Beef It Up! 50 Mouthwatering Recipes for Ground Beef, Steaks, Stews, Roasts, Ribs, and More

Beef It Up (Storey Publishing) is a focused collection of recipes by popular food blogger Jessica Formicola offers 50 tasty ways to serve up protein-rich beef meals without a lot of fuss. Flavorful beef suppers (Cheeseburger Soup, Shepard’s Pie Mac & Cheese) are featured along with new classics (Sheet Pan Steak Fajitas, 20-Minute Mongolian-style Beef ), salads (Southwest Steak Salad w/ Chipotle Ranch and Steakhouse Salad w/ Blue Cheese), quick hits (Empanada Hand Pies and Beef Satay with Peanut Sauce), and the tried-and-true burgers, steaks, and chili. Juicy photos provide the inspiration and confidence cooks of all levels need to deliver on the promise of a great meal every time.

Jessica Formicola

The creator of Savory Experiments, Formicola is a trusted food and lifestyle blog. She appears regularly on national networks providing cooking demonstrations and entertaining ideas. She has contributed to Parade, The Daily Meal, Mashed, and Better Homes & Gardens, and has partnered with over 100 national food brands on product releases and cooking tutorials. Formicola lives near Baltimore, Maryland with her husband and children.

Chapters Include

Crockpot, freezer and make-ahead friendly mealsShredded Beef 5 Ways, Tips on cooking ground beef, Uses top sirloin, one of our less expensive cuts, How to Properly Brown Beef, 4 Inexpensive Cuts of Beef & How to Make Them Taste Fantastic! Myths About Cooking Beef, What to Look For When Buying Beef.

Red Wine Beef Stew

There’s nothing quite like a steaming bowl of beef stew on a chilly winter night. It’s like your food is giving you a giant hug.

What makes this recipe extra special is that instead of requiring a long simmering time to tenderize the meat, it calls for a New York strip steak, because that’s what I had on hand when I first created this stew. That was years ago, but I still prefer the same cut because it results in the tastiest, melt-in-your mouth beef stew you’ve ever eaten while also reducing the cook time to under an hour. Red wine and hearty root vegetables add sophistication to the cooked-all-day flavor. What’s not to warm your heart?

PREP TIME | 25 minutes COOK TIME | 50 minutes SERVES | 6

  • 3tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2  pounds New York strip 1/2 (2 large steaks), trimmed, 6 cut into 1-inch pieces, and
    patted dry
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ cups dry red wine
  • 4 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • ½ teaspoon ground thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ cup chopped white onion
  • 6 ounces rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes, about 3/4 cup
  • ¾ cup julienned carrots
  • 3/4 cup julienned parsnips
  • 1/2 pound small red potatoes, quartered
  • 1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms
  • Fresh oregano leaves and grated Parmesan cheese, for topping
  • Loaf of crusty bread, for serving
  • Combine the flour, 1 teaspoon of the salt, the paprika, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Set aside
    2 tablespoons of the mixture to thicken the stew at the end. Toss the beef with the remaining flour mix- ture, shaking off the excess flour.
  • Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium- high heat. Working in batches, sear the beef, turning the cubes every so often to brown the outside. The meat does not have to be fully cooked. Cook each batch for 4 to 5 minutes, then transfer to a paper towel–lined plate.
  • Deglaze the pan with the wine, scraping the bottom to incorporate all those little brown bits that will dissolve and add flavor. Stir in the broth, thyme, and bay leaves. Reduce heat to medium and bring the liquid to a low simmer before returning the cooked beef to the pan.
  • Add the onion, rutabaga, carrots, parsnips, and potatoes, and bring back to a simmer over medium heat. Cook for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft when pierced with a fork.
  • Ladle 1/4 cup of the broth into a small bowl and whisk in the reserved 2 tablespoons flour mixture until smooth. Add this paste to the stew. Cook for 5 minutes longer. The cooking liquid should coat the back of a spoon, but not be thick like gravy. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and season to taste with additional pepper.
  • Ladle into bowls, top with fresh oregano and Parmesan, and serve with slices of a crusty bread to soak up every drop.

Freezer Friendly: Freeze an extra batch or single servings in air- tight containers for up to 3 months. Thin with water or beef broth if it’s too thick when thawed. 

Easier Beef Burgundy

Beef Burgundy, or Boeuf Bourguignon, the rich French dish made famous by Julia Child, is not an everyday meal, but it is well worth the time and effort to make it. The first time I tried it, I had to read the confusing directions several times and the dish still didn’t turn out as planned. Eventually I figured out ways to cut corners without losing any flavor.

The main cooking techniques are (1) browning the meat to add to the richness of the sauce and (2) braising it for hours over low heat to achieve a meltingly tender texture. The lengthy cooking time allows layers of flavor to develop and mellow, so that each bite has dimension.

PREP TIME | 45 minutes

COOK TIME | 4 hours

SERVES | 8

  • 1 1/2 pounds tender chuck roast, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive
    oil
  • 7 strips thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup fresh pearl onions, peeled
  • 3/4 cup diced carrots
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 3 cups dry red wine
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 cups low-sodium beef broth, plus more as needed
  • 10-12 sprigs fresh herbs, tied into a bouquet garni
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 1/2 cups halved or quartered white mushrooms
  • Pasta, mashed potatoes, or rice, for serving
  1. Arrange an oven rack in the lower-third position and preheat the oven to 275°F (135°C).
  2. In a large bowl, toss the beef with the cornstarch to coat. Set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the bacon, cooking until browned and crispy, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel–lined plate. Set aside.
  4.  In the same pot, add the beef, working in two batches. Brown on all sides, 7 to 8 minutes total, then transfer to a clean bowl. Repeat with the next batch, ands et aside.
  5. In the same pot, without wiping it out, add the onions, carrots, and garlic, tossing to coat in the rendered bacon grease and browned bits. Cook until lightly browned and starting to soften, 6 to 7 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl and set aside.
  1. Reduce the heat to low. At this point there should be little to no oil or grease pooling if you tip the pot to one side, but if there is, spoon it out. Pour the wine into the pot and scrape up the browned bits on the bottom. Keeping the pot on low heat, whisk in the tomato paste, then the broth.
  2. Return the beef, bacon, and cooked vegetables to the pot and add the bouquet garni and bay leaves. There should be enough liquid to fully cover the meat and vegetables. If not, add just enough additional broth to do so.
  3. Cover the pot and bake for3to4hours, or until the beef falls apart when spilt with a fork. If there is any fat on top, skim it off with a spoon before stirring. Remove and discard the bouquet garni and bay leaves. Cover the pot.
  4. Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until they reduce in size by a third. Stir the mushrooms into the beef mixture.
  5. Serve over pasta, mashed potatoes, or rice.

Chopped Beef Salad with Spicy Peanut Sauce

This salad came about when I was wondering what to do with leftover beef skewers and satay sauce. Tender meat perfectly seasoned along with a slightly spicy peanut sauce sounded delightful in a salad.

