Food News Roundup

I don’t have a lot of personal familiarity with block parties, unless you count my childhood neighborhood, where people would wander from yard to yard on Saturday summer evenings. Houses without air conditioning may have had something to do with it – no one wanted to go into the hot boxes. According to the Charlotte (N.C.) Observer, good block parties are a blend of serendipity and one person’s drive. Read more here. It’s in The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) too, along with the tale of a trio of beef lovers who have started a burger blog. Read about that here.

One thing that has thrived in this searing summer is peppers, and the Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal has ways to stuff your jalapenos.  Find the recipes here.

For better, for worse and for dinner – maybe that should be part of the vows couples make. Adapting to the food likes, dislikes and quirks of a loved one can be difficult for an omnivore. And if the couple is lucky enough for time to go on, the effort becomes a moving target. One becomes obsessed with sushi while the other can’t stand even the sight of fish. One develops an allergy to a food that permeates the other’s cooking style. One endures chemotherapy that whacks out the taste buds, as the other searches for something, anything that will tempt and please. GreenEatsBlog probably didn’t mean to get me thinking about all this, but I read it by the light of changes friends are enduring – and 30 years with The Hub (if we make it until next Tuesday).

Thought about sardines lately? Me, neither. But they’ve been pondering the oily fish at the Portland Oregonian, and here are the results.

It’s the start of state fair season, and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has winning recipes from the Wisconsin state fair here, including Pina Colada Truffles.

The blast furnace has been turned down a little lately, but it can still come roaring back – we can even see 100s in September around here. The Kansas City Star offers cured salmon recipes great for those days here.



Food news roundup

People tend to call every kind of homemade Southern relish chowchow. When someone refers to my homemade vegetable relish as “chowchow” I must correct them, and confiscate their jar, if they’ve received one. My relish is not chowchow. An article in The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer and The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) points out that my friends and I aren’t the only ones confused about chowchow. But it’s, basically, a melange of vegetables in pickled form that uses up what’s in the backyard garden. I happen to believe that it typically includes cabbage, which is where my problem lies – I don’t care for pickled cabbage unless it’s masked in the fire of kimchi. Read more here. And if you want my relish recipe, you’ll have to ask nicely.

Also in the Charlotte Observer, a great idea: a food book club. Read more here.

How does someone go from volunteering with the Black Panthers to making organic cookies? Find out in the Independent Weekly (Durham, N.C.) here.

About 250 people attended the Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal’s Slice of Summer tomato tasting and voted on their favorites. I believe any home-grown tomato is the best tomato, actually. But find out who the winners were here.

For 57 years, an event involving the cooking of tons of Alaskan salmon has been drawing food fans – 4,200 of them this year – to a small Utah town. Find out about it in the Salt Lake Tribune, here.

NestMeg conquers chicken and biscuits and proves you can put the Southern in a Yankee girl. (By the way, hire her; she’s looking for a job.)

Finally, personal validation. The always-interesting Eatocracy explains that you can drink red wine cold, and they don’t mean Cold Duck.

Over at KitchenScoop, they’re chilling with sorbets using figs. Ummm…..figs. I must have figs. Give me all your figs.

Food News Roundup

There are cold meals for hot days, information on coconut milk and a talk with Poole’s Diner chef Ashley Christensen on her “Iron Chef” appearance in The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) today. But the most interesting item for me was the note that A Southern Season, a Chapel Hill, N.C. palace of food delights for more than 35 years, has been sold to a group of local investors. Read more here.  I’ve been wandering its aisles since I was in college, and my roommate and I rode the bus ‘way out from campus to satisfy our rum-cordial chocolate fix.

There is one cold soup that I will not look upon initially with suspicion, and Kathleen Purvis agrees with me. Read her thoughts on gazpacho in The Charlotte Observer, here.

Where else but Asheville? Vegfest, celebrating vegan and vegetarian eating, will be held there on Sunday. Guess you won’t see anyone walking around with the mastodon-sized turkey legs from fairs, but there will be beer – it is Asheville. Read more here.

