Category Archives: Charleston

Spicy Beef Chili n’ Cheddar Cheese Grits

When it comes to grits, you either love them or think you hate them.  Personally, I have a serious soft spot for grits.  I was once among the crowds that thought I hated them, but it wasn’t until I went down south that I realized they are so much more than the bland instant breakfast kind that is often thought of.  

More specifically, stone ground grits. They are so good, that when prepared the right way, they melt in your mouth like buttery mashed potatoes.  And as a bonus: easy to make.

In Charleston, the most irresistibly delicious variations are just about everywhere you go.  Most commonly you’ll see Shrimp & Grits on the menu, which is a low-country staple — so. heavenly. delicious.  Instead of the classic I thought I’d go for a get-through-the-last-few-weeks-of-wintery-blues dish.   Chunky beef chili over creamy cheddar grits. Comfort food at it’s finest!

You can’t find yellow stone ground grits everywhere, but they can be can ordered online at several different places if you live in an area that doesn’t sell them at the local grocery store.

Cheddar Cheese Grits

(Cooking tip: Grits need a lot of salt to help bring out the flavors.  If your grits taste good, but need just a little boost to make them delicious, you probably need to add more salt)

  •  1 ½ cup Yellow Stone Ground Grits
  • 2 cans chicken broth
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 6 tbs butter
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated yourself

Bring the milk and chicken stock to a boil in a medium saucepan. Slowly stir in the grits and salt and bring back to a boil.  Cover, turn down the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes (or until grits are tender), stirring occasionally to prevent the grits from burning on the bottom.   Once grits are tender, stir in butter and half & half, season with pepper and salt (a lot of salt!) and then turn off heat and stir in cheese.

Spicy Beef Chili

  • 1 lb beef shoulder or other beef for stew, cubed
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can chicken broth
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbs ancho chili powder
  • ¼ tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • a dash of Worcestershire
  • a dash of hot sauce
  • olive oil
  • salt/pepper

Heat a few spoonfuls of olive oil in a large dutch oven or soup pot, on high heat.  Season beef cubes with salt and pepper on all sides and add to pan.  Sear the beef on add sides until nice and brown.  Remove beef from pan when browned.

Add onions and jalapenos to pot and saute, while scraping up all the brown bits on the bottom of the pan (that is where a lot of your flavor comes from).  Saute until the onions are softened and then add garlic. Cook for a minute more.  Add all of the spices and cook for another minute.  Add brown sugar, tomato paste, Worcestershire, hot sauce and incorporate into the spices.  Last, return the beef back to the pot, add the chicken stock and tomatoes and bring to a boil (ensure the chicken stock covers all of the beef completely — if not, add a little water).  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour.  Add the beans and cook for about 30 minutes to one hour more or until your beef is tender and pulls apart with a fork. 

Serve over grits and with additional cheese if desired.

2 Comments

Filed under All Posts, Beef, Charleston, Great for a barbeque, Recipes, Side Dishes, Soups & Stews, Southern Specialties, Uncategorized

Fran’s Pimento Cheese BLT

This year so far has been quite the whirlwind for me, as you’ve probably noticed by the sparse postings.  But, I’m going to try to redeem myself with this next little number.  This is the kind of thing that will make you stop in your tracks and forget about any other sandwich you’ve ever eaten — especially for a four-month along pregnant woman!

This sandwich came from my dear friend Francesca who I met during my days of living in Charleston.  We hit it off immediately after we discovered our common love for food.  She loves to cook; I love to eat.  She is from the South; I love fried chicken and biscuits.  She provides me with delicious recipes; I immediately drop everything I’m doing – can’t stop -won’t stop – got-to-have-this-sandwich, stat!   We’re a match made in heaven.

So here it is folks.  I guarantee you it’s knock-your-socks-off delicious:

Lightly toasted sourdough with a heaping spoonful of homemade pimento cheese, smokey crisp bacon, fresh arugula and thick sliced tomatoes.  Three words: Oh. my. goooosh!

Fran’s Pimento Cheese

  • Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese, 8 oz block
  • 2 slices American Cheese
  • 1 small jar diced Pimentos
  • 2 tbsp Duke’s mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • ground red pepper, to taste
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Roughly cut the cheddar cheese into small cubes and place in food processor with American cheese.  Pulse until crumbled.

Add mayo and sour cream, seasoning and half the jar of pimentos (with a couple of splashes of the juice).

