Category Archives: Recipes

Recipes that inspire me.

Pan Fried Swordfish Steaks with Lemon

At the beginning of February, Locals Seafood kicked-off with their 1st annual Winter Seafood Jubilee, a series of North Carolina winter seafood-centric events and promotions taking place in NC’s Triangle region throughout February.

The Winter Seafood Jubilee kicked off with the “3 on 3 at the Winter Seafood Jubilee,” taking place during the first three weeks of February. Locals Seafood recruited three “social media foodie gurus” to participate, a challenge where each guru is responsible for one week in February and given three different species of winter seafood to cook and showcase to you. Kristen Baughman (@knbaughman) showcased her creations the first week, Kim Alexander (@trianglelocalista) the second week and now the torch has passed on to me (@durhamfoodie).

The first of my “3 on 3″ challenge, I went with a New England Clam Chowder Pizza made with the Bogue Sound littleneck clams I was given. With the help of my stepson this pizza turned out fabulous. It was an experience I will never forget. For my next choice I made a Seared Trout with White Wine, Lemon, Caper Sauce served with  a side of mixed greens tossed in lemon juice and olive oil. My husband and I devoured this dish and left only empty platers behind.

For the last of my “3 on 3″ challenge I was left with a swordfish steak. This is a thick dense cut of fish, and one I often refer to as the “steak of the sea.” Like a good steak, you don’t want to do too much with it. Originally my thought was to broil it in the oven, but after purchasing a new set of stainless steel pots and pans decided to pan fry it instead. This was the easiest of the three dishes and from start to finish took only about 20 minutes. My husband declared it the best of the week. Locals Seafood, we are your new favorite swordfish customers. =)

Swordfish Steak

Swordfish Steak

Recipe:

1 Locals Seafood Swordfish Steak

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

2 Lemons

Directions:

In a ten inch skillet, heat oil over medium heat until hot. (I usually test out the heat by flicking a few drops of water of water in the pan. If it sizzles, it’s ready)

Salt and pepper filet and add the fish to the pan.

Cut lemons in half and squeeze juice in to the pan. (I did this to incorporate lemon flavor in to the fish during the cooking process)

Cook each side about 5 minutes each. I cut my filet in half after the first flip to see how done it was). Most fish I don’t normally cook all the way through, however with swordfish I do.

Serve swordfish with a side salad of mixed greens (I used a left over  kale salad I had on hand mixed in with some arugula, green onions and cheese) topped with a touch of olive oil and fresh lemon juice. This salad can be made while the fish is cooking.

Finished SwordFish

In my previous post I mentioned that any leftover white wine, lemon and caper sauce could be frozen to use at a later date. I pulled out one of the sauce cubes, melted it in the microwave and topped a small amount over my portion of swordfish. Delicious! These last two recipes of the week are extremely versatile and can be used with most ypes of fish.

Swordfish Steak topped with leftover White Wine, Lemon Caper Sauce from the Seared Trout Recipe

Swordfish Steak topped with leftover White Wine, Lemon Caper Sauce from the Seared Trout Recipe

Now off to Locals Seafood you go. And be sure to ask them about species of fish you may not have cooked with before. They are very friendly folks and always happy to offer suggestions for new things to try and how to best cook them. I know I’ve never been disappointed.

Happy Eating

Johanna

WHERE TO FIND LOCALS SEAFOOD

MARKET HOURS
>> MAP

Raleigh State Farmers Market
Indoor Market Shoppes
1201 Agriculture St
Thursdays • 10am-4pm 
Fridays • 10am-4pm
Saturdays • 10am-4pm
Sundays • 11am-3pm

Chapel Hill Farmers Market
University Mall
Saturdays • 9am-12pm

Western Wake Farmers Market
Carpenter Village - Cary
Saturdays • 9:30am-12pm

LoMo Market
Farmers Market on Wheels!
30+ stops/week thru-out Triangle
SCHEDULE

Bella Bean Organics
Home delivery service
INFO

Seared Trout with White Wine, Lemon, Caper Sauce

At the beginning of February, Locals Seafood kicked-off with their 1st annual Winter Seafood Jubilee, a series of North Carolina winter seafood-centric events and promotions taking place in NC’s Triangle region throughout February.

The Winter Seafood Jubilee kicked off with the “3 on 3 at the Winter Seafood Jubilee,” taking place during the first three weeks of February. Locals Seafood recruited three “social media foodie gurus” to participate, a challenge where each guru is responsible for one week in February and given three different species of winter seafood to cook and showcase to you. Kristen Baughman (@knbaughman) showcased her creations the first week, Kim Alexander (@trianglelocalista) the second week and now the torch has passed on to me (@durhamfoodie). It will be my job to highlight another three ways to incorporated local seasonal NC fish/seafood into your everyday cooking routine. Let the fun begin!!

I started my “3 on 3″ week with a New England Clam Chowder Pizza which with the help of my stepson, turned out fabulous. For my next choice I decided to go with the trout fillets and do a high heat sear and top it with a white wine, garlic, lemon, caper sauce and serve it with a side of mixed greens tossed in lemon juice and olive oil.

I love fish but must admit I usually don’t go for skin on filets. I actually prefer whole fish that I can stuff with an array of herbs and citrus and bake it. Thanks to Locals Seafood my eyes are wide open to the possibilities of various varieties of fish and cuts. Wait until you see what I plan for the swordfish =)

This was a fairly easy dish to prepare, though the prep took more time than expected. I used a recipe from the Martha Stewart for a Cod with Herbed White Wine Lemon Sauce as my base and built on it from there. I made notes under each portion of the recipe with my changes. The recipe called for four fillets and I had only two so I ended up with extra sauce. Not a bad problem to have as you can freeze the extra sauce in ice cube trays to use at a later date. To do this, fill your ice cube tray with remaining sauce and let freeze. Once frozen place cubes in a freezer bag and store to use in future recipes.

