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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Great Harvest Cinnamon French Toast with Bixbys Lavender Honey {Sunday Brunch}

It’s one of those days. Outside the air has turned crisp and cool. And inside, we’re in need of a little warm indulgence in our lives.

So we headed into our kitchen to rummage around for inspiration and found just the right local ingredients on hand.


I had visited my parents’ Great Harvest Bakery in Chapel Hill for their daily free sample…

make that two…or three…I just..can’t…stop…

And eventually back to Winston-Salem I came with their ooey gooey delicious cinnamon roll bread.


Meanwhile, Harrison had cruised by the Reynolda Village Farmers Market and scored some divine lavender honey from Bixby Honey Farm out of Advance, NC…


We threw in some bananas, pecans, sprinkles of cinnamon, a couple of farm fresh eggs and freshly brewed Krankies Coffee


This my friends, is a collaboration done right.

 

Until we revel in local indulgences 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

Collards And Hoppin’ John

Since it’s our first day back in town following a two-week stint down south, we’re considering this to be the official start of our “New Year” here in Vermont.  All day we have been dreaming and scheming new plans.  And thanks to the inspired southern new year meal Harrison cooked up for us this past week, we’re hoping luck will be on our side as we navigate the big year ahead.

Southern New Year Meal Recipes Collards and Hoppin John

Luck or no luck, it sure was good.

Here’s a peek inside the impromptu dinner date we shared with Harrison’s mom and step-dad at the family’s catering kitchen back in Winston-Salem where we reflected on the year behind and encouraged good fortune in the year ahead…

Black-eyed peas are said to represent coins and good luck. Folklore says to eat one black-eyed pea for each day of the year. I love them so much I think I doubled my luck.

Collard greens are said to represent wealth and symbolize folding money

Our take on hoppin john: black-eyed peas, cabbage, carrot, onion

First he was sauteing and tossing...

 

Then he was tieing and knotting so his "photographer" didn't miss a beat...

 

Cheers to new beginnings!

 What New Year’s tradition does your family share?

 
Until we dine and dream again,
 
A + H

Holy Holidays… {Family Traditions}

This year we decided not to get a Christmas Tree to save a little cash.  I sulked a teeny bit that I didn’t feel as festive without one but Harrison wisely reminded me that once we landed in the Carolinas that holiday spirit would come flooding right back in.  And flood it did! After the brisk 16-hour pilgrimage down south, we opened the door to my mom’s on Christmas Eve and there it came… like a Mack truck.  And for the next day and a half it was full-on, non-stop holiday cheer. Here’s the run-down…
 
Upon arrival at Hotel Tyson (aka my mom and stepdad’s), we were greeted with hugs and a VIP turn down service.
 

Chocolates on our pillows. How kind!

 
After a nice dinner out with Harrison’s dad filled with big laughs and big steaks, we woke the following morning to the smell of coffee and mmm…. sausage balls.
 

Mom asked that I take a "fancy food shot" of her famous sausage balls. And here's an attempt to do so..

 
After putting away a couple (handfuls) we headed in for PRESENTS and to take in mom’s annual showroom-esque Christmas display.

The latest ornament addition from my brother's girlfriend Brie. Yep, we say she's a keeper.

 

My crafty Nana made a majority of the ornaments on my mom's tree. Oh yes, Martha junior up in here. She's got skills.

 

And speaking of Nana, no Christmas would be complete without a gift from QVC.

 

And then there is my mom who wraps so beautifully...you ALMOST don't want to open the sparkly presents.

 
And check … it…. out…. You ask Santa for a mixer and she, er I mean, he delivers.

Looky what we got!

 
So what do we do.  Use the fancy new attachment from Harrison’s pops to show the family how to grind their own meat using that new mixer of course.  Harrison pulled my mom right up to the plate and told her to hold the catching bowl.  She was a little skeptical but excited.

oooh....ahhh....

 
 

The grr-animals try to hypnotize us into handing it over.

 
 
Meanwhile, outside sat my brother’s jam-packed car.  Big news in the land of little brothers as he announced the other week that he and his lady-love were moving to Vail, Colorado!  Just in time for snowboard season no less…

Just taking the essentials he said. Mom thought it was hilarious "essentials" included a box of flexy straws.

 
 Back inside, we all asked him way too many questions about his big move.  To distract us, he dramatically opened a card… and I, the amateur photojournalist, was there to capture it all.
 

All the emotion of moving really got to him... he almost faked a tear.

 

And then shortly after, he passed out... ah, traditions.

 
 
After all that excitement we hopped back into the Subaru and headed over to house numero dos, Harrison’s mom’s, for more holiday action.
 

