Party-Perfect Appetizers

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year is in full swing, and so is our social calendar! With a month full of parties ahead, we are excited to share some of our favorite holiday snacks that we'll be serving. 

First up, is a cream cheese and pesto torte that is as delicious as it is festive! Layers of softened cream cheese, basil pesto and sun-dried tomatoes make a colorful and tasty addition to any cheese board.

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CREAM CHEESE & PESTO TORTE

Ingredients

  • 2 8oz packages cream cheese, softened
  • 3 Tbsp sun-dried tomato pesto
  • 5 Tbsp basil pesto
  • Fresh cranberries and rosemary to garnish (optional)
  • Assorted crackers

Directions

  1. Press a layer of saran wrap (we like using Press n' Seal) into a 6" cake pan.
  2. Spread 8 oz of cream cheese into the lined cake pan. 
  3. Spoon sun-dried tomato pesto on top of cream cheese, and spread evenly. 
  4. Spread 8 oz of cream cheese on top of sun-dried tomato pesto (it's ok if the pesto shows through). 
  5. Top with 2 Tbsp of basil pesto. 
  6. Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate at least two hours, and up to 24. 
  7. Uncover torte and turn out onto a small plate. Peel the saran wrap off the bottom layer. 
  8. Cover the cream cheese (now the top layer) with 3 Tbsp basil pesto, and garnish with fresh cranberries and/or rosemary. 
  9. Serve with assorted crackers. 

Next, is a warm, cheesy dish that combines two old favorites, warm bacon & swiss and hot spinach dip,  into one killer (and slightly fancier) appetizer. This Asiago and Kale dip is easy to make, but takes a bit of time - prep the ingredients in stages to make assembly a cinch (OR, make it up to 24 hours ahead of time, then heat through before your party!). 

WARM ASIAGO & KALE DIP  (adapted slightly from Southern Living)

Ingredients:

  • 6 bacon slices, chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh kale, stemmed and chopped 
  • 1/2 medium-size red onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. (4 1/2 oz.) shredded Asiago cheese
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. (4 1/2 oz.) shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. dried crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Assorted crackers 

Directions 

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, stirring often, 6 to 7 minutes or until crisp; remove bacon, and drain on paper towels, reserving 1 Tbsp. drippings in Dutch oven. Sauté kale, onion, and garlic in hot drippings 7 to 8 minutes or until onion is tender. Add wine, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes or until particles loosen from bottom of Dutch oven.
  2. Stir together cream cheese and mayonnaise in a large bowl until smooth. Stir in Asiago cheese, next 4 ingredients, and kale mixture. Spoon into a lightly greased 1- to 1 1/2-qt. baking dish.
  3. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until center is hot and cheese is melted. Let stand 5 minutes; top with bacon. Serve with your favorite crackers, crudites or sliced baguette. 

Make Ahead: Prep recipe through Step 2. Cover and chill up to 24 hours. Let stand at room temp 30 minutes, and then bake.

Finally, we must share our latest #snackhack - Black Truffle Kettle Chips from Aldi! You may think that a bowl of chips screams TAILGATE, as opposed to an elegant holiday soiree, but these chips are both addicting AND the perfect pairing with a glass of bubbly. We like adding a little freshly cracked pepper, and a shower of grated parmesan would also be a delicious touch. 

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We hope you enjoy these fun hors d'oeuvres. Keep in touch as you cook your way through the holiday season by using the hashtag SGPSavors! 

 

Merry Margarita Sparkler

Happy Tuesday! We hope everyone had a delicious and relaxing Thanksgiving. Whether you are still recovering from feasting and/or shopping, or planning menus for your upcoming seasonal soirees,  we've got just the thing for you on this #TastyTuesday - Savor Salt Co's Merry Margarita Sparkler. 

This festive cocktail is light and refreshing, with a little punch of tartness from the citrus-y salt. It can easily be increased for a crowd, but is just as perfect for a cozy night by the tree. 

