29 July 2013

new options for following

hello friendly followers!

in an attempt to make following the blog easier,
i have added two new options that will make you aware of new posts.

you can choose to be notified via email
or you can subscribe using a feed reader.
heck, you can do both if you really want.

the options can be found on the menu bar to the left
just below the list of followers.
do take a moment to subscribe
and please share using the easy links below posts
for the various social networking sites that you participate in!

be prepared for quite a few updates
as i get ready to conquer my backlog of photos and recipes!!

- sarah

06 May 2013

bacon WITH a cause

this upcoming saturday, which is may 12,
i will be participating in a 5K walk to raise money for
a very deserving family who is currently undergoing some serious hardship
because of a violent invasion of their home earlier this year.

please consider making a small donation to the cause
to support our team and the family!

any help you can provide is much appreciated!!

here is some information about the family.

here is where you can donate to our team.

05 May 2013

the bbq is back!

it is still pretty chilly here in nc,
despite it being may!
however, we are back in the bbq
swing of things.
every chance we get, we are in the yard
with the grill flaming & smoking!
there will surely be more photos to come
as the season warms up!

smoking fresh bacon.
new flavor experimentation... bloody mary bacon!
image and bacon by sarah c baron

bob getting smokey & choppy with some smoked pork shoulder!
image by sarah c baron

rib cook-off... dry rub versus cheer wine sauce.
the winner: whomever got to suck the meat off of those bad boys!
image by sarah c baron

the tomahawk chop..
and the delicious stock the we make from the enormous bones!
image by sarah c baron

a rainbow of veggie flavor!
image by sarah c baron

14 April 2013

oh canada!

so the end of march was a pretty exciting time for us...
we finally went on our ski vacation to canada!
i had never been to canada, so it was especially exciting for me.

we flew into vancouver and then drove two hours up
the sea-to-sky highway to the beautiful alpine village of whistler.
it was perhaps the most breath taking drive i have ever experienced!

shannon falls is visible from the sea-to-sky highway!
image by sarah c baron

whistler is a pretty amazing place... 
if you ski or snowboard, i highly recommend it. 
if you don't that is okay too.
there are enough shops and restaurants to keep you busy also.
they even allow non-skiers to take the gondola up to the top
of the mountains for sightseeing, photography, and, of course, eating!

the view from the top of the world...
i imagine this is what heaven looks like.
image by sarah c baron

i really enjoyed "skiing" the mountain.
(skiing is quotations marks because i am a beginner)
what i really loved, however, was the food scene.

they make pretty good wine in canada! who knew?!
our favorite was from the blue mountain vineyard in bc.
image by sarah c baron

the appetizer and bar menu at the firerock lounge was pretty great.
carpaccio was yummy and their afternoon fondue special really hit the spot.
image by sarah c baron

the belvedere ice room at the barefoot bistro gives vodka tastings in frigid temps.
don't worry, they give you huge parkas to wear!
image by sarah c baron

our favorite apr├ęs ski was at the dubh linn irish pub,
which was located at the bottom of the slopes near the gondola to blackcomb.
the heated patio is a great place to enjoy some cider and poutine after skiing.
image by sarah c baron

on nights when we were too tired or sore to put clothes on and go out to eat
we stayed in and cooked up something tasty in our own little mini-kitchen!
the westin thought of almost everything!
image by sarah c baron

have i explained how good fries are when they are covered in gravy & cheese curd?!
poutine is a reason in itself to go to canada!
image by sarah c baron

after six fantastic days in whistler, we packed the car up
and headed back down to vancouver.
vancouver is an awesome city!! they have the ocean, the harbor,
the buildings, the mountains, the sky, the water, the shopping,
the parks, and the restaurants that you want in every vacation...
and it is all in one place!!

