Because America isn't just fast food, t-shirts and pop songs.SM

Join Darla, Sammy and Julia on their journey to discover
authentic stories of food, fashion and music made in America.

Hey You! Yes, you… hand over the (dairy-free) ice cream!

May 10th, 2011

Oh, you don’t have any? Ok I figured it would be worth a shot just to throw it out there. Well, since you’re here (with no ice cream in hand…but I’m trying to look past that) I’d love to talk to you about what’s new in our lives!

We’ve been a tad quiet lately (and by “we” I mean RoadHug as a unit, not the RH girls themselves) but that’s just because we’ve been further developing the pilot. We’re working with some super-smartypants people in taking the next steps to pitch the pilot. That’s fun to say: Pitch the Pilot. Anywho, while all of those technicalities are being worked out, and believe you me there are a lot, this is what we’ve been up to… (By the way, where did the expression “believe you me” come from)?

The ever-energized Sammy D was recently featured on the Nationally syndicated Nate Berkus show where she spunked up the camera with some DIY tips for vintage home decor on a budget. Darla moved to Athens, Georgia because she fell in love with the town when we shot the Pilot back in August. She’s gone from blogging about food to working on the other side of food bizz – as a stunning farm maiden and jack-of-all-trades for Moonshine Meats. And as for me, I threw a bunch of summer clothes together and migrated West – where I’m living and performing in Los Angeles, awaiting my album release.

So even though we’re geographically separated for the time being, the trifecta known as SDJ will soon be back together in action for much more RoadHuggery to come!!

xo Julia

Connecting people to roots and roots to food and food to people.

December 2nd, 2010 by Darla

There are some people that just do it right. And the folks behind Farm 255 in Athens, Georgia, are definitely some of those people.

Over the past couple months I’ve been blessed to get to spend time with Olivia and Jason (two of “those people”) as well as the food that they are dishing out to the fine people of Georgia. I visited with Olivia when RoadHug filmed its pilot back in August (which is STILL in post production…in case you were wondering…) and I fell in love. Not only with Olivia but also with the restaurant, the passion, the people, the food and the concept. After wrapping (I think that’s what they call it when you finish shooting), I went to Farm Burger, the sister restaurant in Decatur, Georgia, and fell in love a little more.

Then, in October, I went back for some more. A lot more. In fact, I was walking in the door of Farm Burger within an hour of entering the Atlanta area. Even better, I was dragging four starving-college-student-vegetarians with me for my little sister’s birthday. Why would I take vegetarians to a burger joint? Because on top of the delectable grass-fed, sustainably-raised, hormone-free beef, they also serve up a mean quinoa burger. Want to know what else they have? Gluten-free buns…if you are feeling so inclined.

Then, I got the mother lode of love from The Farm (as it is known in Athens). In the couple weeks I spent in Georgia, I dined at Farm 255 not once, but twice AND I got to hang out with Jason, his awesome wife, Laura and their adorable little tot on the current site of Moonshine Meats. I roamed with the cows and played with the piggies…from the 600 lb. mama’s to the day-old piglets. It was a dream come true – to see, in person, what can be achieved when a couple people come together with the single intention of bringing you…me…us…closer to our food. Click below and listen to Olivia tell us how they do it, why they do it and most importantly, what “it” is that they do.

One Thanksgiving. Two Thanksgiving.

November 30th, 2010 by Darla

This year I cooked two Thanksgiving dinners in two different states. Count ‘em. Two. The San Diego one was on the proper day of giving thanks and the Phoenix one was a couple days later. Something they both had in common? The menus catered to some pretty restrictive diets.

Thanksgiving. San Diego.Thanksgiving #1 was…vegetarian, dairy-free (notice I didn’t say vegan because it did include eggs and butter – from some very happy chickens), soy-free, sugar-free and gluten-free.

And guess what?! It was still totally delicious! The menu consisted of…green bean casserole with mushrooms and almonds, apple walnut stuffing (completely free of gluten), cranberry sauce (what? with no sugar?!), roasted squash with fresh rosemary and creamy sweet potatoes (yupDarla. San Diego. Turkey Day., still creamy without the milk).The meal ended with pumpkin pie in an almond meal crust with poached pears and coconut milk.