RECIPE

Ingredients

  • shallot (finely chopped)
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • lemons (2, juiced and 1 sliced into 14 inch thick rounds)
  • 6 tbsps unsalted butter (cut into small pieces)
  • 1/4 cup capers (roughly chopped)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • black pepper (freshly ground)
  • 1 cup herbs (loosely packed mixed fresh, parsley tarragon chervil dill and thyme roughly chopped)
  • codfish fillets (6 ounces)

NOTES: I added 1 large clove garlic, diced fine and used parsley, dill and thyme and chopped them in my food processor.

DIRECTIONS 

STEP ONE

Combine shallot, wine, and lemon juice in a small skillet; set over high heat. Bring to a boil; simmer until liquid is reduced to 1/4 cup, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in butter, capers, 1/4 teaspoon salt, a pinch of pepper, and 3/4 of the herbs. Set aside; keep warm.

Finished Sauce

NOTES: I added the garlic in with the shallot, wine and lemon juice. Before adding the butter and capers I did a taste test after it had reduced down and didn’t like the amount of shallots. I felt like it was too much so I drained the sauce through a fine mesh seeve and added it back to the skillet with about half the shallots. 

Fresh Trout

STEP TWO

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat; add 3 tablespoons sauce. Season both sides of fillets with remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper. Arrange fillets and lemon slices in skillet; sprinkle with some herbs. Cook until fillets are golden, about 4 minutes. Turn, sprinkle with remaining herbs, and cook until fish is cooked through, about 3 minutes. Serve with lemon slices and remaining sauce.

Seasoned Trout

NOTES: I used a cast iron skillet with 2 tablespoons olive oil heated over medium/high until glistening. I wanted the trout to sizzle when I placed it skin side down in the pan. I sprinkled  the tops of the filets salt and pepper and used no lemon. I seared the skin side to a light golden brown then flipped them over until down. The timing was the same as in step two.

Final Trout

This was a great dinner. It is extremely helpful having the folks at Locals Seafood showcase seasonal fish from our NC fisherman. I buy from them often and am most certainly looking forward to more clams and trout fillets. Don’t be scared to ask them about fish you may not have cooked with before. They are super friendly and will happily explain the various species and how to best prepare them. Thanks Locals Seafood, you guys ROCK!!!

Happy Eating!

Johanna

WHERE TO FIND LOCALS SEAFOOD

MARKET HOURS
>> MAP

Raleigh State Farmers Market
Indoor Market Shoppes
1201 Agriculture St
Thursdays • 10am-4pm 
Fridays • 10am-4pm
Saturdays • 10am-4pm
Sundays • 11am-3pm

Chapel Hill Farmers Market
University Mall
Saturdays • 9am-12pm

Western Wake Farmers Market
Carpenter Village - Cary
Saturdays • 9:30am-12pm

LoMo Market
Farmers Market on Wheels!
30+ stops/week thru-out Triangle
SCHEDULE

Bella Bean Organics
Home delivery service
INFO

New England Clam Chowder Pizza

At the beginning of February, Locals Seafood kicked-off with their 1st annual Winter Seafood Jubilee, a series of North Carolina winter seafood-centric events and promotions taking place in NC’s Triangle region throughout February.

The Winter Seafood Jubilee kicked off with the “3 on 3 at the Winter Seafood Jubilee,” taking place during the first three weeks of February. Locals Seafood recruited three “social media foodie gurus” to participate, a challenge where each guru is responsible for one week in February and given three different species of winter seafood to cook and showcase to you. Kristen Baughman (@knbaughman) showcased her creations the first week, Kim Alexander (@trianglelocalista) the second week and now the torch has been passed on to me. It will be my job to highlight another three ways to incorporated local seasonal NC fish/seafood into your everyday cooking routine. Let the fun begin!!

I picked up my three species of fish this past Saturday at the Western Wake Farmers Market and was absolutely ecstatic when I saw the littleneck clams from Bogue Sound, near Swansboro, NC and harvested by Susan and Bobby Cummings. There is a story behind this recipe and one that I will forever hold near and dear to my heart.

I am blessed to have three amazing stepchildren. While all but one has left the nest, the one at home has an excellent palate and an interest in cooking. Adrien and I have toured the downtown Durham lunch scene on many occasions but one lunch stood out. It was the clam pizza from Pizzeria Toro. To boot, he and I recently talked about making clam chowder and ding ding ding…an idea was born! Why not make a New England Clam Chowder Pizza…Yes Please!!!

First off Adrien is a master of pressing dough and making a mean pie. He’s worked at Dominoes for 5 years and we’ve enjoyed many of his creative creations over the years. This we decided was going to FUN!!

adri prressing out dough

I scanned the Internet for ideas but really found nothing Adri pressing out doughhelpful. Every recipe I found called for using condensed clam chowder soup as the base and that was not what we wanted. We were looking to make our own. After much discussion, we decided on a homemade clam chowder soup base as the sauce topped with sliced potatoes, caramelized onions (Adrien’s idea and brilliant), cheese and pancetta. We’d add the whole clams towards the last ten minutes of cooking so they popped open just as the pizza finished cooking.

Adri pressing dough into pan

The recipe following was truly an experiment and not perfect but boy did we have fun. A word to Adrien. Thanks for being a great person. I am so glad we had this moment and look forward to more. Love you!

Here is a short video of Adrien pressing out the dough. The end is hilarious!

