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You Need This Dough In Your Life: Wewalka Sweet Pastry Dough

It’s giveaway time, foodies! Just in time for the holidays.

The folks at Wewalka USA are hooking us up with a giveaway of the new, sweet Danish dough. Perfect for croissants, tarts, turnovers and just about anything you can conjure up.

You may have seen me share some dishes I’ve done with Wewalka dough in the past. They have a bistro and family style pizza dough and croissant dough and puff pastry. It’s all super easy to work with. Open the package, roll it out and fill or top to your liking. Bake on the provided parchment until done and you’ve got European style deliciousness in just minutes.

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I received a giant box of this prepared dough to work with and we’re going to give a few away to a YOU. Plus coupons and recipe cards.

Want to see what I did with my dough? Because I had to try it first, you know…

Introducing my Pumpkin Sweet Potato Tart with Caramel and Ice Cream

Inspired by a dessert that I had at Graze in Winston-Salem last year, this tart is all the things you love about pumpkin pie with the beautiful fall spices but also the best of the Thanksgiving table’s sweet potato casserole. You know it, right? The orange-y, clove-y beauty topped with marshmallows? This tart is the best of both worlds.

Pumpkin Sweet Potato Tart

2 servings

1 sheet Wewalka European Style Danish Sweet Pastry dough, halved up the middle
1 cup sweet potatoes (canned or freshly roasted and removed from skins)
1 cup pure pumpkin (I used the can)
1 egg
3/4 cup brown or dark brown sugar
1  1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp clove *
1/2 tsp allspice*
1/4 tsp ground ginger*
1 tsp-1 tbs vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste (I use this paste from Savory Spice Shop)
1/4 cup orange juice
orange zest or candied orange zest to taste (optional)

* You may use Pumpkin pie spice. The flavors will be altered slightly but still wonderful.

Instruction:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Take your sheet of dough and cut it down the middle to make two halves.

With a mixer, blend sweet potatoes until smooth. Add pumpkin and continue to mix until blended well. Add brown sugar, egg and orange zest.

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Now here’s where it becomes more about you. These spice measurements were me just playing around. You may want more cinnamon or less. More or less orange. I didn’t have zest so I had to use just juice. Play around until it truly tastes like a pumpkin pie but with that citrus laced sweet potato that (hopefully) you’ve had at least once in your life. Add the egg last if you are funny about tasting it with raw egg. I am not funny about that.

You can refrigerate the filling or assemble right away. When ready to fill your two pieces of dough, scoop about a 1/4-1/2 cup of filing and place it in the center of each one .

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Then fold up the pastry dough corner to corner until it’s like a little purse, making sure all the seams are sealed and the filling is nicely inside. Now you have two tarts. Brush with a little egg wash (egg mixed with water or milk). Slide the parchment and tarts onto a baking sheet.

The instructions say bake on the parchment for 14-18 minutes. My tart took 20 minutes in my oven but that’s because there’s more to a tart than a small danish or croissant. I just kept my eye on it. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 5-10 minutes. Drizzle with warm caramel (a praline topping would be good) and then…

….top with your choice of ice cream then another drizzle of caramel. I’ve had my inspiration with cinnamon brown sugar ice cream (hard to find), vanilla, as well as butter pecan. The butter pecan or praline ice cream would be awesome because you get the tanginess of the base ice cream and crunch from the pecans. But you do you! Pick your favorite. Heck, pumpkin ice cream would be good too. Salted caramel? Yes!  Also, wouldn’t it be yummy with marshmallow flavored ice cream if you could find it? Or top with marshmallows and give it a little browning on top!

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My mr. and I split the tart you see above. It was plenty.
My microfoodie decided she wanted to make a little one so she halved her half then made croissants and you can tell just how easy it is to work with because she had no trouble at all making her own. She drizzled her croissants with chocolate sauce. I teach them well.

You can find Wewalka Dough in Lowe’s Foods and Ingles. And I’ve seen Wewalka at Harris Teeter too but don’t hold me to the sweet pastry dough just yet as this is a brand new item.

