Thursday, April 10, 2014

Farro Salad with Peas & Feta

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Lately, everywhere I look there are recipes that include farro.  I was not really sure what I thought about this little, brown grain, but decided to give it a try.
The verdict is in…I'm a FAN!  I did some research, a little investigating about farro, and here's a few facts ~
  • it's one of the oldest grains cultivated by humans.
  • originally discovered in the middle east but now it's now largely grown in Italy.
  • it's a great source of protein and fiber.
  • it has a rice-like texture and is easy to use because it absorbs whatever flavor its cooked with.
With this new found love, I plan on making many more salads and experimenting with farro in soup.  Tonight, we are having this salad with grilled chicken.  My taste tester, Hunter, has already requested that this be in his lunch bag tomorrow along with some chicken in a lettuce wrap!  You got it son…and I think I might just make one for myself.

Farro Salad with Peas & Feta

3 cups water
1 cup of farro
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup of blanched sugar snap peas - sliced
1/2 cup feta cheese crumbles
1 tablespoon fresh chives - minced
1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley - chopped
1 garlic clove, grated
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
Salt to taste
  • Rinse and drain 1 cup of farro and place in pot with 3 cups of water along with 1 teaspoon of salt.
  • Cover and bring to a low boil for 15 minutes or until farro is cooked al dente (chewy.)  Drain and transfer to a medium size bowl.
  • Add onion, peas, feta, chives and parsley.
  • In a small jar combine, garlic, vinegar, olive oil and pepper.  Shake until combined.  Taste and adjust for salt and pepper.
  • Pour dressing over farro salad and toss to combine.  
  • Serve at room temperature. 
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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Roasted Oysters on the Grill

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This past weekend I think I pulled off the fastest dinner party ever!  It was a great success due to my friend Lori, her husband and their willingness to roll with my crazy, spur of the moment plan.  A very generous friend had given me 2 dozen fresh oysters, so I had dinner but wanted to share all this goodness.  I texted Lori, asked if they were interested and she said, OH, YES!  We added a few extras like fresh bread, melted butter, hot sauce and lemons. We snacked on delicious white bean dip (recipe is on the way) while the grill heated up.  The guys put on some tunes, lit the outdoor candles and set up the bar with chilled wines and cold beer.  It was an awesome night with great friends, delicious food, interesting stories and so much laughter that my cheeks hurt by the end of the night. 
I think this spring I am claiming "spur of the moment" as my motto…

Roasted Oysters
2 dozen fresh oysters - cleaned
2 sticks salted butter - melted
Lemon wedges
Hot sauce - Texas Pete is my choice
  • Heat grill to medium high.
  • Place cleaned oysters on grill - larger bowl side down.
  • Close lid and roast for approximately 6-8 minutes until shells begin to open.
  • Remove from grill.  Using a shucking or paring knife & gloves, gently pry open shells.
  • Run knife around shell, loosening meat, leaving oyster in shell, being careful not to spill any juices.  Place on platter.
  • Serve with lemon wedges, melted butter and hot sauce.
Check out these helpful links on Oysters...

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Grilled Pizza

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The weather has been so nice the past few days with warm temperatures and sunny skies.  I decided to take advantage of this much needed change by firing up my grill.  It was a night of the boys coming and going, so I knew they'd be hungry once they hit the door.  My dinner choice was perfect - grilled pizza!  I picked up some prepared dough, got several toppings ready and made some pizza sauce.  Making a pizza on the grill may seem intimidating but truthfully, it's really, really easy and the outcome is crazy delicious!
Grilled Pizza
Prepared pizza dough  - or homemade dough, recipe is here
Homemade Pizza Sauce - 
  • mix together - 1 8oz can of tomato sauce, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon dried basil, dash of red pepper. 
Fresh mozzarella cheese - sliced or shredded
Grated Parmesan cheese
Toppings  - cooked sausage, pepperoni, hamburger, sliced onion, mushrooms, peppers, olives 
A Southern Soul | Pizza Dough
Make dough into a circle or really, whatever shape you can!  Just call it "rustic"
  • Clean grill grates and set for direct cooking on high.
  • Prepare toppings and set aside.
  • In a small bowl, pour approximately 1/2 cup of olive oil.  Using tongs to hold, roll a paper towel to use to oil grates of grill.
  • On a lightly floured board, gently shape dough into a circle.  Let rest for 5 minutes.
  • When grill is hot, use tongs with paper towels to oil grates.
  • Using a pizza peel or cookie sheet dusted with flour, transfer dough onto grill.
  • Close top of grill and cook for 2 minutes.  Check dough and if needed, turn so that all sides are cooked.
  • When edges are cooked, remove dough from grill and place grilled side up on peel or cookie sheet.
A Southern Soul | Pizza from Grill
  • Spoon on tomato sauce and using the back of a spoon, spread to edges of pizza.  Note ~ do not "over sauce."
  • Lay slices of mozzarella cheese or sprinkle on top of tomato sauce.
  • Add other toppings.  Note ~ don't layer on too many toppings or pizza will become soggy.
  • Gently slide pizza back onto grill.  Lower heat to medium.
  • Close lid and cook for approximately 2 to 3 minutes until bottom crust begins to char and cheese is bubbly.
  • Remove from grill, let rest for 1 to 2 minutes before slicing.A Southern Soul | Grilled Sausage Pizza
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Monday, March 31, 2014