 

New England Clam Chowder Pizza

Ingredients

4 medium onions, halved and sliced thinly

2 Tablespoons oil (I used grape seed oil)

1 stalk celery, finely diced

3 garlic cloves, peeled and flattened using the edge of your knife

3 sprigs thyme

1-cup heavy cream

1-cup clam juice

Small container of ricotta cheese

2 small packages pancetta (or substitute bacon)

3 green onions, both white and green parts

I bag pre-made pizza dough (I get ours at Harris Teeter in the deli section)

Corn Meal

25 littleneck clams

Recipe

Preheat oven to 425 degrees with rack set in the middle of the oven

Sauce

Sauté celery in a small saucepan until soft, about 10 minutes.

Combine the smashed garlic thyme and bay leaves and tie together in cheesecloth

Add stuffed cheesecloth to sauce pan with the 1-cup of heavy cream and ½ cup of the clam juice.

Bring liquids to soft rolling boil, cover and take off the burner

Let the celery cream and herb mixture steep for half an hour.

Once steeped and cooled, remove cheesecloth and discard.

Add remaining mixture to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth

Add ricotta by the tablespoon and blend in to the mixture until desired consistency is achieved. (To me this mean dipping a spoon in the mixture and when I take it out the sauce is sticking to the spoon and not dripping off)

Onion

For the Pizza

Peel 2 medium size potatoes (Russet or Yukon Gold)

Cut in half and par-boil approximately 12-15 minutes (you want them just cooked through and not too soft)

Drain potatoes and place in freezer, 20 minutes (This will harden them up and make it easier to slice with a knife or mandolin)

When potatoes have finished cooling, slice a 1/8 inch think

Add 2 Tablespoons to a medium frying pan on medium/high heat and add cheeseonions.

When the onions start to sizzle turn heat to medium and let caramelize, stirring occasionally, approximately 20 minutes. (You want them a nice deep brown color)

While onions are caramelizing, cook pancetta in a sauté pan over medium until cooked through lightly. The pancetta will continue to cook on the pizza so you don’t want to overcook it. (Note: I actually cooked my pancetta first and used the rendered fat to cook the celery in =))

Assembling the Pie

Press out the dough on a cutting board or counter top that has been sprinkled with a handful corn meal. This prevents the dough from sticking to the surface. We pressed out ours to fit a large cookie sheet (see pictures)

Top with desired amount of sauce. We used about a cup

Top with sliced potatoes

Add caramelized onions in dollops

Add desired amount of cheese

Note: At this point we went ahead and placed the pizza in the oven for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, or piecrust is just turning lightly brown on the bottom, pull out of the oven and sprinkle pancetta over top.

Take whole clams (washed and scrubbed) and place spine side down over the pizza.

clams before cooking

Cook another 10 minutes or until clams have opened fully. (Discard any that do not open)

When done, take the pizza out of the oven and let rest 5 minutes.

Sprinkle with green onion

For a spicier version, sprinkle with crushed red pepper

Slice and chow down =)

finished clams

Recipe Notes:

This was a true experiment and we mostly guessed at a lot of things. I am confident this recipe is near exact but be prepared to wing some of the cook times depending on your oven.

Happy Cooks

Locals Seafood Winter Seafood Jubilee Events

Locals tapped several of their best restaurant customers around the Triangle to host events in conjunction with the Jubilee; Mandolin in Raleigh, Oakleaf in Pittsboro, and Carolina Crossroads at the Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill.  According to Chef Brendan Cox at Oakleaf, “If we’re truly dedicated to seasonality, it cannot begin and end with produce but must include our fisheries. Everything including fish and shellfish tastes better in its time”. Each restaurant will host a dining event featuring a variety of winter seafood.

Thursday, February 20th, 6:30pm – Mandolin Restaurant in Raleigh hosts a four-course winter seafood feast featuring a different item in every course. Reservations required, please call Mandolin at (919) 322-0365.

Wednesday, February 26th, dinner service, 5:30 til – Oakleaf Restaurant in Pittsboro will offer a supplemental Winter Seafood Jubilee menu in addition to their regular menu that evening with a selection of small plates under $20 featuring winter seafood items. Reservations encouraged but not required, please call Oakleaf at (919) 533-6303.

Thursday, February 27th, 6pm – Carolina Crossroads at the Carolina Inn invites guests to attend a cooking class in the Piedmont Room highlighting Chef James Clark’s techniques preparing three types of winter seafood. The event features the beers of Durham-based Fullsteam Brewery, with founder Sean Lilly Wilson on hand to speak to the importance of seasonal, local sourcing. Reception at 6pm, instruction begins at 7pm. Reservations required, limited seating available. Please call Lina at Carolina Crossroads, (919) 918-2735.

Happy Eating!

Johanna

Melt: 100 Amazing Adventures in Grilled Cheese by Shane Kearns

Grilled cheese: one of America’s favorite comfort foods. Warm, melty, and delicious, it’s just what the doctor ordered on a bad day or when you’re in a funk. But it’s not exactly exciting, is it?

Well, Shane Kearns is out to change that. His book, Melt: 100 Amazing Adventures in Grilled Cheese turns the staid grilled cheese sandwich into a canvas for inventive eats. From savory (white wine, mushrooms, and Raclette) to unusual (green tea tofu, anyone?) to sweet (Cherries Jubilee), Kearns covers all the bases and then creates new ones.

DSC_0035

The Asparagus and Lemon Pepper Vinaigrette caught my eye right away, and I had to try it out. My family is full of asparagus lovers, so this grilled cheese was a must. We were not disappointed. The vinaigrette was a perfect complement to the asparagus, and the Dubliner cheese had the perfect amount of bite the bring the sandwich together. My husband and son tore through the sandwich before I hardly had a bite. This one’s a winner.

