Stuffed Mushrooms with Kale and Cream Cheese

High five for little roasty mushrooms stuffed with onion-y kale and cream cheese, topped with toasty breadcrumbs! These were my recent addition to a family Christmas get-together where I was tasked with bringing some kind of vegetable appetizer. I’m not a crudités kind of girl, I refuse to bring something raw to the party. I’m here to cook and make things creamy and roasted and crispy on top. Can’t stop me. So, vegetables? No problem – earthy, meaty mushrooms + kale. Appetizer? I gotcha – bite-sized + finger food. Let’s party.

Stuffed mushrooms with kale and cream cheese on a white plate
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A Tradition of Remembering

Christmas traditions are a funny thing. The whole is not greater than the sum of its parts- the value is actually in all the little components and the story behind the tradition.
Given the opportunity to peek into three local chefs’ Christmas traditions, a few things became clear to me. Food is more than just food, traditions keep important memories and bonds alive, and kindness is hiding in plain sight on the Outer Banks.

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Miso Deviled Eggs

Just in time for last minute holiday entertaining: Miso Deviled Eggs! Deviled eggs, without fail are the one thing I can whip up last minute, without having to make a trip to the store and they’re great for a crowd. Disclaimer: I’m saying “whip up” but this is the mess I make every time I make deviled eggs. Whatever.

The makings of miso deviled eggs, bowls, a fine mesh sieve, and a cutting board with knives and chopped green onions on it
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A Chef’s Recipe for a Holiday Symphony

Holidays meals have a rhythm and feel all their own. Chef Joey Russo described it as a symphony, with friends and families playing the music of kitchen hustle and bustle, all culminating in an epic, heartwarming feast. Hoping to capture the almost tangible food energy surrounding Thanksgiving and Christmas, I met Joey in the kitchen at Russo’s Bistro & Bar, ready to cook a holiday dish to share here. But, Joey Russo’s undeniable cooking prowess comes second to his ability to inspire you and make you feel a part of a moment. We cooked food. And I learned a few things, for sure. But the act of preparing a meal, amid talk about holiday memories and traditions was so satisfying; it crystallized for me the basic goodness and peace that’s found in cooking and feeding others. It doesn’t really matter what’s on your holiday table; the celebration and symphony is in getting it there, and sharing it with people you love. 

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Sweet Days at Tullio’s Bakery

Lacy, coffee-colored cannolis, with creamy, chocolate-chip-dotted filling peeking out of each end. Cupcakes swirled high with buttercream under a shower of cookie crumbs. Artfully decorates cakes and pies, almost too pretty to eat. These were the first things to grab my attention walking into Tullio’s Bakery in Duck. The next was Dawn Amoruso with bright blue eyes and a pretty smile, busying herself behind the counter. She and her husband Tom have owned Tullio’s since 2003; Tom is the baker and when he and Dawn decided to move to the OBX from New York and purchase the bakery, he learned all he needed to know practically overnight from the previous owner.

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Chicken Noodle Soup with Sherry and Cream

Slide over, holiday food… soup season is still going strong and cannot be stopped. This Chicken Noodle Soup with Sherry and Cream is the latest thing I’ve been cooking for any and everyone, any chance I get. After years of making it, following the discovery of a version of the recipe somewhere online and making a handful of tweaks and twists, this soup has finally reached its status as lifelong love, forever in rotation, Best Chicken Noodle Soup Ever.

Chicken Noodle Soup with Sherry and Cream in a white bowl
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Local Goodness at Tarheel Too Produce Market

Is there a connection between who you are and what you eat? The adage is likely hinting at our waistlines more than our personalities but, in my view, I’ve never met a person who truly enjoys some good North Carolina-grown produce that I couldn’t get along with. Sweet potatoes, scuppernong grapes, butter beans, and the prized mattamuskeet sweets breed kind, good-humored people, as far as we can tell here on the OBX. Those friendly folks near Kill Devil Hills all seem to gather in one place, around another kind-hearted soul – Ed Goninan at Tarheel Too Produce Market.

Tarheel Too Produce Market and it’s owner, Ed, bagging arugula
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