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I fed my family for a week with Farmer’s Market Goodies for $82

A High Country Food Hub/Local Farm Meal Challenge!

This is a tad lengthy, but I feel worth it, so stick with me!

Often times, one of the stumbling blocks of shopping for locally produced ingredients is the so-called expense of feeding one’s family. Granted, it can be more expensive to shop at the farmer’s market for locally-raised meat and produce. It’s not always the case, but it’s to be expected.These are big time corporations here, these are small farms with a few employees, sometimes it’s just the farmer himself/herself. I try to be intentional about my shopping. I like to shop from local farmers, because my purchase could help send their child to dance lessons or to a math tutor. I know whose hands have touched that food and I know that it’s absolutely as fresh as can be.We also budget our grocery shopping (we use the Dave Ramsey “cash method” to stay in budget). But being 30 minutes away, going to the farmer’s market isn’t easy for me on Saturday, so I love the convenience of shopping online at the High Country Food Hub. Purchasing online uses our debit card, but we adjust accordingly. If you haven’t heard of the High Country Food Hub, I invite you to check out their website. They’re a part of Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture and they provide online access to local farmers to make it easier for you and me. I just love the service and they do so much to bring the community together with local agriculture with shopping, events, etc.  By the way, this post is not sponsored…this truly was my own  idea.

The challenge: Shop for a week’s worth of local goodies and make meals for my family. with it.  Budget: $100. I did my shop and it was $82 and some change.
Of course, I used some pantry/fridge ingredients to supplement like rice, onions, garlic, sauces to help stretch that budget but that’s to be expected. I did not go to the grocery store for any components I needed for my meals, only for random items like milk, avocado, snacks that I like to have on hand every week anyway. And I did swing by a local farm stand to get peaches one day because summer. Incidentally, the food hub does sell delicious whole creamery milk, but my son, the primary drinker, prefers 2%. And I placed my order too late to get Owl Creek bread.

Here’s my order:
Mixed cherry tomatoes, A Bushel and a Peck Farm
Heirloom tomatoes (red slicers)  Against the Grain
Heirloom tomatoes (mixed) New Life Farm
Purple potatoes, Blue Ridge Naturals 
Summer squash/zucchini, A Bushel and a Peck
Arugula, Full Moon Farm
Spring salad mix, Full Moon Farm
Shishito peppers,  Full Moon Farm
Mixed red/yellow sweet peppers, New Life Farm
Cucumbers, New Life Farm
Blueberries, Moffitt-Toolan Family Farm
Boston Butt, BRG Farms
Ground beef (2 lbs), Moffitt-Toolan, BRG Farms
Beef stew meat, Chestnut Grove Farms
Garlic brats, CS Farm
Chorizo sausage, Moffitt-Toolan

Here are the meals I prepared, with the local goods in italics. A recap of the recipes is coming soon is not up! 

Meal 1: (served 6) Paella Fried Rice using chorizo, some leftover chicken, leftover rice from a previous meal, peppers, onion, cilantro.

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Meal 2:  (served 8) Cincinnati Chili (This was enough for another meal of leftovers days later (without the spaghetti the second time). This counts as 2 family meals.
Beef was the only local item in this meal.

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Meal 3: (served 5) Pulled Pork using the Boston butt, Rainbow Veggies using the zucchini, peppers, shishitos, Purple Mashed Potatoes

 

Meal 4: (enough for 4) Mediterranean Night with garlic brats, peppers, blistered tomatoes (leftover rainbow veg) and Fried Feta w/ pita and hummus

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Meal 5: (served 5) Southwest Bowls w/Chorizo & Chicken, peppers & pico de gallo  (using tomatoes) on local grits

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Meal 6: (served 4) Korean Beef Bowls w/ Instant Pot stewed beef, zucchini, mushrooms

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Meal 7: (served 2) Arugula & Spring Mix Caesar Salad 

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Meals 1-6 (including leftovers from the chili) were were enough to feed my entire family. Paella fried rice gave us leftovers for 2 people. SW Bowls gave us another leftover meal for 1 (I turned it into breakfast), then there were a number of smaller meals, like salads, BLT’s.  Take a look.

