Archive | 10:33 pm

Enjoy a Pina Colada without all the Calories

15 Jul

This stuff is pretty darn good — and offers a lot less calories than the traditional Pina Colada. It’s 100% fruit juice with no added sugars. Go to www.knudsenjuices.com for more information. Just add a little (or a lot) of your favorite rum and form a conga line.

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Summer Events at Blackberry Farm

15 Jul

This is a cool place and an active promoter of Southern Foodways. I realize the above visual is pretty hard to read without a microscope. For a closer look, go to their web site at www.blackberryfarm.com. We are told their Sweet Tea Brined Fried Chicken is out of this world. This is fine dining with a down home twist served up in the beautiful Smokey Mountains of East Tennessee. Try out this recipe — we think you’ll love it.

SWEET TEA BRINED FRIED CHICKEN

8 chicken leg quarters, cut into thighs and drumsticks
1 quart brewed tea, double strength
1 lemon, quartered
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup kosher salt
1 quart ice water

3 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups corn flour (or fish fry)
2 tablespoons crab boil seasoning (recommended: Old Bay)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
8 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
Peanut oil

Combine tea, lemon, sugar and kosher salt, and simmer for 5 minutes or salt and sugar are complete dissolved. Pour in ice water and cool brine completely. Submerge thighs and drumsticks in brine for 48 hours.

Remove to a wire rack and allow chicken to drain. Combine 2 cups of the flour and the corn flour, crab boil, chili powder, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Place remaining 1 cup flour in a medium bowl, and in a third bowl beat eggs with buttermilk. Line up bowls of flour, egg-buttermilk mixture and then the flour-corn flour mixture, in that order. Coat the chicken in the flour, then the egg-buttermilk mixture, and then the flour-corn flour mixture, applying pressure to ensure even adherence. Let the chicken sit in the refrigerator for 1/2 hour before frying.

Pour oil in a heavy pot at a depth of at least 3 inches. Heat oil to 300 degrees F. Fry chicken, submerged in oil, for 15 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer registers 170 degrees F for dark meat, 160 degrees F for white meat. Drain on a rack. Cool to room temperature, and then place in refrigerator for at least 4 and no more than 24 hours. Serve cool from a picnic basket or cold, straight from the refrigerator.

For other outstanding fried chicken recipes, we suggest you order the book seen below:

Tommy’s Tropical Cafe on St. Armand’s Circle

15 Jul

Good healthy lunch today at Tommy Bahama’s Tropical Cafe (www.tommybahama.com). They are located on historic St. Armand’s Circle on Lido Key. My friend Mike, who is a pretty good golfer, was my server once again. He always takes great care of you. I started off with a mango ice tea (served with a fat wedge of Florida orange) and some warm bread with Tommy’s tasty cinnamon butter. For an appetizer, I ordered a cup of Tortula tortilla soup. It was very flavorful with just the right hint of fresh cilantro and sour cream. My entree was the Tahitian Tuna Salad – one of my favorites. It’s light, fresh, and dee-lish. The lightly seared fresh ahi tuna was perfectly prepared and it cut just like butter. I dipped each piece in the provided Teriyaki sauce and it was all gone in a flash. I will warn you that this is not a cheap lunch, but the food is good and the atmosphere is pure island paradise. Be sure to visit the shop downstairs for a beautiful Hawaiian print shirt – they’ve got a great selection.  

St. Armand’s Circle (www.starmandscircleassoc.com) is a really nice shopping and dining district. My favorites include Tommy Bahama’s, The Columbia Restaurant (www.columbiarestaurant.com), Kilwin’s sweet shoppe (www.kilwins.com), and Shore beach apparel. The circle makes for terrific people watching — the district attracts many high-end European vacationers taking advantage of the soft U.S. dollar. The streets are lined with incredible sculptures (see King Neptune above) orginally placed here by John Ringling of Ringling Brothers Circus fame. Rumor has it he won St. Armand’s Circle in a poke game and, you know, I believe it. He was apparently quite the character and a huge part of Sarasota history. Learn more at www.ringling.org.