MERRY MARGARITA SPARKLER

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp Savor Salt Co Lime Salt
  • 1.5 oz white or silver tequila
  • 4 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp simple syrup
  • 2 cups cranberry juice
  • Champagne or prosecco to float
  • Fresh cranberries & lime wedges for garnish

Directions:

  1. Spread Lime salt in a shallow dish. Use a lime wedge to moisten the rim of a coupe glass, then dip in Lime salt.
  2. Fill a shaker with ice and add next four ingredients. Shake well, strain into coupe glass and top with a splash of prosecco or champagne.
  3. Garnish with fresh cranberries and lime wedge. Serves one.
You can find Savor Salt Co's locally blended and flavored sea salts at Chickadee Interiors and Alabama Goods. 

You can find Savor Salt Co's locally blended and flavored sea salts at Chickadee Interiors and Alabama Goods. 

We are looking forward to sharing some of our favorite seasonal treats with you over the next month. Keep in touch by tagging your favorite food and drink creations with #SGPSavors! 

Butternut Squash and Sausage Stuffing

Happy Thanksgiving Eve! Everyone here at Team SGP is so looking forward to a day of family,  food and gratitude, and we couldn't let the holiday pass without sharing one of our favorite Thanksgiving dishes - Butternut Squash and Sausage Stuffing. 

This stuffing is a riff on Dorie Greenspan's Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good, and it has been a favorite at our table for years. The not-so-secret ingredient that makes this dish such a hit is the sage-flavored sausage. If you don't have room for this on tomorrow's menu, go ahead and bookmark it for Christmas - it is sure to be requested year after year! 

Butternut Squash and Sausage Stuffing

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz package of Sage Sausage 
  • 8 oz Havarti cheese, shredded
  • 1 large butternut squash (2-3 lbs), peeled and cubed
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb loaf of French bread, cut into 1" cubes
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream 

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Peel and cube butternut squash. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Roast squash for approximately 30 minutes.
  3. Toast bread cubes (also at 350 degrees) for approximately 10 minutes.
  4. While squash is roasting, brown sausage in skillet over medium-high heat.
  5. Mix together bread cubes, squash, sausage and cheese.
  6. Pour cream over mixture and toss to coat.
  7. Pour stuffing into a greased 9x13 baking dish. Cover with foil.
  8. Bake stuffing for approximately 20 minutes at 350. Remove foil and bake about 10-15 minutes longer, until heated through and lightly browned.
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Enjoy!

Wishing all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving! 

Pumpkin Bread French Toast

How does that old saying go? When life gives you pumpkin bread, you make pumpkin bread french toast?

Or something like that. 

Thanksgiving is just over a week away, and we definitely have pumpkin on the brain. There is no shortage of delicious ways to prepare and enjoy pumpkin during this holiday season, but allow us to share one of our FAVORITE brunch recipes (and the best way to enjoy that leftover pumpkin bread sitting on your counter). Start with a few slices of your favorite pumpkin bread, give it the standard french toast treatment, and top with a dollop of bourbon whipped cream for an impressive (yet EASY) brunch dish that will give you all the stamina you need for a marathon day of cooking, eating, snacking, watching football, wearing stretchy pants and napping. 

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PUMPKIN BREAD FRENCH TOAST WITH BOURBON WHIPPED CREAM (adapted from Seeded at the Table)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 loaf of pumpkin bread, preferably a little stale (a day or two old is best)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk 
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp apple pie spice (can also use pumpkin pie spice or allspice)
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 Tbsp butter 
  • 1 cup whipping cream 
  • 1 Tbsp bourbon 
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • Splash of vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a shallow dish, whisk the eggs, milk, cinnamon, apple pie spice and salt.
  2. Slice the pumpkin bread into eight slices, not including the end pieces (feel free to snack on these while you cook!), and dip into the batter, coating both sides.  
  3. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. 
  4. Cook the pumpkin bread in the skillet for about five minutes on each side, until golden brown. 
  5. Transfer to a warm plate until ready to serve.
  6. Prepare the whipped cream - using an electric mixer, beat together the whipping cream, bourbon, sugar and vanilla extract until the cream is softly whipped (omit the bourbon to keep it kid-friendly!). 
  7. Top each slice with a dollop of whipped cream, and add your syrup of choice. 
Shop our wavy bowls and platters here! 

Shop our wavy bowls and platters here

Enjoy!

We are looking forward to sharing a few more of our favorite Thanksgiving recipes over the next week. Be sure to share yours with us by tagging your pics #SGPSavors. Happy cooking! 