Asparagus and Lemon Pepper Vinaigrette

Serves 1

For Lemon Pepper Vinaigrette:

1 small onion, sliced

2 teaspoons lemon/pepper seasoning salt

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1/2 tablespoon sugar

1/8 cup olive oil

For sandwich:

5 whole asparagus spears

2-4 tablespoons melted sweet butter, for grilling

2 slices sourdough bread

1/2 cup shredded Dubliner cheese

1. “Steam” the asparagus in the microwave by placing them in a microwave-safe bowl with enough water to cover the bottom of the bowl. Cook, covered on high for 30 seconds,

2. In a mixing bowl, combine all vinaigrette ingredients.

3. Grill asparagus spears in a grill pan on medium heat, drizzling vinaigrette over asparagus as they cook and continually turning spears so that all sides are covered by the vinaigrette and cook evenly. Set grilled asparagus aside.

4. Brush the melted butter on the outside of the 2 slices of bread. In the same grill pan, place 1 slice of bread butter side down, followed by Dubliner cheese and asparagus spears. Place other slice of bread on top, butter side up.

5. Let sandwich cook on medium heat for 3-5 minutes per side or until bread is golden brown.

6. Cut on the diagonal and serve.

Notes: I would rinse the grill pan lightly to ensure all onions are cleared out before grilling the sandwich. The onions from the vinaigrette have a tendency to gather in the ditches of the grill pan and burn while the sandwich is cooking.

DSC_0052

I also made the Rice Krispies Treat dessert. I’ll be honest with you- I tried this one simply because it sounded so very strange. Read the recipe below and you’ll see what I mean. However, this sandwich is actually amazing! These odd flavors melded beautifully. Another plus is that this sandwich couldn’t be easier to make. This one will become a go-to snack around here, that’s for sure.

Rice Krispies Treats

Serves 1

1 large Rice Krispies treat

Brie to cover 1 side of Rice Krispies treat

Peanut butter to cover 1 side of Rice Krispies treat

7 chocolate discs, melted

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. But the Rice Krispies treat horizontally. Spread brie on 1 half and peanut butter on the other. Drizzle melted chocolate on the peanut butter side.

3. Place only the brie half on a baking sheet and in the oven for 3 minutes. Set aside.

4. Combine the covered sides.

5. Cut in half and serve.

Notes: Make sure you place the Rice Krispies treat on parchment or a Silpat when you put it in the oven. It gets very melty and sticky while the Brie is melting. Also, if you don’t have melting chocolate (or don’t feel like fussing with it), Nutella makes a great stand-in for chocolate in this recipe.

 

by Gabrielle Kaasa

Gabrielle KaasaGabrielle is a proud Durhamite who enjoys cooking almost as much as eating. When she’s not in the kitchen, Gabrielle enjoys photography and adventuring with her partner, Bill, and son, Noah.

“Fire on the Rock” Battle Triggerfish Recap, Chef Miner vs Chef Brian

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“Fire on the Rock” brings the area’s culinary stars out to prove their skills. It is part of the annual “Got To Be NC” Competition Dining Series. Eight local chefs face the challenge of using local foods to create dishes that will convince the judges they are the best. And those judges are you. The Fire on the Rock preliminaries continued through Thursday night at The Lioncrest on the Biltmore Estate. Next week the the semi-finals go down Tuesday and Wednesday evening. Go to competitiondining.com for tickets and more details.

WLOS ABC 13 went behind the scenes to bring you a glimpse of what Competition Dining is all about

Scene on 7 talks to diners during Battle Triggerfish

Battle Triggerfish Recap

There is only one thing to say about Battle Triggerfish……….BACON!!! Don’t get me wrong, all courses were delicious, and both Chef Matthew Miner formerly of The Asheville Public, soon to start at The Blackbird Restaurant and Chef Jason Brian from Jack of the Wood really stepped up to the challenge and created delicious and beautiful dishes……..but!

Team Jack of the Wood (left), Team Miner (right)

Team Jack of the Wood (left), Team Miner (right)

It was a challenge that came down to one defining course. “Bacon & Eggs.” Triggerfish “Bacon”, Soft Truffled Egg, Toast and Coffee Panna Cotta by Team Miner recieved the highest score of the evening, a weighted score of 79.80.

"Bacon and Eggs," Team Miner

“Bacon and Eggs,” Team Miner

On his team was the very talented Chef Eden Roorda who was the mastermind behind the candied, smoked triggerfish bacon. The plating itself was playful and creative. The scramble eggs were soft and fluffy and served in an egg shell nestle into a hole cut out in the bread. The panna cotta was light and airy, with just the right hint of coffee and touch of sweetness. The bacon, the shining piece de resistance, was eagerly devoured by all. I don’t think anyone talked about much else the rest of the evening and I was incredibly happy when Chef Roorda offered to share the recipe.

Triggerfish “Bacon” by Chef Roorda

2lbs triggerfish , skin off filet and cut into strips lengthwise (I plan to try this using several types of fish)

Cure:

1 cup kosher salt
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tablespoon fennel seed
6 bay leaves crushed
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp crushed black pepper

Start soaking about 4 cups of hickory wood chips in warm water.  soak for at least an hour.
In a big bowl gently pack the dry mix on the strips of fish completely coating each piece.  Put a rack on top of a sheet tray and put the fish strip by strip not touching on the rack.  Set aside for 30-40 min.  rinse each strip under cold running water to remove any excess salt and sugar.  Put back on the rack and let it air dry for 30 min.

Preheat an oven to 200 F

Set up an indoor smoker by putting the soaked chips in the bottom of a large hotel pan and put a perforated hotel pan on top of that. Put over two burners and turn on low until you see wisps of smoke.  Put the fish in the pan strip by strip trying to keep from touching too much. cover tightly with tin foil and smoke for 30-40 min.

