Category Archives: IN THE KITCHEN

COOKBOOKS – AGAIN

I have to admit that I visit allrecipes.com pretty often, mostly from my phone. I’m the person blocking an entire aisle at the grocery store with all of my attention focused on the screen in my hand. Was it brown sugar? Baking powder or cornstarch? Then suddenly I’m rethinking my entire plan because of a comment made by someone called “lovestocook22” in 2004.

I’ll still receive my daily email from Epicurious.com, but this year I am banning the endless internet recipe hunt. In my search for the best cornbread recipe, my query returned 4,940,000 results. My former self would have attempted to read every single one. This year I’m embracing the cookbook instead.

I’ve always adored cookbooks. The best ones have dog-eared corners, notes in the margin, a dusting of flour in the pages. They are all at once nostalgic, sentimental, and incredibly helpful. This holiday season we’re going to share a few of our favorite cookbook selections and a recipe from each one. Comments welcome of course!

–June

BELLE CHEVRE

I wrote about Tasia, and her beautiful goat cheese company, Belle Chevre, back in 2008 (including the recipe below). Tasia’s work has gotten better and better since that time with a wide range of products, a cookbook, and a whole series of cooking classes. Delicious.

Join us on Belle Chevre Twitter tomorrow for a chat with Tasia, the folks from Belle Chevre, and our dear friends from Billy Reid:

“This chat’s topic is ‘How Art Is Changing Alabama’ (as part of the broader series titled The New South: Chatting about the Future of Our Art, Food, and Culture). We’ll cover design, art and fashion, from any angle.  Basically it is a virtual cocktail party.”

The chat starts at 1 pm EST | 12 pm CST. Tag your comments #thesouth so we can find them.  See you there!

Here my Tuscan Chevre Salad again (it is worth repeating on a weekly basis in your kitchen – smile.):

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PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE + CLIMBING DAISY

We have so very much to be thankful for this year – and decade.  It has been a time filled with friends, family, color, design, light, laughter, growth, and, of course, good food.

May your celebrations this year be filled with laughter, light, love, and Pumpkin Cheesecake!

xo from Natalie and all of us @ Alabama Chanin

To make pumpkin puree:

Cut in half one sugar pumpkin and scoop out the seeds. Place the pumpkin half-side down on a roasting pan and fill with ¼ inch of water. Bake at 350 degrees for an hour, or until soft. Scoop out the meat and puree until smooth.

I have also used organic canned pumpkin with good results.

For the crust:

1 c. graham cracker crumbs (I have also used crushed shortbread cookies)
1/4 c. chopped pecans
1/4 c. brown sugar
4 T. unsalted butter, softened

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with rack in center. Assemble a 9-inch nonstick springform pan, with the raised side of the bottom part facing up.

In a medium bowl, mix cracker crumbs, pecans, sugar, and butter until moistened; press firmly into bottom of springform pan. Bake until golden around edges, 10 to 12 minutes.

For the Filling:

4 (8 oz.) packages of cream cheese, very soft
1 1/4 c. sugar
3 T. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c. pumpkin puree
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground ginger
1/4 t. freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 t. ground allspice
1 T. bourbon
1 T. vanilla extract
1/2 t. salt
4 large eggs, room temperature

Make the filling: With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar on low speed until smooth; mix in flour (do not overmix). Add pumpkin puree, spices, bourbon, vanilla, and salt; mix just until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until each is incorporated before adding the next.

Place springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour filling into springform, and gently smooth top. Transfer to oven; reduce oven heat to 300 degrees. Bake 45 minutes. Turn off oven; let cheesecake stay in oven 2 hours more (without opening).

Remove from oven; cool completely. Cover and refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours.

Gently lay our Climbing Daisy Stencil over the top of the cooled cake and dust with cinnamon.

 

WHAT’S FOR LUNCH TODAY?

Since my fall garden is finally coming in beautifully:

Organic Arugula

Amish Deer Tongue Lettuce

Red Iceberg Lettuce

Spinach

Hard Boiled Egg

A sprinkle of ground flax seeds

My Favorite Dressing:

1 clove pressed garlic
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
1/3 c. olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Make in a small glass jar, cover with lid, shake vigorously, drizzle salad with dressing and serve.
xoNatalie

 

SERVING TONIGHT: THE HANDMADE

Made (and Grown) in the USA:

Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. Small Batch Tonic
Tito’s Handmade Vodka
Heath Glass
Lemon Verbena – from my garden (and thanks to Angie Mosier)

My friend John T. Edge – the man who understands everything culinary and loves “liquor and its accompaniments” – wrote yesterday of Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. Small Batch Tonic: “Just told Blair I want some for Christmas…”

Yes, it is that good.