Want to get your hands on this Wewalka Danish Dough? Simply comment below what you’d be making with this dough. You’ll be entered to win. If you’re in the Triad area of NC, it’ll be easy to get it to you. But we can ship if necessary. Good luck and Happy Thanksgiving!

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Fan Girl Moment with Chef Vivian Howard

I mean, ya’ll….year made.

Originally posted in YES! Weekly  with more embarrassing detail here.

I’ll start off by saying I ADORE Chef Vivian Howard of PBS’ A Chef’s Life and owner of Kinston’s Chef & The Farmer. I’m pretty certain anyone who watches that show has fallen in love with her. 

Chef Vivian has had quite the adventure the last decade. After leaving New York to open up a restaurant in one of the poorest communities in the state, if not country, she’s turned her dream into a household name. And she’s turned into the darling of PBS.  Her show, A Chef’s Life is a huge hit and a winner of the Peabody Award. And she has become an author. All the while championing our state and her beloved Eastern NC and the farmers who feed us. If there’s anyone who embraces “Love thy farmer,” it’s Chef Vivian Howard.

Vivian and her husband, Ben Knight, opened Chef & The Farmer ten years ago. A Chef’s Life chronicles her life as a fine dining restaurant owner but also celebrates the ingredients and heritage of Eastern North Carolina.  We got drawn in the very first episode which showed the gut-wrenching fire that nearly destroyed her restaurant and their dreams.  A few years later now the show has parlayed into a book deal. And the new author has been on a book tour for the past few weeks stopping in cities all across the region to promote her book,  “Deep Run Roots.” It’s a collection of stories and recipes from her “corner of the South,” in Deep Run, NC. It reads much like her beloved show, weaving stories from the area, taking an ingredient at a time and bringing it into the kitchen where it deserves to be celebrated. You can hear her voice, with her charming southern drawl in each and every page. The book is a beast. A beautiful one. It’s 563 pages thick and filled with Vivian’s reminiscing about her childhood, her memories of desperately trying to get out of Eastern NC, her reluctant return and her rise to success in a way she never fathomed. And there are some 200 recipes too. I haven’t had a lot of time to delve into many of them, but I can speak for the collards recipe and the cornpone (kind of like corn bread without dairy or eggs) and I highly recommend. Together even. 

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Chef Vivian’s visit to the Triad in early November was a huge indicator of what this home-grown chef means to North Carolina. More than 250 people attended her sold-out event at Scuppernong Books. More than 460 contributors the following night attended Reynolda House Museum of American Art’s annual fundraising gala…a private affair sold out months in advance with a multi-course dinner inspired and prepared by her and a local culinary team featuring the who’s who of Winston-Salem restaurants. Then on Saturday, 275 more people attended “A Morning with Vivian Howard,” for brunch and book reading and a chance to meet her and have her personally sign their copy of her book.

As I said straight off…I am a fan girl. I might have geeked out for a minute. I definitely stalked her to get some photographs of her and I edged my way in to a snap as well…not to be denied a chance get a photo and a lasting memory of my favorite TV chef.

And for a split second, while this glowing, unassuming celebrity was filling her plate with fruit salad, mini-biscuits from her cookbook and pumpkin muffins. I introduced myself (we follow each other on Twitter!!), then I followed her to her table and inserted my interview question. And she graciously accommodated me while her daughter, Flo, hung on her like she was a baby tree. Such is the life of a mommy (she and Ben have twins Flo and Theo) and someone who’s been thrust into the spotlight. I might also add that I got a little excited seeing and speaking to her mom, Scarlett as well. She’s become quite the celebrity herself. 

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She told us she started out her career wanting to be a food writer. She began working in restaurants in New York as a way to learn what goes on behind the scenes in a kitchen. But it’s there she honed her skills under the tutelage of Chef Scott Barton. She and Ben started making and selling soup on their days off. Finally she moved back down south as her family invested in her restaurant. A fine dining establishment in an area that is known for BBQ and…for being impoverished.  As she and Ben made Chef and the Farmer a success, opening another, more casual restaurant next door called The Boiler Room, she still saw herself as a storyteller. That’s how the show came about in the first place. And she says the opportunity to write a book was like a dream. “My publisher gave me a lot of freedom to do what I wanted to do, so that was a very positive experience and I’ve since learned that it’s not always the case. What I didn’t understand was that writing a book also meant promoting it and that has been interesting… as well as taxing.” But she adds that it’s also been very rewarding to see the excitement of the show’s fans while she’s on tour. “People who watch the show…it’s different than a typical cooking show….people are rooting for me and feel invested in the stories so it’s a great feeling.”

