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    A Peek into My Kitchen

    The Sweet Savant kitchen featured in Atlanta Home Improvement Magazine
    The Sweet Savant kitchen featured in Atlanta Home Improvement Magazine

    Hi Sweets!

    My kitchen is featured in the September 2014 issue of Atlanta Home Improvement Magazine.

    The multi-level custom countertop was designed for me by my husband and architect Corey Overton (Five Lions Design).  Countertops are a  quartz surface by Cambria Stone in  Cardif Cream (the light colored one) and Oakhampton (the dark countertop color).
    The cabinets are from Ikea-Nexus doors in the black/brown finish (discontinued for kitchens) with Korrekt pulls (also discontinued).
    I’ll give a more in depth kitchen tour that will cover appliances and other finishes in the near future.
    ~Much Love
    4 Comments

    Mae’s Bakery, a great reason to go off my low carb diet

    Mae's Bakery Birthday cake.  Happy first birthday
    Mae’s Bakery Birthday cake. Happy first birthday

    Dieting sucks lets face it, but if it must be done then it must be done.  I’m on a low carb diet now but diets be damned because it’s the 1st anniversary celebration for Mae’s Bakery (2772 Lenox Road, Suite B4, Atlanta, GA).

    Beth Castro owner of Mae's Bakery
    Beth Castro fulfilled her lifelong dream of owning her own bakery with the opening of Mae’s Bakery last year.  Self taught, Beth’s passion for delicious treats shows in the high quality of her work.  The bakery is named after Beth’s daughter.
    Dessert table
    Dessert table
    Mae's sugar cookies
    Yes sugar cookie, I will do as you say
    One of my favorite desserts, creampuffs have a light, crispy shell and a rich creamy vanilla filling
    One of my favorite desserts, creampuffs have a light, crispy shell and a rich creamy vanilla filling
    Eclairs, perfectly shiny with chocolate glaze
    Eclairs, perfectly shiny with chocolate glaze
    Cupcakes and Layer cake and cake pops. Macarons by Xanna Kidd of XK Macarons.  Xanna is also a barista at Mae's
    Cupcakes and Layer cake and cake pops. Macarons by Xanna Kidd of XK Macarons. Xanna is also a barista at Mae’s.  The beautifully colored French Macarons are a meringue cookie make with almond flour.  They are so deliciously delicate; the outer shell cracks between your teeth and the lightly chewy inside melts in your mouth.

    Counter Culture Coffee was in the house for a very informative discussion of all things coffee.

    Counter Culture Chemex Coffee
    Counter Culture Chemex Coffee.  The by-the-cup, certified organic, Counter Culture coffees at Mae’s Bakery change seasonally
    We had a wonderful tasting of Counter Culture Coffees
    We had a wonderful tasting of Counter Culture Coffees.  The folks at Counter Culture have an encyclopedic knowledge of everything coffee that they pass on the the shop owners that carry their brand.

    Most items on Mae’s menu (except croissants) can be made gluten free, just ask.  I hear their whoopie pies are to DIE for. I’ll return to Mae’s soon to give a report on that.

    5 Comments

    Beets…by D

    beets n eggs 3beets n eggs 2

    This beet and pickled egg wrap was so DELICIOUS!! The raw beets were marinated for 2 days in salt, olive oil, honey and spices making them a bit more tender. The provolone frico black pepper is crispy and sharp.
    This beet and pickled egg wrap was so DELICIOUS!! The raw beets were marinated for 2 days in salt, olive oil, honey and spices making them a bit more tender. The provolone frico black pepper is crispy and sharp.
    marinated beet salad with juicy fresh orange segments, cured olives and salty, crumbly feta cheese.
    marinated beet salad with juicy fresh orange segments, cured olives and salty, crumbly feta cheese.

    beets n olives 3

    Beet salad- basic recipe ( adjust all measurements to taste)

    2 beets about 2 inches in diameter peeled and grated in a food processor

    1  teaspoon salt, more or less to taste

    ¼ teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed between your fingers

    2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice

    ½ teaspoon cumin

    1 tablespoon  olive oil

    2 tablespoons honey

    Mix together and store in the refrigerator.  The beets become a bit softer as they sit

    Variations:

    Crumbled feta

    Kalamata and  Cerignola olives

    Fresh mint

    Chives

    Orange segments

    Pickled eggs ( I’ll give the pickled eggs recipe later this week)

    Aged provolone  cheese ( make a frico by grating the provolone onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.  I cracked black pepper over it and baked at 400 degrees for 5-6 minutes until just lightly browned.  It will be pliable for a few seconds so you can bend it into shapes)

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    The Steakover, results edition

    Firefighter Kenny Huchinson

    Firefighter Kenny Huchinson grilling his Southern Sizzle Steaks for the Steakover

    firefighter Danny Pinto cooking his smokey Steaks with Sweet Onion Marinade
    firefighter Danny Pinto cooking his smokey Steaks with Sweet Onion Marinade
    Danny Pinto's steak, "team Yellow"
    Danny Pinto’s steak, “team Yellow”
    Kenny Hutchinson "team Black"
    Kenny Hutchinson “team Black”
    the votes are IN
    the votes are IN

    AND THE WINNER IS!!!

