Schools out, the humidity has hit and Winston has been lying in a dead-dog pose for the majority of the weekend. Yes, it feels like the must anticipated summer we’ve all been whining for. Steering into summer has been recommended and I really like that idea. So, here’s to it.
I’ve been seriously preoccupied by life-happenings so I have few recipes to report. However, here are my ten recommendations on steering into summertime… Enjoy. More recipes soon.
- a salmon salad
- a grass-fed beef burger
- a bowl of cherries
- a glass of vinho verde
- another glass of crisp French rosé
- two pots of cucamelons for summertime cocktails
- this extremely catchy song.
- an afternoon drive to a local farm
- the first firefly sightings
- morning news and lots of iced coffee
Last night, I joined a crowd of regional food lovers for the second week of the Competition Dining Fire in the Triad series. Chef Kristina Fuller, of Crafted in Downtown Greensboro, competed against Juan Guzman, of J. Pepper’s in Kernersville with the secret ingredient – Pepsi! The group dined on six courses of Pepsi-centric dishes – from a “Duck Fat Bacon Confit, Pickled Root Vegetable Salad, Pepsi BBQ Glaze, Honey Dijon Mustard” to “Pepsi Roasted Duck Breast, Farro Risotto with Wild Mushrooms and Sweet Potatoes, Pepsi Beurre Rouge, Pistachio & Arugula Pesto” and a “Profiterole filled with Pepsi Cream, Mini Pie with Strawberry-Pepsi-White Chocolate Mousse, Pepsi Candied Bacon.” You can see the full list online – those dishes were my particular favorites.
It’s was the smallest of margins but Chef Guzman pulled through and will continue in the battle. I encourage you to check the competition out while they are in Greensboro. It’s a fun experience and a treat to get to know our talented local chefs. Congrats to both Kristina and Juan for all their hard work yesterday. As an Atlanta born Coca Cola lover, I know have a new perspective on North Carolina Pepsi.
There are moments when Spring is in full bloom (see my secret garden above!) that I feel the most optimism for my city. Seeing a quilted pattern of picnic blankets across Center City Park, a menagerie of friends hunkered inside the Greensboro Children’s Museum during a spring storm or a humorous hint of opera in a friends home on a Sunday night with friendly faces and homemade sushi. These are the moments that define a sense of place for me – and give me optimism for all the labor that has yet to bloom.
My weekend recap has no report of cooking! Although, I did eat very well (between trip to the gym and pilates!).
Friday night I joined my friends and Greensboro Symphony lovers for a game of Name That Tune with the Canadian host of Cash Cab. I’ll confess that my table came in last – but we still enjoyed delicious foods (made my the talented Reto) and views at the top of Center Pointe overseeing the activities in Center City Park. On Saturday, we enjoyed adult play inside the Greensboro Children’s Museum – with lots of adult beverages and delicious treats from local vendors (shout out to Jay Pierce, John Jones, Zaytoon and Tea Hugger!). And, a delicious shrimp dish from The Fresh Market!
And, if it wasn’t enough, I was treated to homemade sushi, saki and song at my dear friend Michiko’s home tonight. She invited music lovers over for a special sneak peak of the Greensboro Opera’s performance of Mikado coming up in June. A really special evening hearing young talent from UNCG.
I’m humbled and grateful for the work of all three of these organizations. They make Greensboro rich with community, vibrancy and diversity. Check them out and support them!
Tomorrow night, I’m off to judge the Fire in the Triad Competition Dining Series - Downtown Greensboro’s Kristina Fuller of Crafted versus J. Peppers. Can’t wait to report on the secret ingredient (I’m hoping for pimento cheese or country ham) and the results of the competiton.
In the meantime, pray for my waistband and feel good about your city. Greensboro’s ready to bloom.
April showers bring May flowers, right? I certainly hope so.
My mother and her best friend, Debbie, came up to Greensboro this weekend for their annual Spring gardening weekend. They arrived on Friday in time to check out a project I’m working on downtown and enjoy a casual grilled steak dinner in the backyard.
