Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Southern Hospitality

Southern Hospitality is alive and kickin’

Just coming back from a whirlwind week of activities at the 5th largest wine and food festival in the country!

The Charleston Wine and Food Festival in South Carolina filled with all things SOUTHERN!

Sweet tea, Shrimp and Grits, pimento cheese puffs, Sun choke (Jerusalem artichoke) Pickles, Pork confit (Yes only in the south would James Beard Award winning Chef Mike Lata from FIG restaurant braise a suckling pig IN PORK fat) ~ time to start dieting!!!

Here are some of my highlights from the festival:

Meeting some of my favorite Southern Kitchen guys, Chef Bob Waggoner, Chef Mike Lata, Natalie Dupree, Nancie McDermott, Frank Stitt & Cajun Chef Donald Link, to name a few.

The winning cocktail menu from FIG restaurant- The one I enjoyed the most was The Greenthumb; prairie organic vodka, green chartreuse, lime, mint, cucumber, aloe and celery bitters

Favorite Coffee Shop: Hope and Union

for Seattleites to give major props to a coffee house and to drive 40 minutes for our morning fix each day you KNOW it had to be good – Incredible coffee coupled with the darn cute, newly remodeled, old Charleston one room wide house that it’s in!
Best Coffee in the south!

Some of my top restaurant picks:

Closed for Business; it’s a beer bar and an overall great casual hang out. The “must” try menu item, a Pork Slap Sandwich with Pickle Slaw and of course a Beer. They also win the fun tee-shirt award with “Slap Happy” on the back of the tees.

Hominy Grill; small neighborhood southern hangout….best cornbread, fried okra and sweet tea and let’s not forget shrimp and grits to die for…

Poe’s Tavern (namesake- you guessed it: Edgar Allen Poe) on Sullivan’s Island …lots of Raven, Bug, and Dark poetry inspired menu items…most famous for their burgers and fish tacos.

Of course we got to show off Fried Chicken and Champagne and my family’s Charleston roots with friends of the festival. For the demo in the Celebrity Kitchen, I brought a touch of the NW home to share demoing the Seared Sea Scallops in Apple-Cider Calvados butter sauce (made with Lopez Island Apple Cider Syrup). At a cookbook signing party we shared the Strawberry Rhubarb Collins made with Seattle’s own Rhubarb DRY Soda!

The Celebrity Author reception was in an old turn of the century Charleston home on the peninsula, right in the heart of the town’s magnificent history. Of course there had to be food; cocktails, coconut cake and shrimp tea sandwiches were served.


Strawberry Rhubarb Collins (pint glass)

1 1/2 strawberries-quartered, 1 ½ oz. Ketel One, 1 oz. Sweet & Sour, ½ oz. strawberry simple syrup (see simple syrup recipes) , 2 oz Rhubarb Dry Soda.

SHAKEN: put quartered strawberries in a mixing glass. Add vodka, sour, strawberry simple syrup. Add ice and shake vigorously. Pour into a pint glass and top with the Rhubarb Dry Soda.

Seared Scallops with Apple Cider Calvados Butter Sauce

Classic French, old school, rich, buttery fattening, lovely sauce that we have been made to feel guilty about eating. Oh well, what the “H” once in a blue moon. Plus we need to keep our personal trainers busy, right?

Sea Scallops 4-5 per person
Apple cider calvados butter sauce: Sauce for 4 portions
¼ Cup apple brandy (such as Calvados)
¼ cup apple syrup
2 TBLS frozen apple concentrate
1 clove fresh garlic chopped
1 teas. Finely minced fresh shallot
¼ C. heavy cream
1 TBLS apple cider vinegar
4 TBLS of soft butter to finish

20 Sea Scallops
2-3 TBLS olive oil
2-3 TBLS butter
pinch of salt
• In a heavy skillet, about 8” across heat some of the oil and some butter together over medium high heat. Let it get extra hot, being careful not to let your oils start to burn or smoke.
• Lay about 5-6 scallops down into the hot pan - you should hear it sizzle. If you don’t, it’s not hot enough. You want to sear the outside to a beautiful golden brown – quickly.
• If you put all the scallops in the pan at once you won’t be able to give them the attention they need. As soon as the first 5-6 are golden brown on one side, gently turn them over. If your pan is hot enough this should take about 30 - 40 seconds on each side. You do NOT want to over cook them.
• Take the first batch out and in the same pan add a bit more oil and butter, repeat the process until all scallops are a beautiful golden brown on each side. Set them all aside while you make the sauce in the same pan.
Calvados Sauce:
• The pan you just cooked the scallops in may have residual oil. Pour excess off. Turn to a med. temp and use the same pan to brown the shallots and garlic in.
• Add the brandy, syrup, apple concentrate, cream, & apple vinegar on top of shallots and garlic. Reduce until rich and syrupy. Look at your scallop plate if jus has pulled from the scallops and is on the bottom of the plate; pour this into your reducing sauce for more scallop flavor.
• Finish the sauce by whipping in 4 TBLS soft butter a little at a time. Reserve warm (off the fire) and spoon over seared scallops.

Plating: We like this served with mashed celeriac or potatoes. Some sliced apples that have been sautéed or grilled make a fun garnish also.