For some reason I felt I needed to shout that OUT. In my mind, I also equate “Paleo” with the Geico Caveman at the Country Club.
Not sure where that correlation began, but Paleo eating (in my mind) equals Cross Fit equals foraging for grass-fed meat in my neighbor’s yard (they built a Cross Fit gym in their tool shed).
WOW have I been wrong!! But let’s be real- nutrition has never been my strong suit.
However, I also realize that lots of the people I love, and love to cook for, are eating like cave people these days. No bread, no cheese, no cheese puffs, no Pumpkin Spice Oreos. Alas, they are all eating how we are probably supposed to eat- like our ancestors did- but our ancestors also did not have access to Tootsie Rolls or The Best Nachos in the World List. I rest my case.
Anyway, because I want to ALWAYS make my table about bringing people in, making them feel comfortable and always welcoming anything food-wise that makes them happy, I decided to pursue this paleo business and learn more about it. I found Against all Grain (listed below). I bought it. The rest, as they say, is in the books.
I adore Danielle Walker, a Paleo recipe pioneer, for many reasons. One- she took her health seriously enough to make changes in her life that blessed her body. Two, her recipes are legit, and three- actually taste good. Four- ok one more- her Thai peanut dressing is life-changing and you must buy her cookbook if not for that recipe and the cookie recipe ALONE.
Ok, so for some of you this may be a slight stretch- including those of us that ahem, may live below the Mason Dixon line. The highs are still in the 90’s, but hope springs eternal with 60 degree lows once the sun sets. We’ll take what we can get.
There is something about cooler temperatures that makes me crave warm chocolate. This is not a new phenomenon-note ALL of my previous chocolate dessert posts-but a less-humid climate opens up all kinds of possibilities for the Southern sweet tooth. Turn on the oven and blast fudge-y batter at high heat? Why yes, I DO have the mental capacity to consider that idea. Gently simmer coconut milk on the stove and whisk in dark cocoa powder, sugar, vanilla, and a pinch of salt? Yes, I’ll take that warm beverage, thank you very much.
So, today’s post is a fantastic combination of oh-so-easy Southern dessert, fudge brownie-esque goodness, and the perfect vehicle for fresh whipped cream. It takes only a few ingredients and you are on your way to fudge pie glory.
Also, side note- which you will see in the video- the possible reason why this fudge pie is called Edelweiss Fudge Pie is because in the 70’s Methodists took to singing the The Benediction (one of my favorite songs) to the tune of Edelweiss (from the Sound of Music, one of my favorite movies as child).
For your viewing pleasure:
My theory is that so many Methodists were having pot luck dinners on Sundays that the fudge pie served after the Benediction (at the end of service) became known as Edelweiss Fudge Pie. Just my theory, but I think it’s a good one.
Alright y’all. Time to get out there, enjoy the fresh air, and bake up a pie to share with the people you love. Who knows, maybe it will inspire a round of “The Hills are alive…” karaoke.
Edelweiss Fudge Pie from The Nashville Cookbook
With only six ingredients, this is one of the easiest Southern desserts to whip up. It’s, excuse the pun, “easy as pie!”
What you will need
1/2 cup (or 1 stick) butter
2 ounces sweet german chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 farm fresh local eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon quality vanilla extract
freshly whipped cream, for topping, if desired
What you will do
1. Preheat oven to 325 and grease a 9-inch pie pan.
2. Melt butter and chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat. Allow to cool.
3. Beat eggs in a stand mixer on medium speed until foamy (this should take a few minutes). Beat sugar in gradually, on low speed, until well combined.
4. Add flour slowly to mixer, stirring continually on low speed, and using a rubber spatula to wipe down sides occasionally to make sure it is evenly distributed in the batter. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and stir until combined.
5. Add cooled chocolate mixture slowly to batter, stirring continually, until evenly distributed.
6. Pour into lightly greased pie pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes (checking at about the 28 minute mark for doneness; toothpick inserted in should come out clean).
7. Let pie cool for about an hour and top with whipped cream. Enjoy!
Today’s post is short and sweet. Think lean ground beef, lots of veggies, and flashbacks to my seventh-grade self in hot rollers.
The video below is maybe the most fun I’ve ever had making chili. For me, chili brings back great memories- warm fall nights, the smell of cumin wafting from a slow cooker, football tailgating, salty Frito’s- but the most hilarious of all involves the hunting camp, staking out turkeys, and ensuing get-togethers with freshly caught wild game at the center of the chili pot.
