Posts Tagged ‘local food’

Where Have I Been? (And Recent Favorites)

Posted in favorite things, GF product, local food, meals, Mexican Restaurants, product, vegetarian on May 31st, 2012 by Betsy – Be the first to comment

Well, it’s been awhile.  I apologize for my absence, and I wish I could say that I’ll be back at my frequent posts, but I’m not sure that is the case.  The school year finished up at its normal, crazy pace, allowing little to no time for blog posts.  My creative juices also haven’t been flowing as much as I’d like because at the end of the day, I’m wiped, and would rather watch an episode of “Ellen” or “Around the World in 80 Plates” than write.

A photo of the baby bump from a sweet baby shower hosted by friends a month ago

I’m 35 weeks pregnant so we’re in the final stretch.  Baby Girl Metcalf is healthily growing and I’d like her to keep baking for at least a few more weeks.  It’s a relief to get to this point though because if she made her debut today, she would be just fine.

I thought I’d share with you some of my favorite things in the last couple of months.  I’ll give you more in the next few weeks but here is just a “taste”…

Talenti Gelato: This gelato has been my go-to weeknight dessert.  They clearly label which of their gelatos are gluten free.  It is creamy, delicious and a fun splurge.  My personal favorites are the chocolate peanut butter cup and sea salt caramel.  Check out all of their flavors here.

Verde Taqueria: Verde has existed in the Atlanta area for awhile but in the last year they’ve opened one close to us.  Verde notes all of the items on their menu that can be made gluten free.  My favorites include the Verde Salad with grilled chicken and the veggie taco.  Just make sure you clearly explain your dietary needs.  If you’re in the mood for chips and guac (which are delicious), just check with your server to see when they were prepared that day.  Usually they fry them first thing in the morning before the fryer gets contaminated.  While I love Taqueria del Sol, Verde has a bit bigger menu (i.e. the salad option) and you don’t have to wait in line.

Burge Organic Farm CSA: I participated in this CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) in the fall and renewed for the spring and summer.  Getting these weekly veggies has revived my cooking and creativity, making me experiment with produce that I wouldn’t necessarily pick out at the store.  I enjoy swiss chard once I make it, but it’s not at the top of my culinary list.  If you’re feeling like you’re in a cooking rut, you should definitely think about joining a CSA.  What better way to welcome summer, than cooking with the veggies that are the freshest?

Palmetto Pimento Cheese: This amazing pimento cheese has become a staple in the Metcalf household.  We discovered it via our friends, Peyten and Stan, and were thrilled to find it in our local Publix.  I’ve always liked pimento cheese but this brand stands above the rest.  They were recently out of Palmetto at Publix so we went with a different brand and there was no comparison.  We didn’t even finish the container.  And, all three of their varieties (orginal, jalapeño and  bacon) are gluten free.  They use Hellman’s mayo, which is gluten free.

 

What are some of your favorite things right now?

Wall Street Journal Gives Atlanta a Shout Out

Posted in Atlanta, local food, Restaurants on April 19th, 2011 by Betsy – 2 Comments

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Atlanta often gets a bad reputation because of its traffic, mediocre public transportation, and Tom Wolfe’s interpretation in A Man in Full, but I have been completely wooed by this city in the last 18 months.  The Wall Street Journal shares my love for ATL today in the article “The New New South.” From Piedmont Park to Bacchanalia, to Richard Blais, to Sid and Ann Mashburn to Peachtree Farmers’ Market, the article mentions many of our city’s highlights.

While some of my personal favorites didn’t make the list (Floataway Cafe, Iberian Pig, and Taqueria del Sol to name a few) the WSJ did a pretty good job. They neglected to mention Decatur at all, but I guess it’s not technically part of Atlanta.

What are your favorite ATL spots?

