Wordless Wednesday.

trusims-jan-109_0005 Danielle Laporte

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Lucky ’13

It’s said that whatever you do on New Year’s Day is a reflection of what you’ll do all year long. I sure hope that’s true.

On the first day of 2013, I started my day in yoga class with lots of deep breathing and long “ommmmms”. My resolution is to be more fearless and with that in mind, my attempts at inversions and back bends were happily met with greater ease.

He on the other hand woke up inspired and was off to the kitchen for concocting. His creative brain was busy that morning piecing together a southern meal for good luck and good fortune filled with black-eyed peas, collard greens and pork.

That afternoon out came extra tables and chairs and “supper club” friends were called. Casually they arrived with hugs and well wishes…one by one by one.

bloody mary with dilly beans and candied bacon

The impromptu celebration was kicked off with Harrison’s (now) famous spicy Bloody Marys filled with horseradish ice and garnished with dilly beans and sugared bacon shared all around.

Later he followed those up with blackberry, mint and maple cocktails just as the soft January sun set.

blackberry mint cocktail

We exchanged resolutions; we laughed at resolutions and we revised resolutions all while The Black Keys played.

candle-lit mantle
We ate in good spirits. Thirteen of us, oddly and appropriately enough, to welcome 2013.

new years dinner tablescapemixed greens salad with beets, blue cheese and garden radishes{Mixed Greens with  roasted beets, goat cheese, spiced pecans, radicchio, radishes (fresh from our garden!) with aged balsamic drizzle}

stauber farm lamb{Roasted Leg of Stauber Farm Lamb on a Himalayan Salt Block with herbs, shallot & roasted garlic}

pork roulades{background: Grilled Pork Tenderloin Roulade with havarti, charred red pepper, asparagus, scallion & oven roasted tomato & fig balsamic  // foreground: Spinach & Tomato Pie with mascarpone, ricotta, roasted garlic & onion}

new years day buffet{foreground: Creamed Collard Greens with toasted pecans, blue cheese, mascarpone & homemade bacon}

old fashioned chocolate cake{Marlene’s chocolate cake with raspberry filling & chocolate sour cream icing}

new years eve buffet line

{throw in some hoppin’ john with our black-eyed peas, smoked pork, sauteed collards and you have….  just a modest little Littell spread…}

That night we said ‘cheers’ to celebrating each other and to the community that food builds together.

its a wrap

And today we again say ‘cheers’ to delicious new beginnings, a lucky ’13 and to all of you.

tablescape

Until we toast to new beginnings & dear friends again,
a+h

Sunday Supper Club

“Let’s have a couple friends over. Make a little dinner. Share stories… some wine.”
That’s how it all began: our ‘Sunday Supper Club’. And from four to fourteen, our suppers continue to grow.


Last Sunday as we rolled into Thanksgiving, I thought it would be fun to get us all in the kitchen. Learn a few things together as we laughed and  cooked.

I suggested a small cheese tasting and some homemade pasta; that got his wheels turning…

A four-course small plate dinner with a 20+ piece cheese and charcuterie board ensued.





Thanks to everyone who came out to cook with us. Can’t wait to see who shows up next…

Until we feast with friends again,

a+h

Life Is Not A Dress Rehearsal.

Today kicks off my 31st year.  Farewell 30. You have been one of most favorite years yet….

I learned how to drive in the snow…

And decided I’d rather walk.

I learned how to casually cross country ski…

And thanks to a wrong turn, I raced downhill with wide eyes too.

I helped plant my first seeds…

And with a little patience, I saw some pretty fabulous things grow.

I road tripped around New England with my fly guy…


And ordered a croissant with a French accent in Montreal.

I ate and ate and ate…
And even stepped up my own kitchen game a bit.

I picked up my first “fancy” camera…

And fell in love with learning how to tell stories with light.

Ultimately I started following my heart…

And imagine that, there lie my happy place.

Here’s to living 365 days to the fullest. Because after all life is not a dress rehearsal. When will you get to be 31 again?

xo,
a.

Sunday Spruce Up

Happy Sunday friends. It’s a beautiful day here in Winston-Salem. It’s just warm enough for short sleeves while the sun is shining and we’re dusting off the bikes for a nice ride while we have the time.

But first a quick bite to eat…


{ Cherry Tomato, Sage, Goat Cheese & Fig (from our tree at work!) Flatbread (on homemade galette dough }

And also an update for all of you. You might have noticed that we made a few tweaks to our little blog. She’s been with us for a little over a year so we thought we would spruce her up just a bit. Since I have caught the photography bug, we have added a space to share more photos plus updated a few pages and added a section that features our most popular post highlights from week to week. We’re also working on updating our category list to keep ourselves more organized, like by season and a place for all of those local favorites.

