Tag Archives: Winston-Salem

Saying Goodbye to Winston One Bite at a Time

An excellent group of boyz/men once said: it’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday.

And they’re not wrong.

Many of you know this by now, but after 12 years of living in Winston-Salem, I’m moving north. I got a job in Richmond, Virginia. (C’mon, you didn’t expect me to leave the south, did you?)

It’s exciting. And sad. Scary, but thrilling. I have no idea what’s around the corner. (Hopefully, not an axe murderer.)

(God, I hope I don’t get murdered by an axe murderer.)

(But I wouldn’t mind watching So I Married an Axe Murderer again soon.)

(I love parentheses.)

(I love overusing parentheses.)

It’s going to be tough to leave Winston. It’s been my home. So many people I love are here. One of the benefits of leaving, at least gastronomically, is that I get to do a bit of a tour de food to say goodbye to my favorite places. Going away lunches, dinners, Togo on the couch, beautifully laid dinners on the porch. Every bite is a way to say goodbye to something I love. Well, hopefully not goodbye–more like ‘see you later.’

I’m lucky because I’m going to a city with some pretty serious food chops, but I’m going to miss some Winston favorites. I’m going to miss the chicken souvlaki from Hero House. (…that’s right.) I’m going to miss massaman curry from Teeter Thai. The burgs from Diamondback Grill. Greek salad from Mama Zoe’s. Tawook and fettoosh from Mooney’s. Cranberry turkey sandwich and spicy noodles from The Carving Board. I’m going to miss pretty much everything from Mission Pizza and The Porch.

I think it’s safe to say I’m going to miss the people with whom I have been lucky enough to share those meals more than the food itself. But, people can visit (…please, come visit) and the food can’t really.

But if a chicken souvlaki hitchhiked it’s way up to Virginia, I would let it sleep on my couch. We’d watch So I Married an Axe Murderer toether. And halfway through the movie, I would lovingly unwrap it and tenderly eat the shit out of him.

It would be rude not to eat him. I mean, he came all that way.

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God Bless America: Pimento Cheese

There’s nothing more American than apple pie, baseball, and bald eagles.

Unless it’s pimento cheese.

Pimento cheese is a thoroughly southern staple, one whose history goes back to the early 20th century. According to Indy Week’s Brief History of Pimento Cheese, it started as a status symbol for the fancies, gracing the tables during tea parties.

Eventually, as pimentos and processed cheese became more readily available, pimento cheese found its way into the lunch bags of textile workers, eaten on white bread or with crackers.

Nowadays, pimento cheese is practically available on every corner. Creamy and fatty and so good you don’t want to stop. Pimento cheese, you are saucy minx.

There are a lot of good options down here in the south, like Stan’s Original Pimento Cheese or the Winston-Salem jam Red Clay Gourmet Pimento Cheese.  (Try their Hickory Smoked Cheddar. I can’t even.)

But, you can make pimento cheese just as easily as you can buy it. Every self respecting southern Grandma/Maw-Maw/Me-Maw or Granny has some in her fridge.

I made this recipe for pimento cheese from Food 52. I didn’t have celery salt, so I used celery seed and it worked just as well.

Whip up a batch today. Keep it in the fridge. Slather it on a cracker or scoop it up with some celery. Put it on a grilled cheese with some bacon and tomato.

And God bless the USA.

My Endless Love

My Endless Love

Parker + Otis’ Pimento Cheese, from Food52

  • cups sharp yellow cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (about 8 ounces)
  • cups extra-sharp white cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (about 8 ounces)
  • cup drained pimentos or roasted red peppers, finely chopped
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ teaspoon celery salt
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • To serve: crackers, baguette slices, assorted raw vegetables

Mix ingredients in large bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover; chill. Transfer dip to serving bowl. Surround with crackers, baguette slices, and vegetables. Alternately, make sandwiches (below).
BONUS RECIPE!!!!

Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwiches with Bacon & Tomato

  • Pimento Cheese Dip (above)
  • 12 slices sourdough bread
  • 12 slices bacon, cooked until crisp
  • large, ripe tomato, sliced

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread pimento cheese on 6 of the slices of sourdough. Top the cheese for each sandwich with 2 slices of bacon, 1 slice of tomato, then a second slice of bread. Toast each sandwich in a large skillet over low heat till golden brown on both sides, flipping as needed.

Transfer sandwiches to a baking sheet in the oven to finish warming through and melt the cheese. Serve hot.
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Lover’s Boat for 2 for 3: My Top 10 Restaurants in Winston-Salem

In the middle of February, Bourbon & Boots posted a link to the Eight Most Overlooked Foodie Towns in the South. And it was pretty exciting because two of my favorite towns were on there: Decatur, GA and Winston-Salem, NC. The Decatur list was spot on. I mean, the chef from Cakes & Ale was nominated for a James Beard award this year. Go ahead, that guy. But when I look at some of the places to go in Winston…well, heck. I can’t say that I agree with many of the selections. To be fair, I’ve never been to Winkler Bakery. So, I can’t speak about that at all. In fact, I better get off my fass and go. (Fass. That’s a contraction of fat and ass, so ‘fass.’ I made it up, whatever, NBD.) Village Tavern is great…but there’s one in Greensboro, Denver, Alabama and the PHILIPPINES, for crying out loud. Not exactly a Winston specific spot. And, how do we solve a problem like Willow’s. At it’s best, it’s great. And at it’s worst, the wrong food is brought to your table and when the right food is brought to you, it’s unsafely undercooked. I hate to say it, but I stopped going months ago. With all due respect to Bourbon & Boots and the author of the article, the list felt like it was written by someone who maybe lived here during college and then left. Rather than someone who currently lives here in Winston-Salem. So while, I applaud Bourbon & Boots for recognizing our fair town’s joie de vivre, I’d like to take another stab at it. In no particular order, this is my Top 10 list of Winston-Salem Restaurants. To quote Scarlett Johansson O’Hara, “With God as my witness, we will never go hungry again.”

  1. Mizu: In my opinion, the best sushi in town. Go with two of your best girlfriends. Order the Lover’s Boat for 2….FOR THREE. Discuss being (nearly) 30, family, life, and love. Essentially, live that dinner like you’re in the first half of a rom-com. You know, before you meet the guy. (Alison and Jennie will LOVE living in a rom-com. You will resent it and wish you were a part of a musical.)

    We're on a boat!

    We’re on a boat!

  2. Mission Pizza Napoletana: I will refer you back to my previous post here, but this place is the tits. Pizza? Great. Salads? Great. Specials? Insane. Don’t skip their bone marrow, even if the name scares you. I ususally go two days in a row because you can’t just have one pizza in your life. My coworkers are planning an intervention.

    Prosciutto pizza. Tastes like breakfast, y’all. #runnyyolk

  3. The Porch: I didn’t know what to expect when I went to the Porch for the first time. But when you walk in, you know exactly what you’re gonna get. A vibrant meal that matches the atmosphere. The food is the star. We have nothing in this town like it. It’s Tex Mex-esque. Tacos, burritos, burgers and the biggest salads you’ve ever seen. Plus, a rotating crop of specials that make deciding impossible. Whatever you do, listen to this one piece of advice: do not miss the green chili cheese fries. Sunday brunch is excellent, too. Logistics of ordering can be a bit chaotic, especially as the line lengthens and tables fill up. (Expect to do the “excuse me, pardon me” dance a LOT.)

    Don't think. Just order. Green chili cheese fries.

    Don’t think. Just order. Green chili cheese fries.

