Honeysuckle is my favorite part of spring if you haven’t noticed over the past couple years. The scent, the sweetness, the sign that warm weather is here to stay a while.
So far I’ve shared a cake, syrup, and frosting all infused with honeysuckle. This year I’m sharing a brand new recipe for madeleines using my honeysuckle syrup.
I adore madeleines because they’re fancy little cakes thanks to an inexpensive pan yet so simple to make. You can find madeleine pans on sites like Amazon, ranging from $8 – $25. Any pan at any price point can get you a respectable madeleine!
3 tbsp of your fave hibiscus tea
(I’ve used Luzianne hibiscus tea bags, Tazo Iced Passion concentrate, and also made some with dried roselle – they’ve all worked great in this recipe so don’t overthink it!)
Melt butter and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
In a small bowl, whisk eggs, honeysuckle syrup, and vanilla.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, stirring until just combined.
Add cooled melted butter and mix until smooth.
Cover and chill batter for at least 30 minutes (or up to 24 hours if you’re making ahead).
Preheat oven to 350 while batter chills.
Butter your madeleine pan or spray with non-stick spray.
Spoon batter into each mold, filling 1/2 to 3/4 full.
Bake 9 or 10 minutes; they will be golden and a toothpick should come out clean.
Transfer madeleines from pan to a cooling rack.
Once cooled, make your glaze by combining the powdered sugar and hibiscus tea in a small shallow bowl.
Brush on the glaze or you can be impatient like me and dip the scalloped side right into the bowl of glaze.
If you have leftovers (this so rarely happens) you can store them in an airtight container for a day.
I love a good po’ boy. For those who haven’t heard of it – it’s fried seafood (shrimp is my go-to) served on crusty French bread and topped with the fixin’s you love on a burger. It’s a simple weeknight supper you can have on the table in under 30 minutes which is always a winner in my book.
This really doesn’t require a recipe to follow, and lots of folks have their own particular batter for frying, but I’ll let you know how I make mine in case you’re curious.
Haven and I like to stop in at New Moon Cafe when we’re downtown and every summer we look forward to their lavender blueberry lemonade. There is no other word to describe it but divine.
We were recently craving our favorite summer drink but planned on lounging all day in our PJs so I decided to try and make our own version at home. I’m really happy with how it turned out so I thought I’d share.
Lavender Blueberry Lemonade
1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp culinary lavender (look for the term food grade when purchasing)
1 cup lemon juice
3 cups cold water
purple food coloring (1 drop blue, 2 drops red); optional
fresh or frozen blueberries
Combine water, sugar, and lavender in a pan over medium heat. Stir and let simmer until sugar has melted.
Remove pan from heat and cool to room temperature.
Strain out the lavender.
Add the sugar water to a pitcher.
Next, add the lemon juice and water.
Stir well and add food coloring if desired.
Pour yourself a glass of lavender lemonade with a handful of blueberries.
My culinary strength is pizza. I can make a pizza out of basically anything and that’s my super power.
While summer in the south is humid and suffocating and full of boob sweat, I still adore it in the early morning hours tending my garden. The pizza recipe I’m sharing is made with everything I harvested one morning from our garden. This is just for inspiration, use whatever you have in your garden or find at your farmer’s market! I’m including my favorite pizza dough recipe (no rise time or crazy kneading required!) but you can definitely use store bought if you’d rather.
In a mixing bowl, stir yeast and sugar into the warm water. Let sit for 10 minutes (or until foamy).
Add flour and salt to the yeast mixture and mix with a wooden spoon until dough comes together. It’ll be super sticky so add in oil a tablespoon at time and work it into the dough.
Divide the dough in half if you plan on splitting into two pizzas. (You can place one in a freezer bag to use later. Your future self will thank you!)
Roll out the dough on a pizza pan (use a cookie sheet if you don’t have a pizza pan), adding a handful of flour if it’s still sticky. Stretch and pull it into the shape you want. Remember, it’s going to fluff up in the oven.
Add toppings and bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes depending on how crispy you like your crust.
