Virginia food

Derby Day 2017, Roanoke, Virginia ~ The Best Derby Day Gala Ever!

On Saturday evening we celebrated the 9th Annual Derby Day Gala at Rockledge on Mill Mountain, Roanoke, Virginia with 200 + friends …

143rd Run for the Roses…May 6, 2017

The Best Derby Day Gala Ever!

#derbydaygala

Mint Juleps With Sugar Cane Stirrers

All net proceeds from the Derby Day Gala at Rockledge benefit the Southwestern Virginia Chapter of American Culinary Federation (ACF) and Apple Ridge Farm. The fabulous food at the Gala is prepared and artfully presented by the Chefs and the Chef Students. This culinary magic is created with the leadership of Chef John Schopp and  Chef Ted Polfelt, both renowned chefs from Southwest Virginia. This year a portion of the Derby Gala funds raised will go to support Team USA in the “Culinary Olympics”,  which will represent our country in the Olympics-level event held every four years (the next one is in Germany 2020). Prominent Guest Chefs at the Derby Day Gala associated with the “Culinary Olympics” included:

Chef Jeff Blount – baking and pastry instructor in Myrtle Beach.  He created the chocolate lounge at the Derby Gala. The lounge included a Derby Day lady wearing her fancy Derby hat…the entire sculpture was made of chocolate!

Handmade lime coconut and Dreamsicle chocolates!

Chef Denny Trantham was the former executive chef at Grove Park Inn (Asheville, NC) and now works for US Foods. He is known for his southern cuisine.

Kevin Storm is the Assistant Manager of The American Culinary Federation’s Culinary Team USA and Executive Chef at Bellerive Country Club St. Louis, Missouri.

Chef Chris Hill has a huge social media presence and has just released his first book “Making the Cut”.  https://www.facebook.com/ChefChrisHill/

Chef Jeff Bland also joins the Derby Day culinary team from US Foods.

The Derby Day Gala Menu included:

Assorted Appalachian Inspired Sushi Maki Boards ~ Pimento Cheese, Trout Rillettes, Fried Pork Skin, Shaved Brussels, Pickled Spring Vegetables.

Garden Table (All Vegetarian) including Blackberry Salad With Heirloom Tomatoes and Lemon Verbena.

Assorted Yuca, Potato And Beet Chips

Cathead Biscuit Station With Hams, Jam, And Country Greens (Cathead biscuits are called “cathead” because they are the size of cats heads)

Smoked Prime Rib With Duck Fat Yorkshire Pudding

“Gator And Grits” With Barley Grits, Alligator, And Tasso Ham Gravy

Plancha Fried Crisp Corn Funnel Cake With Drunken Bourbon Blackberries, Pickled Strawberries, Orange Carmel Cream, Peach Salsa, Minted White Chocolate, And Sourwood Honey Marshmallow Cream.

And the grand finale….

Adult Cotton Candy With Nougatine Dust, Flower Petals, And Fennel Pollen

Sugar Sculpture

 Created By Chef John Schopp

The attire that evening was as magnificent as the food…
And The Best Lady’s Hat Winner Is…

 

Best Dressed Gentleman

Mint Julep Socks and Horse Bow Tie!

COCKTAILS!

Dehydrated orange peels bring out the essence of the orange to make the drink flavors POP!

https://www.facebook.com/luckyroanoke/

Lucky Bar Featured Cocktail
The Bourbon Stinger

Bourbon, Honey Infused With Sage And Habanero, Lemon And Orange Bitters.

Celebrity Bartender Hunter Johnson one of the owners of Lucky Restaurant crafted special Derby cocktails onsite…

The Handsome Devil

A beguiling beginning, smooth finish and a quality, complex spirit beneath it all make this quaff an unabashed lady killer.

1/2 cup (2 ounces) bourbon

1 1/2 tablespoons Lillet Blanc

1 1/2 tablespoons simple syrup

4 mint leaves

2 dashes Fee Brothers Peach Bitters

1 (3 x 1 inch) orange peel strip

Mint sprig

Combine first 6 ingredients in a cocktail shaker, fill with ice. Cover with lid, and shake vigorously 30 seconds or until thoroughly chilled. Strain into a chilled Old Fashioned glass filled with ice.  Top with orange peel and mint. Makes one drink ~ Lucky, Roanoke, Virginia

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Lovin’ Local ~ Deschutes Chili Recipe And Really Good Donuts!

Happy Holidays!

Holidays are the most wonderful time to shop and celebrate local!

