Monday, August 10, 2009

First Post of a Brand New Food Blog - Hors D'oeuvres, Anyone?

Well, for starters (as that is what an hors d'oeuvre really is) it's been nearly a year since I've had a weekly venue to talk to readers about restaurants and food in Charlotte, North Carolina and her surrounds. I have absolutely loved spending the past year writing in the beautiful bimonthly publication, Charlotte Living Magazine. While I will continue to write my Very Culinary section as well as other features for the magazine, this blog will enable me to chat with readers each week, sharing restaurant notes and recipes as well as information on upcoming cooking classes I am teaching in the Charlotte area.

To read my work in Charlotte Living, visit the magazine's website at The current issue is on the home pages, while you can access the archives to see what I've been up to earlier this year.
Here is just a taste:

In the January/February issue, you'll find my articles on great places to eat and stay while visiting Martha's Vineyard, MA (pg. 72-75) ( We just got back several weeks ago and my recommendations are still spot on!); Amelie's French Bakery in Charlotte's NoDa neighborhood (pg. 97); Copper Indian Restaurant in the Dilworth neighborhood (pg. 98) and Chima Brazilian Grill in Uptown Charlotte (pg. 101).
If you love to cook as well as to eat out - turn to my article entitled Ciao, Baby! for fun recipes for cooking your own fabulous Italian fare at home (pg.94-96).

In the March/April issue, my food and restaurant section took on a new name, Very Culinary and articles include features on Chef Adam Reed at Sante Restaurant in downtown Mathews, NC (pg. 92-93); area farmers' markets and cooking locally grown greens (pg. 94-99); and my first WineKnow column on my favorite Aussie winemaking team - Sarah and Sparky Marquis of MollyDooker.

The May/June issue features Southern Favorites such as Charlotte's historic McNinch House Restaurant in Uptown's Fourth Ward neighborhood (pg. 82); a fun and flavorful article on making your own pimento cheese (pg. 86); and a profile of Charlotte caterer Beverly McLaughlin in The Farmers' Daughter Goes Gourmet (pg. 90). In this issue's WineKnow column (pg. 92), I talk to five local wine reps for a list of cool wines to sip this summer.

Be sure to check out the current July/August issue, on newsstands and up online now, for Very Culinary articles on Becoming a Gelato Junkie at Birkdale's Cafe Mia in Huntersville; on five fine Italian eateries in Charlotte, all owned by restaurateur, Augusto Conte; and one of my favorite Chinese restaurants in town - Wan Fu and the talented chef that makes the restaurant one of note - Chef Chan Tran. In this issue you'll also find an inspiring chef's profile of Chef Jeff Henderson of Food Network Fame. This month's WineKnow? A two day road trip up to North Carolina's wine country in the Yadkin Valley with stops at five of my favorite NC wineries.

If all this reading about food and restaurants has whet your appetite, why not treat yourself to this season's bevy of fresh grown herbs and whip up a batch of pesto to toss on your pasta or to use for a great little starter spread a top a slice of french bread, topped with fresh locally grown tomato and a slice of mozzarella cheese. My favorite recipe follows...

Heidi's Classic Pesto Genovese

Those of you who make pesto on a regular basis may notice that my recipe has no garlic. That is because without the garlic, I have found you can really taste to full flavor of the delicate herbs - Enjoy!

1 packed cup fresh Italian basil leaves
½-3/4 cup of pine nuts or pignola
1 cup fresh shredded Parmesan cheese
½-3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Combine the basil, and pine nuts in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process until the basil and the nuts are both finely chopped. Add in the shredded cheese. With the machine running, drizzle the olive oil through the feed tube until the pesto reaches your desired consistency. Thicker pestos work better as spreads or toppings and thinner pestos are best used as sauces on pasta and risotto or as a “dressing” for roasted potato salad or chicken salad.

Pesto variations:

Basil Pistachio Pesto: Substitute pistachios for the pine nuts for a slightly stronger but exceptional flavor profile.
Mint pesto: Substitute mint leaves for basil and almonds for pine nuts. Served with grilled lamb chops
Sage pesto: Substitute sage leaves for basil and cashews or pecans for pine nuts. Served with grilled or roasted turkey or chicken.
Sun-dried tomato pesto: Add ¼ cup of oil-soaked and drained sun-dried tomatoes to original recipe. Great on pastas or smeared on hot toasted bread.

1 comment:

  1. Loved the recipe you created today on Charlotte Today! Thank you for sharing and the idea to place the chicken salad in the Martini glass perfection for moms who often bring food to parties like me. Be well Heidi