Nik Snacks

Bite it and write it. That's what I do. Fueled by butterbeans & collard greens.


On 4:00 AM by Nikki @ NikSnacks   3 comments
Today is a great day.

Not only is it August 4th, it's Isabel of Family Foodie & Sunday Supper's birthday! I'm proud to say that members of the Sunday Supper crew planned this virtual birthday party for the lady who tirelessly works to bring thousands, if not millions of families together each week and shares her family life with all of us. It's our turn to share with her!

Someone asked a question and it was answered: Yes, let's celebrate our friend's birthday and surprise her with dishes we'd bring to a party for her!

If I was able to fly down to Tampa right this minute to celebrate with you, Isabel, without a question, I'd take these Sofrito Marinated Beef Skewers!

Isabel is an incredibly warm, generous (and saucy!) lady who deserves a fancy yet simple dish and recipe to share at her party!

What's sofrito, you ask?
so-FREE-toe is a sauce used as a base in Spanish, Portuguese and Latin cuisines. The ingredients and preparations may vary, but it typically consists of aromatics and tomatoes that are sauteed and braised in oil.

Sofrito Marinated Beef Skewers 
Yield: 2 1/2 cups

8 garlic cloves
1/2 cup olive oil
9 oz. white onions
3/4 tsp thyme
1 dried bay leaf
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
8 oz pureed fresh tomatoes or canned tomato puree
Salt and pepper, to taste

Put the garlic and onions into a food processor, then process to a chunky consistency. Put a saucepan over medium heat and add the olive oil. Meanwhile, add the thyme, bay leaf and red pepper flakes to the hot oil. Add to the pan, the garlic mixture. Crank up the heat, add the tomatoes, then cook, stirring frequently, until the edges of the pan have browned. Cook for 30 minutes, then season with salt and pepper.

1 1/2 cups sofrito
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 bell pepper, minced
1 Tbsp honey

1 1/2 to 2 pounds skirt steak, trimmed of membranes and silver skin
25-30 wooden skewers

Place skewers in a dish, cover with water to soak.

Place all marinade ingredients in a plastic bag or bowl, stir to combine. Set aside.

Sofrito Marinated Beef Skewers

Lay the skirt steak horizontally out on a cutting board. Cut into thin strips (1/4 to 1/3-inch thick, 1 1/2-inch wide, 6 to 8-inches long), angling the knife, cutting across the grain.

Place the steak strips in the marinade you set aside. Toss with the marinade to coat. Chill and marinate for at least 30 minutes, up to 3 hours.

Thread the steak onto wooden skewers. Discard marinade.

Line a broiler pan with aluminum foil and arrange the skewers on it without crowding.

Position the oven rack about 4-6 inches below the broiler. Set the broiler on HIGH and place the broiler pan with the skewers on it inside and cook for about two minutes. Turn each skewer over and cook an additional two minutes.

Serve over rice with reserved sofrito and pickled onions, for garnish.

Join me in celebrating Isabel's Birthday with all the delicious food and drinks her #SundaySupper family prepared!

Birthday Drinks:

  • Birthday Cake Cocktails by Daily Dish Recipes

  • Blueberry Lavender Mojitos by Amee's Savory Dish

  • Caipirinha Colada by A Kitchen Hoor's Adventure

  • Fig-Bourbon Fizz by Culinary Adventures with Camilla

  • Mocha Martini by Desserts Required

  • Mocha Mudslide by Cosmopolitan Cornbread

  • Plum and Thyme Champagne Cocktail by Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks

  • Summer Fizzies by Momma's Meals
  • Birthday Appetizers:

    • 2-Ingredient Deviled Eggs by Shockingly Delicious

    • Buffalo Chicken Wontons by Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen

    • Cotija and Roasted Corn Guacamole by Simply Healthy Family

    • Gluten Free Basil Tomato Flatbread by Gluten Free Crumbley

    • Salt Cod Fritters by Recipes Food and Cooking
    • Birthday Main Courses:

