Spanish Chorizo Chili

Next time that hot dogs and burgers hit your grill, you may want something to take this grilling classic to another level. A meaty and beanless sandwich chili is the perfect addition to this timeless summer entree. This Spanish inspired chili is filled with the smoky and full-bodied flavors of Spanish Chorizo, Ancho chili powder and spanish red wine. Throwing a party? This chili can serve a crowd! Make the night before your event, let cool, and refrigerate overnight. Transport in a cooler to your event. At the party, place in a heavy bottomed pot and reheat over your grill or burner. If you are just craving chili, this Spanish Chorizo chili is delicious in a bowl sprinkled with your favorite cheese.

Spanish Chorizo Chili

Makes about 10 cups

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups Spanish Chorizo chopped in small bite sized pieces (about 8 oz.)

2 cups chopped red onion

1 cup chopped poblano pepper
1/2 cup grated carrot

1/4 cup chopped garlic

1/4 cup chopped jalapeno pepper (with seeds)

3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoon Ancho chili powder

2 tablespoons cumin

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 1/2 pounds ground sirloin

2 cups Garnacha red wine

1 (28 ounce can) diced good quality canned tomatoes

1 (28 ounce can) crushed good quality canned tomatoes

2 tablespoons Grandma’s molasses

1 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon thyme

  1. Add the olive oil to the bottom of a large heavy bottomed pot. Over medium heat, add the red onions. Cook, stirring until the onions soften. Add the poblano pepper, carrot, garlic and jalapeno pepper. Cook stirring frequently for 5 minutes. Add the chili powders and cumin. Cook stirring frequently for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the ground sirloin. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the beef is incorporated with the vegetable and spice mixture and is no longer pink.
  3. Add the Garnacha and canned tomatoes. Stir. Add the molasses, oregano, salt and thyme. Stir.
  4. Lower the heat to simmer. Cook the chili 1 1/2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes.
  5. Remove chili from heat. Serve. Chili can be refrigerated and warmed the next day.

Recipe ©Sally James

Photography ©Taylor Mathis


Grownup Vanilla Cherry Ice Cream Float

Can a cocktail be a dessert? What about a dessert becoming a cocktail? This Grownup Vanilla Cherry Ice Cream Float is the answer to these questions. Vanilla flavored cola and Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream added together make a delicious ice cream float. Vanilla flavored cola and cherry infused bourbon make a smooth and relaxing cocktail. When you combine the three ingredients together, you create a dish that could be served at the beginning, middle, or end of the meal!

The Grownup Vanilla Cherry Ice Cream Float comes together quite easily! Add the ice cream to a pint glass. Then pour in the cola and bourbon!



Ice Cream Float
Serves one

1 cup vanilla flavored cola
1/4 cup cherry infused bourbon (recipe below)
2 large scoops cherry vanilla ice cream

In chilled pint glass add the ice cream. Pour the cherry bourbon over it. Top with the vanilla cola. Serve with a long stemmed spoon.

Cherry Infused Bourbon

3 1/2 cups good quality bourbon
2 cups sweetened dried tart cherries

In a large lidded glass jar add the bourbon. Add the cherries. Close lid. Shake until blended. Place the jar on a shaded counter top. Let sit for 7 days, shaking once a day. Strain the cherries from the bourbon. Cover the bourbon and store in a cool, dark place until needed.

Recipe © Sally James

Photography ©Taylor Mathis



Scott’s Barbecue, Goldsboro North Carolina

I grew up and currently live in North Carolina. This means that when it comes barbeque, I automatically picture a pulled pork platter or sandwich topped with slaw. Every North Carolinian is accustomed to pork as the foundation of their BBQ platter or sandwich, but there are disagreements as to what sauce will go on top. In the Western part of the state , you will find sweet, more tomato-based sauces. In the Eastern part, it is a tangy thin vinegar-based sauce.  Sara is from the eastern part of North Carolina, Goldsboro to be exact. Whenever we go back to Goldsboro to visit her family, barbeque is always involved. On a recent trip, Sara and her parents took me to an NC barbeque establishment that has been around for 96 years! Here is what I found on my trip to Scott’s Barbeque.

