For St. Patrick’s Day, I made Tartelette’s Chocolate Whiskey Pots de Creme. Tartelette is also a Charleston resident, and her site is full of gorgeous photography and delicious baked goods, and definitely worth checking out. She features a lot of gluten free recipes, so especially check her out if you’re looking for gluten free food. This Pots de Creme recipe combines a couple of my favorite things: whiskey and chocolate. The recipe is really similar to the Hominy Grill Chocolate Pudding recipe I’ve written about previously, except this recipe is sweetened with honey instead of sugar and obviously, involves whiskey. Despite the whole baking-in-a-waterbath thing, the recipe is pretty quick to put together, and the result is DELICIOUS. Thick, richly chocolatey, not sickeningly sweet, with a warm hint of whiskey. If you, like me, are a big chocolate pudding fan and/or big whiskey fan, check this recipe out.
Saturday morning I decided to be fancy and make the Sticky Lemon Rolls that had caught my eye on The Kitchn this week. First and foremost, let me say this: if you want to have these rolls on a Saturday morning, start them on Friday night. They need two separate one-hour rises, plus 30 minutes of bake-time, so the time to start them is not 9 am on Saturday if you want to have them for breakfast. Despite the long prep time, these rolls are DELICIOUS. I didn’t have the called-for cream cheese to make the cream cheese frosting, so I made a simple glaze with powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest. They weren’t as sweet or pretty as they would have been with the cream cheese frosting, but they were still a unique and tasty treat. I even took some pictures for y’all:
I’m not too proud to admit that I make an occasional Rachael Ray recipe. I cooked a lot of her recipes when I was first starting out as a cook, and many of them remain favorites. On rainy Sunday evening, I made her Sweet Onion Mac and Cheese, which is basically an extra cheesy French onion soup meets pasta. It was delicious.
Wednesday we went out to celebrate a friend’s birthday with dinner at Wild Olive, an Italian restaurant on John’s Island. Wild Olive is a newer venture from the people who brought us the Fat Hen, a French restaurant very similar to downtown’s Rue de Jean, another favorite, where the owner of Fat Hen and Wild Olive was once a chef. One of my favorite things about Wild Olive is the $25 carafes of house wine. I also love that, much like Rue and Fat Hen, they have a delicious mussels appetizer– Wednesday I tried the white wine, fennel, and sundried tomato variety, and, as expected, they were delicious, with a yummy, buttery sauce that we ate up by soaking bread with it. The beef carpaccio was also quite good. For an entree, I decided to try something new and went with ricotta gnocchi with wild boar ragu. It was delicious! Any readers who visit Charleston would do well to remember that all the good restaurants aren’t just down town, and both Wild Olive and Fat Hen are worth checking out.
Saturday we checked out a place in Mount Pleasant called Crave Kitchen and Cocktails that I had never heard of until friends asked if we wanted to go. While I’m not sure it ranks in my top 10 or even 20 Charleston restaurants, and it had a fairly generic atmosphere, Crave’s food was prepared well and presented beautifully. I’m a huge fan of mussels, and we tried both varieties of the mussel appetizer, one in a coconut red curry broth similar to one I’ve had at Atlanticville, the other a more traditional white wine broth like I’ve had at Rue de Jean and the Fat Hen. Both were large portions that would be a bargain at the regular price of $10, even more amazing at a half-price special they were running. I had a cedar-planked salmon entree which was served ON the plank with a Greek spinach salad featuring artichokes and olives and feta. It was pretty good, though the fish was a little dry and could perhaps have used a marinade or sauce of some sort. Jon had a burger, which he said was very good, and our dining companions had sea bass, which was very impressively plated, and butter-poached seafood, which featured some really tasty lobster claws. Just goes to show that even a Charleston restaurant that fails to blow me away still provides a darn good dining experience. I’ve yet to have a bad meal in this town.
food for thought
I started a new tab up top, Charleston Eats, to track all the places I’ve tried and have yet to try in this town. It’s full of links and mini-reviews, so if you haven’t already, check it out.
New York’s schools are having a battle over bake sales. If you ask me, officials are looking in the wrong direction if their concern is childhood obesity. An occasional baked-good is essential to a healthy life, I personally believe. Not to mention, most homemade items contain real ingredients instead of corn syrup and preservatives, and beat out most processed foods. If we are really concerned about what kids are eating, we need to focus on reforming the school lunch program. Right now, students are fed sub-par food and a minimal amount of fruits and vegetables. Most of their food is pre-packaged and re-heated, not fresh. Getting fresh produce into schools and getting processed foods and vending machines out would go a long way toward making our students healthier. So would ensuring that they have an hour of physical activity per day.