Friday, August 14, 2009

More on Local Farmers, Local Food

One More Weekday Market to Try...If you are in the Ballantyne area then you’ll want to check out the Meeting Street Market at Cedar Walk open Tuesday afternoons from 4 pm to dusk. This market is tucked in the Cedar Walk community at the intersection of Marvin and Ardrey Kell roads. Look for a dozen or so vendors to be there each week with a variety of local fare.

Eating Local at Harvest Moon Grille
Many of you, like me, are big fans of our friends at Grateful Growers, artisan pork producers extraordinaire. As if selling wonderful pork at almost every farmers market in town – and several retail establishments to boot - wasn’t enough, now Grateful Growers is treating Charlotte to a taste of what eating local really means.

The newly found Harvest Moon Grille is the brainchild of Cassie Parsons and Natalie Veres, owners of Grateful Growers. The bright orange concession cart, is a mobile kitchen which features "to go" meals made from fresh locally grown food products. It is stationed at the Charlotte Regional Farmers' Market on Saturdays for breakfast and lunch. On Tuesdays and Thursdays it serves lunch and occasionally breakfast at the Center City Green Market set up at the corner of Trade and Tryon street, offering fresh local fare to Charlotte's Uptown crowd.

Breakfast and lunch menus change from week to week. I’ve sampled fabulous melt-in-your-mouth pirogies, veggie sandwiches and meatballs subs as well as a blueberry crepe and lighter-than-air egg and cheese biscuit the one or two times I have made the Harvest Moon Grille my after-market dining destination. The flavors are fabulous but the best part is that every ingredient has local roots – local eggs, locally baked bread, local goat cheese, local veggies and of course, local pork.

Stop by to try Harvest Moon soon – Cassie will be out front to take your order and be sure to say hello to my friend LynnErin Tyler who is usually cooking at the grill! You can keep up with weekly menu changes and exact Harvest Moon Grille locations on the Grateful Growers Website by clicking here

More Recipes as Heidi Cooks Up A Storm
Two recipes this week and one link to another – In honor of Grateful Growers, a fat-full favorite from my Bacon, Bacon, Bacon cooking class at Reid’s Fine Foods a couple of weeks ago.

The concept of Chicken Fried Bacon isn’t a new one, but I put my own spin on it with my favorite fried chicken breading, a version of a recipe I got from author and culinary personality, Chef Jeff Henderson when I interviewed him while he was visiting Charlotte last year.

I call my recipe Chicken Fried Bacon, Oh My! because everyone who tastes the finished product just smiles and says, “Oh, my!!”
In cooking class I served the breaded and fried bacon with a homemade Ranch dressing but it is good dipped in barbecue sauce, blue cheese dressing or all on its own.

The link is to one of my favorite recipes for my Stuffed and Braised Pork Chops – using Grateful Growers pork, of course! Its a wondeful crowd pleaser and one that is easy to prepare ahead of time. I shared my recipe with Cassie and Natalie and now it finds itself on the GG website. Click here to see it in print.

Finally, something for those of you who want more summer produce – an quick and easy summer succotash using all that grows great in Charlotte in the summer – fresh limas, fresh corn, fresh herbs and fresh tomatoes – it just doesn’t get any finer in Carolina than this – Enjoy!!

Heidi's Chicken-fried bacon, oh my!
3 cups self-rising flour
3 Tbsp. corn starch
2 tsp. cayenne pepper
3 Tbsp. fine ground sea salt
4 Tbsp. Goya brand Adobe seasoning (or you can use a mix of equal parts garlic powder and onion powder)
1/2 quart buttermilk
2 pounds Grateful Growers bacon
Vegetable or canola oil for frying

In a large bowl, whisk together 2 cups of flour, cornstarch and seasonings. Reserve 1 cup of plain flour. Place both flour mixes on two large, flat baking dishes.
Pour buttermilk in a separate large baking dish.
Dip each bacon strip first in plain flour, then in buttermilk, then in the seasoned flour. Set the bacon aside on a wire cake rack for a few minutes to allow the flour to absorb some of the buttermilk to form a good coating.
Heat a good inch of vegetable or canola oil in a large frying pan (or in a deep fryer) until a thermometer inserted reads 350 degrees or insert a dry wooden spoon in the oil and wait until little bubbles start to form around the edges of the wood – this is exactly as if a piece of food were frying and indicates that the oil is hot enough to proceed .
Fry the bacon, a few strips at a time (you don't want to crowd the pan or fryer), until the strips are golden brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Drain the bacon on a rack. Continue until all of the bacon is fried.
Serve the bacon warm (do allow it to cool a few minutes before serving as the hot bacon can burn). Oh my…..


1 1/2 pounds baby lima beans, shelled,
4 large ears corn, kernels cut from cob
2 large tomatoes, seeded, diced
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 Tbsp. fresh minced thyme or summer savory leaves
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Cook beans in large saucepan of boiling salted water until just tender, about 5 minutes. Using slotted spoon or strainer, transfer beans to colander; Drain. Toss with raw corn kernels. Return beans and corn to same saucepan. Mix in tomato, Italian parsley, thyme and extra-virgin olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Warm before serving.

1 comment:

  1. Let me know if you have a favorite farmers market or local produce stand I haven't mentioned here - I'd love to hear from you - Heidi