Ladies night and a Chicken Pot Pie

 

Now that Shenandoah Spice Co. has successfully made it to DC WholeFoods (yay), it means a lot more crafty overnights in the great city.  The favorite thing about that?  Getting to stay over night in Alexandria with my very favorite ladies, Erin and Becca.

Epic Chef Becca (left) and Super Sous Chef Erin (right)
Epic Chef Becca (left) and Super Sous Chef Erin (right)

We cook, we drink our wine, we have a lovely time.  Each week I’ll bring a bag of mystery produce from my share and we’ll make a meal from the secret ingredients and whatever’s left in their fridge.  THIS time we had a fantastic visitor from a farm in Pennsylvania who was on her way to Florida.  She, like I, tends to travel in a car filled with produce and tasty treats—the kitchen went from bare bones to fully stocked.  It went from ladies night to epic ladies night.

Surprise Chef Sarah and her farm hair
Surprise Chef Sarah and her farm hair

This weeks head chef: Becca.  From the rural mid-west, her index of recipes is the never ending joke of what to make—steak and potatoes, meatloaf, or chicken pot pie.  Gotta tell ya, the Heartland makes one heck of a chicken pot pie.

 

A hearty winter meal, great for 4-5 with a bottle of wine (or three) or a tasty microbrew.

 

Chicken Pot Pie

Epic pot pie with greens
Epic pot pie with greens

 

 Ingredients:

(serves 4-5)

1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts

1 cup sliced carrots

1 cup frozen green peas

½ cup sliced celery

1 cup chopped cauliflower

1/3 cup all purpose flour

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp black pepper

¼ tsp celery seed

1 ¾ cups chicken broth

2/3 cup milk (Trickling Springs)

2 (9 inch) unbaked pie crusts

Optional Herbs:

Rosemary/Sage/Thyme/SSC Bread Dip

No more than a pinch of any.

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a saucepot, add chicken, peas, carrots, celery, and cauliflower.  Add enough water to cover and bring to a boil.  After 15 minutes, remove from heat, drain, and set aside in a bowl for later. DSC_0016
  3. Now for gravy makin’: In a saucepot, melt a tab of butter and cook onions until translucent.  Stir in salt, pepper, flour, celery seed, and any other preferred herbs.  Slowly stir in chicken broth and milk, leaving on medium heat until thick.  Set aside.
  4. Place chicken and veggie mixture into one of the two pie crusts.  Pour gravy over mixture.
    Erin was very excited for the gravy.
    Erin was very excited for the gravy.

    Take the other pie crust and lay over the top of bottom crust.  Pinch the edges of both crusts together, making a tight seal.  You can use a fork to pinch it closed.  Cut three slits at the top of the pie so the steam can release.

    Sarah removing the crust.
    Sarah removing the crust.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the top of the pie is golden brown.  Allow to cool, then slice up and serve!  We added a bed of greens as our side to keep it somewhat healthy in all the gravy goodness.

 

Enjoy!

 Side note:  we actually forgot to buy a second pie crust before the store closed so we made it from scratch.  It was like a puff pastry, so all you need is water, butter, salt, and flour.

Try using a bottle to roll out the dough and clear wrap to stop the stick.
Try using a bottle to roll out the dough and clear wrap to stop the stick.

 

Ingredients List:

The Trusted Table: Cauliflower, carrots, greens, onion

Sarahs Magic Car: milk, butter

Everything else from the kitchen of Erin and Becca.

Todays Produce Star: Purple Cauliflower

Produce Share for October the 24th:

Technicolor garden dreamland

I’ve been off my produce share photo game ever since my share was ripped from my grasp.  Well, to be fair, The Trusted Table was shorted on some of their produce and had one more customer to fill an order for…so I lost mine to help the company.  Totally fair.  But it seems more fun to add some drama.

 

Now that they’re back regularly in my kitchen, I’m back to photographing the unbelievable bounty I get to cook with this week–they even threw in some extra tomatoes to roast as a “thanks for last week!”.  Thank YOU Sarah!! I look forward to roasted tomato and arugula omelets.

