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foodie b’eat: I successfully completed the $20 Challenge at the Farmer’s Market

My friend, Nikki Miller-Ka of Nik Snacks blog, has a $20 challenge cooking show that airs on the City of Winston-Salem’s cable channel. Nikki shops the Dixie Classic farmer’s market and finds the best produce, meat along with other items to make a complete meal for $20 (she can use “staples” from her pantry, like vinegar, flour, seasonings, etc). She challenged ME to do the same at any market I choose. Challenge accepted! So last weekend, I hit my Kernersville Farmer’s Market (located in downtown KVegas) with the hopes of finding some wonderful items to make a glorious meal that my hubby and kidlets would gobble up and never forget.

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Our local market is steadily growing. It has PLENTY of jam and bread but the produce is making its way in and though it’s still not as colorful as some markets who have been going for a while, it’s definitely a great place to get some seasonal items for your table. This weekend it was full of squash, squash, zucchini, squash, beets, greens and squash. Oh and green beans, and jam and bread and eggs and meat from…Rebel Ridge Farm.

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Love me some Rebel Ridge. The eggs are fabulous and farmer, Bob, has all natural chicken and lamb as well. Now, I hardly ever buy a whole roast chicken. I just don’t enjoy making it. Plus I want an “all-natural, unfooled around with” chicken and they are usually SO expensive and it’s hard to spend the money on ONE chicken. But Rebel Ridge’s chicken was $12 and I’m okay with that. Plus they told me at the market that his chicken was fantastic so I thought I’d give it a try.
Price: 12.00

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Across the way, I bought some green beans from this nice man. And I didn’t write the farm down, but his green beans were perfect.
Price: $2

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At the Crews table, I bought a .50 Texas Sweet Onion.

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Next table over, I purchased 2 lbs. of baby red potatoes from James Lawson.
Price $1.00

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I also purchased some just cut, romaine lettuce and tasted some delicious roasted beets. I’d purchase beets if I weren’t the only one to eat them. I really like them on a salad with spicy pimento cheese. Try it.  :)
Price: $3

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And from my friend, Laura Devonmille, of Simplicity Homestead, I bought some radishes. She’s got way more than that. And zucchinis as big as clubs. And jam and bread!
Price: $1.50

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There, that’s $20! I decided to make a roast chicken with green beans and caramelized onions and roasted potatoes. Kind of boring and pretty much a cinch. But ask my mr. foodie how often I make a roast chicken and you’ll find out that in my house, this is “special.” And it really was. The chicken was succulent and, unlike mass produced chicken, the Rebel Ridge Farm chicken’s skin was light, thin and crispy and the meat was tender and juicy (though I could’ve cut back the time…lesson learned).

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I ended up saving the romaine for another meal and used the leftover green beans, onions AND the potatoes for a future salad along with the rest of the chicken that I pulled off the bone. Kind of like nicoise..yum!

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So now I challenge YOU to make a meal with the major components being purchased from your local farmer’s market for $20. Are you up to it? What are your “foodie finds” at farmer’s markets?

$20 Farmer’s Market  Roast Chicken with Potatoes & Green Beans w/caramelized onions

1 whole chicken
Herbs (I used lavender, rosemary, thyme)
Salt/Pepper
Olive oil or butter

Rinse chicken and pat dry, generously salt and pepper the inside and out, under skin, etc., drizzle with olive oil and top with herbs.

Potatoes:
Halve or quarter to make even in size and drizzle with olive oil and seasonings. Place in the pan with the chicken.

Roast at 375 for 1 hour, then raise the temperature to 400 and cook an additional 15 minutes until done. If you’re chicken is smaller, adjust time accordingly.

Green beans with caramelized onions
Trim green beans if needed, slice onions into thin strips. Add butter or oil to pan and saute onions slowly until caramelized. Meanwhile in a pot of boiling water, blanch your green beans for a few minutes, then remove, drain and add to the onions. Saute until they are tender crisp.

Enjoy!

If you have leftovers, simply place your beans, remaining chicken and potatoes in a single container. When ready warm (or don’t) and top onto salad greens of your choice with a light vinaigrette, preferably one with a little lemon. And add some bacon while you’re at it–Lunch!

 

 

 

 

 

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Why Support Dates Make A Difference and Eat for a Cause (Updated)

Please note! We have changed the date for EAT FOR A CAUSE to August 18 a t 6:00 pm. We hope we see you!! 

