Friday, November 5, 2010


It's shaping up to be an exciting month, so go over the scheduled classes below, double check your calendars and then shoot me an email to make your reservations.

It's easy to make your reservation for any of the upcoming cooking classes listed below...

Simply email me at to make your advance reservation.
Your payment by cash or check will confirm your space in class. When you email to sign up, I will send you directions to the class location and a mailing address for the check, plus any other details you'll need to know

Sat. Nov 13 11 am - 2:30 pm

Food, Wine and Conversation of Tuscany with special guest Nada Vergili of Nada's Italy THIS CLASS IS FULL BUT WE'VE PLANNED ANOTHER FOR JAN 8!

Heidi Billotto and the entertaining Nada Vergili of Nada's Italy join forces in the kitchen for and afternoon of fun and flavor!

This class promises to be one you will not soon forget! As class participants watch and work with Heidi to prepare an entire Italian meal perfect for holiday entertaining, special cooking class guest Nada Vergili will be teaching us all fun little Italian expressions, sayings and phrases - plus how to talk with our hands - as we eat and drink our way through the afternoon.

The menu includes a grilled antipasto with house-marinated olives, rolled pasta with Italian sausage, mushrooms and local greens, bistecca and salmon Florentine with braised tomatoes and white beans, and Heidi's own holiday twist on a old classic - chocolate tiramisu. Wine pairings are included with each course
Class will be held in Heidi's south Charlotte kitchen. Cost is $65 per person.
Email Heidi at to make your advance reservation.

Thursday, Nov. 18 6-9 pm

Cooking At Home With Heidi Do-Ahead Holiday Hors D'oeuvres

This class on Thursday Nov 18 will feature a menu you can do-ahead and includes: homemade chicken sausage and potato puffs, my favorite spanekopeta, pork and mushroom steamed dumplings with a from scratch hoisin sauce, bite-sized crab cakes and chocolate and peppermint creme brulee shooters to cap it all off.
Class will be held in Heidi's south Charlotte kitchen. Cost is $55
Email Heidi at to make your advance reservation.

Tuesday,Nov 30 6-9:30 pm

Heidi's Hands-on Holiday Gifts From the Kitchen

This fun, hands-on holiday class will take place at a new location for us - the beautiful Mint Hill Arts Gallery.
Located at 7714 Matthews-Mint Hill Rd, Mint Hill, NC 28227,The Gallery will be feauturing a Holiday exhibit called "Small Treasures" made by some of the area's most talented craftsmen.

The work at the gallery will be available for sale and will inspire us as we make our own edible gifts from the kitchen including: homemade vanilla, homemade coffee liqueur, limoncello, Christmas morning chocolate cinnamon buns, Moravian sugar cake and personalized gingerbread people plus more great little gifts to give with love made right in your own kitchen.

And as a gift to you, you'll be able to take home some of the "spoils" from class to enjoy yourself!

Class wine pairings include tasting pours of a red, a white and a sparkling wine perfect to serve at your upcoming holiday fete!

Cost is $55 per person.
Email Heidi at to make your advance reservation.

Saturday, Dec 4 11 am-2:30 pm

Cooking At Home with Heidi More Holiday Hors D'oeuvres

On Saturday Dec 4, the hors d'oeuvres continue with more holiday favorites. This class menu will include a trio of stuffed mushrooms, savory Mexican cheesecakes, beef
filled profiteroles, shrimp and grits shooters and mini chocolate pecan tarts.

At both classes,wine pairings will be served with each dish.
Classes are held in Heidi's south Charlotte home.
Cost is $55 per person.
Email Heidi at to make your advance reservation.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Heidi Makes a Guest Appearance on PBS' For Your Home

That's right, I'm going to be a guest on a National television series!

Several months ago I was asked to film a farmers' market-themed For Your Home show with show creator and host, Vicki Payne.

You can imagine how honored I was when Vicki called to invite me to be a guest on her show and, of course, I said yes!
For Your Home is PBS's premier home and garden television show, filmed in Charlotte, and aired nationally on over 702 PBS stations across the country and now in syndication as well!

The premise for this episode is a trip to the farmers' market to learn about shopping, cooking and eating local - a topic right up my alley!

We had great fun filming, chatting with and buying from numerous farmers, growers and vendors at Charlotte's Atherton Mills (all local) market and then going home with our goodies to Cook Up A Storm.

"Our" episode will air locally in Charlotte on October 28 at 6:30 pm; so mark your calendars and set your DVRs now!
The show will air nationally on PBS stations across the country January 22, 2011. The show was also aired in syndication outside of the Charlotte viewing area September 27, 2010 and will repeat March 28, 2011.

After the 28th, you can watch the show as often as you would like on
But in case you'd like a little preview...Here's a copy of the recipe I cooked on the show


As seen on For Your home with Vicki Payne
Recipe from Heidi Billotto, food writer, cooking instructor and culinary expert in Charlotte North Carolina

1-2 whole pink snapper, cleaned head and tail still on
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 cartons of grape tomatoes
4-5 Tbsp. drained capers
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
Optional: 1/2 cup chopped pitted Kalamata olives
2 large shallots, chopped

Rinse fish and pat dry well. Sprinkle fish inside and out with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity of fish with sprigs of fresh rosemary and thyme and a slice or two of fresh lemon or orange. Drizzle fish with a bit of extra virgin olive oil.
Place whole fish on a hot grill. Cook for a total of 10 minutes per inch of thickness (measuring the fish at its thickest part), turning once during the cooking time.

While fish is cooking, grill the grape tomatoes on a grill grid until blistered. Toss hot tomatoes with capers, crushed red pepper and if you would like, some minced shallots and chopped pitted Kalamata olives.
Once fish is charred and firm on both sides to the touch, remove from grill and place on a serving plate to fillet and serve.

