LaRue – A great addition to Greensboro dining

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Sitting here on a cloudy afternoon, bored and with no one to talk to but my cat, I can’t help but think about last night’s meal. Another blogger friend and I were invited to a special preview of the new LaRue restaurant opening in downtown Greensboro on Monday, March 23.

It’s a small French restaurant right across from the Carolina Theatre, and it’s owned and operated by a very passionate Chef. Trey Bell’s passion shows through in his staff and especially the food. The staff was involved in the prepping of the space, and it’s very evident they all have a great source of pride in LaRue. I find that very charming about this place. The use of reclaimed wood all throughout the restaurant on the walls, the handmade bar and top (that was all created or made by the staff) really brings this restaurant together and shows it can fit in with the trendy downtown crowd.

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When you first arrive, they have you sign in on an old typewriter (the owner loves his antiques, but mainly typewriters). I’ll admit it, it’s been a long time since I’ve touched a typewriter, so I had to ask for assistance. Next time I’ll know (because there will be a next time).

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We were seated at the bar, which is pretty much like a Chef’s Table. We could sit and watch as food was finished and sent off to other guests. It was fun being in the middle of the action and talking to the chefs.

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Did I mention the retractable heat lamps??? Those should be in every kitchen!

We decided to order three of the four small plates…

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Marrow Butter was first up – house made cultured butter, bone marrow, and epi bread. The bread is brought in from Loaf Bakery, and it’s Trey’s actual recipe/creation.  The bread was prefect with a chewy outside and soft on the inside. $6

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Pigs in a Blanket was next – while it’s not my traditional Southern experience of Pigs in a Blanket, it was extremely tasty. The Chinese sausage wrapped in phyllo was spot on delicious with the mustard seed caviar. $6

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Next was the Duck, Duck, Duck – foie gras, duck confit and duck jerky went perfectly again with the bread. This was a first for me to have foie gras, and I must say that I quite enjoyed it! It went well with the butteriness of the confit. Duck jerky, where have you been all my life? $12

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We switched to main courses and chose the Cassoulet as one of our dishes. The pork belly paired well with the duck breast and white beans. We asked Chef for a suggestion of a sauce for the dish, and they whipped us up a sauce from scratch that was beyond what we expected. That says a lot about this place when they are willing to accommodate.

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The other course we chose was Spottail Bass – it came with romesco, wild onion and root greens. My friend is allergic to nuts, so the romesco was served on the side and not pictured. Trust me when I say it was phenomenal with the bass.

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We both enjoyed selections from a large wine and beer menu. It had all bases covered, even though this is a small restaurant. There’s no way you couldn’t find something to pair with your meal.

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Instead of dessert, we ended with a beautiful and delicious cheese plate. All three of the cheeses were accompanied perfectly with the peach, nectarines, and dried fruits.

This was truly a pleasurable experience dining out that I haven’t had in a while around town. The prices were right for the quality and quantity, and I can’t encourage enough to try this new gem. Most importantly, it’s nice to see fresh faces, fresh passion, and fresh ideas downtown. I can’t wait to go back!

Visit LaRue at 313 S. Greene St. in Greensboro, NC starting Monday, March 23rd!

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Changing the way we cook: Dialysis friendly recipes

20131128_121551What a crazy month it’s been!  Four weeks ago tomorrow, Maw-Maw was first admitted to the hospital for kidney failure and a myriad of other things.  Two weeks before that approximately she had a pretty bad fall, and that started the downhill roll for her kidneys.  Between work, home, and hospital (or rehab center for 4 days) we’re all exhausted and ready for a break.  

Good news is that she came home Friday – hopefully for good now.  All of us are tired of hospitals to be perfectly honest. 

The bad news….

She is now on permanent Dialysis.

We’re a family that eats together a LOT.  I grew up around the dinner table and have wonderful memories of everyone being together with a warm meal.  Chicken Pie, Roasts, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, brownies, cakes, pies, etc.  We always had a delicious meal.  Well, times have changed a bit.  With Maw-Maw’s dietary restrictions, we really have to think outside the box.  Things that were once second nature to throw together for a decent meal, now have to be prepared special ways, or have many normal foods that we cook with excluded.  Needless to say, it’s been a challenge.  But, it’s a challenge we’ve all accepted and are determined to conquer! 

