Monday, January 31, 2011
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Monday, January 24, 2011
- Cooking Uptown classes fill up fast, so they announce them early. The April schedule kicks off knife skills on April 2, and the month continues through "Spring in France" on April 30. Prices and times vary; go to http://www.cookinguptown.com/ or call 704-333-7300. Cooking Uptown is at 1707 E. 7th St. in Charlotte.
- For all of you have been asking for hands-on cooking classes for kids, Cooking Uptown is going to offer them for the first time this summer. The classes will be $195 for four days and include a chef hat, apron, take-home booklet of recipes and an awards ceremony at the end. The web site and number are above.
- "Forks Over Knives," a documentary on the health issues involved with a diet of an animal- and processed food-based diet, opens nationwide in March, but there will be an early screening in Charlotte at 4:30 p.m. Feb. 5 at the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, 920 N. Sharon Amity. Tickets and details: www.forksoverknifes.com/screenings.
- Chef Carrie Leonard of Johnson & Wales University's Charlotte campus, will teach a 12-class series of videos on classical culinary techniques that will be available on Time Warner Cable's Video on Demand channel. The series is free and available on the Carolina On Demand channels, 199 or 1047.
- You've heard of an open house. The Inn at Celebrity Dairy is having an Open Barn from noon to 5 p.m. Feb. 12 and 13 and March 12 and 13. If you feel like taking the easy drive to Siler City, you can buy lunch and goat cheese and see the goats. $10 donations for Heifer Foundation International are requested but not required. Details and directions: http://www.celebritydairy.com/ or 919-742-5176.
- Oh, and one more I should mention: I'll be a guess on Tuesday, WFAE's "Charlotte Talks" on the subject of food in the New South. Turn in at 9 a.m.
Friday, January 21, 2011
The first Good Food Awards kicked off last week in San Francisco, with Alice Waters and thousands of food fans in attendance at the Ferry Plaza Building. The Good Food Awards Seal was awarded to 71 artisan or small-batch products from 26 states. The seal recognizes contributions toward "a more tasty, authentic and responsible food system in urban and rural communities throughout the nation."
There were a sprinkling of winners from the Carolinas in the seven categories. Surprisingly, there were no home-states winners in the beer, cheese and chocolate categories (we have some mighty good contenders in all three). And most of the winners were clustered in the Triangle - maybe next year we'll see some well-deserved attention for producers in the mountains and the Piedmont. But we had winners in charcuterie, coffee, pickles and preserves:
- Cypressata from Cypress restaurant, Charleston.
- Sweet potato liverwurst, from Weeping Radish Farm Brewery, Grandy. (I haven't seen the liverwurst locally, but Weeping Radish hot dogs and a few other things are sold by Gilcrest Natural Farms at the Charlotte Regional Farmer's Market.)
- El Aguacate, from Carrboro Coffee Co., Carrboro.
- Finca Kilimanjaro, Counter Culture Coffee, Durham. (Counter Culture has an office and does tastings in Charlotte, and many of its coffees are available at Earth Fare markets.)
- Spicy Green Tomato, from the Farmer's Daughter, Carrboro.
- Bourbon'd Figs, from Farmer's Daughter, Carrboro.
For details, including information on who's behind the awards and Good Food Month, go to www.goodfoodmonth.org.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Food writer Francis Lam did a tasting of ginger ales and ginger beers and weighed in on Carolinas-based Blenheim's:
"It's like drinking pins and needles. Like drinking down a sneeze. The flare goes back up your throat, through your nose, and for a moment, you are breathing Godzilla's nuclear blast. OK, that's probably overstating it, but if, like, Godzilla had a pilot light for his nuclear breath."
And he meant that in a good way. I'm with you, Francis. And I can tell you that Blenheim's Old No. 3 is a great mixer with bourbon. Makes a high ball that will keep you warm all winter.
One more thing Poppy's has that keeps me stopping in: Rippner's mother, Georgeanna. A native of Hungary, she came down from New York to open the shop. She spots the regulars quickly and chats with everybody. It's like stopping by 28th Street for portable breakfast while I'm driving to Stonewall and Tryon.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Jan Norris, former food editor at the Palm Beach Post who now has an active and creative food writer online, posted a good piece this morning with common-sense advise on dieting.
Among other things, she shares points on why not all diets work for all people. She also includes smart pictures illustrating key points about portion control. It's good reading here.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Read the full list
Not together, of course. My colleague Andrea Weigl is working on a couple of stories and she could use good people. I'll let her explain them both:
- Are you the ultimate Super Bowl host or hostess? We'd love your advice on throwing a stress-free Super Bowl party - meating you actually get to enjoy the game because you get everything ready before kickoff. Send your tips and recipes to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include "Super Bowl" in the subject line.
- Andrea also is looking for tips on how to avoid wasting food. Are you a master at turning leftovers and leftover ingredients into amazing meals? Have you found a way to make sure you only buy what you need? Send your tips and ideas to email@example.com. Please include "food waste" in the subject line.
