recipes

Volunteering with Hop, Skip and Serve-Dr. King day of Service in Atlanta

Over 4,400 sandwiches were prepared by a small army of volunteers through Hop, Skip and Serve for Martin Luther King Day
Over 4,400 sandwiches were prepared by a small army of volunteers through Hop, Skip and Serve for Martin Luther King Day

Today was a beautiful day, not because of the weather (though the weather was phenomenal; sunny and fairly warm for Atlanta in January).  Today was beautiful because I had the opportunity to volunteer with my daughter, wonderful friends and the good folks over at Hop, Skip and Serve for Martin Luther King Day.  The order of the day was sandwiches and LOTS of them (over 4,400 ) for those in need.  School supplies and clothing were collected as well.  Hop, Skip and Serve made volunteering a party with a DJ and impromptu dance breaks.  Kids as young as 4 are able to serve their community in a meaningful way, making this a perfect family service opportunity.  It did my heart good to see so many young people there; Girl Scout troops, high school students and students from Spelman, Morehouse and Clark Atlanta University.

Thanks to Drew Charter School for giving a home to the many groups that came together to serve.

Young Volunteers from Clark Atlanta University, Spelman College and Morehouse College
Young Volunteers from Clark Atlanta University, Spelman College and Morehouse College

Volunteers brought in wheat bread and sandwich fixins and we got to work at about 9am.  The college kids counted and organized the sandwiches and got them ready for transport.  Hop, Skip and Serve volunteers got the food where it needed to go and many hungry folks in Atlanta will be fed.   All in all, a great way to spend the day and bond with my daughter.

Also, shout out to Yumbii and Nana G’s food trucks for coming out to support and for bringing tasty treats for the volunteers,

Hop, Skip and (VERY Happy to) Serve Staff. The DJ turned this volunteer opportunity into a  family party.
Hop, Skip and (VERY Happy to) Serve Staff. The DJ turned this volunteer opportunity into a family party.  I’m looking forward to their next volunteer opportunity, I’ll b sure to bring the whole family next time.
30 Comments

Crab and Sweet Potato Bisque Recipe

You already know how much I love a crab boil (you do know that, right?).  I prefer to have a crab boil with blue crabs but they can be hard to come by, so I’ll pick up a few pounds of frozen snow crab legs in a pinch.  We boiled some up this weekend but this time I saved the crabby, corny, sausagey broth to make crab bisque later in the week.

De-fatting chilled stock or broth
Reserve the broth from cooking the crab, corn and sausage. Chill the broth in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze it for up to 1 months. If there is some fat from the sausage you can just pull it off after the broth has been chilled
Simmer rice and diced sweet potato in crab broth
Bring the broth to a boil and add 1/3 cups of rice and 1 1/2 cups of diced sweet potato. Simmer for 45 minutes. You’ll see many recipes for bisque the require a lot of cream, but traditionally bisque is thickened with rice.
Puree the crab bisque
Use an immersion blender (or a regular blender) to puree the soup until smooth. Strain the soup.
Crab and sweet potato bisque recipe
Top the soup with some crab meat, swirl in some half and half and drizzle in a bit of sherry for the grown folks

CRAB AND SWEET POTATO BISQUE serves 6

8 cups of crab broth (from the crab boil you had)

1/3  cup uncooked rice

1 -1/2 cups of diced sweet potato

8 oz back fin crab meat

1/4 cup half and half

1/4 cup dry sherry (for grown folks…it’s optional)

Bring the broth to a boil. Add the rice and sweet potato, simmer for 45 minutes.  Puree the soup and strain. (Be very careful if you use a blender to puree hot soup, it can explode.  Puree in small batches for safety)

Pour into serving bowls or cups.  Swirl half and half onto the top of the soup drizzle with sherry if you’re using that.  Add 2 tablespoons of crab meat to each bowl and serve.

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Panettone French Toast Recipe

French toast, panettone, breakfast, brunch, Christmas
I made our Christmas morning breakfast French toast with panettone, an Italian fruit cake. It’s only slightly sweet with a bread like texture and its’s loaded with raisins and candies fruit rinds.  It has a more delicate flavor than the fruit cake your aunt brought last week. You’ll usually see panettone in stores in the U.S. around Christmas time

If someone brought a panettone to your Christmas party, here’s the BEST thing you can do with it.

French toast, panettone, breakfast, brunch, Christmas
Cut some of the slices in half to make it a more manageable size.  Cook the French toast in butter on a griddle or in a pan for 2-3 minutes per side. Put cooked French toast on a pan with a rack while the rest are cooking.
French toast, syrup, butter, panettone, breakfast, brunch, Christmas
Drizzle a little syrup on the finished French toast and you’re good to go

French Toast Recipe serves 8 people

1 Panettone cake about 26 ounces or 16 slices of bread

2 cups half and half

6 large eggs

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

zest of one orange about 1 Tablespoon

4 ounces of butter

Equipment: Griddle or wide shallow pan, 2 sheet pans, 2 wire racks, 1 pie plate

Slice the pannetone serving sizes about a 1/2 inch thick

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Beat half and half, eggs, sugar, vanilla and orange zest in a bowl.  Pour batter into a pie plate.

