Recipes

Eli Markshtien

Chef Eli Markshtien shares Israeli family recipes.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

When Eli Markshtien, wife, Laurel and family, moved to Birmingham he could not find an Israeli restaurant. So he opened Eli’s Jerusalem Grill and began cooking his grandmother's recipes. The eatery was an instant success with people of all cultures and those who want to eat organic.

gianmarco's giani respintoGianMarco’s salt crusted whole fish boasts exciting presentation.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Today I am in the kitchen with Giani Respinto, co-owner of GianMarco’s Restaurant. Respinto shares his recipe, knife skills, fish buying tips, and humor while making whole, baked, salt crusted, Mangrove snapper with Italian salsa verde.

ovenbird chris hastings recipeChef Chris Hastings shares a popular OvenBird recipe. 

By Jan Walsh 

Photography by Beau Gustafson 


Today I am in the kitchen with executive chef, Chris Hastings at OvenBird. Hastings is preparing a popular seafood fideos (Spanish for noodle - a short cut vermicelli) recipe.
Vino Al RabieeVino’s Al Rabiee shares Mediterranean fish and pilaf recipe.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


I fell in love with this delicious dish at first bite. One night while sitting on the patio at Gallery Bar 1930, Matthew Rabiee brought me a taste of a dish that his dad, Al had just cooked for their family. It was a divine snapper and rice pilaf, bursting with Mediterranean flavors. I asked Matthew for the name of the dish, and he did not know. And given it is also not on the menu at Vino, Gallery Bar’s sister restaurant, I decided I must have the recipe to make at home.
Village Tavern Mary GracePack a picnic with Village Tavern’s deviled eggs.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

       
Summertime, and Village Tavern’s Corporate Chef, Mary Grace Viado makes the cooking easy. She shares her recipe for pimento cheese deviled eggs. They are prefect for a summertime picnic or family gathering and pair well with Village Tavern’s Cubano Sliders.
bistro 218 tom saabSpring Salad

Chef Tom Saab shares Bistro 218’s West Indies Salad.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Can’t cook? No sweat. Prepare Bistro 218’s West Indies Salad without a stove. “This salad originates in Mobile Alabama and is our homage to Alabama cuisine,” Chef and Owner, Tom Saab describes. Bistro 218’s version of West Indies Salad adds the tasty additions of aioli and tomato to the traditional recipe. Yet crab remains the star of this dish with its delicate flavor shining through. “When cooking with crabmeat at Bistro 218 we strive to not mask the flavor with seasonings or fat.” And he achieves excellence in this delightful dish.
bistro v cioppinoBistro V’s cioppino is 20 years in the perfecting.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Bistro V’s executive chef, Jeremy Downey finds cioppino to be the “world’s best dish.” And after tasting his, I cannot argue. He and I share a love of tomatoes, seafood, spicy heat, and wine—all of which are important components of this dish. As a native of Bayou La Batre, Downey has been cooking and perfecting his cioppino for 20 years. “Cioppino is an expression of me. And today’s is the best one I have ever made,” he describes.
Bamboo Chef AbhiMake Chef Abhi Sainju’s momos at home.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Chef Abhi Sainju is a self-trained chef. As a native of Nepal he began cooking in 2006 because he could not find the same food in the U.S. that he had growing up with in Nepal. His fare first became popular with his catering business, Everest Sushi in 2013. It was one of those things many of us heard about but never had until Bamboo on 2nd opened. And now with Sainju a partner and the executive chef of Bamboo on 2nd we can all enjoy his heritage and talents. Today he shares one of the restaurant’s most popular dishes, Momos, in an easier, make at home version.
Bare Naked Noodles’ Linda Croley shares egg pasta recipe.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Entrepreneur and chef Linda Croley originally rolled out Bare Naked Noodles as a ready-made pasta meals and sauces business. Her products are made of local and Italian ingredients and are sold at many farmers markets, local grocery and food specialty stores, as well as being served in some of Birmingham’s best restaurants. In 2015 Croley expanded the business by opening a café in Hoover, where she serves breakfast and lunch on weekdays. I stop by the café for lunch often. I especially enjoy the quiches and daily lunch specials, made of in season ingredients. Here I also pick up fresh pasta along with a jar of tomato basil sauce for dinner, on the table in five minutes. And I grab a few frozen dinners that I can pop in the oven anytime. Thus for many of us who are too busy to cook scratch meals using local ingredients, her business fulfills an important need. Or if you want to try your hand at making pasta, Croley shares her egg pasta recipe.

