Category Archives: Specialty Shops

“Cheese Nights” at Whole Foods Market Durham

Free Cheese Nights Event

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Lately I’ve realized I have an obsession for cheese. I can’t stop trying new varieties and nibbling on them for lunch or a late afternoon/evening snack. I’ve found I like the slightly nutty, sweet cheeses along with those that carry a slightly pungent bite.

It always excites me when Whole Foods Market hosts their  “Cheese Nights”. It’s the perfect opportunity to sample a selection of cheeses and learn about the various techniques of making cheeses so special.

I’ve had great success purchasing cheeses from Whole Foods Market in Durham and appreciate the cheesemongers expertise when looking to try something new, and they love talking cheese. Please join them at the upcoming “Cheese Nights” tasting and enjoy an array of delicious cheeses and pairings. This event is free to the public.

I added a great recipe to the bottom of this post for MINI HAM AND CHEESE QUICHES. These are fun and easy and the meat and cheeses can be substituted for whatever suits your fancy.

Got a favorite cheese recipe? Share a link to that recipe for a chance to win a $50 gift certificate to Whole Foods Durham. Contest will run until Dec 1, 2014.

Whole Foods Market is sampling a unique selection of cheeses brought to you from the Alps at our quarterly Cheese Nights event. The free event will be on Tuesday, December 9th from 6-7:30 p.m. Come taste a diverse selection of delicious Alpine-style cheeses and see what makes their traditional techniques so special.

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What are Alpine-style Cheeses?

They involve communal farming and cheesemaking with the peak season happening in winter.

Traditionally made in the Jura Mountains and the Italian Alps
Animals are moved up the pasture starting in May or June and moved down in Mid-September, this is known as Transhumance.

Each region developed its own style and flavor due to herd size, remoteness and local preference.

Cheeses are produced in mountain chalets where the cows graze.
The buttery and nutty Alpine cheeses reflect rich, grassy flavors because of grazing.

Wheels are stored in curing rooms or caves and kept at 50°-55° F for 4 months to a year or more.

Cheesemakers check the cheese by thumping to hear if the cheese is ripening to expectations.

Whole Foods Cheese

Some favorite Alpine-style cheeses include:

Le Maréchal
• A handmade raw milk cheese that is sprinkled with herbs while it matures, giving it a savory, rustic flavor.
• Pairs with: Shiraz, wheat beer, olives, dried figs, crostini, arugula—great in fondue.

Emmi Roth Käse
Pavino
• Created just for us by celebrated American cheesemakers in Wisconsin, this cow’s milk cheese has a crave-worthy piquant bite.
• Pairs with: Pinot grigio, pears, walnuts or dried apricots—great in grilled cheese sandwiches and fondue.

Comté Les Trois Comtois
• Aged raw cow’s milk cheese from the Jura region of the French Alps. Buttery, rich, mild and sweet.
• Pairs with: Chardonnay, altbier, dried apricots—great in French onion soup and cheese tarts.

Emmi Roth Käse
Emmentaler
• The best version of the original Swiss cheese that we all know and love. Made with raw milk. Sweet and nutty overtones and a sharp finish.
• Pairs with: Riesling, brown ale, green olives, Dijon mustard, baguette—great in ham and cheese sandwiches, scalloped potatoes.

Emmi Roth Käse
Grand Cru Surchoix
• An award-winning washed-rind, raw milk cheese made with single-sourced milk. Nutty with notes of caramel.
• Pairs with: Rioja, pilsner, nuts, dried figs or apricots, cured meats—great in risotto.

Uplands Cheese
Pleasant Ridge Reserve
• Raw-milk, Alpine-style cheese from Wisconsin. One of the most-awarded chesses in American history. Smooth and earthy with mushroom overtones.
• Pairs with: Cabernet sauvignon, barleywine, pineapple, green grapes, brown bread, honeycomb—great in omelets.

What: Tasting of Alpine-style cheeses for your holiday get-togethers

When: December 9th, 2014, 6-7pm

Where: Whole Foods Market Durham

MINI HAM AND CHEESE QUICHES

Ingredients:
Pre-made pie crust
8 eggs
2/3 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheese (Goat Gouda or Cheddar)
1 cup ham, chopped

Method:
Preheat oven to 375°F. Using a pre-made pie crust sheet, cut out 6 circles (about 3 1/2-inch) and place in the cups of a large muffin tin. Chill crust in tin while you prepare filling. In a small bowl beat together 8 eggs, 2/3 cups milk, 1 cup shredded cheese (Goat Gouda or cheddar) and 1 cup chopped ham. Fill prepared muffin tins, season and bake 20—25 minutes until puffed and lightly brown. Let cool slightly and remove from tins.