I have come to find that you can’t judge a restaurant by its exterior. A plain unassuming brick building will many times have a delicious meal inside that might be easy to miss. With Scott’s that is just the case. Inside this plain looking exterior is a barbeque place that you must make a stop at. You will have to time your stop correctly, though. Scott’s is only open on Thursday and Fridays from 10:30-2:30pm.

Inside, you can order your barbeque several different ways. I decided to go with the chopped platter with coleslaw and potato salad as the sides. In addition to that, I went with a side of brunswick stew. Like any great barbeque place, hushpuppies were a part of the meal!


This was a case of my eyes being bigger than my stomach and I gladly packed up half the box to eat later on. Brunswick Stew and barbeque! It is hard to have a better lunch than that. Like all barbeque found in the eastern part of NC, the thin sauce has a delightful tang to it. Every place will vary in what they put into their secret sauces, but the common denominator is it will be vinegar-based and taste amazing on pulled, chunked, or chopped pork!

If you can’t make it to Goldsboro to try Scott’s for yourself, then this secret recipe sauce can be shipped directly to your door! Click here to find out more.  If you find yourself in Goldsboro and are looking for lunch on Thursday or Friday I suggest giving Scott’s a try.

Thanks to Sara and her lovely parents for introducing me to Scott’s!






Grilled Shortcakes with Raspberries and Orange Whipped Cream

On this Memorial Day Weekend, are you planning on bringing your grill out for the first time this year? To celebrate the unofficial start to grilling season, serve a grilled dessert to end your meal.

Sally and I like to end a meal of heavy grilled entrees with a light and refreshing dessert. The base of the dessert is a rich and slightly sweet shortcake that is split, buttered, and grilled. To this, add a sweet and tart raspberry filling. The dessert is then topped with an orange flavored whipped cream. The result is a dessert that is the perfect end to your first grilling get together of the season.

Memorial Day Weekend isn’t the only time of year to enjoy Grilled Shortcakes with Raspberries and Orange Whipped Cream. By baking the shortcakes the night before, refrigerating the berries and whipped cream the night before, and bringing the ingredients in a cooler, you can take this dessert anywhere you will be grilling! If it is going to very warm at your grill out, whip the orange whipped cream the night before, store overnight in the refrigerator, and transport in a cooler to your event.

Grilled Shortcakes with Raspberries and Orange Whipped Cream

Serves 8-10



2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (plus 4 tablespoons extra for grilling shortcakes)

1 cup heavy cream plus extra for brushing tops of shortcake

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla


Raspberry Filling

6 1/2 cups fresh raspberries ( 4 cups reserved)

3/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon fresh squeezed orange juice

pinch salt


Orange Whipped Cream

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

Zest of 1 orange, cut into 1″ wide strips

1/2 cup confectioners sugar

2 teaspoons Cointreau or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon grated orange zest

pinch salt

  1. In a medium bowl, add 2 1/2 cups raspberries, 3/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon orange juice and a pinch of salt. Using a pastry blender or the back of a fork, gently crush the raspberries until they break apart into large pieces. Stir the raspberry mixture with a spoon. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill for 4 hours or overnight. Transport in a cooler to your event.
  2. To make the shortcakes, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Set aside. Add the flour, sugars, baking powder and salt to the work bowl of a food processor. Pulse ingredients until blended.Cut the cold butter into pieces. Add the butter to the flour mixture. Pulse the processor until the butter in completely mixed with the flour.
  3. In a small bowl mix the heavy cream, egg and vanilla until well blended. Add the cream egg mixture to the flour mixture in the food processor. Pulse until a dough comes together. Remove the work bowl from the processor. Put the shortcake dough onto a floured surface. Knead and turn the dough 2 or 3 times. Roll the dough into a rectangle and cut with a biscuit cutter to form 10 large shortcakes. Put the shortcakes onto the prepared baking pan. Brush the tops of the shortcakes with heavy cream. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes until shortcakes are a light golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool. Store shortcakes in a zip lock plastic bag in refrigerator overnight or freeze until needed.
  4. To grill the shortcakes, cut the shortcakes in half. Melt the 4 tablespoons of butter in a pot over the grill. Brush cut side of each half with melted butter. Grill shortcakes, butter side down until warm and grill marks appear on the cut side of the shortcake. Set aside.
  5. To make the whipped cream, put 1 1/2 cups heavy cream in a small saucepan. Add the strips of orange zest and bring to a simmer. Once it reaches a simmer, remove the cream mixture from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes. Strain the orange zests from the cream. Chill the cream until completely cool or overnight. When ready to whip the cream, add the confectioners sugar, cointreau, orange zest and pinch of salt to a medium bowl. Whisk by hand until cream thickens. Set aside. At your event, it may be too warm to whip the cream on site, whip the night before and store in refrigerator overnight. Transport in a cooler to your tailgate.
  6. At your event, stir the chilled fresh raspberry sauce. Add the remaining 4 cups of berries to the sauce. Stir with a spatula until all the raspberries are covered with the sauce.
  7. To serve the shortcake, put raspberries on the bottom half of a grilled shortcake. Top with orange whipped cream. Cover with the top half of the grilled shortcake.

