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Competition Dining Chefs Fire It Up at the New Belk Home Store

It’s so fun to be a part of whatever Competition Dining is doing. On Thursday, August 14, the Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series and Belk celebrated the new freestanding Belk Store (604 Green Valley Rd.) in Greensboro with a unique, interactive cooking class that taught us how to to cook like a Competition Dining Series chef! If you missed it, don’t despair, all the pics and even recipes are below.

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This is the first freestanding Belk Home Store devoted solely to tabletop and housewares. The  store has a tremendous selection of high-end kitchenware…some of which were put into action at the event. Two of the 2014 Fire in the Triad quarterfinalists – Chef Chris Russell of B. Christopher’s in Greensboro and Chef Kevin Reddick of Artisan Restaurant in Winston-Salem, shared some of their tricks of the trade with an onsite cooking demo. AND we got to taste the deliciousness and took home some recipes to boot! Some lucky winners even got to take home some Got to be NC swag. Belk also gave away an incredible Le Crueset grill pan to one of our winners.

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Chef Chris Russell

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Chef Kevin Reddick

These two chefs are very engaging and are at the helm of two of the Triad’s yummiest kitchens. We encourage you to give them each a try very soon! Chef Kevin shared with us a Marinated Tomatoes and Compressed Watermelon with Grouper. He vacuum sealed the melon on-site which gave the melon an interesting texture as well as intense flavor. Then he seared the grouper and placed it on top of the melon and tomato. Wonderful! His second dish was a Virginia Lump Crab Cake with Summer Corn Aioli. Chef also juiced corn with a juicer provided by Belk (juicing corn!!) and used that juice to add sweetness to his aioli and just added a hint of corn flavor. A delightfully different twist to a traditional aioli.

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Chef Chris Russell’s first dish was a Mini Crab Cake with Roasted Corn and Tomato Relish, which is one of his specialties at his restaurant. He seared his crab cakes but finished them in an “not so conventional” oven for our demo. The corn relish was really great and summery. Chef’s second dish was an Applewood Smoked Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp with a great horseradish marmalade. There’s just something about bacon cooking, right?

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Ahh…the smells. The tastes! The chefs. So friendly and fun to watch. And these guys are busy…just after our event, Chef Russell headed out to cater a party for Crosby, Stills & Nash. How rockin’! And the following Monday, Chef Reddick was a featured chef at Dates Make a Difference’s Eat for a Cause.

The Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series is unlike any other dinner experience in the country! It’s a single-elimination tournament highlighting the best of the state’s food, agriculture and culinary talent. The competition hosts five regional tournaments throughout the year, including the surrounding markets for Wilmington, Asheville, Greensboro, Raleigh and Charlotte. The 2014 Fire in the Triad series pitted 16 top local chefs against each other this past April through June until a final winner emerged. You can find all of the results from the regional competition here. And next year, be sure to attend. It will be an evening you won’t soon forget!

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From the Kitchen of Kevin Reddick | Artisan Restaurant | Winston-Salem, NC
Recipe: Marinated Tomatoes and Compressed Watermelon with N.C. Grouper

Ingredients:

3 large heirloom tomatoes 2 Tbsp. basil
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil 2 Tbsp. sliced chives

1 ripe watermelon
Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper
4 (4-6 oz) portions fresh grouper Vacuum seal bags
Vacuum sealer

Method:

For the melon: Dice melon into 1/2” cubes, reserving as much liquid as possible. 2 cups total. Slice chives very thin and harvest at least 2 tsp. Put 1/2 melon in each bag, cover with juice, a touch of kosher salt, 1/2 tsp. chives, and seal. Chill for 2 to 4 hours.

For the tomatoes: Slice 3 tomatoes into steaks (slices). Toss in bowl with 2 tsp. kosher salt, 1 tsp. fresh ground pepper, 2 Tbsp. basil, and 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil. Place in single layer in flat dish, cover, and chill for

2 to 4 hours, turning once.

For the fish: Heat cast iron skillet or pan of choice, add grape seed oil and cook until 120 to 130 degrees, turning once.

Place tomatoes and melon on serving platter of choice and top with seared grouper. Drizzle with good finishing quality olive oil, eat and enjoy!

From the Kitchen of Kevin Reddick | Artisan Restaurant | Winston-Salem, NC
Recipe: Virginia Lump Crab Cake with Summer Corn Aioli

Ingredients:

3-4 ears of fresh corn 1/2 cup corn juice
1 1/4 cups mayo
1 egg

2 Tbsp. chopped shallots 2 Tbsp. sliced chives
1/2 tsp. red chili powder 1/2 tsp. old bay

Zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs Juicer
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper

Method:

For the aioli: Harvest 1/2 cup corn juice and combine with 3/4 cup mayo and 1/2 tsp. kosher salt.
Chill for at least 1 hour.