And now, living in Nashville, I had the joy of NOT trampling through the woods, avoiding ticks and carefully tiptoeing around leaves in my 1990 Timberlands. Instead, I took a leisurely trip to the farmer’s market in my flip-flops to purchase Walnut Hills dry-aged lean ground beef and Smiley Farms produce.
So, check out this version of “dieter’s chili” from The Nashville Cookbook. For me, chili=happy place, and I am wishing you a bowl full of beefy joy today.
I also dare you to find the Randy “Macho Man” savage cutaway in the mix.
I love local food. I always have; it’s how I grew up in the South.
I remember the hot Alabama sun streaming down my back as I ran through my Aunt Nelle and Uncle Honey’s Jackson, Alabama back yard, sweat dripping down my little knees as I scavenged for blueberries (which my favorite babysitter at the time, Karen, would carefully save for me and send me home with freezer bags full).
I kindly repayed the favor by being the *star* flower girl in her wedding (and by that I mean I braved layers of white polyester and got to sport a flower crown in her sister Kim’s wedding).
My husband Jake and I recently had the chance to attend a Spring dinner at one of our favorite Germantown spots, Butchertown Hall. His great friend Dan King reigns supreme over the beer selection at the restaurant and regularly blows us away with his beer knowledge (and ability with a wok).
Jake took photos; I had the luxury of simply eating and enjoying the company of those around us. I’m constantly amazed at the kindness and warm hospitality of food lovers in Nashville. One precious dinner guest even invited us over to tour her garden and learn what made their kale grow so brilliantly. Love. That.
Each of the dinner courses was paired with a complimentary beer. Here’s where the magic happened: To be frank, I’m not much of a drinker. It takes me about an hour to down a glass of wine, and I don’t have enough experience to qualify what’s great and what’s not. I am moved more by the way the alcohol pairs with food, the way it affects flavor and heightens or softens the aftertaste of grilled meat or cheese.
But beer. Y’all, beer. Beer does wonders for food. Mainly because my limited beer knowledge stems from red Solo cup parties and outdoor barbecues, I didn’t know the depth to which it affected the sweetness of peaches a plancha and goat’s milk yogurt. But my favorite beer on the menu- Hecht Schlenkerla Oak Smoked Doppelbock- tasted like smoky bacon.
I may need to repeat myself. IT TASTED LIKE SMOKY BACON.
Oak Smoked Doppelbock is what happens when earthy barbecue, sweetness, bold richness, bitter notes and aged oak wood smoke form a happy dance train around your brain.
And that’s really what I remember most about the night. Smoked pork beer, food-loving comrades; genteel Southern conversation; gardening tips; and clinking glasses with people who like beer as much, as I am now discovering, as I do.
Shout outs for this project are absolutely due to my incredible husband. He not only wrote the musical score for this whole series, he edited these videos late into the night, and arranged the clips just perfectly (he shows me love and grace in countless ways). Also shout out to friends of ours for lending invaluable opinions to the reviewing process! We couldn’t be prouder. I hope this first video will be a launching point for many, many more to come!
So, take this Wednesday, and be reminded of the fact that dreams DO come true. That things happen in our lives that are beyond our imagination or understanding. And for that, we take marshmallows, roll them sweet potatoes, pecans, and cornflakes, and bake their happy selves until they are lightly toasted. Let’s raise a gooey treat to the fact that life is good- and dreams are worth pursuing.
Sweet Potato Puffs by Faye House from The Nashville Cookbook
These easy sweet potato treats will be the hit of your next get-together! They take only a few minutes to throw together after you boil the sweet potatoes, and you get to use an immersion blender.
What You Will Need
4 large sweet potatoes (I like Plano Farms in Nashville; about 2.6 lbs)
4 tablespoons melted butter
4 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons heavy cream (I like JD Country Milk– their chocolate milk is LEGIT)
1 cup chopped pecans
5 cups cornflakes
Jumbo marshmallows (the big daddy kind- absolute biggest you can buy)
What You Will Do
Boil the sweet potatoes until they are tender. Preheat oven to 375 and spray a 9X13 baking pan with cooking spray.
Drain potatoes, then pour into a large bowl. Add the butter, sugar, heavy cream. Whip with an immersion blender until smooth. Wear large apron to guard against sweet potato splatters. Consider wearing a hair net because if, like me, you have long hair, it might end up on your ends.
Stir in pecans to the potatoes.