We’ve been looking at this site, http://www.davita.com/recipes/.  It’s been able to provide us lots of recipes and ideas for meals that Maw-Maw can enjoy.  Below are a few that I have found tasty.  If I made any substitutions, I listed them in parenthesis.  I’ve also linked each recipe from the actual site if you want to read other people’s comments and suggestions.

As a whole of any situation we’re handed, we have a choice.  We can lie down and pity ourselves and feel like life is over as we know it, or we can pick ourselves up by our boot straps and make the most of it.  In the end of this hurdle, it’s not really bad news.  If only for the simple reason, that she IS able to do Dialysis and continue living with us. 

One person’s health may impact the entire family with holiday meals and all, but it takes that entire family’s support to help one person’s health.  We do what we have to do, and we do it out of love in this family.  Love of one another, and love of our time spent together.

 

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 All-American Meatloaf

These were actually really tasty when I made them in the Muffin pans.  This was one of our  items we had in the hospital on Thanksgiving.  The review from the patient was that they would be best served fresh.  Unfortunately, hospitals don’t just have microwaves near the rooms.  *smiles*  Unfortunately, we ate these before I could snap a photo.  *wink*

Ingredients

    • nonstick cooking spray or oil to grease pan
    • 1 pound lean ground beef (10% fat)
    • 1 egg (I used Egg Substitute)
    • 20 squares saltine-type crackers, unsalted tops, finely crushed
    • 2 tablespoons onion, finely chopped  (I used minced onion)
    • 2 tablespoons liquid nondairy creamer  (Coffeemate)
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 1/3 cup catsup  (no-Salt added)
    • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
    • 1 teaspoon milk (Coffeemate)

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Coat a loaf pan lightly with nonstick cooking spray or oil (I used a muffin tin to make mini meat loafs since I was carrying them to the hospital for us to eat there on Thanksgiving.)
  3. In large bowl, combine ground beef, egg, finely crushed crackers, onion, nondairy creamer and black pepper. Mix well.
  4. Form into a loaf and place in loaf pan. Bake for 40 minutes.
  5. To make topping sauce, mix catsup, brown sugar, vinegar and milk in a small bowl.
  6. Remove cooked meatloaf from oven and cover with sauce.
  7. Return pan to oven and bake for 10 additional minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160° F.
  8. Slice into 6 portions before serving.

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Soft Ginger Cookies

THESE ARE AMAZING!!!  I didn’t change a single thing about the below recipe.  Not being a huge molasses fan, I was surprised I loved these so much.  They were good for a few days after, but were honestly best the first and second day.20131128_094120

Ingredients

    • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose white flour
    • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 3/4 cup butter 
    • 1-1/8 cups granulated sugar(divided use)
    • 1/4 cup liquid low cholesterol egg substitute
    • 1/4 cup molasses

Preparation

    1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
    2. In a medium bowl combine the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon and cloves. Set aside.
    3. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Beat in 1 cup sugar.
    4. Add liquid egg substitute and molasses; beat well.
    5. Stir flour mixture into egg mixture.
    6. Shape dough into 1-1/2″ balls, using about 1 heaping tablespoon of dough for each.
    7. Roll balls in the remaining sugar to coat.
    8. Place balls about 2-1/2″ apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
    9. Bake for 10 minutes or until light brown and still puffed. (Do not over bake.)
    10. Cool cookies on cookie sheet for 2 minutes then transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.

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Cranberry  Muffins

I’ll be honest…these were ok.  Just ok.  The flavor was spot on, but instead of using sugar, I used Splenda.  That may have impacted how bad they stuck to the muffin liners.

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Ingredients

    • 1-3/4 cups + 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 7 tablespoons sugar 
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 egg, beaten
    • 3/4  cup cranapple juice
    • 1/4  cup cooking oil
    • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries coarsely chopped

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Grease twelve 2-1/2″ muffin cups or line with baking cups; set aside.
  2. To prepare streusel topping, combine 3 tablespoons of the flour, brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Cut in 2 tablespoons butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs; set aside.
  3. To prepare muffins, combine remaining flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture; set aside.
  4. In another bowl whisk egg, juice and oil together. Pour egg mixture all at once into flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold in chopped cranberries.
  5. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Sprinkle streusel topping over muffin batter in cups. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden and a wooden toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. 
  6. Cool in muffin cups on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove from muffin cups; serve warm. 

