A Teeny Tasting

Michael Lee West has cooked more delicious fun and trouble for Teeny Templeton, in her second installment and follow-up to Gone With a Handsomer Man!

 You can revisit The Spencer-Jackson house, stroll down Rainbow Row, and see Teeny’s bulldog, Sir, here.

 I was anxiously awaiting A Teeny Bit of Trouble, ready for a few laughs and more Do-Not-Try-This-At-Home recipes from the Templetons’ family cookbook:

“We Templetons specialized in peaches and poisoned recipes. The fruit was real, but our recipes were a harmless method to relieve tension—like a punching bag, but with imaginary food. If someone pissed us off, we couldn’t spit or pull hair; we’d just mentally cook a deadly meal and pretend to feed it to the enemy. My aunts had written these lethal concoctions in the back of a spiral-bound church cookbook.”


One of Teeny’s Aunt Bluette’s favorite mottos was

“Believe but verify.”

Inspired by A Teeny Bit of Trouble, I’m verifying the notion that everything tastes better served in a martini glass, with a few Teeny tastings :)

Teeny places her red velvet cakes she bakes for The Picky Palate in a case next to a few Low Country favorites~

 Shrimp and Grits Martinis~

 I used a Shrimp and Grits recipe from SC native, Tyler Florence, who graduated from the culinary program at Johnson & Wales in Charleston.

A 5-star recipe that’s quick and easy!

I used Bob’s Red Mill Corn Grits/Polenta.

In addition to lethal recipes, Teeny cooks up non-toxic, imaginary ones:

“To soothe myself, I invented a drink called If-I-Can’t-Have-True-Love, I’ll-Buy-A-Bigger-Dress-Size:  vodka, coffee liqueur, Hershey’s Syrup, crème de cacao, crushed ice, and chocolate ice cream.”

“Place ingredients in a blender and pulverize. Ponder the chemistry of food and romance.”

“If love can be frozen, will it still be love? True love isn’t smooth, it’s lumpy; but if you own a quality blender, you can make this drink in three minutes.”

I used vanilla vodka but you could use chocolate vodka!

Sprinkle with a few red velvet cupcake crumbs to further increase your dress size :)

Butt-Out-of-My-Life-Barbecue Martini

My husband smokes a “Boston Butt”, “Picnic Roast”, “Pork Shoulder” or “Shoulder Blade Roast” ~ all names for shoulder cuts that make great pulled pork.

We brine our Boston Butt for 24-48 hours, (depending on the size & how organized we are :)  in a mixture of ½ cup of pickling salt (which dissolves in cold water), 2 quarts of water and ¾ cup of molasses.

Remove from the brine, blot with paper towels, brush on olive oil, and liberally add a dry rub/seasoning blend of salt, sugar, pepper, paprika, garlic powder etc.

Smoke at 225 degrees over lump charcoal with some soaked hickory or apple wood chips for about 1  1/2 hours per pound. Remove from smoker, wrap in foil and let stand an hour. It should pull apart easily, with all the fat melted away :)

Quit-Jumping-to-Conclusions Barbecue Rub:

½ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup paprika, 2 teaspoons chili powder, 1 ¼ tablespoons dry English mustard, 1 ½ tablespoons sea salt, 3 tablespoons freshly ground pepper, and ½ tablespoon onion salt. Garlic is optional.”

“Mix ingredients and pat onto the roast. This recipe will coat your hands, too, and you’ll be unable to call your boyfriend.”

 Layer barbecue with slaw in your martini glass.

If you live below the Mason-Dixon line, garnish with a Hush Puppy or two, and a pickle.

Teeny tells Coop: “You had me at peaches.”

“. . .a few months ago, on a balmy June night, I walked into a Charleston pub and ordered a peach martini.”

“Maybe it was fate. Or maybe it was thirst. I didn’t matter. Coop and I had found each other again; but I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was about to go terribly wrong.”

I used a Peach Martini recipe that calls for vanilla vodka, peach schnapps, peach nectar and a squeeze of lime juice.

 Teeny would describe my peaches as “hard and knotty”, since it’s not peach season.

 I substituted frozen peaches puréed in a blender, with water and a little sweetener to taste, for the peach nectar.

Float a frozen peach or two in your peachtini to serve as ice cubes~

“Peaches. This was the smell of home, of a childhood that had been bruised in places but was still whole and mostly sweet.”

I couldn’t resist shaking up a Red Velvet Cake Martini, for Teeny’s benefit, that I found from Betty Crocker.

