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Our beach wedding

We had a beautiful destination wedding in Destin, FL!

Ziplining in Sandestin

Check out this awesome video of ziplining in Sandestin!

Mountain German Potato Salad

From Butter Beans to Blackberries by Ronni Lundy

Ingredients
6 medium white potatoes
Boiling water
6 slices bacon
3/4 cup finely chopped red onion
3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
Black pepper

Instructions
1. Scrub the potatoes, cutting out any eyes and blemishes. Place them in a pot with boiling water to cover. Cook at a lively simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, until a cake tester pierces through the middle easily.

2. While the potatoes are cooking, begin the dressing. Fry the bacon crisp, being careful not to burn it or let the grease get hot enough to smoke. (I fry it in two batches, draining but reserving the grease after the first, to keep everything under control.) Set the bacon aside on paper towels; reserve the grease in the skillet.

3. When the potatoes are cooked, drain and plunge them in cold water. The peels should slide off easily; if not, use a knife to pull them away. Cut the potatoes into 1/2-inch cubes, and lay them in a shallow pan—a roasting pan is what Mary’s mother uses.

4. Fry the onions in the reserved bacon grease, over medium-high heat, until they begin to soften.

5. While the onions are frying, combine the water and the flour in a small jar with a lid. Screw on the lid, and shake until they are completely blended. Set aside.

6. Whisk together the vinegar, sugar, salt, and celery seed. Turn the flame to low, add the vinegar mixture to the softened onions, and stir. Add the flour water, and simmer until the mixture thickens, which happens quite rapidly. Pour the hot dressing over the warm potato cubes. Add several grinds of pepper, and crumble the bacon on top. Toss everything lightly with a spatula to coat the potatoes well, but don’t overmix; it will make the potatoes mushy. (The salad is still tasty if the potatoes get mushy, but not as attractive.)

7. Allow the salad to cool to room temperature, then cover it securely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

8. When you are ready to serve, reheat the salad over boiling water. If you don’t have a double boiler large enough to accommodate it, rig one up by setting a good-sized saucepan into a larger one with water in the bottom. Stir the potatoes lightly a few times so they are heated thoroughly. Serve warm.

Serves 8.

Braised Green Mac and Cheese

From Atlanta Cooks at Home by Jason Hill, of Wisteria, CityBooks Publishing

Ingredients
2 cups dried elbow macaroni
Kosher salt
1 pound collard, mustard, or turnip greens
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided, additional for the baking dish
3/4 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 pound grated New York sharp cheddar cheese
1/3 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)

Instructions
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Butter a 2 1/2–quart, deep casserole dish and set aside.

2. Fill a large pot with water. Bring to a boil, add 1 teaspoon salt and the macaroni, reduce heat to a low boil, and cook al dente (until it offers a slight resistance when bitten into), about 9 minutes. Empty the macaroni into a colander to drain.

3. Rinse and remove tough stems from greens. Pat dry and cut into strips. Heat the Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons butter and garlic and heat until butter is melted and garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add greens and cook and gently stir until wilted, about 4 minutes. Add the cooked greens to the macaroni in the colander and drain. In the same Dutch oven, heat 4 tablespoons butter with flour over medium heat and stir for 3 minutes. Gradually add the cream and stir until thickened.

4. Mix the parsley, thyme, sage, and rosemary in a small bowl. Stir the cayenne, salt and pepper, and half the herb mixture into the cream sauce. Mix the collards and macaroni into the cream sauce in the Dutch oven.

5. Spread a layer of greens and pasta mix in the casserole, layer with the cheese, repeating the layers with remaining ingredients until casserole is full. Top with the panko and remaining herbs. Dot the top with remaining butter. Bake until bubbly and golden brown, about 45 minutes.

Serves 6 to 8.

Brunswick Stew

From Best of the Best from Georgia Cookbook
Originally from From Black Tie to Blackeyed Peas, Quail Ridge Press

Ingredients
1 (3-pound) chicken
1 pound lean beef
1 pound lean pork
Salt and pepper to taste
3 medium onions, chopped
4 (16-ounce) cans tomatoes
5 tablespoons Worcestershire
1 1/2 (14-ounce) bottles ketchup
1 tablespoon Tabasco
2 bay leaves
1/2 (12-ounce) bottle chili sauce
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 cup butter
3 tablespoons vinegar
2 (16-ounce) cans lima or butter beans
2 (16-ounce) cans creams-style corn
1 (15-ounce) can small green peas
3 small Irish potatoes, chopped (optional)
1 (10-ounce) package frozen sliced okra (optional)

Instructions
1. Place the chicken, beef, and pork in a large heavy pot. Season with salt and pepper. Add onions.

2. Cover with water; simmer for several hours, or until the meat falls from the bones. Remove from heat. Drain, reserving the stock. Shred the meat, discarding the bones. Combine the shredded meat and reserved stock in the pot.

3. Add the tomatoes, Worcestershire, ketchup, Tabasco, bay leaves, chili sauce, mustard, and butter; stir to combine. Cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

4. Add vinegar, beans, corn, peas, potatoes, and okra; stir to combine. Cook over low heat until the stew thickens.

Serves 20.

