What do you do with hungry dancers in the wee hours of the morning?
Well, if you’re Chef Fred Schmidt at the Brown Hotel in Louisville back in the Roaring 1920s, you improvise and come up with a dish that is sure to please the more than 1200 guests attending the newly opened hotel’s dinner dances each evening. Determining they wanted something more than just ham and eggs, Schmidt created an open-faced turkey sandwich topped with bacon and a rich Mornay sauce.
Can you say Hot Brown?
The Hot Brown is wonderful and the Brown itself is divine. An architectural gem, the Georgian-Revival style hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and it’s showstopping elegance is all gold, grandeur, gilt, glitter, and glamour.
From when it opened in 1923, it’s allure attracted the crème-de-la-crème of society. According to the hotel’s website, the French American operatic soprano and actress Lily Pons, who was staying there while playing at the Brown Theatre, let her pet lion cub roam free in her suite. Al Jolson, also playing at the Theatre, got in a fight in the hotel’s English Grill, but said everything was all right—his makeup would cover the shiner. Queen Marie of Romania, when she was on a diplomatic tour of the U.S. with her children, visited in 1926 and was entertained in the Crystal Ballroom in royal style complete with red carpet and a gold throne on a dais. Victor Mature had a brief career as an elevator operator at the hotel before moving on to find fortune and fame in Hollywood.
Other well-known visitors have included the Duke of Windsor, Harry Truman, Elizabeth Taylor, Robert Young, Joan Crawford, Muhammad Ali, Jimmy Carter, George H. Bush, and Barack Obama.
As for the Hot Brown, it’s become more than just a Louisville tradition and has been featured in Southern Living, The Los Angeles Times, NBC’s Today Show, ABC News with Diane Sawyer, Travel Channel’s Man v. Food, and The Wall Street Journal, and is a regular entry in many of the world’s finest cookbooks.
Here is the Brown Hotel’s Hot Brown Recipe.
It makes two Hot Browns.
2 oz. Whole Butter
2 oz. All Purpose Flour
8 oz. Heavy Cream
8 oz. Whole Milk
½ Cup of Pecorino Romano Cheese Plus 1 Tablespoon for Garnish
Pinch of Ground Nutmeg
Salt and Pepper
14 oz. Sliced Roasted Turkey Breast, Slice Thick
4 Slices of Texas Toast (Crust Trimmed)
4 Slices of Crispy Bacon
2 Roma Tomatoes, Sliced in Half
In a two‑quart saucepan, melt butter and slowly whisk in flour until combined and forms a thick paste (roux). Continue to cook roux for two minutes over medium‑low heat, stirring frequently. Whisk heavy cream and whole milk into the roux and cook over medium heat until the cream begins to simmer, about 2‑3 minutes. Remove sauce from heat and slowly whisk in Pecorino Romano cheese until the Mornay sauce is smooth. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.
For each Hot Brown, place two slices of toast with the crusts cut off in an oven safe dish – one slice is cut in half corner to corner to make two triangles and the other slice is left in a square shape – then cover with 7 ounces of turkey. Take the two halves of Roma tomato and two toast points and set them alongside the base of the turkey and toast.
Next, pour one half of the Mornay sauce to completely cover the dish. Sprinkle with additional Pecorino Romano cheese. Place the entire dish under a broiler until cheese begins to brown and bubble. Remove from broiler, cross two pieces of crispy bacon on top, sprinkle with paprika and parsley, and serve immediately.
Hot Brown Casserole
1 cup butter
3⁄4 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten
6 cups milk
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1⁄4 cup heavy whipping cream
16 slices white bread
16 slices cooked turkey (roast)
1 lb. bacon (to make 1 cup bacon bits)
1 cup tomatoes, seeded & diced
1⁄4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper
The Brown Hotel’s Hot Brown Casserole
Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add flour stirring to make a roux; cook 2 to 3 minutes.
Thoroughly beat eggs; beat into milk. While stirring, very slowly add milk mixture to butter mixture.
Stir in parmesan cheese. Cook until mixture thickens, but do not boil. This will take 30 to 45 minutes.
Mixture should heavily coat the back side of a large spoon.
Remove from heat. Fold in whipping cream and add salt and pepper to taste.
Trim crust from bread edges. Toast 10 slices in a regular toaster or place in pan under broiler till golden. Repeat on the other side. Reserve remaining bread slices.
Line the bottom of a 9x13x2-inch casserole with 6 slices of toast. Place the remaining 4 slices of toast in an 8x8x2-inch pan. (If you can place all in one pan then do so.). Top with slices of turkey. Cover with sauce, dividing the sauce between the two casseroles. Spread all of the sauce over the turkey.
Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese and paprika.
Place in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 15 minutes or till golden brown.
While casserole is baking, fry bacon till crisp; drain on paper towels. When cooled, break into bits.
Toast remaining slices of bread. Cut on a diagonal. When casserole is done, place toasted bread around outer edge, point side up.
Garnish top of casserole with bacon bits and diced tomatoes. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.
Last week Mindy Bianca @mindybiancapr.com introduced her newest employee, an elf named Jolly Jinglebutton who, I have to admit, had some great holiday travel destination. Well, it turns out the elf is back and, as he puts it, excited as a reindeer in a carrot patch because “I get to tell you all about one of my favorite places on the entire planet … Dollywood!”
File this under “who would have thought” but it seems Dolly Parton, owner of Dollywood, is an elf favorite, having recently been voted as their Very Favorite Human Ever. I wonder how Santa and Mrs. Claus feel about that as they’re humans too—I think. But anyway, everyone loves Dolly Parton and they’ll probably love her a lot more when they find out about all the special fun things going on at Dollywood from now until January 1st. By the way, in case you didn’t know, Dollywood has been awarded the title of Best Theme Park Christmas Event a whopping 14 times,
Six million of them, to be exact … spread across 160 acres. I’m not very math-y, but I’m here to tell you that it equates to A LOT of lights. They introduced a million new lights this year, so a park that already glistened and gleamed now also shimmers and shines. Hooray! There’s something bright and festive around every corner, which means that a walk around Dollywood will make you as giddy as a double espresso with a chocolate chip chaser. Every themed area of the park gets its own look and feel, so it’s kind of like you’re taking a stroll through a series of magical winter wonderlands.
As if the lights all over the park – in every tree and on every surface – weren’t enough, on Friday and Saturday nights, they put a bunch of lights up in the sky … in the form of the “Merry and Bright!” fireworks show. The colorful display is set to upbeat, contemporary holiday hits and it’s quite a way to end a weekend night in the park. It warms my little heart to see kids try to make it to the end of the day so they can be awake for the whole show. I guess it gives them good practice for trying to stay up late to see Santa, but we all know how that works out …
There are hundreds of trees throughout the park – and they decorated even more this year, just to literally up the voltage – but I have two favorites. One is the 50-foot giant evergreen in Glacier Ridge. This magical tree does a whole synchronized music and light show that ends with – wait for it – snow falling! I didn’t think anything could get better than that, but this year they really decked out the part of the park called Adventures in Imagination. The lights here are pink, platinum and gold – VERY Dolly – and they introduced a new 20-foot tree in an area they’re calling “Dolly’s Christmas.” Guess what else you’ll find there? About 60 LED butterflies! What reindeer are to Santa, butterflies are to Dolly. They’re her spirit animal.
Speaking of Santa, I don’t think it’ll surprise you to know that he and Dolly are pals. They’re so close, in fact, that she talked him into getting himself a little Smoky Mountain cabin so they can be neighbors! His cabin magically appears inside Dollywood throughout the month of November and right until Christmas Day.(After that, as you can imagine, Santa gets to take a little vacation.) You can get a sneak peek inside the cabin to watch Santa at work and – bonus – if you look closely enough, you can actually see if YOUR name is on his Naughty or Nice List! I have personally witnessed kids turn from grumpy to grand in a matter of seconds so they can be assured that they’ll show up on the correct list!
Let’s face it: Dolly Parton isn’t going to have a theme park with lousy entertainment, is she? Dollywood is legendary in the amusement industry for having some of the best performances and performers. There are so many shows here, in fact, that the park uses both indoor and outdoor venues. The headliner is called “Christmas in the Smokies,” and it’s a show that has been featured here every Christmas since 1990. Music is an incredibly important part of life here in the Smokies – and obviously something that Dolly loves – so get ready to tap your toes as part of your visit. MY toes are clad in special little booties with bells on the end, so you’ll know when I’m in the audience near you!
