Sunday, October 4, 2009

How Much More Can I Eat? - Day 3

I am sometimes surprised at the endurance I can muster up when it comes to consuming mouth-watering, tongue-tantalizing culinary delights of which I have participated in creating or observed the creation of from the ground up (literally, sometimes). Why can I not exhibit this same endurance on the elliptical machine? Hm.

Day 3 of my foodie mini-vacation began with the sounds of Rebecca in the kitchen whipping up some maple oatmeal scones (recipe also courtesy of one Ina Garten). The recipe for this is also from one of my BC cookbooks, and they certainly did not disappoint. After mixing together ingredients of flour, oats, and the like, these moist, fluffy pastries were ready for their glorious maple glaze. Mixing together powdered sugar and real maple syrup (um, yes, the kind from Vermont thanks to Rebecca's in-laws), the drizzle of deliciousness on top of the perfectly golden brown scone was begging for my fork.

Combine that with a cup of pumpkin spice coffee, and folks, I just don't know if it really gets much better.

After we had sufficiently satisfied our morning sweet tooth, we set out for the delightful little town of Floyd, Va. This town is the quintessential small town complete with friendly town's people, antique stores to fit anyone's pleasure, a Farmer's Supply store (filled with the most amazing the beautiful Virginia hardwood cutting board I brought home), and the famous Floyd Country Store.

Upon walking into the store, immediately to the left was a glass cabinet filled with desserts like coconut cake, chocolate brownies, lemon pie, oatmeal cookies and about a bazillion other sugary treats that were probably made by sweet Miss Daisy just yonder, up the road. My gracious her house must have smelled good! Yep. We'll be eating lunch here.

If that dessert cabinet wasn't enough, we knew we were going to have good eats when we saw the egg salad, chicken salad, and pimiento cheese that had clearly been made by loving hands just that morning - most likely from mama's family recipe (insert your grandmother or great-grandmother's name in lieu of "mama"). I thought I was a connoisseur of sorts with chicken salad, but this one put me to shame.

The Floyd Country Store is filled with welcoming town residents that just love meeting new people. We spent time chatting with the darling Miss Ann, who shared all about the store's legendary bluegrass and old-timey music nights. Every Friday night, there is a toe-tapping, guitar-pickin', good 'ole fashioned jamboree that draws people from homes across the region. Some of the most renown banjo-playing artists have stood on this very stage, which Miss Ann insisted we have our picture taken on.

Authentic, that's all I can say.

Driving back to Blacksburg, our future held a nap and a grilled chicken salad for dinner (eaten at a local joint called Lefty's). What can I say? After three days of carb-o-licious food, a grilled piece of protein hit the spot.

My last night in Blacksburg with my dear friends was capped off with a scrumptious bowl of warm, cinnamony, buttery apple crisp. We had intended to pick the apples ourselves, but Mother Nature had other plans, so apples fresh from the farmer's market were our very sufficient understudies.

Brown sugar, oatmeal, butter, cinnamon, apples, and a bit of lemon zest make this all-American comfort food come to life in your mouth. Top it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and you've got a perfect 10 my friends. Now, that's something your mama would be proud of.

Each day had been filled with such foodie bliss...what could possibly capstone this culinary excursion?

Apple Crisp


4-5 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cubed (or sliced)
1-2 sweet apples, any kind, peeled and cubed (or sliced)
1-2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. lemon zest
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 C. granulated sugar

Mix filling ingredients together in a bowl and transfer to a buttered/greased, oven-proof dish.

Crumble Topping:

1 Cup of flour
1 Cup of brown sugar
3/4 Cup of rolled oats
1/2 tsp. salt
1 stick of cold butter, diced

Combine flour, brown sugar, oats, salt and 3/4 stick of butter in a bowl, cutting butter in with pastry cutter until mixture consists of large crumbles. Spread evenly over apple filling mixture. Drop remaining cubes of butter over the top of the crisp randomly.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45-50 minutes, until crisp is gold and bubbly. Serve immediately with your favorite vanilla ice cream!

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