Local Flavor


Rhonda Sydnor doesn’t really like football that much. But what she does like… is cooking delicious food for family and friends. So instead of sitting on the sidelines all season long, this James River Day School teacher finds a way to be a part of the fun in her own way.

Her husband, a long-time UVA football season ticket holder, takes the Hoos and his tailgating menu very seriously. “Each August, we get out my notebook that contains all of the tailgate menus I have put together for each game over the past 10 years that we have been together. He selects items for each game in the upcoming season,” she says. “It’s a tradition we look forward to each year.”

Her dishes fit a self-described “New Southern” style—she uses traditional Southern cooking techniques, such as real butter and whole milk. “But I also put a twist on foods such as adding good bourbon and brown sugar on grilled peaches,” she says.

Some of her best recipes are savory with no utensils required, perfect for parking lot parties—from homemade caramelized onion dip to stuffed ham biscuits. Eggplant parmigiana and “Oysters Rhonda” are also big favorites.

Enjoy trying out a couple of her delightful bite-sized dishes that will be sure to win over the crowd at your next tailgate!

Stuffed Mushrooms

You will need:
4 8-ounce containers of whole
Baby Bella and/or white mushrooms
2 cups fine plain breadcrumbs
2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
1/2 of a red, orange and
yellow pepper finely chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 shallots finely chopped
2 cups fresh basil chopped
1 8-ounce package of shredded
Colby Jack cheese
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups of olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove the stems and insides of caps from mushrooms. Pour small amount of olive oil to coat the bottom of a glass baking dish. Combine remaining ingredients. Place mixture inside of each mushroom cap. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Makes 30-45 mushrooms.

Mini Potatoes

You will need:
About 25 small yellow, red and
purple potatoes
1 cup sour cream
1 3-ounce bottle real bacon bits
(I use half of the bottle.)
1/2 cup fresh chives, chopped

Boil potatoes until cooked. Cut a small piece off each end so it will sit flat. Cut in half and use a melon ball scoop to remove the insides of the potato leaving an outer shell with a small amount of potato inside. Mix together remaining ingredients. Spoon mixture into potato shells and refrigerate one hour. (Tip: Use the inside part of potatoes for a side of mashed potatoes.)

Do you have some “local flavor” you want to share?
A dish friends and family beg you to make time and time again? We want to hear from you! Send an email with your recipe and explanation to shelley@lynchburgmag.com.


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