For the crab cake: Drain and pick crab. Add all ingredients except breadcrumbs and gently combine. Add breadcrumbs and gently fold in. Portion into cakes and chill for at least 1 hour. Sauté until 120 degrees and golden brown on both sides. Place on plate with dollop of aioli and serve with your favorite sides or a nice summer salad.

From the Kitchen of Chris Russell | B. Christopher’s | Greensboro, NC
Recipe: Mini Crab Cakes with Roasted Corn and Tomato Relish

Ingredients:

1# jumbo lump crab meat
1/2 finely diced red bell pepper
1/2 finely diced white onion
3 Tbsp. mayo
3 Tbsp. panko (Japanese) bread crumbs 1/2 tsp. whole grain mustard
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 ears silver queen corn (in husk)
3 Roma tomatoes. diced
1/2 finely diced red onion
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Juice of one lime
Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Sweat pepper and onion in sauté pan with olive oil. Set aside. Mix mayo, mustard and lemon juice in mixing bowl. Add crab meat, bread crumbs, salt and pepper and fold trying not to break apart the crab lumps. Refrigerate for 30 min. Shape into small patties. In a hot oiled pan, brown both sides for approximately 30 seconds or until golden brown and set aside. Finish in a 350 degree pre-heated oven for 8-10 minutes. Serve with lemon-dill sauce.

For the salsa: With husks on, roast corn on pan sheet in a pre-heated 400 degree oven for 40 minutes or until husks are completely brown in color. Let sit to cool. Unwrap corn and shave kernels off the cob. Mix all ingredients in mixing bowl and let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour before serving to let the mixture marry together for best flavor. Serve with crab cakes.

From the Kitchen of Chris Russell | B. Christopher’s | Greensboro, NC
Recipe: Applewood Smoked Bacon – Wrapped Shrimp

Ingredients:

Peeled and deveined white shrimp (tail on)

Applewood smoked bacon slices (thick cut)

6 inch skewers
Good quality orange marmalade Horseradish to taste

Method:

Wrap each shrimp with one piece of bacon, leaving tail exposed.

Skewer two shrimp per skewer.
Grill on Panini grill until bacon is cooked through.

Combine orange marmalade with horseradish to taste.

Serve the shrimp skewers with horseradish-orange marmalade dipping sauce or any favorite sauce.

 

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foodie b’eat: I successfully completed the $20 Challenge at the Farmer’s Market

My friend, Nikki Miller-Ka of Nik Snacks blog, has a $20 challenge cooking show that airs on the City of Winston-Salem’s cable channel. Nikki shops the Dixie Classic farmer’s market and finds the best produce, meat along with other items to make a complete meal for $20 (she can use “staples” from her pantry, like vinegar, flour, seasonings, etc). She challenged ME to do the same at any market I choose. Challenge accepted! So last weekend, I hit my Kernersville Farmer’s Market (located in downtown KVegas) with the hopes of finding some wonderful items to make a glorious meal that my hubby and kidlets would gobble up and never forget.

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Our local market is steadily growing. It has PLENTY of jam and bread but the produce is making its way in and though it’s still not as colorful as some markets who have been going for a while, it’s definitely a great place to get some seasonal items for your table. This weekend it was full of squash, squash, zucchini, squash, beets, greens and squash. Oh and green beans, and jam and bread and eggs and meat from…Rebel Ridge Farm.

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Love me some Rebel Ridge. The eggs are fabulous and farmer, Bob, has all natural chicken and lamb as well. Now, I hardly ever buy a whole roast chicken. I just don’t enjoy making it. Plus I want an “all-natural, unfooled around with” chicken and they are usually SO expensive and it’s hard to spend the money on ONE chicken. But Rebel Ridge’s chicken was $12 and I’m okay with that. Plus they told me at the market that his chicken was fantastic so I thought I’d give it a try.
Price: 12.00

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Across the way, I bought some green beans from this nice man. And I didn’t write the farm down, but his green beans were perfect.
Price: $2

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At the Crews table, I bought a .50 Texas Sweet Onion.

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Next table over, I purchased 2 lbs. of baby red potatoes from James Lawson.
Price $1.00

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I also purchased some just cut, romaine lettuce and tasted some delicious roasted beets. I’d purchase beets if I weren’t the only one to eat them. I really like them on a salad with spicy pimento cheese. Try it.  :)
Price: $3

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And from my friend, Laura Devonmille, of Simplicity Homestead, I bought some radishes. She’s got way more than that. And zucchinis as big as clubs. And jam and bread!
Price: $1.50

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There, that’s $20! I decided to make a roast chicken with green beans and caramelized onions and roasted potatoes. Kind of boring and pretty much a cinch. But ask my mr. foodie how often I make a roast chicken and you’ll find out that in my house, this is “special.” And it really was. The chicken was succulent and, unlike mass produced chicken, the Rebel Ridge Farm chicken’s skin was light, thin and crispy and the meat was tender and juicy (though I could’ve cut back the time…lesson learned).

