Sangria for your Valentine


Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day! Are you ready? If your Valentine is a fan of bacon, bourbon, and doughnuts you should make them a Bacon, Bourbon, and Doughnut Bread Pudding. 

What do you do if you know that a bread pudding won’t win your Valentine’s heart? Better yet, what if you are hosting an anti-Valentine’s Day Party for you and your single friends?

A cocktail is the solution. On Valentine’s day not any cocktail will do. The beverage must be romantic and red!  Wine is the drink that fits all these categories. My Valentine’s favorite way to drink wine is in the form of sangria! So Sara, this one is for you! Not all wine’s will look the same. The beautiful red color of this sangria comes from the white merlot.

Cupid’s Quiver White Merlot Sangria

Serves 8-10

2 bottles white merlot wine

½ cup Cointreau

½ cup heavy simple syrup **

¼ cup cognac

1 pint raspberries

3 kiwi fruit, peeled and sliced

2 limes, halved lengthwise and sliced

1 cup quartered strawberries

1 carambola (starfruit) sliced

Pour the wine into a large container. Add the Cointreau, simple syrup and cognac. Stir to blend.

Add the raspberries, kiwi, limes, strawberries and carambola. Stir to blend. Cover container and chill for 1 to 3 hours. Serve.

**  to make a heavy simple syrup, put 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Let syrup  cool.  Leftover simple syrup can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator.

Recipe ©Sally James

Photography©Taylor Mathis


Bacon, Bourbon and Doughnut Bread Pudding

Valentine’s Day is this Thursday. Is there a guy that you have a crush on and you don’t know how to ask them to be your Valentine? Ladies, I have the solution. Make them a Bacon, Bourbon, and Doughnut Bread Pudding. As a guy, I can tell you that most men out there will find it hard to turn down bacon. Turning down bacon and bourbon is almost impossible. Bacon, Bourbon and Doughnuts in the same dish? That is IMPOSSIBLE to turn down. And hey if he does turn it down, he might not be the right one anyway. Dateless? Have a Singles Awareness Day party with this as the star.


A few years ago, I took a stab at a Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding. Sally has taken that original concept and gone two steps further. Bacon and Bourbon have joined the party to make a bread pudding that is irresistible.

Bacon, Bourbon and Doughnut Bread Pudding

Serves 6-8

6 oz. center cut bacon (about 8 strips)

9 (day old) glazed doughnuts

¼ cup dark brown sugar

4 tablespoons butter, divided

2 cups heavy cream

5 large eggs, beaten

½ cup sugar

2 tablespoons bourbon

1 teaspoon. vanilla

1 teaspoon bacon drippings

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook bacon, drain on paper towels. Reserve bacon drippings.

Cut each doughnut into 8 to 10 pieces. Put doughnut pieces onto a silicone lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Top with 3 tablespoons butter cut into small pieces. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

Put cream, eggs, sugar, bourbon, vanilla, bacon drippings, salt and nutmeg into a large bowl.  Stir the cream egg mixture until well blended and cream thickens. About 2 minutes. Chop bacon pieces and add to the cream egg mixture. Stir.

Add the doughnut pieces to the cream egg mixture. Scrape the brown sugar bits off the sheet pan and add to the doughnut cream mixture, Stir well to cover the doughnuts uniformly with the cream egg mixture. Rest the doughnut mixture for 5 minutes.

Grease a casserole dish with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Pour the doughnut cream mixture into the casserole dish spreading with a spoon to evenly distribute doughnut pieces throughout the pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let bread pudding cool for 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Recipe ©Sally James

Photography© Taylor Mathis






photographing FOOD Issue 2!


Thank you to everyone who has supported the first issue of photographing FOOD! I wanted to let you know that Issue 2 is now out! This issue is all about color theory and camera controls! Stuck on what colors to use in your images? Can’t decide what background will be best? You will love this guide to color theory and bringing harmony to your pictures. In the camera section, you will learn all about aperture, camera angles, and the secrets to using a tripod arm and shooting tethered through your computer. That’s not all. Do you ever wonder if you need an expensive DSLR to take beautiful pictures? I will walk you through a 4 camera challenge using the same subject and 4 different types of cameras.

Here is a sneak peek of what you will find inside!

If you enjoyed issue 1, you will love issue 2! Like issue 1, it is available as a downloadable PDF formatted for your computer screen, iPad or iPhone.


Missed Issue 1? Check it out here!

Superbowl Themed Chicken Wings


The Superbowl is this weekend! This means a Sunday filled with football, food, and commercials! Odds are  you will  be watching the big game at your home or a friends party. There will be plates of appetizers, dips, and of course wings! Chicken wings are perfect football watching food. They can feed a large crowd, serve as a main meal or an appetizer, and can be eaten with one hand! Don’t have a recipe for this weekend’s game? Try these team themed wings.