Satay refers to the peanut sauce, not the skewers themselves. Most satay sauces are blended with dry roasted peanuts, but to save time and not require a heavy-duty blender, I used creamy peanut butter. I like the added crunch of more peanuts, while my husband opts for fried Chinese noodles. Pick your favorite or use both, but don’t skip the crunchies!

PREP TIME | 20 minutes active; 3–4 hours to marinate

COOK TIME | 10 minutes SERVES | 4 as entree

FOR THE BEEF

  • 1/2 cup chopped white onion
  • 1/3 cup light soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh lemongrass
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 pound Milanese-style beef, cut lengthwise into 1-inchwide strips (see Cook’s Notes)

Make the beef: Whisk together the onion, soy sauce, lemongrass, sugar, garlic, oil, fish sauce, ginger, coriander, turmeric, cumin, and cayenne in a large bowl until a paste forms. Slather this marinade on the beef and place it in either an airtight plastic bag or a shallow dish. Toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 3 to 24 hours.

To cook, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Remove the beef from marinade, gently shaking off the excess. Working in batches, add the beef to the hot skillet. Cook for only 1 to 2 minutes, or until lightly browned, then flip the meat and cook on the other side. Transfer to a cutting board and chop into bite-size pieces.

Assemble the salad: Equally divide the red and green cabbages, bell pepper, carrots, and scallions among four large salad bowls or plates. Top each serving with some chopped beef, cilantro, peanuts, and a liberal amount of sauce.

FOR THE SALAD

  • 4 cups thinly sliced or chopped red cabbage
  • 4 cups thinly sliced or chopped green cabbage
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup dry-roasted peanuts or fried Chinese noodles
  • Spicy Peanut Sauce (recipe follows)

Cook’s Notes | Adjust the spiciness of the sauce by adding 1 to 2 more teaspoons of Thai chile garlic sauce, red pepper flakes, Sriracha, or even chopped fresh jalapeno.

If you can find thinly sliced Milanese-style beef at the grocery store, save yourself time and trouble and buy it! If not, partially freeze a top round roast. Beef is easier to thinly slice when a little hard. Using a very sharp knife, cut it into

1/8-inch-thick slices. You might need to cut them in half again vertically to get them 2 inches wide.

Fresh ginger is also easier to grate when slightly froze

Spicy Peanut Sauce

Makes 11/2 cups

  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup light coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1–3 teaspoons Thai chile garlic sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime zest
  • Juice from 1 lime (1–2 tablespoons)
  • 1 garlic clove, grated

Whisk the peanut butter, coconut milk, soy sauce, sugar, fish sauce, water, chile garlic sauce, lime zest, and lime juice in a small bowl or blend in a small food processor until well combined.

Serve at room temperature or chill until ready to serve. If the sauce thickens, add additional coconut milk or water to thin. The sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Recipes are excerpted from Beef It Up! © by Jessica Formicola. Used with permission from Storey Publishing.

 Photography © Dominic Perri.

The Kentucky Trinity: Burgoo, Barbecue and Bourbon

Burgoo, barbecue and bourbon, historically acknowledged as the trinity of good taste in Kentucky, have traditional roots going back to the days of Daniel Boone. W.A. Schmid, a chef and food historian, delves deep into the cultural heritage of these foods in his book, Burgoo, Barbecue, and Bourbon: A Kentucky Culinary Trinity (University Press of Kentucky 2021).

Known as “the gumbo of the Bluegrass,” burgoo is a meat stew consisting of a variety of meats that were often smoked as that’s one of the ways they preserved food back then. The list of ingredients included at least one “bird of the air” and at least one “beast of the field.” The latter could include squirrel, ground hog, lamb, pork jowl, and rabbit. Added to that were whatever vegetables (think corn, tomatoes, turnips, potatoes, carrots, onions, okra, and lima beans) were either in season or still stored and edible in the larder. Sometimes oysters, oatmeal and/or pearl barley were thrown in as well. Schmid also includes, among his many burgoo recipes, one that feeds 10,000 which calls for a ton and a half of beef (I’m not including it but if you’re expecting a huge crowd over email me and I’ll send it) and another that makes 1200 gallons.

“Often you’ll find this dish paired with one of the Commonwealth’s other favorite exports, bourbon, and the state’s distinctive barbecue,” writes Schmid, who immersed himself in archives of early cookbooks.

He takes us back to the days of Daniel Boone, uncovering forgotten recipes of regional dishes and such lost recipes as Mush Biscuits and Half Moon Fried Pies. There are numerous recipes for burgoo starting from early pioneer days, each unique depending on the region, food tastes, and what ingredients were easily sourced. Burgoo was an early community dish with people coming together to prepare it in vast amounts for celebrations.

Women would gather for peeling parties which meant endlessly peeling and dicing vegetables while men would stir the ingredients as they simmered in the huge pots throughout the night, most likely with sips of bourbon to keep them enthused about the task. Whether women got to sip bourbon too, we can only hope so. But in an age where water wasn’t safe to drink and even children were given wine, cider, small beer, and the dregs of their parents sweetened spirits to drink, I’m guessing so.

As for the name burgoo, well, no one, not even Schmid is sure where it comes from.

“It may have described an oatmeal porridge that was served to English sailors in the mid-1700s, or it may have come from the small town of Bergoo, West Virginia,” Schmid hypothesized. The word might also be a slur of bird stew or perhaps bulger; it could also be a mispronunciation of barbecue, ragout, or an amalgam of the lot. If the oatmeal story is true, burgoo continued as a military staple as it became a hearty stew for soldiers who could travel light and hunt and gather ingredients ‘from wild things in the woods’ once they stopped moving for the day—so they did not have to move the supplies from one location to another.”

Of course, a hearty burgoo demands a great bourbon drink and Schmid offers quite a few of those as well. One name I’m particularly taken with is called Kentucky Fog, presumably because over-consumption left one in a fog. Other great names for bourbon drinks mentioned in the book are Moon Glow, Bourbaree, and the Hot Tom and Jerry.

The following recipes are from Burgoo, Barbecue, and Bourbon.

Kentucky Fog

12 servings

  • 1 quart Kentucky bourbon
  • 1 quart strong coffee
  • 1 quart vanilla ice cream

Combine the ingredients in a punch bowl and serve.

Moon Glow

  • Crushed ice
  • 1½ ounces bourbon
  • 2 ounces cranberry juice
  • 2 ounces orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons maraschino cherry juice

Pack a tall glass with crushed ice. Add the cranberry juice and the orange juice. Add the maraschino cherry juice. Then add the bourbon. Stir well with a bar spoon and garnish with 2 maraschino cherries and a straw.

Burgoo

This recipe is used at Keeneland, the famous racetrack in Lexington, Kentucky and dates back to 1939.

  • Oil
  • 3 pounds stew meat
  • 1 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1 teaspoon sage
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 1 cup carrot, diced
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 12-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 2 16-ounce cans mixed vegetables
  • 7-ounce can tomato purée
  • 2 pounds fresh okra, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon beef base
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup sherry
  • 3 pounds potatoes, peeled and diced
  • Cornstarch

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven. Brown the stew meat with the herbs and garlic. Add the remaining ingredients, except the cornstarch, and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for at least 3 hours. Adjust seasonings to taste and thicken with cornstarch.

