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RUN! IT'S A HURRICANE... A FROZEN HURRICANE! - Sure, the worst thing to do during a hurricane is to actually be in a hurricane! If they say leave... then leave. However - the frozen drink version of a hurricane is something worth running towards!

Published in Beverages

Here are Three Classic Beach Drinks that you need to know how to make... and here's why. 


Walk with me - You're heading to the beach with a group of friends and you want to be able to do something besides pop open a beer or buy expensive watered down drinks from the bar for somebody you meet. Your buddy grabs a cold beer from the community cooler - the one with the dirty ice and floating debris. Yep, it's time to impress your beach date with your behind the wet-bar skills. Here are 3 Beach Themed Recipes for you so that you can get your inner mixologist vibe going. Oh, before we go any further... popping open a beer... is fine...but do it with some style.

Drink One! The Legendary Rum Runner

According to the Florida Keys Guide the rum runner has it's 1950's roots in an over stocked bar with new inventory on the way. As legend goes the Holiday Isle Tiki Bar in Islamorada, Florida had an excess of assorted beverages and mixers on hand an a load of brand new stock was on the way. The result? Toss together a whole bunch of stuff until it tastes good and then give it a kick ass name. Here's to drink number one!

Two cups ice
1 oz pineapple juice
1 oz orange juice
1 oz blackberry liqueur
1 oz banana liqueur
1 oz light rum
1 oz dark rum or aged rum
Splash grenadine
Optional: one ounce of Bacardi 151 to float on top
Orange slice (optional)
Directions: To make by the gallon use 24oz of each ingredient. Fill your blender with the ice, Add all of the liquid ingredients, Blend the contents until smooth, Pour into a Hurricane glass and garnish with an orange slice, Add the 151 floater! Hint: A Hurricane glass is that neat curvy one that you pay extra for at beach restaurants with their logo stamped on it. Hint Two: It's the glass with shapely hips!

Drink Two - The Bahama Mama

We've heard all kinds of stories about where the Bahama Mama recipe came from. One included a couple of Navy guys, some coffee, alcohol and having to explain how an Island Girl ended up on the base. What we do know about this drink is this... we really don't care where this classic comes from. It's a nice traditional concoction that beach lovers... love!

1/4 oz coffee liqueur
1/2 oz dark rum
1/2 oz coconut liqueur
1/4 oz 151 proof rum
juice of 1/2 lemons
4 oz pineapple juice
Combine all of the ingredients in a shaker, shake, pour over ice in a Collins Glass. HINT: A Collins glass is that tall glass/tumbler that looks like a skinny Iced Tea glass, about 10 - 14 ounces.

Drink Three - Ice Cream Pina Colada

First, we know that there are bazillions of Pina Colada recipes out there. But, we like this one. Why? Because our son makes them and he does a great job. So we are cheating a bit on this one by using a mix. Guess what, why not make that store bought drink mix better? Plus, this recipe is far above any recipe that just includes a bottled mixer, rum, and crushed ice. The Pina Colada was brought to us by no less than three bartenders in Puerto Rico who all claim it as their own from the late 1940's and early 1950's. Other have the recipe coming from roots mixed with pirate lore. Oh, we're told that Pina Colada meanst "strained coconut!" The Addition of Ice Cream takes this one over the top!

4-6 large splashes Coconut Rum
Crushed Pineapple
Chopped coconut
1 cup Pina Colada Mix (more if desired)
Ice cubes
1 -2 scoops Vanilla Ice Cream
Combine all of the ingredients except the ice and the ice cream in a blender. Mix for a second or two. Add in some ice, mix to chop ice, add more ice and chop/mix. You want a half melted slushy look - then add some ice cream! Mix to blend well but not enough to turn the ice cream to milk! Hint: Server in a Hurricane glass - see above!

Images: Florida Keys Guide or www.thedeckchef.com

Published in Beverages

America - Get Ready To Grill, Tailgate, Have some Fun, and Bone Up On Grilling Trivia! Kent “The Deck Chef” Whitaker serves up his new book Great American Grilling!

Published in Deck Chef Blog

NUTS and FRUIT! I'm talking about pecans, walnuts, or the tasty toasted nuts of your choice. Wait - how about fruit? Strawberries, banana slices, assorted berries, and more. Adding that flavor boost to a classic breakfast recipe is a great way to propel a boring dish to something spectacular. Try this French Toast recipe with your own twists! Here is too quick and easy. Versions of these can be found in my Tennessee Hometown Cookbook as well as the Georgia Hometown Cookbook. Hope you enjoy!


