Cookbooks of 2015

Cookbooks of any kind are great gifts around the holiday but they're also fun to gift ourselves as we have some extra time to spend in the kitchen- to experiment and play. My favorite cookbook this year is Hugh Acheson's The Broad Fork, where Hugh delves into the wide world of fruits and vegetables. I personally love all his pickling recipes but I'm excited to try his Roasted Chicken Thighs over Barley and Brussels Sprout Risotto this week. To find a cookbook to inspire you, here are some other standout releases from 2015...  


Nashville Eats. Learn to make their famous hot chicken or buttermilk biscuits- plus 100 more southern recipes. 

Pure Pork Awesomeness. From my neighborhood chef, Kevin Gillespie comes this book dedicated entirely to the pig. It's all so good, particularly the bacon recipes. 

Franklin Barbecue. It's a meat smoking and brisket cooking manifesto from the owner of the wildly popular Austin restaurant. 

Root to Leaf. Atlanta chef, Steven Satterfield is one of my favorites and in this book he teaches us how to use the whole plant, from root to leaf. Delicious vegetables with a southern flair.


The Oxford Companion to Wine. The fourth edition of this popular book lives up to the hype. It covers every wine topic on the list with contributions from more than 180 experts. Great gift for the wine lover. 

The Dead Rabbit Drinks Manual. One of the best cocktail bars in America now has a bar book. Lots of inventive recipes inside plus a peek inside the famed locale. 

The Old Fashioned. As a lover of bourbon, I'm a huge fan of The Old Fashioned cocktail. This book shares a history of the iconic drink, plus 50 variations to try. 

The Craft Cocktail Party. If you want to throw a party with a special craft cocktail, this book offers a bevy of tasty options. 

Hartwood. Tulum is one of my favorite spots in Mexico and I love how this book is about a NY based couple who left their restaurant jobs to build the place of their dreams on the edge of a jungle. Rustic, delicious recipes. 

Near & Far. Heidi Swanson shares dishes inspired from her home in Northern California as well as from her travels across the globe- from Tokyo and Paris to New Delhi and New Zealand.  

The Nordic Cookbook. I'm dreaming of visiting the Nordic countries, therefore I dream of this cookbook. Includes 700 authentically Nordic recipes collected by acclaimed chef, Magnus Nilsson. 

Mexico from the Inside Out. I had the pleasure of eating at the author's restaurant, Pujol, last year in Mexico City. It was easily in my top three dining experiences of all time so this book is on my must buy list. 

The Violet Bakery Cookbook. With a book cover this pretty, the recipes have to be delicious. And they are. From the famed London restaurant comes a baking book filled with the tastiest pastries, tarts and sweets. 


Theo Chocolate. This cover has me reaching for my credit card. If you love chocolate, you'll love this book of recipes from the famous Seattle chocolatier. 

Chocolate Chip Sweets. This book is all about chocolate chip recipes shared by world-renowned chefs and Jacques Torres, Daniel Boulud and Lidia Bastianich. 

Guittard Chocolate Cookbook. From the famed San Francisco chocolate company comes a book with 60 recipes you'll drool over, like fudgey Mocha cookies or Dark Chocolate, Caramel Pecan Bundt Cake. 

Scandinavian Baking. Scandinavia, you're on my to-do list. In the meantime, this baking book will quell my cravings as it's filled with delicious Danish recipes for pastries, cakes, cream buns and more. 


Holiday Peach Picks: Hugh Acheson

This past summer, I produced my first Sweet Spots paper for Athens, Georgia. I was thrilled to have Hugh Acheson be one of the first to buy an ad for it and I have to say, he's always been the kind of great guy we see on TV. I've appreciated his support and am a huge fan of his recently released cookbook, The Broad Fork- which by the way, just got listed as the best cookbook of the year by Epicurious (great gift idea). As an added plus, Hugh is an avid traveler and stylish dresser, which makes him fun to follow on Instagram. It's just another way to let this fun and talented, guy-next-door chef into our lives. He's a good man- and I'm as happy as can be to share his stellar Peach Picks on Sweet Peach this holiday season. Thank you Hugh! 

1. Phil and Sebastian Coffee, from $18.50. Phil and Sebastian is a phenomenal coffee roaster in my native Canada, based in Calgary, Alberta. Brilliant packaging but even better sourcing and skilled roasting of the beans. It's also sold at Spiller Park Coffee in Atlanta. Save on that shpping $$$!