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Pancakes

That’s right….I said Pancakes.  These were absolutely perfectly fluffy and tasty!  I ended up with a  VERY happy Maw-Maw this morning for breakfast, and I was quite pleased myself.  Don’t be alarmed at allowing your milk to sour with the vinegar.  It was easy.  *smiles*

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose white flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups 1% low-fat milk
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil

Preparation

  1. Make sour milk: add 1 tablespoon vinegar to 2 cups milk. Let sit for about 5 minutes until soured.
  2. Sift flour; add baking soda, salt and sugar.
  3. Beat eggs with mixer until fluffy. Combine with “sour” milk and oil.
  4. Add dry ingredients and beat until smooth.
  5. Cook on a hot griddle or heated frying pan, greased with nonstick cooking spray until bubbly. Turn only once for fluffy, light pancakes.

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My 10 Flavors I Love in Alamance County and Beyond

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This was the February 2013 article published in Alamance Magazine. I’m sorry I haven’t been around much. I’ve began a new job since the last time I posted, and I also closed my right hand index finger in my car door. It was broken and horribly swollen. That hasn’t made it very easy to type, hence me being missing in action. So my apologies. I hope this makes up for it though…*smiles*. Love to you all!

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Time and time again I find myself longing for some of my favorite flavors as I drive through the area. It wasn’t too long ago that I can remember not having all of these wonderful dining options. However, through growth of our county, I am extremely proud that we have grown as a community that fosters different types of culinary delights. Now, I haven’t explored everything we have to offer around our area. So, when I think of the flavors I love in Alamance County and beyond, I am drawn back to many childhood memories and places and people I hold dear to my heart. After I made my list, I took note of what I had listed. In the end, the flavors all ended up being at places where good people work and give back to our community. Those are the places that deserve our patronage, and I’m honored to share them all with you. Who knows? Maybe you’ll see one of your favorite flavors listed as well. I encourage you to savor life and try every last one of them.

  1. The Souvlaki at Skid’s Diner on Church Street is absolutely one of my favorite flavors here. Maw-Maw and I always have excellent service from Todd, and he always knows I like grilled onions on my Pork Souvlaki. Souvlaki and amazing service always make me smile.
  2. I grew up on visits to Tasty Bakery where the Chocolate Pie quickly became a favorite of mine. It is the closest to our family’s tried and true Chocolate Pie recipe. Even better…this little personal Chocolate Pie is only $1.59, and they have them all the time. It’s perfection in the form of a pie.
  3. There isn’t much that compares to the Apple Jack sauce at Blue Ribbon. It’s good on everything in their restaurant, especially the grilled chicken. I’m ashamed to admit that I could almost drink it out of a glass. It’s sweet, tangy, and mustard like taste makes it the best dipping sauce around!
  4. When the strawberries come in at Iseley Farms, I can’t help but start thinking of all of the recipes to make with them! One of my favorites is a Strawberry Pretzel Salad. Jane Iseley’s strawberries are perfect for every dish since they always have the sweetest flavor one expects from a well grown strawberry.
  5. If you like pickles, then you will love the Rusted Bucket Shot at the Rusted Bucket Tavern in downtown Burlington. I picked this as one of my favorite flavors not only because I like pickles, but because it was so creative. In an effort to not waste all of the pickle juice left behind from pickles served at the bar, Angie, the owner, decided to serve a combination shot of whiskey followed up immediately with a shot of pickle juice. It’s definitely worth the try! Trust me.
  6. The pizza dough at Vesuvio’s Pizza is another favorite of mine. The dough for their mouth-watering pizzas is the same dough they use for the rolls served with their pasta dishes. It’s hard to find a good crust, and this has topped my list since I first tasted it.
  7. I am aware that when I say Pulled Pork BBQ in Burlington, that Delancey’s is not the first place that comes to mind. However, this is a BBQ you must have on your plate…and often! It’s juicy with just the right amount of smoke flavor, and I don’t even need to put a sauce on it. But, if you do want a sauce, the owner makes his own BBQ sauce that I hear is fantastic! It’s rare to find an equally moist and flavorful plate of BBQ. Delancey’s gets their Pulled Pork BBQ from Brookwood Farms in Siler City. Delicious!
  8. If you’re looking to indulge in something rich and creamy, I highly recommend you stop in at Six Scoops in Gibsonville. Their ice cream tops my list of any ice cream option around. Their ice cream is truly made with love, and you can’t go wrong with any flavor. I am absolutely in love with this little place and their creamy ice cream. It’s great that they serve other food now also!
  9. When I’m looking for fresh seafood to cook at home, I head to Michelle’s Kitchen in Burlington. She has a great selection of fresh fish, and the Tuna Steak she sells is hard to beat. The Tuna Steak always tastes fresh, and she has large meaty steaks with the best coloring. While I love the Tuna Steak there, it’s hard not to pick up some of the other take home meals and sweets! It’s a one stop shop of enjoyment.
  10. Baklava, Baklava, Baklava…what more can I say? When the Souvlaki Dinners come around at St. Katherine Greek Orthodox Church on Front Street, I’m almost always first in line each time to consume a piece of their treasured Baklava. Its sticky sweetness makes those particular Sundays even better, and I have yet to find a Baklava around town that compares.

