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Carolina Poutine with Pulled Pork

Did you say poutine? Yes, yes! This is your all local poutine inspired by the abundance that North Carolina offers. I am receiving compensation from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to raise awareness about purchasing pork at NC farmer’s markets. All opinions and content are my own.

IMG_7515Every once in a while a great opportunity comes along and you get a little more bang for your buck when it comes to being a cheerleader for all things local–you get a whole TEAM of cheerleaders. I’ve partnered with the NC Department of Agriculture’s Got to be NC program along with bloggers across the state, to highlight some of our local farmers. Bloggers like me, who love local goodness (I’ll call them my SQUAD), are shopping at their local NC farmer’s market, buying the ingredients for a meal and sharing the recipe with folks like you. We’ve got chicken and pork coming at you. I’ll share links to those at the end of this post.

My farm is Mill River Farm in Mount Airy. I’m actually familiar with farmers, Kim and Steve, as I subscribed to a CSA with them a few years back. Such quality meat and produce!  I looked forward to what would be in my box every Saturday when I picked it up from the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds Farmer’s Market.  market - booth2

Kim and Steve have an abundant farm and they sell pork products such as bacon, pork belly, pork butt and loin, chicken, grass-fed beef, eggs, produce of all varieties like lettuce, kale, peas, beets, sweet potatoes, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage and I could go on and on. You can visit them at the farm (details here) or at the Fairgrounds Farmer’s Market, where you can speak to them directly and find out more about how they raise their animals and grow produce that you can feel so great about.  They’re both super knowledgeable and enjoy sharing what they do. Kim even has a cookbook called Cook Like a Farmer .  It’s full of great recipes. The thing that we don’t want you to forget is: When you visit your North Carolina farmer’s market, don’t forget the meat!

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When I saw Kim and Steve, they weren’t in their traditional digs inside the farmer’s market since the fair was in town. But they had enough yumminess on hand for me to purchase the main ingredients for my #GotToBeNCPork Carolina Poutine.  Poutine? Yeah, baby! Poutine is typically french fries and cheese curds with a rich brown gravy.  If you’ve had it, you know it’s like the guiltiest pleasure ever. Mine is a riff on that.

Let’s take a look at my truly local…

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Carolina Poutine with GotToBeNCPork
Serves 2-4

2-4 Sweet Potatoes (count on about one per person), preferably #gottobeNC
Pulled pork (from a 2-3 pound #GotToBeNCPork butt or shoulder)
Ashe County Cheese Curds
BBQ Sauce of your choice (I used a blend of chipotle sauce with some Eastern NC sauce I had on hand)

To prepare the pork: Give the pork a good liberal rub of your choice of seasoning plus plenty of salt and pepper. If you’re able, grill the pork on all sides. I don’t have a smoker, so I let my grill and my slow cooker do the work for me. Get it good and browned on all sides, then place in the slow cooker with about 1 1/2 cups of water or broth (beer or a mixture of bbq sauce and water is fine too–you just want a flavorful liquid). Allow to cook on low for 4-6 hours.  Once tender and falling apart, remove from cooker and shred it, baby.

Cut your NC Sweet Taters into fry-sized sticks. Coat with oil (I used avocado oil, but you can use whatever you have on hand) and sprinkle with smoked paprika (optional), salt and pepper. Bake at 400-degrees until lightly browned and crispy, about 30 minutes.

Just before you remove the fries from the oven, heat up the sauce. I simply used my favorite Sam Jones Eastern NC style sauce and added some smoky chipotles to it.  You will want that sauce to be PIPING hot so that it can melt the cheese curds as it hits them.

On a platter or pan, place the crispy sweet potato fries in heaping pile. Top with shredded pork, cheese curds and drizzle the sauce over the top. The sauce should be hot enough to start melting the cheese curds. If not, it’s okay to blast it under the broiler until they appear to be just melting.

Garnish with chopped green onions and enjoy!

