Les Dames d’Escoffier invites you to a highly anticipated event , “AUTUMN AFFAIR,” on OCTOBER 3, featuring an evening of wine tasting, local artisan foods, live music and a silent auction that benefits LDEI scholarships.

6:00pm until 9:00pm  

Purchase tickets: www.ldeicharleston.com

Sample delicious treats from local producers including Callie’s Charleston Biscuits, Wildflour Pastry, The Glass Onion, David’s Confections, Compost in My Shoe, Charleston Grill, Green Grocer

Lowndes Grove

266 Saint Margaret Street, Charleston, South Carolina 29403


Even in George Washington’s time, Southerners enjoyed the tradition of the barbecue as a form of social gathering. Historians believe 16th century Native Americans may have initially introduced barbecuing to British colonists. Barbecuing is practically a year-round sport now. Some cooks focus on grilling; others say it’s all about the barbecue pits and smoke. Everyone has a preference for a barbecue style and plenty of strong opinions on how to go about it. Few foods inspire loyalties and rivalries like barbecue.

Southern barbecue has long been a venue for South Carolina political entertaining and rallies. According to Charleston author Robert Moss, (Barbecue: the History of an American Institution), Columbia played an important role in the launch of this country’s commercial barbecue in the 1920’s. He says S. E. Perry began selling “Bucket Barbecue” during Fourth of July and Labor Day Parades at 60 cents a pound and 30 cents for hash. Prior to that, Columbians would bring a bucket from home and fill it with meat at the barbecue stands. Lamb and mutton were almost as popular as pork.

Chicken has become a top-choice of protein for the grill! If you enjoy spicy, lively flavor combinations, look to the East for inspiration. The chicken dish in this post is based on a balanced blend of addictive Asian seasonings that are easily found in your supermarket.

Versatile chicken thigh meat stays moist on the grill, is economical and a good source of zinc, selenium and B vitamins. The thighs are marinated in yogurt and South Asian spices, then grilled and brushed with an addictive glaze of flavorful sweet-heat. The chili garlic condiment is sold in 8-ounce plastic bottles decorated with a rooster and green lid. The chicken in the photo is paired with Golden Rice, Cucumber Raita and grilled naan (leavened flatbread). Available at local markets, naan can be warmed over a hot grill and brushed with melted butter or olive oil.

Green cardamom pods add a warm spicy-sweet flavor and aroma to the rice dish. Purchase them at gourmet shops or Indian markets. Skewered, grilled whole okra is called for in this recipe, but it can also be cooked in a foil package over the fire for 15 minutes. Sometime, I like to scatter crispy fried okra pieces over the top of the rice for a special flavor and texture contrast.



1/2 rounded cup plain Greek yogurt

1 rounded teaspoon lime zest

4 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided

2 large garlic, finely minced almost to a paste

1 tablespoon finely minced gingerroot

1-1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/4 teaspoon ground dried red chilies

1 teaspoon sea salt

8 to 10 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 4-1/2 pounds), rinsed, patted dry

1/3 cup Huy Fong Vietnamese Chili Garlic Sauce

4 tablespoons honey, or to taste

fresh mined cilantro leaves

Combine yogurt, zest, 3 tablespoons lime juice, garlic, gingerroot, cumin, turmeric, ground chilies and salt in a large plastic food storage bag. Add chicken thighs; coat well with the mixture. Seal bag and refrigerate 6 hours or overnight. In a small bowl, combine chili garlic sauce, honey and remaining tablespoon lime juice. Divide between 2 small bowls; set aside. Set up your outdoor grill. Wipe excess marinade from chicken; coat lightly with cooking spray. Place chicken, skin side down, over direct heat. Cook about 10 minutes then turn chicken. Brush with the chili glaze in one of the bowls. Cook 10 to 15 minutes more or until skin is crispy and slightly caramelized, the meat is no longer pink and the juices run clear. Remove to a platter; garnish with cilantro. Makes 4 to 5 servings.

Note: Chicken quarters (thighs and drumsticks) are also tasty prepared this way.



1 tablespoon each olive oil and unsalted butter

1 small chopped onion

1/2 red bell pepper, cut in small dice

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 teaspoon turmeric (or big pinch of crushed saffron threads, if available)

3 green cardamom pods, gently crushed

1/2 teaspoon each sea salt and white pepper

1-1/4 cups long grain rice

2 cups chicken broth or water

grilled okra on soaked short wooden skewers

2 minced green onion

Heat oil and butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic; cook until nearly tender. Stir in turmeric, cardamom, salt and pepper. Add rice, stir mixture 30 seconds. Pour in broth and bring to a boil. Cover pot and reduce heat to low. Cook 15 minutes. If tender yet still moist, remove cover and cook a couple of minutes until mixture is dry. Grill the okra, as directed. Cut in thin diagonal slices and toss with the rice. (You can make the rice one day ahead then grill the okra along with the chicken thighs the following day.)   Makes 4 servings.



2 cups Greek yogurt

1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, cut in small dice

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

pinch white pepper

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients. Refrigerate until serving time. Serve as a side dish or as a dip. Makes about 3 cups.

