fried green tomato blt.

I stumbled upon a recipe for fried green tomatoes in Southern Living by accident the other day and immediately started craving a fried green tomato blt. It’s one of those things I have a really hard time turning down when I spot it on a menu.

I immediately started thinking about where I could score some green tomatoes when I decided on heading to Soda City Saturday morning with my fingers crossed. And lucky me, I spotted 3 at one of the vendors and picked them up for $1 a piece. From there, I headed to Trader Joe’s for everything else I needed.

Fried Green Tomatoes

Ingredients:

1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cormeal – I couldn’t find cornmeal at Trader Joe’s so I substituted cornbread mix and it worked just fine.
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper
3 green tomatoes, cut into 1/3 inch slices
vegetable oil

Directions:

1. Combine egg and buttermilk; set aside.
2. Combine 1/4 cup flour, cornmeal, 1 t salt, and pepper in a large bowl.
3. Dredge tomato slices in remaining 1/4 cup flour; dip in egg mixture, and dredge in cornmeal mixture.
4. Pour oil to a depth of 1/4 to 1/2 inch in a large cast-iron skillet; heat to medium-high heat.
5. Drop tomoatoes, in batches, into hot oil, and cook 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
6. Drain on paper towels.

Meanwhile, we cooked bacon for the sandwiches. My favorite is Trader Joe’s uncured apple smoked bacon.

To prepare the sandwiches, we toasted 2 slices each of sourdough bread and loaded them up with the fried green tomatoes, romaine lettuce, and bacon. Then we topped them with the sriracha. The sriracha really made the whole sandwhich, so don’t skip on the hot sauce!

All around a delicious homemade southern treat. Go try it now!

blt

salt & pepper french toast.

There are a few ingredients that when I’m looking for a recipe for something to cook for D always stand out to me.

Hot Sauce

Pepper

Just to name a couple.

So when I saw a recipe for french toast that included both of those I thought — hey, maybe it’s time to give french toast another try. The only time I’d ever fixed it before had been the summer before 9th grade when I acutely recall having to cover the finished french toast with powdered sugar before being able to serve the crispy little burnt pieces. So here we go, round two.

Crisy Salt & Pepper French Toast

Ingredients

5 eggs
3 T half & half
1 t salt
2 t black pepper
vegetable oil
butter
8 half slices bread, cut on the diagonal
(Optional: 1 1/2 T each green onions and cilantro, finely chopped. I did not add these in.)

Directions

1. In a bowl, beat together eggs with half & half, salt, pepper (green onions & cilantro).
2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cover the bottom of the skillet with vegetable oil and add a tablespoon or two of butter for taste.
3. Dip the bread traingles into the egg bater, drain off any excess, and place straight into the hot pan. Fry for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden-brown and crispy. Place toasts on a paper towel lined plate.
4. In a small bowl, mix together ketchup and hot sauce to your desired heat tolerance.
5. Serve toasts warm with a side of the spicy ketchup.

frenchtoast1 I thought it was delicious and a very minute spin on traditional french toast. However, we ended up eating it with a side of syrup because guess what? D doesn’t have any ketchup in his house. That’s right, lover or all hot sauces, he doesn’t own any ketchup at all. Why? Because whenever anyone else would use ketchup, he uses barbeque sauce. I guess I’ll have to try again with the side of ketchup/siracha. But the syrup? Delicious. frenchtoast2

turkey burgers.

Growing up with two older brothers, I’ve been more independent than one might think. Or at least, more independent on the outside — and heavily dependent on my brothers, Mom, and Dad.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve admitted more and more that one thing’s true — you need a man. He doesn’t have to be your boyfriend or your husband, but there are some things that are just easier when a guy’s around.

In our house, Dad always operated the grill. Mom cooked everything else, but Dad did the grilling. So when my friend Ashley suggested cooking turkey burgers I immediately thought: “How?” “It’s raining out.” “Plus, I don’t grill.”

Alas, I turned to the stove top and put on my “I don’t need a man” hat and got to cooking what is, by far, the easiest lunch I’ve ever had.

Turkey Burgers

Ingredients:

Ground turkey from Publix - around $5
Mrs. Dash – Which I admit, I didn’t have. So I used garlic powder, Buster’s Rub, and a tiny bit of soy sauce. Mrs. Dash all the way next time!

Directions:

1. I made 5 patties from the ground turkey I had. (That’s $1/lunch!)
2. I turned the stove top to medium-high heat, poured some olive oil on the pan, and tossed some patties on it. Make sure you don’t crowd the pan. I cooked 3 the first time and the last 2 the second time (adding more olive oil in between).
3. After 5 or so minutes, flip the patties and cook for around 5 minutes on the other side until done.

I ate this topped with some fresh avocado and it was perfect. Who knew it was that easy?

brevard getaway.

I was in desperate need of  a weekend away this past weekend and so D and I pointed the car north on Friday afternoon and headed straight to Brevard.

