I LOVED getting to shoot Kevin Ouzts' new spot, The Cockentrice, for Zagat a few months back. Kevin became a trusted badass of a charcutier through his shop, The Spotted Trotter, selling there as well as farmer's markets around Atlanta. I'm excited to see where he goes as head chef and restaurateur and The Cockentrice located in Krog Street Market. The space is absolutely beautiful, and the food has yet to disappoint. I am really excited to go back and try his vegetable plate, which I've heard is devine. Check out the full Zagat story here.
With Summer creeping towards its final days, that means our beloved Summer produce is nearing its last few moments in the sun (literally). So, as a gesture of love and respect to our favorite Summer heroes that will soon be going away, I did a recipe + meal incorporating most of my summer favorites: peaches, more peaches, and tomatoes.
Since this is our first recipe together, I decided to take it nice and slow. I thought it wise to ease into the trickier dishes later and for now just use the amazing flavors that are flooding the markets right now. I always love discovering different ways of preparing and serving the foods I cook or consume regularly. Peaches, which are generally consumed just as the sweet little things they are, do wonders in savory salads and meat dishes. I also figured it's quite valuable to use this forum as a place to post meals and ideas that can be done in as little as 15 minutes... meals that can be served as a weekday lunch item or a Sunday night dinner. This is definitely one of those dishes; it's not just a typical boring sandwich. This dish is very versatile in that you could substitute ham for chicken, apples for the peaches, and spinach for the sorrel (bonus: also all items you can find at the Community Farmer's Markets!!). So, here lies the recipe for a grilled balsamic chicken, peach, and sorrel ciabatta sandwich. I served this sandwich for dinner with a balsamic cherry tomato salad with goat cheese and basil and it was perfect. It was filling, healthy, and tasty!
Grilled balsamic Chicken, Peach, + Sorrel Ciabatta Sandwiches
Servings: 4 Time: 15 minutes
4 Mini H&F Bread Ciabatta Rolls
3-4 Pearson Farm Peaches, thinly sliced
1 bag Freewheel Farm Sorrel, washed and loosely chopped
2 baked or grilled chicken breast, shredded (*time saver: on Sundays, I roast a whole ... chicken and use different pieces throughout the week)
1 4 oz Decimal Place Farm Goat Cheese
1/4 Cup Mayonaise (optional)
1/4 cup Dijon Mustard (optional)
1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegar
Salt + Pepper (to taste)
1. Heat olive oil in medium saucepan. Add shredded chicken, 1/4 cup balsamic, and salt and pepper and sauté until chicken is hot and coated.
2. Toast Ciabatta and slice in half.
3. Prepare bread how you like with mayo + mustard or olive oil, etc. Layer peaches, sorrel, and crumbled goat cheese. Top with chicken, close the sandwich, and enjoy! Here you can eat as is or out it back on the skillet and grill it for a couple minutes on each side.
So, we go to Charleston a lot. We've especially gone a lot in 2014. This trip was very special, though. We went for the sole purpose of celebrating my twin brother's nuptials to the perfect girl. Not thinking we would have a lot of time to explore and eat, we were surprised that this trip allotted way more time than expected to try some new Charleston eateries. And they were ALL AWESOME. (please excuse that these are all iphone images. i made the choice to not touch camera this trip, and it was a needed break).
First up, and not in Charleston, is The Willcox in Aiken, South Carolina. You might be saying, who gives a shit about Aiken, South Carolina, but by doing that you are depriving yourself of quite an experience. The road to Charleston from Atlanta seems especially long. There are basically 3 parts: Atlanta to Augusta (which feels like forever), Augusta to Columbia, and Columbia to Charleston. It is crucial to make a pitstop somewhere in there or you'll go mad. Or maybe that's just me.
Normally, we stop in Columbia, but this time we headed to Aiken. A very old town first developed in the early 1800's, Aiken was the place where northerners came to vacation. More specifically, it was a place for the rich to bring and ride their horses. Driving through downtown, you can see that there still influence in area and The Willcox is a screaming example. Consistently named by Travel + Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler as one of the world's best small hotels, the Willcox screams Gilded Age and high society. I love it.
The food was good, but not spectacular. (The chewy and not so tasty lamb belly was quite confusing for us). It was the atmosphere that I loved. The high society of Aiken pulling a chair up to the old bar, sippin' on G+T's, and chatting about nothing in particular in thick thick southern accents with a classical pianist playing in the background. AWESOME.
Arriving in Charleston, we ate at our favorite; The Ordinary. Our previous 2 visits, we've only had enough money for the raw bar and cocktails, but this time Brian paid (thanks Brian), so we splurged. We ordered oysters, the heirloom tomato salad, and the grouper. And y'all, the grouper blew our minds. Holy moly. If you find yourself in Charleston, EAT AT THE ORDINARY!!
We tried Ted's Butcherblock which was the perfect lunch spot. Specializing in housemade charcuterie, it is what I'm hoping the Spotted Trotter will become here in Atlanta. The meats are awesome, and they have a full shop including meats, cheeses, wines, and prepared sides. Also, they apparently have a bacon of the month club... um, yes please!
On to breakfast. It's not my favorite meal of the day but it's probably the most important. The Early Bird Diner hits the spot. If you're there on a weekend, it might be tough as the line curls out the door into the streets, and the food truly merits that. But I am impatient and would never wait in a line like that, so thankfully, we went on a Wednesday. Although it was still crowded, we got in and out and fed well. Their Corn Cakes Benedict was pure delight.
