Tag Archives: food

I’ve Got a Cookbook for You!

A few years ago, my mama Sara, endeavored to record her own recipes as well as track down ages old recipes by ancestors and friends to create an awesome cookbook that is nothing but a bunch of memory triggers. Few things take you back like a familiar dish, right? She mainly wanted a place where all of our family’s favorites could be in one, tangible place for my sister and me. So in this cookbook are my mother’s and grandmothers’ and great-grandmothers’ recipes, their friends’ and people I’ve known my whole life who …you know who they are…they’re the ones that make THE dish at the potluck and you know they better make that dish or else  or the day is just not the same.

There are even a few random recipes of my own (my sister too).

This cookbook is available in a few stores and churches across the area but we just discovered a couple more boxes, so if you’re interested, you can purchase here and we’ll mail it to you (US only please).

 

 

 

 

Favorites From Our Table

A collection of recipes in a ring-bound hard cover book featuring old school favorites that have been tried and true for generations. $18 includes shipping (US only).

$18.00

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 Lao Chef’s Table

Hi, foodies…

I want to make sure you get our recaps of our Chef’s Table when they happen…and …um…I might be a bit behind. But here’s a look at our event from May 6, with Lao Restaurant + Bar. It was an amazing evening of courses shared family style, as is the Lao tradition.  This story ran in YES! Weekly!  but of course I’m gonna lay it all out for you here too.

Fresh off YES! Weekly’s Triad’s Best, Lao Restaurant + Bar is basking in the glory of being named Best Restaurant in Guilford County. The Laotian restaurant opened with much anticipation and excitement last summer and they’ve feeling the love. What’s interesting is that for YEARS I’ve been saying a restaurant like Lao would kill it in Winston-Salem. Well, Greensboro beat WS to the punch and the city still remains the place to be for great Asian cuisine. 

Fifty guests of a recent sold out Chef’s Table at Lao prove that even further.  Here’s a little of how it went down (paraphrasing):

Me: I’d love to feature you at a Chef’s Table in the future.

Vonne: But I’m not a chef.

Me: It matters, not. This is about you, your restaurant and your delicious food.

Vonne: Let’s do it on Monday, May 6.

Me: Great!  (creates event, tickets go live, tickets sell quickly–all the while thinking “huh…they’re closed on Monday so that’s cool that she’s doing something special”)

Vonne the next morning (less than 12 hours later): Uh oh, I messed up. We’re closed on Mondays. Ooops. But maybe we can still do it, depending on ticket sales.

Me: Well, it’s sold out at 25 tickets so…now what?

Vonne: Add 25 more tickets!

And in the end the Lao Chef’s Table, with the additional 25 tickets, was sold in out 24 hours. So owner Vonne Keobouala closed her restaurant for all 53 of us as she and her team gave us an exclusive peek at some of her favorite Lao dishes. By the way, the restaurant is now open on Mondays.

Vonne Keobouala was born in Laos, which is in Southeast Asia between Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. At age seven and as a result of the Vietnam war, her family moved to California.

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photo by Wong Kim

She grew up surrounded by a community who enjoyed their culture’s food. But as time went on, they adapted to the American way of life and eating. Still, Vonne says it has always been important to her to share the culture and cuisine of Southeast Asia.  When her brother, Matt “Jit” Lothakoun, moved to North Carolina, she followed soon after and they opened Simply Thai in Elon, with a focus on Thai food and sushi.  Ten years have passed and they have since expanded to a location in Jamestown. But it was the food of Laos that Vonne says needed celebrating. “Here, there are Asian restaurants. We see Chinese and Thai, but not the food of Laos, not the food of my mother. But I think people are ready to accept our cuisine. Food brings people together and we want to introduce our culture through our food.”

What makes Lao food different is the vibrant colors and unique textures of the dishes. The freshest herbs and produce make for meal that’s pleasing to the palate while you enjoy working with your hands. And that’s mostly how the guests at Chef’s Table enjoyed their meal. Hands washed, enjoying a family-style meal of lettuce wraps and other hand-held items that were crispy, crunchy, spicy, sticky and just tantalizing in so many ways.

Guests were greeted upon arrival with platters of Shrimp Crisps. They looked like colorful pork skins with a similar crispy texture but they were made with shrimp. They were great for snacking and conversation.

