Kitchen on Cary Restaurant Review- Via Liz @ I Heart Vegetables

Hey all! It’s Liz, the blog-obsessed girl behind Virginia Bloggers! I thought it would be fun to do a guest post of my own, on a new restaurant that opened in Richmond!

A few months ago, I was offered a chance to attend the soft opening of Kitchen on Cary. Full disclosure: I was offered this dinner free of charge, but was not obligated to post about it, and all opinions are my own. Since I love trying new places, I excitedly accepting the invite!

Walking in, the atmosphere was clean and inviting. After being seated, we were greeted by one of the chefs, who explained the concept behind the restaurant. Kitchen on Cary will be a sort of training ground for students at the culinary school, giving them the chance to test out their skills in the real word, and allowing patrons to enjoy their handiwork. Sounds like a win-win, right? The menu was slightly limited, since this was just a soft opening, but there were plenty of vegetarian options for me to choose from. I’ll apologize in advance for the pictures, since restaurant lighting isn’t very forgiving.

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We chose our courses, and settled in.

Course #1- Tempura Vegetables/Chipotle Marinated Grilled Shrimp

Course 1

Fresh vegetables, coated and fried. I don’t normally like my veggies fried, but these were pretty good. I especially liked the dipping sauce, which was spicy. Alex chose the shrimp dish, which looked good, but I didn’t try it. He liked his as well.

Course #2- Greens & Fresh Mozzarella/Beets & Feta

Course 2

Alex was brave and chose the beet salad, but I stuck with greens & fresh mozzarella which was served with a light dressing that hit the spot. It was salty (I love salty) but didn’t weigh me down like some salad dressings do.

Course #3- Mushroom Risotto/Grilled Rockfish

Course 3

Now I’m normally not the biggest mushroom fan, but this risotto was delicious. It was creamy and savory, and the mushrooms added a nice texture. I saved some of the mushrooms for Alex, but I did enjoy the strips of portabello on top. The flavor was excellent and it was nice to eat something that would be easy to prepare at home. Alex had the rockfish, served on a mango salsa, which he didn’t expect to go so well with the fish, but he said tasted great. I didn’t quite finish my risotto which was good, because we had cake on the way!

Dessert

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Alex and I split a slice of carrot cake (vegetables… right?) which was so crumbly it was a bit difficult to eat, but the taste was great and I loved the frosting. I don’t normally love frosting, so that surprised me! We couldn’t quite finish it, but it was excellent. Kitchen on Cary is officially open, and I’d highly recommend you check this place out if you’re in Richmond.   For more Richmond Restaurant Reviews, check out my RVA Restaurants Page here.

-Liz @ I Heart Vegetables

Guest Post: Sesame Garlic Stir Fried Bok Choy

Today’s veggie post comes from Anna, author of OMG Yum! Her blog tells a story about her delicious journey with food .

I am such a fan of Bok Choy. One day, I was at the grocery store and I saw a packet of baby Bok Choy on sale. I had never made it but all of a sudden I was craving this vegetable I had never cooked. I happily took it home and then stared at it thinking to myself “okay… now what?” hahaha. As I let the creative cooking juices stew in my brain for a while, a new recipe was born. Simple, tasty, healthy and fast. I present to you…

Seaame Garlic Bok Choy

Sesame Garlic Stir Fried Bok Choy

  • One 6.3 ounce package of baby Bok Choy
  • 3 tablespoons Sesame Oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 1 medium clove of garlic finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

Wash the Bok Choy really well. Sometimes it has some dirt in it so check the inner sides of the leaves as you wash them. Dry well. Finely chop the garlic and toss in a pre-heated skillet (medium high) with the Sesame Oil. Cook the garlic for about 1 minute (just before it turns brown because you don’t want it to burn). Toss the Bok Choy in and with tongs coat the leaves with the oil and garlic. Partially cover the pan (allows steam to evaporate) so the oil doesn’t splatter everywhere and so the Bok Choy cooks. Cook for about 4-5 minutes (depending on how crunchy you like the stems). Add the Soy Sauce (add more if you love Soy Sauce but make sure you taste as you go. It can be overdone pretty quickly). Let simmer for 30 seconds to 1 minute then turn off the stove and serve.

Enjoy – Anna

Guest Post: To #foodgram or Not to #foodgram?

