Who doesn’t love back-to-school time, with all its excitement over new teachers, old friends, fresh school supplies, and the return of the weekly routine? Sure, we’ll probably all be missing the lazy days of summer in no time, but for now it's back to bus stops, packed lunches, and homework.
One of the first language barriers between my Australian friend and I was the word “peppers.” You see, despite the fact that we both speak English, we have different names for these delicious members of the nightshade family. She, like all Australians, uses the word “capsicum” when referring to bell peppers, named after the capsaicin found in spicy peppers. You might be thinking, “Wait, bell peppers aren’t spicy! That makes no sense.” Well considering we call black pepper “pepper,” we probably shouldn’t call the kettle “black.”
Our friends at the Asheville-based Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP) are at it again, offering exciting programs for Western North Carolina residents. Of note in the coming weeks are two special events: a tomato contest for ‘mater mavens and an exclusive local food dinner with a James Beard finalist chef.
Driving down flat two lane roads flanked by corn and soybean isn’t necessarily the setting you’d think of when heading for a winery. However, there’s no mistaking Flint Hill as you come upon their beautiful vineyards, with lush green grapes. The soybeans that grow across the street from their 140-year-old farmhouse gives a window into some of the history of the land before the grapes.
I can't tell you how many times I pick up a loaf of French or Italian bread thinking that I'd be able to polish it off. Let me tell you that is almost never the case — I am always left with enough to have bread crumbs for the rest of my life! Well, if you are like me (or perhaps just really dig my recipes), then I can maybe help you salvage some of that bread.
When I was growing up a peach was something that came in a can. Fresh peaches were as foreign to my Connecticut childhood as a briny, delicious lobster roll would be to a Kansan. My dad loved canned peaches though; his favorite “salad” (quotation marks implied) was canned peaches and cottage cheese. Needless to say, I did not have a good appreciation of peaches.
If I had a nickel every time someone told me, “I have no idea what to do with eggplant,” then I would be a rich woman. Eggplant is very versatile because it soaks up the flavors of the flavors around it, kind of like mushrooms. So, if you combine it with other delicious flavors, you can’t go wrong.
Have you ever noticed those funky colored tomatoes in the fresh produce section. When I was just a young tike, I used to always think to myself, "Why would a grocery store sell rotten tomatoes?" Little did I know, these tomatoes weren't rotten — they're just a different breed!
Two things downtown Raleigh offers during the summer are monthly First Fridays full of fine art and Farmers Market weekends stocked full of fresh produce. Combine both of those and you’ve got the bold and savory creations by Denee’ Black. Her new exhibit, [pro•duce], opened this past First Friday night in downtown Raleigh at Designbox, and each painting was created entirely from her observations at the State Farmers Market.
We tend to think of the North Carolina wine industry as fairly young. However, the act of growing grapes, and grapes for wine in this state, is nothing new — it’s actually one of our oldest industries. What else would you expect from a state where Europeans found Scuppernong grapes flourishing when first exploring the area in the 1500s? In fact, the first ever mention of the grape was in 1524 by the Florentine explorer Giovanni De Verazzano as he travelled the Cape Fear River Valley. In 1584, Sir Walter Raleigh said our coastline was so abundant in Scuppernong grapes that the sea “overflowed them.”