Sunday, November 20, 2011

Tomato Dumplings

 A couple of years ago when I started my part time catering, I wanted to come up with a name that really represented me.  After throwing names around for days, I finally came up the the perfect one.  Tomato Dumplings.  They are a perfect balance of fresh earthiness from the tomatoes, and warm hominess of the dumplings.
           My Grandmother Mckinney, was the sweetest, most loving grandmother anyone could ask for.  She was always laughing, and welcomed everyone with open arms.  And she was also, always cooking.  What a cook she was!  Grandmaw never used a recipe; everything she knew how to cook, she had

Friday, November 18, 2011

Another trip to the Farmers' Market

One of my favorite ways to spend a Saturday morning is perusing the daily offerings at my local farmers' market.  Farmers' markets were just beginning to grow in popularity as I was moving from Virginia to North Carolina, about 5 years ago. Growing up, I always took for granted the fresh potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash I would enjoy from my dad's garden and grandfather's farm.  It wasn't really anything special, until  I realized it actually was.  I noticed more and more markets popping up in town, and surrounding towns offering fresh produce, grown by local farmers.  Fruits and Veggies, directly from the the soil, some with dirt still attached was now in high demand.
Living in Cary, there are at least 6 farmers' markets within 30 minutes from my home.  One of those being the state farmers' market.
This past weekend, I visited one of my favorite locations, The Western Wake Market.  If you get a chance to go, stop by and visit the folks from Coon Rock Farm.  I LOVE them!  They offer heirloom variety vegetables, raised without any chemicals; as well as pasture raised, antibiotic and hormone free chickens, eggs, pigs, lamb, and goat.
I came home with a fresh stalk of ginger root, and 2 bunches of Hakurei turnips, and a chicken (which comes in a little later).  The turnips are small, sweet, and delicious.  They can be eaten raw or cooked.  All of this really put me in the mood for fall so I decided to make sauteed turnips and greens, carrot ginger soup, and pumpkin-cranberry bread.
I got the soup recipe from this blog.  I used homemade chicken stock instead of vegetable broth, and

Monday, November 7, 2011

It's a ...Family Tradition

Do you know that old Hank Williams Jr. song, Family Tradition?  Well, I've got a family tradition too.  It's not quite as exciting as Hank's, but it's a heck of a lot tastier.   What is mine you ask?  Pizza.  mmmm.  Hot, crusty, cheesy, chewy pizza.  Our tradition has been a kind of evolution, of sorts.   For as long as I can remember Friday night has been dedicated to pizza at home.  Way back when, lets say 15 years 20 years, well it's been a long time, my family and I would head across the street, literally across the street, for the shopping.  The first stop...Chef Boyardee, all in one "make it yourself" pizza kit.

We also picked up some green peppers, onion, and green olives.  Oh we were living large.  We would come home, my parents would crank up NPR and the stove.  In that order.  TO THIS DAY, I can't hear the theme song of NPR's All Things Considered, without craving that Chef Boyardee goodness.

As time passed, we got an itch to be a little more adventurous. We evolved from the box o'pizza, to a much more classy bag of instant pizza crust.  Something like Martha White.

Somehow, between not being right out of a box, and actually having to buy sauce separately we felt like we were moving up in the world.  Well it wasn't too long after that when we really put our big girl panties on and attempted the ultimate feat...made from scratch, homemade, pizza dough.  Oh my gosh.  We were the talk of the town. You think I'm kidding?  No.  The town paper actually wrote an article about us.  There wasn't much news in this town mind you, but true story none-the-less.  It wasn't long before we were experimenting with pizza peels, quarry tiles in the oven, homemade pizza sauces, there was even talk about making our own mozzarella.  We haven't gotten there yet.  Yes, we were pizza making monsters.  We were searching for challenges, begging for obstacles.  We had a hunger that couldn't be satisfied.