Thursday, November 16, 2017

Cranberry Orange Jam {Thanksgiving Jam}

Plump sweet, tart and tangy cranberries make their appearance every fall, and are oh so good for you. Full of antioxidants and other good for you stuff, it just makes sense to turn them into a  jam you can enjoy long past the holidays.

Since cranberries have a lot of natural pectin, there is no pectin required for this recipe ... see? Easy!

This jam is not overly sweet. It is delicious served: 

  • on scones or English muffins
  • over cream cheese on crackers as part of a charcuterie board
  • basted on grilled or roasted poultry
  • as an accompaniment to turkey, ham or pork

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Discovering Gorget Distilling Company - Revolutionize Your Spirit

I always find it amazing what you can find right outside your back door, if you take the time to look. For a  few years now we've been traveling to local farms, markets and real food establishments to learn about their processes, discovering the best of South Carolina small family farms, farmers markets and "real food stores" who source their products from local farms and markets.

We've traveled all over the state, from one farm or farmers market to another, and recently decided to branch out exploring wineries who are making amazing wines from their scuppernog or muscadine grapes, visiting both The Winery at Mercer House and Enoree River Winery.

And then I read about Gorget Distilling Company and couldn't wait to go visit. As they say on their website:

"Gorget Distilling’s name has a unique tie to both South Carolina and the birth of our country as a nation. The word gorget means a piece of armor worn around the throat in battle. At the beginning of the Revolutionary War, William Moultrie was commissioned to design a flag to signal South Carolina troops. He took the blue from the soldier’s uniform and the crescent shape from the cap, designing the Moultrie or Liberty Flag. Gorget Distilling Co. was founded in 2015 by three local gentlemen who wanted to create not only a buzz about the gorget, but a following for their fine, handmade, local spirits. Isn’t it about time you #Revolutionizeyourspirit??

The grains they use come from local farms in the surrounding area, and their corn is crushed at Boykin Mill, a 100 + year old water powered stone mill, which is a local historic mill; how cool is that?

"At Boykin Mill, corn is ground today as it has been for 200 years. Water rushing through the spillway behind the dam of the mill pond is channeled through 100-year-old turbines to power the mill. The corn is crushed between two ancient millstones which are hand dressed with with notched surfaces, and which weigh a ton each. These rotate slowly, maintaining a cool temperature to retain the essential oils and preserve the delicious flavor of the corn."

So on a nice Saturday in early November, a small group of us met at Gorget Distilling Company for a tour and tasting. 

We arrived at 1 p.m. and were met by our host for the day, Hugh Thomas, one of the owners and the Distiller. After introductions all around, we began our tour, which was fascinating. 

Did you know?  To be vodka it has to come out of the distillery at 190 proof or higher. The distillery's rum tanks hold 136 gallons, and bourbon takes a year in the barrels and is aged in a new barrel each time. 

When making whiskey or rum, which also takes a year, the barrel can be used about 2-3 times, then they sell the barrels to breweries to use. So cool.

Then we tasted! For the nominal fee of  $5 per person we tasted a dozen of their liquors, from the award-winning silver rum to vodka, flavored rums, and moonshine. While I enjoyed all of them, my personal favorites are the silver rum and vodka.

Gorget Distilling Company sells all their liquors on site, as well as has them available at retailers in the area. They also have a nice selection of T-shirts, ball caps, beautiful glasses, and other items for customers to purchase. 

When you see the "certified South Carolina product" label on their bottle, you know you are getting a local, handcrafted product, produced right here in South Carolina, and that's fantastic. Anytime you can shop local and support local is a win-win, for yourself, your community, and the local business you are supporting.

Until our next adventure ...


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Monday, November 13, 2017

Rib-Eye Tomahawk Steak

You owe it to yourself to try this "show stopper" Rib-Eye Tomahawk Steak just once. Perfect for special occasions, dinners for two, or any other time you want a caveman-sized cut of beef.

This fabulous steak came from our friends at Boss Farms, LLC - a Certified South Carolina Grass-Fed Angus Beef farm. You just can't beat it for texture or flavor.  Take a look at what they say on their website:

Boss Farms Beef is an excellent healthy protein choice for Grass Finished Beef. Our cattle are the Aberdeen heritage Certified Black Angus. They are smaller in their frame, therefore, the portion size is more appropriate for most.  They peacefully graze on high quality, high protein grasses.  We process the grass-finished steers at a USDA Inspected Processor where they are dry aged and vacuum packaged into individual cuts and flash frozen to lock in the flavor ready for your freezer. When you eat Boss Farms beef you are benefiting from:
Low in saturated fat and cholesterol
Rich in Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids
Rich in Conjugated Linoleic Acid
High in Vitamin B complex
(niacin, riboflavin, and B12)
High in Vitamins A and E
Rich in Zinc, Iron, and Digestible Protein
High in all Nine Essential Amino Acids
Free of Preservatives
Free of Antibiotics and Hormones

Buying grass-fed beef from a local farm or market is many times more expensive, but so worth that expense for superior taste. Don't "settle" for an inferior product. Support your local farms; you'll be happy you did.

The benefits? You know how the beef was raised, you can shake the hand of the farmer who raised the beef, and many times you can tour their farm to see their operation first-hand. You can't get more transparent than that, and the taste is far superior. This is PRIME beef, the best of the best, and all of us deserve it.