    093
    Madison from B98.5, our host for the day, announcing the winner. Check out her GUNS!! My goodness they are FANTASTIC!

    Congratulations Kenny!  Kenny Hutchinson will represent the ATL and try to win $20,000 for the Atlanta Fire Foundation

    I voted for the yellow team. Danny and his steak were AMAZING.  The seasoning was really zingy, made my mouth water. I was surprised that he didn't win
    I voted for the yellow team. Danny and his steak were AMAZING. The seasoning was really zingy, made my mouth water. I was surprised that he didn’t win

    http://bit.ly/Z1soU8 for both recipes

    The guys were nice enough to answer a few questions for me, the following is a brief interview with Danny and Kenny:

    Me, asking Questions

    Danny’s answers

    Kenny’s answers

    Do you all take turns cooking at the firehouse, or do only the good cooks get to cook?Usually 2-3 people who actually enjoy cooking and we just rotate most of the time.Yes ma’am, we have a rotation for a while, but normally, we got guys that want to cook so we let them cook.  They’re usually better at it.
    Do you heckle or get heckled by the other firefighters?A few of the guys give me a hard time, you know all the preparation, I’m taking my time to cook and they give always give me a hard time “ aw, we’re not going to eat until 8 o’clock”That’s part of the job, you’re going to get heckled no matter what you do at the fire station, whether its cooking, cleaning or training if it’s not just how they like it they’re going to heckle you.  It’s all in fun, though.
    What kind of support would you like from the community?We go to the grocery store ourselves and we pay for our own food.  Some members of the community will come by and drop off some sweets, cupcakes things of that nature. Yesterday at my station, station 21 we had a member of our community cater Moe’s in for us.  But that’s voluntary, we don’t ever ask for it.The neighborhood that surrounds our station is awesome, they always come by and offer they drop gift cards off, at Christmas they drop stuff off for us. Actually the neighborhood assists us in mowing and taking care of our lawn.  We have a really great community.
    Is this your favorite cut of steak, the ribeye?No, Filet Mignon or sirloin.  I like my steak a little bit more lean.  I like to grill my steak over charcoal or on a flat top.  I’m really select in my choice of meat, I look at how the fat is distributed, and I cook it over medium heat, on the top rack of the grill.Yes ma’am it is, I like a filet, too
    How would you adapt this recipe to serve it as a romantic dinner?I would cook a filet with grilled asparagus and grilled corn. I leave the cork in the husk, soak it in water and put it on the top rack to cook until its tender. I put the corn on before I put the steak onI’d have candles out here and not all these guys!
    0 comment

    What’s Happening around the A? The Steak Over Challenge, that’s what

    Chef Danny Pinto's entry for the Steakover challenge-photo credit COPYRIGHT 2012 JOHN LEE PICTURES
    Chef Danny Pinto’s entry for the Steakover challenge-photo credit COPYRIGHT 2012 JOHN LEE PICTURES

    Chef Jeff Schultz's entry for the Steakover Challenge-photo credit-COPYRIGHT 2012 JOHN LEE PICTURESChef Jeff Schultz’s entry for the Steakover Challenge-photo credit-COPYRIGHT 2012 JOHN LEE PICTURES

    I do love a good steak and this weekend Walmart is hosting a big steak cook-off .  I love a good firefighter, too so I’ve got the best of both worlds.  Firefighters from two Atlanta firehouses are firing-up the grill to go head-to-head in the Walmart Steak-Over Challenge presented by Kingsford Charcoal, Dr. Pepper and A.1. on SaturdayApril 20 from noon – 2 p.m. at the 1550 Scenic Highway N Walmart store parking lot.

    It’s Danny Pinto from Station 21 and his “Smokey Steaks with Sweet Onion Marinade” versus Station 11’s Jeff Schultz ( Kenny Hutchinson will represent station 11) and his “Southern Sizzle Steaks.” Both sound delicious and I can’t wait to taste them.

    Here are the recipes if you can’t make it out to cast your vote:

    Smokey Steaks with Sweet Onion Marinade-Danny Pinto

    Makes:                        4 servings

    Prep time:       10-15 minutes

    Cook time:      10 minutes

    YOU’LL NEED

    3-4       Walmart Choice rib-eye steaks, about 24-32 ounces total

    Chicago steak seasoning, to taste

    1          20-ounce bottle Dr. Pepper®

    ¼         cup of olive oil

    2          tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

    ¾         cup minced onion

     

    INSTRUCTIONS

    Place the steaks in a shallow dish, and sprinkle with Chicago steak seasoning on both sides.  Mix the Dr. Pepper, olive oil and Worcestershire sauce together, and pour over the steaks, turning to coat both sides with the mixture. Cover the steaks with the minced onions, and marinate for one hour.