Probably the most unexpected eating victory of the weekend was Dave's Seafood. Located on a random corner with bars on it's doors, Dave's doesn't scream "come on in." Once you're in though, you want to be in. We ordered the Seafood Platter which is all fried, all locally fished by Dave and friends, and served in a classy styrofoam container. We took our platter, bought some bottled coke, and enjoyed our dinner as the sun was setting in Marion Square. I don't think life could've been any better at that moment.
Found totally by chance, but I totally recommend, we stopped in Bakehouse on Bay St. I ordered the Orange Creamsicle Smoothie and my mind was blown. If you're walking around, this is the perfect place to stop for a reprieve from heat and fatigue and suck down a little orange dreamsicle nostalgia.
And to round it all out is our hangover meal of choice on the return home: greasy hamburgers at Rockaway Athletic Club in Columbia South Carolina. The wedding was a success, meaning we drank, we danced, we partied, and we were therefore hungover. So, it was crucial on the ride back to Atlanta to stop somewhere worthy of that hangover. And although they sold Pepsi (WTF), the burgers hit the spot and gave us the right amount of energy to make it home.
Gah, I love eating in the south, and I just can't wait for my next trip!
Southbound has just recently opened and it's pretty darn beautiful. I was happily sent by Zagat to photograph the space and the people making it happen.
Repurposing most of the historical building themselves, owners Dennis Lange + Mike Plummer spared no expense to make the place authentic and cozy. One of my favorite chefs, Mihoko Obunai, along with Ryan J. Smith are running the kitchen and creating a very authentic southern menu "paying homage to southern heritae through seasonal table bounty."
The few dishes I did get to taste, including the Southbound Hot Chicken and the Smoked Short Ribs, as well as a sampling of Mihoko's carrot ginger soup and the Blackened Grouper BLT.
The housemade grilled pineapple soda and Charles Gilbert's cocktail menu is sure to be awesome. I'm looking forward to going back and trying it all!
For me, summer time means pie time. For others, it means cobbler time, and although I enjoy a good cobbler every now and again, I am way more into pie. (I do love Cobbler, I just reserve it for Spring or Fall, think Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler, Apple Cobbler, etc...).
First off, there are very few things that I hold on higher esteem than flaky pie crust. Maybe, I would have to put puppies + kittens before flaky pie crust, but when it comes to food, tender flaky pie crust just out of the oven is one magical little thing. Now combine that flaky buttery crust with your favorite juicy summer berry. Blueberry? Strawberry? Blackberry? What about Mulberry? Now hold onto your brains... what about a combination of all the berries?! done and done.
Mulberry's only came into my realm of knowledge a few years ago when our local foragers, Concrete Jungle, introduced me to their omnipresence here in Cabbagetown. Last year, I thought they were terrible, but this year I went out picking and was delighted to find that they were badass. Much sweeter than years past, which I assume is because we've had a much more consistent rainfall and temperature pattern this season, I picked and picked till I had enough cups to fill a 9 inch pie (about 7-8 cups).
I prepped my buttermilk pie crust, which was a nice change, but not enough to switch from the standard flaky dough. I washed my mulberries, tossed them with sugar, lime zest, and lime juice and then allowed them to macerate for about 30 minutes.
Buttermilk PIe Crust
8oz. cold unsalted butter (2 sticks)
12oz. cups all purpose flour (2.5 cups)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2-2/3 cup cold buttermilk (6-7oz.) depending on how your dough is coming together
1. cut butter into 1 inch uniform pieces and put in the freezer for 5 minutes. place measured buttermilk into the fridge to keep cold. sift flour and salt into a bowl and mix well.
2. i like to cut into my butter on a cold surface, not in a bowl. so i lay out the butter on my marble countertop, pour the flour/salt mix on top and cut using a pastry cutter till my pieces of butter resemble pea size pieces. (*a food processor will work (it's about 6 pulses) and cutting it in a bowl works just fine). once the butter and flour start to look nice and course, make a well in the middle of the dough, and slowly pour the buttermilk into the center. use a bench scraper and slowly start to bring the dough together into a shaggy ball. you might need more or less buttermilk than required. once it come together in a ball, divide into 2 discs and wrap in parchment or plastic wrap placing them in fridge for 1 hour.
3. after an hour, take the dough out and sprinkle you surface with plenty of flour. roll out bottom piece and lay into pan snipping the edges (it'll be about a 11-12 inch circle). pour the mulberry mix into the bottom and place in fridge. take the other ball and either roll like the first for a plain cover or get a little saucy and roll for lattice work. I like the Kitchn's how-to on lattice work. top your pie. I like to slip in a few dots of butter through the top then brush with egg wash and turbinado sugar.
4. bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes till the crust is nice and golden and the berries are bubbling.
We enjoyed our slices of pie with old friends on Lake Oconee alongside a scoop of fresh strawberry ice cream made by my life long best friend's mom. The pairing of the strawberry ice cream was pretty perfect because it made up for some of the sweetness that the mulberries just don't have. If I had to do over again, I would add blueberries or strawberries to it to give it a more versatile flavor. But we ate it with guests who remember mulberry pie growing up in the south as it was a fruit you could forage the crap out of. So I guess it all worked out ok.
Being the awesome photographer that I am, I ended up deleting all of my "eating the pie" pics so you'll just have to take my word that it was juicy and awesome.
So what's your favorite kind of pie?