Part of a community

I often find it difficult to sit down and write a blog post; between work and general laziness, blogging falls by the wayside.  The reason I started the blog, was for myself, as a journal to remember what we ate, where, and if we liked it.  So, it is easy to say, “Why bother!?” and give up.  The Triangle Food Blogger Bake Sale held this past Saturday was a reminder of why I bother.  For me, writing a food blog is not about the number of hits or stats but rather about being part of a community.  It is a community of like-minded people who are concerned about sustainable food production, ending childhood hunger, access to healthy food, sharing recipes, and enjoying delicious food.  Participating in the food blogger bake sale reminded me of exactly this.  It was a hosted by Johanna Kramer of Durhamfoodie Blog and Matt Lardie of Green Eats Blog.  All the funds raised went to benefit ‘Share our Strength’, a national non-profit working to end childhood hunger.   At the Triangle bake sale we raised $650 in just two hours!  Johanna provides a great recap with recipes by each of the goodies sold.  Nationwide the coordinated food blogger bake sale raised over $22,000 for Share Our Strength.  It was wonderful to be part of such a great event and meet some of the members of this community.  I look forward to participating again next year!

Corner Kitchen, Asheville

Before leaving Asheville, we stopped at the Corner Kitchen for brunch in Biltmore Village.  The village itself is really cute (I try not to use this word but the village is honestly is cute)!  It is apparently where the workers who built the Biltmore Mansion lived during the construction and the planned housing has been restored into an area with shops and restaurants.  Unfortunately, it was cold and windy that morning so we didn’t enjoy the village itself but we did have a great brunch at the Corner Kitchen.  The restaurant is a converted house with several small dining areas with a few tables each.  We were seated right next to the cozy fireplace.  The entire space is comfortable and warm with bright walls and wooden tables.  I had the Hickory Nut Gap Chorizo and Eggs which was locally produced chorizo with cheesy scrambled eggs, salsa and tortillas.  It was delicious!  The chorizo had a nice spice which was great with the cheesy eggs.  G had the waffles which were awesome, light and delicate!  So light that they didn’t even need syrup!  Overall, a great breakfast in a warm, comfortable space.

Corner Kitchen
3 Boston Way
Asheville, NC 28803-2653

Spicy, sweet chili

A friend of mine recently won a chili cook-off at a Chicago breast cancer fundraising event.  He shared the recipe which came in first out of 40 competitors (not bad for his first cooking competition!).  It seemed quite non-traditional and intriguing for a chicken chili given the use of sweet potatoes so I decided to try it.  It is delicious!  The base of the chili is quite spicy with both regular chili powder and ancho chile powder.  But, the sweet potatoes provide a sweetness which cuts the spice and also a heartiness to the overall dish.  The recipe makes quite a lot so you will have plenty of leftovers for the week or to freeze.  A great recipe just in time for the cold weather!
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Kitchen on the Common, Belmont

A few weeks ago G and I met some friends for dinner at Kitchen on the Common in Belmont.  It is in Cushing Square with a simple storefront.  Inside the décor is extremely plain with basic wooden tables without any embellishments.  The chef and owner uses all local ingredients so the menu is seasonal and changes frequently.  Two of us started with the haddock chowder which had potatoes and leeks.  It was a rich and creamy chowder with large pieces of fish.  G got the chicken dish for his entrée which he liked but found that the meat was a little dry.  I had the bavette steak which was delicious and well prepared.  We also shared a side of macaroni and cheese which was simple and satisfying.  Our dining companions tried the farfalle and the artic char which they enjoyed thoroughly.  All of the entrées were priced below $17 which is quite reasonable and the sides are $4.  They don’t have a pastry chef on staff so they offer a selection of cookies for dessert which is a fun treat.  The restaurant does not have a liquor license so they allow you to bring your own wine and they provide stemware without a corking fee.  There only seemed to be a couple of staff doing everything so the service was a bit slow.  Overall, the food is well prepared however none of the dishes wowed us.  Given the price, ability to bring your own wine, and relaxed atmosphere I would return.

Kitchen on the Common
442 Common Street
Belmont, MA 02478

Satisfying, meaty vegetable bolognese

A couple of weekends ago we had a few friends over for a casual dinner.  I had the others bring appetizer, dessert and wine so I was only in charge of the main dish.  There was just a few of us but one strict vegetarian and two carnivores.  However, I wasn’t about to make two dishes to please everyone.  G, one of the carnivores, remembered a vegetable bolognese that we had at a friend’s and really enjoyed.  I googled the recipe, as I know my friend had gotten it online.  It is a straightforward recipe which turned out wonderfully well!  It calls for a lot of mushrooms, both fresh and dried, which provide the sauce with a satisfying meatiness.  It also calls for mascarpone cheese which adds a creamy richness.  It was a perfect cozy, comforting dish for this cold winter night and it pleased the carnivores in the group!

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Simply delicious chicken

For the past couple of summer we have been ordering wonderful pasture raised, premium chickens from Pete and Jen’s Backyard Birds.  A few weeks ago we took one out of the freezer to roast.  I love roasted chicken but don’t have a recipe which has always worked well for me.  This time I decided to try the Roast Chicken with Lemons recipe from Marcella Hazan which is supposed to be very good and reliable.  This is a very simple recipe which was very attractive.  It doesn’t require any fat, basting, stuffing or special condiments.  The recipe just calls for salt, pepper and lemons.  The result is one of the most delicious and moist roast chickens ever!!  You would never imagine that such a simple recipe could result in such a perfect roast chicken.  I only wish we had taken a picture before devouring the chicken.  I know I have found my go-to roast chicken recipe!

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Friday night go-to

When we don’t get sushi, another Friday night go to option is Dave’s Fresh Pasta in Davis Sq.  This little specialty shop specializes in handmade fresh pasta, ravioli, and homemade sauces.  They expanded a few years ago to sell prepared foods, sandwiches, artisanal cheeses, fresh bread, and unique groceries.

They have fresh pasta ready to cut into linguini, angel hair, fettucine, spaghetti, or pappardelle.  You can also have the sheets pressed into lasagna noodles.  At home you just need to boil the pasta and heat up the sauce!  Some of our favorite combinations are the whole wheat spaghetti with the meatballs and marinara.  The meatballs are delicious and wholesome ideal with the tangy marinara and the toothsome whole wheat pasta.  Another favorite combination is the porcini ravioli with the wild mushroom cream sauce.  The combination is just mushroom heaven!

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