8.27.2015

Oh, The Places You'll Go


Owing to the fact that I am besotted with all things food, I am a fan of Food Network. Founded in 1993, this basic cable and satellite television channel helped catalyze the country's interest in and fascination with food. At the time, the only real player in the game was PBS broadcasting Julia Child. Perhaps just as important, Food Network gave birth to the celebrity chef phenomenon by putting cooks with booming personalities on television. Think Emeril, Mario Batali and Bobby Flay. Later star lineups came to include Ina Garten (who doesn't love her engagement chicken and that enviable kitchen in the Hamptons), Alton Brown, Rachael Ray (who once sold candied apples at a Macy's basement counter), Ree Drummond, Robert Irvine, Trisha Yearwood, the scrumptious Curtis Stone and the South's very own butter and sugar Queen, Paula Deen. We all know what happened there. The list goes on. The show has evolved over the past decade from engaging foodies and educating wannabe cooks to launching the careers of chefs and their restaurants to what is now in hot demand, cooking competitions. 

Their digital presence is robust and jam packed with recipes across the board from all your favorite chefs. Magazines, books, newsletters, apps and of course they do still broadcast cooking shows. I know because the only time Matthew pauses on this network is when Giada is on the screen cooking. She is almost always licking her fingers and wearing a d├ęcolletage revealing top. I automatically change the channel when I see Guy Fieri (no offense but those sunglasses and that hair are something else). Nowadays, some of their filming is done at a favorite of mine, Chelsea Market though sadly I don't know that they offer tours of their studios. Matthew can exhale a big sigh of relief. When I launched my blog, I had the opportunity to explore writing for Food Network in the UK as a guest blogger. I had started a new job and time was not on my side. Sadly, I dropped the ball on that one accordingly. Big mistake and moving on. I just purchased this book for my Kindle, which focuses on the "uncensored" history of Food Network. Nothing like a bit of heat in the kitchen. It's what I did after dinner last night. I tore through chapter one, which documents the evolution of Food Network and introduces Emeril and his love of garlic.

Drama in the kitchen aside, I am absolutely thrilled that the startup BobbyPinApp featured me as well as my maps across their social media channels yesterday afternoon. If you are not already in the know, @Bobbypinapp is a must for any foodie, wine enthusiast, beer obsessor, coffee lover, restaurant purveyor or gallivanter in general. I encourage you to download their app to your SmartPhone device immediately. The innovative, engaging and uber cool platform allows you to bookmark all the places you'll go on a map you create with GPS technology. You can add photographs, comments, the works. It couldn't be simpler (or more fun). Whether you be perusing a new spot at home, visiting a dear friend in Nashville for the weekend or celebrating something monumental in a grand city like Paris, this app lends a wealth of knowledge to your fingertips. This is sharing and caring at its very best. I have prepared a list of 42 spots for consideration for next week's trip to NYC and the majority of them came from here. French fries at Montmarte anyone? Or how about cocktails at Amor y Amargo (a bitters tasting room) on East 6th Street. My conversation with the company actually began over a photograph of a new donut spot that I have to check out. The stunning British Brooklynite Sarah, who works for BobbyPin, has graciously offered to create me a map outlining where to eat, drink and be merry in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Throw out your travel guides and ignore endorsements from friends. Thanks to this team, you can now tap into the opinions and verve of millions peppered around the globe. The world is now officially your oyster people. Get on board!

In other news, I have been asked to participate in the Southern Women's Show tomorrow afternoon. I will be on the catwalk during the Charlotte Observer's segment on Back to School Style for Teachers. Local stylist guru Whitley Adkins Hamlin of The Queen City Style will illustrate "how to nail that look every day, with tips that can help anyone looking to upgrade their style." I am looking forward to taking away a few style tips of my own. I have been on the straight and arrow all week but am making an exception this afternoon for my inaugural meal at Kindred in Davidson. By now, everyone knows that they were included in Bon Appetit's prestigious Hot Ten, the best new restaurants in America. I am late to the party but stay tuned. I made the below for dinner last night and it was spellbinding. The original recipe calls for rice but I left it out. We are boring and traditionally don't do carbs during the week. The meat and walnuts cased in bell peppers lounging in the sweet yet savory broth was more than enough to wet our whistles. I am already planning on making this again at the weekend. Get on it party people.

Stuffed Peppers
Adapted from Food Network

Ingredients

6 bell peppers - red and green but the sky is the limit here
1/2 cup of golden raisins
1/2 cup of walnuts - toasted
1/2 (or more) cup of fresh dill
1/2 (or more) cup of fresh parsley
4 scallions - chopped
12 oz lean ground turkey - beef, bison or lamb work too
At least 1 cup of goat's milk feta cheese - parmesan is okay too
4 cloves of garlic - chopped
1 TBS fresh lemon juice
The zest from one lemon - use as much or as little as you like
Fresh ground pepper
Kosher salt

For the sauce

15 oz can of tomato puree
1 TBS olive oil
2 TBS brown sugar or maple syrup
1 cinnamon stick
Fresh ground pepper
Kosher salt

Instruction

1. Toast your walnuts. You can do this in the oven or a pan. Set aside and let them cool. Finely chop the dill, parsley and scallions. Set aside. Disembowel your peppers. Cut the tops off but reserve them. Discard the seeds and ugly white membranes. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, mix your turkey, 1/4 cup of feta, golden raisins, walnuts, all but two TBS of the chopped herbs, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, pinch of kosher salt and pepper. Gently mix with your hands. Now carefully stuff each pepper and put the tops back on. You should have leftover meat, worry not. Set aside and see below.

3. In a large vessel (where you will cook the stuffed peppers), mix three cups of water with the tomato puree, brown sugar, olive oil and cinnamon stick. Arrange the peppers upright in the sauce. Any leftover meat can be sprinkled around the peppers in the sauce. Bring to a boil and lower to a simmer. Cover and reduce the heat to medium low. Let this cook for approximately an hour. 

4. Remove the tops from the peppers and set aside. Toss the remaining herbs with the remaining feta and sprinkle over the filling. Broil for around 15 minutes or until the cheese has melted. You are now ready to go to town. I like to dust mine with more chopped herbs. 

You can serve this with rice to absorb the splendiferous tomato sauce. Or you can regularly pour it over the top of your stuffed pepper and what remains, eat with a spoon.




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