Feta Greek Yogurt Dip

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       Are you excited for college football season? With only a few weeks to go, Sally and I are testing and figuring out what recipes we will take with us tailgating this year. If you are an experienced tailgater, you know that a delicious dip serves a variety of purposes. You can pair it with a vegetable or chip tray for a pre-game snack. When the entrees come off the grill, you can use it as a sandwich spread on top of a burger! A variety of dips are a great thing to have in your tailgating repertoire this season.
     This Feta Greek Yogurt Dip is big on flavor, but won’t leave you feeling weighed down. It is a refreshing mixture of non-fat greek yogurt, crumbled feta, a touch of olive oil, garlic, lemon, capers and parsley. You can pair it with an assortment of vegetables or spread it on a lamb burger, salmon,or lemon grilled chicken sandwich. If you thin it out with a bit of milk, it turns into versatile salad dressing.

Individual Chipotle Tabasco Cheddar Sausage Frittatas

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Individual Chipotle Tabasco Cheddar Sausage Frittatas

In spite of the heat and humidity, I love August in the Carolinas. High School  football preseason practices are in full swing. NFL preseason games are happening as I speak (or at least the rebroadcast of last evening’s match-ups). Opening weekend of College football is at the end of the month. Most importantly, the arrival of August means that it is time to tailgate!

That said, Taylor and I have been busy testing tailgating recipes ideally suited for warm weather game days. Individual frittatas are hand-held, portable, and can be made in advance, refrigerated and brought to room temperature at the tailgate. You can hold your favorite beverage or corn hole bean bag in one hand and have light, yet filling, frittata goodness in the other hand. Not limited to tailgates, individual frittatas are also great for picnics, busy day grab and go breakfasts and lazy day brunches.

If you are new to frittatas, think of eating a crustless quiche or munching on a dripless, slipless omlette. The frittata is a egg-based Italian dish that can can be filled with a variety of meats, cheeses, vegetables and/or cooked pastas. Frittatas are a great way to utilize leftovers!

In this recipe, peppers and onions are sautéed in butter and  Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce and then blended with eggs, cheese and cooked sausage. The result is a frittata with a uniform smoky, cheesy flavor in every bite.  Bake Chipotle Tabasco Cheddar Sausage Frittatas in Texas-sized muffin cups for 6 main dish servings or bake them in traditional muffin pans for 12 snack-sized frittatas. Served warm from the oven or at room temperature, these frittatas are great for a wide range of palates, including gluten-free and low-carb tailgaters!

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Individual Chipotle Tabasco Cheddar Sausage Frittatas

Serves 6

Texas- sized muffin pan sprayed with cooking spray
1 pound bulk breakfast sausage, cooked crumbled and drained on paper towels
2/3 cup green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped scallion ( white and green part)
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
3 Tablespoons Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
12 large eggs
3 Tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
2 cups extra sharp cheddar cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the green pepper, onion, scallions, garlic, Chipotle Tabasco, and butter into a large non-stick skillet. Cook the vegetables over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Remove the Chipotle vegetables from the heat. Let cool and set vegetable mixture aside.

2. In a large bowl add the eggs, cream, salt, and pepper. Stir until just blended. Add the cheddar cheese. Stir until just blended. Add the cooked, drained sausage and Chipotle vegetables and stir until just blended into the egg mixture. Divide the frittata mixture evenly between the 6 sprayed Texas-size muffin cups.Bake  frittatas for 18 to 22 minutes or until the center is just set. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
3.Invert the muffin pan to remove the frittatas. Place the frittatas right side up on the wire rack. Serve frittatas warm or at room temperature. Cooled frittatas may be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 2 days before serving. Transport chilled frittatas in a cooler to the tailgate and serve them at room temperature.

Nectarine Galette

nectraine_galette_intro_imageWhen you eat pie, do you prefer the filling, or the crust? If you are like me and prefer the filling, a gallete if the perfect summer dessert for you. With a pie, the fruit filling is sandwiched between a top and bottom and bottom layer of crust. With a galette, you only have a bottom layer of crust with a little bit on the sides. A little warning about transporting a galette: don’t travel with it uncovered. Here is what the galette looked like when I put it in  my passenger seat before the 15 minute drive from Sally’s place to my house. The scale of the image may be deceiving. Keep in mind that this galette is the size of a full pie and is meant to serve 8 people.