(No disrespect intended Betty Crocker~

I already had a couple of Duncan Hines products in the pantry when I found your recipe :)


~ Whipped cream cheese frosting 

~ Red colored sugar

~2 teaspoons chocolate syrup

~Crushed ice

~¼ cup cake-flavored vodka

~¼ cup crème de cacao

~6 tablespoons buttermilk (I used half-n-half )

~1 to 2 drops red food color ( I used a lot more~ about half a bottle)

How to:

~Dip rims of 2 martini glasses in frosting then dip in red sugar.

~Drizzle 1 teaspoon chocolate syrup in bottom of each glass.


~Fill cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Add vodka, crème de cacao, buttermilk and food color. Cover; shake vigorously until well mixed. Strain mixture into chilled glasses.

Follow Teeny in her culinary escapades and enjoy the perfect combination of tickle-your-tastebuds-and-your-funny-bone in

A Teeny Bit of Trouble!

I’m joining:

the talented Michael Lee West for


StoneGable for On The Menu Monday~

Hope to see you there :)

  33 comments for “A Teeny Tasting

  1. shirley@housepitalitydesigns
    April 18, 2012 at 8:02 am

    OK Mary…that was a fantastic journey…..The martini glasses are the best…I loved the way you put the shrimp and grits in them…such a creative presentation….and I am in total love with your “bigger dress size” martini..a great ladies lunch drink!!!…As always, your presentation is award winning, hand you the oscar!…

  2. April 18, 2012 at 9:01 am

    Wow!!! You are right, everything (even smoke pork) looks better in a martini glass. Magnificent presentation (as always!)

    – The Tablescaper

  3. April 18, 2012 at 9:03 am

    I just KNEW you would do ML’s book proud!! I, too, made a shrimp dish for Teeny’s launch (posting it Fri) but never would have thought to display or serve it in martini glasses…great idea!

    That Red Velvet Cake Martini looks yummalicious!
    Wonderful vignettes, as always, Hon.

  4. April 18, 2012 at 9:04 am

    Mary, I am so in love this the story! I need to read this book, and the one before. Peach martini sounds very “refreshing” to start the day! :)

  5. April 18, 2012 at 9:07 am

    Thank goodness for a son who once worked as a bartender. For Mother’s Day, I’m going to ask him to make me all these differnet martinis. I’ll probably be up 2 dress sizes after that!

  6. Sandra
    April 18, 2012 at 10:01 am

    I love how you served everything in the martini glasses! My mouth is watering right now wanting some of that barbecue. I can smell it smoking!
    Everything looks wonderful.

  7. April 18, 2012 at 11:06 am

    what a way to start my day, fat and happy! as always things are scrumptious, the red velvet though is like a tickle in my throat driving me wild! wonderful photos, looks like another winner~

  8. April 18, 2012 at 11:28 am

    Mary your post just tickled me to death. I have GOT to get Micheal Lees books. I adore Foodie Friday anyway. Shes just the greatest!

    The martinis are so clever and cute, especially the bigger dress size one….they are ALL just so delightful. And that BBQ in the glass blew me away. I’m showing that one to my husband. He’ll love it too. Thanks for the recipe too! Its looks SO delish!

  9. April 18, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    I adore her books. Your posts are so comprehensive and now at 12:40pm I want a peach martini. You are a bad influence but a charming one none the less. hugs, olive

  10. April 18, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    I read and enjoyed Michael Lee West’s Gone With a Handsomer Man! after reading your blog post review on that book…You did not steer me wrong so, of course, I will be reading the follow-up! Loved Teeny’s zany capers and her food ain’t shabby!

    ……and to think one of my favorite dishes (Shrimp & Grits!!!) is fancy enough to serve in a martini glass! I have played with a couple of different variations of the dish using lobster tails served on medallions of fried grits, asparagus, topped with a poached egg and Hollandaise Sauce over all…talk about scrumptious!

    Love, love, love the Red Velvet Martini!

  11. Happier Than A Pig in Mud
    April 18, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    Oooh, I’ll have one If I can’t Have True Love I’ll Buy A Bigger Dress Size and some pig please! The glass presentation is really fun Mary:@)

  12. April 18, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    I am QUITE certain that I will need to verify each and every one of those tasty treats, so please box them up and get them in the mail to me!!! :-) I have always wanted to try making shrimp and grits but have never gone there. I very likely will now because it looks wonderful! ALL the food here looks scrumptious!!! Wonderful way to serve each and every portion!!!! I LOVE to serve food in unconventional ways, and the pork is one of the most fun I’ve seen in a long time! I will have to try that some time! Bravo!!!

