Thursday, April 3, 2014

Roasted Tomato and Okra with Southern Style Grits

I'm heading to Charleston, SC tomorrow - the epicenter of Creole and Southern cuisine!! Some of the best restaurants are found in Charleston, many of which are owned and run by James Beard-Award winning chefs! You might remember my last trip to the historic town.

Roasted Tomato and Okra with Southern Style Grits | www.kettlercuisine.com

I have had this recipe hanging around for a while and thought it was all too appropriate to post before my trip. Southern food and Charleston make me think of shrimp and grits! Grits are one of those staple Southern dishes. It's easy to tell if someone is from the South by asking if they like grits. If the answer is "No," or "What the heck is a grit?" then you know they aren't from 'round these parts :)

The Hubby, even though born in the Mid-West, has lived in the South for close to 15 years now, so he is accustomed to grits and the (true) Southern ways. His favorite are pimento cheese grits, which are amazing, especially when you use my Spicy Pimento Cheese

For this recipe, I started with the idea of Shrimp and Grits in mind and put my own spin on it....a.k.a. made it healthier! We usually like to serve it with Shrimp, but for those that aren't into seafood, this is pretty great without it too!

Later Ya'll!


Roasted Tomato and Okra with Southern Style Grits | www.kettlercuisine.com

Roasted Tomato and Okra with Southern Style Grits

Yields: 4 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes

Southern style grits
4 cups fresh okra, roughly chopped
3 cups cherry tomatoes (yellow or red)
2 tablespoon fresh basil or oregano, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon Grapeseed oil
1 small red onion, sliced
1/4 cup white wine or beer
cooked shrimp (optional)

Cook the Southern style grits per package instructions for 4 servings.


Preheat the oven to 375F. In a large bowl, combine the cherry tomatoes, okra, oregano, olive oil and garlic, then stir to coat the vegetables well. 

Line a large baking sheet with foil and spread the vegetables in a single even layer on the sheet. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, stirring halfway.

While the vegetables cook, caramelize the onions. Heat the Grapeseed oil in a small pan over medium heat, then add the red onion and cook, stirring frequently until they start to brown, about 15-20 minutes. Add in the white wine and continue to cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed. As you cook the onions, the sugars will release to brown and caramelize the onions.

To serve, scoop about a cup of grits into a bowl, layer the vegetables on top and garnish with the caramelized onions. Sprinkle with freshly chopped oregano or basil for added flavor. We like to add sautéed shrimp on top!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Citrus and Hearts of Palm Salad

Finally, signs of warm weather have emerged in NC. I was really getting tired of the rainy, cold crap that Mother Nature kept sending our way. I hope it is done!

The other day was amazingly beautiful outside. I got out of work at a decent time and stopped at the store, only to see the last signs of blood oranges. I snatched up a few thinking I could use them for something and decided to make a salad to fully motivate me for Spring and it's delicious produce.

Citrus and Hearts of Palm Salad | www.kettlercuisine.com

I am a big fan of blood oranges, mostly because they are super photogenic. Yep, that's what I said, a fruit looks good behind a camera! Blood oranges are also very sweet, with almost a hint of berries sometimes. The flavor makes for great cocktails or desserts. I went a different route and added it to a salad. I cut off the rinds and pith, so that the bright colors really show up in the salad.

Citrus and Hearts of Palm Salad | www.kettlercuisine.com

I chose to combine the blood oranges with Hearts of Palm, which is one of my favorite snacks. Heart of palm is pretty much what it sounds like, a vegetable that is harvested from the the inner core and growing bud of palm trees. I usually buy them in cans and jars (located on the canned vegetable section in a grocery store). I also just used the red wine vinaigrette from a previous recipe - Caramelized Pancetta and Fennel Salad. Any vinaigrette or a good quality olive oil would work as a dressing though.

Blood oranges might also be hard to come by, so substitute any sweet orange in the salad. It will be just as tasty. To create the wedges in this salad, slice off the top and bottom of the orange to create a flat surface. Then cut off the skin one section at a time to reveal the crimson red (or orange) flesh of the orange. With a sharp knife, cut into the orange (from top to bottom) along the section edges and a little wedge should come out. Repeat this all the way around the orange.

Citrus and Hearts of Palm Salad | www.kettlercuisine.com

The only disappointment was that the orange I cut open for the salad wasn't as crimson red as the usual ones. It is the end of blood orange season, so if you find them, snatch them up while they are here!

Citrus and Hearts of Palm Salad

Yields: 4 salad 
Prep Time: 15 minutes

2 blood oranges, peeled, sliced
1 jar Hearts of Palm, drained, sliced
1/4 cup hazelnuts, lightly toasted and chopped
Mixed greens (mache, spinach, arugula, romaine)
Fennel, thinly sliced (optional)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

In a small bowl, whisk the red wine vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper together. While whisking, slowly add in the olive oil to help emulsify the dressing. Add more salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

If the hazelnuts need to be toasted, heat them over medium heat in a small skillet. Watch them carefully and toast until slightly fragrant. Do not let them brown or burn!! Cool and chop.

To assemble the salad, layer mixed greens onto the plate and add on the sliced Hearts of Palm and fennel if using.

Citrus and Hearts of Palm Salad | www.kettlercuisine.com

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Irish Coffee

The cold weather is back and I am not happy. I am starting to think that "Spring" is just some mythical season that people talk about so they can make it through Winter. This weather is totally throwing off my planning though. I am usually really good about seasonal changes, but when it is 70 one day and snowing the next, it makes it hard to plan meals. We also hate how much our thermostat is changing, I feel like we are using so much energy!

Irish Coffee | www.kettlercuisine.com

After fighting the cold, freezing rain all day, I just wanted something warm when I got home. In honor of St. Patrick's Day this week, I decided to make an Irish Coffee to thaw myself out (and relax me after a stressful day). The last time I had one, I was with the Hubby in San Francisco. We decided to take a stroll around Fisherman's Wharf and stop in at Buena Vista Cafe, which is famous for its Irish coffee. We both love coffee, whiskey and cream so it sounded like the perfect combination....and it was! The cafe shares the iconic recipe on the website for all to try.

Enjoy and stay warm! Oh....and GO PACK!!!

Irish Coffee | www.kettlercuisine.com


Irish Coffee


Recipe from Beuna Vista Cafe
Yields: 1 drink


Fill a glass coffee cup with hot water to warm the glass.

Pour in hot coffee into warm glass until it is about 2/3 full. Stir in 2 sugar cubes or about 1 teaspoon of sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves and then stir in a jigger (or shot) of Irish whiskey.

Top with lightly whipped cream by pouring it gently over a spoon. Enjoy while hot!

Irish Coffee | www.kettlercuisine.com