Watermelon Peach and Feta Salad with Lemon Allspice Dressing

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My love for watermelon isn’t bound by one season. Any time of the year that watermelon is available, I’ll eat it. My love of this pink and green melon started at an early age. At Thanksgiving and Christmas, my Granny (Marjorie) will always bring a fruit salad for our family meal. She knows how much I like watermelon, so she will scour the grocery store to find some in season. My siblings know that if they want watermelon in their serving, they need to serve themselves before I pick out all the watermelon pieces. In college, I discovered a new way to consume my favorite summer food. Creating a small whole in the melon’s surface and adding an inverted liquor bottle turns a the watermelon into a cocktail and a food I have to slow down while eating. I still love watermelon and this summer I plan on eating as much watermelon as I can! After seeing palates of watermelon at the grocery store, I was inspired to paint a photography background inspired by the green exterior and beautiful pink interior of this summer treat.

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Thanks to Sally, I have a new way to enjoy my favorite summer fruit. Bite sized pieces of watermelon and peaches are marinated sweet and tangy Lemon Allspice Marinade. The salad is served with the marinated fruit, crumbled feta, and pistachios. It is perfect for tailgating, back yard entertaining, or any other summer meal where watermelon lovers will be dining. If I’m eating this salad with you, be careful, I will pick all the watermelon out of the bowl. Continue Reading

Original Red Roasted Cauliflower Salad

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Upon my arrival in Lafayette, I relaxed into the familiar embrace of South Louisiana humidity. In less than 30 miles I was transported to a world unchanged by mixed use zoning and familiar neon signs. I passed through the gate house and onto Avery Island. Past swamps and marshes teaming with wildlife, the terrain began to roll and I was silenced by the beauty of time worn live oak trees draped with Spanish moss.

Garlic Tabasco London Broil

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I have a confession to make. I am a longtime fan of seasoning and cooking with Tabasco. You know this if you are familiar with Taylor Takes a Taste or The Southern Tailgating Cookbook. You may not know that my father, Carl James, introduced me to Tabasco while I spent a college summer in New Orleans. At the time, Carl was the Executive Director of the Sugar Bowl and enthusiastically used Original Red Tabasco on all of his food. Carl passed away 10 years ago and I think of him every time I use Tabasco sauce. Every time.

Strawberry Shortcakes

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In my Mom’s kitchen, there is a dark green granite counter top to the side of the oven. This is where the our recipe development occurs. My Mom has her side and I have mine. Over the years, we have spent countless hours on these two sides of the counter chopping, mixing, stirring and whatever culinary tasks are called for in the recipe.

To celebrate strawberry season, we decided to make a classic comfort food that highlights the berry’s juicy and sweet nature. Strawberry Shortcakes are an iconic dessert. With just three elements to it they are fairly straight and to the point. When you have ripe berries at the peak of their season, straightforward is what you need! Shortcake, a ripe berry filling, and a bowl of fluffy home made whipped cream are the makings of a great dessert.

Continue Reading

Grilled Eggplant Parmesan Sandwich

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Are you looking for something new to try at your backyard barbecue or tailgate?
Have you ever considered eggplant?

This Grilled Eggplant Parmesan Sandwich packs the delicious flavors of eggplant Parmesan and delivers them in a portable sandwich that is perfect for summer entertaining. The eggplant slices can be grilled outdoors or inside on a grill pan. The tender eggplant is sandwiched between a creamy Ricotta spread, tomato sauce, fresh basil, Provolone cheese, and two buttery pieces of Italian bread.

We have worked with The Go Bold With Butter Blog to develop this recipe and you can see full recipe over on their site. Here is a link to the Grilled Eggplant Parmesan Sandwich.

Texas Size Blueberry Honey Streusel Muffins

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How will your celebrate Father’s Day this year? Will you walk 18 with your dad? Spend the day boating on the lake? Go for a hike in the mountains? Maybe it will be a day of relaxing and watching the last round of the U.S. Open! Regardless of what activities you have planned for Sunday, you must start the day with something to eat! These Texas Size Blueberry Honey Streusel Muffins are the perfect meal for a Dad on the go, or who wants to relax with the paper in their favorite chair. Their larger Texas size makes a muffin that will fill any dad’s appetite.

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Blueberry Honey Streusel Muffins

Makes 12 Texas Sized Muffins

special equipment (2) 6 cup Texas Muffin Pans

Muffin Batter:

3 cups all purpose flour

2  1/2 cups fresh Blueberries

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

11 Tablespoons melted unsalted butter

3 large eggs, room temperature

2 Tablespoons honey (we used wildflower)

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

Streusel Topping:

1 cup all purpose flour

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

5 Tablespoons melted unsalted butter

1 Tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray the muffin pans with nonstick cooking spray, if desired. Line the pans with 12 paper muffin cups. Set pans aside. Make the streusel topping. In a small bowl, add the flour, sugar and salt. Stir to blend. Add the  honey and vanilla to the melted butter. Stir to blend.  Pour the butter mixture over the flour mixture. Stir streusel with a spoon to mix. Streusel will resemble a thick paste. Set streusel mixture aside.

