Monday, March 20, 2017

Corned Beef Rehashed

After enjoying a corned beef feast to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day, the question becomes what to do with the leftovers. Of course, the first thing that comes to mind is the classic Reuben sandwich: corned beef stacked on rye bread layered with Swiss cheese, sauerkraut topped with Thousand Island dressing and griddled to perfection.

Another option is a traditional hash (also known as "stovies" in Scotland,) a dish consisting of a base of mashed or chopped potato and leftover meat; usually roast beef. Growing up this was a staple of our diets with canned corned beef as the meat of choice. It was hearty, filling comfort food that was also easy on the checkbook. This version has an extra zing from the addition of horseradish and Worcestershire sauce.

  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 baking potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 ½ cups corned beef, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Hot sauce to taste
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • Eggs for frying, if desired

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add potatoes. Cook potatoes, turning often for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden brown.

Add garlic, oregano, horseradish and Worcestershire sauce, and stir to combine. Stir in corned beef and toss to distribute evenly. Season with hot sauce, salt and pepper to taste. Once combined, spread the hash evenly over the pan and firmly press down with a spatula. Cover pan with the lid and cook until browned and heated completely throughout.

If you are serving with fried eggs, cook eggs sunny-side-up in a separate pan and slide onto hash. Serve with a toasted slice of rye bread for a delicious, filling meal any time of day!



March 14, 2012


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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Bourbon & Food Experience with A Dining Diva

With a background in food service and a lifetime love of food, Nichola Hines enjoys sharing her dining experiences with readers of her food blog, “A Dining Diva.” Recently, the Diva hosted a Bourbon Tasting experience in partnership with Jim Beam Distillery with inspired noshes prepared by Chef Joe Marshall. Each of the 4-courses were paired with sips from the Jim Beam family of whiskeys ranging from on the rocks, cocktails or straight.

A Jim Beam Bourbon ambassador was on hand to educated guests on the history of bourbon peppered with interesting facts. For instance, there are more barrels of whiskey aging in Kentucky than there are residents of the state. Jim Beam is one of the best-selling brands of bourbon in the world. Since 1795 (except during Prohibition,) seven generations of the Beam family have been involved in whiskey production. The named the brand "Jim Beam" in 1933 in honor of James B. Beam, who rebuilt the business after Prohibition ended.

We began the tasting tour with a charred tomato and Brussels sprout salad with bit-size mozzarella drizzled with a gastrique of honey and Jim Beam White Label which was a beautiful as it was delicious. Next was a smoky lobster bisque served in a diminutive bread bowl topped with bourbon-infused olive oil paired with 86-proof Jim Beam Black Label. The caramel and cinnamon notes were a nice addition flavor to the creamy soup.

The peppery, honeyed flavor of Basil Hayden made a great complement to cardamom-spiced seared scallops and bitter kale served atop a roasted red pepper coulis, while lemony-sage chicken with a sweet potato puree and chocolate vinegar reduction was contrasted by the expansive herbal notes of Knob Creek Rye with its bold rye spiciness and undertones of vanilla and oak. We ended the evening with a dessert of bourbon cheesecake with chocolate ganache and an incredibly sippable Makers 46 with rich, complex notes of oak and caramel and a nice warm finish.






As if that weren’t enough, the Diva sent us home with a hand-dipped Maker’s Mark cocktail glass, a nightcap of Jim Beam Black Label and an adorable set of Jim Beam Apple earbuds. All-in-all a tasty and educational evening of whiskey and cuisine.

Disclosure: I attended this event as a brand Ambassador for CulinaryLocal. While the whiskey and dishes I sampled were complimentary, the content and photographs are original and all opinions are unsolicited. 



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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Wahoo Wine Tastings Offer Perfect Pairings

Atlanta has more than a few venues that offer wine tastings to be sure. However, finding an event that offers unique and fantastic wines paired with an exceptional tasting menu is a rare treat. That is exactly what I found when attending one of the monthly wine tastings at Wahoo Grill in Decatur.

At first glance, Wahoo Grill appears to be a quaint little neighborhood restaurant, but upon entering you find room after room of seating including a charming patio perfect for al fresco dining in better weather. Due to the chilly evening, I was seated in the bar area with a full view of the kitchen as the chef assembled the small plates.

With each tasting course, the knowledgeable sommelier would pour the corresponding glass of wine; on this occasion three French wines from the Languedoc wine region of France. He spent a few minutes talking about each wine, its vintner and some fun facts about the grapes. Hearing the particulars lends context to the taste and terroir of the pours.