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I ended up saving the romaine for another meal and used the leftover green beans, onions AND the potatoes for a future salad along with the rest of the chicken that I pulled off the bone. Kind of like nicoise..yum!

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So now I challenge YOU to make a meal with the major components being purchased from your local farmer’s market for $20. Are you up to it? What are your “foodie finds” at farmer’s markets?

$20 Farmer’s Market  Roast Chicken with Potatoes & Green Beans w/caramelized onions

1 whole chicken
Herbs (I used lavender, rosemary, thyme)
Salt/Pepper
Olive oil or butter

Rinse chicken and pat dry, generously salt and pepper the inside and out, under skin, etc., drizzle with olive oil and top with herbs.

Potatoes:
Halve or quarter to make even in size and drizzle with olive oil and seasonings. Place in the pan with the chicken.

Roast at 375 for 1 hour, then raise the temperature to 400 and cook an additional 15 minutes until done. If you’re chicken is smaller, adjust time accordingly.

Green beans with caramelized onions
Trim green beans if needed, slice onions into thin strips. Add butter or oil to pan and saute onions slowly until caramelized. Meanwhile in a pot of boiling water, blanch your green beans for a few minutes, then remove, drain and add to the onions. Saute until they are tender crisp.

Enjoy!

If you have leftovers, simply place your beans, remaining chicken and potatoes in a single container. When ready warm (or don’t) and top onto salad greens of your choice with a light vinaigrette, preferably one with a little lemon. And add some bacon while you’re at it–Lunch!

 

 

 

 

 

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Why Support Dates Make A Difference and Eat for a Cause (Updated)

Please note! We have changed the date for EAT FOR A CAUSE to August 18 a t 6:00 pm. We hope we see you!! 

My foodie adventures have led Mr. foodie and me to all sorts of faces and places. And presently, we’re diving into a new (additional) path. A little background…something we’ve always enjoyed with our kidlets is “date night.” You know, Daddy/daughter; Mommy/son, Daddy/son, Mommy/daughter. And they see us go on dates once or twice a month. They also enjoy the “difference” it makes in our relationships. So my daughter and Mr. foodie were talking about their fun date nights and she mentioned her school should do a “date night” so that all her friends could come and the school would “raise money.” Thus, an idea was born.

So here we are, months and months later and we recently founded Dates Make A Difference. Quite simply, it’s a fundraising model for schools that incorporate chef-inspired culinary “date nights”, introducing the school’s students and their family members to chefs, food purveyors, growers while enjoying some family time. The school sells tickets to the event and a portion of the proceeds go to the schools AND the culinary artists that are providing the evening’s deliciousness. The students and their family member(s) walk away with wonderful memories and the knowledge that they’ve helped “make a difference” for themselves as well as a school project or need. The cool thing is, once the school jumps on board to have a DMD event, the students get to collaborate on the project…and it will always be something that will be of lasting impact to that school. As it turns out, policy is being created that’s eliminating certain fundraisers that many schools have relied on for years and years…bye-bye candies, cookies, brownies and other junk food. So we hope this becomes a viable alternative to the loss of those fundraisers.

Our kick-off event is called “Eat for a Cause.” It’s a five-course, farm-to-fork dinner on August 18 at the Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts in Winston-Salem. We’ve partnered with Second Harvest Food Bank of NWNC’s Triad Community Kitchen, Executive Chef Jeff Bacon and four other top Triad chefs for a wonderful evening of dinnertainment…and the proceeds go to DMD and Triad Community Kitchen. The chefs who are collaborating with Chef Bacon are about as good as it gets:

Chef Tim Grandinetti, Spring House Restaurant, Kitchen & Bar
Chef Kevin Reddick, Artisan Restaurant
Chef Tim Thompson, Marisol Restaurant
Chef Chris Blackburn, Josephine’s Bistro/Lindley Park Filling Station

These chefs were hand selected for our first event because we know they have a passion for the community, local farms and well, they are awesome fun! At Eat for a Cause, you’ll see these chefs, chef-ing, learn more about them and we’ll be able to first-hand share our vision for Dates Make A Difference.

So what’s next? We need your help to get the word out! As readers of my blog , you have been VERY supportive…you subscribe, you LIKE, you share. I really appreciate that. Now we have an opportunity to do something really impactful. To help schools raise money, introduce their students and their families to local business owners who are contributing to the sustainability of our community and we ALL really are trying to MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

To learn more about Dates Make A Difference and our mission, click here! And click here to learn more about Eat for a Cause.