Photography ©Taylor Mathis

Recipe © Sally James

Primavera Pasta Salad

2013 is flying by. I am not sure how it is almost the end of May! Before you know it spring will have flown by and it will be summer! In honor of spring being at its peak, Sally came up with this Primavera Pasta Salad. Influenced by the traditional Pasta Primavera, this pasta salad is loaded with crisp sugar snap peas, fresh asparagus, and crunchy squash and zucchini. This pasta salad can stand on its own, but the addition of grilled chicken or shrimp, will transform it from a filling side dish into a complete entree. This pasta salad doesn’t use mayonnaise or heavy cream, so it can stand up to the warmest spring and summer weather! If you are looking for a dish to bring to your next picnic, barbeque, or tailgate, give this dish a try! It can be made the night before, refrigerated overnight and transported in a cooler to your tailgate or picnic!

Primavera Pasta Salad
1 box (1 pound) mezze penne pasta
1/2 cup olive oil
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup chopped Vidalia onions
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 1/2 cups bite sized asparagus pieces
1 cup bite sized sugar snap pea pieces
1 cup bite sized zucchini pieces
1 cup bite sized yellow squash pieces
1/2 chopped yellow bell pepper
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1 cup chopped scallion (white and green part)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup torn basil leaves
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup snipped chives
  1.  In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to box instructions to al dente. Drain, Set Aside.
  2.  While waiting for the pasta water to boil, put the olive oil and pepper flakes in a medium saucepan. Bring the heat to medium low and cook oil mixture for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add the onions and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, for 8 to 10 minutes or until onions soften. Remove pan from heat.
  3. Empty the drained pasta into a large bowl. Set aside. Add the asparagus, snap peas, zucchini, squash and peppers to the warm oil mixture. Stir until vegetables are well covered with the warm oil and onion mixture. Add the oil covered vegetables to the pasta. Toss pasta and vegetables until mixed.
  4. Add the stock, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper to the pasta mixture. Toss until the ingredients are well blended.
  5. Add the scallions, Parmesan cheese, basil, parsley and chives. Toss until the salad ingredients are well blended. Salad can be served at room temperature or chilled in the refrigerator overnight for service the next day.

Photography ©Taylor Mathis

Recipe © Sally James

In past year’s, I have shown you Sally’s Roses. Here is a look at a few of this year’s blooms.

Meatball Sandwiches

A hot meatball sandwich is one of those comfort foods that is hard to turn down. They are a great weeknight dinner entrée or weekend entertaining appetizer. Sally and I think that they were made for tailgating! The beauty of the meatball sandwich is that it can serve any size appetite! You can cut your foot long sandwich roll into individual meatball sliders, 3 meatball sandwiches, or for those large appetites, they can eat a 6 meatball foot long!

If you are planning on picnicking, having an outdoor cookout, or tailgating with these sandwiches, make your meatballs and sauce the night before and let them cool. Refrigerate overnight and bring to your event in a cooler. On site, you can heat your sauce and meatballs in a pot over a gas burner/grill.

When assembling the sandwiches, I like using a crispy sub roll. If you are at home, place your rolls in the oven for a few minutes, if you are tailgating, you can place them open faced over the grill until they have crisped. Add slices of cheese, meatballs, sauce, and top with Parmesan cheese and shredded basil. Cut sandwiches into desired lengths before serving.