Beau-ti-ful stockings hung by the chimney with care...

 

Is this a pretty table or what? Vermonters please note: Sweet Tea all around.

 

Look a mini-Harrison...with tights!

 
 

Plus, a menorah!

 
Here we light the menorah and then say the Christmas blessing.  It’s the ultimate in festive fun.
 

Santa's Reindeer loves her Hanukkah Bear.

 
 
 After dinner, I was handpicked by the coolest 10-year-old I know to help him with the annual sorting of gifts.  His take charge attitude was impressive and he made sure no gift was left untouched.

He takes his job VERY seriously. He really goes for it.

 
Unfortunately my sorting skills were a bit well, messy, so I got kicked to the sidelines.  Better luck next year.
 

Turtle making sure we get his good side.

 
 
Up next, my dad and step mom’s to wrap up the holiday as house numero tres.
 

Dad likes to keep his decor simple and straight to the point.

 
 

This sums up my dad and step-mom: Beach and Ski

 

Dinners at my dad's always include perfectly seasoned meat, fresh bread, a big salad and 200 dressing options.

 
 

My dad and stepmom have plans to open a bakery next year. So of course they were gifted the proper head wear.

 

A sampling of their bread...

 
Ahhh…the holidays.  Definitely the most wonderful time of the year.
 
And up next: New Year’s!  Off to Asheville we go…hooray! Enjoy the last day of 2011 ya’ll.
 
Until we eat drink and be merry again,
 
A+H
 

Sunday Brunch – Pancakes for Brooke

Happy Fourth of July weekend y’all!  Our dear friend Brooke is quite a pancake connoisseur.  She can’t get enough she says.  Since this weekend just so happens to include both her one year wedding anniversary AND her birthday, we thought we would put together a recipe just for her (and share with you!).

White Chocolate, Vanilla, Fresh Blueberry and Orange Zest Pancake Recipe

You know you want to make some...

Lets let loose on some white chocolate, fresh blueberry and orange zest pancakes, shall we?


Basic Pancake Recipe:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 cup of low-fat organic milk (although H dog recommends whole)
  • 1/2 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup of organic flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder 
    (Important note:  If you’re going big with additional acidic ingredients as we are down below, then you will want to substitute baking soda for your baking powder.  Acidic ingredients include orange zest or juice, molasses, brown sugar, etc.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
White Chocolate, Vanilla, Fresh Blueberry and Orange Zest Pancake Recipe

Mise en place. French culinary term for "everything in place."

1.  In a medium bowl, beat eggs, milk and vanilla.
2.  In a separate medium bowl, mix your above dry ingredients.  Once mixed, create a well in the center of your dry mixture.
3.  Add your wet mixture to your dry mixture.

Mixing your wet ingredients with dry to create your pancake batter.

Creating a well in your pancake mixture helps you mix your batter together more evenly.

Pancake Batter Mixture

Here is the consistency you're looking to achieve if you're planning to add in extra yummy ingredients. If you would prefer to stick with the basic recipe, continue mixing until a few less lumps remain.

Additions (the fun stuff!):

  • 1 and a 1/4 cup of fresh blueberries
  • 1/3 cup of white chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon of orange zest

6.  Add in the above yummy ingredients. 

Pancake batter with yummy additions

Orange zest, fresh blueberries and decadent white chocolate... oh yeah!

Pancake batter

Lookin' good. We're ready!

7.  Now we’re ready to cook these puppies.  Add 1/2 teaspoon of vegetable oil (or olive oil or grape seed oil or go southern and slap down some butter!) to a 9 inch saute pan. 

8.  Turn your heat on medium low and heat your pan.  You can drop a little water to test once ready… does it sizzle?  If yes then we’re ready to cook these cakes!

Cooking temp - medium low

A peek at our setting . We currently have an electric range (and are still missing our gas from NC).

9.  We recommend you use a 1/2 cup to measure out each pancake. 

This give you a great approx. 5 inch pancake and helps keep your yield more consistent.

This measurement gives you a lovely (approx) 5 inch pancake and helps keep your yield more consistent.

10. Cooking on each side will vary with each pancake.  The first few will take longer per side while your pan continues to heat. 

When cooking pancakes, look for bubbles to form on top and then burst.  Once this is actively going, you're ready to flip!

When cooking pancakes, look for bubbles to form on top and then burst. Once this is actively going, you're ready to flip!

11.   Another tip:  Be sure to add another 1/2 teaspoon of oil to the saute pan between each pancake to ensure your pancakes do not stick and that each cooks more evenly.

Pancakes will cook faster as you go because your pan is tempering at a faster rate.