Sally’s Introduces Cinnamon Rolls

Posted in Atlanta, bakery, local food on February 7th, 2011 by Betsy – 1 Comment

Local bakery, Sally’s Bakery just added Cinnamon Rolls (with icing!) to their menu.  These rolls come six to a pan, for $9.99.  Perfect for a Sunday brunch or a lazy morning breakfast.  Sally’s cinnamon rolls are gluten, dairy, soy and egg free.  Amazing!

Sally's Bakery Cinnamon Rolls

Sally’s has also decided to make their dinner rolls and pecan pie part of their year-round menu, not just for the holidays.  Head to Sally’s and stock up on your gluten-free goodies.  Remember, you can always put items in the freezer to enjoy at a later date.

Sally’s Bakery – 5920 Roswell Rd. Suite 108A- Sandy Springs, GA 30328- 404.847.0211

Meals from a Gluten-Free Kitchen

Posted in local food, meals, recipe on August 12th, 2010 by Betsy – 8 Comments

I’m excited to announce my latest article just came out in Atlanta’s Finest Dining Magazine. Not only am I happy that I’ve gotten published again (woohoo!), but I’m also thrilled that a mainstream magazine is committed to giving attention to the gluten-free community.

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Please check out my article, “Enjoying the Seasonal Bounty.”  Isn’t “bounty” such a great word.  I have to give my friend Mary Stuart credit for the use of bounty associated with local food.  We get to share in the bounty of what our local farmers harvest, even in these swelteringly hot summer months.

Thank you, Farmers (Paige, Justin, Joe, Judith, Nicholas, Gretchen, John, Ashley, Stephanie, and many others), for working your tails off so we can eat your delicious food.

Meals from a Gluten-Free Kitchen: Enjoying the Seasonal Bounty

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ESVA Crab Cakes

Posted in local food, meals, recipe, travel on August 9th, 2010 by Betsy – 9 Comments

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One of the best parts about being on the Shore (besides lots of reading), is the cooking and eating.  During the summer months, there are so many fresh veggies that meal prep is pretty minimal.  Last week we enjoyed many laid back dinners, but one of my favorite meals involved homemade crab cakes.  I can never get crab cakes at restaurants because they’re breaded, so it’s an extra special treat for me to enjoy a summer crab cake.  We happily ate them for two dinners.  (Side note: Urban Pl8’s crab cakes are GF!)

Gillian's Gluten-Free Bread Crumbs

Gillian's Gluten-Free Bread Crumbs

We bought fresh crabmeat at Edward’s Seafood in Onley.  When you buy the best crabmeat, you don’t want a lot of filler in your cakes, but you do need enough to bind it together.  I bought Gillian’s Gluten-Free Bread Crumbs at Herbal Instincts Natural Food Market in Onancock (141 Market Street).  They have an amazing selection of gluten-free goodies, including Udi’s bagels, Pamela’s cookies, quinoa as well as organic meats.  A great place for Mom and me to stock up.

Herbal Instincts Market (Onancock, VA)

Herbal Instincts Market (Onancock, VA)

I’ve written about crab cakes before but I experimented a different recipe here.  I briefly referred to Mark Bittman’s crab cake recipe, but of course I wanted to add Old Bay and didn’t particularly want to use scallions to my crab cakes so I changed it up a little bit.  Here’s what we did:

ESVA Crab Cakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb jumbo lump crab meat
  • 2 teaspoons Old Bay
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons Gillian’s bread crumbs
  • Less than ¼ cup mayonnaise (depends on how mayo-y you want your cakes)
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • s&p
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Mix crabmeat, egg, Old Bay, mayo, dijon, salt, pepper, and bread crumbs in a bowl.  Refrigerate mix for about 30 minutes.  Remove mixture from fridge and make into tightly packed cakes.  (About 4-6 per pound of meat, depending on how big you want them.  I find them easier to flip if they’re smaller.)

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Heat nonstick pan on medium high heat.  Add butter and olive.  Let melt and butter bubble.  Once bubbling has subsided, add cakes to pan.  Cook for 5 minutes (until nicely browned) and flip, cooking for another 5 minutes.  Serve warm.