Speaking of vegetarians, there probably aren’t a lot of them in Louisiana. Tofu boudin – I don’t think so. The Baton Rouge Advocate has a recipe for a tuna burger as a way to liven up the summer burger repertoire here.

Try a Mr. MacGregor’s Spritzer in this article on creative, non-alcoholic mocktails in the Chicago Tribune. No sickly sweet Shirley Temples here.

If you need a kick to your juice – and, with this heat, I sure do – check out the beverage on Green Eats Blog. And if you don’t like that one, here’s another at JanNorris.

Pity the poor restaurant reviewer. No, really. Stop laughing, now. Do you really want to eat out four or five nights a week, and tell your friends what to order….oh, you already do that. Well, read Eatocracy anyway for confessions of restaurant reviewers and a fake name that takes some pop culture knowledge to spot.



Food news roundup

What’s next for Scott Howell of Nana’s in Durham? Find out in Andrea Weigl’s Mouthful blog for The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.), here.

Kathleen Purvis at the Charlotte (N.C.) Observer writes about those who take the bounty of summer to those who need hunger relief. Read more here.

Cherry tomatoes stuffed with a pound of bacon. Sounds good to me. The recipe is in the Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal, here.

The photo is a little scary, but Craig LeHoullier is not as crazy about tomatoes as he seems in it – not quite. Read more about Raleigh heirloom tomato guy in the Independent Weekly (Durham, N.C.) here.

Tomatoes are also the theme of a novice gardener’s first year of planting in VarmintBites. Man, they look good.

The juicy filling in the bun in the photo looks like barbecue, but it can’t be – since the post is all about vegan slow cooking. Tips and ideas worth trying if you are cutting back on animal products are at HealthySlowCooking.

Market restaurant in Raleigh is installing beehives on its roof, and is offering a movie and music tonight to raise awareness about bee loss and funds for the project. Read more in DurhamFoodie.

Tips for hosting your own wine tasting are at NatalieMaclean.


Food News Roundup

My idea of camping is staying in a B&B with no TV, but others do not share my view. The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) has stories of people who do more than open bags of ramen noodles and trail mix at the campsite. I believe that beef brisket would taste just as good on my grill, mere steps from the air-conditioned comfort of my living room. But you decide here.

The nest is emptying at Kathleen Purvis’ house. Read her wonderful thoughts at the Charlotte (N.C.) Observer, here.

A quest for great-tasting tomatoes is underway at the Post and Courier (Charleston, S.C.) here. But do today’s tomatoes ever taste as good as the tomatoes of memory?

“Support your local shrimper” urges the Independent Weekly (Durham, N.C.) as it examines the shrimp industry in North Carolina and overseas. Read more here.

A matzoh ball taste-off went on at a Seattle restaurant. Find out the results in the Seattle Weekly, here.

Some friends of mine once approached the Food Network with a show, and were rejected like day-old sushi. Among other things, they were told they were too good at cooking and it would intimidate people. After a Florida chef’s idea got the boot, he decided to produce a show himself. Read more about “Yo, Cuz: The Italian-American Kitchen” at JanNorris.

How a li’l Yankee gal learned to love banana pudding is in NestMeg. Now, if we can get her to embrace grits.

And, because it’s summer….the Weinermobile! In Eatocracy.


Food News Roundup

Ah, pimento cheese. I can say I knew you when, before the gourmets got their hands on you. So can Kathleen Purvis in her witty and fitting piece in the Charlotte (N.C.) Observer here. She also firmly roots it as Southern, which I’ve always known in my PC-eating bones but a historian now confirms it. Growing up in Winston-Salem, N.C., it was our family’s peanut butter – we always had it around. My mother, who loved anything that was frozen or came from a box, actually made it from scratch occasionally, which shows its hallowed place. It’s also in The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) here.

