– 1 quart (1 1/4 pounds) ripe green or bronze muscadine/scuppernong grapes
– 1/2 cup purple muscadine/scuppernong grapes
– 2 pinches Kosher salt
– 1 lime, sliced into thin disks
– 1 quart ice cubes, plus more for serving
– 1 (750-ml) bottle dry, fruity white wine, such as pinto grigio, pinot gris, or sauvignon blanc
– 1 cup seltzer water
Pour 3 cups of the green or bronze grapes into a food processor, and process them just to a slurry, with four to five 3-second pulses. Strain the grapes through a fine-mesh strainer, pressing the pulp with the back of a spoon or spatula to extract the juice. Discard the remaining solids.
Slice the remaining grapes in half with a sharp knife. Don’t worry about the seeds.
Sprinkle the salt into the bottom of a large pitcher. Scatter one-third of the halved grapes and lime slices on top of the salt, then add one-third of the ice. Continue to fill the pitcher, repeating the layers of fruit and ice, until it’s full. Pour the reserved juice, white wine, and seltzer into the pitcher and stir. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill for 20 minutes.
Pour into glasses over ice, garnishing with halves grapes and lime slices from the pitcher.
We served ours in mason jars, but something with a wide mouth so you can pick out the fruit to eat would also be ideal. ;)
Speaking of fruit: I followed The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen recipe to a T. However, if you only have one color available, or more of one than another, feel free to use any color muscadines you want in any proportion you want.
This is the perfect light, bubbly sangria to serve in our sweltering Southern summers. I know I’ll be making it again soon!
It was my first time attending a Summit, although I’ve been a member of “The Southern C” for a while now. The Southern Coterie is basically a forum where Southern-enthusiasts like myself can go for recipes, travel information, and general fellowship – a virtual “front porch,” if you will. Two to three times per year, The Southern Coterie Summit is held in a Southern town where entrepreneurs, writers, bloggers, photographers, and all sorts of other business owners converge to learn more about branding, marketing, and growing a business, all while making connections and getting to know each other. It’s not specifically for women, but it turns out The Southern C Summits are made up of 91% or so women. It’s such a creative, empowering, inspiring environment. I’m so glad I was able to attend! Shout out to Bunny, who strong-armed me into going. :)
Upon an apocalyptic arrival in Charleston, we (we being Bunny, Betsy and I) started out with lunch at Butcher & Bee, which has been on my Charleston hit list for quite some time now.
Seriously, so. much. rain. The streets were flooding, but that didn’t dampen our spirits! Luckily, not too long after we got to Charleston the rain subsided. It threatened us all week, but never followed through.
The packing material “bee hive” was my favorite part of Butcher & Bee. Besides, of course, the food.
I had a grilled cheese with gruyere, cheddar, caramelized onions and roasted broccoli and it was divine. Also love the house-made pickles that come with every order. Adding this to my favorite places list.
We trekked through the rain to the historic American Theater on King Street where the Summit was held.
First up: Amy Smilovik, the owner and creative director of tibi. She preached doing what you are passionate about and forgetting the things you aren’t focused on. In fact, Amy recently had a serious medical scare, and as she went into surgery, she told us that she was thinking about her family, her kids, and whether culottes would be in style next year. That was when she realized she was truly in the right business.
Next up was Tara Guerard, founder and President of Tara Guerard Soiree. Tara was a hoot from Camden, South Carolina, and is the cream of the crop when it comes to wedding planners. She emphasized that entrepreneurs often don’t charge what they’re worth, and often don’t know the exact amount of money they need to bring in to pay their bills. Her best advice? “Marry a good man, hire a good bookkeeper, and hire a good nanny (that’s not too cute).”
Next was Maryann Bekkadahl, co-founder and President of Keep. Maryann was a no-nonsense gal from outside the South, but she had great advice for us on how to market ourselves and make money using social media. Granted many of her tips didn’t apply to my particular blog (they were geared towards interior design and fashion blogs), but they were definitely immediately applicable and clear-cut tips. That being said, here’s a minor disclaimer: Blogging (and everything that goes along with it) has turned into an immensely time-consuming hobby for me, and these partnerships and affiliate links help me pay for it. I would never start recommending things I didn’t whole heartedly love and/or believe in, and I hope that is obvious to y’all. *Stepping down off my soapbox now.*
Side note: Keep is pretty dang cool. I’d never even heard of it, but it’s basically a Pinterest for products and is fairly addictive. Consider yourself warned.
After a break to freshen up and rest a bit at Bunny’s house, there was a cocktail hour complete with the best restaurants in Charleston and cocktails at High Wire Distillery.
