Southern Divas of the New South Dinner Series!

We’re Back!

Chef Jennifer Booker Cookbook

 

The ladies are back with the fall installment of the Southern Divas™ of The New South seated dinner, demonstration, and conversation. 

Join French-trained Southern chef Jennifer Hill Booker and James Beard Award-winning cookbook author Cynthia Graubart as they explore what the New South looks like through the eyes of two female chefs. They will share their modern interpretation of Southern classics, present the elegance of the South, its communal nature, and the abundance of local products.
The menu for the evening will be:
· Southern Tapas
· Southern Sweet Tea Cocktail
· Collard Green Salad with Pecan and Cider Vinaigrette
· End of Summer Succotash
· Bourbon Barbecued Chicken
· Warm Sweet Potato Salad
· Southern Divas Cake Parade™
WS Chocolate cake
. . .  featuring Apple Spice Cake, Pound Cake, Orange Cake, Coca-Cola Cake, Red Velvet Cake, Caramel Cake and Yellow Cake with cooked Chocolate Frosting

Seats are limited so register early for this one-of-a-kind event.

Reserve yours today at Cook’s Warehouse Midtown 404*815*4993

Magic Beans

Anatomy of a Classic: French-Style Succotash

Garden & Gun Succotash Screen Shot

BY KIM SEVERSON – GEORGIA – JUNE/JULY 2016

Butter beans and bacon blend with tarragon and cream in a Georgia chef’s French-accented succotash

Jennifer Hill Booker cooks in the place where the South meets France. She arrived there on a trail that took her from a Mississippi Delta farm to culinary school in Oklahoma and then, by virtue of her marriage to a military man, a year studying at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. The result was her cookbook, Field Peas to Foie Gras: Southern Recipes with a French Accent, published in 2014.

“Southern and French food really are different sides of the same coin,” Booker says from her home in Lilburn, Georgia, the Atlanta suburb where she raises two teenage daughters and works as a personal chef and caterer. “The French love their pig just like we do. And they don’t throw away anything. If you’re a farmer or rely on the land for your food, you are very careful with what you do with it.”

That’s one reason why succotash, the classic mix of beans and corn that makes great use of two of summer’s most prolific crops, is a staple in her kitchen, though it wasn’t always. As a child, she never really liked the dish—at least when it appeared studded with waxy lima beans. (“I still dislike them,” she says.) But she had grown up eating tender butter beans cooked with salt pork or pieces of smoked ham. One summer day, Booker realized she could use them to reclaim succotash, and give it a nice French twist, too.

Succotash has always been the most adaptive of recipes. An early version of it was most likely on the table at the pilgrims’ Thanksgiving, courtesy of their Native American guests, and some credit the Narragansett word for broken corn kernels—sohquttahhash—for giving the dish its name. For Booker, French-style lardons of bacon echoed the salt pork her family used as seasoning. A pour of cream and plenty of soft, anise-flavored tarragon leaves add more Gallic flair. The trick is to think like a chef when chopping the vegetables. Precise knife work will result in a more beautiful dish and further elevate what is, at its heart, a humble plate of beans and corn cooked together.

“Everyone has the thing they are good at, and mine is balancing color, texture, and seasoning,” Booker says. “My grandmother and my mother always had color on the table. I just enjoy beautiful food.”

Cheers! It’s National Cocktail Day!

Have a drink on me!

Enjoy this refreshing Lavender Lemonade-perfect for Saturday sip!

 Lavender Lemonade

A refreshing drink on a hot summer’s day that quenches the thirst with or without the vodka!

Lavender Lemonade
Lavender Lemonade

Makes 2 Lavender Lemonades

Ingredients:

4 ounces Vodka

2 ounces Lavender simple syrup

1 teaspoon fresh Lavender flowers

2 ounces fresh lemon juice

1 cup Crushed Ice

4 ounces Seltzer water or Club Soda

 

Garnish:

2 Slices lemon

 

Directions:

Pour the Vodka and simple syrup into a cocktail shaker; add the lavender flowers and lemon juice.

Muddle until the lavender flowers are broken into small pieces.

Add crushed ice and shake about 10 seconds.

Strain into a chilled martini or glass or tumbler and top with club soda and garnish with a slice of lemon.

 

From Field Peas to Foie Gras: Southern Recipes with a French Accent by Jennifer Hill Booker, © 2014 Jennifer Hill Booker, used by permission of the publisher, Pelican Publishing Company, Inc.

 

Lavender Syrup

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Yields 1 ½ cups

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups fresh lavender flowers

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

 

Directions:

In a saucepan bring sugar, water and lavender to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Simmer syrup, undisturbed, 20 minutes.

Pour syrup through a fine sieve, pressing hard on solids, and cool. Syrup will thicken as it cools.