Ghoul-de-sac 2017

Happy Halloween and #TastyTuesday! 

This past Saturday marked the beginning of a really fun new tradition at the Gordons: our first annual Halloween party, the "Ghoul-de-sac Festival". It was a great way to kick off the Holiday season and enjoy the fall (finally chilly) weather. 

I sourced a lot of our party decor from Amazon and Swoozie's - the "Boo Y'all" cups were my favorite find. Trader Joe's also has a great selection of inexpensive fall-themed goodies - Pirate Booty (brought over by our neighbor), Pumpkin cookies, and ghost and bat potato snacks.

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My husband and I made a His and Hers soup - homemade chili (his, recipe coming soon) and butternut squash soup (hers, recipe here), grilled-cheese sandwiches, and roasted s'mores over a fire. The kids ran around in the cul-de-sac (hence the event name, thanks to my clever bff, Heather) and burned extra energy on the bouncy house (a MUST for any party with kiddos, right!?). Courtney (@southernsoiree) and her husband served the adults a delicious bourbon apple cider cocktail that she will be sharing on the blog in a few short weeks. 

The goal for the party was to be Halloween-themed without being too scary for the littles or too cheesy for the adults. Pinterest was a great source for ideas on yummy fare that is easy to make ahead! One of my favorites was the grilled-cheese sandwiches cut into ghouls and pumpkins. The kids loved them and it was a fantastic compliment to the soups.

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TIP: Cut the sandwich before grilling or applying butter. It is a lot easier to cut and less messy. I used Wilton Halloween cookie cutters I found on amazon (here).

Courtney brought a delicious toffee pumpkin seed bark that was super yummy and easy to prepare. 

Toffee Pumpkin Seed Bark (adapted from Chowhound.com) by @southernsoiree

Toffee Pumpkin Seed Bark (adapted from Chowhound.com) by @southernsoiree

Toffee Pumpkin Seed Bark

Ingredients:

10oz semi-sweet chocolate
4  1.4oz Heath bars, chopped
1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
1 tsp Vanilla Bean Salt

Heat chocolate and heath bars in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until melted and mostly smooth (the toffee may not melt completely); remove from heat and immediately pour onto a cookie sheet lined with wax or parchment paper.  Smooth into a rectangle, approximately 10"x12". Sprinkle with toasted pumpkin seeds and vanilla salt. Set in a cool, dry place to harden; break into pieces and enjoy!

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Have a Happy Halloween and stay safe all you trick-or-treaters! We hope you enjoyed this edition of #TastyTuesday! We'd love to hear from you; if you give one of our recipes a whirl, be sure to tag us with the hashtag #SGPSavors.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

This week's #TastyTuesday installment has a somewhat selfish (but delicious!) purpose. Team SGP has been SO ready for cooler temps here in the south, we planned to share this comforting soup with the hope that it would hasten the crisp Fall weather we have all been craving - and it looks like it worked! 

Butternut squash is a seasonal favorite for many reasons - its earthy, yet slightly sweet flavor makes it ideal for pies, warm sandwiches, soups and stuffing, but it's just as enjoyable on its own. Our go-to squash soup comes from our favorite butter enthusiast - Ina Garten (aka Barefoot Contessa). This soup is SO simple, yet full of flavor. It's fall in a bowl! 

Shop our NEW ruffle-edge soup bowls here! 

Shop our NEW ruffle-edge soup bowls here

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup (adapted from Ina Garten)

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (we currently love the Piqual from OliO)
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onions (two onions)
  • 1 (15 - ounce) can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 4 cups chicken stock or canned broth
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup half & half
  • Toasted pumpkin seeds, chili oil and/or creme fraiche for garnish

DIRECTIONS

    1. Spread the butternut squash cubes on a large cookie sheet, lined with non-stick aluminum foil (easy clean-up!). Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle salt and pepper. Roast at 400 degrees until the squash is starting to caramelize and crisp at the edges, about 20-25 minutes. 
    2. Heat the butter and oil in a heavy - bottomed stockpot, add the onions, and cook over medium - low heat for 10 minutes, or until translucent.
    3. Add the pumpkin puree, roasted butternut squash, chicken stock, salt, and pepper. Cover and simmer over medium - low heat for about 20 minutes, until the butternut squash is very tender.
    4. In small batches, use a food processor or blender to puree the mixture to desired consistency - OR use an immersion blender to puree the mixture in the pot (our preferred method).
    5. Add the half &half, and heat slowly. If the soup needs more flavor, add another teaspoon of salt. 
    6. Garnish with your desired toppings. 