Skid's II on Urbanspoon
Tasty Bakery on Urbanspoon
Blue Ribbon Diner on Urbanspoon
Vesuvio's Pizzeria on Urbanspoon
Delancy's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

The Most Wonderful Part…Mom

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Thanksgiving and Christmas have passed us now, and it’s time for a New Year already. Can you believe it? I’m not sure about you, but my last year literally flew by. There are things I could have handled differently in that year, and there are things I would do over and over again if given the chance. That’s what life is truly about. It’s about living, learning, and appreciating the gifts we are given on a daily basis.

When the New Year rolls around, I don’t normally make resolutions. I find that I’m quite rebellious when I least expect it and those resolutions quickly exit my life. Instead, I take stock of my life and all the wonderful parts of it. There’s always one part that comes to mind first though. It’s my Mom’s birthday, and she is the most wonderful part of each and every year of my life. Therefore, when I take stock, she’s first on my list.

I feel that I must share a little bit about our Mother/Daughter relationship.

Throughout all of my years (now 30 of those years), my Mom has been there for me unconditionally. Black Eyed PeasThe following are just a few examples. When our cool Southern nights would roll around, Vick’s Vapor Rub was present. I used to love Mom’s tender touch when I was sick rubbing the Vick’s on my upper chest to soothe my congestion. Sometimes on a sick day home from school, we would have cheesy mashed potatoes with chopped up ham and sliced cheese in them. It was a mild dish that I could enjoy. Mashed potatoes are very special to me because of this. There was always sight-seeing in different states when we would travel to make sure I learned about different cultures and history. We were and still are best buds. I can talk to her about absolutely anything.

She allowed me to make the mistakes I needed to in order to grow, and she was always there to pick my broken heart up off the floor and apply some “Mom Glue”. Many times she told me I could do better. Many times she told me you can’t quit a job until you have one. Many times she told me to simply and purely follow my dreams. Many times she told me to always trust in the strength that is God. Many times – many, many times – she has told me she loves me.

For a time, it was just me and Mom. And, you know what? We made it – we would go out to Arby’s and split a meal to save some money, we would have our own little celebrations at home, and we survived, as many single parents and children do.

There are countless magical memories of my Mom I could share…but, alas, there aren’t enough pages for this.

Meal Photo 4See, my Mom is a good Southern woman. Luckily for her, on her birthday, some of her favorite Southern foods make up our traditional New Year’s Day meal. We gather at my Grandmother’s home and enjoy a birthday meal for her. It always consists of turnip greens, cornbread, and the all-important black-eyed peas. I remember growing up and always being told to eat plenty of it all so I could have good luck and prosperity in the year ahead. Sadly, I grew a strong disdain for turnip greens over the year – which probably explains a lot. I make up for it though, with eating lots of black-eyed peas and cornbread! Both of these are two of my favorite Southern foods as well.