Arugula salad with peaches, blueberries, burrata (served 2)

Arugula with figs, pancetta and burrata (served 1)

Spring mix salad with tomatoes (served 2)

Everyday cucumber salad with tomatoes (served 1)

BLT (served 2) using spring mix, arugula and tomato

I used the blueberries in smoothies, as well as snacking.

The eggs were used in a couple of different breakfasts including one that used the leftover pulled pork into an omelet. We still have half dozen eggs left.

 

Foodies, that means for my $82, I was able to make 40+ plates of food with those staples and every family meal included a locally-raised meat (6 meals that fed all 4 of us, a salad for 2, plus leftovers and individual lunches).  I shocked even myself with the ability to extend my dollar. And what’s more…my husband and son both went on a trip a few days into the “challenge”, putting it on hold, and the salad, peppers, zucchini were all still fresh two weeks later. I bought the food on Aug. 7, started the meal portion of the challenge on Aug. 9, stopped family meals Aug. 11 and restarted on Aug. 16 and completed Aug. 19. While they were away, I made salads for myself and ate leftovers with my daughter. It’s probably the healthiest I’ve eaten in a long time with well-balanced, colorful local goodness.  The other takeaway is that we don’t have to be nervous about using up these ingredients. None of the produce went soft or bad and it took me almost 2 weeks to eat it all.

Guys, I’m nothing special, I made a meal plan of items I know my people like and bought ingredients from the Food Hub based on my meal plan, which is nothing different than I do if I’m typical grocery store shopping. My habits are usually Food Hub every 2 weeks, then I fill in with a grocery shop, and when I go down the mountain to Winston-Salem, I usually hit Trader Joe’s (once a month). Every now and then, I shop a local market or Earth Fare, but we have a cash budget and we stick to it as much as possible (sudden trips for ice cream or chocolate chips don’t count, do they?).

I want to make it clear that this is not a sponsored post. Items were purchased with our own money. This really was a challenge….to see how I’d do.

As for the recipes, some are tried and true and found online, some are mine and most of the salads are seriously just thrown together. Recipes coming at you Thursday!

By the way, if I’ve kept you to this point, on Friday, the Hub is having a Fill Your Freezer sale with lots of great locally raised beef. There will be presentations at the Ag building (address is on the flyer below) all day long beginning with ME at 11:30 when I demonstrate how to sear and carve a flank steak. Come see us and maybe you can get a taste of the flank steak with a delicious corn and tomato salsa that’s perfect for tailgating at App’s first home game! presentations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Chef’s Table with Adam Barnett and The Katharine Brasserie

A version of this story can also be seen at YES! Weekly.

After 18 months in full-blown get-to-know-you mode, Chef Adam Barnett is feeling very much part of the culinary scene in Winston-Salem.

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Barnett, who was hired in July 2017 as Executive Chef at the relatively new The Katharine Brasserie and Bar, which was the location of the first Chef’s Table of 2019 on January 8th. The event sold out in less than eight hours and then Barnett agreed to add another 15 seats for a total of 45. Those additional seats sold out in less than 30 minutes. Needless to say, people are interested in what Barnett is doing. Many of the attendees of Chef’s Table, which was held on January 8, had never been to The Katharine and they were ready for what he was cooking up.

Named for Katharine B. Reynolds, The Katharine has been written about by me and others a number of times, from media events and regarding seasonal menu changes or new additions, so if you’re a regular reader of YES! Weekly or Triadfoodies, you know I’ve walked away impressed with the food and service more than once.  And just about every time I’ve dined at the brasserie, we’ve enjoyed some of the best wine pairings I’ve ever experienced.