     

    Our newest collection is perfect for soup, salad and pasta!

    Our newest collection is perfect for soup, salad and pasta!

    We loved serving this with toasted pumpkin seeds for a little crunch, alongside some grilled cheese sticks for dipping! If you like a little heat, a drizzle of chili oil would be a welcome addition (and we wouldn't say no to crumbled bacon or crispy pancetta!). 

    What is your favorite fall soup? Let us know in the comments, or tag your pics with #SGPSavors to keep in touch! We can't wait to see what everyone is stirring up this fall. 

    Apple Crumble Cinnamon Tart

    In celebration of all things fall, we’re kicking off this #TastyTuesday (a day late, whoops!) with a scrumptious apple cinnamon crumble tart recipe!

    I have a confession to tell you.

    Shhhh.

    I don't really like baked apples. (insert wide-eyed emoji). 

    But I LOVE this tart. So for all you "I don't love apple pie" people out there - I promise, this is WAY better. Try it, you'll be delightfully surprised.

    Spotted: Our appetizer plate in Christmas Green - our Holiday collection will launch 10/16 (VIP) an 10/17/17.

    Spotted: Our appetizer plate in Christmas Green - our Holiday collection will launch 10/16 (VIP) an 10/17/17.

    I love tarts for three reasons:

    They are more approachable than pies for the amateur baker (me!)

    They are super versatile, great for any time of year, and can be sweet or salty!

    Kids love to help make them (and eat them, of course!)

    I adapted a recipe from italianfoodforever.com that I followed to the tee with my daughter Maison, but found that their recipe made quite a bit extra (enough for 6 extra mini tartlets).

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    So, this ingredient list and amounts have been modified to make just one tart.

    You’ll need:
    One 9” tart pan (I used aluminum foil because: kids)
    Food Processor
    Large Mixing bowl
    Measuring tools: 1 Teaspoon, 1 tablespoon, 1 cup for dry measuring,  ½ cup for dry measuring, 1/3 cup for dry measuring
    Regular dinner spoon
    Apple peeler
    Wood rolling pin
    Wax paper

    Ingredients:

                  For the crust:

    -          2 ¼ All purpose flour

    -          1 teaspoon salt

    -          ¾ cup (1.5 sticks) of COLD unsalted butter, sliced into small cubes

    -          ½ cup ice water

    For the apple filling:

    -          5-6 Firm apples – I use 6 if they’re smallish and 5 if they’re large. Use red or green, whichever you like – I used Red Delicious

    -          ½ Cup Sugar

    -          2 teaspoons cinnamon

    For the crumble topping:

    -          1 stick cold, unsalted butter

    -          1 cup all purpose flour

    -          ½ cup brown sugar

    -          ¼ cup finely chopped walnuts

     

    Directions: (From Italianfoodforever.com)

    For the pastry, place the flour and salt in the food processor, then add the pieces of butter (or shortening) and briefly pulse for 5 to 10 seconds or until the mixture looks like coarse meal.

    Add the ice water spoonful by spoonful, pulsing briefly a second or two after each addition until the dough just holds together.

    Empty the dough out onto a lightly floured hard surface and shape the dough into a flat disk.

    Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of one hour.

    Roll out the dough into a circle with a thickness of about 1/8 of an inch.

    Center the dough in a 9 inch tart or pie pan.

    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

    For the apples, peel, remove the cores, and slice thinly.

    Mix the apple slices together with the sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.

    Pour the apples into the prepared pie crust, dot the apples with butter, and trim the edges of the pie with a sharp knife.

    For the topping, in a food processor, mix the flour, brown sugar and butter together until crumbly.

    Stir in the walnuts and spoon the topping over the apples in the prepared pie crust.

    Bake the tart for about 45 to 50 minutes, or until the crust is light brown and the apple filling is bubbly.

