Apple Cider Pulled Pork

Apple cider, onions, chipotle peppers, apple butter, apple cider vinegar… and a big hunk of pork cooked right down in it. All of this. Right now. 🙏 This beautiful mess is too easy not to do and it oozes Fall on the Outer Banks. It’s all red-orange leaves and crisp mornings around here and this weather begs for some slow, easy cooking.

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Pouring Perfection at Treehouse Coffee Co and Biscuits

Tucked comfortably into a live oak-shaded nook of Duck’s Scarborough Faire sits Treehouse Coffee Co. and Biscuits, a cool, comfortable, inviting space that is the personification of its owner, Craig Readman. Time slows down a bit when you’re talking to Craig, he radiates a peaceful calmness that’s contagious and relaxing and there’s a connectedness about him that seeps into his restaurant at every turn. The handsome hardwoods and grey tones on the walls are a cozy back drop for the shiny, state-of-the-art coffee equipment housed behind the front counter where friendly baristas greet you and take your order. You can watch as they quietly and patiently prepare your coffee or tea, a methodical process that feels soothing in a way, like someone is really doing something special just for you. It sets the tone for your day in the best way.

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Harissa Carrots with Yogurt and Chaat Masala Granola

This is how I wan to eat all the time: roasty vegetables, with something fresh and creamy, showered with a crunchy, salty topping. Harissa Carrots with Yogurt and Chaat Masala Granola, I luh’ you. I actually just read in Bon Appetit magazine that charred carrots with yogurt is on their list of things they are ready to see go away. Yet, here I am, posting this recipe. Because it is amazingly good! With the perfect combo of sweet, tangy, salty, roasty, crunchy… I just can’t agree, Bon Appetit! Super-roasted, spicy carrots on top of cooling, tangy yogurt, topped with this crispy, salty granola are still a good thing. So, here we go.

roasted carrots on a swirl of yogurt, topped with granola and chopped cilantro on a white plate with a fork
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South Beach Takeout, Catering & Delivery is variety at its best

I met Wayne and Shawn Everhart of South Beach Takeout, Catering, & Delivery in between the lunch and dinner rush on a Wednesday afternoon. These guys are all “yes ma’am’s” and “no ma’am’s” with lots of eye contact and polite, fluid conversation. They’re the type of guys you’d love to bring home to mom- charming and friendly, not to mention super-talented in the kitchen. They both come across a little modest and reserved but any shyness is unwarranted. Wayne, Shawn, their sister Miranda, and the rest of the Everhart family with a hand in the restaurant, could afford to be a bit cocky. With a contemporary mix of Asian, Mexican, and American food plus plenty of guilty pleasures and outside-the-box vegan options on the menu, the flavors here are deliciously loud and alluring, benefiting from homemade sauces, fresh ingredients, and edgy concepts. This food is recognizable but with interesting twists, offering something for everybody.

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Pecan Kale Pesto

This nutty, citrusy, rich-tasting Pecan Kale Pesto is kale’s best version of itself. Please, don’t even eat another piece of kale until you try it in this pesto.

The recipe is a mishmash of Vivian Howard’s almond pesto from this cookbook (I am crazy about this book – so many southern gems in there) and a pecan pesto I had with veggie ravioli at one of the best restaurants on the OBX – The Saltbox Cafe.

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Banana Pecan Muffins with Streusel Topping

Muffins and a hurricane. Dorian passed through last week and we are fine and grateful but other parts of the OBX were not so lucky. Here is a great way to help a very special foodie in Ocracoke whose business was destroyed. Meanwhile, Joey, Bear, and I spent hurricane day watching the storm and making Banana Pecan Muffins with Streusel Topping. Dramatic skies and a neighborhood on the verge of disruption really brings out the need for comfort food and these muffins hit the spot. Let’s talk nutty, cinnamon-y baked goods, shall we?

banana pecan muffins with streusel topping in a muffin pan
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Chaat Masala Granola

Contrast! Salty, nutty, sweet, and spicy contrast is just squealing out of this Chaat Masala Granola. It’s a savory granola, which, you could say with an eye roll. Like, “What am I going to do with savory granola?🙄” Or, you could say with an excited gasp, like, “Oooooo, savory granola!😱”I say it like the latter. Eat this delicious crunch-bomb on it’s own as a snack or use it to add crispy yummy contrast to other foods, like yogurt, roasted veggies, salads, fruit, or rice. It’s not sooooo savory that it can’t pass for breakfast on that yogurt; I’ve done that every day this week. But it is just the right savoriness for those spicy roasted carrots or that olive-oily cauliflower rice.

chaat masala granola on a sheet pan with parchment paper
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Chicken in Coconut Milk with Swoodles

This creamy, veggie-loaded, sweet and spicy Chicken in Coconut Milk with Swoodles is a twist on this Brazilian Chicken recipe my mom introduced me to a few years ago. Chicken and I are good buddies, I love it and will eat it every night if you let me. If you add warm spices and coconut milk, I’m there, with bells on, fork in hand.

Much like this peanutty-curry-chicken thing, I’ve made this dish so many times over the years that it’s slowly morphed into almost a completely new thing. I stuck with the original recipe’s spice combo: cayenne, cumin, turmeric, and coriander (from my fave spice shop: mine!). But I chopped up the chicken (bite-sized pieces expedite getting this goodness into my mouth), added a little chicken bullion, brown sugar, and extra veggies (flavor!), and stirred in some swoodles to round it all out (swoodles = spiralized sweet potatoes=💗).

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Chef Dan Lewis: giving us the where, the why, and the how of it all

Any encounter with Dan Lewis, chef, sommelier, and owner of Coastal Provisions Oyster Bar and Wine Cafe, leaves you feeling enticed and curious, wondering what was left unsaid or unseen. You get a sense there’s more he can tell you, more he can feed you, more he can teach you. It’s not that he’s holding back, it’s that the depths of Dan’s knowledge, experience, and skill open pockets of perspective and flavor that keep you wanting… more.

Everything is interesting and layered – the food and where it came from, the wine and what it goes with, us and our collective impact on our town, our waters, our planet. When Dan and business partner Scott Foster opened Coastal Provisions in 2006, it began as a gourmet market and evolved over time to a full-service restaurant and oyster bar. Dan’s understanding of oysters runs deep- not just how to prepare them (there’s a raw oyster topped with spicy ginger shaved ice and salty pearls of soy sauce that’s still floating around in my head from a dinner I had here two years ago), but Dan also understands and preaches the oyster’s massive role in cleaning our waters and supporting our ecosystem. More than just a chef, somm, and owner of this Café, Dan is also now a partner in a local oyster farming operation, helping to further educate and share the sustainability of these tasty bivalves with us.

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