I love food and eating out. I wish more people would support their locally owned restaurants. We spend our time in the Triad and reside full-time in the NC Mountains, but the love for local is strong! Join us at our frequent Chef's Table, which features a multi-course meal by a local chef at their restaurant! This blog dishes out all the yummy details. Catch my podcast on the Triad Podcast Network, "At the Table with Triadfoodies." Email me to collaborate email@example.com
Yes! Purple tomatillos and they make the prettiest salsa. I was so excited last week to find purple tomatillos by Hedge Family Farm on the High Country Food Hub. To me, they are a little sweeter than their green cousins. Of course green tomatillos work for this recipe. All the ingredients (except lime) in this recipe were purchased from a local farm via the food hub. I just love having access to it here. Get this recipe in a bowl, whip up some margs or ranch water, head out to the deck and enjoy.
3 pounds tomatillos (husks removed, rinsed)
½ medium red onion (use white or even green for green tomatillos)
2-4 cloves garlic peeled and smashed
½ cup cilantro
Juice of lime
salt & pepper to taste
Honey (only if it’s a bit tart)
Once the tomatillos are husked place them on a baking sheet and roast or broil for 10 minutes until they get a little charred and blister a bit. During that time, you can also roast the onion, jalapeno and garlic in a separate pan at the same time until charred or you can grill or sear in a skillet. You just want them to get a little color, yet stay fresh and crisp.
Once the tomatillos and veggies have that toasty look, drop them in your blender or food processor and pulse them until nearly your desired consistence. Add the cilanto and lime juice and give it another pulse or two. Less if you want it chunky, more if you like it less chunky. (Are we still saying chunky?). Add salt and pepper, hot sauce and more lime or cilantro if you need it. If you’re using green tomatillos and they’re tart, a drizzle of honey could balance it out. Serve with excellent chips.
If you make this recipe, let me know, give me a shout on social media. That’s where you’ll find me more often than on this keyboard. Enjoy!
Foodies! I have exciting things happening up on the rock (you know, the mountains).
I’m so thrilled to be a part of the inaugural Dinner in the Gap, the farm-to-table gala of the year. My friends at BFR Meats will be hosting this incredible multi-course event at their farm on Hwy 421 in Deep Gap near the New River. It’s a NC food collaboration between local producers and two of the best chefs in the High Country, Kyle Martin of Cafe Violette in Blowing Rock, and Robert Strom of Beacon Butcher Bar in Boone. When I tell you these two chefs are truly emerging as the best in the area, if not the state, well you know I’m speaking truth. Kyle and Robert will be presenting a multi-course dinner prepared with local ingredients from North Carolina and it will all be hosted by me! Click here for tickets!
I have spent lots of time with Daniel and Alex and I’ve come to know them as friends and partners here in the local food scene. I truly appreciate their knowledge and care of their farm and their animals. They have a heart for the mission of getting to know your farmer and where your food comes from. They have a wealth of knowledge and their excitement is contagious.
For our final #sausagesunday collaboration with BFR Meats, it was implored upon my son to make his favorite mac & cheese of all time, Everything Bagel Mac & Cheese. This recipe is inspired by Lindsay of The Hunger Diaries, who came up with this “hack” for her YouTube Channel. There are several meatless Everything Bagel macs on the interwebs and her hack includes sausage to give it that “breakfasty” kick. I had to make a few changes since she uses feta but it’s a close tribute to her recipe and it’s so so good. And I’m absolutely shocked that my son loves this mac so much because he typically refuses to eat anything that’s everything. I mean, has he ever in his little life tried an everything bagel, everything pretzels, everything seasoning? That’s a hard no. Go figure.
BFR Meats has gotten into the pork business lately and I love their pork products, especially this breakfast sausage. It’s not too fatty and has great flavor.
So when the little man said it was the best mac & cheese he’s ever tasted and one of the top 5 meals of his life AND he asked for it for his birthday, well it went down in the history books (after I was wiped up from the floor). If you give this recipe a try be sure to tell me what you think and share it on the socials!
1 8oz block cream cheese at room temperature 1 lb pasta (short, spirally like cavatappi and be sure it can handle the stirring) 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp white cheddar 1 cup shredded gruyere (you can also add or sub asiago) ½ cup freshly grated pecorino romano cheese or parmegianno 6 cups whole milk 1 turn (about 1/4 cup) heavy cream (optional) 6 cloves garlic, minced Salt/Pepper Drizzle of EVOO 1 lb. breakfast sausage, crumbled and browned 2-3 tbs. everything but the bagel seasoning
Directions: Preheat oven to 350-degrees.