    Cool for at least 15 minutes and serve (WITH ICE CREAM! Of course).

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    Happy October y'all! If you try this recipe, let us know what you think! Tag yours with #sgpsavors! 

    Tasty Tuesday: Giveaway with Ashley Macs

    We’re back on this Tasty Tuesday with a great giveaway! (If you haven’t entered, click here and follow instructions on how to enter!). Ashley MacMakin and I have teamed up to give away a medium sized wavy SGP bowl and a gourmet-to-go cheesy spinach dip appetizer from her Birmingham-based cafés, Ashley Macs!

    Ashley Mac's spinach dip served with torn baguette on our Oval Platter and A small sized dip bowl

    Ashley Mac's spinach dip served with torn baguette on our Oval Platter and A small sized dip bowl

    Ashley Mac’s café offers a variety of comfort-style foods including freezer-to-oven casseroles, fresh pasta salads, and my personal favorite, strawberry cupcakes.

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    I recently brought several of her delicious dishes from her Gourmet-to-go section of her café to a cookout at my neighbor’s new house. Her spinach dip was a hit, and prep was as easy as pressing a button on the oven!

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    My favorite way to enjoy Ashley Mac’s spinach dip is with pieces of torn or sliced baguette. Pop that bread in the oven to give it a little warmth and it’s good to go!

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    Serve it in one of our wavy bowls and an oval platter to add some glam and you are all set!

    Shop our pottery here.

    Visit one of Ashley Mac’s Birmingham locations

    Don't forget to tag your SGP with "SGPsavors" on social media! Happy Tuesday, everyone!

    Toasted Pound Cake with Summer Berries and Grand Marnier

    Even though summer is coming to a close, berry season is still going strong at our favorite local farmer's market, Pepper Place. If you ever get a chance to go to the Saturday Market, be sure to check out Burnett Farms. They are a popular go-to source for summer fruit.

    Shop our berry bowls here!

    Shop our berry bowls here!

    One of our favorite ways to enjoy local berries is serving them over toasted pound cake. Marta's Bakery, located in the Cahaba Heights neighborhood of Birmingham, makes incredible desserts that are reminiscent of our grandmothers' favorite recipes. We especially love their simple pound cake (but you shouldn't miss their seasonal peach cake). If you are searching for a tasty, beautiful and EASY dessert that can be thrown together in minutes, this recipe will do just the trick!

    Shop our Small Round Dishes here. Shop our Plates here.

    Shop our Small Round Dishes here. Shop our Plates here.

    Toasted Pound Cake & Berries

    Recipe by Courtney Wright

    • 1 package Marta's plain pound cake, cut into 2" cubes and lightly toasted (or use your favorite pound cake from a local bakery!)
    • 2 cups mixed berries (we like using blackberries, blueberries and strawberries)
    • 2 Tbsp orange zest 
    • 2 Tbsp Grand Marnier

    Directions

    1. Divide toasted pound cake and berries among six dessert plates (or eight, depending on how small or large you would like your servings!).
    2. Sprinkle orange zest over the berries on each plate, then drizzle Grand Marnier (start off conservative, then add more as desired!).
    3. Enjoy!

     

    We are looking forward to serving this at our last neighborhood get-together of the summer. Let us know what you think! Don't forget to tag your pics with #SGPSavors!

    Heirloom Tomato Tart

    Ask anyone at SGP what their favorite season is, and you won’t get fall or spring (because let’s be honest, we mostly have one season in Alabama - HOT ). Instead, you will hear football and tomato. We are anxiously awaiting the first game of the season; so meanwhile, we’re relishing every opportunity to enjoy our favorite summer produce.

    One of our favorite ways to showcase gorgeous heirloom tomatoes is this simple tart, courtesy of our dear friend Kate over at Fig and Fern Flowers. If you are not familiar with her beautiful blooms, check out her feed now (and keep your fingers crossed that she still has a pint or two of her famous Fig preserves available!).

    Photo by Graciela Slyer. Shop our wavy bowls here.

    Photo by Graciela Slyer. Shop our wavy bowls here.

    Closer to a margherita pizza than your traditional southern tomato pie, the concept here is simple - really good tomatoes. Add a blend of Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses, fresh basil, good olive oil, plenty of cracked pepper and crunchy sea salt, and you’ll be wishing tomato season was year-round.

