Kenda Williams

freelance writer and journalist – Savannah, Georgia

Soup’s On! August 8, 2011

Filed under: Food and Writing,Recipes and Food Writing,Uncategorized — Kenda Williams @ 10:10 am

It’s summer, so why am I posting about soup? Well, it’s not just because I’m ready for fall (although I am!). My hubs was in a car accident a few weeks ago and had surgery on his orbital bone and cheek bone. Needless to say, eating soft foods like soup has been about his only option other than indulging in popsicles and smoothies. I’ve been on a mission to find various soups that he might enjoy eating and that I might enjoy making. There are so many soups out there to choose from, so it’s hard to settle on opening a can of Campbell’s.

So far, I’ve made a Creamy Potato Soup, Tomato Basil Soup, and Corn Chowder. A friend of mine brought over a Butternut Squash Soup with Pear, and I have a few other ideas of soups to make…

Taco Soup for dinner!

Tonight, I made this Taco Soup, and it was amazing! Spicy and sweet with the kernels of corn, ranch-style beans, organic diced canned tomatoes, and ground turkey topped with a helping of shredded cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream, scallions and cilantro. Perfect summer soup! It’s my aunt’s recipe, which can be found in my Mom’s cookbook, “A Pinch of This… A Smidgen of That.”

My Mom is an excellent cook. You can check out her recipes on her food blog: A Pinch of This… A Smidgen of That. When I was a kid, especially in the fall and winter, she would make a collection of delicious, warm-the-heart soups that could bring anyone out of a cold or just a cold day.

This recipe for Basil Tomato Soup is amazing! I used fresh basil out of the garden, and it was perfectly sweet and aromatic. We enjoyed the soup for several days, along with a grilled cheese sandwich hot off the cast iron skillet.

What soup is your favorite? Do you have a soup recipe to share? Go for it!

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Goodbye October, Hello November! November 1, 2010

In certain parts of the country, like where I grew up in Central Arkansas,Β  it may be colder and leaves on trees may be turning colors of orange, yellow and red, but in Savannah, the sunshine and green lingers a little longer… And that’s not necessarily a bad thing! It provides the perfect setting for a lovely southern autumn.

Halloween is, of course, the magical and wonderful holiday that comes with October, and it’s quite possibly my favorite holiday of the year. (Dressing up and wearing crazy shades of makeup may have something to do with that.) It’s the perfect season for foodies! It’s so great to buy pumpkins and make chili, warm soups, deliciously sweet desserts and apple cider – yum! Even after October rolls away, and we get into the deep of fall with pumpkin pies and turkey dinners, it’s so warm and nostalgic. There’s so much to love about the autumn season.

The Harry Potter series of books and movies and I go way back. It is a favorite of mine, and I tend to associate it with this time of year. I love re-reading the books and watching the movies during fall…

I didn’t go to school at Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, but I did go to a fun, beautiful university in a magical land called Fayetteville, Ark. (And my name is forever etched in the 2006 senior sidewalk)…

So many great autumn memories happened while I was in college at the University of Arkansas. Northwest Arkansas has one of the most beautiful fall seasons of anywhere I’ve ever been. It was lovely being here this time of year…

But, of course, ultimately the best thing about this time of year is the decorative, seasonal food… especially fall-time desserts!

October and November are definitely my favorite months out of the year. The holidays are upon us, and there’s nothing quite like the beauty of the outdoors around you (see some gorgeous fall photos captured by one of my favorite Arkansas-based photographers, Tim Ernst) and the tasty food that’s prepared this time of year is definitely part of that excitement that comes from the season.

When it comes to food, I say the more local and the more ethnic and unique, the better… This Halloween Sunday was also celebration of The 22nd Annual Shalom Y’all Jewish Food Festival. The festival was held in Forsyth Park on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon. Aromas of food filled the park, and it was delicious! A friend and I sampled the chicken soup with matzah balls and the apple strudel with almonds and raisins. The park was packed with people all getting in line to purchase some of their favorite traditional Jewish foods. By the time I arrived, the challah bread, which I observed being made at Congregation Mickve Israel, was all gone. I did find a recipe for challah, but if I made it would likely not taste as authentic as the family recipes from the congregation. And they do make some great food!

Here is a portion of my preview article on the event that appeared in the DO section of the Savannah Morning News:

The Shalom Y’all Jewish Food Festival to kick off 22nd annual event

The Shalom Y’all Jewish Food Festival to kick off 22nd annual event

October 28, 2010

The 22nd annual Shalom Y’all Jewish Food Festival, presented by Congregation Mickve Israel on Sunday, will feature a variety of Jewish food from around the world.

The festival, which charges no admission, requires tickets to purchase food and drinks. Two ticket booths are available on festival grounds.

“It’s great to do this because it allows us to share our culture with the community,” said Lauri Taylor, festival chairperson.

