Chocolate-covered coconut cake
Hey y’all! Rachel Taylor, staff writer here. When I’m not writing about food and day drinking for work (hard life, I know), I’m out somewhere in Atlanta eating at a new restaurant or at the pool with a margarita in my hand. I just turned 24 this weekend, and, to celebrate my birthday, I'm sharing with you what I love about the South, along with some of my favorite recipes and products I'm cooking and using right now.
I moved to Atlanta last year, and I'm a born and bred northerner, so I'm still getting used to the heat and humidity since moving to Atlanta last year. But I still feel like living in Atlanta is a blessing (traffic excluded) because it’s so easy to get to other Southern cities. I’ve lived around the world and I’m always looking for my next adventure, so I try to take day or weekend trips to new places in the South whenever I can. The beaches of the Gulf and the charming Southern city of Savannah are some of my favorite places to explore.
At Southern Kitchen, I get to write about my favorite foods, frozen cocktails (I’ll never turn down a strawberry margarita), and how to throw a party in the South. When I’m not writing, I’m whipping up a batch of chocolate chip cookies or cupcakes in my kitchen, or I'm soaking up the sun — poolside, of course.
My favorite recipes
Our test kitchen has produced some incredible truly Southern dishes that I do actually cook at home. I love a great classic skillet cornbread, but when I want a quick version I turn to Jiffy — yes I like my cornbread with sugar in it.
I’m still getting the hang of how to make the perfect biscuits and grits at home, but I'm slowly improving with each try. If you haven’t been making biscuits since you were a baby, I’ve found that drop biscuits are the best way to begin your biscuit baking adventure. My favorite Southern Kitchen drop biscuit recipe is the bacon-cheddar drop biscuits. Not only is the process of making this drop biscuit super simple, but all the mix-ins put it over the top. Each bite is filled with ooey-gooey cheese and crisp bacon — yum. Another fun side dish that I love to make for brunch is our recipe for “pissed off” potatoes, which is inspired by the Spanish dish patatas bravas, or “angry potatoes.” These deeply browned potatoes get coated in a two-for-one spicy mayonaise sauce that is ultra-easy to make and impossible to put down. I went to college on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and, there, I fell in love with Smith Island Cake, a multi-layered cake made from razor thin layers of cake, coated in fudge. It’s a very hard cake to make at home and expensive to order if you want to ship it anywhere outside of Maryland. I was super happy to find a Southern version of this dessert when Southern Kitchen’s Visual Content Producer Ramona King shared her grandmother’s recipe for chocolate fudge little layer cake. Now it’s definitely not the easiest cake to bake, but the time and effort pays off when you slice into it and take a bite.
Of course, these aren't the only recipes I'm currently loving. Some of my other favorite Southern Kitchen recipes include Anne Byrn's favorite shrimp and grits, leftover steak nachos and Jeffrey's killer Vesper-style mimosas.
My Southern Kitchen shopping list
When it comes to the shop at Southern Kitchen, it’s hard not to fall in love with every product. When I’m not buying something for myself, I can easily find gifts for wedding showers, birthday presents and holiday gifts. Here's what's on my current wish list: To keep cool in the Southern heat, I love carrying around a Sovaro beverage bottle. The 25-ounce bottle can hold an entire bottle of wine, which is perfect when I’m attending an outdoor cookout or want to keep my drink cool when I’m at the pool. I prefer the white one, but it comes in stainless steel, too.
Get the bottleI also didn’t know it was possible to fall in love with a cutting board. All of the products from BootHill Blades are beautifully hand-crafted and will make a statement in the kitchen, but the product that really caught my eye is its cherry and maple cutting board. Every kitchen deserves a pretty cutting board and this one will look beautiful on your counter or when it serves as the base of a cheese (or charcuterie) board at your next party.
Get the board
Photo (margaritas, potatoes, cake, beverage bottle): Ramona King
Photo (charcuterie board): Kate Williams