5 Healthified Southern Dishes plus HAM!

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Last month, I spent a good bit of time working on five healthified southern recipes for Our State Magazine’s online food blog.  For me, recipe development starts with research.  I look at recipes online, brainstorm, bookmark, flip through cookbooks, and talk to my foodie friends, all the while scribbling down notes and ideas.  Then comes the testing.  I lay out the ingredients and get to work, jotting down notes (usually on the back of some random envelope from the recycle bin) as I go, tasting and adjusting continuously.

Obviously, one of the perks of developing recipes is eating the wares.  Well, after you’ve snapped approximately 3,000 photos of each dish, that is.  Normally, I incorporate whatever recipe I’m working on into my weekly meal plan.  No sense in wasting food!  But, at the time of this healthy southern recipes project, I also happened to have a a whole ham to cook for the North Carolina Pork Council.

Want to throw a successful holiday party?  Just add ham.

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At the Chef’s Table, a Greenville Food Tour {Greenville, SC}

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Looking back over the past two posts, I’m just baffled by how much food and fun I crammed into my short weekend in Greenville!  Nichole of Gap Creek Gourmet sure knows how to show a gal a good time!  I’ve got one last post to share with y’all, and it’s food-filled doozy.

Greenville History Tours

Nearly every Tuesday night and Saturday afternoon, John Nolan, owner of Greenville History Tours, leads a group of food lovers around downtown Greenville to check out some of the area’s most popular restaurants.  He has two food tours–the At the Chef’s Table Tour and the Tastes of the South Tour–both of which cost $45 and last for 2.5 to 3 hours.  During my visit, I went on the Chef’s Table Tour, a unique, behind-the-scenes, VIP excursion on which we sampled signature dishes at five area restaurants AND met each of the chefs behind the food.  Five amazing dishes, five alcoholic beverages, time with the chefs, plus tidbits of Greenville history and architectural facts make this tour an awesome value.  If you’re looking for things to do in Greenville, I can’t think of a better way to spend the day than on this Greenville food tour!


TOUR STOP #1:  Soby’s on the Side

Each of the stops on John’s Chef Table tour are part of the Table 301 restaurant empire, and our first destination was Soby’s on the Side.  Soby’s on the Side is located right next to Soby’s (more on that restaurant below).  It’s a breakfast and lunch joint (with breakfast offered all day and brunch on the weekends), and they also handle all of the catering for the Table 301 group.

Our tasting plate featured their interesting take on steak and eggs:  filet mignon, orange marmalade, sorghum syrup, egg yolk, and green onion, with a mimosa on the side.

sobys on the side steak


TOUR STOP #2: Nose Dive

After our breakfast tasting, we headed over to Nose Dive, a gastropub that serves lunch, dinner, and brunch on the weekends.  At Nose Dive, they take the term “gastropub” seriously–they’re striving for food forwardness, to be more than just a bar.  They’ve got some traditional pub food on the menu (burgers, fish and chips, and tater tots, to name a few), but the menu also feature unexpected dishes like pekin duck, potato gnocchi, and steamed mussels, plus a dark chocolate candied bacon brownie.  Yes, please.

While we sampled a dish of hearty pot roast with creamy Anson Mills grits, sweet heirloom carrots, and blistered tomato (and a beer), Chef Craig Kunhs talked about his home gardening practices, and how he feels it helps him to better understand the products he buys from local farmers to use in the restaurant.  

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Soul of the South–a Feast Food Tour {Charlotte, NC}

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For better or for worse, my favorite thing to do on the weekends is EAT.  Each Friday night, Jarrod and I head out to a local restaurant for what we affectionately call a “slow dinner.”  We order drinks, we savor them.  We order an appetizer, we relish it.  Then, after turning the server away at least three times, we order our entrees.  And later (on occasion) we order dessert.  It’s like a progressive dinner, except we sit in one spot the entire night, with the exception of regular potty breaks.

Last weekend, we had the epitome of slow dinners:  six small meals at six different locations!  The best part was we didn’t have to plan a thing—everything was handled by Kristi of Feast Food Tours.

I met Kristi a few months ago, and I had an immediate urge to go on one of her tours.  She has several options listed on her website, including an Uptown Chic Tour and Charlotte Brew and Chew Tour.  But, for the love of barbecue, I chose the Soul of the South Tour, on which Queen City Q was our first stop!queen city q charlotte (2) Queen City Q opened earlier this year, but we hadn’t made it in for a visit prior to the tour.  Our first order of business:  pulled pork sliders! queen city q charlotte (3)

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