Nutritional Info:
Per Serving:Serving size: 1 quiche, 310 calories (180 from fat), 19g total fat, 8g saturated fat, 270mg cholesterol, 490mg sodium, 14g carbohydrate (0g dietary fiber, 4g sugar), 18g protein

Happy Eating

Johanna

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Hone in on your knife skills…meet Harald Wusthof of Wusthof knives at WHISK!

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Saturday, December 6 from 11am to 2pm

Seventh generation owner, Harald Wusthof of Wusthof knives will meet and greet Whisk shoppers on Saturday, December 6th from 11 am until 2 pm. Watch product demonstrations, enter a drawing to win a 16-piece kitchen knife set, enjoy one day sales discounts of 20%, and more.

Harald Wusthof

Harald Wusthof will be in the Whisk kitchen to greet customers, take photos, sign memorabilia and answer questions. There will be contests with prizes for customers who bring in the oldest or the most unique Wusthof products.

One lucky Whisk customer will walk away with a brand new Wusthof knife block set valued at $1,420.00. To enter the drawing, customers may fill out an entry form in the store beginning November 15th. The drawing will take place at 2 pm on Saturday, December 6th at Whisk.

The original Wusthof factory dates back to 1814 and the business remains family owned to this day. Wusthof knives come with a lifetime warranty.

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Whisk is an independently-owned, full-service kitchen store located in the Waverly Place Shopping Center in Cary, NC. For more information about Whisk and to see a complete listing of its cooking classes, visit www.whiskcarolina.com. To find out more information about Wusthof knives, visit, http://www.wusthof.com/usa.

Whisk is located at: 316 Colonades Way, #214, Cary, NC 27518.
Telephone 919/322-2458

Keep your Pups Happy, Buy Local!!

This month on the My Carolina Today show I had the opportunity to talk about some great local people making delicious and nutritious dog treats.

Having two dogs of my own, I am very conscientious about what they eat. I buy all my dog food and treats at Oliver’s Collar and while I can’t remember the brand name of the food I buy, it is a grain free ,lamb and lentil mix. My dogs love it.

Pups

As for treats, they’ve never met a treat they didn’t like. The best part is that Oliver’s Collar makes their own treats, cookies and cupcakes AND sell Barley Labs and Chew Monster. It’s one stop doggy shopping for me.  Since I usually have to swing into The Streets of Southpoint once a week, I’ve started to make sure I go sometime between Thursday and Sunday when I know Good Grace’s will have their kiosk open.  After watching the My Carolina Today video, you will know just how good their tumbleweed treats are =)

On a fun note, respond with your favorite doggy picture a sentence or two of your favorite doggy moment between now and Sunday. Monday morning I will randomly choose a winner to receive a box of treats from Oliver’s Collar, Barley Labs and Chew Monster. If you mention seeing the My Carolina Today show at either Good Grace’s mall kiosks, they will give you a 15% discount.

Below you will find everything you need to know about these fabulous Triangle businesses.

Video from My Carolina Today, and yes, you will see me eating dog treats.

Good Grace’s Handmade Dog Treats

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All of our treats are handmade with all human-grade ingredients with no chemicals, preservatives, coloring or additives

We offer 16 different flavors

Eight of our flavors are Wheat-Free/Gluten-Free with six of those being strictly Grain-Free

We incorporate ingredients with specific health benefits to dogs (see attachment)

We sell our treats in variety bags, enabling our customers to choose whichever flavors they’d like, therefore only paying for flavors they know their dogs love. Absolutely customizable!

Each bag has a picture of one of our “Wagnificent Customers” on the bag, and yes, you can order bags with your dog’s picture on them. Personalized!

We currently sell our treats at four local farmer’s markets: Western Wake (Cary), South Durham, Midtown (Raleigh, North Hills Mall), and Holly Springs as well as many, many special events and festivals year-round throughout the triangle. Thursdays-Sundays we occupy kiosks at the Streets at Southpoint Mall (Chipotle/Panera Bread entrance) and at the Cary Towne Center Mall (near the food court).