We elves may be small, but we have big appetites … and I’m here to tell you that Dollywood puts out quite a spread. Let’s see if I can make your mouth water by mentioning some of my favorite hyphenated foods: herb-roasted turkey breast and citrus-glazed carved ham. Or how about chicken pot pie in a bread cone? Yeah, I said it … BREAD CONE! I love to carb load before a long night of delivering gifts, and I can promise you that I’m taking this recipe back to Mrs. Claus. There are also eggnog cupcakes and gingerbread-dusted funnel cakes, and I think I’ve convinced my favorite North Pole barista, Spazzy Sparkleshots, to start serving those at her café.
Let’s not forget that this is a theme park, and most of the rides operate even in these cooler months. That means you can race through the night sky while millions of lights twinkle below. And you know what? I can tell you from first-hand experience that it’s a lot like how Santa feels when he takes his sleigh ride on Christmas Eve!
Some people love Christmas shopping, others dread it. I’m an elf, so we don’t shop … we MAKE gifts. And so do the craftsmen at Dollywood, who – if they weren’t so tall and didn’t enjoy life in the Smokies so much – could probably be recruited for Santa’s Workshop. Everything they create would make a perfect gift, and they’re also preserving some of the greatest arts of these mountains. Sometimes they even let YOU do the creating, like when the glassblower coaches you in how to make your very own glass Christmas ornament!
If you’re thinking there’s a lot to do at Dollywood and you’ll need more than a day here to take it all in, you’re absolutely right. So, it’s kind of perfect that in addition to this award-winning theme park, there’s also a beautiful resort. Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa offers families plenty of food, entertainment and décor during the holiday season. I love the two-story Christmas tree that greets you as you enter the resort. It’s very sparkly … just like me!
Whew! That was a lot to share, but I feel like I barely scratched the surface.
Remember … this Christmas, keep it holly, keep it jolly, keep it Dolly!
Can true Southern cuisine—think fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, macaroni and cheese, and fried okra—be transformed into healthier fare without losing the flavors and tastes that make this type of cookery so satisfying?
While most of us would say no way, Eric and Shanna Jones, authors of Healthier Southern Cooking: 60 Homestyle Recipes with Better Ingredients and All the Flavor, are out to show that healthy doesn’t mean boring. Their Southern credentials are impeccable. A husband and wife team, Eric is a native of Louisiana and Shanna hails from Houston, Texas, where she was born and raised. Together, they’re the founders of Dude That Cookz, a creative cooking blog with lots of great recipes and photos. Eric is the cook and Shanna a photographer who manages the brand, a role that also includes maintaining their blog and social media content and whatever else needs to be done so that Eric can focus on cooking. But Shanna also contributes to the kitchen as an avid baker. Married for more than a decade, the couple has two children.
And a love of cooking
Eric, who describes himself as a country boy and country cook, learned his way around a kitchen early on from his grandparents. His grandmother made—and he learned—the type of Louisiana Southern cuisine that tastes oh so good but definitely doesn’t meet the criteria for low in calories or heart healthy. But his own need for what he terms as “dietary adjustments” as well as his parents’ early demise from health issues made him rethink the food he loved to cook and eat. The conundrum was how to make rich and soul-satisfying Southern food that’s healthy without losing the flavor.
Well, it turns out that you can, often by substituting ingredients without losing the full mouth feel that fats provide. Cooking clean is the key. Clean is the term Eric and Shanna give to their recipes that have less salt, less fat, less sugar, and a lot fewer calories.
Creamed corn, a staple of the Jones’ kitchen, is reimagined by substituting evaporated milk for heavy cream and using coconut milk and Parmesan cheese. Peach cobbler, that classic Southern dessert, eschews the usual thick sugary syrup, reducing the amount of sugar and instead adding maple syrup as an ingredient.
Southern potato salad calls for lots of mayo and, of course, potatoes themselves are starches that convert to sugar in our system. The solution? Less mayonnaise, the use of red potatoes since they have less carbs and calories than russet potatoes, and adding hard boiled eggs—all of which, says Jones, make a dish that is full of flavor and texture.
But what about that Southern staple: fried chicken with gravy? The answer again is coconut milk, this time replacing buttermilk. Then instead of deep frying, it’s pan-fried in a minimum amount of sunflower oil. As for the gravy, 2% works just as well as cream or whole milk.
In the cookbook, the first by the couple but undoubtedly not the last, each recipe has a write-up by Jones as to how he’s reducing the caloric footprint of the dish as well as lowering the level of salt but maintaining the flavor profile with the addition of other herbs and spices.
Of course, Jones admits, sometimes you just need a double-stacked burger. But the beauty of all this, by eating clean, once in a while you can eat dirty without a lot of guilt.
Cut each of the chicken breasts in half. Cover the chicken with plastic wrap, and lightly pound it with a meat tenderizer until it is 1/2-inch thick.
Season the chicken evenly with the smoked paprika, 2 teaspoons of the black pepper, 1 teaspoon of the garlic powder, chili powder, 1 teaspoon of Himalayan pink salt, thyme and cayenne pepper.
In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, coconut milk and Sriracha sauce. Submerge the chicken into the egg mixture. Allow the chicken to marinate for 15 minutes in the refrigerator.
In a large ziplock bag, combine 2 cups of the flour, 1⁄2 teaspoon of the Himalayan pink salt, cornstarch and baking powder. Place the marinated chicken breasts in the flour mixture. Close the bag, shake it well to coat the chicken and then place it in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
Heat 2 cups of sunflower oil in a deep 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Preheat the oven to 175°F. Add the chicken to the skillet and pan-fry it for 4 minutes on each side, until it is golden brown and crispy and its internal temperature reaches 165°F.
Next, heat a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil and the butter. Once the butter has melted, add the minced garlic and cook it for 1 minute.
Stir in the remaining 1/4 cup flour to form a thick paste, then add the milk. Stirring the mixture constantly, add the Parmesan cheese, oregano, onion powder, remaining 1 teaspoon of black pepper, remaining 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of Himalayan pink salt. Reduce the temperature to low and cook the gravy for 8 to 10 minutes, until it is thick and silky.
To serve, pour the gravy over the chicken or serve the chicken with the gravy on the side.
For the crust
1 1⁄4 cups (156 g) all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
Combine the flour, granulated sugar and Himalayan pink salt in a medium bowl. Cut the cold butter into small pieces. Add the butter to the flour mixture and, using a pastry cutter, incorporate the butter into the flour until crumbs appear. Slowly add the cold water to the flour and mix it into the flour using your hands or a spatula until the dough starts to form a ball. Dust a work surface with additional flour.
Transfer the dough ball to the prepared work surface and knead it 4 to 5 times, until it is smooth and elastic. Tightly cover the dough with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease 2 (6 1/2-inch) cast-iron skillets.
To make the filling:
Combine the peaches, maple syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice, vanilla and nutmeg in a large bowl. Stir the ingredients together well. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and water to create a slurry. Add the slurry to the peaches. Mix everything together well and set the bowl of filling aside.
The above recipes are from Healthier Southern Cooking by Eric and Shanna Jones, Page Street Publishing,
Guest Road Tripper Kathy Witt takes us to charming Augusta, Georgia in her latest travel piece. Always glad to have you, Kathy!
Mention Augusta, GA and thoughts immediately leap to the Masters Tournament. After all, this small town charmer on the banks of the Savannah River has been home to the famous golf tournament for nearly 90 years. But Augusta is also a vibrant artists community, culinary hotspot and urban playground with adventures aplenty for foodies, history buffs, arts aficionados, nature and outdoor lovers, music fans and more.
In Augusta’s walkable downtown, browse the boutiques and vintage stores along Artists Row. Catch a show at the Imperial Theatre, a former vaudeville hall that James Brown once used as rehearsal space. Speaking of the Godfather of Soul, follow the story of the world-famous soul singer who called Augusta home on the new James Brown Journey. The walking tour takes visitors to locations that played a key role in Brown’s life, each marked by vinyl artwork and a QR code that opens into an audio tour narrated by his family and friends.
