We know Carrboro resident April McGreger as The Farmer's Daughter, because she is one, and because that's the name of her artisan food business (www.farmersdaughterbrand.com). She makes pastries, jams, preserves and chutneys. Now, The Farmer's Daughter is also the name of her column at Grist.org, an online magazine devoted to green issues and sustainable living. Go there to read her thoughts on field peas, chestnuts and wild oysters, among other topics.
A former pastry chef at Lantern restaurant in Chapel Hill, McGreger is active in our local Slow Food Convivium (www.slowfoodtriangle.org) and was one of our area's delegates to the international Slow Food Conference at Terra Madre. She was recruited to Grist by its food editor, Tom Philpott, when they crossed paths at the Carrboro Farmers' Market, where McGreger has a booth.
"[Philpott] had the idea that we would just call the column Farmer's Daughter (the same name as my business) and that I would just write about what I do," she says. "He was particularly interested in the preserving aspects of things as well as my interest in traditional foods or on-the-verge-of-being-lost food cultures."
You can meet McGreger and try some of her creations at an upcoming wine social hosted by 3Cups (227 S. Elliott Road, Chapel Hill, 968-8993, www.3cups.net). The event, "New Uses for Old Southern Condiments," features Figs in a Blanket (bacon-wrapped, bourbon-soaked figs); field pea cakes with tomato jam; pork rillettes on toast with spiced muscadines; and Chapel Hill Creamery quark cheesecake with pumpkin chip preserves—all with wine pairings. The Feb. 12 event begins at 6 p.m. and costs $18 in advance or $20 on the day of. Contact 3Cups for reservations.
Meanwhile, local restaurants continue to respond to the economic realities of their customers by lowering prices, offering new prix fixe menus or lower-priced nights. Here are some more I've caught wind of; keep sending them to the inbox listed below.
Vin Rouge (2010 Hillsborough Road, Durham, 416-0466, ghgrestaurants.com/vinrouge/vinrouge.html) just debuted a prix fixe menu. This option is available 5:30-6:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 5:30-6 p.m. Friday through Sunday. The price is $20 for three courses or $25 for four courses. "While we feel Vin Rouge offers exceptional value all the time, this prix fixe menu keeps with our traditional French bistro roots and enables our guests to try several courses for an even greater value," Michael Maller, Vin Rouge's general manager, writes in an e-mail.
The Mint (219 Fayetteville St., Raleigh, 821-0011, www.themintrestaurant.com) has lowered its prices and adjusted its menu. The Mint now offers a $9 lunch (or three lunch courses for $28) and a three-course dinner for $30.
Margaux's (8111 Creedmoor Road, Raleigh, 846-9846, www.margauxsrestaurant.com) has begun a $12.95 blue plate special Tuesday through Thursday. Their aim is "comfort food at cozy prices," so look for roasted chicken with sausage gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits; shepherd's pie; and meatloaf.