Nabeel's John Krontiras Avgolemono soup recipeJohn Krontiras shares Nabeel’s Avgolemono soup recipe.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Avgolemono is a creamy and bright Greek, egg-lemon soup. Yet it contains no cream.  
Perhaps the most famous of all Greek soups, Chicken soup Avgolemono is found
on the menu of most Greek restaurants, including Nabeel’s Café and Market (and is available by the quart from the Market). It is also the first course at most Greek holiday celebrations.
frank stittFrank Stitt shares Fish Paillard with fig relish recipe.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Today I am in the kitchen with Birmingham’s most celebrated chef, Frank Stitt. Stitt could have chosen to cook a dish that would show off his culinary skills to cook for us today. But instead he is cooking a simple, French fish dish, which we “at home cooks” can easily make. His Fish Paillard is served at Chez Fonfon and at Highlands Bar and Grill, which Stitt owns with his wife and business partner, Pardis along with their Bottega Café and Bottega Restaurant.
George Reis 5 point oyster bar Chef George Reis prepares Alabama oysters at 5 Point Public House Oyster Bar.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Chef George Reis has shucked many an oyster at Ocean Restaurant. But today we are shucking and frying Alabama oysters next door at his new restaurant, 5 Point Public House Oyster bar. Here Reis serves his succulent oysters with two special touches, his own house made hot sauce and house made crackers.


iron city grill chef william rogersChef William Rogers cooks Iron City’s paella in small batches.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

The word “Paella” is derived from the word pan. Traditionally this Spanish dish is cooked in one pan, timing the addition of each ingredient so that all ingredients finish cooking at the same time. Yet The Grill at Iron City’s executive chef, William Rogers prepares paella one serving at a time, which also allows him to get creative with leftover ingredients.

satterfield's patrick horn spicy tomato jam recipePatrick Horn preps his award winning jam at Satterfield’s.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

This summer, executive chef, Patrick Horn of Satterfield’s Restaurant won a first place ribbon in The Great Alabama Tomato Recipe Contest. The contest was hosted by Les Dames d'Escoffier Birmingham, a worldwide philanthropic society of professional women leaders in the fields of food, fine beverage, and hospitality. Today he shares his condiment cooking procedure and recipe, which can also be made in larger quantities and preserved by canning for year round enjoyment.

dyron's gumbo recipe chef randall baldwinChef Randall Baldwin prepares gumbo at Dyron’s Lowcountry.  

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


When it comes to seafood gumbo, I want dark rue, perfect piquancy and very little rice. And I have found none better anywhere than the gumbo at Dyron’s Lowcounty. The Seafood Gumbi is a cult dish here at Dyron’s, which the “regulars” can’t get enough of—no matter the season.


gianmarco's giani grass fed beef recipeGiani Respinto shares secrets to GianMarco’s grass fed steak.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


GianMarco’s Restaurant recently added 100% Grass Fed, Joyce Farms beef to the menu. No hormones, antibiotics, animal by-products, grain, nor GMOs are ever fed to Joyce Farms Naked Grass Fed Beef. GianMarco’s serves this scrumptious steak with Brussels sprouts and Rigatoni Quatro Formaggio as a dinner special. And in the pasta dish Respinto uses Italian and French cheeses also from pasture-raised dairy.
dyron's lowcountry chef randall baldwin grilled peach salad recipe Dyron’s Randall Baldwin whips up a salad of local ingredients.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


I just love in season salads made with local ingredients. And today at Dyron’s Lowcountry executive chef, Randall Baldwin demos a salad made with Chilton County peaches.  Sous chef Scott Cohen is also here to help. He takes over the hot grill while Baldwin executes the cool stuff. You can do the same at home by having your grill master add peaches and onion to the grill while cooking the steaks, chicken, or seafood—while you stay in the air-conditioned kitchen prepping the remaining salad ingredients. The results are an impressive yet easy to make salad that mixes hot and cold on a plate that is a beautiful mix of fruit, greens, onions, nuts, cheese, and balsamic.
galley and garden james boyceGalley and Garden’s James Boyce demos scallop and corn nage.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Executive chef James Boyce prepares Maine diver sea scallops and local corn nage. And it is such a beautiful day that we decide to cook it on Galley and Garden’s patio, surrounded by their garden.
silvertron cafe marco cooking demoThree Generations share Silvertron Café’s kitchen.

