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Local Restaurants and Their Signature Dishes: Cathedral Cafe

Today we take a look at another Fayetteville favorite, the Cathedral Cafe.

The Cathedral Cafe probably has some of the coolest décor of any restaurant in the area.  Or maybe ‘divine’ is a better way to describe Cathedral.  Housed in the old M.E Church in downtown Fayetteville, it feels like a library and a sanctuary rolled up into one.  Amazing stained glass windows fill the restaurant, and books line the walls.

Stained Glass Window adorn Cathedral Cafe

The M.E. Church was built in 1905 and was deconsecrated and used a storage building from 1985 to 1997.  After that, Cathedral Cafe was born. Current owner Wendy Bayes has been hard at it since she purchased the restaurant in June 2000.

A breakfast and lunch joint that occasionally offers dinner for special events, Cathedral has become a popular morning spot in Fayetteville for locals and tourists alike. Good coffee and food combined with a laid back, “hang out” type of atmosphere has endeared this place to many  folks who have made Cathedral a morning ritual.

The restaurant has been honored in many ways, receiving the Southern West Virginia Gene Coulson Hospitality Award, Fayette County Female-Owned Business of the Year Award, and was the first to win Fayette County Business of the Year.  Wendy Bayes has also been recognized as one of the top 40 entrepreneurs under 40 in West Virginia.  If that’s not enough,   the restaurant has also been recognized as the perfect West Virginia hangout, best post-paddle hangout, and helped put one of America’s Coolest Small Towns on the map.

 Mixed Berry Cobbler

Wendy wanted to share Cathedral’s Mixed Berry Cobbler recipe, which is easy to make at home.

Directions:

8 cups mixed berries in bottom of 9×11 pan (we use equal parts blueberries and raspberries, but other berries work just as well)

Sprinkle with ½ cup sugar and mix to coat well

In large bowl add:  2 cups oats

2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 t. coriander
1 cup butter, soft

Work bowl mixture together until crumbly.
Top the berry mixture with the crumb topping.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until top is lightly browned and berries are bubbling deliciously!

Let sit for 15 minutes before you serve.
Top with vanilla bean ice cream, put your feet up, and ENJOY!!

Cathedral desserts can be ordered and purchased whole, if you wish.  Not a bad idea if you’re vacationing in one of our area cabins and want a great local dessert to go with your cabin-cooked meal.

Have you visited Cathedral Cafe?

Local Restaurants and Signature Dishes – Gumbo’s

Today we start a new blog series focused on one of our favorite things – food! This series will look at locally owned eateries and their unique offerings. In this first post we’ll take a look at Gumbo’s Cajun Restaurant in Fayetteville.

Gumbo’s is a very unique dining experience in Southern West Virginia. The restaurant has been owned by Fayetteville resident Susan Jones-Wiles since 2009, and features an interesting blend of Cajun/American cuisine that is unlike anything else around these parts. Susan worked in the restaurant industry and as a caterer for 10 years prior to buying her own place. She is slowly integrating more soul food into the menu and moving away from deep fried dishes.

Susan is proud that Gumbo’s uses a lot of local farmers market and organic ingredients whenever possible. She feels this makes a noticeable difference in taste and also helps support other area folks. Susan is also aware that diets and tastes are changing, so she is always looking to expand Gumbo’s vegetarian menu options.

Shrimp and Grits

This is the Gumbo’s recipe for Shrimp and Grits, a signature dish. Susan says it has become one of their best sellers and regulars come in every week to get their fix.

Shrimp & Grits - Gumbo's Signature Dish

Serves 4
Stone Ground Grits

* 1/2 c. Grated Gouda Cheese
* 1 Red Pepper, medium dice
* 1 Green Pepper, medium dice
* 1 Yellow Onion, medium dice
* 10 Cloves Garlic, sliced thinly
* 4 Slices Hardwood Smoked Thick Sliced Bacon
* 2 Andouille Links, medium sliced
* 1 Lb 21/25 Peeled and Deveined Shrimp
* 5 Green Onions, Sliced on bias
* 1 Tbsp Roasted Garlic Powder
* Salt and Pepper

1. Make Grits according to directions. When cooling, add Gouda and salt and pepper to taste.
2. Allow ample time for grits to cool slightly and begin to set, about 20 minutes.
3. Begin by sautéing bacon in cast iron skillet. When browned, remove from pan onto paper towel and allow to drain.
4. Add sliced garlic and sauté for 3 minutes. Add Andouille. Cook for 5-7 minutes until sausage is fully cooked.
5. Add peppers and onions. Sauté for additional 5 minutes until lightly cooked, yet firm.
6. Add Shrimp and cook until they are pink and firm, about 5 minutes, frequently stirring to ensure even cooking.
7. Add bacon back to pan when finished cooking. Mix lightly.
8. Place generous portion of grits on plate or in large mouth bowl. Portion shrimp between 4 plates. Top evenly with remaining ingredients.
9. Sprinkle each plate with green onions, and serve.