  4. Mozelle’s: Food in the south is more than just barbecue. And while everyone is wont to say that Southern=Bar-B-Q and Bar-B-Q alone, Mozelle’s elevates Southern fare. They are a fresh Southern bistro. Their meals are light and elegant, yet rooted in the culinary traditions of the south. Their menu rotates seasonally, like any good southern household’s would. Their decor is intimate and cozy, just like a good southern household is. But unlike a good southern household, you will not be asked, “when was the last time you went to church?” or made to watch a NASCAR race.
  5. Mooney’s : Winston is a great place to live, but it lacks something in the ethnic cuisine department. Which is why it’s so good that a place like Mooney’s exists. Bright Mediterranean flavors permeate everything from their house salad (the fettoosh, y’all) to the decadent kafta burger. The sides are awesome–do not forget the hummus, tabouli, baba ganouj or falafel. Better yet, get all four and make it a meal. Mooney is looking our for YOU.
  6. Millennium Artisan: Full disclosure, y’all. I’ve never actually eaten a full meal at this restaurant. Jerky Naysayer: Well then, Bethany, why are you putting it on your top ten list of restaurants in this town? Bethany: Bless your heart, let me explain right here. I went to Millennium Artisan on the Winston-Salem Battledish. I ate the offering that they had: duck with a leek and lobster bread pudding. And it was the best thing I ate all day. It paired incredibly with their cocktail, which was a lemon/gin/thyme deal. Here was a chef who was thinking about diner’s overall experience and who in that bite made me want to go back for more. Their hours are a little funky, so be sure to check  the website.

    The taste from Battledish. Can't wait to go back for more.

    The taste from Battledish. Can’t wait to go back for more.

  7. West End Café: Why mess with perfection? This is a comfortable, cozy spot that has lunch on lock. Sandwich? Nailed it. Salad? Nailed it. Burg? DONE. But West End Café has unexpectedly delicious dinner entrees. You can go and get anything from their lunch menu for dinner, which is clutch. But their ravioli are delicious. And they do wonderful things with fish, particularly their seafood soups. Their service is one of their strongest attributes, though. Always friendly, always over-delivering. A wonderful neighborhood spot.
  8. Silo: This is the best new sandwich and salad in town. Sit outside if the weather is nice and nosh on grazeables like homemade white bean hummus or have a full meal of a sandwich or salad. Truly the epitome of simple food done incredibly well.
  9. Camino Bakery: If you haven’t been to Camino yet, then get off the toilet (let’s not pretend here…you’re reading this in the bathroom), wash your hands, disinfect your phone (cause…ew) and go there right now. Just go there right this instant. Their pain au chocolate is enough to break your heart, but then re-heal it for you. There is wine. There are pastries. There is coffee. There is tomato pie. There is wine. There….is cheese. Like hunks of cheese. That you can eat. YOU’RE ALLOWED!!
  10. Skippy’s: If I was married to a food, it’d probably be hamburgers. We fell in love a long time ago and we’ve had such a long, fairly fulfilling relationship. It’s comfortable. It’s familiar. It doesn’t surprise me too often. But when the burger is out of town at it’s burger conventions, I will go to Skippy’s. And I will sneak a quick Chicago Dog on the side. What my burger doesn’t know won’t hurt him. Cause the only thing hotter than a hot dog, is a hot dog on a pretzel bun toasted on a flat top. Oh baby.

Honorable Mentions

  • Thai Sawatdee: You may not want to sit and eat inside a Harris Teeter (you don’t), but the food that comes out of Thai Sawatdee is delicious.  The Teeter Thai delivers on Thai flavor, but sadly, does not deliver their food. A girl can dream…
  • Small Batch: Go for the small-batch beers and hand crafted cocktails, stay for the flatbread pizzas (“breadzzas”) and the duck fat fries with dipping sauces made from said beers. Drink another beer. Repeat as necessary. The draft beers are always changing, but their bottled beer and wine list is incredible.