Meatball Sandwiches
4 (1 foot long) sub rolls
1/4 pound of provolone cheese, sliced thin
Makes 24 (2 1/2 inch diameter balls)
2 pounds ground round

1 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage

2 cups chopped fresh bread crumbs
1/4 cup whole milk
2 eggs

1/2 cup chopped vidalia onions

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon Hot Hungarian paprika

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

2 Tablespoon olive oil

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup olive oil

1 cup chopped vidalia onions

1/3 cup chopped red onion

1 Tablespoon chopped fresh garlic

1 (28 oz.) can good quality crushed tomatoes

1 (28 oz.) can good quality whole tomatoes

2 medium bay leaves

1 cup red wine

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp dark brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon coarse ground pepper

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl add the ground round and the Italian sausage. Mix to blend. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl add the breadcrumbs, milk and eggs. Stir to blend.
  3. Add the onions, cheese, salt, pepper, paprika, mustard and cloves to the ground meat mixture. Using your hands or a spoon mix until ingredients a are blended. Add the egg and breadcrumb mixture to the meat mixture. Mix until blended.
  4. Form 24 equally sized meatballs and place on a baking sheet. In a large non stick saute pan add the olive oil and butter. Melt over medium heat. Add 8 of the meatballs to the saute pan. Cook 3 to 5 minutes, turning meatballs until all sides are lightly browned. Remove meatballs and return to the baking sheet. Repeat the process with the remaining meatballs. When all the meatballs have been browned, put the pan of meatballs into the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes. Reserve drippings left in saute pan and set aside. Remove meatballs from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes.
  5. While the meatballs are baking, make the sauce. In a large stockpot add the olive oil, onions and garlic. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring, until onions soften. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, wine, salt, sugar, pepper and red pepper flakes. Stir and continue to cook over medium heat for 15 minutes. Remove bay leaves from the tomato sauce. Add the reserved pan drippings from the meatballs to the sauce. Stir. Using an immersion blender, blend the sauce until it is smooth. Reduce heat to medium low and continue to cook sauce until meatballs are added.
  6. When the meatballs are cool enough to touch, add them to the sauce. Spoon sauce over each meatball to cover and simmer the meatballs in the sauce for 45 minutes. Serve meatballs and sauce over toasted hoagie buns lined with provolone cheese.
Photography © Taylor Mathis
Recipe © Sally James

Pineapple Mango Salsa

This vibrant yellow and green fruity salsa can be consumed in a variety of ways. You can eat it by itself with a spoon or chips, or it can be the topping to a grilled chicken or fish sandwich. Spooned onto the top of a cheese quesadilla and served with a cold beer makes it the perfect snack to watch a game with. Really there isn’t anyway wrong way to eat this salsa! If you plan on taking the salsa to a tailgate, BBQ, or picnic, prepare it the night before and refrigerate it overnight. Transport it to your event in a cooler and stir prior to serving! Salsa is a great way to take advantage of spring and summer produce, so this is just the first of many salsas that Sally will create this year!

Pineapple Mango Salsa

1 1/2 cups chopped fresh pineapple
1 cup chopped mango
1 cup chopped yellow tomato (pulp removed)
1/2 cup chopped vidalia onion
1/2 cup chopped cubanelle pepper
1/4 cup chopped poblano pepper
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno pepper (seeds removed)
1 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest
1/2 teaspoon salt
 In a medium bowl add the pineapple, mango and tomato. Toss. Add the onion, peppers, lime juice and jalapeno. Toss to blend. Add the lime zest and salt. Stir. Let salsa stand for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Serve immediately or chill in refrigerator for up to 2 days.
©Photography Taylor Mathis
©Recipe Sally James

