St. Simons Island is for lovers

by Eva Felis on February 27, 2015

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St. Simons Iland-7221

Hello friends! I would like to send you into your weekend with some pictures of my days on St. Simons Island earlier this month. But even if your precious free days are already over and you are sitting at your desk over a cup of almost tolerable coffee… Stay tuned the next weekend is certain to come and help is on the way.
When it comes to Valentine’s Day, Mr. F and I don’t do those things couples are supposed to do (at least in the opinion of the marketing industry), like buying gifts and cards. If one of those ‘holidays’ is coming up, we usually plan something fun. However it was more a coincidence that the day for lovers fell on an extended weekend this year.

St. Simons Island is a four and a half hour drive away from Atlanta, which is not that bad, we spend the time talking, snacking and listening to music and podcasts. Most of the beaches in Georgia are very pet friendly and you don’t need a leash during off-season. Lily loves that, she turns from grandma to puppy as soon as she smells the sea. St. Simons Island is also for dog lover.

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One of the attractions on St. Simons Island is Fort Frederica built in 1736. Although the fort itself is rather small, the remains of the village and the beautiful area with the enormous and mystic oak trees draped in Spanish moss is beautiful. This area is a National Monument and is also dog friendly.

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The sea breeze give you an appetite and we had some great meals on St. Simons Island. One day we stopped at Southern Soul BBQ, almost famished after a long walk on the beach. These guys serve the best BBQ I had in a while.

st. simons island_south soul bbq_ Collage


 

marzipan budino with caramelized applesauce

by Eva Felis on February 23, 2015

marzipan budino caramelized applesauce-2101

Atlanta had its share of winter weather alerts and cold fronts this year. We experienced some freezing nights alternated with spring-like days. I enjoyed the few warm afternoons outside, eagerly soaking up enough sun to compensate for the rain, ice and snow. And there is one more thing that brought me through the winter, the thought of Italy and creamy budino. Think of budino as my rewarding system, one time walking the dog with icy wind on my face, leads in one budino and that’s just fair. Imagine I add rain to this and hello two bowls of budino. This is how ugly winter weather works for me.
Budino is nothing else than pudding hiding behind an Italian name. Hmm, but if I think about that, in my world it’s not my everyday kind of pudding, more a fancy pants bonne bouche. I topped this one with pureed caramelized apples slices, a fruity sauce balances so nicely with the decadent marzipan which I am craving especially in the colder months. If you don’t want to go the extra step, use unsweetened apple sauce and add honey or maple syrup to your liking.
   marzipan budino caramelized applesauce-2077
marzipan budino with caramelized applesauce
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 500 ml / 2 cups + 2 Tbsp. milk (2% is fine but whole milk is better)
  • 200 g / 7 oz. marzipan, roughly chopped
  • 60g / 4 Tbsp. raw (turbinado) sugar
  • 3 egg yolks from large eggs
  • 2 ½ Tbsp. cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp. fine sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp. amaretto liqueur
  • whipped cream for serving
Instructions
  1. Over medium high heat in a heavy-bottom saucepan bring the milk and the marzipan to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Whisk until the marzipan is dissolved in the milk. In a medium size bowl, blend together the sugar and the cornstarch and whisk in the egg yolks until smooth.
  2. To temper the marzipan mixture into the eggs, add a cup of the milk to the yolk slurry, whisking constantly, then pouring the egg mixture back into the pan. Bring this mixture to a boil, and keep whisking as the custard thickens.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and add the butter and the amaretto liqueur, stir until the butter is melted. Pour the custard through a fine-mesh sieve placed over a medium bowl, this will remove any egg pieces.
  4. Portion the custard into dessert bowls and cover with plastic wrap, pressed directly on the budino to prevent developing a skin and chill the custard for at least 3 hours.
  5. To serve, pour on a layer of caramelized applesauce, add a dollop of whipped cream.
Notes
caramelized applesauce
4 Tbsp. turbinado sugar
2 Tbsp. water
2-3 large apples, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
½ tsp. lemon zest

In a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar and the water. Cook, without stirring, until the sugar is firstly dissolved into syrup and then turned into caramel.
Add the apples and lemon zest. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender and slightly broken down. If the mixture starts to get dry, add the some water. I pureed the sauce but you that's totally up to you.
 marzipan budino caramelized applesauce-2096
 marzipan budino caramelized applesauce-7150

 

kung pao brussels sprouts

by Eva Felis on February 11, 2015

Kung Pao brussel sprouts-2037

I can’t believe it’s already two years ago since I moved to Atlanta. It gladdens me that it feels like home to me by now. One of the first things I learned is, Southerners are big in eating and enjoying good food. Restaurants are on every corner, new ones seem to pop up every week and recommendations where and what to eat, are given by everyone at every occasion. At the beginning I lost track and I started to write all this down. Yes it’s that overwhelming and almost insane. If someone comes to Atlanta and reports he hadn’t had good food, he did it wrong.