I got to know Barnett a bit better when he was a guest of my podcast, “At The Table with Triadfoodies.” Barnett grew up as a regular kid in Columbus, Ohio and enjoyed summers with his mother’s family in Nova Scotia, which he attributes to his sense of wanderlust. After deciding that academia was not for him, he took a more “hands-on approach” in construction. And you know how winter is in the construction field. “I needed some winter hours and I started working in a restaurant,” he says. “I had one chef take some interest in me, then I got shuttled along to another restaurant and then I hit the road.” Barnett has had stints in Aspen, Colorado; Toronto, Ontario; Vermont, Big Sur, and Los Angeles, California; and most recently Washington D.C. “I spent eight years in the school of hard knocks, real world training and eventually landed in the advanced placement program at the New England Culinary Institute.”  Afterward, it was in California that he honed his skills in modern French techniques, which serves him well at the Katharine, a French-Inspired brasserie, but Barnett says they don’t want to be too dogmatic about it.

“I’ve worked with some very, very good classically French chefs and that’s always been the underpinning of what I do,” he says. “But like everything else, cuisine evolves. You sit back and take a look at who inspires you or you look at re-discoveries of ethnicities and I try to incorporate that into what we’re doing here.” While we may think of French cuisines as heavy with butter and cream and bread, Barnett feels that France’s influence in its former colonies in places like the Mediterranean allows him to offer a more relatable, global approach and the menu of the Chef’s Table was a reflection of that.

Course One
Apple Rutabaga Soup garnished with Parsley Oil.

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Course Two
Arugula and Shaved Fennel Salad, Parsnip Crisps Preserved Lemon Dressing

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Course Three

Seared Diver Scallops, served with a Ginger – Carrot Emulsion, Batonet Beets and Radish Sprouts.

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Course Four (Meat Course)

Grilled Painted Hills Flat Iron Steak, Caramelized King Trumpet Mushroom, Foie Gras and Madiera Sauce.

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 Cheese Course
Thomasville Tomme (from Sweetgrass Dairy in Thomasville GA), Campo d Montalban (a blended Cow, Goat, and Sheepsmilk Cheese from Spain), Honey-Walnut Spread, House-made Ginger-Apple Butter, Herb Salad

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Okay okay…so you’re wondering where is dessert…heh heh…funny story.  I actually really enjoyed the cheese course, after all it IS a French-themed restaurant. But there’s the story of a pastry chef and rice pudding gone awry. We’ll leave it at that. 

Barnett took some time to get to know the space and cultivate an air of good community with the culinary team itself. The Kimpton hired new management, a new sommelier and he says now The Katharine is better than it has ever been. “I feel so tremendously honored to work with this group, from our back of house to our management and our sommelier. They’re a big part of the engine. It’s never a one person show.”

Barnett says he’s enjoyed the community and has felt the embrace and he can’t imagine doing anything different.  He says, “I love the visible, tangible marker of a day well spent. And that’s one of the great things about working with food.  You get raw ingredients in, you apply technique, you hand it over to someone and you get to see the satisfaction. There’s a profound sense of enjoyment from that.”

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By the way, this wasn’t served at our Chef’s Table but if my favorite dish at The Katharine is this Beef Tartare. It’s divine.

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Wanna go? The Katharine Brasserie & Bar is located at the Kimpton Cardinal Hotel, 401 North Main Street, Winston-Salem. katharinebrasserie.com 

We’re on the Rock & a new Chef’s Table

Foodies!

We have moved.

We have followed our hearts and our dream of living in the absolutely stunning North Carolina mountains. Specifically right up near Banner Elk. And man oh man, is it beee-uuuu-teeee-ful!

And seriously, I’ll explain it all later but the most important thing right now is to let you know that we have jumped right in and we’re kicking off this new journey in life with another Chef’s Table...this one with Chef Sam Ratchford of Vidalia Restaurant and Wine Bar. 

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I met Chef Sam a few years ago when he walked away with the coveted Red Chef’s Jacket at Competition Dining in Winston-Salem. I’ve eaten at his restaurant too, which is why it’s so obvious that we’d want to inaugural Rockfoodies Chef’s Table to be at Vidalia, where Sam and his wife, Alyce, do classic southern dishes with a twist. And their dedication to local farms is impressive.

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Here’s where you can get your tickets! Seating is limited and we look forward to seeing you there!

PS: I promise a blog  post about the move and why we did it and the house that was supposed to be THE house and our kitchen update (which is about to happen, along with getting a pantry) is coming soon!

XOXO