Make the lacquer:

1cup of molasses
1 tsp pink peppercorn crushed
1 tsp green peppercorn crushed
1 tsp white peppercorn crushed
1/2 cup lusty munk honey mustard
1 cup orange juice
1 1/2 cup brown sugar

Put everything in a sauce pot and simmer gently until it reduces into a syrup like consistency.
After smoking the fish pull the perforated pan off of the bottom piece and put inside a clean hotel pan. brush a thin layer of lacquer over each individual strip of fish and put into the 200 degree oven.  Every 10 min pull the pan out and brush more lacquer on the fish.  Keep doing this until the fish has dried and hardened like bacon or candy.  Should take about an hour.

The Dishes:

Course 1
Triggerfish Medallion with Coconut-Chili Broth, Lobster Dumpling and Green-Papaya Salad, Chef Miner, weighted score 65.89.

Course 1 Triggerfish Medallion  with Coconut-Chili Broth, Lobster Dumpling and Green-Papaya Salad

Course 2

Triggerfish Meatball in Smoked-Tomato and Crab Piedmontese Sauce, Basil-Goat Cheese Polenta Cakes, Chef Brian, weighted score 55.92.

Course 2 Triggerfish Meatball Smoked-Tomato and Crab Piedmontese Sauce, Basil-Goat Cheese Polenta Cakes

Course 3

Tempura Triggerfish Role with Ginger-Shiitake Duxelle, Five-Spice Syrup & Triggerfish Cracklin’, Chef Miner, weighted score 66.33

Course 3 Tempura Triggerfish Role  with Ginger-Shiitake Duxelle, Five-Spice Syrup & Triggerfish Cracklin’

Course 4

Seared Triggerfish  with Sweet Potato-Apple Puree, Potato Crisp, Pickled Carrot & Apple Skin, Green-Apple Reduction, Chef Brian, weighted score 58.11

Course 4 Seared Triggerfish Sweet Potato-Apple Puree, Potato Crisp, Pickled Carrot & Apple Skin, Green-Apple Reduction
Course 5

“Bacon & Eggs”  Triggerfish Bacon, Soft Truffled Egg and Toast, Coffee Panna Cotta. Chef Miner, weighted score 79.80

Course 5 “Bacon & Eggs” Triggerfish Bacon, Soft Truffled Egg and Toast, Coffee Panna Cotta

Course 6

Candied Fish Skin with Roasted Red Pepper Sorbet, Lemon Doughnut and Balsamic Reduction. Chef Brian, weighted score 58.74.

Course 6 Candied Fish Skin with Roasted Red Pepper Sorbet, Lemon Doughnut and Balsamic Reduction

Final Scores by Chef

Contestant Voter % Score Pros % Score Final Weighted % Score
Miner 72.439 66.667 70.70731707
Brian 59.167 53.889 57.58333333

Special Thanks to the sponsors for making the “Got to be NC” Competition Dining Series possible.  North Carolina Department of AgricultureSouthern Foods/Pate Dawson,Crippen’s Country Inn & RestaurantOur State magazine and local partners in each region of the state.

The goal of the series is to celebrate local North Carolina products and agriculture and to showcase the culinary ingenuity and talent across our state.

Battle Pork Butt Recap

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I’m now going into night three of “Got to be NC” Competition Dining and the fun, I have no doubt, is going to continue.

Last nights “Battle Pork Butt” was an exciting evening for both team Red Stag Grill and team Hobnob. The fans were in the crowd and when each team was announced my Host Jimmy Crippen at the beginning of the evening, they hooted and hollered their support. It was a great start to Battle Two of “Fire in the Triangle.”

Instead of going over and rehashing each dish, I thought I’d  showcase a series of pictures from throughout the evening to give you a feel for what Competition Dining is all about. Because if you haven’t had a chance to attend, It really is great fun.

First off, both teams fought hard and fought well; all the dishes served being drool worthy. Sadly of course, being a competition and all, only one team could win. So congratulations to Chef Adam Hayes and his team from Red Stag Grill for moving on to the semi-finals beginning next week. Chef Hayes will compete with Chef Peter Pollay from Posana Cafe next Tuesday, January 22nd. Who will move on to the finals? Get your tickets here.

Team Adam Hayes, Red Stag Grill (Hayes, middle)

Team Adam Hayes, Red Stag Grill (Hayes, middle)

The winning dish of the evening, with the highest weighted score of 79.18 was this incredible “Sweet Butt” from Chef Hayes. Chef, can you please make this for me again?

 “Sweet Butt” Slow Braised Pork Butt with Apples, Cinnamon, Brown Sugar and Vanilla, Strudel Cup, Walnut Butter, Caramel Sauce, Apple-Brandy Gastrique

“Sweet Butt” Slow Braised Pork Butt with Apples, Cinnamon, Brown Sugar and Vanilla, Strudel Cup, Walnut Butter, Caramel Sauce, Apple-Brandy Gastrique

Chef John Strauss and team Hobnob deserve a big round of applause for the delicious dishes they created, especially the first course, Sweet-Potato Roasted Pork Tomato-Poblano Soup with Chipotle-Cilantro Crème Fraiche, and Cracklins.

Chef John Strauss (midlle)

Team John Strauss, Hobnob. (Strauss, middle)

Sweet-Potato Roasted Pork, Tomato-Poblano Soup with Chipotle-Cilantro Crème Fraiche, and Cracklins, (Strauss)

Sweet-Potato Roasted Pork, Tomato-Poblano Soup with Chipotle-Cilantro Crème Fraiche, and Cracklins.

So much of what we see or visualize, whether attending an actual Competition Dining event or following the evening on twitter or Facebook, is not all that is going on. Staffing has to be in place, Chefs need to be working together to execute each dish in a timely fashion and someone has to keep this all in check. Here are a few pictures of the people that make it happen and what is going on behind the scene.

staff

The "God" in the kitchen, Chef Ref Lawrence. The man keeping everyone on time and on the ball.