By Jan Walsh 

Photography by Beau Gustafson


The kitchen is the heart of each Italian home. And in The Silvertron Café’s kitchen, we get a taste of what it is like to be part of an Italian family. Cooking with chef Marco Morosini today are his daughter, Nora and his mother, Pinuccia Invernizzi—who is here on a visit from Lecco, on Lake Como in Northern Italy. And cooking with his mother makes more than a marvelous meal. It also stirs up some precious memories. “Every Sunday, right after breakfast, Mom started cooking. She cooked all morning long for a meal that wouldn't last more than 20 minutes!” he recalls. “It wasn't until I left home for the first time and moved to Paris that I realized what I had left behind. Then I started to really appreciate the time I had spent watching my mom and my grandmother in the kitchen.
bistro 218 chef tom saab recipeBistro 218’s Tom Saab shares a super food recipe.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Rabbit is a very nutritious meat. It is high in protein, amino acids, and vitamins. And it is low in cholesterol and calories. Bistro 218 chef and owner, Tom Saab’s grilled and braised rabbit recipe employs the classical techniques of braising and the redundant use of mirepoix, sometimes know as the trinity of French cookin
hot and hot fish club chris hastingsHot and Hot’s Chris Hastings shares healthy fish dish.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


A popular New Year’s resolution for 2015 is eating GMO free. And once again Hot and Hot Fish Club is on the cutting edge—being a GMO free restaurant already. Today Chris Hastings shares his non-GMO and organic pan seared Pompano dish. This entrée is made with Sunchoke puree, crones, Swiss chard and forged oyster mushrooms.
Village Tavern Mary Grace HowardVillage Tavern’s Corporate Chef Mary Grace Viado Howard shares recipes.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Mary Grace Viado Howard is the Corporate Chef of all Village Tavern restaurants. So she gets to choose which location to call home. And she chose Birmingham—many years ago—and has lived and worked here happily since.  The Birmingham location is at the lower level of The Summit and is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, and brunch on weekends. Today she shares her scrumptious, scratch made, fish and chips, along with her recipes for coleslaw and tartar sauce.
Slice pizza and brew chef terrill vegetable soup Some of the city’s best soups are found at Slice.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


I am always open to hearing the soup specials when eating at Slice Stone Pizza and Brew. Experience has taught me that not only does Chef Terrill Brazelton make awesome pizzas using seasonal and local ingredients, he also knows his way around a pot of soup. His French Onion—served in a bread bowl—is as good as I have ever had, maybe the best. And now that fall is in the air, local root veggies are finding their way both onto the pizzas and into the soups at Slice.
bistro-v-short-ribs-recipe-jeremy-downeyBistro V’s Jeremy Downey demos braised short ribs. 

By Jan Walsh 

Photography by Beau Gustafson


I often dine at Bistro V for the fish of the day. It is consistently marvelous. Grouper, snapper, and any Gulf Seafood in the hands of executive chef Jeremy Downey—native of Bayou La Batre—never disappoints. Yet with today’s dish we discover that Downey’s culinary talents are wider than the sea. His Braised Short Ribs are also a favorite of many at Bistro V.  Bistro V is co-owned by Downey and his partner, Emily Tuttle Shell who serves as general manager.
Satterfield's chef patrick horn pepper jelly Satterfield’s executive chef shares a personal recipe.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Satterfield’s new executive chef, Patrick Horn has a pepper jelly recipe that is tried and true. It is vegetarian and vegan friendly, and is simple enough for a novice cook to make at home. 
Nabeel's John KrontirasEasy and Inexpensive

John Krontiras shares a Greek recipe from his hometown, Patras.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Tilapia Patrina is an easy fish dish that John Krontiras both modified and named. Patrina means “from Patras,” as is the recipe. Yet his recipe uses a different type fish than the original Greek dish.

Chris Hastings celebrates undiscovered delicacies of the Gulf Coast. 


By Jan Walsh 


Photography by Beau Gustafson 

 

Hot and Hot Fish Club’s Chris Hastings never settles for the status quo. And he has a new source for seafood—the “bycatch” of line caught, wild, Alabama seafood. 