    Ingredients

    • Pastry dough or pie shell (we used one Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust)

    • 4 oz freshly grated mozzarella

    • 4 oz freshly grated Parmesan

    • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil

    • 4-5 ripe tomatoes, sliced (we love the tomatoes from Harvest Farms - find them at Pepper Place!)

    • 1 Tbsp of your favorite olive oil (we used Arbequina from OliO)

    • Salt & coarse black pepper, to taste (we like using a crunchy sea salt, like Fleur de Sel)

    Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

    2. Slice tomatoes, then layer in paper towels to absorb excess moisture.

    3. Rub a 10” tart pan or pie dish with olive oil (we actually used an 11” tart pan and it worked great); roll out pastry dough, pressing the edges against the sides of the pan. Prick the dough with a fork, then bake for 5-8 minutes. This helps the dough hold up against the juices that are released from the tomatoes during baking.

    4. Remove partially baked crust from oven. Spread cheeses over the pastry, then sprinkle basil.

    5. Cover with tomato slices, overlapping if necessary, then drizzle with olive oil.

    6. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until crust is golden and cheese is bubbly.

    7. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the tart, and garnish with fresh basil.

    8. Slice into wedges and enjoy!

    Photo by Graciela Slyer.

    Photo by Graciela Slyer.

    Photo by Graciela Slyer. Shop our Cake stand here.

    Photo by Graciela Slyer. Shop our Cake stand here.

    This tart is pretty perfect as is, but sometimes we'll add some crumbled bacon or fresh jalapenos to shake things up. Feel free to get creative!

    What is your favorite way to enjoy this summer jewel? Tell us in the comments, or tag your pics on Instagram with #SGPSavors!

    Black Bean, Corn & Feta Dip

    Happy Tuesday, friends! We hope everyone had a restful and relaxing weekend. We are starting off the week with a recipe that many of you have been asking for since we previewed it on our Instagram stories over the 4th of July - Black Bean, Corn & Feta Dip. This tangy and flavorful appetizer is our go-to snack for summer gatherings. It comes together in minutes, and is always a huge hit. We went ahead and doubled the recipe for you, but be prepared - it disappears quickly, no matter how much you make!

    Shop our wavy bowls here!

    Shop our wavy bowls here!

    Shop our wavy bowls here!

    Shop our wavy bowls here!

     

    Black Bean, Corn & Feta Dip

    INGREDIENTS

    • 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed 
    • 2 cans white shoepeg corn, drained 
    • 1/2 cup olive oil
    • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
    • 8 oz feta, crumbled 
    • Coarse black pepper, to taste 

    DIRECTIONS

    Mix ingredients in a large bowl and refrigerate for a couple of hours. Feel free to add more sugar or vinegar, depending on how sweet or tart you want the dip to be. We always start off a little conservative, then add more if it's needed - it's best to wait until after it has chilled a few hours before deciding to add more, as the flavors will develop as it sits. Serve with tortilla chips, and enjoy!

     

    We love to serve this up in one of our large wavy bowls, with a large one on hand for our favorite chips. What is your go-to appetizer for summer entertaining? Let us know in the comments, and don't forget to try out the dip, then tag us in your posts with #SGPsavors. 

    Have a great week! 

    Behind the Scenes with SGP: Meet the Maker

    Welcome to Behind the Scenes with SGP! This series will hopefully give you an idea of who we are, what we do, and a little bit about how we do it! If you have any questions about our process or studio set up, leave a comment below and we will publish a follow up post and cover some topics you may want to know more about! So ASK away, friends, and we will do our best to answer! This week, we'll start off by introducing you to SGP's namesake: Susan Gordon!

    Shop our Initial Charm necklaces here! Photo credit: Charity Ponter

    Shop our Initial Charm necklaces here! Photo credit: Charity Ponter

    1. Where did you get your start making pottery?

    My first pottery class was in college while studying to be a graphic designer...clay and I were insta-friends. No other medium has ever felt more natural or come so easy to me as ceramics. After receiving my BFA in Ceramic Sculpture, I moved to Birmingham to attend graduate school, which felt like the next natural step. Towards the end of graduate school, functional ceramics begin to pique my interest.

