Local Cooking With Recipes From Holly Herrick

Photographer: Rick McKee Publisher: Gibbs Smith, June 2009

When I began my quest to eat locally, I discovered that the most difficult part was knowing what to eat and when to eat it.  I wanted to eat in season but I was stumped by my lack of knowledge regarding local growing seasons.  Browsing the shelves of Fiction Addiction for a book that would help me out of my dilemma, I picked up the Southern Farmers Market Cookbook by Holly Herrick and discovered the perfect book for me.

What make this book a fantastic choice for newbie locavores is the way Holly opens up the world of seasonal eating and farmers markets.  She acts as a guide, explaining the importance and benefits of eating local food, giving you tips on what to bring/what not to bring to a farmers market, and providing suggestions on how to stock a pantry that is ready for seasonal cooking.  Recipes for each course are grouped by season for ease and clarity.  Beautiful photographs by Rick Mckee show the tantalizing beauty of dishes made from fresh, local food.

Holly focuses on the Southeastern region of the US: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.  For those, like me, who have no idea what is in season when, the included state-by-state charts of seasonal produce are indispensable.  State-by-state listings of farmers markets and listings of online resources to locate farmers markets really take away any excuse for not exploring the world of farmers markets and local food.

Whether you are a seasoned locavore or just beginning to enjoy the world of wholesome, fresh, local food, I highly recommend this excellent book.  Want a free copy of it?  Holly has given me a signed copy to give to one lucky reader.  Check out the Leah Loves Local Facebook page for details.  For more information on Holly Herrick or any of her cookbooks, please visit her website.

To give you a taste of what is in store for you in Southern Farmers Market Cookbook, here is one of my favorite recipes (reprinted with permission):

Strawberry Mint Clafoutis

2 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons sugar

2 eggs (preferably local)

1 cup whole cream

Pinch of salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

1 quart whole strawberries, green tops removed and rinsed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and sugar.  Form a well in the center and add the eggs, cream, salt, vanilla, and mint.  Gradually incorporate into a smooth batter, whisking well.  Generously butter a 9-inch pie pane.  Line the bottom with whole strawberries, top-down.  NOTE: Use enough to entirely fill the bottom – the quantity will depend on the size of the berries.  Pour the batter over the top.  Bake 40 to 50 minutes, or until the edges are nicely browned and the center is set.

If desired, brush the top of the warm – to room-temperature clafoutis down with a thin layer of warmed strawberry jelly for added sheen.  Serve warm with a generous dollop of whipped cream, a fresh strawberry, and mint leaf for garnish.

Serves 6-8

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Moonlight Movies in Greer

I love watching movies in the great outdoors so Moonlight Movies in Greer is definitely my kind of event.  Every Thursday, beginning tonight and ending August 2, lovers of movies and the outdoors can find the perfect blend of both at Greer City Park (301 East Poinsett Street).  The first two films are geared toward older audiences but the film schedule is perfect for the whole family once school is out for the summer.  Bring blankets, bug spray, lawn chairs, and the people you love for a fun community event every Thursday.  Movies start at dusk and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.  Feel free to pack snacks or enjoy the concessions available.    Even if you cannot make it every Thursday, try it once.  I think you’ll be hooked.

The Moonlight Movies schedule is as follows:

May 24 – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part Two)

May 31 – The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn (Part One)

June 7The Lion King

June 14Tangled

June 21The Muppets

June 28Kung Fu Panda 2

July 5Smurfs

July 12Happy Feet 2

July 19Hugo

July 26Aladdin

August 2Cars 2

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Stone Soup

Stone Soup in Landrum

Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of finding a new favorite local restaurant.  I had just finished moving (which is always a stressful time) and needed an oasis.  I found that oasis at Stone Soup in Landrum.

Suzanne Strickland, the proud owner of Stone Soup, named her restaurant after the folk tale in which neighbors come together, each bringing a small offering to the table, and discover their offerings are multiplied into enough food for the village.  She could not have picked a more appropriate name.  Stone Soup is truly a community based restaurant and Suzanne cares about everyone who walks in the door.

One adorable corner.