Currently, the best way to find us is through our Facebook page (GoodGracesDogTreatsInc) with a website/online store set to launch at the end of the year.

www.goodgracestreats.com

(919) 816-7885

Facebook.com/GoodGracesDogTreatsInc

Chew Monster Dog Treats

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We started in 2011 to turn the hobby of baking with spent grain from home brewing into a business.  Chew Monster perfectly combines our love of dogs, beer, and the environment.

We use locally-farmed ingredients, so our treats feed back into the local economy while, more importantly, leading to the freshest treat possible. (These ingredients include our organic whole wheat flour, eggs, honey, natural peanut butter, and sweet potatoes.)

Our treats do not contain corn, soy, meal, or preservatives of any sort. After baking, they undergo a lengthy dehydration to ensure a shelf life of over 6 months.

We follow environmentally sustainable practices such as composting kitchen byproducts, using biodegradable packaging printed locally with soy-based inks, and “upcycling” malted barley from the beer brewing process.

All of our flavors are made with five or fewer ingredients, all of which are natural and easy to recognize. We also offer a wheat-free flavor in addition to our “spent grain” flavors.

www.chewmonster.com

Facebook.com/chewmonstertreats

Twitter.com/ChewMonsterNC

Barley Labs

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About the Treats

  • All-natural made with four simple ingredients:
    • Recycled barley from Fullsteam Brewery
    • Whole wheat flour
    • Eggs
    • Natural flavor component: peanut butter, pumpkin, or cheddar cheese from Durham’s Cultured Cow Creamery
  • MSRP $6.49 for an 8 oz. bag
  • 10 cents from every bag sold donated to the Animal Protection Society of Durham as a way to honor our rescue dog Barley who inspired the business

About Using Beer Grain

  • Scott is a home brewer and learned he could make dog treats from the leftover barley (“spent grain”) used in the beer making process.
  • During the beer making process, the barley has been steeping in water. Brewers then separate the grain from the water. The water is used to make beer. The grain that is left is what we use to create the treats.
  • There’s no beer in the treats so no drunk dogs, just happy ones.

Sourcing the Grain from Fullsteam

  • We needed a grain source so we contacted CEO Sean Lilly Wilson at Fullsteam because we are a huge fan of their beer and their very dog-friendly bar.
  • They donate most of their grain to local farmers who use it as feed and agreed to supply some to us to use for our treats.
  • We specifically use the grain from Fullsteam’s Southern Lager because it’s 100% barley and it is a light colored grain – we didn’t want the treats to be too dark.

Where to Buy Barley Labs

  • Nearly 70 stores carry Barley Labs; Full store list available at barleylabs.com/buylocal
  • Some specific stores in the Triangle area include:
    • Durham
      • Fullsteam, Bean Traders, Oliver’s Collar, Bull Street Gourmet & Market, Harris Teeter
    • Raleigh/Cary
      • AniMall, Lowes Foods, Harris Teeter, NOFO at the Pig
    • Chapel Hill
      • Weaver Street Market (all three locations), Harris Teeter

Holiday Gift Pack

  • Will only be available at barleylabs.com for $14
  • 5 oz. bags of each flavor of our treats (peanut butter, pumpkin, and cheese)
  • Barley Labs pint glass
  • All packed into a Barley Labs gift box

 About Us

  • Theresa Chu and Scott Beaudry – Co-owners
  • Barley, Chief Inspiration Officer and VP of Quality Control; Hops, Director of PR

www.BarleyLabs.com

Facebook.com/barleylabs

Twitter.com/barleylabs

Oliver’s Collar

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  • All of our treats, cookies, and cakes are baked on site including 3 flavors of doggie ice cream.
  • Oliver’s Collar products are wheat, corn and soy free.
  • Our cookies are frosted with a sugar-free yogurt icing using all natural decorating colors.
  • We bake custom birthday cakes using cream cheese icing and all natural decorating colors (minimum 3 days notice for custom orders).
  • The store also sells dog food, toys, accessories, etc.

Our products are available at Oliver’s Collar as well as 17 other retail shops across NC, PA and VA (see www.oliverscollar.com for locations).