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Why is this coffee so special? Because it is the Pumpkin Spice Latte that my bubbly friend and I drink every morning from September through December…and then we have to wait an entire year to enjoy it again. Sweet Donkey Coffee, our local coffee shop makes this lovely latte with fresh pumpkin puree. Our favorite barista always designs a pumpkin in our latte foam.

http://www.sweetdonkeycoffee.com/

Last week I visited the Really Good Donut pop up shop located under a tent in Sweet Donkey Coffee’s front yard.  This is serious donut heaven.  They sell out every time they pop up at Sweet Donkey Coffee!

Like Really Good Donuts on Facebook to find out the days (usually Wednesday morning at 7 a.m. until they sell out…which can be 8:45 a.m.) Really Good Doughnuts will be at Sweet Donkey Coffee.

These photos tell the story of why Really Good Donuts are REALLY GOOD! Fresh…Fresh…Fresh!!! As their Facebook page describes them:

Have you had a Really Good Donut lately? A Really Good Donut is rolled by hand, made from scratch with all natural ingredients, and perfectly glazed.

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Chocolate, vanilla, eggnog, raspberry (made with fresh raspberries, not artificially flavored!) cinnamon sugar and coconut are among the AMAZING flavors of Really Good Donuts!  Brian, one of the owners of Really Good Donuts said that the most popular flavors are Lime Toasted Coconut and Blackberry Crumble. He also explained that one of their goals is to eventually share with other entrepreneurs how to take a $1,000 investment (their initial investment in Really Good Doughnuts) and create a sustainable business.  It will be exciting to watch them thrive.

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Just for fun I sent my recipe for Bubblybee Chili Verde to Deschutes Brewery: https://www.deschutesbrewery.com

My Chili Verde contains Deschutes Black Butte Porter….yum!

Bubblybee Chili Verde

4 ounces thick cut black pepper bacon, fried crisp (reserve fat in frying  pan) and finely crumbled

½ cup finely chopped yellow onion

7  tomatillos, outer husk removed, chopped

1 Serrano pepper, seeds removed, chopped fine

7 ounce can diced green chilies, drained

6 ounce jar roasted red peppers, chopped

1 pound ground chicken

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 (15.5 ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained

1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro

½ teaspoon chili powder

12 ounce bottle Deschutes Black Butte Porter

1/8 teaspoon salt

½ ounce fresh lime juice (=juice of ½ lime)

½ teaspoon ground cumin

2 tablespoons honey

 

Garnish:  Grated Queso Quesadilla Melting Mexican Cheese, Sour Cream, Chopped Cilantro, Lime Wedges.  Serve with Hint of Lime Tortilla Chips.

Heat the reserved bacon fat in frying pan.  Add onion, tomatillos, Serrano pepper.  Stir and heat over medium high heat until the onions are soft and transparent.  Add the green chilies, roasted red peppers, cilantro, chili powder, salt, lime juice and cumin and cook over medium heat until the tomatillos are very soft, approximately 5 minutes.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot. Add the ground chicken and cook over medium heat until the chicken is thoroughly cooked.  Add the finely crumbled bacon and the Deschutes Black Butte Porter to the chicken. Stir to combine. Continue to heat over medium heat.  Add the cannellini beans and stir to combine. Add the tomatillo mixture and honey.  Stir to combine. Continue to cook over medium low heat for 30 minutes.  Portion into soup bowls and garnish with Grated Queso Quesadilla Melting Mexican Cheese, Sour Cream, Chopped Cilantro, Lime Wedges.  Serve with Hint of Lime Tortilla Chips. ¡que aproveche!

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Christina Nifong Presents ~ Fabulous Fall Recipes

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Life is short…eat dessert first…Christina’s  fabulous apple cake…so moist…the secret ingredient is cream cheese!

This past weekend my bubbly friend and I enjoyed Christina Nifong’s (local writer and gardener extraordinaire in Roanoke, Virginia) Local For Lunch, Featuring Fall cooking class at the Roanoke Natural Foods Co-Op.

It’s easy to find out more about the Co-Op’s cooking and health classes, just sign-up for their newsletter using this link:

http://roanokenaturalfoods.com/co-op-classes/

Here’s the link to Christina Nifong’s Fabulous Fall Recipes:

https://christinanifong.com/category/recipes

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Christina prepared her delicious recipes with ingredients from the Co-Op and her own garden. The appetizer she served was a yummy Blue Cheese Herb Spread.  (Goat cheese or feta cheese can be substituted for the blue cheese.)

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We enjoyed a roasted beet salad that was as colorful, crunchy and delicious!  It lived up to it’s name Beautiful Beet Salad. Most beet salads have the goat cheese sprinkled on top of the beets but this salad mixes the cheese with the other ingredients resulting in a creamy dressing.

