Tag Archives: chef

Recipe: This is a Copycat of a RENOWNED classic: Village Tavern Spinach Dip

Hi, foodies!

One hundred and fifty seven years ago, I was a server at Village Tavern in Winston-Salem…the super cute historic Reynolda Village location. Back in the 90’s it was THE restaurant. I actually enjoyed working there. The tips were good, the vibe was fun, the patrons were nice and the menu was (and still is) awesome. Founded in 1984 and headquartered in WS, they had a Greensboro and Charlotte location too, but Village Tavern has now grown so much over the years with locations in several states. It’s truly a local success story. You couldn’t beat the good food, fun atmosphere and the price. And that still rings true today. And no this isn’t a sponsored post. This about that recipe!

The VT menu has also evolved with their growth over the years but one thing that will probably never ever go away is their famous Spinach Dip. If you’ve ever had it, then you know the “spin dip,” as we called it. And I figured out how to make it a long time ago. I had forgotten how much I love that appetizer until I was reminded of it recently and made it for the fam. I think you need to make it too, maybe this weekend for your Fourth of July festivities. This dip has a Tex Mex flair with flavors of cumin and pickled jalapeño and tons of cheese. It’s served piping hot and melty with soft, warm tortillas. You can use crunchy chips and you may be tempted to, but the warm tortillas is the OG method and absolutely perfect for snacking. There’s nothing quite like getting a scoop of that cheesy goodness and wrapping it into those warm wedges. Mouth watering!

Copycat VT Spin Dip

Copycat Village Tavern Spinach Tortilla Dip
Serves 4

Cheese Mixture
1 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup yellow onion, diced finely.
1/2 teaspoon cumin, ground
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, coarse ground
4 oz cream cheese
3/4 cup half-and-half
1/2 pound Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1/2 pound sharp cheddar, shredded
1/4 cup cilantro, if desired

Veggie mixture
1 pound spinach, I use fresh but you can use boxed frozen, thawed & squeezed, dry
1/4 cup pickled jalapenos, diced plus a few extra slices for topping
1/2 cup fresh Roma tomatoes, diced. Allow the tomatoes to drain some of their liquid.

Directions:
Preheat a skillet or sauce pan with a bit of oil
Saute onions and cumin for 10 minutes until onions are tender and somewhat translucent. Add salt, pepper, cream cheese, and half-and-half. Simmer until cream cheese melts and it’s all creamy and smooth. Fold in Monterey Jack cheese until smooth and melted. Set aside. Allow to cool a bit.

Mix the spinach, jalapenos and drained tomatoes together.
Add to the creamy mixture very gently being careful not to crush the tomatoes.

Place mixture in a deep dish or divide into two smaller oven-proof dishes. Mix enough shredded Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese to cover the top. Don’t be stingy.

Place the dish on a baking sheet and place in a 350-degree oven and bake until cheese is fully melted and bubbly. Garnish with additional sliced jalapeños and cilantro (if desired).  Serve with soft warm tortillas cut into wedges or chips.

Do you have any fun Village Tavern memories? Tell me about them!

If you make this, be sure to comment and tag us on social media @triadfoodies.

Mozzarella Fellas Menu is now 100% Plant-Based

BD9B39B1-DB09-447F-BD1F-9FCF75A9E9C6

Photo: Lindley Battle Photography

That’s right…Mozzarella Fellas, the popular pizza/Italian restaurant with a heavy emphasis on vegetarian and vegan specialties has gone off the meat and dairy. Straight from pandemic to plant-based.

It might seem odd when your name has Mozzarella in it.

The Fella, Brian Ricciardi, has been vegan and gluten-free for years all the while making homemade mozzarella on the regular and piling sandwiches and salads high with Italian meats. And when Mozzarella Fellas was founded several years ago, there were several vegetarian and vegan items on the menu, from the mushroom “calamari” to Jack Fruit BBQ pizza and beyond burgers of late.  Little by little, Brian was making his way to completely plant-based. Last week, he made it official. He says the prospect was terrifying and he “wonders if he’s crazy.” Trust us when we say the vegan dishes at Mozzarella Fellas are every bit as good as any of the former meat and dairy based products.  And plenty of people are excited about it. Click here for the menu! 