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We enjoyed our crab cakes with homemade deviled eggs, fresh corn and tomatoes, both grown on our road.  A truly local meal!

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deviled eggs

Perfect.  (And obviously, there was wine too, served by our favorite bartender.)

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Tomatoes, Galore

Posted in Atlanta, local food, meals, recipe on July 8th, 2010 by Betsy – 8 Comments

I know it’s summer when I find any excuse to slip tomatoes into our meal.  Once you’ve had great, fresh, local tomatoes, you can never buy a grocery store tomato again.  These tomatoes from Crystal Organics Farm are the real deal.

Bright red slicers…

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Heirloom tomatoes…

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Cherry tomatoes…

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Last week we had a tomato overload in the Metcalf house but I didn’t get sick of this seasonal treat.  Here’s what we made:

Quinoa with edamame and cherry tomatoes

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BLT’s

IMG_1530And of course the family favorite, tomato pie.  One of the easiest recipes, the key to making this delicious dish is using huge, beautiful, summer tomatoes.  No excuses here.  This is truly a seasonal recipe.  A great centerpiece to a summer meal, I like to serve tomato pie with corn on the cob and a salad.  David likes to eat the leftovers for breakfast.

Tomato Pie…

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Tomato Pie:

Ingredients:

  • Gluten-free pie crust (I use Whole Foods Bakehouse, but of course you can make your own too)
  • 4 large tomatoes, cut into extra large slices
  • 4 tablespoons Chopped basil
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • S&P
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

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Heat empty pie crust in the oven at 350 degrees.  Remove crust from oven and let cool completely.

Place one layer of tomatoes in the pie crust.  Sprinkle with s&p and add basil and green onions.  Add remaining tomatoes in another layer.  Mix cheddar and mayo in a bowl and spread evenly on top of tomatoes.  Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes, until cheese/mayo starts to brown.

(The juicier the tomatoes, the more watery the pie can be.  Don’t be dismayed if it’s not beautiful when you slice and serve the pie.  It’s still delicious!)

IMG_1543Happy Cooking!  What are some of your favorite tomato recipes?

Strawberries

Posted in Atlanta, local food, recipe on May 17th, 2010 by Betsy – 2 Comments

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There are many great things about living in Atlanta.  Being surrounded by Top Chef superstars and not sharing my residence with 65 teenage girls are both at the top of my list, but another benefit of being in the dirty south is that spring and summer vegetables are ready to be harvested a little bit earlier here than back up in Virginia.  I feel spoiled already having access to summer veggies, like asparagus and snow peas, so early in the season.  In the last couple of weeks I’ve even been the beneficiary of beautiful strawberries from Woodland Gardens in Winterville, Georgia.  After enjoying these bites of goodness, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to purchase strawberries in the grocery store ever again.  I had no idea that strawberries could be so fragrant.  My entire kitchen smells of this fruit when left on the counter for an afternoon.

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I could eat these strawberries by the pint.  It’s a shame they’re so pretty, only to be devoured by me.  I’ve been finding as many different ways as possible to use my strawberries. There have even been days where I’ve managed to consume them at each meal: on my cereal at breakfast, mixed with yogurt and granola at lunch, in my salad at dinner, finished off with strawberry cobbler for dessert.

Yes, I said strawberries in salad.  For people like my brother, who work hard to keep everything on their plate from touching, the following recipe might not make your mouth water at first glance, but I promise…If you haven’t tried this yet, you must.  A great side dish that will make your plate beautiful.  I’ve been using fresh arugula because the sweetness of the strawberries goes perfectly with the ‘bite’ from the arugula.  Of course the goat cheese, sunflower seeds and homemade dressing provide added flavor and texture to the salad.  The final combination creates a perfect mix of salty and sweet.