 

But who’s the star of this weeks show?  Purple cauliflower.  Who knew that if we went back to all heirloom that our gardens would be Rainbow Brite’s play land?!  First purple tomatoes, then carrots, and now cauliflower??  The real challenge will be to find a dish to make that truly accentuates the beauty of this veggie.

 

But the supporting roles this week?

(Just as important, just not as purple)

1 bunch cylindra beets

1 lb Mei Qing Choi

1 bunch arugula

1/2 lb jasper cherry tomatoes

1 lb purple/orange carrots

I must admit though, these are just repeat images of cauliflower due to my fascination with the purp.  Unberieivable.

Things to expect for this weeks recipes:

Storing roasted beets (because I’m beet-ed out and they won’t be around for 6 months once their gone)

Roasted Cherry Tomato and Arugula Scrambles/omelets

Roasted root soup

Roasted Cilantro Mei Qing over quinoa with a cauliflower puree

 

Its a roasting kinda week.

Avocado Apple Cider Vinaigrette: The healthy creamy dressing

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 When I started down the road to healthy eating, the biggest labor o love with salads was trying to find a dressing that was both delicious and healthy.  Always loved my blue cheese and caesar but those are not the healthy choices that lead to life changing results–so why eat the dag salad anyway?

Sure, raspberry and balsamic vinaigrettes were aiight for a while but after a year I was over it.

 It was thanks to the amazing Robert Chaisson that I started learning to make my own dressings.  Thanks Robert!!!

 

The first variation was with ¼ avocado, chopped garlic, maple syrup, and apple cider vinegar.    After that, I just kept playing.  The message that leaves? You can make your dressing a million ways, just have avocado and apple cider vinegar!

 

 

So today’s salad:

Blackened tri-tip steak with a three greens salad

 with a SweetHeat Avocado Vinaigrette.

 

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Salad Dressing:

(serves 1)

¼ Avocado

1 ½ Tbs Apple Cider Vinegar

1 1/2 tsp sweetheat spices from Shenandoah Spice Company

You can substitute that spice with come garlic powder, cayenne, or a spice you love (plus a tsp of honey) but why would you?  Sweet Heat is by far my favorite spice from that dag company.

 

  1. Combine ingreedients into a bowl and, using a fork, mash together thoroughly.  Because the spices are not being heated, you may need more to get the flavor through.

Cooking the Steak (Super easy, promise)

Ingredients:

¼ lb tri tip steak strip (skirt steak or flank also fine)

1 tsp Blackend Bayou seasoning

1light drizzle of oil

  1. Bring the pan to a medium-high heat.  When oil is hot, lay steak in pan and sear on either side (Tthe spice will start to darken). Cook to your liking!

 

In the salad?

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4 leaves of romaine (chopped)

a cup of pea shoots

a cup of arugula (chopped)

1 green onion shoot

thinly sliced tomato

¼ cup of finely chopped apple

a sprinkle of raw gorgonzola

Results:

Sweet and spicy tasty salad with a dressing that makes me feel like I’m eatin’ something fatty without making me feel fatty.  It feels like fall and for once I feel full from a salad deemed healthy: oil free, low sodium, low sugar.

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Ingredients:

The Trusted Table: pea shoots, romaine, arugula, cilantro, tomato, onion

Whole Foods: Shenandoah Spice Company’s Sweet Heat, steak, apple, avocado, vinegar, gorgonzola

 

Two best friends and Brilliance: Shenandoah Spice Co.

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Shenandoah Spice Company caught my attention while doing the beloved Whole Foods sample rounds. I’m not a huge meat lover, nor will I ramble down the road of over-priced Whole Foods items—but they got me.

It was the bread dip first: everyone’s favorite Italian restaurant starter, with herbs a little sea salt and olive oil, just to dip your bread in. Next, a refreshing dill yogurt dip: one bite and all I wanted was red pepper, cucumber, and a bottle of wine. So the dips stop you at the table long enough just to see their spice collection.

They got my sale, but thanks to a wonderful Whole Foods employee, Chad, they got my help. Well really I got a cabinet filled with tasty spices and another awesome company with which to work.

So here’s the story:

Shenandoah Spice Company is owned and operated by two best friends, a butcher (Nick) and a chef (Josh).  About 8 years back they did what any good DelMarVa cat does and took a trip down their local river, the Shenandoah of course, with a cooler of beers and a couple of inner tubes.

