Triadfoodies Holiday Gift Guide

Happy Holidays, foodies! Christmas is my favorite time of year. As we sit here on a mountain still under a mountain of snow (23 inches over the weekend), I am so excited to share my favorite finds from 2018. I was doing a gift guide before it got popular, ha! Or…at least I didn’t realize other bloggers were doing it.  This guide of glorious deliciousness is ALL LOCAL and easy to get. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you’ve probably seen many of these items before.  These are products I use in my home. I buy them all year. And they are the perfect gift giving items too. It’s NC …right there in your stocking!

You can read the whole story and find out how to win over at YES! Weekly. You’ll need to comment on their Facebook page to win.

Abby’s Better Nut Butter (Date Pecan Butter):

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To say that Abby’s Better Date Pecan is a top fave would be an understatement.  Abby was 15-years-old when she started making her own nut butter, which turned into a business. Now three years later, you’ll find her nut butters on the shelves of most main grocery stores regionally. Abby’s Better also has a a website where you can purchase nut butter, bars and merchandise to your nutty delight. abbysbetter.com

Y’all Sauce

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As seen in YES! Weekly a few weeks back, Y’all was born Baptist in Louisville, KY and moved to Winston-Salem where it’s made with passion. We love Y’all sauce because it really goes with everything.  Y’all became a fave when we tried the Come Back sauce in late summer. Then the Jezebel sauce went on the Thanksgiving turkey and man, oh man was that good! Guess what? The winner gets a gift set of all three Y’all Sauces: Henry Bain, Come Back and Jezebel.  You can find Y’all Sauce at Southern Home & Kitchen and Canteen Market & Bistro in Winston-Salem. Check out their website, yallsauce.com for retailers or to have it shipped to you.

As Good As It Gets Salsa

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I love a good salsa, especially a local one. Andrea Cardwell makes the Triad’s newest salsa by hand, pours it and distributes it…all by hand. This salsa is super fresh tasting with a small chunks of veggies you can see and taste. The black bean and corn salsa is just as good and both types of salsa come in mild, medium, hot. Another flavor…get this…called Butt Burner is available in regular chunky salsa only and is made with jalapenos, habaneros and Carolina Reaper peppers.I tried it and lived! You can find As Good As It Gets at many local Lowes Foods, Colony Urban Farm Store and small grocers. Check out asgoodasitgets-nc.com for a complete list of locations. By the way the winner is getting Medium Salsa and Butt Burner. Two delicious salsas! 

Bee Pollen at Colony Urban Farm Store

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Bee pollen? You mean you can actually eat that stuff? Why, yes! It’s fruity, floral and nutty. It tastes to me like a honey infused grape nut cereal. It’s superb on smoothies, smoothie bowls and yogurt.  It’s suitable for ice cream and even salads and other recipes that might require a touch of street and crunch. The possibilities are endless. Bee Pollen is considered one of nature’s most complex foods as it is a complete protein and is stocked with vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids and anti-oxidants. A spoonful before a workout can give you a bit of energy without it being heavy on your stomach.  A little goes a long way. This bee pollen is produced locally and is supported by Bee Our Future, a local bee conservation initiative that delivers, installs and maintains beehives for businesses and residences throughout the Triad.  Colony Urban Farm Store is located at 492 West End Blvd., Winston-Salem colonyurbanfarm.com 

14-Degrees Coffee

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Joey Burdette and Terry Miller, owners of Twin City Hive Coffee Lounge in Winston-Salem, have endeared themselves to many with their cozy coffee shop with desserts and confections, pastries and teas. And this fall they launched their very own specially roasted coffee. And coffee great coffee must go on the guide, foodies.  You know it’s fresh and wonderful when there’s a roast date on it. Note to yourself: All coffee should have a roast date on it.  TCH is located at 301 Brookstown Ave Ste 300, Winston-Salem.

Fainting Goat Spirits Tiny Cat Vodka

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A triadfoodies Holiday Gift Guide would not be the same without some local booze. And we think Fainting Goat Spirits Tiny Cat Vodka is the local staple spirit for your bar and your party.  Tiny Cat starts with organic grain and finishes clean in your glass. Distiller Andrew Norman is even throwing in a recipe for his famous Slightly ImPEARed Cocktail for you here. Check it out at the end of the list. And get the Cat at ABC stores.  faintinggoatspirits.com

Batistini Farms Extra Virgin Olive Oil

IMG_4662Cooking and condiments in my kitchen have been elevated to new heights thanks to Batistini Farms olive oils and vinegars. It’s hard to choose a favorite but you pretty much can’t go wrong with their truly impressive and earthy and fruity Extra Virgin Olive Oil with Organic notes. This EVOO is meant to be savored as a condiment, not to be cooked with. A balsamic drizzled into this oil for a salad or even better, to dip your bread in, is not to be outdone. You’ll see why this combo is a staple at renowned restaurants, like Blackberry Farm.  We also love Tom and Cindy Sephton’s commitment to bringing quality olive oil and vinegar to the area and so much knowledge along with them.  You can find Batistini Farms at Whole Foods, Earth Fare, Wine Merchants & Vin 205 Bistro, just to name a few.  Visit b-farms.com for a full list of locations or to order.

