Peach Blueberry Crisp

IMG_2422

Summer = Fruit Crisp Season.

At least in my mind. I know there are crumbles, cobblers and buckles, but since I was born and raised in the Mid-West, I’m partial to crisps, where oats aren’t optional and neither is vanilla ice cream.

IMG_2322

These blueberries and peaches were purchased from a couple farmers at the North Carolina State Farmers Market. I am ever so grateful to have this market in my “backyard” and am able to support NC agriculture.

IMG_2414

 Peach Blueberry Crisp

Slightly adapted from Sandy

Ingredients:

3 large, slightly firm fresh peaches, skin and pits removed, sliced

1.5 cups fresh blueberries

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon melted ghee

1 tablespoon local honey

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Grease 8×8 or favorite crisp dish with ghee or butter. Mix fruit in large bowl, add almond extract and gently mix. Use another bowl to mix together flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, melted ghee, and honey. Use your hands to mix and make sure the ingredients are combined. Pour fruit combination into dish and cover evenly with the crisp topping. Bake 25 minutes or until fruit is oozing and the crisp is golden.  Serve warm with your favorite vanilla ice cream!

IMG_2447

Wake County: Coffee Porter Pound Cake

cake1

As I began my search to learn a little more about the food culture of the county I live in and now call home, I quickly realized that Wake County functions as a “melting pot”. While researching Forsyth and Lenoir counties, I zeroed in on a specific recipe that was near and dear to locals I spoke with. This wouldn’t be the case for Wake County, as it’s the capital and a collaboration of natives, re-locators and college students. I wasn’t sure how I was going to define a food or recipe to cover this expansive county.

downsized_0630001325

My adventure started by reading an article in Our State magazine detailing North Carolina State University’s Howling Cow Ice Cream. Reading about the creation of this delightful treat lured me over to Talley Market on N.C. State’s campus to taste it myself. Gary Cartwright who is in charge of the Dairy Enterprise System at N.C.State was quoted in the article stating, “It makes people smile.” True indeed! So true I felt compelled to write a post about it. This ice cream has become so popular that it attracts North Carolinians to trek across the state and indulge in this heavenly dessert at the annual State Fair. After learning this I knew I wanted to incorporate this fresh, local ice cream into the recipe for Wake County.

cake

While I continued my search in discovering the food culture of Wake County, I visited a couple of downtown venues, one being The Mecca Restaurant. This establishment was founded in 1930, relocated to it’s current location in 1935, and has been family owned while serving fresh veggies from the City Market ever since. While sampling a plate of fried chicken, Eastern NC BBQ, fresh veggies and blueberry cobbler, I spoke with John, a fourth generation Dombalis, regarding the family business and how he witnessed Wake County’s food culture evolve through the years.

cake3

The weeks flew by as I visited Raleigh’s Visitor Information Center, Cameron Village Regional Library, Meredith College Library and savored a wonderful lunch with a Meredith College Alum at Side Street Restaurant in Raleigh’s Historic Oakwood neighborhood. I then had the wonderful opportunity to meet Elena in Raleigh to learn a little more about the Southern classic dessert, Pound Cake. Elena’s grandmother’s brother, Ted, and his wife Ann opened their kitchen to us and helped us prepare an 100 year old pound cake recipe from Nanny, (aka Flossie), Ted’s mother. Ann and Ted told stories from moving around this great state of North Carolina and residing in Wake County. They shared pictures of their family tree and how they have family ties to North Carolina State University and Meredith College. Most importantly we learned how the pound cake was made “just right” and how it became a treasured family recipe.

