Author Archives: triadfoodies

About triadfoodies

I love food and eating out. I wish more people would support their locally owned restaurants. We spend our time in the Triad and reside full-time in the NC Mountains, but the love for local is strong! Join us at our frequent Chef's Table, which features a multi-course meal by a local chef at their restaurant! This blog dishes out all the yummy details. Catch my podcast on the Triad Podcast Network, "At the Table with Triadfoodies." Email me to collaborate kristi@triadfoodies.com

The Best Chicken Soup

This chicken soup that (I hope) you are about to make is the BEST. It is so flavorful and does the body and soul good. And by the time you read this, we’ll be feeling like winter again AND maybe it’ll be close to the weekend so it gives you time to buy all the ingredients because…well…there is something about a hot bowl of soup on Sunday. I actually used up a lot of ingredients hanging out in the fridge to make this baby. I don’t know about you, but I never really feel like cooking on Sunday, but I do it. This soup simmering on the stove for all of 45 minutes makes it okay. And full disclosure…this recipe is inspired from Ambitious Kitchen’s Best Chicken Soup You’ll Ever Eat. It actually pops up FIRST when you type in the words “best chicken soup.” Everything I’ve ever made by Monique has been delightful so TRUST. I made a couple of modifications to add a bright lemony flavor to it but the OG stands on its own just splendidly.

Here’s how you make it.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil. I actually next leveled and used duck fat (yum)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, grated
  • 1/2 sweet or yellow onion, diced finely
  • 1-2 celery stalks plus leaves, chopped (we chop very finely because my people don’t want to crunch it)
  • 2 carrots, sliced thinly
  • 1 TBS fresh grated ginger plus it’s juices
  • 1TBS fresh grated turmeric (you can use 1 teaspoon ground turmeric). You want the color!
  • Juice of one lemon plus its zest (zest it first)
  • 4-6 cups chicken broth or stock
  • 1 pound (or about 4) boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme, leaves only OR you can use a mix of dried herbs as I did here (1/2 tsp. of what you love, taste and adjust at the end)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup pearl or Israeli couscous, or tiny pasta like pastina
  • 2/3 cup frozen peas to be tossed in at the end
  • 1 parmesan rind (scrape the stamp off with a knife)

In a large pot, get the olive oil or fat shimmering. Add the onions and the celery and saute about 3 minutes until softened. Add carrots and garlic and continue to cook until the garlic is fragrant. Add the ginger and turmeric, lemon zest and lemon juice, parm rind, and bay leaf. Add the chicken thighs to bottom of the pan and pour the broth over it all. The thighs should be submerged. Add the herbs and salt and pepper and bring to a good simmer. Cook for about 20-25 minutes until the thighs are tender.

Remove the thighs from the broth and shred with two forks. Add the chicken back to the pot then add the couscous. Cook for an additional 8-10 minutes until the couscous or pasta is done. Add the frozen peas and cook until heated through. Taste for seasoning, Top with fresh herbs.
First person to find the parm rind can eat it. It’s delicious.

NOTE:
You may want to add more broth depending on how “soupy” you like your soup. If you don’t have fresh herbs, use dried (which I did a mixture of fresh and dried on this day). You could also add beans instead of couscous, lentils, gnocchi, or quinoa. This will affect your cooking time, however. As a matter of fact, you can see on my instagram reel and maybe can tell in the photos that I used a Harvest Grain blend that I love from Trader Joe’s since there’s pearl couscous in this blend. There’s also quinoa, lentils, orzo. You might call this soup day a fridge purge day (it was).

I hope you make this Chicken Soup. It really is for the soul and when you do, tag me or let me know and let Ambitious Kitchen know too…because she really gets the credit here.

Triadfoodies Favorite Things & Holiday Gift Guide

Happy Ho-Ho-Holidays, foodies. It’s our absolute favorite time of year and we are back once again to share with you so many of our favorite things and drop them all into our annual Holiday Gift Guide of Glorious Deliciousness. I forget how many years we’ve done this, but we are thrilled to be back with our favorites of 2022. We hope this guide inspires you to grab a an item or two for a loved one’s stocking or re-create this guide and be more popular than Santa himself. Everything you see here is available at local markets and of course, online. And we are happy to be giving away this basket to a lucky winner. Keep reading to find out how to win.

sippin SNAX

Our newest discovery! When it comes to noshing, a little snack mix can’t be beat. Have you ever sat at the bar, drink in hand and found yourself munching away at the salty bar snack? Melissa Wallace definitely had her eureka moment when she thought of sippin SNAX, a selection of crunchable goodies that specifically pair with wine, beer, and cocktails. With seasoned pretzels or peanuts for beer and red wine, the choices are quite fun. sippin SNAX, like all of our gift guide items, make great stocking stuffers, but they are the perfect housewarming gift. If you know a realtor, tell them about these treats for their client baskets, or you can be the star of the gift giving when you arrive with your bountiful selection. We highly encourage the sampler pack which can be delivered right to your door. We find ours at Deep Roots Market in Greensboro and sippinsnax.com