it seems cheesy & touristy,
but we had a great time at the revolving restaurant, top of vancouver.
we got to have a glass of champagne and really get a feel for the scope of the city!
image by sarah c baron

a view from the top of vancouver...
our hotel was over there somewhere!
image by sarah c baron

an afternoon cider to cool off and rest our feet!
we walked a lot!!
image by sarah c baron

beautiful totem poles in stanley park
image by sarah c baron

the television shows do not lie about "meat & bread".
seriously, do not miss the porchetta: salsa verde!!
image by sarah c baron

did i mention how much i love poutine?!
this fancy version with shallots and parsley from six acres was incredible!
image by sarah c baron

there were so many other amazing places to eat, shop, and hang out!
i couldn't possibly photograph and share every good meal, snack, or view
that we experienced in vancouver! however, if you plan on going,
give me a holla and i will recommend some more must-sees for you!

wish you were here!
cheesy, posy awesomeness by coast mountain photogaphy

05 March 2013

the ellen cherry experience @ the sorting table on 7th

in uptown charlotte, between college & brevard, where the light rail ends,
when i was in college, this building housed a boutique grocery store.
today, though, it is home to a variety of colorful vendors
selling all sorts of tasty local foods and beverages!

one of my favorite shops to visit is the new,
this wine shop is owned by josh, a fun and quirky gentleman,
who is always happy to chat, show you around, 
make suggestions, and maybe,
just maybe, if you are really nice,
invite you to a wine tasting or special dinner!

a few weeks ago, we took josh up on one of those offers
and we were one of the privileged few lucky enough to partake
in the ellen cherry experience...
this just so happened to fall on the night before my birthday,
so it was a win-win for me!

the ellen cherry experience was, indeed, an experience!
that sunday night we were entertained by the vocal stylings
of baltimore's own, ellen cherry.
we were fed a huge meal of multiple courses
and josh paired the fare with both red and white wines...
for each course!!

if you ever get the chance to attend such an event,
don't think about it...
just do it! you will not be sorry!

be sure to visit ellen cherry on the internet
and stop by to see josh in person the time you are uptown!

the market transformed into an elegant, yet casual dinner setting
image by sarah c baron

creamy, warm mushroom soup with a yummy crostini
image by sarah c baron

the shrimp course
image by sarah c baron

lamb, lamb, lamb... the ragu is to die for!
image by sarah c baron

chocolate empanadas for dessert
image by sarah c baron

a varied and delicious wine selection
image by sarah c baron

host & chef obliging me
image by sarah c baron

tasty, tasty bubble... happy birthday to me!
(thanks so much, bobby!)
image by sarah c baron

12 February 2013

the best pasta ever

a few years ago,
i was in philadelphia and i had, perhaps,
one of the most delicious pasta meals i have ever eaten...
it was a lardo filled ravioli with fava beans
at marc vetri's osteria!

normally, we think of pasta as a heavy meal,
but these were light, velvety pillows
of heavenly goodness!

since that meal, i have been trying to find
a way to duplicate that special pasta.
finally, i just searched for the recipe on the internet.
low and behold, it was there, floating in cyberspace!

the lovely blog of maria & christina, sisters running the kitchen,
led me to the details of the glorious recipe!
so thanks for that ladies. i am eternally grateful!

making fresh pasta is far easier than you might think it would be
and it really does taste so much better than something out of a box.
honestly, i am convinced it is somehow healthier
for you than the pre-made stuff!

the ingredients are probably things you already have in the pantry
and you don't need nearly as much equipment as you could use!
here is the lowdown for making
bob & sarah's version of marc vetri's pasta dough:

11/4  cups                     all purpose or 00 flour
1/3 cup + 11/2 tbls       semolina flour
9                                 large egg yolks (yup, 9!)
3-4 tbls                       water
1 tbls                          extra virgin olive oil

some people use a stand mixer for this,
but we just don't have one,
so we use good old fashioned "bob" power!
in a bowl, he combines the two flours
then adds the yolks, water, and oil,
mixing until it comes together.

he then turns it out onto a floured granite countertop
and kneads for about five minutes.
you know it is done when it is smooth,
not sticky, and goes back into shape after stretching.

we like to roll it into a ball,
wrap it in plastic,
and put it in the refrigerator to rest.
it should sit for at least 30 minutes,
but can stay in there safely for three or so days.