Victory Garden Pizza
5 or 6 small ripe tomatoes, roasted
a drizzle of olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
marinara sauce or pesto (basil or tomato)
1 small zucchini, diced
a handful of zucchini blossoms
1/2 of a small vidalia onion, diced
1 small green pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp basil, chopped (I’m loving the purple basil Baker Creek Seed Co. sent to me!)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put your tomatoes on a baking sheet, drizzle in olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 30 minutes.
Remove tomatoes from oven and bump the temperature to 425.
Spread your marinara or pesto base across the prepared pizza dough then add all your desired toppings. I like to place large hunks of mozzarella evenly across the toppings so it melts in nicely around the vegetables.
Bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes depending on how crispy you want the crust.
These are the veggies I happened to have in the garden on the day I decided to make a pizza for dinner. Use whatever you’d like!
Add some chicken, beef, or beans for protein if you want.
Yep, you sure can eat zucchini blossoms. A lot of folks like to fry them up and eat them in torillas, too.
When your zucchini plants are producing too many male flowers and not enough females, picking off some of the males is a great way to promote growth of new female flowers.
For me, there is nothing better than sitting back on the couch after a long day and watching TV (I’m almost finished with a 3rd Rock From the Sun re-watch) with a bowl of salsa in one hand, remote in the other, and chips crumbs littering the front of my shirt.
The reason we grow between 60-80 tomato plants each year is so we can make as many quarts of salsa as possible. Last year was our most successful year so far: we picked over 100 lbs of tomatoes and processed 25 quarts of salsa. We also can diced tomatoes, pasta sauce, and tomato soup.
Salsa is simple to make and most importantly, I just enjoy making it.
Here’s my recipe. Feel free to change up the ingredients and/or amounts depending on how much you’re making. Just keep a bag of chips nearby for taste testing purposes as you add ingredients and it will be impossible to make a bad batch!
The Signature Holler Salsa
(makes 5 or 6 quarts)
10-12 lbs of ripe tomatoes, diced (I add in a few green tomatoes for fun)
2 cups peppers, chopped (I usually use green bell and Cubanelle peppers)
5 jalapenos, seeded and finely chopped
2 1/2 cups onion, chopped
4 tbsp garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
1 cup apple cider vinegar with “mother”
2 cups corn, roasted
2 small branches from a tomato plant
3 tbsp pickling/canning salt
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped (optional – I don’t always have this on hand)
Roast your corn in the oven or on the grill. It isn’t required but I think it really adds flavor.
You can peel the skins from your tomatoes if you want. I always skip this step because the skins don’t bother me. Also, I’m lazy.
Add all the salsa ingredients to a large stock pot and bring to a boil, stirring often.
Reduce the heat to low and let your salsa simmer for a few hours with the lid on. Stir often.
Remove what’s left of the tomato branches. The leaves will have cooked down into your salsa.
Pour salsa into sterilized jars.
Process jars in a water bath. (I process 15 minutes for pints, 25 minutes for quarts)
Pick and choose your own ingredients and taste often until you get the flavor you’re looking for.
I use several different tomato varieties in my salsa. Roma tomatoes are very popular and a great choice for canning but I’m not picky.
You can add tomato paste if you’d like a thicker salsa.
Yes, the branches and leaves from a tomato plant are perfectly safe to eat.
Water bath canning is simple and directions are easy to find online. Tomatoes are so acidic that pressure canning isn’t necessary but you can absolutely choose to pressure can if you’d rather.
If you’re interested in preserving and processing food, I highly recommend the book Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round by Marisa McClellan to get you started!
Pork butt (also known as pork shoulder or Boston butt) is a tried and true supper in our home. It’s cost-efficient, usually getting you a 5-10 lb roast for around $2 – $3 per lb when you catch it on sale in the store. You don’t have to dress it up, just add some seasonings then set it and forget it in the crockpot and you’ll easily get 3 mealsat least out it.
Today I’m giving you my recipes for pork sandwiches and my favorite leftover pork dish: BBQ mac & cheese.
