Triangle Food Blogger Bake Sale

More than 17 million kids in America struggle with hunger, that’s nearly one in four children.  The national non-profit organization “Share our Strength” works to end childhood hunger in America by connecting children with the nutritious food they need to lead healthy, active lives.

Johanna Kramer of Durhamfoodie Blog and Matt Lardie of Green Eats Blog will host the Triangle’s first ever food blogger bake sale to benefit ‘Share our Strength’ as part of the Great American Bake Sale.  This event was started in 2010 by Gaby Dalkin of “What’s Gaby Cooking,” food bloggers from across the country will unite to end childhood hunger by holding bake sales in their states.  All money generated will be donated back to Share our Strength.

I am excited to participate in the first Triangle area bake sale.  We have a vibrant food blogger community here and it is great to harness the energy for such an important cause.  Community members can purchase tickets and then exchange those tickets for baked goods. One ticket is $3 or four tickets for $10, with each ticket good for one baked item.  If interested in participating, please email greeneatsblog (at) gmail (dot) com.

Come out, get some treats and support and great cause!

The details:
Who:     Triangle area food bloggers
When:   Saturday, May 14th 10am-12pm
Where:  The Art Market at Vega Metals Gallery
214 Hunt Street, Durham – near the Durham Farmers Market

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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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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Cookies with a kick

Even though I am sweet tooth sometimes I crave something not overly sweet, but with a little kick. I love the sweet and savory combination! With just such a craving I was browsing dessert recipes and came across Mexican Chocolate Cookies from the December 2007 issue of Cooking Light Magazine. I am not much of a baker, so this simple recipe seemed to be the right skill level and had the flavors I was craving. My only change to the recipe would be to reduce the cooking time a minute or two. The cookies were a little hard for my tastes after they completely cooled. The flavor of the cookies was delicious! The bittersweet chocolate balances out the heat of the peppers. It is a perfect ending to any meal!

Mexican Chocolate Cookies
Source: Cooking Light, December 2007

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Special delivery

This weekend I visited some friends of mine who just had a little baby boy. Of course I couldn’t go empty handed, and as the baby has been getting all of the attention recently, I decided to make some food for Mommy and Daddy. I made some simple Indian ‘comfort’ food. I made three dishes: Spinach Dhal, Channa, and Peas Pilaf. Hope these dishes will give the new parents at least one satisfying meal!

I don’t have specific recipes for these dishes, but I do have a few rules I follow. For the dhal, I use Moong dhal (pesara pappu, in Telugu). Since I don’t use a pressure cooker, I find these cook faster when boiling. More importantly, I like the slight sweetness of this dhal and find it is particularly well suited for spinach. For the rice, I like to sauté the raw rice grains in a little bit of vegetable oil before boiling. This ensures that the grains stay separate and fluffy when they are boiled rather than clumping together. It also gives a little nutty flavor and aroma. In my mind this is a defining feature of a pilaf. Given my lack of recipe, these dishes turn out a little differently each time but never completely inedible!

Latest favorite snack

As you will learn, I am quite a sweet tooth! So much so that I still sweeten fruits that are perfectly ripe. My latest sweetening technique was introduced to me by one of my dear friends who happens to be a pastry chef by training. She mixes brown sugar with sour cream and spoons it over fruit. Yum! The brown sugar adds a wonderful sweetness to the tangy sour cream. I have enjoyed this over plums and strawberries and I can’t wait try it over other fruits! In fact, I have been using low fat sour cream since I have been enjoying this a little too often.

To make this I use about ¼ cup of brown sugar to ¾ cup of sour cream. Stir together the brown sugar and sour cream until the sugar is completely dissolved. Spooned over strawberries this is a great snack which can make even a rainy day feel like summer! Yum!