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I want you to know that this delicious and fun recipe is simply a guide. If you can slow cook your meat on a smoker, so much the better. As I said before, I don’t have a smoker but I do have the grill and a slow cooker. I get a really good crust by grilling on high, though I keep an eye on it as the fat and any sugar on the outside can cause it to light up. You can also bypass the slow cooker and modify by cooking on a low heat in the oven for 2 1/2-3 hours. The sauce is also up to you. A mole would be amazing with those sweet potatoes. Play around with your flavors and have fun!

So… what makes it poutine? To a purist, is it still poutine if it doesn’t have real gravy but rather a sauce?

I’m not here to debate that. I just do know this poutine delicious party, nosh, use-up-leftovers kind of fare that tastes great with a NC craft beer. Support your local farmers at your local market. I’ve got links below to plenty of convenient locations and some of the best pork in North Carolina.

PS: You are going to have plenty of pork leftover for another poutine, tacos, breakfast…or a good ol’ BBQ plate.

Here’s a list of the pork and chicken from my squad:

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Got To Be NC Pork at Your Local NC Farmers Market

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Watch Heidi’s video!

Got to Be NC Chicken at your NC Farmers Market

 

Your new favorite summer salad: Squash Salad w/Buttermilk Dressing

Hi, friends!

Long time no chat. Boy have we been super busy. We moved again, no thanks to issues with the house we rented while we build THE house. And now we are temporarily in a charming farm house way on the other side of town. We love the more spacious kitchen with its most excellent light.  But I  am looking forward to finally, one day, moving, hopefully for the very last time. Ever.

Months from now.

Anyhoo…while we’ve been busy cleaning up floods and traveling to forget it all, we came across this awesome little restaurant in Charleston called The Glass Onion. It’s adorable and we were starving and trying to be true to our new Keto way of eating (or at least mr. foodie is, lol) and it came highly recommended. Slid right in before their Saturday brunch ended and grabbed a couple of small plates of deviled eggs and this Squash Salad. We were like, “What the heck is a squash salad?” And the server, bless him, told us about it and said it was unlike anything he’d had before but that it was delicious, so of course we had to try it.

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 The Glass Onion’s Squash Salad

It was a yummy crisp salad but the only greens was a small bed of butter lettuce. Piled onto the lettuce were very thinly sliced yellow squash, mint, slivered almonds and a homemade buttermilk dressing. On top of THAT was a veritable cloud of freshly grated parmesan.

Disclaimer (I realize here that buttermilk is not exactly Keto. I get mine organic from a local market but it has no nutritional info regarding sugar. In the place of buttermilk in this recipe, feel free to use a plain kefir or Greek yogurt, though I prefer Siggi’s Icelandic Yogurt to any and all). If you use yogurt, you may want to cut back on the mayo or add a little milk or something to loosen so it’ll have the consistence of dressing and not a dip.

So giving credit where credit is due, here’s a hat tip to The Glass Onion and my version of its delicious Summer Squash Salad.

Summer Squash Salad (adapted from The Glass Onion, Charleston, SC)

For the Dressing (serves a salad for 4-6 people):

3/4 cup mayo (I use Duke’s because it has no sugar)
1 cup  buttermilk (If Keto, full fat or plain Greek or Siggi’s yogurt or plain Kefir)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 shallot, minced
2 tbs. red wine or white wine vinegar
2 tbs. freshly squeezed lemon juice
dash hot sauce (I used Texas Pete)
fresh ground pepper to taste
Salt to taste

In a pint mason jar, add ingredients, attach lid and shake, shake,  shake. You can also whisk all the ingredients in a bowl but since I put the dressing in a jar anyway, I just throw it in there. Add more salt or pepper or even hot sauce as necessary. Hopefully you won’t use it all and can make another salad for another day or use it as a dip. Refrigerate for 1-2 weeks.

This dressing makes a great base and you can go from there to adding parmesan or italian herbs for a great creamy Italian if you like. Or the zest of the lemon to make it more lemony.

