Wednesday, September 25, 2013

CRAVE Lexington 2013

For weeks I counted down to the first Crave Lexington. This outdoor foodie event was organized by the Simley Pete Publishing with partial of its proceeds to the amazing aquaponics system FoodChain in downtown Lexington. It was a fabulous food and music event featuring several of Lexington's top notch restaurants, such as Cole 735 MainAzur, a la lucie, to name a few. I got to try food items from my restaurants-to-try-when-I-am-rich list without breaking the bank.

My favorite dish of the night from Nick Ryan's Saloon: Shrimp and Grits.

Wonton chili beef nachos from Thai Orchid Cafe

Hummus and chips, followed by tiramisu from Shakespeare & Co.

With numerous new restaurant popping up around Lexington area, this event adds another notch to the local foodie scene. It was indeed a celebration of "all things from scratch", nothing says "local first" than this event. It was a chance for Lexingtonians to get together and learn about not just FoodChain, but also culinary techniques and new upcoming restaurants.

Besides sampling gourmet hours d'oeuvre for the price of $1, $3, or $5, there were cooking demonstrations throughout Saturday. I missed the bigger cooking demonstrations in the early afternoon. Together with the Kentucky Cattleman's Association, the Slice and Save demonstration with Dr. Gregg Rentfrow, brought a whole new level of meat cutting to our lives. It's all about portion control with a hunk of rib eye, those cattlemen are smart.

My new hubby participated in apple streusel demonstration with Jim from Bluegrass Baking Co.

Nutella and banana crepe from La Petite Creperie.

One restaurant I am anxious to try is Graze Market and Cafe, a Winchester-based restaurant that has local meats as its main ingredients. The handmade South African recipe-inspired sausage that I sampled was to die for.

To my surprise, it was very well organized event for a big debut event. I love that it was like eating and touring the finest food bites of Lexington, and I got to meet chefs from several restaurants through live audience demonstration and interactions. 

I look forward to Crave 2014 and filling my gullet with local delicacies. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I'm Back!

After seven months of a chronic blogger's block, I'm back!

It has been a crazy summer, this is what I have been doing:

I finished my internship in Huntington, West Virginia, and moved back to Lexington. What a great relief. Best news of all, I passed the registration exam and became a registered dietitian! Years of school and hard work finally paid off.

I went to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and watched the 150th Gettysburg Anniversary Reenactment. It was quite a scene, watching 3000 plus men marching on the field.

Oh, meanwhile I got married and became the MRS.  It was the best day of my life.
Photo by Adam Padgett Photography

With all these happenings this summer, time flies. I am already collecting new fall recipes, and here's one for you. This is Jamie Oliver's Store Cupboard Lentil Soup. All ingredients are staples in a cook's pantry and with an hour of prepping, voila, here's your hearty soup for cool autumn days. I found a ham steak in the freezer, which made it into the soup instead of bacon. Not going to lie, last night we had this soup with the AC (with a hunk of bread, as ordered by Jamie Oliver) on but it was delicious.

Hearty Lentil Soup
Adapted from Jamie Oliver Store Cupboard Lentil Soup

6 slices bacon or 1 ham steak
2 medium yellow onions, peeled and chopped
3 celery stalks, trimmed and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (or 1 cup dried beans, cooked prior)
1 cup dried lentils, rinsed and drained
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried chili flakes
5 cups vegetable stock (or more if you like it soupier)
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat a large dutch oven over medium high heat, add bacon. Cook until bacon gets crispy, remove bacon, drain grease until you have 2 tablespoons left in pot. Add dried thyme, dried chili, onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. If using ham steak, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil, add ham and onion, cook for 5 minutes until onion is translucent, add remaining vegetables.

2. Cook vegetables with lid on for 15 minutes, add lentils and stock. Bring to boil and simmer until lentils are soft. (Add cooked cannellini beans here if used dried beans to start with)

3. Add cannellini beans, bring back to boil and simmer for another 10 minutes. Season with salt and ground pepper as needed. Serve with hunk of bread.

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