We’re Baaaaaack!!!


So how long has it been friends? One, oh geez, TWO YEARS?!

How ya been? Wonder where we went?

I guess you could say life happened for us; just a few changes since we last spoke. We moved back to Vermont. Harrison took over a responsible restaurant with national acclaim. I worked for a young inspiring magazine helping their business grow. We then followed our hearts back to our hometown. And oh yeah, we had a kid. He’s pretty awesome. We’re pretty proud.

 

Andrea

 

Harrison

 

A lot has happened but we can honestly say that we are finally hitting a joyous stride as we lay down roots with our boy here in the place we always thought we needed to leave.

View of Pilot Mountain, MingleWood Farm, TowniesWS
And with that, we are taking a closer look at our new-again city of Winston-Salem, North Carolina over at our new site, TowniesWS.com 

Winston Salem, NC - TowniesWS.com

 

There, we will be showcasing the doers, makers and innovators that are helping to make our “little-city-that-could” shine. Of course there will also be seasonal eats from Harrison, photo essays from me, as well as some creative inspiration for all of you out there.

artist palette, TowniesWS.com

Homegrown Tomatoes, TowniesWS.com

Summer Tomato Beet Salad, TowniesWS.com

 

We’d love to have you follow along with us in this next chapter. Big plans in store. Here’s to the ride!

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October Farm to Table Supper at Stauber Farm

“They bumped into one another and it was like a bolt of lightning struck.”

This, according to Mrs. Taft, is how the idea for our first farm to fork dinner in North Carolina came about.

The “they” were Harrison and Dr. Charles Taft. The two had always had the idea of a Stauber farm dinner in the back of their minds. And when their paths continued to cross when we arrived back to North Carolina we knew it was inevitable. A supper (as we say in the south) must be held.

For us, Stauber Farm is a dream. It’s a picturesque backdrop perfect for continuing the work we were doing in Vermont with our dear friends at Sandiwood.


So when Dr. Taft proposed our first farm dinner at Stauber, we let loose of our busy schedules and dove right in.

Charles and Lamar Taft are the owners and keepers of the historic rolling farmstead dating back to the 18th century and located just outside Winston-Salem. Since purchasing the Stauber Farm over 20 years ago, they have worked to maintain its historic integrity and keep with sustainable practices to preserve the land and home. They have also introduced heritage breed animals for breeding and market including St. Croix sheep which are among the American livestock breeds threatened by extinction. It is the hope that more breeders will recognize the excellent qualities of the St. Croix through their efforts and that they will produce them in greater numbers and the breed will have a chance at survival.

The Tafts were so warm in welcoming us into their world. Over bowls of lamb stew and candlelight we exchanged stories from Vermont, passion for sustainability and good wholesome food and a love for the community that only food can build.

As the hosts they pulled together a tremendous guest list of like-minded folks to share in this trial run. We watched the list grow from 10 to 20 to 30 and finally settle around 40 to be served. We were overwhelmed by the instant enthusiasm. We had a short window to plan and we were humbled by the generous support of friends and family who volunteered to “do anything” to help get this first dinner off the ground. We love you guys. Thank you.

In addition to supplying Harrison with freshly processed roosters and tender lamb, the Tafts shared sweet potatoes, kale, tomatoes and greens.

They also put Harrison in touch with other farmers including Issac at Harmony Ridge Farm and Cynthia at Billy Place Farm.

We used thick cut bacon given to us by Meadow Family Farms, earthy shiitake mushrooms from Myers Mushrooms, freshly baked bread from our good friend Jim Dumont of Bread Men, and roasted almond gelato from our girl Ciska over at Café Gelato. We also paid Lillian at West Bend Vineyards a visit for bottles of her perfectly paired wines.

A tremendous thank you to everyone for your contributions! We’re proud to say that everything on our menu, except for a few minor elements and a couple of Vermont cheese and butter favorites (we had to represent!) were sourced from within a 50 mile radius. And most of the ingredients were sourced straight from our supper’s guests.


The sense of community, a newly discovered community in North Carolina, energized us. And Lord knows we needed that energy on Monday as outlying winds from Hurricane Sandy foiled our cooking and setup plans. But it’s moments like those … you know when you are two hours out from your guests arriving and your dining tent is deemed unsafe ….or when the grill will not seem to hold heat to properly cook for 40 important guests…. that you really cherish that community that supports you. Everyone rose up and created the loveliest plan B – like it was always meant to be.

