A new creperie has Uptown in a French twist for breakfast and lunch. Asi Agajan, owner of Hazelnuts Creperie, began crafting sweet and savory crepes for Charlotteans on March 20. Though Hazelnuts is slightly hidden in the lobby of 200 S. Tryon, just follow the smell and sound of sizzling butter to find Agajan twirling out the batter and arranging ingredients over the griddle to make his signature crepes. In this episode of Sweet!, Agajan shows us how to make the popular Banaberry Cinn.
Greetings from France!
I arrived in France at about 6:30 a.m. Paris time this morning, which was about 10:30 p.m. yesterday for you. My husband Brad and I just embarked on a two-week excursion of France, beginning in The Loire Valley, to which we will travel today via train. We plan to make a wide loop through France, hitting up Dordogne, The French Riviera, Provence, then back to Paris for our two-year wedding anniversary. It's going to be nothing less than amazing, and I plan to bring back tons of new French recipe ideas and factoids of French cuisine to share with you.
French food is one of my very favorite cuisines. Although I've never been to France before, I've eaten and cooked my share of French dishes, which I'm dying to share with you. And what better time to share what I already know about French cuisine than when I'm experiencing it firsthand.
There's something about the summertime heat that makes us a little more thirsty. I'm sure there's some statistic out there that says people drink more alcohol in the summer. Or, maybe that's just me.
While Capital Grille isn't exactly the first place I'd go on a date with my S/O — after all, I do work at a newspaper and make a newspaper person's salary — the Generous Pour Wine Event makes CG much more appealing.
For $25 (and, well, you have to pay for dinner), you can enjoy unlimited pours of nine different wines, selected by CG's Master Sommelier, George Miliotes.
On a recent visit, I have to say my favorite was the Simcic (Rebula, Goriska Brda-Slovenia), an orange wine that's considered on trend right now. I expected more hints of citrus, but was pleased to find that it was actually quite smooth. Another offering I'd suggest you try is the Pinot Noir, from Villa Mt. Eden, Grand Reserve (Russian River). It was the lightest of the reds and lovely — especially enjoyable because I'm not a big red wine drinker. I also enjoyed the Lunetta Rosé, a sparking rose (Trentino-Italy), and the Kanu Kia Ora, a Chenin Blanc from South Africa, paired well with my cheesecake.
While Queen's Feast: Charlotte Restaurant Week ends on Sunday, the Generous Pour Wine Event continues through Sept. 9. That's plenty of time for you to save your pennies to splurge on date night.
It was a regular morning at the Davidson Farmer’s Market. I was deep into my Saturday routine, making rounds to pick up my weekly haul, visiting with my favorite farmers. A couple booths down, I noticed a sizeable crowd gathered around a table, and an imposing woman, a new vendor I had never seen, with short, reddish hair neatly spiked carefully describing her items to the hungry group shuffling politely about each other, vying for a spot at her table.
I had to see what all the fuss was about.
I waited my turn to approach the booth and discovered a vast spread of artisanal goat cheeses for sampling. This wasn’t just any goat cheese either. This was Suzanne Levesque’s labor of love made from fresh goat milk produced on her farm, Cheval Farmstead Dairy.
The cheeses had names like the Avalon and the Peachtree. There was goat cheese wrapped in brandy-soaked fig leaves. There was wasabi-infused goat cheese with local honey rolled in black sesame seeds and medallions paired with fresh mango and ginger. I opted for the Peachtree, a traditional French style cheese rolled in fresh rosemary. Right then and there, I decided, I needed to know this goat lady.
Suzanne was gracious enough to have me out to her farm, a small farmstead dairy in Vale, N.C., about an hour west from Charlotte, where she lives and works with her husband, Jeff. For the last eight years, they have been farming goats, first in Hudson Valley, New York and now in Vale.
My most recent new-to-me ingredient is chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. It's slightly sweet, very spicy, and gives everything a nice smokey flavor. It comes in a small can and can be found on the international aisle in most grocery stores. You can add it to all kind of dishes, from cream sauce to dips — and in this case, a colorful sauté of summer vegetables.
This bears repeating: It is very spicy. So use sparingly and taste as you go if you're getting creative with it. Remember, you can always add more, but it's virtually impossible to take it away once added.
Today I want to share with you one of the easiest, freshest, most delicious things you can make as an appetizer, salad topping, taco filler — this stuff is pretty darn amazing. My black bean and corn salsa is a crowd pleaser. Whenever I put it out at a gathering of friends, there is never any left by the time dinner is served. When I make it for myself, it never lasts but a few days in the fridge. The star ingredient is the corn. It packs a sweet starchy punch that makes this salsa so incredibly tasty.
And the best part is that it only has five ingredients. Well, six if you count salt, which I don't.
Pastry chef Jeanette Payne, who graduated from Johnson and Wales University in 2007, has been in the kitchen baking signature desserts like the bar cocoa — a chocolatey dessert with a Kit-Kat crunch layer on the bottom, a chocolate mousse in the center and a hazelnut gianduja glaze on the outside. On Saturdays, she hosts hands-on culinary classes where she shares her cooking knowledge and sends participants home with a book full of recipes, a box full of sweets and a belly full of sugar. Check out the first video in a brief series we've so appropriately dubbed, simply, Sweet!.
I arrived just in time to grab a seat at the bar and sneak into what looked like an impromptu tasting with two other guests. A tall, jovial gentleman dressed in the appropriate “behind-the-bar” black tee lined up a row of colorful bottles and began pouring shots of bright liquids- lime green, fuschia and orange.
“This one has beets, carrots, apples, oranges, lemon and ginger,” he said.
He takes a small satisfied sip and begins to tell us about the benefits of beet juice, how it purifies the blood and works wonders on the circulatory system, not to mention the kidneys and liver.
I was belly up to the VIVARaw Juice Bar, located inside the 7th Street Public Market. Production Manager and new crew member, Jason Krueger, was walking us through the selection of fresh-pressed raw juices neatly labeled and bottled in the shiny, new coolers behind him.
Superfoods are “super” because they have an extraordinary ability to provide the body with huge amounts of nutrition in one packed punch and protect your body from free radicals and carcinogens. Including them in your diet is essential in this day and age due to our soil being depleted of key vitamins and minerals. Remember, eating a piece of broccoli now vs. 20 years ago does not yield the same amount of nutrition. It's crucial that we try to overcompensate this fact by consuming as many nutrient dense foods as possible!
Luckily, living in Charlotte gives you great access to some of my favorite superfoods. Add them to your diet now to see your health sky rocket.
Kale : This leafy green has powers in fighting cancer and is considered the world’s No. 1 superfood. Kale has the ability to strip the liver of toxins and kick out carcinogens from your blood. Kale has twice as much Vitamin A than a carrot. I eat kale every day — it is the base of my everyday drink called the “Hari Shake.”
Get it Local: Fern has the most decadent way to enjoy this superfood in town. The Warm Kale Salad consists of wilted kale, carrot ribbons, roasted beets, black sesames & beet vinaigrette warm herbed chevre cakes.
I have a deep dark dirty secret to share with y'all. As Southern as I may be, I have something quite sacrilegious to reveal about myself.
I like sweet cornbread.
There. I said it.
While I prefer my chicken fried and my tea sweet, my preference for cornbread aligns with that of someone who has lived elsewhere. Not that of a tried-and-true North Carolinian, who loves mealy and savory cornbread.
Quick lesson in Southern cuisine for you transplants:
- sweet cornbread = Northern
- non-sweet cornbread = Southern
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