    2. How did Susan Gordon Pottery LLC begin?

    Officially we got started in 2013 in my basement. Prior to that, I worked as a Director for a not-for-profit art council for seven years and acquired a lot of experience running various aspects of a business. Coordinating a county-wide education program and teaching a slew of pottery and painting classes for adults and children taught me a lot! It also gave me an education on how to use electric kilns and mid-range (cone 6) glazes. At the time, even though we had a kiln for class use, there wasn't a lot of access or space to make my own work, so I would make a few pieces here and there and peddle them at local shows. For a long time, my dream was to be a painter until my husband spotted an example butter dish from one of my classes. My husband, who is pretty hard to impress, was emphatic that I make more pottery. His faith in me really made the wheels start turning.

    By 2013 my pottery studio was set up in my basement along with my very own kiln and first employee. My Etsy shop was up and running and one by one, I started listing items that were ready to ship. That following spring, my work was all set up at a local art show in Birmingham. A local retailer noticed my work and BOOM I picked up my very first wholesale account, Chickadee. Now, SGP has over 100 active wholesale accounts and 3800 sales on Etsy! We have come a long way since my dank, dark basement and I am truly grateful.

    Katherine smoothing our custom rounds for our Augusta, Georgia retailer, Charleston Street Fine Flowers. Photo credit: Graciela Slyer

    Katherine smoothing our custom rounds for our Augusta, Georgia retailer, Charleston Street Fine Flowers. Photo credit: Graciela Slyer

    3. Give us a peak into your current studio. Why Make Bhm?

    Before it was a reality, Bruce Lenier, the founder of Make Bhm, explained his idea for the communal studio space to me. His vision was compelling and my first thought was, Birmingham really needs a place like this. The basic concept is that makers shouldn't have to create alone and that collaboration is essential to good ideas. Their motto is "...our facility is a gathering place for people who believe that good design, original ideas, and collaboration are the foundation of the creative community".

    The ladies of Make Bhm. Men work here too they just didn't get in this picture LOL.

    The ladies of Make Bhm. Men work here too they just didn't get in this picture LOL.

    Photo credit: Graciela Slyer

    Photo credit: Graciela Slyer

    Photo credit: Graciela Slyer

    Photo credit: Graciela Slyer

    We have formed a lot of relationships and collaborated with artists that we would not have gotten to know if we had moved to a dedicated studio just for SGP. Make BHM is such a fun place to come to work. There's always somebody working here. It's exciting; it makes you feel like you are a part of something bigger than yourself.

    Photo credit: Graciela Slyer

    Photo credit: Graciela Slyer

    4. Tell us about being your own boss. What is your favorite aspect of running your own business?

    Even though I am mostly right-brained, running and accelerating a business is totally thrilling. It is exciting to be given a dream, to think BIG, write down your goals, and work towards making them a reality. Yes, sometimes it is hard WORK, and the not-so-fun stuff such as filing taxes and renewing business licenses can be soul-sucking. To be completely transparent and honest, not all of my goals and dreams have come true!! There have been lots of failures along the way. Mistakes which have taught me a lot about myself, how to keep trusting my gut intuition, and believe the vision that God has put in my heart is good and worthy to pursue.

    Photo credit: Charity Ponter

    Photo credit: Charity Ponter

    5. Tell us how your creative process works. What are your go-to places for inspiration? Do you keep a sketchbook? How do you come up with new ideas?

    Probably the biggest influence on my work is all my years painting abstract expressionist work! That experience has directly informed the surface application of my pottery. I do keep a sketchbook but my inspiration comes from working with my medium directly. There's something magical about the physicality of clay. If an idea is circling around in my head, most of the time it gets written down on a list and then I make a physical sample. Clay in raw form is like a sketchbook; it can be cut, pasted, and formed and then smooshed (erased) together again to create something completely different.

    Real, regular life - cooking for a family of four, entertaining, and simply getting dressed - is also a big source of inspiration. I will realize something is needed, such as a certain size bowl or a pair of earrings in this or that color! For instance, our mini abstract bowls. I have a dozen at home. They come in handy for everything from candy on a table for guests, fruit storage, or for a yummy dip!