4711 Hope Valley Road, Suite 4B, Durham NC 27707

919-401-4888

www.oliverscollar.com

Facebook.com/OliversCollarDogTreatBakery

Twitter.com/oliverscollar

Local Food Made Easy with Home Delivery and Subscriptions

Hi All, This month for my food segment on My Carolina Today, I was excited to talk about companies offering you fresh, local, high quality meats, produce, dairy and artisan food products. These companies make it easy to enjoy farm fresh foods delivered right to your door and offer convenient pick-up locations throughout the Triangle. Each one of these small companies is run by hard-working, dedicated folks who want you to enjoy the best food available by making it easily assessable Bella Bean Organics, Papa Spud’s and The Produce Box all offer a home delivery service making eating local and heathy easier than ever. Firsthand Foods offers a (M)eat Box subscription that you have to sign up for to receive your monthly box of meat during the allotted timeframe. Sign-up is open now but will be closing soon. Having cooked several cuts of their meats, I know firsthand (no pun intended) just how good the quality is. I suggest signing up asap!! NC Made was a company recommended to me by my friend Andrea Weigl, Food Writer at the News and Observer. WOW!! These are top-notch gift boxes of NC artisan food products and make perfect gifts for family and friends, corporate clients and wedding guests and any special event. I for one would be ecstatic to receive one. Thanks to all listed below for sharing your stories, products and enthusiasm for local food. Johanna Local Food Options Delivered to Your Door (Link to Video) 4966613_G   Firsthand Foods  Firsthand Foods   Firsthand Foods connects North Carolina’s pasture-based livestock producers with local food lovers, restaurants, food service providers, and retailers.  We source from a network of remarkable farmers who raise their animals humanely, on pasture, without feeding antibiotics or animal by-products, or using added hormones.  We do the legwork necessary to get a consistent selection of quality local meats into local markets. Firsthand Foods Meat box Firsthand Foods’ (M)eat Local Box is a seasonal subscription program that provides home cooks with a monthly delivery of fresh, pasture-raised pork and beef sourced from a network of remarkable North Carolina farmers who raise their animals humanely outdoors without growth-promoting antibiotics, hormones or animal by-products. Boxes are delivered to selected pick-up locations throughout the Triangle. (M)eat Local boxes are curated by us to include a mixture of fresh cuts, adapted to the season, with an emphasis on grilling cuts such as steaks in the summer and braising cuts like roasts in the winter. hire_the_wagon You’ll enjoy familiar products like pork loin chops and flat iron steaks. And you’ll discover more novel items like pork shanks, hangar steaks and marrow bones. To meet your every day needs, frozen ground beef, sausages, and pasture-raised whole chickens are available as “add-ons” when you pick up your box. Because they are sourced and sold locally, our meats are exceptionally fresh and contain no fillers, additives, nitrates or artificial colors. You can choose from a small box (3-5 lbs) or a large box (5-7 lbs).  Not sure what size is best?  Click HERE for some examples of what meats you might find inside a typical box. Website: www.firsthandfoods.com Twitter: @firsthandfoods Facebook: Firsthand Foods Papa Spud’s PapaSpuds_logoPapa Spud’s is an online farmer’s market, working to connect Triangle residents with local and/or sustainable farmers and their products. By using Papa Spud’s you can customize and purchase weekly deliveries of your favorite fruits and vegetables, direct from the farm – ensuring superior freshness and quality, while supporting local and/or sustainable growers, and offering them a fair price for their labors by cutting out the supermarket middle-man. How it Works 1) Sign up for service Sign up for service through our easy to use, mobile friendly website. http://papaspuds.com/subscription.php 2) Farmers list products Local farmers communicate weekly harvests to us and we list them on our website.

View products here 3) Custom Order or Auto Order Login to your online userpage and pick out your local selections for the week 