While the New Year’s Day meal is strictly Turnip Greenstraditional fare for most households, it’s a special meal for my family. I encourage you to look into all of the different versions of a “traditional” New Year’s Day meal and all of the various meanings. The one story I found the most, and enjoyed the idea of the most, was this…

“Back in the days of civil war, Union troops swept through the south, confiscating crops and livestock to use as provisions for their troops. Southerners who weren’t off fighting were left with precious little, save for peas and greens. You see, Union soldiers considered “field peas” and greens to be fit only for animal fodder. These dishes became cherished and appreciated as what saved many a family from starvation during those times and the tradition of celebrating these dishes on the New Year was born.” – Christy Jordan, www.SouthernPlate.com

Mom’s “Birthday Dinner” is deeply rooted in the Southern traditions and love – just like my Mom. My Mom loves the South. I love the South, and I love my Mom.

As I think about how to close this article for you, I can’t help but think of how many people are without a Mom like the Mom I was blessed with. Hold your Mom’s and Mother figures close. Never forget to appreciate them or tell them you love them in the year ahead and all the years to come. My Mom is magnificent. She is my inspiration. She is my shining and constant reminder of God’s love, and she is the most wonderful part of my life. Happy New Year, everyone!

~Originally published in January 2013 issue of Alamance County Magazine.

Will Cook for Foo: Week 14 – Method to the Madness and Hub’s Ham

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Maybe it’s time I tell you what goes into my Will Cook for Foo posts…

It’s very important that if this is your first one you’re reading, you MUST read the very first one in the series. You can find it by clicking here.

I’ll wait….. *smiles*

I got up this morning and looked outside. I have Cinder literally laying on my arms as I attempt to type this with multiple backspaces being used when her head rubs up against the number pad trying to be cute. It’s rainy outside, there is a lot of cooking to be done, and there are two parties to attend tonight for Halloween (so excited!). The end of October proved to be quite busy, and free time became very scarce. My apologies for not putting out too much material right now, but November doesn’t seem to be shaping up to have much free time either. But, it’s a good reason to not have free time. *big smiles* There is a 311 concert we are attending, a Saint Hooligan concert we are attending, and there’s this little band I have been writing a post for each week….maybe you’ve heard of the Foo Fighters??? Their concert is coming up in less than two weeks!!! *absolutely huge smiles* My Tillamook Cheese Uncle is flying in for Thanksgiving, and another weekend trip is planned mid-November. A very exciting November to say the least.

With all of the information, I truly hope you accept my apologies for being distant. I’m here, and I’m still cooking! I actually have tons of dishes to put up here, just haven’t had computer time to type them all up and sort through the photographs. Which leads me to the method to the madness of these Foo Fighters posts….

It all starts with a dish…with the limited amount of free time I have, when I cook something delicious, I take photographs of it in anticipation of using it on the blog shortly. Sometimes I planned the Will Cook for Foo posts out and picked specific foods to match specific songs. The busier I got in life though, the harder it was to preplan. I ended up with various dishes, and Google. I would Google things such as “peach foo fighters lyrics”, “candy foo fighters lyrics”, steak foo fighters lyrics”, “grill foo fighters lyrics”, etc. Today I found myself googling “ham foo fighters lyrics”. (Everyone that knows me understands I am a huge Foo Fighters fan, but I’m unfortunately unable to know all lyrics and all songs, and this journey has introduced me to new songs I had never heard that just reiterates how brilliant I believe they truly are.)

Since I was unable to find lyrics that mention “ham” besides a song I had already used (after 30 minutes of googling), I’m just going to wing it. This ham the hub grilled is just too good not to go ahead and share. Let’s be honest, this ham and the Foo Fighters are neck and neck for brilliancy in my book. And yes, I said he GRILLED a ham. It’s the perfect thing to do on the holidays, because you don’t have to use up your oven space. That way the sweet potato casserole, the sausage-apple stuffing, the corn pudding, the pumpkin pies, and the cream cheese mashed potatoes can all bake in peace. (Yes, Mom. That was a hint of things I want this holiday season. *smiles*)

The song I am using today comes from their newest album “Wasting Light”. I adore this album, and I especially love the first track to it… “Bridge Burning”. Letterman recently did a Live concert with the Foo Fighters and it was filmed in black and white…the footage is just perfect. You can see it below…

The perfect song to kick off a kick ass album!

The selected lyric was “Oh won’t you let me twist your fate? It’s getting kinda late but I don’t wanna wait no more.”

My Twitter update “@foofighters …Oh won’t you let me cook for you? It’s getting kinda close, and I don’t wanna wait no more.”

Find the previous “Will Cook for Foo” posts by clicking here.