Shady Creek Farm Facial Scrubs

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You know how sometimes we like to mix it up and throw in something that’s not food? Well, this is one of those times. And our favorite non-food this year is a reusable facial scrub from Dallas, NC. How cute is this??  Use these scrubs to get the grime off your pretty face or put on some toner. When you’re finished you toss them in the wash and let them dry. Reuse for another day and feel great  that you’re not adding more trash to the world. Shady Creek Farm also sells “swiffer” type wipes, washcloths, soaps and a whole host of sustainable goodness. Check shadycreekfarmandnursery.com to order or for retailers.

Gorilla Grains

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A perennial fave in my house and was featured in 2015 in our original gift guide. We felt the need to bring Alicia Rehburg’s amazing 100% granola back into the lineup. Mainly because since I’ve moved and I’m farther away from easy access to this crunchy goodness….well, let’s just say absence has made the heart and tummy grow fonder. What makes Gorilla Grains stand out is that it is buttery…you can taste the butter. Other granola has oil as their fat, but the Gorilla’s is butter and once you’ve tasted it, you’ll understand.  You can find this amazing granola at Musten & Crutchfield, Elon College and various markets or order at gorillagrains.com 

Black Mountain Chocolate Fruit Cake

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The quintessential reigning alumnus that’s never been off the list and never shall it be, unless they stop baking it. The boozy chocolatey concoction with Broad Branch Distillery’s Night Lab is for adults only and oh so good. Great with wine. Decadent with coffee or tea. Naughty with a bit more bourbon on the side (in a good way). It’s a Black Mountain delight made at 732 NW Trade Street, Winston-Salem.  blackmountainchocolate.com

Slightly ImPEARed Created by: Distiller & Mixologist Andrew Norman, Fainting Goat Spirits

 1.5 oz Tiny Cat Vodka

.75 oz Winter spiced simple syrup*

.75 oz Fresh lemon juice

2 oz Pear juice

Combine all ingredients in a shaker and shake over ice. Strain into a coupe or martini glass.

 *To make the winter spiced simple syrup combine 1 cup brown sugar with 1 cup warm water and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add 1 clove, 2 star anise pods, 3 cinnamon sticks, ¾ inch of peeled ginger and sit for 10 minutes. Strain out the solids and keep refrigerated up to a month.

Deck yourself. Deck your friends with these local goodie! Shop local and enjoy.

 

Paleo Banana Bread

I don’t know if you’re like me but I tend to buy bananas with the best of intentions.

“The kids will  have them as snacks!” (yeah right).

“I’ll put them in smoothies!” (but it’s so cold).

“They make such good sandwiches!  (then I forget) “Especially with fried chicken!” (who’s making fried chicken though?)

That means there are always 2 or 3 just hanging out going overripe. So now I just let them do their thing because I found the perfect banana bread that’s grain-free, refined sugar-free. Basically it’s healthier banana bread. You’ll hardly miss your old banana bread once you try this. At the very least you can have it with your coffee and not feel an ounce of guilt.

I say “hardly” because it won’t rise all nice and high like a typical banana bread but that’s okay because the texture is on point! It’s delicious and my 12-year-old can’t even tell the difference. And dare I say it? It’s moist! Moist (sorry weirdos, there’s just no other word here)!

I first ran across my favorite paleo banana bread recipe over at Peanut Butter Runner’s blog. I modified this recipe just a touch and played with my sweeteners a bit. But it’s pretty close to Jen’s.

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Paleo-Friendly Banana Bread

  • 3/4 cup of blanched almond flour (this is a finer texture like regular flour)
  • 1/4 cup of coconut flour (you can sub extra almond flour here)
  • 3/4 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Dash to 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (I do the lesser amount)
  • 2 TBS melted coconut oil (I like refined so it doesn’t have flavor)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup, coconut nectar or honey ( I have used Trader Joe’s Vanilla Bean Maple Syrup) + option of an additional tablespoon or so.
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Directions: 

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil or butter a 9 x 5 loaf pan or dish or line with parchment.

