My Yummy Local Life

{June 1, 2014}   Bread and Wine 20

Crab Cake Bites Salad (paired with James Bond ‘Vesper’ Martinis)

Crab Cake Bites Salad (based on a random recipe I found online without a good link)


1 pound fresh crab meat

3 corn tortillas and 1/2 cup cooked rice

1 egg beaten

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning

1 tablespoon parsley

Salad greens

Other salad toppings, as desired

How to:
Put tortillas and rice in food processor so they are chopped up fine(to save time). In a large bowl, mix together egg, mayonnaise, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, and Old Bay seasoning. Add breadcrumbs and crab meat and mix by hand to avoid breaking up too many of the lumps. You may need to break up the very large lumps however so the crab balls will stay together. Shape into small patties and fry in batches in hot oil until golden brown, turning once. Drain on paper towels. Serve on a mixed greens salad with the simplest vinaigrette you can make. For extra points, top with a few flakes of Black Lava sea salt from Cypress.


Tasting Notes:

Lisa: SO delicious. Crab cakes hit the spot. Yay for gluten free crab cakes! And it was super fun to dress up and take “Bond girls” pictures with our martinis. Speaking of martinis, this was the first one that I ever wanted a second glass of.  I think gin is growing on me, ever so slowly.

Gary: Perfection. The guests thought so too.

Vesper Martini:

“Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?”- James Bond, Casino Royale


1: Jamaican Mushroom Curry over Quinoa (paired with Domaine Chandon Blanc de Noirs)

2: Sweet Potato Hash with Eggs (paired with The Mamani Gin and Tonic)

3: Caprese Mac and Cheese (paired with Page Springs 2011 Chenin Blanc)

4: Pulled Pork & Collar Green Egg Rolls (paired with Vermouth Cocktail)

5: Sweet potato, parsnip latkes (paired with Page Springs 2012 GSPm)

6: Bowl o’ Noodles (pair with 2012 PSC Grenache- Or your favorite bottle of white wine)

7: Homemade pepperoni and mozzarella pizza (paired with a mystery shiner of wine that was quite good)

8: Galentine’s Dinner 2014: Southern Classics (paired with smoked whiskey sours and smoked lemonade)

9: Quiche Loraine (paired with Bronx Cocktail)

10: Baby back ribs with Salad (paired with a ‘shiner’ of Cellar Dweller’s Tarantula Hawk)

11: Guinness French Onion Soup with sourdough Ciabatta bread (paired with Guinness)

12: Savory French Toast (with wine orange juice spritzer)

13: Quinoa Burgers (paired with Guinness)

14: Goat flat steak with roasted root vegetables and rice (paired with 2012 Ercavio Blanco)

15: BBQ Tofu “Burgers” (paired with 2011 Zoe- Agiorgitiko wine)

16: Goat Leg Tikka Masala with rice (paired with Hibiscus flower Manhattans)

17: BLTL’s (Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato and Love) Sandwiches on Homemade Sourdough Bread (paired with Guinness)

18: Sushi Bowls (paired with Wanderlust Vermillion Red IPA)

19: Spinach, Goat Cheese and Bacon Omelet (paired with 2013 Paradis Rose wine)

20: Crab Cake Bites Salad (paired with James Bond ‘Vesper’ Martinis)


{August 30, 2012}   Yummy Basics: Perfect White Rice

Starting a new section called Basics. My plan is to put some of the simple recipes that are those things “everyone can do” because I figure that everyone maybe doesn’t know how to do these things. The first one is rice because I am always reading Stewardship‘s blog about her beautiful homemade food with not homemade rice. So I figured I’d put my step by step out there so hopefully some people will give it a try.


1) Measure out the amount of rice you want to cook, in this case I used a 3/4 measuring cup (the quantity will approximately double when cooked). Pour the rice into a medium sauce pan.

ONE unit of rice.

2) Using the same measuring cup, add 2 “units” of water (in this case 1 1/2 cups) but just make sure you use the same exact cup to measure. It can be a coffee mug or a small tupperware, as long as you are consistent.

TWO units of water.