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Now, let’s ham it up! *snickers* (ha! It is Halloween almost, and I do hope to get some Snickers. *hint hint*)

Hub’s Ham

Glaze:

  • 4 shallots (finely diced)
  • 2 jalapenos (finely diced)
  • 2 1/2 cups pineapple orange juice
  • 1/2 cup bourbon whiskey (He used Maker’s Mark.)
  • salt to taste

Ham:

  • uncooked or precooked (the precooked will take less time)

Directions:

  1. Preheat gas grill on medium. Turn one burner off and turn the other down to low. Depending on the size of your ham, create an aluminum foil “tray” to catch the juices through the cooking time, or use a premade foil tray. Either works just fine.
  2. The ham he used was not pre-cooked, and has to reach an internal temperature of 155, and then while resting for the next 10 minutes after cooking, should increase to 160.
  3. Prepare glaze with the ingredients listed above, and reduce (simmer) on the stove until the volume is down by half and it resembles more of a thick glaze texture instead of a juice consistency.
  4. Place ham skin side up on the tray and place on the grill side that does not have the burner on…this is referred to as cooking by indirect heat.
  5. Score the surface of the ham all over so that the glaze will be able to penetrate through the fat to the meat.
  6. “Glaze” the ham every 20 minutes or so while it’s on the grill with a basting brush (I sincerely recommend a silicone basting brush, don’t learn the hard way when you pull bristles out of your teeth).
  7. The cooking time will take approximately 2 hours. When you get to the hour and a half mark, start checking your internal temperature (next to the bone of the ham). Depending on the size of your ham, it may take more or less time. The hub recommends using the same hole to check it’s temperature every time so as not to create extra holes for the juices to run out of.
  8. After the ham is to it’s internal temperature of 155, remove it from the grill and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
  9. After that time, proceed with slicing and enjoy!

Roll that beautiful ham footage…. *smiles*

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Sundays with Friends: Did someone say Pea Salad?

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Today’s Sundays with Friends is coming to you a little differently today as well. Read on to find out how a new fan, Mark, contributed to today’s Sundays with Friends.

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Oh sure. It’s hit and miss when it comes to people enjoying little green peas. Honestly, I love them! Another confession…the hub dislikes them very much (I make them for dinner when I’m irritated with him). *devious smiles*

I recently posted on The Onyx Plate’s Facebook page, which you can find by clicking here, that I was looking for side dishes for a Cook Out we were slated to attend. (That sounds so professional… “slated to attend”.) I received a suggestion from a fan named Mark to make Pea Salad. Pea Salad? (Ha, I just thought to myself that I have everything I need to make another one today! Yay! Ok, back to the story, folks. My apologies.) First off, I knew the hub wouldn’t eat it, and frankly, I wasn’t irritated with him currently, so the devious nature wasn’t there. But, I did know that it sounded great. So, I began the process of my Pea Salad.

Mark’s comment on the status, when asked what goes in his Pea Salad, “Bacon, peas, celery, green onions, water chestnuts, sour cream, toasted pine nuts, a little salt, plenty of pepper, and just a little freshly grated Swiss cheese.” He goes on to write a couple comments down, when asked amount of Sour Cream and Peas, “Yes, 1 regular SC & 1 bag frozen peas. I also prefer pepper crust Bacon. You may want to omit the pine nuts, not everyone is a fan of them like I am.”

So, with Mark’s genius and inspiration now in my head, I proceeded to make my own version. I carried it to the Cook Out and it received amazing reviews! Keep in mind I had never made a Pea Salad before. Sure, I’ve had the peas when Maw-Maw makes her 7-Layer Salad, but nothing like this. Also, one of the men at the Cook Out said that he doesn’t like Mayonnaise, so when I advised him it was Sour Cream, he was very pleased. With this being said…on to the recipe, and thanks again, Mark!

Time to go make another one for today’s entertaining! Oh yeah…for the record…the hub loved it! Maybe I can make more Pea dishes….*snicker*.

