Monthly Archives: May 2011

A Road Trip For Foodies

Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge in Shelby, NC

I offer to you – the foodie’s version of a Memorial Day weekend vacation – a food road trip. A few of us from WFAE recently set out for Bridges Barbecue in Shelby. From Charlotte, it’s a bit of a haul. The food was good, but it was the second best part of the trip. There’s something to be said for being cramped in a car with a few good friends. So if you find yourself sitting around bored and hungry one slow weekend, consider a food road trip. It’s perfect for that faraway place you’ve been meaning to try.

A plan is always helpful, but the best road trips are spontaneous (except for trying to camp in March – it’s a long story). If you need a few ideas, there are a couple of websites to help. Try Road Trips For Foodies or any number of great publications like Our State Magazine or Southern Living – both have great suggestions for restaurant destinations. You could also consider touring farmer’s markets – even farms! (No Weekend Plans? How About Tour A Farm?)

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Filed under Food, Holidays, Quirky, Restaurants

No Weekend Plans? How About Tour A Farm?

Ever toured a farm? Have you SEEN where your food comes from?

Farm Fresh North Carolina by Diane Daniel

Home-grown and out-of-town tourists come to North Carolina for many reasons. Most of those reasons are obvious- beautiful mountains, sandy beaches, great museums, and NASCAR for starters. But there is another attraction in our state in the form of farms you can visit and tour.

Author Diane Daniel has written perhaps the first guidebook of its kind in Farm Fresh North Carolina. She takes readers on a tour of 425 farms, farmer’s markets, orchards, agricultural festivals and more. Diane recently joined Peter Reinhart and others on WFAE’s Charlotte Talks to take us on a tour of the state’s most interesting farms and also to discuss slow food in North Carolina.
Listen to the Show.

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Filed under At the Market, Food, Sustainable Food, The Foodie's Garden

A Southern Kitchen Staple

What is Southern Cooking without a cast iron skillet?

Along with many others in the Charlotte area, moving to the Queen city brought me below the Mason Dixon. And with the change in geography, my palate followed suit — fried pickles, okra and biscuits. Yes, please!

Now that Charlotte feels like home, I want Southern culinary staples to take their rightful place in my cooking repertoire. First things first, I’ve learned from some home-grown Charlotteans, is to add a well seasoned cast iron skillet to my cookware. It is the essential ingredient in many Dixieland delights.

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Reclaiming Sweet Potatoes

Photo by FotoosVanRobin on Flickr

By: Ben McNeely

Last Thanksgiving, The New York Times sent a reporter down to Carrboro, next to Chapel Hill, to write about sweet potatoes.

Now, I always get a laugh when The New York Times sends someone down to write about anything in the South. They write a story like they’ve just discovered whatever it is they are writing about, when, really, we Southerners have been doing things our way for generations.

Sweet potatoes are popping up everywhere - even bars.

In this case, it was sweet potatoes that the Old Gray Lady just discovered, only because high-falootin’ restaurants in Manhattan are substituting sweet potatoes for white potatoes in their dishes.

It seems that Yankees are just now discovering the benefits of sweet potatoes in culinary dishes, like sweet potato fries, purees and the like…

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Filed under Food, Recipe

How Much Heat Can You Take?

Bhut Jolokia chili pepper – one of the hottest in the world.

When we talked about hot chili peppers on Charlotte Talks last week, it got me thinking about how many people are like me; that is, really into spicy food. I know some folks who eat hot peppers as if they were rites of passage into some alternate universe of adulthood (I used to be like that but couldn’t keep up the true “chili heads”), and I also know some people who are so afraid of them that they won’t even eat sweet bell peppers “just in case they’re really hot ones in disguise.”  I think this is one of those areas where the world is divided into two kinds of people: those who eat hot peppers and those who don’t…

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Filed under Food, The Foodie's Garden

My Secret Food Craving

The offending vegetable - 'tinned' green beans

Tinned green beans. I say tinned rather than canned because that is how my mother and grandmother (of Welsh decent) referred to them; always with a whiff is disgust. It is tinned green beans that I have loyally claimed as my closet food craving since high school.

Dumped from the can onto a microwave safe plate, I zap them for exactly 2 minutes then, shower them with heaps of Zataran’s Creole seasoning and lashings of Tabasco sauce. Yes, the sodium is astronomical and the dish benefits from no nutritional value, but it satiates a hankering that I get every couple of weeks like no other food.

I only eat them when I am alone, in the quiet of my kitchen, often standing over the sink. The spice and heat burn my tongue and lips—that’s part of the deal. Sometimes, they are so hot, rather than wait for them to cool down, I crudely slurp the flaccid beans into my mouth, then curse myself for doing so. Such is the way that secrets go.

My children, on an occasion of searching through the pantry have asked, “Momma, why do we have cans of green beans? We never eat them.” I tell them that I buy them when they are on sale, to keep for a food emergency. I have never expanded on what qualifies as a culinary emergency, and they’ve never asked. My secret has remained safe, even from my husband of nearly twenty years.

The spicy, microwaved, tinned green beans are just for me.

What food do you secretly love?

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Filed under Food, Quirky