Friday, July 11, 2014

Blackberry Peach Skillet Pie

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Blackberries and peaches are in season!  I bought some of each over the weekend and I've been scheming on what I would do with them.  I finally decided on pie that turns out to be part cobbler, part crumble with a little bit of pie.
A Southern Soul
With fruit that's so fresh and delicious, just know that you won't be able to cut this dish into nice pretty slices…just get a big 'ol spoon and scoop some up, making sure to grab some of the crunchy crust.  This is one easy, delicious dessert that's worthy of any of the fresh fruits of summer
Blackberry Peach Skillet Pie
1 quart of fresh blueberries
2 fresh peaches - peeled and sliced
1/4 cup sugar
1 prepared pie crust
1/4 cup of butter - 1/2 stick
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
large pinch of salt
A Southern Soul
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a medium size bowl, add blackberries, peaches and sugar - toss to coat, set aside.
  • Butter bottom and sides of skillet.
  • Gently roll out pie crust into prepared skillet.
  • Using a slotted spoon, place fruit over pie crust.
  • In a medium size bowl, add flour, sugar and salt. 
  • Cut butter into small cubes and add to sugar mixture.  Mix together with a fork or your fingers until it resembles a crumble.
  • Sprinkle mixture over fruit.
  • Place skillet into oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes.  If outside crust gets brown, cover with foil.  
  • When fruit begins to bubble, turn oven to broil.  Watch carefully until crumble is brown and crunchy.
  • Let rest for 15 minutes.  Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Tomato Cucumber Summer Salad

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Hey friends!  I hope you're having a great summer.  I know I've been missing for a while and I'm so sorry.  Life took over and challenged me with some big events.  I'll share that story shortly but in the mean time, if you are looking for a delicious salad that's loaded with all the fresh flavors of summer…well, here it is!
Tomato Cucumber Summer Salad | A Southern Soul
I made this dish a few weeks ago for a big event in our neighborhood and I served it at our 4th of July celebration.  Both times it was a huge hit.  It's simple, beautiful and is perfect for outdoor dining.  I hope you'll head out to your local farmers market and pick up some vine ripe tomatoes, fresh cucumbers & onions and make this incredible fresh summer salad!
Cucumber & Onion Refrigerator Pickles | A Southern Soul
Tomato Cucumber Summer Salad
3 - 4 large tomatoes - sliced
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (I marinated the feta in olive oil & red pepper flakes for extra taste)
1/2 cup basil leaves - cut into strips
1 cup Cucumber and Onion Refrigerator Pickles ~ click on link for recipe
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
olive oil
Kosher salt
fresh cracked pepper
  • Layer sliced tomatoes on a large platter.
  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Using a large fork or tongs, gently drain cucumbers & pickles then spread down middle of tomatoes.
  • Crumble feta cheese over vegetables.
  • Sprinkle fresh basil over cheese.
  • Drizzle with fresh lemon juice and olive oil.
  • Finish with a light sprinkle of salt and pepper.
  • Chill in fridge until ready to serve.
Summer Salad | A Southern Soul

Monday, June 2, 2014

Sweet Potato Chips with Apple Butter ~ Microwave Easy

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I wish I could take full credit for this quick & easy way to make sweet potato chips, but I can't, heck!  I ran across this recipe from Rachel Cooks and just had to try it.  My boys love sweet potatoes any way they are cooked so this just seemed like a wonderful way to make chips, although I was a little skeptical.  
I took out my mandolin, sliced up those rich spuds, gave them a little drizzle of olive oil, added salt, pepper and popped them into the microwave.  The results were great!  I made several batches yesterday afternoon and served them with warm apple butter.  Oh yeah, baby, it's a great combination.  So if you are looking for a delicious, simple, crunchy, savory sweet snack, this one is for you!
Sweet Potato Chips with Apple Butter
Sweet Potato recipe from Rachael Cooks

1 large sweet potato - washed and trimmed of any brown spots
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • Cut off ends of sweet potato and slice using the thinnest blade on a mandoline. 
  • Put in a bowl and add oil, salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
  • Cut out a piece of parchment paper in a circle to fit the tray in your microwave. Place sweet potatoes in a single layer on tray.
  • Microwave on high power for 4 to 4 1/2 minutes or until crispy but not browned. Watch carefully for the first batch or two to determine the proper time since all microwaves are slightly different.  If chips are not done, cook in 30 second intervals.
  • Sprinkle with additional salt if needed.
  • Serve with warm apple butter for dipping.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Southern Caviar ~ Black Eyed Pea Appetizer

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This dip, salsa, salad or whatever you want to call it goes by many names!  I call it by it's traditional name - Southern Caviar and tend to serve it as an appetizer along with corn chips and fresh veggies.  I recently came up with a new way to serve this spicy, crunchy, flavor packed mixture.
If you love to grill out here's a way to take some of your food to new heights.  Spoon a little Southern Caviar over your grilled chicken or fish and it's great mixed in fresh greens.  This dish is easy to make, is perfect for outdoor dining and screams of fresh summer flavors…
Southern Caviar

2 cans black-eyed peas - drained and rinsed
1 can whole kernel corn - drained (1 1/2 cup of frozen corn - thawed)
1 can diced tomatoes and green chilies (Rotel) - do not drain
1/2 cup fresh jalapeño peppers - minced
1/2 cup onion - minced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro or parsley
1 cup (8 ounces) of Italian dressing
Juice of one lemon
Pinch of salt