Pea Salad

  • 1 bag of frozen green peas
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 2 green onions
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 5 pieces of crispy bacon (You could use bacon bits, but you and I both know it’s just not the same.)
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup light sour cream or more depending on how creamy you want it (You know I love a dollop of Daisy Brand.)
  • 1 tablespoon of powdered ranch dressing mix (Can use more if you want a stronger Ranch dressing flavor.)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Dice celery, green onions, red bell pepper, and crispy bacon into bite sized pieces.
  2. Combine in a bowl with the frozen peas.
  3. Stir in the powdered Ranch dressing mix and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Allow to sit for 20 to 30 minutes on the counter, covered, allowing the Peas to thaw a bit. (Yeah, I’m not sure if this helped any, but it’s what I did. Why change something if it worked perfectly the first time?) *smiles*
  5. Stir in the light sour cream and parmesan cheese.
  6. Pour into dish and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Enjoy!

***If you have any recipes you want to submit for the Sundays with Friends feature each week, please let me know! All I need is a recipe, at least one photograph of the dish, and a little short story about the recipe. You can submit it to TheOnyxPlate@gmail.com. Everyone is welcome!

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Will Cook for Foo: Week 13 – Does God use Photoshop?

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Every day I leave my house and say a prayer for God to take care of us and bring us home safely. There truly is always something about “home” that leaves one feeling warm. Home can bring many feelings though, not just warmth. However, I wish that you always feel warmth when thinking of home, never anything negative.

There are those times you need to get away from home. You need a break from your own sometimes mundane reality. A change of scenery one might commonly refer to this action as. This past weekend we had our own change of scenery.

Over the next few posts, I will be talking about our vacation and a few highlighting moments through words and photographs. I may not have recipes attached to each, so please forgive me if that is what you look forward to with each post. Know though, that there will most definitely be food mentioned in each and every post. *smiles* You know me. *wink*

It was at the point where we needed to see more than just Myrtle Beach, SC, every time we went to the beach, so we decided to get wise and head North to Virginia Beach, VA. (Queue funny photograph to match statement *smiles*)

Back in the day, many of you North Carolinians will remember that we didn’t participate in the lottery. So, sticking to old tradition (before we participated), as soon as we crossed the state line, we purchased our lottery tickets – that reminds me, I need to check our numbers.

Next, we drove by cotton field after cotton field. All I really wanted to do was get out and grab some…but, I behaved. The scenery was absolutely gorgeous. The sun was shining, and the perfect clouds were in the sky. Do you think God uses Photoshop?

During one part of our journey, the rush of being a kid was so strong I couldn’t help but let out a loud “TUNNEL!” See, tunnels bring fond memories of traveling as a little kid. I always looked forward to tunnels. They were exciting, fun, a funky dark yellow color inside from the low-wattage bulbs used.

The hotel was pretty nice, and when you step out on your balcony to see this…

Who’s going to complain???

The hotel was right on the beach and the Boardwalk. We immediately headed out on a walk and began our search for the evening’s meal. A few blocks away, we were met with this beautiful statue profile of a woman. We couldn’t help but stop to look at what we learned was the Norwegian Lady statue. (I highly encourage you to read about the Norwegian Lady by clicking here.) In short, the statue is there in memoriam to Norwegian crew members on a ship from Norway that ran aground in 1891. Virginians banded together to save the few they could. In honor of their assistance, the statue was sent from Norway, and an identical one stands facing it across the ocean in Moss, Norway. Virginia Beach, VA , and Moss, Norway, are sister cities. A beautiful story (more to it if you click the link above) of taking care of your fellow man.

The Captain lost his pregnant wife and 4 year-old child that day. He couldn’t take them home to Norway. When he was at his lowest, away from home, kind people were there to help. We should always remember to be kind to one another. You never know what the other person’s struggle is or is going to be. Or, what memory they will look back on when they are in need of a moment of joy.

It was a humbling time to reflect on in the beginning of our trip…a moment we should all think about. I longed for home at that very moment of reading their story. I longed for the familiarity, the everlasting warmth, but then remembered the change of scenery and joy that was ahead of me…a much needed break.

More to come on the vacation…

But, for now…This week’s “Will Cook for Foo” comes from Foo Fighters’ song “Home”.

The selected lyric was “Just lookin’ for shelter. From cold and the pain. Someone to cover. Safe from the rain.”

My Twitter update “@foofighters …Just lookin’ for you to let me cook for you. I’ll feed your belly and keep you safe from the rain.”

Next step for you, take a second and enjoy the song…Click here to listen to the song “Home”. (Makes me cry every time I hear it. Just touching. I love the emotion Foo Fighters put to their music.)