      • Chai Sweet Chili Chicken Flatbread by Lifestyle Food Artistry

      • Chorizo Eggs Salad by Cindy's Recipes and Writings

      • Espetada (Portuguese Beef Skewers) by Curious Cuisiniere

      • Grilled Salmon Rice Salad by Magnolia Days
      • Birthday Desserts:

        • Angel Food Cake by Feeding Big

        • Birthday Blondies by Peanut Butter and Peppers

        • French Vanilla Eclair Cake by Love and Confections

        • Italian Cream Cake by That Skinny Chick Can Bake

        • Mint Chocolate Cream Pie by gotta get baked

        • Pink Lemonade Cookies by Kudos Kitchen by Renee

        • Queijadas de Sintra by Food Lust People Love

        • Red Currant Cheesecake Ice Cream by A Day in the Life on the Farm

        • Summer Peach Cake by The Wimpy Vegetarian

        • On 3:38 PM by Nikki @ NikSnacks   No comments
          Have you ever been to a place where everybody knows your name? Or it's guaranteed they will by the time you leave? That's the Food and Wine Conference experience for me, wrapped up with a pretty bow. And a bell.

          My first selfie using a selfie stick happened here

          2015 was my third consecutive year attending the annual Food and Wine Conference and each year keeps getting better and better. This conference holds a special place in my heart, because my life truly did change after attending back in 2013.

          I was an official Brand Ambassador for Dixie Crystals along with Betsy of Desserts Required. It was easy because Platinum Sponsor Dixie Crystals really is the sugar brand of my choice and the conference kicked off with a SWEET Sugar Scrub Suite where everyone was invited to make one or more handmade sugar scrubs using essential oils, herbs and of course, the finest sugar around. The recipes for the scrubs can be found HERE, so you can give a little sugar scrub love as a gift or keep it for yourself!

          In addition to the suite, Dixie Crystals also sponsored a chocolate dessert contest this year and the runner-up and Grand Prize winners were featured desserts after Sunday Supper on Saturday night.

          The memories made and friendships cultivated mean just as much as money or love to a blogger. Travel is the only thing you can buy that will make you richer and #FWCon is no different.

          This year, I focused on how to build my business and ongoing friendships with bloggers and REALLY enjoying myself. The three-day conference was jam packed full of activities, sessions and social events. Swag bags, brands and food photography were the key buzzwords over the weekend.

          The beautiful Rosen Shingle Creek Resort pulled out all of the stops and treated us like queens and kings all weekend. The incredible displays of culinary artistry was in full effect. I had to limit my intake of all the food,  because there was so much to choose from. From the sumptuous breakfasts, snacks, dinners and brunch, if you left Orlando hungry, it's because you didn't try hard enough!

          Overall, I recommend Food & Wine to any and every blogger. If you're into learning about yourself, how to be a better blogger and truly cultivating blogger relationships, this is the place to be. Check us out for 2016. You won't be disappointed!
          To prove that you can eat locally grown food AND stay within your grocery budget, the Dixie Classic Fair Farmers Market and the City of Winston-Salem is sponsoring the $20 Challenge twice a month  through September 2015.

          I will stage a live cooking demonstration in which I will prepare a meal for a family of four for $20 using ingredients I buy at the market that day.

          Did you not make it to the market on Saturday? Watch the $20 Challenge on WSTV-13 on Time Warner Cable (Channels 74.3 and 1303) OR subscribe to the City of Winston-Salem's You Tube channel.

          This month, I made Sweet Potato Pasta with a tomato primavera sauce. I wanted to have a little fun with this episode. Making pasta is easy. I caught the pasta-making bug years ago and I rekindled my love of handmade pasta last month and I continued my "knead" to have fresh pasta in this latest $20 Challenge episode. Watch the video for the technique.

          The sweet potato gives the pasta color, a little bit of flavor and a whole lot of opportunity to have fun. Flecked with fresh chives, it's incredibly easy to make. Flour, eggs, and any flavor additions you have, if any. Get the whole family involved in kneading the dough and rolling it out in thin sheets and you'll have dinner in just a few minutes. A little secret: If you don't have a rolling pin, just use a wine bottle or a BIG can of beans to roll out the pasta sheets. 