Thanksgiving #2 was…dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free and sugar-free, but, it definitely had a big ol’ bird in the picture.

The menu on this belated Thanksgiving was…turkey, gravy (no flour of course), mashed potatoes (still creamy, still no dairy), buffalo sausage stuffing, roasted root vegetables, and cranberry sauce. And since this time around I was cooking for three hungry boys I made two pies. One pumpkin and then an apple with coconut and walnuts (both in pre-made gluten-free crusts).Cricket at Dusk.

Mouth watering? No worries…recipes to follow shortly. Let me know which ones you would like to see most and I’ll be sure to get crackin’ on figuring out how I made these little holiday gems. And since most of these dishes will be showing up again come Christmas, you will have plenty of opportunities to show off their goodness.

Blu Gorillas and other Atlanta monkeys I miss…

November 22nd, 2010 by Darla

Blu Gorilla, I love you…and I miss you. I’ve been searching for another like you and you know what? I can’t, for the life of me, find one…

Click on the video and you’ll discover why, oh why, I’m kicking myself for letting this Atlanta monkey go…and, seriously…why didn’t I propose to Mas when I had the chance?

New Mexican Lovin’

November 15th, 2010 by Darla

I spent last week wandering around New Mexico with someone I knew for about an hour before embarking on the trip. Here’s how that happened.

When I was in Saluda, North Carolina, I got to interview local organic produce goddess Carol Lynn Jackson. While there, one of her CSA (that would be a Community Supported Agriculture group) members asked her what she was going to do with her two weeks off between the end of her summer CSA and the start of the winter distribution. Her response:

“I’m going to find out where Darla is and join her.”

Where was Darla? Phoenix. Where did Carol Lynn’s sister live? Phoenix. Where is a nice little road trip from Phoenix? New Mexico.

So, off we went.

Considering that we are both dedicated foodies we had to dream up a worthy first meal on the road. Just outside Phoenix we picked up an Organic rotisserie chicken and along the drive through Payson, Arizona we added a bag of spinach thanks to the folks over at Vita-Mart. Somewhere deep within Route 87N in the Petrified Forest we found a picnic table, cracked open a bottle of Theros olive oil (fresh from North Carolina) to dress the spinach and dug in. Our frozen fingers pulling chicken from the bone, eating spinach salad out of Tiffin boxes and toasting to the start of a new adventure and (hopefully) a new friendship.

That night in a chilly cabin at the KOA just outside Gallup, New Mexico we polished off the chicken with some homemade chili (traveling with foodies rocks), organic cheddar and gluten-free crackers.

The next day we made the beautiful-big-blue-sky drive up to Taos, New Mexico, a cute little ski town that happens to be the home of Julia Roberts (a fact that Carol Lynn kept dropping in hopes that someone might lead us to her front door).

And if there is one and only one thing I recommend that you do in Taos it is to dine at the Love Apple (a farm to table restaurant located in a chapel built in the 1800s). And if there is one, and only one thing I recommend that you try at the Love Apple it is the homemade tamale. Oh, maybe the lamb sausage too. And, while you’re at it, splurge and get the warm organic apple pie served with homemade vanilla ice cream. Gluten and dairy and sugar oh my!

In the coming weeks I’ll give a nice little rundown of the organic farm that we spent the next two nights on just outside Santa Fe in a little town called Nambe. What the folks over at Vinaigrette are doing deserves a lot more than a mention in a post and I plan on delivering on that promise.

If you happen to be traveling through Santa Fe and can’t wait for the goods, here are a couple places you should stop when in this very RoadHuggable city:

1. Aztec Coffee. Great organic coffee selection (go for the Mexican mocha). Really good wifi access (a must for this road warrior) and an atmosphere that made me stay past closing time.

2. Cafe Pasqual’s. Serious food, but also at serious prices so be sure to save your pennies by not eating all day and splurging on these New Mexican delicacies. And if the stuffed acorn squash is on the menu, get it, devour it and go to sleep with a full belly because of it.

3. La Choza. Not organic and not locally sourced, but damn fine New Mexican cuisine and even damn finer margaritas (try the Gold Coin – the Belle Orange addition hits the spot).