This Sunday  you will find the Baltimore Ravens and San Fransisco 49ers taking the field. Here are two wing sauces inspired by each team. The Baltimore Ravens are known for their purple uniforms and ferocious defense. If you are cheering for Baltimore, coat your wings in this Purple Pain Wing Sauce. The purple comes from the grape jelly and the pain is from the peppers. Don’t worry though, the heat of the sauce won’t leave you crying like if Ray Lewis Sacked you.

On the 49ers side we have the Gold Rush wings. These wings are inspired by the Forty-Niners who mad their way to California in search of gold and the rushing attack of Frank Gore and the scrambling threat of Colin Kaepernick. The golden sauced wings are coated in crushed honey roasted peanuts for a wing with both some sweet an heat to it.  If you don’t know who to cheer for make both! You can’t go wrong with either.


Purple Pain Wing Sauce

Makes about 2 1/2 cups

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup of seeded chopped jalapeno pepper

1/2 cup chopped yellow onion

1/4 cup poblano pepper

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

1 (12 ounce) jar chili sauce

1 1/2 cups Welch’s Grape Jelly

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon unsulphered molasses

1 tablespoon chipotle Tabasco sauce

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon McCormick coarse ground black pepper

Sliced scallions and additional chopped poblano for garnish


In a medium sauce pan add the butter, peppers, onion and garlic. Bring heat to low. When butter melts, raise heat to medium. Cook stirring frequently for 10 minutes. Add chili sauce, grape jelly, vinegar, molasses, and chipotle sauce. Stir. Add salt and pepper. Stir. Once jelly has melted, reduce heat to a low simmer and cook sauce for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Reserve until ready to coat wings. Extra Sauce can be refrigerated and served on burgers or grilled chicken sandwiches.


Gold Rush Wing Sauce

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

1 1/3 cups clover honey

1 stick unsalted butter

4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

4 teaspoons fiery sesame oil

1 tablespoon ginger soy sauce

1 tablespoon teriyaki sauce

1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 cup honey roasted peanut

In a medium sauce pan, add all of the ingredients. Stir on low heat until mixture is well blended. Bring to a low simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and reserve. Add peanuts to food processor and pulse until ground into small crumbles.


Fried Chicken Wings

Makes about 60 wing pieces.

6 pounds chicken wings

Oil for frying

Remove chicken wings from packaging. Prepare wings by cutting off tips and separating into wing and drumette portion. Rinse and pat dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fry in about 1 1/2 inches of oil for 10 minutes at 360F until skin turns golden brown. Drain on paper bags and hold in a 350F oven until ready for service. You will need to fry your wings in batches, cooked wings can be held in the oven while remaining wings are frying. To ensure wings have cooked through allow final batch to hold in the oven for about 10 minutes.

Toss wings in either the Purple Pain Sauce or the Gold Rush Wing Sauce. Gold Rush wings should be tossed in the sauce and then coated with the crumbled honey roasted peanuts.

Photography ©Taylor Mathis

Recipes ©Sally James








A twist on National Blueberry Pancake Day.


Happy National Blueberry Pancake Day! I celebrated this back in 2011 with an adaption from the Joy of Cooking. For this year’s celebration, I got a little bit of help from Sally. We both agree that blueberry pancakes are delicious, but there is a problem. They can make too many to eat in one sitting.  The solution. Make a Blueberry pancake parfait!

Here is the recipe for blueberry pancakes.

Blueberry Pancakes

Makes about 15 5inch pancakes

3 cups sifted all-purpose flour

6 tablespoons sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons whole milk

4 eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1 stick unsalted butter, melted

1 cup blueberries


In a large bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Stir until blended.

In a medium bowl, add milk, egg, and extracts. Stir until blended. Add melted butter. Stir.

Empty milk and egg mixture into the bowl of flour mixture. Stir until mixture is just blended and a batter forms. It is ok if there are a few lumps. Add the blueberries and stir.

Pour batter in 1/3 cup spoonfuls onto a hot large non stick griddle or pan. Cook until the surface of the batter begins to bubble and the bottom is browned. Flip and cook the other side until pancakes are cooked through to your desired doneness. Serve with syrup and blueberries. With your leftover pancakes, you can make parfaits!

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Navy Bean Soup with Garlic Croutons

It is cold outside. So cold that I have decided to head South for the weekend. How far South you ask? I think Birmingham, AL, would do just fine. Want to join me and spend a weekend surrounded by people who love food, the South, and food blogging? There are still a few ticket to FOOD BLOG SOUTH left! It will be worth the trip.