          I want you to have fun with this episode. It's really not about a recipe. It's all about the technique. You can add any vegetable you like and use any homemade or jarred sauce. For those of you recipe sticklers, I've posted something to guide you in the right direction.

          Sweet Potato Pasta
          Yield: 1 1/2 pounds 

          2 cups all-purpose flour
          3 eggs
          1 tsp salt
          1 tsp white pepper
          2 Tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
          1 cup mashed sweet potato

          Mound the flour in the center of a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour, add the eggs, salt and white pepper. Use a fork to beat together the eggs. Add the chives and mashed sweet potato. Begin to incorporate the flour starting with the inner rim of the well. As you incorporate the eggs, chives and the sweet potato, keep pushing the flour up to retain the well shape (do not worry if it looks messy). The dough will come together in a shaggy mass when about half of the flour is incorporated.

          Empty the bowl onto a floured work surface or countertop. Start kneading the dough with both hands, using the palms of your hands. Fold the dough over itself and push the dough away from you using the palm of your hands. Add more flour, in 1/2-cup increments, if the dough is too sticky. Once the dough is a cohesive mass, remove the dough from the board and scrape up any left over dry bits. Lightly flour the board and continue kneading for 3 more minutes. The dough should be elastic and a little sticky. Continue to knead for another 3 minutes, remembering to dust your board with flour when necessary. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and set aside for 20 minutes at room temperature. If using right away or for a minimum of 30 minutes in the refrigerator if using for later. The dough will keep fresh for up to 3 days after this step.
          When you're ready, roll out the dough in thin sheets (as per the video) and cut and form as desired.

          Pasta Primavera Sauce

          Pasta primavera is  a simple dish using the fresh vegetables of the season. Primavera means "Spring" but you can prepare this during ANY season with just a light dusting of Parmesan cheese, olive oil or a light tomato sauce, which I've done here. The following recipe is how I  like to prepare Pasta Primavera – whatever vegetables I can get at the farmers market with a little wine and tomato sauce. Watch the video for the technique.

           1 carrot, peeled and cut into coins
           2 cups fresh peas
           1 medium zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch slices
           1/2 small squash, sliced into 1/4-inch slices
           1 bunch kale, massaged and cut into bite-sized pieces
           1 bell pepper, any color, julienne
           3 Tbsp olive oil
           Salt and pepper
           1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning or herbes de Provence
           1/4 cup white or red wine
           1/2 cup marinara or tomato sauce
               Grated Parmesan (optional)
          Competition Dining Hearth Vs Gia Restaurant #CompDiningNC

          The Got To Be NC Competition Dining Series has invaded the Triad once again. This year, the series is simply named after each host city in each region of the Carolinas. In 2015, Winston-Salem is playing host to the competition in the Triad at the Benton Convention Center in Twin City Quarter, the heart of Downtown Winston-Salem. For those of you not indoctrinated in the ways of Competition Dining, check out other blog posts.

          I attended the June 2nd preliminary battle as a guest media judge between Christian Froelich of Hearth Restaurant at Sanders Ridge Winery in Boonville, NC and Anders Benton of Gia Restaurant in Greensboro. Chef Froelich is no stranger to the Dining Series as he formerly was the Executive Chef of Graze, formerly WS Prime in Winston-Salem and competed as a member of Team Springhouse Restaurant, Kitchen & Bar in 2014. Chef Benton is a newcomer to Winston-Salem as he's only been at the helm of Gia for a short period of time. At the tender age of 24, he proved himself a worthy opponent during the night's festivity.

          The secret ingredients, crackers and cheese: The Accidental Baker crackers and Goat Lady Dairy cheese.

          COURSE 1: Braised Venison Shank CanapĂ©, Accidental Baker Sea Salt Crackers, Cranberry Spread, Goat Lady Dairy “Sandy Creek” Soubise Fluid Gel

          Presented by Chef Anders Benton
          Voter Score: 24.314
          Pro Score: 19.667
          Weighted Score: 22.920

          Soooo, this was a cracker with some stuff on it. The cracker was not presented in a creative way, but everything on top of it was pretty good. The braised venison was severely underseasoned and did nothing to add to the flavor of the dish. If anything, it made the cracker less tasty. And the fluid gel? It seemed like an appropriate buzzword to put on a dish in front of progressive diners. Nothing more.