Dip panettone slices (or bread) into the batter for about 15 seconds per side. Cook the French toast in about one tablespoon of butter on griddle set to medium heat (325 degrees on an electric griddle). Cook for 2-3 minutes per side, until golden brown.  Remove cooked French toast to a wire rack placed over a pan.  When all of the French toast is finished on the griddle, place the French toast (still on the pan on the wire rack) into the oven and bake for 5 minutes.

Serve with butter and syrup.

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Christmas Cookies Easy and Delicious Recipes

Christmas cookies recipe sweetsavant.com America's best food blog
A trio of cookies: one no bake, one bar cookie and one fully decorated rolled out sugar cookie
A trio of cookies: one no bake, one bar cookie and one fully decorated rolled out sugar cookie

Three cookies recipes: One no bake, one bar cookie and one traditional rolled out and fully decorated cookie.

DULCE DE LECHE COCONUT PECAN KRISPIE BALLS (I’m gonna have to come up with a shorter name)

Scoop out the dulce de leche cookie dough and drop it into the ground pecan and coconut
Scoop out the dulce de leche cookie dough and drop it into the ground pecan and coconut
I use this 1/4 ounce scoop for little small cookies
I use this 1/4 ounce scoop to portion small cookies
no bake cookies, dulce de leche, coconut, pecans, chocolate
Sweet and delicious Dulce de leche balls are full of coconut, pecans and puffed rice for a bit of crispy texture

Dulce de Leche coconut balls recipe (makes 45 balls)

1 ½ cups shredded sweetened coconut

1 ½ cups pecans

½ cup dark chocolate chips

14 oz dulce de leche (in your grocery store near the condensed milk)

1 cup rice krispies

Finely chop coconut and pecans in a food processor

Mix with chocolate chips, dulce de leche and rice krispies. Scoop into small balls, I used a 025 ounce scoop.

Topping

2 cups sweetened shredded coconut

½ cup pecans

Roll the balls the topping mixture

BROWNED BUTTER BLONDIES

Rich browned butter blondies are moist and delicious.
Rich browned butter blondies are moist and delicious.

Browned Butter Blondies (makes 16 blondies)

1 stick butter

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup Cane Syrup

4 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup all-purpose flour

spray and 8*8 inch pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Brown the butter over medium heat in a small saucepan for about 4 minutes.  When it’s ready the butter should smell nutty and be golden brown.  Let the butter cool.

Beat butter sugar, cane syrup eggs, vanilla and salt in the bowl of a mixer.  Mix on medium speed for 2 minutes.

Add flour and mix until just combined, about 1 minute.

Pour into prepared pan and bake at 325 degrees for about 35-40 minutes.

let cool completely and cut into 16 squares

SUGAR COOKIES

rolling pin rings, sugar cookie dough
Use rolling pin rings to help you roll your cookie dough tho the perfect thickness
cookies, rolling pin rings
Rolling pin rings help you roll your cookies (or pie crust) to the perfect thickness. No more guessing
Sugar cookies, royal icing
Crisp sweet sugar cookies are fun for the family to decorate in your favorite holiday colors

Sugar cookie recipe for rolling (makes about 30-40 cookies depending on the size of your cookie cutters)

1 ½ cups powdered sugar

1 stick soft butter

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 ½ cups All-purpose  flour

1/4 teaspoon your favorite spice like cinnamon, or garam masala (optional)

2 tablespoons colored sugar (optional)

I use a stand mixer, but this sugar cookie dough is easy to make by hand with a wooden spoon.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper

In a bowl mix butter,  powdered sugar , egg , salt and vanilla thoroughly in a bowl until combined (about 2 minutes on medium in a stand mixer)

Stir in the flour and optional spices and mix until well combined but not over mixed.

Divide dough in half, form each half into a disk and wrap each disk in plastic.  Chill the dough in the refrigerator for about a half hour.

Spread a thin layer of flour on your counter and put one disk of cookie dough on it ( leave the other disk in the fridge until you are ready to use it)  Roll out your dough with a floured rolling pin to about  1/8  inch thick. I use rolling pin bands to help me roll the dough evenly; no more guessing about what 1/8 of an inch is or struggling to keep the dough at an even thickness.