Monday, September 27, 2010

September and October Cooking Class Update

The September On the Farm Cooking Class was great fun last Saturday. Like all of my On the Farm cooking classes, this one took place in the kitchen at The Inn at New Town Farms. The morning started with a farm tour hosted by Sammy and Melinda Koenigsberg, owners of New Town Farms. In the picture to the right, you can see we gathered at the Inns outdoor courtyard to start Even though the weather was hot, the farm tour was fun and informative. We visited with the Heritage breed pigs, the French breed chickens and the turkeys; collected just laid eggs and perused the new and old growth in the fields as the crops rotate from one season to the other - so important to know where our food comes from and how it is raised. Class participants were also able to purchase product and produce from Sammy and Melinda at the end of class. But class is not the only place to buy from New Town Farms - Sammy and his fmaily are always at the Matthews Community Farmers' Market on Saturday mornings starting at 7:30 am!

After the tour, back in the kitchen, we cooked up fresh from-the-farm chicken and okra into a rich and delicious Chicken Gumbo; prepared a fillet of fresh local NC Cobia from at the Atherton Mills Farmers' Market with a cacciatore sauce (cobia is a thick dense fish with a texture that would keep you in mind of a swordfish steak); a smoked Greek eggplant dip with Sammy's special Italian varietal eggplant; and finished everything off with individual chocolate souffles served with locally grown figs and muscadines - delish!

More On the Farm classes to come - one every month! Classes for October and November are scheduled for Oct. 23 - For all of you grilling gurus, this On the Farm class takes on an outdoor twist with - weather permitting - a menu of recipes designed to hone your outdoor grilling skills.

Then our November On the Farm class will be on Nov 13 and will feature farm fresh holiday hors d’oeuvres -

Complete menus for both of these classes will be out soon, but you can sign up for either or both classes now if you'd like by emailing me at Cost for the On the Farm cooking classes is $55 per person. Classes begin at 11 am with the 1- 1 1/2 hour farm tour and generally run till 4 pm.

In the meantime, here's what's coming up in the next several weeks - each At Home with Heidi class is $55 per person and again reservations may be made by emailing me at

Cooking with Seasonal Seafood - At Home with Heidi
Tues. Sept. 28 at 6 pm

4-5 fabulous recipes, each featuring locally available sustainable seafood for four entrees and one appetizer: pan-seared trout with crispy kale, shrimp and scallops diable, baked salmon with a coriander crust, seviche cocktail, and a tasty prosciutto wrapped spicy shrimp. We'll work with fin fish and shell fish and talk about the cooking and handling of both!

Cajun and Creole Cuisine
Chef Choice Cooking Classes at Johnson and Wales
Sat. Oct 2 at 9 am

A fun flavor-filled class featuring these classic recipes from the kitchens of the Crescent City: jambalaya, seafood crepes with a creole sauce, a thick and hearty gumbo and a rich, ooey-gooey bread pudding with a knock-your-socks-off Whiskey sauce - Laissez les bons temps rouler! This is one you won't want to miss. Go to on the Web and click – the “find classes” button - cost $140 per person

Try A Little Thai - At Home with Heidi
Tues. Oct 5 at 6 pm

An entire meal with all the intricate flavors of Thailand. Recipes include my twist on a Thai chicken and coconut soup, local grilled pork with green Curry sauce, classic Pad Thai and fishcakes with spicy cucumber sauce - the perfect comfort food for fall!

Food and Wine of Spain - At Home with Heidi
Sat. Oct 9 at 11 am

One of my most popular classes - a complete Spanish meal perfect for friends and family alike. Menu includes spicy saffron-seasoned empanadas, a seafood and sausage paella, roasted smoked paprika potatoes, homemade sangria and a cabrales souffle with oven roasted pears and caramel sauce.

FREE Cooking Demo at the Atherton Mills Farmers' Market
Tues Oct 12, 5:30-7 pm

FREE ongoing Cooking Demo at the Atherton Mills Farmers’ Market using the very best of locally home grown farm fresh produce and product. Recipes and samples for all!

Wine Country Cuisine-At Home with Heidi - PLEASE NOTE THE NEW DATE and location FOR THIS CLASS -
Tues Oct 19 at 6 pm.

Menu will include great dishes inspired by chefs and restaurants in
some of the most noted wine tasting and making regions in the world. Complete menu out Oct 1.

For more information about these classes sign up for my email newsletter by emailing me at Hope to see you Cooking Up A Storm real soon,

Friday, September 10, 2010

Charlotte Talks Dining Divas Show

Tom and I had a fabulous time on Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins yesterday. It was the semi annual Dining Divas show. I was invited to be on to talk food and restaurants with Mike and other local critics Helen Schwab from the Observer and Tricia Childress from Creative Loafing and Tom provided the musical accompaniment!
You can click on this link - charlotte talks - and listen to the show yourself. The show is great fun but time flies by fast - come back here in a day or two and I'll have a list of all the great places I didn't have time to mention.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

For Your Labor Day Cookout


Recipe from Charlotte Culinary Expert Heidi Billotto

As seen on WBTV, Saturday September 4, 2010

WBTV News Saturday Morning
Click here for video

6-8 chicken thighs or breasts, skin removed if you like

Sea salt and pepper

Your favorite barbecue sauce

Wash chicken and pat dry. Season well with salt and pepper. Grill over medium to medium high heat, skin side up for 8-10 minutes, turn, grill 8-10 minutes more. Note that white meat will cook slightly faster than dark meat will; bone-in chicken ( white and dark) will take longer to cook than boneless chicken. Test for doneness by pricking the chicken and seeing if juices run clear or by inserting an instant read thermometer. When chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees - it's done!

During the last minute or two of grilling time brush the chicken liberally with the sauce; cover and cook for a minute or two. Turn the chicken over and sauce again. Cooking for a minute or two more. Serve with extra sauce at the table.

Serve your chicken with a deconstructed potato salad of oven roasted local fingerling potatoes tossed in fresh shredded basil, pine nuts, goat cheese and extra virgin olive oil.