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our email subscription section now at the top right-hand section of the page.  Enter your email to receive new posts as they happen and pass the word along if you happen to have friends who might dig this thing we’re doing too.

We want to thank all of you for continuing to follow us with your endless support and constant inspiration. Please keep the ideas and comments coming…. right now we’re especially looking for your advice on local growers, artisans, and proprietors here in the Piedmont Triad area of North Carolina to check out.
Well that’s it for now. Savor the day friends and thank you again.
Gratefully,
a+h

Chapter Two.

Farewell Vermont. You will be missed. It’s back to North Carolina we have gone.

We would be lying if we said we didn’t struggle with leaving; funny because we only moved to Vermont for Harrison to attend culinary school. But we ended up falling in love with the area with its contagious locavore lifestyle and deeply rooted good food community.


And we continue to crave the breads…

The cheeses…

The hidden treasures…


The beer…


I like to say that it was in Vermont that I finally entered food rehab. I went from microwaving to making from scratch; from drive-thrus  to farm stands; from cans and boxes to picking and canning. We moved for Harrison but in the end we think it might have been equally for me.

In Vermont my passion for food grew ten-fold. And so did my love for working side by side with Harrison. He cooks and I photograph. He explains how-to and I write. He learns hands-on and I read his textbooks to ask questions. He executes our event menus flawlessly and I make sure our guests are enjoying themselves. He continues to inspire me. I continue to challenge him.

Isn’t it funny where life leads you when you just let loose and let it?  If you were to ask me a year and a half ago if I could see myself working side by side with him day to day I would have thought you were nuts. But today I can’t think of any other place I would rather be.

For us, life has led us back to North Carolina to give his mom some much needed support with her thriving catering business with him in the kitchen and me in the office with coordination. And we’re looking forward to using our passions to create lasting food memories for clients.

While we’re here, we also strive to create new farm to table experiences with the community in our home state. Ultimately, it is our dream to one day have a small farm and cafe and do it all on one site. We’ll see…

So although the New England culinary adventure has ended, we know that a whole new adventure is about to unfold. We hope you’ll continue to join us here to share in new inspiration and continue to celebrate the community that food builds with us.

Hello Winston-Salem. Here goes…

A Lesson in ‘Shrooms {Wild Branch Mushrooms in Craftsbury Vermont}

Yesterday marked 30 days until we leave Vermont. And believe you me, we’re soaking up every last minute of each remaining day.

This week we went trail riding and I saw a BEAR (Harrison did not. That’s what happens when you race ahead.) We both ran our longest runs breathing deep and powerfully through the cool woods (sharing a nerdy high five at the end). He slaughtered a couple of chickens at the farm (a first for him; a pass for me). We hiked and hiked and hiked up a super steep mountain and, just as I started cussing under my breath, we reached the summit to take in a 360 degree so-glad-we-pushed-ourselves view.

It was a pretty awesome week. Oh and he even went foraging for some wild mushrooms in the woods and proudly brought home these beauties.

Hello wild oyster mushrooms.

And that wasn’t our only mushroom encounter this week.

Rewind back to a few weeks ago when Harrison joined the intern crew for a tour of Wild Branch Farm’s mushroom growing operation. That day he came home bragging about how insanely cool the whole process was. And I of course was then insanely jealous that I missed it. So the minute we heard about their burger/tour night, I was determined to get us back there. So last night we headed out to Craftsbury, Vermont to check it all out.

After we got our fill on feta and blue cheese stuffed grass-fed sliders loaded with homemade toppings like spicy sauerkraut, tomato basil salsa, fresh egg mayo, maple mustard and blueberry bbq sauce, we got off our hay bales and took a private tour around the farm with one of the owners, sweet Kris.


We learned that Wild Branch Valley Farm is a certified organic family farm located in the Wild Branch river valley of northern Vermont. There they grow a wide assortment of vegetables and flowers and raise grass-fed cattle, sheep and chickens.


And most notably for us, they also have their Wild Branch Mushroom operation on-site where they cultivate medicinal and culinary mushrooms inside some very impressive labs and grow rooms.

I have to say, after living in Vermont I’ve become pretty accustomed to touring fields and greenhouses. But the minute we stepped inside their filtrated lab room with Petri dishes, I knew that this was farming on another level. In the lab, we were able to see first hand how they grow cultures from the tissues of wild mushrooms (like those oyster mushrooms Harrison found earlier this week). From those cultures, mycelium develops. And through that mycelium, mushrooms are eventually born.

I had plans to walk you through the whole process in this post, but honestly, who am I kidding? I could barely keep up with all of the technical jargon flying around during the tour.  Pleurotus ostreatus. Substrate. Inoculation. Spawn. Seriously?

So instead, we’re redirecting you over here for a play by play from the experts. Or better yet, if you’re in the area give them a call and schedule a visit for yourself. Trust us. Farming can be mind-blowing folks –  a passionate marriage between science and art.

