Want to improve your cooking skills? We’ve compiled a list of different places in Birmingham where you can learn how to cook, bake or improve your technique. From pasta to sushi to cookies, there something for everyone!Continue reading “A guide to summer cooking classes in Birmingham”
The 3rd Annual Southern Cookin’ Showdown, a family-friendly food event,returns to Shelby County this spring. SafeHouse of Shelby County will host the event, with proceeds benefiting its domestic and sexual violence response and prevention programs. The cooking competition will feature four-member teams of both amateurs and professionals competing in categories including Sweets, Meats, and Fixin’s. A panel of judges will determine winners in each category, and guests at the event may sample all of the entries and vote for the People’s Choice award.
The Southern Cookin’ Showdown will begin at 11am and end at 2pm on Saturday, April 27th at Pelham Park. In addition to taste-testing, attendees will also enjoy live music and kids’ activities will be offered.
Hit up the farmer’s market, throw on that apron, and make your friends and family say “wow, I wish I could cook like this!” And then tell them, “you can!” And then tell them all about how Southern food is as much of a cultural mash-up as the food we see in LA and New York, where pastrami tacos and sushi bagels are on corner after corner.
While you are gearing up for the Iron Bowl tomorrow and wondering what you’ll eat, we have a suggestion. Turkey! You know you have it. You know you are going to eat it. All that leftover turkey means so many recipe possibilities!
In my family we have a turkey-sandwich making competition on the day after Thanksgiving. We take slices of bread and pile them high with our favorite concoctions: macaroni and cheese and gravy, dressing and cranberry sauce and gravy, green-bean casserole and mashed potatoes and cheese and gravy. All with turkey right on top. And more gravy. I cannot tell a lie. We are gravy crazy.
“Johnny Apple Seed” is my favorite blessing, even though it’s a simple child’s song. Above is composer and songwriter Michele Brourman giving it a mature upgrade, but I still love to hear kids sing it before sharing a meal.
The short and sweet tune reminds me of attending Camp Sumatanga in Gallant, Alabama, where we would sing “Johnny Appleseed” before every meal.
There is a spiritual connection between food and nature, and I can thank the Methodist church for opening my eyes (and stomach) to the sweet message found its lyrics. I feel this same connection when visiting our state’s farmers and witnessing the fruits of their labor. One of my favorite ways to rekindle this connection is with a trip to purchase apples from an Alabama apple farm!
The state has handful of apple orchards, some where you can even pick your own apples. While the picking season ends at the end of October, the orchards below continue to sell the fruits of their labor until they run out.
Crow Mountain Orchard
6236 County Road 39 Fackler, AL 35746
Crow Mountain Orchard, while not open for tours, boasts over 20 varieties of apples that they sell to the public. From Ginger Golds to Pippins, along with more common ones like Gala and Golden Delicious, Crow Mountain apples can also be purchased at seven different farmer’s markets.
2163 Scott Road, Hazel Green, AL 35750
Scott’s Orchard is the largest apple orchard in Tennessee, but they are technically located in Alabama. Confused? Don’t be! The 150-acre farm stretches across the state line. They serve apples, peaches, cider, apple and peach cider slushies, vegetables, honey and molasses.
Steele’s Orchard is located in Cullman, and they give tours of the orchards (unlike most) in addition to selling apples and apple goods on site. Steele’s Orchard has a gift shop and bakery that’s open through December, selling everything from southern fried pies to apple-wood chips for barbecuing.
Now, what to do with all those apples after your day trip? My personal favorite is this healthy breakfast muffin, made with candied ginger and whole-wheat flour. You can also find this recipe on the Bham Now Facebook page.
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tbsp. chopped candied ginger (available at asian markets)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. small-diced apples
1/2 c. vegetable oil
2 tbsp. flour
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. candied ginger, chopped finely
In a small bowl, combine the topping ingredients and sprinkle over batter. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.