All North Alabamians know and love Piper & Leaf and now there is a second location in Madison!!You can’t pop into a local farmer’s market without seeing the long lines of smiling faces coming from the Piper & Leaf tent and for good reason. Their tea is, in a word, divine.With flavors like Apple Cart Blossom, Pumpkin Moonshine and Strawberry Shindig there is a tea for everyone. The new location is in the Sprout’s shopping center, tucked nicely against The Juicery, allowing you to get all of your healthy treats in one area. To kick of the grand opening Piper & Leaf threw one of their Splendid Shindigs, which included morning yoga, henna painting, contests, raffles and much more. Olivier and I arrived to the new location, which is light and modern. I’m so hesitant to use the term hip, as the hipster movement has such a bad rap, but the new location was all the good parts of hip. Clean, interesting, local, fresh and energizing. It was also very inclusive, accepting of all with judgement of none, which is very unhipster. There are lots of comfy sitting options throughout. You can enjoy your tea and nosh at the bar and watch the masterful tea artists at their best or in the overstuffed sofas in the back.The Piper and Leaf has amazing french cookies and house made pastries, so Olivier and I each got a savory pastry to pair with iced Piper Mint Blue at half sweetness (my favorite). My french husband said the pastries were the best he’d had.. outside of France of course, but still that is a huge compliment. Unfortunately, I went into complete glutton mode and forgot to find out what the names of the pastries were. They were delicious and I’d guess you really can’t go wrong. I will say they were presented on the most stunning wooden trays and I recommended eating them in-house for just that reason. The trays are created but the ultra talented artist Joshua Arney from locally produced Alabama hardwoods. Each one is a unique masterpiece so make sure you follow him at The Irish Crafter.Piper & Leaf also has dry tea and brewing accoutrement for the homebody and if you don’t need an entire jar they sell smaller bags. There are also samples if you can’t decide!Pop over today and enjoy the new location. It’s comfortably close to my house so I think I’ll be spending a lot more of my money on tea! You can also stick with the tried-and-true and visit the original Piper & Leaf at Lowe Mill Arts in Huntsville.
This week I’ve been participating in a food blog tour to kick off Huntsville’s Restaurant Week. Fellow bloggers and I visited three restaurants and got the inside scoop about what specials they would be offering from August 12th until the 21st.
Alas, all good things must come to an end, but what a sweet end it was. The last day of the food tour found us at Beignet Cafe. I recently went on a trip to New Orleans, so I came into Beignet Cafe wondering if they could match the culinary delights I’d experience in The Big Easy and boy did they ever. The food was equal, if not superior, to the Cajun cuisine I’d experienced several weeks earlier.The restaurant itself is really cute, with simple, but cheery decor. Live flowers adorn every table and french signage gives the cafe an authentic NOLA feel. Of course, we started the proper way with sugar laden, warm and oh so wonderful beignets and full cups of Café du Monde, chicory coffee. At this point it had started raining, but that only added to the comforting effect of our soft pastry starter.
I did not made a good wardrobe choice that morning and was wear a black shirt, which was covered in sugar after my first bite. It was worth it! All of the bloggers order different dishes so we could try lots of items. I started with a cup of gumbo. It was excellent, with pieces of chicken, seafood, vegetables and the perfect level of spices.For my entrée I had the Dirty Grits, which were covered in chunks of andouille sausage and chicken, cooked in Cajun seasoning. It was a perfect comfort food, spicy, but pleasant with creamy grits and savory toppings.There was also a gorgeous Strawberry Feta Salad topped with blackened chicken and balsamic vinaigrette.The Egg Bake with fresh fruits looked delicious, but I forgot to sample that. It seemed like a hit though. You could get three varieties of Egg Bakes: Veggie, Classic or Meat.
We were all quite content, but owner Denise had one more surprise for us: Tres Leche Bread Pudding. One word: Heavenly.