I had a ton more questions to ask, but alas, that is all the time I got before someone whisked her away. One of the things I love about her show is how she deals with the dynamic of having a successful restaurant and this show and all the opportunity that comes with those things like a book…but also public appearances. How she wants to be in the kitchen and struggles with the need to be there but also with her family. Add to that the professional obligations that come from the opportunity. I certainly would want to see her in the kitchen when I finally get my chance to visit Chef & The Farmer. But you don’t build a brand just to keep working like crazy. I get it. 

Later at the event, Vivian addressed the 275 member audience, giving us the brief history of how she set her sites on New York City, found herself back in North Carolina at the helm of a now popular restaurant and read from two chapters of “Deep Run Roots.”

The  visit was also a part of Reynolda Museum of American Art’s seasonal installation, “Grant Wood and the American Farm.” The campaign asks, “What is your farm story?” She told the audience, “I was ashamed of growing up on a farm and being back woods, saying over yonder and I’m fixin’ to and I reckon.  She attended Salem Academy for a period of time, where she says, “I realized that my classmates were southern, but I was country and with that knowledge, my shame grew.”  She then set off on numerous adventures and finally returned to her roots. “The irony is that, now…I am incredibly proud to have come from a farming background and that my parents, who still say over yonder and fixin’ to are some of the smartest, resourceful people I’ve ever met.”

Allison Perkins, Executive Director of Reynolda House and Associate Pro Vost of Reynolda House and Gardens says Vivian’s restaurant, her celebration of farmers and North Carolina ingredients made a perfect fit for fundraising gala and that it tied naturally into the Grant Wood exhibit as well as partnering with Bookmarks. “We desperately wanted to weave her into a weekend of events and tie it into Grant Wood. But more than that, Reynolda was also a farm. This harnesses the history and legacy of Reynolda, which is on the eve of celebrating its Centennial.”  The gala featured local farms from the Triad as well as the rest of nation and featured dishes in Deep Run Roots. “We really wanted to honor farmers. We unfortunately undervalue our farmer, who grows our food and the event was really about lifting them up and a way to honor the farm as well as share with our donors and supporters what’s to come in 2017.”

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Chef Vivian says she applauds Reynolda for exalting the American farm. “It’s not something that’s often done. It’s very easy to overlook. The folks who grow our food don’t often have a voice in our culture. It’s something I’m trying to do on “A Chef’s Life” and Reynolda is dong the same here.”

More info:

A Chef’s Life Season 4 is currently airing on PBS. Check local listings. 

“Grant Wood and the American Farm” is on exhibit at Reynolda Museum of American Art through December 31.

Chef & The Farmer is at 127 West Gordan Street, Kinston, NC.

Deep Run Roots can be purchased at Bookmark, Scuppernong Books or at most booksellers.

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Crafted the Art of the Taco is HERE. Let’s Win Something!

Foodies!

Crafted-The Art of the Taco opened today (Wednesday) in Winston-Salem.

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Let me just say that I have waited FOREVS for this day. Well it seems like forevs ..it’s actually been four years. For some of us anyway. The folks in WS have only had to wait about 6 months.

Keep reading because I’m giving you the scoop and if you visit Crafted in Winston-Salem this Thursday through Saturday you have a chance to win a $25 gift card for a future visit to Crafted.

Boom!

The restaurant that’s a taco joint, not a Mexican restaurant has been the most anticipated new arrival in downtown Winston in quite a while. We were there on Saturday to check things out and again when they officially opened at lunch today. I have been talking to Chef Kris Fuller and her business partner and mom, Rhonda, for a couple of years about bringing themselves to Winston. I sent photos, contacts…I’d scope out a place for lease and text her the info. And it finally happened on Liberty Street in the Arts District. I just love it. It’s cozy, modern, chic, girlie and industrial all in one. And the food is an experience in and of itself.