Pulled Pork & Jalepeno Slaw Sandwiches
4 lbs pork butt
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp paprika
1/2 cup brown sugar
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup water
6 hamburger buns
optional, for serving: BBQ sauce or mustard; a side of baked beans For the slaw*:
1/2 head small cabbage, sliced thin
1 japaleno, finely diced
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp sugar
pinch of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper, to taste
Put all of the spices in a small dish and mix well. Rub the spice mix all over the pork butt.
Place pork butt in crockpot, add 1 1/2 cups water.
Cook on high for 8 hours.
Meanwhile, make the jalapeno slaw by combining all the slaw ingredients in a bowl. *You can add whole milk and mayonnaise (about 1/2 cup of each) if you’d like. (My husband isn’t a fan of mayo *gasp* so I always make a dry slaw.) Keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
The meat should be completely falling off the bone after 8 hours. Shred up the meat and put it in a strainer over the sink to drain off the juices.
Optional: I put about a quarter of the shredded meat on an extra large cookie sheet with the hamburger buns to toast everything, broiling for 2-3 minutes in the oven. (If you’re comfortable with using your broiler: remember to watch it the entire time because it can quickly burn your food!)
Put your desired amount of meat on a bun, top with slaw, and feel free to add condiments like BBQ sauce or mustard. Serve with a side like Bush’s grillin’ beans or baked beans.
Leftover BBQ Mac & Cheese
1 lb dry pasta (any kind like elbows, penne, shells)
1 egg, beaten
4 tbsp butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
3-4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp paprika
1 or 2 cups leftover shredded pork
Your favorite BBQ sauce
Preheat oven to 350.
Cook your pasta until firm (boil no more than 8 minutes), then drain.
In the pan that you used to boil the pasta, melt the butter then add in flour, whisking over medium-low heat for a couple minutes.
Add milk, whisking until smooth and very thick, about 5 minutes.
Reduce heat to low.
Beat egg in a small bowl. Pour a 1/4 cup of the sauce very slowly into the bowl, whisking the entire time to avoid cooking the egg. Once smooth, pour into the pan with the sauce.
Add cheese to the pan, stirring well until melted. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Add the cooked and drained pasta into the sauce, mixing everything well. *See note below.
Pour mac and cheese into a greased baking dish (9×9 or 9×13 is what I typically use), sprinkled with paprika.
Add leftover pork on top of the mac & cheese, then top generously with your favorite BBQ sauce.
Bake for 20 minutes.
*You can absolutely skip baking the mac & cheese and save yourself those 20 minutes. It’ll be extra creamy and you’ll just need to re-heat your leftover pork before serving over the mac & cheese.
Almost everyone loves a good stir fry. I make it a little differently every time, switching up ingredients based on what I have on hand. I love the versatility and the fact that I can get it on the table in under 30 minutes.
The recipe below is my most recent take on stir fry and definitely one I’ll make again. We still have about 10 pounds of green beans in the freezer leftover from last year’s harvest and this year’s bean plants are already flowering in the garden as I type this so green beans will definitely be a starring item on my supper menu for the next few months!
Chicken & Veggie Stir Fry
1 lb chicken breast, cut into cubes
1/3 cup vegetable oil, divided
salt and pepper, pinch of each
3 tbsp cornstarch
1 bell pepper, sliced
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 cup steamed green beans*
1/2 tsp ginger
1 cup sweet chili sauce
a dash of sesame oil
Add cubed chicken and 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a large bowl. Add salt, pepper, and cornstarch. Shake bowl until all of the chicken is coated well.
In a large skillet (or wok, if you have one), add remaining vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot (flick a drop of water in the oil and wait for it to sizzle), cook the chicken in two batches. You don’t want to crowd the pan because it’ll take longer for the chicken to cook!
Once the chicken is browned and to your desired level of crispness, remove to a plate with a paper towel to soak up excess grease.
Go ahead and steam your green beans in the microwave for 3 minutes.
Now add the bell pepper and garlic to the skillet, stirring for a minute or two. Add the chicken, green beans, ginger, sweet chili sauce, and sesame oil. Once everything is coated well, it’s time to serve!