The “God” in the kitchen, Chef Ref Lawrence. The man keeping everyone on time and on the ball.

Red Stag Grill plating Heritage Farms Pork Pate with Ashley Farms Rabbit Saddle Pickled Beet Salad, Cumberlin Sauce, and Fig Rosemary Mustard

Red Stag Grill plating Heritage Farms Pork Pate with Ashley Farms Rabbit Saddle Pickled Beet Salad, Cumberlin Sauce, and Fig Rosemary Mustard

Team Hobnob plating

Team Hobnob plating

Of course, while all this is happening in the kitchen, diners are enjoying a lovely dinner, chatting with friends, family and loved ones, and making new friends with the rest of the people at the table and surrounding them.

dining fun 3

family fun

Me and our table

table 7 3

table 7 2

To see all the Competition Dining photos from Battle Pork Butt, go here.

For the full “Battle Pork Butt” menu and scores, go here.

For tickets to Competition Dining, go here.

About Competition Dining: This unique 15-dinner competition dining experience will travel across five different regions of the state starting this week with “Fire in the Rock.” Each evening, two restaurants “battle” it out side by side in a single elimination, “Iron Chef”-style format. Each chef must create three courses, for a total of six plates, each using a “secret” North Carolina Ingredient.

The Sponsors: “The “Got To Be NC” Competition Dining Series is a brand new event sponsored by the North Carolina Department of AgricultureSouthern Foods/Pate Dawson,Crippen’s Country Inn & RestaurantOur State magazine and local partners in each region of the state. The goal of the series is to celebrate local North Carolina products and agriculture and to showcase the culinary ingenuity and talent across our state.

Food Lovers’ Guide to Raleigh, Durham, & Chapel Hill is out!

Finally, after months of hard work and many more months of waiting, I’m so excited to announce that Food Lovers’ Guide to Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill is available!

Trying to fit all the goodness of the Triangle’s many restaurants, food trucks and more into one book is a daunting but delicious task! The book is full of great information for visitors looking to enjoy the local food scene (such as don’t-miss-this landmark eateries), new residents (listings of the local annual food festivals and all of our fabulous farmers’ markets) and long-time Triangle lovers (recipes from some of your favorite chefs!)

The official book launch for the Food Lovers’ Guide to Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill will be Sunday, September 16 at G2B Gastropub in Durham. If you’re familiar with G2B, you know Chef Carrie Schleiffer‘s cuisine is a real treat (if you’re not familiar with G2B, check out page 163 in the book!) Details are below:

Book Launch:

G2B Gastropub

Sunday, September 16th, 4-6pm

Please RSVP for this event!

Featuring:

$4 bar snacks

$5 housemade charcuterie

$3 NC Draft Beer and $5 red or white wine

There will be copies of the book for purchase at the launch, but if you can’t wait until then, it’s available at area bookstores including:

Barnes and Noble New Hope Commons

Barnes and Noble Southpoint

Barnes and Noble Brier Creek

It will be in stock at these local independent booksellers at the beginning of next week:

The Regulator in Durham

Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh

If you can’t make the launch, I hope you can come out to one of these additional events:

Book signings:

Saturday, September 22

A Southern Season, Noon-2pm

Sunday, September 23

West 94th St Pub, 4-6pm

My Carolina Today Interview

If you would like to set up an event or an interview, please contact:  johanna (dot) m (dot) kramer (at) gmail (dot) com.

Many thanks to all the local food businesses that helped make this book possible. The Triangle is one of the best places in the world to live and eat! We have so much to be proud of here.

I hope this book will be a guide to help you reminisce about your old favorites and find new favorites as well.

Happy Reading (and Eating!)

Yes You Can, Can!!!

When you think of Napoleon Bonaparte, the image that springs to mind is generally of a powerful military leader who had an affinity for keeping one hand in his jacket.  It’s unlikely that you think of canning, but perhaps you should.  In the late 1700’s, concerned with the availability of fresh food to his troops, Bonaparte offered a reward to anyone who could come up with a handy method of food preservation.  Nicholas Appert stepped up to the challenge and found that heating and sealing food in glass jars, thereby sterilizing it, would make it last longer.  Other scientists worked on his ideas and in 1858, John Mason invented a machine that could cut threads into lids and thus was born the Mason jar, complete with a zinc lid threaded with a rubber seal, rendering the jar reusable, something that previous canning methods had not offered.

With the invention of the Mason jar and subsequent Ball jar, canning became a popular activity in homes.  It provided a cheap and effective way for families to put aside food for months and even years.  Not only was it economical, it was something that they could do together, an opportunity for bonding and creativity.  With the proper planning and research, nearly any food could be canned, from fruits and veggies, to meats, sauces, jams, jellies and soups.

Today, all of that still holds true, and while it is not as prevalent as it has been in previous eras, there is still a vast community of canners and lately, a resurgence in wannabe canners who just don’t know where to start.  That’s where Market Restaurant is coming in.  Chef Chad McIntyre is holding a series of weekly canning classes in which he will teach students the basics and a bit more.  A constant canner, Chad has spent a lot of time in the kitchen perfecting the techniques, which he says are nothing to be intimidated by.  Food you can at home is no different from food that you buy canned at the store, except that it is more than likely fresher and freer of preservatives and you know precisely where it comes from.  Though there is definitely a risk if recipes, temperatures, and ratios are not followed, canning is as simple or as complex as you choose to make it.  Just to give you a taste of what you might learn in one of Chad’s classes, here is a recipe for the pickled onions he uses in the restaurant.

For  more updates about what’s happening at the restaurant, follow Market on Facebook and Twitter.