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Do nothing and we will automatically send you a box of seasonal products based on your account preferences. 4) We deliver to you! We receive products in from our farm partners, pack them up, and deliver them to your front door for you and your family to enjoy! Eat the freshest food available while doing something positive for the local community. Website: www.papaspuds.com Twitter: @papaspuds Facebook: Papa Spud’s The Produce Box  The Produce Box Enjoy NORTH CAROLINA farm-fresh fruits and veggies delivered each week to your front door or office! Eat good. Our NC farmers fill our weekly boxes with fruits and veggies harvested at the peak of freshness. And we offer local meats, cheeses, bread, honey, jam and more NC goodies that you can add to your box at any time!  Click here for prices, examples of our boxes and more on how our service works! Do good.  With every order, you help us to provide grants to NC farmers, programs for schools and boxes for low-income families in our area. Feel good.  Delicious, fresh produce gives you energy, strengthens your body and sharpens your mind. TPB BOX From award-winning peppers, eggplants and heirloom tomatoes to lettuces, melons and cabbages, our farmers work hard to put food on YOUR table! And it’s AMAZING how many delicious varieties of veggies and fruits we have in this state! John has an amazing field of asparagus near Pinehurst. Becky gives us those amazingly sweet Asian pears and NC persimmons. Glenn sent over 200 lbs of shitake mushrooms and Lou in Orange County grows fantastic garlic for us (as do Tom and Jan in Johnston County). Our farmers practice “good agriculture” by using filtered or closed water systems and cover crops. They are good stewards of the land they farm.  Many use little to no pesticides, and although most are not certified organic (very expensive to do), they are thoughtful and careful in the way that they farm. Each year, our partners diversify more and more and grow an amazing amount of fruits and veggies for our members. This is good for the environment, and good for you. These friends help us all to eat healthier! Website: www.theproducebox.com Twitter: @TheProduceBox Facebook: The Produce Box Bella Bean Organics  Bella Bean Organics About Organic local home delivery of produce, meat, eggs and artisan goods in Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Durham, RTP, Burlington, Greensboro, Mebane, Winston Salem, Wake, Durham, Orange, Chatham, Franklin, Guilford, Forsyth and Alamance Counties. Description Farmer Grown, Farmer Owned From our Farm to Your Table Bella Bean Organics is the leading home delivery grocer for organic produce and artisanal provisions in the triangle. We focus on offering food for the conscious consumer and work with local farmers and artisans. You can see a list of our offerings at market.bellabeanorganics.com You may be familiar with our sister farm, Coon Rock Farm in Hillsborough. Bella Bean Organics offers many Coon Rock Farm meats, eggs and produce alongside other local farmers’ goods. When you buy from Bella Bean, you’re buying from people that know how to grow food as well as sell it. The team at Bella Bean Organics is dedicated to providing organic, local produce as a main pillar of a healthy and nutritive diet. We’re committed to transforming the local food economy by educating our customers via our business model. We believe in our food. Bella Bean is the Piedmont’s leading home delivery service focused solely on local, organic, sustainably raised produce, meat, and artisan products. We are the only home delivery service in the state actually owned and run by local farmers. The Bella Bean team has invested years finding sustainable foods for their own table and their restaurants. Now all of these products area available through our service so that health and food conscious consumers in the Triangle and Triad areas can have a complete selection of sustainable, organic food delivered fresh to their door. Local & Organic Food Delivery Serving Wake, Durham, Orange, Franklin, Alamance, Chatham and Guilford Counties Bella Bean is an online farmer’s market and weekly delivery service. Each week we deliver fresh local and organic produce, meat, eggs, bread, cheese and specialty foods to your front door. Our delivery area includes Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Greensboro, Burlington, Winston Salem, Mebane and any other location in Wake, Orange, Durham, Forsyth, Franklin, Alamance, Chatham and Guilford counties. Support Local Farms & Sustainable Agriculture We partner with local farms and artisans to provide you with the freshest seasonal produce, meat, eggs, bread, cheese and specialty foods available. Your customized produce box is delivered weekly to your front door. Fresh Enjoy the freshest selection of produce, meat, eggs and specialty foods from local farms and food artisans – ripe and full of flavor. Flexible Customize your delivery. Pick and choose from a variety of locally grown fruits and vegetables, local meats, fresh baked bread, and local cheese. Travelling or don’t need a box one week? You can use our automated “hold” system to skip any week. Fun Order online. Your produce, meat, eggs and artisan foods will be delivered right to your door. No travel, no hassle. Our Service We offer weekly local and organic produce and artisan food delivery to the local area. Each week you may choose between our Recommended Box or a custom box with your favorite items. Our market is open between noon on Wednesday and 5:00 on Friday and deliveries occur on Tuesday and Wednesday depending on your location. The Recommended Box $20 (plus shipping & handling) Each week, we make a recommendation for your box. If you like our recommendation, then no action is required. The Recommended Box will arrive at your door on Tuesday. The Recommended Box is a $20 box perfect for individuals, roommates, or couples. Sample Recommended Box Lettuce Kale Eggplant Bell Peppers Sweet Potatoes Squash Customize Your Box If you know exactly what you want, you can order it by customizing your box. Choose from local & organic produce, pasture raised meats, cage-free eggs, local cheese, fresh baked bread, organic cookies & brownies, jams & jellies, and other specialty foods. We offer over 400 local products. Every Wednesday, we will send you a link to our online market where you will be able to customize your box. Website: www.bellabeanorganics.com Twitter: @SustainableEats Facebook: Bella Bean Organics NC Made  NC_MADE_LOGO-transparent

