New York Cuisine, Southern Hospitality at The General Muir

New York City is synonymous with art, high fashion, finance and great food — but not necessarily with great hospitality. So, imagine my surprise when I enjoyed a very hospitable New York-style dinner at The General Muir.

Pan Seared Trout with Fresh Butter Beans at The General Muir. Photo by Jennifer Booker.

Pan Seared Trout with Fresh Butter Beans at The General Muir | Photo courtesy of Jennifer Booker

Charred Tomatoes and Field Peas with Creme Fraiche at The General Muir. Photo by Jennifer Booker.

Charred Tomatoes and Field Peas with Creme Fraiche at The General Muir | Photo courtesy of Jennifer Booker

I sampled the Pan Seared Trout with Fresh Butter Beans, Charred Tomatoes and Field Peas with Crème Fraiche, Chicken Liver Pate, and bowl of Poutine (hand-cut french fries, covered with gravy and topped with cheese curds and crisp pastrami) — all served with a side of exceptional Southern hospitality. For those of you interested in more traditional Southern fare, don’t despair. I also noticed Pecan Crusted French Toast, Deep Fried Springer Mountain Farms Chicken, and even Pickled Eggs on the menu.

Did I mention that The General Muir is a refreshing take on the traditional New York City Jewish delicatessen and located right here in our lovely state? It’s at Emory Point in Atlanta, to be exact. They also offer an amazing brunch menu and a list of some pretty inventive cocktails — for those of you who like that kind of thing. There is even a deli counter attached to the main dining room for those of you wanting to get your bagels and smear to go.

jennifer-hill-booker-1436890751-thumb-230-230-438-151-820-444-90Jennifer is Georgia’s official Culinary Explorer and the author of “Your Resident Gourmet,” full of innovative recipes, cooking trends and fun kitchen gadgets. Click here for more content from Jennifer.

Georgia’s Tastiest Adventure: BBQ

Old Clinton BBQ

TripAdvisor.com rated Georgia the number one state for BBQ in 2014. In 2015, Joe’s BBQ in Blue Ridge captured the honor of Best BBQ in America. Sufficed to say, Georgia’s got some great ‘que.

How to Find the Best BBQ in Georgia
The problem with great BBQ joints however, is they aren’t always the easiest to find. The best ones are usually a little off the main drag. When on a road trip, our family generally consults Yelp to find a place nearby. After consulting the reviews, the final decision on whether to visit usually rests with the sign outside. If it doesn’t have a pig on it, we question the food quality.

The Brews and Q’s Passport to Flavor
There’s always the Best of Lists too. We’ve found tasty establishments, like Joe’s, based on those lists, and then seek them out when we are in the area. Georgia’s Historic Heartland has gone a step further. They’ve created a Brews & Q’s BBQ Trail. What a brilliant idea! The trail features 30 locally owned locations in 14 counties and each restaurant is listed in an easy to use brochure that serves as your passport to flavor. Many of these country kitchens have been featured on various TV shows and have won awards from numerous outlets. Get it stamped at each place and once you’ve visited a third of the sites (or 10 locations), you can mail in the passport to receive a free Brews & Q’s t-shirt. Download a brochure and get started on a delicious tour through Georgia’s heartland.

For more Fall Fun, visit the Field Trips with Sue Fall Guide.

SueSue Rodman is Georgia’s official Smart Travel Explorer and the editor and publisher of the award-winning family travel blog Field Trips with Sue. Click here for more Smart Travel content from Sue.

Click here to order Sue’s book, 100+ Things to Do in Atlanta.

Click here to follow Sue on Facebook.

Click here to follow Sue on Twitter.

Click here to follow Sue on Pinterest.

Click here to follow Sue on Google+

Click here to follow Sue on Instagram.