Brian assured me last week that he still has mozzarella and pizza and all the great things, only now they’re plant-based. The mozzarella is dairy-free, the parmesan is from almond milk. Ceviche features hearts of palm and no seafood, nachos have jackfruit, which trust me, tastes exactly like pulled pork. Beyond meat is also strongly featured throughout.

2D27F2CB-5A94-46FB-9A3C-0CF0FD1D5309

Photo: Lindley Battle Photography

Now that restaurants are phasing in, Mozzarella Fellas continues with its takeout and delivery menu and reservations are strongly recommended for dinner.

Mozzarella Fellas is located 336 Summit Square Blvd, Winston-Salem

 

 

 

 

Recipe: Loco Moco- A Hawaiian “Breakfast”

In true food blogger fashion, I’m thinking of recipes to share with you, while eating a plate of warm leftover risotto that I need to recreate in order to share with you (because it was so incredible),  as I write a blog post…specifically about one of the best meals I’ve made lately.

Last week, I saw Chef Keith Rhodes of Catch Restaurant in Wilmington post a “take-out” special of Loco Moco. (All you folks who are reading this in 2027, remember the CoVID Pandemic that had us all sheltering at home and everything fun closed in March, April and May of 2020? If not, google it.)  The dish looked fantastic and the Anson Mills Carolina Gold rice is what called me because I had just received my order. And as blessings would be, my produce box from Kindly Kitchen had shiitakes and spring onions and a host of other goodies in it a few days later and I got inspired to make it. I also had some local BFR beef (via High Country Food Hub) in the freezer.  After perusing some Pinterest recipes and seeing how easy Loco Moco is, I decided I could just do a mash up of several recipes I saw posted and really they weren’t too different than the gravy I make for my country style steak. Loco Moco is basically a meat patty on rice and gravy, only Loco Moco has a slightly Asian flare, thanks to some soy, chili garlic paste, Worcestershire and perhaps fish sauce and sometimes the beef mixture.  It really varies. The gravy sometimes includes mushrooms and is poured (in this case) around the ground beef patty and is always topped with a fried egg.  Loco Moco is my idea of the perfect breakfast. Like if I was in Hawaii, I would order this before an omelet or pancakes or anything considered breakfasty. It’s savory, spicy and full of umami flavor and is perfect for dinner too, which is when we enjoyed it. We served ours with a side of sauteed spring onions and Solomon’s Seal, which is a wild leafy veg that came in my produce box. Loco Moco doesn’t really need a side, but it’s Spring and my produce drawers overfloweth.

This recipe is completely adaptable to leave out the mushrooms, make it more spicy, and it’s gluten-free (unless you hate to cook with corn starch and in that case, make gravy the old fashioned way with a roux…I’m not going to teach that to you here, but the corn starch version is way less fussy than a roux).  I hear Spam is also traditional and I bet this is just as good with ground pork. I hope you make it and love it as much as we do.

A6D5D7C4-D322-4173-8C35-3EABBA71E8E9_1_105_c

LOCO MOCO  (Serves 4)

Ingredients:
1 1/2 pound ground beef
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
dash cayenne
Salt/Pepper

1 lb shiitake mushrooms, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbs. soy sauce
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp ketchup
1 tsp chili garlic sauce (you can add more if you like it spicy)
1/4 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. fish sauce (optional)
1 tsp. oyster sauce (also optional but it gives even more flavor)
1 inch knob of fresh ginger grated or 1 tsp. ground ginger
1 TBS. brown sugar
1 TBS. corn starch
1 1/2 cup beef or chicken stock
Scallions and/or chives for garnish
2 TBS. Ghee or butter
Cooked rice
Eggs (one for each patty)

Prepare the beef with the garlic and cayenne and make into to 4 round patties (about 3/4 inch thick and about the size you’d place on a burger bun–you decide how big). Sprinkle the outside with salt and pepper.