Whole Hive Honey

Your breakfast biscuit just leveled up…literally. From up here in the High Country, Whole Hive Honey has enjoyed several years of popularity and if you’re a visitor to the Boone area, you’ll see their honey on many shelves. The Hive recently released “Sweet Heat,” a hot honey that is incredible. Enjoy it on toast or biscuits, but I highly encourage you to add it to homemade dressings and sauces to add the slightest kick. Its side kicks are the maple flavored honey that is spectacular in its own right and great in a glaze for roasted chicken or your holiday ham or on a biscuit with a little sprinkling of salt, and the Better than Butter biscuit honey is a newbie as well. You’ll be reaching for these sweeties again and again. wholehivehoney.com 

Gorilla Grains

My love for the Gorilla runs long and strong. We are rarely without our favorite granola in our home. I’m pretty sure that a long, long time ago, Gorilla Grains was one of our first published “favorite things,” and so he makes his return for 2022. This year’s holiday spice tastes like a Moravian Sugar Spice cookie so we encourage you to seek that out online or in stores like Buie’s Market and the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market, Saxapahaw General Store, or buy online. I am telling you, this granola…it’s righteous…Its crispy, buttery goodness is unforgettable. There is absolutely no other granola like it. gorillagrains.com

Spicewalla Spice Blend Buxton Chicken Rub

If you’ve been to Asheville’s Buxton Hall, you know the flavors of smoking and grilling and Southern goodness abound. If you’ve been to Meherwan Irani’s Chai Pani then you know why it’s a James Beard Award winner. Irani’s spice company, Spicewalla, has created Buxton’s Chicken Rub and let me tell you, you will use it on all the things. Yes, chicken, but also roasted potatoes, veggies, pork chops, steak, next year’s turkey. It is wonderful. You can order Spicewalla online or you can find it in some local stores but do not deny yourself a trip to the spicewallabrand.com where the choices and flavors are seemingly endless. 

Fisher’s Christmas Whiskey

I feel like I’d be remiss if I didn’t add a spirit to our holiday gift guide. Fainting Goat Spirits Christmas whiskey can be a bit hard to find once it’s released. This infusion of cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and orange peel is bottled in limited quantities at the distillery for a short time. And if by the time you read this, the ship has sailed, let not your heart be troubled. Look for it again next year. It’s best to get on their email list. The winner gets a bottle of this incredibly popular spirit. Check out FaintingGoatSpirits.com for more information or visit the distillery in downtown Greensboro.

Batistini Farms Vanishing Grape Balsamic

From dressings on salad (ahem, toss some pickles in it…ahem) to drizzles on risotto, this white grape balsamic from Clemmons’ Batistini Farms is liquid gold in my house. It is tangy and sweet and will forever have a place in our pantry and in our gift guide. Find it b-farms.com.  

Black Mountain Chocolate Fruit Cake

She’s the living Queen of our Favorite Things. Take her to a party and be the “popular one.” Pair it with some sipping SNAX for a salty sweet treat. Pick up more than one as she freezes great. Enjoy her all season long and find her at Black Mountain Chocolate in Winston-Salem. blackmountainchocolate.com

Now you have your list, no need to check twice. So go out and support local small businesses. We will be giving the entire contents of the holiday gift guide to a lucky winner. Follow YES! Weekly on Facebook leave a comment on the gift guide post about what you’re most excited to try. We will announce the winner on Friday, December 9, and the winner can collect their basket on or after December 14. 

Roasted Purple Tomatillo Salsa

Yes! Purple tomatillos and they make the prettiest salsa. I was so excited last week to find purple tomatillos by Hedge Family Farm on the High Country Food Hub. To me, they are a little sweeter than their green cousins. Of course green tomatillos work for this recipe. All the ingredients (except lime) in this recipe were purchased from a local farm via the food hub. I just love having access to it here. Get this recipe in a bowl, whip up some margs or ranch water, head out to the deck and enjoy.

  • 3 pounds tomatillos (husks removed, rinsed)
  • ½ medium red onion (use white or even green for green tomatillos)
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 2-4 cloves garlic peeled and smashed
  • ½ cup cilantro
  • Juice of lime
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • Honey (only if it’s a bit tart)

Once the tomatillos are husked place them on a baking sheet and roast or broil for 10 minutes until they get a little charred and blister a bit. During that time, you can also roast the onion, jalapeno and garlic in a separate pan at the same time until charred or you can grill or sear in a skillet. You just want them to get a little color, yet stay fresh and crisp.

Once the tomatillos and veggies have that toasty look, drop them in your blender or food processor and pulse them until nearly your desired consistence. Add the cilanto and lime juice and give it another pulse or two. Less if you want it chunky, more if you like it less chunky. (Are we still saying chunky?). Add salt and pepper, hot sauce and more lime or cilantro if you need it. If you’re using green tomatillos and they’re tart, a drizzle of honey could balance it out. Serve with excellent chips.