For those of you attending,  I am going to be speaking about a big project that took all of 2012 and really has been going on since 2010. Here are a few Instagrams of what my 2012 was like.

The vast majority of the year I spent writing  a cook book on Southern Tailgating. The book will be out later this fall and I will be doing a big post when the time is right, but this weekend in Birmingham I will be speaking with Lisa Ekus on the Blog to Book Panel. During the presentation, I will talk about the process of shopping a proposal, getting a book deal, and writing a book.

For those of you who won’t be in Birmingham this weekend, try this soup. It is the perfect thing to keep you warm this weekend.


Navy Bean Soup with Garlic Croutons

If you are looking for a hearty soup that won’t break the bank, this soup is for you. Filled with tender beans, salty ham and plenty of vegetables, it is a soup that will feed a crowd. The garlic croutons are a welcomed addition that can also be used on any of your other favorite soups or salads.

Serves 10-12


2 pounds navy beans
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1 1/2 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup peeled chopped carrots
1/3 cup chopped garlic
4 ounces dry cured ham, chopped
1 (28-ounce) can good quality crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon thyme
2 bay leaves
12 to 14 cups water
1 teaspoon salt


Soak beans in a large bowl with water that covers beans 4 inches overnight. Drain and reserve.

In large stock pot add butter, onion, celery, carrots, garlic and ham. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until vegetables soften. Add beans, tomatoes, black pepper, hot sauce, thyme, bay leaves and 12 cups of water.

Stir and bring soup to just below a boil. Turn heat down to simmer and cook soup for 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally, or until beans are tender.

When beans are tender, add salt and water, if needed, to bring soup to desired consistency. Remove from heat and serve garnished with garlic croutons.

Garlic Croutons


5 cups sourdough bread, cut into bite-sized cubes
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place bread cubes on baking sheet.

In medium saucepan, melt butter. Add salt and garlic cloves. Cook butter and garlic mixture over medium low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes. With slotted spoon, remove garlic from butter.

Pour butter over the bread cubes and toss until well coated. Bake for 20 minutes, stirring the croutons every 5 minutes.

Pictures ©Taylor Mathis

Recipe ©Sally James

Bacon Brie Potato Skins

Between the Cotton Bowl tonight, 4 NFL playoff games on Saturday and Sunday and the the BCS Championship on Monday, I am definitely looking forward to the next four days. These games feature the best match ups of the season, but they also signal the end of the season being very near. To celebrate a great 2012 season try these potato skins! They can be baked up the morning of the game, or made a head of time and reheated. The crisp potato skin is season perfectly wit a thyme butter, making a delicious and easy to serve vehicle for a bacon and brie filling. Don’t waste the potato filling, use it to make mash potatoes.

Bacon Brie Potato Skins

Makes 24 potato skins

 5 pounds russet potatoes, about 12 potatoes
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1 pound thick cut bacon, cooked, drained on paper towels, chopped into bite sized pieces
1 pound Brie cheese, rind removed, torn into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup chopped scallions (white and green part)


Preheat oven to 400°F. Scrub and dry potatoes. Pierce with fork. Bake potatoes for about 45 minutes or until soft when pierced with a fork. Set aside and cool 15 minutes.

Slice each potato in half length wise. With a spoon, scoop out the cooked potato from each half, leaving about 1/4 inch of flesh on each potato skin. Place potato halves on cookie sheet cut side up (you may want to line baking sheet with a silicone liner or parchment paper)

Melt butter. Add salt, thyme and pepper to butter. Stir mixture. Brush each potato half with melted butter mixture. Bake potato skins at 400°F, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until butter bubbles. Remove pan from oven Flip potatoes over and brush the skins with melted butter.. Return potato skins to the 400 degree oven and bake for 5 to 7 minutes until butter bubbles. Remove skins from oven.

Turn potatoes over. Fill each potato skin with bacon. Add bits of Brie to each skin. Top the potato skins with chopped scallion. Bake filled skins in 400 degree oven for about 3 minutes or until cheese melts. Remove potato skins from oven and serve warm or at room temperature.

Photography ©Taylor Mathis

Recipe© Sally James Mathis

Spicy Sausage Breakfast Quiche and Hello to 2013


Happy New Year! My round up of 2012 will come later in the month when Taylor Takes a Taste celebrates its 3rd birthday. Today, I wanted to bring you something that is perfect any time of day or year. Let me introduce you to this Spicy Sausage Breakfast Quiche.

This cheesy and delicate Quiche sits upon a delicious buttery crust. It can easily be made the night before and re heated mid-morning for brunch. The dough will make enough for two quiches, so feel free to make an additional one.  Try thisfor your New Year’s Day brunch, or any time of day! Are you a fan of brinner? ( Breakfast for dinner) This Quiche is great for that! I am sure there will come a time in 2013 when you are looking for a new recipe to serve friends and family. Keep this recipe in mind. Come football season, it is a perfect item to bring to a tailgate!