A Walk Along the Savannah River
The Riverwalk serves as the front porch of Augusta and one of this Georgia city’s most popular parks. Destination Augusta
Wander along Augusta’s Riverwalk, a multilevel brick trail meandering along the banks of the Savannah River to ornamental gardens, children’s playgrounds, historical monuments, museums including the Morris Museum of Art and Augusta Museum of History, the Jessye Norman Amphitheater where live concerts are performed, and several restaurants.
The Augusta Canal National Heritage Area (www.augustacanal.com) is an outdoor enthusiast’s mecca, with hiking and biking on the historic canal’s towpath, fishing from the canal banks and paddling and kayaking in its lazy waters. Cruises aboard a replica open-air canal cargo boat glide visitors into the past, floating by Georgia’s only remaining 18th century houses and 19th century textile mills; on wildlife expeditions, spotting otters, heron and even the occasional alligator; and into dreamy nights on moonlight music cruises.
Boat tour tickets include free admission to the Augusta Canal Discovery Center. Located in a former textile mill, the center features exhibits, orientation film and gift shop.
The historic 112-year-old Partridge Inn (www.partridgeinn.com), part of the world-class Curio Collection by Hilton, recently underwent a multimillion dollar renovation. The result? A luxurious escape with all the amenities, but one that keeps the hotel’s historical charm and character intact. The hillside oasis offers 140 rooms and suites, each beautifully appointed and some with balconies, top-tier dining with its 8595 restaurant and Six South rooftop bar, lounge and bar areas and outdoor swimming pool and courtyard.
Augusta is developing a reputation for fun and funky downtown culinary hotspots serving everything from vegan/vegetarian comfort food like Ube (sweet purple yam) pancakes topped with maple icing and toasted walnuts and paired with a mimosa at the Bee’s Knees to gourmet small plate fine dining accompanied by a sublime wine list at Craft & Vine.
The new and already popular Edgar’s Above Broad brings rooftop dining to Augusta’s dynamic downtown foodscape, with a seasonal tapas menu and tantalizing craft cocktails – like the Imaginary Friend (the house mule with strawberry-infused vodka and a ginger beer topper) – served in a fun setting with putting green, bocce ball and sweeping downtown views.
For wildlife lovers, there’s nothing better than an outing to Phinizy Swamp Nature Park (www.phinizycenter.org), located just minutes from downtown: great blue herons, red-shouldered hawks, river otters and the elusive alligator go about their business in natural woodland and wetland settings sheltered by Bald Cypress, Water Oak, Sweetgum trees and spread out over thousands of acres. Scenic and serene, it has a steel and wooden bridge crossing over Butler Creek and providing occasional glimpses of turtle and river otters – the place where dragonflies, damselflies and even the rare Mayfly are known to buzz about.
A wooden boardwalk with covered observation deck is the perfect spot to catch busy woodpeckers, warblers and hawks and the Pond Trail peeks into the pine forest for glimpses of waterfowl and wading birds. The Phinizy Swamp Shop and Visitor Center is open Saturdays and Sundays and has natural history exhibits, observation hive with active bee colony, Kids’ Corner, park info, souvenirs and snacks.
To learn more about Georgia’s second oldest city, pick up a copy of Tom Mack’s book, 100 Things To Do in Augusta, GA Before You Die (Reedy Press). Mack personally ate at every restaurant, shopped at each venue and visited all the cultural attractions included in the book. Readers will find detailed descriptions of each venue as well as Mack’s insider tips to help them get the most out of a visit to Augusta.
A visit to Augusta, GA simply would not be complete without sampling a true Southern pimento cheese dish. From The Partridge Inn’s restaurant, 8595, here is Executive Chef Thomas Jacobs’ Fried Green Tomatoes and Pimento Cheese recipe.
Green Tomato Recipe
1 C all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp blacken seasoning
1/4 tsp fine-ground black pepper
1/4 C buttermilk
2 large eggs
1/2 C panko breadcrumbs
1 C yellow cornmeal
2 large green tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
Line a baking sheet with paper towels and top with a cooling rack. Set up a dredging station with 3 shallow bowls. In the first bowl, add the flour, salt and pepper, and whisk to combine. In the second bowl, beat the buttermilk, eggs and blacken season together. In the third bowl, stir together the cornmeal and panko.
Working in batches, dredge both sides of the tomato slices in the seasoned flour, shaking each piece to remove any excess.
Dip the tomato slices into the egg and buttermilk mixture. Then coat the tomato slices in the breadcrumb/panko mixture evenly on both sides. Place the prepared tomatoes in the basket of an air fryer and spritz the top with olive oil. Air fry at 400°F for 5 minutes, flip and spritz with olive oil, and continue to air fry for 3 additional minutes, or until golden brown. Serve immediately.
1 C shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1 C white cheddar
1/2 C smoked Gouda cheese
1 C Tomme Cheese
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 1/2 C mayonnaise (Dukes preferably)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp onion powder
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
4 oz diced pimento, drained
salt and black pepper to taste
Place the cheddar, white cheddar, Gouda, Tomme and cream cheeses, mayonnaise, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, onion powder, minced jalapeno and pimento into the large bowl of a mixer. Beat at medium speed, with paddle, if possible, until thoroughly combined. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
Add pimento cheese on top of fried green tomatoes.
About Guest Blogger Kathy Witt
Writer and author Kathy Witt is a member of SATW Society of American Travel Writers and the Authors Guild
Wondering what fork to use when serving bourbon isn’t a question we commonly ask, but authors Peggy Noe Stevens and Susan Reigler are entertainment and bourbon experts who travel frequently conducting seminars and tastings. The impetus for their book stems from being constantly asked how to go about hosting the perfect cocktail or dinner party starting from table setting to pairing the best foods and bourbons.
Now Stevens and Reigler are the type of Kentucky women who if they were going to tailgate at the Kentucky Derby wouldn’t bring a cooler filled will take-out from the deli counter of the local grocery store to be served on paper plates and eaten with plastic dinnerware. This type of Kentucky woman brings great grandmother’s silver serving dishes and great great Aunt Mabel’s fine China. And, of course, the food would be equally well turned out though not necessarily fussy or hard to make.
Despite the elegance of it all, Stevens and Reigler don’t want anyone “to work their fingers to the bone planning and executing.”
After all, they say, “the best form of bourbon etiquette is simple to make people feel comfortable.”
The following recipes are from Which Fork Do I Use With My Bourbon.
Dark and Bloody Mary:
1 teaspoon salt, pepper, paprika mix
2 ounces bourbon
2 large lemon wedges
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 can (6 ounces) tomato juice
To prepare the seasoning mix, combine in a mortar (or spice grinder) one part each smoked sea salt, smoked black pepper, and smoked paprika (the authors suggest these should all come from Bourbon Barrel Foods–bourbonbarrelfoods.com). Finely crush with a pestle and shake together in a jar.
To a pint glass or a large mason jar filled with ice, add the bourbon, squeeze and drop in the lemon wedges, and add 1teaspoon of the seasoning mix and the Worcestershire sauce. Shake. Add more ice and the tomato juice. Shake again.
Garnish with a long straw and baby corn, large pitted black olive, and cherry pepper, all on a stick.
Combine all the cocktail ingredients in a shaker. Shake on ice and double-strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a sage leaf.
Macerate 1 pint of dates with rich syrup (1 pound of “sugar in the raw” and ½ pound of water, heated and stirred until the sugar dissolves).
Susan’s Tuna Spread:
Author Susan Reigler came across this recipe forty years ago in a small spiral-bound book of recipes by James Beard that was included with her purchase of a Cuisinart food processor. She always gets raves when she serves it. Spicy and tangy, this is not your bachelor uncle’s bland tuna fish salad.
2 5-ounce cans albacore tuna packed in water, drained
⅓ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup tightly packed fresh parsley sprigs
Juice of 1 lemon
1½ tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and blend briefly.
Bourbon Pineapple Poundcake:
1 cup brown sugar
¼ cup bourbon
1 to 2 fresh pineapples, quartered and sliced
in thick strips
1 pound cake
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees. Mix the brown sugar and bourbon until it forms a thin paste. Lay the pineapple strips side by side in a baking dish.
Brush the brown sugar mixture thickly on the pineapple strips. Put the dish in the oven and allow the mixture to melt over the pineapple until warm.
Lay the pineapple strips over slices of pound cake and ladle any extra juice over each slice. Serve immediately.
