Monday, June 29, 2015

Rose Wine ~ Summer 2015

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Warm summer months, delicious grilled food and rose wine, three wonderful things that fit perfectly together.  Over the past few weeks, we've enjoy many dinners outside and most nights a bottle of rose has accompanied the meal.  If you are not familiar with rose wine, I encourage you to give it a try.  It's light, a little fruity and best served chilled.  I love to serve it with a cheese plate, a fresh salad and grilled fish or chicken.  Another great thing about rose is that it's easy on your pocketbook with many wonderful selections under $15.00.  Here's to summer…cheers!
We recently enjoyed this bottle of Sofia Rose from Coppola Vineyards that I purchased at Costco.
Here are a few other links that might help you choose a bottle of rose and foods to serve ~ 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Father's Day Cocktail with Templeton Rye

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This Sunday is Father's Day when means treating Mr. A Southern Soul like a king!  The boys and I have a few special gifts, funny cards and I've got a great dinner planned with all his favorite foods.  In addition to all these goodies, I come up with a little something unexpected for him, his own cocktail. The folks at Templeton Rye asked me to come up with a special drink just right for Father's Day and being the sweet wife that I am, I jumped at the chance.
A Southern Soul
I decided to use seasonal fruit, flavors that my man likes and then added a little something for me into the mix.  After combining all my delicious ingredients together, letting my concoction chill for a bit, I knew I had a winner ~ The Tipsy Cherry.  This drink is a mix of Templeton Rye, fresh cherries, lemons, basil simple syrup and Rose wine.  Oh my gosh, this is one yummy cocktail.  Serve it over ice or just on it's own…just be careful friends, the word tipsy is in the name for a reason!
A Southern Soul
The Tipsy Cherry
1/2 cup Templeton Rye
1/3 cup basil simple syrup
1 cup pitted cherries
1 whole lemon sliced
1 bottle Rose wine
  • Pour Rye whiskey and simple syrup into a pitcher.  Add cherries and muddle until cherries are slightly broken up.
    • for simple syrup - 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water - bring to a boil and let sugar melt. Take off heat, add 4 basil leaves and let cool.  Remove basil leaves before use
  • Add lemon slices and stir.
  • Pour in Rose and gentlystir. Chill in refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving.
This post was sponsored by Templeton Rye Whiskey.  #thegoodstuff

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Grill Roasted Peas & Potatoes

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Good heavens, y'all…it is hot a hades down here! With temperatures in the upper 90's for the week and more hot weather on the way, I'm looking for ways to stay cool.  Of course, the family still has to eat, so I've gotten a little creative regarding how I prepare my meals.  I do any stove top cooking early in the morning and use my grill whenever I can.  That's exactly how I prepared this delicious side dish of potatoes and peas.
A Southern Soul
First thing in the morning I put on my potatoes to cook.  When they were about halfway done, I added the peas to the boiling water.  After about 1 minute, I removed the peas, dumped them in ice water and drained the potatoes.  I let my veggies cool and when it was time for dinner, I heated up my cast iron skillet and finished off my dish.  At the end of the day we enjoyed a great meal, I had a happy family and a cool kitchen…ah, life is good!
A Southern Soul
Roasted Peas & Potatoes
2 pounds yukon gold potatoes - par boiled
1 pound snow peas - blanched
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Place cast iron skillet on grill set to medium high heat.  Add olive oil and butter.
  • When butter is melted, add potatoes to skillet. Gently shake pan so that there is one layer of potatoes. Cook on grill until a slight crust forms on potatoes.
  • Add peas and gently mix into potatoes.  Add more butter if vegetables are sticking to skillet.
  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Continue to cook until peas are heated through and still crisp.
  • Remove from grill. Drizzle with addition olive oil and season to taste.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Hack: Grill Pan for $1.00

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If you love to grill as much as I do then this kitchen hack is for you!  You may have seen this idea shared on a cooking show recently but I'm claiming it as my own and have been doing it for years -  how to turn an ordinary metal pan into a grill basket.  I always have a supply of different sized metal pans in my pantry that I've picked up at the Dollar Store and they are usually packaged 2 for $1.00.   
To make your grill basket, here's what you'll need -
  • a metal pan
  • a towel
  • a screw driver or chop stick
To get the pan ready for the grill, fold the towel into several layers.  Steady the pan and using the screwdriver or chop stick, poke several holes in the pan being careful not to bend it too much.
Once you've finished "stabbing" the pan, it should look something like this.  This round pan is perfect for smaller items that might fall through the grates.  Make sure that you poke enough holes in the pan to allow the heat and low flames grill the veggies and not just steam them.  Use your grill tongs to steady and move the pan over the grates.
TA-DA! Now you are ready to throw your veggies, shrimp or chicken into your new $1.00 grill pan and head outdoors.  I'm gonna add a little olive oil, salt & pepper to my favorite squash and do the same!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