3) Add a pinch of salt and a teaspoon or two of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) to the pot. Swirl the pot a little just to make sure the rice is all wet and everything is happy together in the pot.

Pinch of salt.
EVOO (I go around the pan twice)

4) Cover the pot and put it on HIGH heat to bring to a boil.

Put on HIGH heat.

5) When it comes to a boil and starts to “foam up”, turn the heat to low/simmer.

Reduce heat to low

6) Simmer, covered on low for 20 minutes. It might look like all the water is gone before that, no worries, just let it go the whole 20 minutes.

20 Minutes!

7) After 20 minutes, turn off and remove from heat. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes (still covered).

Cooked Rice!

8) Remove the lid and use a fork to “fluff” the rice, sometimes a small amount will stick to the bottom of the pan, but mostly it will be fluffy, tasty rice!

Fluff rice with a fork.


Now that you can make beautiful rice, you are ready to serve it with stir fry, or curry, or meatballs or anything else that suits your taste buds, just make sure to keep it yummy!


This post is linked up on frugally sustainable’s blog hop.

{July 22, 2012}   This weeks yummy fare!

So we had a couple of nights where other things happened at dinner time and we have some rollover from last week.  So on Saturday we made the grilled eggplant that was on the books for last week. Yay grill marks! Isn’t it so pretty:


Grilled Eggplant Parmesan with Garlic Herb Toast

Moules Frites: (something close to this recipe) Got some mussels that we are going to be cooking up tonight, with some purple potato fries. I found this fry recipe on Pinterest, while trying to find not so disgusting ways to eat cilantro, which I do not like, but evidently it’s a superfood so I’m trying….Here are some other cilantro things I might try. We have to use the mussels asap because you wouldn’t want something LIVING in your refrigerator much longer than overnight.

Salad night: Salad mix with homemade dressing, homemade croutons and whatever veggies are lying around that get chopped up to contribute.

Fajitas: Made with one of our lamb steaks instead of beef, peppers, onions, spices on wraps

Mushroom stroganoff: Made exactly like beef stroganoff except with more mushrooms and no beef…

Chili Relleno Omelet Thing: So I can’t find a recipe for how we do this, but basically those big long peppers get stuffed with a veggies and potato mixture, and then wrapped inside an omelet, topped with salsa and sour cream and devoured before you can even think about taking a picture of how yummy they look.

Spaghetti Squash with Red sauce: Roast up one of the spaghetti squash and make a quick sauce with some fresh tomatoes for a gluten free “pasta” dish.

Napa Cabbage Salad: This one is also overflowing from last week, it might end up just being a snack

{July 11, 2012}   Extra tomatoes? No Problem!

Tomato season in here in NC! One of my favorite times of year because it means that summer is in full swing.  One thing that is sometimes sad is that I don’t make it through all of the tomatoes I got within the week and then I go to the market and buy more and then I’m in major overload.  I guess you could freeze a tomato if you knew you were only going to use it for sauce later, but I think that dehydrating them is a much better idea (for small scale extras- I do buy boxes of tomatoes to can near the end of the summer too)

So here’s what I do:

Start with extra tomatoes (in this example they are sungolds which would be even sadder to have to throw away).

Sungold tomatoes

Cut tomatoes in half and then squeeze out their seeds and squishy guts. Once you do that they will look like little bowls like this:

Sliced and de-seeded tomatoes

Finally, line the dehydrator (or baking tray) with the tomatoes, cut side up.  In the dehydrator mine took about 6 or so hours.  You are going for a raisin to slightly drier texture.  If you don’t have a dehydrator you can put them into an oven set on a low temperature (250℉) for a few hours. I would suggest to check them every 30-60 minutes.

For storage, you’ll need a mason jar filled about 1/4 full of vegetable oil, 1/4 full of EVOO.  Toss in the dried tomatoes and save them in the refrigerator until the sad days of winter when all you have is onions and potatoes.