Pour cornflakes into a large bowl, then crush with your hands (#fun).
Dip jumbo marshmallows into the potato mixture, covering evenly. Now, roll the marshmallows in the cornflakes, then place into 9X13 baking pan.
Once the pan is full, bake for 15 minutes, or until the tops are toasty brown and the marshmallows have melted a bit. Enjoy immediately! (This is a now tater, not a later-tater!)
Hi all my amazing Luv Cooks readers! Have I told you lately HOW MUCH it means to me that you read these posts? You are cooking rock stars and to that I say, rock on friends, rock on.
Also, EXCITING news to share with you! As many of you know, I have been wanting to incorporate Luv Cooks video content for eons now. Pretty much what feels like a half century of my lifetime, which means I probably felt this way in about the time period Brooklyn was being filmed. Ok, back to the task at hand….
The official FIRST EPISODE of our Luv Cooks series is about to be arrive. That’s right- Southern recipes, straight from The Nashville Cookbook, live and on Luv Cooks You Tube!. Which means any time you are craving a dose of Luv Cooks kitchen shenanigans, you can tune in. Night or day. You get the picture.
So, here is our teaser video, getting you primed for this month’s recipe- which, if you like sweet potatoes, pecans, butter, and marshmallows, you are going to be over-the-moon about.
So check out the video, and I’d love to hear what else you’d like to see me cook! Luv y’all!
As you know, I am a passionate foodie, sweet tooth, peanut butter lover. I am also a fan of all things beautiful. Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of praying and thinking about the blog. What do you, my precious readers, want to see? What would bless you? What would fill you up- both literally and creatively?
I think you, like me, share a love of beauty. It’s part of what makes me who I am (my name is actually Greek for beauty, shout out to all my Greek sisters!), it’s a large part of why I feel so connected to my Maker, and it’s a huge part of why I got into this whole blogging thing in the first place. Plus, doing food and prop styling full time means I get to be surrounded by beauty a lot. It’s pretty amazing.
So, in an effort to try a few new things around the blog, here, my wonderful friends, are the beautiful things that inspired me both in and out of the kitchen this week.
The colors, textures, Italian grandmothers, pasta, and produce stand in this campaign are heavenly. My love for the look of Dolce and Gabbana’s ad campaigns runs deep. If I had $4,000 to spend on a dress and sunglasses, you better believe I’d be sporting the ones above. Oh, and have you seen the VIDEO?!
To say that I want to live in a kitchen with an open, airy view of the Grecian sea while gazing across my white marble countertops towards my Anthropologie cake stands and colorful cook book collection- understatement of the century. They do such beautiful work with cool, bright props and ceramics. #LUV
I laughed, I cried, I was a tad grossed out, I wept for joy. You know, just a normal Tuesday night watching Cooked. Y’all- Michael Pollan not only is one of my favorite, down-to-earth food personalities/experts, his new show Cooked (on Netflix now) is my fave. As in, I am trying to focus on writing this right now and secretly wishing there was a way to watch the Water episode at the same time. Oh wait, you want to go to Morocco to run a grain mill now too? I knew you would!
I think gray wood is gorgeous, especially when it comes to bowls, countertops and furniture elements. It counterbalances color so well. Like these two shots, taken from MyDomaine.com:
I want to go to live there with those pillows. And the eggs.
Longchamp Spring Ad shot in Wynwood (Miami!!)
The color block, the artistry, the fierce photo of Alexa Chung. Fabulous. And it brings back such good memories of Jake and I’s honeymoon in Miami. Sigh.
I aspire to style something like this one day. The drips on the ice cream are purrrfeect. And the blue background is spot-on.
Alright, my Luv Cooks family- I hope you have a sweet, beauty-filled weekend. Enjoy these last remnants of winter and at some ice cream in front of a color block wall, while wearing a fabulous handbag with somebody you love. Peace!
I want it to be sunny. I want the snow to melt, the windshield of my Prius to unfreeze, and the clouds to part to reveal a glorious, warm stream of sunlight onto the city of Nashville.
However, the reality of our current situation is that it’s hovering around 30 degrees outside, two of my plans with my girlfriends have been cancelled due to inclement weather (and my lack of a 4-wheel drive vehicle), and I am suffering from small-space-affected-disorder. Well, that last phrase might have been a bit extreme. With all due respect to those suffering from a dread of small spaces, our current situation looks like this: me attempting to meet my New Year’s resolution of circuit workouts (aka doing jumping lunges and wobbly tricep dips) while my husband plays guitar and the heater is on.