*I used frozen green beans. If you have canned green beans, drain the can first and just add them in at the end. If you have fresh green beans, they’ll take longer to cook so trim off the ends and let them cook in a separate pan while you’re frying the chicken.
You can use any vegetables you want!
If you want to skip the meat: mushrooms and/or cauliflower are great chicken substitutes.
Meatloaf seems like such an old-school dish and often people imagine a dried out slab of ground beef shaped in a loaf and smothered in ketchup.
I don’t do boring. Or dry. Ugh.
I’m always looking for a shortcut; a way to work smarter, not harder. No one wants to come home at the end of the day and wait around for over an hour for a slab of meat to cook in the oven. Also, that’s around the witching hour in my house when the kid and the dog get extra sassy. We don’t have time for that.
If you (like me) think about food from the moment you wake up, it’s easy to put your meatloaf together in 10 minutes in the morning and put it in your crockpot, where it’ll be ready to serve at suppertime. Ooooor, if you forget to prep in the morning, your meatloaf can still be ready in under an hour with an Instant Pot.
Meatloaf & taters (with crockpot & Instant Pot directions)
2 lbs ground beef (I sometimes use 1 lb ground beef, 1 lb ground pork)
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
1 small onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup ketchup
3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp parsley
salt and pepper, to taste
For the sauce:
1/2 cup ketchup
3 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp mustard
2 tsp rice wine vinegar
For the mashed taters:
2 1/2 lbs potatoes, quartered (peel if you want – I don’t)
2 cups chicken broth or water
3 tbsp butter
1/4 cup whole milk or heavy cream
In a large bowl, mix the meat, onion, and garlic together.
Add the eggs, ketchup, Worcestershire, parsley, salt and pepper. Mix with a big wooden spoon or use your hands if you’re not afraid to get dirty. Shape into a loaf.
In a small bowl, mix the sauce ingredients together well. Brush about half the sauce over the meatloaf. Save the rest of the sauce for serving.
If you’re using the crockpot:
Place your meatloaf in the crockpot, add the quartered potatoes around the loaf, and cook on low for 6-7 hours.
If you’re using the Instant Pot:
Toss your quartered potatoes and chicken broth (or water) in the bottom of your 6 qt Instant Pot.
Place the steam rack (this is an accessory included with most Instant Pot models) on top of the potatoes.
Place your meatloaf on a piece of tinfoil and fold the edges up to create a pocket to hold the fat while it cooks. You don’t want the fat falling down in your potatoes. Place it on the steam rack; it should be a snug fit.
Make sure the steam release is closed, secure the lid, and turn Instant Pot on to Manual/Pressure Cook mode for 35 minutes.
Use the quick release method to open your Instant Pot.
Use oven mitts to transfer the steam rack to a baking sheet. Be careful not to spill the fat collected in the tinfoil! Cut your meatloaf into slices to serve.
Mash the potatoes and add the butter and milk. Season to taste.
Feel free to add other vegetables.
If you don’t like the sauce I made, you could always use your favorite BBQ sauce, or keep it traditional with just ketchup.
My crock pot is a lifesaver. I don’t think I would’ve survived the first year of my daughter’s life without it (that, and dry shampoo, of course).
I love that as long as you remember to throw some stuff into a crockpot in the morning, you’ll have supper ready when the day has gotten away from you and the kids are whining and the dog needs to go out and there are eggs to collect still and did you remember to water the garden…?
Yeah, throw it in and you’re done. It’s the adult equivalent of pulling a rabbit out of a hat.
***Now you can skip down to the photo for my recipe if you don’t care about the difference between grits and polenta or my darkest secret***
So this dish is a quick fix that cooks on low for 8 hours or so and then I spend about 10 minutes making a side of polenta right before I’m ready to serve.
Polenta is a lot like grits. The difference is that grits are usually made from dried ground hominy and is a soft starch. Polenta is a coarse ground corn product with a hard starch center. You can find polenta on store shelves in dry or cooked form. If you purchase it cooked, you’ll find it in a tube. From there you slice it and can fry, sautee, or grill it to the texture you want.