Today’s foodie guest post comes from Emily of Gathering Green. She is a veggie loving, fitness seeking, amateur foodie and chef, who spends her days working at an environmental non-profit in DC.

Emily created Gathering Green as a place to focus on not only her Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) recipes, and sustainable living tips, but also her quest at leading an all around healthy lifestyle.

To #foodgram or Not to #foodgram?

Whether you make a living out of social media, or view it as a necessary evil, there is no denying that Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have completely changed all of us. As a young professional, whose age safely classifies me as a Generation Y-er, I actually abstained (quite forcefully at times) from joining all of the social media channels available. It wasn’t until this spring that I finally sucked it up and joined Instagram, the lone social media account I had avoided. (Although, Admittedly, I only joined with the lure from a roommate that there is an account solely dedicated to the “PugsofInstagram”. She wasn’t lying.) Perhaps that was the final step in my trying to “stick it to the man” and not advertise everything about my life online, because shortly afterwards I created a blog. A blog that has quickly become 75% dedicated to food.

Which brings me to the question I’m trying to answer: why are we so obsessed with #foodgrams?

If you read nearly any online newspaper or periodical, you have probably come across about a thousand (ok maybe more like 5) articles in the last year or so that pertain to the infamous #foodgram. You may have read this one, or this one, or maybe you’re even a member of this Facebook group. Many of these articles bring up valid points, such as the lack of artistic talent apps such as Instagram require, or the fact that for some people thinking about food 24/7 is a sign of a bigger problem. However, I think there’s more behind this debate that we’re all ignoring.

I could probably go on for hours about this debate, but for the sake of time (and my attention span) I’ll focus on two points.

1.) Sustainable agriculture and environmental awareness:

Full disclosure: I’m biased on this topic since I spend my days working at an environmental non-profit. However, I am extraordinarily passionate about conservation and sustainability and believe it’s worth focusing on.

Gone is the day when nobody knew, nor cared, where his or her food was coming from or when it had been harvested. These days, whether it’s your addiction to the Whole Foods Organic section or your weekly Community Supported Agriculture, we all have started caring just a little bit more about our food. This is good. I realize I am probably in a minority, but picking up fresh blueberries and zucchini at the farmers’ market gets me excited. And seeing a photo of someone doing the same makes that emotion resurface. Combine our growing environmental awareness with the easy access of photographic equipment (iPhones, point and shoot cameras, DSLRs, etc) and quite honestly you have some of the best food photography I’ve ever seen. You also have a generation who is actively trying to improve the food situation in this country.

Gathering Green Veggies

2.) The health focused generation:

A few weeks ago I had a heated debate with my parents and grandmother about the differences between our generations and the socio-political challenges we all faced at various stages in our lives. Without steering this story too far into the political realm, I’ll simply say that my main point had to do with attitude and adversity. I argued that my generation was one of the first who had to deal with not only political, economic and social strife but also environmental and health issues.

Put simply, what other generation has gathered a group of friends together and gone on an exotic destination vacation… to run a half marathon? Or hosted a dinner party with only local produce? All at the ripe old age of 25. More and more we’re seeing young people take proactive stance on healthy living. Obesity and other health related diseases are still very much prevelant, but I argue that the #foodgram revolution is helping, not hurting this battle. If snapping a photo of your zucchini bread with 3 filters, blurred borders, and fifteen hash tags is what it takes to keep this revolution going, then by all means, please continue.

Photography changed the connotation of the word “artist” decades ago. It’s nothing new that those who have never heard the words “aperture” and “shutter speed” are labeling themselves a “photographer”. But that’s not going to change. Just as the dawn of the typewriter and later the computer allowed the writer in all of us to emerge, the rise in popularity of the DSLR (and even the iPhone) is changing the way we capture memories. I gave in trying to “stick it to the man” and not have Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram but that doesn’t mean I’m any different as a person. In reality, I like to think that I’m finally embracing who I’ve always been. I just get to document it a lot better than my parents or grandmother ever did.

So I will continue to take photos of my food with pride. And maybe, if they ask nicely, I might even share some of my tasty creations with the #foodgram haters.

Gathering Green 2

Guest Post: Dijon-Dill Potato Salad

Today’s guest post comes from Elizabeth @ A Chronic Venture . Her blog is about sharing a little piece of her life through food and photography.