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Christina served us Thai Butternut Squash Soup for our second course. One of the ingredients in the soup was “Hen of the Woods Mushroom”, known as a Maitake mushroom in Japan which translates to “Dancing Mushroom”. These mushrooms grow at the base of trees (particularly fond of oak trees).

Chistina recommended using a grapefruit spoon to scoop out the seeds out of the butternut squash. The fresh ginger, jalapeno, lime juice and Thai basil give this soup a pleasant spiciness.

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We gobbled up these Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins (Gluten-free)!

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I enjoy buying my dried herbs and spices at the Co-op because they sell them by the pound. I purchase just what I need. I no longer have to throw away herb and spice cans that have gone out of date.  These items seem to be more fresh than the grocery store dried herbs and spices…especially the vanilla bean! Honey is also available by the pound.

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I was so inspired by Christina’s class that I purchased some Delicata squash (pictured above) at the Co-op. This squash lives up to it’s name…delicate taste, easy to roast…here’s a lovely recipe to try:

http://www.eatingwell.com/recipe/250176/roasted-delicata-squash-onions/

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I picked up a copy of Christopher Kimball’s MILK STREET magazine at the Roanoke Co Op. They have a nice selection of culinary magazines.  MILK STREET  may remind the reader of Cook’s Illustrated magazine which is more than a coincidence…Kimball founded Cook’s Illustrated magazine.  The charter issue, Fall 2016 includes an article about champagne glasses, which of course caught my eye:  The Trouble with Champagne Flutes.  

They recommend not the classic coupe or traditional flute, but the sturdy wine glass:

The classic red or white wine glass – with its broad, stable foot and a bulbous-bottomed bowl – is just about perfect.  The bowl allows the wine to be agitated and aerated with a motion of the wrist (swirling!)…the pros ditch them (flutes) when tasting and judging sparkling wines. They know flutes are for orchestras, not fine wine.

Sounds good to me except that I have dozens of champagne flutes that I can’t bear to toss out. I do look forward to tasting some finer champagnes in a chardonnay glass just for the taste experience.

Quinoa?

One of our fellow guests shared this website:  http://www.simplyquinoa.com/

I shared with the group that the liquid that is drained off canned garbanzo beans can be whipped like egg whites to use in recipes such as this began meringue:

http://www.thekitchn.com/this-gorgeous-vegan-meringue-is-made-from-the-most-surprising-ingredient-220651

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Since we’re celebrating local and Fall today, I am happy to shard a very happy occurrence at Sweet Donkey Coffee a local coffee shop in Roanoke, Virginia.  The Pumpkin Latte is back!  They make their own fresh pumpkin puree for the lattes.  Fabulousity!!!

Happy Fall!

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It’s Time To Celebrate Cider!

“Will Garden For Cake” is a wonderful place to visit…this blog will take you on a fun frolic from garden to kitchen with fabulous stories and tons of delectable recipes. My fellow Virginian and  blogger friend Alisa Huntsman is the author of this spectacular blog:

https://willgardenforcake.com

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Alisa is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America who has been baking professionally for over 30 years She is the author of Sky High Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes and Desserts from the Famous Loveless Cafe. Photos of her lovely cookbooks are pictured above.  It would be worth taking up sky diving just to dive into her Sky High cakes! I urge you to delve into her Loveless Cafe cookbook to find treasures including blue-ribbon pies, country cakes, crisps, cobblers, short cakes and tea cakes…oh my!  Besides baking, Alisa is a Master Gardener, Beekeeper and a Chicken Herder and can be found at willgardenforcake.com and @janeofmanytrades(Instagram).

Please visit and follow her blog…you’ll be glad you did!

Her cookbooks are available on Amazon.com and here’s their review of Desserts From The Famous Loveless Cafe:

Delicious Southern sweets and treats from a Nashville favorite. Renowned for its Southern charm and superb comfort food, the Loveless Cafe in Nashville, Tennessee, serves some of the best desserts below the Mason-Dixon line. Aficionados of country cooking travel from near and far to sample the restaurant s extraordinary sweets. In “Desserts from the Famous Loveless Cafe,” pastry chef Alisa Huntsman takes the most beloved Southern ingredients and flavors from sorghum to buttermilk, persimmons to pecans and masterfully combines them to create desserts with a modern appeal. Big Momma s Blackberry Jam Cake, Honey Chess Pie, Bourbon Peach Shortcake, Blueberry Skillet Cobbler, Coconut Chews, and Lady Lemon Bars are just a handful of the more than 100 irresistible recipes included in this ultimate guide to Southern desserts. Easy to make and even easier to eat, all of the favorite Loveless dessert recipes are included. With a foreword by bestselling author Lee Smith, essays extolling the virtues of the Southern palate, and full-color photos showing the delicious confections, this book will help anyone who can t travel to Nashville or wait two hours for a table at this popular restaurant enjoy a taste of the Loveless at home.”