My foodie adventures have led Mr. foodie and me to all sorts of faces and places. And presently, we’re diving into a new (additional) path. A little background…something we’ve always enjoyed with our kidlets is “date night.” You know, Daddy/daughter; Mommy/son, Daddy/son, Mommy/daughter. And they see us go on dates once or twice a month. They also enjoy the “difference” it makes in our relationships. So my daughter and Mr. foodie were talking about their fun date nights and she mentioned her school should do a “date night” so that all her friends could come and the school would “raise money.” Thus, an idea was born.

So here we are, months and months later and we recently founded Dates Make A Difference. Quite simply, it’s a fundraising model for schools that incorporate chef-inspired culinary “date nights”, introducing the school’s students and their family members to chefs, food purveyors, growers while enjoying some family time. The school sells tickets to the event and a portion of the proceeds go to the schools AND the culinary artists that are providing the evening’s deliciousness. The students and their family member(s) walk away with wonderful memories and the knowledge that they’ve helped “make a difference” for themselves as well as a school project or need. The cool thing is, once the school jumps on board to have a DMD event, the students get to collaborate on the project…and it will always be something that will be of lasting impact to that school. As it turns out, policy is being created that’s eliminating certain fundraisers that many schools have relied on for years and years…bye-bye candies, cookies, brownies and other junk food. So we hope this becomes a viable alternative to the loss of those fundraisers.

Our kick-off event is called “Eat for a Cause.” It’s a five-course, farm-to-fork dinner on August 18 at the Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts in Winston-Salem. We’ve partnered with Second Harvest Food Bank of NWNC’s Triad Community Kitchen, Executive Chef Jeff Bacon and four other top Triad chefs for a wonderful evening of dinnertainment…and the proceeds go to DMD and Triad Community Kitchen. The chefs who are collaborating with Chef Bacon are about as good as it gets:

Chef Tim Grandinetti, Spring House Restaurant, Kitchen & Bar
Chef Kevin Reddick, Artisan Restaurant
Chef Tim Thompson, Marisol Restaurant
Chef Chris Blackburn, Josephine’s Bistro/Lindley Park Filling Station

These chefs were hand selected for our first event because we know they have a passion for the community, local farms and well, they are awesome fun! At Eat for a Cause, you’ll see these chefs, chef-ing, learn more about them and we’ll be able to first-hand share our vision for Dates Make A Difference.

So what’s next? We need your help to get the word out! As readers of my blog , you have been VERY supportive…you subscribe, you LIKE, you share. I really appreciate that. Now we have an opportunity to do something really impactful. To help schools raise money, introduce their students and their families to local business owners who are contributing to the sustainability of our community and we ALL really are trying to MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

To learn more about Dates Make A Difference and our mission, click here! And click here to learn more about Eat for a Cause.

Read enough and you’re ready to RSVP to our event? Click here for tickets.

If you know of a school (public or private) that could use Dates Make A Difference, please let us know in the comments or email us at info@datesmakeadifference.com

As always, foodies! We appreciate your support.

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Mark and Kristi

A Tale of Two Italy(s)

This is a post about two Italian eateries on opposite sides of the Triad. Two we’ve been wanting to try…and we know there will be more to come, but let’s take a look at a couple of completely different gems in our area.

Kitchen Roselli
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Located in East Bend, about 20 minutes from Downtown Winston-Salem, just over the Yadkin River, is this little Mom and Pop restaurant with a rich history in the Italian restaurant business. Owned by David and Laura Roselli, David’s grandparents were the owners of Wilkes County’s legendary Sunny Italy Italian Restaurant, a place I remember going to several times as a child. The recipes featured at Kitchen Roselli will remind (many)  folks of some of the best things about the former Sunny Italy (like the Italian Dressing) but also David and Laura’s combined creations.

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That’s the dressing! You can get it at the restaurant and other places like Caffe Prada in Winston-Salem.

Not the least of which is…the Ricotta Gnocchi. The pillowy-est, lightest, dreamiest Gnocchi ever ever, ever. I gotta go back and gets me some of that heaven.

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Mr. foodie enjoyed a wonderful Pa’s Veal Cutlet. So tender and tasty. It came with a side of pasta.

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The microfoodies actually do eat pasta with meatballs so that’s what they got. Some of the other folks at our table got lasagna and spaghetti and everyone seemed to like it. But I won the table. I know I did. Mr. foodie said so! Until…

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The cream puff…I mean…Laura’s Famous Cream Puff….as I live and breathe…it is as big as my son’s head and just as chocolatey. :) It is blurry…sorry….the light :/…or is it my eyes?  The thing with the CP is that you must ask for it when you sit down…apparently it’s a big deal and they will run out on busy nights. We walked in the door and were the first people to arrive for service and I did not hesitate. It’s a handmade flaky puff filled with a light and airy vanilla cream that’s not too thick or sweet…it’s just perfection. Look…look at that microfoodie schkoff it down. He was a blur!