Make the sauce:
Mix the soy, worcestershire, ketchup, chili sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, ginger, fish sauce, sesame oil, oyster sauce (if using), corn starch and broth together. Taste and adjust for seasonings. If you like it spicy, have at it. Add a little bit of soy if you need. Set aside.

Get a skillet screaming hot with a bit of ghee or butter.  Place the burgers in the skillet and sear on one side until a nice crust forms, about 4-5 minutes. Flip and sear 4-5 minutes more or until desired doneness. Set aside.

BC4AE0EC-05E1-46C7-ABDD-11526EA6DAC5_1_105_c

In the same pan, lower the heat to medium and add a bit more butter or ghee to the pan, then add the sliced mushrooms. Do not touch them for 3-5 minutes. Let them get a little brown before you start tossing them about. Add a sprinkle of salt and a generous amount of pepper then add the garlic and saute for one minute. Add the broth mixture, deglazing the pan and scraping any browned bits. Allow the sauce to thicken. You may need to add a bit more broth if it gets too thick. You may adjust seasonings here again. Keep the gravy warm in the pan it should coat the spoon and be very glossy.

95EEB7BE-4979-45D1-8C70-63B83132E0EE_1_105_c
In a separate skillet, melt some butter and crack the eggs, cooking until the whites are set but the yolks are slightly runny. You can cook them all the way until the yolk is cooked through but c’mon, I promise you it’s so good this way. Sprinkle the eggs with a bit of flaky salt (and cayenne if you want).

14A617AF-94E5-40EE-8605-8B1B28208296_1_105_c

To assemble:
Add rice to individual bowls or plates, then top with the patty, spooning gravy on top and around. Add the fried egg on top and garnish with the chives or scallions.

C45CC272-0B51-4E44-A206-38AABDD66DD1_1_105_c

D9006244-2433-4E70-9B4D-C07B4F5F33F8_1_105_c

That yolk shot though…

Enjoy!

If you make this dish, please let me know and tag me @triadfoodies on Instagram and Facebook as well. 

 

 

 

Recipe: “Takeout” Beef & Broccoli

Hi! How are you holding up?

As we lean in a bit longer into the “stay at home” order, we’re continuing to embrace our two options–take out or cook in. One of our favorite things to make at home is “takeout” and this Beef & Broccoli is no exception. It’s even better than any takeout or eat out I’ve ever had. Recipes are abundant online and I adapted this recipe from dozens I found online, tweaked according to what we like and had on hand and we put our wok to good use, however it can easily be made in any large skillet.  

I happened to have some local stir fry beef from a local farm via our online farmer’s market, High Country Food Hub, and simply used some frozen broccoli (because I didn’t want to make a trip just for the fresh stuff) and added that to some local bok choy and ramps I picked up from my Kindly Kitchen produce box.  The family declared this a winner,even though my kidlets don’t love steak. The quick marinade helps the steak come out nice and tender and the sauce is savory and gingery with just a hint of sweetness. I even inadvertently adapted this recipe to be keto leaning with the use of xantham gum as we were all out of corn starch. You can even make this paleo with coconut aminos instead of soy sauce.

5BCAA924-109B-4F6B-BAD0-2D341CB16A0B

Ingredients:

2 lbs beef stir fry (usually pre-cut in the meat section) or slice flank or flat iron thinly against the grain
1 TBS corn starch or xantham gum
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 TBS oyster sauce
1 TBS soy sauce
1 TBS sesame oil

2 cups broccoli florets, fresh (or frozen but thawed)
pepper

Sauce:
1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce (or coconut aminos if paleo)
1 TBS honey or brown sugar
1 TBS sriracha
1 TBS oyster sauce
3 cloves fresh garlic, grated
1 inch knob ginger, grated
1/2 cup beef broth
2 teaspoons corn starch or xantham gum

Additional ingredients:

1-2 Scallions as garnish
Cooked rice or noodles, prepared according to directions.