Jekyll Island Shrimp & Grits Festival

2015-shrimp-grits-10th-anniversary logoLooking for a Shrimp Extravaganza? Come out to the coast and eat your way through Georgia’s Golden Isles-starting with The 2015 Jekyll Island Shrimp & Grits Festival! The Golden Isles are nestled on the Georgia coast, making a breathtaking view of the four barrier islands of St. Simons Island, Sea Island, Little St. Simons Island, and Jekyll Island. Running from Friday, September 18th through Sunday, September 20th, this 3-day festival marks the 10th anniversary of Jekyll Island Shrimp & Grits Festival! To celebrate this milestone, they are gearing up for a weekend jammed packed with both amateur and professional cooking competitions, cooking demonstrations, and lots and lots of Wild Caught Georgia Shrimp! There will also be live entertainment, goodies for sale, and tons of family fun to be had by all. But in my opinion the highlight of the festival is being able to eat your weight in sweet Georgia shrimp. You’ll also, be able to sample all of the creative and delicious ways people cook shrimp & grits. I’ve seen it deep fried, stewed, pickled, barbequed, stuffed . . . well, you get the idea! In the meantime, you can whet your appetite with my take on Shrimp & Grits. Enjoy!

Shrimp & Grits

Shrimp & Grits | Courtesy of The Jekyll Island Authority

Shrimp & Grits with Tomato Okra Gravy
Yields 4 servings
Recipe by Chef Jennifer Hill Booker

Ingredients:
1 cup white or yellow stone-ground grits
¾ cup grated cheddar
¼ cup parmesan
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 slices thick cut bacon, chopped
1 pound medium wild Georgia shrimp (about 30), peeled and deveined
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon flour
½ cup chicken stock or vegetable stock
2 medium garden fresh tomatoes, cored and diced
½ pound tender young okra, cut into ½ inch pieces
Sea salt, to taste
Fresh cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 pinch cayenne pepper
4 scallions, thinly sliced

Directions:
In a 2-qt. saucepan, bring 4 cups water to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and whisk in grits. Cover and cook until grits are tender and creamy, about 30–40 minutes, whisking frequently. Add additional water if grits are too thick.

Whisk in cheddar, parmesan, and 1 tablespoon butter and season with salt; cover and set aside on low heat

In a medium sized skillet heat vegetable oil over low heat. Add bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper towel–lined plate; set aside. Reserve cooking fat in skillet.

Season shrimp with salt and pepper. Over medium-high heat, add shrimp to skillet with reserved bacon fat and cook, turning once, until bright pink, about 2 minutes. Transfer shrimp to a plate with a slotted spoon.

Lower heat and add onion to skillet and cook until soft but not browned, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook until golden, 1 minute more.

Add flour, and stir with a wooden spoon until well incorporated, while scraping the bottom of skillet, about 5 minutes.

Raise heat to high, add chicken stock. Whisk until smooth, simmering until thick and smooth.

Add tomatoes and okra to onion flour mixture, decrease heat to medium, and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently.

Cook until okra softens and tomatoes begin to break down, making a thick gravy. Add salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper, and continue to simmer until okra has cooked through, about 15 minutes. Add more stock if gravy gets too thick.

Return shrimp to skillet along with the lemon juice, remaining butter, and cook, stirring frequently, until sauce eats through, about 1 minute.

Divide grits between 4 bowls; top each with shrimp and tomato okra gravy.

Garnish each bowl with bacon and scallions.

Enjoy!

jennifer-hill-booker-1436890751-thumb-230-230-438-151-820-444-90Jennifer is Georgia’s official Culinary Explorer and the author of “Your Resident Gourmet,” full of innovative recipes, cooking trends and fun kitchen gadgets. Click here for more content from Jennifer.

Delicious Georgia Bacon at Carroll’s Sausage

Fresh cut lemon, clothes drying in the dryer and bacon frying in a hot skillet. These are three of my very favorite smells in the world… and I’m sure I’m not alone here, especially when it comes to the bacon! I have friends that consider bacon its own food group and vegetarians that will occasionally ‘fall off the wagon’ for a BLT.  Maybe it’s the smoky aroma, the chewy fat or the salty sweet flavor that a crisp slice of bacon offers you, making it the #1 breakfast food here in Georgia.

