dinner with sheri castle

In my weekend recap on Monday, I mentioned we had an amazing "adults" birthday dinner for Cotton and Josh last week.  Well, today I am so excited to tell you more about it!

My sister in law, May, called me a few weeks ago to say she had a surprise planned for dinner.  While I wasn't sure what the surprise would entail, I knew we had a date, time, and location- our kitchen!  A few days later she unveiled the surprise...Sheri Castle was coming to give us a cooking lesson and make dinner.
our menu for the evening
Some of you may know Sheri from her recipes and expert opinions that have been featured in the USA Today, the Washington Post, or Garden and Gun.  Others may recognize her as one of the chefs from the cooking school at Southern Season in Chapel Hill or as the author of "The New Southern Garden" cookbook.  I, however, know her from her recipes in Southern Living.  The woman is a cooking genius and to say I was star struck wouldn't be an understatement.  
Sheri with an warm antipasti appetizer
When Sheri arrived she was so sweet, and in true southern style, she began chatting like we had known each other forever right away.  She got to work unloading and setting up all of her own supplies in our tiny, tiny, tiny, kitchen.  While she asked us about our upcoming move, Sheri prepped a pork loin wrapped in pancetta and a warm appetizer for us to enjoy.  Cotton and May arrived shortly after and the real cooking lesson began.
diligently learning about our meal
food prep
One thing that continuously impressed me about Sheri was her knowledge of food, chemistry, and ingredients.  She truly has a gift for combining flavors and understanding how different textures, tastes, and smells will complement one another.  She was also amazingly helpful with little things- like where to buy everyday use olive oil and where to buy very good (like only use a tsp. at a time) balsamic vinegar.
spinach and roasted red pepper salad with hot olive oil vinaigrette
pork loin wrapped in pancetta
Dinner was a wonderful experience made even better because we saw first hand how thoughtfully it was prepared.  Check out Sheri's website here and look for her recipe for tomato pie in next month's issue of Southern Living.
pork loin drizzled with balsalmic
delicious dinner...this is the only picture of the herbed cannellini beans I seem to have.  although they are out of focus, they were delicious...and even better the next day!
Thank you to Sheri for helping us celebrate, and thank you to May for arranging such a wonderful evening!  It will be one that Josh and I cherish for a long time to come.  

As a quick "PS," I am about the head to my last day of school ever.  It's been a wonderful three years (tempered with, as my friend Virginia says, some not so wonderful times ) and I'm so thankful for the friends I have made.  While Gator blue will always be my first love, Carolina blue definitely holds a special place in my heart now as well.


  1. Okay, NOT happy about your PS. I am still in denial. I am hoping we will be able to lure you back LOTS with promises of another Sheri Castle date, lots of niece and nephew love, a tarheel ten miler that you did not get to check off your list (where could you train down there), some Bryan honey, and/or some more hero me expert opinions from the 10 and under set!

    1. Nothing fancy needed to entice us to come back...just knowing y'all are here will make it easy to visit OFTEN! xo

  2. What a wonderful surprise! Great post, and now I am beyond hungry!

    Ali of


  3. This makes me kind of sad. Life just zooms by. Sooo proud of you. Love you so much. xo