Combine the steak and all ingredients for it except for broccoli along with a generous pinch of pepper and set aside. You can do this several hours in advance for extra marinating. 

Combine ingredients for the sauce and set aside. 

Prepare your rice or noodles and while that’s going, heat a tablespoon of sesame oil (or regular oil) in a wok or skillet. Once the oil shimmers, saute the beef until it’s beginning to brown on all sides.  3-5 minutes.  You made need to do this in batches.  Remove the beef from skillet onto a plate and set aside. To the hot skillet, add your broccoli (or any other veggies you want to use), and sauce and cook the veggies until al dente. Add the meat back to the wok or skillet and heat through until beef is coated and the sauce has thickened a bit. You’ll know. If you’re using corn starch, you’ll want to make sure you cook out any bitterness or “starchiness” that is remaining. Again, you’ll know.  

Serve the beef & broccoli on top of steaming hot rice or noodles and top with scallions or sesame seeds.  Enjoy! 

If you make this recipe, give us a comment! 

Follow me on insta and Facebook and tag us there @triadfoodies.  

Recipe: The Taco Ring

Let’s put a ring on Taco Tuesday. I cannot take credit for this beauty at all. Recipes are abundant online and on Pinterest for this Taco Ring. It’s made with Pillsbury Crescent Rolls, taco filling and cheese. Super simple for the most part once you get the hang of making the ring itself. My kidlets love love love this taco ring. If only everything I made would bring such joy.

I’ve taken inspiration from  Pillsbury  and a whole host of other webbies as well as my mother-in-law. Crescent rolls, taco meat, cheese…pretty hard to mess up. Our own spin is that we add some rotel tomatoes, the extra acidity and heat flavor the meat even more but it’s hardly necessary.

D532B9D8-0387-4DAD-ABA5-654E79276619

Here’s what you’ll need:

Ingredients:
2 cans of Pillsbury Crescent rolls (8 each per can)
1 lb ground beef (or turkey, pork, chicken..whatever filling you want)
1 packet of taco seasoning
1 cup shredded cheddar or Mexican cheese blend
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup salsa or rotel tomatoes (you can omit and use another 1/4 cup water)

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

1. Prepare the beef or the filling you are using according to the taco seasoning
package directions. Allow to sauce to thicken and coat the meat. Add the rotel tomatoes
or salsa if using and set the mixture aside. Here’s where some recipes say to go ahead and add the cheese.  Some say add the mixture to the ring then top with cheese. You do you.

2. Unroll both cans of dough and separate into 16 triangles. On an ungreased large cookie sheet, arrange triangles in ring so the short sides of triangles form a circle in the center. You can make it a wider circle if you want. Sometimes placing a bowl in the middle will help you create the circle more easily. Dough should overlap and look like the sun. The inner part of the circle should have a bit of thickness, almost like a little ditch.

8c38fee8-9885-4b0d-80a2-b853d9326d38-1

Photo by Pillsbury

3. Spoon the mixture on the lower 1/3, the wide part of each triangle, creating a ring. Add a bit more cheese here if you want. Once filled, take each pointed end of the triangle and wrap it up and over the meat mixture, tucking it underneath. Voila, a ring! Some of the meat mixture will be visible within the spaces. That’s totally supposed to be like that.  For a glossy finish, which I never bother to do, you can brush over the ring with an egg wash before baking.

df4d56ba-7acf-4991-a046-c7decf910c92

Photo by Pillsbury

4. Bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees or until the dough is golden brown.

After you remove the ring from the oven, fill the center with a bowl of salsa, guacamole or shredded lettuce, tomatoes, etc.

IMG_1924

Enjoy!