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Everything posted by phlawless

  1. Here are those photos I didn't get up last night: the finished ketchup: The texture was great, and the balance of sweet and sour was perfect. When I do it again I might not go quite as heavy on the celery seed. Wilbur's BBQ is pretty incredible...not too smokey and not chopped too fine. (I heard John T. Edge on NPR the other day describe a good BBQ joint as somewhere where the parking lot is a mix of cadillacs and pick up trucks.) The sides aren't all that great -the potato salad is very weird, almost like it was assembled then put into a food processor until really smoothe- I don't have any photos of the food, so these will have to do. tobacco that grows along the highway:
  2. thanks for the encouraging words, Lori... I woke up this morning definitely re energized and less pessimistic about the challenge. Today began with coffee and M's usual grits/yogurt/berries breakfast. I will attempt to get back to my normal schedule: YMCA, an errand or two, then home for lunch. The Carrboro FM is open this afternoon, and I was planning a trip that way sometime this week anyway. See you all soon!
  3. It's been two days of my attempt at the locavore diet...and it's been a pain in the butt! I had gotten into a pretty nice routine with my days, but with the amount of extra time and energy needed to follow the guidelines of the challenge, any kind of normalcy in my day is a joke. And Chuck has had a long week end to help me out with Marilyn...what will I do tomorrow? At this point, I am questioning how one could do this every day. I won't be able to sustain the extra efforts needed for longer than a month. I simply won't be able to get much else done. Don't get me wrong, I am loving this challenge...but as a lifestyle it's pretty difficult.
  4. 3) I was able to go to the Durham FM on Saturday since we didn't leave til that afternoon. We drove east about three hours to Beaufort NC, where they had the Tall Ships festival. If you don't know what this is, don't worry about it...it turned out to be a pretty horrible day. Basically we spent about six hours standing in line in 90+ degree heat to see some okay looking schooners. I've complained enough about this for the past two days, I won't bore you with the details... But, we did get to go to one of my favorite BBQ places, Wilbur's in Goldsboro, about half way. There must be a lot of people on the boards tonight, cause loading photos is taking a REALLY long time, so I'll get those shots to you as soon as I can. 4) Turns out that Brinkley Farms, where I got the beef and the bacon from has made the switch. I don't know about any of the others, but next time I'm at the FM I'll ask around
  5. phew...long day! Though today was much easier than yesterday, I was able to spend some time cooking without compromising my time with M. We had fun. We went for a long walk this morning, and were ready for a meal when we got back: I ended up adding the way-too-salty purple hulled peas from last night to M's leftover grits that she had for breakfast and it mellowed them out enough to eat...actually they were pretty tasty, even they do look like cat vomit! We had them with scrambled eggs with chives, and a cheese Chapel Hill Creamery makes called Quark, very much like a cream cheese but not as smoothe and a bit saltier. We had plans to go over to some friends house tonight and I was supplying the burgers. Unfortunately, I didn't get any photos of the meat, but it came from Brinkley Farms. I didn't want to go to the bakery to get buns since I wasn't sure what flour they used, so I made my own: they didn't come out soft and tender like commercial buns cause I used my starter: more like a chewy kaiser. And since who knows where those tomatoes came from in the big H stuff, I made my own ketchup (I've always wanted to): I'll get the image of the finished ketchup later, it came out reallyreally good. when it came all together, it looked like this: (sorry for the so-so photo, I was chasing after M and asked a friend to take it) The burgers were good, the meat was fattier than I am used to, but that was nice. If the bun had been softer it would have been nearly perfect.
  6. This area has lots to offer...if you have any specific questions, feel free to pm me.
  7. I don't usually buy processed foods, and I have a good amount of experience with bread...you'll see some photos soon of my baking projects.
  8. she's way too busy stuffing her hole to speak...
  9. There is a syrupy herby sweetness that counters the bitterness really nicely. Then once it's mixed with soda and a slice of citrus, lime or orange, it is incredibly refreshing.
  10. Happy 4th! Just a quick post with some photos to show our morning. coffee this morning yogurt I started last night for M's breakfast okay... so I cheated...I found this yesterday at Whole Foods. It's made in Chapel Hill, though. We will going over to some friends tonight, and I've got food to make...more later!
