Browsing Tag

Southern

Rich and Delicious Crock-Pot Mac & Cheese

Hey, y’all!

I’m coming to you today with, arguably, my most decadent recipe to date: my rich and delicious crock-pot mac & cheese! This is a heavy dish, a comfort food, and certainly something that you will want to cuddle up with this fall and winter.

This would be perfect for a tailgate, for a party, or for a large family. I’m not listing a serving size due to relativity; however, this recipe will feed a lot and can be easily doubled!

The magical thing about a dish this heavy is that it can be a side or main dish; in all honesty, I prefer it to be the main course. You could elevate it by added a freshly cooked lobster tail to it; however, it’s flavorful and satisfying enough as is!

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JC's Crock-Pot Mac & Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz. box of elbow macaroni (or the pasta of your choice)
  • 16 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 12 oz. evaporated milk
  • 1 c. whole milk (add more if needed throughout the process for desired consistency)
  • 1 stick of butter, cubed
  • 4 oz. good parmesan cheese
  • Pinch of: salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, onion powder (all to taste)
  • 2 c. panko bread crumbs

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients, minus the bread crumbs, in the crock-pot
  • Cook on low for roughly 2-3 hours, stirring on occasion and monitoring progress
  • In the oven, briefly toast your bread crumbs (I cover them in butter beforehand)
  • Serve with bread crumbs on the side, which allows for each diner to have their desired amount
  • Tip: Line your crock-pot with a slow-cooker liner for easy clean up
  • Tip: To speed up the process, partially cook your pasta on the stove before adding it to the crock-pot with the other ingredients

As always, Happy Eating, Happy Traveling, Happy Living!

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

My best,

JC

FTC: This post is not sponsored; all opinions are my own.

The Historic Boone Tavern Hotel & Restaurant

Hey, y’all!

During my recent trip to Berea, Kentucky, I was honored to be hosted by the Historic Boone Tavern Hotel and Restaurant!

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I love the history of the property. To quote, “A historic Berea hotel, Boone Tavern was built in 1909 at the suggestion of Nellie Frost, the wife of the College president, William G. Frost. As the reputation of Berea College grew, so did the number of guests that Mrs. Frost received, reaching a total of 300 guests in one summer. Boone Tavern Hotel & Restaurant– named for Appalachian hero Daniel Boone – has been hosting visitors of Berea, Kentucky, ever since, including the Dalai Lama, Henry Ford, President and Mrs. Calvin Coolidge, Eleanor Roosevelt, Maya Angelou, and Robert Frost.

Construction of Boone Tavern began in 1909 based on designs by the New York architectural firm of Cady & See at a cost of $20,000. The building, made of bricks manufactured by students in the College’s brickyard, was constructed by the College’s Woodwork Department. The “Tavern” portion of the name is derived from the historic definition that refers to a public inn for travelers rather than the modern definition related to the sale of alcohol.

Built at a prominent location on the College Square in the heart of Berea where the old Dixie Highway intersected with the campus, Boone Tavern is one of the most famous Kentucky hotels.”

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With 63 guest rooms, guests have ample options to stay at a property chock-full of history. Boone Tavern is a member of the Historic Hotels of America; furthermore, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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Upon checking in, I learned that I was honored as the Guest of the Day. What a surprise!

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The decor of the hotel is just stunning. Elegant, enduring, and southern to the greatest extent of the word.

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When you stay at a property like Boone Tavern, you realize that all details – even the small ones – are thought about. One of my favorite parts of the experience is that you use an actual key to enter your room. However small, I love the touch; traditional room keys trump swipe/scan room keys.

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My room was gorgeous. Large and comfortable – it felt like home. Apart from that, the bathroom was grandiose. Oversized and complete with an amazing jacuzzi — I certainly made use of the amenities!

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If that isn’t enough to incentivize you to plan a trip to Berea (though I know it is), let’s talk about the amazing restaurant located in Boone Tavern. Let me tell you — this restaurant is a Kentucky diamond. It’s a rite of passage to dine here. It’s timeless, classic, and – if I do say so myself – downright delicious.

The food:

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Fried deviled eggs – yes, you read that correctly. Divine.

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A magnificent fried green tomato salad!

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The highlight of my meal: local tomatoes, sweet peaches, and the most magical, creamy ricotta. Delicious!

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The bass was delicious — a Kentucky classic! Plus, it was plated beautifully!

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A classic at the restaurant: Chicken Flakes In a Bird’s Nest.