  13. April 19, 2012 at 12:47 am

    Wow, I am speechless! I must say everything looks wonderful in a martini glass! I just got home from work and can’t decide if I want a peachtini or a red velvet martini! Got to admit that shrimp and grits is calling to me. Fabulous presentation. You must have put in so much work to bring this to us. Fabulous!!!

  14. April 19, 2012 at 11:38 am

    I love your way of serving bbq and shrimp with grits. I live in SC and have never seen it served this way.

  15. April 19, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    Hi Mary,

    Your shrimp and grits look delicious! Such a wonderful presentation with a martini glass :-) Maybe someday I will try one. I’m not a big fan of vodka.

  16. April 19, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    I’ve waited to read this because I was still at work on my Teeny post. My book arrived last Friday, so I had a fun weekend. Another cute read! This all looks tasty and incredibly beautiful. I’m serving peach pie. Will post later. I have my Amaryllis in Blueberries ready too. It that for tomorrow as well? ~ Sarah

  17. April 19, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    Awesome post, Mary! I love every, teeny bit of it – especially your Butt Out of My Life martini :)

  18. April 19, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    I haven’t got the book yet, but you make me HUNGRY for it! What killer presentations on everything. Now I want to throw a dinner party and serve all of these wonderful dishes just exactly the way you did! You always amaze me! Gorgeous!!!

  19. April 19, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    Oh my Mary, you certainly did Teeny and Michael Lee proud!! Your presentations, photos and recipes are beyond spectacular! You should be a writer yourself as you have such a way with words.

  20. April 19, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    Oh my goodness!!!! I want to come and play at your house. What fabulous treats you prepared.

  21. April 19, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    Wow. I have only 2 words – you win!

  22. April 19, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    OK, now I want one of EACH of those Martinis:):) Did I tell you that my maiden name was Martini!!!!! Pinky Martini, yes, that was my name!!!! I amke a peach martini and we call it a “Peachy Pink Martini”:):) Your presentaion is FLAWLESS!!!!! Maybe once I get into the new house I will be able to actually COOK, photograph and present some GOOD posts. Every spare minute seems to be filled right now, hence I am seeing blogs at 10PM! You are amazing. XO, Pinky

  23. April 19, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    Oh wow!~ Mary I can’t decide which one of these drinks I want the most! Great post!

  24. April 19, 2012 at 11:11 pm

    My Hunger for the BOOK and all those MARTINI’s is going to keep me “UP ALL NIGHT”! That was a fabulous post!
    Thank you for all the fun!
    Have a wonderful weeks end,

  25. April 20, 2012 at 8:57 am

    A Martini for every course, I want to try each one of them. Your post is awesome! When my book came in the mail, I didn’t want to put it down and it has been fun creating a recipe to represent a part of the book. Thanks for sharing your amazing creativity and have a wonderful week end!
    Miz Helen

  26. April 20, 2012 at 11:03 am

    Mary this was so much fun! I read the first Teeny book and can’t wait for my copy of the new one. I think I’ll mix up a red velvet cake martini and enjoy!

  27. April 20, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    I’ll take my food in a martini glass, but never a martini! I don’t drink at all, but I eat! Everything looks so good, I am making pulled pork as I type!
    Let me ask you something. Do you ever use pink salt for smoking. I bought dh a smoker, and we wanted to make Canadian bacon, but I couldn’t find the pink salt except in lg quantities and on line. If you use it, do you have a source?
    Wonderful post, Mary! I don’t know how you do all this!

  28. April 22, 2012 at 12:58 am

    I’m beginning to have my suspicions that you have somehow managed to clone yourself. A gorgeous table setting, you read loads of books and blog them so beautifully, and now have placed everything from sea life to dessert in martini glasses. You’re Wonder Woman!

  29. April 22, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    Mary, What a great post! Full of wonderful food! I LOVE shrimp and grits in a Martini Glass! I’m going to keep this bookmarked for the next dinner party!

  30. April 23, 2012 at 8:35 am

    Mary, I’ve been looking for a good excuse to get some huge martini glasses I saw and these food ideas are just what I need! So many fabulous ideas and the red velvet martini–wow! Your bbq rub recipe looks good. I will definitely add the garlic! Linda

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