Spoonbread with Bourbon

  • 6 servings
  • 2 cups water, boiling
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 egg yolks, beaten
  • 3 egg whites, stiffly beaten
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons lard
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Boil the water; add the lard and butter; to this mixture add

the cornmeal, egg yolks, and baking soda. Stir in the buttermilk and stiffly beaten egg whites. Add the bourbon and pour into a buttered casserole dish. Bake for 35 minutes.

Original Kentucky Whiskey Cake

15–20 servings

  • 5 cups flour, sifted
  • 1 pound sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ¾ pound butter
  • 6 eggs, separated and beaten
  • 1 pint Kentucky bourbon
  • 1 pound candied cherries, cut in pieces
  • 2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 pound shelled pecans
  • ½ pound golden raisins, halved, or ½ pound dates, chopped

Soak cherries and raisins in bourbon overnight.

Preheat oven to 250–275 degrees F.

Cream the butter and sugars until fluffy. Add the egg yolks

and beat well. To the butter and egg mixture, add the soaked fruit and the remaining liquid alternately with the flour. Reserve a small amount of flour for the nuts. Add the nutmeg and baking powder. Fold in the beaten egg whites. Add the lightly floured pecans last. Bake in a large, greased tube pan that has been lined with 3 layers of greased brown paper. Bake for 3–4 hours. Watch baking time carefully.

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Richard Hougen was the manager of the Boone Tavern Hotel of Berea College and the author of several cookbooks, including Look No Further: A Cookbook of Favorite Recipes from Boone Tavern Hotel, Berea College, Kentucky, Hougen includes the recipe for Boone Tavern Cornsticks. He notes at the bottom of the recipe, adapted here, how important it is to “heat well-greased cornstick pan to smoking hot on top of the stove before pouring in your batter.

Boone Tavern Hotel Cornsticks

  • 2 cups white cornmeal
  • ½ cup flour
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons lard, melted

Preheat oven to 450–500 degrees F.

Sift the flour, cornmeal, salt, and baking powder together.

Mix the baking soda with the buttermilk, and then add to the dry ingredients; beat well. Add the eggs and beat. Add the lard. Mix well. Pour the batter into very hot well-greased cornstick pans on

top of stove, filling the pans to level.

Place pans on the lower shelf of the oven and bake for 8 minutes. Move the pans to the upper shelf and bake for an additional 5–10 minutes.

Road Trips & Recipes: Hidden Surprises in Horse Cave, KY

Guest Road Tripper Kathy Witt takes us to underground Kentucky in her latest travel piece. Always glad to have you, Kathy!

Mammoth Cave National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve located in southcentral Kentucky, recently made headlines for adding six miles to what is already, at 426 explored miles, the world’s largest cave system.

A 25-minute drive away in tiny Horse Cave, KY, another cave is newsworthy in its own right as one of the world’s few caves located directly beneath a town. Hidden River Cave (www.hiddenrivercave.com) is not only Kentucky’s largest, privately operated cave, it stretches out beneath Horse Cave’s downtown, a National Historic District, with an entrance located directly off Main Street.

Play: Hidden River Cave is also home to the world’s longest underground suspension bridge, swinging far above the river rushing below. Completion of the bridge in 2020 made it possible for guided tours to reach Sunset Dome, inaccessible to the public for 76 years. At 150 feet wide, 200 feet long and 100 feet high, give or take, it is one of the largest free-standing cave domes in the United States –a sight to behold in glowing shades of red, yellow and orange.

The main entrance to Hidden River Cave is off Main Street in downtown Horse Cave, KY.
Photo: Kathy Witt

Before hiking down the 200-plus steps into the cavern (and yes, you’ll have to climb back up them on your way out), visitors can read about the history of the cave at the free-admission American Cave Museum. Home of the American Cave Conservation Association, the museum offers self-guided tours of exhibits on karst geology, a landscape characterized by sinkholes, sinking streams, caves and springs, as well as the archaeology of caves. Photo: Kathy Witt

Local Amish craftspeople custom-built the tepee accommodations at Horse Cave KOA Holiday. Photo: Kathy Witt

Stay: For a small town (population: 2,400), Horse Cave has an unexpectedly delightful array of accommodations, including country cottage vacation rentals, waterside campsites and glamping options. At Horse Cave KOA Holiday (www.kygetaway.com/horse-cave-koa-holiday), climb into the treetops for cozy overnights in a treehouse. Crawl into a Conestoga wagon or slip into a custom-built tepee, each one beautifully furnished and fully equipped – from Keurig coffeemaker and refrigerator to private patio and firepit.

A pioneer adventure awaits at the Conestoga wagon accommodations at Horse Cave KOA Holiday.
Photo: Kathy Witt

Clean, comfortable and scenically situated overlooking gently rolling hills and pastures, the campground also offers cabins and pull-thru RV sites, beautiful new bathhouse, fishing pond, jump pillow, playground and seasonal swimming pool.

Tuck in amidst the treetops in a Horse Cave KOA Holiday treehouse. Photo: Kathy Witt

Eat: Besides its cave and Conestoga wagons, Horse Cave surprises with horse-drawn buggies seen hitched downtown and clip-clopping along the rural roads. The town has a large Amish population and thriving Amish business landscape. In fact, Amish craftspeople constructed the treehouses and tepees at Horse Cave KOA Holiday and one of Horse Cave’s most appealing restaurants, Farmwald’s Restaurant and Bakery (www.farmwalds.com), is Amish owned.

The gift shop at Farmwald Restaurant and Bakery is cozied up with Amish-made items arrayed among a seating area with fireplace. Photo: Kathy Witt

This rambling building with country-store setting is destination dining at its best, with freshly baked donuts, breads and melt-in-your-mouth fried pies and made-to-order deli lunches like grilled ribeye and build-your-own cold-cut sandwiches, chicken baskets and fish dinners.

Hidden River Cave is home of the largest subterranean suspension bridge in the world. Photo: Kathy Witt

A gift shop spreads over half of the building, offering everything from local honey and jarred condiments to wooden toys and woven baskets to home décor and accessories spilling from shelves and adding charm to a seating area near the fireplace. Most of the items are handcrafted by the local Amish community.

A kangaroo at Kentucky Down Under Adventure Zoo shows its enthusiasm for feeding time.
Photo: Courtney Thompson

Treat: Horse Cave has two different animal encounter experiences that pair perfectly for a family-fun outing. At Dutch Country Safari Park (www.kygetaway.com/dutch-country-safari-park), drive through or board the hay wagon and bump along a dirt road through the wilds of Kentucky backcountry to see Watusi, water buffalo, camels, llamas, wildebeests, ostriches and other animals. Feeding the animals is part of the fun, and these well-trained beasts will nose into the wagon to eat from extended hands or directly from the bowl.

American Cave Museum is next door to Hidden River Cave in Horse Cave, KY. Photo: Kathy Witt

Visitors to Horse Cave’s Australian Outback at Kentucky Down Under Adventure Zoo (www.kentuckydownunder.com) discover they are at one of the few places in the country where it is okay to feed and pet the kangaroos, take selfies and even nap with them.

