Did you know before he became a top producing Realtor, Eric Robb was a professional chef? He even studied at the Culinary Institute of America. Growing up in New York around big family gatherings, Eric learned how to cook from his self-taught chef grandfather who worked in the restaurant industry for over 10 years. His grandmother was also a baker who could cook some of the best desserts you could ever imagine. Eric worked in a popular South Florida restaurant chain for years, opening three of their restaurants, before making his way to Johns Creek.
Fast forward to the present day, Eric has transferred the hard work, determination, grit and discipline he learned in the kitchen over to Real Estate. With Thanksgiving around the corner next week, we thought it would be fun to share a few of our favorite recipes. Let us know which ones you try at your Johns Creek or Alpharetta Thanksgiving feast.
Appetizer from Laura Cason: Bacon Wrapped Dates
If you’re looking for an easy way to wow your guests before the main course, these three-ingredient bacon wrapped dates stuffed with goat cheese are the way to go.
- Two Packs Thin Cut Bacon
- 32 Medjool Dates - Pits Removed
- 8 Oz Goat Cheese
- Toothpicks for Serving
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Slice dates lengthwise.
- Stuff goat cheese into the cavity of the date and close the sides.
- Cut bacon slices in thirds. Wrap each date with a slice of bacon and secure with a toothpick.
- Arrange evenly on baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
- Remove dates and use toothpicks to flip the dates. Reinsert the dates and Cook for another 15 minutes.
- Remove the dates from the oven and let cool on a paper-towel lined plate for 5 minutes.
- Serve immediately.
Main Course Side Dish from Errol Danley: Trisha Yearwood's Sweet Potato Souffle
A true Southern side, Errol’s sweet potato souffle adapted from Trisha Yearwood is sure to impress your Southern relatives. Recipe adapted from Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen by Trisha Yearwood.
- 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), at room temperature, plus more to grease pan
- 5 medium sweet potatoes
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup milk
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup finely chopped pecans
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick), softened
- For the souffle:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Grease a 2 1/2- quart baking dish with butter.
- Poke the sweet potatoes with a fork and bake on a foil-covered baking sheet until they are soft, 1 hour.
- When cool enough to handle, peel the potatoes, place the flesh in a large mixing bowl and mash until very smooth.
- Add the eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla, milk and salt.
- Combine well with an electric mixer or hand mixer.
- Turn the mixture into the baking dish.
- For the topping:
- In a medium bowl, stir together the pecans, brown sugar, flour and butter until thoroughly combined.
- Spoon the mixture over the sweet potatoes, making an even layer.
- Bake the casserole until slightly browned, 40 minutes.
- Let the casserole sit for 5 minutes before serving.
Main Course Side: Paula Deen's Pineapple Casserole from Allyson Rollins
For a recipe the entire family including kids will love, try Paula Deen's Pineapple Casserole, which is Allyson's favorite side.
- 1 cup sugar
- 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups grated sharp cheddar
- 2 (20-ounce) cans pineapple chunks, drained, and 6 tablespoons pineapple juice reserved
- 1 cup cracker crumbs (recommended: Ritz)
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted, plus extra for greasing pan
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Grease a medium-size casserole dish with butter.
- In a large bowl, stir together the sugar and flour. Gradually stir in the cheese. Add the drained pineapple chunks, and stir until ingredients are well combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish.
- In another medium bowl, combine the cracker crumbs, melted butter, and reserved pineapple juice, stirring with a rubber spatula until evenly blended. Spread crumb mixture on top of pineapple mixture. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
Dessert: Apple Pie from Eric Robb
Eric wouldn’t dare share his family’s secret recipe, but here is an apple pie recipe that is pretty close to his heavily guarded one.
- For the Crust:
- 3 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 c. Crisco Shortening, cut into 1/2" pieces
- 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 9 tbsp. ice water (or more, if needed)
- For the Filling
- 3 1/2 lb. assorted apples (Granny Smith, cored, peeled, and thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2/3 c. granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 tbsp. butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp. water (egg wash)
- Coarse sugar, for sprinkling
1. Make Crust
- Place flour and butter into freezer for 30 minutes before starting crust process.
- In a large food processor, pulse flour, sugar, and salt until combined.
- Add butter and pulse until pea-sized and some slightly larger pieces form.
- With the machine running, add vinegar, then ice water into feed tube, 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough starts to come together and is moist but not wet and sticky (test by squeezing some with your fingers).
- Mixture will be crumbly.
- Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface, form into 2 equal size balls, and flatten into disks (making sure there are no/minimal cracks).
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until dough is very cold, at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out one disc of dough into a 12” circle. Drape over pie dish and gently press to fit (don’t stretch).
- Refrigerate 30 minutes or freeze 10 minutes.
2. Make Filling
- In a large bowl, toss apple slices with lemon juice, sugar, flour, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt until well combined. Transfer apple mixture into the crust-lined pie dish. Dot all over with butter.
3. Assemble and Bake Pie
- Preheat oven to 425º with a large baking sheet on the middle rack and lightly grease a 9”-x-1.5” pie dish with cooking spray.
- Roll out second disc of dough into a 12” circle and drape over apple filling, trim edges to 1”, tuck overhang up and over itself, and crimp edges.
- Brush with egg wash and make six 2” slots in the center. Sprinkle with coarse sugar.
- Place pie onto preheated baking sheet and bake 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 375º and bake until golden and bubbly, 40 minutes more. (If edges begin to look dark, cover with foil.)
- Let cool on a wire rack at least 2 hours before serving.
Dessert: Coca-Cola Cake from Kristine Hoogacker
Nothing is more Georgian for a Thanksgiving dessert more than a classic Coca-Cola cake!
- Mix and Combine:
- 2 cups plain all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 cups of sugar
- Bring ingredients below to a boil and pour over the above flour mixture:
- 2 tablespoons cocoa
- 1 cup Coke
- 2 sticks of margarine
- Mix below ingredients with above mixture:
- 1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
- 2 eggs- slightly beaten
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Bake 350 degrees for 4-50 minutes in 19x9x2 greased pan .
- 1 stick margarine
- 3 Tablespoons cocoa
- 1/3 cup Coke
- Mix together and pour over 1 box of confectioner's sugar. Have ready to put on hot cake.