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Strawberry Arugula salad (Serves 4)

Dressing:

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Pepper

Salad:

  • Bunch of fresh arugula
  • Goat cheese
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Fresh strawberries, chopped or sliced

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Combine ingredients for dressing in a bowl and whisk.  Set aside.  On individual salad plates assemble your salad.  Use the arugula as your base and top with strawberries, clumps of goat cheese and sprinkle with sunflower seeds.  Drizzle with salad dressing.  If you want to toss all of ingredients in a large bowl, you can.  It doesn’t look as pretty but tastes just as delicious.

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One Midtown Kitchen

Posted in Atlanta, local food, Restaurants on April 12th, 2010 by Betsy – Be the first to comment

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Earlier in the year I went to Two Urban Licks and enjoyed a delicious meal at this trendy, happening, Atlanta spot.  The owners of Two Urban Licks also run One Midtown Kitchen.  Since I’d eaten a yummy meal at Two, I decided to give One Midtown Kitchen a try.  Even though One and Two share ownership, the two restaurants have uniquely different vibes and culinary perspectives.  It’s clear that Chef Drew VanLeuvan’s personality and creativeness shines through in One’s menu and the taste of each dish.  There’s nothing ‘chainy’ about either of these restaurants and VanLeuvan’s ever-changing menu uses fresh, seasonal ingredients with a culinary flair.

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We arrived a little early for our reservations with plans of ordering a drink at the bar.  The atmosphere at the restaurant was more relaxed and a bit of an older crowd.  While I liked the event of dining at Two Urban Licks, I quickly got the feeling that One was going to be more my type of dining experience, more of a laid back fine dining vibe as opposed to “see and be seen,” and maybe have some good food too.  One Midtown Kitchen’s wine selection is anything but lacking as they offer you a huge selection of wines by the glasses.  The wines are divided into price categories and you can choose from the different price categories.  There’s also the option to select the ‘bottomless’ wine glass from one category and you can sample as much (or as little) of each of the wines in that price bracket.  Seems a little dangerous to me, but I love the idea!

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One of my favorite parts about One Midtown Kitchen’s cuisine were the flavor combinations they used.  While there’s a lot of action on the plate, the components work and they work well.  (Keep reading for more details.)  When David and I sat down the waitress had been fully briefed by the chef about the naturally gluten-free items on the menu.  I must first mention the plethora of appetizer options I found.  Hands down, One Midtown Kitchen’s menu offers the most naturally gluten-free appetizers that I’ve ever found in a restaurant.  Usually we gluten-free diners must stick to boring salads that I could easily make at home.   Overwhelmed by the many choices, I ultimately went with my waiter’s advice and decided on the Georgia Shrimp.  This dish is not just a plate of shrimp, but a beautiful mélange of ingredients displayed on the plate.  It really looked like a piece of art.  The components of the dish included marinated ruby beets, avocado, basil, and a mango gelatin, with a lobster vinaigrette.  Sounds like a lot, maybe even too much, but I tell you, it was perfect.  There’s no way I could recreate this in my kitchen, and the combination of complexity with great flavor is exactly what I’m looking for when I go to a restaurant.

For my entrée, I ordered the leg of lamb with cauliflower, lambs’ tongue and a parmesan cake.  (Again, a lot of things going on, right?)  I love lamb and it tends to be my splurge when going to a nice restaurant.  This was my first time trying lambs’ tongue and I enjoyed the flavor and texture, mixed with the other components of the dish.  Unfortunately, the lamb itself was very tough and I had trouble cutting it.  I don’t think that I would order it again unless they changed their preparation of the lamb.  I will say, though that the accompaniments, the polenta cake and cauliflower, went nicely with the dish and yet again, One did a great job combining flavors and ingredients.  I also ordered a side of garlic mustard greens and kale and oh, how I love garlic and greens!  The side dish did not disappoint and it was nice to add a little green to my plate, even if it couldn’t be Brussels sprouts.

David ordered the pork chop special and he said it was the best pork he’d ever eaten.  (I believe this dish was gluten-free too.)  This statement is quite a compliment because, in my opinion, David makes the best pork chops I’ve ever eaten.

