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Sunday, August 30, 2009


This is really a tasty light soup, perfect for a summer meal, doesn’t sit heavy in your stomach which for the anniversary dinner was good considering there were still three courses to follow. By far, it was the favorite dish of the meal (or at least tied for first with the cheesecake).


7 ½ cups chicken stock
½ cup orzo pasta
3 eggs
Juice of 1 large lemon
Salt and ground white pepper to taste
Lemon slices and/or lemon zest to garnish

1. Pour stock into a large and bring to a boil.
2. Add the pasta and cook for 5 minutes.
3. While the pasta is cooking, in a separate bowl beat the eggs until frothy then add the lemon juice and 1 tbsp of cold water.
4. Start with a ladleful of the hot stock and slowly stir it into the egg mixture, repeat with additional stock until egg mixture is just above room temperature.
(FYI – the reason for bringing the egg mixture up to temperature first is so that when you add it to the large stock pot, you don’t coddle the eggs…instead you need to mollycoddle them because eggs are very delicate and persnickety that way, they need the extra attention, so don't be afraid to ladle away until they are just right!).
5. Add the egg mixture to the stock pot and turn off the heat, stir well (again, don’t boil mixture with egg in it unless you want scrambled egg soup…bleck).
6. Season with salt and white pepper to taste and serve at once, garnish with lemon slices and/or zest.


* We added an extra dash (dash being a quick squeeze or two) of fresh lemon right before serving to give it some extra zing.

* Don’t be alarmed if the orzo still seems al dente after you cook it for 5 minutes, by the time you serve it, it will be just right!

* We actually used pre-made chicken stock since we didn’t have time to make stock ourselves. You can substitute chicken broth, but to us, it won’t have the rich, bodied flavor that chicken stock provides. If you DO decide to use broth instead of stock, be aware that you will definitely need to taste the soup before adding salt since broth is already seasoned... stock is not (though tasting before seasoning is always a good practice to get in the habit of). We found chicken stock at Whole Foods, so if you can’t find any at your regular grocery store I would suggestion checking a specialty food store. It will be well worth your while to make the extra effort to get the chicken stock, we promise!

* If you have leftover soup, it will separate after it’s been refrigerated. To reheat, put it in a pan on the stovetop over medium-low heat and using a whisk or slotted spoon, blend it back together.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Mediterranean Trio

Let's just start by saying, there's no such thing as too much dip! Here are the recipes for the Mediterranean Trio served at Mom & Dad's 45th Anniversary Dinner.


4 cups baby spinach, fresh (about 2 oz.)
½ cup cream cheese
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
½ cup chives, fresh, minced
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste.

1. Saute the spinach in a pan, with just a touch of olive oil (we also threw in a clove of minced garlic, for good measure).
2. Place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.
3. Add pepper and salt to taste.

Serve with fresh pita, crackers, or assorted dipping vegetables. Makes 12 oz, about 3 tbsp of dip per serving.

NOTES: We purchased organic baby spinach from Whole Foods and were lucky enough to be able to use locally-produced "pheta" from the Durham Farmer's Market. Usually "creamy" is not a word I would use to describe feta cheese, but the cheese we got from the Chapel Hill Creamery was melt-in-your-mouth good.


15-oz can chickpeas/garbanzo beans
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
2 cloves of fresh garlic
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1 medium red pepper, roasted, peeled and pureed
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Roast a medium red pepper, either in the oven (mildly slather with olive oil and bake at 350 degrees until blackened) or over an open flame on a gas grill (set on burner occasionally turning until all sides are blackened.
2. Place roasted pepper in a plastic bag and set aside, allowing to sweat.
3. In a small pan, toast sesame seeds over medium heat until you are able to smell them, remove before burning.
4. Once the pepper is cooled, remove peel, cut into pieces and puree in a food processor until smooth.
5. Add the remaining ingredients in the food processor and blend until smooth.

Serve with fresh pita, crackers, or assorted dipping vegetables. Makes 12 oz, about 3 tbsp of dip per serving.