{Sweet Potato Galette with confit tomatoes, braised Stauber lamb, Goat Lady Dairy goat cheese & breakfast turnip}

{Kale Spanakopita with Goat Lady Dairy goat cheese, shiitake mushrooms, and ricotta}

{Sweet Potato Gnocchi with brown butter, sage, butternut squash, preserved lemon, crispy kale & Jasper Hill Bayley Hazen blue cheese}

{Butternut Squash & Apple Soup with nutmeg creme fraiche}

{5-Grain Oat from Bread Men}

{Smoked Whole Delaware Roosters with homemade green tomato & pear jam}

{Grilled & Roasted Stauber Farm Bone-in Leg of Lamb with a West Bend red wine reduction & mint gremolata}

{Pairing two classics: Braised Greens & Braised Cabbages with Meadow Family Farms bacon and sherry vinaigrette}

{Roasted Roots: sweet potato, beets, turnips, carrots, onion, radish & kolrabi from Harmony Ridge Farm, Billy Place Farm & Stauber Farm}

{Coffee Service featuring Krankies Coffee}

{Butternut Squash, Pumpkin & Salted Caramel Bread Pudding topped with whiskey creme anglaise & Cafe Gelato’s roasted almond gelato}

That evening, as the candlelight flickered and the platters were eagerly passed around five scattered tables snuggled indoors….

As friends hurried around the rooms with smiles and serving trays and worked back to back in the petite historic kitchen… we were reminded.


Warm camaraderie. Good Food. Big Laughs. Cherished Times.

This is what we’re here for. This is what we love to do.

Until we celebrate the community that food builds again,

a + h

Farmers Market Huevos with Shishito Peppers and Tomatoes

For me, part of the fun of checking out a new city is exploring around, asking questions and uncovering its local gems. So in that spirit, we decided that when we moved back to Winston-Salem we would keep an open-mind and explore it as if it was new to us. Discover. Uncover. Be pleasantly surprised.

And with this little shift in perception, we have already stumbled across a whole other world that we maybe once overlooked. It’s also impressive to see what a difference a year or so has made. New local gems have seemingly sprouted up overnight – thanks no doubt to the dedicated work of some passionate people that we would like to salute.

For instance, last Saturday we took a break from unpacking the dreaded moving boxes and headed over to the Cobblestone Farmers Market in Old Salem. The idyllic setting includes restored historic homes that now function as a living museum.

The Saturday market, which takes place from 9am – 12p, is adjacent to the historic Single Brothers Garden and restores a tradition that began over 200 years ago in historic Salem. (If you really want to ‘nerd out’ with us, check out this scoop on restoring traditional Salem food systems) It’s no wonder US News already named this new market one of the best in the country!

Fun fact – this is also where we said ‘I do’…


The Cobblestone Market is operated by Cultivate Piedmont, a program of the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association and also holds a Tuesday market downtown across the street from Krankies Coffee.


Vendors at this all-local, producers-only market are carefully selected based on their healthy, sustainable, and humane practices. We had the pleasure of meeting quite a few of these fine folks including Jeff from Sugarcreek Farms and Issac and Wendy from Harmony Ridge Farms.

From Jeff we scored these bright shishito peppers …


…and from Issac, these gorgeous sun-gold, black and red cherry tomatoes


After we begrudgingly returned home to get back to unpacking, we decided to take one more quick detour to use our fresh goodies (along with a nice chocolate pepper we had on hand from Sanders Ridge Farm) to whip up a little Littell comfort food.

A plate of bold huevos always makes unpacking a little brighter….

Farm Fresh Huevos with Peppers, Tomatoes and Onion

Ingredients

  • (5) eggs
  • (16) – (18) Shishito Peppers (cut in ½ and de-seeded)
  • (1) and (1/2) cups of assorted cherry tomatoes (cut in 1/2)
  • (1) medium onion (medium diced)
  • (1) chocolate pepper (de-seeded, small julienne, thinly sliced)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • (1/4) to (1/2) cup of fresh salsa verde – depending on how spicy you want things
  • optional toppings – queso fresco and chopped cilantro

Directions
1.    Saute your onions and peppers until they begin to caramelize.
2.    Add in your tomatoes, salt and pepper and salsa verde. Sauté lightly.
3.    Then add your eggs. We recommend you actually crack your eggs directly into the pan. Stir to break up and cook your eggs thoroughly.
4.    Add your optional toppings after plate up and enjoy!