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And, of course, bread pudding!

Though alcohol is served in the restaurant, the perfect way to end the evening is to visit the bar right next to the dining room. I met some great people and enjoyed a delicious gin martini (or two). It was a perfect ending to a perfect stay.

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I want to sincerely thank Berea Tourism and the Historic Boone Tavern Hotel and Restaurant for sponsoring this stay. It was one for the books – and one that I will be talking about for a long while!

Cheers!

As always, Happy Eating, Happy Traveling, Happy Living!

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

My best,

JC

FTC: This is a commissioned post. All opinions, however, are my own.

 

 

Havana, Cuba

Hey, y’all!

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I recently visited Havana, Cuba with my friend Shelby to celebrate her graduation from our alma mater, Centre College. Traveling to Cuba was a bucket list item for me!

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Due to travel embargoes, Cuba has largely been an unexplored land for Americans. However, they have been lessened and you are now able to travel to Cuba under one of twelve categories.

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Before You Go:

One very important thing to note for travel to Cuba: you have to have both a passport and a visa. Do not forget this step!

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Fact:

Did you know that Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean?

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United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization:

If you travel to visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites, this is a destination for you. According to USA Today, “The city of Havana, particularly La Habana Vieja, was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982, including the district overall and the fortifications within.”

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Hemingway:

If y’all didn’t know, I’m a bibliophile. I love literature with every bone in my body. If you are like me, you are a Hemingway fan. Via USA Today, “The Old Man and the Sea was actually based on his experiences in Cuba. The legendary author lived near Havana in a town called Cojimar. Visitors to Havana can go see his estate as well as the places Hemingway used to frequent in the city. In general, Havana is a great place for book lovers – and not just because of Hemingway’s legacy. The city has an abundance of secondhand book markets, especially the one at Plaza de Armas.”

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Classic Cars:

If you are a fan of classic cars, you will be in awe during your entire Cuba trip! Why is that? To quote NewsWheel, “Castro placed a ban on foreign vehicle imports, making it nearly impossible to buy brand-new, foreign-made vehicles.” This embargo ceased importation, yet led to a classic car culture that is a sight to be seen!

There will be many classic car owners that offer tours of the city; we hired one for an entire day! This is the best way to see everything from a local’s perspective!

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Food:

The Cuban food is, without question, delicious. This is a fantastic guide and is the one that I referenced. I have three words: plantains, mojitos, and lobster. You might be surprised by the third — I was. However, lobster is prevalent for tourists in Cuba; in fact, it has a very interesting backstory. To learn more about that, I recommend this article — fascinating!

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Beaches:

Cuba boasts beautiful beaches; these are not located in Havana, but are certainly worth your time!

Varadero Beach is the most popular – it stretches more than 12 miles, has many all-inclusive resorts, and is simply gorgeous. (Travel + Leisure)

Cayos Coco and Guillermo is stunning and has more shallow water. Perfect for families, paddle boarders, and kayakers. (Travel + Leisure)

Playa Ancón is on the southern shore and has coral rocks to explore. Additionally, according to Travel + Leisure, “about seven miles to the north you’ll find the small Spanish colonial town of Trinidad, where the cobblestone streets and buildings have been preserved from the 1800s.”

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Plazas:

There are multiple plazas in Havana. Much of the culture and life is based in them; whether it be restaurants, live music, drinking, dancing – they serve as epicenters for Cuban life. Don’t miss them! Here are just a few to take note of – however, don’t let this be an all-encompassing list. Explore them all!

  1. Plaza de la Catedral: La Catedral de San Cristóbal is an iconic structure that is sure to please the eye – it is simply gorgeous and serves as the keystone of this plaza. Additionally, most of the surrounding buildings are from the 18th century and have lovely blue accents. According to TravelYesPlease, “Going back even further to 1592, the plaza was where Havana’s first aqueduct (and the first Spanish aqueduct in the New World), the Zanja Real, was located. It was built to channel water from the Alemendares river, providing water to local residents and ships docking in the harbour.”
  2. Plaza Vieja: A must-see in Plaza Vieja is la Casa del Conde Jaruco! Don’t miss it!
  3. Plaza de la Revolución: One of the largest squares in the world, la Plaza de la Revolución is famous for political rallies and gatherings. Fidel Castro was known to address Cubans here.
  4. Plaza de Armas: Originally built for military purposes, this plaza is now a lively, tropical cultural hub. Many people visit this plaza to shop the secondhand book market, a Cuban staple!
  5. Plaza de San Francisco: This plaza is home to la Basilica Menor de San Francisco de Asis, which was built in the late 16th century. The bell tower is beautiful!