     

    When ready to cook, prepare a charcoal grill for direct high heat (450-500 degrees F) using Kingsford® Charcoal.

    Remove the steak from the marinade and wipe off onions. Season on both sides with more steak seasoning.

    Brush the cooking grates clean. Grill the steaks with the lid closed as much as possible, turning once or twice, until cooked to your desired doneness, 6 to 8 minutes for medium rare.  Remove steaks from the grill and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

    Recipe created by The Atlanta Fire Department on behalf of Walmart.

    Southern Sizzle Steaks-Jeff Schultz

    Makes:                        4 servings

    Prep time:       5 minutes

    Cook time:      10 minutes

    YOU’LL NEED

    3-4       Walmart Choice rib-eye steaks, about 24-32 ounces total

    McCormick® Montreal® Steak Seasoning, to taste

    1          cup Dale’s® Steak Seasoning sauce

    ½         cup Dr. Pepper®

    INSTRUCTIONS

    Place the steaks in a shallow dish, and rub with plenty of steak seasoning on both sides. Pour the steak seasoning sauce and the Dr. Pepper over the steaks, turning to coat both sides with the mixture. Cover the steaks and marinate until they come to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

     

    When ready to cook, prepare a charcoal grill for direct high heat (450-500 degrees F) using Kingsford® charcoal. Brush the cooking grates clean.

    Remove the steak from the marinade. Place on the grates, and grill with the lid closed as much as possible, turning once or twice, until cooked to your desired doneness, 6 to 8 minutes for medium rare. Remove steaks from the grill and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

    Recipe created by The Atlanta Fire Department on behalf of Walmart.

    1 Comment

    Dare All and Prevail

    Such a moving video for a great cause. Staplehouse – casual fine dining with a purpose. Here’s a quote from their campaign:

    Staplehouse is now the flagship of The Giving Kitchen, a casual fine dining experience with a purpose. A restaurant dedicating all (after tax) proceeds to The Giving Kitchen Initiative, a 501c3 organization dedicated to providing financial assistance to those in the hospitality industry, who find themselves in crisis.  Here’s the link to the video => http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/377351/wdgi

    0 comment

    Beets, because I read somewhere that they’re good for you

    Beets, I'd like to paint a room in my house this color...maybe not the whole room, maybe just a wall....or maybe a dress this color...
    Beets. I’d like to paint a room in my house this color…maybe not the whole room, maybe just a wall….or maybe a dress this color…

    So, I know you hear reports everyday about this study or that study saying that this thing or that thing  is good for you. I usually don’t pay much attention because often its some nonsense like beer has anti-viral properties, but you would have to drink 30 beers a day to see any benefit. Totally useless for regular folks, this is only meaningful if you are a manufacturer of multi-vitamins and are working on a beer pill to take with your fish oil everyday.

    But this morning I read an article about beets and blood pressure that caught my eye.  A promising  small study in which a few people with high blood pressure (but who were not taking medication) were given a cup of beet juice a day had a significant drop in blood pressure ( check out the article here => http://huff.to/1192FHY )  . It takes about 2 beets to get one 8 ounce cup of beet juice.

    This hits close to home because as many as 1 in 3 adults has high blood pressure including members of my family.  I was inspired to make a beet recipe for good health…plus beets are yummy.  I’ll post the beet recipe as soon as I’m done.

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    Super Fast Shrimp and Broccoli

    Get this delicious Shrimp and Broccoli dinner on the table in less than 25 minutes
    Get this delicious Shrimp and Broccoli dinner on the table in less than 25 minutes

    Get a delicious dinner on the table FAST! I think I’m wearing my rice cooker out, it didn’t want to start for me this time but I finally coerced it into working.  Start the rice first, then stir fry the rest.

    Ingredients for Shrimp and Broccoli Dinner: Broccoli, Soy Sauce, Apricot Preserves, Shrimp and Sausage...the rice cooker is in the back
    Ingredients for Shrimp and Broccoli Dinner: Broccoli, Soy Sauce, Apricot Preserves, Shrimp and Sausage…the rice cooker is in the back
    1 large skillet with a lid….or use foil to cover

     

    2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

    1 pound sliced smoked sausage (a spicy one if you like)

    1 pound of peeled and deveined shrimp

    1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger

    4 cups of broccoli florets

    1 tablespoon soy sauce

    3 tablespoons apricot preserves

    1 tablespoon  rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar

    2 tablespoons of water if necessary

     

    Heat oil in a medium/hot skillet and sauté sausage.  Add shrimp and cook until it just turns pink. Remove shrimp and sausage from the pan.

    Add the finely chopped ginger, broccoli, soy sauce, apricot jam and vinegar stir and cover. Let the broccoli steam for 3-5 minutes.  Add up to 2 tablespoons of water if needed to keep from burning.  Add the shrimp and sausage, stirring to coat with the sauce.

    Serve over rice.

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