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That Cream Puff can also be found at Caffe Prada on Fridays afternoons for like, a split second so you better call and reserve one if you want it.

Kitchen Roselli is charming and warm and friendly. The menu changes all the time with locally sourced ingredients and many handmade pastas. They are open Thursday through Saturday 5:30-9:30. Make the itty bitty trip to East Bend. It is so worth it.

Kitchen Roselli
105 East Main Street, East Bend
336.699.4898
Kitchen Roselli on Urbanspoon

Osteria

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Another Italian restaurant on my bucket list…Osteria is located at the Westover Gallery Shoppes in Greensboro and has some great restaurants surrounding it, but you may miss it at the end of its little complex if you aren’t watching. Chef and Owner, Koco Tamburi brings us a taste of Italy’s Bologna. You’ll see Chef Koco (pronounced Koh-Choh) in his iconic red toque in the dining room greeting guests and scurrying back to the kitchen to, well, cook! I chose them because I want them to be on a Dishcrawl (it’s true…ya’ll try to persuade him for me) but also, it’s one of the few Italian eateries that actually makes their own pasta. I’m a bit spoiled by now, so that’s becoming a thing for me. It’s just so much better! Say “hi,” to Koco.

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We ordered an appetizer, which we didn’t need after such a fabulous white bean ragout to go with the starter of crusty bread. So delicious and different…we are all so used to garlic, butter, olive oil, etc., but the ragout was divine. Our appetizer was Crepes with Artichokes, Tarragon, Spinach and Red Pepper Sauce. Yum!

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Mr. also ordered the lobster bisque….tasty and not at all heavy.

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I had the Taglialini with Scallops, Shrimp, Grape Tomatoes in Pesto Sauce. This dish was gorgeous and vibrant and so was each and every bite. The seafood was cooked magnificently and the pasta…well, you know how I feel about the pasta.

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Mr. had the Fettucini with pancetta, mushroom and peas. Beautiful and fresh with succulent everything. Something about fresh pasta and mushrooms. They likey like each other.

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Osteria
1310 Westover Terrace, Greensboro
336.275.2550
Osteria on Urbanspoon

We loved it at Osteria. Service was great and we hope this relatively new restaurant will have some longevity.

We know there are a whole lot more out there than these Italian treasures…and these are not even to be compared to one another…simply the foodies marveling at how fortunate we are to be able to enjoy a world-class, formally trained chef’s cuisine in one part of our community and another restaurant that features a treasured family’s recipes touched by generations. So you have options, worth the drive in every way.

Do YOU remember Sunny Italy? What are your favorite, locally owned places to get Italian?

Beyond the Triad: Tastes of Charlotte…get them here.

You probably know that one of our favorite places to visit and eat beyond the Triad is the Queen City. There are so many talented chefs and delicious restaurants in Charlotte. Remember my blog post about The Cow Fish?  That awesome place is not alone. Here’s a look at some places Mr. foodie and I have tasted that definitely deserve a visit:

Halcyon Restaurant - Flavors from the Earth

Halcyon Flavors From The Earth

Located inside Charlotte’s Mint Museum, Halcyon is modern and quiet with an open kitchen and wonderful, unique cuisine. Full of farm to table wonderfulness, yet very global.

I had a cocktail before dinner and one during…they were both pink, ha! The Pink Heel Splitter and  Mr. foodie got Some Pig with its bacon fat-washed Maker’s; orange bitters, maple syrup, kosher salt. Like a Manhattan but with some pig.

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One of the top suggested items for a starter was the Squash Blossoms. Stuffed tempura blossoms filled with ricotta…delicious. Mr. foodie ordered the Rabbit Saddle…AWESOME and I got the Scallop & Belly…like surf and turf but the turf is pork belly! Wonderful.  

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Nan and Byron’s

On another trip, we enjoyed Nan and Byron’s (it was a New Year’s Day brunch). I love the atmosphere of Nan and Byron’s. The space looks like a converted garage with cool decor. The vibe at brunch was casual and lively.

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Deviled eggs…love!!