BLT Salad with Creamy Pesto Dressing

Do you like  BLT’s ? There is just something about thick salty bacon, juicy tomato slices and crisp green lettuce that works. The best BLT that I have ever had was in Chapel Hill, NC. This salad is a great side dish for a Spring Picnic, Summer BBQ, or Fall Tailgate. Pack the tomatoes in one container, and the rest of the ingredients in a separate container. Transport to your event in a cooler. Assemble and dress on site.  A salad isn’t complete without a dressing on top. Sally decided that the beautiful green color of a Creamy Pesto Dressing is the perfect topper to this bacon and tomato salad! You can use any pesto recipe that you like for the dressing, but we enjoy this Basil Arugula and Walnut Pesto.
Bacon Lettuce and Tomato Salad with Creamy Pesto Dressing
Serves 6 to 8

4 cups red tomato wedges

2 cups red grape tomato halves

3/4 cup chopped scallions (white and green)

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

8 cups chopped romaine leaves

8 slices thick cut bacon cooked and chopped

Creamy Pesto Dressing (recipe below)

In a large bowl add the tomato wedges and grape tomato halves. Add the scallions, basil, salt and pepper. Toss. Let sit for 15 minutes.

Put romaine leaves on a large serving platter. Cover the lettuce with the tomato mixture. Sprinkle the bacon pieces over the top of the salad. Drizzle dressing over the salad. Serve

Creamy Pesto Dressing

1/2 cup pesto

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 tablespoons heavy cream

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

In a medium bowl add the pesto, mayonnaise and cream. Stir. Add the red wine vinegar, salt, pepper and Tabasco sauce. Stir. Serve or refrigerate until needed.

Heath Bar Cheesecake with Chocolate Ganache Glaze


A great mother is something that you can never take for granted. I am very fortunate that I get to work with my mom, Sally James, on a daily basis. The time that we have spent working on Taylor Takes A Taste, on assignments for commercial clients, and The Southern Tailgating Cookbook is something that I will cherish for the rest of my life. In talking about Mother’s Day 2013 and how we were going to celebrate, Sally and I decided that celebrations are best with some type of cake! The cake for this Mother’s Day is something that my grandmother (Sally’s Mom) and my new mother-in-law will love! It is a Heath Bar Cheesecake with Chocolate Ganache Glaze. My grandmother likes both chocolate and cheesecake. My mother-in-law loves chocolate and Heath bars. When you combine the three elements, you get a dessert that any mother will love!   Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there!


Heath Bar Cheesecake with Chocolate Ganache Glaze

Makes 1( 9 1/2 inch) pan


1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
4 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar


4 (8 oz ) blocks of cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
pinch salt
4 eggs plus 1 yolk, room temperature
1 3/4 cup chopped Heath Milk Chocolate English Toffee


2 cups semi-sweet chocolate morsels
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

9 1/2 inch nonstick springform pan, buttered


Preheat oven to 325

In a small bowl add the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and brown sugar. Stir with a fork until well blended. Press crumb mixture evenly onto the buttered base of the springform pan. Set aside.
Add the cream cheese to the work bowl of a stand mixer. Beat cream cheese on medium speed until blended and the consistency of thick frosting.

With the mixer running, add the granulated sugar. When it is incorporated, add the brown sugar. Stop mixer and scrape the batter off the sides of the bowl. Set the mixer to low speed and add the vanilla and almond extracts, and the salt. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until incorporated after each addition.

Remove the batter from the mixer stand. Fold the chopped Heath bars in with a spatula until incorporated. Empty the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 65 to 70 minutes until cheesecake is set and wiggles only slightly in the center. Remove cheesecake from the oven. Gently run a knife around the edges of the cake. Cool cake in pan. When cool, release the lock on the outer rim of the pan and remove the outer rim. Chill cake in refrigerator for 4 hours.

To make the ganache, put the chocolate chips into a heat proof bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Add the boiling cream to the chocolate chips. Stir the mixture with a fork until blended. Let ganache cool for 5 minutes. Stir. Pour ganache on the top of the cheesecake, spreading with a spoon. Return cheesecake to the refrigerator and chill for 3 more hours or overnight. Serve.

Recipe ©Sally James

Photography ©Taylor Mathis

Sally likes both roses and china plates so this picture is for her! Happy Mother’s Day Mom!

The Southern Tailgating Cookbook


Allow me to introduce you to something that has been three years in the making: The Southern Tailgating Cookbook! The book won’t hit store shelves until August, but you can now pre-order your copy from UNC Press!