Syrup keeps, covered and chilled, 2 weeks.

 

From Field Peas to Foie Gras: Southern Recipes with a French Accent by Jennifer Hill Booker, © 2014 Jennifer Hill Booker, used by permission of the publisher, Pelican Publishing Company, Inc.

 

 

 

Fill Your Basket with Scotch Eggs this Easter

Scotch Eggs Chef Jennifer Booker - Credit Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn
Credit Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Every year, millions of people celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday. It also marks the culmination of the Lenten season, and it goes without saying that this is a very important marker for religious believers worldwide. Easter also occurs during a time in the year when our surroundings are in bloom, which falls in line with the Spring season’s ties to birth, growth and fertility.

Somewhere along the line, Easter Sunday picked up secular associations with a big bunny, egg hunts, candy and an array of pastel colors. When it comes to those long-eared hoppers, you can thank German immigrants who shared old stories of an Easter rabbit who laid eggs meant for children to find and baked cakes shaped like hares. In the 1800s, French and German candy makers fashioned chocolate eggs, which spread to various countries across Europe. Kids were encouraged to make little nests shaped like baskets for the Easter Bunny to leave his chocolate eggs. Today, we continue to follow along with these traditions. In light of imposed restrictions and denials common with Lent, indulging in candy is also a welcome treat for adults.

Tradition is a wonderful thing, but it can be exciting to try something new. Tired of dipping your eggs in dye? How about wrapping them in fresh sausage and cooking them to golden brown perfection? Dress up your Easter eggs with this classic–the Scotch egg. Popular in the United Kingdom, Scotch eggs are often served cold in pubs or cafes or packed in picnic baskets. They used to be the perfect lunch for workers whose wives transformed leftovers into a second meal or travelers picking up portable snacks for the road. Stories vary as to who may have created the first Scotch egg, although the London department store, Fortnum & Mason, claims them as their own. 

For a while, Scotch eggs were looked down upon, but lately, they’ve received welcome and deserved recognition. Unlike the basic boiled egg, Scotch eggs combine creamy yolks with seasoned, cooked meat and a crispy exterior. They are a sophisticated blend of textures and flavors. Dip these hot, fried (or baked) eggs into the accompanying tarragon mustard sauce, and you have something very special for Easter Sunday.

 

Sip Green for St. Patrick’s Day with a Basil Martini

Basil Martini St. Patrick's Day - Your Resident Gourmet
Photo credit: Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! The Emerald Isle is a magical place. If you’ve been there, you definitely know why people love it. The rolling hills, kind folks, hearty food and lively music are just a few reasons the country has such a strong hold on the hearts and souls of many. St. Patrick’s Day is the yearly marker to celebrate the history of the country’s patron saint. This year, put down the green beer, and give this naturally green martini a go.

Thanks to fresh basil and tart key lime juice, this twist on a martini is a strikingly colorful version of a traditional cocktail with an herbal note. Never made your own simple syrup? Just equal parts sugar and water, the syrup is often a main ingredient in a number of drinks, serving as a liquid sweetener that meshes well with everything in the mix. Simple syrup is easy to prepare and adapt in terms of flavors, and yes, colors, if you so choose. Use the leftovers to sweeten other cocktails, tea, or as the base of a summer lemonade. This green, slightly herbal basil martini is my ode to St. Patrick’s Day.

Basil Martini - Serves 2

Ingredients:

4 ounces American dry gin

1 ounce simple syrup (see below for recipe)*

5 small or 3 large fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish

1 ounce fresh key lime juice

1 cup crushed ice

4 ounces seltzer water or club soda

Directions:

Pour the gin and simple syrup into a cocktail shaker.

Add basil leaves and lime juice. Muddle until the basil leaves are broken into small pieces.

Add crushed ice, seal, and shake about 10 seconds.

Pour into two chilled martini glasses. Top with seltzer or club soda, and garnish with a sprig of basil.

Cheers!

 

 

Bacon . . .wrapped and cheese stuffed jalapenos! Perfect addition to your SuperBowl menu.

Smokey Bacon Wrapped Jalapenos

 Smoky Bacon Wrapped Jalapenos

Makes 6 servings

Recipe by Chef Jennifer Hill Booker

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

1/2 cup cream cheese

1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

12 jalapeno peppers

6 slices bacon cut in half thin sliced bacon works better

24 wooden toothpicks

Directions:

Preheat grill to 400*F.
Mix cream cheese and Cheddar cheese together in a bowl until evenly blended.

Cut a small hole, about the size of a quarter, in each jalapeno. Save the pieces of jalapeno you remove and leave the stems intact.

For a less spicy jalapeno: Use a small spoon, scrape out the seeds and membrane.