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Cigars:

According to Time, “Cuba’s fertile land and favorable climate allows all three types of tobacco leaves used in a cigar — the wrapper, filler and binder — to be harvested on the island.” While I do not endorse smoking and acknowledge the health risks associated with it, I do think that it is vital to an authentic, well-rounded trip to Cuba.

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Rum:

Havana is known for rum. The Bacardi family based their operations in the city until they left during the Cuban Revolution. The biggest producer nowadays is Havana Club – so good! Cheers!

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Be sure to put Cuba on your travel bucket list – you’ll thank me later!

As always, Happy Eating, Happy Traveling, Happy Living!

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

My best,

JC

FTC: This is not a sponsored post; all opinions are my own.

Kentucky Beer Syrup Three Ways

Hey, y’all!

I’m coming to you with another installment in my Building Your Palate Series.

Today’s feature: The Beer Syrup Company. Even better: it’s a product made right here in the Commonwealth of Kentucky!

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To quote their website: “Founded in 2014, The Beer Syrup Company was created out of a passion for craft beer, cocktails, gourmet food, and a desire to produce a unique, hand crafted product that everyone can enjoy.  We are the first ever commercial producer of Beer Syrups that can be used in a variety of ways when it comes to creating delicious food and beverages.  We love to use it as a sweetener for our Cold Brew Coffee and Lattés or simply as a topping for ice cream and waffles.  We also use it as a glaze for different meats, fish and vegetables and even mixing craft cocktails behind the bar.”

I was gifted three bottles: the Chocolate Porter, Bourbon Barrel Stout, and Pecan Nut Brown! I used all three in very different ways – each, in my book, surpassed the taste test with flying colors. All unique, all delicious!

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The Chocolate Porter is rich – you’ll get a malt flavor, yet also that touch of cocoa. It is insanely delicious! I used it in a simple cup of coffee and it really amplified the flavor!

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The Bourbon Barrel Stout, in my opinion, is the most flexible option that I tried. I personally used it to glaze chicken, but it would also be great on pork or salmon; their website even claims that it is great on ice cream and waffles… and I’m sure that it is!

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The Pecan Nut Brown was my favorite. It’s light with hints of malt and nuttiness – simply delicious. I used it in their version of an Old Fashioned and it really sent the taste over the edge. SO good, y’all – trust me.

You can buy the syrups locally or online; be sure to tell them that I sent ya!

As always, Happy Eating, Happy Traveling, Happy Living!

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

My best,

JC

FTC: I was gifted the product for review; all opinions are honest and are my own. No additional compensation was received.

Breakfast With Noosh Nosh

Hey, y’all!

I recently had the opportunity to share a breakfast table with my friends Charles, Lori, and Heather of HerKentucky at Noosh Nosh. We even had a brief visit with the chief, Chef Anoosh Shariat, as well! A morning with friends, good conversation, and delicious food is a morning well-spent in my book.

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To quote their website, “Noosh Nosh is the casual dining creation of Chef Anoosh Shariat. We offer delicious food made from the freshest ingredients and present them in a fun, family-friendly environment. We live by the belief that good food is integral to good overall health, and we that many of the world’s problems could be solved with an honest conversation over a great meal.”

Now, to the food!

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I ordered the Tofu Florentine, which featured curried, scrambled tofu, sautéed spinach, asparagus, vegan hollandaise, and home-style potatoes. This dish was filling, yet light in its own way – a quality that I very much appreciate!

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Secondly, I had the Prosciutto Crepe. It is stuffed with delicious prosciutto, figs, and gorgonzola — a natural pairing. This is a delicious, must-try item!

I thank Noosh Nosh for hosting me! You can visit them at 4816 Brownsboro Center, Louisville, KY 40207. Their hours are Sun – Thurs: 8:00am – 9:00pm,
Fri. & Sat.: 8:00am – 10:00pm. Be sure to tell them that I sent ya!

As always, Happy Eating, Happy Traveling, Happy Living!

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

My best,

JC

FTC: Accommodations were gifted for review, no compensation was given. All opinions are my own.

 

Eat. Drink. Social.: JCP Eats

Hey, y’all!

I am so honored to have been the feature on the inaugural episode of the Eat. Drink. Social. podcast!

