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Sunshine State Christmas 2014

30 Dec

I’m back from a warm and plenty Christmas holiday vacation in my homeland, Florida. Four fast nights were spent with friends and family plus a gracious amount of fresh seafood, citrus and delight. Gag gifts, small dogs and cocktails amused the small moments between catching up on a year’s time of weddings, graduations, vacations, achievements and television shows.

Christmas morning included my grandfather’s traditional Brandy Alexander – just a third each of brandy, creme de cocoa and heavy cream served in thimble sized servings by the Christmas tree and occasional fire (it’s Florida after all). That drink reminds me of my great grandmother’s favorite bourbon, Four Roses, served straight or with holiday eggnog. Two eggs, a dash of vanilla, 3 heaps of sugar, 2ish cups of cream blended with a nice helping of Four Roses will cozy you in any state. Don’t forget the nutmeg garnish. Finally, nothing beats my favorite winter drink – the greyhound. Fresh grapefruit juice with a splash of vodka will cure any winter blues. I pick grapefruit like a sport for these cocktails. Try Crystal Head Vodka the next time you’re in the ABC – the bottle alone will make you giggle.

Shrimp, oysters and Florida lobster paired well with just about anything this Christmas. I hope your holiday was full of new and old tradition. And, you’re looking towards a new bright 2015. Cheers!

A weekend in Austin

27 Oct


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I’m in route back to North Carolina after a wonderful weekend full of adventure and love in Austin, Texas. Many members of my family and childhood friends traveled from coasts and mountains to meet up and celebrate the nuptials of my cousin Callie and partner Eli. Eli has been considered a part of the Thompson family for many of years but the opportunity to celebrate their love and commitment was a special day that we’ve all have been looking forward to. The wedding was a perfect reflection of their style, humor, artistic nature and family traditions combined. I’m so glad I was able to share the day with them.

The weekend also provided time to catch up with childhood friends, celebrate my grandfather’s belated 90th birthday and explore Austin! Of course, it was a weekend of much eating – Torchy’s Taco Truck, Salt Lick BBQ, Jester King Brewery, brunch at Lamberts, an incredible wedding dinner from East Side King and a final most amazing Thai dinner at Sway. I’d recommend all of them if you visit. And, of course I have a list of places I’d love to try next time.

We all went crazy for the brussel sprouts from East Side King at the wedding. They were packed with flavor, herbs and spicy jalapeños. I was lucky enough to find the recipe online (see below) and I can’t wait to attempt to recreate them at home.

Fried Brussels Sprouts (East Side King)

1 cup sweet chili sauce, preferably Mae Ploy brand
1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
4 Thai chiles, minced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound brussels sprouts, quartered
1/2 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
1/2 cup thinly sliced green cabbage
1/4 cup alfalfa sprouts
1/4 cup thinly sliced onion
1 large jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced
1/8 cup torn fresh mint leaves
1/8 cup torn fresh cilantro leaves
1/8 cup torn fresh basil leaves

Fried Brussels Sprouts. Photo (c) Angie Mosier
1. Place the chili sauce, vinegar, garlic, and Thai chiles in a small mixing bowl. Mix well and set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the brussels sprouts and cook them until the cores of the sprouts are approaching golden brown and the edges are caramelized, about 1 1/2 minutes.

3. Toss the red and green cabbage, alfalfa sprouts, onion, and jalapeño in a large mixing bowl. Add the brussels sprouts and the chili sauce mixture. Season with salt to taste and garnish with the mint, cilantro, and basil.

Special Event at The Fresh Market!

22 Jan



My local partner in all love of food, The Fresh Market, is sponsoring avery exciting conference in Greensboro! We are so lucky to have the headquarters of the corporation here in our hometown — and even more lucky that they are so generous to the community. The Atlantic World Foodways 2014 Conference is in Greensboro and partnering with UNCG, Quaintance Weaver and the The Fresh Market. They are bringing some super stars in the food scene to Greensboro and you can meet them! And learn and dine throughout the week!

I am personally looking forward to meeting Sean Brock of Husk in Charleston. Check out all the opportunities below. Maybe I will see you Saturday at the wine & cheese event at The Fresh Market?!?