    6.    What is the most challenging aspect of being a creative entrepreneur?

      For me, it is staying true to what I want to create and not letting comparison steal my joy. In art school, they taught us that "new ideas" do not exist anymore, that everything has been done. That can be disheartening when an idea births itself in your mind! Whether that is true or not, I am just going to keep my head down and create what my heart wants.

     

    We hope you have enjoyed the first installment of the "Behind the Scenes with SGP" series. Let us know what other questions we can answer for you in the comments below.

    Starting this blog is our way of showing you what we do, what we enjoy, and who we are. Over the course of this blog's life we are going to cover three general topics that excite us: food, design, and style. We hope you will sit back with a cup of coffee and get to know #SGPteam and a few of our favorites that we have invited to be guest writers here. Stay tuned y'all!

     

     

    Savor with SGP

    We are so excited to introduce our Savor with SGP series, featuring fun food and drinks throughout each season. Stay tuned as we share our favorite recipes to serve and enjoy on the SGP pieces we love.

    *Photo credit: Graciela Slyer

    If you are anything like us, you head into a holiday weekend with one question on your mind - what’s on the menu? You might still be working out the details, but we’ve got two recipes that are a must-add to your meal planning. 

    First up - lime butter. So simple. So fresh. SO addicting. All you need is a stick of butter, one lime, a little salt and pepper, and you are on your way to citrus-y butter heaven. We love keeping the butter soft and serving it in one of our small wavy bowls (the zest really pops against the white and gold!), but you could also shape into a log, wrap in wax paper, refrigerate, slice and serve from a butter dish. 

    Squeezing lime2.jpg

    Use it on: EVERYTHING. So far, our favorite is grilled corn, but you will also see us devouring slice after slice of our favorite baguette with this slathered on top. Use it to finish grilled flank steak, spicy chicken or shrimp, cilantro rice or even plain ol' potatoes. Do yourself a favor and make an extra batch to stash in the freezer; then slice and enjoy all summer long!

     

     LIME BUTTER

     Ingredients:

    • one stick unsalted butter, softened

    • one small lime

    • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt

    • 1/4 tsp black pepper

     Instructions:

    1. Zest the lime and set aside.

    2. In a small bowl, use a spatula to combine the softened butter and lime zest. Add salt, pepper, and juice from half of the lime; blend well.

    3. Taste and adjust to your liking. We prefer using juice from the whole lime, to make the butter nice and tart! *Don't worry if some of the juice doesn't incorporate into the butter - just pour off the excess before you serve or chill.

    4. If serving immediately, transfer the butter to a small bowl (if it's a little too soft, just stick in the fridge for a few minutes). You can also scrape the butter into a Ziploc bag, cut off one corner, and pipe onto a small dish or plate.

     

     

    Next up is the slushy cocktail of your dreams. Frosé (or Frozen Rosé) has been the “it” warm-weather drink for a few summers now, and it’s still going strong. We used these two recipes as inspiration for our take, which simply combines our favorite rosé, fresh strawberries, a little lemon juice and a bit of ice. You can choose a dry or sweet rosé, depending on your preference - just make sure it’s full-bodied as it will dilute slightly with freezing (we prefer a rosé of Pinot Noir).

     

    Whether you are spending the 4th on the lake, in the sand, or around the backyard grill, you will want one of these in your hand.

     

     

    FROSÉ

     Ingredients:

    • 1 750 ml bottle of rosé (preferably full-bodied)

    • 2 cups sliced strawberries

    • 2-3 oz fresh lemon juice

    • ice

     Instructions:

    1. Pour rosé into ice cube trays and freeze overnight (the cubes may remain somewhat slushy due to the alcohol in the wine).

    2. Combine the rosé cubes, strawberries and lemon juice (start with 2 oz and add more to your taste) in a blender; mix on high until smooth. If you need a little extra slushiness, add a few cubes of ice and blend again.

    3. Pour into glasses and garnish with fresh lemon.

    What are you excited about cooking up this holiday weekend? Tell us in the comments, and don't forget to show us your favorite ways to enjoy the lime butter and Frosé by sharing your pics on Facebook and Instagram (tag them #SGPsavors).

    Wishing everyone a safe and happy 4th!