On the menu…tacos of course. But true to owner, Chef Kris Fuller’s nature, she added a few new things to this location as well because as she says, she likes each new restaurant to feel like it’s own thing. “We added three new burgers so now we have a pretty solid burger menu and because spaces allows for it, you can also make any taco a burger or a rice bowl.” Fuller says because of the lack of space in Greensboro, there have been things she’s been wanting to do that she simply can’t there.

There are a dozen tacos that you can mix and match for a tantalizing duo. I especially love The Fixie, with beef brisket, grilled pineapple, spicy sweet chili sauce and coconut aioli. Mmm..my fave. Also don’t miss the Baja Style, which comes with your choice of protein like grilled or battered fish, seared tuna, chorizo, braised chicken, pulled pork, braised beef, and a half dozen vegetarian options too like sweet potato, tofu and falafel. We went with the tuna and I highly recommend it. Seafood lovers would also love the Bowtie which features beer battered fish, roasted corn and poblano salsa, sweet chipotle aioli and honey mustard. There’s certainly a taco and a burger to make you happy. As for appetizers, try the stuffed avocado with chorizo, queso and pico de gallo served with fried flour tortilla chips that are flaky and scrumptious. The taquitos are really great too. You also can’t go wrong with a mason of bacon…heck it’s got Mexican chocolate drizzled on it and it actually perfect for dessert. There are salads on the menu and a few kid items as well.

Fuller, who opened up the first Crafted in Greensboro four years ago and Crafted-The Art of Street Food last year, says this day feels really good. “In Greensboro we were really busy right out of the gate and they showed us a lot of support, but with Winston knowing who we were and coming to the area, I can’t tell you the amount of love and support I see daily.” She says, “Even when we we’d go out to other restaurants around here, we’d get that excitement. It’s been quite amazing.” We knew it would be like that because Winston is a community…there’s just no other way to say it.

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Fuller comes from a fine dining background (remember The Bistro at Adams Farm?) and says she hopes to use the Winston-Salem location as her creative outlet for future pop-ups and wine dinners. I think that would be super fun and the Winston-Salem location will be a great location for it. But for now, Fuller says her full concentration is getting Winston’s Crafted settled. “We do have a five year plan and we have a couple of other cities in mind.” I’m thinking Durham but I did not ask because I like to be surprised, foodies. 

But for now, Chef says it’s just one restaurant at a time and that means getting cozy with Winston-Salem. And you know it’s already happening because Winston-Salem isn’t just the city of Arts and Innovation. It’s also a city of foodie love and we think she is the perfect fit!

Welcome Fullers and the entire Crafted Team!  I love these ladies. Support this great restaurant and team, foodies. 

Now!! Want to win a prize???

Visit Crafted between now and Saturday at 11pm, check in or tag @triadfoodies on Facebook with a photo of what you are eating or you and your friends. Remember to tag @triadfoodies.  If you don’t like us on Facebook, well my feelings are hurt. Anyway…Go over and like us on Facebook (you can follow us on Twitter and Instagram too). Tag @triadfoodies and you’ll be entered for a chance to win a $25 gift card for a future visit.

Happy eating!

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The Fresh Market’s Fresh Look AND you can win a $50 Gift Card!

The Fresh Market recently underwent some “freshening up” …take a look!

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Photo courtesy Micciche Photography

The company, based out of Greensboro, has always had a top-notch almost specialty type store. You could go there for great local items, that awesome butcher shop, fresh seasonal produce, hard to find oils, sauces…a stellar cheese section, etc. But you couldn’t just find your common every day items (think common name brand toilet paper and name brand laundry detergent, a baby section or Cheerios). TFM took a cue from customers and expanded their offerings, including a baby section AND a vitamin and body shop. There’s also a huge focus on more local items, highlighting the farms that supply them and easy signage for gluten-free, non-gmo and organics.  I was at the Grand Re-Opening on Highwoods in Greensboro and they took me on a tour. You’ll find a similar change at the other two Triad stores (Winston-Salem and on Lawndale in Greensboro) and eventually they’ll roll out the Raleigh area and Charlotte in late November and in continuing waves throughout the country through early 2018.

