Homemade Vanilla Extract

All vanilla extracts are NOT created equally. Once you taste the pure flavor of good vanilla, it’s hard to turn back. Unfortunately, a small bottle of artisanal extract can run upwards of $10. So, make it yourself! It’s as easy as vanilla beans + vodka.

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How to Build a Better Cheese Board

There are few better ways to get a dinner party off to a good start than with a cheese board. Since guests rarely arrive at the same time, it’s nice to have something for guests to eat right away. Fortunately, a beautiful spread of cheese doesn’t take a ton of prep like a lot of bite-sized appetizers do.

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Whole Grain Flatbread Crackers

Sure, you could just buy some, but these flatbreads are totally worth the little bit of extra time. They’ll save you some pennies, and you’ll be *so proud* to tell your friends that they’re homemade.

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Brown Butter + Chocolate Ganache Cake

This election season has been extra tense and vitriolic, so we need to find goodness wherever we can. And brown butter makes pretty much everything better. Can I get an amen?

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Gramma’s Banana Bread with Pecans

Banana bread was one of my very favorite snacks as a child–preferably straight out of the oven with a slathering of cream cheese. I actually thought it was my mom’s recipe until I received a box of recipes as a wedding gift from her mom, my Gramma Tina.

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Morningside Kitchen’s Autumn Sangria

I had the pleasure of attending Morningside Kitchen’s “Farm to Bar” cocktail class a few weeks ago with my friend Carly. Obviously I was excited that the class centered around seasonal ingredients, and I was eager to learn some new tricks for mixing drinks. One of my favorites from the night was the Morningside Autumn Sangria, which they are currently serving in the restaurant.

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Build Your Own Grain Bowls

Apparently “grain bowls” are a thing these days, but they’ve long been a part of my work-from-home-lunch repertoire. It’s a good excuse to throw a bunch of leftovers in a bowl together and call it a meal. You can mix and match, eat it hot or cold, and you don’t need a recipe.

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Corn + Parmesan Broth

When you cut the kernels off of a corn cob (like maybe for this summer shrimp pasta), what do you do with the cobs? Most likely you throw them away, or perhaps you’re a good citizen and compost them. But either way, it’s a shame to toss them because they still hold a ton of flavor!

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Summer Shrimp Pasta with Corn + Capers

This has been a summer of pasta dinners for us, especially after our trip to Italy in early July. I love burst tomato sauces because they’re quick, easy, and much fresher than a can of sauce. My favorite tomatoes are sungold cherry tomatoes because they’re so sweet and flavorful, though any variety of cherry or grape tomatoes work well with this recipe. The sweet tomatoes, corn, and shrimp are balanced by salty capers and cheese and lots of fresh mint.

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Basic Risotto for Two + Bellina Alimentari

Risotto doesn’t take a tremendous amount of skill, just some quality ingredients and diligence. Since the time I first made it in May, this dish has quickly become a go-to for nights I want to make something a little special for dinner. Date-night-in recipes can be hard to come by, so I wrote the recipe for two, but you can easily double it for a family or double date! The trick to risotto is slowly cooking the rice, adding stock a little at a time, which allows the rice’s natural starches to come out and make it super creamy.

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Olivette Farm | Asheville, NC

Olivette is a new “agrihood” that runs along a stretch of the French Broad River just north of Asheville. The community is currently being developed and will feature sustainable homes with geothermal energy, a school, walking trails, community gardens, a riverside events pavilion, and an organic farm. The founders knew that having a community centered around the farm was important, so they started with the farm first. That’s where my friend Justin comes in.

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Balsamic Blueberries + Cream

During a recent farmers market tour + cooking class that I was leading, we spotted some gorgeous local blueberries. I had just preached the importance of having a game plan going into your shopping trip, and these blueberries weren’t in our game plan. But I think the occasional splurge is ok, so we went for it.

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