2.In a large bowl, add the flour, blueberries, sugar, baking powder and salt. Toss ingredients with a spoon until they are well blended. Set bowl aside. In a small bowl, add the milk, melted butter, eggs, honey and vanilla extract. Stir until well mixed. Pour the egg and milk mixture over the blueberry flour mixture. Stir the mixture until a batter just forms. Lumps in the batter are okay. Fill the 12 prepared muffin cups with the batter. Using a fork, fluff the streusel mixture until is breaks apart into pea sized clusters. Top each of the muffins with the streusel mixture. Put the muffin pans in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for 20 to 25 minutes or until the muffins are done. Cool muffins in the pan. Serve.

Fourth Ward Bread Co. Charlotte, NC

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One of my favorite parts of being a food photographer is discovering restaurants in my own city that I have never visited before. A few months ago, I was working on a story that profiled the rise of artisan bakeries in the Charlotte area. While shooting this story, I made a visit to Fourth Ward Bread Co. This is a place that I had heard about many times, but had never made a trip to visit.

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It’s located Uptown in an old restored warehouse. There is a sitting area in the front surrounded by gorgeous window that almost reach to the top of the 15ft tall ceilings. As you walk towards the back, you have a big decision to make.

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What should you order?  At Fourth Ward, they bake a wide assortment of breads. From traditional loaves to pastries to pizza and sandwiches, they do it all! You can pick up bakery items to take home, or stay for a meal. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so if you are hungry, there is never a bad time to visit.

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For the story, I was there in the morning to experience their breakfast. In the bakery case, I noticed a trio of galettes. The round shapes with jeweled cherries, apples, or blueberries on top were the perfect subjects for the story! Here are a few shots of them.

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I also gave one of their breakfast sandwiches a try. This wasn’t your traditional sandwich. Instead of the croissant cut in half and the contents serves between the bread, the center was hollowed out and filled with egg, sausage, and cheese. Another perk to the job is eating some of the items I shoot. That being said, this egg croissant didn’t last long after the last image was shot!

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I look forward to my next trip to Fourth Ward Bread Co. If you are ever in the area, I encourage you to stop by and take a taste! If you are interested in how I photographed these images, here is an article I wrote on photographing FOOD about shooting the assignment.

 

 

 

 

Shrimp Salad

 

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Memorial Day has come and gone. School is out and Summer is here. The seafood vendors have returned to the Farmer’s market. (Yes!) Their large, white ice chests were filled with beautiful, fresh shrimp. I called Taylor and announced I was making shrimp salad.

Light, yet filling, this salad is just the boost you need to combat a warm weather wilt! Large, in the shell shrimp are just cooked in a salted, citrus and allspice water. After a rest in an ice bath, the shrimp are peeled and mixed with crunchy celery and cooling green pepper and tossed in a creamy, citrus and parsley flecked dressing.
Serve shrimp salad in a bread bowl along side chunks of ice cold watermelon.You will be  good to go for another round in the heat or ready to kick up your feet and enjoy the air conditioning!

Shrimp Salad
Serves 6

3 pounds large (16-20) shrimp in the shell
1 1/2 gallons water

1 orange cut into 8 slices
2 lemons cut into quarters

3 Tablespoons kosher salt
1 Tablespoon whole allspice
1 1/2 cups small diced celery
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup small diced green bell pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped scallions
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 Tablespoon fresh squeezed orange juice
1 Tablespoon ketchup
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon minced, seeded jalapeno pepper
1/2 teaspoon creole mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon fresh grated orange zest

1. In a very large pot, add the water, orange slices, lemon quarters, kosher salt and allspice. Bring the liquid to a bowl. While waiting for the cooking liquid to come to a boil, fill your sink or a very large bowl with ice water. When the water boils, add the shrimp. Stir. Cook the shrimp, stirring frequently, for 3 to 3 1/2 minutes or until the shrimp are just done. Quickly remove the shrimp from the cooking liquid with a spider or slotted spoon and put them into the ice water. When the shrimp have cooled, remove them from the ice water. Peel and devein the shrimp. Set shrimp aside.

2.In a large bowl, add the celery, mayonnaise,green pepper, scallions and parsley. Stir the mixture to blend. Add the orange juice, ketchup, vinegar, jalapeno, mustard, salt, pepper and orange zest. Stir until the dressing is well mixed. Add the shrimp and toss in the dressing. Chill the salad in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Serve shrimp salad chilled in bread bowls, as a sandwich or over your favorite salad greens.