Thanks, folks. We get the very best ideas and recipes from all of you. That's what keeps this job fun.
Monday, January 17, 2011
Down economies are apparently good for something. The number of daily family meals eaten at home has made a significant jump, from 52 percent of meals in 2003 to 73 percent in 2010, according to a survey by the American Dietetic Association Foundation.
Among kids surveyed -- the ADA polled 1,193 pairs of parents and children ages 8 to 17 -- 63 percent of Hispanics, 56 percent of African-Americans and 51 percent of Caucasians reported their families eat at fast-food or sit-down restaurants less than once a week or never, according to a report on the survey in the Chicago Tribune.
Not all the news is good, though: 42 percent of Hispanic and Caucasian children and 59 percent of African-American children report sometimes missing breakfast. And just over half the kids reported snacking after school and 24 to 26 report snacking in the evening. Not that snacking is all bad, but health experts say what kids eat as snacks usually isn't as healthy as what they eat in a meal.
Still, 21 percent more meals are being eaten at home? I'd put that in the "whoo-hoo" category if even some of those meals are being cooked at home from fresh foods instead of being picked up from a drive-through on the way home.
Friday, January 14, 2011
Fans of Bill Dietz' truffles at the Secret Chocolatier won't have to search for him just at local farmers' markets soon. Andy Cordia, Dietz' son-in-law, has announced that the family has signed a lease at Providence Plaza, at Providence and Sharon Amity, to open a retail shop this spring.
The plan is to be open in time for Easter and Passover.
Robin Cordia, Dietz' daughter and a co-owner of the business, says they won't drop their farmer's market booths.
"Our farmers market customers were a bit worried when they learned we were setting up shop, but why would we drop the markets? We love being a part of the spirit at Atherton Mills and Market, Matthews Farmers Market and the farmers market at Yorkmont."
When the shop is open, hours are expected to be 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
The holidays are over, but I'm still getting suggestions for quick and simple party appetizers. Good thing - we still have Super Bowl parties, tailgates and potlucks ahead. Here are few more to add to your list (the recipes are at the end). Look down the list for the rest that people sent in:
- Sharon Berry sent two, Baked Fruit and Black Bean Salsa Dip that she had just taken in a neighborhood party when she saw my column.
- Eileen Woodward sent a copy of the classic Ro-Tel tomato and sausage dip, this one made with cream cheese instead of Velveeta.
- Kathy Clarke sent three: Cranberry Cheese Ball, Hot Artichoke Dip and Fruit Pizza.
- Linda Burcham sent an appetizer made with one of my favorite ingredients, canned hearts of palm.
Thanks to you all.
Hearts of Palm Dip
1 (14.25-ounce) can hearts of palm, drained and chopped
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 cup chopped green onion
1/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 small clove garlic, pressed
PREHEAT oven to 350 degrees. Grease a glass or Pyrex pie pan or Corning round or oval dish.
MIX all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Spread in chosen dish or pan. Bake 20 minutes or until light brown and bubbly. Serve with crackers, Melba toast round or flatbread crackers.
Cranberry Cheese Ball
1 1/2 (8-ounce) blocks cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup dried cranberries
Chopped pecans (no amount specified; I'd try 1/2 cup plus about 1/2 cup for coating the ball)
COMBINE cream cheese, powdered sugar, cranberries and chopped pecans. Roll into a ball or log shape. Roll in more chopped pecans. Serve with crackers, preferably Wheat Thins.
Hot Artichoke Dip
2 to 3 jars artichoke hearts, drained well
1 to 2 blocks cream cheese or goat cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Garlic salt, lemon pepper or other favorite spices.
MASH drained artichokes with a potato masher. Add other ingredients and mix well. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until just beginning to brown on top. Serve with hot, crusty bread.
2 packages sugar cookie dough
1/2 to 3/4 cup powdered sugar
Colorful fresh fruit, cut into bite-size pieces
About 1/2 cup flaked coconut
SPREAD cookie dough on a pizza pan or cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. Cool about 10 minutes. Mix cream cheese with powdered sugar and spread over baked crust. DECORATE with fruit, such as kiwi, raspberries, Mandarin orange slices, strawberries, pineapple tidbits and grapes. Sprinkle with flaked coconut and chill several hours before serving.
Ro-Tel Sausage Dip
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese
1 pound bulk sausage, browned and drained
1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes
COMBINE and heat together, then serve with scoop-shaped tortilla chips.
Black Bean Salsa Dip
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
12 ounces chunky salsa
4 ounces grated Mexican cheese
COMBINE beans and salsa in a serving bowl. Microwave at 50% power for 5 minutes. Stir and microwave again until warm. Top with cheese and microwave on low power until cheese melts. Serve with tortilla chips or Fritos Scoops.
1 can each peaches, pears, pineapple and apricots, cut in similar-size pieces, drained (reserve 1/2 cup juice)
1 can cherry pie filling
Cinnamon if desired
COMBINE fruits, pie filling and reserved juice in a rectangular baking dish. Sprinkle with cinnamon for the holidays. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve warm or cold.