Farmwald Restaurant and Bakery’s chicken basket with toast and a side of gravy is comfort-food delicious.
Photo: Kathy Witt

“We are the only place in Kentucky where you can get close to Bigfoot (kangaroos are macropods, meaning they have big feet),” said park spokesman Brian Dale, “And we almost always have a batch of new joeys in and out of the pouch in the Outback.”

Interactivity: A Great Way to Learn

Visitors to Kentucky Down Under Adventure Zoo are often surprised at how soft and friendly the kangaroos are. Photo: Kentucky Down Under Adventure Zoo

Interactive experiences are the big draw here: feeding parrots and lorikeets; mining for fossils and gemstones at the sluice; exploring scenic Mammoth Onyx Cave; and watching animal shows that feature a dingo, porcupine, serval kitten, woma python or another one of the zoo’s most beloved and intriguing residents. Explore the Outback by foot or on wheels, with a rental of a four- or six-passenger golf cart.

Read: Visit www.kygetaway.com to plan your adventure to Horse Cave, KY.

RECIPE

Farm Beans with Amish Relish and Hoecakes     

Farm bean ingredients

  • 2 C of dried pinto beans
  • 2 whole cloves of garlic from the garden
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 8 C of water

Rinse beans in colander. Put freshly rinsed dried beans in a large bowl, cover with cold water and let soak overnight in fridge. Drain soaking water and rinse beans. Place in large cooking pot. Add water, garlic, bay leaves and salt to beans. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low and cook until the beans are tender, 2 to 3 hours. Stir frequently and add water as needed to get desires soup texture, i.e., beans thoroughly cooked down with a bean-rich broth.

Serve in bowls with a topping of Amish corn relish and a freshly fried hoe cake (see recipe below).

Hoe cake ingredients

  • 1 C self-rising cornmeal
  • 1 farm fresh egg
  • 3/4 C buttermilk (more or less based on preferred consistency)
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Mix all ingredients, except oil, to create batter. Add vegetable oil to skillet and place on the stovetop at medium high heat. Place spoonfuls of batter into the skillet to create desired size cake. Fry hoecakes until bubbles appear on the tops and their edges are cooked. Flip each of the cakes and cook the other side until golden brown. Repeat with remaining batter. As each cake is removed from the skillet, place on paper towels to absorb any excess oil.

Writer/Author

About Kathy Witt

Writer and author Kathy Witt is a member of SATW Society of American Travel Writers and the Authors Guild

She is the author of Secret Cincinnati; The Secret of the Belles; Atlanta, GA: A Photographic Portrait

NEWCincinnati Scavenger: The Ultimate Search for Cincinnati’s Hidden Treasures arriving October 2022.

NEWPerfect Day Kentucky: Daily Itineraries for the Discerning Traveler arriving Fall 2023.

www.KathyWitt.comwww.facebook.com/SecretCincinnatiNKY

www.LinkedIn.com/in/KathyWittwww.Instagram.com/Kathy.Witt

Three Ways to Celebrate California Wine Month in September

Harvesting during night and the early morning hours helps the fruit arrive at the winery with cool temperatures assuring high quality fruit, reduced energy costs and cooler working conditions for workers. Photo credit: Wine Institute of California.

Enjoy Immersive Harvest Experiences and Festivals, Pair Iconic California Recipes and Fresh Produce with California Wines and Support Local Wineries



September is California Wine Month, a time to celebrate the annual harvest season and raise a glass to the state’s vibrant wine community. As California vintners and growers harvest more than 110 different grape varieties for the 2022 vintage, wine lovers around the country can join the month-long festivities. These range from immersive harvest experiences to special wine tastings to wine festivals, along with exciting ways to celebrate California Wine Month at home.

Golden Eye pinot noir harvest, Anderson Valley, Mendocino, California

“California is the top U.S. wine producer, driven mostly by multi-generational family businesses,” said Robert P. Koch, president and CEO of Wine Institute. “California Wine Month celebrates the hard work of hundreds of thousands of employees in our wine community, the tremendous pace of innovation and the exceptional wines coming out of the state.”

California’s wine industry has played a vital role in the state’s culture and economy for more than 250 years. California makes up 81% of wine production in the United States and 95% of exports. Within the state’s 147 distinct winegrowing regions are 621,000 acres of vineyards, 4,800 bonded wineries and nearly 6,000 winegrowers.

“California’s diverse and expansive wine country is one of its top tourism draws,” said Caroline Beteta, Visit California president and CEO. “From high-end pairings and legendary wineries to sustainable vineyards and neighborly barn tastings, there’s an experience — and a wine — for everyone to enjoy.”

California is also a leader in sustainability, with the state’s winegrowers and vintners making significant investments of time and dollars in innovation and new processes to preserve the land and environment for future generations. More than 2,400 vineyards have earned certification under the California Sustainable Winegrowing program, and more than 80% of California wine is produced in a Certified California Sustainable Winery.

Madrona Vineyards, El Dorado County

Ways to Celebrate California Wine Month

 Participate in Events and Experiences at California Wineries

More than 24 million people from around the globe visit the state’s winegrowing regions every year, and California Wine Month is one of the most exciting times to do it. And for those in California, wine country is just a short trip away. Join wineries across the state for more than 40 harvest-themed events, activities and experiences — and more will continue to be added throughout September. These include behind-the-scenes vineyard and crush pad tours, grape-stomping competitions, wine and food festivals, hands-on harvest experiences, charity wine auctions and more. For the latest details on offerings, visit the Discover California Wines website.

Pair Iconic California Recipes with California Wine

Los Carneros wine tasting. Cuvaison

It’s no coincidence that California wine pairs perfectly with the state’s farm-fresh produce and trend-setting cuisine. To help consumers experience this delicious culinary connection at home, Discover California Wines has partnered with California Grown and Visit California to create the free “Iconic California Dishes to Celebrate California Wine Month” e-book. The book features recipes for dishes that evoke the state’s sunny and relaxed vibe — all paired with California wine and creative, wine-based cocktails. Bring harvest home with recipes including Avocado Salad with Hidden Valley Ranch-Style Dressing, Wine Country Chicken Salad and the California 75, a classic wine-based lemon cocktail with a literal and figurative twist.

“We say what grows together goes together,” said Cher Watte Angulo, executive director of California Grown. “Since California provides over 50% of the nation’s produce and over 80% of the wine, it makes sense that people celebrate with both a sip and a bite of the Golden State.”

Discover and Enjoy California Wine

Whether visiting wineries in person or online, there’s no better time than California Wine Month to pick up a few bottles of wine to share with friends and family. It’s also easy to find a great selection of California wine at your local grocery store or wine shop. 

California Wine Month Partners

South Coast Winery Grape Stomp

Ask about special activities and offers from California Wine Month restaurant, retail, association and organization partners. They include: Albertsons, California Grown, California Restaurant Foundation, The Calistoga Depot, The CIA at Copia, Epic Steak, Gary’s Wine & Marketplace, Ironwood Laguna Hills, Oakville Grocery, Olea Newport Beach, Pavillions, Safeway, Sapphire Laguna Beach, Vine Restaurant & Bar San Clemente, Visit California and Vons.