A stop by Savory Spice Shop!

22 Jan

By the third week in January, odds are you’ve already dropped your New Year’s Resolution. Unless you made up your own “cleanse” like I did – the main staple being turkey pastrami sandwiches and potato chips at First Carolina Deli.  Such balanced meals make up the most effective cleanses.

But, if you are one of the few still sticking to the most popular new year’s resolution of eating healthier, Greensboro’s Savory Spice Shop can provide ideas for cutting the fat and adding flavor with spice this season.  Just over two years ago, Greensboro was one of the many cities across the nation chosen to for the Savory Spice Shop expansion. Local owners Clayton and Cindy Kyle opened a franchise of the Denver, Colorado based company in Greensboro’s Friendly Center.  The duo, plus store manager Ashley Stricker have been assisting Greensboro food lovers in providing healthy alternatives and creative nutritional cooking for spicing up their diets since.

While the holiday season is a particularly popular time to use spices, it’s the New Year’s Cleanse that get the team at Savory Spice Shop concocting their best potions. This January they have already had a variety of new customers looking for unique spices recommended by their doctors.  The Savory Spice team has even had a customer in recovery from a heart attack come straight from the hospital looking for salt-free spices!  The spices are a great way to add flavor without salt or fat.

Those looking for renewal in 2014 need to look no further. The store has 400 spices to choose from. They are versatile, most are gluten free and many salt-free. Spices at the store can be purchased by the ounce or bottleRevamp your diet with these super spices!

Medicinal herbs are among our oldest medicines. Disclaimer: No doctor was consulted in the writing of this post! 

  • The traditional Indian spice, tumeric,  has recently become popular due to recent studies indicating it is a powerful antioxidant. Add it to your roasted vegetables for an unique kick and vibrant color.
  • With five varieties of cinnamon available at Savory Spice Shop, you have plenty to work with for treating muscle spasms. While cinnamon is most popular in sweet decadent treats, experiment with the spice for savory dishes like lamb tagine or Bolognese sauces.
  • Good news, cocoa may just lower the likelihood of heart attack. Research shows cardiovascular improvements, blood pressure, Save this excuse for your sweetheart this coming Valentine’s Day.
  • Kick start your metabolism with a varieties of spicy chilies. Capsaicin, the compound in many chilies, may increase the metabolic rate, which aids in the fat burning process. Try some chilies in your hot chocolate for a double dose of heart improvement!
  •  Tummy troubles? Try caraway and ginger in drinks and dishes for better digestion.
  • Oregano may have more antioxidants than fresh spinach! That Italian dish may be more healthy than you thought!

If you are interested in learning more about cooking with spices, try one of Savory Spice Shops Cooking Classes or Private Tasting Parties! They are covering everything from  curries, vegan cooking, chocolates and varieties of salt.  Or, get some spices and start experimenting in your home kitchen.

Tis the Season for Knife Sharpening

22 Nov



It’s become a tradition for my folks to visit Mendenhall for the Thanksgiving Holiday. It is always a treat to have them in Greensboro and cooking in my kitchen. But, it is also “tradition” of sorts for my Dad to comment about my knives. They are never sharp enough but I tend to deal with their dullness far more than I should (I’m trying not to compare this to other things in my life!). But, not this year!

My dear friend Garland at Massey Creek Farms is starting to offer knife sharpening  as an offshoot of their meat business! It’s different than the standard procedure too. He sharpens by hand to prevent overheating the
blade and destroying the properties of the steel. Believe me, it is good work. I took mine in this week and I’m totally tuned up for Thanksgiving!

Here are the details: Drop off your knives at the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market, at the Massey Creek Farms table and they will be ready for pick up the following market day. He charges by the inch 4″ and under $1/inch, over 4″ $.75/inch. Damaged knives needing extensive work are extra and he does not sharpen serated knives.


A Bagel Blessing!

20 Nov



People are buzzing about bagels.

“There is a REAL bagel place in Greensboro again!!” Wendy Lavine says on Facebook. “My prayers have been answered,” Alex Stanley says in response. The word is out. Greensboro has been blessed with an independent bagel shop.