Woodford Reserve Chocolate Bread Pudding:
12 cups stale French bread, diced in 1-inch cubes
1 quart whole milk
3 eggs, beaten
1¾ cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
6 ounces dark or bittersweet chocolate, chopped in large chunks
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Place the bread cubes in a large bowl and toss with the milk until the
bread is moistened. Soak for at least 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together the eggs, sugar,
vanilla, and cinnamon and pour over the bread-milk mixture. Fold
together until well mixed.
Fold in the chocolate chunks and mix until evenly distributed. Pour
into a greased, deep 13- by 9-inch pan. Drizzle the melted butter over
the batter and cover with foil.
Bake for 30 minutes covered and then for another 10 to 15 minutes
uncovered, until the pudding is set and firm in the middle and golden
brown on top. Serve warm with Bourbon Butter Sauce.
Cheryl Day’s take on the Bill Smith classic is a make-again (and again) recipe writes Dorie Greenspan in her July 1 bulletin. Here Dorie shares a great recipe from Day’s new cookbook for Atlantic Beach Pie that she describes as perfect for Fourth of July. I, for one, am definitely going to make this for the upcoming holiday.
Almost as enjoyable as the pie is Dorie’s background on the dish—and Dorie, you weren’t the only one who had never heard of this pie. I hadn’t either so at least there are two of us. Dorie also introduces us to a new cookbook, Cheryl Day’s Treasury of Southern Baking. Now here’s one I am most likely the only one not to know about Day or her Back in the Day Bakery in Savannah, Georgia as Dorie has long been a big fan.
Since July 4th is coming up, I’d better cut to Dorie’s bulletin and the recipe for the pie. Please let me know what you think. Also, be sure to subscribe to Dorie’s newsletter. It’s the best and it’s free. I mean, really, what’s there to lose? Well, of course, your waistline but hey, save your calories for all the good things Dorie has to offer.
Here we go.
From Dorie Greenspan:
We just wrapped up choux month in Playing Around // xoxo Dorie — look at what we baked together! If you’d like join the group before the next project launches, click here to subscribe.
Am I the last person on the planet to discover the joys of the Atlantic Beach Pie made famous by Bill Smith at Crook’s Corner in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, a James Beard Foundation America’s Classic restaurant that featured fresh, seasonally-focused Southern cuisine. I’m thinking I might be. I’m also thinking I might not have ever come around to it had Mary Dodd not mentioned how much she loved the recipe for it that’s in Cheryl Day’s newest cookbook, Cheryl Day’s Treasury of Southern Baking.
I might be slow on the recipe front, but I’ve been a Cheryl Day fan for a long time. Cheryl, who founded and owns the Back in the Day Bakery with her husband, Griffith, in Savannah, Georgia, is one of the country’s most important voices in Southern foodways – one of its most beloved too. She is a bestselling author, the co-founder of Southern Restaurants for Racial Justice, a legacy baker and an inspiring speaker – it was marvelous to hear her at the Cherry Bombe Jubilee this year.
It was funny that when Mary said the name of the pie, I thought that there was a Maida Heatter recipe for it – but I was wrong. Maida Heatter didn’t publish a version, but a million other people did. It’s cherished. And even if it weren’t as great as it is, it would be easy to have a soft spot for it because of the story that spins around it. I loved hearing Katie Workman on NPR/All Things Considered talk about the first time she had the pie – she called it an OMG, “When Harry Met Sally” experience.
THE SHORT SALTY BACK STORY
You can get a fuller telling of this story in a bunch of places – I love how Margaux Laskey wrote about it in The New York Times (subscription) – so I’m just going to tell you the part I like most.
While the name “Atlantic Beach Pie,” is Smith’s, he doesn’t claim the dessert as his own, saying that it’s served all over East and North Carolina, where it’s called Lemon Pie. Growing up, his mother – and evidently everyone else’s mom, too – was convinced that if you ate dessert after you’d eaten seafood, it would kill you. The one exception was citrus – life could go on after a citrusy sweet. And so, this lemon pie was the specialty at fish places along the coast.
And what a pie – it’s a quirky one.
SALTINES, LEMON JUICE AND SWEETENED CONDENSED MILK – WHODDA THUNK?
Everything about this pie is beachy, especially it’s saltiness. The press-in crust – which could be made from graham crackers, and I read that it was in many places – is made from crushed saltines, butter and sugar. It’s thick and salty-sweet and fun. The filling, which was traditionally lemon, but which can be a mix of lemon and lime (or why not all lime?), is satiny and jiggly, slip-through-your-teeth smooth and reminiscent of lemon-meringue pie – gets its shimmy from egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk. (Remember how Jessie Sheehan used sweetened condensed milk in that terrific recipe for potato-chip and pretzel fudge, and called the canned milk her BBF – her Baking Best Friend?)
As for the topping – as near as I can tell, it was meringue, until it wasn’t. (Meringue makes sense, since you’re using yolks for the filling and will have whites left over.) Bill Smith opted for whipped cream and Cheryl Day, (scroll down for her recipe), went for whipped cream tanged-up with buttermilk – a genius partner for the sweet filling. (Hold onto the recipe – it’s a nice way to get the flavor of crème fraîche when you can’t get crème fraîche.) In some recipes, the pie gets a grating of lemon or lime zest, and in many it gets a light shower of flaky sea salt. The constant is the see-saw sweet-salty balance. Oh, and the life-saving power of citrus.
PIE FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ATLANTIC
Maybe I could have searched all over Paris and nabbed Saltines, but when you want to bake a pie, you want to bake a pie. I was going to go with a graham-cracker base, but I found some crackers that did the trick. They weren’t salty enough, but that was an easy fix. And just because I could, I topped the pie with little meringue stars straight from the supermarket shelf. I love a country where you can buy meringue ready-to-go.
Would this be a good Fourth of July dessert? Yes? Good for a picnic? Yes? Good for a weekend brunch? Also yes. It’s an over-again recipe – a dessert you’ll make over and over again.
Happy weekend to all. I’ll see the members of the Playing Around club back here on Tuesday – that’s when I’ll tell you what the project for July is (so excited) – and we’ll all be back here together on Friday. Sweet, sweet wishes to everyone.
The crust: For the fun of it – the saltiness, too – you should try the pie with Saltines. But if you can’t find them or don’t think you’ll like them, jump on the graham-cracker-crust bandwagon. You can use a food processor to crumble the crackers, but it’s easily done by hand, and you won’t have a machine to clean when it’s over. Cheryl says: When you make your crumbs, be sure to leave a little texture, rather than making a fine dust. Make sure your butter is super-soft because you’re going to smush it with the crackers to get a pressable mixture. (Mary melted and cooled the butter. I smushed it. Good both ways.)
The citrus: Cheryl goes with all lemon juice and some others, including Food 52, suggest all lemon, all lime or a mix. Mary made hers with all lemon and I went with some of each. (I’m a well-known sucker for lime.)
The topping: The allure of Cheryl’s Buttermilk Whipped Cream is great – also it’s such a smart way to add some tang to a sweet dessert. But thrift suggests meringue (some history does, too). And no one would turn down straight-up whipped cream. Mary made the buttermilk cream and loved it. I used store-bought meringues because I could. You don’t need me to tell you that you should do what you’d like.
My store-bought meringues
The finishing touches: Cheryl’s pie is gorgeously pristine – I love how she covers the top with beautifully piped little rounds of that ethereal cream. But grated zest is a possibility as is a few shiny pieces of flaky sea salt here and there.
Makes 8 servings
For the piecrust
• About 60 saltine crackers from about 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 sleeves of crackers (190 grams) to make 2 1/2 cups crumbs (see above)
• 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
• 6 to 8 tablespoons (85 to 113 grams) very soft unsalted butter
For the pie filling
• One 14-ounce (300 ml) can sweetened condensed milk
• 4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
• 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
• 1/2 cup (120 ml) fresh lemon juice (or see above)
For the whipped cream
• 1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream
• 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
• A pinch of fine sea salt
• 1/4 cup (60 ml) buttermilk
To make the piecrust: Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350-degrees F. Have a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan at hand.
In a medium bowl, blend together the cracker crumbs and sugar. Add the butter and mix with a fork (or your fingers or a combination of both) until the crumbs are moistened.
Press the mixture evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pie pan.
Bake the crust for 12 to 15 minutes, just until golden brown and firm. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.
To make the filling: Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325-degrees F. Place the baked piecrust on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
In a large bowl, whisk the condensed milk and egg yolks together until smooth. Add the lemon zest and juice, whisking until combined.
