching on the bottom. When it seems appropriately thick, add the chicken meat and the pearl onions. Bring back to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes more. He peas should be added right before the pies are put into the oven to bake so they wont turn olive-drab.

5. The filling can be used right away or cooled and used later. If used later, the filling should be reheated on the stove top or in a microwave before the pies are baked.

6. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Fill the ramekins with the filling, if it appears too runny use a slotted spoon. Center the frozen tops o each pie. Bake at once for about 20 minutes. The filling will already be hot, the tops should be puffy and golden brown. Serve with a green salad for a side of wilted spinach.

Makes 6 1 1/4-cup pies

For another great way to make chicken stock, click here

Chicken and Sweet Potato Stew

From The New Southern Garden Cookbook by Sheri Castle

The somewhat unusual combination of chicken, sweet potatoes, peanuts, tomatoes, coconut, chutney, and curry has deep roots in the South, particularly in the Lowcountry, where there was ready access to imported spices and where expert cooks from many cultures stirred their own familiar ingredients into the pots.

This stew is similar to both West African groundnut (peanut) stew and chicken country captain. Both of those dishes call for a long list of ingredients slowly cooked together. I’ve streamlined the process by using ingredients (such as chutney and good curry powder) that deliver many flavors from one jar. The stew should be a little spicey and very aromatic. Don’t skip the condiments. They are integral to the look and flavor of the dish. Plus, everyone will have fun doctoring up custom bowls of stew.

3 thick bacon slices, cut crosswises into 1/2-inch strips (about 3 ounces)
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon peanut oil or vegetable oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped bell pepper
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons instant or all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon red curry powder or garam masala
1 cup chicken stock
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
2 cups peeled sweet potato cut into 3/4-inch cubes
3 tablespoons golden raisins or currants
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup well-stirred coconut milk (lite or regular) or half-and-half
1/2 cup hot mango chutney
1/2 cup coarsely chopped roasted peanuts
Hot cooked long-grain white rice, for serving
Cooked bacon, thinly sliced scallions, coconut, and additonal chutney, for serving

1. Cook the bacon in a small Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat, stirring often, until browned and crispy. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Leave the drippings in the pot.

2. Season the chicken with the salt and pepper and brown in the bacon drippings, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate, and set aside.

3. Add the oil to the pot. When it’s hot, stir in the onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are softened, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle the flour and curry powder over the vegetables, and stir well. Cook, striring constantly, for 2 minutes. Slowly pour in the stock, stirring to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the tomatoes and break them up with the side of the spoon. Cook, striring constantly, untilt the mixture is smooth and slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.

4. Stir in the chicken, sweet potato, and raisins. Cover and simmer, stiring occasianally until the chicken is cooked through and the sweet potatoes are tender, about 8 minutes.

5. Stir in the peanut butter, coconut milk, chutney, and peanuts, and heat through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot over the rice, topped with the condiments.

Serves 8 to 10.

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