25 October 2008

North Carolina State Fair 2008 Food Extravaganza

On Wednesday, I went to the North Carolina State Fair with trel, Kelly, Kelly Chi and Ian. It was of course fantastic, and filled with food. Below, a photo essay on same.

After initial acquisition of delicious free hushpuppies, trel and Ian got some grilled corn, which scored an A from both.

We then headed up to the BBQ tent that I remembered as having such superlative Q from previous visits to the fair. I'd had the ribs before - amazing - but not the standard Q sandwich. And it was... amazing. One of the best I've had, o tender with excellent slaw, drenched in vinegar and Texas Pete.

After meeting Kelly, we headed up to the NC State School of Agriculture ice cream booth. Always superlative, we split two massive cups between the four of us - strawberry and cookies'n'cream. Meeting up with Kelly Chi, we reprised trips to corn and BBQ, and frm there hit some attractions and took a short break from food.

The next food adventure was a long wait for Country Ham biscuits - a wait well worth it.

Salty, meaty, doughy - perfect. And a while later: another country ham biscuit, from trel's favorite stand.

Different - smaller and not as doughy, but excellent in its own way. Note the grease stains.

More meandering, trel got some fried Oreos (also good), and then my final dish of the evening - fried okra.

Good stuff. We headed up to the pig races:

And from there to the fireworks:

Great success!

24 October 2008

Mustard Greens

Needing to do something with the wonderful greens from last week's market, and needing a dish for the pot luck tonight - well, good coincidence! Found a tasty-sounding mustard greens recipe and modified it - good stuff.


  • mustard greens
  • bacon drippings
  • garlic, minced
  • 2 cups hearty stock (I had lamb on hand, use what thou willst)
  • 2 tablespoons Worchestershire sauce
  • hot sauce, to tase


  • Mince garlic
  • Wash and coarsely chop greens
  • Heat pan and add bacon drippings
  • Sauté some garlic for about a minute in the bacon grease.
  • Mix broth, Worchestershire sauce hot sauce
  • Put greens in the pan and pour broth mixture over the greens, rotating greens to make sure they are all exposed to both the heat and broth
  • Cover and cook over low heat, stir occasionally, adding salt to taste
  • Serve and enjoy



23 October 2008

Crane Lake (CA) Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

Especially with global hops and malt prices remaining high, I keep telling myself - "JKD - drink more wine. Good stuff is cheap and it's good for you anyhow, as long as you can avoid the hangovers." The warm-until-recently weather (as for the most part, I can tolerate but not fully enjoy whites) has conspired with whatever else to blunt my enthusiasm for this plan of action, but with it being nice and chilly all day today, I decided it was time. So while at the Harris Teeter, I saw a bottle of Crane Lake (with a nice picture of a crane!) that was $3 off its normal $7.50 and, well, at $4.50 even if it's bad, I have one glass and then 5/6 bottle for cooking wine.

I hadn't known this prior to purchase, but a little searching around reveals that Crane Lake is made by none other than Bronco Wines, more famous for their work with Charles Shaw, aka Two (or Three)-Buck-Chuck. While glad that I paid the more reasonable $4.50, I must say that this does nothing to dampen my initial assessment of the wine - which I now realize I've forgotten to include so far. Here 'tis: fine! Not at all sharp, goes down really easy, and would be accepted as a merely-okay-but-not-offensive marque at a higher price-point. Still might use some for cooking, but this is a wine I can drink.

21 October 2008

Founder's Breakfast Stout

Okay, so I didn't actually have it for breakfast. Rather, Founders Breakfast Stout (another crackerjack recommendation from m'local beer store) is a beer that takes its inspiration and ingredients - oatmeal and coffee - from breakfast. And it does so very well. Incredibly smooth rather than dry for an oatmeal stout, and with the same smoothness providing a wonderful end-note on the bitter of the coffee, there's a lot going on here but all in the service of the same goals. They say there's cinnamon in there, too, but I couldn't pick that up until... this is totally gross, but until I burped. Then I tasted it. Don't let my grossness deter you, however - for a cold fall evening, this is an excellent beer to start off the night, though at 8.3% and with a nice viscous texture (not nearly so viscous as Expedition Stout, but that's a high bar), it's not a beer you'll also be finishing the evening with. Highly recommended.