The first pairing was a 2015 Château de Lascaux Languedoc Rosé served with Moules-frites: PEI mussels in a rosé wine broth accentuated with ginger, pink peppercorns, and a hint of basil topped with crispy shoestring potatoes. The crisp, mineral aspects of the wine emphasized the slight heat of the peppercorns and richness of the mussels.

Next a Domaine d’Aupilhac Vin de Pays de Mont Baudile “Le Carignan” Rouge 2009 was paired with Terrine de Campagne: a warm pork and chicken liver terrine made with wild mushrooms, warm spices and bay laurel topped with a dollop of excellent Dijon mustard and grilled bread. This rich red with bold cherry notes matched well with the rich game flavors, minimized the fatty mouthfeel of the pork and was a distinctive contrast to the Dijon mustard.

Last, I enjoyed Domaine Brumont Madiran Torus 2011 with Duck Confit in a thyme & juniper jus dotted with dried cherries, and a potato-rutabaga hash. This uber-tannic, juicy red with an unexpected bit of sweetness was a wonderful complement to the sumptuous duck and helped to cut the richness of the duck fat which might otherwise have been overwhelming.

While the dishes I’ve described may seem pretentious, this restaurant is not. Wahoo Grill was packed with regulars on this Wednesday night along with new guests there for the tasting event. Whether you are looking for a casual dining spot to gather with friends or an exceptional monthly wine tasting, Wahoo Grill is the place for you. And be sure to stop into Wahoo! Wine and Provisions for great wine selections and a free wine tasting every Saturday.

Disclosure: I attended this event as a brand Ambassador for CulinaryLocal. While the wines and dishes I sampled were complimentary, the content and photographs are original and all opinions are unsolicited. 

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Thursday, February 2, 2017

Healthy Game Day Options at Sprouts Farmers Market

The Atlanta Falcons will be playing in Super Bowl LI after defeating the Green Bay Packers to become the 2017 NFC Champions. As you can imagine, within minutes of the win, everyone in the city of Atlanta began planning Super Bowl parties. However, many of us have been working diligently to meet our resolution goals and are looking for healthy options to typical game day fare.

Luckily, Sprouts Farmer’s Market teamed up with trusted food and nutrition expert Marisa Moore, RDN, to demonstrate several easy and healthy recipes to help score extra points with game-day guests while dodging deep-fried snacks and sidestepping junk food.

She began with her healthy spinach dip with whipped cottage cheese instead of mayo and plenty of garlic for flavor and spice. The beauty of this dip is that it can be served hot or cold. Chicken and spinach quesadillas made with a light smattering of Monterey Jack cheese folded into corn tortillas are a wholesome alternative to ooey-gooey nachos. Marisa uses corn tortillas rather than the commonly-used flour tortillas for an extra dose of fiber and protein.

Everyone knows you cannot have a Super Bowl party without the brownies… Marisa makes her version with black beans (yes, black beans) to substitute for a portion of the fat while still creating a moist and fudge-like chocolate treat. And no, there is no “beany” flavor. She shared her recipe made with products from Sprouts so you can taste for yourself.

1 can Sprouts no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup Sprouts unsweetened cocoa powder
3 eggs
3 tablespoons Sprouts extra-virgin coconut oil
½ - ¾ cup turbinado sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
½ cup chopped walnuts or almonds (optional)






Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray an 8 x 8 baking dish with cooking spray.

Blend all ingredients in a mixing bowl with a mixer or food processor. Pour the batter into the greased baking pan and bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes, until the center is set.

Let cool and cut into serving size pieces. Refrigerate leftovers (of course, there probably won’t be any!)

Disclosure: Although we received a stipend for attending this event, all content, photos and opinions are original and unsolicited.

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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Real-Deal Sauerkraut

Every magazine on the newsstand today has at least one article about the health benefits of fermented foods. The custom of fermentation to preserve foods has been practiced for centuries to preserve vegetables and other perishable foods without the use of modern-day refrigerators, freezers or canning machines. The metabolic process known as fermentation requires the presence of a carbohydrate source like vegetables, which contain glucose (sugar) molecules, plus yeast, bacteria or both. The yeast and bacteria microorganisms are responsible for converting sugar into healthy bacteria strains that help regulate many bodily functions.

Gut microbiota (also known as "gut flora") is the microbe population living in human intestines. The good bacteria living in someone’s healthy gut environment have been proven to be crucial for lowering the risk of just about every form of acute or chronic illness there is including brain disorders and mental illness, mood disorders, asthma, various autoimmune diseases and even cancer.

