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Featuring Chef Capi Peck, sharing the bounty of Arkansas with #ArkansasGrown produce.

Capi Picture 1

This is one of my favorite things to make and eat in the heat of the summer when our Arkansas tomatoes are coming on strong.

 

Capi Peck's Summer Panzanella Salad
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For the bread
  1. 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  2. 6 cups 1-inch bread cubes, cut from French baguettes
  3. 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
For the vinaigrette
  1. 1 teaspoon minced garlic cloves
  2. 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  3. 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  4. 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  5. Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Remaining ingredients for the salad
  1. 2 large Arkansas heirloom tomatoes, cut 1-inch cubes
  2. 1 large cucumber, seeded, large dice
  3. 1 each red and yellow bell pepper, cut 1-inch pieces
  4. 1 Vidalia or other sweet onion, thinly sliced
  5. 25 large fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped or torn
  6. 3 tablespoons capers, drained
Instructions
  1. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in large pan or stockpot over medium heat. Add the bread cubes and salt. Stir well to coat the bread. Cook, stirring often, until slightly browned, adding a little more oil if necessary. Set aside.
  2. For the vinaigrette, whisk garlic cloves, mustard, vinegar and olive oil together. Taste and add salt as needed. Set aside.
  3. Prep the remaining ingredients and place in a large mixing bowl. Add toasted bread cubes and vinaigrette. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes so that the flavors can marry.
  4. Optional ingredients: crumbled feta or blue cheese, Kalamata olives, diced avocado
Arkansas Women Bloggers http://arkansaswomenbloggers.com/

 

 

About Capi

Capi Peck is a Little Rock native who calls herself a “self-taught good cook”.  Her love of great food and cooking grew from her childhood experiences at her family’s establishment, the Sam Peck Hotel.  Capi’s grandparents ran the well-known downtown spot that brought a cosmopolitan flair and grand cuisine to Little Rock in the 1950’s and 1960’s.  As a tribute to her culinary roots, Capi serves a few of Sam Peck’s creations at Trio’s, the restaurant she has co-owned with her partner, Brent Peterson for nearly 30 years.

Capi is committed to featuring locally grown produce whenever possible. She supports more than eight Arkansas farming families by offering their produce on her ever-changing menu.

 

Strawberries from Caddo Crest Orchard in Guy

Strawberries from Caddo Crest Orchard in Guy

Capi serves as Chair of Little Rock’s Advertising and Promotion Commission and is immediate past president of the Arkansas Restaurant Association.

She is very committed to the No Kid Hungry Program, part of Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, where she serves as a volunteer chef in the Cooking Matters classes.

Capi is proudest of her extended family at both Trio’s.  More than 10 of her staff have worked with her for over 18 years and 4 have been part of the Trio’s family for 23 or more years.

About Trio’s (Courtesy of Trio’s Restaurant)

“Trio’s Restaurant, which began in 1986 as a gourmet shop with “good food to go” along with cookbooks, coffee, gadgets, and a well-stocked deli, has evolved into one of the finest dining and catering establishments in the state. Capi Peck and Brent Peterson have nurtured Trio’s from its inception. It is their “baby,” and it has grown into an award-winning restaurant known for innovation and consistency.

trios_outside Trio’s patio

 

So many of Trio’s loyal customers began their culinary adventures more than 20 years ago as toddlers at the Trio’s table. And, for many displaced Arkansans, a visit home wouldn’t be complete without a meal at Trio’s with family and friends. Most important are the employees who were here almost from the beginning including Partner Stephanie Caruthers, who started at Trio’s as a baker in 1987, and directs the Catering Department. Apollos Merriweather, who many of you know from his catering work for Trio’s, has been part of the Trio’s team since 1988. Our catering would not be what it is today without Apollos! Eric Wilson began as a dishwasher in 1986! He runs the day kitchen line and is famous for his grilled chicken enchiladas. And, a few of the familiar faces of our floor staff have been with Trio’s for 10+ years: Richard LeSourd, Michelle Lee, and Wayne Pyland. Chef Shanna Merriweather, our Executive Chef, began as an apprentice while in culinary school. She’s a calm leader in the kitchen, and her culinary creativity shines throughout our menu.

The “Trio’s Family” extends far and wide, and Capi and Brent have successfully fostered the fundamental ideal of “hearth and home” in the staff at Trio’s. We all believe that ideal is the key to our success. And, of course, there’s the food!”

Note: Tri0’s was recently named the best Farm-to-Table Restaurant in Arkansas by Travel and Leisure Magazine.

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Bounty of Friendship

June 23, 2016

By Yavonda Chase

When I first heard that bounty was the topic for June, I immediately started thinking about all of the blessings in my life. I thought about my wonderful husband, my beautiful daughter, the rest of my slightly crazy, but always supportive family, my new job that I really enjoy and my great friends.

And I was thankful.

bounty-family

Then I wondered how I was ever going to choose one thing out of all of those blessings to write about.

But then this weekend happened, and this post started to write itself.

I think one of the (not-so-fun) truths of growing older is that friends often move away. If you’re lucky, they only move an hour or so away. Unfortunately, I never seem to be that fortunate. My friends’ moves are typically more of the “I now live more hours away than you can think about driving in one day with kid in tow” variety.

And so, when they come back into town, it is a treat.

This weekend, I was truly blessed. Not one, but two of my longtime friends returned to town. Since they were only here for a few days, we packed as much togetherness in that time as possible. As I, and other local friends, all gathered together to see these friends, I was reminded of how much of a blessing friendship is.

bounty-friends

Sometimes it is so easy to forget or take for granted our friends, especially the ones we rely on the most. But when they no longer live just down the block from you or share the desk next to yours, you realize how much you depend on them to just be there.

And while Facebook and email are great for keeping in touch with your friends, it just isn’t the same as sushi lunches or nights out with the girls. It doesn’t hold you when your heart is breaking because of a death of a loved one or hug you with joy when your heart is full because of a promotion at work and the graduation of your child from Kindergarten. Social media is a cold substitute for the human contact of good friends.

So this weekend, I reveled in all of my friendships – the friends who have moved away and the friends who are still here with me. I laughed too much; I ate too much; I probably drank too much; and I just enjoyed being with my wonderful friends.

The Bounty of Friendship is one of life’s greatest blessings.

Arkansas Women Bloggers member Yavonda Chase writes about life, love and everything else at SimplyYavonda.com. She is a wife and mother who considers her daughter to be her greatest accomplishment. She was born in Kentucky and still cheers for the Kentucky Wildcats, but has lived in Arkansas for 30 years and proudly calls Central Arkansas home.

Blog: www.simplyyavonda.com

Twitter: @YavondaChase

Instagram: @Yavs

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/simplyyavonda/

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Arkansas Blog Linkup

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The Quicker, Thicker Picker-Upper: Bounty (or The Bounty at Our Feet)

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