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One of the restaurants on top of my list is Gunshow in Glenwood Park on the east side of Atlanta owned by Kevin Gillespie. I never saw Mr. Gillespie on TV but you might have seen him on Topchef? I have to say I am intrigued by the restaurant concept, serving dishes dim sum style, imagine the food drives by your table and you can chose what looks good to you. Instead of picking from a menu and ordering a pig in a poke. Also the weekly changing dishes sound exciting and Southern food with an international twist, yes please. And here comes the downside, I share this opinion with most of my fellow Atlantans. You must be very lucky to get a table and forget about next weekend or the weekend after and later and… This is why Gunshow still remains on top of my have-to-try-list. So you can imagine my excitement seeing Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts in one of the latest issue of Bon Appétit. How about bringing some Gunshow food home?

Kung Pao brussel sprouts-2018

In fact I would have tried this recipe anyways, roasted Brussels sprouts in a spicy glaze sounds too good to miss. Kung Pao or Gong Bao is usually a Chinese chicken dish and a favorite take out around here. It’s a little sweet and a little tangy but hot as hell. My version is pleasantly spicy, much milder than usually, but go easy on the peppers if you are sensitive to spicy food. This recipe makes a side dish for four but then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll eat them all by myself.

Kung Pao brussel sprouts-2021

kung pao brussels sprouts
 
Author:
Cuisine: Chinese
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts
  • 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil, devided (I used peanut oil)
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 -2 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tsp. ginger, peeled and minced
  • ½ tsp. Sriracha sauce (see notes)
  • ⅛ cup soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 3 dried chili peppers, lightly crushed (see notes)
  • 60 ml / ¼ cup water
  • a small handful peanuts, roasted, coarsely chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss Brussels sprouts with 2 tablespoons oil, salt and pepper and roast, stirring once or twice. They should be deep golden brown, crisp outside and tender inside, 25 to 30 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Make a cornstarch slurry by dissolving the starch in 1-2 tsp. cold water. Set aside.
  3. In a medium sized pan over medium-high heat, add the remaining tablespoon of oil garlic and ginger and cook until the garlic is fragrant and soft, 1-2 minutes. Do not let it brown.
  4. Add Sriracha sauce, soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar, chili peppers and 60 ml / ¼ cup water, and bring to a boil.
  5. Add cornstarch slurry and simmer until thickened and any starchy taste has been cooked away.
  6. Toss Brussels sprouts in the pan and serve sprinkled with peanuts.
Notes
Most of the changes evolve from what I had on hand: I used dried Tien Tsin Chiles instead of chile de árbol.
Add more Sriracha sauce if you like, but stop before your hair catches fire. If you have sambal oelek use this.
I also used honey roasted peanuts (because I used all of the plain peanuts for phad thai the other day) and I actually liked the extra sweetness very much.

Kung Pao brussel sprouts-2023

Kung Pao brussel sprouts-2055

 


 

roasted chicken breasts with honey, rosemary and red wine

by Eva Felis on January 31, 2015

chicken breast, red wine, honey

 

Thanks to the minimal hands on time, roasting a chicken is one of my favorite weeknight dinners. And on the other hand you prepare a comforting meal for one or two more days to come. Having said this however my enthusiasm for the chicken breast was rather limited and I only found it interesting bathed in sauces. Claiming a juicy leg of a roasted chicken made just so much more sense. While the dark meat needs longer to cook, the white parts are done, already low in fat and tend to dry out. Until recently this was accepted in my house without objection and used as an excuse to mess around with condiments. I wouldn’t go that far and say, whole chicken days are over, but these roasted chicken breasts with honey, rosemary and red wine are a much faster and not less enjoyable approach to satisfy my hunger. I actually used red wine in this recipe because I opened a bottle and could not enjoy this one, but wasn’t willing to give up on it either. I am sure white wine might also work just fine. If you join me in with the red wine use a light bodied, less tannin like Zinfandel or Pinot Noir. While shopping for the chicken breasts look for rather smaller ones, they cook even faster.