4. The cafe at Spandarama Yoga. While Carol Lynn got her yoga on, I got my wifi on…sitting at the counter while being fed hearty Congee (a super-healthy rice porridge) and a slightly spiced pumpkin chai by owner Pam Sweeney.

5. Clafoutis. It’s a tiny French bakery (without a website…gasp) that came highly recommended on our way out of town. And although the pastry cases are lined with croissants, macarons, beignets and other French concoctions I have no idea how to pronounce, the menu offers an absolute gem: the omelet with provencal herbs and olives. Every bite tasted of something new and wonderful. Three eggs never went down so easy.

So, New Mexico…RoadHuggable? Definitely. I just wish my girls were here to join me…

Recipe: Sloppy Reuben

November 13th, 2010 by Darla

What’s with the need for sloppiness lately? See the Green River post from a few days ago to be assured that I love me some sloppy. Don’t we all?

When buying ingredients for this recipe, it’s important to go as organic as possible because you don’t want all the additives and preservatives that the normal brands usually cram in.

Reuben Sauce

~Ketchup

~Mayo (or you can make your own…check out the how-to from yesterday)

~Fresh-squeezed lemon

~Chopped pickles

~Capers

~Finely chopped onion

~Sauerkraut

Mix the ketchup and mayo together to get a French dressing color (maybe a quarter cup of each). Squeeze half a lemon in. Add enough chopped pickles, capers, onion and sauerkraut to make the mixture thick.

Reuben

~Bread (I use Udi’s gluten-free sandwich bread)

~Butter

~Sliced avocado

~Sliced Turkey (or corned beef, bacon, marinated mushrooms or even tempeh)

Melt butter in a pan (cast iron is best). Throw the bread in and toast on both sides. When the bread is at the desired level of toastiness, place the slices on a plate. Spoon a generously sloppy amount of Reuben sauce on one slice, cover in avocado slices, pile high with turkey (or whatever you decide to cram inside), throw some more sauce on top and cover with the other piece of toast.

Grab a stack of cloth napkins and enjoy. I mean, you should always enjoy your food, but this one, seriously, decadence. Enjoy.

And, as usual, if you don’t want to go the Darla-super-vague-recipe route, pick up a copy of Vegan With a Vengeance where you can get the super-specific-and-exact-vegetarian version.

(photo courtesy of Brian McDonald)

How To: Make your own mayo

November 12th, 2010 by Darla

This is so simple you are going to wonder why you weren’t always making your own mayo. And since commercial varieties have so many unnecessary ingredients it’s so much healthier too.

Crack an egg  and dump the egg yolk only into a food processor. Make sure the egg is local and cage-free and all that other good stuff since you’ll be consuming it raw (yup, raw). A blender works, but not quite as well because you can’t get all the way down to the bottom. A VitaMix, on the other hand, doesn’t work. Tried. Failed. I think it’s because it’s so fast that it actually heats the mayo up as it mixes which makes it impossible to solidify.

Squeeze half a lemon in with the egg yolk and turn the processor on. Let it mix for a couple seconds and slowly start to pour oil (olive is a good choice) in through the top as it processes. You’ll be pouring at least a half a cup (maybe even a cup) in with a slow steady stream. What you’re looking for here is a mayonnaise texture so keep pouring slowly until it thickens. Once you get it to a desired thickness you have your base.

At this point you can add salt and pepper to taste or start getting experimental and throw in some fresh herbs (thyme or basil work really well), garlic or some spices (like crushed chili flakes). Or…stayed tuned for this weekend’s recipe post on how to make the world’s best Reuben.

Ta Da. Mayo.

Some good hearty BBQ

November 11th, 2010 by Darla

Green River BBQ made my time in Saluda, NC oh-so-enjoyable for a number of reasons.

First, good sloppy BBQ just makes me happy.

Second, good Vidalia onion slaw piled high next to good sloppy BBQ makes me even happier.

Third, a smiling waitstaff, a friendly kitchenstaff and a BBQ owner that becomes a good friend are things that make traveling the country alone just a little bit easier.

And, forth…I will never forget the sub-freezing mornings stealing Green River’s wifi, sitting at the picnic tables out front, typing away on my computer and conducting conference calls with the RoadHug girls back in The Big Apple.

So, even though I am half way across the country by now I wanted to give a silly little shout-out to the folks back in a place that I one day plan to call home (well, at least for a little while).

