Category Archives: recipes

You Need This Dough In Your Life: Wewalka Sweet Pastry Dough

It’s giveaway time, foodies! Just in time for the holidays.

The folks at Wewalka USA are hooking us up with a giveaway of the new, sweet Danish dough. Perfect for croissants, tarts, turnovers and just about anything you can conjure up.

You may have seen me share some dishes I’ve done with Wewalka dough in the past. They have a bistro and family style pizza dough and croissant dough and puff pastry. It’s all super easy to work with. Open the package, roll it out and fill or top to your liking. Bake on the provided parchment until done and you’ve got European style deliciousness in just minutes.

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I received a giant box of this prepared dough to work with and we’re going to give a few away to a YOU. Plus coupons and recipe cards.

Want to see what I did with my dough? Because I had to try it first, you know…

Introducing my Pumpkin Sweet Potato Tart with Caramel and Ice Cream

Inspired by a dessert that I had at Graze in Winston-Salem last year, this tart is all the things you love about pumpkin pie with the beautiful fall spices but also the best of the Thanksgiving table’s sweet potato casserole. You know it, right? The orange-y, clove-y beauty topped with marshmallows? This tart is the best of both worlds.

Pumpkin Sweet Potato Tart

2 servings

1 sheet Wewalka European Style Danish Sweet Pastry dough, halved up the middle
1 cup sweet potatoes (canned or freshly roasted and removed from skins)
1 cup pure pumpkin (I used the can)
1 egg
3/4 cup brown or dark brown sugar
1  1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp clove *
1/2 tsp allspice*
1/4 tsp ground ginger*
1 tsp-1 tbs vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste (I use this paste from Savory Spice Shop)
1/4 cup orange juice
orange zest or candied orange zest to taste (optional)

* You may use Pumpkin pie spice. The flavors will be altered slightly but still wonderful.

Instruction:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Take your sheet of dough and cut it down the middle to make two halves.

With a mixer, blend sweet potatoes until smooth. Add pumpkin and continue to mix until blended well. Add brown sugar, egg and orange zest.

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Now here’s where it becomes more about you. These spice measurements were me just playing around. You may want more cinnamon or less. More or less orange. I didn’t have zest so I had to use just juice. Play around until it truly tastes like a pumpkin pie but with that citrus laced sweet potato that (hopefully) you’ve had at least once in your life. Add the egg last if you are funny about tasting it with raw egg. I am not funny about that.

You can refrigerate the filling or assemble right away. When ready to fill your two pieces of dough, scoop about a 1/4-1/2 cup of filing and place it in the center of each one .

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Then fold up the pastry dough corner to corner until it’s like a little purse, making sure all the seams are sealed and the filling is nicely inside. Now you have two tarts. Brush with a little egg wash (egg mixed with water or milk). Slide the parchment and tarts onto a baking sheet.

The instructions say bake on the parchment for 14-18 minutes. My tart took 20 minutes in my oven but that’s because there’s more to a tart than a small danish or croissant. I just kept my eye on it. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 5-10 minutes. Drizzle with warm caramel (a praline topping would be good) and then…

….top with your choice of ice cream then another drizzle of caramel. I’ve had my inspiration with cinnamon brown sugar ice cream (hard to find), vanilla, as well as butter pecan. The butter pecan or praline ice cream would be awesome because you get the tanginess of the base ice cream and crunch from the pecans. But you do you! Pick your favorite. Heck, pumpkin ice cream would be good too. Salted caramel? Yes!  Also, wouldn’t it be yummy with marshmallow flavored ice cream if you could find it? Or top with marshmallows and give it a little browning on top!

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My mr. and I split the tart you see above. It was plenty.
My microfoodie decided she wanted to make a little one so she halved her half then made croissants and you can tell just how easy it is to work with because she had no trouble at all making her own. She drizzled her croissants with chocolate sauce. I teach them well.

You can find Wewalka Dough in Lowe’s Foods and Ingles. And I’ve seen Wewalka at Harris Teeter too but don’t hold me to the sweet pastry dough just yet as this is a brand new item.

Want to get your hands on this Wewalka Danish Dough? Simply comment below what you’d be making with this dough. You’ll be entered to win. If you’re in the Triad area of NC, it’ll be easy to get it to you. But we can ship if necessary. Good luck and Happy Thanksgiving!

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test kitchen recipe: Edible Cookie Dough (2 variations)

Edible Cookie Dough (2 variations)

The other day I saw this gorgeous stuff for $6 called edible cookie dough. I bought it. It was delicious. Then I felt stupid because it’s pretty cheap to make so that makes me a sucker and a LEARNER from my mistakes. Also please forgive me for the lack of pictures. But you know what cookie dough looks like right? I’ll come back and add a photo once I remake.

You love cookie dough, don’t you? But the thought of getting sick or worse, dying (!!) might make you think twice (although it’s never stopped me). But we have little ones and it’s better to be safe than sorry. Here’s a recipe that’s a combo of several ones I’ve practiced with for edible cookie dough. And keep reading because there’s a second variation that’s HIGH PROTEIN. That’s right, I’m thinking about your macros. You’re welcome.

Edible Cookie Dough

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup flour (you can toast it if you don’t want raw)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2-1 cup chocolate chips (or leave them out) or use toffee, m & m’s, Reece’s, whatever
2-4 tbs milk
dash salt

Blend the butter until creamy. Add sugar and blend well. Add flour, salt and blend. Add milk a little at a time until your desired thickness and vanilla. Fold in the chips (if using). You can add more sugar, flour or milk depending on how thick you want your cookie dough.

Voila! Edible cookie dough because it’s missing those pesky eggs.

You can do this with oats with the chips or raisins…basically think of a regular cookie dough cut in half, but leave out the eggs. Easy peasy.

