Sunday, September 20

Hops & Hillbillies

Saturday five us loaded up the car and headed all across the Piedmont of NC for beer and food!  Chris, Sam, Shane, Ben and me started our day off at Natty Greene’s for lunch in downtown Greensboro.  It was our first time as Chris, Sam and Shane went to UNC-G and discovered Natty Greene’s several years ago.  I am always amazed at the local breweries we have in our state – so many fun places to eat and try new craft beer. 

Natty Greene’s has so many beers on tap we could not decide, so we opted for the sampler tray of 6 different beers to start with.  After sampling the Old Town Brown, Hessian Hefe-weizen, Elm Street IPA, Autumnfest Vienna Lager, Full Moon IPA and New Garden Milk Stout, Ben decided on a pint of the Elm Street IPA.  I was enjoying taking sips from each, so I kept the sampler for myself!September 2009 020

The food was just as good and we all got something different.   The portions are enormous and I got the Smokin’ Turkey Wrap: oven-roasted turkey with crisp applewood smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, provolone cheese and chipotle raspberry mayo wrapped a sun-dried tomato tortilla.  They have several sides, but I highly recommend the pesto pasta salad.  Ben got the Chipotle BBQ sandwich with fries.  September 2009 029 After lunch we headed west to Foothills Brewery in Winston-Salem for Beer School and City Beverage for a beer shopping spree.  They have a class complete with power-point presentation, quiz, beer-tasting, brewery tour and graduate certificates they developed for their employees and are now offering to the public.  We all thought it was well taught, but being pretty knowledgeable about beer already most of it was a refresher, especially for Chris who recently completed real Beer School!  For $10 to taste all of their beers on tap, it was a good deal and pretty fun.  September 2009 023September 2009 027September 2009 030September 2009 044We wrapped up the night with dinner at the Hillybilly Hideaway in Walnut Cove, NC.  This amazing homestyle, all-you-can-eat restaurant located in the middle of no where is about 20 minutes north east of Winston-Salem.  It is only open Fri-Sun. and was completely packed, but the wait was worth it.  We stuffed ourselves to the point of being miserable with fried chicken, bbq spare ribs, cream corn, green beans, pinto beans, creamed potatoes, slaw, cinnamon apples, country ham, biscuits, cornbread and the sweetest tea imaginable.  September 2009 047September 2009 051September 2009 053

Saturday, September 19

The Best of Both World’s Pizza

Friday night we could not decide between pizza or Mexican…so Ben made us taco pizza after we had it a few weeks ago when we actually went out for pizza!September 2009 015He used a whole wheat crust and used our newest favorite salsa, Pomegranate Chipotle as the “sauce”.  The added ground beef cooked in taco seasoning, tomatoes and Mexican cheese.   Once it was cooked he topped it with shredded lettuce and extra cheese.  September 2009 019This was better than what we had in a restaurant and has been deemed as one of his best specialty pizzas!September 2009 014We also had fun doing a mini-beer tasting to compare our top Oktoberfest beers and some pumpkin beers.  Bells Octoberbfest won out over Otter Creek Oktoberfest and Ben and I had different opinions on the Dogfish Head Punkin’ Ale, Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin and Cottonwood Pumpkin Ale, but all three are delicious and some of our favs!September 2009 012

Tuesday, September 8

Macadamia Nuts and Mahi-Mahi

Fish is always an easy dinner for us since it cooks quick.  So when I ran across this recipe which actually called for Tilapia, I was excited to try it.  Mahi-Mahi was on sale and I thought I’d spice up some plain couscous with the leftover coconut milk. 

I loved the heartiness the nuts gave the fish and the coconut added just a little natural sweetness.  For the couscous I used 1/2 cup of coconut milk and 1 1/2 cups water, then added salt and pepper to taste.  I tossed in some extra chopped macadamia nuts for extra crunch.   My only complaint was the lack of presentation..I should have added some colorful veggies!August 2009 147 

Macadamia Nut Crusted Mahi-Mahi

  • 5 ounces (about 1 1/4 cups) coarsely ground, roasted macadamia nuts
  • 1/2 cup panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • Vegetable oil, for brushing foil
  • 4 (6 to 8-ounce) mahi mahi fillets
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a medium bowl, stir together the nuts, panko, flour, and butter. Set aside.

Place a piece of aluminum foil on a baking sheet and brush it liberally with vegetable oil. Place the mahi mahi on the foil and sprinkle each fillet with salt and pepper on both sides. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and brush each fillet with the coconut milk. Divide the nut mixture among the tops of the 4 fillets, patting the mixture to spread and adhere to the fillets. Return to the oven and bake for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.

Remove from the oven and allow to stand 10 minutes before serving.

Happy 21st Birthday Sara!

We recently celebrated my little sister, Sara’s 21st Birthday.  Being it was a Sunday night we opted for a sophisticated Cocktail Party, dinner at McCormick & Schmicks and cake instead of a  late night out on the town!August 2009 097I was in charge of the Cocktail party and the menu included Blue Cheese Pecan Dip with celery, Fig & Goat Cheese Bruschetta, Hummus with veggies and pita chips, and a cheese platter.  No cocktail party would be complete without cocktails!  I mixed up Raspberry and Cranberry Cosmos plus wine and champagne.  August 2009 098August 2009 099August 2009 100Before dinner we gave Sara our gifts…she loved the wine and champagne glasses, wine tags, napkins and other fun wine things we gave her.  Her BIG 21st birthday gift was an amethyst David Yurman ring.  It was beautiful and one of those might be going on my gift list very soon!August 2009 104At McCormick & Schmick’s we had a fun surprise.  When I called to make the reservation and let them know we were celebrating Sara’s birthday, they informed me a birthday message would be on the menu!  For dinner most of us ordered the Salmon stuffed with Brie, Shrimp and Lump Crab meat or the Halibut with sautéed leeks, Gnocchi and lump Crab.  August 2009 113August 2009 114August 2009 118After dinner we enjoyed a family favorite cake, Pineapple Cake…and we were thoroughly stuffed, but it was all so delicious.  August 2009 123 Happy Birthday Sara!