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I got the meatloaf and eggs (left) and the Mr. got the Boston Brawler which was roasted pork, baked beans, eggs, and a side of your choice of meat (his choice was sausage). Nothing fancy here…just a tasty, simple brunch with great flavors. I’d like to go back to Nan and Byron’s for lunch or dinner. Definitely worth another visit.

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5 Church

Also suggested for brunch/lunch, Nan and Byron’s sister restaurant, located Uptown, 5 Church. I heard their dinner was fab but we went for daytime eats. I enjoyed a terrific Sunny Side pizza with prosciutto, mushroom and a dippy egg on top. Mr. ordered the highly touted lamb burger, which did not disappoint. It was huge and messy and oh so tasty.

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Bubble Champagne Lounge

One of the most recent additions to Uptown and what’s called The Epicentre is Bubble Champagne Lounge. It looks just as it sounds. Kind of Vegas-y, sexy with thumping, clubby music, but not too loud. Apparently Bubble gets clubby much later in the evening but Mr. and I just needed eats so we had to give it a try. Reviews have been mixed about Bubble but trust me, we had tremendous service and great small plates. Check it out…

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Smoked Salmon Carpaccio with Imported Scottish Smoked Salmon  red onions, and lemon aioli. You putthem on waffle cut potato crisps. Washed down with some champagne…perfect. I could eat and eat and eat…there is something about fries or chips with champagne…have you ever tried it??

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Calamari. Pretty simple, dusted and flash-fried with wasabi cream and some sriracha…

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Tuna Tartare with wonton crisps. Beautifully light with that delicate wasabi cream and sweet chili drizzle…again, so terrific accompanied by the bubbly.

I had to add a picture of my Mr. here so you can see him enjoying martini but also you get an idea of decor.

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Bubble is definitely a place for a special celebration but from the looks of the place, fun with friends or on a date.

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The Wooden Vine

This is absolutely our kind of place. A bit smaller, quiet, casual, rustic, local ingredients, delicious soul-soothing small plates, eclectic…need I go on? You can be dressy or you can be in jeans. We were dressy because it was Valentine’s Day. We passed on the Aphrodisiac Prix Fix menu because we don’t need it and ordered from the normal menu. We especially love small plates because you get to try a few tastes without killing your gut or wallet.

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By far our favorite was the Short and Corny. A braised short rib with this incredible cast iron corn casserole and bone marrow butter. Lick the skillet delicious. I swear I’m making it my mission to contact the chef to get the recipe for that corn casserole. It’s a humanitarian thing. Sticking with the bone marrow theme, we also ordered the Bone Marrow Ramen…I’ve never had ramen except the $1 bag variety. The fresh noodles were paired with rye whiskey and bone marrow broth, spicy pork dumplings, a 60-minute egg and veggies. A little splashy for me because I’m a klutz with noodles but marvelous.

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We also ordered the Belly-kopida…a spin on spanakopita with braised pork belly, roasted apples, brie all wrapped in phyllo and drizzled with truffle honey. Yes it tastes as good as it looks.

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Being Valentine’s Day, we allowed ourselves a splurge of something sweet and ordered the Turtle S’mores. A brownie with roasted marshmallow ice cream. Just give me the ice cream. I usually never say that, but that fluffy goodness was like eating the inside of a Three Musketeer’s bar.

Mr. foodie and I voted that The Wooden Vine has to be one of our favorite places in Charlotte so far.

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Bistro La Bon

Lastly, we hit you with a much-loved restaurant that you absolutely MUST try on a Sunday. Why Sunday? Because that’s when Bistro La Bon has their brunch smorgasbord. It is not like anything you’ve ever seen. Not because of size…it’s actually not overwhelming. It’s because of the deliciousness that presents itself on this buffet. You may find smoked sausage. You will find Swedish meatballs and the fixins. Grits…check. Salad…check. Pastries…check. Lox…you betcha. It’s a different kind of brunch and it’s so up my alley.  Our last time there, the owner/chef added biscuits and gravy and we strongly encourage it to be a regular buffet item…holy smokes were they good. But…but! Also included in this smorgasbord is made-to-order eggs, bacon, sausage, waffles and/or french toast…all brought to your table fresh and piping hot…not stale on a buffet for a half hour. The chocolate waffle at Bistro La Bon is dessert, I tell you. So rich and chocolatey topped with some cream. Food coma is waiting to happen. But it’s so worth it.

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Use the links provided at each restaurant mention for details about each delightful place. Of course, we can’t wait to go back and try more restaurants and report our findings. We do it for you, foodies! And we reserve the right to use a meal to re-visit some place great.

What are some of your favorite restaurants in Charlotte?