Chili Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • (2) sweet potatoes (medium dice)
  • (1) medium onion (medium dice)
  • (2) garlic cloves
  • (1) Tablespoon of Mexican Hot Chili Powder
  • (1) Tablespoon of chopped cilantro

Directions:
1. Saute your sweet potatoes, onions and garlic until tender and caramelization takes place.
2. Then add in your remaining ingredients, combine, lightly sauté and plate.

Until we find fresh inspiration again,

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…

August Farm Tour and Sunset Dinner at Sandiwood Farm

“Did you enjoy yourselves?” we ask. “It was magical”, they reply.

There was that word again. Magical. It has crept into my vocabulary here – into my journal, our conversations, it’s become a genuine feeling. Magical. As Disney as it might sound that is how I will fondly remember this summer in Vermont.

My friend Allison likes to say that “the stars aligned for us”. Harrison was just finishing culinary school and was hungry to get more hands on experience growing the food he prepares. Then our friend Sandi enters. Her parents have a small organic vegetable farm called Sandiwood Farm in Wolcott. We visit and poof, we’re then lending a hand with seeding, weeding and harvesting.

We also shared a common vision of creating farm-to-table dinner experiences there on the farm. But more than just a vision, we each possessed our own unique strengths that we could pull from to bring the concept to life. I could pull from my event planning and communications roots; Harrison, Sandi (and this month, Amy) brought menu design, cooking and catering talents; Sara and Bob of course offered beautiful harvests, a wealth of farming knowledge and an eagerness to share; and Dani, Becca and Kyle had the passion, resourcefulness and contagious enthusiasm to pitch in wherever needed to bring it all to life.








This week we hosted our third farm dinner and as I looked around it did feel as if the stars aligned. We were organizing, orchestrating and best of all, just laughing. And outside there were warm introductions between strangers, the crackling sounds of a bonfire, bottle after bottle of wine shared between new friends, the illuminating flicker of candlelight, the oohs and ahhs of each course, and the content smiles as the sun set. Yes, it was a magical.

{Heirloom Tomato, Sage Farm Goat Dairy Feta, Lemon Basil, Shaved Red Onion & Olive Oil}

{Heirloom Tomato, Blueberry, Opal Basil, Balsamic Reduction & Roasted Garlic Aioli}

{Crudites with baba ghanoush}

{Local Cheese Board includingJasper Hill Bayley Hazen Blue Cheese and Sage Farm Goat Dairy Sterling, Madonna & Feta Cheeses}

{Fried Fromage Fritters (goat and cow’s milk) with sun-gold tomatoes and a balsamic drizzle}

{Crostini with farm fresh egg, cucumber, radish, dill & a roasted garlic farm egg aioli}

{Chard Sushi}





{House Made Farm Egg Tagliatelle Pasta with oven roasted cherry tomatoes, heirloom tomato sauce, arugula sprouts, roasted garlic cloves & basil}


{Mixed Beans with dill and brown butter}

{Roasted Potatoes, Cippolini Onions & Locally Foraged Black Trumpet Mushrooms}

{Cider-Brined Grilled Pork Loin, Braised Belly & Braised Leg with a late-summer apple reduction}



{House Made Basil Shortbread Biscuits with Macerated Madeira Berries & Lemon Cream}

We will be taking a little of that magic with us to Winston-Salem, NC.

{Thank you Schlosser Family!}


Only a week and half left until we move…


Until we find fresh inspiration again,

a + h

July Sunset Farm Dinner and Tour at Sandiwood Farm

“My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece” ― Claude Monet

To watch them walk through the rows and rows of vegetables and select by hand those that will make the cut for our July dinner was surreal. For me it wasn’t too long ago that I ate out of boxes, cans, and frozen trays.  And this year has been a crash course on how to live, eat and prepare so much better. For this experience, I am forever grateful.