On Saturday we hit New Garden Nursery early and picked up a bounty of colorful blooms – as well as many many bags of mulch. Before the rain hit, my Mom and Debbie were able to transform my backyard and prepare it for another spring and summer full of flowering fun.
Meanwhile, I stopped by The Fresh Market for a Mediterranean themed dinner of lamb burgers, a fresh salad of heirloom tomatoes, cucumber, olives and whole marinated artichoke hearts and an enormous grilled Turkish flatbread from Nazareth Bread. I must admit, this was one of the better Mediterranean meals I’ve made – I can’t wait to share the lamb burger recipe!
We ate our last bites before the rain began — and did not stop until, well, it’s still raining now…
On Sunday, we slowed down for a day of shopping (at Midtown Olive Press and Savory Spice Shop!) and lounging by the fire. Yes, a fire at the end of April! We concluded the weekend with a homemade asparagus tart with goat cheese and white truffle oil, leftover salad and a crisp dry bottle of rose.
Another busy week ahead. I’ll share the recipes to keep you looking for the weekend!
Happy Monday? I’m still recovering from an extremely fun and productive weekend while I plunge into another week of happenings! Over the weekend I hosted twelve friends for Spanish Tapas, attended an Elon University event and painted a street for a new project I’m working on at my day job. Yeah, so leisurely. But, while exhausting, so incredibly special when packed into one weekend.
My friend Masha and I planned Friday night’s menu when fun in mind – and with the intent to keep it simple and easy. We shopped and prepped almost everything on the menu the night before. Stuffing the dates and piquillo peppers, preparing the puff pastry and components for miniature tomato tarts and laying out all the platters…
The day of the party, everything was a breeze to plate and finish. This menu unique – complete with lots of good Spanish wine from my friend Mark and sangria from John – was the perfect pick-up menu for a casual night with friends. We packed into the kitchen and enjoyed small plates while grazing back and forth to the table.
This menu is perfect for a mixed groups – including those who eat less carbs or are vegetarian. It’s also great for a crowd as recipes can be doubled with ease. We purchased the entire menu from The Fresh Market as they are stocked with speciality ingredients and quality meats, cheese and an amazing olive bar! I’ll share the recipes this week!
Spanish Tapas Menu for Twelve
- Roasted Shrimp with Chorizo and Garlic
- Roasted Tomato Tartlets with Goat Cheese
- Mixed Cheeses, Meats, and Olives
- Spanish Marcona Almonds
- Roasted Garlicy Mushrooms
- Stuffed Dates with Blue Cheese and Almonds
- Cold Asparagus Salad with Hardboiled Eggs
- Stuffed Piquillo Peppers
- Honey Roasted Pineapple with Ice Cream
If you’ve been wondering where I’ve been the past week, I’ve been knee deep in biscuit ingredients. And, no, I’m not joking. This week marked the second annual Greensboro Collegiate Biscuitville Bowl. I’ve been planning the series of events for many months and it finally came together this week – concluding with the messiest 5k relay race with biscuit themed obstacles.
Many of my friends came out to support by volunteering, running and spectating. It was so much fun that I crashed the rest of the weekend without any cooking! Don’t worry, I ate plenty of biscuits.
So, stay tuned for a recipes this week. I hope your weekend was as full of ‘Friendly Folks’ as mine!
Color is finally sprouting on Mendenhall Street! I spent my weekend seeking sunshine with my pup by my side.
In need of a different view, I convinced my friend Jessica to take a Saturday afternoon adventure. With the windows down, we traveled from town to town -from Saxapahaw west. Lunch at the Saxapahaw General Store, a dog walk by the Haw River, a drive by the Graham Courthouse and Dollar (now $4) Cinema, by the Burlington Train Stop and quick shop at the Burlington Company Shops Market for snacks and cold drinks, down memory lane through my alma mater Elon University, through Gibsonville, Whitsett, Sedalia and back home. After the adventure (which was renamed “the hostage” after Jessica questioned my direction in a less-desirable area between towns), we drank apricot beers on the front porch and took a walk to Fisher Park for a simple snack-dinner. I highly recommend making your own home-town adventures. There are so many charming places (and hilarious scenarios) to find between the cities and towns across our state. Find the time, things will always look differently when you get home.
