Blog - biscuits and such
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Mint Julep Sorbet

The second recipe I’d like to share from Off the Eaten Path is from one of my favorite Chapel Hill restaurants, Crook’s Corner. Crook’s Corner is a hidden treasure, famed for their shrimp and grits and creative approach to Southern cuisine.  Their honeysuckle sorbet has become a favorite in this house, so when I saw this recipe for mint julep sorbet I knew immediately I had to make it.

Not surprisingly, this recipe did not disappoint.  Subtle, sweet, and perfectly well rounded, it was everything you want in a summery sorbet.  In addition it was a breeze to make, which is important these days when my hot kitchen is the last place I want to be.  We will be repeating this sorbet throughout the summer.

Mint Julep Sorbet
Source: Crook’s Corner, recipe from Off the Eaten Path

2 cups sugar

4 cups water

4 cups mint, tightly packed

2 tbsp lemon zest

1 1/2 cups lemon juice

Boil water and sugar to dissolve sugar.  Cut heat and put the mint and zest in the pot.  Cover and steep 15 minutes.

Strain.  Add lemon juice and chill 2 hours.  Freeze in ice cream maker.  Serve immediately or freeze.

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Fried Pickle Chips

Recently I was sent a copy of Off the Eaten Path: Favorite Southern Dives and 150 Recipes That Made Them Famous, a book by Morgan Murphy that was produced by Southern Living.  It’s a collection of recipes from down home restaurants all over the American South.  It was such a delight to read through this book, get a glimpse into Southern food culture far beyond what I’m familiar with.  In his introduction Murphy makes the astute observation that to really know a place, you have to eat the food.  I wholeheartedly agree with this, regional food both defines us and brings us together.

The first thing I did after reading the introduction was to flip through to the section from North Carolina, of course.  I was not disappointed.  In this section Murphy highlights everything from sorbet from Chapel Hill favorite Crook’s Corner to a pork chop sandwich from Andy Griffith’s hometown, Mount Airy.  One thing I couldn’t pass up was this recipe for Crispy Fried Pickles from Okie Dokies Smokehouse in Swannanoa (near Asheville).

Fried pickles have always been a favorite of mine, whether they’re dill spears or okra. Fried on the grill and served with a ranch and barbeque sauce dip, these pickle chips were the perfect compliment to a summer dinner out back.

Crispy Fried Pickles
Source: Adapted from Okie Dokie Smokehouse, recipe from Off the Eaten Path

4 cups dill pickle chips, drained

1 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk

1/2 ranch dressing

2 tbsp barbeque sauce

Canola Oil

4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tbsp paprika

1 tbsp cayenne pepper

1 tbsp chipotle

1 tsp salt

After draining the pickles soak them in buttermilk in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

Stir together flour and spices.  Heat your oil to 375.  Dip each pickle chip in the flour mixture and fry until golden (3-4 minutes).

Mix together ranch and barbeque sauce.  Serve with pickles.

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Salmon & Vegetable Kabobs

It wasn’t until recently that I really started loving salmon.  I’m picky about fish because my family has always been the fishing sort so I have had the luxury of knowing what fresh caught, fresh cooked fish tastes like.  The past few years we’ve started trying MSC certified salmon, which means it’s caught responsibly and sustainably and, for decidely non-local, tastes incredibly fresh.

We got these skewers for Christmas from my parents and this was our first time trying them out!  In addition to the salmon we grilled squash, red onion, red pepper, and mushrooms.  Let me tell you, I am so thrilled it’s grilling season again!

My favorite site in the warm months

Salmon Skewers (For Two)

2 salmon filets

1 squash

1 red pepper

1/2 red onion

10 mushrooms

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Salt & pepper

Slice salmon, pepper, squash, and onion.  Remove stalks from mushrooms.  Put all ingredients in a bag/bowl for 30 minutes to marinate.

Slide pieces on skewers, alternating between salmon and the various vegetables.  Grill for 10 minutes.  Flip and grill an additional 10 minutes.

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