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Appetizer
Vegetable Spring Rolls & Sakoo Sai Moo
Tapioca dumpling pouches filled with pork peanuts, caramelized palm sugar and fried garlic

You can’t go wrong by starting out with the quintessential spring roll and Lao’s is one of the best around.  The Sakoo Sai Moo were sticky little dumplings with a little chili kick and we wrapped them in beautiful lettuce leaves for a fresh yet sticky, sweet, salty, spicy bite.

First Course (photo by Wong Kim)
Nam Khao
Lettuce wraps, crispy rice, coconut flakes, peanuts, sour pork, with fresh cilantro, green onions

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More eating with our hands. These wraps were similar to what you might find in a great Chinese restaurant with lots of cilantro and onions. The crispy rice in this dish helps it stand out.

Second Course
Chicken Laab
Chopped roasted chicken seasoned with spicy lime sauce and fresh herbs

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This popular Laotian larb was fantastic as well.  Served with a bowl of sticky rice, which acted as your vessel from hand to mouth. You made a bowl in your hand with the rice and placed the chicken mixture inside. If you like playing with your food, this dish is for you. “Laotians use sticky rice like bread,” Vonne told us.

Third Course
Lao Sausage & Beef Seen Lod
Jeow Dipping Sauce
Sticky rice

The sausage and beef may also play nicely as an appetizer. Like a Lao charcuterie board, the spicy sausage was so full of flavor and the Beef is considered to be like jerky.  The dish was served with more sticky rice and a delicious dipping sauce.

Fourth Course
Aom
Chicken Herbal stew with fresh dill, green long beans and Lao eggplant

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The description says it all. The stew was hot and herbaceous and filled with chunky chicken and veggies. Great for a cold day.

Dessert
Nom Vaan Lorm
Mixed flavored jellies, cantaloupe and corn, served in sweetened coconut milk

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Now this little dessert might read odd. Flavored jellies? Corn? But it was fantastic to me. It tasted like a coconut infused cereal milk. You know how Sugar Smacks taste? That’s what it reminded me of…but with the freshest of real fruit  mixed in.

To say that the Chef’s Table guests were stuffed and blown away is putting it mildly. And Vonne says she loves seeing the faces of happy customers enjoying the cuisine of family’s heritage.  “Seeing people come in, meeting them and knowing they are so happy to be here and enjoy the food and then they continue to support us…that’s the biggest reward.”

I just love her.

Lao Restaurant + Bar is located at 219-A South Elm Street, Greensboro.

Click here for my podcast with Vonne on the Triad Podcast Network

 

A Take On Takeout: Sichuan Noodles

If there’s anything you’ve heard me griping about, it’s that my children are so weird with their food choices. They are keen to eat junk all day (if I’d let them) but I’d say about half the time I make a meal at home, I can barely get them to eat half of it. But NOT when we make anything from some other continent. Spaghetti? Pizza? They gobble it up. Asian food? They pretty much inhale it and then lick the plates (not really but they really really like Asian food. And Indian food.) Weird?

So I’ve been trying to add to my repertoire, if you will. Mr. foodie has already bought a wok and tried his hand at General Tso’s chicken (amazing), Lo Mein (also delish) and in our regular rotation is the Korean Beef Bowl from How Sweet Eats. I can’t describe the goodness of this bowl…impossibly delicious!

So a loooooong time ago, I saw Maggie Zhu’s recipe of Omnivore’s Cookbook for Sichuan Chicken aka “Saliva Chicken” and it included her Red Oil Sauce. You’ve seen similar sauces at Asian restaurants and maybe at the store. But homemade is best, obvs.

And I have yet to make that recipe…but I have all the ingredients. But I am still going to, honest. It’s not even a difficult recipe…I have no excuse really.

Then I saw Tieghan Gerard’s “easy” Szechuan noodles recipe on Half Baked Harvest and I decided to use HER noodle recipe and marry Maggie and Tieghan’s chili oil recipe to make a little Mag-Tiegh chili oil baby. 😀

It also helped that I had some ground chicken I needed to use up. 🙂

I jooshed up both recipes to incorporate what I had on hand and what I know my kids like, but I’m so glad to have these ladies for inspo. Like I say, you get inspiration from all over…just keep your eyes and mind open. Note: Maggie’s tip says you can use bay leaf and star anise in your aromatics. After playing, I love the combo of flavors below.  You can make the oil in advance and use it on all kinds of things later. The noodles themselves come together in less than 20 minutes (if you count cooking the noodles).

Oh, and in case you were wondering….yes indeedy, this dish was a hit and gobbled right up by all the humans. Go figure.