 

chicken breast, red wine, honey-2002

roasted chicken breasts with honey, rosemary and red wine
 
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 4 ½ pounds (about 4-6) split chicken breasts bone-in, skin-on
  • 2 ½ Tbsp. honey
  • 2 + 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. lime juice
  • ½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 dried bay leave
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat your oven to 200 C / 400F.
  2. Trim any visible fat and excess skin from the chicken breasts. Pat them dry and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a large (oven-safe) pan over medium-high heat, add chicken breasts skin-side down and sauté until browned, this takes about 5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile mix the honey, remaining 2 Tbsp. olive oil, lime juice, Worcestershire sauce and rosemary.
  5. Turn the browned chicken breasts skin side up and brush with honey mix. Add the bay leave and pour the red wine around the chicken (but not over).
  6. Roast in the oven for 15 – 25 minutes depending on the size, until the interior is no longer pink and a thermometer inserted at the thickest part shows 70 C / 160F.
  7. Transfer the chicken breasts to a serving plate and cover with aluminum foil to keep them warm.
  8. Pour the red wine with the juices through a fine strainer into a saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until thickens and syrup like. Glaze the chicken breast before serving with the wine reduction.

 


 

lemony red beet and sweet potato soup

by Eva Felis on January 22, 2015

red beet + sweet potato-soup

You can’t beat a bowl of hot soup on a cold winter’s day. That’s what they say. Although only the calendar says it’s winter, yet it’s feels like spring in Atlanta these days. I’ll take it and this soup too. If red velvet cake would be a soup, it would be this red beet and sweet potato soup! This is one of the best vegetable soups I’ve ever made. It is thick and silky and the flavor is outstanding. Holy red – look at this color!

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candied pear slices

by Eva Felis on January 14, 2015

candied pears

Recently I found candied pear pieces in my baby spinach salad, in good company with pecans and crumbled gorgonzola. After I picked and enjoyed all the sweet pieces, piled up on my fork with the nuts and cheese, it came to my mind, what if the pieces would be slices and the thin sugar coating would be a thicker candy like cover? That would be dessert. You see I didn’t spend a second thought about the greens… This is how my brain works. Read more >>


 

2015

by Eva Felis on January 3, 2015

2015 happy new year

Happy New Year!

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quickly pickled red onions

by Eva Felis on November 27, 2014

quickly pickled red onions-4

Quickly pickled red onions saved me from going through my life without the joy of this layered vegetable all together. I had missed onions, not talking about their side effects like bad breath and daylong aftertaste, both goes hand in hand with a overdose of breath mints. But you have to give me that, they complete a stew and a few onion rings look very good on your burger. When I started cooking on my own, peeling onions had been almost always a part of the process. All this changed with Mr. F in my life, who is not eating any kind of onions and suddenly I find myself going through onion-free weeks unintentionally. Most of the time it’s convenience and here is how this quickly pickled red onions join the game. Read more >>


 

pan-fried kale, cannellini beans with salami

by Eva Felis on November 17, 2014

tangy kale, white bean, salami_-5

 

Although I already live in the big ATL, urban getaways are still on the top of my list. Last weekend I got the opportunity to spend a few days in Nashville, TN and I was all in. If you think about Nashville and think nothing but country music, you have no idea what you are missing out. For sure Nashville is called Music City not without a (damn good) reason but this city also offers an amazing wide range of restaurants with outstanding Southern cuisine, trendy shops, thriving neighborhoods, cozy coffee shops and of cause honky tonks with all day and night live music. But this here is not a tourist guide, this is about the great dinner I had at City House which inspired me to this pan-fried kale, cannellini beans with salami. Imagine one half of your parents is from Italy and the other from the Southern US and you have a knack for cocktails, this is what dinner at City House looks like.

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stuffed cabbage

by Eva Felis on November 3, 2014

stuffed cabbage-3Last weekend a cold front from Canada had approached and lived up to its promise for snow in the Appalachian Mountains and yet unusual cold weather for us in Atlanta. I wouldn’t dare to say this out loud, but I had been waiting for that. I should mention to my defense, I am not getting excited about cold feet and icy cold wind. Not at all! On the other hand how does wrapping up in a blanket, hot tea and a good book sound to you? Cozy and comforting! That’s what I am talking about. There is just one thing missing to complete the picture, hearty food the way my mum makes it. I had stuffed cabbage on my mind for weeks, indeed I had been eagerly anticipating cooler weather. Stuffed cabbage may not sound that sexy but they look promising on your plate and they are very satisfying in your belly. This recipe takes a little more effort than the usual dinner preparation but it’s just two more steps and its not complicated at all. Read more >>