Entries in Martie Duncan Taylor Hicks (1)


Metropolitan Cooking Show Houston Recipes: Butternut Squash Soup and Caramel Apple Crostata

I had such a great time at the Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show this past weekend in Houston! American Idol winner Taylor Hicks and I were together again for this event and it was so much fun... a little singing and a lot of cooking in the Celebrity Theater. It was an Alabama meets Texas weekend since The University of Alabama played Texas A & M that Saturday in College Station, Texas. I think half the state of Alabama was in Texas... I was actually escorted across the Texas state line by four Alabama Football team buses along with four Alabama State Trooper vehicles... quite a welcome to the Lone Star state. During the show, I made my favorite fall recipes: a yummy Caramel Apple Crostata and delicious Roasted Butternut Squash Soup. The recipes are posted below!


I was also asked to come up on stage and make a cocktail recipe with none other than Paula Deen. It was her first pulic appearance in months so it was pretty incredible to be there and be part of it. No matter what anyone says of Paula Deen, it is my humble opinion that she got a raw deal from the media and from the public who did not take the time to find out the facts before they reacted and convicted Paula in the press. She asked the public for forgiveness for her words; who does not deserve that? Paula Deen remains an icon, a true steel magnolia. Paula's life story is inspiring. She gives me hope for my own food career. If you watched Food Network Star, you know that her story has always been an inspiration to me. We chatted a bit and made her cousin Johnnie's sangria recipe. I was very honored and grateful to her for the opportunity. The recipe is below... perfect for a wedding shower, a girl's night party... light and delicious but it packs a punch!

Cousin Johnnie's White Sangria with Peaches Recipe from Paula Deen

2 cups diced ripe peaches

1 bottle dry white wine, chilled (I would use Sauvignon Blanc)

3/4 cup brandy

3/4 cup Grand Marnier

1 tablespoon sugar

1 bottle Ginger Ale, chilled

Put the wine, brandy, Grand Marnier and sugar in a pitcher. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Put 1-2 teaspoons peaches in stemmed wine glasses. Fill half full with the wine mixture. Top off each glass with a little ginger ale.


Category: Soup

Difficulty: Easy

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Depending on portion size, this serves about 8

2 (4-5 pounds) large butternut squash, halved and seeded
2 Tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 Tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
5-7 cups low-sodium chicken broth (depending on how thick you want the soup
¼ cup organic maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
½ teaspoon black pepper

Dash cayenne pepper (I use a couple of big dashes but I suggest you do one, taste and then another if you want more heat)
½ cup heavy cream (more if you like, and I always like!)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 425 F. Brush insides and outsides of squash halves with 1 T of oil and place, cut sides up, on a sheet pan or roasting pan. Bake for 45 minutes or until the squash is fork tender. Remove from oven and cool to touch.

Heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot. Cook the onion until softened. Use a spoon to scoop out the squash from the peel and add to onion.  Stir in the first 4 cups of chicken broth a little at a time. Simmer, about 20 minutes, adding more chicken broth as necessary to keep the soup from becoming too thick.  Add the maple syrup, salt and both peppers. Whisk in the cream. Add parsley. If you like your soup with some texture, stop here.  I like this soup really smooth so I use an immersion blender to make it velvety before I add the heavy cream. Just before serving, stir in a tablespoon or two of butter. I find it makes the soup even more velvety and delicious.


Skill Level: Moderate

Category: Dessert

Prep Time: 20 minutes plus 1 hour chill time for the dough

Cook Time: 22-25 minutes

This may be my favorite recipe. You can’t believe how fast and easy you can make a pie; something I grew up eating after every meal. I have used just about everything inside of the crust but just make sure the dough is well chilled and the filling is not too juicy or it won’t hold together.



1 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons granulated or superfine sugar

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 pound (1 stick) very cold unsalted butter, diced

3 tablespoons ice water plus 1/2 teaspoon more,  if dough seems dry


11/2 pounds apples (3-4 large semi-tart apples work best)

1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 ½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground  allspice

2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced into small pieces

Egg Wash

1 egg, beaten


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

For the pastry,place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor, fitted with a steel blade. Pulse a few times to combine the dry ingredients. Add the butter, a little at a time, pulsing between additions until the butter is the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water all at once through the feed tube-stop the machine just before the dough becomes a solid mass. Turn the dough onto a well-floured board and form into a round. Don’t over handle or over mix because your dough will be tough. Wrap the round with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. When you are ready to make the crostata, flour the board and a rolling pin; roll the pastry into an 11-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Wrap it over the rolling pin and transfer it to a baking sheet.

For the filling, peel, core, and cut the apples. I like the look of slices- I usually slice a small apple into 8 slices. Put the apple into a bowl and toss with the lemon juice and the lemon zest. Next, add the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and allspice. Add the cold butter. Mix all of the ingredients together until the apples are well coated. Turn the apples out onto the crust, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border all the way around.  Gently fold the border over the apples to enclose the dough, pleating it to make a circle. Finish with the egg wash and sprinkle with granulated sugar before baking.

Bake the crostata for 20 to 25 minutes, until the crust is golden and the apples are tender. Allow to cool slightly. Just before serving, drizzle with caramel sauce; you can make it or purchase.



nocoupons 1 1/2 cups sugar

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions: Put the sugar in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over low heat until the sugar melts and turns a light golden brown color. Add the butter. Swirl the pan to incorporate the butter into the sugar. Watch carefully because it will burn. Bring to a boil until it becomes a light medium brown, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Sugar is very hot so be very careful. Remove from the heat and carefully stir in the cream and the vanilla. Return to low heat and simmer until the sauce is smooth and thick. Serve it warm, or add another 1/4 cup of heavy cream and serve room temperature.

Serves 5-6 depending on how large you cut the slices.