Sichuan Noodles with Red Chili Oil
(Prep: 5 min, Cook: 30 min.)
Serves 4 (you should make double, for real)

Chili Oil (adapted from Omnivore’s Cookbook & Half Baked Harvest)
1/3 cup peanut oil or vegetable oil
4-6 cloves garlic, sliced or minced
2 tsp. Sichuan chili flakes (these are what I used), regular is fine too
1 tsp. Chinese Five Spice powder
1 tsp, ground Sichuan peppercorns (optional + I left mine whole and it was fine)
1 inch knob fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 TBS. sesame seeds

In a large skillet, heat oil. Add garlic and cook 3-5 minutes until it sweats down a bit. Add all the remaining ingredients except sesame seeds and simmer for another 3 minutes. The oil will  turn a beautiful amber red color. Add the sesame oil and the sesame seeds and simmer for another minute. The oil will be probably be sizzling but don’t let it go hard or it will make your chili flakes and sesame seeds taste bitter. Carefully transfer to a heat proof glass jar or bowl.

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Sichuan Noodles (adapted from Half Baked Harvest)
(Prep: 5 min, Cook: -20 min)

16 oz wide Chinese egg noodle (if you can’t find, pappardelli is fine)
1 lb ground chicken (ground pork is also fine) or leave out if vegetarian
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tbs. honey or brown sugar
2 tbs. garlic chili sauce
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced (or more to taste)
2-4 green onions, chopped
2-4 stalks of bok choy, chopped

1. Cook the noodles
2. Combine the soy sauce, vinegar, honey, garlic chili paste + 1/3 cup water in a bowl.
3. Place the same skillet  over medium high heat. Add the chicken.  Season with salt and pepper, crumbling as you go and cook for 5 minutes.   Add the onions and bok choy, and cook until slightly soft, about 3 minutes. Pour in the soy sauce mixture.  Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until the chicken is coated with the sauce, about 5-8 minutes.
4. Once noodles are cooked, drain and add to the chicken mixture. Add 2 TBS. chili oil and toss well.

Remove from heat, serve immediately and top with more chili oil, green onions and a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

Note: You can add more or less seasonings to taste. You can also add mushrooms if you love them and omit the meat if you prefer.

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A Can’t Miss “Feast of Thrones”

“The first lords of the Valle didn’t have much, but they had these mountains, and they knew how to use them….”—Petyr Baelish (Littlefinger)

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What could be more fun than a kickoff to the final season of our beloved series Game of Thrones? Why, a kickoff right here in the Vale Valle with Over Yonder’s Feast of Thrones.

We think it will be worth the travel time across The Westerlands and The Riverlands to the Valle of the Cross.

The “feast” will be prepared by “The Mountain” (Chef Andy Long) and his culinary knights

Supported by “A Girl Who Is Someone”: Lavadia Spaugh

Come sit on the Iron Throne and have your picture made so that your subjects can adore you on social media.  There will also be:

Costume Contest
Dragon Egg Hunt
Mead Tasting
Cersei the Mountain Dawg, Queen of the Mountains and the HooMen will be there on a leash signing pawtographs early on.

And the long night is coming and you need to feast!

FOOD FROM THE NORTH/WINTERFELL:

Brown Bread w/ cured sausages and hard cheeses
Pork Pies
Honey Chicken
Warm Cider
Applecakes
Iced Berries

We promise no Frey pie.

FOOD FROM KING’S LANDING:

Hot Pie’s Hand Pies
The Boar that Killed King Robert
Bowls O’ Brown
Fingerfish
Onion Tarts
Lemoncakes
Quail Drowned in Butter

FOOD FROM DORNE AND THE SOUTH

Grape Leaves w/ Rice, Nuts, and Lamb
Ground Peas and Flatbreads
Stewed Rabbit and Chiles
Duck w/ Lemons
Honey Biscuits
Arya’s Fig Tarts
Peaches w/ Honey & Thyme
Lemonsweet Drink

Everyone across the entire Seven Kingdoms and beyond the realm is invited to the feast. But know this! You must depart before the Game of Thrones makes its anticipated premiere.  We wouldn’t want you to be trapped beyond the wall. Aka…they’re not airing the show there. 

Feast of Thrones will be held Sunday, April 14 at Over Yonder Restaurants from 12pm-7pm. It’s a come when you can event.  Over Yonder is located at 3608 NC Highway 194 S. Sugar Grove, NC 28679

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