Pour the filling into the crust. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, until the filling is puffed up at the edges and the center no longer looks wet but still wobbles slightly when jiggled; it will continue to set as it cools.
Cool the pie on a wire rack for 1 hour, then refrigerate until cold, at least 3 hours, or overnight.
To make the cream: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or in a large mixing bowl, using a handheld mixer), whip the cream, sugar, and salt on medium speed until the cream starts to thicken. Add the buttermilk and beat until the cream holds nice soft peaks. Use immediately.
STORING: The pie can be refrigerated, loosely covered, for up to 3 days.
PLAYING AROUND: I’m guessing that you’ll find lots of ways to use the salty crust and the excellent sweet filling separately and together. I think the crust would be terrific with a chocolate pudding filling and I think the filling would be terrific as a pudding. Of course you could make the pie in a different shape or size, play around with different toppings or just go straight to the freezer and scoop some ice cream over it. I think you’ll have fun with this one.
New to XOXO Dorie? You can find an archive of past newsletters here.
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Macon, Georgia, which is just 90 minutes from Atlanta and 3.5 hours from both Birmingham and Chattanooga and four hours from Charleston and Jacksonville, is often an overlooked destination. Located in the center to Georgia–or should we say the very heart and soul of the state–Macon is a fun-filled destination with both a fascinating history, an exciting present, and a bright future. Still need convincing? Here are four reasons among many to put Macon on your bucket list.
Makin’ Fun: Macon is the home of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, so sports-aholics can get their fix of every sport at every level of play. But for some what’s best about Macon’s athletic scene is that it’s home to the best-named baseball team in the whole game: the Macon Baco. Yes, really. That alone should prove that Macon is a fun place. As for the Macon Bacons, it’s part of a wood-bat collegiate summer league whose roster teams (pardon the pun) with top players from schools around the country. Not only does the team have a delicious name, but it also has a mascot that really sizzles: Kevin, a seven-foot-tall slice of bacon. Get it … Kevin Bacon? Our pal Kevin Bacon loves to dance particularly it’s one of the songs from the movie “Footloose.” A dancing strip of bacon imakes sense. After all Macon is a city that’s all about music. As an aside, the Bacons’ archrivals are the Savannah Bananas. We love that name but really, if it’s a contest between bacon and bananas, we’d choose bacon every time.
Makin’ Movies: The baseball team plays at historic Luther Williams Field, built in 1929 and recently refurbished. Even if you haven’t been to a game (yet), the field might look familiar to you because it’s starred on the screen in “The Bingo Long Traveling All Stars and Motor Kings,” a 1976 movie starring Billy Dee Williams; “The Trouble with the Curve,” a 2012 film featuring Clint Eastwood; “42,” the 2013 biopic about baseball legend Jackie Robinson; and the Hank Azaria TV comedy “Brockmire.” Macon is the site of plenty of movie-making, most recently welcoming an all-star cast that was in town filming the remake of “The Color Purple,” which is set for release in 2023. The film is being produced by Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg and Quincy Jones. (As an aside, if our mention of Kevin Bacon above has you playing “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon,” you might be interested in knowing that each of those producers has a Bacon Number of 2. The actor, we mean. Not the baseball mascot. The version wearing a frying pan as a cap is probably separated by a few additional degrees.)
Makin’ Music: This new version of “The Color Purple” is an adaptation of the Broadway musical, so Macon was the perfect location. This is a city with deep musical roots (fun fact: this is where the kazoo was invented, by a formerly enslaved man named Alabama Vest all the way back in 1840), and it lives up to its tagline, “Where Soul Lives.” It’s the hometown of Otis Redding, Little Richard and The Allman Brothers, all of whom left indelible marks on the place and its people. Today, visitors can learn more about Macon’s musical history by checking out live performances at an array of venues, visiting the Otis Redding Foundation Museum or the Allman Brothers Museum at the Big House, or taking a public or private Rock Candy Tour, which could focus on music alone or the delightful combo of music and food.
Makin’ Dinner: Macon has an incredible food scene, and some its top restaurants have ties to music. The Downtown Grill a fancy English steakhouse, is where Greg Allman proposed to Cher, but it’s H&H Soul Food where the band spent even more time … and then took its former owner, Mama Louise, on the road with them so they could have their favorite meals on the tour bus. Today you’ll find everything from upscale to down-home offerings, plus plenty of liquid refreshment to accompany all the amazing tastes.
Pro tip: For a great lunch option, hit The Rookery and order pretty much any sandwich or burger … and a milkshake chaser. We don’t think it’s a coincidence that many menu items feature bacon in a starring role. Because, as we know, it always comes back to bacon.
And there you have it … in just three degrees of separation from baseball to burger, Makin’ it in Macon is all about fun, food, sports, history, and so much more.
For more information or to begin planning a trip, start here.
I remember the first time I heard the word victuals. It was uttered by Jed Clampett—only he pronounced it as “vittles”–on that great TV series from The Beverly Hillbillies+ which ran from 1962-1971 and told the story of a family who had moved from Appalachia to, well, Beverly Hills, California. The Beverly Hillbillies, now in syndication, is televised daily around the world and the word victual, which means “food or provisions, typically as prepared for consumption” has become a go-to-term in the food world with the rise of interest in the foods of the Mountain South region of our country. The joke at the time was that the Clampett were so out-of-step with all the wonders of Beverly Hills and that included their use of the word victuals. But the joke, it seems, may have been on us as we deal with the overabundance of processed foods and yearn for authenticity in our diets. You know, like victuals,
In her book, Victuals: An Appalachian Journey, with Recipes(Clarkson Potter 2016; $16.59 Amazon price) winner of James Beard Foundation Book of The Year and Best Book, American Cooking, author Ronni Lundy showcases both the heritage and present ways of southern cookery in this part of the United States and also shares the stories of the mountain. Lundy, a former restaurant reviewer and editor of Louisville Magazine, highlights such roadways as Warrior’s Path, the name given by English settlers to the route used by the Shawnee and Cherokee traveling for trade, hunting and, at times, to prepare for battle. Describing the towns, villages and hamlets along these routes, Lundy shows how an amalgam of immigrants some willing (Scots, Germans) and some not (African) brought with them foodways and how they merged with other ethnic groups and the foods available in the region.
The author of ten books on Southern food and culture, Lundy’s book, Shuck Beans, Stack Cakes and Honest Fried Chicken, described as the first first regional American cookbook to offer a true taste of the Mountain South, was recognized by Gourmet magazine as one of six essential books on Southern cooking. Lundy also received the Southern Foodways Alliance Craig Claiborne Lifetime Achievement Award.
To gather the stories, recipes, traditions, and foodways, Lundy traveled over 4000 miles through seven states. Along the way, she did a lot of stopping and eating. Each chapter in her book delves into an identifying food of a region or its heritage–think salt, corn, corn liquor, and beans. And, in many ways, reconnecting to her own roots. Born in Corbin, Kentucky, she remembers shucking beans on her aunt’s front porch.
“They taught me how to break the end and pull the string down and break the other end and pull the string back on the bean,” Lundy says. “I would watch them thread it up on a needle and thread, and they would hang that in a dry place in the house…We developed these things, like drying beans for shuck beans, or drying our apples so that we could through the winter make apple stack cakes and fried apple pies. We’d have dried beans on hand, cure every part of the hog.”
Roasted Root Vegetable Salad with Bacon & Orange Sorghum Vinegar
“Delicious root vegetables love the cool of both spring and fall in the mountains. Gardeners love the twin harvest,” Lundy writes in the introduction to this recipe. “The root cellar is where such vegetables were stored in plenty of mountain homesteads, although some folks kept them in baskets and bins in a cool, dark place in the house. In fact, folks with larger houses might close off “the front room,” as the living room was more commonly called, to conserve on heat when the weather got cold. That room might then become an ad hoc fruit and vegetable cooler.
“My mother kept the Christmas fruit in the front room until company came, but not vegetables. We ate them too fast then—boiled, buttered, and salted or eaten raw with salt. Today I make this lovely salad first in the spring, then again as autumn splashes the hills with the colors of the carrots and beets.”
