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.


Mega-maters and contraband pork

black cherry - photo from previous tomatopalooza

black cherry - photo from previous tomatopalooza

I had a big food weekend, and it’s taken until now to recover and tell y’all about it. On Saturday, I assisted with registration at Tomatopalooza, which drew more than 100 people in a drizzle at Apex Community Park. This annual festival of heirloom tomatoes is organized by Craig LeHoullier and Lee Newman. Craig sells heirloom tomato plants and has been involved in locating, saving and growing rare heirlooms for many years. Read more about them here.

I have attended for several years but felt obliged to help this time, since the article I wrote on the event for Our State magazine might have led to a flood of tomato fans. There were more than 160 varieties of tomatoes, ranging from pearl-sized Mexico Midgets to a Georgia Streak weighing in at 1.8 pounds (that’s for ONE tomato). Black Cherry won the popular vote for best tasting. The medium-sized, purple-and-green tomato is a perennial favorite, and I like its balanced flavor. It’s too small for a BLT, though. You need a big slab of tomato, preferably one with enough acid flavor to balance the richness of the bacon (in my opinion). It’s still hard to beat Brandywine or Cherokee Purple for a good BLT. I discovered that a big advantage of helping is getting to take home the leftovers, so I have been throwing a wide range of tomatoes into dishes ever since.

That night, the hub and I attended a birthday party. I will disclose neither the location nor honoree, because the hosts were serving smuggled pork product. They had visited Spain recently, and returned with a hunk of rare Iberian jamon, which they sliced with a generous hand. I’ve never seen this stuff around here. It’s like prosciutto, except deeper and richer, a little more fat and less salty flavor. It comes from a special breed of pig found only in Spain (our host said Spain won’t even let the DNA out of the country) and fed on acorns. I wondered how they got it back here – I’ve seen customs take food away from nuns, for goodness sake. The fresh-faced, young couple convinced customs that they were late for their connection, so the officers didn’t open the luggage. There they would have found a bouncing baby jamon wrapped in clothing. With fresh figs from their yard – ham heaven. But I realized that you’re really getting old when you’re more excited about ham than the joint that was passed around.