Pulse until combined (ensuring not to overdo it – you do not want a pasty consistency).

Remove from chopper and pour into a storage container-stir in the rest of the pimentos (juice if it is too thick).  Check seasoning.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to merge flavors and thicken.

Fran’s Pimento Cheese BLT

  • two slices thick sourdough, slightly toasted
  • heaping spoonful pimento cheese
  • Applewood smoked bacon
  • 2-3 tomato slices
  • Arugula

Assemble sandwich by spreading pimento cheese on the bottom slice, add arugula, tomatoes and bacon.

5 Comments

Filed under All Posts, Appetizers and the likes, Charleston, Recipes, Sandwich Craft

Carolina Red Rice

I am no history guru — but I do know Charleston receives much attention for being the starting point of the infamous Rebels and Yankees, Civil War.  But what everyone doesn’t realize is that in the 18 century the city served as a major shipping port for rice, which was cultivated in the surrounding plantations — including Middleton Place, where we said our “I do’s”!  (And that’s how you turn history into food talk, folks!)  But I truly never realized how delicious rice in the Low Country region is until I was introduced to: Carolina Plantation Rice.  Mildly sweet and slightly nutty flavors make this aromatic rice distinctively pleasing to the palate.  

One of the best pieces of advice I will ever give you:  always ensure you have plenty of southern confederates on hand who keep your rice commodities fully stocked — because trust me when I tell you that once you ally with Carolina rice, you will never turn back!  Until then, you can find it  Here (along with some great recipes)! 

  • 1 cup white rice
  • 4 strips of bacon
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1/2 green bell pepper
  • 1 – 1/2 cup stewed tomatoes
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp Tabasco
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • salt and pepper

Cook bacon in sauté pan until browned, but not too crisp.  Remove and drain on paper towel. Add onions and bell pepper to the pan and cook in the bacon grease until soft.  Add tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, Tabasco, salt, pepper.  Add bacon back to the pan with the rice.  Ensure rice is emerged completely in liquid (you may have to add water if not) and bring to a boil.  Once the rice begins to boil cover and turn heat down. Simmer for about 25-30 minutes or until rice is cooked.

5 Comments

Filed under All Posts, Charleston, Favorite Finds, Side Dishes, Southern Specialties, Uncategorized

A Taste of Charleston

There are two essential things you must always bring with you when visiting Charleston: sunblock and an eat-all-you-can-eat-until-you-can’t-eat-anymore attitude.  Charleston is without doubt my all-time favorite food city.  When friends asked me for suggestions on what to do and where to go, I couldn’t help but ramble off every possible dining room within a twenty-mile radius (while completely skipping over all of the beautiful history, shopping and beaches that also make this place so wonderful).  What really gets me excited is how you can dine with southern sophistication at restaurants serving up lavish interpretations of Lowcountry cuisine, or just as easily be seduced by a classic home cooked meal in a small inconspicuous kitchen.

Here’s a taste of what you’ll find on some of the menus:

Slightly North of Broad’s

Shrimp Bisque with Thai Curry & Blue Crab Claw Meat

  • 2 (medium) yellow onions, diced
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 3 red bell peppers, diced
  • 1 head fennel bulb (or 1/2 head celery), diced
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 qts strong shrimp stock
  • 1 lb blue crab claw meat, cleaned
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 3/4 lb butter
  • 1 tbsp red Thai curry
  • 1 qt cream
  • 1 tbsp Tabasco
  • 1 cup Madeira
  • 1 tsp white pepper

Melt butter in sauté pan, add salt and all vegetables. Sweat until tender. Add curry and stir.  Add flour to vegetables to create a roux and stir well. Whisk in shrimp stock and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Whisk in cream and simmer 5 minutes.  Saute crab meat in butter, and then add to bisque.  Add Tabasco, Madeira and white pepper – stirring to mix.  Check seasoning and adjust to taste.

 

Middleton Place Plantation’s

Corn Pudding

  • 2 cups yellow corn
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 3/4 qt heavy cream
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Place yellow corn in a greased casserole pan. Mix all other ingredients together. Pour mixture over corn and bake for 45 minutes at 350 F or until golden brown.