For dessert - Turn the heat on your grill down to very low. Place several day old glazed Krispy Kreme doughnuts on the grill and grill for just a minute, if that, on each side. The sugar on each doughnut will caramelize and your grill will smell like cotton candy - careful, the sugar on the doughnuts is very hot - but this is the best sweet treat ever! Enjoy and have a Happy Holiday Weekend!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Everyone Needs A Little Chocolate

Recipe from Charlotte Culinary Expert Heidi Billotto
As seen on WBTV, Saturday August 21, 2010
The Morning Show with Kristin Miranda

Click here for video

3 cups granulated sugar
pinch salt
7 Tbsps. unsweetened cocoa
4 large eggs
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
1 stick butter, melted
2-3 cups pecan halves (be generous)
Dough for two pies fitted into two 10 inch French tart pans with removable bottoms

Carefully fit the dough into each of the French tart pans, trimming edges to fit. Place each on a baking sheet. Mix sugar, salt, and cocoa together. Whisk together the eggs, vanilla, and milk; stir into the dry ingredients. Add melted butter and stir until well blended. Fill each pie shell two - thirds full with pecan halves.
Pour filling over the pecans. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. If you are taking your tart to-go, transport them in the pans and then removed on site for easy serving. Top with freshly whipped cream or ice cream f you would like.
Makes 2 pies.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

An Homage to Blueberries

Recipe from Charlotte Culinary Expert Heidi Billotto
As seen on Charlotte Today – WCNC-TV August 24, 2010

click here to watch video

For the filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp. vanilla or anise extract
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. orange zest
1 tsp. lemon zest
2 cups fresh blueberries or blueberry jam
For the pastry:
2 packages crescent roll dough
For the egg wash:
1 whole egg
2 Tbsp. milk
For the glaze:
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
2 to 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

To make the filling: In a bowl beat together cream cheese, sugar, egg yolk, vanilla, salt, and zests until the mixture is smooth.
To make the Danish: Roll both packages of crescent roll dough out to form eight rectangles of dough. Pinch the perforated seams to seal well. Repeat on the other side of the dough. Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of filling down the center of each rectangle of dough, top with blueberries. Cut the sides of the dough into a strips that look like a fringe on either side of the filling as shown in the video. Fold the “fringe” pieces up and over the filling so that the Danish appears to be breaded. Brush the finished pastries with the egg wash, arrange them about 3 inches apart on parchment paper lined baking sheets. Bake the Danish in the middle of a preheated 375 degree oven for 11-14 minutes, or until they are crisp and golden.
Make the glaze while the Danish are baking:
In a bowl whisk together the confectioners' sugar, and enough of the lemon juice to make a thick but pourable glaze. Glaze then right out of the oven and enjoy!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


One Great late Summer Meal in Three Easy Steps..

Can’t believe that summer is almost coming to an end, but while we still have all the great flavors of the season growing right at our fingertips, this recipe is a wonderful way to take advantage of them all! Fresh sweet corn, real cream, just shelled limas, ripe tomatoes, hand picked herbs and of course local seafood come together for a wonderful mid August repast. A great opportunity to dine al fresco, if you would like – the perfect meal to share with friends or family and as beautiful to look at as it is good to eat
Enjoy this recipe and then scroll down for information about my series of cooking classes for August and September...

Recipe from Charlotte Culinary expert Heidi Billotto
As seen on Charlotte Today – WCNC-TV August 13, 2010 between 11 am and noon

For the succotash:
1 1/2 pounds baby lima beans, shelled,
2 large ears corn, kernels cut from cob (about 2 cups)
1 large tomato, seeded, diced
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

For creamed corn:
7 large ears corn, kernels cut from cob (about 7 cups)
¼ cup whipping cream

For the vinaigrette:
1 lb. fresh ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh minced basil
3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
Sea salt and Hot Shot Pepper Blend
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

For the fish:
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
4 (6 to 8-ounce) pieces cod or white fish fillets

Step one: Cook the limas for the succotash until tender in a saucepan of boiling salted water, about 5 minutes. Add corn kernels and cook 1 minute more. Drain. Mix in tomato, Italian parsley and extra-virgin olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (May be prepared ahead and then reheated.)

Step two: Place remaining corn kernels in processor. Puree about 3 minutes (mixture will be a rough puree). Transfer corn kernels toa saucepan, add whipping cream and stir just until corn is heated through, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove creamed corn from heat; cover to keep warm.

Step three:
Pat fish fillets dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat a non stick fry pan over high heat and drizzle with a bit of extra virgin olive oil. Add fillets to skillet and cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side. While fish is cooking prepare vinaigrette by tossing together all of the ingredients remembering to add the olive oil last.

To serve: Divide creamed corn and succotash equally among 4 plates. Top each serving with sautéed fillet. Spoon tomato vinaigrette atop each fillet and serve.

Thursday, August 5, 2010



To register for any of these classes,simply email Heidi at and we'll get you signed up. Your payment, made by cash or check made payable to me, will confirm your reservation. These classes are all held in Charlotte NC at three different locations. All are hands-on events and if you would rather not cook, you are invited to participate as much as you would like - if you'd like to come and watch, eat and enjoy as if it were a demonstration class, that is fine too; but advance reservations are a must!

Wine parings are offered with each course and each class participant receives a complete packet of recipes and wine notes.
Class participants will also be able to order the wines we taste in each class at special discounted pricing.

Sat. August 14 - 10:30 am - 1 pm at Aria Tuscan Grill - In Honor of Julia - Julia Child's birthday is this weekend and so I thought it appropriate to celebrate with a class of some of my favorite "Julia recipes." The menu includes: Julia's real Caesar salad with homemade croutons, leek and potato soup, Seafood en croute, savory herb-stuffed tomatoes and ice cream profiteroles with creme Anglaise and chocolate sauce. Cost is $55.

Sat. August 21 - 11 am - 2:30 pm - Cooking On the Farm at New Town Farms in Waxhaw. - This fun and informative class will kick off with a 30 minute or so tour of New Town Farms as we explore the lay of the land with owners Sammy Koenigsburg, then we'll head to the farmhouse kitchen to cook with local produce and product using New Town's chicken and pork, and all the in-season produce we can find on the farm. Its going to be fabulous!
Class special - class participants will be able to purchase any of the produce or products raised at New Town at a 10% discount immediately after class.
Menu includes: Mascarpone and local goat cheese mousse with wine braised tomato and crunchy parmesan crisps , Apple brined pork with muscadine or blueberry sauce, Braised chicken with herbs and figs, and a warm peach and almond tart with a local honey drizzle. Cost is $55.