I have a confession to make: I don’t like grits. Never have. And I know there is an audible gasp from my fellow Southerners when I say that but I’m not ashamed. Don’t come at me with any “Well then you’re not a real Southerner” talk or else I shall pray that your biscuits never rise again.
Polenta, however, is something I love. I use it in place of beans, rice, or taters just to shake things up every once in a while. I like to add a little butter, milk (sometimes chicken broth, or water in a pinch), and cheese to mine. Always cheese. The taste and texture is different from grits despite the similar appearance.
Crockpot Beef Ragu with Polenta
2 or 3 lbs beef roast (I used eye of round but use what ya have!)
1 small onion, finely diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes (don’t drain it)
1/2 cup red cooking wine
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
3 bay leaves (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tbsp butter
2 cups of either: water, milk, or chicken broth
1/2 cup shredded cheese (I use cheddar but use what ya have!)
Add all ingredients except polenta to crockpot, cook on low for 8-10 hours. You want that roast to be tender and easy to shred.
A few minutes before you’re ready to eat, slice your cooked polenta and add to a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add in 2 tablespoons of butter, and two cups of either water, milk, or chicken broth.
Bring polenta to a boil, stirring/mashing to your desired texture. Add cheese and melt.
Serve beef and sauce over polenta.
To put a little “oomph” to your polenta, you can add some pesto or spinach.
If polenta doesn’t work for you: serve over mashed potatoes, rice, or white beans instead!
I have been fortunate enough to visit Hawaii a few times in my life. Each time I fell a little bit more in love with the land, the culture, and of course the food! I was spoiled by the fresh shrimp and seared mahi mahi, the delicate fruit-filled malasadas (doughnuts), the Portuguese chili dogs, and even the Spam & eggs breakfast from McDonald’s.
Hawaiians love a plate lunch, which is basically a meat-and-three like we serve here in the South, so I felt right at home! Where the South usually serves mashed or baked potatoes, French fries, or fried vegetables (like okra) as a side; Hawaii commonly serves white rice, fried noodles, macaroni salad, and rolls.
A favorite Hawaiian dish of mine is loco moco. It was created in the late 1940s in Hilo (my favorite town on the Big Island) though there are other areas of the island chain that like to claim it as their own original dish.
Loco moco is basically a riff on salisbury steak but the ground beef can be substituted for just about anything (Portuguese sausage, mahi-mahi, shrimp, Spam). It’s topped with a fried egg and served over rice.
I’ve put together a loco moco recipe that comes pretty close to what I had in Hilo years ago. If you’re in the Augusta, GA area you could also try a plate at Hawaiian Style BBQ on Gordon Highway. (They are the real deal, y’all!)
1 lb ground beef
1/2 onion, finely chopped
6 or 7 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 egg, beaten
1 cup bread crumbs
2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp butter
3 cups cooked white rice
For the brown gravy:
3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken or beef broth
A dash of Worcestershire sauce
Salt and peper, to taste
Sriaracha, teriyaki, or soy sauce; to taste
5 fried eggs (one for each burger patty)
Cook your rice according to package directions then set aside covered to keep warm.
Mix beef, onion, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, egg, bread crumbs, and milk in a large bowl until combined well. Form into 5 patties.
Heat skillet over medium heat and melt a tablespoon of butter. Add patties and cook until well-done. Remove patties to a clean plate.
To make the gravy: scrape up the the browned bits in the skillet and melt 2 tbsp butter. Whisk in 2 tbsp flour until it’s browned. Pour in the broth. Whisk until combined, bring to a boil then reduce to simmer. Add a dash of Worcestershire and let the gravy thicken for a couple of minutes. Remove from heat, salt & pepper to taste.
Optional: In a separate pan, fry your eggs to your desired firmness. (I like mine to be a little bit runny)
To serve: scoop desired amount of rice on a plate, add a patty and a good heap of gravy, top with your choice of sauce and a fried egg (optional).
If you don’t want to use/don’t have ground beef: try the same recipe but with a firm fish, like mahi-mahi or cod. Portuguese sausage is also a real winner!
Make it an authentic plate lunch by serving with a side of macaroni salad and/or teriyaki noodles.