Place cream cheese in the center of a large round casserole or a 13-inch baking dish.
Spread the uncooked pasta and cheeses around the cream cheese, pour milk around the center, add garlic, and salt. Mix it in lightly around the exterior and try to cover the pasta as much as you can but leave the cream cheese in the middle. Add freshly cracked black pepper to the top and drizzle the cream cheese with some olive oil.
Bake at 350 for 55 min. Give it a good mix about halfway through baking.
Meanwhile in a medium size skillet, crumble and brown up your sausage and set aside.
Once the mac & cheese is bubbly, remove from oven and stir in the sausage. It should be creamy and cheesy. If it’s not quite ready, gritty or needs more creaminess, add some milk and return to the oven for a few more minutes. You can even top with more cheese here if you wish and bake another 20 minutes. If you look closely, my cream cheese did not get entirely creamy but I was running out of time since we were headed to the movies ;).
Top the finished mac with everything bagel chips, everything but the bagel seasoning, and chives or parley for some color (you’ll see I didn’t do that since a certain someone won’t eat it if I add something green). Enjoy!
This mac & cheese reheats well with a little bit of cream to loosen it up and fresh crushed bagel chips on top.
Slow cook Sundays is our current collaboration for the month of February with our friends at BFR Meats. You can find BFR’s meats including steaks, ground beef, sausages, ribs. pork, jerky. Check them out online and on High Country Food Hub.
Here’s my spin on Mississippi Pot Roast, featuring one of my favorite ingredients, Red Weapons. It’s a fun twist on an already twisted viral recipe.
Unless you’ve been under a rock the last few years, Mississippi Pot Roast is an insanely popular recipe all over the interwebs, and pinterest is full of a host of different versions. It’s quite delicious, but often laden with dried dressing or seasoning blends and soup mixes, which means the recipe can reach stratospheric sodium levels. On this collaboration with BFR Meats, I wanted to try a different version of MI Pot Roast, using their boneless chuck roast but with an Eastern NC spin, mainly featuring famed Chef Vivian Howard’s “Red Weapons,” which I keep on hand in my fridge as an aptly named flavor hero.
We love to serve our pot roast with mashed potatoes or pureed cauliflower but I thought with the slight spiciness and acidity of Red Weapons, that making creamed corn and then pureeing to a rustic texture it would be delicious. I was right and it’s quite rich, so not an every day combo for us. It was pretty too and a nice departure from potatoes.
About Red Weapons: From Chef Howard’s book, This Will Make It Taste Good, it’s a pickled tomato and jalapeño mixture that is filled with aromatics like ginger, garlic and scallions, mustard seeds and spices. You allow the mixture to boil then you jar it for a few days and watch the science happen as the veggies and brine settle to the bottom and the flavorful “oil cap” rises to the top. After 3 days of “pickling”, it’s ready to be used for as long as you have it. There’s some suggestion that it’ll last up to 3 months in the fridge simply jarred if you don’t use the canning method, but I have not died and it’s been at least four months. Need to make more now. This is by far my favorite recipe in her cookbook and I encourage you to support authors and buy this book as I will not be placing the Red Weapons recipe here, however during the promotion of the book, the recipe was shared online so you can easily find it. But buy the book! Make RW then come back to this recipe in 3 days, mkay?
Red Weapons Pot Roast
Ingredients: 2-3 lb chuck roast Ranch seasoning blend (I used a tsp each onion powder, garlic powder, dill weed, basil, thyme, parsley, salt). You can use a ranch packet if you prefer.) Packet Au Jus Seasoning (optional) Note: I used BFR Meats au jus but you can use better than bouillon or anything that may further ratchet up the beefiness. Have fun with this part 1 1/2 cups Red Weapons Twin B (the veggies and brine) 3 TBS Red Weapons Twin A (the solidified oil) 1 cup (approx) beef broth or water if needed Salt/Pepper
Directions: Generously salt and pepper the chuck roast. Sear on both sides until browned. This step is optional but does add depth of flavor. It’s helpful if you can do this in your slow cooker providing it’s equipped but again, if you don’t want to mess up two pots, skip it.
Add the seasonings, Red Weapons veggies, brine and oil to the roast then add about 1/2 cup of broth, just enough to reach halfway up the roast. Keep the remaining if needed toward the end of cooking. Set the slow cooker for 8 hours on low. Give it a peek near the end and add a little broth if needed. See Pressure Cooker method below.