NC MADE curates gift boxes featuring handcrafted NC foods with a focus on tastiness and design. With its deep agricultural roots, North Carolina offers a world-class bounty of handcrafted gourmet foods. NC MADE was founded on the belief that these artisanal foods should be available in beautiful packages that you’d be proud to send as gifts.

We know that coming up with gift ideas is hard, so we make it easy. Our North Carolina food gift boxes are perfect for birthdays, anniversaries, expressing appreciation, housewarmings, and other special occasions. You can order via our website where shipping within NC and tax are included, or you can contact us to discuss custom or volume orders.

NC MADE gift boxes also make perfect corporate gifts. If you want to impress your clients and employees and support local North Carolina food producers while you’re at it, contact us. We are currently taking custom and volume orders for Christmas and the winter holidays.

We’re also perfect for weddings! If you want to feature North Carolina-made artisanal and gourmet foods at your wedding, contact us to discuss our North Carolina wedding welcome box and wedding favor offerings.

Our partners include the best in food from across the state. We’re proud to feature Durham’s Big Spoon Roasters nut butter, Waynesville’s Copper Pot & Wooden Spoon pickles, Hillsborough’s Farmer’s Daughter Brand preserves, Mt. Olive’s First United Methodist Church blister-fried peanuts, Concord’s Ritchie Hill Bakery cheese straws, Raleigh’s Videri Chocolate, and many more.

Follow our food journey on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

NC MADE Food Gift Door Photo Our partners:

  • Big Spoon Roasters (Durham)
  • Blue Blaze Soda Syrup (Asheville)
  • Cloister Honey (Charlotte)
  • Copper Pot & Wooden Spoon (Waynesville)
  • Crooked Condiments Apple Butter (Asheville)
  • Crude Bitters (Raleigh)
  • Farmers Daughter Brand (Hillsborough)
  • Hickory Nut Gap Farms Salami (Fairview)
  • Mt Olive First United Methodist Church Blister-Fried Peanuts (Mt Olive)
  • Num Num Grilling Sauce (Durham)
  • Outer Banks Sea Salt (Kitty Hawk)
  • Ritchie Hill Bakery Cheese Straws (Concord)
  • Tonya’s Cookies (Chapel Hill)
  • Videri Chocolate (Raleigh)
  • White Whale Cocktail Mixer (Durham)

Website: www.ncmade.net Twitter: @ncmadenet Facebook: NC Made  Happy Eating, Johanna    

Celebrating the Grilled Cheese at Whole Foods Market – Durham

The beginning of Fall always gets me excited about comfort foods like soups, roasts and seasonal salads. One thing that always makes me smile though is a good grilled cheese sandwich.

The beauty of the grilled cheese is it’s simplicity. “Grilled cheese can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch or dinner. They can be devoured on their own or paired with soup; jazzed up or dressed down – it really doesn’t matter, they taste just as good” says Eatocracy.

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Whole Foods Market in Durham is celebrating fall by grilling cheeses! Learn how to grill cheese, taste the season’s best cheese and try different grilled cheese sandwiches at the Whole Foods Market’s quarterly Cheese Night event on TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16 from 6-7:30 p.m. TONIGHT!!!!

You can also win a $50 gift certificate to Whole Foods Durham by commenting on this blog post. Details  listed below.

This event is free and open to the public and a great way to introduce kids to new and fun ways of creating their perfect grilled cheese. Let your kids sample a few cheeses and pick out their favorites. This gives them ownership over their sandwich and are more likely to try something new.

“We will taste a unique selection of delicious grilled cheeses and pairings. This event is FREE to the public, so come join us and learn what happens when heat meets cheese!,” says Whole Foods representative.

Whole Foods Cheese

Whole Foods Market Durham, Cheese Monger Ashley Cooper has this to say ; “A good grilled cheese should be melty, gooey, and provide contrasting flavors. On a simple grilled cheese, the best way to accomplish that is by pairing a base cheese to provide substance – such as Seaside Cheddar – with a slightly more flavorful cheese such as Gruyere for additional kick. Always use slices – never shreds – as it results in a more even melt and a better consistency.”