About Wine Institute Established in 1934, Wine Institute is the public policy advocacy group of 1,000 California wineries and affiliated businesses that initiates and advocates state, federal and international public policy to enhance the environment for the responsible production, consumption and enjoyment of wine. The organization works to enhance the economic and environmental health of the state through its leadership in sustainable winegrowing and by showcasing California’s wine regions as ideal destinations for food and wine travelers to the state. To learn more about California wines, visit DiscoverCaliforniaWines.com.

Photos courtesy of California Wines.

Straight Bourbon: Distilling the Industry’s Heritage

“Bourbon is a legacy of blue grass, water and Kentucky limestone,” Carol Peachee tells me when I ask what makes Kentucky bourbon so prized.

Limestone? Water? Bluegrass? What’s that have to do with fine bourbon?

Turns out it’s quite simple. According to Peachee, the limestone filters the iron out of the water as it flows through the rock, producing a sweet-tasting mineral water perfect for making the greatest tasting liquor. Limestone, with its heavy calcium deposits, also is credited with the lush blue grass the state’s prize-winning horses gaze upon — making their bones strong.

It’s been a long time since I took geology in college, but I do like the taste of good bourbon and the sight of stately horses grazing in beautiful pastures and the more I can learn about it all, the better. Which is why I love Peachee’s entrancing photographs.

Carol Peachee

I first met Peachee, an award-winning professional photographer, when she was autographing copies of her latest book, Straight Bourbon: Distilling the Industry’s Heritage (Indiana University Press 2017; $28). Creating beauty as well as a sense of yearning, her books, including The Birth of Bourbon: A Photographic Tour of Early Distilleries, take us on a wanderlust journey of lost distilleries and those now re-emerging from the wreckage of Prohibition. At one time, Kentucky had over two hundred commercial distilleries, but only sixty-one reopened after the repeal of Prohibition in 1933. Now, as Kentucky bourbon becomes a driving force throughout the world, once barely remembered and long closed distilleries are being restored and revamped and are opening again for business.

Using a photographic technique known as high-dynamic-range imaging ― a process that produces rich saturation, intensely clarified details, and a full spectrum of light ― Peachee hauntingly showcases the vibrancy still lingering in artifacts such as antique tools, worn cypress fermenting tubs, ornate copper stills some turning slightly green with oxidation and age, gears and levers —things we would never typically think of as lovely and compelling.

Traveling with the Book

Keeping copies of her books in my car when I travel to Kentucky, I love visiting some of the places and sites she’s photographed.

Her passion for bourbon may also have come about, in part, because she lives in Lexington, Kentucky which is rich in the history of bourbon making (and, we should say, sipping).

To get a taste of how bourbon connects to the land, when in Lexington, Peachee suggests a stop at the Barrel House Distilling Co. including the Elkhorn Tavern located in the old James B. Pepper barrel plant. It’s part of Lexington’s happening Distillery District. But fine bourbon doesn’t just stop in Lexington.

“There are so many bourbon distilleries now,” she says, noting that the heritage of good bourbon making is more than the equipment and the water.

“The cultural heritage of distilling also lays in the human culture,” she writes in the Acknowledgements section of her latest book, “the people who learned the crafts of milling, copper welding and design, barrel making and warehouse construction and then passed them on through the generations down to today’s workers and owners.”

And now Peachee has passed them down to us so we can fully appreciate the art of distilling

Town Branch Bourbon Bramble

  • 2oz Bourbon
  • 3/4oz Fresh squeeze lemons
  • 3/4oz Simple syrup
  • 5 Fresh blackberries muddled

Shake with ice, strain and pour over fresh ice in rock glass with blackberry garnish.

Town Branch Bourbon Mint Julep

  • 2 oz Bourbon
  • 8 mint leaves
  • 1/4oz simple syrup
  • Dash of bitters

Muddle ingredients.

Add crushed ice with mint garnish and straw.

The above recipes are courtesy of the Lexington Brewing & Distilling Company.

Great Recipes Using Coo Moo Jams and More

Highland Coo Cows? Yes, there are such things and they’re adorable or as adorable as a cow can be. To see one of these fluffy long-haired and rather large cows, you’d have to travel to the Scottish Highlands. Or more easily, you can find a drawing of one of these cuties—and supposedly sweet natured cattle—on the label of Coo Moo, the name Julie Deck chose for her line of jams–Peachy Mango Madness and Apricot Habanero as well as a Wooster Sauce to use to add a burst of flavor to a variety of dishes.

The Story

“I love Jam. I love Scotland. I love the Highland Coo cow. These things that I love so dearly inspired me and helped me create Coo Moo Jams. But the journey getting here has been an adventure full of love, hard work and determination.” Julie Deck, Founder of Coo Moo Jams

Corn, Tomato, Cucumber and Avocado Salad with Feta Cheese and Coo Moo Wooster Sauce

  • 3 cups fresh corn (cut off the cob, raw or cooked) 
  • 1 large avocado (diced) 
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes (sliced in half or any tomato cut into small pieces) 
  • 1/2 cup red onion (chopped) 
  • 1 cup english cucumber (chopped)
  • 1 cup feta cheese 
  • 2 tbsp Coo Moo Wooster Sauce 
  • 3 tbsp olive oil 
  • 2 tbsp lime juice 
  • 1/2 cup mint (chopped and optional) 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 

Corn, Cucumber, Tomato and Avocado Salad with Feta Cheese and Wooster Sauce

 Mix the c

Mix the Coo Moo Wooster Sauce, olive oil and lime juice in a separate bowl. Once thoroughly mixed pour over the corn mixture. Mix with a spoon. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add more Wooster Sauce to the top for more an additional boost of flavor.

Watermelon Feta Salad

  • 1 tablespoon balsamic or red-wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of Coo Moo Apricot Habanero or Peachy Mango Madness Jam
  • 3 cups cubed (1/2 to 3/4 inch) seeded watermelon, drained (from a 2 1/2-lb piece, rind discarded)
  • 6 cups baby arugula (6 oz)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts (1 oz) optional
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta or ricotta salata (1 1/2 oz)
  • Coarsely ground black pepper to taste

For dressing mix the vinegar, olive oil and Coo Moo Jam in a small glass jar with lid and shake. Put all remaining ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Poor the dressing over salad.

coomoojams.com/

 

 

 

 

 ww.erinselderberries.com

 

 

 

 

Tara Teaspoon: Delicious Gatherings

I love cookbooks, whether they’re old or new and I’m always looking for those that offer recipes for what’s available from local farms and also using ingredients that I want to learn more about. And my friend Carrie Bachman sent me a cookbook that covers both. It’s by Tara “Teaspoon” Bench, a former Martha Stewart food editor and food stylist, and is titled “Delicious Gatherings: Recipes to Celebrate Together.”

