Friday, September 5, 2014

Farmers Market Recipes & Tips

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If you've been reading this blog for very long, you know what a fan I am of shopping at farmers markets.  I love wandering down the aisles, checking out locally grown produce, tasting fresh breads, cheeses and other homemade foods.  I often run into friends who have baskets full of beautiful ingredients and love to discuss how we will turn them into something special for dinner.  I have learned so much from the farmers and vendors at our market, like how to best store their fresh grown food and also, how they like to cook & serve what they grow.
I've had the pleasure of being a part of several fun and special events at the market was a volunteer.  The people I've worked with have become not only my friends but have been encouraging, supportive and some of the best cheerleaders for A Southern Soul.
So, this Saturday, I will be up early with my market basket in hand because it's Farmers Appreciation Day!  I hope that wherever you live, I encourage you to get up and head out to your local market.  It's the perfect time to enjoy all the wonderful flavors of summer…

Farmers Market Recipes & Tips

~ This is a great chart to help you know when your favorite produce will be in the market ~

~ Check out this link on how to store your fresh finds ~
~ How to Master Your Local Farmers Market is a helpful post if you are not used to shopping there ~

~ Fresh peaches are still available and this recipe shows off summers sweetest fruit ~

~Tomatoes are in season!  This is the easiest salsa recipe EVER ~

~ Make sure to pick up lots of fresh veggies like zucchini & onions, then head out to the grill ~

~ Last but not least, I always pick up a bouquet of fresh flowers from my favorite friends ~
Have a wonderful, tasty, beautiful weekend everyone!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Grilled Chicken Tostadas with Charred Onion & Tomato Salsa

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We've had beautiful weather here over the past few days, so of course, we are grilling and dining alfresco.  This was also the first week of school and I wanted to prepare an easy, tasty dinner so that our family could spend as much time as possible lingering at the table sharing about their day.  It took just a few minutes to come up with my menu due to a stocked pantry and fridge ~ grilled chicken tostadas, sauteed black beans, grilled onion & tomato salsa and fresh fruit.
I set the table with fun colorful place mats (I found them at the Dollar Store and all 4 were just $1.00!), a combination of white and striped napkins, a few candles and a little bit of greenery from the yard. It was welcoming and happy.
Lastly, I lit the torches to keep away the "spoilers", made the salsa, grated cheese, shredded some lettuce and got a few other extras ready.  A menu that packed a little heat and spice, with fresh summer flavors thrown in along with great conversation and lot's of laughter…it was a glorious end to the day.
Grilled Chicken Tostadas
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 packet taco seasoning
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
juice of 1 lemon or 2 limes
1 large onion - cut into thick slices
  • Place chicken in a zip lock bag.
  • Mix next 4 ingredients together in a small measuring cup.
  • Pour over chicken making sure pieces are totally covered in marinade.
  • Add onion to bag.
  • Let marinate in fridge for 2 to 4 hours.
  • 30 minutes before cooking, remove chicken to kitchen counter.
  • Heat grill to medium high.  Oil grates with vegetable oil.
  • Cook chicken until done and slightly charred.  Remove from grill and let rest for 10 minutes.
  • Slice chicken, across the grain and place on warm tortillas.  Add shredded cheese, lettuce, sour cream and salsa if desired.
Grilled Onion & Tomato Salsa
1 onion marinated and grilled
1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup pickled jalapeƱos - chopped
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
pinch of salt
  • Roughly chop grilled onions.
  • In a small bowl, add all ingredients and gently mix.  
  • Serve on tostadas, tacos or with chips.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Brown Sugar & Cream Cheese Pound Cake

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Whew!  It's been a crazy summer for our household which I'm sure you'd already guessed, since I've been missing for a few days here and there.  There are times that unexpected events in our lives take over and you just have to focus on the people in your life, be present and work through whatever you are presented with.
During those days when it was a little hard see through the fog, I found a way to help make the day seem a little brighter...cake!  I've always enjoyed experimenting with different recipes for pound cake and this one has proven to be a winner.  The original recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks, Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking.
I changed it just a tad and it came out wonderful.  I hope you'll give this yummy pound cake a try but remember…you don't have to have a bad day to eat cake!

Brown Sugar & Cream Cheese Pound Cake

1 8-ounce package cream cheese - softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter - softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar - packed
5 large eggs - room temperature
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Butter and flour a 10-inch tube pan, bundt pan or 2 loaf pans
  • Add cream cheese, butter and sugars to mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  • Add eggs one at a time, mixing well about, 1minute after each egg.
  • Sift together flour, baking soda and salt.
  • Combine buttermilk and vanilla in a small measuring cup and stir.
  • Alternate adding flour and milk to butter/egg batter - starting and stopping with flour.
  • Pour batter into buttered, floured tube or bundt pan.
  • Bake for approximately 1 hour or up to 1:15 hours.  Check if done with a cake tester or wooden skewer.
  • Let cool for 15 minutes then gently remove from pan.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Berry Sangria