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Description: “Tune in to see how-to grow your social following by being vulnerable and real with Louisville foodie influencer @JCPEats!”

In the interview, I give you a behind the scenes look as to what goes into one of my Instagram posts, what makes a good post, and my tips to grow your audience!

You can listen to the interview here, which can be heard via web browser, Apple Podcasts, Google Play, or Spotify!

As always, Happy Eating, Happy Traveling, Happy Living!

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

My best,

JC

FTC: This is not a sponsored post; all opinions are my own.

Four Ingredient Southern Deviled Eggs

Hey, y’all!

Deviled eggs are essential to southern living, a proper party south of the Mason-Dixon, and the rural palate. I grew up eating them – and they are, quite honestly, one of my favorite foods.

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Before we get into the recipe, here’s an interesting history of the deviled egg from History.com:

“According to Apicius, a collection of Roman recipes believed to have been compiled sometime between the fourth and fifth century A.D., boiled eggs were traditionally seasoned with oil, wine or broth and served with pepper and laser (which was also known as silphium, a plant driven to extinction by the first century A.D.). Another recipe called for poached eggs to be dressed with soaked pine nuts, lovage (an herb of the parsley family with an anise, celery flavor), pepper, honey, vinegar and broth.

Sometime in the 13th century, stuffed eggs began to appear in Andalusia, in what is now Spain. An anonymous cookbook from this time period instructs the reader to pound boiled egg yolks with cilantro, onion juice, pepper and coriander and then beat them with murri (a sauce made of fermented barley or fish), oil and salt. After stuffing the mixture into the hollowed egg whites, the two halves were then fastened together with a small stick and peppered.

By the 15th century, stuffed eggs had made their way across much of Europe. Medieval cookbooks contain recipes for boiled eggs that were often filled with raisins, cheese and herbs such as marjoram, parsley and mint and then fried in oil and either topped with a sauce of cinnamon, ginger, cloves and raisins with verjuice (a tart juice made from unripe fruits) or powdered with sugar and served hot. In the United States, stuffed eggs began making an appearance in cookbooks by the mid-19th century.

The first known printed mention of ‘devil’ as a culinary term appeared in Great Britain in 1786, in reference to dishes including hot ingredients or those that were highly seasoned and broiled or fried. By 1800, deviling became a verb to describe the process of making food spicy. But in some parts of the world, the popular egg hors d’oeuvres are referred to as “mimosa eggs,” “stuffed eggs,” “dressed eggs” or “salad eggs”—especially when served at church functions—in order to avoid an association with Satan.

A recipe from Fannie Farmer’s 1896 “Boston Cooking-School Cookbook” was one of the earliest to suggest the use of mayonnaise as a binder for the filling. However, despite the fact that mayonnaise began to be distributed commercially in the United States in 1907, the condiment was not commonly featured in deviled egg recipes until the 1940s. The classic version of deviled eggs is now widely considered to include a mixture of mayonnaise, mustard and paprika, but professional chefs and home cooks around the world have experimented with numerous variations on the filling throughout history—including pickles, dill, bacon, crab meat, sriracha, kimchi, wasabi and caviar among many others.”

Now, to the deviled eggs that I grew up eating – they are easy to make and downright delicious!

Four Ingredient Southern Deviled Eggs

Ingredients: 

  • Eggs
  • Mayonnaise
  • Sweet Pepper Relish
  • Paprika

Directions:

Boil the eggs. To properly boil, cover eggs in water and bring them to a rolling boil. Remove from burner, cover, allow them to sit 20 minutes. Move eggs from pot directly into an ice bath, which will cease the cooking and aid in easy removal of the shell.

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After all parts of the shell have been removed, cut eggs in half. Empty the boiled yolks (or, as I grew up calling them, the “yellows”) into a separate bowl. Repeat for all eggs.

Take a large fork and press into the yolks until they are finely diced.

Combine egg yolks, mayonnaise, and sweet pepper relish for the filling. Add mayonnaise and relish little by little – instead of a specific quantity, I find that it is truly to taste.

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For a more homemade look, simply spoon the mixture into the boiled egg whites. For a more prim look, drop the mixture into an icing bag and use a tip to administer onto the boiled egg whites.

Sprinkle top with paprika.

Refrigerate.

I hope y’all enjoy this recipe! Did you grow up eating deviled eggs?

As always, Happy Eating, Happy Traveling, Happy Living!

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

My best,

JC

FTC: This is not a sponsored post; all opinions are my own.

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