Dried tomatoes stored in oil

We keep adding to the same jar until it is full until we reach the sad time when tomatoes are no longer available fresh, then we start using them.  They are great in pasta with goat cheese for starters 🙂


{April 1, 2012}   Menu for 3/31 Veggies

Here’s the plan for this weeks local fare:

  • Strawberries- in my tummy, never even made it to the refrigerator…
  • Deep dish pizza- hubby’s first successful homemade dough with asparagus, local mozzarella, and sauce made from tomatoes we put up last fall
  • Asparagus and Quinoa Salad– one of our springtime “go to” meals, do this, you will thank me later.
  • South American Meal- using more leftover refried pinto beans, and probably some lettuce materials
  • Lettuce cups from bib lettuce with tempeh, quinoa, local feta and veggie deliciousness
  • Pad thai take two- using bok choy this time- last week we used kale- both are a good idea I’m sure
  • White wine and asparagus pasta

Now that berries are coming back into season, there will also be many more smoothies since last years frozen berries will not seem as precious.  Try hiding some greens and oatmeal in your smoothies for extra nutrients 🙂

Have a yummy week!

{October 26, 2010}   Pumpkin “Nutella” Oatmeal

Let me preface this by saying that at the beginning of October, I got two little organic pumpkins from Cane Creek Farms. I roasted them in the oven, and then pureed them and froze the puree (in mason jars which cracked as the puree froze and expanded). So I have been defrosting one jar at a time and making all things pumpkin.

This week I made pumpkin swirl brownies (gluten free- by using all purpose GF flour mix instead of regular flour) and pumpkin nutella bread (from Two Peas and Their Pod). I also tried my hand at a DIY version of the famous Pumpkin Spice Latte.  For something more savory, I made some pumpkin soft pretzels. All of these using my homemade pumpkin puree in place of “canned pumpkin” in the recipes.

Most of these pumpkin recipes only become  “mine” by the adaptations that I make to them- mainly by using fresh pumpkin. But this one I didn’t get from a recipe, I made it up on the fly this morning…

Pumpkin “Nutella” Oatmeal (for one serving)


1 cup water

1/2 cup rolled oats

a dash of pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon and nutmeg)

1 tsp “nutella” (I actually used an organic, ie non-hydrogenated oil version of a chocolate hazelnut spread)

1-2 Tbsp fresh pumpkin puree (or canned, plain pumpkin)


  1. Bring water to a boil over the stove top.
  2. Add the oats, and boil for about 4 minutes, stirring consistently.
  3. Add in the pumpkin pie spice, “nutella” and pumpkin puree.
  4. Continue to cook for another 1-2 minutes until the oats have thickened and everything is mixed together thoroughly.
  5. Cool for a few minutes, then enjoy!

So sorry that I didn’t take a picture of this deliciousness, but you should definitely try it anyways!  It makes for a yummy breakfast (and probably a pretty good mid afternoon snack too).

I’ve still got 2 quarts of pumpkin left (and might get some more this weekend)… so if you have a favorite pumpkin recipe, please post it in the comments here. I am willing to try pretty much all things pumpkin:)

{September 29, 2010}   Saving the Summer

The way I see it, there is exactly one way to keep the yummy freshness of summertime around for the rest of the year: Canning and Freezing!

Jacked this from cyber-space; so appropriate!

Last year, we did some canning, but did not have much freezer space.  Some things just don’t can well, so freezing is better.  So this year, the goal is to freeze, can and otherwise preserve as many fruits and veggies as possible.

Things we have frozen:

2 gallons of local, organic strawberries (from Volmer Farms & Cane Creek Farms)

2 gallons (plus some used already) of local, organic blueberries (from Cane Creek Farms)

1 gallon of peach juice (cubes) local peaches (mostly from a NC research station)

1 gallon sliced local, organic raw okra (Cane Creek Farms)

1 gallon peeled, cubed local sweet potato (from an NC research station)

1 quart local tomatillos (Lyon Farms)

1 gallon (minus some used) of local, organic roasted sweet corn (Cane Creek Farms and Earth Fare)

10 cups (1 cup portions frozen in individual bags) shredded squash & zucchini, local, organic (Cane Creek Farms)

Freezer fruits and veggies, awaiting the perfect time to devour!