The Stone Soup experience is pleasing from the moment you see the restaurant.  A charming building tucked amidst bushes, trees, and flowers, Stone Soup is a perfect combination of elegant and down-home.  You can choose to sit outdoors and enjoy nature or sit inside amidst pictures of proud horses and their owners.  Landrum is horse country and Stone Soup reflects the people who live in the community.  Aesthetically pleasing in every way, including the tablecloths unique to each table, and the multiple small dining areas rather than one large dining room, the atmosphere is one that fosters conversation and connection.  Our server, Jonathan, was perfectly delightful and added to the enjoyment of our experience.

The most amazing lunch I have ever enjoyed.

The food at Stone Soup is hands-down the best I have ever had in the Upstate.  My husband and I stopped in for lunch and he enjoyed the Stone Soup Burger and potato salad while I relished the daily panini and soup.  The Stone Soup burger is made from local meat and has fried green tomatoes, goat cheese and a special sauce.  My husband opinion?  “I don’t know if I’ve ever had a burger this good and I’ve had a lot of burgers.”  (Direct quote from him.)  The panini for the day was a delicious combination of bacon, spinach, tomato, avocado, and three cheeses.  The orzo meatball soup with mushrooms and red peppers was indescribably scrumptious.  You just have to try it.

Intimate and charming.

Stone Soup is a perfect place for a romantic dinner or lunch with friends.  The wine list is extensive and a variety of beers are available, including some local brews.  Suzanne sources as much food as possible from local farms which means her menu is splendid and good for the community.  She is also planting an onsite garden.  Open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday and Sunday for brunch and dinner, Stone Soup truly has something for every palate.  When friends or family visit and ask me to recommend a must-visit restaurant, Stone Soup will now be first on my list.  It is absolutely worth the drive!

 Stone Soup is located at 1522 E. Rutherford Street in Landrum.

Hours:  Lunch: 11:30 am-2:30 pm (Tuesday thru Saturday), Dinner: 5:00 pm-9:00 pm (Tuesday thru Sunday), Sunday Brunch: 11:00 am-2:30 pm

For more information visit the Stone Soup website.

Categories: Food & Beverage, Leah's Favorites | Leave a comment

First Friday

12 Andrews Street, Greenville, SC

I had another post planned for today but then I celebrated First Friday at Artistry Workshops and Gallery last night and felt compelled to write about how incredible the arts community is in Greenville.  For those of you who have never heard of First Friday, it is a celebration of visual arts that happens on the first Friday of each month.  25 galleries and venues throughout downtown Greenville open their doors from 6 pm – 9 pm and invite the community in to meet the artists, explore the creative process, and enjoy spectacular works.

Last night was the first time I have thoroughly enveloped myself in the First Friday experience.  Despite my best intentions, I am not often able to keep that First Friday night free each month.  But this month I marked it on my calendar a couple weeks in advance and I could not be happier that I was able to enjoy the evening surrounded by so many amazing Greenville neighbors.

I arrived at Artistry Workshops and Gallery at 7 pm and meandered around, making conversation with other lovers of visual art.  I examined the striking and beautiful work of Adam Schrimmer featured in the gallery.  It’s obvious to see through his work and his conversation that Adam is an artist who believes that individuals should celebrate the uniqueness and creativity within themselves.  It was truly a pleasure to meet him and have an opportunity to view his artistic expressions of passion and soul.

Ryan Calloway

Ryan Calloway

After a walk-thru of the gallery, I took time out to watch Ryan Calloway show off his blacksmith skills in a demonstration that was informative and entertaining.  Then, I met Alix Bernard whose glasswork practically begged to be brought home with me and I happily obliged.  I also met Mary Kathryn and Norm Pizzello, artisans at Artistry who will celebrate their 6th year in Greenville and their 15th wedding anniversary this month.

Beyond the inspiring art and passion of the artists, First Friday was enjoyable because of the fascinating individuals I met who were at Artistry to indulge their own First Friday fix.  Taking part in conversations with fellow appreciators of all Greenville offers was a perfect way to end the night.  Making connections with my neighbors is something I am passionate about and I am grateful for the opportunities that arise where I am able to meet more and more of them.