THE GLASS ONION – ROAST NC DUCK AND ANDOUILLIE GUMBO AND BITE-SIZE STRAWBERRY CAKE WITH ALMOND BUTTERCREAM
CHARLESTON GRILL – CHARRED OCTOPUS SALAD WITH CHERRY TOMATOES, CAPERS AND PERSILLADE.
I missed a couple of other tables, but everything was delicious! We had a great time mixing and mingling, getting to know other attendees, and chatting with the presenters, including two lovely ladies from Southern Living. It was so great to meet Erin Shaw Street (Senior Editor) and Whitney Wright (Deputy Food Director), not to mention exciting for this Southern girl who was raised reading Southern Living. I also spotted the work of a new Instagram friend, @blackswampco, in the High Wire Distillery gift shop! Designer/maker at Black Swamp Company, Katie recycles wood shavings made during the furniture making process in her and her husband’s wood shop. Such a creative reuse of materials! There are a couple bracelets that will hopefully soon be on their way to SoWeGa. :)
After the cocktail hour was over, Bunny, Betsy, Mallory and I headed over to Stars for a rooftop cocktail while we waited on a table at Rarebit. It was such a great night!
Thursday was a jam-packed day full of speakers, cocktails, and Thomasville love. First up was an inspiring panel on building your brand, which included Robert Prioleau (Blue Ion), Caroline Nuttall (Charlie), and Sully Sullivan (Photographer).
Next Thursday morning was Christopher Lester from Emma on email marketing. This session was not only extremely entertaining, it was super informative when it came to email marketing. I’m curious: how many of y’all would rather get an email from a business as opposed to any other form of marketing? Apparently, it’s still one of the most effective ways to spread the word about your company, if done well. I loved this session! Most interesting tidbit: American’s now have an average attention span of 8 seconds. A goldfish has an attention span of 9 seconds.
It was pretty great to see everyone enjoying all our local goods. We’re pretty spoiled down here, y’all!
Next up, Hanna Seabrook of Gadabout moderated a panel discussion on standing out as a brand. The panel included Hanna herself, Libbie Summers of Salted & Styled, Liza Graves of Style Blueprint, and Chassity Evans of Look Linger Love. I loved hearing from big-time bloggers and the stories of how they began and grew (Hanna filed for an LLC in her dorm room!).
I left this session for lunch feeling really inspired! And speaking of lunch, we went directly next door for moo shu from Fish (where we ate), appetizers from Big T’s Coastal Provisions, and cocktails from Peachy Magazine and Firefly Vodka Tea. It was divine without making you feel gluttonous. Until you ate dessert that is, which was provided by Goo Goo Cluster.
Back to the afternoon session, we heard from Jamie Meares, the owner and designer behind Furbish Studio and blogger behind I Suwannee. She was crazy honest and open and it was so refreshing to hear the story behind her business. Hint: she started it after being laid off from a 9-to-5 and is now extremely successful. Also interesting: she doesn’t pay for traditional advertising, and never has. Blogs are her main source of referrals and traffic.
And THEN…. I WON! I won a cooking class for two at Charleston Cooks! with Matt and Ted Lee (aka The Lee Brothers) that very night! Needless to say, I was STOKED, seeing as I absolutely adore the Lee Brothers and love their food even more. I’ve posted on their Charleston Okra Soup before, and was thrilled to get to try it Thursday night – made by them! I took my sweet host Bunny along for the ride, and it was awesome. We got to try their pickled blue crab salad hors d’oeuvre that they served at the James Beard Awards in NYC the very next night! It was amazing, by the way. We also sampled the aforementioned Charleston Okra Soup, Shrimp Supreme, Asparagus with Grapefruit, and Huguenot Torte, all from their newest Charleston Kitchen cookbook. I’ll try to cook my way through the rest of these soon so I can have them all on the blog. An aside: I went complete fan girl/geeked out on them, bought a second copy of Charleston Kitchen so they could sign it, and generally made a slight fool of myself. I am still giddy with excitement.
Friday we headed out to the final event – brunch at Le Creuset headquarters! Let me just tell you, headquarters is FAB. AND I got to go fan girl again and meet Carrie from Callie’s Charleston Biscuits, watch her make her famous biscuits, eat them, buy her cookbook (and got her to sign it) and ask her approximately 45 questions re: biscuits. It was pretty sweet! Professional BBQ’er Jimmy Hagood of Food for the Southern Soul was also in the test kitchen, making BBQ waffle cones. You heard me.
After a shrimp ‘n grits brunch, attendees got treated to a build-your-own-corsage bar, hosted by Athens gals Beauty Everyday. It was, indeed, beautiful!
And with that, we toasted our bloody mary’s to a successful Southern C Summit!