Ethnic Jewish cuisine will include chicken soup with matzah balls, challah bread, potato latkes, apple strudel, honey cake, hamantashen, bagels with cream cheese and lox and many other items.

Hamantashen, a triangular-shaped pastry filled with poppy seeds, jam or fruit, is traditionally served during the Jewish festival of Purim, or the festival of lots. Challah bread is traditionally served each Sabbath, or Shabbat as it is called in Hebrew, as well as Jewish holidays.

In preparation for the festival, Congregation Mickve Israel held several baking sessions that included a challah braiding class led by Isser Gottlieb, of Gottlieb’s Bakery fame.

A Savannah institution, the bakery was established by Gottlieb’s grandfather in 1884 and closed in 1994, and although the bakery is no longer in business, the Gottlieb family is still passionate about traditional Jewish baked goods and foods. Both Isser and his wife, Ava, were present at the challah braiding class.

(Click here to read more…)

 

Ganache galore! October 7, 2010

Filed under: Food and Writing — Kenda Williams @ 12:55 pm
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Oh, ganache, how I love thee!

Cakes with ganache icing…

truffles made from ganache…

and cupcakes with ganache frosting…

It’s heavenly, this chocolaty creamy gooey bit of sweet stuff.

It’s diverse in its usage, easy to make and practically impossible to mess up. Made it too thick? Add more cream or liquor. Too thin? Add more chocolate. Too sweet? Never!

It starts out with boiling heavy whipping cream on the stove-top, remove from heat, and add white chocolate, milk chocolate or dark chocolate pieces (whatever your recipe calls for or whatever you prefer). You can also add Bailey’s Irish Cream, Kahlua or another liquor of your choice to the mix.

I recently made a bread pudding with white choocolate ganache. The texture of the bread pudding was moist, and the ganache added an extra sweetness. It was delicious!

A friend and I spent a recent Saturday afternoon making milk chocolate and dark chocolate truffles. They were amazing!! Sweet, delicate, silky smooth ganache, and our toppings were lovely and creative. Making truffs is definitely a two-person, time consuming task, but it’s so much fun!

Here’s to ganache and the many delicious desserts that can be made from it!

 

Food Blogs Galore… July 28, 2010

Filed under: Food and Writing — Kenda Williams @ 11:08 am
Tags: , ,

I have a lot of respect for all the thousands of food bloggers out there. And there are an abundance of them from which to choose! What makes a good food blog (in my opinion): big, colorful food and fresh ingredient photos; fewer ads and more posts; plenty of words to describe the taste and smell; and, of course, recipes! (Or at least links to recipes!) πŸ™‚

Here are a few food blogs that I’ve fallen in love with (and envy for their creativity and hard work that goes into making it both beautiful and informative)…

Homesick Texan (This site has such lovely photos and recipes… There’s something sweet and nostalgic about the way it is written and the style of the photos. The recipes are always top notch.)

When Harry Met Salad (Not only does this blog have a really creative name, playing off the cult-classic film, it also has beautiful photos, descriptions and recipes. Although she doesn’t often post – like me! – when she does post, its worth checking out. Especially try her recipe for lemon lavender cookies! Yum!!)

The Cooking Photographer (As the title of the blog suggests, cooking and photography go well here. The photos are amazingly done, as is the recipe development.)

Fete & Feast (This blogger has some incredible food inspirations: theΒ  South, Southwest, Mexico, and Northern Italy. It all comes together so diversely and beautifully.)

OK, this isn’t a blog, but it’s an article paying homage to my home state – Arkansas. It’s true when they say Arkansas doesn’t get as much press as its neighboring states, like Memphis BBQ or Cajun food in New Orleans. Arkansas has its own unique flavor, with some incorporation of Cajun and BBQ… The fresh vegetables and fruits grown here rival that of any other southern state. And yes, the fried catfish with hush puppies and coleslaw is a favorite and staple food, which I always have to taste when returning to my roots. πŸ™‚

However, here is a blog that is written by an Arkansan foodie: A Pinch of this… A Smidgen of That. The molasses cookies are my favorite!! And check out the cookbook!!

Not Quite Nigella (One of my absolute favorite food blogs. This Aussie chick knows her stuff and has plenty of food experiences to offer up. Lots of great photos. Great story teller, too. It has recipes and restaurant reviews galore!)

Andrea’s Recipes (Combining gardening with cooking is such a natural thing, and this food blogger knows how to write about both. The recipes are creative and most often healthful, and the gardening tips are helpful.)

Pinch My Salt (This California-based foodie can really make your mouth water with her delicious recipes and colorful photos. She uses a lot of fresh ingredients, and her excitement for food is apparent through her vivid descriptions.)

Enjoy these sites, and I hope you’ve found a few blogs that please your palate, too! πŸ™‚ Feel free to share links!