If you make this recipe, let me know, give me a shout on social media. That’s where you’ll find me more often than on this keyboard. Enjoy!

Join Me for Dinner in the Gap!

Foodies! I have exciting things happening up on the rock (you know, the mountains).

I’m so thrilled to be a part of the inaugural Dinner in the Gap, the farm-to-table gala of the year. My friends at BFR Meats will be hosting this incredible multi-course event at their farm on Hwy 421 in Deep Gap near the New River. It’s a NC food collaboration between local producers and two of the best chefs in the High Country, Kyle Martin of Cafe Violette in Blowing Rock, and Robert Strom of Beacon Butcher Bar in Boone. When I tell you these two chefs are truly emerging as the best in the area, if not the state, well you know I’m speaking truth. Kyle and Robert will be presenting a multi-course dinner prepared with local ingredients from North Carolina and it will all be hosted by me! Click here for tickets!

I have spent lots of time with Daniel and Alex and I’ve come to know them as friends and partners here in the local food scene. I truly appreciate their knowledge and care of their farm and their animals. They have a heart for the mission of getting to know your farmer and where your food comes from. They have a wealth of knowledge and their excitement is contagious.

Ann, Daniel and Alex Brown

Chef Kyle Martin, Cafe Violette
Chef Robert Strom, The Beacon Butcher Bar

We are thrilled as well to announce the NC SweetPotatoes Commission as a sponsor.

We have quite a few contributors to the evening as well and part of the fun will be a live auction with proceeds all going to F.A.R.M Cafe in Boone, working to “feed all regardless of means.”

Ticket Includes:

Welcome Bag

Free Range NC Charcuterie Table (First Course)

3 Drink tickets to Carolinas best Breweries, Wineries, & Distilleries

4 course Curated & Narrated Local NC Dinner

Bidder Card for the F.A.R.M Cafe Live Auction

Dancing the Night Away with one of the HIgh Country’s most engaging bands

Click here for tickets!

Everything Bagel Mac & Cheese

For our final #sausagesunday collaboration with BFR Meats, it was implored upon my son to make his favorite mac & cheese of all time, Everything Bagel Mac & Cheese. This recipe is inspired by Lindsay of The Hunger Diaries, who came up with this “hack” for her YouTube Channel. There are several meatless Everything Bagel macs on the interwebs and her hack includes sausage to give it that “breakfasty” kick. I had to make a few changes since she uses feta but it’s a close tribute to her recipe and it’s so so good. And I’m absolutely shocked that my son loves this mac so much because he typically refuses to eat anything that’s everything. I mean, has he ever in his little life tried an everything bagel, everything pretzels, everything seasoning? That’s a hard no. Go figure.

BFR Meats has gotten into the pork business lately and I love their pork products, especially this breakfast sausage. It’s not too fatty and has great flavor.

So when the little man said it was the best mac & cheese he’s ever tasted and one of the top 5 meals of his life AND he asked for it for his birthday, well it went down in the history books (after I was wiped up from the floor). If you give this recipe a try be sure to tell me what you think and share it on the socials!

Ingredients: 

1 8oz block cream cheese at room temperature
1 lb pasta (short, spirally like cavatappi and be sure it can handle the stirring)
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp white cheddar
1 cup shredded gruyere (you can also add or sub asiago)
½ cup freshly grated pecorino romano cheese or parmegianno
6 cups whole milk 
1 turn (about 1/4 cup) heavy cream (optional)
6 cloves garlic, minced 
Salt/Pepper 
Drizzle of EVOO 
1 lb. breakfast sausage, crumbled and browned
2-3 tbs. everything but the bagel seasoning

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350-degrees.

Place cream cheese in the center of a large round casserole or a 13-inch baking dish. 

Spread the uncooked pasta and cheeses around the cream cheese, pour milk around the center, add garlic, and salt. Mix it in lightly around the exterior and try to cover the pasta as much as you can but leave the cream cheese in the middle. Add freshly cracked black pepper to the top and drizzle the cream cheese with some olive oil.

 Bake at 350 for 55 min. Give it a good mix about halfway through baking.

Meanwhile in a medium size skillet, crumble and brown up your sausage and set aside.

Once the mac & cheese is bubbly, remove from oven and stir in the sausage. It should be creamy and cheesy. If it’s not quite ready, gritty or needs more creaminess, add some milk and return to the oven for a few more minutes. You can even top with more cheese here if you wish and bake another 20 minutes. If you look closely, my cream cheese did not get entirely creamy but I was running out of time since we were headed to the movies ;).

Before the mix-ins

Top the finished mac with everything bagel chips, everything but the bagel seasoning, and chives or parley for some color (you’ll see I didn’t do that since a certain someone won’t eat it if I add something green). Enjoy!

This mac & cheese reheats well with a little bit of cream to loosen it up and fresh crushed bagel chips on top.