Fill each jalapeno with the cheese mixture.

Put the piece of jalapeno back in place and wrap each stuffed pepper with a half slice of bacon. Secure the bacon with a toothpick.

Arrange bacon-wrapped peppers on the prepared grill

Grill until bacon is crispy, about 10 minutes, turning throughout the grilling process.

 

 

Grilled Jerk Chicken Wings: Super Food for the Super Bowl!

Jerk Wings

Grilled Jerk Chicken Wings

 

Yields 8 servings

Recipe by Chef Jennifer Hill Booker

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

 

Ingredients:

Jerk Marinade

1 small onion, peeled

3 scallions, green and white parts

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

4 large garlic cloves

3 Scotch bonnet chilies, seeds removed

¼ cup fresh lime juice

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon sea salt

¼ cup packed brown sugar

2 teaspoons ground allspice

1 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper

¾ teaspoon freshly grated ginger

½ teaspoon cinnamon

 

16 whole chicken wings

 

Directions:

Preheat grill to 400*F.

Place onion, scallions, thyme, garlic, scotch bonnet, lime juice, vegetable oil, salt, brown sugar, allspice, black pepper, and cinnamon in a food processor and puree until it resembles a smooth paste.

Place chicken wings in a large Ziploc bag and coat with the marinade. You can save any unused marinade in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Just make sure it doesn’t come in contact with the raw chicken or anything (including your hands) that has touched the raw wings.

Seal bag and refrigerate overnight to 24 hours.

Remove chicken from the refrigerator and allow to temper for 20 minutes at room temperature.

Place wings on the hottest side of the grill and cook until well browned on all sides, about 3-5 minutes.

Move chicken to cooler side of the grill, cover with lid or an aluminum pan, and continue to cook until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes more.

Remove from grill, allow to rest for 5 minutes and enjoy with a cold drink!

Spice Up Your Holidays!

Spice up your Holidays!

Try this Simple & Delicious Spiced Wine Recipe.

Chef Jennifer Booker Cookbook

Rich full-bodied wine, fragrant spices and fresh citrus makes this Spiced Wine a real holiday treat!

Spiced Wine

Yields 6 healthy servings

Ingredients:

1 bottle full-bodied red wine

½ cup dark brown sugar

1 orange, zest only

1 lemon, zest only

3 black peppercorns, crushed

2 cardamom pods, crushed

1 cinnamon stick

2 cloves

1/2 cup kirsch

 

Garnish:

12 cinnamon sticks

Directions:

In a large saucepan, combine the red wine with the sugar, the orange and lemon zests, peppercorns, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick and cloves.

Over moderate heat, slowly bring the wine to a very low simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

Remove from the heat, strain out the zest and spices; and stir in the kirsch.

Ladle the spiced wine into heatproof glasses, garnish with cinnamon sticks, and serve hot.

 

Turkey 911: Helpful Tips for the Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey . . EVER!

RoastedTurkey

Here are few tips from chef and author of Southern cookbook, Field Peas to Foie Gras: Southern Recipes with a French Accent, to help make your Thanksgiving turkey your BEST yet!

Prerequisites for Cooking the Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey

 

Number One: The temperature in your oven has to be accurate.
You might want to test your oven before the big day by simply preheating it to 250° and testing it with a cooking thermometer. Start your turkey out uncovered in a 425*F oven for 30 minutes. Cover the breast with aluminum foil and drop the temperature down to 325*F for the remainder of the cooking time. This is guarantees a turkey that is crisp outside and juicy inside.

Number Two: Your turkey has been safely and totally thawed and cleaned. The only safe way to thaw a frozen turkey is to place it in the refrigerator. Other methods such as running cold water over it or placing it in a microwave oven are not safe because of the chance of bacterial growth and food borne illness. So place your frozen bird in the refrigerator at least 2 days before the big day.

 

Number Three: Be sure to remove the neck and giblets from the inside of the turkey! Don’t laugh!  People have done this, so check both the top AND the bottom of your turkey for them. There is nothing quite as anti-climactic is carving the Thanksgiving turkey and having the bag of giblets pop out.
Number Four: Know the actual weight of the turkey. Knowing this number guarantees that you cook your turkey the right amount of time and end up with a turkey that’s golden brown, juicy, and delicious. It also helps plan the timing of your side dishes as well. A good rule of thumb to figure out when to start cooking your Thanksgiving turkey is to back track from the time you want to have it on the table.

 

Number Five: Add your dressing last. Stuff your turkey with dressing once the turkey is totally done and has an internal cooking temperature of 165*F. NEVER stuff a raw turkey-the dressing will absorb the turkey’s uncooked blood and juices and can lead to food borne illness.

 

RoastedTurkey300