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.

Zucchini Carrot Tea Bread

Zucchini Carrot Tea Bread_open
Are you looking for a versatile baked good? Look no further than this Zucchini Carrot Tea Bread. There isn’t a bad time of day to have a slice or two. You can serve it with coffee or OJ for breakfast, as an appetizer for afternoon tea, or end your day and have a slice for dessert! The bread has hints of ginger from the Ginger Sugar and is loaded with zucchini, carrots, raisins, coconut, and walnuts. Are you a fan of carrot cake? You have to give this bread a try!  Continue Reading

Lemon Spiced Walnuts

Spiced nuts make a great snack to accompany a cocktail, mix-in for a salad, or as the topping on a brie cheese wheel. Generally spiced nuts are something that you see on fall or winter menus, but they will work equally as well on your spring table. The trick is to change the flavor combination to complement light, bright, and refreshing flavors of Spring. Using Lemon Sugar as her inspiration, Sally was able to create a Lemon Spiced Walnut that is perfect for the warm Spring weather and the flavors that come with it!

Orange Earl Grey Mini Chip Cookies


Do you like the combination of orange and chocolate? It might sound a little strange and not one you would be immediately drawn to, but there is just something about it that works. With a fresh batch of orange earl grey flavored sugar on hand, and the chocolate orange flavor combination in mind,  Sally decided to create a chocolate chip cookie that tasted eerily similar to my favorite ice cream.

If you have ever been to Student Union at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, WI, you can get a scoop or three of my favorite ice cream! Orange Custard Chocolate Chip might sound like a strange ice cream combination, but ever since giving it a try my freshmen year I have been hooked. Whenever I am back in Madison, it is on my list of foods to eat. Yes, even when there is snow on the ground, I will have a scoop.

While I would love to have some orange custard chocolate chip ice cream to accompany me as I watch my Badgers in the Final Four tonight, Madison is a little too far away. But fortunately I have found a substitution. These Orange Earl Grey Mini Chip Cookies will be my snack throughout the game. These cookies aren’t just for Badger fans, they work well for a tea party, picnic, or can be frozen and enjoyed whenever you have a cookie craving.

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Flavored Sugars: Lemon, Ginger and Orange Earl Grey



Making Lemon, Ginger and Orange Earl Grey sugars can enhance the fun factor in many a recipe. The making of flavored sugar alone, is like returning to childhood sandbox play! Lemon sugar is a delightful addition to a sugar cookie recipe. Use Lemon Sugar to up the volume of a simple syrup for a whiskey sour base. Rim a glass with Ginger Sugar when making a Moscow Mule. Mix the Ginger Sugar with cinnamon and make zesty cinnamon toast or add it to your favorite ginger bread recipe.  Orange Earl Grey Sugar bolsters the flavor of hot tea. Mix the Orange Earl Grey Sugar in Vanilla yogurt for a flavorful topping for fresh fruit. Muffins, scones, cookies and quick breads will all benefit from using a flavored sugar in place of granulated sugar.

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Paprika Baked Chicken


Baked chicken is one of those staple recipes that you can always count on to feed a crowd or as the foundation for the coming week’s make ahead meals. There was a few month stretch where every Sunday afternoon was baked chicken day. I would fill a sheet pan with 6 to 8 chicken breasts. After a sprinkling of salt and pepper, it was off to the oven. Once the chicken’s skin was crispy and the meat had cooked through, I would let it cool and then pull the meat off the bone to use as lunch or dinner throughout the week.

A little warning for you guys out there who are recently married. Pulling chicken can be a slippery business. I lost my wedding ring, for the first time, when pulling apart baked chicken. Luckily a dig through the trash revealed that it had slipped off while pulling. 

I was looking to up my baked chicken game, so I turned to my Mom (Sally) for help. I explained to her about the chicken rut that Sara and I were starting to fall into and she had one word to solve our problem: PAPRIKA.

I wasn’t sure what my Mom had planned, but upon seeing a sheet pan of deep red colored chicken with vibrant orange pan juices emerge from the oven, it became clear that Sally was right. Paprika was exactly what my baked chicken needed. The mix of smoky, sweet, citrus, and the smallest amount of heat was a welcome change to my traditional baked chicken. This Paprika Baked Chicken pairs well with Elegant Cauliflower Puree or can be a great foundation to a chicken salad. If you find yourself in a baked chicken rut, give Paprika Baked Chicken a try.

Elegant Cauliflower Puree

Cauliflower is an interesting word. I can pronounce it correctly in polite conversation. When my brain is on auto pilot, I pronounce it, “Collie flower.” Lately, to keep me safe from embarrassment, I mentally morph back to the 4th grade, and pronounce it, “chou- fleur” (meaning cabbage flower) .  I loved 4th grade french. It was all nouns and zero grammar! It was 1968  and all the girls wore colorful fish net hoisery, garter belts and go-go boots. Nancy Sinatra’s hit, “These Boots Are Made For Walking” (1966) was our anthem! If you can not relate to this ramble, ask your Mom, or go to YouTube and watch Nancy sing for yourself!

In the 1960′s, little cabbage flowers (cauliflower) were frequently seen as part of a crudite platter, served with curry dip (also all the rage back then). Sadly, cauliflower was also boiled until it was as limp and grey as wet newspaper!  To avoid serving this grim side dish, cook your cauliflower with milk and broth. The milk keeps the cauliflower blonde and the broth acts as a flavor booster.  Creamy Cauliflower Puree is smooth and velvet on the tongue. Visually, this side dish is ivory and oozing elegance. The puree can be served immediately or chilled and reheated the next day. Thin any leftover puree with stock or cream, adjust the seasonings, and you have have a sophisticated cold soup.

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Buttermilk Biscuits with Country Ham, Red Eye Gravy and Molasses

Buttermilk Ham Biscuits With Red Eye Gravy
Taylor’s great grandmother, Elizabeth Hancock James could flat cook. She was a little girl in upstate South Carolina when her mother passed away. Raised thereafter by the family cook, Mama J’s collard greens were the best I have ever eaten. Salty country ham and sweet potlikker that tasted like candy!  Coconut cake, Impossible Pie and Franklin Nut cake were always on the sideboard when I visited. As a child, I loved to watch her work her magic in the kitchen. I smile as I remember Mama J barking at my father, Carl, to get outside as he tried to sample whatever she  was cooking.
Mama J. would make buttermilk biscuits without measuring. She was an intuitive cook and had made biscuits so many times that she just had a feel for it. I would watch her pop the dough in the oven and walk away while telling me, ” not to worry, the biscuits will tell us when they were done.”  I loved the idea of talking biscuits!

Mama J and Big Carl (Taylor’s country ham loving grandfather) are now enjoying well-deserved down time in the part of heaven reserved for biscuit makers and lovers. I have passed the biscuit craft on to Taylor and his three siblings as a way to mark a tradition for their families going forward. I must confess, Taylor currently makes a mean biscuit, bacon and egg sandwich!  The following recipe for Buttermilk Biscuits, Country Ham, Red Eye Gravy and Molasses is great for a weekend breakfast. Or, serve these ham biscuits as a brunch item along with creamy scrambled eggs, ambrosia, and B&B Mango Bellinis

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