On to dessert…just like the appetizers, the dessert menu held more GF options than most restaurants.  David and I could not resist the caramelized peanut butter with toffee and chocolate.  We’re suckers for peanut butter sweets.  Amazing and fabulous.  Very rich but oh so worth the richness.  Just a few bites satisfied my sweet tooth.

David and I enjoyed a delicious, relaxing meal at One Midtown Kitchen and we didn’t feel rushed, which can be a rarity at restaurants on a Saturday night.  If you go to One, make sure you check out their bathroom.  Definitely the coolest restroom of any restaurant I’ve ever been to.  There are televisions in ‘waiting lounge’ which was convenient since the early rounds of the NCAA Tournament being televised during our meal.  It’s always nice to be able to check on the scores while you wait for the restroom, right?

Final verdict: One Midtown Kitchen’s menu offers many gluten-free options and the staff is eager to accommodate our GF needs.  The menu changes so make sure to inquire and ask questions based on the most recent menu.  One Midtown Kitchen’s a great spot for a Saturday night dinner date, or just a drink at the bar.  If you’re looking for a more ruckus spot with live music, stick to Two Urban Licks, but for unique, delicious food and a laid back, yet trendy scene, give One Midtown Kitchen a try.

One Midtown Kitchen566 Dutch Valley Road Northeast – Atlanta, GA 30324-5331 – (404) 892-4111

Looking for an Atlanta CSA?

Posted in advice, Atlanta, cooking, vegetarian on April 5th, 2010 by Betsy – 2 Comments

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“Find the shortest, simplest way between the earth, the hands and the mouth.” – Lanza del Vasto

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CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) groups are a great way to get access to delicious, fresh, local produce and connect with local farms.  As the weather gets warmer, many CSAs are getting started and looking for members.  If you haven’t yet found a CSA, the Small Farms CSA runs from May 2nd through August 15th.  Operated by Judith Winfrey and Joe Reynolds of Love is Love Farm, they will bring your fresh produce from their farm and a few other local farms.  You receive a weekly shipment of veggies and you can also choose to add meat to your CSA from Riverview Farms.  The Small Farms CSA offers two pick up locations:

-        The Universalist Unitarian Church on Cliff Valley Sunday mornings from 10am to 12:30pm.  http://www.uuca.org

-        The East Atlanta Village Farmers Market on Thursday evenings from 4pm to 8pm.  http://www.farmeav.com

Here’s a list of items you might find in the CSA:

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Arugula, Basil, Bush and Pole Beans, Beets, Broccoli, Carrots, Cherry Tomatoes, Collard Greens, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Fennel, Field Peas, Green Garlic, Heirloom Tomatoes, Leeks, Lettuce Heads, Kale, Okra, Pac Choi, Pears, Salad Greens, Salad Radishes, Spinach, Strawberries, Sweet Turnips, Sweet Onions, Sweet Peppers, Summer Squash, Tomatoes, and Watermelons.

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Boxes may also include: Free range eggs, Local goat cheese, Locally milled corn grits and corn meal, Local, raw honey

And of course, everything in the CSA is naturally gluten-free!

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5 Seasons Gluten-Free Beer is Here!

Posted in Atlanta, Restaurants on February 26th, 2010 by Betsy – 5 Comments

I just received the following email from Crawford Moran, the beer guy at 5 Seasons Brewery.  I’m looking forward to trying out their new gluten-free beer and one of their GF daily specials on Monday night.  I love their vegetable plate!

Betsy,
I just wanted to follow up with you and let you know the gluten free beer is finished! We just installed a new draft line to handle it. We’ll be tapping the first keg of it Monday. And we’ll be serving it at both 5 Seasons North in Alpharetta and 5 Seasons Westside in Midtown West.

In addition to the gluten free beer, every Monday night from now on both places will be doing all gluten free options on the daily specials menu. So there will be LOTS of delicious gluten free things to choose from on Monday nights. (Our regular menu always has gluten free items.)

Please pass the word along!

Thanks so much,

Crawford Moran
5 Seasons