After the scheduled time, the meat should be very tender, juicy, and falling apart. She won’t be the cutest thing you’ve ever seen but she’s succulent and unbelievably good. Beefy, tangy, slightly spicy and soul warming. Serve the roast and its gravy on mashed potatoes, or if you’re feeling indulgent, pureed creamed corn. Make it keto or paleo by serving on pureed cauliflower.
Note: This is the perfect recipe for the Instant Pot or pressure cooker as well. In fact, that’s usually the way I make this version of pot roast. Simply reduce the water or broth by half and cook on high pressure for 65 minutes, allowing for a natural pressure release. Shred the meat and serve as suggested above.
Slow cook Sundays are our current collaboration for the month of February with our friends at BFR Meats. You can find BFR’s meats including steaks, ground beef, sausages, ribs. pork, jerky. Check them out online and on High Country Food Hub.
My family and I recently enjoyeda beef short rib version of Bo Ssam, traditionally a pulled pork dish served with all kinds of toppings and sides and has been made famous by Momofuko’s David Chang. Ssam, is Korean for “wrap” and butter or bib lettuce is used as a vessel to hold decadent and unctious pork shoulder that’s been cooked for hours and hours. It’s paired with kimchi, toppings and sauces. While we are no strangers in NC to a great fall off the bone pork butt, I wanted to try it with BFR Meats Beef Short Ribs and the result was fantastic. It still takes a few hours so, let’s put your slow cooker to use. Ssam is great fun with family and friends who can choose to wrap or make a plate or bowl. Try out all the flavor combos and just go to town.
Ingredients 4lbs. beef short ribs 4 cups stock 1/3 cup soy sauce or tamari 1 tbs. turbinado or coconut palm sugar (white sugar will do) 5 tbs. brown sugar 1 tbs. salt
Marinade 3 tbs. tamari 3 spring onions, sliced 1 tbs. rice wine vinegar 2 tbs. sesame oil 4 tbs. Gochujang sauce or sambal oelek 1 inch knob fresh ginger, grated or sliced (you can use jarred) 3 cloves garlic smashed or minced Salt/Pepper
Directions: Generously salt and pepper short ribs. In a bowl mix the marinade and pour over the ribs. Work it in well. Conversely, place ribs in a plastic bag and pour over, giving it a good massage. Let marinate overnight or at least 2 hours.
When ready to cook, remove ribs and place in your slow cooker. Add the 1/2 cup soy sauce or tamari, 1 tbs. of turbinado or coconut sugar, and stock to just cover the ribs. Cook on low for 8 hours. Check after 6 hours to see if the ribs pull apart from the bones. Once the meat is cooked and very tender, remove from the liquid and then remove the meat from the bones, roughly shred, and place on a foil lined pan. ***Note***At this point, you may choose to remove some of the connective tissue from the meat, as it makes for a more enjoyable and visually appealing eating experience. It’s not entirely necessary but we do it. It won’t take long if the meat is cooked until tender. Save and strain the cooking liquid for later.
Mix the brown sugar and the tbs. of salt in a small bowl. Spread the shredded meat on the pan and sprinkle with the brown sugar and salt mixture. If it looks a little dry, drizzle a bit of the cooking liquid onto the meat. Bake at 500 degrees for 10-15 minutes until the meat is caramelized with some crispy edges.
Ginger Scallion Sauceinspired by Momofuko Ingredients: 1 bunch thinly spring onions, white and green part splash soy sauce 1/4 cup freshly minced ginger (I use jarred) 1/2 cup olive oil 1 tsp sherry vinegar salt to taste
While the meat cooks, mix together ingredients for Ginger Scallion Sauce, adjust seasonings to taste.
Ssam Sauce inspired by Momofuko Note: Here’s where I had to modify as I don’t have access to the suggested recipe’s ssamjang. 2 tbs. ssamjang or fermented bean &n chili paste. I used 2 tbs. gochujang (found with Asian sauces) 2 tbs. tbs. chili garlic paste or sambal oelek 1/2 cup sherry vinegar 1/2 cup neutral oil
Mix the sauces and vinegar and slowly add oil until desired consistency. Adjust for taste.
Once the short rib meat is caramelized and the sauces are made, place on a platter and surround it with your ssam sauces and toppings. Serve with rice and have fun making the different combinations.
Oven method: Follow the marinade recipe as instructed. Drizzle the bottom of a braiser or dutch oven with oil and place the ribs in a single layer as much as possible. Add stock, soy/tamari, tbs. of sugar, pop the lid on and cook 300 degrees for 3 hours. Continue with the rest of the recipe above.