Here’s what I did to make it a little healthier and gluten-free. mr. foodie actually preferred this version.

Higher Protein Version: Replace the flour with 1/2 cup almond flour and 1/2 plain or vanilla protein powder (you could do ALL almond flour or coconut flour or GF flour but doing a full cup of protein powder is going to be too much). And it’s fine to replace the milk with coconut or almond milk. You may prefer a different flour as well, like coconut flour, but I haven’t tested this recipe with it.

Enjoy or refrigerate.

Recipe: Toscana Soup or Zuppa Toscana or Spicy Italian Sausage, Potato & Kale Soup

After the cold winter that we had the misfortune of enduring this past April weekend, I thought it would be appropriate to post a recipe gets requested a good bit, particularly the last 2 days. And since in a couple of days it’s going to be a little chillier than late April ought to be, with more rain (yay), it’s as good a time as any. And if you can’t bear the thought of a spicy, potato-y soup in April (why the heck not?), then it can live in your archives until you deem it cold enough. 🙂

This soup is a copycat of the very popular one from OG (you know where I mean). I don’t know what their recipe is. But a few chefs out there have placed their own versions on the blogosphere and mine may be just like those. All I know is that I’ve done it so many times, I don’t go by a recipe but I know the ratios well enough. I’m not writing a cookbook, so you’ll have to trust me. This recipe gives you a bit of leeway depending on the amount of sausage you want in it and how you like your potatoes. mr. foodie likes his meaty. So I double the sausage from 1 to 2 pounds. And he likes varied texture so I usually slice up link sausages and ground sausage and brown them together. It’s vital that you use HOT Italian sausage. I guess you can use sweet/mild and add heat but this way— It’s just so yummy and spicy. It will make you feel ALIVE.

Toscana Soup

1-2 lb hot Italian sausage (you can use links or go with ground. Ground is easier but links are more true to the original)
2 cloves finely chopped garlic (or equivalent garlic powder)
1 tsp. minced onion (I use dry, but feel free to sweat in some fresh)
4-5 Medium sized russet potatoes, roughly cut into bite size pieces or sliced thin. Whatever.
4 cups chopped kale (again bite size pieces or bigger if you like it rustic). The pics show a Tuscan kale, but I usually use the curly kale too that’s more common.
4 cups chicken broth or stock
1/2-1 cup heavy cream. Depending on how creamy you want it. You may replace with milk or half &     half. It just won’t be as creamy. Here’s what I do. I use a half cup of cream, then I add milk until it just hits the  top of the ingredients in the pot.
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (no lie)
salt and pepper to taste

In a dutch oven or large pot, brown the sausage. If you use links, you’ll want to take them out, let them cool a bit then slice at 1/2 inch thickness.

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They may crumble out of their casings a bit. That’s okay. You may decide to drain a bit of the grease. It varies for me. I kind of like the color that reddish bit of rendered fat gives the soup. It’s up to you. While the sausage browns, chop your potatoes. Chop or slice as thin as you like. We like it rustic and we cook it a bit longer so they get very tender but you get larger, more tender bites. You know what you like.

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Add potatoes to the sausage in the pot. Add onion, garlic, and seasonings, then kale.

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Add stock or broth and bring to a boil. Slowly stir in cream or milk. You’ll want the liquids to just graze the the top of where the veggies come to.

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The kale will wilt down a lot. Just simmer on medium low until the potatoes are tender. You can go back and mash them up with the back of your spoon or you can leave larger…again, up to you. I let mine go for a couple of hours but it will probably be ready in one hour. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. If you need more heat and you used spicy sausage then you are a bada…mamma jamma. You see, you do get a bit of rendered fat on top. It ain’t bad, I promise. Enjoy!

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Here’s picture for reference. This time I just used ground hot Italian sausage. It didn’t render nearly the fat. And it’s a more golden potato looking soup. Both were magnifico!

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Recipe: Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls

Greetings, foodies. It’s been forevs since I posted anything like a recipe. So here’s a winner for a cold winter’s day. It’s UNSTUFFED Cabbage Rolls. I’ve never even had stuffed cabbage rolls but I do love cabbage and all the other ingredients in those rolls. So, after finding a recipe or three on my FAVE..Pinterest…I took the pretty basic recipe and amped it up a few notches by adding bacon and beer. It’s still a one pot wonder, super simple, relatively healthy if you don’t mind bacon and beer and incredibly delicious the day of and days later. This makes a BIG batch and probably easily serves 6, maybe more. I only have a couple of pics this time around, but you’ll get the idea with this easy dish. Feel free to change out the beef for sausage or even venison. One of my followers used venison and a Gaelic ale and let it go for a while in his slow cooker. Love it!

triadfoodies, unstuffed cabbage rolls, recipe, north carolina

Browned beef, tomatoes, sauce, onions, spices, beer and cabbage all going in the pot.

UNSTUFFED CABBAGE ROLLS

2 lbs ground beef
2-3 slices of bacon. Optional but lends a smokiness.
1/2-1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small cabbage, chopped
2 cans (14.5 ounces each) diced tomatoes
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
2 tbs chopped parsley, optional
1/2 cup beer, broth or water
1 tsp salt or to taste
1 tsp pepper

Cook it:

In a large pot, crisp the bacon if using. Add the ground beef and onion and cook until meat is no longer pink. Add garlic and cook for a minute.
Add the chopped cabbage, tomatoes, tomato sauce, liquid, seasonings. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, or until cabbage is tender.
Optional: mustard seed, caraway seeds or smoked paprika would be a great option. The latter especially if you forgo bacon. Maybe cheese as well?  Serve with crusty bread or pretzel rolls.

Voila!
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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.