Tabletop & Entertaining

It's ALWAYS a kitchen party & EVERYONE's invited!

Hello & welcome to the family!  Just like our happy little stores, we take pride in making this page a place you leave happier than when you arrived!  We have been in business for 23 years now, starting as a small kitchen shoppe in Lexington VA and now have expanded to 2 other locations in Roanoke VA and Richmond VA. We are still small, but mighty! We pride ourselves on staying ahead of cooking, baking, bar and food trends.  Meeting our customers needs is always forefront, whether it's that impossible to find gadget, hostess gift, entertaining/bar items or just a good ole fashion high five! We are owned by Chef Sarah Nicholas and have a BEYOND FABULOUS team that knows it all when speaking "kitchen". 

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The Story of Cooking - L & L Blog

Sam I Am

I've been debating on whether or not to mention school in the fall, and all the uncertainty it entails. On one hand, I want this blog to reflect the summertime fun we all crave. On the other hand I want it to be relevant, and these are extraordinary times.

Like many parents at the moment, I want to squeeze the most out of summer, but autumn is nagging in the back of my mind. I felt it was best to address it, because I have some great ideas. 

For any parents reading this, school may be fully or partially virtual come fall. We have a lot of important decisions to make, as far as how it's going to work. And no matter what, these kids will need to eat. On the bright side, school lunches cannot compare to the fresh meals we prepare. But it takes time, and I will soon be researching and sharing easy meals and creative leftover ideas. For example, my family knows that if we have a roast chicken for dinner, they can expect chicken tacos the next day, or even a cheesy buffalo dip with tortilla chips. One meal, three ways.

And sometimes, you'll need to bust out something wild. Case in point? Green eggs and ham. My son asked if it were possible, and I gave it a shot. Meals like this are memorable, and tie into literature, thanks to Dr. Suess. On a day when the kids seem grouchy or restless, pull this one out of your pocket.

I placed a few drops of green food coloring in the oil that was released from my bacon, and I swirled and swished until it coated everything. The egg yolk is trickier. Drop one or two drops of food coloring onto the yolk, then take your finger and (very gingerly) swirl the drops onto the mound. It creates a marble effect. 

No matter what, your kids will be delighted. You may be annoyed that food coloring got onto the tips of your fingers, but wait until you see the color that deposits onto the mouths and teeth of your diners. 

Now, get back to your sangria and beach picnics. I've got your back. 

 

July 30, 2020 by Fayeruz Regan

Fishing for compliments

One of the silver linings from social distancing is having that extra time (no matter how small) to check in with ourselves. That can be terrifying for some of us (all of us?), but when you nix the happy hours and dinner parties, hours can stretch before you. Whether it was anxiety-driven, or the result of some much-needed free time, we got ourselves some hobbies. 

There was the sourdough, the immaculate TikTok dance clips and the tie-dying. My husband took up fishing, and it is a joy to watch. To see his truck skid into our driveway at 11:00 pm. Robert jumping out gleaming with a hefty catfish in his bucket. Or watching him teach our son how to cast a line while we picnic

This means we're getting a lot of fresh fish at home. Scales, eyeballs and all. Whether you have taken up fishing, or see a great selection at the market, don't be intimidated by the sight a whole fish. One of my favorite meals in the world is a Thai dish, with crispy bass (fried whole) and chili sauce. Before my husband took up fishing, I thought I was at the mercy of the restaurant. I'm happy to say I'm not.

And a whole fish is worth the extra couple steps. You'd need a scaler and a fillet knife to keep the process hassle-free. A large pan will allow you to fry it whole. At home, we use our wok. Thankfully it comes with an oil drain rack, which keeps fried fish light instead of greasy. Make diagonal cuts on the fish (close to the bone), allowing the oil to cook the fish thoroughly. A temperature probe is necessary for the oil, and 375 is perfect temperature. Use a wide fish turner or risk breaking the fish. Last but not least, find a handsome, large platter to present it on. 

A full fish, when plated, is as elegant as it is earthy. It elevates the whole meal, especially if an unforgettable sauce is drizzled down the middle. Here's a link to my favorite recipe. So go ahead, pick up a striped bass at the market, or spend a day fishing. One way will save you time, the other way will save you money and allow you to enjoy a day on the water. Either way, the results will be delicious. 

July 26, 2020 by Fayeruz Regan

Sangria: your new favorite fruit

Eat more fruits and vegetables, they said. It's good for you, they said. Unlike a basic fruit salad, sangria has mood-boosting abilities, and we could all use a little of that!

On a trip to Barcelona, I was surprised to see that most restaurants kept Sangria simple. Glasses of red wine would come with a can of Sprite, to mix as we wished. Locals told us this was common for quick lunches in Spain. And by quick lunch, I mean a decadent meal with at least five or six sides. While I'm digressing, quick PSA: Never order tapas; it's a money trap. Instead, do what the locals do and order the "menu del dia." You get all the same seasonal and fresh options, plus your glass of wine with Sprite, for a lot less. See our bounty in the below photo!

At upscale bars, we would find the brandy and fruit-laden variety. Sangria is the type of summer drink that forces you to slow down and take note of everything happening. There are different textures and no two pitchers taste alike. But every pitcher of mine is fruity, fizzy and boozy.

While there are many options for ingredients (depending on which fruits are seasonal), here's a real crowd-pleaser:

  •  
  • 1 cup sliced peaches (for summer - pomegranate seeds are great for winter)

Place everything in a pitcher and mix. Pour over ice and be sure to brag to your doctor about how responsible you were with those fruit servings.

July 18, 2020 by Fayeruz Regan