When we got there, we stopped for mexican food and beers at Quixote, a favorite of mine. Vacation had officially begun.

quixote

Saturday morning we got up early (and in the pouring rain), grabbed breakfast at Bracken Mountain Bakery, and headed to Pisgah National Forest to check out the waterfalls.

waterfall

The upside was that there was no one there, so it felt like we had the forest all to ourselves.

happy

Well, as “to ourselves” as we could be with this guy.

dude

We went to Looking Glass Falls and Moore Cove Falls and a few others along the way. I felt like we kept finding waterfalls everywhere we turned and I loved it.

happy2

I especially loved walking under the waterfall especially. Not to mention that was the only place I could stay dry.

waterfall2

That afternoon we grabbed lunch at The Square Root. I had the fried green tomato BLT with sweet potato chips and D had the london broil sandwich, both with a side or Brevard Brewing Ale. We loved everything about the place.

squareroot

After lunch and some shopping (D is such a good sport), we headed over to Oskar Blues – my favorite brewery! I knew exactly what I wanted: Mama’s Little Yella Pils. D was a bit more unsure … but he eventually found his way!

oskarblues

Saturday night we headed to dinner at Hobnob. It was the perfect atmosphere and such a great date night with my favorite person.

hobnob

We went to The Phoenix afterwards to hear a rockabilly band. I drank peach moonshine and enjoyed watching everybody else dance.

happy3

Sunday morning on our way out of town we stopped for brunch at Cedar Mountain Cafe before heading up to Pretty Place – arguably my favorite place in the world.

prettyplace

I was glad I finally got a chance to share it with D.

happy4

After we left Camp Greenville, we headed down to hike Raven Cliff Falls. Once we finished that 4.5 mile long trail, I felt like I deserved another beer and soon.

raven

We stopped in Greenville on the way home and grabbed a late lunch at the Universal Joint, one of my favorites from Asheville.

I had such a wonderful time in the mountains with my best friend and I already can’t wait to escape with him again soon.

salsa chicken + spicy fries.

Is anyone else slightly scared of using crock pots? I think it’s just the notion of leaving something “on” all day while I sit at my desk 6 miles away.

I’m slowly trying to get over that since everyone else in the world seems to be capitalizing on the slow cooker revolution. So, I set up the crock pot in the morning before I left for the office and crossed my fingers all would be well (and not on fire or completely dry) upon my return.

Salsa Chicken

Ingredients:

3-4 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 large diced tomatoes – I only used one roma.
1.5 cups (roughly) of your favorite salsa
2 tbsp garlic powder – I used fresh minced garlic.
2 tbsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
sliced onions and bell peppers left over from a previous recipe

Directions:

1. Place chicken in crock pot and add all remaining ingredients.
2. Cook on low for at least 7 hours. I definitely cooked it more than 7 hours. I was at the office for 10.
3. Once cooked, shred the chicken in the crock pot and let it cool before placing it in a container.

As a side, I had planned on cooking spicy sweet potato fries but apparently picked up regular potatoes instead. Not realizing this until I stepped in the kitchen after work, I decided to keep with the same recipe and try it with sweet potatoes later.

Spicy Fries

Ingredients:

2 potatoes
diced garlic
salt
cayenne pepper
paprika
olive oil

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
2. Slice potatoes into fry shapes.
3. Place potato slices on sheet in a bowl and sprinkle with all the spices and olive oil. Toss to combine.
4. Grease a cookie sheet and add potato slices, spreading in an even layer. Top with more paprika and cayenne pepper.
5. Bake for 25 minutes, flipping halfway through and checking near the end to avoid burning.

I served the salsa chicken on whole wheat hoagie rolls topped with a slice of gouda. It was delicious and filling — and made plenty of leftovers! Some of which we added some cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and Texas Pete too and made buffalo chicken dip!

salsachicken

greenville, how i have missed you.

If I didn’t love Columbia (and being nearest my family and friends) so much, I’d move to Greenville in a heartbeat. It’s beautiful, it’s close to Clemson, it’s got a thriving art community, the food one-ups us over and over again, and so much more.

D and I headed up there in June for my friend Jarvis’ backyard wedding. First, we joined Reagan and Trey for a late lunch at The Velo Fellow. I ordered a delicious po’ boy.

Po’ Boy

Fried green tomato with bacon and pimento cheese served on soft, toasted Italian bread with lettuce & tomato.

Shortly thereafter we headed to the wedding.

wholegang

{Trey, Reagan, Jarvis, Sarah, me, D}

On Sunday morning, D and I went to brunch at The Bohemian. It was delicious.

burrito

Taos Breakfast Burrito

A flour tortilla wrapped around eggs, green chiles, grilled onions, cheddar, home fries and spicy homemade chorizo sausage, garnished with green chiles and served with grits

We stepped next door to Horizon Records to pick up a stash of new vinyl before heading out.

horizon

Next stop: Greer. D got to meet Ben for the first time! They were the cutest.

benandus

soulshine is better than sunshine.

I’m fairly predictable sometimes when it comes to music. Every time a Neil Young song plays, somewhere I’m saying “I love this song.” I go straight to Van Morrison’s name every time I enter a record store. And every time “Soulshine” plays I smile big. (Hearing Government Mule play it live this year was the best.)

So when a friend of mine commissioned me to paint those lyrics for her, I was ecstatic. She gave me no boundaries — something that sometimes makes me nervous but this one time, I really loved. “Colorful” was all I was told. The dimensions I made up myself and the fun began.

soulshineedit

I really wanted something that was versatile and would work with whatever color scheme she had (which I didn’t know). I also worked with a lot of the colors I’ve leaned towards lately for a couple of reasons: I already had them on hand and because they are colors I’ve really been loving lately.

Here’s the final product:

soulshine