Giani Respinto’s oyster soup is made for lovers.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


According to mythology Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love and Beauty, sprang from an oyster shell. And aphrodisiacs are named for her. So if you are cooking for your Valentine, it can’t hurt to include some oysters as an aphrodisiac. Oysters also have a lot of zinc and iron. Zinc deficiencies affect male fertility, and iron deficiency makes one tired. GianMarco’s Giani Respinto does not skimp on the oysters in this sexy dish.
Silvertron’s Marco Morosini prepares a wintry Cassoeula.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Cassoeula is a traditional wintry dish that is popular in Northern Italy—particularly in Lombardy. Today Italian chef/owner of The Silvertron Café, Marco Morosini shares his expertise in cooking this comforting, plateful of goodness.  Prepare this pork and vegetable dish after the first frost, when one of Cassoeula’s main ingredients, savoy cabbage becomes sweeter. As it slow cooks, it will fill the house with hearty aromas as the pork tenderizes and the vegetables caramelize.
Ocean’s George Reis prepares Thai Green Curry Bouillabaisse.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Chef George Reis is always innovating the cuisine at his restaurants, Ocean and 26. And today he shares one of his cutting edge dishes, which incorporates a variety of seafood—Thai Green Curry Bouillabaisse. At Ocean this dish is served in a Tagine, Moroccan cooking vessel. And when the top is removed at the table, a steamy cloud of aromas whets the appetite for the first, succulent bite.
Chef Tom Saab demos Bistro 218’s delectable duck confit.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Jan Walsh


A very important part of my work as a food writer is… eating the food. And no matter what is put before me, with the exception of mushrooms/fungi that I am allergic to, I eat it. Through the years my palate has developed an appreciation of foods that I previous thought I did not “like.” Duck was one of those foods. I struggled to enjoy duck, even when prepared by the best of chefs. Yet today there was no struggle. Bistro 218’s Duck Confit, paired with a glass of Chateau Mirambeau, is not only the best duck I have ever tasted, it changed my former mindset about this bird. I loved Saab’s duck so much that and look forward to having it again soon at Bistro 218, where it takes him three days to prepare this classic French dish.
Silvertron’s Marco Morosini makes one cool salad.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Panzanella is a Florentine salad of bread and tomatoes—also known as panmolle. And until the 20th Century it was based on onions, rather than tomatoes. The Silvertron Café’s owner and chef Marco Morosini mixes his Italian heritage with local tomatoes, watermelon, cucumbers and onions to create a his tasty version of this dish.
Cantina’s Jorge Castro cooks big flavors in small space.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Since Cantina opened the Shrimp Quesadillas have been a favorite dish. And today in “The Miracle Kitchen” here at Cantina, we learn the secrets that make them so good. And one of the secrets is the kitchen itself—where so many cooks create so much greatness in a small space.
Asian Rim Sushi Company creates a special roll just for you.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Making sushi is not something that many home cooks want to tackle. It takes skills that must be honed and ingredients that are not readily available. But if you are a sushi lover and want to make your own, here is a new, secret recipe for a roll that is not found on the menu at Asian Rim Sushi Company. Or better yet you can order this secret dish, if you know the name, “The B-Metro Roll.” It is large enough to share and is priced at $35. For B-Metro magazine readers and BirminghamRestaurants.com website visitors only. View video of Phicaya Arimrahong making this one of a kind roll.
Vino executive chef, Becky Rabiee prepares one of the restaurant’s favorites.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Good chefs evolve their dishes with the seasons, and incorporate the best and healthiest ingredients possible. Accordingly Vino’s executive chef, Becky Rabiee has tweaked their popular daily seafood special to a lighter version, which includes fresh baby spinach—rather than pasta and sauce—and includes the best, fresh and organic products she can find locally.
Sol y Luna’s Alex Castro prepares a light and lean new dish.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Executive chef, Alex Castro sears a new dish at the new Sol y Luna—Yellowfin Tuna with jicama tostada, topped with watermelon and mango salsa and spicy chipotle creamy sauce.
John Krontiras whips up a beloved dish from his new cookbook.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Beloved Family Recipes™ is more than a cookbook. It is the culinary diary of a self made chef, John Krontiras, taking the reader around the world as he shares a lifetime of food memories.

Recipes and stories from the kitchens of his Greek family and his wife, Ottavia’s Italian family combine with his favorite restaurant dishes, experienced in his travels abroad. Family members come to life as Krontrias shares the expertise of each—in everything from the shape of their cooking vessels to secrets of cooking unexpected food products, such as wild dandelions. The book also includes descriptions of each dish’s historic origins, pronunciations of the dishes themselves, and full page, glossy color photos.
Chef Terrell Brazelton shares the complexity of Slice’s signature pie.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


The old saying, “as easy as pie” does not apply to the making of Slice Stone Pizza and Brew’s signature pie—The Lakeview Pizza. The Lake View Pizza’s depth of flavors come from its layers of ingredients: braised short ribs, caramelized onion, roasted cherry tomatoes, Asiago, finished with arugula, red onion and horseradish sauce.