  • In a large bowl, combine all ingredients.
  • Stir gently to combine.
  • Refrigerate for minimum 1 hour allowing flavors to marry.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Infused Waters

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I love infused water.  Whether it's just a slice of lemon or something a little more elaborate, adding flavor to water can be smart and tasty.  On a daily basis I know I should be drinking more water so when I came across this recipe, I was a happy girl.  It has lots of high powered ingredients along with providing several health benefits.  
Infused Waters | A Southern Soul
Daily Dose Healthy Water
6 cups filtered water
1/2 cucumber - sliced
1 large lemon - sliced
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
3/4 cup of mint leaves

  • Combine ingredients in a pitcher.  Place in refridgerator and let sit over night.  Drink throughout the next day.
    • Ginger helps with digestion and is famous for keeping nausea at bay.
    • Lemon helps to detoxify on a cellular level and pushes the gunk out.
    • Mint helps reduce appetite and bloating.
    • Cucumber also helps to detoxify the body, particularly through the liver and kidneys.
    • More healthy water recipes at
Healthy Infused Water | A Southern Soul

Here are a few other wonderful flavor combinations for making your own infused waters ~ 
Peach Blackberry Mint Water | A Southern Soul
Peach, blackberry and mint water served at A Southern Soul event
  • cucumber, lime & basil
  • strawberry & blueberry
  • watermelon & mint
  • orange & kiwi
  • peaches, blackberries & mint

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Old Fashioned Creamy Grits & A Grits Bar

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Last Saturday I was thrilled to be part of a fun event that kicked off the Carolina Blues Festival.  My friend Lee Mortenson, director of the Greensboro Farmers Market called me several weeks ago and asked me if I had any ideas on what kind of food we could serve during this event.  After a few minutes of sharing ideas, we had a plan ~ A Grits Bar!  With our friend Mary Lacklen joining the party, we were almost ready… we gathered our supplies, lots of fresh local produce from the market and prayed for a beautiful morning.
Farmers Market | Jennifer McCollum
Our plan came together and it was amazing! We are so fortunate to have a fabulous resource for real stone ground grits right in our own back yard - 
The Old Mill of Guilford
 We also had a great source for fresh shrimp from the Carolina Coast.  A slight sauté with a little butter and a little olive oil was all that was needed.
Real stone ground grits take about 20 minutes to cook so I had my work cut out for me.  I had 3 pots going at a time and it was well worth the effort!
Shrimp and Grits | Jennifer McCollum
Creamy Grits
3 cups of water (chicken stock can be used for richer flavor)
3 cups of Half & Half
2 cups of stone ground grits
1/2 stick of butter
2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • Bring water and 1/2&1/2 to a low boil.
  • Add grits, stirring constantly.
  • Cook on medium low heat until thick, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Add salt and butter - stir to incorporate.  Adjust seasoning.
  • Serve hot.
Grits Bar | Jennifer McCollum
 We served up a delicious cup of creamy grits with toppings like shrimp, bacon, sausage, sautéed tomatoes with basil & scallions, cheese, sautéed kale along with fresh tomatoes and parsley.  Folks could choose what they liked and have a seat on the lawn and enjoy some great blues music.
Emily with Grits | Jennifer McCollum
It was a wonderful day shared with old and new friends! There's always something special in volunteering and spending time helping your community.

A big thank you to my friend, Jennifer McCollum for taking these great photos!  

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The GRILL ~ Cleaning & My Favorite Accessories

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Lately I've been getting quite a few questions about grilling.  You already know how much I LOVE to grill and have gotten pretty good at it.  It does take practice but it also takes the right tools.  I hope this post will start you off on the right path for a great grilling season!
  • The first step is to check out your grill if you've not used it over the winter.  I've replaced the "flavor bars" and given the whole grill an overall cleaning.  If you've not done that yet, here are 2 great links to help you out ~ From Gross to Gorgeous and grill cleaning From Real Simple.
  • This grill cleaner from Grill Daddy is awesome!  It takes a beating at my house but still keeps my grill clean and free of cooked on food.  You can buy different versions of this tool but mine in stainless steel and came from Williams Sonoma.
A Southern Soul | Williams Sonoma Photo
  • A great way to cook shrimp, shellfish and veggies, this Non Stick Grill Basket from Sur La Table is the way to go.  The boys gave me this as surprise recently and I love it!
You can take the top of the basket off and use it as one grill accessory.  That's what I did when I cooked these delicious roasted green beans.  Just add a drizzle of olive oil, parmesan cheese, salt & pepper and you'll have a dish that is out of this world!
  • Of course you need some great tools to move your food from platters to the grill.  You also need to be able to flip steaks, burgers and other foods.  I've had this BBQ Turner from the Pampered Chef for years and it is a rock star utensil.  It's a little large but gives me a sense of security with a long handle when dealing with large pieces of food.  It also has a built in fork, knife and bottle opener!

  • If you are new to grilling, get yourself a copy of this cookbook!  You might have seen Steven Raichlen on his wonderful grilling show from PBS.  He gives you step advice on getting started with different types of grills and basic preparations.  There are also over 450 pages of recipes with great photographs.  It's my grilling "go-to" in my cookbook library.  
I hope these items and ideas get you going for spring and summer grilling.  I'll be sharing many more tips and recipes in the upcoming weeks.  As alway, send me your questions or tips that you use when cooking outside.  It's going to be a great summer so head outdoors and fire up the grill!

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