Tag Archives: North Carolina

oh hello, kitchen

11 Oct

I haven’t been spending much time in the kitchen recently, which actually surprises me! I kinda thought (had a fantasy) that after I conquered my goal of “learning how to cook” last year, I would become Martha Stewart and make elaborate dinners every night. Instead, we order take out, buy already cooked roast chickens from Whole Foods or make a very simple (and very boring) dinner. As the saying goes…”you can’t change a dog into a cat”. I may now know how to cook, but that doesn’t mean my natural inclination is to do so. I am my mother’s child and all.

So, rather than get down on myself, I decided to wait for inspiration.

And the inspiration came from spending a long weekend in Asheville, North Carolina. Something about that idyllic town and the fall weather I experienced when I was there made me want to cozy up in sweat pants and make stews, roast chickens and bake cookies. That place made me want to nest! Actually, if I lived in Asheville, North Carolina, I would probably just bake pies and have babies.

On our flight back to LA, I was reading Oprah Magazine (don’t you just love her?) and came across a roast chicken recipe that I knew was my perfect intro back into the kitchen.

It was so easy to make, absolutely delicious and made the whole house smell divine! Enjoy!

Roast Chicken with Green Beans and Artichokes

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ingredients: serves 4

1 whole chicken cut into 8 pieces/ 1 tbsp dried oregano/ 1 tbsp kosher salt/ 1 tsp ground black pepper/ 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper/ 4 scallions, coarsely chopped/ 8 garlic cloves, crushed/ 3 tbsp olive oil/ 3/4 cup of white wine/ 3/4 cup chicken broth/ 1 pound of fresh pork chorizo or chicken sausage/ 2 cups fresh green beans/ 1 cup frozen artichoke hearts/ 1 lemon, sliced into 1/4′ thick rounds/ 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

Directions:

preheat oven to 400. season chicken with oregano, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper. Place chicken, scallions and garlic in a large roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil. Roast until chicken starts to brown, about 30 minutes. Add wine, chicken broth, and sausage to the pan and roast an additional 10 minutes. Flip sausages and add green beans, artichoke hearts, and lemon slices, making sure vegetables are partly submerged. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish parsley and serve.

Asheville, NC

2 Oct

We’re back from a fun-filled four days in Asheville, NC with Brian’s parents. I loved it there. It’s such a special little city filled with great art, culture, restaurants, history and dripping with southern charm. It’s also a picturesque city nestled between the Blue Ridge and Smoky mountains, which are both breathtaking. We arrived just as all the leaves were changing and it finally made it feel like it was fall. I even got to wear scarves and boots!

My top 5 in Asheville, NC

1- The Battery Park Book Exchange & Champagne Bar

The Battery Park Book Exchange was my favorite stop in Asheville- It’s part vintage book store and part champagne and wine bar. Brilliant idea huh?! Who doesn’t want to cozy up with a glass of champagne and a book? It was a cold and rainy afternoon when we popped in to the place which made the whole experience even cozier. We wandered the rows and rows of vintage books getting lost in the pages. Brian found a first edition “In Cold Blood” by Truman Capote which he snatched up to bring home with us. After we sat on old leather couches and drank rose champagne while watching the city buzz around us. If I lived in Asheville, NC I would be at this place every weekend.

2. 12 Bones BBQ

Our first stop when we arrived in Asheville (before even checking into our hotel) was lunch at the BBQ spot 12 Bones. The last time I ate a plate full of BBQ was when I was in Memphis, TN at Blue’s City Cafe. I thought that experience would be impossible to beat but to my surprise 12 Bones did! The restaurant is located in a funky little building on the side of train tracks in the River Arts District.When we pulled up there was already a huge line of people waiting to get in at noon on a Friday. A very good sign in my mind. After waiting for twenty minutes we finally made it to the front of the line to order. I went with the half rack of ribs with a side of smoked potato salad and coleslaw. OMG. The smoked potato salad was ammmmazing. Seriously if you’re ever in Asheville and like to eat meat it’s a must.

3. The Biltmore Tour

The Biltmore is mind-blowing to see in person. It is the largest privately owned home in the United States, at 175,000 square feet and featuring 250 rooms. Let those numbers sink in…crazy huh? It was built-in 1889 by George Washington Vanderbilt and is one of the most prominent examples of the Gilded Age. It’s pure decadence. Strangely enough I enjoyed the tour of the servant quarters the best. It is composed of living quarters and various work rooms. I couldn’t get over how many different rooms there was- a pastry kitchen, a butcher room, a room to hold pots and arrange flowers. The laundry room actually made me heart skip a beat. Have I told you how much I love doing laundry? Well, this room was pure laundry heaven. The only room I hated in the whole house was the cave like indoor pool area because it provoked me to feel claustrophobic and panicky. Brian said he’s never seen somebody book it out of a room quicker than I did in that moment.

4. The Blue Ridge Parkway drive

After the tour of The Biltmore we headed out to drive the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway. It’s a 469 miles connecting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina to the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. Clearly we did not drive the whole 469 miles in an afternoon but we did drive 80 miles of it and it was stunning. The usually green hills were covered in spots of yellow and red.

5. The Grove Park Inn

The first night in Asheville we went to dinner (yes we somehow managed to eat dinner after a huge BBQ lunch) at The Grove Park Inn. It is the funniest looking hotel nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. From the front it looks like something out of a horror film.  Built with huge granite boulders that stick out and a funny curved roof. It felt so heavy and dark from the outside. But when you walk in you enter a huge fancy room and you’re met with the most beautiful view of the mountains.

172

17 Jan

ROAD TRIP

My new road trip inspiration photo…minus the guns and the running from the law part.

I have been obsessed with all things road trip lately- The route! The cities! The music! The people! I am dying to get on the open road with no real objective other than to explore. It speaks to my soul- sounds dramatic but it’s true. I sincerely hope this isn’t one of those goals that sounds much better in my head and the reality of it sucks. I highly doubt it though. Adventure is usually always fun. Sadly, my normal partner in crime, Brian, isn’t available to drive across the country with me (Damn those jobs. Although he may fly in for a leg of the journey…we will see) so I had to move on to my next partner in crime, Rachel. She is a perfect person to road trip with considering she is adventurous, fun and also a beautiful photographer.

She came over the other day to brainstorm the road trip routes and dates and we had so much fun! We were getting more and more excited by each stop and idea! After a few hours we had our route and our departure date…

March 29th 2012

Los Angeles -> Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona -> Tucson, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona -> Silver City, New Mexico

Silver City, New Mexico -> White Sands, New Mexico

White Sands, New Mexico -> Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe, New Mexico -> Abiquio, New Mexico

Abiquio, New Mexico ->Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas -> New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana -> Jackson, Mississippi

Jackson, Mississippi -> Montgomery, Alabama

Montgomery, Alabama -> Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville, Tennessee -> Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta, Georgia -> Savannah, Georgia

Savannah, Georgia -> Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina -> Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina -> Wilmington, North Carolina

Wilmington, North Carolina – > Virginia (cities to be decided)

Virginia – > Delaware to visit my family!

When Brian got home from work, I excitedly showed him our plan and he said…”why these dates?” I said…”I don’t know, why not those dates? We kinda just picked them out of a hat” He said “what about a car and hotels and… and…and?

I said “Details, honey, details. Don’t you know how I work by this point, silly?

*

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”

St. Augustine