While fermented foods can now be easily found in most grocery stores, commercially-produced products may contain other preservatives that can detract from their probiotic effectiveness. Making your own at home is relatively easy and very inexpensive. The minimum equipment necessary is two quart jars with lids, some form of weights.*

1 (2 lb.) head of cabbage, head thinly shredded
1 tablespoon sea salt
¼ cup whey
2 teaspoons caraway seeds (optional)

Rinse cabbage and remove any damaged outer leaves, reserving one clean leaf for the top of the jar. Cut the head into quarters and remove the core.

Slice the cabbage thinly. We like ours super thin so we use the highest setting of the blade on a mandolin.  As you slice each quarter, place in a large mixing bowl and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of salt. Do this for the first three layers and add all remaining salt to the top layer. Add the whey and caraway seeds if desired and toss thoroughly. Squeezing the cabbage as you mix helps to bruise the cabbage and get the juices running. Set the cabbage aside to rest as you prepare your jars and do a little clean up.

Pack the cabbage tightly (using a muddler or wooden spoon) in a 2-quart jar. Be sure to pour in all the juices (and whey) extracted from the cabbage. Place the reserved cabbage leaf on the top and place a weight (if using) on the leaf. If needed, add distilled water to cover the kraut by at least one inch. All the cabbage should be submerged completely under the brine.

Allow the kraut to ferment at room temperature (68°F -72°F) for 3-4 days, then refrigerate for a week or longer. Don't open your container during the first two weeks to protect it from bacteria from the air.

If you have the equipment, place an airlock lid on the jar. An airlock system, while recommended, is not necessary. As long as your cabbage is weighted below the brine level, an anaerobic environment is created. You can place a lid loosely on the jar. Tightening the lid may cause the jar to explode as the fermentation process releases CO2. Place the jar in a bowl or plate to protect your furniture by catching any brine that leaks from the jar.

After the initial 2 weeks of the fermentation process, you can open the jar and enjoy your super-healthy sauerkraut loaded with probiotics. The kraut will continue to ferment and the flavors will continue to develop over the next few weeks. Under normal conditions, your sauerkraut will keep for several months in the refrigerator, if you don’t eat it all before then!

The most genius weighting system we have seen is to place a small jelly jar inside a wide-mouth, quart-size jar as seen here.

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Saturday, January 21, 2017

Lucky Dumplings for the Lunar New Year

The Lunar New Year is one of the most significant of Asian holidays and is a time for feasting, reflection and renewal. Traditionally celebrated over 15 days, the holiday starts with the first lunar new moon of the year and ends on the full moon. Chinese New Year 4715, which begins Saturday, will be the Year of the Rooster.  The New Year's Eve family dinner represents a night of unity, reunion and harmony. Popular lucky dishes include anything whole (complete) or long (longevity). Traditional favorites include whole chicken, duck or fish served with long noodles, long leafy greens, and long string beans. Fresh and candied fruit, especially kumquats and oranges, represent good health, happiness, prosperity and blessings.

Chinese dumplings called jiaozi (“gee-OW zeh”) represent wealth because they are shaped like ancient silver and gold ingots which were used as currency during the Ming Dynasty. Interestingly, the first bank note of China was called "Jiaozi." I adore these hearty little bundles of joy filled with cabbage (prosperity and luck), pork (strength and wealth), and green onions (long life and eternity). Until this week, I have enjoyed them at Chinese restaurants. Amazingly, they are actually quite easy (and fun) to make at home. For those not ready to fully embrace the “from scratch” concept, pre-made dumpling wrapper are available in most Asian and ethnic markets.

Dumpling Wrappers:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 to 3/4 cups boiling water

In a mixing bowl, combine flour and salt and then slowly add hot water to flour in 1/4 cup increments. Mix with chopsticks or a fork until a ball is formed and the dough is not too hot to handle.

On a floured surface, knead dough until it becomes a tight ball. This is harder than you think it will be. Keep folding and kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Place the dough back in bowl and cover with a damp cloth and allow to rest for about an 1 hour. Resting the dough is important because otherwise the dough is difficult to roll out and shape.

Working on a floured surface with floured hands, roll out dough to form a long 'noodle' about 1-inch in diameter. Cut 1/2-inch pieces and turn them over so the cut sides are facing up. Flatten with your palm and roll out thin using a rolling pin. The dumpling wrapper should end up about 4 inches in diameter.

Pork and Ginger Filling:
  • 3 cups Napa or regular cabbage, shredded
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 pound ground pork 
  • 2 tablespoons scallions, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 egg, beaten

Sprinkle cabbage with the salt and let stand for 30 minutes. Place the cabbage on a clean dishtowel or cheesecloth and squeeze out any water. You will be amazed at how much water can be extracted from the cabbage. The dryer the cabbage; the better.