2. Vintage Cast Iron Pan. Some great cast iron is available on Etsy and Ebay. Look for Griswold brand. And if you find a well seasoned cast-iron (I mean seasoned like you can see your face in it), don't think, just buy. You will never regret it. 

3. All Clad 12" inch stainless collection fry pan, from $95. This is one of the most used pans in my kitchen. And it's also one of the oldest- a testament to the durability of the All Clad product. 

4. Chubo Utility Knife, $195. This has become one of my favorite knives. And I have a lot of knives. It's pricy, but worth it. 

5. McEvoy Ranch Olive Oils, from $29. Olive oil has such a presence in my food and I love showing off the wonderful producers in our midst. McEvoy Ranch produces award-winning, clean and truly delicious olive oil.

6. R. Wood Studio Ceramics, from $22. Rebecca Wood is an iconic Athenian artist and for good reason. Her ceramics befit the most elegant Southern table, but also find a happy home in well-used kitchens. 

7. Condor Chocolates Truffle Gift Box, from $8 (in store only: Athens, GA) or chocolate bars from the online shop, $9. My buddy Peter Dale is serving up delicate, carefully crafted (by the talented Shae Sims) chocolates and confections that will put a smile on anyone's face. Several seasonal truffle offerings make for an elegant and fun gift box.  

8. Gift Certificate to Bikram Yoga Studio, Athens, from $18. Mary, my wife, enjoys a regular practice at our local Bikram yoga studio. It's a state of the art facility that beginners and seasoned practitioners alike patronize. 

9. Subscription to AFAR magazine, $20. Beautifully laid out, stunning graphic design and a great resource for the eclectic traveler, of which I am one. 

10. David Hale prints, from $15. I wear David's art on my arm, but if you're needle-shy, you can get a print instead. His work is vastly intricate and very stylized. He's a dedicated artist. 


Image of Hugh: Taylor Oxendine    Content: Sweet Peach/ Hugh Acheson 

Culinary Peach Picks: Hugh Acheson

As my attention turns to Athens, Georgia these next few months as I get ready to produce the next Sweet Spots paper, I can't help but think of local resident, Hugh Acheson. I first met Hugh at his beautiful Athens home the first year I started the Sweet Peach blog. He's gracious, welcoming and kind and can make a kitchen smell divine in no time. That visit embodied all that I love about the South- so I'm smiling ear to ear as he shares his culinary gift picks with Sweet Peach today. Thanks Hugh! 

Kalita Wave 185 and Kalita Serving Vessel, from $38. Awesome, fast brewing, Japanese pour over device. Perfect for one person. 

Georgia Olive Oil, from $32. Incredible south Georgia olive oil that is beautifully fruity and local- at least in my part of the world.

Heritage Cookbook, $24. Sean Brock's book is redefining Southern food. 

Kunz Spoons, from $5. Available at JB Prince, these cooking spoons are just right for basting, turning and tasting. 

Prune Cookbook, $27. The amazing, fun and interesting cookbook of Gabrielle Hamilton.

Coffee Subscription, $135. Heart is a great company. I get their fresh coffee delivered to my house every two weeks. 

Many Fold Cheese. This south of Atlanta dairy operation is producing award-winning, beautiful cheese. 

Ortiz Ventresca, from $15. Best canned tuna ever. A little steep in price for canned tuna, but boy is it worth it. 

Creature Comforts Beer. This new downtown Athens brewery is run by amazing people who produce stunning beer. 

Ice Milk Aprons, from $55. Truly lovely aprons and kitchen linens that embody the 'cooking from scratch' mentality. 


Top Illustration: Rob Wilson of Silas Tom   Hugh Pic: Andrew Thomas Lee 


Pick a Pickle

Whenever I visit Empire State South in midtown Atlanta, I always like to see what goods they have for sale behind the hostess stand. It's either baked items, the softest t-shirts, cool kitchen accessories or my new favorite, a pickling swatchbook by Restaurateur and Chef, Hugh Acheson. He offered a sample recipe for Sweet Peach readers- Pickled Okra. Yumminess. (pretty pic by Rinne Allen) Pick a Pickle is the perfect book for the pickling fan, plus it's a nice way to preserve summer veggies... 


Hugh Acheson: Chanterelles on Toast

Happy Friday! Although it's a bit chilly outside, I thought we could warm things up a bit with some comfort food from famed Southern chef, Hugh Acheson. We saw his lovely home kitchen yesterday. Now it's time to start cooking...