PICKLED ONIONS

½ tsp pickling spice

Courtesy of Market Restaurant

½ tsp turmeric1 ½ c sugar

1 c water

1 c apple cider vinegar

1 pinch salt

½ tsp whole brown mustard seed

½ tsp celery seed

6-7 cups onions, julienned (approximately 3 large onions)

  1. Combine the ingredients, minus the onions, in a large pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Pack the onions in hot jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace.
  3. Remove air bubbles.
  4. Adjust two-piece caps.
  5. Process for ten minutes in a boiling water canner.
  6. Always be sure to follow manufacturer’s guidelines for the specific jars and lids that you use.
  7. Enjoy your pickled onions as a flavorful addition to salads, sandwiches and more!  And the next time you see that famous portrait of Napoleon Bonaparte, be sure to tip your farmer’s hat to him and thank him for the gift that is delicious, locally grown, locally canned food.

Written by Sherri Allen, Market events planner, personal assistant, all around awesome human being.  Her email is sherri@market-raleigh.com. She has a degree in English from ECU

HAPPY CANNING!!

Shrimp & Grits and Seafood & Wine Festival Recap

This past Saturday, seven chefs from Chapel Hill and Carrboro competed at the Carolina Inn’s first ever shrimp and grits throwdown. Over 250 people bought tickets to attend, and a portion of the proceeds were donated to TABLE, a non-profit serving Chapel Hill-Carrboro children at risk for hunger. It was a great day!!

Courtesy of Carolina Inn

The celebrated chefs were asked to prepare their own unique twist on Shrimp and Grits and guests and judges enjoyed tasting samples from each and then voting for their favorite.

The seven competing chefs included Jeremy Blankenship, Chef of Tyler’s Restaurant & Tap Room; Trey Cleveland, Executive Chef of Top of the Hill; Adam Cobb, Executive Chef of Glasshalfull; Bret Jennings, Executive Chef and Owner of Elaine’s on Franklin; Vimala Rajendran, Executive Chef and Owner of Vimala’s Curryblossom Café; Jimmy Reale, Executive Chef of Carolina Crossroads Restaurant and Bar; and Adam Rose, Executive Chef of Il Palio.

Aaron Nelson, President of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber, served as Master of Ceremonies for the Throwdown, while the judging panel included Andrea Griffith Cash, Editor for Chapel Hill Magazine; Deborah Miller, Host of SideDish on 1360 WCHL; Laurie Paolicelli, Executive Director of the Chapel Hill-Orange County Visitors Bureau; Kevin Schwartz, Director of The Daily Tar Heel; and Andrea Weigl, Food Writer for The News & Observer.

Bragging rights to the Shrimp and Grits Throwdown go to:

Vimala Rajendran, Executive Chef and Owner of Vimala’s Curryblossom Café

1. Trey Cleveland, Executive Chef of Top of the Hill

2. Jimmy Reale, Executive Chef of Carolina Crossroads Restaurant and Bar

3. Jeremy Blankenship, Chef of Tyler’s Restaurant & Tap Room

Fan Favorite: Vimala Rajendran, Executive Chef and Owner of Vimala’s Curryblossom Café (I must admit, this was my personal favorite and the dish I voted for. I will definitely be making Vimala’s recipe at home)

For all shrimp and grits recipes, go here.

Sunday brought me to the Seafood and Wine Festival at Sip…..a Wine Store in Cary. On hand with fresh raw oysters, clams and ceviche and tartare were Dock to Door and one of their suppliers Shooting Point Oyster while wine was sponsored by The Clever Vine, Sour Grapes and Centerba. Prodigal Farm provided a Goat cheese tasting.

“Dock to Door is a fresh seafood distribution service based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  We are driven by our passion for sourcing the finest seafood from the shores of North Carolina and supporting the local economy by connecting our friends and neighbors with seafood straight from the boats of North Carolina fishermen.”

Read what the Independent Weekly has to say here.

As an added bonus, Dock to Door is offering a 20% discount on online purchases made between now and March 3rd. Just use the code “SIP” at checkout (Note: February 28 orders are complete). At this time, Dock to Door offers pick up locations in Durham on Tuesdays from 5-7 pm at Fullsteam, and in Chapel Hill on Fridays from 5-7 at 3 CUPS. Based on demand, Sip…a Wine Store, in Cary will resume as a pick-up location.

You can sign up for their newsletter here to be updated about new offerings

One of the delicious items Dock to Door sampled yesterday was this fabulous Tuna Tartare.

Carolina Blackfin Tokyo Tuna Tartare.

(As seen on Foodnetwork)

Ingredients

3/4 pound #1 grade Ahi, cleaned and diced finely

10 scallions, white and light green parts, finely minced

1 cup peeled, finely diced European or Japanese cucumber

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons soy sauce

3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon finely grated ginger

1 clove very fresh garlic, minced

3 tablespoons Ginger Oil (see Note)

1 package toasted nori

1/2 cup toasted sesame seeds

Directions

Keeping the tuna very cold, toss gently with the scallion, cucumber and a bit of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. In another bowl whisk the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ginger, garlic and Ginger Oil until well blended. Add to the fish mixture and toss to dress well.

Cut the nori into 1 1/2-inch rounds and mound the tartare mixture by the teaspoonful onto the nori rounds. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve immediately. Alternatively it can be served on an ice cold plate lined with lettuce leaves and garnished with marinated seaweed and sesame seeds, as an appetizer.

Note: To make Ginger Oil, combine lots of ginger scraps and canola oil in a small saucepan. Heat oil slightly, about 3 to 5 minutes over medium heat, then remove from the heat. Let steep for a couple of hours or up to a day, and strain.