cake4

After weeks of contemplating about a recipe choice for Wake County, I finally made up my mind. The pound cake was going to serve as a representation of Wake County’s “Melting Pot”. This meant I needed (and wanted) to obtain as many local ingredients as I could, while adding a little twist to Nanny’s recipe. Presently, Wake County has exploded with craft breweries while local coffee roasters are making their stance as well. Incorporating Wake County’s past food culture along with it’s present food culture was an important aspect I wanted to instill for this recipe. Using local ingredients is ever so important to me, personally and professionally. So, as you can imagine, going around and collecting eggs from Wake County residents’ backyard chicken coops (with permission!) was certainly not out of the question. Making phone calls to find Wake County butter, flour, spices, beer and coffee was quite successful, as I put together a “farm-to-table” version of this classic Southern recipe. Not only were the cake ingredients from Wake County, but to my delight, I came across a beautiful cake stand at the North Hills Farmers Market in Raleigh which was crafted by a Wake County potter.

As I wrapped up research for my “home” county, I couldn’t help but smile as I indulged in a scoop of Howling Cow’s Vanilla Ice Cream and a slice of Wake County Coffee Porter Pound Cake. My hope is that this recipe makes natives proud and eager to incorporate new ideas from the current and ever-changing food culture into classic family favorites.

cake9

Wake County Coffee Porter Pound Cake

Cake recipe inspired by Flossie (Caudell) Ballenger, Elena’s great grandmother

Glaze recipe inspired by Aubrey Cook from Martha Stewart’s “Best Bakers in America” series

Ingredients:

Cake:

3/4 pound unsalted butter at room temperature, plus 1-2 tablespoons for greasing pan (Jackson Dairy, Dunn, NC bought from State Farmers Market)

2.5 cups granulated sugar

6 eggs (Neighborhood chicken coops, Raleigh, NC)

3.5 cups sifted cake flour, divided (Powder Mill Grain and Baking Co. Whole Grain Cake Flour, Cary, NC)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon mace (Penzeys Spices Raleigh, NC)

3/4 cup Porter beer with carbonation removed (Raleigh Brewing Hidden Pipe Porter, Raleigh, NC)

1/4 cup coffee (Oak City Coffee Roasters Kubum, Raleigh, NC)

1 teaspoon vanilla (Penzeys Spices, Raleigh, NC)

Glaze:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter (Jackson Dairy)

1/2 cup coffee (Kabum from Oak City)

2 cups confectioners sugar

Ice Cream: Howling Cow Vanilla Ice Cream (North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC)

Directions:

Measure ingredients before mixing. (can be prepped ahead of time)

Move oven rack to center of oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10 inch bundt pan thoroughly. Cream butter in large bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until very light and fluffy, scraping bowl often with spatula. Add sugar and continue creaming. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine baking powder, salt and mace in bowl with 3 cups of sifted flour, stirring to combine. Combine beer, coffee and vanilla in bowl and mix together. Alternate beer mixture and flour mixture, beating well after each addition. Add the 1/2 cup sifted flour last of all and mix until blended. Pour batter into pan, pound gently on counter top to release air bubbles. Bake in the center of the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until done. Let the cake rest in the pan on wire rack for 20-30 minutes. Carefully flip cake over and let cool for at least 1 hour.

Glaze:

Melt butter in sauce pan over medium low heat. Once melted, add the coffee and turn heat to medium, stirring occasionally with wire whisk. Once liquid boils, gradually add confectioners sugar, stirring until dissolved. Stirring occasionally, let liquid return to a boil. Once boiling, continue to stir for a few minutes, until the glaze reduces and thickens. When glaze reaches preferred consistency, quickly pour the glaze over the cooled cake. (the glaze will harden upon cooling, work quickly!) Serve with Howling Cow’s Vanilla Ice cream from N.C. State. Enjoy with family and friends!

Optional: Pair with Oak City’s Kubum coffee or Raleigh Brewing’s Hidden Pipe Porter.

Reference: http://www.ourstate.com/howling-cow/

cake final

Ice Cream

ice cream post to blog

What crosses your mind when you hear the word Ice Cream? Is it a certain flavor, the texture or mouth-feel of this creamy, luscious dessert? Does it bring you back to warm summer evenings and the attempts made to lick the cascade of melting decadence before it drips down the side of your cone?  Ah yes… the smiles the word itself brings to faces and contentment to the heart.