It offers new recipes for many of the fruits already available and soon to be: blueberries, grapes and apples as well as quinoa. I have several packages of Ancient Harvest’s Quinoa with Sea Salt, Quinoa & Brown Rice with Garlic, and Inca Red Quinoa so I was happy to find Tara Teaspoon’s Grape and Feta Quinoa recipe.

Bench offers complete meals in her new cookbook but also says that the menus are created so that home chefs can pick and choose singular recipes, just a few or all of them to create the meal they want. There are more than 120 recipes which are divided into four main sections: “Main Events,” “Serious Sides,” Breakfast and Brunch,” and “Baking and Sweets.”

“Bringing my cooking expertise to print and online articles taught me how to clearly share my recipes and knowledge with every kind of cook,” said Bench who also has a blog, tarateaspoon.com. “I know how to create recipes with easy steps so everyone at home can be successful in the kitchen.”

Waldorf Salad With Radicchio and Buttermilk Dressing

SERVES 6 TO 8

Makes ¾  Cups Dressing

Hands-On Time: 25 Minutes

Total Time: 30 Minutes

“Really, the resemblance to classic Waldorf salad is just the combo of apples, celery, and grapes—but I just love that one of my favorite salads heralded from New York City, where I live. I’m paying a little homage to its history,” writes Bench. “With shaved apple, flavorful radicchio, and a light, savory buttermilk dressing, this updated version of Waldorf salad is elegant and welcoming. I made a tangy buttermilk herb dressing and opted for delicious, candied pecans instead of walnuts.”

Candied Pecans

  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • ¾ cup (3 ounces) pecans

Buttermilk Dressing

  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Pinch black pepper

Salad

  • 1 small head or half a large head
  • radicchio (10 ounces)
  • 1 apple, cored and cut in half
  • 3 ribs celery, sliced on the bias
  • 1 ½ cups California red grapes, sliced in half

For the pecans: Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside. In a small skillet over medium heat, bring maple syrup and cayenne to a boil. Boil 1 minute, and then add pecans. Stir to coat and cook another 30 seconds. Turn onto lined baking sheet and separate nuts. Set aside and let cool completely. When cool, coarsely chop.

For the dressing: Whisk together all ingredients and set aside in the refrigerator.

For the salad: Break or chop radicchio into pieces. Use a mandoline or slicer to thinly slice apple. Arrange radicchio, apple, celery, and grapes in a bowl, then top with chopped pecans. You can toss with the dressing and extra parsley at this point, or you can serve the salad with the dressing and parsley on the side so guests can dress their own salad.

TARA’S TIP

Radicchio is a very strong, sometimes bitter leafy vegetable. I think it’s fantastic with tangy buttermilk and yogurt. But if you want a milder salad, opt for butter lettuce leaves.

Grape and Feta Quinoa

Serves: 6 To 8

Makes: 4 cups

Hands-on time: 15 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes

“This is my favorite grain salad with all the crunchy nuts, salty feta, herbs, and juicy grapes,” Bench wrote about this recipe.

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) grapes, halved
  • 2/3 cup (3 ounces) crumbled feta
  • 1/3  cup (1 ounce) walnuts, toasted and broken up
  • 1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

DRESSING

  • Grated zest from 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

To cook quinoa, rinse in a fine mesh strainer until the water runs clear. Transfer to a medium saucepan with water and salt. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, uncovered, until quinoa is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

While quinoa cooks, make dressing by whisking together all dressing ingredients. Set aside.

When quinoa is cool, add grapes, feta, walnuts, and parsley. Toss with dressing and serve. Quinoa can be refrigerated for up to a day.

Blueberry Bannock Scone

 Makes: 8 servings, 1 (9-inch) scone

Hands-on time: 30 minutes

Total time: 1 hour

“Traditional Scottish Bannock cakes are baked on a griddle, but I make a simple one in the oven to serve the whole family. I’ve added wheat germ instead of whole wheat flour to give the quick bread a nutty but light texture, and finely chopped pecans add amazing flavor,” she wrote in the intro to this recipe. “I’ve stuffed my Bannock with blueberries, which takes an extra step to get them nestled in a layer, but it’s well worth it when you slice into a molten-berry middle! My biggest tip is to use a gentle hand and not overwork the dough.”

SCONE

  • 1 ¼ cups (160 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for baking sheet
  • ½ cup finely chopped pecans
  • ½ cup wheat germ
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon fine salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 5 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, cut up and chilled
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs, divided
  • 1 ¼ cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 teaspoon water

ICING

  • ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons milk

For the scone: Heat oven to 400.F. Use the top of a bowl to draw an 8- or 9-inch circle on a piece of parchment paper as a guide. Set aside on a baking sheet.

In a large bowl, combine flour, pecans, wheat germ, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and 4 tablespoons sugar. Use a pastry blender to cut butter into flour mixture until mixture forms small crumbs with tiny bits of butter.

In another bowl, combine buttermilk and 1 egg. Add to flour mixture and stir until just moistened. Dough will seem wet and sticky but work it as little as possible.

Divide dough in half and use two spoons to dol lop half the dough around the circle marked on the prepared baking sheet. With floured hands, shape the dollops into one circle. Spread blueberries evenly over the scone, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.

Using spoons again, dollop remaining dough over blueberries, then with floured hands press together to make a top layer, covering the berries.

Beat remaining egg with water and brush some on top of the scone. Score into 8 wedges on top. Bake until scone is golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

For the icing: Stir together confectioners’ sugar and milk to make a thick icing. When scone is almost cool, drizzle with icing.

Spoon batter over blueberries, then gently press together to form the top of the scone, sealing the edges around the blueberries.

Apple Pudding Cake with Butter Sauce

Serves: 12 to 14

Hands-on time: 40 minutes

Total time: 2 hours, 55 minutes

“This rich cake, reminiscent of the dense steamed puddings my grandma used to make, is our family Christmas dessert—although we’ve been known to make it year-round, especially during peak apple season. It’s subtly spiced and full of the tart and sweet taste of apples, plus crunchy pecans. To make the cake even more special for the holidays, top with Apple Crisps.

“You may think adding the sauce is gilding the lily, as the cake on its own is delicious. But in my opinion, the sauce is essential and makes each bite of cake extra divine.”

Apple Pudding Cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 4 cups grated apple, any variety, from 3 to 4 cored apples
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan
  • 2 cups granulated sugar, plus more for pan
  • 2 large eggs

Butter Sauce

  • ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ cups (12-ounce can) evaporated milk
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

For the cake: Heat oven to 350.F. Brush a 10- or 12-cup Bundt pan generously with extra butter. Sprinkle pan with extra sugar, then tap out excess. Set pan aside.

Stir together flour, pecans, nutmeg, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a food processor or with a box grater, shred apples with the skin on. You should have 4 cups grated apple.

In a mixer, cream together butter and sugar with the paddle attachment. Add eggs and beat until mixture is fluffy. Stir in apples (and any juice they produce) and flour mixture until completely combined. Spoon batter into prepared pan and smooth top.

Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and cake pulls slightly away from the sides of the pan, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Tent cake with foil for the last half hour of baking to prevent overbrowning.

Let cool on a wire rack, about 20 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack to remove from pan. Let cool completely.