Read enough and you’re ready to RSVP to our event? Click here for tickets.

If you know of a school (public or private) that could use Dates Make A Difference, please let us know in the comments or email us at info@datesmakeadifference.com

As always, foodies! We appreciate your support.

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Mark and Kristi

A Tale of Two Italy(s)

This is a post about two Italian eateries on opposite sides of the Triad. Two we’ve been wanting to try…and we know there will be more to come, but let’s take a look at a couple of completely different gems in our area.

Kitchen Roselli
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Located in East Bend, about 20 minutes from Downtown Winston-Salem, just over the Yadkin River, is this little Mom and Pop restaurant with a rich history in the Italian restaurant business. Owned by David and Laura Roselli, David’s grandparents were the owners of Wilkes County’s legendary Sunny Italy Italian Restaurant, a place I remember going to several times as a child. The recipes featured at Kitchen Roselli will remind (many)  folks of some of the best things about the former Sunny Italy (like the Italian Dressing) but also David and Laura’s combined creations.

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That’s the dressing! You can get it at the restaurant and other places like Caffe Prada in Winston-Salem.

Not the least of which is…the Ricotta Gnocchi. The pillowy-est, lightest, dreamiest Gnocchi ever ever, ever. I gotta go back and gets me some of that heaven.

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Mr. foodie enjoyed a wonderful Pa’s Veal Cutlet. So tender and tasty. It came with a side of pasta.

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The microfoodies actually do eat pasta with meatballs so that’s what they got. Some of the other folks at our table got lasagna and spaghetti and everyone seemed to like it. But I won the table. I know I did. Mr. foodie said so! Until…

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The cream puff…I mean…Laura’s Famous Cream Puff….as I live and breathe…it is as big as my son’s head and just as chocolatey. :) It is blurry…sorry….the light :/…or is it my eyes?  The thing with the CP is that you must ask for it when you sit down…apparently it’s a big deal and they will run out on busy nights. We walked in the door and were the first people to arrive for service and I did not hesitate. It’s a handmade flaky puff filled with a light and airy vanilla cream that’s not too thick or sweet…it’s just perfection. Look…look at that microfoodie schkoff it down. He was a blur!

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That Cream Puff can also be found at Caffe Prada on Fridays afternoons for like, a split second so you better call and reserve one if you want it.

Kitchen Roselli is charming and warm and friendly. The menu changes all the time with locally sourced ingredients and many handmade pastas. They are open Thursday through Saturday 5:30-9:30. Make the itty bitty trip to East Bend. It is so worth it.

Kitchen Roselli
105 East Main Street, East Bend
336.699.4898
Kitchen Roselli on Urbanspoon

Osteria

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Another Italian restaurant on my bucket list…Osteria is located at the Westover Gallery Shoppes in Greensboro and has some great restaurants surrounding it, but you may miss it at the end of its little complex if you aren’t watching. Chef and Owner, Koco Tamburi brings us a taste of Italy’s Bologna. You’ll see Chef Koco (pronounced Koh-Choh) in his iconic red toque in the dining room greeting guests and scurrying back to the kitchen to, well, cook! I chose them because I want them to be on a Dishcrawl (it’s true…ya’ll try to persuade him for me) but also, it’s one of the few Italian eateries that actually makes their own pasta. I’m a bit spoiled by now, so that’s becoming a thing for me. It’s just so much better! Say “hi,” to Koco.

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We ordered an appetizer, which we didn’t need after such a fabulous white bean ragout to go with the starter of crusty bread. So delicious and different…we are all so used to garlic, butter, olive oil, etc., but the ragout was divine. Our appetizer was Crepes with Artichokes, Tarragon, Spinach and Red Pepper Sauce. Yum!

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Mr. also ordered the lobster bisque….tasty and not at all heavy.

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I had the Taglialini with Scallops, Shrimp, Grape Tomatoes in Pesto Sauce. This dish was gorgeous and vibrant and so was each and every bite. The seafood was cooked magnificently and the pasta…well, you know how I feel about the pasta.

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Mr. had the Fettucini with pancetta, mushroom and peas. Beautiful and fresh with succulent everything. Something about fresh pasta and mushrooms. They likey like each other.

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Osteria
1310 Westover Terrace, Greensboro
336.275.2550
Osteria on Urbanspoon

We loved it at Osteria. Service was great and we hope this relatively new restaurant will have some longevity.

We know there are a whole lot more out there than these Italian treasures…and these are not even to be compared to one another…simply the foodies marveling at how fortunate we are to be able to enjoy a world-class, formally trained chef’s cuisine in one part of our community and another restaurant that features a treasured family’s recipes touched by generations. So you have options, worth the drive in every way.

Do YOU remember Sunny Italy? What are your favorite, locally owned places to get Italian?