once the dough has rested and chilled,
it can be rolled out and made into any number of pasta types.
we have a manual pasta roller and just love the thin, long noodles!
they don't take very long to cook,
only about two or three minutes
in salted boiling water.

after removing it from the water,
it is up to you how you enjoy the deliciousness!
yesterday, for my birthday,
bob turned that lovely pasta into his famous
chicken parmigiana!

pasta, pasta, pasta
image by sarah c baron

bob's famous chicken parmigiana
image by sarah c baron


10 February 2013

duke's bread... charlotte, nc (yum!)

i don't know if you charlotte locals are aware of this,
but there is an amazing bakery
cranking out spectacular bread in this town!

i came across duke's bread
while wandering the atherton mill saturday.

five bucks got me a fresh, warm
rosemary sea salt round.

it was so, so, so good!
i highly recommend it!

check out duke's bread at their website!!

09 February 2013

back with, yup, you guessed it... more bacon!

i am back
and i am candying bacon!

we've got the recipes worked out pretty well
for the bacon itself.
although next time,
i am recording the specifics so we can duplicate
it perfectly with each batch!

the three favorites so far are
maple brown sugar,
chocolate & chili,
and, my personal fave,
roasted garlic & herb!

the candied version is a new experiment.
this first attempt was pretty darned decedent,
but i think i will be doing some tweaking to
make sure it stays crispy and not gooey.

i will keep you posted!!

"candied bacon"
image (and bacon) by sarah c baron

18 July 2012

new bacon: an update

both curing pork bellies have been flipped for the first time.
this meat doesn't seem to be giving up its liquid as much or as quickly
as the first batch of bacon we made.
i am not sure why this is,
but it could be colder in the new refrigerator
or the belly could simply be leaner than before...
we did use a different butcher this time, after all.
we are also using kosher salt, as the recipe requires,
where as last time, we only had fine grain sea salt on hand.
either way, we are making progress
and both pork bellies smell fantastic!

our bacon after the first flip:
chocolate serrano on the left & roasted garlic herb on the right
image by sarah c baron

16 July 2012

homemade bacon part deux

the kitchen is unpacked, 
the wine is chilling in the fridge, 
the garden is growing nicely...
so it must be time to make bacon again!!!

saturday morning we made a stop at the the atherton mill market.
for old school charlottean's, that is the refurbished warehouse complex 
near the train tracks at south boulevard and tremont.
it is a lovely, local fresh market with many vendors
selling all sorts of delicious fruits, meats, cheeses, and handicrafts.

we stopped by the windy hill farm table 
and they just so happened to have some fresh pork belly on hand!
windy hill is a local family farm that you just can't help but want to support...
the people are nice and the food is fresh.
we picked up three well-trimmed, one pound pieces of pig.

just down the sidewalk, still in the mill,
is the savory spice shop where we were able to purchase
curing salt, kosher salt, and some more spiciness for our bacon experiments.
this is another shop, i can certainly recommend.
again, nice people, over 400 spices, 
and if you have no idea what you are doing 
or what you are looking for, 
they let you taste everything!

this time, we thought we'd try a few different types of bacon.
fun bacon, if you will.
chocolate chili bacon &
roasted garlic and herb bacon are on the menu this week!
we kind of just made this stuff up, so it could be awesome of it could be horrible...
we'll find out next weekend!

here are some image of the process...
updates to follow!!

mmm... raw, uncured pork belly
from windy hill farm in new london, nc
image by sarah c baron

homemade curing mixture, dutch cocoa powder,
and dried, smoked serrano peppers
image by sarah c baron

belly, wrapped in curing mix,
blanketed in cocoa & chili
image by sarah c baron

every herb we could find...
parsley, basil, marjoram, thyme, rosemary, lavender, cilantro, mint, etc.
image by sarah c baron

wishing we had a full sized food processor
image by sarah c baron

belly rolled in curing mix, coated in
a glorious paste of herbs & roasted garlic
image by sarah c baron