The Attack of the Squash Creatures has begun. The CSA I belong to just says “take all you want.” The Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal has recipes for squash pancakes and secrets to getting the very moist vegetable to hold together. It’s here. (Ignore the rather unappealing photographs.)

Cucumbers are another invader, and I’m seeing plenty of those, too. But, Cucumber Bread? The Salisbury (N.C.) Post has the story and a recipe, which the writer says she has tried out, here.

If you’re headed for Asheville, N.C. this coming weekend, you can combine tasting microbrews with an outdoor movie. To celebrate its third anniversary, Wedge Brewing will sponsor a showing of the moonshine-running classic “Thunder Road.” The details are in the Asheville Citizen-Times, here.

I’ve never been sure what’s in butterbeer, but a Kansas City woman would know. The Kansas City Star has an article on her ultimate Harry Potter parties with tips on throwing you own. It’s all here. The final Potter movie debuts Friday.

The Portland Oregonian talks about how chefs are getting into canning and preserving, making their own condiments and pickles. It’s here. (But, please, can we can the “can-do” headlines on every canning article?)

Food news roundup

You’d expect a certain level of elegance at picnics held before North Carolina Symphony outdoor concerts. Food matched to concert themes, shrimp with horseradish, silver candelabras. Read about it in The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) here. If the concertgoers tried a little harder, they might reach the level of an Ole Miss football tailgate.

Corn strippers. No, not entertainers who peel off their husks. They’re essential for serious corn-from-the-cob removers. Read more in the Charlotte (N.C.) Observer here.

You’ve heard of eat local, now you can sauce local. The Independent Weekly has a colorful collection of local barbecue sauce makers. The pineapple and garlic in The Shizzle Jerk Marinade is quite intriguing. Read more here.

OK, I want to know why, in every grilling article, the main subject is a guy grinning in a baseball cap. Like the photo with the Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal article here. Women grill, too, y’all. We do not wear baseball caps because they spoil our coiffures. I do happen to own two grills (one charcoal, one portable gas) and a turkey fryer. I’d like to have a Big Green Egg, like the baseball-cap guy, but have not yet put my pennies together for one. As that founding griller Abigail Adams admonished, “remember the ladies.”

Vegan food in a slow-cooker? How crazy is that? Well, not very if you read HealthySlowCooking. Since I’m scanning the skies for dairy-free desserts for The Hub, who is allergic to dairy, this is a good find.

Ever wonder what happens to coupons after they accomplish their mission to save you money? The Post and Courier (Charleston, S.C.) has the interesting answer here.

Boil before grilling? If you’re thinking about brats, the answer is yes, according to Bill Daley in the Chicago Tribune. Read the reasoning here.

Until someone manages to produce a bacon plant, we’ll have to make do with NCTomatoandGardenBlog by tomatomaniac Craig LeHoullier. Read through the list of plantings and drool.



Food news roundup

Market Restaurant’s got hives, but the buzz is that they’re a good idea. The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) writes that the Raleigh restaurant has started a CSApiary with beehives on its roof. Read more here.

The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer travels around the world in four potato salads here, because they’re more American than apple pie for Fourth of July picnics. Taiwanese apple and ham…mmm.

From brick-and-mortar restaurants to metal-and-rubber food trucks to – pedal-and-foot bikes? Food delivery by bicycle is the next thing, says the Independent Weekly (Durham, N.C.) here.

Make slow-cooked barbecued pork without getting the vapors outdoors in the heat, says the Charleston Post and Courier. Find the recipe here.

OK, if you insist on being stereotypical for the Fourth, the Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal has recipes for palm-sized versions of apple pies that you can eat while wandering your picnic. Read more here. Just watch out for Yogi Bear.

Pop a cold one and have a good read about libations. The Kansas City Star has a review of new books on the topic here.