  11. this I am still researching, but what I have found so far: here is a link that has some lists of what is available Though not all of these are sustainable...the following is a partial list of what is 'clean': spanish mackerel croaker clams antibiotic free catfish pound-net caught flounder
  12. Your cute avatar/daughter's breakfast really appeals to me, too! Never had sorghum syrup; it would be honey around here or maple syrup from afar. Toddler snacks in the US tend to be Cheerios, toasted frozen waffles and bananas--I hadn't thought about this issue! No rush at all, PLEASE don't try to answer or address these all at once, but here are a few things that your food blog inspires me to ask: 1) Have you had any time to read the thread about Whole Foods & Michael Pollan and think about the issues it raises? Given M's age, I kind of suspect that Pollan's new book is not something you've had time for. However, its subject is very much related to your quest this week. Given the demographics of Research Triangle, I just figure you must have several Whole Foods stores. 2) Was your interest in local foods peaked by your professional experience? 3) I see you were away for the weekend, so didn't have a chance to shop at your town's farmer's market. Are there other options during the week where you can buy food directly from farmers? 4) Given Durham's historical relationship to the tobacco industry, do you know if there are farmers in the area who have switched from tobacco crops to other forms of agriculture? I don't know how close those farms were to the industrial centers, though. ← 1) I did read Michael Pollan's letter, and yes, I haven't had time to read the book, though I really want to! As a matter of fact, when I started preparing for this month I learned that Whole Food's was no longer going to carry bulk flours from Lindley Mills (Graham, NC). My mother would have been proud, cause I wrote a letter asking why they displayed banners announcing their commitment to local suppliers when they were going to switch to a regional purveyor for what I assume was a better price. A week or so later, I got a phone call from the Durham store saying that they were going to continue carrying Lindley Mills, and thank you so much for my support. I don't really suspect that I had all that much to do with the about face, I'm sure many others complained as well, but it was nice to feel like I made an impact. 2) Most definitely... The people I worked for, as well as a good amount of the better restaurants in the area, have been making some pretty significant strides in the education of their diners to the source of their food, much more than the Whole Foods and the like. More than a handful feature entire menus based on a particular product or farm. The three larger FM's (Raleigh, Durham, Carrboro) have had a lot of growth in the past few years, and smaller towns in the area are starting their own since the Big Three have become really crowded.
  13. I thought a bit of background info on my cooking skills would be helpful. Like I said in the first post, I have been cooking professionally for the past 12-14 years; honestly, I'm not really sure when it was that I got my first job with food. I started on the savory side, and stayed there for a good while. Then I had an opportunity to work at a pretty high profile/fine dining restaurant, and the position they had open was for an assistant baker. I thought I could start there and move over to cooking once I got in. Well, I ended up really digging baking. The hours were better, it was a smaller department so I was getting a lot more experience in a shorter amount of time, and the work was a lot of fun. I went on to work at a few other places in the area, then the high profile/fine dining place needed a pastry chef and they called me. I stayed in that position for a little over five years until my daughter was born. It was a fantastic experience: I got to travel, meet some pretty amazing people, go to the Beard awards...it was a really really great job. Plus I was able to keep my hand on the savory side a bit: I made all the pasta, anything special the chef needed for the dinner menu (flatbreads, crackers) I was able to experiment with. I think that having extensive experience with baking has made me a much better cook, more so than the other way around. I don't love sugar like I love salt, maybe that has something to do with it. But don't ask me to choose which one I love more...I don't think I could just yet.
  14. Dinner tonight was a bit frazzled...the guy manning the stall where I bought the field peas on Saturday assured me that they were a breeze to shell...not so: chuck was shelling for a good hour! Needless to say from now on I'll pay the extra dollar per pound and buy them hulled. Because the shelling took longer than anticipated, M ate before us. This happens most of the time, but lately I've really tried to get everything together earlier so that we can all sit down together. Her meals tend to be different from ours not because she is a picky eater, but only for the reason that Chuck is getting home late, I've haven't started early enough, etc... Regardless, she REALLY liked her supper tonight: butter beans from the FM, Latta's scrambled eggs and mozz from Chapel Hill Creamery she ended up having a second helping. After a hectic afternoon, this was especially yummy: I got this a week or so ago in anticipation of the challenge, though it is out of the 100 mile range: to this I added: I rendered the bacon till crispy, then sauteed tomatoes and onions with red pepper flake in the fat, then added the rice, s&p and water, covered and finished it in the oven. It came out really really good, and I don't dig rice. this is some baby kale I picked up at the Durham market on Saturday. I did a quick sautee with lots of local garlic till it just wilted...it turned out great too. Everything was great...except those darn peas! I double salted them, basically inedible, in my haste to get dinner ready. I ended up putting them back in their cooking liquid, adding more stock/water, and hopefully we can have them tomorrow for lunch. UGH!
  15. thanks chufi...this is the first time I have tried to have the majority of my diet fall within the 100 mile 'radius'. When I was working I got a lot of exposure to local farmer's and producers, and it was much easier for me access those products: they all delivered to the restaurant! Now that I'm out of the commercial kitchen, I have to find these things myself...which is a lot more work. Chuck used to draw maps for mountain bike guide books, so he jumped at the chance to help. this I don't know, Milagai...personally I'm not a fan of tofu or beancurd so I've never tried to source it.
  16. I appreciate all of your encouragement and enthusiasm! This is turning out to be more difficult than I originally thought...I'll get to your questions and discuss a bit more about the challenges after M goes to bed.