Pre heat your oven to 350 drgrees

Dip your cookie cutter in flour and cut out your shapes.  Use a thin metal spatula ( dusted with flour) to lift the cookies off the counter and place them onto the parchment lined cookie sheet.  If you are not decorating your cookies with frosting you can sprinkle them with white or colored sugar before you bake them

Bake the cookies for 10-12 (depending on the size of your cookies) until they are just very slightly brown around the edges.  Let them cool to room temperature before you frost them.

You can re-roll the scraps of the cookie dough that are left over after cutting out your cookies.  Just gather the scraps, form them into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for a half hour before rolling)

Royal Icing

1 cup powdered sugar

2 ½ tablespoons pasteurized egg whites

Food coloring

You can find pasteurized egg whites in the dairy section of your grocery store

Mix Powdered sugar and egg whites together. Add more egg white to make a runnier consistency, add powdered sugar to make a thicker consistency. Add food coloring one drop at a time until you reach the desired color.

DECORATE: 

Using a disposable pastry bag  (cut a tiny bit off of the tip to make a small hole) pipe an outline with royal icing.  Thin the icing slightly  with a drop or two of egg white.  Use this to fill in the outlined area.

Christmas Cookies Easy and Delicious Recipes

12 Comments

Healthy Appetizers and Food Styling Tips with Nancy Waldeck at Cooks Warehouse Merchants Walk

appetizers, stuffed peppers, vegan appetizers, quinoa, vegan
Sweet peppers stuffed with Quinoa presented in a deviled egg plate=brilliant

I’m usually on the other side of the chef’s jacket, but not this night.  This time instead of teaching a cooking class I got to take one from fantastic chef and food stylist Nancy Waldeck (TasteandSavor.com )  at COOKS WAREHOUSE Merchants Walk  Nancy had great ideas about using unusual items to present your food. She told us a story about how once she and her assistant bought tons on mushrooms from the grocery store just for the cute boxes they were in ( I’m sure she did something wonderful with all those mushrooms).  Her recipes were lovely, light and healthy appetizers great for any party.

The assistants at Cooks Warehouse had the mise en place prepped and ready to go
The assistants at Cooks Warehouse had the mise en place prepped and ready to go
pork sliders, appetizers, sliders
Adorable presentation for pork sliders with red pepper jelly
mini stuffed potato, Cajun crab salad, appetizer
This was the dish my “lab partner” and I chose to make. Teeny potatoes filled with Cajun crab salad. Also pictured, delicious Spanish paprika chicken bites with Romesco sauce.

 

potato cake, appetizer, kale, broccoli, bacon, Chinese soup spoons
 I created this little app out of the potato scraps from the stuffed mini potato recipe and some stuff I found when I raided the fridge at Cooks Warehouse. Waste not want not…and eat well. This is a kale, broccoli and potato cake with bacon.

Mini Potato Cakes with Kale, Broccoli and Bacon ( makes about 15 potato cakes)

1 and  1/4 cups diced Yukon gold potatoes boiled and mashed

1/4 cup finely chopped kale

1/4 cup finely chopped broccoli

1/4 cup diced cooked bacon ( save a few pieces of bacon for garnish if you like)

2 garlic cloves grated

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup mayonnaise (or light mayonnaise)

2 tablespoons butter or canola oil

2 tablespoons sour cream or plain Greek yogurt

Mix mashed potato, kale, broccoli, bacon, garlic mayonnaise and salt together in a bowl.  Scoop about a tablespoon of the mixture and form into a small scallop shaped disk.

Heat a skillet on medium with butter or canola oil.  Brown the potato cakes on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Serve on spoons (Chinese soup spoons or regular tablespoons)

Garnish with a dollop or sour cream or Greek yogurt and top with a piece of bacon

Chinese soup spoon, appetizers
Inexpensive Stainless Steel Chinese Soup Spoons are a great way to serve appetizers

 

chocolate dipped strawberries
Strawberries dipped in chocolate, peanuts and Dukkah (an African spice blend) DELICIOUS
shrimp, tomato soup, appetizers, cocktail
I love this presentation of tomato soup and shrimp skewers in shot glasses on top of a pedestal and gorgeous detailed wooden mat
Sweet Savant
The fabulous Nancy Waldeck and me at Cooks Warehouse Merchants Walk
5 Comments

From Thrift Shop to Table Top-Great Tableware finds from Goodwill

Cute thrifted tableware.  Just a dollar or two per item. Fun for a party or for everyday.
Cute thrifted tableware. Just a dollar or two per item. Fun for a party or for everyday.

It’s time to restock my prop closet, so I headed to Goodwill on Monday to pick up some inexpensive items.  Everything on the table (except for the tablecloth and the food) is from Goodwill.  These items will be great for styling my blog and great for parties.