Things we have canned:

2 quarts + 2 pints (plus more already gone) Kosher dill pickles from local, organic cucumbers (Cane Creek Farms)

6 quarts pickles okra, local, organic: Garlic (4) and Hot (2) (Cane Creek Farms)

1/2 pint pickled jalapenos (from the Love Chapel Hill Community Garden)

Pickles, Okra, Pickled Jalapenos... oh my...

2 half pints strawberry jam, local, organic (Volmer Farms)

5 pints (plus 3 that went to other homes) peach preserves, local (NC research station/Earth Fare)

Strawberry Jam, Peach Preserves, ect...

4 half pints muscadine grape jelly,  local (Lyon Farms)

2 half pints plain apple sauce; 9 half pints + 2 pints of cinnamon apple sauce, local (Random NC research facilities)

Muscadine Jelly, Test batch of Apple Sauce

Cinnamon Applesauce!

13+ quarts Crushed Tomatoes, local, organic (Cane Creek Farms)

5 half pints tomato juice, local, organic (Cane Creek Farms)

Crushed Tomatoes, Tomato Juice

Other Things we have saved:

3 quarts, local, organic cherry tomatoes (Cane Creek Farms, plus some from Lyon Farms- not organic) “Oven-dried” dehydrated- became about a pint and a half once dried; put some in oil and other in the freezer.

Cherry Tomatoes!

Starting to Dry

"oven-dried" tomatoes

Today I broke out the first of the frozen strawberries for my smoothies over the fall/winter.  Over the fall,  I will also get some pumpkin to roast, puree and preserve and use into the winter, but from here on out, we’ll see how far all of this saved produce gets us.  Hoping and praying that there will be tomato product to last us into the spring of next year!

Good-bye summer, hello fall- let the yummy local life continue!

{July 19, 2010}   Veg*n Chili

One of the awesome parts of having a hubby who works with plants is that during field season, he often comes home with A LOT of whatever crop they were examining that day.  They came home with a 5 gallon bucket of blueberries one week; a paper grocery sack full of peaches another week, and last week…

…approximately 30 pounds of sweet potatoes…

So yes, I know it is the middle of summer and over the winter I was quite bored of sweet potatoes, but currently it is a game of figuring out which  summer veggies can be paired with the never-ending sweet potatoes.

I had some shelled purple spotted peas that I got from Bobby this week, and I wanted to make chili.  I figured with a little over a quart of these peas, there was no reason to add meat to the chili, so I set out for a vegetarian chili recipe.

The recipe I found was Mark Bittman’s “Espresso Black Bean Chili” which I used as a loose guide for the recipe that follows.  I cooked this in the crock pot for about 6 hours on high (which produced a chili veggie soup consistency) so I then allowed the crockpot to cook on low overnight and into the next afternoon (when I got home from work there were no more worries about it being thin). Bittman’s recipe was a stove top recipe, but quite frankly I didn’t have 2-to-god-knows-how-many hours to stand around the kitchen.  So here’s what I did:

Espresso-Chocolate Vegan Chili with Sweet Potatoes


Extra Virgin Olive Oil (to coat bottom of crock pot)

2 onions, chopped (from farmer’s Fred and Bobby)

2 Tbsp garlic, minced

3 cups tomatoes, fresh, chopped (from my friend Leah’s garden)

1 bell pepper, chopped (from Bobby at Cane Creek Farm)

1 Anaheim pepper, chopped (from Lyon Farms)

1 jalapeno, minced (from the Love Chapel Hill community garden)

1 quart spotted purple peas, shelled (thankfully by Bobby’s shelling machine and not by hand, which is a royal pain…)

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped (from the NC research station)

1 cup brewed coffee (from Muddy Dog Roasting Company)

2 tablespoons of chili powder (homemade)

1/4 sucanat (organic, fair trade)

1 oz chocolate (unsweetened)

kudzu root, corn chips or in this case both (as needed for thickening agent)

salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Turn on crockpot to the setting you will use, if you can let it go all day, this is ideal.
  2. Coat the bottom of the pot with EVOO.
  3. Chop and add all of the vegetables.
  4. Add the sucanat, coffee and chocolate (if you don’t have unsweetened chocolate you can cut out the sucanat; obviously please don’t use chocolate if you are allergic to that).
  5. Add water until everything is just covered.
  6. Cover. Wait all day. Enjoy.
  7. If it is not thick enough add either some kudzu root or corn chips (or just do like we did and let it keep cooking overnight and into the next day). You can’t over cook this.