For the butter sauce: In a saucepan over medium-low heat, simmer all butter sauce ingredients, stirring, for 12 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Sauce will thicken as it cools. Serve the sauce warm over slices of cake or serve sauce on the side and let guests add a generous amount of warm sauce to each slice of cake.

Garnish with apple crisps, if desired.

NOTE The cake and sauce can be made a day in advance. Allow both to cool completely before storing. Cover cake with plastic wrap and store at room temperature. Refrigerate butter sauce and reheat in microwave or saucepan to serve.

TARA’S TIP

I make this cake in a fun tube pan for the wow factor at the holidays, but it bakes perfectly in a 9-by-13- inch cake pan. Bake about 35 minutes.

Apple Crisps

2 apples

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Heat oven to 250.F. Thinly slice apples using a mandoline. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silpat liner.

Use a sieve to lightly dust both sides of each slice with confectioners’ sugar.

Bake one to two hours, turning apples over once during baking. To test doneness, remove one slice and let it cool. It will be crispy when cooled, and the apples will be done.

Remove from oven and quickly transfer apples to a wire rack and let cool.

The recipes above are courtesy of ‘”Delicious Gatherings: Recipes to Celebrate Together by Tara ‘Teaspoon’ Bench.” Photo by Ty Mecham.

An abundance of olives: Olivo Amigo Olive Oil from Jaen, Spain

Gathering the olives harvested on a small, multi-generation, organic-certified farm in Jaen Spain, Olivo Amigo is a premium extra virgin sustainably grown olive oil bottled in eco-friendly and attractive white bottles with stainless steel spouts for easy pouring. The olive oil currently available comes from olives pressed after being gathered during last year’s fall harvest in October.

Olivo Amigo comes in two flavors.

Joy, with its undertone of almond and peppery aftertaste that contrasts with citrus zest taste. Made with Picual olives, It’s an intense fruity green and has aromas of tomato and olive leaves with delicate touches of almond and artichoke. Well-balanced, Joy has traces of a medium-low bitterness and a touch of spice.

PERFECT FOR:

Salads, dressings, cheese, tomatoes, crudites, on top of pastas, drizzled on soups or veggie creams, bread, figs and datiles.

Vitality, with its nuances of fig and apple, is a complex well-balanced extra virgin olive oil with a medium-high green fruitiness. Made with Nevadillo olives, it has aromas of green grass and tomato and to taste has a very mild bitterness and a pleasant medium spice level. A complex, well-balanced oil,

PERFECT FOR:

Sauces, dips, warm stews, roasted veggies, meat, fish, potatoes, frying eggs, baking pastries or on top of ice cream.

Jaen ANDALUCIA SPAIN

Jaen Province: An Abundance of Olives

Located in north-eastern Andalucia, the name Jaen is Moorish for  geen or jayyan meaning stopping post on a caravan route. With over 40 million olive trees (the most of any province in Spain), the economy of Jaen is based upon olive oil. The region is known for its wonderful olive oil , gastronomy, Renaissance architecture, mountains, and  Castillo Santa Catalina, a Moorish fortress dating back to the 10th century.

The following recipes are courtesy of Olivo Amigo.

Olive Oil Cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/3 cups extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons grated orange zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup Grand Marnier liqueur

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Apply olive oil or butter spray to a 9- inch cake pan that is 2 inches deep and line the bottom with parchment paper. If your cake pan is less than 2 inches deep, divide batter between two pans and check on them after 30 minutes.

Gather two bowls. First, mix your flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and baking powder with a whisk.

In another bowl, mix the olive oil, eggs, orange zest, orange juice, and Grand Marnier. Lastly, add dry ingredients and whisk them all together.

Pour the batter into the preheated pan and bake it for an hour until the top is golden and the cake tester comes out clean. Move the cake to a rack and let it rest for thirty minutes.

Run a knife around the pan and invert the cake onto the rack. Let it cool for two hours.

Vegetable Pasta Salad

  • 8 ounces dried orzo pasta
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into florets, about 2 cups
  • 1 1/2 cup cubed butternut squash
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup Olivo Amigo Vitality olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon, about 1/4 cup
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta. Cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Preheat oven to 400F. On a large baking sheet, add butternut squash cubes and cauliflower florets. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bake for 25 minutes until crispy and charred. Remove from oven, set aside and allow to cool.

In a large bowl, add cooked orzo, roasted butternut squash, roasted cauliflower, raisins, parsley, Olivo Amigo Vitality olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Toss to combine.

Road Trips, Reads & Recipes: No place like home at Beech Mountain, NC’s Land of Oz

Special guest blogger Kathy Witt, author of the soon to be released Cincinnati Scavenger: The Ultimate Search for Cincinnati’s Hidden Treasures, shared a new post.

Land of Oz offers spectacular views from its perch atop Beech Mountain. Photo: Kathy Witt

High atop Beech Mountain in North Carolina and hidden within the trees is the somewhere over the rainbow: the Land of Oz. It is as magical as the world L. Frank Baum created in his classic Oz book series that was brought to the screen in the 1939 Academy Award-winning movie. And it is where those looking for their heart’s desire find the Yellow Brick Road.

Professor Marvel has set up shop at the Land of Oz. Photo: Kathy Witt.

Play:

The Land of Oz opens only during its annual events, including Autumn in Oz (www.landofoznc.com/autumnatoz), a festival featuring an interactive theatrical experience, with performances by the beloved Scarecrow, Tin Woodman and Cowardly Lion and frights compliments of the Wicked Witch of the West and her band of Winged Monkeys.

The most famous pair of striped leggings in the world may be seen at the Beech Mountain History Museum. Photo: Kathy Witt

From the twister that rocks the Gale’s Kansas farmhouse to the Emerald City, visitors experience the story brought to life as the Yellow Brick Road unwinds through the site of the original 1970s theme park.

The Yellow Brick Road leads visitors to Munchkinland.

Autumn in Oz takes place over three weekends: September 9-11, 16-18 and 23-25, 2022. Admission tickets are $55 (www.showpass.com/o/land-of-oz-theme-park). Rounding out the fun are live performances, face painting, craft and memorabilia vendors and food and beverages for purchase. Add-on experiences: Scenic Lift Ride ($15), a round-trip chairlift ride to the park from Beech Mountain Ski Resort; and exclusive access to the Over the Rainbow Observation Deck ($6), for unparalleled views from the top of Beech Mountain on a site that has not been open to the public in more than 20 years.

“I’d turn back if I were you.” The Wicked Witch’s Castle at the Land of Oz. Photo: Kathy Witt

Stay:

The Klonteska Condominiums at 4 Seasons at Beech Mountain (www.beechgetaway.com) are homey and comfortable and have spectacular views of the mountains. Two-, three- and four-bedroom units feature private, covered balconies for taking in those views, plus gas-log fireplace, equipped kitchen and large whirlpool tub in the master bath. Located in downtown Beech Mountain, the condos are close to shops and restaurants, and a short and scenic drive to the Land of Oz.