Sake, tea, tea party,
Cute little tea or sake cups are perfect for serving snacks and dessert.  The three of them cost $2.71
Some cute items purchased from Goodwill, cute and inexpensive
Some cute items purchased from Goodwill, cute and inexpensive
double handled soup bowl.
This thrifted 10 Strawberry Street double handled bowl may be my favorite purchase. It’s perfect for putting snacks or fruit out on the table.  Only cost me 99 cents
Some cute items purchased from Goodwill, cute and inexpensive.  I have no idea what that thing is in the upper left corner...do you?
Some cute items purchased from Goodwill, cute and inexpensive. I have no idea what that thing is in the upper left corner…do you?
Here's a better look.  At first I thought it was a cake plate but if it was it wouldn't have holes in the top.  I'm going to put a tea light candle in the center and use it as a tea pot warmer.  Any way, it was only 99 cents
Here’s a better look. At first I thought it was a cake plate but if it was it wouldn’t have holes in the top. I’m going to put a tea light candle in the center and use it as a tea pot warmer. Any way, it was only 99 cents
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Holiday grocery shopping at BJ’s Wholesale clubs

It’s that most wonderful time of the year again.  It’s the time of year when we prepare our homes to receive friends and family in the spirit of the season.    It’s the time of year when we heat up our ovens and start making those favorite dishes that will become favorites of those that taste them.  It’s also the time when we need to stock out pantries to be prepared for unexpected visitors.

BJ's logo

I was invited to BJ’s Wholesale Club a few days ago to get some a peek at some of their holiday products and get some tips on entertaining.

Bj’s does require you to purchase a membership to receive the benefits of their club, but their low prices and coupon policy more than makes up for that fee.

BJs invited a group of bloggers (myself included) to check out their holiday products.  They even baked us a cake!  We were given a lovely gift bag and gift card as a thank you for attending.  All opinions expressed are my own.
BJs invited a group of bloggers (myself included) to check out their holiday products. They even baked us a cake! We were given a lovely gift bag and gift card as a thank you for attending. All opinions expressed are my own.
It's a good idea to keep an assortment of cheeses and charcuterie on hand for when unexpected guests drop in.
It’s a good idea to keep an assortment of cheeses and charcuterie on hand for when unexpected guests drop in.
This multi pack of gift mugs filled with delicious, high quality chocolates makes gift giving easy.  Break up the set and give these filled mugs to a co worker, neighbor, teacher or cousin
This multi pack of gift mugs filled with delicious, high quality chocolates makes gift giving easy. Break up the set and give these filled mugs to a co worker, neighbor, teacher or cousin
Pick up a few gifts for the artist in your life
Pick up a few gifts for the artist in your life

One important difference between BJs and other membership clubs is that BJs sells many of it’s products in sizes more appropriate for families while other membership clubs have items packaged in large quantities for small businesses.  This is especially important when purchasing perishable items (like produce) that can spoil before you have a chance to use them.

A deviled egg plate might just be mandatory for southern entertaining
A deviled egg plate might just be mandatory for southern entertaining. You can even serve other little egg-less hors d’oeuvres in them
THIS is how I like to throw a party.  Small plates and portable food make it easy to eat and socialize
THIS is how I like to throw a party. Small plates and portable food make it easy to eat and socialize
These apothecary jars are a great way to display holiday sweets and can be taken apart to use as serving pieces
These apothecary jars are a great way to display holiday sweets and can be taken apart to use as serving pieces 

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Baking cakes for the Holidays (or any days)

pumpkin spice latte cake, pumpkin cake, spice cake, latte, buttercream, cake, dessert
Pumpkin Spice Latte cake. This moist cake is made with roasted pumpkin puree and warm spices like cumin and cardamom. The frosting is coffee buttercream…don’t worry, it’s decaf

My oven is HOT!  I’ve been baking up a storm lately developing cake and pie recipes for my clients’ holiday tables.

Apple cake, apple upside down cake,
This apple upside down cake is a wonderful addition to your holiday table. Made with honey crisp apples and baked in butter and Georgia’s own Alaga cane syrup for a sweet glaze. This moist cake has shredded apples and cinnamon in the batter.
This brown sugar pound cake is moist, rich and not too sweet.  Perfect for an after dinner treat.
This brown sugar pound cake is moist, rich and not too sweet. Perfect for an after dinner treat.

Here’s a link to the Brown Sugar Pound Cake recipe  just in case you’re in the mood for a little baking.  If you’re in the Atlanta area you can order one of these delicious cakes from me.   Here’s the rest of the menu:

 

 

2 Comments

Brown Sugar Pound Cake

Brown Sugar Pound Cake

Mmmm, Wouldn’t this BROWN SUGAR POUND CAKE be GORGEOUS on your holiday table! The perfect Thanksgiving dessert or Christmas Dessert but really it’s great any time of year. This cake is incredibly moist, lightly sweet, has a hint of lemon and a whole lot of DELICIOUS! (more…)

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