Personally I like to add a huge dollop of sour cream and some cheddar cheese to the top of my chili, which I am highly aware negates it’s vegan-ness, but in all honesty it was an accident to discover that this was indeed a vegan recipe: I didn’t actually notice until I went to type this up… But I am sure the vegans out that can use their fake-y cheeses and it will be just as yummy 😉

I am excited that this recipe would be good for nearly anyone to eat.  Save from the rare odd-ball allergy this recipe is a safe bet being dairy, soy and gluten-free! So try it, or tweak it and let me know what you think!  Keepin’ it local and yummy this summer, sweet potatoes and all…

Spring has officially begun in my book because there is asparagus at the farmer’s market!  I have gotten 2 bundles of these delicious, tender and nutritious greens for the past two weeks.  The thing about asparagus is that if you want to get it locally, the season is SHORT- 3-4 weeks at the maximum.  So this is definitely a get it while you can commodity when eating locally.

Frittatas are an easy omelet to make because there is no flipping involved.  Once you pour the eggs into the pan, you basically let the heat take care of the rest.

Asparagus Frittata with Mushrooms and Spring Onions


6 eggs (from my dear friend Jeanine’s mom’s chickens)

2 T cream/milk

salt and pepper to taste


1 T butter

Asparagus, chopped into 1 inch pieces (Lyon Farms)

Spring onion, diced (Cane Creek Farms)

Mushrooms, medium dice (somewhere in PA)

Garlic, one clove, minced

Cheese, shredded, as much as you want (1/3-2/3 cup is usually good), we used raw milk cheddar this time


  1. Preheat Broiler.
  2. In a bowl, beat together eggs, milk and salt and pepper.
  3. In a medium to large skillet, melt the EVOO and butter.
  4. Add veggies to the pan, and saute. (I would add everything other than the asparagus first and then add the asparagus for only the last minute or so, so that is stays bright green and crisp).
  5. Put the heat to medium-high, pour in the egg mixture.  Cook for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Spring the cheese evenly over the eggs.
  7. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for about 2 more minutes, until the bottom has started to set (the top will be runny still)
  8. Broil for about 5 minutes- until the top is set and golden brown and delicious looking.
  9. Remove from oven, and let stand for about 2 minutes.
  10. Carefully flip onto a plate and then cut into slices to serve. (Or if you break it like I did, just serve in clumps, it’ll still  be just as yummy)

My frittata (before I flipped it out of the pan) while it was still pretty and whole!

Frittata is a great yummy choice for all seasons; if you use the freshest produce available it will always be so yummy!

So it is spring, and SOON very soon the Farmer’s Market will be in full swing and I will have fresh local produce that is NOT a potato. But until then, there are still potatoes and sweet potatoes a plenty. Yesterday I made dinner for my husband and the side dish was these sweet potatoes. A few people have asked for the recipe, so here it is.

Chipotle (Roasted) Mashed Sweet Potatoes


2 medium sweet potatoes (cane creek farms)

1 chipotle in adobo + 2-3 tsp of the sauce

1 T butter

2 T orange juice

1 T milk (I used goats milk this time)


Salt and pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Chop the sweet potatoes into quarters.
  3. Place on a sheet tray and drizzle with EVOO.  Then sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
  4. Roast in the oven for 20-30 minutes (until you can stick a knife in them without resistance).
  5. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
  6. Chop the chipotle into small pieces.
  7. Scrap the potato guts out of their skins in into a small bowl.
  8. Add chipotle, adobo sauce, and butter. Smash (or whip if you want them smoother).
  9. Add in the OJ and milk.  Mix in to get a creamier consistency.
  10. Enjoy the yumminess!

P.S. Happy birthday to my favorite set of twins: Casey and Courtney!

et cetera