If you follow me on Instagram, you have seen some of the behind the scenes recipe development, writing, and shooting that has gone into this project.


When I started my first tailgate tour back in 2010, I could never have imagined that three years later it would turn into this book! I have learned a lot in the book writing process and couldn’t be happier with what this project has turned into! If you have enjoyed the food on Taylor Takes A Taste, you are going to fall in love with the delicious tailgating inspired recipes that I worked with Sally to developed for The Southern Tailgating Cookbook!  Inside the 240 pages of this book you will find 110 recipes that are designed to wow your tailgating guests, 75 images of food and tailgating (shot by yours truly), and 15 side bars that give an in-depth look into aspects of southern tailgating culture. All together this is A Game-Day Guide for Lovers of Food, Football, and the South. Pre-order your copy today!


Jalapeño Cheddar Beer Bread

Welcome to May the 6th, also known as the day after Cinco de Mayo. If you hosted a party yesterday, I am sure that you have a surplus of Tecate, Corona or Dos Equis sitting around your house. What to do with this extra beer? Drink them is the obvious answer, but why go with the obvious? Why not use them to make beer bread! What beer bread is designed for the day after Cinco de Mayo you wonder? This one!  Sally’s Jalapeño Cheddar Beer Bread is cheesy, spicy, and the perfect use for your leftover Cinco de Mayo beer! This May 6th start the tradition of Seis de Mayo Beer Bread.

Jalapeño Cheddar Beer Bread
Serves 8

2 cups self-rising flour
1 cup yellow self-rising cornbread
1/3 cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ cup sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
½ cup Pepper Jack cheese, grated
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
¼ cup jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
3 tablespoons yellow onions, finely chopped
1 (12 ounce) can or bottle of beer

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a medium sized bowl, add the flour, cornbread, sugar, paprika, cumin and cayenne. Stir. Add Cheddar, Pepper Jack and Parmesan. Stir until ingredients are evenly mixed together.

Add 2 tablespoons butter to a sauté pan and melt over medium heat. Once melted, add jalapeño and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

Add beer to pan. Pour the beer, melted butter and pepper mixture into the medium sized bowl of flour and cheese. Stir until a thick batter forms.

Place in a buttered 9 inch loaf pan. Melt remaining 6 tablespoons of putter and pour on top of batter. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.

Recipe ©Sally James

Photograph ©Taylor Mathis

Chow Down Uptown Charlotte Part 1

When most people think of food trucks, the first places they think of are probably Austin, Los Angeles, or New York City, but that might be changing soon! Charlotte’s food truck scene has steadily been on the rise for the past few years. As the weather heats up, so do the food trucks, with their weeknight rallies throughout the spring and summer. The first in a series of Chow Down Uptowns this season was Thursday and there was no way I was going to miss it! Let me walk you through what happens when I show up at a food truck event.

My first stop was the Wingzza Truck (wings and pizza, how could you go wrong?). After talking with the owner, Larry, I decided to go with five Carolina Buffalo wings. Carolina Buffalo is a cross between your mild buffalo sauce (because I’m kind of a wuss), and the golden mustard-based barbecue sauce found in South Carolina. As you can see, these wings didn’t last long!

The next stop was The Homegrown Crepe Inc. When dealing with crepes, I always run into a huge dilemma: savory or sweet?!?! After reading the Ninja Monkey’s description (Nutella, Banana, Espresso Liquer, Toasted Coconut, and Powdered Sugar, I knew it was going to be a sweet night. Also, Ninja Monkey is an awesome name for anything, especially a crepe. Below is what happened when I crossed paths with the Ninja Monkey.

After my dessert crepe, I realized that it was time for dessert. On a previous trip to Charleston with Sara, I had tried King of Pops. They may have been the smallest cart at the rally, but don’t let their size fool you. They are full of flavor! After agonizing over what pop to select, and consulting my friends, Ben and JJ, who have tried 20 or so of them in the last two weeks, I decided to go with the pomegranate lemonade. This sweet and tart pop was the perfect end to the evening (I might have accidentally also taken home two cupcakes. Oops!).

For those of you who live in Charlotte, I hope to see you at the next rally, May 16 at 5PM in the parking lot across from the 7th Street Station Parking deck uptown.