    Evan, Breadzzas and some Duck Fat Fries

    Evan, Breadzzas and some Duck Fat Fries

  • Diamondback Grill: I used to go to the DBG an embarrassing amount when I lived down the street. Since moving out of the neighborhood, I no longer frequent it, but their casual atmosphere, great food and ability to make you feel like family makes this place tops in my book.
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Winston-Salem’s New Favorite Pizza Place: Mission Pizza Napoletana Opens Tonight!

The last time I was with my best friend, LP, I asked her an important life question. If she could eat one type of food for the rest of her life, what would it be?

Immediately, without hesitating, she chose pizza.

And I chose sandwiches. I mean, I love sandwiches. I want to eat those forever.

Don’t get me wrong, I love pizza, too. But pizza is just pizza, right?

At least, that’s what I thought before I actually got to try Mission Pizza Napoletana.

But let’s back up a bit. To when I saw the Mission Pizza Kickstarter campaign last summer. That’s where I first heard about how Peyton Smith of Forno Moto was going to bring some crazy newfangled pizza to this town. Pizza we’ve never even dreamed about.

And again, I was like “Whoa, guy. Pizza is just pizza.” It’s like the old Jim Gaffigan bit about how all Mexican food is the same. Tortilla with cheese, meat and vegetables.

But it’s so absolutely, totally not the same. How you make it matters. And what you put on it definitely matters.

Mission Pizza has this amazing oven. This hand-built brick oven that cooks pizza at 1000 degrees in minutes. And they’re putting together delicious pies in it.

And because I am a fancy person friends with the person who made their Kickstarter video, I got invited to their soft launch on Wednesday. This was their first real night serving people. (The restaurant was so new the tables still smelled like varnish. Bless.) The atmosphere was electric and with good reason, Peyton and his team have a good thing going.

The interior is clean and cool, the waitstaff is fun and friendly, and the food is excellent. The menu may change a smidge between soft launch and open, but I believe the gist will remain: pizza, plates (salads/apps/etc.), beer and wine.

In an effort to be a glutton support local business, I tried a little bit of everything. I started with the beet salad: very well executed combination of classic flavors of beets + goat cheese. (Bonus, they’re using a local cheese maker, the Goat Lady Dairy, to provide the goat’s cheese.)

They've got the beets.

They’ve got the beets.

Evan, of the Kickstarter video making fame, ordered this pork belly as an appetizer. And an appetizer it was not, but delicious it was. The white bean ragu and balsamic were hearty with a hint of sweetness.

Don't think, just eat this.

Don’t think, just eat this.

I ordered the Soppressata pizza, which our waiter recommended. The crust was thin and crispy, the basil was charred and smoky, the soppressata was sweet and the mozzarella creamy. They say the simplest foods are the hardest ones to do perfectly, but that was not a problem here. Evan’s fiancee/my friend Lauren kept saying that her pizza felt refreshing—it wasn’t a heavy, dense pie that you’d need to take a nap after. This is a pizza you could have before a night out.

Soppressata Pizza

Soppressata Pizza

Lastly, I SHARED the tiramisu with my friends. (I shared the other things too….but, I didn’t share that much cause it tasted too good.) I love tiramisu. I love the creaminess of the mascarpone next to the soaked ladyfingers. (Soaked ladyfingers just sounds disgusting when you type it.) And this one was one of the best I’d ever had. It was light and fluffy. The perfect last bite.

Tiramisu to share. Or not.

In short, I stand corrected. A pizza isn’t a pizza isn’t a pizza.

And, a sandwich isn’t a pizza, either. So, if I can only eat one food for the rest of my life, I think I’d like to change my answer.

Go check out Mission Pizza Napoletana starting tonight! 707 North Trade Street. Regular business hours are Monday through Saturday, 5-10 pm.

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Small Batch Grand Opening: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Yes, I did do that.)

If you’re looking for me and you’re not a murderer, you can probably find me at of three places: at home (I likes my pajamas), at work (it’s all about the Benjamins, according to Sean “P. Diddy/Puff Daddy/Diddy” Combs), and now, at Small Batch.