So, why am I telling you all of this?  I am telling you in the hopes that you will begin to make your own First Friday memories on April 6th and continue to do so each month thereafter.  With 25 galleries and venues, you are pretty much guaranteed to find an artist or work you enjoy and an interesting stranger with whom you can talk about it.  Those of us who live in or near Greenville are very fortunate to have a fantastic downtown and a plethora of insanely talented individuals who reside within our community.  First Friday is just another example of why loving local is so rewarding.

The glasswork that now graces my home.

Categories: Entertainment, Experiences, Family Fun, Leah's Favorites, People | 3 Comments

Calendar: February 27 – March 4

Monday (February 27)

  • Volunteer at the Generous Garden (9:00 am – 2:00 pm)  Help your community by volunteering at the Generous Garden.  This event repeats every weekday at the same time and on Saturdays from 8:00 am – 2:0) pm.  Sign up online so they know to expect you.
  • Live Music at the Handlebar (8:00 pm):  Bad Blood Productions Presents: Letters To Abigail with Mark Webb ($5 – in the bar)

Tuesday (February 28)

  • Homemade Pasta Cooking Class at The Cook’s Station (6:00 pm):  Learn how to create homemade pasta with a class at The Cook’s Station. ($40/person, advance reservations are required)
  • Live Music at the Handlebar (8:30 pm):  Gene Dillards Bluegrass Jam (FREE in the bar)

Wednesday (February 29)

  • All Malbec, All the Time at The Community Tap (6:30 pm, 7:30 pm):  Learn about the Malbec grape and enjoy a sampling of Malbec wines from a variety of countries.  ($10/person, reservations required)
  • Live Music at the Handlebar (8:30 pm):  The Lemonheads with Meredith Sheldon ($15)

Thursday (March 1)

  • Seasonal Gardening: Attracting Birds to the Garden (7:00 pm – 8:00 pm): Learn how to attract hummingbirds, bluebirds, and other birds to your garden at the Mauldin Branch of the Greenville Library System.  For more information, call 864- 862-2576.
  • Live Music at the Handlebar (8:30 pm):  The Deadfield and The Soulfeathers ($8)

Friday (March 2)

  • Alchemy Improv Comedy @ Coffee Underground (9:30 pm):  It’s March Madness time for the Alchemy folks!  Find out more about what that  means here.

Saturday (March 3)

  • Live Music at the Handlebar (9:00 pm):  Second to None with Faceless Enemy and The Vessel ($10 Benefit for Dewayne Merritt)

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People Watching: Daniel McCord

Daniel McCord

“I wonder what making movies is like.”  This is the thought that launched Daniel McCord into the world of film-making.  Originally from Abbeville, SC, Daniel moved to Greenville six years ago to work at Michelin after studying mechanical engineering at Clemson.  He is a man who believes you can never know all that you are good at unless you keep trying something new.  His propensity for constantly learning and experimenting in his own life explains how one man can be good at so many things.  He is a musician with a love for cooking and craft beer who also designs and prints hand-stenciled t-shirts all while sharing his passion for photography and film with the Greenville community.  And he’s a fascinating conversationalist.

Today the Moon, Tomorrow the Sun – Oh Black Gold (acoustic) from Daniel McCord on Vimeo.

The journey from engineer to artist began in Daniel’s sophomore year of college when he bought his first camera and began experimenting with still photography.  Now, he has multiple music videos and short films under his belt.  In his still photography and film, Daniel’s work is striking thanks to his gift for capturing the art of ordinary life.  His sense of adventure and learn-by-doing mentality over the intervening years has led him from the starting place of wonderment to the 12 in 2012 project.

12 in 2012 is a short film project that presents the art, beauty, and humanity in both the exciting and mundane.  Every month in 2012 will bring a new short film from Daniel in which he shares a glimpse into a life, event, or job that most of his viewers would not think to explore on their own.  He opens new worlds to the viewers and does so with unique passion and skill.

Through the Kickstarter website, those of us in the Upstate who appreciate the passion and purpose of artists like Daniel have the opportunity to support the 12 in 2012 project.  He is raising funds for this unconventional project through February 29th.  I hope you will join me in supporting Daniel and his passion for excellent filmmaking.