French Toast With Fruit & Nuts
6 pieces wheat bread
(Texas Toast, French Bread, your choice)
2 eggs beaten
1/3 cup milk
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla or vanilla coffee creamer
1 teaspoon cinnamon
sliced peaches or bananas or strawberries
Set bread to the side and combine all ingredients in a bowl that is deep enough to dip bread in. Mix well and dip bread in mix. Cook on griddle until golden brown. Top with fruit, powdered sugar, butter and syrup. You can also add chopped pecans etc for bonus flavor.

(Kent Whitaker is a culinary writer and cookbook author. He is the winner of the Emeril Live BBQ contest and winner of an American Authors Association Gold medal. Kent’s books are in bookstores nationwide and are available online. Kent lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Visit him online at www.thedeckchef.com)

Published in Breakfast

Five things to do with taco seasoning! It's Cinco De Mayo Time which means it's time for some easy Mexican inspired recipes and a cold beverage! These tips are such time savers and they are also easy flavor boosters! You know those little packets of taco seasoning you can buy at the store? You know the ones. They cost about a dollar or less each for store brands - and a bit more for name brands. You open them toss them on some ground beef and make tacos. Yep, you know what I am talking about. Well here are five more things you can do with these packets rather than just make tacos!

Published in Deck Chef Blog

I/m A Sucker for a Crab Cake - My wife Ally will tell you that I'm probably addicted them. I have no idea why, it's an craving that pops up on a regular basis. When the urge for a crab cake hits me I have to have a crab cake right then or in the next hour, or day or two. The downside is that we live in East Tennessee... not known to be prime crab cake territory.

Published in Seafood

Apple Butter Marinade & Sauce Do you want to add some extra flavor to your pork chops? Do you have some apple butter in the fridge. Guess what? These two thing come together for great taste with little fuss. And, you can use apple butter one other items and as an ingredient for marinades, sauces and more.


It's not just for Toast!
Not that there is anything wrong with apple butter on toast or on a hot cat head biscuit! But why stop there? You can use this sweet apple flavored sauce on all kinds of items besides biscuits and pork chops. In fact, check out these bullet points.

  • It's easy and add flavor fast.
  • It's not as sodium laden store marinades or sauces.
  • With a few simple ingredient changes you can convert a simple marinade to a barbecue sauce and even a dipping sauce.

The great thing is that the recipes are endless. You can just start with some apple butter and a few cuts of meat or you can jazz things up a bit and start adding additional ingredients. You really can't go wrong.

(Full Belly - Light ebook reading - The Big Belly Flop)

bellyflopcoverlowSo, What is apple butter good with?
Apple butter based marinades and sauces really complement cuts of meat such as pork and chicken. But you can also use it on beef and lamb. Seafood may not be the best choice unless you are looking for a sweeter taste than you would normally associate with other meats. That being said, a nice hearty mixture of apple butter, some seasonings and a craft Porter beer would probably make a great drizzle sauce for salmon grilled on cedar planks.

The good thing about using apple butter with pork is that the flavor really sinks in and complements the texture of pork.

APPLE BUTTER MARINADE
1 cup apple butter
2 tablespoons apple vinegar
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons black pepper
Combine all of the ingredients and place your choice of meat cuts and marinade in a zip close bag. Roll with your hands to coat evenly. Chill for one - two hours. Remove from bag, discard excess marinade. Grill or cook as desired.

APPLE BUTTER SPICY DIPPING SAUCE
1 cup apple butter
1/3 cup ketchup
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup yellow mustard
1/4 cup minced onion
2 tablespoons hot sauce
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
Combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes. Allow to cool slightly and serve as a dipping sauce. Perfect for fondue style dipping for everything from vegetables to cuts of meat including beef, chicken and more.

Published in Sauces & Rubs

Charcoal 101 - So, you're about to fire up the grill and you have run out of charcoal. (Gas grill guys, stick with me.) So you're out of charcoal and a run to the store is in order. What are you going to buy? In most cases... charcoal. "Ahhhh," I say. "What type? Are you buying Lump or Briquette?"


How this topic started. First, there was a beverage involved. That's a given. Next, I was talking with a buddy about charcoal when he stopped me after about five seconds and asked; 'Whatâ's lump charcoal?' Wham, there's an article! Thanks to Ronnie at Kick Stand Up magazine in Chattanooga for allowing this important topic to grace the pages of his magazine. Lumps or Briquettes. I know, not really a hot social topic or motorcycle theme. But Ronnie thought it was pretty cool since it is the start of summer.


Charcoal Briquettes are the charcoal that many of us relate to… think Kingsford. These small pre-form briquettes are a combination of charcoal pieces along with fillers and a bonding agent. Some are flavored, some are instant light, some are cheap and some work wonderfully. The good thing, for the most part they burn uniform in a uniform manner. You know what you're getting.