In a large bowl, thoroughly mix the cabbage with all of the other ingredients. Cook a tester to check the seasoning and make any wanted adjustments.

Place a small mound of filling in the middle of the wrapper. Be very careful not to touch the edges with the filling as this will impede proper sealing of the dumplings. Fold the wrapper in half to form a half moon shape. Starting on one end, pleat the wrapper tightly together until the dumpling is completely sealed. There will be approximately 10 folds per dumpling. Rest the dumplings with the folded edges straight up. You can also use a dumpling press, which makes uniform pot stickers and dramatically speeds up the process.

To cook, bring two inches of water to boil in a wok or sauce pot. To prevent dumplings from sticking during cooking, lightly coat the steamer basket with oil (or you can line the steamer basket with several cabbage leaves). Steam 6 dumplings at a time in the basket, being careful not to over-crowd, for 8-10 minutes with a tight fitting lid.

While dumplings are steaming, whisk together a tangy dipping sauce:

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

Combine all the ingredients and mix until honey is fully dissolved. Drizzle some sauce over pot stickers and garnish with chopped scallions. Serve remaining sauce in a small bowl for dipping.

Jan 30, 2014

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Saturday, January 14, 2017

Stirring Up a Georgia Sunset


Photographers refer to the period shortly before sunset as the golden hour. During this time the daylight is warmer and softer than when the sun is higher in the sky. Of course, others of us consider that time to be the cocktail hour. Our entry in the Stirrings® “Stir It Up Holiday Blogger Mixology Challenge” is a concoction we have dubbed the “Georgia Sunset” to celebrate this glorious time of day in the Peach State. Made with Bourbon, Stirrings® Simple Peach Bellini Cocktail Mixer, Stirrings® Blood Orange Bitters, and garnished with Stirrings® Cosmopolitan Rimmer, this is a combination of unexpected flavors, made even better when shared with friends, that will leave you yearning for another glass.

The bourbon signifies the sky warmly lit by the sun trying to squeeze the last of its amber limbs over the rooftops, while the orange bitters adds a deep auburn glow. The peach nectar symbolizes the golden hue of the horizon as the sun melts below its surface with the rimmer epitomizing the dusting of light pink that hovers over the skyline as the sun (represented by the spherical ice globe) slowly disappears in the failing light leaving only sweet and salty memories of the day just past.



Georgia Sunset Cocktail
2 oz. Bourbon
½ oz. Stirrings® Blood Orange Bitters
3 oz. Stirrings® Simple Peach Bellini Cocktail Mixer
Stirrings® Cosmopolitan Rimmer

Rim coupe or martini glass with Stirrings® Cosmo Rimmer.

Combine all liquid ingredients in an ice filled shaker and shake well. Pour over spherical ice globe in the glass.

Share with friends. ENJOY!


For more cocktail inspiration, visit the Stirrings® website or connect with them on Facebook, TwitterInstagram, and Pinterest.


Disclosure: While we received complimentary samples of Stirrings® products to compete in this challenge, all written content and photos are original and copyrighted.


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Friday, January 13, 2017

Food Photography Lessons from an Expert

Last week I had the opportunity to attend a class on smartphone photography hosted by Alyssa Fagien at Bellina Alimentari. Alyssa is the founder of ATL Bucket List which began as an Instagram account representing a digital catalog of her Atlanta adventures in 2015.

The class was very interactive, in fact we didn’t even have chairs. The restaurant provided beautiful dishes perfect for drool-worthy photos that we used to apply the tips and tricks shared by Alyssa. For example, she recommends checking your surroundings: look for contrasting backgrounds, natural lighting, and elements that don’t complement your image.

She advises that you should move around to take photos from differing angles and distances and to take numerous photos, so you have plenty to choose from when it comes time to edit and post your finished picture. (Alyssa shared several more tips, but you will have to take her class to learn those.) She admits that real skill comes from practice and advocates for taking multiple pictures of everything you eat!


We put her suggestions to use as we snapped photos of Bellina’s popular misto board, their winter pesto pasta and a chocolate budino. Alyssa shared her favorite photo editing apps for perfecting our photos before posting them to Instagram. As an added incentive, she chose the person she felt had best used her tips to receive a goodie basket from Bellina.


We look forward to putting these expert photography tips to good use. Thanks to Bellina Alimentari and CulinaryLocal for this educational opportunity! 




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