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July is National Berry Month and I've had the privilege of working with Driscoll, producers of delicious berries and Rios de Chile Winery to create a new recipe for summer.
I've had so many ideas bouncing around in my head on how to use these flavorful ingredients.  Salads, glazes for meats and maybe even a BBQ sauce but I finally decided on Sangria.
The rich Cabernet Sauvignon from Rios combined with the fresh, sweet berries from Driscoll are the perfect marriage for a pitcher of liquid happiness!
Even though July has come to an end, berries are easily available so pick up a bottle of Rios Cab, grab a pitcher and start stirring.  All you need to add is a few good friends and you are ready for a great time!
Berry Sangria
1 bottle red wine- Rios Cabernet 
1 cup raspberries
1 cup strawberries - halved
1 cup blackberries
1 lemon - sliced
2 limes - sliced
1 oz. grand mariner 
1/4 cup of simple syrup (1 tablespoon of sugar can be substituted)
1 bottle club soda
  • In a large picture add wine, berries. citrus slices grand mariner & simple syrup.
  • Place in refriderator to chill - at least 2 hours.
  • When ready to serve, pour chilled club soda into pitcher and stir gently.
  • Serve in chilled glasses with mint garnish.
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Monday, July 28, 2014

Iced Coffe Recipes & Ideas

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I love a big, hot cup of coffee but when the weather turns warm, I gotta go COLD!  I love iced coffee and have it stocked in my fridge ready to goevery morning.  Here's how I make my cold cup of joe along with several other recipes and ideas for serving iced coffee…

My iced coffee recipe for the perfect combination of java and vanilla is here.

This idea is so simple and it packs a punch!  Coffee Iced Cubes with a little condensed milk.

Coffee, vanilla and ice cream?  Oh, yes please…thanks Barefoot Contessa for the recipe.

I love this idea for an Iced Coffee Bar!  I think Celebrations at Home got this one just right...
For me, there is happiness in that cup, mug, tumbler or glass filled with delicious dark coffee.  When you add a few extra special things…well then, I turn into that person who can make everyone else happy! 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Blackberry Peach Skillet Pie

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Blackberries and peaches are in season!  I bought some of each over the weekend and I've been scheming on what I would do with them.  I finally decided on pie that turns out to be part cobbler, part crumble with a little bit of pie.
A Southern Soul
With fruit that's so fresh and delicious, just know that you won't be able to cut this dish into nice pretty slices…just get a big 'ol spoon and scoop some up, making sure to grab some of the crunchy crust.  This is one easy, delicious dessert that's worthy of any of the fresh fruits of summer
Blackberry Peach Skillet Pie
1 quart of fresh blueberries
2 fresh peaches - peeled and sliced
1/4 cup sugar
1 prepared pie crust
1/4 cup of butter - 1/2 stick
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
large pinch of salt
A Southern Soul
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a medium size bowl, add blackberries, peaches and sugar - toss to coat, set aside.
  • Butter bottom and sides of skillet.
  • Gently roll out pie crust into prepared skillet.
  • Using a slotted spoon, place fruit over pie crust.
  • In a medium size bowl, add flour, sugar and salt. 
  • Cut butter into small cubes and add to sugar mixture.  Mix together with a fork or your fingers until it resembles a crumble.
  • Sprinkle mixture over fruit.
  • Place skillet into oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes.  If outside crust gets brown, cover with foil.  
  • When fruit begins to bubble, turn oven to broil.  Watch carefully until crumble is brown and crunchy.
  • Let rest for 15 minutes.  Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Tomato Cucumber Summer Salad

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Hey friends!  I hope you're having a great summer.  I know I've been missing for a while and I'm so sorry.  Life took over and challenged me with some big events.  I'll share that story shortly but in the mean time, if you are looking for a delicious salad that's loaded with all the fresh flavors of summer…well, here it is!
Tomato Cucumber Summer Salad | A Southern Soul
I made this dish a few weeks ago for a big event in our neighborhood and I served it at our 4th of July celebration.  Both times it was a huge hit.  It's simple, beautiful and is perfect for outdoor dining.  I hope you'll head out to your local farmers market and pick up some vine ripe tomatoes, fresh cucumbers & onions and make this incredible fresh summer salad!
Cucumber & Onion Refrigerator Pickles | A Southern Soul
Tomato Cucumber Summer Salad
3 - 4 large tomatoes - sliced
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (I marinated the feta in olive oil & red pepper flakes for extra taste)
1/2 cup basil leaves - cut into strips
1 cup Cucumber and Onion Refrigerator Pickles ~ click on link for recipe
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
olive oil
Kosher salt
fresh cracked pepper
  • Layer sliced tomatoes on a large platter.
  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Using a large fork or tongs, gently drain cucumbers & pickles then spread down middle of tomatoes.
  • Crumble feta cheese over vegetables.
  • Sprinkle fresh basil over cheese.
  • Drizzle with fresh lemon juice and olive oil.
  • Finish with a light sprinkle of salt and pepper.
  • Chill in fridge until ready to serve.
Summer Salad | A Southern Soul
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