Interested in learning more about Daniel or his work?  Visit his website or his Vimeo page to see his talent in action or stop in to chat with him during one of his shifts at The Community Tap.  Want to support the 12 in 2012 film project?  Visit Kickstarter and pledge your support today.

Kickstarter Pledge Video from Daniel McCord on Vimeo.

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Calendar: February 20-26

Tuesday (February 21)

Elizabeth Wood at Stomping Grounds (7:00 pm – 9:00 pm)
Do you love the sounds of acoustic guitar blended with talented vocals? Stop in at Stomping Grounds in downtown Greer to enjoy coffee, wine, dessert, or all three along with live music by Elizabeth Wood. Call Stomping Grounds (864-801-1555), stop in for a visit, or find them on Facebook to find out more.

Wednesday (February 22)

Green Flash Brewing @ The Community Tap (5:00 pm – 6:45 pm)
Join Mike, Ed, and the rest of the gang at TCT as they celebrate their new arrival,Green Flash Brewing Co. Jim Kenny from Green Flash will be at the store and therewill be tastings as well as bottles to purchase and six beers on taps for growler fills.Call TCT (864-631-2525), visit the store, or check them out on Facebook for more info.

Thursday (February 23)

Flicks for Thought at Upcountry History Museum (5:30 pm – 8:30 pm)
Enjoy a reception by Whole Foods at 5:30 pm before the screening of The Last Mountain at the Upcountry History Museum. Seating is limited so call Upcountry History Museum (864-467-3100) or visit the website to reserve your spot.

Seasonal Gardening: Made in the Shade (6:30 pm – 8:00 pm)
Learn helpful instructions for gardening in the shade from a Master Gardner at the Fountain Inn Branch of the Greenville Library System. For more information, call 864-862-2576.

Friday (February 24)

The Unexpected Guest at Greenville Little Theatre (8:00 pm)
Agatha Christie’s brilliance comes alive on stage at the Greenville Little Theatre. For tickets or more information, contact the box office (864-233-6238) or visit the GLT website.

Saturday (February 25)

Stomping Grounds Grand Opening! (Beginning at 2 pm)

       Celebrate the grand opening of my favorite coffee house and wine bar! There will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 2:30 pm along with food and music. Welcome Lisa, Paulette and the rest of the Stomping Grounds family to the neighborhood and show your support for small businesses while having a good time.  For location and contact information see February 21.

The Unexpected Guest at Greenville Little Theatre (8:00 pm) See February 24.

Spartanburg Philharmonic Masterworks Concert (7:00 pm)
This concert, featuring the Augsburger Geigenbande, will be held at Twitchell Auditorium at Converse College. Visit the Spartanburg Philharmonic website for ticket information.

Sunday (February 26)

The Unexpected Guest at Greenville Little Theatre (3:00 pm) See February 24.

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Acme General Store

201 Trade Street in Greer

Yesterday afternoon was a beautiful day to wander through downtown Greer on my way to Acme General Store.  Owned by Chris and Denise VandenBerghe, Acme General Store opened in May 2011 and has been a Greer gem ever since.  Shara Fordyce welcomes each customer with a friendly greeting and the willingness to share her knowledge about any item in the store.  In keeping with the long history of general stores,  Acme General Store seems to have a little bit of everything along with a warm atmosphere and skilled staff.

If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, Acme General Store carries everything you need to make your trip into the great outdoors an enjoyable experience.  From clothes and shoes to backpacks, sleeping bags and tents, Acme General Store has something you can use.  They carry a wide range of survival food, hiking equipment, and items for campsite cooking.  Acme General Store is the place to shop if you enjoy disc golf since they have a vast inventory of supplies and are proud sponsors of Greer Disc Golf.

Cigar, wine, and craft beer lovers will be pleased to find that Acme General Store stocks the products you love and, if you’re a foodie, there are many items that will tempt you including homemade fudge.  If you’re looking for a gift, select something from their unique jewelry case which includes locally made jewelry.  Need a greeting or birthday card, wrapping paper, or batteries?  Acme General Store carries those, too.