18 October 2008

Food-Related Twitters for 18 October 2008

  • Carrboro Farmer's Market: greens (mustard and collard); peppers (many, spicy and non-); lamb leg; fat back; tomatoes for sauce; sweet taters
  • lamb stock in fridge; collard stock in freezer.
  • getting ready to plow through things-that-need-to-be-cooked/eaten to make week's food, and to clear deck for today's acquired bounty.
  • Step 1: Burrito Assembly Line. Refried beans, rice, fresh guac, cheese, lettuce.
  • Step 2: burritos in fridge and freezer. Preparing to make tomato sauce and then fry chicken.
  • Step 3: tomato sauce cooking down. Green tomatoes sliced, salted, sitting in preparation for breading. Chicken breaded. Pan oiled.
  • Step 4: eating. Fried green tomatoes outrageously good; chicken also tasty but I need work on my chicken-frying technique.

14 October 2008

Best. Dinner. Ever.

Well, not the best dinner I've ever had, but definitely one of the best all-elements dinners I've ever cooked. I had a hankering for MEAT today, and lamb happened to be on sale at WSM. So I headed home with a 6.4 oz. Niman Ranch lamb sirloin and got to thinking. After briefly considering warming up rice that I had already made, I said to myself,
Self, are you stupid or something?
and so proceeded as I should've,
  • slicing up half an onion and
  • three small Yukon Gold potatoes,
  • drizzling with olive oil and
  • coating in pepper and salt,
  • for roasting.
  • other half of the onion, sliced, along with a
  • large clove of garlic, and combined with
  • dry red wine,
  • olive oil, and a
  • bunch of dijon mustard.
  • Lamb was placed in said mixture, and from there to the
  • fridge for half an hour.
In the interim, I popped open a bottle of the Best Beer Evar (aka Bell's Special Double Cream Stout) and mixed up some of the ol' KD family salad dressing and a baby-spinach and romaine salad.

Then, to the grilling.
  • After putting the taters and onions in the oven for a bit,
  • I broke out the large cast iron enamel skillet, heated to medium
  • and threw on the lamb along with onions and all the sauce.
  • Turning intermittently, I added more wine as the sauce cooked down,
  • took the lamb off at medium-rare and
  • let the onions and sauce reduce some more.
  • The potatoes and onions came out and joined the lamb on the plate,
  • and all were then covered in the astonishingly tasty gravy and onions
The stout was a perfect complement, but really, every single thing was perfect in this meal. I don't even know if I dare try to replicate it. Just perfect, on a cool fall evening.

08 October 2008

Larry's Beans Costa Little Ricky

Despite the great selection of Counter Culture coffees now on offer at Weaver Street, I must admit that among local world-class coffee roasteries, it's Larry's Beans that's captured my heart and palette. In addition to always stocking their creamy, buttery espresso, I've been cycling through whatever happens to be on sale. This week, it was their Costa Little Ricky, which out of the French press is one of the best yet. Wonderfully chocolatey and balanced with no acidity, it's just a great smooth brew. Highly recommended.

05 October 2008

Cornbread muffins with blackberries

Stole/borrowed one box of Trader Joe's cornbread mix from my roommate, mostly because i was too lazy to walk to the store and get my own. Followed the instructions, but added 1/3 cup brown sugar and some frozen blackberries, eyeballed at half a cup or 3/4 of a cup, before mixing the dried ingredients with the wet ingredients.

Ate them with a little bit of cream cheese, smiling.

02 October 2008

Lamsbräu Organic Dunkel Premium Bavarian Dark Lager

On high recommendation from my local beer store, I picked up a singleton of the Lambsbräu Dunkel. And as usual, the recommendation was a good one - beautiful nose, smooth, smooth mouthfeel and not too malty (sometimes a problem with the Germans, IMHO). Just a super-solid beer.