Delish Guest Post - Taylor Takes a Taste

Taylor Takes a Taste Intro

It's faith in something and enthusiasm for something that makes a life worth living. (Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.)

Greetings! My name is Taylor Mathis. I am a food photographer from Charlotte, NC, and the author of Taylor Takes a Taste. I want to start by thanking Kaileen for letting me talk with you today. I am really excited to be sharing a few of my favorite recipes with you just in time for the 4th of July weekend!

A little about me. Like Kaileen, I was a college swimmer—University of Wisconsin—and I live in NC. I love traveling, taking pictures, eating and entertaining. Taylor Takes a Taste is where all of these interets are combined.

The main purpose of the site is to make you hungry. This is done in a variety of ways. On the site you will find recipes, special projects on Fridays celebrating the National Food of the Day, a college town food tour, a tailgating tour (I went to 14 college games in 14 weeks across the country last year and am currently writing a book on it), and tons of food photography tips and tutorials. While there is a wide range of topics on the blog, they one commonality is they all have delicious looking food pictures!

When talking to Kaileen, she told me she was a vegetarian with a sweet tooth. Upon hearing this, I knew the perfect recipes to share with you! First up is a delicious beverage that is perfect for entertaining at a summer cookout of just drinking on a warm weekday afternoon. Add a little vodka and you have a delicious cocktail! This blue green iced tea is the perfect drink for any summer occasion!

Blue Green Iced Tea

Blue Green Iced Tea

First for the syrup. - 1 cup blueberries (frozen or fresh) - 1 cup sugar - 1 cup water - 1/2 lemon

In a pot, add the blueberries, sugar, and water. Over medium heat cook the blueberries until they are thawed. Turn the heat up to high bringing a mixture to a boil. Remove form heat and let cool.

To remove the blueberries from the syrup, pour the syrup through a colander or strainer. With a fork mash the Blueberries against the side of the colander/strainer to get all of the juice out of them. Do this over the syrup so that the juice is added to the syrup. Add the juice of 1/2 lemon and stir.

To make the tea you will need. - enough green tea bags to make 1/2 gallon of tea (this will depend on the brand of green tea you use) - 8 cups of water - blueberry syrup from above

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add the tea bags and let steep for 10 minutes. Remove tea bags and stir in blueberry syrup. I used all the syrup that the above recipe made, but you can add more or less depending on how sweet, and blueberry tasting you want your tea to be. Stir.

Add the remaining 6 cups of water and stir. Let chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

The next dish is a roasted Sweet Potato Salad. This is the perfect side dish to any dinner party, tailgate, or picnic. It is filling enough to put in a burrito or wrap and eat as a meal, or can accompany a wide assortment of main dishes. Pineapple and sweet potato might sound like a strange combination, but they really work well together! Give it a try and see what you think!

Sweet Potato

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

Ingredients - 4 medium sized sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into approx. 1 in cubes - 3 tbsp olive oil - 1 tsp salt - 1 tsp black pepper - 2 cups fresh pineapple chunks - 1 red bell pepper diced - 1 yellow bell pepper diced - 1/2 cup shallots diced - 1 jalapeno seeded and finely chopped - 1/2 cup scallions thinly sliced scallions - 1/2 cup fresh cilantro chopped - 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley chopped - Salt and pepper to taste

Dressing - 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar - 2 tbsp brown sugar - zest of 1 orange - 2 tsp deli style mustard (the mustard with the brown stuff in it, not the yellow stuff you put on hotdogs) - 1/2 cup vegetable oil

In a roasting pan, combine sweet potatoes and olive oil, salt, and pepper. Stir around coating potatoes in oil. Roast for 25-30 minutes at 425 F, until fork tender and golden brown.

In a large bowl, add potatoes and mix with the rest of the non dressing ingredients.

Let cool while you prepare the dressing. To prepare dressing, whisk together the apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, orange zest, mustard and vegetable oil.

Pour dressing over cooled potato salad. Toss. Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve. Toss again prior to serving.

Last, but certainly not least if Double Chocolate pie. This pie is one of my mom’s favorites. Easy to make and absolutely delicious. A rich base of bittersweet chocolate ganache sits on top of a buttery and crumbly graham cracker crust. Layered on top of the ganache is a sweet German chocolate cream layer. The whole pie is topped with a light and airy whipped cream. This pie will need to chill over night, so keep that in mind if deciding to make it.

Chocolate Pie

Double Chocolate Pie

Crust - use a pre made 9″ graham cracker crust, or make your own.

To make your own, you will need: - 1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs - 2 tbsp sugar - 6 tbsp melted butter

With a fork in a medium bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs and sugar together. Add melted butter. Stir until a thick paste is formed. Spread the mixture evenly in a 9 inch pie pan. Make sure an even layer is formed on the bottom and sides of the pan. Bake for 8 min at 350. Let completely cool.

Chocolate #1 Ganache Layer

You will need: - 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream - 6 oz bittersweet chocolate (chopped into small pieces)

In a medium pot, bring the cream to a simmer. Remove from heat and add the chocolate pieces. Let stand for 1 minute. With a whisk, stir until the mixture is smooth and all of the chocolate is melted.

Pour Ganache onto prepared graham cracker crust. Level out the chocolate layer and then place in the freezer for 20 min.

Chocolate Layer #2 German Chocolate Cream

You will need: - 1 3/4 cup whipping cream (1/2 cup at room temp, 1 and 1/4 cup very cold) - 4 oz German chocolate (chopped in small pieces) - 1/2 tsp vanilla extract - 1/2 cup powdered sugar

In a medium size pot, bring 1/2 cup of room temperature cream to a simmer. Remove from heat and and add chocolate. Let stand for 1 minute. With a whisk, stir until all chocolate pieces have melted. Let cool to room temperature.

In a chilled mixing bowl, begin whipping 1 1/4 cup cold whipping cream. Add vanilla and slowly add sugar. Whip until thick and fluffy. Add room temperature chocolate mixture. Whip until soft peaks have formed.

Pour mixture onto ganache layer. Spread evenly over ganache surface, going right up to the edges of the pie pan. Chill in refrigerator over night.

Whipped Cream Topping

You will need: - 1 cup heavy whipping cream - 1/2 tsp vanilla - 1/3 – 1/2 cup powdered sugar ( depending on taste)

In a cold mixing bowl, add the cream and vanilla. Begin mixing and slowly add the powdered sugar. Mix until soft peaks have formed. Spread whipped cream over the German chocolate layer of the pie. Let pie set up in the freezer for 20 minutes prior to serving.

Optional: garnish with chocolate shavings.

Taylor Takes a Taste

Taylor Mathis is an editorial and commercial food photographer based out of Charlotte, NC. His work has been featured by Garden and Gun Magazine, Our State Magazine, Charlotte Magazine, and Publix.

In his free time he blogs at and tweets @taylor_mathis. He was a swimmer at the University of Wisconsin and a huge Wisconsin Football Fan.

©Taylor Mathis