Gumbo’s also has awesome burgers and Po Boy sandwiches, amongst others. Oh, and they have gumbo too, of course.  Gumbo’s Sunday Brunch is a local favorite and definitely worth checking out if you’re here on a weekend.

Have you visited Gumbo’s?

Southern Living Discovers Southern WV

If there’s one thing Southern WV and Southern Living magazine have in common – it’s an appreciation for great food.

In the magazine’s recent guidebook, Southern Living Off the Eaten Path: Favorite Southern Dives and 150 Recipes that Made Them Famous, Southern Living travel editor Morgan Murphy discovered that some tasty treats can be found at our own out-of-the-way eateries. The book, available in bookstores now, details the great food finds found in   Greenbrier County at The Crazy Baker and Stardust Café

Off the Eaten Path Guide Book (cover)

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Murphy fell in love with The Crazy Baker’s quest for “quality ingredients” and details this out of the way bakery and its online mecca of fine pastries and desserts. He gives the secrets behind Stardust’s “Trust Me Salad” and gives kudos to their use of local foods and farm-to-table concepts.  And touts a few other WV spots along the way.

If you’re looking to take in a few off-the-beaten-path eateries in your travels this summer, you may want to pack a copy of the book.  And dog-ear the pages marked West Virginia.

What other tucked-away food stops would you recommend?

Ramp Season Piques our Senses

In the middle of April, spring starts arriving in the Mountain State.  Redbud trees start to bloom, daffodils come out, and deep in the forest floor another plant comes to life — the ramp.

Fresh Ramps

For those non-East Coasters, ramps are a wild leek found in our neck of the woods for a short growing season from mid April to sometimes early May.  They have been described as a combination of the onion and garlic families and are coveted by professional and home chefs alike.

Here in Southern WV, ramps are sold at Farmer’s Markets and found on seasonal restaurant menus.  Gnocchi with Ramps, Egg Frittata with Ramps, Ramp Leek Soup and even Ramp Pizza are area favorites and are items that are longed for throughout the other 11 months of the year.

If you’ve heard anything negative about ramps it probably was a story of the smell.  But don’t let the hype fool you – ramps are a delicacy.  Their delicate nature and short growing season alone make them in high demand, selling sometimes for $21-$35 per pound.  And while you can find them in a lot of southern cooks’ kitchens, you will find that seasoned chefs are just as impressed with their flavor.  Whether boiled or sautéed, ramps are a unique part of our state that not all are fortunate enough to try.

Planning a spring trip?  Don’t miss trying a dish made with this sacred herb.  Only make sure if you’re breathing this pungent odor, your traveling partners are eating it as well.

 

Here are two great resources for a variety of ramp recipes . . .

http://southernfood.about.com/cs/ramps/a/ramps.htm

http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/ramps/

Down Home Country Cookin’

Spring is near.

West Virginia Ramp Dinner

Ramps in West Virginia

In Southern West Virginia spring brings a number of things: Warmer temperatures, the last few turns on skis, the start of whitewater season, blooming flowers and much more. It also signals the time for  ramps.

You may be familiar with the enigmatic ramp. For those of you that aren’t, a ramp is a wild leek, and a local harbinger of spring.

Simple enough right? Well, there is a bit more to their story. They have a very pronounced onion flavor and a strong garlic scent. I’ll admit, scent may be putting it mildly. Needless to say, ramps are loved, hated yet never ignored.

In the coming weeks ramp dinners and festivals will take place all across West Virginia, none more famous than Richwood’s Feast of the Ramson. If you were asked to draw the epicenter of rampdom on a map, Richwood would be the X that marks the spot.

I recently passed through Richwood and was happy to see Four Seasons Outfitters had fresh ramps! Needless to say, I quickly bought bag-full for dinner.

Next stop? The local grocery store for fixins. Brown soup beans (pintos), homemade cornbread, fried potatoes with ramps, and some thick sliced bacon.

Who’s Hungry?

Soup Beans:

Take a bag (16 oz) of Pinto Beans, add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil.  Let beans boil for two minutes then remove from heat and let them sit covered for one hour.  Then drain, add 6 cups of hot water and simmer for approx 2 ½ hours (add more water as needed).  For flavor you will need simmer beans with either a ham bone, fat back or thick sliced country bacon (I used bacon), salt and pepper to taste.
Cornbread:

Last year I had the opportunity to eat at The Greenbrier’s Restaurant ‘44’ where they serve Cathy Justice’s Blue Ribbon Cornbread. If you have a cast iron skillet use it. Add just a little oil to the bottom of skillet and let it warm up in the oven prior to putting in mixture – makes the cornbread come out golden brown.