Last night, Small Batch opened it’s doors to friends and family. I’m lucky enough to be friends with the three owners Tim, Ryan and Cliff and with their wives Lindsay, Christy and Jen.

Because I’m a fancy VIP friend, I got to see the space as it developed. From the beginning, when it was an empty shell. Then as it progressed, putting the reclaimed wood up on the walls, getting the actual bar in, the subway tile, the taps. And now, it’s a real live bar. With custom cocktails, an awesome selection of bottled beers, plus their signature beers on tap. I sampled two of their new brews last night: The Sweet Potato PIEnt, which is a brown ale brewed with sweet potatoes (duh), and the Monster Mash, which is a pumpkin porter.

Opening Line UP

Opening Line Up

These beers reminded me why I love these guys so much. (Beyond the fact that I love them cause they’re my friends….but I digress.) They’re committed to making great beers with great flavors. Unique seasonal ingredients are being brought to brewing. Alliteration? Yes. Delicious? Absolutely.

Their grand opening to the public is today at 4 pm. Stop in for a pint or a cocktail. I was there last night. I’m going back tonight. Hell, I may even be there tomorrow.

Unless you are a murderer. If that’s the case, you can probably find me at Gatsby’s.

 

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Ooh, heaven is a place on earth: Publix

I think it’s safe to say that there are a few things people are willing to come to blows over in this world: college football (SEC fans will fight you), family drama (your dad’s new girlfriend who is two years younger than you will fight you), and grocery store supremacy (I will fight you).

Now, I am perfectly willing to let each person have his or her own opinion. I just happen to know that my opinion is the correct opinion.

You can keep your Harris Teeters, your Trader Joe’s and even your Wegmans. The greatest grocery store on the face of the planet is Publix.

And it’s coming to Winston-Salem.

Publix!!!

Publix!!!

It’s not to say that those aren’t good grocery stores. Frankly, Wegmans isn’t good. It’s amazing.

But Publix far surpasses all of them. (Hell, Buzzfeed agrees.) But let me explain, if you will. Which you will, because this is my blog and I’ll cry if I want to.

Publix is a southern grocery store chain that is FINALLY expanding to North Carolina in 2014 and to Winston-Salem in 2015. I’ll pretend I’m unbiased when I go into the details but I’m not, so let’s not kid ourselves.

Publix a beautiful, clean grocery store. Is it weird to call a grocery store beautiful? Yes. If it was a normal grocery store. But Publix is a way of life. Publix is where shopping is a pleasure. And it is. (No seriously, it IS a pleasure and that line is their tagline.) You go in, you get a cup of complimentary coffee, you walk through the lovely produce and the easy to understand aisles. Sometimes when my dad is shopping there, he sends me pictures of the lovely produce. And it soothes me.

Their staff is incredibly friendly. One of my best friends, Lauren worked there all throughout high school. And Lauren is really nice. She’s one of my best friends, y’all. So you can trust me. Friendly staff. CHECK.

They know how to brand themselves. The packaging on their store brand is simple and clean. I’m a label whore and I would exclusively buy their store brand.  Their Thanksgiving commercial is still one of my favorite commercial of all times. And since it is now officially pre-Thanksgiving (IT IS NOT CHRISTMAS YET, PEOPLE), we can watch said commercial.

True story: Publix actually sold a version of the salt and pepper shakers from the commercials and they sold out immediately. They were impossible to find. They made another set at Christmas where the characters were dressed up as Santa and Mrs. Claus. This is how much people love Publix.

In conclusion, Publix, we await your imminent arrival. With your Publix subs. And your chicken fingers. Your cookies. Your complimentary coffee. Your amazing store brand. Your price + value + service. Your pleasurable shopping.

There’s nothing more I want from you. Except to be here way the fuck sooner.

