Virginia Willis Blog

Winter Salads: Think Outside the Arugula Box

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Winter Salads

Summer salads are easy. A couple of chops of straight-from-the-garden fresh vegetables and you’re good to go. Winter salads require slightly more thought, but it’s a misconception that winter salads must be made from ingredients that are out of season. Winter salads can be made of deliciously bitter greens, earthy root vegetables, and sweet winter squash. Cooked dried beans and whole grains add nutrition, flavor, and substance. Toasted nuts and seeds provide the crunch. And, don’t forget tart, vibrant citrus. Winter salads offer the opportunity to look at ingredients beyond  lettuce and change the way you think of what makes a salad. And, face it, how much stew, chile, and low-and-slow braised meat dishes can you eat? Banish those flavorless tomatoes and flaccid cucumbers harvested on the other side of the globe and give winter salads a try. (more…)

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Secrets of the Southern Table TV Series

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Secrets of the Southern Table™

I am thrilled to announce I am partnering with public media powerhouse WGBH-TV for the development of “Secrets of the Southern Table™: A Food Lover’s Tour of the Global South” to air nationally on public television stations. (more…)

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Cooking with Citrus: Spicy Chicken with Clementines

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Cooking with Citrus

Earlier this week I was in the local co-op experiencing a bit of a conundrum regarding planning this week’s meals. After seemingly months of rich, holiday foods followed by a few days of delicious – but somewhat drab – field peas, winter greens, and cornbread, I felt ready for something bright, clean, and fresh. This time of year that trifecta can be hard to come by – it’s not exactly the description that comes to mind when thinking of bitter greens and earthy root vegetables. Citrus, however, is all those things, which led me to this recipe for Spicy Chicken with Clementines. Cooking with citrus is a great way to blow away the winter blahs. Problem solved! (more…)

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Happy New Year: Vegetarian Hoppin’ John

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Hoppin’ John

Eating black-eyed peas and rice in the form of a dish called Hoppin’ John and Stewed Greens on New Year’s Day is a Southern tradition. Folklore says the combination will bring luck and money in the upcoming year. Typically, the dried peas are black-eyed peas and there is generally a hunk of meat bobbing in the pot. This year, I wanted to mix things up and create a recipe for a Vegetarian Hoppin’ John. (more…)

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Christmas Traditions: Old-Fashioned Yeast Rolls

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Christmas Traditions

Every family has at least one culinary Christmas tradition. In our family, at the top of the list of our Christmas traditions are Old-Fashioned Yeast Rolls. These Old-Fashioned Yeast Rolls are light, buttery, golden-brown pillows — perfect for sopping up gravy, dipping into salty, smoky potlikker,  or for making a sandwich the next day with the leftover turkey, crown of pork, or roast beef. (more…)

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