Ashley recommends the following combinations for Grown Up Grilled Cheeses:

“Always start a grilled cheese with your favorite bread – a rustic Ciabiatta alwas provides a nice combination of substance and flavor, and makes for a great presentation. Get creative with your components – I really enjoy pairing Gruyere – a complex rich and creamy cheese – with a simple fig spread and caramelized onions. Or Seaside Cheddar – a sharp, mature British Cheddar – with a local pepper jelly.”

Ashley Cooper is the Associate Team Leader of the Specialty Department at Whole Foods Market Durham. She’s received certification as a Certified Cheese Professional from the American Cheese Society, a title held by only 406 cheesemongers in the United States.

As for “grown-up” grilled cheese,” the possibilities are endless. Here are a few that popped to mind. Creamy havarti with blue cheese and fig jam. Aged extra sharp cheddar with apple. Fontina, Gruyere, Heirloom tomatoes and pesto spread. Gruyere and caramelized onions with a side of beef jus (think French onion soup in grilled cheese form). The list of combinations is endless and there is no right or wrong. That’s the beauty of grilled cheese! YOU OWN IT!!

Now is the best part, join the fun and tell me what creative ways you would make your perfect grilled cheese sandwich. Leave your comments below for a chance to win a $50 gift certificate to Whole Foods Market Durham. Winner will be picked at random and announced Friday at noon. Just in time for your weekend shopping. Deadline to enter is 10am Friday, September 19.

More from the Whole Foods Market Durham Cheese Department can be found here.

The Perfect Grilled Cheese (Courtesy of Whole Foods Durham)

Grilled Cheese and Tomato on Multi-Grain Bread

Grilled Cheese and Tomato on Multi-Grain Bread

Simple. Sublime. A textural masterpiece. From college hotplates to 5-star kitchens, few foods offer such a combination of approachability, ease of preparation and sheer unadulterated yumminess. Delicious in its purest form and accommodating enough to welcome a broad range of party-crashers (Granny Smith apples, anyone?), the GCS is a joy to make and devour. Here are some basic guidelines for perfect grilled cheese sandwiches every time.

Grilled Cheese and Tomato on Multi-Grain Bread

Grilled Cheese and Tomato on Multi-Grain Bread

The Bread

Of course many breads work quite well, but a favorite is nice, long oblongs of rustic country bread. Something with backbone, maybe a little chewy, with a crunchy crust.

The Cheese

Good melting cheeses include: Gruyère, cheddar, Colby, Monterey Jack, gouda or Havarti. Grate your cheese. It melts more evenly and is a great help when you want to blend cheeses—say a nice, melty Gruyère with a bit of tangy blue. Let the grated cheese come up to room temp before cooking.

Add-Ins

Think of things that go great on a cheese board: figs, ham, sweet pear or tart apple slices, balsamic-marinated veggies, chutney, honey—arugula or other spring greens are nice if added inside after the sandwich is done.

Butter

It’s important to spread a generous layer from edge to edge for that uniform golden crunch.

The Pan

Non-stick if you have one—you won’t have to use quite as much butter. A pan with a heavy base is great too, for an even heat.

Heat

Low-medium—you don’t want to blacken the bread, just golden it. Plop the sandwich in when the pan is heated up. No more than two minutes a side. Gentle pressure with a spatula helps move the heat into the center where the cheese is.

Bonus points: Once both sides are done, use a tong to hold sandwich edges to the griddle. This gives the oozed cheese that savory cooked crunch.

Preheated Oven

If cheese hasn’t thoroughly melted (don’t be afraid to open the sandwich up and check), pop the sandwich in the oven, pre-heated to 300, for about five minutes. The bread won’t overcook, but the cheese will melt completely.

For variations on the theme, take a look at all these grilled cheese recipes.

There’s nothing quite like melting, grilling or searing cheese! On your next Whole Foods Market visit, please stop by and chat with one of our cheesemongers. They are experts who love talking cheese and will happily give you a taste of any of our cheeses!

And don’t forget to come taste and sample at our next Cheese Nights. This one focuses on Grilling Cheeses. Tuesday, September 16th, 6:00 pm—7:30 pm. It’s free!