Lump Charcoal is actually charcoal before it's machined up and mixed with other stuff in order to make briquettes. Have you ever been to a campsite and found left over burned wood in the fire pit? You toss on more wood, light it and before you know it that old, black, ugly wood is burning away. That' lump charcoal.

Specifically lump charcoal is made my placing a bunch of wood in a pit, setting it on fire and covering it in order to let the 'junk' burn off in a low oxygen environment leaving the lumped charcoal. The product varies wildly between brands. But so does briquettes. Another difference is that lump charcoal varies in size of pieces. A bag will contain pieces, bits, chunks and more. This could cause a problem with consistency.

My Charcoal Recipe When I use charcoal I use a 3, 2, 1 mix. That's three parts charcoal briquettes, two parts instant light charcoal briquettes and 1 part hickory or mesquite wood if desired. Sometimes I just toss on wood chips for added flavor. I have a buddy that uses orange peels for a bit of flavor. Use a proper container if trying chips or peels on a gas grill.

Look for an expanded version in KSU Magazine. CLICK HERE

Published in Deck Chef Blog

It's Derby.... Pie Time!! - The Kentucky Derby is right around the corner! Two things happen in my family when Derby weekend approaches. First, my wife Ally starts her search for the perfect Kentucky Derby Hat. This year the hunt started between New Years day and Easter. Secondly, my mom starts talking about Derby Pie. Actually, with my family a Derby Pie conversation can pop up any time of year.


I was born in Louisville Kentucky so the Derby comes naturally to me. Its pageantry, sports, tradition and Southern Charm combined with NASCAR style tailgating, cold beverages and city wide block parties. Food is a natural ingredient to any Derby Day celebration.

Since Ally has her Derby hat covered I'll move onto updating your Derby Dessert knowledge.

Derby Pie is a registered trademark!
Jessie Oswald, of www.louisville.com has written several great articles about the origins of the Derby Pie, and how the Kern's family perfected the recipe while they owned the Melrose Inn. When they sold the Inn they continued to make the pie for select customers and the business continued to grow. Once perfected Kern's Kitchen and the Kern's family locked up rights to the name with federal trademark protection and the actual recipe is top secret! Here's a tidbit of trivia on how the Kern's family decided on a name. According to Oswald's articles the Kern family members all had different ideas on what the new pie should be named. To settle things everyone agreed to write down a name and place the pieces of paper in a hat.  Guess what? Derby Pie was the winner.

Pecans? Nope  - Walnuts!
Did you know that a "traditionalâ" Derby Pie uses walnuts instead of pecans? Sure, many people substitute nuts when they make their versions. There is nothing wrong with that. If you meet a purest and offer up a slice of Pecan based Derby Pie and they seem to have a problem with it… then take the pie back!

Pies - by the Numbers.
According to Jessie Oswald Kern's Kitchen produces between 120,000-130,000 pies each year and one man, Production Mgr./Baker JB Keahey, bakes them all! That is amazing and shows how secret the recipe is. The dessert is most popular during the weeks surrounding the Kentucky Derby. Here are some more numbers; 1,892 sheets of Derby Pie are produced solely for use by Churchill Downs and 25,000 slices are served on Derby Day alone.

Since the Kern's Kitchen Derby Pie is a secret recipe people like me have been taking guesses at it for a long time. No one can match the taste of the original. However, there are some pretty darned good versions out there. Most often cooks substitute pecans for walnuts and Whiskey for Bourbon, even though this is frowned upon by many people from Kentucky and almost all horses in the state. Below is a recipe that will make a nice Chocolate & Walnut pie that will be a great addition to your Derby party since it would be hard to order one in time now.

For the official bakery and home of the Derby Pie check out www.derbypie.com . You can order a pie and find a distributor near you. This way you can be ready for next years Derby. 

Chocolate & Walnut Pie
1/2 cup flour
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup melted butter
2 tablespoons Kentucky bourbon
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 ready-made piecrust
Directions: 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine flour and sugar in a mixing bowl. Add the eggs and butter; mix to combine. Stir in the bourbon, walnuts, chocolate chips, vanilla, and salt. Pour the mixture into the unbaked piecrust. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool before slicing. * Note: If you ever include a similar recipe in a cookbook, you can't legally call it a "Derby Pie" recipe. The name "Derby Pie" is trademarked, and the owners of the name are very aggressive protecting the name "Derby Pie."

Thanks to John Mitzewich, former About.com Guide and  Jessie Oswald, of www.louisville.com
Photo via Flicker 

Published in Deck Chef Blog

Searching The Web for BIG GAME PORK Chow!! The mission started with a simple email asking about a few ideas for ribs or pork chops for the BIG GAME!

Published in Pork
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