I've been a busy little bee! Wedding planning is in full swing—location, check. florist, check. photographer, check. DJ, check. I'm trying to get the big things out of the way early so I have more energy down the road to focus on the little details. I'm really excited about how it's all coming together, and I hope to share some of the progress with you, too. In addition to planning, I've just returned from a much needed "mini-cation" in Los Angeles. I don't have very many close girlfriends in Atlanta (although I'm always looking!) so I gathered my Cali ladies for some serious female bonding sessions. I forgot how rejuvenating "girly time" is—nothing to do but sip on bubbly at brunch, chat over afternoon lattes, and watch a marathon of bad CW television into the wee hours of the morning. I also dragged them around to some of my old haunts, like Joan's on Third, Newsroom, Versailles, Katsuya, Gjelina, and Intelligentsia. It's amazing that after all our eating and drinking I was actually bold enough to slip in to some fancy wedding gowns!
Needless to say, all that relaxing (and a little plane crash scare) have left me a bit exhausted. Yes, I know; it's a tough life. Until I get my bearings again, here's a long overdue recipe update that should whet your appetite until my next delicious post comes along. In the meantime, stay hungry my friends.
Creamy Corn Hush Puppies — at Cooking Channel
I have enjoyed my fair share of hush puppies, but every time I attempted making them myself they just didn't taste as good as at restaurants. I finally dedicated an entire day to creating my ultimate recipe, to grand success. Fresh corn, creamed corn, and beer take these from ordinary to extraordinary!
Homemade Nutty Bars — at The Kitchn
I'm on a mission to create the "ultimate snack bar" featuring from-scratch versions of all my favorite store bought treats. First up is a three ingredient take on Little Debbie Nutty Bars. These are quick, delicious, and much more nutritious!
English Muffin French Toast — at The Kitchn
They say the best kitchen discoveries often come about from a major mishap, as was the case with my English muffin French toast. When I discovered my challah bread was bad only after heating the oil and whisking the batter, I fried the next best (yeasty) thing. The result—a recipe that is eerily similar to funnel cake. And who doesn't love funnel cake for breakfast, right!?
Vinegar-Glazed Chicken Sausages — at The Kitchn
I'm always searching for new ways to update my weeknight dinners. Chicken sausage is an easy (if tad bit boring) go-to, so I decided to give it a little upgrade. I used my favorite Southern ingredient, cider vinegar, with a standard glazing technique to turn out what I would say is a match made in foodie heaven. I nestled the savory sausages in sauteed cabbage for a well-rounded meal. Yeah, this pairing will definitely be happening again soon.
Crispy Chicken Thighs & Warm Bread Salad — at The Kitchn
Here's a weeknight spin on Zuni Cafe's famous roast chicken and bread salad—moist chicken thighs don't require an overnight salting, and a sear in a piping hot cast iron skillet creates a shatteringly crisp skin. The best part, though, is my version of warm panzanella. I add butter, lots of red wine vinegar, and an ungodly amount of pan drippings to create a sinfully good side dish. What can I say, I like to lead by example.
Smashed Potato Salad — at The Kitchn
A good Southern cook can never have too many potato salad recipes, but a great Southern cook should have at least one to call her very own. Here's mine: smashed baby red potatoes for texture and a generous shake of ground mustard for heat. I'm confident this dish will be racking up plenty of frequent potluck miles this summer!
White Bean and Roasted Vegetable Salad — at The Kitchn
A nutrient-packed "salad" recipe may seem a bit out of character for me, but every now and then this Southern girl just needs a good dose of healthy. If you are constantly hunting for inspired weekday lunch ideas, call off the search. Go ahead and make a whole batch and eat for the week. Your body will thank you.
Country Ham Quiche — at The Kitchn
Here's a great quiche for when you're hosting a brunch crowd, inspired by Martha Stewart herself. I subbed in a savory shortbread crust (just press in the pan and bake) for simplicity's sake. Who really wants to be rolling out a pie crust when there's mimosas to sip and company to enjoy?!
Strawberry and Honey Sorbet — at The Kitchn
I created this sweet treat for lent, during which Walt begrudgingly gave up both beer and refined sugar. It's too bad that sacrificing these, unfortunately, did not squelch his burning desire for ice cream, so desperate times called for desperate measures. Although I had never really used honey as a sweetener before, it has since become a new favorite ingredient. I promise you'll never miss the sugar in this just-sweet-enough strawberry sorbet.
Stirred Egg Custard — at The Kitchn
Boiled egg custard is an old-school Southern recipe found in many retro community cookbooks. While usually enjoyed at Christmas, I personally think it is good enough to make any time of year. It's technically just eating vanilla ice cream without the ice!
Blackened Chicken with Creamy Angel Hair — at The Kitchn
I'm going to be honest here—I'm bummed with how these photos turned out. I just don't think they do the dish any justice. If you are willing to look past this minor detail, you will discover a FANTASTIC recipe. (It is so addicting that I devoured practically the entire bowl of pasta in one sitting. Then I curled into fetal position and cried.) Walt still can't stop talking about it, which is always a very good sign.
Yogurt Marinated Chicken — at The Kitchn
Here's another great lunch recipe inspired by my favorite Atlanta Greek restaurant, Grecian Gyro. The chicken—which I've substituted in for lamb—is soaked in a flavor-packed yogurt marinade, while a tzatziki-like sauce gets a Southern spin.
Chicken Cordon Bleu-Croque Monsieur — at The Kitchn
This crazy sandwich lovechild is what happens when you give a starving food blogger too much time to think. But what's not to like about crispy fried chicken, deli-sliced ham, melted cheese, and a bubbling mornay sauce? It may be a bit extravagant but I would do it again in a heartbeat!