TOP PHOTO: From Columbia Metropolitan Magazine; photo: Jeff Amberg

BOTTOM PHOTO: Golden Rice with Okra,  Copyright Susan Fuller Slack

Salad Basket with Creamy Orange Vinaigrette © Taste of Carolina

As colorful as a handmade Oaxacan basket, this salad-filled tortilla shell is dressed with a citrusy and creamt orange dressing that will please family and friends alike. Happy Cinco de Mayo!


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You’ll know why Irish eyes are smiling when you taste this delicious,  savory green pea soup and the tangy lime dessert squares.  The minty soup can be made ahead and served hot or chilled.  The tangy lime filling in the dessert squares can also be poured into a 1 (9-inch) round crumb crust and baked, then chilled and sliced into wedges.  HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!

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Thanksgiving Light

Thanksgiving is a favorite American holiday in which we give thanks for our many blessings, including our family, friends and delicious food. Recent studies show that the positive affects of gratitude are good for our health – we have more social connections, energy and happiness. A healthy diet is good for us too, even during the delicious holiday feast often referred to as a “pig out!”

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No Knead Chocolate Nut Brioche

For more than 140 years, Fleischmann’s Yeast has focused on teaching people how to raise bread. Now the company hopes to raise breast cancer awareness through their “Bake for the Cure” special contest which was judged on October 10, at the 2011 South Carolina State Fair.

Creative bakers entered a variety of breads featuring Fleischmann’s yeast. Baked goods in the main category, Best Yeast Breads, could be made in any flavor or shape. A second category, Best Whole Grain Breads, included whole grain recipes that had to contain at least 50 percent whole grains (like whole wheat flour or rye flour) and/or other whole grain ingredients (like oatmeal, flax seed, bran cereals and bulgur). All-purpose or bread flour had to be limited to 50 percent or less in the recipe. All recipes were required to be original.

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Charleston, S.C. – On Thursday, October 27, 6:00-9:00 p.m., the Charleston chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier International (LDEI), a worldwide philanthropic society of professional women leaders in the fields of food, fine beverage, and hospitality will host their annual fundraiser, An Autumn Affair: A Celebration of Wine and Artisan Food. 

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An Autumn Affair in Charleston

Members of the Charleston Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier International will host An Autumn Affair – A Celebration of Wine & Artisan Foods at Lowndes Grove Plantation, October 27, 2011, from 6 to 9 PM. Distributors and wineries will provide over 100 wines for tasting. There will be live music and foods based on local, sustainable harvests, with farmers present to discuss their crops. Booths will display products and books will be available from local Dames, including the popular LDEI cookbook. A silent auction from 6 to 8 PM will benefit the Charleston LDEI Scholarship Fund.  Tickets for the event are $45.00 and are available in Charleston at The Wine Shop, Charleston Cooks, and www.ldeicharleston.com.

Cooking with Les Dames d'Escoffier


Pool area, Lowndes Grove Plantation

Fresh greens from the market

Give fools their gold, and knaves their power; let fortune’s bubbles rise and fall; who sows a field, or trains a flower, or plants a tree, is more than all.”

John Greenleaf Whittier


The Sandhill Farmers’ Market is open for the season, and will run through November 22. You can visit the market each Tuesday, from 2:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m.  It is located at the entrance to Clemson’s Sandhill Research and Education Center, at 900 Clemson Road (across from Village at Sandhill), Columbia, SC 29229 in Northeast Richland County.   Approximately twenty-seven vendors are selling, with additional vendors expected as summer crops are harvested. Items for sale include fresh local produce, meat (beef, pork, lamb), shrimp, eggs, butter, milk, cheese  and honey.  Also plants, flowers, trees, baked goods, homemade bread, grits, boiled peanuts, kettle corn, yarn and woolen items.  Master Gardeners are available to answer questions. Live music is provided by Keith Tracy.  Do come – it’s a festive place to shop, hum along with the music, sample tasty foods and visit with your friends and neighbors!

Anna Langley, Columbia, purchases fresh sugar snap peas grown by Lugoff vendors Doris and John Baush

Taste of Carolina has been on hiatus, due to a busy work and travel schedule.  However, I am back on the job and open for business, just in time for the summer growing season. Check often for weekly market updates, farmer profiles and a generous serving of tasty recipes. I will soon post another blog story, with great tips for decorating cupcakes. It will correspond with my new magazine article on cupcakes, for Columbia Metropolitan Magazine. Look for this issue in June. Bon Appetit!

I love cupcakes!

Lettuce and cupcake photos: © Susan Slack

Farmers’ market photo: © Judith Gaskins

Spicy chicken wings will be flying off the platters during Super Bowl weekend as sports fans root for their favorite team.  Super Bowl without chicken wings would be a little bit like Thanksgiving without the turkey!  Even with rising costs, the popularity of chicken wings has been soaring over chicken breast meat recently.  Chicken wings are more popular during the Super Bowl than at any other weekend of the year.   The National Chicken Council currently estimates that more than 13.5 billion wing pieces will be sold this year – 4 billion in retail grocery stores. More than 1 billion pieces will be sold for consumption during the super bowl.

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