With a new view, I put away my Monday -worries on Sunday and spent some time in the kitchen. I made a simple Israeli couscous salad to eat through the work week. I tossed in the pantry – lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, piquillo peppers, black olives, basil, dried cherries, fresh spinach and toasted almonds. Sweet, salty and really additive. With an easy chicken cutlet sauteed in butter, olive oil and lemon juice – it was the perfect early supper for a quiet Easter Sunday. The leftovers are great cold the next day too!
I’ll post the recipe this week. In the meantime, here is an old favorite album for your driving or cooking adventures… if you know me, music is always playing in my kitchen!
I’m finally coming up for air after a very hectic week of work and play. I’ve been engulfed in all sorts of mayhem and haven’t had a chance to cook or report on not cooking! Thanks to a full day of Sunday sluggish activity, I’m regaining inspiration for being a balance human (whatever that might look like).
Here’s a little recap of my week and weekend – plus some recommendations for making the best of days ahead.
- #ggfnc Guilford Green Foundation held their annual Gala this weekend in Downtown Greensboro. The evening was a beautiful celebration of ’50 Shades of Green’, much impact for our LGBT Community and my dear friend Ivan’s many accomplishments. Congrats to all.
- #springclean It’s time for a refresh at my house. I’m making my way to spring renewal with new soaps (I love the Grapefruit & Mint French Milled Soap from The Fresh Market) and lots of colorful tulips which I have in more than one room in the house. It’s amazing how much happiness I gain from having fresh flowers in my house. An essential splurge.
- #springboard My respected friends and I released a white paper on our vision for downtown Greensboro this week. We are excited about the community’s enthusiasm and look forward to building a strong team to make positive change in our urban ‘hood. Busy days and hard work are ahead but I’m particularly proud of our momentum.
- #springchicken A whole week without cooking gave me an itch to roast a spring chicken for Sunday Supper on a very cold and wet day in NC. I put a new twist on my usual rosemary chicken – my Spring Chicken was roasted with cipollini onions and fennel bulb and slathered with tarragon, fennel fronds, dijon mustard, lemon and black pepper. With a glass of Pinot Grigio it starts to feel warmer outside despite the chance of sleet! I’ll post the recipe this week.
Have a great week ahead. Hope to see you somewhere.
The weatherman is reporting highs of 64 today. So, I’m “leaning in” to warm weather and survival of many extremely busy weeks ahead. I spent the weekend out of the kitchen – surviving the stomach flu – so no food outside sharing saltines in bed with Winston. I’ll be back to cooking soon and look forward reporting recipes real soon.
Stay tight. Enjoy the 64.
They say that “March comes in like a lion, and goes out like a lamb.” And on days like today, I believe it. However, the first parts of March always make me excited for the best parts – a much anticipated time change, green beers, the madness of ACC basketball in Greensboro, sprouting bulbs and the hints of warmer sunnier days. With this anticipation, I prepared an Easy Being Green menu that you can use anytime this March – but happens to be perfect for St. Patty’s Day next weekend.
I’ve never been terribly into Irish food (other than the massive amount of toast they eat for breakfast) so I tend to skip the traditional and find something clever, contemporary and kelly green. This menu is simple, comforting and perfect for a casual night in for the holiday – or a dinner home before a big night out. I’ll post the recipes over the next several days. Happy March!
Easy Being Green Menu
- Irish Cheddar Cheese (Kerrygold Dubliner!) and Crackers
- Spring Artichokes with Lemon Butter
- Easy Green Pesto Shrimp Skewers over Spring Pea and Asparagus Risotto
- Pistachio Ice Cream Sandwiches