If you’re looking for a perfect cornbread for your ramp dinner? This is the one.

Cathy Justice’s “Best of Show” Blue Ribbon Cornbread

1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/16 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/4 cup canola oil

Preheat oven to 425°.
Oil an 8×8 pan.
Mix all dry ingredients. Add liquids. Stir just to mix.
Bake 30 minutes until golden brown.

Footnote from Cathy Justice:
“Please use your judgment about sugar & oil. It’s better sweet than not!

Fried Potatoes, Ramps & Bacon:

Dice your potatoes (I leave the skin on), put them in a skillet with a little oil, salt and pepper to taste. Cook until tender.

Chop and sauté ramps in skillet then add to potatoes when they are just about done (if you fry ramps with potatoes entire time they tend to over cook).

Fry thick sliced country bacon in the same pan you sautéed ramps for extra flavor.

Hungry now? What would you add? Let us know how yours turns out .

“Southern” Style Holiday Recipes

The calendar is filled with holiday parties and office gatherings. This year, share an appetizer and a little Holiday Cheer that celebrates your love for the Mountain State with these recipes we love:

Smooth Ambler Spirits Egg Nog Recipe

Smooth Ambler Egg Nog


6 ounces of your favorite egg nog
2 ounces Smooth Ambler’s Exceptional White Whiskey
1/2 ounce of Butterscotch Liquer
1/2 ounce Spiced Rum, dash of ground nutmeg.

Mix in a glass or shaker.

Blue Smoke Cheese Ball
2-8oz. pkg cream cheese
1-8oz. pkg shredded cheddar cheese
8 oz. (1/2 jar) Blue Smoke Salsa & Gift Baskets (any heat)

Mix all ingredients together and form into a ball. If desired, roll in pecans
(crushed or whole). Wrap in plastic wrap and chill. Serve with crackers.

Raspberry Jam Bars
2 1/4 cup flour
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
9 oz. Red Roof Farm Raspberry Jam
1 cup nuts

Mix all ingredients except preserves until crumbly. Reserve 1 1/2 cup of mixture and press the remaining crumbs in a 13 x 9 pan. Spread preserves to within 1/2 inch of edge of crust. Sprinkle remaining crumbs over preserves. Bake at 350° F 40-45 minutes or until golden in color.

Hot Pepper Jelly & Cream Cheese
1 cup of Chef Harv‘s Hot Pepper Jelly
3, 8-ounce block of cream cheese

Place Hot Pepper Jelly into mixer. Add cream cheese. Mix on slow speed.Increase mixer speed until mixture is smooth and creamy. Place mixture into a pastry bag. Pipe onto crackers or top off a baked potato. Store in fridge up to one week.

What Does Fall Taste Like?

Fall brings crisp cool air, leaves swirling and countrysides splashed with
color. It makes perfect weather for treats like hot cocoa, mulled cider and… cake!
Pumpkin Caramel 4 Layer Cake

Fall in West virginia

Fall View From Long Point Trail Fayette County

1 box yellow cake mix
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin (divided)
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup oil
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (divided)
4 eggs

Filling
1 (8 oz) cream cheese
1 cup confectioners sugar
8 oz Cool Whip

Topping
1/4 cup Caramel ice cream topping
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat cake mix, 1 cup pumpkin, milk, oil, eggs and 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
till blended. Pour into 2 greased and floured 9″ pans. Bake 28-30
minutes. Cool 10 minutes in pan, then move pans to rack and cool
completely.
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Beat cream cheese in medium bowl till creamy. Add sugar, remaining
pumpkin and remaining spice. Gently stir in Cool Whip. Cut each cake
layer in half with serrated knife. Place 1st layer on plate. Spread
cream cheese filling between all layers except top. Drizzle caramel over
top and cover with nuts. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Stuffed Acorn Squash
1 Acorn Squash
1 Apple
Apple juice
½ tsp Cinnamon
¼ cup dried Cranberries
1 tbsp butter
salt/pepper

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Cut squash in half and clean out pulp and seeds. Place in baking dish, open face down into ¼ inch room temperature apple juice. Bake for 30 minutes.

Prepare stuffing: Peal and core apple, cut into ¼ inch pieces, mix cranberries, cinnamon, and melted butter. Salt and pepper to taste.

Stuff squash with stuffing and return to oven for approximately 35 minutes or until squash and apples are tender.

What are your favorite fall recipes?

It’s The Berries

Here’s another great post by Kay Bess on growing up in southern West Virginia.  If you try the recipe at the end, make sure you don’t skimp on the main ingredient: fresh picked berries.

Berries on the Vine

FYI:   A great place for berry picking in southern WV is Morgan Orchard in Monroe County.  I spoke with them today (7/16/10) and they have blackberries available to pick (or they do have them already picked and ready).  They also have clinging peaches, nectarines and plums ripe.  Eating apples (canning apples available now) are expected to be ready by August 1st!