NOTE: For a better blended flavor, make several hours before (we found that overnight was even better).


16 oz of mixed Greek olives
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp capers
¼ cup chopped walnuts

1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until olives are just minced, do not puree!

Serve with fresh pita or crackers. Makes about 2 cups.

NOTE: If serving all three dips at the same time, spreading out a layer of hummus then topping with the tapenade will make your belly go "mmm" and also prevent you from dropping olive bits all over the table, the floor, or yourself.

k2 and Wendi

Sunday, August 23, 2009

And We're Back!

Hello again! Thanks for your patience in waiting for the N&I Blog. It's been a long, quiet summer but we're back with a bang and ready to jump in again with new recipes and new blog features. In addition to new menus, new recipes, and tempting photos, we'll be sharing random facts and information about our Spotlight Ingredient as well as trying out new culinary hot spots and gadgets and sharing our experiences with you. But now on to our feature presentation...

Last night was the annual wine and food fest that we like to call Mom & Dad's Anniversary Dinner and we are marking it down as a rousing success based on the comments and full belly waddle of our guests as they left the table this year.

We went with a Mediterranean-influenced menu and tried out all new dishes on our most willing guinea pigs. Between our homemade items and ingredients from the Durham Farmers Market and Steve's Market in Graham, we were able to produce a series of light, refreshing dishes perfect for a late summer evening. And now, le menu...


Trio of Mediterranean-Style Dips with Wendi’s Handmade Pita

Pheta-Spinach Dip – creamy blend of Chapel Hill Creamery pheta cheese, organic baby leaf spinach, fresh-squeezed lemon, and chives from k2’s deer-proof herb garden

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus – chickpeas mixed with roasted red pepper, fresh lemon, toasted sesame seeds and garlic

Greek Olive Tapenade – a tangy blend of olives soaked in virgin olive oil, mixed with capers and walnuts


Pre-sit down: Paul D., Gruner Veltliner from Austria (2008) – it a nice medium-bodied white, similar in taste (to k2) to a chardonnay, but had a nice heady flavor that held it's own against the dip selection (and we're talking food, not guests) :)

With sit down: Vernaccia di San Gimignano, Tuscany (2008) – a parental favorite from their days in Italy, it's a nice light crispy white that paired nicely with all the dishes to follow


Avgolemono – summer soup made chicken stock, frothy blended egg, zesty lemon, fresh ground white pepper, and orzo pasta served with fresh-baked bread from the Durham Farmers Market


Late Summer Salad – green leaf lettuce with thinly-sliced radish and red onion, freshly tree-picked figs, and market-fresh watermelon, topped with a zesty lemon-fig vinaigrette and served with Reggiano Parmesan crisps


Skewered Lamb with Coriander-Mint Yogurt – herb-marinated, locally-raised Fickle Creek Farm lamb served with grilled lemon wedges and Chapel Hill Creamery yogurt flavored with coriander, white onion, and fresh mint

Roasted Potato Slices with a Rosemary-Garlic Crust – russet potato slices baked with a crispy crust made from Farmer’s Market polenta bread crumbs, fresh rosemary from k2’s deer-proof herb garden, Dijon mustard and Reggiano Parmesan

Steamed Organic Asparagus


Honey-Cinnamon Ricotta Cheesecake with Almond Biscotti Crust – served with a fresh raspberry-Chambord sauce with Farmers Market honey and and topped with white chocolate-filled raspberries

I don't know about you, but that makes me hungry again. Now that we have teased you with the menu, we'll be featuring the recipes for all of the dishes listed above in the posts to follow. We're glad to be back and look forward to hearing from you all as well.

Stay tuned and until we post again, many happy food thoughts!

k2 & Wendi

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


For those who have been patiently waiting, the end...or let's say, new beginning, is near. We're gearing up for the Bruce & Sharon Kay Annual Anniversary Dinner -- 45 year celebration! Pics and menus and random food facts are on their way, so please stay tuned and thank you for your patience!

k2 & Wendi