While floating, they came to the brilliant realization: we have all of the knowledge and passion to make our own spice line…so why haven’t we?

They started with the butcher shop, Crabhill Butchers in Toms Brook, Virginia—then the farmers markets—now: Whole Foods and beyond!

I have the privilege of helping them expand through the Maryland, DC area.  Slow, but steady, we win the race to enter the kitchens of the masses.  After just one demo I am almost obsolete—it flies from the shelves.  Why? Because it’s just that dern good.

 

What I love and why?

  • Espresso BBQ rub
  • Island Jerk
  • Blackened Bayou
  • Cul-Pepper Rub
  • Sweet Heat
  • Spicy Adobo
  • Okay so basically all of them but those are the top favorites

Why? You become the laziest chef and get that restaurant quality of flavor, without the take-out cost.  When trying to start a small business, that really makes a difference.

Go team.

 

So what can YOU do to help and get Shenandoah Spice to your neighborhoods??  How can you help a small business survive??

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Go to your local Whole Foods, Wegmans, corner markets and ask them if/where their Shenandoah Spices are! A few requests, only 5 minutes of your day, and you can truly bring momentum to their success.  Plus, nobody likes a squeaky wheel—being an annoying customer actually rocks in this situation.

 

Where to find it as of now?

Whole Foods Annapolis

Whole Foods Charlottesville

Whole Foods Tenleytown

Whole Foods Oldtown

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 p.s.- nicest guys to work with..maybe ever.

Back in the Zone: Veggie Chili–Go Big, Go Belly.

Vegetarian Chili: The Affordable Meal goin’ for DAYS

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So it has been about a week now since the blogging fun—that’s what I get for leaving my camera in DC and being Queen Spaz of rush hour.

This rainy day seems like a perfect time to pick it back up again with the ever perfect, ever tasty, money saving rainy meal: a big ol’ pot of veggie chili.

Chili really is the perfect thang to have right when it starts getting cold and if creative enough, with enough seasonings, you can really put almost anything in it.

Between tightening my belt for my bridesmaids dress (hey there Allie, buyin my dress!) and my Trusted Table produce share fresh off the farms, veggie chili just seemed to make sense:

Meals for days at a dag reasonable price.

And for those wondering: why use silly ol’ 2-alarm chili packs? Because spices are expensive.  This pack is $2.50 and requires zero measuring.  You can add whatever floats ya boat–curry, smoked paprika, whatevs.

Ingredients:

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(serves 1 bazillion)

1 2-alarm chili kit (sold at WF and most grocery stores)

1 cup cauliflower (finely chopped)

¾ cup red cabbage (finely chopped)

1 yellow onion (diced)

1 bell pepper (diced)

1 carrot (thinly sliced)

1 can black beans (drained)

1 can kidney beans (drained)

1 28 oz can whole, peeled tomatoes

¼ cup tomato sauce or ½ small can tomato paste

olive oil

 

Optional additions:

These can really be anything your heart desires, but this is what I used:

jalapeño

1 tsp spicy plum chutney (Virginia Chutney Company)

1 clove crushed garlic

1/2 tsp bourbon smoked paprika

 

  1. Pour about a tablespoon of olive oil into the bottom of your pot and bring pot to medium heat.  Add onions, cauliflower, cabbage, bell pepper, and sliced carrot.  Saute for 5 minutes.
  2. Add spices listed on back of kit, whole peeled tomatoes (and liquid), tomato sauce, and drained beans to pot and turn to low.  Allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Add masa flour, red pepper, and optional ingredients to pot and simmer for 15 minutes on low.
  4. Serve with a dollop of greek yogurt, avocado, some diced onions/tomatoes, and hot sauce for DAYS.♥

 

Other great optional ingredients: Roasted Red Peppers, Roasted Tomatoes, Serrano/Habenero Peppers

 

Ingredients List:

The Trusted Table: red cabbage, bell peppers, carrot, garlic

Whole Foods: yellow onion, cauliflower, Virginia Chutney, greek yogurt, avocado,whole tomatoes, tomato sauce, 2 alarm chili, beans

Farmers Market: jalapeños