Sunday August 22 - 10:30 am - 1 pm at Aria Tuscan Grill - Italian Al Fresco dinner for Four - one of my most popular cooking class topics, geared to accomodate the warm weather of the season. Menu includes my new take on classic bruschetta made with scrumptous cheese grits and tomatoes, arugula and cucumber salad, from scratch pasta with a choice of two sauces: carbonara and puttnesca and a fresh fruit-topped Italian cheesecake tart. Cost is $55.

And here's what we'll be cooking in September...:

Steakhouse Dinner for Four - At Home with Heidi - Tues. Sept 7 at 6 pm
Classic French food and wine - At Home with Heidi - Sun. Sept 12 at 1 pm
On the farm Class at New Town Farms - Sat. Sept 25 at 11 am
The secrets of cooking with seafood - At Home with Heidi - Tues. Sept. 28 at 6 pm

To register for any of these classes, email Heidi at and we'll get you signed up. Your payment, made by cash or check made payable to me, will confirm your reservation.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Heidi's Back and Cooking Up A Storm on TV

After an eight week hiatus for surgery to remove a very small benign brain tumor and the recovery period that followed, I'm happy to say I'm feeling great and ready to get started with cooking classes,private cooking classes and team building events, catering and more.
My local cooking classes start again in August and the complete list along with registrations information will be in my next email newsletter - due to be sent out tomorrow July 25. If you are not on my mailing list and would like to be, simply email me your contact info at and I'll send a copy out to you right away.
In the meantime, I've eased into things with several live television cooking spots - on two of Charlotte's local stations - WCNC and WBTV. Recipes and links to the video are posted here - enjoy!

Recipe by Heidi Billotto
Charlotte Culinary Expert
As seen on WBTV's Morning Show on Sunday July 24, 2010
click here for the link to the video

1/2 stick butter
4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp. dark balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. local honey
1 Tbsp. your favorite whole grain mustard
2 Tbsp. capers
4 servings your favorite local seafood fillet (check out the selection at the Saturday Atherton Mill Farmers’ market or online from
Sea salt and pepper
Olive oil
2 cups local cherry tomatoes or thick sliced local slicing tomatoes

For the butter sauce: Simmer butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until deep golden brown, swirling pan occasionally, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in vinegar, honey and mustard. Add capers. Season sauce with salt and pepper.

For the seafood: Season fish with salt and pepper. Either grill over high heat or bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes per inch of thickness when fillet is measured at its thickest spot.

For the tomatoes: Thick slice local tomatoes or half local cherry tomatoes and grill on a grill grid until tender; arrange tomatoes in the center of a dinner plate, top with fish, nap with balsamic brown butter and serve.

Recipe by Heidi Billotto
Charlotte Culinary Expert
As seen on WCNC's Charlotte Today on Monday July 25, 2010
Click here for the video

1 local London Broil or flank steak, or 2 ribeye or filets, seasoned with salt and pepper, then grilled to desired doneness and sliced thin ( get my local beef at local farmers' markets from my friends at Proffitt Family Farms
Zest of two lemons
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
3 Tbsp. lime juice
2 Tbsp. fresh minced basil leaves
2 Tbsp. fresh minced mint leaves
1 Tbsp. fresh minced cilantro leaves
2 Tbsp. fresh minced gingerroot
2 tsp. garlic paste
¼ cup Nam Pla ( Thai fish sauce)
½ cup Thai coconut milk
3 Tbsp. dark sesame oil
¼ cup sesame seeds, toasted
Mixed salad greens
1 red onion, sliced thin
2 bell peppers, sliced thin
For the dressing:
3 Kirby cucumbers, peeled seeded and cut into julienne slices
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
3 Tbsp. Nam Pla
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. chili sauce ( more to taste)
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tsp sesame oil
Garlic salt
McCormick's Hot Shot pepper blend

Grill seasoned beef to desired doneness. While the beef is grilling, combine the next twelve ingredients in a mixing bowl to make the marinade. Remove beef from grill, cool slightly and slice into thin slices. Top with marinade and toss well.
Combine dressing ingredients.
To serve, top the greens with the sliced onion, bell peppers and marinated beef. Drizzle dressing over all.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Perfect Picnic Fare - Summer Carrot Soup with Dilled Cream

As seen on WBTVs Saturday Morning Show with Kristin Miranda, Saturday May 15, 2010 - 7:20 am
And, in the May/June 2010 issue of Charlotte Living Magazine

4 shallots
2-3 lbs. sweet organic carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 Tbsp. butter
salt and pepper
1-2 qts. Chicken or vegetable stock
2-3 Tbsp. minced dill weed
1 cup heavy cream

Mince shallots and sauté with carrots in hot butter in a stockpot, until shallots are tender. Add the broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until carrots are tender. Puree carrots in a food processor. Return to broth. Adjust seasonings with the addition of salt and pepper. Whip the cream till stiff. Fold in the minced dill (or tarragon) Serve a dollop of the herbed cream on each bowlful of soup.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Cooking Up A Storm on WCNC - Tuesday May 4, 2010

This year, instead of taking mom out to a restaurant, why not treat her to a homemade lunch or dinner al fresco. This clever chicken salad martini travels well, is easy to assemble on site and is prefect picnic fare be it at your favorite family park or picnic spot or in your own backyard or patio. Look for more great picnic recipes to prepare on Mother's Day or all summer long in the upcoming issue of Charlotte Living, on newstands next week - or check it out online at

Also don't miss two more terrific cooking classes this May as I continue to Cook Up A Storm at Reid's Fine Foods - Fresh from the Farmers' Market on Sat May 8 and pringtime Meditteranean on Sat May 15. Click here for more information or to make reservations


From Charlotte Culinary Expert Heidi Billotto

Charlotte Living Magazine

As seen on WCNCs Charlotte Today Tuesday May 4, 2010

Shredded meat from 2-3 whole roasted chickens

1 jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped

1 jar sliced sun dried tomatoes, packed in oil
2 packed cups baby spinach leaves

1 cup shelled pistachios

Shredded romaine lettuce

Shaved Parmesan

Real or plastic martini glasses

Large green olives stuffed with blue cheese

Red Wine Vinaigrette:
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup orange juice concentrate, defrosted but not diluted
2 tsps. honey
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup extra virgin olive oil (use 1/3 cup from the tomatoes)

First prepare the vinaigrette by combining the vinegar, orange juice concentrate, honey, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl. Whisk by hand or blend with a battery operated latte frother as you slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the mixture is emulsified. Reserve.