          COURSE 2: Savory Goat Lady Dairy “Snow Camp” Cheesecake, Accidental Baker Rosemary Garlic Cracker Crust, Fig & Red Onion Marmalade

          Presented by Chef Christian Froelich
          Voter Score: 30.260
          Pro Score: 24.333
          Weighted Score: 28.482

          My favorite course of the night, this was the most successfully creative dish. Who makes savory cheesecake? Chef Froelich does. In a post-battle conversation, he told me that he'd never made cheesecake like that before. He was on a chicken wing and a prayer and it turned out beautifully. The crust of my cheesecake wedge could have been smoother, as the texture was a bit chunky, but the cheesecake itself was smooth, creamy and each bite was redolent of intense savory cheese flavor.

          COURSE 3: Spicy Goat Lady Dairy “Sandy Creek” & Heritage Farms Cheshire Pork Cheek Ravioli, Accidental Baker Black Pepper Cracker Pasta, Cherry Smoked Nueske’s Bacon Braised Kale & Brussels Sprout Leaves

          Chef Christian Froelich
          Voter Score: 30.500
          Pro Score: 23.667
          Weighted Score: 28.450

          Scoring high with creativity (I mean, who makes pasta dough out of crackers?!), this course was great in theory, but was not well-executed. The pork cheek inside the ravioli was very well done and the best part. Opening up the pasta and digging out the soft, tiny pebbles of pork and Sandy Creek cheese was the best part of the dish, aside from the smoky Nueske's bacon dotting the mixture of braised kale and Brussels. The pasta dough was too thick and unpleasant to eat.

          COURSE 4: Accidental Baker Rosemary Garlic Cracker Crusted Certified Angus Beef® Brand Ribeye, Onion Ash, Salsa Verde-Rosemary Garlic Crackers, Coldwater Creek Farms Sweet Potato Crisps

          Presented by Chef Anders Benton
          Voter Score: 24.118
          Pro Score: 18.667
          Weighted Score: 22.482

          This dish gets the most beautiful dish award goes to this course. The plate was painted with a single brush stroke of the pewter-hued onion ash. Atop that was a medallion of the ribeye covered with the sweet potato crisps, astride a swirl of sharp, green salsa verde. The taste? Well, the ribeye was perfectly cooked, but the "Rosemary Garlic Cracker Crust" was a fail. It was not crusty at all. It was soggy. The onion ash by itself was not to tasty (too vinegary with no depth of flavor) but with the salsa verde, it was perfection. It's too bad that the sweet potato crisps were on that fine line between burnt and flavorful. But the plate was pretty!

          COURSE 5: Sous Vide Maple Leaf Farms Breast of Duck, Aromatic Accidental Baker Sea Salt Cracker Crumb, Pickled Britt Farms Green Strawberries, Strawberry Jam, Goat Lady Dairy “Snow Camp” Sorbet

          Chef Anders Benton
          Voter Score: 27.980
          Pro Score: 19.000
          Weighted Score: 25.286

          Three letters describe this dish: WTF. It was like a nice dessert (the goat cheese sorbet was the BOMB!) with some slippery, soft duck slices on it that reminded me of tiny duck tongues. It was weird AF. I'm not even kidding. The winning part: the pickled green strawberries. They were sliced and I wished they were whole. And I kind of hated them a little bit. This course gets a slow clap for the attempt at being creative.

          COURSE 6: Lemon Custard Tart, Accidental Baker Sea Salt Cracker Crust, Cloister Wildflower Honey Drizzled Plank of Goat Lady Dairy “Sandy Creek,” Blackberry Slivers
          Presented by: Chef Christian Froelich
          Voter Score: 30.745
          Pro Score: 20.000
          Weighted Score: 27.522 

          My favorite part: the side-garnish of cracker garnished with the Sandy Creek cheese drizzled with the Cloister honey. For some reason, I can't put my finger on it, it brought the tart to another level. The cracker crust on this was a little too buttery but the crumb was very fine. And the lemon custard was light and just the right amount of refreshing.

