Tonight you can watch “A Chef’s Life” Harvest Special, celebrating the Series Finale for this beloved PBS television show. Chef Vivian Howard welcomes us to her kitchen, restaurant (The Chef and the Farmer), and Eastern NC home to remember five fabulous seasons and toast the memories with friends and family. Airing 9:00 pm Monday 10/21 on University of North Carolina Public Television and PBS stations nationwide: Check your local PBS station for the schedule.
Last night I attended a special screening of tonight’s Series Finale in Kinston NC’s Grainger Stadium, where the Wood Ducks play baseball each summer. It was pleasingly chilly in terms of weather, but hearts were warm and the spirits were joyful and wistful, sorry to see this lovely series end, but grateful to look back and celebrate its success on every level.
Here I am on the left with Vivian Howard and our friend Toni Tipton-Martin, who joined the fun.
We got there in time to enjoy sunset and the gathering crowds AND deliciousness from an array of food trucks parked on site for the special occasion. Vivian Howard’s own food truck served up her spectacular Eastern North Carolina Fish Stew, which was EPIC. Definitely making that to share later here on the blog later this fall….
In addition, one of my very favorite food trucks, Boricua Soul, came out from Durham NC to share their extraordinary cuisine inspired by their family trees: Puerto Rican and African-American culinary traditions cooked up brilliantly to make Boricua Soul.
Loved seeing my friends Toriano and Serena dishing up their fabulous arroz con gandules, pernil, mac n’ cheese and collard greens — and those empanadas! Glorious. Libations from Mother Earth Brewing and other trucks rounded out the goodies available through the evening.
No baseball got played at Grainger Stadium last night, by the Wood Ducks or any other team, but it was a grand, unforgettable, bittersweet, and inspired way to celebrate, look back, and bid farewell to a brilliant, wonderful five-season television creation, “A Chef’s Life”.
Now it’s today, and everybody gets to watch the show! Are you hungry?
Don’t you want to eat something homey and comforting while waiting for the Harvest Special to appear on your screen, here’s one of Vivian Howard’s recipes from Season 4 Episode 4: “Stand By Your Cabbage!” It’s Miss Lillie’s satisfying standby, Sausage-Stewed Cabbage. A few ingredients creating a lot of flavor for a handful of coins in a short space of time. Make cornbread too, Vivian told me to tell you that. It’s always good advice. Recipe below in this post!
And while your cabbage-sausage meal is cooking, you know you want to read a bit more about where “A Chef’s Life” has been and where Vivian Howard and the brilliant crew creating the show will be heading next, don’t you? Here are some tasty links:
- 8 ounces semi-dry country-style sausage
- 2 quarts water
- 1 large head green cabbage
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Chop semi-dry country-style sausage into 1 1/2 inch lengths. (If using fresh sausage links, cook in oil or bacon grease until firm and lightly browned; then cut into lengths).
- Combine the sausage chunks and the water in a 4-quart saucepan.
- Cover and bring it up to a boil; Cook for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, quarter the cabbage and remove core; chop the quarters into rough 1 inch slices;
- Make sure you still have about 2 quarts of water in the saucepan and add the cut cabbage. It will not be completely submerged right away, but check back in a minute or two and stir things around.
- Let cabbage cook down for about 5 minutes, when everything should be submerged in the cooking liquid. If not, add just enough water to barely cover.
- Simmer covered for about 30 minutes. You’re looking for the cabbage to be quite tender.
- Add the salt. and then taste and adjust seasoning.
- Serve warm, hopefully with cornbread.