The late-July harvest was a beautiful masterpiece. Tomatoes were plump and beautiful. The snap peas had a perfect crunch. As we peeled the loads and loads of harvested garlic, the smell lingered on our fingers. The smells, the textures, the colors, the fresh-out-of-the-ground flavors were spinning through our minds as menu ideas were freely exchanged outside in the warm sun. Harrison and Sandi once again walked through which items would be at their peak that week with Sara. Together our chefs curated a lovely farm to fork menu for the 24 hungry guests who joined us that night.


There was a 50th birthday celebration at one table and intermixed at the other were new and old friends including an established Stowe concierge and an intrigued farm to table tour operator. Among the tables set with freshly picked flowers, garlic braids and tomatoes was a sincere appreciation for the love and dedication behind the evening’s food. As guests made introductions and shared stories at the communal dinner tables, a shared energy and enthusiasm was felt throughout the farm while a series of fresh, colorful courses were served just as the sun set.

{local cheese board}

{fresh vegetables with homemade carrot hummus topped with nigella seeds}

{poached beet skewers with lemon-basil vinaigrette}

{bruschetta with homemade heirloom tomato jam, fresh mozzarella and assorted basils}

{roasted summer garlic with grapeseed oil}

{homemade fromage stuffed bite-sized tomatoes with roasted garlic & opal basil}

{flatbread with heirloom tomatoes, green onion, opal basil and homemade white sauce}

{“the green machine”: flatbread topped with braised greens, fennel, green onion, cabbage, sugar snaps, red onion}

{flatbread with fresh farm blueberry, heirloom tomato, goat cheese. opal basil and balsamic reduction}

{homemade pappardelle pasta}

{7-hour smoked chicken with herb pistou}

{sautéed and grilled summer green veggies}

{farm fresh egg custard with chocolate ganache, fresh blueberry compote and wooly mint}


On behalf of Sandiwood Farm, we would like to invite you to our upcoming sunset dinners and farm tours. Each night will include a unique menu inspired by the week’s farm harvest.

Upcoming Dates
August 21
September 20
October 10

Time: 6:00pm
Cost: $50/per person
BYOB and BYO appetite

These intimate meals will be capped at 20 guests, so RSVP early!

To RSVP or learn more, please email Sara at maplesyrup@myfairpoint.net or call 802-888-2881

Until we find fresh inspiration again,  
A + H

June Sunset Dinner and Tour at Sandiwood Farm

“Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.”
― Henry David Thoreau

It rained. It poured. There was thunder. And lighting. In a word, the weather was – nasty.

It was the big debut of the new farm to fork dinner series at Sandiwood Farm. And the rain – that week of rain was spoiling all of our plans.

We began obsessing over those little details that we thought were ruined. No stunning sunset. No walking farm tour. Muddy grounds. Geesh … not even warm weather. “We should consider rescheduling”, we said. It’s our trial run and we were certain plan B just wouldn’t be as fun.

At least that’s what we had thought.

“It is what it is”, we repeated to one another as we pulled together to simplify the original plan. Without a word, we agreed to not give those uncontrollable details a second thought.

And so…

Behind the scenes, the harvesting room became an extra plating, prep and flower arranging station….


And our dinner table was reset family style in a greenhouse surrounded by growing tomato vines…


In the house, the kitchen came alive with direction and focus….

And the skies slowly cleared just in time for the evening’s guests to arrive.


The June dinner menu was inspired by the fresh organic produce and herbs harvested that day on the farm, along with other locally sourced ingredients. Crisp. Spicy. Crunchy. Green. Sandi and Harrison took a simplistic approach in their preparation. Flawlessly and respectfully the ingredients just shined.

{Fresh homemade cheeses + goat cheese from our friends at Sage Farm Goat Dairy}

{Warm bread freshly baked that afternoon by local baker/NECI Grad, Trenton Chamberlain }

{Veggie Summer Rolls filled with freshly harvested ingredients from the farm and homemade ponzu sauce }

{ Bruschetta: Homemade Chevre with farm herbs, arugula pesto and Wild Branch oyster mushrooms }

{ Cream of Zucchini Soup with herb and green garlic croutons. Topped with a curry creme fraiche drizzle }

{ Baby Lettuces, shaved radishes, edible flowers and grilled scape and Sandiwood farm maple vinaigrette }

{ Fresh tagliatelle pasta with homemade fromage blanc and seasonal farm veggies }

{ 7-hour smoked chicken with herb pistou }

{ First picked strawberry cobbler topped with decadent dulce de leche whipped cream }

And at the end of the night, just as the warm strawberry cobbler was served, a stunning electric pink sky emerged.