Hugh was kind enough to share his oh-so-scrumptious Chanterelles on Toast recipe with Sweet Peach today. Enjoy...

Ingredients Include:  2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 1 pound of fresh chanterelles, 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 cup chicken stock, 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary, 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme, 1 tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley, 1 tablespoon cold butter, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste, 4 slices toasted sourdough, 4 tablespoons shaved Parmigiano. Serves 4.

To begin, heat your largest frying pan over medium-high heat and when it is hot, add the olive oil. Once the olive oil is hot, add the chanterelles. Cook for four minutes without moving them around too much.

Once the 4 minutes has elapsed, add the sherry vinegar and the lemon juice and cook down until fully reduced. Add the stock and reduce by half (you are not exactly reducing so much as hydrating the mushrooms.)

Add the rosemary, thyme, parsley and butter. Stir with a wooden spoon to incorporate the butter. Season with salt and pepper. Evenly spread the chanterelles over the 4 pieces of toasted bread and garnish with shaved Parmigiano and a little fresh parsley. And there you have it, edible perfection...Thanks Hugh!

You can find this recipe and 119 others in Hugh's recently released and critically acclaimed cookbook, A New Turn in the South, which not only offers great twists on Southern favorites, it's also a ton of fun to peruse as it's full of sketches and casual thoughts from Hugh. Try this recipe over the weekend or save it for Thanksgiving as it makes for a very tasty starter...

**To see more of my day with Hugh, pick up or click on November's issue of the Atlanta Intown Paper or check out more of Hugh's charming Georgia kitchen here. 


Photos and Content: Sweet Peach 

At Home with Hugh Acheson...

Culinary master and Canadian native, Hugh Acheson has found a home in Athens, Georgia. Famous for his adept and daring twists on Southern food, Hugh is the Chef and Partner of renowned restaurants Five & Ten and The National in Athens and Empire State South in Atlanta. A few weeks ago, on assignment with the Atlanta Intown Paper, I was lucky to spend some time with him inside his beautiful Southern home...

I first met Hugh in his kitchen. He matched his home decor- inviting, layered, organized and interesting. Looking around, I loved the surprise of the blue ceiling which I didn't see at first glance. This is a fun take on the very Southern haint blue that we often see on porch ceilings. Hugh and his wife Mary used this same blue in the upstairs hallway. Such a cool idea...

The kitchen leads into the open dining room, which feels truly Southern. I really like the mix of older chairs, the long farm table, the strong accents of color and the appreciation of handmade art... 

The chandelier was inspired by a picture they found in Domino magazine. Their babysitter, Catie Adams, who is an Athens resident and artist, made these wool and felted flowers for the dining table. Homemade touches say so much... And I just love the measuring translation print- I need that! 

Just to the left of the oven are Hugh's kitchen staples which include four types of salt, three types of vinegar, good olive oil for cooking, chile powder, chili flakes, butter, garlic, pepper and shallots. The backsplash is Mexican talavera tile which they ordered from a shop in New Mexico. As for the pots Hugh prefers to cook with - Le Creuset and All-Clad. 

I'm partial to a cute windowsill. On Hugh's, he and his wife placed these wooden, boiled egg cups as they both love soft boiled eggs. It's so great to take functional items and let them stand on their own as mini-art as you get to appreciate them in a whole new way. 

There are many original doors throughout the home which, full of character, add to its charm. The repurposed, wooden ceiling that leads to their outdoor patio just to the right of their kitchen was another surprise that I kept staring at, so pretty...

The center island is Hugh's favorite feature in the kitchen. During his time cooking, his sweet-as-sugar pup, Clara, looked on. I have a feeling she gets really tasty table scraps. When I asked Hugh his favorite kitchen tool, he responded, "A sharp knife and a good measuring cup." And the one fruit he always has handy?.... lemons. 

It just so happened the morning of my meeting with Hugh was also the day his cookbook, A New Turn in the South was released. As he readied for his upcoming book signing in Athens that night, I grabbed a few shots. This is such a great book as it is full of his scrumptious Southern favorites and is infused with his personality and inventive mind. Be sure to check out Sweet Peach tomorrow as I'll feature a recipe he made in his home kitchen, Chanterelles on Toast. Perfect comfort food for the chilly Autumn ahead...Thanks Hugh! 


Photos and Content: Sweet Peach