New Garden Bagels, at 1577-D New Garden Road, has been busy baking its signature Greensboro bagels since the doors opened Oct. 1. Ed Boniberger, the owner and head baker, is the person behind the magic.

Boniberger is a native of Long Island, N.Y., a commercial engineer, a 20-year veteran and first lieutenant in the National Guard, and — if that weren’t enough — a small-business owner with a passion for producing quality bagels. Boniberger is a Yankee with almost no Southern twang. He’s modest and straightforward — just like the sign announcing

“BAGELS” in front of the shop. He is exactly who we want making our bagels. Boniberger started working cleanup at Boss Bagels on Long Island when he was just 15 years old. During the next six years, he circulated through every job in the shop and learned the secrets to making the classic New York bagel.

Like many New Yorkers, Boniberger grew up believing the legend that there is something in the water that makes New York City bagels so classically good. But, after recipe testing with Greensboro tap water and his wife’s stand-up mixer in their Winston-Salem kitchen, he proved the legend to be myth. He believes that, with a couple of recipe adjustments for color, density and texture, his New Garden bagel stands up to the New York bagel. He may be right; his biggest clientele are New York transplants and Greensboro’s Jewish community. His store has already been kosher certified by Rabbi Eliezer Havivi.

A lot of hard work went into opening the business. Boniberger knew his business required more than a good bagel. Boniberger spent considerable time doing market research before opening. The key factor in his investment was the market availability in Greensboro. He wants to grow the business without undercutting any competition.

Boniberger is used to being up at “zero-dark-hundred” as he starts making bagels every day at 4:20 a.m. Bagels are made daily, and a variety of flavored cream cheese spreads are also made on site. New Garden Bagels produces 25 to 50 dozen bagels a day.

Although the store is open from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, if you get there before 6, Boniberger would be happy to let you in. They store will be open from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. Thanksgiving/Hanukkah and Christmas Day.

New Garden Bagels sells about 20 varieties of bagels and homemade bialys. Bagels range from the classic varieties of plain, everything, and sesame seed to cinnamon raisin, plus new recipes like asiago cheese, tomato basil and more. They are experimenting with a Black Russian (pumpernickel with raisins), apple walnuts and braids.


‘It’s a Cookie Dynasty’

23 Oct

In a small 700-square-foot bakery in the back of the Khalif Event Center on East Wendover Avenue, the Crescent Cookie Co. is in full operation.

Their powdered-sugar-covered shortbread cookie may look like another church cookie or Mexican Wedding cookie to you, but their secret is in the family recipe passed down through generations. The recipe is from company creator Laura Smith’s Syrian background. She first made the recipe in her Grandma Virginia Mastry’s kitchen as a child. The entire operation at Crescent Cookie Co. is a family affair.

Smith’s mother, Tipe Payne, compares the company to the popular television reality show “Duck Dynasty.” “It’s a cookie dynasty,” she says.

Smith started the company in 2011 when she was encouraged by her friends and family to sell her cookies beyond her catering gigs. She got support and encouragement from another food entrepreneur, Cheryl Barnett of My Three Sons Pimento Cheese.

Smith started the business in Barnett’s certified bakery in her backyard guest house. And, it was Barnett who took a sample of the Crescent cookies to Whole Foods in Winston-Salem. They quickly accepted the cookie in their store, and the business began to boom. With the local Whole Foods stores selling Crescent cookies, Smith searched for a larger bakery space. Smith, like many local start bakers, was challenged to find a space that could support her. Greensboro doesn’t have a community kitchen to encourage growth in the local, entrepreneurial food producing economy. After a long search, they landed at the event center on Wendover Avenue, which was their happiest moment along the way.

When the business began to “get serious,” Smith reached out to a team to support her next steps. “It’s the most unlikely group of bakers,” Smith says. The core baking team is make up Smith’s parents, Tibe and Tom Payne, and friend Traci Oliver.

While Tom — wearing a “master sous chef” apron — cranked out cookies, he admitted none of the staff had prior baking experience. Laura’s mother, Tipe, claimed Tom had never made a sandwich.