Toss the chicken, peppers, spinach, and pistachios in a large bowl with enough vinaigrette to moisten. Season the chicken salad with salt and pepper, to taste.

Arrange shredded lettuce in the bottom of each martini glass. Spoon the chicken salad on top of lettuce. Drizzle with vinaigrette. Sprinkle with the Parmesan, top off with an olive or two and serve.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Heidi Cooks on WBTV's Morning Show - Saturday April 17 -6:50 am!

Always great to join my buddy Kristin Miranda and the crew at WBTV's Moring show to Cook Up A Storm, even though it is early in the am!
On Saturday April 17, I'll be cooking with Fresh herbs and here is the recipe we'll prepare. For more great recipes read my articles on or come to a cooking class at Reid's Fine Foods - see the springtime calendar just below this post!

Charlotte Culinary Expert
As seen on WBTV’s Morning show
Sat April 17, 2010

4 parts thyme leaves
2 parts rosemary leaves
2 parts basil leaves
2 parts savory leaves
2 parts marjoram leaves
1 part lavender buds
1 part fennel or anise seeds

To make a fresh herbs de povince mince herbs, blend and use in your favorite recipes. Or to keep the blend for future use: dry the herbs separately, then combine and keep in an airtight container.

28 garlic cloves
1 ½ cups dry white wine ( I like Tariquet’s ugni blanc/colombard blend)
1 tsp sea salt
4 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. Herbs de Province
½ cup sun dried tomatoes, thin sliced
2 cans cannellini beans, well drained
crusty bread for dipping and spreading

Place the peeled garlic cloves, wine, salt, pepper, butter and herbs and tomatoes in a saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer for 20 minutes or until garlic is soft and the liquid in the pan is syrupy. Add white beans. Serve with slices of crusty French bread.

All New SPRINGTIME COOKING CLASSES start April 17, 2010

Register now for any of Heidi Billotto's fun and informative classes held at Reid's Fine Foods.

The complete spring and early summer schedule is listed below. As always, Reid's own Margaret Barry and Josh Villapano will pair wines with each dish served at every class. Class participants will receive detailed wine notes, a complete packet of class recipes, the opportunity to take advantage of many class-only special sales and a same-day, ten-percent class discount on any purchases excluding already case-discounted merchandise, additional cooking classes and Reid's gift certificates.

Saturday Classes 11:00 am - 2:30 pm
Sunday Classes 1:00-4:00 pm

Sat April 17 - 11 am-2:30 pm - Chinese Banquet -
Demonstration Format. It's the Year of the Tiger and we've continued the celebration with a fabulous Asian Banquet full of "lucky" foods for a healthy and prosperous new year all year long! This is a great way to entertain! Make your own eggrolls, with a from-scratch orange dipping sauce, Heidi's favorite seafood Hot and Sour Soup; Firecracker beef with long rice noodles; fish with black bean sauce and a sweet sticky rice cake for dessert. Cost is $45.

April 18 - Food and wine of Tuscany 1-4 pm - demonstration-format - If you love Italian cuisine this class is for you! Food and wine from the Tuscan region of Italy - a complete dinner for four. Cost is $45

Sun April 25- 1-4 pm - Sushi, Sake and other favorites from Japan - Hands-on format. Cost is $90

May 1 - 11 am -2 :30 pm - Springtime Hors d'oeuvres -demonstration-format. Now that we've all been bitten by the spring fever bug, why not join Heidi for one of our most popular springtime classes - great appetizers, amuse and first course starters all with fresh springtime flavors. And of course wine pairings to match each dish. Cost is $45

May 2 - 1-4 pm- Hands -on - Cooking with Mushrooms - Hands on format - we'll cook with all sorts of mushrooms, fresh and dried; truffle and mushroom oils, and locally grown shiitakes and oyster mushrooms, locally grown and fresh from Saturday's farmers' market. Cost is $90

May 8 - 11 am- 2:30 pm - Cooking with Fresh herbs - Demonstration-format. - Just in time for Mother's Day here is a class you can come to with your mom - although you need not be a mom or bring a mom to come and enjoy! Another of our most popular offerings, in this fabulous springtime class Heidi will explore the planting and harvesting of fresh herbs for your own herb garden and the use of fresh and dried herbs from the farmers' market, your herb garden and the grocery store as well - Great recipes, outstanding wine pairings and a special little surprise for all the moms in the crowd! Cost is $50

May 15- 11 am-2:30 pm - Eat well, live well, - springtime Mediterranean - Demonstration format - Fare perfect for the season and for dining al fresco. The recipes in this class all follow the tenants of the Mediterranean Diet - although the menu will seem like anything but diet food. Its a complete meal from beginning to end with nutrition facts for each recipe prepared for us by the nutritionists at Presbyterian's Health and Wellness. Cost $45

May 16 - 1-4 pm - Vegetarian Cuisine - Demonstration format - Menu will include four to five meatless recipes using locally grown ingredients from the farmers' market as well as a surprising assortment of delicious protein substitutes. Your gonna love and won't miss the meat at all. Cost is $40 per person