I always wondered why Southerners loved bread pudding so much, because honestly bread pudding kind of sounds unappetizing. The first time I heard about it I envisioned chocolate Jello on top of Wonder bread. Yuck! But this Yankee admits she was wrong (again) and that Tres Leche Bread Pudding is delicious and decadent. Thank-you to Denise and the wonderful staff at Beignet Cafe for hosting us bloggers on this last day of the blog tour!!And thank-you to the CBV for inviting me to the 2016 Food Blog Tour. As usually it was a great experience.Make sure you check out my fellow bloggers posts about Beignet Cafe.
Katie Actually: http://www.katieactually.com/beignet-cafe/
Sweet T Makes Three: http://www.sweettmakesthree.com/places-to-eat-in-huntsville-alabama/
Rocket City Mom: http://www.rocketcitymom.com/huntsvilles-beignet-cafe/
As any true Harry Potter fan knows July 31st is Harry’s birthday. He’ll be 36 years old this year. Now don’t you feel older.
Harry and his buddies were frequenters of the candy shop Honeyduke’s, where they would by Chocolate Frogs, Fizzing Whizzbees, Cockroach Clusters and Acid Pops. To celebrate Harry’s birthday I created my version of Acid Pops.
1/2 cup Light Corn Syrup
1 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Water
5 drops Lemon Extract
5 drops Green Food Coloring
3 packs Pop Rocks
Step one: Take your wand, flick and clearly state “Accio Acid Pop ingredients”. For muggles just collect your ingredients.
Step two: In a medium sauce pan combine sugar, corn syrup, and water. Heat on high, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
Step three: Prep your lollipop mold by spraying a small amount of oil in the area they candy will touch.
Step four: Boil the ingredients until the temperature reaches 300°F and remove from heat.
Step five: Add extract and food coloring and stir.
Step six: Carefully spoon the melted sugar mixture in the mold, immediately place the sticks in the candy and pour Pop Rocks onto the hardening lolli. Beware they Pop Rocks may shoot wildly around the room when they hit the hot sugar. Don’t put your face near the candy to hear the snapping of the Pop Rocks as you could lose any eye. I learned this one the hard way.
After 20 minutes the candy should be cool enough to enjoy. The Pop Rocks do lose there snap after time, so you want to enjoy them the same day.
Happy Birthday Harry!!
Though I have been completely remiss in posting for the ENTIRE month of December (I’m so ashamed), I did one to get one last post in before we all bid a fond (or not so fond for some of us) farewell to 2014.
Last month I had the great pleasure of photographing Margaret Baggett, chef and creator the catering company The Chef Next Door. She also is the creator of the restaurant and speciality shop The Marketplace Cafe.
She baked and cooked many beautiful (and delicious) dishes, but my favorite was the Apple Pie Crostatas. As tasty as they were stunning. Below is Margaret’s recipe.
Easy Apple Pie Crostatas
recipe and food styling by Margret Baggett
Pillsbury rolled Pie Dough Sheets (NOT a pie shell)
Gala/Fuji/Honeycrisp Apples, unpeeled
On a clean work surface, roll out the pie dough.
Using a small prep bowl, about 6” diameter, trace around the bowl with a knife to make a perfect circle with the dough. Place the rounds on a baking sheet
(You should get 2 circles from each sheet of pie dough. If you don’t like waste, you can remold the excess pie dough, roll it out, and repeat the tracing procedure to get a third circle.)
Slice the apples thinly.
(If you do not plan to assemble and bake the dish immediately, place the sliced apples in water with a squeeze of lemon juice to prevent browning.)
Place 10-12 slices of apple in the center of each pie dough round.
Sprinkle the apples liberally with brown sugar, then a dash of Cinnamon and Allspice.
Crimp the edges of the pie dough in pleats around the pile of sugared apples, almost enclosing the entire pile but leaving the top open.
Place a small dot of butter over the exposed apples, then brush the pastry lightly with milk with a pastry brush or using your finger.
Bake the crostatas at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes, until golden brown and the apples and brown sugar are caramelized and bubbly.