The Hub and I are fans of Stormchasers on the Discovery Channel. All I’ve ever seen these guys eat is beef jerky from gas stations, but Reed Timmer (in “The Dominator”) offers his Top Ten Tornado Alley Restaurants here. Just in case, while you’re on vacation this summer, you need to consume a 72-ounce steak. (No vegetarian restaurants – big surprise.)

Beer Run: Natty Greene’s Pub & Brewing Co.

Visiting Natty Greene’s in Raleigh, N.C. feels like taking that fifth-grade field trip to Williamsburg, but with much better refreshments. Quotes from Revolutionary War figures George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, John Hancock and others are written on the walls. And, of course, there’s a biography of the pub’s inspiration, Gen. Nathaniel Greene. Greensboro, N.C., where the brewery is based, was named after the general some years after he routed British forces in the Battle of Guilford Courthouse in 1781.

OK, put the elementary schoolers back on the activity bus – it’s time for beer. Natty Greene’s current beer menu includes seven year-round offerings plus eight seasonal quaffs. Most have suitably colonial names, like Stamp Act Spring Rye and Black Powder Imperial Stout. The pub doesn’t offer a tasting flight per se, but you can make your own by ordering taster-size glasses of anything on tap for $1.50 each.

Three of the seasonals were unavailable when The Hub and I visited. I ordered Hessian Hefe-weizen, Wildflower Witbier and Old Town Brown. The Hub got Guilford Golden Ale, Smoothbore Amber Mild Ale and Sir Walter’s ESB. Guilford, Wildflower and Old Town are available year round.

The biggest surprise for both of us was the Wildflower. The Belgian-style white beer is flavored with coriander, chamomile and orange peel – and it smelled like a perfume counter. But it had only a light floral aftertaste, not nearly as strong as it smelled. The flavor was refreshing, with some grassy notes. However, my food (a spinach salad with batter-dipped fried chicken strips, bacon and mustard vinaigrette) overwhelmed it. But on a warm day on a patio…primo.

My Hessian Hefe-weizen was complex in flavor, with clove and banana aromas and a slight, refreshing bitterness. I could definitely taste the advertised “hint of baker’s chocolate” in the Old Town Brown, along with the toasted malt. I fantasized about how this beer could be paired with a dessert, or used in a dessert.

The Hub is a fan of ESBs, and Sir Walter’s did not disappoint him. It was sweet and smooth. The Smoothbore Amber Mild Ale was correctly described as having a “slight caramel flavor up front, followed by just enough hoppy bitterness.” It reminded The Hub of one of his preferred commercial beers, Bass, but better.

The only bust: Guilford Golden Ale. It reminded both of us of (fill in your average pale gold flavorless mass-marketed beer here).

Food news roundup

Three chefs agreed on only one thing about cooking steaks in an article in The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.). Find out what that was here as they discuss beefy things in honor of Father’s Day, which is this Sunday. Father’s Day seems to bring out the Fred Flintstone in food publications. The article is in the Charlotte (N.C.) Observer, too. There, Kathleen Purvis reveals her hatred of summer – finally, someone had the guts to do it. It’s here.

A – dare we say it? – gastropub opens in Durham, and the Independent Weekly (Durham, N.C.) has the info here. Every time I hear that word, I think of a very old food show from Britain in which the host referred to food fans as “gastronauts.” No doubt the precursor of “foodie.”

I make jams and jellies because they taste better, and my friends and I have a good time in the kitchen doing it. GreenEats looks at DIY food from a self-sufficiency point of view, with reviews of books on the matter.

A plethora of ideas for summer entertaining can be found in Savor NC magazine, and they all look good. Ideas for using blueberries, too. Read more here.

A light and easy summer version of chicken pot pie is in the Charleston Post and Courier. Watch the how-to video here.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist John Kessler takes a road trip to Alabama. Find out what he ate on the way here.

JanNorris writes about an interesting event that’s going to happen in Palm Beach, Fla. The Palm Beach County Food Swap is designed for home cooks to swap goods. Read more here.