3 medium yellow beets, trimmed and scrubbed
3 medium red beets, trimmed and scrubbed
2 large carrots, cut into 1½-inch pieces
1 teaspoon olive oil
4 red radishes, thinly sliced
½ small red onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings
4 slices bacon, cooked
Orange Sorghum Vinegar (see below), to taste
Drizzle of bacon grease, to taste
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Wrap up the yellow beets in a large piece of aluminum foil. Do the same with the red beets, and place both packets on a baking sheet. Roast until the beets are tender at the center when pierced with a knife, about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, on a separate baking sheet, toss the carrot pieces with the oil. Season with a sprinkle of salt. Roast the carrots for about 25 minutes, until tender and caramelized.
When the beets come out of the oven, carefully open the packets to release the steam, and let the beets cool. Once the beets have cooled, gently rub the skins off and cut the beets into wedges.
To assemble the salad, lay the red beet wedges on the bottom of a large shallow serving bowl. Lay the roasted carrots on top, and then the yellow beet wedges. Throw in the sliced radishes and red onion. Break up the bacon slices and scatter the pieces on top. Season with salt and drizzle with the orange sorghum vinegar. Toss ever so gently. Give it a taste and determine if a drizzle of bacon grease is needed. Serve.
Orange Sorghum Vinegar
Makes ¾ cup
½ cup white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sorghum syrup
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
Pour the vinegar into a small glass jar with a lid. Add the sorghum and shake or stir until dissolved. Add the orange juice and shake or stir to combine. Use as directed in recipes, and store any that’s left over, covered, in the refrigerator.
Sumac Oil Flatbread with Country Ham & Pickled Ramps
makes two large flatbreads (serves 4 to 6)
“In early mountain communities, one farmer might own a valuable tool or piece of equipment that was made available to family and neighbors as needed,” writes Lundy in the introduction of this recipe. “There was often a trade involved, although more frequently implicit rather than directly bartered. If you were the man with the sorghum squeezer and mule, you could expect to get a couple of quarts from your neighbors’ run. If you loaned a plow, you could count on borrowing the chains for hanging a freshly slaughtered hog. Or when your huge cast-iron pot was returned, it might come with several quarts of apple butter.
“With a little of that same sense of sharing, Lora Smith and Joe Schroeder invested in a traveling wood-fired oven for their farm at Big Switch. In their first spring back in Kentucky, it rolled over to a couple of weddings, as well as providing the main course for the Appalachian Spring feast. Joe says plans are to take it to a couple of music festivals down the line to both share and perhaps sell enough pizzas to pay the gate.
“Music makes a good metaphor for what happens in this recipe. Lora adapted a fine flatbread recipe from acclaimed chef and baker Nick Malgieri for the crust, then added some local color. In the way that European mandolins and violins were transformed by new rhythms and melodies into something purely mountain, the use of sumac-scented olive oil, tangy country ham, and pungent pickled ramps makes this a dish that tastes distinctly of its Kentucky place.
“If you have access to a wood-fired oven, bake away there according to how yours works. The directions here are for a home oven.
“The flatbread slices are even better when topped with a handful of arugula, mâche, or another bright, bitter green that has been drizzled with Orange Sorghum Vinegar (see recipe above).”
2 cups all-purpose flour
⅔ cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal, plus extra for rolling the dough
½ tablespoon salt
2½ teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (110°F)
¼ cup olive oil, plus more for greasing the bowl
6 ounces country ham, sliced about ¼ inch thick and cut into bite-sized pieces
¾ cup Will Dissen’s Pickled Ramps (page 000), at room temperature
¼ cup Sumac Oil (recipe follows)
Combine the flour, cornmeal, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse a few times to mix.
Combine the yeast with ¾ cup of the warm water in a medium bowl. Whisk in the olive oil. Add this mixture to the food processor and pulse to combine; then let the processor run continuously for about 10 seconds, or until the dough forms a ball. You may need to add up to another ¼ cup of the warm water at this point if your dough is not coming together.
Transfer the dough to a large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes.
Move the rested dough to a floured work surface and flatten into a thick disk, then fold the dough over on itself. Do this several times. Return the folded dough to the oiled mixing bowl (you might have to oil it again first). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat it to 350°F.
Sprinkle a floured work surface with a little cornmeal. Transfer the risen dough to the surface and divide it in half. Working with one piece of dough at a time, gently press it into a rough rectangle. Roll the dough out as thin as possible, aiming for a roughly 10 × 15-inch rectangle. Transfer the dough to a prepared baking sheet. Repeat the process with second half of the dough.
Pierce the dough all over at 1-inch intervals with the tines of a fork. Divide the country ham evenly between the two portions of dough.
Bake the flatbreads until golden and crisp, 20 to 30 minutes, switching the baking sheets’ positions about halfway through cooking.
Remove to racks and let cool slightly. Divide the ramps and sumac oil evenly between the flatbreads, and serve.
sumac oil makes about ¹⁄³ cup
Native people gathered the crimson berries of the sumac plant (not the noxious, poisonous white-berried variety, of course) to dry and grind them into a powder that gave a delicious lemony flavor to fish cooked over an open fire. They and the settlers who followed also used the sumac to make a drink akin to lemonade. You don’t have to gather berries and make your own; you can buy good-quality ground sumac at almost any Mediterranean or Middle Eastern market and some natural foods stores.
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons ground sumac
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
Whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl. Use immediately.
Slow Cooker–Roasted Pork Shoulder
“Thrifty homesteaders knew how to cook all cuts of the hogs that were slaughtered in the winter,” writes Lundy. “The shoulder, slow-roasted with fat and bone, produced a richly textured, deeply flavored meat worth smacking your lips for. Modern mountain cooks use the slow cooker to create the same effect that roasting in a woodstove, kept going all day for heat as well as cooking, once provided.
“I buy pork from one of several producers in my neck of the Blue Ridge who pasture their pigs and process them humanely. They also tend to raise heritage pigs that naturally come with more fat, and the cuts I favor reflect that. The last roast I cooked like this weighed about 3½ pounds at the market with a top fat layer about an inch deep. I trimmed that fat to ½ inch and the roast was then about 3 pounds.”
½ tablespoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 3-pound pork shoulder or butt, bone-in
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sorghum syrup
1 small yellow onion
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Rub the salt and pepper into all sides of the roast, including the top fat. Place a heavy skillet over high heat and as it is warming up, place the roast in the skillet, fat side down. The heat will render enough fat for browning the rest of the roast without sticking. When there is enough fat to coat the bottom of the pan well and the fat on the roast is turning golden brown, flip the roast over and brown the next side.
Brown all sides of the roast. This may entail using tongs to hold the roast to brown the short edges, but it only takes a minute or so and is worth it since it will intensify the flavor. You may also need to spoon some of the rendered fat out of the skillet as you are browning—the point is to sear the meat, not deep-fry it.
When the roast is browned all over, place it in a slow cooker. Carefully pour off the grease from the skillet. Add ½ cup of water to the skillet and deglaze it. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the vinegar and sorghum, stirring to dissolve the syrup. Pour this mixture into the slow cooker.
Peel the onion, quarter it, and break apart the sections. Scatter the pieces around the edge of the roast in the pot. Cover, and cook on the high setting for 30 minutes. Then turn to low and cook for 4 hours.
The pork roast will be well done but meltingly tender when the inner temperature is 165°F. Remove it from the pot and allow it to rest under a tent of foil while you make the sauce.
Strain the pan juices to remove the onion pieces. Degrease the juices and pour them into a small pot set over medium-high heat. In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch with ½ cup of water to form a slurry. When the juices in the pot begin to bubble, whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Continue to whisk as the mixture bubbles for about a minute and thickens. Remove from the heat.
To carve the roast, begin on the side away from the bone to yield larger, uniform pieces. Pass the sauce on the side.
Buttermilk–Brown Sugar Pie
“Pies were the Mother of Invention because necessity required that they be made from whatever was on hand. In the summer there was no dearth of fruit that could be gathered—often by small children who would eagerly do the work for just reward later.,” writes Lundy. “In the winter dried apples, peaches, and squash could be simmered into a filling for the hand or fried pies beloved in the region. Vinegar pie was as tasty as, and easier to come by, than one made with lemon, and apple cider could be boiled to make a tart and tangy filling. Buttermilk was enough to turn a simple custard filling into a more complex delight. And using cornmeal as the thickener in these simple pies added character as well as flavor.