Bistro V’s Jeremy Downey demos baked black snapper, Mediterranean style.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

As native of Bayou La Batre, Alabama, Bistro V’s owner and chef, Jeremy Downey knows seafood. Today he is cooking whole, Gulf Coast Black Snapper with house made Ragu. “Black Snapper is a cousin to Red Snapper. It is smaller in size, swims at 50 to 75 feet, and has a sweeter taste,” Downey explains.

The Silvertron Cafe’s Marco Morosini demos basic risotto.
 
By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Risotto is a versatile and nutritious Italian dish that can be served as a first course or main dish. A key component of making risotto is the selection of the flavoring ingredient, which can be veggies, seafood, mushrooms, or any ingredient you choose. The chosen ingredient’s flavor characteristics become synthesized into the risotto as it is cooked. Make this dish your own by substituting the green peas with your favorite food. Then make another variation by experimenting with a different flavoring ingredient.

village tavern mary grace viadoVillage Tavern’s Mary Grace Viado demos a tasty classic.

Mary Grace Viado is the corporate chef for all Village Tavern restaurants. Thus she could choose the make her home in any of 10 cities where Village Taverns are located. Yet Birmingham is her choice of home—where she is also the Village Tavern, Birmingham’s executive chef. Viado shares her secrets for a Southern and Village Tavern favorite, Shrimp & Grits.  View Chef Video!

 

 

giani respinto gianmarco's restaurant  GianMarco’s fresh pasta and tomato basil sauce is simply delicious.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


Everybody loves fresh, homemade pasta. GianMarco’s Giani Respinto demos fresh fettuccine, plus a simple sauce. Try this at home.
Hot and Hot Chicken Pasta

Chris Hastings prepares Hot and Hot Chicken Pasta.
Yemistà  

John Krontiras prepares Nabeel’s Greek style stuffed tomatoes.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

 
Yemista´ is a popular Greek, vegetarian dish. John Krontiras uses local products and fresh mint from his own garden to prepare this dish at Nabeel’s Café and Market.

chris hastings recipeChris Hastings shares his recipe for Grilled Jumbo Asparagus with Head-On Florida Hoppers and Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Florida hoppers are not frogs! They are a variety of pink shrimp with a distinctive red spot on their tail. Beloved by boat captains and land lovers alike, the hopper is one of our favorites of the five wild, American shrimp varieties. 

shulas fried lobster tail recipeLobster Lover

Shula's Flash Fried Lobster in 10 Simple Steps

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson


I have an ongoing, and well publicized, love affair with Shula's Flash Fried Lobster. After covering it in Birmingham magazine's "One Dish" column and in "The Birmingham 100" for 2008, I am back for more. Today I want to learn the secrets of how executive chef of both Shula's Steak House and The Wynfrey Hotel, Rick Daidone prepares this wonderful dish.

In Good Hands

Frank Stitt shares handmade pasta technique and recipe from new cookbook, Bottega Favorita. 

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Robin Colter

Bottega Restaurant is famous for its handmade pasta. Now you can make it too with a little help from Frank Stitt. "People think that homemade pasta is too much trouble. But you just have to try it a few times to learn."

Lady's Fingers

Hot and Hot Fish Club's Idie Hastings shares pickled okra recipe and techniques. 

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Robin Colter

Pickling is a food preservation method that originated from the need to preserve out-of-season foods for long journeys, especially by sea. But the method survives today because people enjoy the resulting flavors. And okra-also known as lady's finger-is a popular vegetable for southern pickling.

Lovely Lobster

George Reis shares his secret seasoning and grilling technique for lobster tails. 

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

The hickory wood fired, grilled baby lobster tails at Ocean and 26 are divine. They are consistently moist, succulent, and sweet. Executive chef and co-owner of Ocean and 26, George Reis shares his secrets. One secret is the art of building a hickory wood fire in a wood burning grill-and knowing how to cook on it. Another secret is "The Love," which is a seasoning that goes on every piece of grilled fish at Ocean.

John Krontiras whips up a bowl of Nabeel's Taramasalata Dip. 