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, spices. Separately in a small bowl, mix together coconut oil, eggs, bananas, maple syrup and vanilla until well combined.
  • Add wet ingredients to the dry and gently mix together until combined being careful not to overmix. But taste it at this point. When it comes to baking with these type of flours and adding the soda/powder/salt…you don’t want the batter to have that acidic/salt background so if it does, just drizzle in a touch more sweetener. The bigger the bananas, the sweeter it will be too. 
  • Pour batter in prepared loaf pan and bake for 45-50 minutes or until set in the center and a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in pan for about 15-20 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. (Does anyone ever do this if it’s in a pretty pan?) I did this time. 😉
  • Once cool you can slice and try to make it last the day. You will want some with coffee (again) tomorrow.

Enjoy!

Do you have favorite banana bread recipe?

 

Second Harvest Food Bank of NWNC Mourns Clyde Fitzgerald

Triadfoodies would like to express our extreme sympathy to the family of Clyde Fitzgerald and everyone at Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina.  Mr. Fitzgerald passed away today, Sunday, November 18, after suffering a heart attack a couple of weeks ago.

To say that Mr. Fitzgerald will be missed is an understatement.  As CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank, his mission was to serve the food insecure and he did so with such a passion.  A true servant to his God and to those in need. He had recently retired this past summer.

I had the benefit of meeting Mr. Fitzgerald a couple of years ago at a dinner benefitting Triad Community Kitchen, now known as Providence Kitchen and Providence Culinary Training and his passion for ending childhood hunger left a lasting impressing on so many.  Just this past June, Governor Roy Cooper awarded Mr. Fitzgerald with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the highest award for state service.

There are many he’s left behind who aim to continue is legacy. You can too by supporting Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina.

Co Chairs Linda Sullivan, Nan Griswold, CEO Clyde Ferguson, co-chair Ginger Hauser

Mr. Clyde Fitzgerald and Chef Jeff Bacon, Exec. Director Providence Culinary Training

 

Don’t Miss Our Chef’s Table at The Painted Fish!

So many people asking when we’re going to do a Chef’s Table up here in the mountains!

Well now that summer and the leaves are behind us…we’re diving in! We hope this is the first of many.

We’re back for deliciousness on the Rock! We’re headed to beautiful Banner Elk to spread some holiday foodie cheer at the one and only The Painted Fish Cafe & Beer Bar, where we’ll let the renowned Chef Tom Jankovich surprise us with multiple courses. The cafe is typically closed on Monday nights, so Chef is opening it up to us for a private event.  This night of tastiness is sure to send you off into the final week before Christmas with a happy heart and belly.

 

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I’m telling you. I’ve had some major yummy meals at The Painted Fish. Like Tom’s special seafood cakes.  And the blueberry goat cheese pie!

 

 

The Painted Fish Cafe & Beer Bar is known for its unique twist on recognizable dishes with locally sourced ingredients. See why so many of us “mountain folk” travel across the hills and valleys to dine and enjoy Chef Tom’s cuisine in his upscale yet relaxed restaurant. He’s always there manning the kitchen and bringing colorful dishes to tempt your eyes and taste buds.  And the slopes are now snow covered, so you’ll enjoy a wonderful view at the foot of beautiful Sugar Mountain Ski Resort.

Are you knew to our Chef’s Table events? It’s like a wonderful supper club. Join us here at one of our preliminary mountain events…and see why our Chef’s Table events down the mountain have become so well regarded for the past two years.

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Here’s how it works:
Reserve with a ticket here and you’ll join us at our table on Monday, December 17 at 6:30pm. A reminder of our pricing: Your ticket price of $45 INCLUDES your multi-course dinner as well as tax and gratuity associated with the meal. Beverage (and gratuity for the purchase of beverages) are not included in the ticket price. Please take care of your server on any beverage service. We have the whole restaurant to ourselves, however seating will be limited. We’ll see you on December 17th!

** Follow us on Facebook for the latest details and get in on the chatter by tagging @PaintedFishCafe and #triadfoodiesChefsTable on Facebook and Instagram. Please notify me at Kristi@triadfoodies.com if you have any food sensitivity or if the chef needs to be aware of any concerns.

Seating will be limited.  Get tickets here!

Mission Pizza Napoletana

It’s easy to talk pizza when it’s your mission in life.

And yes, we’re talking pizza today. But we also wanted you to get to know our favorite “pizza geek” a little bit better. 

ps: you can find the YES! Weekly version of this story here

Mission Pizza Napoletana has been enjoying business in downtown Winston-Salem for almost five years.  Owner and pizza-maker-in-chief, Peyton Smith, fell in love with Neapolitan style pizza after a visit to Naples, Italy years ago.  When the economy was in a state of flux, Smith started out as a mobile pizza business, “My inspiration was to produce the exact kind of pizza you’ll find in Naples.” 