Roasted Rack of Lamb with Celery Root Puree and Red Onion Marmalade

From Atlanta Cooks at Home by Mark Alba, formerly of The Food Studio (closed), now of Paces 88, CityBooks Publishing

Ingredients
1 medium garlic clove, peeled and roughly chopped
1 medium shallot, peeled and roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon herbes de Provence
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
1 rack of lamb, bones Frenched
Kosher salt to taste

Red Onion Marmalade:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 medium red onions, peeled and sliced 1/2-inch thick
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Celery Root Puree:
1 celery root, approximately 1 1/2 pounds, peeled and cut into rough chunks
2 cups whole milk
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Garnish:
Pomegranate seeds

Instructions
For the lamb:
Pulse garlic, shallot, peppercorns, herbes de Provence, olive oil, and pomegranate molasses in a food processor to form a rough paste. Rub paste onto the lamb rack and allow to rest, covered, at room temperature for 1 1/2 hours or in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Preheat grill to medium-high. Wipe the rub from the lamb rack, and season with salt. Grill over a hot fire to your desired degree of doneness, 125°F for rare. For medium-rare to medium lamb, grill about 5 minutes on each side. Remove the grill, and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Cut the rack into individual chops.

For the red onion marmalade:
Heat a 10-inch heavy saute pan over medium heat. Add oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Add onions, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes, or until the onions begin to soften. Add balsamic and red wine vinegars. Cover the surface of the onions with a disk of parchment paper and cover the pan with a tight fitting lid. Reduce heat to very low, and allow to cook, undisturbed, for 1 hour. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and keep warm.

For the celery root puree:
Combine celery root and milk in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer, partially cover, and simmer until fork tender, approximately 30 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove celery root from pan, and reserve the cooking liquid. Whip the celery root with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Stir in the salt, pepper, and olive oil. If necessary, add some of the reserved cooking liquid to adjust the consistency. Keep warm.

To plate the finished dish, mound some of the celery root puree in the center of the plate, lean 2 chops against each other, and rest on the celery puree. Garnish with a generous spoon of red onion marmalade and a sprinkling of sparkling red pomegranate seeds.

Serves 4.

Butter Bean Soup or Lima Bean and Champagne Soup

From New Southern Cooking by Nathalie Dupree, The University of Georgia Press

Ingredients
1 pound dried butter beans or limas
Ham bone, ham, or salt pork
3 celery stalks with leaves
1 large carrot
1 large or 2 medium onions
4 medium potatoes
1 large bay leaf
8 peppercorns
8 whole cloves
Salt to taste
1 bottle champagne, or to taste

Garnishes:
Chopped ham (optional)
Fresh parsley, finely chopped

Instructions
1. Rinse the beans, and place in a large bowl. Cover with cold water by 2 inches, and soak overnight. If you are short of time, use the quick method as directed on the package.

2. To prepare the broth, combine 3 quarts of water with the remaining ingredients (except champagne and parsley), and simmer, covered, about 1 hour. Strain the broth, and skim off any grease that may have risen to the top. Set aside the potatoes and any lean meat, discarding the bones and other vegetables. Mash the potatoes coarse. Drain the beans, and add to the broth. Simmer until the beans are very tender, about 1 to 2 hours. Add the potatoes, and bruise the beans well with a potato masher until the soup is thick. Chop the meat, and add some of it to the soup. Correct the seasoning.

3. Before serving, add 1/2 to 3/4 of the bottle of champagne to the hot soup, and stir to blend over medium heat. Serve with a garnish of the remaining chopped ham, if desired, and parsley, adding a few tablespoons of champagne to each soup bowl at the table as it is served. It causes an immediate fizzle and brings exclamations of joy and praise.

Golden Brown Puffed Cheesy Rice Spoon Bread

From BakeWise by Shirley O. Corriher

Ingredients
Nonstick cooking spray
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 medium shallots, finely chopped
6 scallions, all of the green included, sliced into thin rings
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 cups cooked rice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 cups grated Gruyère or Swiss, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt, and more as needed
1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Instructions
1. Arrange a shelf just below the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 375°F.

2. Spray a 2-quart heatproof casserole with nonstick cooking spray.

3. In a large skillet, melt the butter, and saute the shallots over medium-low heat until soft, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the scallions, and cook another 3 or 4 minutes. Remove from the heat, and stir in the cayenne and nutmeg.

4. In a large mixing bowl, stir the eggs briefly to combine the whites and yolks, and then stir in the milk, cream, rice, cornstarch (if needed), 1 cup of cheese, salt, pepper, and the shallot mixture. Pour into prepared casserole, and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup cheese on top. Place on the arranged shelf, and bake until a rich golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes.

Makes one 2-quart casserole.

Hoecakes

From The Lady & Sons Savannah Country Cookbook by Paula Deen, Random House

Ingredients
1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup self-rising cornmeal
2 eggs
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup vegetable oil or bacon grease
Oil or butter for frying

Instructions
1. Mix all ingredients well, except for frying oil.

2. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.

3. Drop mixture by tablespoonfuls into hot skillet. Use approximately 2 tablespoons batter per hoecake.

4. Brown until crisp; turn, and brown on other side. Drain on paper towels. Leftover batter will keep in refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Makes approximately 17 cakes.

Georgia Gumbo

From Southern Cooking by Mrs. S.R. Dull

Ingredients
3/4 cup bacon drippings
1 large onion
6 fresh tomatoes, peeled and sliced
1 quart of cut okra
1 cup of boiling water
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
1. Into a heavy fry pan, put grease; slice onion quite thin, and fry in grease a very light brown. Care must be taken not to burn or cook too much, for this would ruin the entire dish. Add tomatoes, okra, and water; stir often; add seasoning when half done.

2. Cook about 1 hour. The mixture should be thick enough to be eaten with a fork. Serve with dry rice or as a vegetable with small individual corn meal hoecakes, which should be well-done and crusty.

3. Half a dozen fresh mushrooms broiled, chopped, and added would make the dish more delicious. To rub the pan with a cut clove of garlic gives another added charm.

4. This mixture prepared and put into green peppers and baked would be another way of using.

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