The word Ice Cream, to me, brings me back to my high-school years of working at the local Dairy Queen. Not that it was REAL ice cream, it was considered close enough. I dabbled in the gelato craze, which, I do highly recommend trying. However, not until recently have I felt any strong feelings toward ice cream. When I tasted Howling Cow’s Campfire Delight my taste buds danced and I couldn’t help but smile. Now THIS is Ice Cream. THIS is what all ice cream should be remembered as. The first bites brought back the childhood remembrance of crisp cinnamon graham crackers. The hint of smooth marshmallow along with the mildly sweet chocolate chunks (yes, chunks) made this experience one to remember. And to repeat.

Where can you find Howling Cow Ice Cream? Only on North Carolina State’s Campus…..and once a year at the NC State Fair. Why I’ve lived in Raleigh for 4 years and have just stumbled upon it in Our State Magazine is beyond me. Luckily I’m beyond my dairy free days and ice cream is welcomed.

If you happen to live in this great state, or are passing by Raleigh on a late summer road trip, I highly encourage you to pick up a pint, a waffle cone or a sundae and rediscover what ice cream means to you.

Food for thought: How does ice cream relate to your life? Do you have a favorite flavor or brand? I’d love to hear your thoughts below!

Project Progress: Month 2

July is typically the month I start thinking about the start of the fall semester, planning a few end of summer road-trips/vacations and head to a few outdoor concerts. This year, I feel the days are not long enough and my weekends are shortened as I am visiting libraries, restaurants, attending food festivals and talking with locals about the county’s cuisine. Yes, my practicum does involve eating, and no, I wouldn’t have it any other way. The experience has really been eye opening, learning about this great state and county I live in. Here are a few things I’ve been up to since mid-June.

  • Attended the Lenior County Farmers Market
  • Attended the NC Blueberry Festival in Burgaw, NC
  • Bought the domain for my website
  • Posted Farmers Market Series #1
  • Attended Midtown Farmers Market and the NC State Farmers Market in Wake County
  • Enjoyed BBQ at Skylight Inn (Pitt County), Kings BBQ and Ken’s BBQ (Lenior County)
  • Enjoyed dinner at Chef and the Farmer (Lenior County)
  • Posted on my blogging weekend workshop
  • Posted ‘My Mission’
  • Added a NC Food Festivals page to my blog
  • Researched the Moravian culture and Chicken Pie recipes
  • Subscribed to Our State Magazine
  • Researched Wake County – dined at Poole’s Diner and Mecca
  • Enjoyed NC State’s Howling Cow Ice Cream for the 1st time
  • Wrote emails and spoke with various people/organizations in specified counties

While there’s still so much more to accomplish in the next month….it has been a gastronomical few weeks! Check back soon as posts and pictures of my experiences will be making their way to the blog!

 

Cocoa Banana “Ice Cream”

IMG_0246

Even though winter is blasting its arctic chill through the air, sometimes a cold, smooth, creamy, chocolatey treat is desired. So what does one use to make a dairy free dessert without coconut, almond, or soy?  Bananas of course!! This simple recipe is one of my favorites; I hope you find it delightfully satisfying.

Cocoa Banana “Ice Cream”

Serves 1

Ingredients:

1 frozen banana (break in half or slice before freezing)

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

Dash of ground cinnamon

Dash of cayenne pepper

Cocoa nibs

Directions:

  1. Place frozen banana in food processor and blend to break up.
  2. Add cocoa powder, cinnamon and cayenne pepper.
  3. Blend until smooth and creamy.
  4. Serve in bowl sprinkled with cocoa nibs.
  5. Enjoy!

Optional: blend in 1 tablespoon of your favorite natural nut butter for added protein.

Food for thought: Do you have a favorite “ice cream” ingredient? I’d love to hear, please share your comments below!

IMG_0255