Peyton Smith, Mission Pizza Napoletana, outside pizzeria

And it made perfect sense at the time, since the pizza, which originated in Naples is actually a street food. “Napoletana pizza, or Neapolitan pizza, is the original pizza,” Smith explains.  Established circa 1800’s, Napoletana pizza is wood-fired at temperatures that reach 1000 degrees for about 90 seconds or less.  What you get is a light pizza, with a crispy cornicione (that’s crust to you and me).  Sounds pretty basic and simple, right? But to hear Smith describe it, it’s almost poetic to achieve the perfect Neapolitan style pizza. “It starts with high-quality flour, but the big thing for a finished product is the baking method.  A stone hearth or live fire, traditionally wood-fire, cooking at about 800-1000 degrees,” Smith says. “Because of the nature of the high heat and softer flour which gives you a pliable dough, the interior crumb is soft with an open cell structure. And it’s not crunchy, but the veneer has crispiness.” Smith adds, “It can be folded and that’s encouraged. The tell-tale sign is you can fold Neapolitan pizza and it doesn’t crack.” It also allows use to use your hands to eat it, which Smith encourages because it requires all the senses.

The poetry doesn’t stop there. Now Smith is on a roll. “The pizza should smell sweet and bready, with a little blistering, which are the small black or dark brown spots and it should have micro-bubbles.” Because it’s a softer product and baked at a high heat at minute to minute and a half, Smith says what goes on top is important. Or not.  “It should be topped with light ingredients. The dough is the fundamental starting point, but it should work in balance with the other toppings, like a fresh cheese, salumi, tomato, herbs.” And then, “Finally, it should be light on the stomach. You can crush that whole thing and feel satisfied and not heavy in the gut. If we can do all that right, we’ve produced something pretty special.” 

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It’s best consumed right out of the oven. My personal fave at Mission is the Billy Jowl with its ricotta cream, smoked mozzarella, guanciale, fennel pollen, black pepper, oregano. Yum…my mouth waters just thinking about it. Sorry no decent photo. Just trust me.  The Margherita is also incredible and it’s how the youngest learned that he loves basil. The Diavola is another with its fresh mozzarella, hot sopressata, chilis, honey, pecorino, basil (below). 

 

Smith says though ingredients are extremely important, like the flour and the tomatoes, he doesn’t import a lot and gets many ingredients locally. “I use an Italian ethos but I want to use as many local ingredients as possible. An our tools and technique are very important here.” One of the major tools is the huge pizza oven that takes center stage in the kitchen.  Built by Stefano Ferrara, a third-generation oven builder, it’s hand-made, brick-by-brick with a traditional low dome for the ultimate in wood-fired high-temperature retention. 

Although a self-proclaimed pizza geek, Smith conceives the menu as well as plating, and likes people to know that his mission is actually more than just pizza. The name Mission Pizza Napoletana should indicate that their pizza is not what you’re accustomed to.  He asserts, “We’re really an osteria, a small tavern with a limited full-service menu that happens to be pizza-centric. I love the non-pizza items we dish out like our salads, pastas and appetizers.” Few are the places where you can get freshly made pasta.  “On occasion we do sheeted pastas and cut into noodles, we make stuffed pasta. Right now we’re making a cavatelli for our bolognese. Our wood-fired oven is used to finish other dishes, like our cauliflower, which has a life of its own.  And on the weekend, we can do funky stuff like porchetta, lamb shank and the occasional whole fish.”

 

(photo cred: MPN)

Smith’s approach landed him an opportunity this summer to cook pizza alongside 25 of the top American pizza makers at the New York Pizza Festival. “These are makers who really are executing pizza at a high level.  It was a humbling experience to be invited. I got to hang out with my friends and make pizza all day.”  Smith also met Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We had a nice chat. He was really interested in our ingredients. We fed him our pizza and he wouldn’t put it down.”

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The pizza man and the mayor

Not too shabby for a chef with no formal culinary training, however Smith has worked in the restaurant business in nearly every capacity from bussing to serving.  “When I was resolute about opening a place, I worked with Chef Jim Noble and I gave him al that I had. I developed a passion for food 20 years ago and how it’s a vehicle for lubricating social celebrations.  I’ve taken a real interest in learning techniques and have curiosity about how things are done. The biggest thing for me and thinking about food and the plate. There’s no doubt about how I want it to taste and look.” Smith says he gets much inspiration from travel.  “I want to eat the best food I can, wherever I am. It gives a really excellent perspective of how things are executed at a high level. Back in my kitchen, whether someone likes what we do or not, we certainly know what we wanted to do.”

As for his place in the very communal Winston-Salem food scene, Smith, who grew up here, says he has enjoyed the support and he’s proud of how they’re executing at a high level. “I’m happy with what we do and I intend on making us better every day.”

Mission Pizza Napoletana is located at 707 Trade Street NW, Winston-Salem. Open Tues-Thurs 5pm-9pm; Friday & Saturday 11am-2pm and 5pm-10pm.  missionpizzanapoletana.com