For the salad:

2 zucchini squash
2 yellow squash
1-2 sprigs mint leaves, chopped or torn
1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds (you can also toast for extra flavor)
1/2 cup fresh parmesan for grating

Slice the squash very thinly with a mandolin or with a knife to about 1/8 inch thickness. Line a salad bowl with butter lettuce, baby lettuce or baby spinach (just a handful). Top the greens with the sliced squash. Add almonds and sprinkle the mint around the squash. About 10 minutes prior to serving, pour the desired amount of dressing onto the salad. You can toss it if you want here, but I don’t bother to. Just before serving, shave the parmesan over the salad. It’s best to cover the whole salad (with an audience) for maximum effect.

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Before the cloud…

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My version of Summer Squash Salad

 

The fresh squash and the pop of mint along with the crunch of the nuts make for a great summer salad that really is unlike anything you’ve ever had. And it has definitely become my new favorite.

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Enjoy!

 

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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foodie b’eat: The Triad’s FAVE Pimento Cheese(s)

From 4/13’s CHOW in YES Weekly

Pimento cheese. Food of the Southern Gods. Known as Pate of the South or Caviar of the South. It can be a lot of things. Delicious. Spicy. Sweet.….Polarizing.

There’s always ONE troublemaker who hates it. And more than a few cooks who put way to much mayonnaise or sugar in it. If there’s one thing we got going for us here in the South, it’s a plethora of pimento cheese. Heck, here in the Triad, we have no less than 7 common (but uncommonly good) choices at our local markets and that’s just what I can think of off the top of my head. Then there are those who say, “I can make it much more cheaply myself.” Face it. The good stuff ain’t cheap— but at the same time, making it yourself really isn’t either, what with all the cheese and roasted/pimento peppers and accoutrements.

You’ll almost always find it on the menu at any of the American Southern style restaurants and at the local potluck or family reunion We even enjoy a little friendly local competition that coincides with National Pimento Cheese Day (April 9) and it seems like every year there’s a different winner. More on the Muddy Creek Cafe Pimento Cheese Throwdown at the end of this story.

We did a little research on some locally produced Pimento Cheese, the kind that’s pretty easy to access…not the kind only available at one market (or restaurant) and asked some of our readers/fans about their favorite pimento cheese and we found some stand outs. There’s plenty more pimento cheese to go around, but it’s a start.

Musten & Crutchfield: When asked, most respondents said their local favorite was none other than Kernersville’s market for home-grown deliciousness. It’s been around for a long time. With two varieties, Regular and Hot, you can find Musten & Crutchfield’s pimento cheese at their own store on Main Street plus local supermarkets, independent stores and even Walmart. It is very traditional in flavor, maybe a bit creamier than some of its counterparts. If you want to try something really fun, add it to some cooked breakfast sausage for a really tasty dip and enjoy with tortillas or pita chips. The creaminess with the sausage really works. On lucky days you may find the pimento cheese in their homemade ravioli! mustenandcrutchfield.com

Uncle Chris’: A personal favorite. With Uncle Chris’, first came the pickles, then came the pimento cheese. I first learned of Uncle Chris’ Pimento Cheese when perusing the menu of the Camel City Grill food truck. Owner Ben Devar said he liked it because it was the perfect blend of pimento cheese and not too mayonnaise-y. Chris Russell even makes pimento cheese to order for the food truck in flavors like Gouda & Bacon and Carolina Reaper. You’ll definitely find Uncle Chris at Lowes foods across the state. The Original and Fire Roasted Jalapeño are sure to please, but if you can take the heat, we recommend hooking yourself up with the Smokin’ Habanero. It is righteous. And so yummy on a cracker with a bread and butter pickle–particularly a Miss Jenny’s Habanero Bread & Butter. Oh yes…all day.