Southern Pound Cake

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It's time for true confessions…I have about 15 different Pound Cake recipes and I love them all.  Some are tried & true, passed down from generations of wonderful cooks and some are new, with inventive flavors.  It really doesn't matter to me, I just can't help it, I love 'em all.  
Southern Pound Cake | A Southern Soul
Today, I'm sharing one that stands out in my collection.  Several years ago, I received this recipe from my neighbor friend, Roy.  He brought it over, asked me to make it and volunteered to be the taste tester!  After a couple of tries and tastings, we decided I had the perfect recipe.  There's no crazy secret or special baking method used here.  With great ingredients & a little planning, this cake turns out perfect every time.  The best part is, it has a crunchy, buttery top but is moist, rich and absolutely delicious in the middle.  Sometimes I catch folks just sneaking extra pieces of crust to go along with their slice of deliciousness. 
This is Southern Pound Cake at it's best.
A Southern Soul | Pound Cake

Southern Pound Cake
3 cups sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter - room temperature
1/2 stick vegetable shortening (1/2 cup)
5 large eggs - room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups A/P flour sifted
dash of salt
1 cup whole milk

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Add butter and sugar to mixing bowl and cream until light and fluffy.
  • Add eggs one at a time, mixing well.
  • While mixer is on low, add vanilla and dash of salt.
  • Alternate adding flour and milk - 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.
A Southern Soul | Pound Cake
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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Roasted Asparagus

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Sometimes, simple is best.  That's definitely how I feel about asparagus.  I think those beautiful long spears are without a doubt, most flavorful when it's roasted.
Roasted Asparagus | A Southern Soul
I love how the tips get a little brown and crunchy but the middle is still tender.  With just a few other ingredients and a really hot oven, you've got a delicious side dish in under 15 minutes, but here's fair warning, you better make a big batch...they tend to get snagged before dinner is served.
Asparagus with Salt & Pepper | A Southern Soul
Roasted Asparagus

1 large bunch of fresh asparagus
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Fresh cracked pepper
Freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  • Wash and dry asparagus.  Trim ends.
  • Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  • Place asparagus on tray and lightly drizzle with olive oil.  Gently roll the asparagus in oil to coat.
  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Roast in hot oven for 9 minutes or until tips are browned.
  • Remove from oven, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese.
Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan | A Southern Soul
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Friday, March 21, 2014

Deviled Egg Dip & Spring Is Here!

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It was another crazy week with wicked weather but the good news is that Spring has officially arrived and we've had 2 beautiful, sunny days with warm temperatures. Ahhh.  I was ready to get out of the house and while running errands, I came across some "Charlie Brown" pansies.  I just couldn't resist the deal so, I decided to give them a home and nurse them back to health.  I gave them a good dose of water, fertilizer and a new planter.  I am so glad I did  because they look great on my front porch and are giving me a big dose of happiness!
Welcome to spring...
Spring Pansies | A Southern Soul
These beautiful days have allowed us to get back on somewhat of a normal schedule which means several after school events & practices.  The boys fly into the house, change clothes, grab their gear and yell…"I'm hungry, do we have anything to eat?" Really?
Deviled Egg Dip | A Southern Soul
A quick, protein packed snack they like is my Deviled Egg Dip.  Turning deviled eggs into a dip is so much easier than doing all that stuffing, plus it's super yummy with veggie sticks or crackers. It's a great snack or party food for any time of the day.

Deviled Egg Dip
4 boiled eggs
3 tablespoons of good mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
1/2 scant teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
Dash of hot sauce
  • Boil eggs and chop yolk and white together.  I use my pastry cutter to make this task fast and easy.
  • Add mayo, horseradish, dash of hot sauce, salt & pepper.  Mix well.
  • Place in a bowl and serve with crackers and veggie sticks.
Deviled Egg Dip with Crackers

Congratulations to Kay Little on winning The Southern Bite Cookbook giveaway.  I loved all of your comments and tweets.  Thank you so much for loving on A Southern Soul!

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Cinnamon Sugar Pizza

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I don't know about y'all but those "cinna pies" and other desserts from the pizza delivery guys are really yummy!  Once in a while I don't mind spending the extra dough money, especially when a coupon is involved but really, it's not worth it compared to what you get - sorry pizza guys.
Thus, the Cinnamon Sugar Pizza was invented.  I used store bought dough for my pie, made a sweet, buttery crumble packed with flavorful cinnamon and sprinkled it on top.  After baking for a few short minutes, I drizzled on a creamy, vanilla glaze.  It was delicious!  This sweet pie is a winner...again, sorry, pizza dudes...well, not really.
Cinnamon Sugar Pizza
1 store bought pizza dough
2 1/2 tablespoons butter  - room temperature
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar - packed
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  • Brush pizza pan or sheet pan with butter - about 1 teaspoon.
  • In a medium size bowl, mix flour, sugars, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon and 2 tablespoons of butter until crumbly.  Set aside.
  • Place dough on pan and brush with remaining butter.  Sprinkle remaining cinnamon over dough.
  • Spread crumble over pizza and bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
  • While pizza is baking, mix glaze.
  • Let pizza cool for 10 minutes then drizzle on glaze.
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