Pancakes will cook faster as you go because your pan is tempering at a faster rate.

12.  This recipe yields approx. (5) to (6) pancakes with additions, and approx. (4) if you just make the basic pancake.

Ta-da!  Birthday brunch for Brooke!  Enjoy!

Top your fluffy stack with a little powdered sugar and pure Vermont maple syrup... sooo good!

Top your fluffy stack with a little powdered sugar and pure Vermont maple syrup... sooo good!

A patriotic twist:  Reduce your milk to 1 cup, reduce your blueberries to 3/4 cup and add 1/2 cup of pureed strawberries for red, white and blue pancakes!

Sunday Brunch – Southern Biscuits And Gravy

You can take the southerners out of the south but well, you know…

 H Dog was recently assigned breakfast duty in his 5:00 am baking class (and p.s., I just loved the daily alarms for THAT one).  What better way to give his northeast crew a taste of the south then cooking up some of our beloved southern biscuits and gravy.  Lucky for me there were leftovers, and lucky for you, I scored the recipe to share (in my own words of course…)

Southern Biscuits And Gravy

You know you want to make some...

Let’s let loose on some biscuits and gravy shall we?

First up – sausage gravy:

  • (1) pound of fresh sausage (ground or linked)
  • (4) cups of milk (get crazy, go organic whole)
  • (1) stick (or 4 oz.) of unsalted butter
  • (1/2) cup of organic all-purpose flour
  • a sprinkle of salt and pepper to taste

1.  Place ground sausage in a large skillet, crank up the heat to medium high and cook that delicious sausage until cooked through (browned).  Once cooked, transfer the sausage to a bowl.

2. Add (4) cups of milk to the original sausage skillet, turn your heat on low and slowly bring the milk to a simmer.  Simmer = little bubbles

3. Grab yourself a sauce pot now (we love to bring out all the pots and pans when we get down).  In that sauce pot, melt your butter and then add flour to make your roux.

4. Once your milk is at a simmer, go ahead and add your roux.  Stir thoroughly.

5. Finally, add in that scrumptious sausage and sprinkle in your salt and pepper to taste.

Moving on… southern biscuits, here we go:

  • (3) and (1/3) cups of self rising organic flour
  • (1) cup of organic whole milk
  • (1/3) cup shortening
  • (1/4) cup unsalted butter (keep it cold and dice it up)
  • (1) teaspoon of salt

1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

2. Pour your flour into a large bowl. 

3. Add your salt, shortening and butter.

Southern Biscuits And Gravy - Mix Organic Flour, Unsalted Butter and Cubed Butter

Dicing the butter to makes it easier to work with during the mixing process.

4. Dive in hands first and mix thoroughly until your mixture becomes mealy.

Southern Biscuits And Gravy  -  Mealy Flour Mixture

Here's a closer look at "mealy." I'm very visual... thought it might help.

5. Make yourself a little well in your flour mixture and in that fancy well, add your milk.

Southern Biscuits And Gravy

Flour Meet Milk. Milk Prepare to Meet Flour.

Southern Biscuits And Gravy - Create a Well in your Dough Mixture

Creating this well is another trick to help you mix the ingredients together to create your dough.

6. Continue to mix with your hands until mixed thoroughly.

7. Take dough mixture out of the bowl and place on a flat surface that is dusted with a small amount of flour (we like to use our kitchen countertop).

8.  Roll out your dough mixture until it is an inch by an inch and a quarter thickness.

9.  Grab yourself a cookie cutter (or just grab a drinking glass, we know you have at least one of those…) and begin cutting out your biscuits until all of your dough has been used.  You may need to re-roll the dough a few times during this process.

Southern Biscuits And Gravy - Biscuit Cutter

Who needs a biscuit cutter when you have a rocks glass?!

10. Lightly flour the bottom of each biscuit to prevent sticking and place all of your beautiful biscuits on an ungreased sheet pan.

Southern Biscuits And Gravy - Flour The Bottom of the Biscuits to Prevent Sticking

Flouring the bottom prevents sticking. Thank you H Dog for being our Vanna.

11.  Conventional ovens – bake your biscuits approx. 17 minutes / Convection ovens – bake approx. 14 minutes

12. Recipe yields between 10 and 12 biscuits.

Last step – plate those pretty southern puppies, pour on the gravy and dig in

Southern Biscuits And Gravy - Get fancy with a little fresh sage, or just dig in!

Get fancy with a little fresh sage, or just dig in!

If you have any questions at all,  just drop us a comment.  We promise to be prompt in our response.  Hope you enjoy!


Until with eat again,

A & H