3 Ingredient Watermelon Granita

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Before we know it the temps are going to be soaring and we'll all be looking for a cool down.  No worries, I've got just the thing to ward off the heat - sweet, fresh Watermelon Granita.
Please don't be intimidated by the name, it's really just frozen fruit that's been "shaved" with a fork thus turning 3 simple ingredients into something special.  You can use pretty much any fruit to make a granita, I just happen to love watermelon.  The summer heat will be here soon friends so grab some fruit, sugar and lime juice…a cool down will soon be on the way!
Watermelon Granita
4 cups watermelon - cubed
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lime juice

  • Place watermelon, sugar and lime juice in a blender.  Process until smooth.
  • Pour mixture into a a metal or glass pan and place in freezer.
  • After 1 hour, remove pan from freezer.  Using a fork, scrape watermelon mixture.  Place back in freezer for 1 hour.
  • When granita is frozen, scrape with a fork, scoop into a chilled glass and serve.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Easy "Semi-Homemade" Ranch Dressing

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Ok friends, it's time for a kitchen confession…yes, I use packaged ranch dressing mix.  Whew, now that I've got that off my chest, let me tell you how I make that yummy creamy dressing even better.
I know it may not seem like a big deal to mix up a batch up dried herbs and spices to make your own ranch mix but let's get real, sometimes I'm out of one or the other key ingredients so it's just easier to rip open that little blue & white package.
I change things up a bit by adding buttermilk and lemon juice to brighten things up then I dump in lots of fresh herbs to intensify the flavor.  This dressing is especially good on green salads with strawberries, oranges & pecans since you get that sweet/savory pop of flavor going on.
Then there's one of my favorites - fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and onions, YUM.  So grab a package or two of ranch dressing mix, some fresh herbs then sit back and take all the credit for a delicious semi-homemade salad dressing!
Semi-Homemade Ranch Dressing
1 package Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing mix
1/2 cup milk - I use 2%
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • Place all ingredients in a bowl.  Whisk together until well blended.
    • if dressing is too think, add more milk until desired consistency.
A Southern Soul

Friday, May 22, 2015

Tomato Pie with Cheese & Pesto

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There are some dishes that just scream All American like apple pie, hot dogs & hamburgers, BBQ, and in my family, tomato pie!  Once summer tomatoes start coming in, I make one of these pies almost every week either for us or a gathering we might be attending.  Yesterday, I made one for a sweet, sweet couple who became just became new parents.  I've known the Mom, Kori, since she was ten years old and that fact that she just gave birth to a precious baby boy has had me in tears more than once over the past few days.  It was wonderful to get in the kitchen and make the new family a meal because Mama and Daddy needed a little TLC even though I did have somewhat of an ulterior motive - hugging & kissing on that sweet baby!
A Southern Soul
This weekend, I'll be making another one of these yummy pies for special event - Memorial Day.  Lot's of folks call this weekend the official start of summer but it's something much, much more.  There's a very important reason that Monday is a holiday…it's to remember and honor those who have served and died protecting our freedom and our country.  Sometimes we can get so caught up in the rush of things that we forget the true meaning of a special day, so here's a few ideas on how we can remember Memorial Day ~
  • Raise the American Flag.
  • Attend a parade.
  • Visit a local veterans cemetery.
  • Attend a memorial service.
  • Visit a battlefield.
  •  Honor the National Day of Remembrance - In 2000, Congress addressed the fact that many Americans simply use Memorial Day as a day to eat burgers. They created the National Moment to make sure our troops are honored. At 3 p.m. on Memorial Day, every American is asked to pause for just one minute to honor the fallen.
    • full list of Memorial Day traditions found here.
A southern Soul

So, whether we are celebrating the birth of baby or one of our nations important holidays, I hope we can stop and truly remember what that special time is about.  For me, it's about spending time with family and friends making memories that will last a lifetime.
Happy Memorial Day, friends…this Southern Soul is counting her blessings.
A Southern Soul
Tomato Pie with Cheese & Pesto
4-5 large tomatoes
1 pie shell

1/3 cup of thinly sliced sweet onions
1/4 cup basil pesto
1/3 cup mozzarella cheese - shredded
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese - grated
4-5 large basil leaves - sliced into thin strips
1/2 cup good quality mayo - not salad dressing
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

  • Slice 4-5 tomatoes with skin on and place on paper towels to drain - about an hour or longer if you have time.
  • Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Roll out pie dough and place in pie or tart pan and trim edges.  Prick pie shell to prevent rising.  Bake for 8 minutes, remove from oven and let cool for about 20 min.
  • Layer onion on bottom of pie shell then sprinkle on grated mozzarella and Parmesan cheese to form an even layer.
  • Spread pesto over cheeses.
  • Layer half the tomatoes over pesto in a circular pattern overlapping.
  • Mix mayo with grated cheddar cheese and spread on top of tomatoes. 
  • Sprinkle on fresh basil.
  • Layer remaining tomatoes over basil.  
  • Bake at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes minutes.  If the edges get brown early, put a pie ring on top or use a homemade one made out of tinfoil.
  • Remove pie from oven and sprinkle on additional Parmesan cheese.
  • Allow pie to rest at least 30 minutes, sprinkle on basil, slice and serve.
A Southern Soul