I hope everyone had a great weekend! Wheat was playing in a golf tournament out of town, so the boys and I had a nice little weekend to ourselves. I watched football on Saturday at Maggie & Greg’s house, ate some amazing homemade pizzas they made for gourmet game day fare, as well as some killer browned butter & sea salt rice crispy treats she made. I’ll be talking game day food all week this week (after today) as I prepare to go to Gainesville (and drag my Dawg-loving husband along with me) for the Tennessee game! I also canned pears (I’ll post on it later, unless anyone is really antsy about it), put up pumpkin, and made Maggie’s pumpkin pasta recipe! You may have already seen it on Instagram. I made a couple changes, and I will do a post on it at some point as part of my Operation Eat All The Pumpkin campaign. I picked 15 more last week, and have more coming! It was a nice, productive weekend, but we were all ready for Wheat to get home!
When I was in Greenville a couple weeks ago, I had the chance to pop into Charleston Cooks! It’s a great little (or not so little, rather) kitchen store. I thought it was the perfect opportunity to pull the trigger on The Lee Brothers’ Charleston Kitchen cookbook. So I did. And now it’s my new, possibly all-time-favorite cookbook. I like to read my cookbooks like a novel, and this one did not disappoint. Each recipe is accompanied by a story about the person or place they got it or adapted it from, and there is a plethora of Charleston history intertwined with the recipes on its pages. I enjoyed reading every bit of it, and so far, I’m really enjoying the recipes, too.
I started off making the Okra Soup, because our okra plants are actually making enough okra for us to legitimately eat it. That, and the Low Country holds a little special place in my heart. My dad’s family is from Beaufort, South Carolina, which is just a hop and a skip down the coast from Charleston, and I grew up eating deviled crab and she-crab soup due to my dad’s roots there. When I read about this soup, between our little garden and family connection, there was no way I wasn’t making this soup.
It was delicious, and thanks to our prolific okra garden, the only thing I had to purchase was the meat. I have a strong suspicion I will be making this again before the frost gets the okra.
I mean, I almost can’t believe we grew this beautiful veggie!
A bowl full of perfect fresh okra hand picked from my backyard is a beautiful thing to me, anyway.
The commentary from the Lee Brothers on this recipe was really interesting to me. Apparently Charleston Okra Soup is just as traditional as She-Crab Soup in the low country (as is the beef-okra combo), and is often paired with pimiento cheese sandwiches. That is a combination I can SO get down with, but Wheat claims he doesn’t like pimiento cheese, so I served it with Baked Cornbread instead, which was awesome.
A cook’s note: I went to Jones Meats, our wonderful local butcher shop, for beef shank, and they didn’t have any. Apparently, it’s the kind of thing that you have to let your butcher know you want ahead of time. This is something you’d probably want to consider, but in a pinch, I used “soup ribs” which are beef ribs cut into large chunks, and the soup was really, really good.
Charleston Okra Soup
(via The Lee Brothers’ Charleston Kitchen) made 6 main course servings for me
– 1.5 pounds of beef shank or “soup ribs,” cut into 1 inch cubes, marrow bone reserved
– Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
– 1 tablespoon canola oil, plus more if needed
– 2 cups chopped yellow (I used Vidalia) onion – about 2 medium onions
– 3 bay leaves
– 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
– 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
– 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
– 1 pound okra, trimmed, cut on the bias into 1/2-inch thick ovals
– Fresh parsley for garnish (option)
Season the beef (bone included) with salt and pepper. Bring to room temperature, about an hour. Pat the pieces dry with a paper towel.
Pour the oil into a large dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat, and when it shimmers, brown the beef in batches, if necessary. Don’t crowd the pan or you won’t get a good sear on them. Add oil by teaspoonfuls if the pan gets too dry. Remove the browned beef to a bowl with tongs and set aside.
Turn the heat to medium and add the onion, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, paprika, and 1 1/4 teaspoons salt. Cook, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan and add a teaspoon of water or oil if the pan gets too dry (I didn’t have this problem at all). Cook until the onion is soft and transparent – about 6 minutes. You don’t want the onion to char.
Add 1 quart (aka 4 cups) of water and the tomatoes, return the beef to the pan, and cover. When the soup simmers gently, uncover and reduce the heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender – about an hour. Add the okra and continue cooking until the okra is just tender – about 25 minutes.
The Lee Brothers suggest removing the bay leaves and salting and peppering to taste, but I just let us salt & pepper at the table and left the bay leaves in there. I figured we could eat around them just as easily as I could dig around in that big pot to find them. I also wanted them to stay in to continue to season the leftovers.
The soup ribs were probably a little too fatty, and I wish I had trimmed them up a bit before using them.
The soup was still somehow not really greasy, and was SO good.
Okra may be my favorite vegetable.
And this soup may be my new favorite soup! It was hearty and felt very fall-ish without weighing you down like a chili or other wintry soups. It was somehow light but hearty at the same time.