Archive | 9:41 pm

Congrats to the Hominy Grill

20 Jun

We are happy to announce that Robert Stehling of the Hominy Grill (one of our favorite Dixie Dining haunts in Charleston, SC) has won the prestigious James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Southeast. This recognition is long overdue. “The Hom” (as we call it) has mastered the art of presenting traditional Southern food with a gourmet twist, but they have always been able to keep it real. We are proud of Robert and his crew and wish them many years of success. Can’t wait to get back there again. For more on the award, take a moment and visit the following link: 



Robert cleans up pretty good!

And for more on the Hominy Grill, check out their web site at

Hummingbird Cake

20 Jun

Just spotted this recipe on Saveur magazine’s web site — some great Southern recipes can be found there. This recipe seen below was provided by Mammy’s Cupboard restaurant in Natchez, MS. We first discovered hummingbird cake during our time in the Magnolia State. Some say it reminds them of carrot cake … I say it’s a cross between coconut cake and pineapple upside down cake. Yankees find it similar to the traditional Italian creme cake. Regardless of the origins, it is darn good. Do yourself a favor and make a homemade cake for a change. You deserve it and your Granny will be proud!

3 tsp. butter, softened
3 cups plus 3 tbsp. flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1⁄2 cups vegetable oil
3 eggs, well beaten
6 ripe bananas, peeled and coarsely mashed
1  8-oz. can crushed pineapple
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup chopped pecans
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1⁄2 tsp. vanilla extract
1⁄2 tsp. almond extract
1⁄2 tsp. coconut extract

14 oz. cream cheese
8 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. coconut extract
6 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1. For the cake: Preheat oven to 350°. Grease each of three 9″ round cake pans with 1 tsp. of the butter, dust each with 1 tbsp. of the flour, tapping out excess, and set aside.

2. Combine the remaining 3 cups flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl. Add oil and eggs and mix well. Add bananas, pineapple, coconut, pecans, cinnamon, and vanilla, almond, and coconut extracts, and mix well. Divide batter evenly between pans. Bake until toothpick inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, 25–30 minutes. Set aside to cool briefly, remove cakes from pans, then set aside to cool completely.

2. For the frosting: Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla, almond, and coconut extracts in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until smooth, then reduce speed to medium-low and gradually beat in sugar.

3. Assemble and frost cake, spreading 1 1⁄2 cups of the frosting evenly between the three layers of cake and use the remainder to frost top and side of cake completely.

Note: Saveur is a terrific magazine for foodies and very reasonably priced.

Sea Grapes & Atlantic Cockles

20 Jun

It’s been a while, so I wanted to do another blog on life on Siesta Key. We are surrounded by lots of lush tropical vegetation including lots of sea grapes. It is an attractive plant, but the grapes are not edible. You see them everywhere on the key, adding to the natural beauty of our little island. I snapped this image near the beach.

As many of you know, we have been on a quest to gather up as many sand dollars as we can. They are pretty easy to score during low tide … you simply have to venture out to the sand bars that develop about 50 to 100 yards or so off the coast. While out on the hunt yesterday, I spotted what I thought was a tiny sand dollar about a foot under water. When I reached down to get it, I found that the object was much larger than I originally thought. I dug deep into the soft white sand and pulled out a massive Atlantic Cockle shell. It was about 4 inches across — they don’t get much bigger than that (about 5 inches max). Beautiful shell — have a look. Yeah, I know we live on the Gulf side of FL — go figure!


Cuban Version of “Clocks”

20 Jun

My brothers Bill and Mark urged me to check this mix out. Pretty cool stuff. I love Cubano rhythms and I love Coldplay’s song “Clocks,” so a blending of the two should be right up my alley. Check it out — interesting clip!