Whole Foods Market Beef and Quinoa Meatballs & Pantry Challenge Winner

Taking the Whole Foods Market pantry challenge was a great lesson on how eating healthy is not as difficult as one might think. With the $50 worth of healthy pantry staples (see below) Whole Foods Market suggests, you always have on hand the start of a delicious and nutritious meal for the entire family.

Take the Beef and Quinoa Meatball recipe below. Using quinoa instead of breadcrumbs provided more protein and flavor while retaining the texture of a good meatball. And let me tell you, these were a winner for dinner!!

This being the last of my posts for Whole Foods Market, I wanted to leave you with a few of the recipes I played around with using the pantry staples listed below. Along with the  Beef and Quinoa Meatballs, I have also included the recipes for Oatmeal Cookies and Sauteed Greens with Cannelini Beans and Garlic.

Whole Foods Market gave me a $50 gift certificate to the Whole Foods Market in Durham to give away and although I am late announcing the winner due to several factors, I am happy to announce the WINNER IS: ELISA, who said she can’t live without canned tomatoes…I couldn’t agree more. I used Random.org to generate the winner.

Elisa, please email for details: durhamfoodie@yahoo.com

Please enjoy the recipes below. They were all great new additions to our list of family favorites and I hope you enjoy them as much as we did.
Past blog post recipes included:

Beef and Quinoa Meatballs

Courtesy of Whole Foods Market

Serves 6

Sneak whole grains and veggies into crowd-pleasing meatballs with this easy recipe that will stretch your food dollar, too. Serve with your favorite pasta and marinara sauce or on a hoagie with cheese for a dynamite meatball sub sandwich.

Ingredients

Nonstick cooking spray 1 pound (95-percent) lean ground beef 3/4 cup cooked quinoa 1/4 cup finely chopped onions 1/4 cup grated carrots 1/4 cup grated zucchini 2 tablespoons ketchup 1 tablespoon chopped garlic 1 tablespoon soy sauce 1/2 teaspoon pepper 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme 1 egg

Method

Preheat oven to 500°F. Line a large baking sheet with foil then grease with cooking spray; set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together beef, quinoa, onions, carrots, zucchini, ketchup, garlic, soy sauce, pepper, salt, oregano, thyme and egg until well combined. Shape beef mixture into 16 balls and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Roast until cooked through and golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Serve hot.
(Note: To cook quinoa, bring 1 cup water to a boil in a small pot. Pour in ½ cup quinoa, cover and simmer until water is absorbed, 10 to 12 minutes. Set aside off of the heat for 10 minutes then fluff with a fork. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.)

Nutrition

Per serving: 150 calories (45 from fat), 5g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 75mg cholesterol, 470mg sodium, 8g total carbohydrate (1g dietary fiber, 2g sugar), 17g protein

$50 Whole Foods Market Pantry Staple List

Courtesy of Whole Foods Market

  • 1 lb black beans
  • 1 lb lentils
  • 1 lb quinoa
  • 2 lbs brown rice
  • 3 (32-oz) boxes vegetable broth
  • 1 (32-oz) box chicken broth
  • 1 lb rolled oats
  • 2 cans cannellini beans
  • 1 lb orechiette pasta
  • 1 lb pasta, your favorite kind
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 jar unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 (32-oz) box unsweetened soymilk
  • 1 (32-oz) box unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 (5-oz) can tuna
  • 3 (15-oz) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 package no-oil sundried tomatoes
  • 1 jar pasta sauce

Low-Fat Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate Chips (or Raisins)
(adapted from Food Fit)

Ingredients

1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
2 tbsp butter, room temperature
1/4 c plain apple sauce
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups quick cooking oats
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add cinnamon if using raisins, instead of chocolate chips.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and the sugars. Beat in the egg, followed by the applesauce and the vanilla extract. Working by hand, stir in the flour mixture and the oats until just combined and no streaks of flour remain. Add chocolate chips or raisins just before the batter comes together.

Drop tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 9-12 min at 375F. Cookies will be light brown at the edges, but will not get as dark and golden as regular cookies.

Let cool on sheet for 3 or 4 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Makes 2 dozen cookies.

Sauteed Greens with Cannellini Beans and Garlic

(Bon Appetit)

A great side, but also a nice vegetarian dinner when made with vegetable broth and served over rice.

Ingredients

5      tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

3      garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1/4      teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

1      large bunch greens (such as spinach, mustard greens, kale, or broccoli  rabe; about 1 pound), thick stems removed, spinach left whole, other greens cut into 1-inch strips (about 10 cups packed)

1      cup (or more) vegetable broth or low-salt chicken broth

1      15-ounce can cannellini (white kidney beans), rinsed, drained

1      teaspoon (or more) Sherry wine vinegar

Preparation

Heat 4 tablespoons oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and dried crushed pepper; stir until garlic is pale golden, about 1 minute. Add greens by large handfuls; stir just until beginning to wilt before adding more, tossing with tongs to coat with oil.

Add 1 cup broth, cover, and simmer until greens are just tender, adding more broth by tablespoonfuls if dry, 1 to 10 minutes, depending on type of greens. Add beans; simmer uncovered until beans are heated through and liquid is almost absorbed, about 2 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon vinegar. Season with salt and pepper, and more vinegar if desired; drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and serve.

Whole Foods also provided a list of fantastic recipes, including the one for the meatballs. Here are their recipes.

Beef and Quinoa Meatballs

Zesty Quinoa with Broccoli and Cashews

Lentil Chili

Brown Rice with Chicken and Broccoli

Oatmeal-Apple Pancakes

Overnight Oatmeal

Tuscan Tuna Salad

Mexican Taco Stew

Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe, Sundried Tomatoes and White Beans

Almond Brown Rice Pudding

Learn to Cook: Brown Rice

Learn to Cook: Quinoa

Simple Oatmeal