It’s The Berries

Growing up in southern West Virginia, our family loved enjoying four distinct seasons. In the mountains, you get it all.

But I can honestly say that summer was by far my favorite.  It still is,  for a lot of reasons: warm summer days, going barefoot, and the food.  Oh, yes, the food!

My parents and grandparents both planted vegetable gardens, so our summertime meals consisted of fresh cooked green beans that we helped string and snap. And there was mouth-watering corn on the cob, dripping with sweet butter and just the right amount of salt.  Also broccoli, cauliflower, squash, zucchini and juicy red and yellow tomatoes so ripe they pulled the vines down.

But for my siblings and I, berry picking time never came soon enough to suit us.  Sometimes we picked in the heat of the day (what was that all about?!).  And sometimes we waited until after my dad got home from work and dinner was over.  Either way, berry picking was special.

Once we arrived at the picking site, we got the standard warnings to watch out for snakes. YIKES!  And, of course, we each got our own plastic bucket to place the berries in. Our preferred method was to pick four, eat two. So mom thought we were goofing off instead of picking when our bucket never got full.

We picked strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries when they were in season. Blackberries had the worst stickers and briers.  First aid was sometimes administered in the form of a Band Aid and a kiss.

It was fun, but it was also hot, hard work.  And we were willing to endure some misery when we knew the end result would be a pie, cobbler, tart, or other dessert made with the berries.  Some berries were made into jams and jellies for fall and winter consumption on biscuits, cornbread, or just on our peanut butter sandwich.

My mom would make traditional jam, which involved cooking the berries, sterilizing the jars, filling the jars, and processing them in a canner or hot water bath.  But she also made freezer jam which was simply cooking the berries, placing in sterilized jars and placing in the freezer.

Last summer, I made strawberry, blackberry, and blueberry freezer jam.  I gave some away as gifts and kept some to enjoy.  The list of recipes you can enjoy from berries is endless, but one of my favorites is Cream Cheese Berry Cake.

Here’s my recipe for West Virginia Cream Cheese Berry Cake:

1/3 cup cream cheese
¾ cup sugar, divided
2 egg whites
1 tsp lemon peel
1 cup flour plus 2 tbsp flour
½ tsp baking soda
1/3 cup sour cream
3 cups fresh mixed berries (can be strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or blackberries)
1 ½ cups whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Beat cream cheese and ½ cup sugar till well blended.  Add egg whites and lemon peel.  Mix 1 cup four and  the soda.  Add to cream cheese mixture alternately with sour cream.  Beat well.

Spray 9 inch springform pan with Pam.  Spread cream cheese mixture in bottom and 1” up sides of pan.  Toss 2 cups of berries with ¼ cup sugar and 2 tbsp flour. Spoon over cream cheese.
Bake 40-45 minutes or till toothpick comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before removing rim of pan.  Top with remaining 1 cup berries.  Top each slice with fresh whipped cream.  Makes 12 servings.

The Best Pumpkin Pie Ever- from Southern West Virginia!

If there’s one thing we love in southern West Virginia, it’s food.  Specifically, sweets.  More specifically, pie.

With all of the fall festivals we have up this way, there’s bound to be some good goodies to munch.  And if you’re planning on entering something like a bake-off, well, let’s just say you better bring it.

So we thought we’d provide you with an ace-in-the-hole.  This pie is so awesome, no one will talk about anything else.  Probably because their mouths are full of pie.

Southern WV Praline Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients:
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust
2 1/2 tablespoons butter, softened
2/3 cup ground pecans
½ cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup fresh pumpkin puree (canned works)
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground mace
1 cup light cream

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.  I don’t know why I said “F”, as if anyone reading this cooks in Celsius.  Well, it is the internet…

Mix up the pecans, the ½ cup sugar, and the butter in a bowl.  Take out about 3 spoonfuls of that mixture and put it in a small bowl in the microwave for about 30 seconds.  Eat that while you firmly press a little more than half of the mixture into the unbaked pie shell.  Good, isn’t it?

Then bake the pie shell for 10 minutes, and pull it out of the oven.  DO NOT EAT IT.  Yet.  You might want to, but don’t.  Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F (whatever degrees C.)

Combine the rest of the ingredients, and blend in the cream.  Is it creamy and smooth?  No?  Keep blending.  Is it now?  Good.  Pour it into the pie shell.

Bake for 30 minutes, then top with the rest of the pecan mixture.  Bake another 10 to 15 minutes, or until you just can’t stand it anymore.

That’s it.  Enjoy, and please wait until the pie has cooled to start eating!

How about you?  Do you have the world’s greatest pie recipe?  Share it with us!

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