May 22 - 11 am - 2:30 pm - the annual Bacon, Bacon, Bacon class - Demonstration format. TA - DA...The one you've been waiting for - our ANNUAL Bacon class. Last year's chicken fried bacon with homemade Ranch Dressing took best of show, so now Heidi is busy working on recipes to try to top it . This is definitely a class you won't want to miss! Cost is $50 per person

May 23- 1-4 pm - Wine and food from the Pacific Northwest - Demonstration format. All the wonderful ingredients of this country's Pacific northwestern region rolled up into one flavoful class. Look for walnuts, nut oils and cherries and of course, wild and smoked salmon. Wines from Washington State and Oregon round out the menu. Cost $45

May 29 11 am- 2:30 pm - La Picque Nicque - Demonstration format - great recipes that will take you from indoors to the outside for all of your al fresco dining this summer. This is the perfect class to come to if you are a big Pops in the Park fan; plus you'll taste all the hottest wines for some cool summer sipping this picnic season. Cost $40

June 5 - Fresh from the farmers market - with market tour - Tour from 8-10am; class form 11 am - 2:30 pm
TOUR AND Demonstration format class. We'll dive into June with another of our popular annual classes. Join Heidi early in the morning as she guides a tour of Several area markets, where you'll chat with local farmers, learn more about their farms and the foods they produce and will have time to shop as well! The tour will end up about 10 am and then we'll meet back at Reids at 11 am for a regular demonstration-style cooking class in which we will prepare 4-5 recipes using all the foods we bought at the market. If you'd like to come to the class but skip the fun-filled tour, simply go to the next icon to register. $55 class and tour; $50 class only

June 6 -1-4 pm Steakhouse dinner for four - Hands on- Hands-on format. Here's a class for all the beef lovers out there - all your steak house favorites prepared from scratch - Killer scalloped potatoes, spinach souffle, The Wedge salad with a choice of homemade blue cheese or ranch dressing, perfect sauteed mushrooms and a variety of beef. For dessert a class chocolate souffle, oh my! PLUS, all class participants will receive a gift certificate for complimentary bar apps from Morton's The Steakhouse in Uptown Charlotte .Cost $90

June 12 - 11 am-2:30 pm- Beachy Keen - Summertime One Dish Dinners. Menu to come Cost $40

June 13 - 1-4 pm Eat Well, Live Well - Foods from the French Countryside. French food without all the cream and butter and equally as delicious. Heidi will prepare an entire meal including a from - scratch crusty French whole wheat baguette . All recipes follow the tenants of the Mediterranean American diet and all come with nutrition facts prepared for us by the nutritionists at Presbyterian's Heart and Wellness center. Cost $45

June 19 -11 am - 2:30 pm - Flavors of Mexico - Time for a fiesta to celebrate the summer - all of your favorites from chilies rellenos to Mexican Flan - ole! Cost is $40 per person

June 20 - 1-4 pm - Patio and Poolside Hors d'oeuvres - This annual summer class is a great one for dads who like to cook and everyone else too! We'll prepare a host of appetizers - several perfect for preparation on the grill! or to enjoy while you are grillin' up the entrees! After this one you'll be set for all of your summertime entertaining! Cost is $45 per person.

Classes are held at the Reids 7th Street Wine Bar.
225 East 7th Street, FREE Parking to class participants at 7th Street Station Parking Deck.

Friday, March 19, 2010


Spring is indeed the air, we've sprung forward, set the clocks ahead and watched the first of the cherry trees begin to blossom. But, to steal a quote from Barbara Fairchild, editor of Bon Appetit, in her new March issue, "there is still a lot of wonderful winter cooking to be done."
As much as I crave the taste of herbs from my garden, the cool, crisp, crunch of Kirby cukes and the ripe, red flavor of a fresh picked tomato that are right around the corner; I'm still not quite ready to give up my much-loved winter fare of dark leafy greens, braised soups and stews and the soft, full flavor of the perfect butternut squash.

To fit it all in, I have five more cooking classes coming up before the end of this month - four weekend classes at Reid's Fine Foods and one Tuesday evening class, a part of my At Home with Heidi series.
ADVANCE RESERVATIONS ARE A MUST, but the really good news is that there's still time to make your reservation, EVEN FOR TOMORROW MORNING'S CLASS AT REIDS...Here are the class descriptives and info on how to register. I'll look forward to hearing from you and seeing you in class soon .

Saturday March 20 - 11 am-2:30 pm - Ole! The food and wine of Spain - demonstration format at Reid's. Menu includes homemade sangria to start, tapas of wine and garlic braised shrimp with smoked paprika potatoes; Classic paella, grilled veggie empanadas and honey and roasted pear rice tart Cost is $45. Click Here for easy online registration.

Eating Well, Living Well - Springtime Appetizers - Sun. March 21 - 1-4pm. Demo format at Reid's. Menu includes carrot soup shooters, skewers of Greek grilled chicken with dipping sauce, tuna tartar, crunchy onion rings and vegetarain spring rolls. We'll features Suzi's Skinny Cakes made into small truffled bites for dessert. All recipes come complete with nutrition facts. Cost is $40. Click here to make your reservation.

Tuesday March 23 - 6-9pm - An Easy But Elegant Dinner for Four - At Home with Heidi. Hands-on format. The menu includes: Individual Classic cheese souffles, braised Proffitt Family Farms bone-in short ribs or shanks; potato gratin; local greens with local goat cheese croustades, oranges, candied pecans and a from-scratch vinaigrette; and for dessert, an apple and almond tart. Cost is $50. To register email Heidi at

Sat Mar 27 - 11 am -2:30 pm - The Big O - Cooking with Olives Oils From Around the World!
Demonstration format. This class is always a crowd pleaser - we'll start with a tasting of nearly two dozen different oils from around the world and then cook with four of our favorites. Cost is $45 per person.
click Here for easy online registration

Sun Mar 28 - 1-4 pm - Sushi, Sake and other favorites from Japan - In this class full of flavors from the far East, you'll learn how to roll you own sushi, and create other beautiful Japanese entrees and apps as well as a dessert. Each dish will be paired with a outstanding sake.
The sake tasting portion of this special class will be directed by our good friend Phil Murray of Tryon Disributing. Phil is a certified Sake Specialist level 1. Trained by John Gartner, the premier English Speaking sake expert in the world, Phil is one of less than 200 people in the world have this certification, and one of the two experts in the Southeast United States. Its an opportunity you won't want to miss!
Class size is limited Hands-on format. Cost is $90.
Click Here for easy online registration

Other exciting news -

The March/April issue of Charlotte Living dressed with a big, bright red gerbra daisy is out on newsstands and up online now. Check out my Very Culinary articles about The Liberty Gastropub and BLT Steakhouse as well as a primer to working with Phyllo Dough.

