We dropped it like it was hot.
There. I said it. It’s been weighing on my mind, mocking and torturing me…
Just kidding! We did fry up a truck-ton of food though! 🙂
We had an AWESOME time at Pepperfest! Oh my goodness!
There were countless hours spent by everyone in the putting together of those moments, but basically, Pepperfest 2016 rocked.
There were dozens of vendors, chefs, performers, farmers, and volunteers working to make this a success, and I appreciate the hard work that everyone did in putting this together and giving the community a great, educational, and delicious time!
This year was Triangle Gluten-Free‘s first, and it was a collaboration with Midway Community Kitchen, which is a community commissary kitchen and class facility in downtown Chapel Hill that works with small businesses. They specialize in farm-to-table events and connections.
For this year, Triangle Gluten-Free spent over 60+ hours prepping 1000+ samples for Pepperfest. That’s a lot of planning, procuring, roasting, peeling, and chopping, people.
The focus of Triangle Gluten-Free is delicious local, organic, and sustainable food. Basically, we endeavor to make GOOD food, period. It should be good whether you eat gluten-free or not. Everyone has or knows someone who eats gluten-free for a reason. It’s by and large for a VERY good reason: Because they have to. The whole family should enjoy the meal. That’s what we want. People will tell me,”Oh I’m not gluten-free.” “Well that’s ok, but have you tasted this?”
So anyone who is gluten-free can have it, and people who are not gluten-free can still enjoy it. Food should taste great and be fit for human consumption, no matter what the calling is. Some of the stuff that passes for gluten-free is shocking!
It’s not a trend or a fad, or a concept. It’s a necessity, just like eating is a necessity, just like staying healthy is a necessity. Food IS medicine. This is not optional, and good, safe food should not be optional either. I’m liable to get consecrated and sanctimonious over it, and that’s just fine, thank you. We’ll do our part for our community.
Speaking of which, one thing we are definitely thankful for is teamwork, because we can’t do anything worthwhile alone! I couldn’t resist one decent selfie on such a momentous occasion:
But “it takes two to make a thing go right…” So I was happy to have some food fam on hand! Thanks to my food bud Charity Alston for helping out for a couple of hours with prep and also handling the Front-of-House side at the table. We were among the first food folks to set up, and had time to squeeze in a “brown girl magic” glamour shot! 😉
We were cute in our Midway shirts! It was so funny. We were talking prep and planning, and this was one of the more pressing subjects: “What are we going to wear!?” I’m sorry I missed the eco-fashion show, because it sounded like fun! We loved our shirts, though. Once our garb was decided, I was to call and apprise my peeps of the color scheme, and this is just one of the many girl codes we follow as a matter of basic civility! We therefore looked good! Hey y’all!
Then of course the table needed a sprinkling of loveliness:
The next class for Triangle Gluten-Free is at Midway on October 18th, a Tuesday evening from 6:30-8:30pm. It will be on Gluten-Free Casseroles and One-Dish Meals, for some delicious and nurturing fall convenience as autumn brings busy times and cooler temps. So the scheme was in line with our seasonal thinking.
With these important details out of the way….we “threw down”… as we say in these parts.
I turned 22 pounds of roasted, peeled, and chopped poblanos, several pounds of chihuahua, Monterey jack, and NY sharp white cheddar, smoked paprika, and several other little trifles into these golden nuggets studded with jeweled peppers and gurgling in hot lava:
And these quick bites dressed with sweet and savory mango salsa (8lbs roasted jalapeno):
And these – thanks to Carol Hewitt for snapping a photo while we were scurrying from pot to table! We had a huge cooler with batter on ice, and I was hoping we’d have enough, but fortunately we lasted till the end, and people seemed pretty happy, so that is the important thing!
Then at the very end, I was about to start putting things away after carrying the last of some samples to vendor neighbors, and we got a surprise!!!!
Hannah Eck was one of the many VERY busy people, coordinating our Pepperfest orders among other things, and she presented me with the Abundance NC Pepperfest 2016 Award for “Most Unexpected”! I was so truly shocked, grateful, and surprised! I jumped up and down. I did. People may think I have things easy if they don’t know me, but no. I don’t take a lot of shortcuts. I’m a decent person who’s already worked for decades in professional settings. I started out in food service as a child before I became a professional. Everything I have ever owned or sacrificed, I’ve worked my butt off for and gotten on my own.
I work extremely hard, and always have had that ethic. So winning something is great, but not my sole motive for things. I love what I do. I wake up every day wondering what I can do differently, or improve on. I don’t set out to copy anyone else’s anything, neither do I sit on my thumbs and wait on ‘inspiration’. I’m inspired by what I see when I get out and interact with good people doing great things. I’m passionate about community, good food that is good for everyone, and seeing people enjoy themselves. But to have this particular effort recognized at this point in time, was utterly wonderful and truly rewarding.
Thank you for your esteem, support, and well-wishes.
Pepperfest 2016 will certainly be a fond memory for me.
We did another event this week!
I stopped by the Chapel Hill Farmer’s Market as the guest chef at the Pop-Up Market on Thursday the 29th. In keeping with the one-dish meals theme, I did samples from local Shepherd’s Pie with ground beef and produce from T5 farm as well as Kennebeck Potatoes from Seeing Stars Farm.
For a vegetarian-friendly option, we had Chipotle Black Bean – which was spicy – yes. Chipotles are smoked jalapeno, folks. It’s not just meant for rosy-colored mayo at a cafeteria counter somewhere! They come out of the ground and are hot to start with. It’s a wonderful seasoning, and the heat varies depending on the pepper and the process. Here, the casserole pies are pictured after a light baking, for apportioning into small samples that were kept steaming.
They got good reviews too. Thursday had a threat of rain, but it held off, and market went right on! I would encourage anyone wishing to beat the weekend rush to try the midweek markets when they are in season. It’s so much easier to shop or restock on needed items and produce. Come to my next class! It is at Midway Community Kitchen on October 18th from 6:30-8:30pm, a Tuesday. You’ll be home in time for bed with a nice fresh pie! I want this to be easy, convenient, and most of all…fun!
Happy Local Eating!