Happy Eating,

Johanna

Yes, We Can! All Day Canning Jubilee at Whisk, May 17th

Contests, Free Demos, Class with Pickles and Preserves author, Andrea Weigl, and more…

Whisk is hosting a daylong canning jubilee on Saturday, May 17th in the Cary kitchen store, located in Waverly Place shopping center. The event is a celebration of how and why we continue to can our food in the 21st century!

Whisk logo

Interest in home canning is resurging and Whisk is dedicating an entire day to this social, healthy, and tasty pursuit. While technically there is no longer a need to “stock up for winter”, we still persist in canning. Why? Says Whisk employee and local canner, Karen Bosse: “With canning you are able to capture your garden and the goodness of the local farmers’ markets – there’s tremendous flavor, ingredient control, and zero waste.”

The day-long event is headlined by News & Observer food writer and Pickles and Preserves author Andrea Weigl who is teaching an ‘Introduction to Canning’ class. Participants will prepare three recipes from Weigl’s book and learn how to can safely at home. This participation-style class runs from 2pm-4 pm, costs $49, with online registration at www.whiskcarolina.com.

pickles and preserves

 

Sadly this class is sold out  but be sure to pick up a copy of Andrea’s book. I just made her Habanero Pepper Jelly this weekend and it was a huge hit at Mother’s Day brunch. I served it along side grilled chicken but it also pairs very well with pork, fish and grilled vegetables. All the recipes in the book are worth a try.

Habanero Jelly use

There will also be a local Canning Contest that day, with free entry and terrific prizes from Whisk. The two contest categories are Jellies, Jams and Preserves, and Pickled Vegetables. Submissions must have been canned within the past 12 months and must be made using North Carolina produce. Whisk customers will be able to taste and vote for their favorites, and canning contest winners will be announced on Facebook.

Andrea's Pickles

Photo courtesy of Andrea Weigl

Free tastings and canning demonstrations will be offered throughout the day. In addition, all canning supplies will be 20 percent off on May 17th. Visit the store Monday through Saturday, 10am-6pm; and on Sunday, 12pm-5pm. For more information about Whisk and to see a complete listing of its cooking classes, visit www.whiskcarolina.com.

Other upcoming classes with Andrea include :

• 11 a.m.-2 p.m. June 7, Durham Spirits Co., 311 E. Trinity Ave., Durham. hands-on cooking class, $59. Details.

• 6 p.m. June 25, Southern Season, 201 S. Estes St., Chapel Hill. demonstration cooking class, $40, Details.

• 10 a.m. June 28, Sur la Table, The Streets at Southpoint, Durham, hands-on class, $69. Details.

Happy Canning

Johanna

Second Annual Flora and Food Truck Series

Fairview Garden Center to host second annual local food and local plant series on the following Saturdays…March 29, April 19 and May 17 …11am – 2pm

With local weather warming up to the 70s for Saturday, get out your gardening gloves, whet your appetite and then head to the Fairview Greenhouses & Garden Center, Inc. for the second annual “Flora and Food Trucks” series beginning this Saturday, March 29 (and Saturday April 19, and Saturday May 17) from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM at 8224 Holly Springs Rd. in Raleigh. The Fairview Garden Center hours of operation are 9 AM to 6 PM Monday through Saturday, Sundays 1 PM to 5 PM

The Flora and Food Trucks series promotes the idea that local food and local plants go hand in hand. Event attendees will have the opportunity to attend classes on vegetable gardening, herbs, perennials and container gardening.

florafoodtruck_spr14

“Last year was a great success!” says Susan Tower of Deliicious, “What a beautiful atmosphere to bring friends and family to enjoy local food!”

“With the winter we’ve had, everyone should be anxious to come out, get some flowers to brighten up their lawns and have some lunch outside from the great local food trucks,” says J West of Sarge’s Chef on Wheels.

The events are family friendly and admission is free. The food trucks will be charging their regular prices for the food offered. Food trucks attending this Saturday are: American Meltdown,
 Chick N Que, 
Sympathy 4 the Deli,
 Baguettaboutit,
 Sweet Traditions by LeAne. 

Other participating food trucks are Chirba Chirba, Deli-icious, Dump Pho King, Jam Ice Cream, Mama Dukes, Only Burger, Sarge’s Chef, Sweet Stacey Cakes, and Will & Pops.

Guests can find out more about the event and food truck details by visiting www.fairviewgardencenter.com.

Happy Eating

Johanna