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Rah Rah, Ardmore RAH!: 10K, 5K or Fun Run for Hunger October 19

This past Saturday, I went to Whole Foods to pick up a piece of salmon and grab lunch. And I saw they had quince paste, which I’d never actually seen outside of Spain. So I bought two containers. And you REALLY can’t have quince paste without queso manchego. So I got some of that. And I needed to pick up some ice cream for my girl’s night I was having a few days later.

So 1 fish filet, 1 cheese wedge, 2 fruit pastes and 4 pints of ice cream later, I make it to the front of the store. Shockingly, I broke nothing. (But I did drop 2 pints of ice cream.)

As I was walking out, I ran into none other than a former work colleague SLASH friend, David Mullen. He was manning the grill out front to make burgers in support of the Ardmore RAH, or Run Against Hunger. 

After catching up for a bit, he told me about said Ardmore RAH. It’s a 10K (…that’s a lot for me…), 5k  (ok! better!) and one-mile fun run (aw, hell! I could do that! ….and then collapse and die!) through the beautiful historic neighborhood of Ardmore right here in Winston-Salem. 

I didn’t need a burger at the time. (I KNOW. I WAS SHOCKED TOO.) But I said “let me give you a donation.” So I gave him a $10.

And listen to this.

David said to me, “Thank you so much. That $10 goes to make 70 meals. They can turn $1 in 7 meals.”

And then, everything went black because my brain exploded and dripped out of my ears.

Did you hear that? That is some Dumbledore ish right there. I mean, that is truly magical. Because of their partnerships, the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC can turn $1 in 7 meals. And in the past 6 years of doing the Ardmore RAH, more than $85,000 has been donated. Which means that almost 600,000 meals have been donated. Amazing!

If you’re in town on October 19th and have any inkling to run or walk, do this! 100% of the proceeds go straight to Second Harvest. Everything that you give goes to helping somebody. I mean, that’s kind of awesome.

So, sign up here. Run or walk around Ardmore. Help some people out.

Because not everyone is as fortunate as I am, to buy 4 pints of ice cream and 2 containers of quince paste.

What an idiot. 

Hermione always knows.

Hermione always knows.

 

 

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Oohhhh, Brexico: Baked Ranchero Eggs with Blistered Jack Cheese Brunch

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks, culinarily. A few ups and downs.  

Ok. Mostly a lot of ups and one major down.

It’d be like the world’s weirdest roller coaster.

I shall list the ups and downs in a list. Real badasses use lists, y’all. 

Up: going to wd-50 in New York. Wylie Dufresne was THERE. And while I did not speak to him in actuality, in my mind, he complimented me for my hilarious, hilarious jokes. And we laughed and laughed. Back in the real world, the meal was outrageously good. Highlights include the pig tail with artichoke, olive oil jam and hazelnut; the walleye pike, celery, macadamia and grapefruit; the rabbit (!!!!!!wrapped in fried chicken skin!!!!!!!), spring onion, hibiscus, thai basil nori; and the popcorn vacherin with strawberry, kaffir lime and watermelon. 

I don’t remember this course, but it replaced the scallops. And it was beautiful.

Rabbit with fried chicken skin. Stupid good.

Popcorn Vacherin. So unique.

Down: coming back from New York, and going to put groceries away in the cabinets and finding eighty million ants. Which allowed me to channel my inner Zoolander and remark “What is this, a KITCHEN for ANTS?” (Note: I only made that remark after I got through the horror of finding, murdering, and Lysoling the ant murder site.) I seem to have remedied the problem with Ant Shield and a lot of ant killing. And I’m incredibly OCD and everything that could be ant-attractable is now in a Ziploc bag. So, don’t judge me, Judge Reinhold. Cause to paraphrase my friend Jesus: let he who is without bugs spray the first Raid.