In the end, it turned out to be a magical evening… a special experience for new friends and old. All thanks in part to that darn rain.

On behalf of Sandiwood Farm, we would like to invite you to our upcoming sunset dinners and farm tours. Each night sure to offer its own pleasant surprises along with the latest in farm fresh delights.


Upcoming Dates

July 24

August 21

September 20

October 10

Time: 6:00pm
Cost: $50/per person
BYOB and BYO appetite
These intimate meals will be capped at 20 guests, so RSVP early!

To RSVP or learn more, please email Sara at maplesyrup@myfairpoint.net or call 802-888-2881

Until we find fresh inspiration again,
A + H

Rhubarb and Chipotle Pork Tacos

Whew! We’re baaaaack. It’s been a hot minute but we’re back in the home cooking saddle again. A couple of new exciting developments to share before we pull out the pots and pans….

He Graduated! “Attend culinary school” once loomed on the bucket list after years of working in the family’s catering business. Completed – check!

And look who met Chef Daniel Boulud and Chef Gavin Kaysen.

Big day. Awesome!

And we moved…to beautifully green Stowe. We’ll be here for the summer cooking goodies to share from the cutest little red cabin in the woods. Thanks to Annie and Joey for opening up their home to us for the summer. We promise to take good care of her and we’ll make sure she always smells delicious.

And finally, we’re helping out (Ok it’s mostly Harrison) on an organic produce and flower farm until September. We get to play in the dirt and bright sunshine and score some gorgeous veggies for true farm to fork meals. Another bucket list item underway… double check!

Now that you’re officially up to speed … let’s jump back into the kitchen shall we?!

Today’s recipe was inspired by the ripe rhubarb growing in our new backyard. “Hmm… what should we make” we said. Pies, tarts, jelly…nah, c’mon it’s us. Of course we’re christening the new country crib with some killer rhubarb and chipotle pork tacos. Let’s let loose. Ole!

Ingredients: 

  • (2) small stalks of rhubarb – sliced thin
  • Half can of chipotles (7 to 8 ounce can)
  • (2) Pasilla Negro Chiles (dried and reconstituted)

  • (2) small yellow onions – julienned
  • (1) bulb of garlic – peeled and mashed
  • (1) can of organic tomatoes and green chilis
  • (3) bay leaves
  • (1/3) bunch of fresh cilantro (ours freshly picked from Sandiwood Farm)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • (1/2) teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • (1/2) tablepoon of dried oregano or (3) tablespoons of fresh oregano
  • (2) to (3) pounds of locally raised pork shoulder or butt – cut into chunks

1. Preheat your oven to 250 degrees.

2. Brown off your pork in a large rondeau (or any other pot that you can transfer into the oven that allows room for the pork to be immersed in water to cook)

3. Remove your pork and set aside. Add your onion, garlic and rhubarb to your rondeau. Lightly sauté.

4. Add your remaining ingredients, including your pork, and a little water to cover your pork.

5. Cover your rondeau with foil and place in the oven for 4 – 5 hours until very tender.

6. Remove from oven and allow it to sit for at least 10 minutes to rest. Then shred your pork and set aside for your tacos. (Tip: You can also sear your shredded pork in a pan with a little olive oil to crisp the outside and create a carnitas like texture…yum!)

7. Reserve your liquid with veggies and puree in a blender or food processor to make a hot salsa for your tacos.

8. Serve with tortillas, fresh salsa, chopped onion, fresh cilantro, scallion flowers and maybe a little pickled watermelon rind.

Enjoy!

Until we find fresh inspiration again,

A + H

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{Wishing all of you Dads out there a Happy Father’s Day today! To our Dads: We love you and thank you for all that you give and for your continued support as we navigate through this crazy thing called life. Today we celebrate you!}