“My cousin Michael Fuson introduced me to brown sugar pie. It was his favorite, he told my mother when his family moved from Corbin to Louisville and he began spending time in her kitchen. “Well, honey, then I’ll make you one,” she said. That my mother could make brown sugar pie was news to me. Mike was as generous as a homesick teenaged boy could be and allowed me an ample slice before consuming the rest on his own. It was, I thought, one of the loveliest things I’d ever eaten. But then I made a version of my own with buttermilk instead of cream, and the sum of these two pie parts was greater than the whole of all pies put together.”
Makes one 9-inch pie
Single unbaked pie crust (use your favorite recipe or 1/4 batch of Emily Hilliard’s Pie Crust below)
1 1/2 cups (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup very finely ground cornmeal*
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
3/4 cup whole buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the crust in a 9-inch pie pan and refrigerate it while making the filling.
In a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar, cornmeal, and salt. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until frothy. Beat in the melted butter. Add the dry mixture and stir vigorously until the brown sugar is dissolved. Add the buttermilk and vanilla. When all is well combined, pour the mixture into the pie crust and bake for 45 minutes, or until the center is set (no longer liquid, but still tender to the touch).
Allow the pie to cool until just barely warm before slicing. I like to drizzle about 1/2 tablespoon of buttermilk over my slice.
Whisk the flour, sugar, and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Using a pastry blender or fork and knife, cut in the butter. Make sure pea-sized butter chunks remain to help keep the crust flaky.
Lightly beat the egg in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk in the ice-cold water and the vinegar.
Pour the liquid mixture into the flour-butter mixture and combine using a wooden spoon. Mix until the dough comes together in a shaggy mass. Be careful not to overmix. Use floured hands to divide the dough in half and then form into 2 balls. Wrap each ball tightly in plastic wrap. Let them chill in refrigerator for at least 1 hour before rolling out.
Note: if you cut this recipe in half, it will work for a two-crust pie.
The James Beard Award Semifinalists today announced their 2022 Restaurant and Chef Awards semifinalists in advance of the returning James Beard Awards® presented by Capital One. Winners will be celebrated at the James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards ceremony on Monday, June 13, 2022, at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Restaurant and Chef Awards nominees, in addition to honorees for Leadership, Lifetime Achievement Award, and Humanitarian of the Year Awards will be revealed on Wednesday, March 16, 2022, in Scottsdale, AZ. Nominees for the James Beard Foundation Media Awards will be released on Wednesday, April 27, 2022, in New York City.
The James Beard Foundation’s Restaurant and Chef Awards were established in 1991 and is one of five separate recognition programs of the Awards. James Beard Awards policies and procedures can be viewed at jamesbeard.org/awards/policies.
Check out the 2022 Restaurant and Chef Award semifinalists below.
Ashok Bajaj, Knightsbridge Restaurant Group (Rasika, Bindaas, Annabelle, and others), Washington, D.C.
Kim Bartmann, Bartmann Group, Minneapolis
Chris Bianco, Tratto, Pane Bianco, and Pizzeria Bianco, Phoenix
Jason and Sue Chin, Good Salt Restaurant Group, Orlando, FL
Brandon Chrostowski, EDWINS Leadership and Restaurant Institute, Cleveland
Larry and Jessica Delgado, Delgado Collective, McAllen, TX
Ravi DeRossi, Overthrow Hospitality, NYC
Greg Dulan, Dulan’s Soul Food Restaurant, Los Angeles
Kevin Gillespie, Red Beard Restaurants (Gunshow, Ole Reliable, and Revival), Atlanta
Andrew Le, The Pig and the Lady and Piggy Smalls, Honolulu
Marc Meyer, Vicki Freeman, and Chris Paraskevaides, Bowery Group (Shuka, Shukette, Vic’s, and others) NYC
Joe Muench, Black Shoe Hospitality, Milwaukee
Willy Ng, Koi Palace, Dragon Beaux, and Palette Tea House, San Francisco
Akkapong “Earl” Ninsom, Langbaan, Hat Yai, Eem, and others, Portland, OR
Todd Richards and Joshua Lee, The Soulful Company (Lake & Oak), Atlanta
J.D. Simpson and Roger Yopp, SavannahBlue, Detroit
Deborah Snow and Barbara White, Blue Heron Restaurant & Catering, Sunderland, MA
Chris Williams, Lucille’s Hospitality Group, Houston
Ellen Yin, High Street Hospitality Group (Fork, a.kitchen + bar, High Street Philly, and others), Philadelphia
Edwin Zoe, Zoe Ma Ma and Chimera Ramen, Boulder and Denver, CO
Reem Assil, Reem’s, Oakland and San Francisco, CA
Mashama Bailey, The Grey, Savannah, GA
Andrew Black, Grey Sweater, Oklahoma City
Peter Chang, Peter Chang, VA and MD
Austin Covert, Rosewild, Fargo, ND
Christopher Gross, Christopher’s, Phoenix
Stephen Jones, The Larder + The Delta, Phoenix
Ji Hye Kim, Miss Kim, Ann Arbor, MI
Kyle Knall, Birch, Milwaukee
Emiliano Marentes, ELEMI, El Paso, TX
Niki Nakayama, n/naka, Los Angeles
Keiji Nakazawa, Sushi Sho, Honolulu
Josh Niernberg, Bin 707 Foodbar, Grand Junction, CO
Alex Raij and Eder Montero, La Vara, NYC
Angie Rito and Scott Tacinelli, Don Angie, NYC
Michael Schwartz, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, Miami
Douglass Williams, MIDA, Boston
Cindy Wolf, Charleston, Baltimore
Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi, Joule, Seattle
Brennan’s, New Orleans
Butcher & Bee, Charleston, SC
Chai Pani, Asheville, NC
Cora Cora, West Hartford, CT
Di Fara Pizza, NYC
El Burén de Lula, Loíza, PR
Friday Saturday Sunday, Philadelphia
Hell’s Backbone Grill & Farm, Boulder, UT
La Morada, NYC
Living Kitchen Farm & Dairy, Depew, OK
Métier, Washington, D.C.
Mixtli, San Antonio, TX
Paragary’s, Sacramento, CA
Post & Beam, Los Angeles
Odd Duck, Milwaukee
ShinBay, Scottsdale, AZ
Sushi Izakaya Gaku, Honolulu
The Walrus and the Carpenter, Seattle
Manuel “Manny” Barella, Bellota, Denver
Angel Barreto, Anju, Washington, D.C.
Kristi Brown, Communion, Seattle
Rochelle Daniel, Atria, Flagstaff, AZ
Calvin Eng, Bonnie’s, NYC
Casey Felton, Bahn Oui, Los Angeles
Shenarri Freeman, Cadence, NYC
Ben Grupe, Tempus, St. Louis
Donald Hawk, Valentine, Phoenix
Cleophus Hethington, Benne on Eagle, Asheville, NC
Brian Hirata, Na‘’au, Hilo, HI
Serigne Mbaye, Dakar Nola, New Orleans
Thuy Pham, Mama Đút, Portland, OR
Mia Orino and Carlo Gan, Kamayan ATL, Atlanta
Edgar Rico, Nixta Taqueria, Austin
Amanda Shulman, Her Place Supper Club, Philadelphia
Amanda Turner, Olamaie, Austin
Chris Viaud, Greenleaf, Milford, NH
Crystal Wahpepah, Wahpepah’s Kitchen, Oakland, CA
David Yoshimura, Nisei, San Francisco
Best New Restaurant
ABACÁ, San Francisco
Angry Egret Dinette, Los Angeles
Café Mamajuana, Burlington, VT
Casian Seafood, Lafayette, CO
Fritai, New Orleans
Gage & Tollner, NYC
Horn BBQ, Oakland, CA
Laser Wolf, Philadelphia
Leeward, Portland, ME
Lengua Madre, New Orleans
MACHETE, Greensboro, NC
Matia Kitchen & Bar, Orcas Island, WA
The Marble Table, Billings, MT
Nani’s Piri Piri Chicken, Asheville, NC
Oyster Oyster, Washington, D.C.
