Monthly Archives: August 2011

Eggplants Are Cool Again

Have you stepped outside lately? Though the weather teased us with lower temperatures for a couple days, it might be back to 90s again for a while! I am growing tired of long, humid days with skin crumbling heat, missing my turtlenecks and thinking that moving to Vermont might be in the cards for me.

However this heat is not keeping us away from the grill at all! Despite the horrible hot days, we have been burying our faces in the grill, pulling out some dangerous looking skewers and offering our guests some mighty lamb kebabs. Because come December, we do not want to utter the words “wish we had used the grill more this summer.”

The kebabs are the only hot things on the table! They are surrounded by the cold, garlicky vegetable sides.You take a bite, and that bite cools everything it touches all the way down to your stomach, just like a scoop of ice cream on a cake would do. These vegetable dishes balance the heat with their flavor and lighten things up a bit on the plate.

I am sharing my two summer favorites: An eggplant dip and a traditional Turkish eggplant dish, called ‘Imam Fainted.’ (Read more and recipes below.)

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The Trouble with Tomatoes

It’s that time again: the tornado of tomatoes has swirled through the South, saturating the region with overabundance.

Tomato Truffles. Photo Courtesy: Forrest Clonts.

Seeking a solution for the surplus, I took a road trip recently to visit the Palmetto Tasty Tomato Festival in Columbia, S.C. And there at City Roots Urban Farm, I found Erica Gibson and her unique creations: Tomato Chocolate Truffles with Candied Basil, and Tomato Lime Lollipops (recipes below).

“Tomatoes have a natural sweetness,” Gibson explained. “This was my first time at the festival and I wanted to do something completely different.”

An assistant professor of anthropology and women’s and gender studies at USC, Gibson’s been cooking for herself since age 17. Having grown up all across the South, she now mingles the flavors of her traditional youth with her eagerness to experiment.

She found a recipe online for Chocolate Raspberry Jellies, and substituted tomato puree for the berries. The night before the festival she taste-tested the candies on her friends, who approved. “But my mother was horrified,” she said.

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Grilling ‘Outside The Box’

Charlotte Talks host Mike Collins interviews Chef Paul Malcolm while grilling out at WFAE's 30th Anniversary party.

Getting bored with your grilling routine? Charlotte Talks has some ideas to spice up your outdoor cooking regimen. Mike Collins and a panel of grilling and smoking experts cooked out and taped a show at WFAE’s 30th Anniversary party on Friday in front of a hungry audience. Chefs Peter Reinhart and Paul Malcolm along with barbecue expert Dan Huntley aka “Dan the Pig Man” and amateur griller Scott Graf cooked up a variety of grilled delicacies. Peter grilled a pizza on a charcoal grill; we had grilled sweet potatoes, onions and apples. Scott smoked some bologna, Dan cooked up some “armadillo eggs” – not what you think, and a whole lot more.
Listen to the show.

Johnson & Wales Chef-on-Assignment Peter Reinhart grills a pizza on a charcoal grill.

WFAE's Scott Graf's famous smoked bologna.

Dan Huntley's "Armadillo Eggs." Jalapeno stuffed with mozzarella and covered in pork sausage, grilled.

We had a great crowd out at our studios at University Place.

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Charlotte Talks Wants Your Grilling Questions And Stories

Charlotte Talks will record a special grilling/smoking show during our 30th Anniversary Open House this Friday August 19th. We want to hear from you in advance of that interview with your stories about surprising grilling and smoking experiences (good and bad!) If you’re new to grilling, what techniques have you found helpful? We’ll read some of your comments during the show taping and post a list of them afterwards. That show will air on WFAE Monday August 22.

Add your grilling stories and questions here!

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Home Cooking Parisian Style

Paris has the formidable reputation of being one of the best cities in which to eat. At least that is what many Americans think (myself included until I went there for the first time in 1981 as a lunk head 8th grader on a school trip).

While it is absolutely true that some of the best cooking takes place in Paris, it is often not found in restaurants, certainly not in restaurants catering to tourists. The best dinners I have had while visiting the City of Light have always been in a Parisian’s home. The dinners and lunches I have been lucky enough to enjoy have been surprisingly simple, and always utilized the best, seasonal ingredients.

Last Sunday, our family was finishing up our vacation, having traveled from England, down through Normandy (OMG– beautiful) and ending in Paris. An Italian work colleague of my husband lives in Paris with his gorgeous, Welsh wife and sweet, little daughter and they graciously invited us over for ‘lunch’…

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