Sunday, August 15, 2010

Foodie Five #12 - Kama McClanahan Darr









I can finally present a new Foodie Five-it has been the spring and summer months after all and that is a very busy time for everybody. I'm always grateful for anyone who takes the time to indulge me in their busy lives. I love to do this feature as I think everyone has a story to tell through food. My latest Foodie Five proves it...

Kama and I became fast friends when we were co-working Chiliheads together in Charleston, West Virginia. We've been through some of the worst and best together and truly had some terrific times way back when. She is one of those precious souls you're happy to have had passed through your life, however briefly, Today, she is married to her husband Chris (who also worked with us at Chili's), is the proud mama to two children, Piper and Rhys, and they live in the Indianapolis area. Kama loves to grow some of her own food and is quite the artist as well. I'm totally enamored with the amazing work she does with vintage typewriter keys....so please check it out in the pics above and at her website www.thevintagekey.com. Now, read on for Kama's thoughts on food and while you're at it, enjoy some of her gardening pictures as well....there's even a delicious recipe to boot!

1) We were Chiliheads together back in Charleston. Any particular foods or dishes you miss from back in WV?

I miss the Chili’s Chicken Fajita’s with a side of the “old recipe” honey mustard. It just DOESN”T taste the same at other Chili’s. I also miss Tidewater’s Greek Salad, and the Mountaineer Biscuit from Tudor’s Biscuit World.

2) Tudor's! I totally forgot about them. I'm so glad you mentioned Tidewater's Greek Salad...if I could have that with those poppyseed rolls and the Chicken St. Tropez, I was a happy guy. One of your interests is cooking....I notice you said "adult meals". What are some of your favorite dishes to cook?

I love to cook using fresh produce from my garden. The rewards and taste are unbeatable. (Check out the pics of her seeds at right and her fresh strawberry plants at left). Pesto pasta is delicious and basil grows so beautifully. Just add extra virgin olive oil, garlic, salt & pepper, and pine nuts (minced) to fresh basil that has been cut very finely. Toss with angel hair pasta fresh out of the water and you have a delicious dinner in a few minutes.

If you don’t have a garden, I would suggest going to your local farmer’s market for fresh produce and in support of your community’s farmers. I also enjoy canning and freezing anything that I can’t use immediately. There’s just something about fresh corn or berries in January.

Another tasty recipe is from artist and gardener, Tasha Tudor. I would suggest always using organic ingredients when possible.

Lemon Blackberry Tarts

Ingredients:

• piecrust...homemade or premade
• 8 oz. cream cheese
• 1/2 cup lemon curd
• 2 cups fresh blackberries
• 4 tbsp. seedless blackberry spreadable fruit
• 4 tsp. lemon juice
• mint sprigs
• confectioners’ sugar

Directions:

Makes 8 individual tarts. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll out piecrust or unfold if you are pressed for time and used the grocery store brand. Cut 8 4 1/2 -5 inch rounds. Press rounds into individual tart pans. (They should measure about 3 1/2 - 4 inchs.) Press the bottoms and sides firmly and trim excess even with the top of the pans. Prick bottoms of crust several times with a fork. Place pans on a baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden. Cool completely. In a bowl, beat cream cheese and lemon curd on medium speed until smooth. Divide filling between pastry shells, spreading evenly. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours until well chilled. Before serving, remove the tarts from the pans. Arrange on individual plates or platter. Arrange berries on the tarts. Combine fruit spread and lemon juice and spoon over tarts. Add a mint sprig and sift confectioners’ sugar over the top.



3) The tarts sound divine. Amen on the farmer's markets, sister. Along those same lines, are there any family traditions you carry on food wise? Anything that's been passed down or possibly traditions you've started?

I use all of my nanny’s pie pans and they make the most wonderful treats. There’s something about age that makes things taste better. Traditions are important to both my husband Chris and I. I think our children look forward to holidays and special occasions because of those traditions. The best way to describe out tradition is that we do everything together. We decorate, cook and enjoy the festivities all together! (Kama's lavender is pictured at right.)

4)We tried to plan an overnight stay in Indy on our trip home but were thwarted by the Final Four (insert WVU sigh here). If one were to visit you in the Indianapolis area, where would you take them for some local flavor?

Welcome to the Midwest…right? Nothing stands in the way of basketball. I have heard wonderful things about Dunaway’s 351 S East Street 317.638.7663. Goat cheese salad and pasta Americana would be my choices. My other choice would be the Fondue Restaurant (who can pass on Fondue and lettuce wraps) or The Cheesecake Factory located by the most awesome mall, Keystone at the Crossing.

5) What is your ultimate comfort food?

Home cooked food using the most fresh ingredients is the only food in my opinion that can really bring you comfort. Chicken noodle soup, meatloaf, mashed potatoes w/gravy, (the mashed potatoes have to have dairy cream and cream cheese in them to be at their ultimate. Ha!), rolls with butter & jam.

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