So when my amazing creative friend Victoria of Prophet Hall invited me to be a part of her pop-up shop last Saturday I was GAME. Fresh air, new friends, and fabulous clothing were all I needed to hear in order to jump out the door and into the 35 degree sunshine.
This week’s recipe is one I made for the event, and comes from our amazing, The Nashville Cookbook. All you need is fresh lemons, local honey, a batch of strawberries and a little sugar, and you are well on your way to mid-winter refreshment. And a pseudo-springtime moment.
Ok y’all- so join me this week in pretending that it’s spring and bring a little Southern sunshine to your neighbor with a tall glass of lemonade. No need for ice, just leave it outside for a few minutes.
Strawberry Lemonade (adapted from “Lemonade” by Virginia Swoopes in The Nashville Cookbook)
This lemonade is so easy, only takes a few ingredients, and tastes better as it sits. Slice up some extra strawberries and lemon for a pretty garnish.
What You Will Need:
1 tablespoon sugar
6 strawberries, sliced, plus more for garnish
Juice of 4 lemons (about 1/2 cup fresh juice)
6 tablespoons local honey
6 cups water (spring water is great here)
6 thin slices lemon
What You Will Do:
In a small bowl, stir together sugar and strawberries. Mash together with a fork until a chunky paste forms, and let sit for about 15 minutes.
Whisk together honey and lemon juice until combined. Add strawberry mixture, then transfer to a pitcher. Stir together with water and lemon slices.
Add additional sliced strawberries and lemon slices as you feel! Pour into individual glasses and share the luv.
Here at Luv Cooks, you know that we are all about loving people well with food. And I hope that as we continue on our blog journey we will learn how to do that better, with more intention, and with better results. I also want to introduce you to places in Nashville- and across the world- that do this well. That treat you like family and are totally Luv Cooks style. The Honeysuckle is one of those places.
I had the privilege of joining several other amazing food bloggers here in Nashville Monday night for one of the best welcome dinners to the city I’ve had. As part of a complimentary press dinner (y’all, I felt so special) our group of bloggers was treated to a several course dinner introducing us to all the restaurant had to offer.
And now, allow me interrupt this review to say something. Y’all- they served us Southern vegetables. That were delicious, and charred, and popped alongside flavorful sauces. The brussels and carrots and okra and cauliflower were the highlight of my meal. I love, love when you are dining out and alongside more traditional fare they offer local, fresh options. Winning!
As we ate, I learned that The Honeysuckle only uses direct source, “day-boat fish.” They dry age their steaks and cook their heirloom vegetables sous-vide style to keep things the most nutritious. Plus, their Executive Chef Josh Weekly is present at the restaurant (unlike some other places). Because they care about their customers and their experience, they make sure he is there. I think that shows some major Luv.
And the night really felt so warm; we were seated beside a crackling fireplace, snow fell softly outside, and tucked away in a corner we were served an array of Southern, heart-felt food. Oysters that were bright, almost floral; followed up by a beautiful charcuterie platter that was prepared in house (the tasso ham and fig preserves were my favorite). Then, then, the goat cheese shuffle was presented, drizzled with chive oil and served with wild mushrooms and charred tomato jam. The texture on these grits was superb, and the goat cheese kept the dish light, but satisfying.
Soon after arrived their gorgeous charred vegetables- roasted heirloom carrot, charred okra, caramelized brussels-arrived. Oh, and the roasted cauliflower with chive oil and spicy red pepper aioli. The color on that dish was fantastic (see above).
The entrees were not to be missed; my seared salmon with sour mash succotash and bacon-sorghum glaze was flakey and slightly crispy on the outside from the caramelized sorghum. The succotash was spot-on and hit that warm/Southern comfort craving. The pan-fired gulf grouper, with braised leeks, wild mushrooms and spinach, and brown butter caper emulsion, was delicious as well. Really, you had me at brown butter.
Plus, they do this really cool technique at The Honeysuckle where they can serve your choice of ahi tuna, filet mignon, or sliced scallops on a Himalayan salt stone heated to 700 degrees. This technique was lovely and now I want to own one and serve meats cooked on it to you at my house. #dreams
In addition the the seafood, they also offer chicken-fried chicken, shrimp and grits, and a wild mushroom meatloaf that I hear is not to be missed.