          Chef Froelich edged with 28.15 points to out Chef Benton's 23.56 points.

          Interested in eating, drinking and having a good time at Competition Dining? I'll be a guest media judge on Tuesday, June 30: Chef Dave Nicoletta of Giannos in High Point against Chef Richard Miller of Graze in Winston-Salem. It'll be a barnburner! I hope to see you there! Say hi! Tweet me!

          All photos are courtesy of Nik Snacks.
          All opinions and words are my own. I received no monetary compensation for my participation as a media guest judge, but my meal was complimentary.
          On 10:56 AM by Nikki @ NikSnacks in , , , , , ,    No comments
          The third annual Food & Wine Conference sponsored by Sunday Supper is happening July 17-19, 2015 in Orlando, Florida at the Rosen Single Creek Resort!

          The Food & Wine Conference is the brainchild of Sunday Supper founder, Isabel Laessig and team. Isabel began the Sunday Supper movement just a few years ago as a way to get families back together and nurturing them around the family table. And now look.

          This conference has meant more to me than any other food related event in my eight years of blogging.

          Me with Food Network Star cheftestant, Emily Ellyn and MasterChef winner, Whitney Miller

          Post dinner fun Photo Courtesy: Ashlee Hamon Photography
          Food & Wine Conference Fun after a demo

          It was at this conference that I found the confidence to take the leap to go blogging/freelancing full-time, to enter recipe contests that could potentially take me all over the country and expand my network to become the best prossional blogger and recipe developer in my area of expertise.
          Not only does this conference hold a special place for me, it can do the same for you.

          There are three recipe contests you can enter for a chance to win a ticket to the conference: Wisconsin Cheese, Idaho Potato Commision and Certified Angus Beef® are sponsoring these great contests. Click for more details on how to enter! I mean, you can see what could happen if you win, right here.

          Not only do we have the incredible amenities at Rosen Shingle Creek to look forward to, but the Food and Wine Conference sponsors are providing AMAZING events for us.Dixie Crystals, Duda Farms, Idaho Potatoes, Wisconsin Cheese, Certified Angus Beef and much more.

          Talk about being SUPER STOKED: I’m a brand ambassador for the second year in a row and as much as I can't wait for the informational sessions about the business of blogging, I'm REALLY looking forward to spending time with all of the friends I made last year, meeting and connecting with new people and being the social butterfly that I was born to be. YOU can be one TOO! You can save $50 on your full 3-day conference ticket when you sign up using the promo code FWC15millN.
          You can also book hotel rooms using our discounted rate for the weekend, but hurry up — there are only a limited number of rooms and they are going fast!

          Stay up to date on everything Food & Wine Conference-related by following Food and Wine Conference on
          Pinterest and

          This is the easiest way for you to see all of the activity leading up to the conference, and makes it super simple for you to reply, re-tweet and re-share. The more social activity, the better!
          Don’t forget — sign up TODAY with promo code FWC15millN and save $50 on your full 3-day conference ticket.

          See you there!

          Disclaimer: I have received a discounted ticket for being a Food & Wine Conference Ambassador, but all opinions and words are my own.
          Am I a Saucy Mama? You bet your kitchen sink, I am.

          I'm gearing up for competitive cooking once again and I have been selected to join an excellent group of bloggers to enter the Saucy Mama's 2015 Recipe Contest to compete at the World Food Championships to vie for bragging rights, some money and a trip to the new home of the WFC, Kissimmee, Florida!

          In 2014, Saucy Mama really came through and helped me at the WFC in Las Vegas. A crucial component to my White Cheddar & Chive Biscuits with Pepper Jelly was (and still is) Saucy Mama's Honey Mustard Dressing. Not only did they agree to ship it to my hotel, it didn't arrive in time for me to compete and they were able to procure a bottle of the liquid gold dressing so I could go on to culinary excellence. If that doesn't make me a Saucy Mama, then I don't know what would! I competed in the Recipe division and I am currently 15th in the world. I hope to make it to place in a higher berth in 2015 with this recipe.