Thanks Green River…here’s a silly little video to show RoadHuggers how much you rock.

Liver Pate

November 4th, 2010 by Darla

That’s right. I said it. Liver pate. Beef, chicken, Buffalo (yes, Buffalo…if you live in New Mexico, get it here). You may not believe me, but it’s delicious. Before I delve into the recipe, here are a few testimonials to convince you to go to your local butcher and pick up some liver.

“I never knew organs could taste so good.” – Tempe homeless man hanging out on Mill Ave.

“Liver! It’s like butter and meat mixed together and slathered on a cracker! What’s not to love?!” – Wandering nomad seen outside Tempe Farmer’s Market.

“Liver pate. The way god intended animals to be enjoyed.” – me

Okay, now that you’re convinced that you need liver in your belly, here’s a recipe. If you don’t like the Darla-recipe-vagueness going on, shoot over to Allrecipes.com for a more precise version.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb livers (chicken, beef, buffalo, possum, whatever)
  • 1 onion cut into chunks
  • Enough water to cover both and make it seem like you are making LiverOnion soup
  • another 1/2 an onion cut into chunks
  • 1/4 cup sherry
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • maybe some salt and pepper, but honestly liver is usually salty and peppery enough

Put the livers, water, and the one onion into a pot, cover it and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes (you are looking for the liver to be cooked – which means it won’t be slimy anymore – but you don’t want it to get hard).

Scoop the livers out with a slotted spoon and discard the onions and water. If there are any really hard pieces attached to your livers, cut them off and throw them away.

Put the livers in a food processor (a blender works but you end up not getting all the pate out at the end) and process until smooth. Dump the 1/2 chopped onion, sherry and butter in and blend. Pour the mixture into a bowl and throw it in the ‘fridge until it’s solid (probably an hour, but overnight is even better).

Serve it on rice crackers or spread it on toast in the morning (like this gluten-free sandwich bread from the wonderful folks over at Udi’s). And no need to use it up all at once, this bowl of deliciousness will last for several days in the ‘fridge.

How to…open and roast a winter squash

November 3rd, 2010 by Darla

You’ve seen them in the supermarket. Sitting there in those bins. Looking so colorful and Thanksgiving-y. ‘Aw, aren’t they pretty and festive?’ you think as you pass by, grab a potato (something you know how to cook) and head on your way.

Sometimes, if you are in a particularly ambitious mood you grab a couple and think ‘I’ll make some squash soup when I get home!’ or ‘Won’t these go great with that chicken I’m cooking up tonight?’ They come home with you. Sit on the counter. You pick them up a couple times, turn them over and wonder aloud,

“How the hell do you open this rock-solid piece of…”

Here’s how:

Sit the squash on a sturdy surface conducive to cutting. Do yourself a favor and sit it on the side it’s steadiest. No reason to make this task anymore challenging than it already is.

Now insert a knife into the flesh (preferably one you don’t care that much for – like this jagged little number usually used for hacking coconuts apart) and attempt to cut the little bastard in half. Cutting through the stem is a nearly impossible feat reserved for Strong Man competitions so be satisfied with the stem ending up on one half or the other.

The heel of the knife (the part of the blade closest to the handle) is best suited for starting the cuts and is less likely to cause the knife to slip than the tip (therefore reducing the chances of your blood being a part of your dinner). Use a see-saw motion to work through the hard skin and through the solid flesh. Go from top to bottom and then turn it around to do the same thing on the other side. A little wiggling and that baby is bound to pop open…eventually.

Now, wipe the sweat away from your forehead and proceed. The cooking part doesn’t require a fitness degree.

Scoop the seeds and the fibers out of the middle. Toss them in a baking dish with some olive oil (like this one coming to you straight from Saluda, NC), sea salt and fresh ground pepper and bake at 350° until a dark brown. You can use these on top of a salad, a soup or simply as a snack…on the road…of course.

As for the rest of the squash, simple set the halves in a baking sheet cut side up, sprinkle with sea salt and fresh ground pepper and throw a pad of butter in the middle. Put them in the oven (right next to those seeds that are roasting) and bake until a fork can easily slide through the meat (maybe an hour…or maybe not).