The meal was beautiful; our waiter was lovely, and he explained everything in detail to us. I felt at home, which I believe is the feeling the restaurant hoped to evoke from the beginning.
And to bring a “sweet finish” to our meal, we were brought an array of desserts. The spiced apple bundt cake (above) was drizzled with a salted caramel sauce, but my favorite item, oh y’all, was the honey orange biscuit (you can see it on the platter below). The chocolate ganache was good, especially swirled in the lava salt sprinkled near it. But y’all. I had to ask our waiter Michael to send me home with an extra box of them. And because it was The Honeysuckle, and they are incredibly generous, they did.
So, the next time you are in Franklin (outside of Nashville), and you are looking for a wonderfully warm, fresh, generous, delicious dining experience- check out The Honeysuckle. I think your night will be sweeter because of it.
In my book, chocolate is one of the best ways to luv somebody.
I mean, as my friend Angela Roberts of Spinach Tiger blog recently said, “Chocolate is my favorite food group.” Agreed, whole heartedly, my friend.
And readers, have I told you lately? I LOVE YOU! So, here is my virtual love gift: chocolate cake.
This week’s recipe from The Nashville Cookbook is one of my favorite chocolate cakes I’ve made. If the title of the recipe wasn’t enough- I mean, who can resist “Wacky Cake?”- it involves ONE BOWL. One mixing bowl! Can you imagine? The chocolate cakes I’ve tried in the past involved layered steps of beating in liquids, egg shells, mayonnaise, chocolate batter all over my hands, flour in the crevices of my counter tops, and needless to mention, icing in my hair.
All this recipe requires is a quick sift of the dry ingredients; adding them to the wet ones in a mixer bowl; and a good beating for two minutes. Bake in oven. Viola! This recipe is simple, straightforward, reliable, and good.
***We interrupt this post for a historical fact. Gettin’ you educated!****
The reason why this cake is called “Wacky Cake” is because the traditional version allows you to sift, mix, and bake ingredients in the same pan. I like the mixer method this one uses because I am always concerned with cakes sticking to my pan, thus my love of greasing with shortening. This cake is also called “Three Hole” cake because you can potentially put the dry ingredients in your pan, make three holes, then fill those holes with your liquid mixture. Kids would LOVE this recipe too because it’s so easy and they get to dig in cake mix and make holes. You’re welcome.
Oh, and the recipe has ties to the Depression era because of it’s lack of butter and eggs (due to rationing). Our ancestors were so smart.
****Historical Fact Time Ended. You know, just loving you with some conversation starters this week.***
Also, in the spirit of all things fun and Luv Cooks, this cake is presented to you in honor of Valentine’s Day (it’s topped with cute pink chocolate balls for goodness sake). I know it will make anyone in your life who loves chocolate, eats cake, and loves you happy. And for those of you who are vanilla or strawberry people on Valentine’s Day, I apologize. This blog will probably not ever go in that direction. But we luv you anyway!!
Ok y’all- so saddle up those kids, your significant other, your dog- whoever you love on Valentine’s Day, have a BLAST, and make a wacky cake. Silly string not included.
Wacky Cake with Cocoa Fudge Frosting
This cake could not be easier. All you need is a mixing bowl, a few minutes of prep work, and you will be baking a light, chocolatey cake in no time.
What You Will Need:
For the cake:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup water
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
For the Frosting:
1/2 pound powdered sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 cup softened butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons water (plus more if needed)
1/4 cup (plus 1 tablespoon if needed) corn syrup
What You Will Do:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9-inch square baking pan.
Sift the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt together in a mixer bowl. Add your wet ingredients (oil, water, vinegar, and vanilla) and mix on medium speed for two minutes.
Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. The cake should also spring back when you touch it.
Allow to cool in the pan before you ice this beauty!
Now, make the icing:
Combine the sugar, cocoa, butter and vanilla in a mixing bowl until no lumps remain and things are looking smooth.
Pour the water and corn syrup in a small saucepan, and heat the mixture to simmering but don’t boil it (you want gentle bubbles to start forming, then take it immediately off the heat). Pour your warmed syrup mixture into the mixing bowl.
Beat the icing at a low speed until smooth and glossy. My icing wasn’t smooth and glossy at this point, it got a bit too thick. So I added one more tablespoon warm water and 1 more tablespoon corn syrup. If your icing is still thick, continue adding warm water and corn syrup until it loosens.
Now, frost the cake! You want to do this while the icing is warm, or it becomes hard to smooth.