Looking to get away from it all? Take my travel advice in this issue and head for Westglow Resort & Spa in Blowing Rock. You can read it all online at or pick up an issue at Reid's when you come to see me at cooking class.

Tune in to your televison THIS Saturday and then again on Thursday April 1 -
This Saturday morning I'll be appearing on WBTV's Weekend Morning show with host Kristen Miranda. Tune is at 6:50 am ( oh my!) with great recipes for springtime lemon curd, lemon mousse and an easy lemon blueberry tart...yum! sEE THE POST BELOW FOR RECIPES...

Then on Thursday April 1, I'll be Cooking Up A Storm on WCNC's Charlotte Today. The shows airs from 11 am to noon with the cooking segment tucked some place inbetween. I'll let you in on further menu details when I have them, and will be watching for you to tune in!
Recipes for both appearances will be on
and on my blog at

Finally, my husband Tom Billotto's musical calendar.

This month Tom is playing at several of our favorite places and if I'm not teaching or catering I'll probably be in the audience so plan to drop by and say hello.
Here's what's happening in the next two weeks...

Saturday Mar 20, evening
Private Party
Tuesday, Mar. 23, 6-9pm
Rudy's Italian Restaurant & Bar, Piper Glen Shopping Center, Charlotte NC
Wednesday, Mar. 24, 7-9pm
With Jimmy Bookout at Pewter Rose Bistro, South Blvd, SouthEnd area, Charlotte NC
Thursday, Mar. 25, 6-9pm
Passion8 Bistro, Hwy. 51, Fort Mill, SC
Friday Mar. 26, 6-10pm
The Club At Longview
Saturday, Mar. 27, evening
With Kim Carper Marshall and Donnie Marshall at private party, Byron's SouthEnd,
Charlotte NC
Tuesday, Mar. 30, 6-9pm
Rudy's Italian Restaurant & Bar, Piper Glen Shopping Center, Charlotte NC
Wednesday, Mar. 31, 7-9pm
With Jimmy Bookout at Pewter Rose Bistro, South Blvd, SouthEnd area, Charlotte NC

You can view Tom's entire performance schedule, listen to musical samples or get information on how to book Tom for your next event online at


Recipe and variations from Charlotte Culinary Expert Heidi Billotto
As seen on WBTV, Saturday March 20, 2010
The Morning Show with Kristin Miranda

For the basic lemon curd:
¾ cup butter
½ cup sugar
Zest of two lemons ( or any other citrus)
½ cup lemon juice ( or any other citrus juice)
6 eggs (or an equivalent amount of egg substitute)

Combine the butter, sugar, lemon zest and juice together in a saucepan over medium heat till warm and melted. Beat eggs until light and fluffy. Temper eggs with butter mix then return to the pan and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon until thick. Cool to make lemon curd.
Store curd in canning jars or plastic refrigerator containers. To serve, spoon into tart shells and top with a dollop of whipped cream or a fresh berry for a Spring time lemon tart; spread on slices of toasted pound cake and top with mixed Spring or Summer berries; or use as a brunchtime spread for taosted English muffins

Variations on the theme:
For lemon mousse: Whip 2 cups heavy cream until stiff. Fold whipped cream into cooled curd to make mouse. Spoon mousse into stemmed glasses and top or layer with fresh berries for an easy lemon parfait.

For lemon semifreddo: (this variation on our theme is my take on a dessert served at Aria Tuscan Grill, Uptown Charlotte’s newest Italian themed restaurant located in Founders Hall. Thanks to chef Bill Schutz for the inspiration!)
Make lemon mousse as directed above. Line a square cake pan with plastic wrap, leaving enough wrap to hand over the edges of the pan. Spread the lemon mousse in the pan. Cover with plastic wrap. Freeze for 4-5 hours or best overnight. The mixture will not get as hard as ice cream but will firm up in the freezer. Just before serving. Lift the semifreddo out of the pan using the plastic wrap, cut into squares and serve topped with fresh berries and a drizzle of limoncello, a sweet rich Italian lemon liqueur.

This recipe was given to me by Luisa Amadio, who along with her husband Rudy owns Dolce Italian Ristorante on East Blvd. and now Rudy’s Italian Restaurant & Bar in the Shops at Piper Glen on Rea Rd. in south Charlotte.

Zest or peeled rind of 12 lemons
½ gallon of Everclear or vodka
½ gallon of simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water boiled down to form a syrup)

Place the zest in the liquor and allow to marinate for 8-10 days. Strain and dispose of zest. Blend infused liquid with the simple syrup. Adjust sugar to taste. Transfer to pretty bottles and decorate for gift giving.

My dear friends at Passion 8 Bistro in Ft. Mill - Jessica and Luca Annunziata, make a variations of limoncello with all different typs of fruit - figs for figcello, fresh Carolina peaches for peachcello - try your luck with eh bountyh of local fresh frut this Spring and Summer and do the same or just visit Dolce or Passion8 for a taste of their homemade elixirs! - Yum!!!

Sunday, February 7, 2010


Gridiron greats
Fun and food for your favorite football enthusiasts

Time for the Superbowl and football is indeed in the air. For many Superbowl Sunday is a time to don the jersey of a favorite player, toss the pigskins around in the back yard and armchair quarterback with the best of them. But for me and other non-football enthusiasts, it is simply another wonderful excuse to throw a theme party!