Buckboard Bacon at Carroll's Sausage and Country Store

Buckboard Bacon at Carroll’s Sausage and Country Store

Whatever it is, good bacon is worth its weight in gold and the drive to any one of the four Carroll’s Sausage and Country Store locations. Carroll’s Sausage & Country Store began in 1988 with a humble dream and a time-honored sausage recipe. Carroll’s Sausage & Country Store now offers dozens of specialty sausages, a full line of exceptional meats and hundreds of different grocery items. I first tried their Buckboard Bacon at last year’s Georgia State Fair in Perry, and immediately fell in love! They take premium Boston butts and cure them with a mixture of garlic and peppers, then smoke them to perfection resulting in a lean slice of smoked goodness. Not a fan of Boston butt? Do not despair because Carroll’s Sausage & Country Store offers seven different types of bacon-so you’re bound to find one you love!

jennifer-hill-booker-1436890751-thumb-230-230-438-151-820-444-90Jennifer is Georgia’s official Culinary Explorer and the author of “Your Resident Gourmet,” full of innovative recipes, cooking trends and fun kitchen gadgets. Click here for more content from Jennifer.

Watermelon Salad

Breathe it in . . . those last days of summer! Pretty soon backyard barbeques, picnics at the park, and lazing around the pool will be replaced with the organized chaos of packing lunches, checking homework, and laying out school clothes. It also means planning that weekly menu of grab and go breakfasts and quick and easy dinners. As a working mom, I do my best to plan my menus and recipes around the Sunday grocery sales papers. This way I know whatever I decide to make for dinner is on sale and more than likely in season-which is why it’s on sale in the first place. Although it’s the end of summer break, it’s not the end of summer’s growing season. We still have peaches, tomatoes, melons, greens and acres of other wonderful produce growing fresh here in Georgia.

So if you’re looking to hold on to those dog days of summer a little while longer, try this cool refreshing Watermelon Salad. This recipe celebrates summer with juicy sweet watermelon, crisp arugula, and a quick and easy vinaigrette.

Watermelon Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette
Yields 6 servings

Watermelon Salad

Photo courtesy of Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
6 cups seeded watermelon cubes, about 1- inch in size
1/4 cup Italian parsley leaves
1/2 cup scallions, sliced
6 cups arugula greens

Vinaigrette:
3 shallots, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons grained Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey, or to taste ( I like Shamrock Apiaries Honey from Macon, GA)
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup Georgia Olive Farm’s extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt, to taste
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Vinaigrette:

  1. In a small bowl, combine the shallots, garlic, mustard, honey and vinegar.
  2. Whisk in the oil by slowly pouring it into the bowl in a steady stream. The vinaigrette should be thick. If oil has settled on the top-continue to whisk until well combined.
  3. Adjust with salt and pepper to taste and additional honey if too tart. Set aside

Salad:

  1. In a small dry sauté pan, toast the sesame seeds until they are a golden brown. Remove from heat and reserve for later.
  2. In a large bowl, toss half of the sesame seeds, the watermelon, parsley and scallions with the vinaigrette.
  3. Place the arugula in a large salad bowl and spoon the watermelon salad on top, pouring any remaining vinaigrette over the salad.
  4. Sprinkle with the reserved sesame seeds and serve immediately.

Adapted from Field Peas to Foie Gras: Southern Recipes with a French Accent by Jennifer Hill Booker, © 2014 Jennifer Hill Booker, used by permission of the publisher, Pelican Publishing Company, Inc.

jennifer-hill-booker-1436890751-thumb-230-230-438-151-820-444-90Jennifer is Georgia’s official Culinary Explorer and the author of “Your Resident Gourmet,” full of innovative recipes, cooking trends and fun kitchen gadgets. Click here for more content from Jennifer.