Friday, December 30, 2011

Our Appetizing Aperture of the Week: Alma Cocina

Speaking of Alma Cocina, if you haven't visited downtown yet, be sure to add it to your must-do list for 2012. You really have to try these sweet potato empanadas with horchata ice cream, cranberry compote and spiced pepitas. 

It's Follow Friday; Meet Our Tweep of the Week @CheffreyG

He's had a crazy, busy month, but he doesn't care. He's living his culinary dream. Jeffrey Gardner, known on Twitter as CheffreyG, is the sous chef at Alma Cocina in downtown Atlanta's 191 Peachtree Building. 

Gardner tweets (@CheffreyG) that this is the place for modern Mexican and Latin flavors -- and we concur. Between bites, dabble with his Cheffrey Eats Out blog.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Rise Up with "Next Food Network Star" Finalist Justin Balmes at the Falcons Game on New Year's Day

The DishWe know you've got New Year's Eve plans, but what about New Year's Day? Start 2012 with a winning combination: Falcons football and "Next Food Network Star" finalist, Chef Justin Balmes. 

Watch the playoff-bound Atlanta Falcons take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 1 p.m. in the Georgia Dome on Sunday. At halftime, skip the usual concession fare and visit Balmes at the local chef stand at 2View Restaurant in the east end zone on the executive concourse (near the suites). He'll be serving up a lamb burger on potato bun with grilled onions, arugla, Manchego and lemon herb and black olive aioli and pulled pork with white cheddar mac and cheese and collard greens with Weiss Tasso ham.

The best part is you can grab a bite and chat up Balmes without missing a second of the action, thanks to the big screens nearby. So rise up and chow down!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I'll Have Black-Eyed Peas For New Year's, Please

It's a given that black-eyed peas will be somewhere on the Southern New Year's Day table. Legend has it that the Southern tradition has ties to the Civil War, when General William Tecumseh Sherman's Union troops carried off or destroyed all food, crops and livestock along their path, leaving only lowly, dried "field peas" behind because they were considered to be animal fodder. Guess they didn't count on Southern ingenuity, and luckily, folks found and cooked the dried peas to survive. The dried peas came to symbolize prosperity because they grew in size when cooked. Owner/Executive Chef Ford Fry of JCT. Kitchen & Bar loves everything about Southern regional food and takes the black-eyed pea tradition to a much tastier level. His recipe for deep-fried black-eyed peas with candied, crispy lemon makes a delish snack for the midnight hour on New Year's Eve.

Deep-Fried Black-Eyed Peas with Candied, Crispy Lemon

Serves 24 small portions


1 lb. dried black-eyed peas
1 stalk celery (cut in half)
1 carrot (peeled and cut in half)
½ yellow onion (peeled)
1 bay leaf

4 lemons
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp. kosher salt
1 cup all-purpose flour

2 tbsp. Italian parsley (finely chopped)
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste



Soak the peas overnight in water. Strain the peas, place in appropriate-sized pot and cover with water by two inches. Add the carrot, celery, onion, and bay leaf. Simmer slowly until just cooked. Strain and chill. Discard the carrot, celery, onion and bay leaf.


With a peeler or small knife, peel off the yellow portion of the peel. Trim away any of the white. Slice into thin strips. Using a small pot, place in the water, sugar, salt and lemon strips. Simmer slowly for five minutes. Strain and chill.


Set up your fryer at 350 degrees. If using a pot, fill half way with canola oil (or pork fat if you like). Place a candy thermometer into it to monitor the temperature. Start by frying the peas as is for one to two minutes or until crispy then place in a mixing bowl and season to taste with kosher salt. For the lemon, toss the strips in the flour and dust off excess flour. Fry lemon for 20-30 seconds. Add to the bowl of crispy peas with the parsley and toss. Fill small cups for individual servings and stick a tiny spoon into the peas.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Smashburger Comes to Sandy Springs Tomorrow

The DishSmashburger has been spreading the better burger love all over metro Atlanta these past few months and now it is Sandy Springs' turn. Check it out - opening on Wednesday, Dec. 28 at 6080 Roswell Road. I'm a big fan of Smashburger's juicy burgers and those yummy thick Häagen-Dazs shakes! Smashburgers all begin with 100 percent fresh, never-frozen Certified Angus Beef smashed on a 400 degree flat grill to sear in flavorful juices. Try the Atlanta Smashburger with peach BBQ sauce, Wicked® Pimena cheese, grilled jalapeños and Vidalia coleslaw and served on an artisan egg bun - it's got quite a kick! And if you want something healthier, they have great chicken and huge salads. Plus wine and beer! See you in Sandy Springs!

Smashburger - Sandy Springs: 6080 Roswell Road; 404-257-1557.