Smith is a perfectionist, creative and a baker. Tom, a retired manufacturing manager at VF Corp., wants the operation to work faster. Accepting the demands of the grocery industry is the company’s greatest challenge.

“Here, you don’t spend much time on a business plan,” Tom says.

The baking process is labor-intensive because Smith insists on maintaining the handmade process. This includes a double dusting and dipping in powdered sugar, of which the bakery averages about 120 pounds per week. The traditional Middle Eastern recipe includes basic ingredients of flour, butter and sugar. Crescent cookies gets creative with the recipe, making a variety of flavors including Traditional Pecan, Chocolate Chip, Lemon White Chocolate and a seasonal Harvest Spice.

Crescent cookies are sold in packages and by the pound at eight Whole Foods stores and specialty shops across the state.

Smith insists the cookies aren’t just for holidays, though she anticipates a business increase of about 60 percent during the holiday season. Check them out for your next family affair.

Homemade Pasta Making with The Fresh Market

17 Oct


Hey Strangers! I’m back after a crazy couple of days putting on the Pop Up Dinner downtown at Crafted and hosting my Off Mendenhall Pasta Making Class at the Edible Schoolyard! It was exhausting but extremely fun and fulfilling to meet and eat with so many new friends.

On Tuesday night, I worked with a small group of chefs inside the teaching kitchen at the Greensboro Children’s Museum Edible Schoolyard. We cranked out tons of homemade pasta dough and then enjoyed a big meal of salad, pasta with two ragu sauces and tiramisu under the barn with the views of Downtown Greensboro. Their barn is one of the most magical places in downtown. I couldn’t have pulled the event off without the help of my great sponsor, The Fresh Market! They are an amazingly supportive team for all things culinary in Greensboro. We are so lucky that they call Greensboro home.

Here is the recipe we used for our homemade pasta. I’ll follow up with more photos from class and the recipes we enjoyed! Stay tuned!

Homemade Pasta 

  • 3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 4 extra-large eggs
  • water

Add flour and eggs into a food processor and pulse under combined. Add water slowly while pulsing until the dough makes a ball.

Mound the dough on a clean kitchen counter or cutting board. Knead the dough with your hands – add more flour if the dough is too sticky.

The dough should be elastic and a little sticky. Continue to knead for another 3 minutes, remembering to dust your board with flour when necessary. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and set aside for 20 minutes at room temperature. Roll and form as desired.

Note: Do not skip the kneading or resting portion of this recipe, they are essential for a light pasta

3rd Annual Triad Local First Community Table

7 Oct




Last night was the 3rd Annual Triad Local First Community Table. It is always a beautiful evening at a different charming location. This year, the dinner was hosted at Shooting Star Farm and it was another magical setting for friends, food and community. Check out more of my photos on my Facebook page. 

And, if you feel like you’ve missed out, it’s not too late! Triad Local First honored my friend, Kristina Fuller of Crafted in Downtown Greensboro, for her work in the community. Kristina is donating her time for another Pop Up Community Dinner on February One place this Sunday! We’ll have an inspiring menu, beautiful lighting, interactive projections, music from Molly McGinn’s Wurlitzer Prize, Natty Greene’s brews, many new and old friends – and more! Check out the event and buy your ticket online by Wednesday! Details and tickets here! 







Community Table(s) Events to Attend!

1 Oct

community-table-slideshow_0Triad Local First is hosting their 3rd annual Community Table event this Sunday, October 6th from 4 to 6pm at Shooting Star Horse Farm in Pleasant Garden. This is another one of my favorite events of the year. They always put on a spectacular afternoon full of Fall food, friends and amazing views and surprises.  My friends at 1618 Concepts are doing the food – and I just can’t wait! Buy tickets here:

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And, the NEXT weekend, on Sunday, October 13th from 5:30 to 8pm,  is an urban version of the same idea! A community table in Downtown Greensboro! My friend Kristina Fuller, chef at Crafted, is curating a menu with inspiration from Greensboro’s immigrant community. It’s going to be creative food, with a unique setting downtown on February One place. More information and tickets are available at:

See you there!


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