Red Clay Gourmet: Another personal favorite, made in Winston-Salem and served up on the burgers at First Street Draught House. Lance and Michelle Sawyer realized customers were quickly becoming super fans of the pimento cheese. They set out to make it more readily available and one that is “out of the norm” pimento cheese. Now Red Clay Gourmet is available at local markets, some Lowes Foods and Whole Foods in traditional flavors like Classic Sharp and Flame Roasted Jalapeño, but be sure to check out Hickory Smoked Cheddar and for a more refined elevated variety, the Goat Cheese & Sun-dried Tomato (which is really good in grits or with fried green tomatoes or on burgers or… just about anything). You can also buy online at redclaygourmet.com

Conrad & Hinkle: (not pictured) Based out of Lexington, Conrad & Hinkle Market has been around for 97 years. And the pimento cheese since 1940. They have an original and spicy version. I’ve found Conrad & Hinkle mostly at meat markets and many charming country stores across the Triad. It’s really great and an overall pleasant combination of and is probably more reminiscent of pimento cheese you grew up with. Sort of “unfooled around with.” C & H has actually shipped their pimento cheese as far as Germany. conrad-hinkle.com

Vantastic!: The pimento cheese that found a home at The Porch Kitchen & Cantina, this very sharp and cheesy pimento cheese has no mayo in it!  It gets its creaminess from the cheese itself and milk and some vinegar…which gives it a bit of a pickle juice flavor that has made it a local favorite for some time.  It comes in Original and Jalapeno. You can find Vantastic! at Lowe’s Foods and select markets.

My Three Sons: From Greensboro with flavors of Emmy’s Original, Fire Roasted Jalapeño and a Spicy White Cheddar. One of the things that sets MTS apart is that they like to leave the pimentos and peppers a bit chunky so you can see them. Found at The Fresh Market, Harris Teeter, Lowe’s Foods and Whole Foods. mtsgourmet.com

Honorable mention goes to Burlington-based Stan’s, another PC that a lot of folks grew up with around here.

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And for the record, there were plenty of respondents who said, “mine!” or “hers!” But sorry, homemade wasn’t in the running in this case.

Tip to those who want to try a homemade version: Use FRESHLY grated cheese not the kind that’s pre—grated AND this I learned recently, please try not to buy chopped pimentos. If you don’t plan on roasting your red peppers yourself, buy jarred roasted red peppers and take a minute to chop them. I promise you, it’s worth it. Here’s a great recipe by Charleston Chef Sean Brock. I LOVE his recipe. The adapted version is pictured in the image at the top of the post. I just subbed the pickled ramps for Miss Jenny’s B & B Habañero. And Texas Pete for Tabasco (naturally).

Finally, most of the makers of the above mentioned pimento cheese have recipe ideas on their websites and we encourage you to check it out. But very quickly, here are some tasty uses for the pate of the south:

On sandwiches with bacon, tomato, fried green tomato; shrimp & grits, scrambled eggs, salad, egg salad, nachos, burger toppings (go crazy and put it with chili and jalapenos), tomato pie. Providence Restaurant in WS makes an ice cream with it! For a great snack, enjoy with a sweet pickle and crackers, or warm it up and serve with pork rinds.

Really, the possibilities are endless for the treat that’s as Southern as sweet tea.

Mentioned earlier, back on National Pimento Cheese Day, April 9, Muddy River Cafe held its annual Pimento Cheese Throwdown and 5k Run. Proceeds benefit the Riverwood Therapeutic Riding Center in Tobaccoville. Muddy Creek owner and event organizer, Shana Whitehead, says she launched the event three years ago as a way to celebrate the trails around her Bethania cafe. “The run is getting bigger every year…this year we had 100 participants.” As for the pimento cheese throw down? “Our customers always tell us that our pimento cheese is the best. It’s really good on a sandwich with tomato and bacon. But we knew a lot of people make really great pimento cheese in different ways, so this throw down is a way to celebrate the creativity that goes into pimento cheese.” There’s also a category for the home cook. As for the pros….here’s a list of winners:

Best Classic-Wolf Daddy
Most Creative-Wolf Daddy
BEST Overall-The Living Room Coffee House & Wine Bar, Pilot Mountain
People’s Choice-Wolf Daddy

For more information on the Pimento Cheese Throw Down and 5K run, visit muddycreekcafeandmusichall.com The event is held every year around this time.

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.