Have a great New Year’s Day! and good luck to your team if they are playing in a Bowl game. Sorry Stanford fans, I can’t wish your team luck. ON WISCONSIN!!

Spicy Sausage Breakfast Quiche
Serves 6


1 (8- or 9-inch) pie shell, baked (recipe below)
1/2 pound bulk sausage, cooked crumbled and drained
3/4 cup Pepper Jack cheese, grated
3/4 cup Colby Jack cheese, grated
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
1/4 cup cubanelle pepper, chopped (may substitute bell pepper or poblano pepper)
3 large eggs, beaten
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 350°F. Put cooked sausage in bottom of prepared pie shell. Cover sausage with the Pepper Jack and Colby Jack cheeses. Set aside.

Melt butter in medium sauté pan. Add onions and peppers and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes until onions soften. Remove from heat.

In a medium bowl, combine eggs, cream, milk, salt and pepper. Mix well. Add mixture to the pan of onions and peppers. Stir to combine. Pour egg/onion mixture over cheese/sausage mixture in pie pan. Bake quiche for 20 to 25 minutes or until center of pie is just set. Remove from oven, cool for 15 minutes and serve or cool completely and serve at room temperature.

All Butter Pie Crust
Makes enough for a double crust pi3


2 cups all-purpose flour
10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 10 pieces
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons milk
2-4 tablespoons ice water


In work bowl of food processor, place flour, butter and salt. Pulse until flour and butter are incorporated and the dough resembles coarse meal. Add milk and 2 tablespoons of ice water. Pulse. Add more ice water as needed until a dough forms. Remove pie dough from processor and divide and form two rounds. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400°F. Remove one round of dough from refrigerator and roll out. Lay into a greased pie dish and prick with the tines of a fork to prevent crust puffing up while baking. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until crust is a light golden brown. Let cool before adding quiche ingredients.

Photography ©Taylor Mathis

Recipe ©Sally James

Photographing FOOD Issue 1 Window Lighting

Did you receive a new camera for Christmas? Is your New Year’s resolution to improve your food photography? If you have a passion for pictures, I have something you will love! Today I am introducing a new series of food photography tutorials. Say hello to photographing FOOD.

Many of you have asked about my workshops and if I will be doing one near you. Here is my solution. I am bringing my workshop to you! In each issue of photographing FOOD, I will walk you through a topic related to food photography.




Window lighting is the simplest and least expensive way to light your images. All you need is a window! Don’t have a window? Not a problem. I will show you how your garage door can easily be used to make a great daylight studio. Don’t have access to daylight shooting hours? Don’t worry.

The three images above were taken at night with a $10 light source. Short on space? Don’t let that stop you. These images were all taken on a kitchen counter or on the floor. This issue is filled with step by step and behind the scene shots showing you exactly how I arrived at each final shot.



Want to know exactly what is in this issue? Take a look at the table of contents.

No matter what your skill level or experience, there is something for everyone in photographing FOOD. This issue is available as a downloadable PDF. It is formatted to read beautifully on your computer, ipad or iphone. Take a look! I think you will enjoy what you find.



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Food Blog South 2013 Are you Going?

What are you doing January 26th ,2013? How about making a trip to Birmingham, AL for Food Blog South!

Do you have goals that you would like to achieve with your blog in 2013? Have you thought about starting a blog ? Are there bloggers that you want to finally meet in person? All these things can be done at FBS 2013. I have been to the last two FBS conferences and had a blast at each! Here is my recap from 2011 and 2012.

This year, I will be speaking with Lisa Ekus on the topic of Writing a Cookbook. If you have been following me on instagram and twitter over the last year you have probably seen many pictures of recipe testing and shooting. This has all been a part of the tailgating cook book that I have written with UNC Press. I am incredibly excited about how it has turned out and will give you many more details in the coming months. At Food Blog South I will  be speaking about the book and the journey it has been from a concept to a reality. I hope you can make it ! A full agenda of the amazing speakers can be seen here,

If you haven’t bought your ticket yet or are still on the fence about attending this year’s conference I say go for it! Here is a discount code that you can use to receive 10% off your ticket. At checkout just type in TaylorM to receive 10% off you conference registration !Looking forward to seeing you in Birmingham.

- Taylor

Here is a link to Food Bog South’s Main web page

Cranberry Thyme Polenta Wedges

The day after Thanksgiving means one thing. You are on your first day of eating leftovers. Your leftovers may last you a day, or they could last you a week. Leftovers will start to taste monotonous after a few servings. For a little change in your leftover menu, try this Cranberry Thyme Polenta.

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