This long-awaited cookbook offers recipes for all of the famous cakes, pies, puddings, and crisps that the Loveless Cafe serves daily to throngs of hungry diners. The recipes highlight traditional Southern flavors such as peaches, pecans, bourbon, buttermilk, and sorghum. Including fruit, nut, and custard pies, layer and pound cakes, cheesecakes, pudding, bars, and cookies, the recipes are easy to follow, but the updated flavor combinations make them suitable for even more experienced bakers. Derived from Southern traditions, the recipes come with interesting stories, which are conveyed in chapter introductions and recipe head notes. Essays extolling the virtues of Southern ingredients and food customs are scattered throughout the book. The down-to-earth charm of the Loveless Cafe is reflected in the full-color photos and the design of the book.

Now Let’s Celebrate Cider With Alisa Huntsman!

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Celestial Merret is a locally produced sparkling apple cider

Fermented cider has a long history in Virginia that can be traced back to the colonial era and Thomas Jefferson is said to have favored a cider made from crabapples.  A quick search on cideries in Virginia will show that there are nearly a dozen around the state.  We happened upon Castle Hill Cider in Keswick, just outside of Charlottesville, and were hooked at the first sip.

Cider is made from apple juice and it is fermented, either in tanks or the bottles and depending on which variety of apple used, it can vary greatly in sweetness and flavor.  At Castle Hill, they use a variety of methods to ferment the cider and if you visit the tasting room, not only can you taste them, you will learn all about the methods and the apples used to make the cider.

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Freshly picked apples sit in the event space waiting to be pressed.

Ranging from dry to sweet, each one is unique.  Personally, I preferred the dry varieties, specifically Terrestrial, but Levity, another dry variety, is a bit more unique.  While both are made with Albermarle apples, Levity is 100% Albermarle while Terrestrial is a blend that also uses Winesap, Levity is the only commercially produced cider in the world that is fermented in a clay amphorae known as a kvevri.

Levity is actually a sparkling cider and is one of two sparkling varieties available, the other being Celestial Merret.  These two ciders are considered dry but are probably a little sweeter than you might expect and while they are “hard,” neither has the alcohol content that a more formal sparkling wine and both come in around 8.5% ABV.  This lower alcohol content still packs a bit of a punch, so drink responsibly.

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The large event space with its stunning view is a popular wedding venue.

Visit the tasting room and ask to sample the ciders, they do charge for the tasting but if you sign up for the cider club, you will get the tasting for free and a generous discount on every bottle you purchase.  Be sure to try the Black Twig and the 1764;   Black Twig gets its name from the variety of apples used and is aged in whiskey barrels from Tennessee, while 1764 is made from a blend of apples and crabapples and is aged in French oak barrels to give it a flavor and alcohol content that is similar to a fine Port.

Whichever you prefer, do go and visit, sit and sip a glass indoors by the fireplace or outdoors, either way, the view is beautiful.  Be sure to grab a couple bottles to take with you!  To learn more about cider in Virginia, visit the Cider Week Festival website.

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Celestial Cranberry Kir Royale

Kir Royales are traditionally made layering cassis and sparkling wine in a fluted glass.  Since cider is made from apples, using cranberries seemed like the obvious choice for this drink.

1 bottle Celestial Merret or Levity cider, chilled

Cranberry coulis, recipe follows

Frozen whole cranberries, for garnish

Place 1 tablespoon at the bottom of a fluted glass.  Carefully pour in 5 ounces of cider taking care to pour it slowly down the side of the glass so that the coulis does not get stirred up.  Drop 2-3 frozen cranberries into the drink to float on top.

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Cranberry Coulis

makes ¾ cup and is also wonderful over ice cream.

6 ounces, half of a bag, fresh cranberries-can be frozen

½ cup ruby port (water or juice may be substituted)

1/3 cup sugar

¼ of a vanilla bean, split and scraped-seeds added to the mixture along with the pod

1 cinnamon stick

1 star anise pod

1 green cardamom pod

Place all of the ingredients in a pot and place over medium high heat.  Bring to a boil, stirring to prevent the sugar from scorching, reduce heat to medium-low and allow it to simmer for 5-8 minutes.  Dump the contents of the pot into a mesh strainer which is set over a heat proof bowl.  Using a spoon, scrape as much of the mixture through the mesh as possible.  You are doing this to remove as many of the seeds ,as well as the skin, as possible so be sure to leave them in the strainer!  Whisk the mixture to combine it and allow it to cool to room temperature.

https://castlehillcider.com/

http://ciderweekva.com/

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