  17. The FM in Raleigh is open 7 days a week, so that was our first stop of the day. They have a seafood restaurant on the grounds, pretty much straight up Calabash style, and we needed some lunch: chuck and I shared a medium shrimp plate: chuck double-dipping: we then headed to the actual market: I usually shop for food about 3 times a week, but attempting to get as much local goods as possible takes a lot of planning and running around. After the FM, I hit the Raleigh Whole Foods for dairy and cheese, and a couple of non-food items. (No pictures, but if you all insist I can get some at another time). I wanted to get some butter made in Guilford County but only knew of one shop that carried it, by this time M had had enough errands, so I'll get that later in the week. Here is a shot of all the local loot: now to think about dinner. I've got some purple hulled peas that I got on Saturday...not sure what else yet. M will have some butter beans with scrambled eggs and fresh mozzarella from Chapel Hill Creamery that I got at the Durham FM.
  18. Just got back from an afternoon of getting the local goods...I spent the better part of the afternoon shopping and I only got what I needed for a few days! I think I might start my holiday early with a negroni...
  19. tell me about it...there are crazy amounts of berries now, and this seems to work well as a snack. In terms of eating, M is pretty good. But I will need some other snack ideas. Basically whatever I can produce from local ingredients I will, i.e. crackers, chips, etc. But bananas and avocados have been a consistent fall back when we've had a busy day or I am too beat to prepare a 'meal' for her.
  20. when M wakes up, she needs to eat immediately... so she had some canteloupe first thing while that kept her busy, Chuck and I started our day with this: The beans come from Cup A Joe in Raleigh. When I was in college, I lived right behind the shop and have become addicted to their roasting style. A lot of folks think they take the beans a bit too far, but I love them that way. The milk is from Maple View Dairy. M went on to her real breakfast: yellow grits from Lindley Mills in Graham, yogurt I made from Maple View milk, blackberries I picked from down the street, and sorghum syrup from Kentucky. yummy! Chuck and I then had our own: (please excuse the fuzzy photo) eggs from Latta's in Hillsborough, a tomato from a neighbor's garden, garlic and russian fingerling potatoes from the Durham Farmer's Market, and Neese's sausage. Neese's isn't a small producer, but they make really fantastic breakfast sausage, and they are based in Greensboro. the pepper relish came from the Raleigh FM and Texas Pete is made in Winston Salem. We were out of town this week end, and will post photos that are food related later today. But I have some serious errands to run today to track down ingredients for the week.
  21. thanks Lori... I have to admit that I am not totally thrilled following such a fantastic blog! the camera battery has already died...I might have to go pick up a spare
  22. This should give you an idea of the area that I will be working with. I plan on getting all my proteins, dairy, and produce within this circle. Spices, and some dry goods will be the only totally non-local things that I'll be using with any regularity. There are some exceptions of course, and whether or not these are 'legal' within the rules of the challenge is debatable. Here is my list of deviations: -seafood the NC coast is just beyond the 100 mile radius, and though we don't eat lots of fish, I didn't want to exclude it -olive oil This is that primary fat that I use, and though I love pork fat and butter, which I can get locally, I have a waist that I'd like to keep -citrus no real replacement here, but I plan to buy organic -coffee I will be using local roasters for the coffee -wine, liquor though I've sampled a few of the local wines, they aren't really all that good...and I can't give up Campari! (map illustration courtesy of Chuck)
  23. Good Morning, All... It's me, phlawless, and I'm here in Durham NC. I haven't been much of a poster on the boards, so this blog is an exercise not only in recording my attempt to eat within 100 miles of my home (more about this in a minute), but also so I can get more comfortable with writing about and documenting my life as it pertains to food. Now, when I say that, understand that the majority of my waking hours are spent thinking, planning, purchasing, organizing, handling, preparing, and yes, finally eating, food. I have been in the 'business' for a dozen years or more and have recently taken a bit of a sabbatical from restaurant life as I have a 15 month old daughter now, and am only doing a bit of work out of my home. I thought motherhood might distract me from my food obsession, but I find myself with a bit more time and energy to read, experiment and cook than I did before M came along. Plus, the added challenge of feeding a toddler is one that is surprisingly enjoyable. As for the subject of this blog, a couple of years ago some kids from San Francisco got some press for this, and I thought I might give it a shot. If you go to the link read the details, the national challenge is supposed to happen in May. Well, I had a lot going on then, and also July here in the southeast is brimming with fantastic produce. So you all will witness the first week of feeding myself, my partner, and my daughter for the entire month eating local as possible. I still am a bit green when it comes to posting photos, so I'll get those up in a bit from this morning.
  24. phlawless

    Popcorn at home

    I actually want to know how to make GOOD popcorn on the stove. I've tried countless times, and either they come out too chewy and small, or I have half of my kernals left unpopped. Can someone give me tutorial? If you'd prefer, I can start a new topic, Wozencroft...
  25. that's definitely not NC BBQ, it's not pork! It looks like brisket...then when you add the white bread and pickles...I say it's Texas or Kansas City.
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