Until we have our minds blown again,

A + H

While On Internship {Adventures in Culinary School}

Hi friends.  How was your Valentine’s week?  We ate our way through ours with sushi, loads of tacos from Montpelier’s newest addition Mad Taco, and a cozy memorable dinner at Michael’s on the Hill.  And to balance it off we spent a few hours hiking our way through the rapidly melting snow trying not to break a leg.

For actual Valentine’s Day itself, he was busy at the restaurant cooking his way through a special prix fixe menu for Joe public to savor. 

And the next night, I savored the leftovers.

Since it’s been awhile since we last peeked over into the land of culinary school, today we wanted to serve up a quick pictorial to share some plates he created for the day of love while on internship.

{ Side note:  This is a behind the scenes look via camera phone and text messages.  If only I could get back there with my camera.  Actually, scratch that.  I’d be run over during dinner service.  Anyhow, enjoy! }

Oysters Rockefeller - classic broiled oysters of spinach, watercress and fennel. Beer Pairing - St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout, Brasserie McAuslan in Montreal, QC, Canada

 

 

 

  

  

  

  Until we take you behind the scenes again,A+ H  

The Warren Store in Warren VT {Date-Trippin}

in Life As We Know It 6 Comments

I’m a sucker for covered bridges and general stores.  The nostalgia of it all.  This week for a date-trip he took me to both with a stop by The Warren Store.

Stepping inside is like stepping back in time, albeit with a more sophisticated flair.  Rows and rows of mass-produced boxes and cans are replaced by charming locally made treats and carefully curated favorites.

Standard stark beverage coolers are replaced with beautiful antique ice box refrigerators full of interesting brews and flavors. And the deli and baked goods section is just a dream.  We can’t seem to leave the place without a handful of impulsively bought randomness each time we visit.

This week’s randomness: a bag of mixed maple nuts, a homemade whoopie pie, and a highly touted bottle of Lawson’s Finest Liquid (a hard to snag local jewel and hands down my favorite beer sampled in Vermont so far).

Swing by their online store for your own randomness like a Keep Vermont Weird tee or a bag of penny candy. Or come pay us a visit, and we’ll be happy to drive back over the bridge and show you the way.

Until we date-trip again,

A + H

Bohemian Bakery + Morse Farm {Stuck in Vermont}

in Breads And Baked Goods, Life As We Know It 3 Comments

When we moved here we quickly realized that Vermont is like another country.  Billboards, fast food chains and national big box stores are replaced by covered bridges, hidden treasures, silos and lots of snow.  And there is not a week that goes by where someone does not ask, “so what exactly do you do up there?”.  Since I now have this fancy new camera (thanks 30th birthday!) and plenty of time on my hands, I thought it would be neat to occasionally step out of the kitchen and give you a little pictorial peek at what it’s like to be stuck in Vermont.

Here’s a look at a sunny Sunday afternoon…

After a quick breakfast sandwich
We jumped in the Jeep, cranked up the heat and wandered up again to visit Robert and Annie at Bohemian Bakery.  Naturally we were late to meet some friends and thus were met with a round of applause upon arrival.  “Look who finally made it” they said.  After our morning trying to get the show on the road, we were just as shocked as they were.

But our attention was quickly diverted as our eyes locked in on what was up for grabs that day…

Mmmm... maybe one of those.

Oh those...

Seriously... how much cash did we bring?

OK we'll start with one of these.

After an hour or so we waved our goodbyes with an extra pep in our step thanks to our high-octane cappuccinos and good eats.  We then were off to Morse Farm for some festive tourist fun and local holiday shopping.

Family and friends, we'll give you one guess as to what you're getting for Christmas...

But hey, at least it’s the good stuff… see…

often imitated.

never duplicated.

We then headed out back to check out this goat named Otis we’ve been hearing about…(yeah, I said goat.)

Otis and her sheep. Yes, Otis is a girl. We loved that although they had this giant field, they choose to carefully walk their own tiny little dug path. So focused.

Smile for the camera.

Her claim to fame: You put a little food in her duct taped food can and she'll climb a tower...

...and use this little pulley to shimmy it up.

People say she loves it, but to me her eyes read "I got to get a new trick".

The sheep rolled her eyes from ground level.

After that excitement and Harrison declared we’re getting a goat, we wandered over to the Morse Farm sugar house to see where it all goes down and I could go and stalk the Christmas trees for sale…

This guy scared the bejesus out of me when I turned the corner...

Side note: Vermonters love their wood piles. Everyone has one... except us.

This is the first year we are not getting a Christmas tree... something about budgets and going home. BUT if I were to get one, I'd like this guy. I think he looks perfectly "Christmastime in Vermont".

Until we roam the back roads again,

A + H