Pier 6 Seafood & Oyster House, San Leon, TX
República, Portland, OR
Roots Southern Table, Farmers Branch, TX
Sooper Secret Izakaya, Honolulu
Union Hmong Kitchen, Minneapolis
Zacatlán Restaurant, Santa Fe
Zitz Sum, Coral Gables, FL
Outstanding Pastry Chef
Antonio Bachour, Bachour, Coral Gables and Doral, FL
Nicolas Blouin, Destination Kohler, Kohler, WI
Warda Bouguettaya, Warda Pâtisserie, Detroit
Mark Chacón, Chacónne Patisserie, Phoenix
Angela Cicala, Cicala at the Divine Lorraine, Philadelphia
Kate Fisher Hamm, Leeward, Portland, ME
Michelle Karr-Ueoka, MW Restaurant, Honolulu
Margarita Manzke, République, Los Angeles
Claudia Martinez, Miller Union, Atlanta
Elise Mensing, Brasserie by Niche, St. Louis
Camari Mick, The Musket Room, NYC
Ruben Ortega, Xochi, Houston
Shannah Primiano, Porto, Chicago
Rabii Saber, Four Seasons, Orlando, FL
Caroline Schiff, Gage & Tollner, NYC
Anne Specker, Kinship, Washington, D.C.
Krystle Swenson, The Social Haus, Greenough, MT
Sofia Tejeda, Mixtli, San Antonio, TX
Jen Yee, Hopkins and Company, Atlanta
David Cáceres, La Panadería, San Antonio, TX
Maya-Camille Broussard, Justice of the Pies, Chicago
Atsuko Fujimoto, Norimoto Bakery, Portland, ME
Susannah Gebhart, Old World Levain (OWL) Bakery, Asheville, NC
Marissa and Mark Gencarelli, Yoli Tortilleria, Kansas City, MO
Joseph, Archalous, and Caroline Geragosian, Old Sasoon Bakery, Pasadena, CA
Don Guerra, Barrio Bread, Tucson, AZ
Aaron Hall, The Local Crumb, Mount Vernon, IA
Mike Hirao, Nisshodo Candy Store, Honolulu
Clement Hsu, Katherine Campecino-Wong, and James Wong, Breadbelly, San Francisco
Nobutoshi “Nobu” Mizushima and Yuko Kawashiwo, Ihatov Bread and Coffee, Albuquerque, NM
Evette Rahman, Sister Honey’s, Orlando, FL
Rhonda Saltzman and Mercedes Brooks, Second Daughter Baking Co., Philadelphia
Caroline Schweitzer and Lauren Heemstra, Wild Crumb, Bozeman, MT
Khatera Shams, Sunshine Spice Bakery & Cafe, Boise, ID
Zak Stern, Zak the Baker, Miami
Elaine Townsend, Café Mochiko, Cincinnati, OH
Maricsa Trejo, La Casita Bakeshop, Richardson, TX
Louis Volle, Lodi, NYC
Pamela Vuong, The Flour Box, Seattle
Outstanding Hospitality (Presented by American Airlines)
BaoBao Dumpling House, Portland, ME
Bar del Corso, Seattle
Coquine, Portland, OR
Cúrate, Asheville, NC
House of Prime Rib, San Francisco
Johnny’s Restaurant, Homewood, AL
Lil’ Deb’s Oasis, Hudson, NY
Mudgie’s Deli and Wine Shop, Detroit
Phoenicia, Birmingham, MI
The Preacher’s Son, Bentonville, AR
Steve and Cookie’s, Margate, NJ
Sylvia’s Restaurant, NYC
Ticonderoga Club, Atlanta
Tutka Bay Lodge, Homer, AK
Valter’s Osteria, Salt Lake City
Outstanding Wine Program
a.kitchen + bar, Philadelphia
The Four Horsemen, NYC
Golden Age Wine, Mountain Brook, AL
High Street Wine Co., San Antonio, TX
Hiyu Wine Farm, Hood River, OR
L’Etoile, Madison, WI
The Little Nell, Aspen, CO
Lucky Palace, Bossier City, LA
Lyla Lila, Atlanta
Madam, Birmingham, MI
Maydan, Washington, D.C.
Polo Grill, Tulsa, OK
The Punchdown, Oakland, CA
Rainbow Ranch Lodge, Gallatin Gateway, MT
Rebel Rebel, Somerville, MA
Vicia, St. Louis
Outstanding Bar Program
Alley Twenty Six, Durham, NC
Avenue Pub, New Orleans
Bar Leather Apron, Honolulu
barmini by José Andrés, Washington, D.C.
Cafe La Trova, Miami
Chapel Tavern, Reno, NV
Friends and Family, Oakland, CA
Genever, Los Angeles
The Jewel Box, Portland, ME
La Factoría, San Juan, PR
Las Almas Rotas, Dallas
Llama San, NYC
Nobody’s Darling, Chicago
Valkyrie, Tulsa, OK
Vicia, St. Louis
Water Witch, Salt Lake City
Best Chefs (Presented by Capital One):
Best Chef: California
Chris Barnum-Dann, Localis, Sacramento, CA
Sylvan Mishima Brackett, Rintaro, San Francisco
Val M. Cantu, Californios, San Francisco
Keith Corbin, Alta Adams, Los Angeles
Srijith Gopinathan, Ettan, Palo Alto, CA
Tony Ho, Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant, Rosemead, CA
Judept Irra, Tamales Elena y Antojitos, Bell Gardens, CA
Nobody’s Darling, Chicago San Francisco
Matthew Kammerer, The Harbor House Inn, Elk, CA
Bryant Ng, Cassia, Santa Monica, CA
Heena Patel, Besharam, San Francisco
Natalia Pereira, Woodspoon, Los Angeles
Melissa Perello, Octavia, San Francisco
Minh Phan, Phenakite, Los Angeles
Justin Pichetrungsi, Anajak Thai, Los Angeles
Carlos Salgado, Taco María, Costa Mesa, CA
Sarintip “Jazz” Singsanong, Jitlada, Los Angeles
James Syhabout, Commis, Oakland, CA
Pim Techamuanvivit, Nari, San Francisco
Anthony Wells, Juniper and Ivy, San Diego
Best Chef: Great Lakes (IL, IN, MI, OH)
Omar Anani, Saffron De Twah, Detroit
Rodolfo Cuadros, Amaru and Bloom Plant Based Kitchen, Chicago
Diana Dávila Boldin, Mi Tocaya Antojería, Chicago
Paul Fehribach, Big Jones, Chicago
Jason Hammel, Lula Cafe, Chicago
Anthony Lombardo, SheWolf, Detroit
Hamissi Mamba and Nadia Nijimbere, Baobab Fare, Detroit
Thomas Melvin, Vida, Indianapolis
Dave Park, Jeong, Chicago
Michael Ransom, ima, Detroit
Darnell Reed, Luella’s Southern Kitchen, Chicago
James Rigato, Mabel Gray, Hazel Park, MI
Jose Salazar, Salazar, Cincinnati, OH
Noah Sandoval, Oriole, Chicago
Ahmad Sanji, AlTayeb, Dearborn, MI
John Shields and Karen Urie Shields, Smyth, Chicago
Jill Vedaa, Salt+, Lakewood, OH
Sarah Welch, Marrow, Detroit
Erick Williams, Virtue Restaurant & Bar, Chicago
Kate Williams, Karl’s, Detroit
Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic (DC, DE, MD, NJ, PA, VA)
Anthony Andiario, Andiario, West Chester, PA
Joey Baldino, Zeppoli, Collingswood, NJ
Angel Barreto, Anju, Washington, D.C.
Amy Brandwein, Centrolina, Washington, D.C.
Adam Diltz, Elwood, Philadelphia
Antimo DiMeo, Bardea Food & Drink, Wilmington, DE
Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer, Canal House Station, Milford, NJ
Matt Hill, Ruthie’s All-Day, Arlington, VA
Bill Hoffman, The House of William & Merry, Hockessin, DE
Jesse Ito, Royal Izakaya, Philadelphia
Kate Lasky and Tomasz Skowronski, Apteka, Pittsburgh
Wei Lu, China Chalet, Florham Park, NJ
Cristina Martinez, South Philly Barbacoa, Philadelphia
Peter Prime, Cane, Washington, D.C.
Carlos Raba, Clavel Mezcaleria, Baltimore
Michael Rafidi, Albi, Washington, D.C.
Chutatip “Nok” Suntaranon, Kalaya Thai Kitchen, Philadelphia
Yuan Tang, Rooster & Owl, Washington, D.C.
Wei Zhu, Chengdu Gourmet, Pittsburgh
Bethany Zozula, 40 North at Alphabet City, Pittsburgh