Enjoy pizza, air hockey and more at Famous Brick Oven Pizzeria, located at the top of Beech Mountain. Photo: Kathy Witt

Eat: When it comes to restaurants, Beech Mountain is all about the local experience, from the always-bustling Famous Brick Oven Pizza with live music, arcade and air hockey to the cozy and iconic Alpen Restaurant & Bar, a traditional European inn.

Fred’s General Mercantile is a Beech Mountain staple and has been serving delicious food, groceries, and Beech Mountain apparel since 1979. Photo: Kathy Witt

Locals and visitors alike find Fred’s General Mercantile (www.fredsgeneral.com) irresistible and can while away a couple of pleasant hours browsing its shelves. The store was established by Fred Pfohl in 1979 when the original Land of Oz Theme Park was still open. Pfohl worked summers at Land of Oz while attending Appalachian State University. When he and his wife, Margie, decided to build the store, Jack Pentes, who designed the theme park, prepared the blueprints.

Glinda the Good Witch greets a visitor during Autumn in Oz. Photo: The Land of Oz

Visitors come to Fred’s for fresh produce, stuffed animals, clothing, hardware, ski gear rentals and more. They also come to enjoy made-to-order breakfasts – the Fred Muffin is a fan fave – at Fred’s Backside Deli, as well as hot and cold sandwiches, grilled burgers, soups, salads and other lunch fare and sweets including cakes, pies and cookies.

Treat:

The most famous pair of striped leggings in the world may be seen at the Beech Mountain History Museum. Photo: Kathy Witt

The Scarecrow is a fan favorite during the Land of Oz’s Autumn in Oz event. Photo: The Land of Oz.

Before heading to Autumn in Oz, stop in at the free-admission Beech Mountain History Museum (www.facebook.com/BeechMountainHistoricalSociety), a true jewel of a museum operated by Beech Mountain Historical Society volunteers. Inside is a diorama of the original Land of Oz Theme Park along with related memorabilia and the volunteer guides love to share the Oz chapter of Beech Mountain history. Also here is the definitive backstory of the park – Tim Hollis’ photo-rich book, The Land of Oz. Museum hours during Autumn in Oz are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday-Sunday.

Read:

The perfect souvenir of your visit to the Land of Oz? Author Tim Hollis’s book, The Land of Oz, available at the Beech Mountain History Museum.
Provided

Tim Hollis visited the Land of Oz on a rainy day in the summer of 1975, returned while working on his book, The Land of Oz, and then again for the book’s launch in 2016.

“The park is a unique opportunity to live through the plot of the movie,” he said.

Hollis also has a museum in his hometown of Dale, AL. Among the thousands of cartoon characters, board games, lunch boxes, Christmas and Halloween collectibles and more at the Tim Hollis Pop Culture Museum is “The Wizard of Oz” memorabilia: toys, games, coloring books, the 40 original Oz books written by Baum and his successors – even a smattering of park souvenirs. The free-admission museum is open by appointment only with 48-hour’s advance notice. Call 205-648-6110.

For more information, Autumn in Oz and Beech Mountain, visit Beech Mountain Visitors Center, www.beechmtn.com.

Ingredients

  • 9-inch pie crust
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 1/2 C flour
  • 1 1/2 sticks of room temperature butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 C walnuts

Instructions

In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients and then fold in 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1 cup of walnuts.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and bake at 350-degrees until a toothpick comes out clean. (Fred’s motto is, “If you can smell it, it’s about done!”)

About Special Guest Blogger Kathy Witt

Kathy Witt is an award-winning travel and lifestyle writer who writes a monthly syndicated travel column for Tribune News Service, is a regular contributor to Kentucky Living, Georgia and Travel Goods magazines and RealFoodTraveler.com as well as other outlets like County. She is the author of several books, including Cincinnati Scavenger (Fall 2022) Secret Cincinnati and The Secret of the Belles, Her book, Perfect Day Kentucky: Daily Itineraries for the Discerning Traveler, another travel-themed book, will be released in Fall 2023.  Kathy is a member of SATW (Society of American Travel Writers), Authors Guild and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

Back in Time: Phillipsburg Manor and Gristmill in Sleepy Hollow

From Grand Central Station in New York City, we traveled on the Metro-North Railroad (MNR) line that follows along the shores of the Hudson River to Tarrytown. It’s a longish walk from the depot to Phillipsburg Manor and so a stop at Muddy Water Coffee and Cafe at 52 Main Street for lattes and pastries was in order. The restaurant, located in historic downtown Tarrytown, is cozy and comfy with original tin ceilings, wood floors, and a small garden tucked away in the back. Then it was on to the manor and old gristmill dating back to 1850. A note to those that make the journey. Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow (yes, the Sleepy Hollow where the Headless Horseman rode) are built on steep hills and if you’re so inclined (and I was on the way back to the depot) Tarrytown Taxi is a cheap and easy alternative to getting around.

The manor, gristmill, and rebuilt millpond bridge are accessible at the Historic Hudson Valley (HVV) Visitor’s Center which is also where you catch the shuttle to Kykuit, the Rockefeller Mansion that rises above the Pocantico Hills overlooking miles of woodlands and then, in the distance, the Hudson River. Other tours include Washington Irving’s Sunnyside and the Union Church of Pocantico Hills.

For those who visited the mill and buy some of the grain ground there, HHV provides recipes including the following for Pumpkin Cornmeal Pancakes re-created from the travel accounts of Swedish botanist Peter Kalm, a Finnish explorer, botanist, naturalist, and agricultural economist, who journeyed to Colonial America in 1747 to bring seeds and plants that might be useful to agriculture.  In his description of foods eaten by the Colonists, Kalm described a thick pancake “made by taking the mashed pumpkin and mixing it with Corn-meal after which it was…fried.” He found it “pleasing to my taste.”  Further recipes are including from HHV for recipes from an article titled Cooking with Cornmeal Fresh from Philipsburg Manor’s Gristmill .

Pumpkin Cornmeal Pancakes

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar, plus extra for the topping
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2½-3 cups milk
  • Butter for frying

Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Combine eggs and pumpkin. Beat into the dry ingredients. Add the milk slowly to make a smooth batter.

Heat some butter in a frying pan and pour some of the batter in. Swirl the batter around to make an evenly thick pancake. Cook on both sides until brown.

Serve hot, dusted with confectioner’s sugar.

Light Corn Bread

  • 1/4 cup sweet butter
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten
  • 1¼ cups buttermilk
  • 7/8 cup cornmeal
  • 2 cups cake flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 egg whites, beaten

Cream the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the egg yolks. Mix dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Stir in the buttermilk and the mixed dry ingredients alternately. Fold in the stiffly beaten whites last. Bake in a greased, floured 8 by 11 by 1½-inch pan about 20 minutes at 375 degrees F.

Cornmeal Shortcake

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs (lightly beaten)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease an 8″ baking pan and set aside.

In large mixing bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt; stir until well mixed. Add buttermilk, eggs, and shortening; mix until smooth (about 1 minute).Pour batter into pan. Bake 30 minutes (until lightly browned); toothpick inserted in center should come out clean.

Serving suggestion: Top with fruit and whipped cream.