Original Red Roasted Cauliflower Salad

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

Garlic Tabasco London Broil_Intro
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.

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Grilled Eggplant Parmesan Sandwich


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


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.

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


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.


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.


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.


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!


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



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.

Buttery Brioche Rolls

Buttery Brioche Rolls


These Buttery Brioche rolls are the perfect roll for a summer slider. Here are a few different ways that you can enjoy a Buttery Brioche slider this summer. If you are grilling, these rolls are great with grilled pork tenderloin or with a slider sized burger patty. Taking a picnic on the road? Try filling these buttery brioche rolls with chicken or shrimp salad. If you are camping, you can make burgers the dinner and then finish off the remaining rolls with a fried egg sandwich before packing up your campsite to head home. A roll with this kind of versatility is something that you can enjoy all summer long!

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Grilled Pineapple Pork Tenderloin

Back in 2010, we celebrated the 4th of July with a menu of grilled pineapple and a pineapple Teriyaki tenderloin. One of our readers, Kim, left a comment asking about a recipe for the tenderloin. Kim, sorry for the delay. Here is the recipe that you asked about.
This isn’t the exact version of what we ate 4 years ago, bu this updated Grilled Pineapple Pork Tenderloin is just as good. The marinade for the tenderloin is based off of the flavors of pineapple, ginger and teriyaki. Once grilled, the tenderloin is finished off with grilled pineapple that has been dressed with cilantro, lime and a splash of bourbon. This meal will leave you feeling satisfied and not overwhelmingly full. It is a great entree that can be dressed up for a summer barbeque or quickly prepared for a weeknight meal.

Pesto Bacon Chicken Salad


Welcome to May! If you plan on enjoying those May flowers brought by April showers, I suggest you take your food outdoors. How about a picnic? This Pesto Bacon Chicken Salad is a dish that is great for picnicking. Pack a container of the salad in your cooler. Add a container of sliced tomatoes and a small bag of fresh basil leaves. All you have to do is bring a loaf of bread and you have the ingredients for a delicious and filling Pesto Bacon Chicken Salad Sandwich. If you are more interested in a snack size portion at your picnic, bring a sleeve of your favorite cracker to accompany your container of chicken salad. Once at your destination, you can spread the beautiful pale green salad onto your cracker. If crackers are too much, there is nothing wrong with just grabbing a spoon and eating the salad straight from the bowl. Regardless of how you accompany it, this Pesto Bacon Chicken Salad makes a perfect spring meal!

Pesto Bacon Chicken Salad

Serves 8

8 cups chopped cooked chicken breast

1/2 pound bacon, cooked, drained and chopped
1 cup mayonnaise

2/3 cup Basil Arugula Walnut Pesto**

1/3 cup finely chopped poblano peppers

1/3 cup finely chopped vidalia onions

2 Tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon lemon grated lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon coarse grind black pepper

1. In a large bowl add the chicken, bacon, mayonnaise, pesto, peppers and onions. Stir well to blend.

2. Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, Tabasco, salt and pepper. Stir well to blend. Cover the chicken salad with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Serve over lettuce or as a sandwich.

Recipe ©Sally James Mathis

Photography ©Taylor Mathis



White Gingerbread Tea Cake

Spring has sprung!  With all its blooms and pollen, lengthening daylight hours and bleary eyed Monday mornings, Spring reminds me daily that it is time to lighten up and pamper myself a bit! It has been cool enough in the Carolinas that I find myself craving a wholesome, cold weather treat, like Gingerbread. Using our Ginger Sugar as a base, I set about to create a Springtime version of dark, wintery Gingerbread. White Gingerbread Tea Cake is perfect with breakfast coffee or as a mid-afternoon snack.  Blonde and full of  subtle, spicy intrigue, this quick bread is delicious! You will enjoy each mouthful as the flavors of ginger, citrus, almond, white pepper and apple cider vinegar tease you and bloom on your taste buds. White Gingerbread is a perfect way to bring the best flavors of Winter into the beautiful days of Springtime.