Find the previous “Will Cook for Foo” posts by clicking here.

Sundays with Friends: Postponed today for good reason…

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Today’s Sundays with Friends is brought to you by………..

Oh yeah, I didn’t get one together for you today…I was at Virginia Beach all weekend for some much needed rest and relaxation, and I had a lovely time.

*huge smiles*

I have soooooooooo much to share with you though! So many delicious dishes, and beautiful sights. Stay tuned!

For now…take a look at this perfectly poached egg on top of my Blue Crab Benedict at Catch 31 on Virginia Beach. There aren’t words to describe this dish….none at all….nope….nada.…(silence).

Can’t forget the amazing Cheesecake we ordered after recommendation from the Chef on the previous day’s lunch.  Yeah, so we had Cheesecake at 10:30 am before heading back home.  But, it made the drive back home so much more pleasurable.  I can’t wait to make it back to Catch 31!  Surely one of the most wonderful restaurants I have ever eaten at…atmosphere, waitstaff, Chef, and food!

Catch 31 on Urbanspoon

Will Cook for Foo: Week 12–Heartbreak and Lemon Chess Pie

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Progress update: So it’s been three months now, and still no word from the Foo Fighters. I guess it is as expected, but I still have one more month left! Not giving up the hope yet folks! To see why I began this journey, click here to see the first “Will Cook for Foo” post.

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A few things I’ve learned about recipes…

1. It’s fun to save them up and find them.

2. They are great gifts to receive as hand-me-downs.

3. All involve a dream of a dish that has been perfected to be recipe card worthy.

4. You don’t have to abide by all the rules of a recipe. Seriously, you don’t. *smiles*

5. Bonding is given a whole new meaning when a recipe is involved.

6. Recipes bring back memories…both happy and sad.

Today, I’m concentrating on number six. You’ve seen me write many many times about memories of my family, and of loved ones gone. This time’s a little different. This past weekend, and every time I make this one particular dish, it’s kind of difficult. (I’m pulling out my open book for you guys here by the way.) I don’t have many dishes that make me have emotions other than happy, but this one has given me all sorts of emotions over the past 13 years.

I’m not going to name the dish, it’s not important. What is important is the feeling that a recipe can invoke in someone. Recipes and memories attached to them can be very powerful. For instance, I didn’t make this dish for a loooooooong time. It just hurt too much to think about it. Over the years, the feelings progressed as follows (and most likely altered a bit after meeting my husband)…sad, furious, mad, irritated, sad, frustrated, indifferent, pouty, meh, sigh, whatever, content, pleased, and happy. I still have a rush of feelings and emotions every time I prepare it (and no amount of love in the world can completely cure heartbreak), but it doesn’t hurt anymore like it did.

Along these lines…This week’s “Will Cook for Foo” comes from Foo Fighters’ song “Arlandria”.

The selected lyric was “So I’ve been saving it up, I started saving it up. And when you said I couldn’t give you enough, I started giving you up, I started giving you up.”

My Twitter update “@foofighters …I started savin’ it up. And when you feel I couldn’t feed you enough, I’ll start feedin’ you more.”

Next step for you, take a second and enjoy the song…Click here for the song “Arlandria”.

Find the previous “Will Cook for Foo” posts by clicking here.

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The recipe today is for Lemon Chess Pie. When I called Maw-Maw, I asked her which Lemon Chess Pie recipe to use…she said the one with a name beside it. It didn’t matter whose name it was, it just mattered that there was a name there. That was my new golden rule…If it had a name, or in her handwriting, use it! I wonder what memories people have when flipping through the names of people in their cookbooks?

Lemon Chess Pie by Mrs. Beauchesne

  • 2 cups sugar

    I would have never guessed Corn Meal in a Chess Pie. Interesting.
  • 1 tablespoon plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon plain corn meal (I know! Right?)
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 4 eggs

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix sugar, flour and corn meal in a bowl.
  3. Add eggs, butter, milk, and lemon juice, and beat until smooth and thoroughly blended.
  4. Pour into a 9” pie pan
  5. Bake for 35 to 4 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
  6. Serve warm.

The notes state it makes a thick 9” pie, shimmery and golden inside. Now if that doesn’t say lovin’ from the oven, I don’t exactly know what does. Enjoy!

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