 

Boone Hall Plantation’s

Fried Green Tomatoes with Sour Cream Dill Sauce

Fried Green Tomatoes

  •  5-8 large green tomatoes
  • 1 cup Italian style bread crumbs
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup yellow corn meal
  • garlic salt, cayenne and pepper to taste

Egg wash

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • dash of salt

Slice tomatoes. Combine bread crumbs, cheese, flour, cornmeal and spices in large bowl.  Make egg wash in separate bowl and prepare a third bowl with the cup of flour.  Dip each tomato into the flour, egg wash and finally the breadcrumb mixture. Fry in vegetable oil at 350 F, about 2-4 minutes or until golden brown on both sides.  Drain on paper towels and serve with sour cream dill sauce.

Sour Cream Dill Sauce

  • 1 cup of sour cream
  • 1/2 cup Dukes mayo
  • 1 1/2 tbsp fresh dill
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • garlic, salt and pepper to taste

 

Sea Biscuit Cafe’s

Banana Bread

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cup over-ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup sugar

Mix dry ingredients together in bowl. Mix wet together, and blend in the dry ingredients. Bake in a well-greased loaf pan at 400 F for 10 minutes. Then turn oven to 350 F and bake for another 45 minutes.

 

Ashley Inn’s

Peaches & Cream Stuffed Waffles & Praline Sauce

Waffle Batter

  • 4 cups waffle mix
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp orange extract

Mix all together. Prepare waffles and spread 1/2 tbsp filling on waffle. Top with peach slices and fold over. Top with praline sauce and garnish with dollop of sour cream, more peach slices and sprig of mint.

Filling

  • 12 oz cream cheese
  • 1 tsp orange extract
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • Spring of mint (optional)

Whip together with electric mixer.

Praline Sauce

  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup whole pecans
  • 1/2 cup water (or maple syrup)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Combine ingredients and melt in saucepan. Add 1/2 cup water(or maple syrup) to thin and 1 cup whole pecans.

1 Comment

Filed under All Posts, Charleston, Recipes, Restaurants, Southern Specialties, Uncategorized

Sea Biscuit Cafe

Well, it’s official; I am a Mrs! Every second of this wonderful weekend was filled to the brim with good food, great friends and family, and a lot of love and laughter! 

Our wedding took place in Charleston, SC — the culinary Mecca of the South.  For those of you who have not had the chance to visit this charming city — well, let’s just say even a soon-to-be-suited-up-in-a-snug-white-dress bride couldn’t resist filling up on creamy Shrimp and Grits, tasty Fried Green Tomatoes, and the classic Charleston She Crab Soup (recipes to come!).  This part of the South truly knows how to do it right. 

My first day started off at Sea Biscuit Cafe with a homespun breakfast that was powerful enough to turn any Yankee into a grit-loving southerner within one bite.  Veering off from my normal shrimp gravy and biscuits I savored each bite of their perfectly poached eggs benedict while sneaking mouthfuls of a cinnamon crumb cake in between. 

I wish I could tell you it ended at breakfast, but this was just the beginning. I may possibly be the only bride ever known who actually gained weight on the days leading up to the big day.  But as my bridesmaid Kristi would say: when in Rome! 

Stay tuned for some of my favorite Lowcountry recipes!

1 Comment

Filed under Charleston, Favorite Finds, Restaurants, Uncategorized

Red, White and Blue Cheese Coleslaw

In preparation of one of my most favorite holidays, I will be sharing some fun and delicious ideas for your festive backyard barbeque.  I first learned of Bleu Cheese Coleslaw in Charleston, SC where it can be found as a side on just about every menu.  Some prefer eating it with a spoon, and others like it as an addition to their burgers and dogs.  My favorite way to eat this creamy and tangy slaw is atop a juicy hotdog with a drizzle of Dijon mustard.  You be the judge.

Boathouse Bleu Cheese Coleslaw

Coleslaw

  • 2 heads green cabbage
  • 1/2 red onion chopped
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • crumbled bleu cheese, to taste

Dressing

  • 4 cups mayo
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 1 cup half & half
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt, to taste
  • cayenne pepper, to taste

In large bowl combine cabbage, carrot, onion, and bleu cheese.  In another large bowl stir together mayo, sour cream, half & half, balsamic, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Blend together throughly.  Pour dressing over slaw ingredients and mix well until evenly distributed.

(Derived from The Boathouse restaurant on Isle of Plams, SC

4 Comments

Filed under All Posts, Charleston, Great for a barbeque, Holidays - 4th of July, Recipes