          We bloggers were challenged to create a recipe that are easy to recreate, great for families and/or parties that are delicious and inventive--using one of nearly 30 mustards, marinades, sauces and dressings. I chose the Tarragon Lemon Mustard.

          I chose to make pasta because it truly is an easy thing to make, especially when all hands are on deck and everyone in the family can help with the steps. Making pasta by hand is one of the easiest things to do. Basically, you put everything in a bowl, mix it up, knead it, let it rest and then cut it. If you're using a pasta machine, it becomes automated and you get to skip a couple of steps.

          The tarragon lemon sauce comes together so easily, that by the time you've put the the fresh pasta in the salted, boiling water,  you're practically done. I top this recipe with lemon cornbread crumbs and mix in seedless grapes to give the pasta an unexpected twist.

          Generally, I use cornbread from Whole Foods (to save time) and there is no reason why you can't do the same.

          Wish me luck and let me know if you decide to make this pasta. You're going to love it. I promise.

          Tarragon Lemon Pasta
          Yield: 1 pound pasta

          2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
          1/3 cup Saucy Mama Tarragon Lemon Mustard
          1 Tablespoon lemon zest
          3 large eggs


          Mound the flour in the center of a large wooden cutting board or work surface. Make a well in the middle of the flour, add the eggs. Alternatively, use a large bowl. Use a fork to beat together the eggs, mustard and lemon zest and begin to incorporate the flour starting with the inner rim of the well. As you incorporate the eggs, keep pushing the flour up to retain the well shape (do not worry if it looks messy). The dough will come together in a shaggy mass when about half of the flour is incorporated.

          If using a bowl, pour the mixture onto your work surface and start kneading.

          Start kneading the dough with both hands, using the palms of your hands. Add more flour, in 1/2-cup increments, if needed, if the dough is too sticky. Once the dough is a cohesive ball, remove the dough from the board or work surface and discard any leftover dry bits. Lightly flour the board and continue kneading for 3 more minutes. The dough should be elastic and a little sticky. Continue to knead for another 3 minutes, remembering to dust your board with flour when necessary. To test if your dough is ready, cut it in half. You should see very tiny bubbles. The dough itself should be smooth. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes or let sit at room temperature for the same amount of time, if using right away. Roll and form as desired.

          Note: Do not skip the kneading or resting portion of this recipe, they are essential for a light pasta.

          In a large stock pot, put on to boil, 4 quarts of heavily salted water.

          Divide the dough into 5 equal pieces. Set aside 1 piece; rewrap the remaining 4.
          Dust both sides of the piece with flour, then press the cut side down into a square shape. With a rolling in (or wine bottle), roll the dough into a 6-inch square by rolling from the center of dough ­­­­one way at a time.

          Continue rolling until the dough is thin, like paper, lifting it frequently to release it from the counter and flipping the dough, dusting both sides again with flour.

          After you've rolled the dough to your desired thickness, start with the short end, gently fold and roll the pasta sheet to create a flat, rectangular roll. With a sharp knife, cut the dough into even strips, which will become your noodles.

          Use your fingers to unfurl pasta, then transfer to a floured baking sheet. Repeat with remaining reserved dough pieces.

          After the pasta has been cut, drop it into the salted boiling water and stir. Fresh pasta cooks very quickly. The pasta will be ready in 2-3 minutes. The only way to know it's done is taste. Drain, set aside.

          Tarragon Lemon Cream Sauce

          1 Tablespoon butter
          1 Tablespoon olive oil
          1/3 cup shallots, small dice
          2 cups heavy cream
          1/2 cup Saucy Mama Tarragon Lemon Mustard
          1 1/2 Tablespoons herbs de Provence
          1/2 cup seedless Thompson raisins or currants

          Melt butter with oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots to skillet and reduce heat to medium. Sauté until soft, about 3 minutes. Add heavy cream, whisk in mustard and sprinkle in herbs de Provence. Add raisins or currants to skillet. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

          Lemon Cornbread Crumbs
          1 cup cornbread crumbs
          1 Tablespoon lemon juice

          In a small bowl, combine cornbread crumbs and lemon juice. Spoon crumbs onto a prepared baking sheet and put under the broiler in HIGH for 3 minutes. Remove from broiler and let cool. As the crumbs cool, they will crisp up.