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Taramasalata dip is a Greek dip traditionally made with tarama-the roe of carp fish. "Since Nabeel's Cafe and Market opened in 1972, we have been making the taramasalata dip," Krontiras says. The dip is served in the Cafe and available ready in half pound and one pound containers in the Market. "When we first introduced it, no one really knew what it was. Now we sell over 150 pounds of it a week in the Market."

For Krontira’s caviar dip he uses the tarama sold in the Market. “Tarama has a pretty coral-pink color, but must be mixed with other ingredients to tone down the pungent flavor.

Little Rice

Chef Giani Respinto shares secrets for making GianMarco's risotto. 

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

To make a great risotto you need the finest of ingredients, proper procedure and eighteen minutes. "The combinations are endless, but the procedure never changes," chef Giani Respinto explains. "When Gianmarco's customers order our seafood risotto, they are told it takes 18 minutes to prepare it."

Shula's Lineup

Five winning degrees of doneness.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

"How would you like that cooked?" is a question that puts fear in the hearts of many diners. Odds are you have sent back steaks for being both under and overcooked on more than one occasion-or should have. And whether the issue is a chef who serves steaks his way or has a different idea of what medium-rare means, today's diners often feel compelled to describe in precise detail what they want to see on the first cut.

The beautiful red-orange color of this drink in a simple martini glass is an elegant reminder of the holiday season. 

Each year, Chris and Idie Hastings, owners of Hot and Hot Fish Club, enjoys hosting a holiday Christmas party for their neighborhood. And their friends and family agree that the Blood Orange Martinis are the highlight of this festive affair.

Hot and Hot Tomato Salad

Recipe courtesy Chef Chris Hastings  

We always look for a variety of locally grown, heirloom tomatoes at our farmers' market. If heirlooms are not available, we opt for ripe red tomatoes that are grown locally. The whole baby okra make for a beautiful presentation but if it is unavailable substitute the larger sized okra and cut them into 1/2-inch pieces before breading and frying.

Whole Hog

Hot and Hot Fish Club goes whole hog over Fudge Family Farms. 

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Hot and Hot Fish Club's Chris Hastings is always in search of the best, local purveyors in an effort support the local economy and bring the highest quality ingredients to his guests. And Henry Fudge and his Fudge Family Farms are the latest addition to his family of purveyors.

Baby Greens

George Reis tosses homegrown, local organics of Michael Dean Farms.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Ocean's chef George Reis is an experienced chef with accolades abound. Yet Reis realizes that no amount of culinary knowledge or learned technique can improve the quality of the product being prepared. "I love to buy locally grown produce, not only for the freshness but for the flavor that it adds to all of our salads and entrees," he says.

GianMarco's Crusted Alabama Goat Cheese Salad

Award winning Belle Chevre artisanal cheeses make Birmingham menus.

By Jan Walsh
Photography by Beau Gustafson

Real Food is a new column that debuted last month. It supports Birmingham's convivium of the international Slow Food movement. In a pecan shell, Slow Food is the opposite of fast food. It is grown or produced locally and arrives fresh, full of flavor.

“We chefs want to use more local products that will support the growers and producers but also the Southern food traditions of Alabama,” member of the movement Giani Respinto explains. Respinto, his brother Marco, and father Giovanni, own and operate GianMarco—a popular, upscale Italian restaurant in Homewood. “Alabama goat cheese Belle Chevre is available year round. And it is used in our Almond and Pistachio Crusted Goat Cheese over Baby Arugula and Watermelon Carpaccio.”

Satterfield's Vegetable Terrine with Tomato Consume Aspic and Pea Tendrils

Satterfield's Vegetable Terrine Want to impress your guests? Make this dish, and pair it with Champagne.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Vegetable terrines are dishes made of a variety of vegetables in layers. Vegetable terrines can be made of summer or fall root vegetables. Vegetable terrines make a nice presentation at a holiday meal. Becky Satterfield shares the recipe and techniques for Satterfield's Vegetable Terrine with Tomato Consume Aspic and Pea Tendrils

Frank Stitt's Winter Vegetable Cocotte

Local Flavor 

Make a u-turn at the drive thru and savor "slow foods" of Alabama.

By Jan Walsh 

The Slow Food Movement just sprouted a Birmingham convivium (chapter). Frank and Pardis Stitt began the local movement in an effort to champion the Southern foods and food traditions of Alabama. In a "pecan shell," Slow Food is the opposite of fast food. It is not ordered through a microphone to a faceless menu board with a loud voice anxious to add fries or super-size. Slow Food is grown or produced locally and arrives fresh, full of flavor.