Up: going to Whole Foods Winston-Salem and stumbling on local vendor sampling day when I was RULL hungry. I had Roots hummus from Asheville (the Thai Coconut Curry is so unexpected. Sweet hummus…delicious), Peggy Rose’s hot pepper jelly from Wake Forest, NC, and my most favorite discovery: super local pimento cheese. If you’ve never had pimento cheese, it is a true southern delicacy packed as full of calories as it is with cheese. It’s made of cheese (duh), pimentos (duh again), mayonnaise, and salt and pepper. But the folks at Red Clay Gourmet, made right here in Winston-Salem, NC, do some great twists. The have the basic classic, a Hickory smoked, flame roasted jalapeno (locally sourced!), and a weirdly delicious one: pimento cheese with goat cheese and sundried tomato. People of 336, find this pimento cheese, get yourself some Wheat Thins, turn on Steel Magnolias, start crying your eyeballs out. Oops, I went one too far.

Up: brunch with my first official guests, my friend Anna (of the wonderful blog, Curiouser and Curiouser) and her husband, Kevin Keller. Who one time, after a few glasses of wine, I called Kevin Kline. So sometimes, I call him Kevin Kline. And sometimes I call him Kevin Keller. Cause that is his name. 

But I digress.

Anna and Kevin Kline were my first official guest, so I had to find something delicious for brunch. Something easy enough to make on a Sunday morning, that could be paired with the only breakfast meat that matters: bacon, and would work well with a boozy brunch cocktail.

Enter The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook and her Baked Ranchero Eggs with blistered jack cheese and lime crema. This dish is wonderful. And despite using a dozen eggs, it actually served the three of us for brunch very well. But the best part of this dish is that it’s incredibly simple. You can make the spicy tomato sauce ahead and reheat it in the morning. You cook your eggs in the spicy tomato sauce and black beans. And then broil it with the jack cheese on top. Other than prepping some accoutrement and any breakfast meats that you so choose (bacon…obviously), that’s it. And it’s delicious. Breakfast in Mexico. Breakfast IN Mexico. Brexico.

And what goes with Brexico? Tequila.

Every good brunch needs a boozy brunch cocktail. This one is violently pink and delightfully smooth. As your morning tequila should be.

Just as they do it in Brexico.

Baked Ranchero Eggs with Blistered Jack Cheese and Lime Crema

from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman

Ingredients: 

Ranchero Sauce

  • 1 jalapeno
  • 3 cups (from a 28-ounce can) whole tomatoes, fire-roasted if you can find them | Yeah, this ingredient confused me. I think you should just use the whole can.
  • 1 medium white onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed and peeled
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 ¾ cups cooked black beans (or a 15-ounce can), drained

Crisp Tortilla Strips

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 small corn tortillas | I used flour cause I had them.
  • Salt, to taste
  • 12 large eggs
  • 1 ¼ cups coarsely shredded jack cheese

Garnishes

  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (from about 1 lime)
  • 1 cup crema Mexicana or sour cream
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro 

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. First, taste your jalapeno for heat. Adjust accordingly, halving or quartering the pepper if needed and toss into a blender. Add the tomatoes, onion, garlic, and several pinches of salt and pepper, and blend until smooth. Pour into a 12-inch ovenproof skillet, add black beans (if using), and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, or until it has reduced slightly. 

Meanwhile, brush a baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Cut the tortillas into ½-inch-wide strips, and arrange them on the oiled tray. Brush the tops of the tortilla strips with the remaining tablespoon of oil, and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 3 to 6 minutes, or until they are brown and crisp, turning over once if needed. If you are like me, you will burn the first batch. Remove strips from oven, then preheat broiler. 

In a separate bowl, stir together the lime juice, crema, and a pinch of salt.

Once the sauce has thickened slightly, remove the pan from heat, and break the eggs across the surface of the sauce, distributing them as evenly as possible. Return to heat, cover the pan, and simmer eggs gently in sauce for about 10 to 12 minutes, until the whites are nearly but not completely opaque. Sprinkle the surface of the tomato-egg mixture with cheese, and broil until the cheese is bubbly and a bit blistered—just a few minutes.