          Combine drained pasta, tarragon lemon sauce and top with breadcrumbs. Serve.
          On 1:30 AM by Nikki @ NikSnacks in , , , , , , ,    11 comments
          This post is coming to you from sunny, yet chilly Albuquerque, New Mexico! I'm here with my family on a well-deserved, long-awaited vacation. I'm looking forward to sleeping (a lot), eating (a lot) and taking in the sights and sounds of the desert high country.

          Since Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer, I bet you're thinking about going to the pool. buying flip flops, sunscreen and firecrackers; collecting recipes for cookouts, planning vacations with the whole family and summer camp enrollment for the kids.

          The real reason behind Memorial Day is to remember the members of the American armed forces who have fallen while serving. A simple way to commemorate this federal holiday is to flood the 'net with recipes that bleed red, white and blue--our nation's flag's colors.

          This week I'm sharing a new recipe that I was inspired to create by one of America's newest citizens, Simon Majumdar.

          "OMG, I know him!"

          Simon is best known as the big, bad, bald judge on Cutthroat Kitchen, Iron Chef America and a myriad of other network culinary shows. I had the pleasure of meeting Simon last fall in Las Vegas and I kept his business card he handed to me under the twinkling lights of Downtown Las Vegas. Fast-forward to 3 months ago and Simon announced an impromptu book tour to promote his newest book, "Fed, White and Blue". I jumped at the chance to invite him to my hometown and show him how really amazing Winston-Salem is.

          I created two events: a laid-back plated dinner and an informal, backyard barbecue featuring a couple of the city's great chefs that I respect and admire. Let me tell you: IT WAS A SUCCESS!

          My goal was for 40 people to pre-pay for tickets. I got 44 AND we had some people walk-up and purchase tickets the day of the cookout, too. Simon and I came up with an excellent menu:

          *Tandoori Chicken Skewers
          *Pork Vindaloo 
          *Pickled shrimp with grilled ciabatta and spicy aioli
          *Hot Smoked Salmon Fillet atop Ragout of Pork Belly, Black-Eyed Peas, Charred Corn, & Caramelized Fennel; with Fiery Sweet Tomato Jam
          *Paprika Potato Salad
          *Macaroni Salad
          *Baked Beans
          *Red, White And Blue Coleslaw

          So this coleslaw--let me tell you about it:

          I live in a part of North Carolina where Lexington-style barbecue is king. It's always pork shoulder, or pork butt and cooked in or drizzled with a vinegar-based sauce that is seasoned primarily with ketchup, vinegar, and black pepper. It is most common in the Piedmont or central and western parts of the state. The same sauce for the barbecue is used as the seasoning base for the "red slaw" (also called barbecue slaw), that accompanies the barbecue. Instead of mayo, we season our slaw with ketchup or barbecue sauce and it's the best coleslaw in the world. Now, this red, white and blue coleslaw is a play off Simon's book title "Fed, White, and Blue". I added red wine vinegar, sugar and dried blueberries to chopped cabbage to play off the spicy undertones of Simon's pork vindaloo and tandoori chicken. It worked. It worked so well that I keep getting messages and emails from people to ask for the recipe.

          So here you go:

          Red White And Blue Coleslaw
          Yield 5 cups, Serves 8

          4 cups finely shredded cabbage
          1/3 cup red wine vinegar
          1/3 cup ketchup
          2 tablespoons white sugar
          2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
          2 cups dried blueberries

          Place the cabbage into a salad bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together apple cider vinegar, ketchup, sugar, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper until the sugar has dissolved. Pour the dressing over the cabbage, toss thoroughly, and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

          I'm not the only one commemorating and celebrating Memorial Day today. Celebrate red, white and blue with the rest of the Sunday Supper crew and remember the real reason for the day!

          Food Using One Color Red Food
          White Food
          Blue Food
          Food Using Two Colors Red and White Food
          Blue and White Food
          Red, White and Blue Food
          5 Tips for Potlucks by Sunday Supper Movement

          Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.