With multiple old-fashioned style barrels filled with candy and a toy section stocked with Lego products, puzzles, cars, board games, and many other toys, children and the young-at-heart will find something to love at Acme General Store.  If you’re in a nostalgic mood, you can pick up a set of jacks, a Slinky, or one of my favorites from childhood, a Wooly Willy.  Take your child upstairs and catch their excitement when they see the climbing and activity wall and the Nerf gun arena where they can load air cannons with balls and shoot them across the room.

To get your morning started or refuel during lunch, try The Lunchbox located in Acme General Store.  Offering Leopard Forest Coffee and a selection of bagels, sandwiches, homemade ice cream (from Greenwood Ice Cream in Atlanta)and a kid’s menu, The Lunchbox is another great feature of this fantastic store.

The next time you’re in downtown Greer, stop in at Acme General Store.  You’ll be glad you did.

Acme General Store is located at 201 Trade Street in Greer.

Visit the website or Facebook page for hours and more information. 

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Getting Involved

In recent weeks, I have been asked many questions about Leah Loves Local.  These questions range from “Why do you care?” to “What is so great about local?” to “How can I get involved?”  The first two questions are answered in the Meet Leah and Why Local? sections of this site.  The third question is answered in this post.

Leah Loves Local is a resource for you.  No matter what you are looking for, Leah Loves Local can help you and help you to help others.  Leah Loves Local is about people in the community supporting each other and caring about each other.

How can you get involved in my movement to love local?  A few examples: If you’re looking for a specific product and want to buy it from a locally owned shop rather than Walmart or Target, you can connect with other lovers of local through Leah Loves Local on Facebook and Twitter and get help finding it.  If you love an individual, business, or organization and you think they deserve a review and publicity from Leah Loves Local, you can send me a comment on Facebook or Twitter or you can recommend that they contact me.  If you have ideas for what you would like to see on Leah Loves Local, you can contact me and let me know.

There are many ways to get involved in loving local along with me.  I am always on the lookout for local events, bands, authors, businesses, and organizations to recommend to other localistas.  Join the LLL community and feel free to share your ideas, thoughts, and recommendations on ways that we can all love our local a bit more.

Contact Leah: leahloveslocal@gmail.com

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Local Love for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day can be a stressful holiday.  There’s the societal pressure to be romantic, the wondering what gifts to give, and the hassle of reservations on the night when it seems like everyone is trying to wine and dine their significant other.  But this Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be stressful for you.  Why?  Because I’m going to do my best to help you find the perfect gift for your sweetie.

Do you love a person who appreciates the gift of adventures and experiences?  Today’s gift ideas are for you.

Do you love a lover of theatre?  Present your one-and-only with tickets to one of the productions at The Warehouse Theatre, Centre Stage, Café And Then Some, or Greenville Little Theatre.

Do you love a lover of sports?  Your honey might like a night of hockey courtesy of the Greenville Road Warriors.  If baseball is more in line with what your lover likes, you can purchase full or half season tickets to the  Greenville Drive games.

Do you love a lover of new experiences?  Many of the local shops offer classes to help your sweetie learn something new.  For jewelry lovers, Liz Daly Designs offers a variety of classes to help creativity flow into artistic pieces.  Culinary enthusiasts will enjoy the classes and events at The Cook’s Station.  If your special someone enjoys craft beers The Community Tap offers weekly tastings to expand the palate and enhance understanding of all things craft beer.  Is your honey funny?  Sign them up for classes with Alchemy Improv Comedy.

Do you love a lover of music?  Bring your darling to one of the performances at The Handlebar or Smiley’s Acoustic Cafe.  For jazz lovers, a night of music at The Brown Street Club is a perfect gift.  Pick up a record or CD at Horizon Records and treat your sweetie to a romantic night in filled with fantastic new music.

The Upstate area offers many opportunities to give incredible experiences to the one you love.  If you need more ideas, ask me on Facebook or Twitter and I will do my best to find something that will suit your sweetheart.  Here’s to a happy, stress-free Valentine’s Day!

Categories: Entertainment, Experiences, Gifts | 2 Comments

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