Hi everyone, I’m Elizabeth and I’m so excited and honored to be guest posting at Virginia Bloggers today! I live in Arlington at the moment, but have been all over this state most of my life. Virginia Beach to Chesapeake to Fairfax to Norfolk to Vienna to Blacksburg to Arlington. I wasn’t kidding.

Anyways, even though the summer is starting to wrap up (back to school commercials and Oktoberfest beers out already!?), there is still plenty much time left for good old-fashioned summer cookouts. I have made this potato salad a few times this summer for various parties and it’s always a winner. Yeah, I said it.

When I was crafting this recipe, I knew that I wanted mustard and dill to play a starring role. And thus dijon-dill potato salad was born. Feel free to use a heavier hand on any of the ingredients if you like certain flavors better. BBQ-goers definitely wouldn’t hate it if you added more bacon to this either…

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Dijon-Dill Potato Salad

  • 2 lbs. small-medium red potatoes, all generally the same size
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp. whole grain mustard
  • 2 tbsp. cider vinegar
  • ½ cup dill, chopped
  • ¼ cup parsley, chopped
  • ½ cup red onion, finely chopped
  • ¾ cup celery, chopped
  • ½ cup chopped green onion, chopped
  • ½ cup cooked bacon, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper as needed

Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer for 10-15 minutes, until barely tender when pierced. Drain the potatoes and place back in empty pot and cover with a kitchen towel. Allow the potatoes to steam for 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk the mayo, mustards, vinegar and herbs together in a small bowl and set aside.

When potatoes are done steaming, cut them into quarters, or close to bite-sized pieces; you know, regular potato salad size. Mix chopped veggies and bacon with cut potatoes in a large bowl. Mix dressing in and season as needed with salt and pepper. Best served chilled after a few hours or overnight. Enjoy!

Thanks to Tinsley for reaching out to me to contribute!

Guest Post: My Favorite Summer Pie

Today’s guest post comes from Tricia @ Saving Room for Dessert. Her blog is about saving room for the best parts of life.

Hi! My name is Tricia and I’m a Fredericksburg Virginia blogger. That almost sounds like an introduction made at an AA meeting or something but if you want to get right down to it, blogging is a type-of addiction, or at the very least, addictive. We all blog for some reason but I can’t tell you in JUST a few words why I love it so much. Maybe we thrive on collecting virtual friends from all over the world, maybe we need a creative outlet and a way to express ourselves, and maybe some of us are compulsive bakers. I probably fall somewhere in all of the above categories and so many more.

I was contacted by the lovely and talented Tinsley, foodie contributor of Virginia Bloggers and half of the husband wife blogging team behind CookingShorts. Tinsley wanted to know if I would do a guest post on my favorite summer pie. In 2011 I posted a pie a week for the entire year and ended up with 52 different, wonderfully delicious desserts, and a lot of new friends. Each Sunday my grown children and their friends would stop by to see what I had made, and what they could take home. To each of them I am grateful because instead of 10 extra pounds it would have been 30 or 40 if we had not shared. Please stop by and check out the list of all 52 pies!

So … I’ve thought a lot about summer pies and spent a lot of time trying to pick just one favorite. But in the end I went with Key Lime Pie. Key Lime Pie reminds me of vacations at the beach and icy cold Margaritas. This pie is incredibly simple to make with a bold flavor that is tangy and tart, sweet and fresh. The filling is so smooth you’ll want to savor each and every bite. This pie tastes like summer!

KLP

Key Lime Pie

Graham Cracker Pie Crust:

  • 1 1/4 cups crushed graham crackers (one whole wax paper package – not a whole box)
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Filling:

  • 1 can (14 ounce) Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 4 egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup fresh key lime juice
  • Zest of one key lime

Sweetened Whipped Cream Topping:

  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons sifted powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla

 Click here for step-by-step instructions.

I hope you get a chance to make this pie and hope you enjoy as much as we do.

Here are a few of our other summer favorites:

Blueberry Pie

Lemon Ice Box Pie

Summer Berry Pie

Blackberry Pie –

Margarita Pie w/ pretzel crust

Fresh Peach Pie

Thanks so much for allowing me this opportunity to visit with you! Come see us!

Tricia