Fried Sweet Potato Fries

Oh, man… sweet potato fries…. Taking one of nature’s most delicious creations, plunging it into hot oil, and coating it with a spicy, sugary blend of seasonings. What a privilege! It’s times like this that I’m really grateful for the ability to cook and eat and taste and enjoy food. I know – deep thoughts on deep fried sweet potatoes. I can’t help it. They bring out all the feelz in me.

Fried sweet potato fries on a black plate, sprinkled with cilantro and green onion.
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Sweet Potato Corn Chowder

Chowder day! I’m a big chowder fan, mostly because of the cream and… well, yeah – it’s the heavy cream. And the texture. Sometimes a thin, brothy soup is just not what I’m after – gimme thickness. Gimme richness. Gimme chowder! In case creaminess is somehow not enough of a selling point for you, let me also mention that in this Sweet Potato Corn Chowder recipe, I am sharing my Top 2 Tried and True Tricks for Making Soup Delicious. They are easy, workable for almost any soup recipe, and they deliver on flavor and texture every single time.

Two bowls of Sweet Potato Corn Chowder on a wooden table
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Swoodles and Zoodles with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Can we get a hybrid name for vegetable noodles? Just, an all-encompassing vegetable noodle term? This recipe title is too long, for goodness sake. You guys are familiar with these things though, right? Swoodles and zoodles are spiralized sweet potatoes and zucchini. In this recipe, they’re teaming up with some thinly sliced bell pepper, jalapeño, and onion, lightly sautéd until they’re tender but still have some bite. I like to retain a tiny bit of crunch in the veggies so they stand up well to the creamy sauce. Ooo- that Spicy Peanut Sauce; we’ll discuss that in a second. Look how stinkin’ pretty the spiralized veggies are:

Spiralized sweet potato and zucchini in a stainless steel bowl
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Big Passion in Small Plates at Outer Banks Brewing Station

Halfway through Szechuan Tapas Night at Outer Banks Brewing Station, I was standing in the back kitchen with Chef Tony Duman, looking at little red vacuum-sealed packages covered in Chinese writing. They were opaque so you couldn’t see inside and they squished like jello when squeezed. These packets of fermented vegetables- mustard green roots, to be exact – were the thoughtful inclusion to tonight’s Dan Dan Noodles tapas that kept pulling us back for more. That’s what we surmised, anyway.

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Peanut Butter Miso Ice Cream

Sweet and salty lovebirds, this one’s for you! This recipe is like magic, somehow transforming salty, super-umami-y miso into a deep, dark caramel flavor, bouncing around with peanut butter goodness. Also amazing? The texture! Again, there is miso magic happening here making the custard part of this ice cream – before you even churn it – incredibly thick and almost fluffy. Peanut Butter Miso Ice Cream, I can’t with you. You’re too perfect.

Do you guys have an ice cream machine yet? I’m telling you, it is one of my most used appliances. My ice cream/gelato recipes are generally pretty simple and this machine just makes it that much easier. I think the price has dropped on this since I got mine so it’s an even better deal now. Get one and you, too, can have ice cream in your life at all times, like every good human should.

Scoops of Peanut Butter Miso Ice Cream in a white bowl with a spoon
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Urban Kitchen: Blessed with Finesse

Urban Kitchen opened 7 years ago, with the assistance of a blessing from two nuns and a bit of holy water from France. Jen Lambertz, who owns Urban Kitchen with her other half, Chef Joe Panaras, said she thinks it’s helped; there are lines out the door in the summer to prove it and a loyal following of locals and non-residents year-round. A holy blessing can’t hurt but it’s clear to me the fandom has more to do with the clean, comfortable vibe inside and the finely finessed, deliciously seasonal food on the plates.

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What to do with radishes and their greens

I don’t want to bury the lead here – this recipe for Roasted Radish Pesto Crostini is the best thing I’ve made all year. I wish we were further along in 2020 so that statement could have more impact but seriously – it’s so good. Two things that make me very happy about this recipe: 1. A humble, inexpensive ingredient being a total superstar. 2. No waste. After making this, I wanted to greet people by saying, “Hi, I’m Megan. I made a thing with radishes and didn’t have to throw the greens away.”

So, if you’ve found yourself stuck with a bunch of radishes and a mass of leafy green radish stems, like these, I can help you.

A bunch of radishes on a cutting board
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Delicious Finds and Good Times at TRiO Restaurant and Market

TRiO, if you don’t already know, is the gorgeously modern market and restaurant in Kitty Hawk that feels like its own little neighborhood inside. There’s people you know, and those you don’t. Lots of activity, and good smells everywhere. Drinks being shared, and plenty of pretty (and delicious) things to look at and pick up.

It’s also the go-to source for things that will make a get-together or, for me, a game night with friends, way more special. The secret ingredient: TRiO’s cheese. Specifically, a stunning and diverse cheese board I ordered in the afternoon and picked up a couple hours later, arriving to game night like a champ with my fancy, shareable snacks for everyone to enjoy. I didn’t have any special requests for the cheese board, just that it would feed four people and I casually mentioned to Scotty, who works in the kitchen and behind the cheese counter, “The funkier the better.” A little while later, I wondered if I shouldn’t have thrown that comment out there so haphazardly… maybe not everyone in my group loves the overripe, moldy cheeses that I’m so smitten with?

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What to do with kale stems

Lotta kale going on around here lately. Lots and lots of kale. Creamy kale stuffed into toasty roasted mushrooms. Cheesy kale stuffed into sweet, earthy spaghetti squash. It just seems useful at this point to share my favorite thing to do with all the leftover kale stems. I freeze mine so I usually have a bag waiting for me whenever I need an easy meal or a quick, convenient appetizer. Here is my favorite “recipe”, if you can call it that. It is spicy, garlicky, and served on toast. Plus, it takes less than 10 minutes to make, so… yes, we’re on the simple track to easy town.

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