Garnish with dollops of lime crema, broken up pieces of tortilla strips, and cilantro. Serve immediately.

Brexico!

Brexico!

Fire Island Sunset

From In My Kitchen by Ted Allen 

Ingredients:

  • Ice
  • ½ cup fresh pink grapefruit juice, cold
  • ¼ cup brewed hibiscus tea, cold
  • ¼ cup silver tequila
  • ½ teaspoon Cointreau
  • 1 thin slice or chunk of candied ginger | I couldn’t find this…and the drink was still great without it. 

Fill a tall glass with ice, add the grapefruit juice, tea, tequila, and Cointreau, and stir. Garnish with the ginger. 

Fire Island Sunset

Fire Island Sunset

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In search of my collarbone: Roast Salmon and Southeast Asian Heirloom Tomato and Cucumber Salad

I have a cool job.

I make commercials and videos. I met Big Bird once on a shoot. I produced a video for Small Batch Brewing Co., opening late summer 2013 in Winston-Salem! (See the video and support them here on Kickstarter!)

But shoots aren’t all fun and games and cavorting with Jim Henson’s Sesame Street Muppets. The hardest part about shoots isn’t about the work. It’s not about the long hours. It’s not about the potential challenges. It’s about the craft services.

Yeah. Craft services, or as those of us in the biz call it “crafty.” I don’t know why. Cause it’s cool? It sounds ridiculous. Like what ladies would call their Bible study knitting hour. “Y’all ready for crafty? We’re doing Leviticus today and purls.”

Anywho. Shoots take a long time. And in the down time, you go to craft services.

Craft services is this amazingly wonderful/evil buffet of snacks for you to eat during the long day when you’re hungry. And when you’re not hungry and you’re just looking for something to do. (Good eating habits!) There are healthy things like apples and veggie trays. And unhealthy things (read: DELICIOUSER THINGS) like beef jerky and quesadillas and fresh baked cookies. And it never runs out. And what’s even crazier is that you don’t even have to get up and go to the craft service table. PEOPLE BRING SNACKS TO YOU.

Needless to say, you (I) eat too much and you (I) need to get your (my) shit together and eat healthier. So you (I) make roast salmon and Southeast Asian Heirloom Tomato and Cucumber Salad.

This dish was stupid good. And stupid easy. And stupid healthy. All you needed was the stupid stuff. I didn’t have any of it at home. Except for salt and pepper. I’m an ADULT!

I roasted the salmon in the oven. One filet at 350 with salt, pepper and olive oil for about 20 minutes. Picture perfect.

The salad has simple ingredients, but a deep flavor. It’s basically all veg and herbs. And it’s oil free, so it helps combat all those trips to craft service.

Enjoy with a friend. Preferably one who is 8’2” and yellow. Birds like fish, right?

Southeast Asian Heirloom Tomato and Cucumber Salad from PopSugarFood 

  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce, or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 large or 4 medium heirloom tomatoes, sliced ¼ inch thick
  • ½ seedless English cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • ½ jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh Thai or regular basil, cut into a chiffonade, cause we’re fancy
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Whisk together the fish sauce, lime juice, and sugar in a large mixing bowl.

Add the sliced tomato, cucumber, scallions, and jalapeño, basil, and cilantro; gently toss to coat. Serves four.

Except the garlic. I forgot the garlic for the picture. What an ass.

Except the garlic. I forgot the garlic for the picture. What an ass.

This salad dressing is oil-free and is delicious as is, though a sparing drizzle of toasted sesame oil wouldn’t hurt. Treat yo’ self.

The highest compliment I got about the salad is that "it looked like the picture." Boom.

The highest compliment I got about the salad is that “it looked like the picture.” Boom.

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