Here’s a sneak peek at what has changed. But you should check them out in person. I think you’ll be happy about what you’ll find.

Local, highlighting the farms in the region….

Same great items you’ve loved plus a new vitamin and body section with a staff member for that section to answer your questions…this used to be the wine section which is now stacked and categorized nearby…

And now you can do your shopping in one place with those non-specialty items that you probably had to go make a run for at a 2nd stop like baby items, pet and paper products…

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I love going to The Fresh Market. I always have. I joke with my kids that they take away from the experience because they are always rushing me (when I don’t want to be rushed…not there). Then there’s the whole bribing with a chocolate chip cookie, etc. So you know what we’re dealing with here. But the chocolate chip cookie is so worth it🙂 The most dramatic change is apparent when you nl longer see the bins and antiques full of the bulk candies and nuts. Those items now have their own row to make room for new rows of the expanded offerings.

One thing I loved is the great sampling and pre-prepped foods area right in front. You don’t have to go to the back. Get in and out with your chopped veggies and some chicken kabobs or meatballs, and turn around and check out and you’re out the door without walking more than 25 feet. The recipes and samplings change every week.  Dinner is prepped and all you have to do is cook it. Also special to the Highwoods store, is a juice and smoothie bar out front.

It’s almost like The Fresh Market took a little bit about what we love from some of our favorite grocery chains. The fun and ease of specially priced items, pre-chopped and ready to cook meals like you’ll find at Publix, easy identifiable organic, non-gmo and gluten-free as we’d find at Whole Foods, and lots more local items marked “local” and now the every day items. They’ve also lowered prices on thousands of items while keeping that awesome cheese shop, bakery, butchery and deli that you’ve loved for years. Nothing was taken away, just added awesomeness. Just a note…if you don’t see something there that you know is a must, you can visit their website and make a suggestion.

So foodies, they’ve given me a $50 gift card to giveaway to a lucky reader. Just comment below or on my social media pages what your favorite item is at The Fresh Market. I’ll draw next Friday!

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Good luck!

 

 

foodie b’eat: Competition Dining Battle of Champions Tickets!

bef7ffe7809952e01eb20dec_1220x1220Foodies, you know I ain’t shy about how much I love Got To Be NC Competition Dining. The Battle of The Champions takes place in mid-November and tickets are on sale now! It’s a foodie lovers dream..five nights of the state’s best, battling it out for the ultimate prize of Best in the State.

For information and tickets, click here. You can choose the dinner you want, if tickets are still available that is…

Representing us locally is Chef James Patterson and team Culinary Crushers from Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro. They take on Team Egg Heads from Another Broken Egg Cafe in Durham.

Their prelim battle is November 11. You can get tickets for that round here. 

Here’s the rest of the lineup….

Competing in the second preliminary round of the 2016 Battle of Champions series   Saturday, November 12, 2016

Team Ceviche’s  Wilmington Series Champs vs Team Vidalia Boom Winston-Salem Series Champs

Competing in the first semi-final round of the 2016 Battle of Champions series  Sunday, November 13, 2016

Team Radical Range Riders  Charlotte Champs vs Team Mirepoix   Raleigh Champs

The Second Semi-Final Round for the 2016 GotToBeNc Competition Dining Battle of Champions will take place on  Friday Nov 18

The winners of the November 11 Battle and the winners of the November 12 Battle vye for the remaining spot in the Battle of Champions Finale. 

The 2016 GotToBeNC Competition DIning Battle of Champions Finale takes place   Sunday, November 20, 2016 

It all happens on the campus of NC State at the Dorothy & Roy Park Alumni Center. Tickets prelim and semi-final events are $119 plus tax/service fee and the Championship is $139 plus tax/service fee. Ticket price does not include beverages.

Grab a loved one and your friends to pull for your favorite. You’ll walk away completely full and impressed and loving what these chefs do with local, seasonal ingredients. It’s a blast. It’s a locavore’s dream and the fellowship over food…it’s kind of indescribable.  We hope we see you!