North Carolina Barbecue Road Trip

Chris and I hit the road for a four day Memorial Day road trip across North Carolina.  North Carolina is famous for it's pork barbecue and Chris and I were determined to try as many bbq places as we could.

We ate sami after sami.  We took our barbecue taste testing seriously and had detailed score sheets for accurate comparison.



There were at least a long armed dozen photoshoots of ourselves.

And some very serious and delicious non-barbecue meals.


And we definitely had very full stomachs.

After 1000 miles of driving, 12.5 barbecue sandwiches each, 5 closed restaurants, countless songs sung in the car I can say without question I know North Carolina barbecue.

I also know that this was one of the best weekends of my life.

In the four day weekend we ate barbecue at:
Bridges--   Shelby, NC
Keaton's--   Cool Springs, NC (outside of Statesville)
Fuzzy's--   Madison, NC
The Pit--  Raleigh, NC
Skylight Barbecue--   Ayden, NC
Thig's--   Richland, NC
Big Oak--  Salter Path, NC
King's--   Kinston, NC
Bill Ellis--   Wilson, NC
Parker's--    Wilson, NC
(We tried to go to several other restaurants including B's BBQ in Greenville, Grady's in Dudley, Lexington barbecue in, well, Lexington, Speedys in Lexington.  You can't win or eat the all, huh?)

While we had so much amazing food this weekend I think I am going to be sticking to veggies for a while.

No more pencils....

This is offically my first week of summer. Wooooo!

And while I will be getting back to the grind stone soon I'm just enjoying the complete freedom that comes along with no alarm clocks (at least not mine, Chris is still being responsible and going to work), the lack of homework, and no more teacher's dirty looks.

I have very ambitious plans for the week:

Yoga (I haven't been in almost a month and I need to get to ohmmmming soon)

Terrible movies

And maybe I'll even make myself a meal to two... But it's much more likely that I'll just eat some strange combination of leftovers from the fridge.

Any other great summer activities that I'm missing?

Chocolate lava cake with tuile cookie and sugar bowl

My last class at Johnson & Wales was Advanced Patisserie. We learned about and created plated desserts.

For our final exam we had to make 4 desserts complete with cakes, decorative plate piping, sauces, some sort of ice cream holder, and a crunchy garnish.

From plan to reality I'm pretty pleased with the way they turned out!


6 oz                        Dark couverture chocolate (if you can't find couverture just buy the highest quality chocolate you can buy with a high cocoa butter content)
6 oz                        Butter
6 oz                        Whole Eggs
1.5 oz                     Sugar
1.5 oz                     Bread flour
5                            Chocolate truffles

Method of Preparation:
  • Melt the chocolate and butter together
  • Whisk together the whole eggs and sugar until they are well incorporated.  Add to chocolate mixture.
  • Fold in flour
  • Pour batter in greased tins , approximately 2/3 full
  • Bake at 350 degrees for about 10-12 minutes
    • The sides of the cake will be set at this point, although the center will still be raw and look very shiny.
  • Remove from the oven and place a truffle in the center of the cake.
  • Push the truffle into the cake until it is completely covered with cake batter.
  • Return cakes to the oven for an additional 5-6 minutes
    • The center of the cake will be set, turning from shiny to dull in appearance.
  • Remove from oven and invert onto plate
  • Serve immediately

Yield:  6 individual cakes

Ganache topped Chocolate molten cake with tuile cookie, raspberry and anglaise sauces, paired with salted caramel ice cream in a sugar bowl

(These truffles are great eaten alone too. Try rolling them in chocolate flakes, sparkled granular sugar, or chocolate sauce for shiny truffles!)

2 parts dark couverture
1 part heavy cream

Example:              8 oz. dark couverture
                             4 oz. heavy cream

Method of preparation:
·      Chop chocolate and place in metal bowl.
·      Scald cream and pour over chocolate.  Do not stir immediately.  Let rest for 10 seconds, then slowly begin whisking from the center of the bowl.  Whisk until all chocolate is melted and incorporated.
·      Chill until the consistency of fudge.  Roll into 1” diameter balls. 
·      Label. Date.  Refrigerate, until ready to insert into chocolate molten cakes.

Cracking me up

Last Thursday Chris and I overslept, once we woke up we had to race.  I was heading to school and Chris was headed to the airport.

We were literally running out the door at 6:45 am. RUNNING y'all!

Chris made his flight and I made it to school on time.

At 10:41 I got this text message from Chris:

Just realized my fly was down

I've been cracking up for a week thinking about Chris going all the way through the airport, security, and an entire plane flight with his fly down.

Last 2 weeks at Johnson & Wales

This is my second to last week of school.

It's surreal that culinary school is almost over.

I have learned so much and I definitely don't want it to end!

It's been a crazy train of early mornings, massive cups of coffee, oven burns, and long days.  And as cheesy as it sounds I wouldn't give up a single day. I have learned so much and am so glad that I took the unexpected choice of going to Johnson and Wales.

I wish I had a whole entire year of culinary school left in front of me!  But, I know that I will keep on learning each day as a chef. I feel so lucky to have found a career, a trade that I love, have a talent for, and also love to learn about.

There are some things in the works for after my last day of class but I'm keeping them quiet for a little while!

Typo... oh wait I'm just dumb.

So, yesterday when I posted that screenshot from Fox News I put up the second picture think "Ha! Look! They still spelled Osama wrong!"

But then I found out I was just the uneducated one....

Fox News:1 Meredith: 0



 Sunday night, like many of you, Chris and I were trying to piece together the latest news.  Since we don't have cable television we had to scour the internet to figure out what was going on.


I imagine Usama Bin Landen as the Middle Easter cousin of Michael London, the coiffed star of Little House on the Prairie. 
Anyone else see the resemblance?

Fox news finally updated the typo about 10 minutes later:


closer guys.... but not quite there.

Johnson & Wales Canapes

If you follow me on twitter you know that I have been battling with canapes this week. Yes, my personal demon is a two bite item that is appropriately sized for a toddler.

All night I had a reoccurring dream that I had to make thousands of canapes but had no plan, the walk-in refrigerator was never ending and I had forgotten how to cook.  It was a rough night y'all.

But, it paid off.  Today at school we had a "Grand Buffet" filled with canapes and while I would definitely tweak a few things it turned out beautifully! 

the final product

 chicken, spinach, and bacon en croute (middle) with black bean and corn galantine (left)
Edited to add:  the center pieces are made from smoked chicken breast wrapped in spinach in the en croute (middle) and chicken breast wrapped in prosciutto (left)

smoked turkey canape with chive cream cheese spread and roasted red peppers
Edited to add: these canapes are sitting on top of toasted wheat bread

 black bean salad with roasted peppers, corn, and topped with cilantro lime sour cream
pickled zucchini, squash, and onions

 accompanied with a fresh salsa of tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, and cilantro

I will tell you though, I am looking forward to cooking things that aren't fun-sized!