Combine with Tito’s Handmade and drink responsibly…

Also in the picture at top:

Limited Edition Commune DesignHEATH Ceramics Bowl and Clemson Spineless dried okra – from my garden.

xoNatalie

GETTING IN THE MOOD

My daughter Maggie has been decorating the house for Thanksgiving this last week. In fact, she went directly from Halloween to a strange mixture of Thanksgiving and Christmas rolled into one.  (Yes, our holiday tree us up and mostly decorated.) All this festiveness – along with the sound of too loud holiday music and too many left-over pumpkins – has moved us directly from unicorn costumes to Thanksgiving delights.

My friend Stacy orders tamales from Texas to celebrate the holidays. I have an uncle that believes pilgrims would have preferred steaks and potatoes so he spends the day grilling. At the farm, we eat a load of Gulf seafood in Low-Country Boil style off of a wooden board across the tailgate of the truck.  I am also somewhat of a traditionalist at heart and delight in the staples – no Thanksgiving comes without dressing.  (Gulf Shrimp + Dressing – you don’t know what you are missing until you have tried it!)   However, despite the fact that most consider it a staple, I’ve never been one to put a pumpkin pie on my holiday table. I actually have always had a strong dislike for the most revered of Thanksgiving desserts. Then I tried this recipe.

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HEATH + ALABAMA CHANIN

It’s officially launched.

From the HEATH website:

“The point of intersection between stitch and clay. A collaboration between Natalie Chanin and Heath Ceramics yields an anthology of carefully crafted modern heirlooms in a new and permanent dinnerware line.

This collection celebrates texture and a range of layering possibilities in thoughtfully curated place settings, plates and serving bowls.”

Shop our tabletop collection @ HEATH Ceramics

 

ODE TO THE COLLARD

I have been waiting (patiently) for seven years to attend a Southern Foodways Alliance Symposium and this is the year I will finally be able to go.  Yes, it is a seven year charm.

I am packing my bags to leave today for The Cultivated South. This includes a carload of costumes for LEAVES OF GREENS: THE OPERA, an homage to all things colewort, written by Price Walden, and performed by University of Mississippi Music Department students, with accompaniment by Amanda Johnston and costuming by Alabama Chanin.

Pictures and stories to come…
xoNatalie

ODE TO THE COLLARD

How do I love thee?
Let me tell the tale,
Oh Southern Stalk of Life,
Grand Collard, Queen of Kale.

I relish thee with chowchow,
Onions strewn about the plate.
Red pepper pods adorn thee,
Fat Back’s Monarch, Ham Hock’s Mate.

I delight in thee with cornbread—
Hard-crusted, dry, dark brown,
And sopped in thy pot liquor—
Garden Green of Great Renown.

I revere thy rare refinement;
In greased glory, art thou luminous.
Tho’ pintos suit thee best,
Thou art enhanced by all leguminous.

I value thee, Great greenness,
Money’s Sign shall never waver.
Joined by jowls and paired with peas,
You enrich my New Year’s flavor.

I praise thy tasteful leaves,
Emerald-hued and smooth as silk,
Perfumed by vinegar’s vapor
And pursued by buttermilk.

I commend thy aromatic air,
A bouquet not soon forgot,
As you sizzle in the skillet
Or lie larden in the pot.

Swallowed greedily at midday
Or gulped icy at the dawn,
Sumptuous Scent of Salivation,
My appetite becomes thy pawn.

I adore thee, Sweetest Collard,
Acclaim thy might, and homage pay.
Thy fame shall live forever
Tho’ thy smell may fade away.

—Teresa T. Cameron, Cameron, NC

 

 

FRESH GINGER LAYER CAKE

Autumn is definitely in the air – even here in Alabama. With autumn, comes a selection of spicier, richer deserts for all the upcoming festivals and celebrations. I adore fresh ginger: the color, the smell, to drink ginger tea and to eat ginger candy.  Our local Ginger Ale – Buffalo Rock – is beautifully hot (very hot), spicy, and hands-down my favorite Ginger Ale.

Get your ginger fix with this great new recipe – the latest in our stenciling series combining cooking with our Bloomers Stencil from Alabama Stitch Book:

FRESH GINGER + BLOOMERS LAYER CAKE

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