Kick things off by looking in party and big box stores party stores for a variety of plastic dishes, trays and bowls in football shapes which you may fill with a variety of mid-game munchies.
When it comes to decorating for the big day, televisions in every room are essential. And, don’t forget to put a small TV in each bathroom as well – what if something important happens on the field while you’ve stepped out – if you’re into the game, you don’t want to miss a thing! Much past that, you’ll want to concentrate your decoration efforts on the table.
Purchase yards of Astroturf at any home or garden shop. Measure your table and then buy enough yardage to cover the table and still allow a foot or so to overhang on each side. If you would like to offer guests individual bamboo trays (available at places like Pier One and World Market) on which to place their football fare, use rectangles of the artificial turf to make “placemat’ liners. Finish off your field of green with white masking tape to mark off yard lines.
On the buffet, small plastic toy football players may be scattered across the “field” you’ve made in and among the serving dishes. Use inexpensive wood or plastic napkin rings, wrapped with ribbon in team colors. If you can find small toy replicas of team mascots, you can hot glue them onto the napkin rings for an extra bit of atmosphere. If you’d like to forgo the after game clean up of real flatware and china, use heavy duty plastic plates and flatware in team colors - matching oversized napkins will round out your presentation. Set plates at flatware in one end zone of the table, arrange the entrees and sides in centerfield and place desserts (I’m thinking football-shaped brownies or sugar cookies) arranged in the other end zone .
As far as serving dishes for the buffet go, you can use some of the football-shaped plastic ware, but it’s always much more entertaining to get creative and let your imagination take over. Oversized and clean football cleats can be lined with foil and used as a ‘bowl’ for dips or spreads or condiments. Seek out football shaped hot pots, spotted this season at local stores like Steinmart and Walmart for a big 50-yard line pot of chili. Toy football helmets make for great containers as well. Line them with cloth napkins and use as a serving container for chips or rolls or even salad greens.
Don’t spend too much time on other niceties in and around your house – armchair quarterbacks will take no notice of any new yard work, or family photos on the mantel, it’s The Game which will capture their attention. They will notice the table at when they break at halftime or during a commercial break. Don’t make the food too complicated to eat. Best to stick with heavy hors d’oeuvres or finger foods at the start, then make your half time show shine with an easy to serve one pot comfort foods like chili and pot pies are great. For the Saints its a classic gumbo or jambalaya and for the Colts, well, if they hadn't movedd from Baltimore, crabcakes would be divine, but things being what they are, they say that pork cutlets are very big in Indiana, which brings a great Cubano sandwich comes to mind or us the pork for a great Javanese Curry dish - yum! Round out the meal with other classics listed here, a big salad and plenty of good wine and beer.


4 cans white beans, with liquid
3 lbs. boneless chicken breasts, thin sliced
2 tsp. garlic paste
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano leaves
1 Tbsp. salt
1 medium onion, thin sliced
2 jalapeno chilies, seeded, deveined and diced
4-6 cups chicken broth
¼ cup lime juice
2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese
1 cup sour cream

Place the white beans with the sliced chicken, garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, onion and jalapenos in a large stock pot. Cover with water or chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Turn down to simmer. Let simmer 1 hour, adding water if needed. Add lime juice and adjust seasoning to suit your tastes. Serve in bowls topped with shredded cheese and sour cream.


1 minced green pepper
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. dried red pepper flakes
1 lb. whole mushrooms, finely mined
4-5 whole carrots, finely minced
1 (10 oz.) can Ro-tel tomatoes, drained
2 (14.5 oz.) cans diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 (27 oz.) can dark red kidney beans, drained
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
Sauté the minced green pepper and dried pepper flakes in olive oil over high heat until lightly browned and limp. Add minced mushrooms and carrots and sauté 3-4 minutes stirring well. Add tomatoes, kidney beans, chili powder and cumin. Blend well; reduce heat to low and simmer 15-20 minutes. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper.

VARIATION: For chili cheese dip: stir in one (8 oz.) block cream cheese and a four-ounce portion of Velvetta processed cheese. Stir chili until cheese melts.
Serve in mugs, or hollowed out mini loaves of bread with a selection of toppings. Chili may be prepared in advance. It freezes and reheats quite well.

2 whole roasting hens
1 stick butter or margarine
½ cup flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine
½ cup dry sherry
1 cup heavy cream
Garlic salt and pepper to taste
1 cup finely chopped fresh spinach
1 ½ cups thinly sliced carrots
1 bag frozen pearl onions, defrosted
1 box frozen baby peas
1 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 cans artichoke hearts, drained
½ lb. puff pastry, defrosted according to package directions
1 egg, beaten
Roast or boil the chicken until cooked and tender (Note: short cut this step with already prepared rotisserie chicken from your local supermarket) When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skin. Remove the meat and tear into shreds. Reserve. Discard bones and any cartilage.
Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Stir in flour and cook a minute or so to make a roux. Add chicken broth, white wine and sherry. Cook until mixture is smooth and thickened slightly. Bring to a soft boil; add the heavy cream. Reduce heat; simmer 20 minutes. Season to taste with garlic salt and pepper. Stir in spinach. While the sauce is cooking, arrange the chicken and veggies in an oven-to-table casserole dish. Pour the sauce over all. Gently roll out a sheet of puff pastry to a size which slightly overlaps the edges of the casserole dish. Brush a little beaten egg around the inside edges of the casserole and place the sheet of puff pastry over all. The egg will help to seal the edges of the pastry to the casserole dish. Use a sharp knife to cut several air vents in the pastry. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour.
The cooked pot pie may be frozen. To reheat: defrost in the refrigerator overnight; cover with foil and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven 45 minute to one hour.


1 cup vegetable oil
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
2 cups chopped white or yellow onion
1 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup chopped red pepper
1 ½ cups chopped celery
2 cloves, garlic, minced
4 cans chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups water
2 lbs. boneless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into bit sized pieces
1 ½ lbs. andouille sausage, cut into chunks
2-3 Tbsp. Homemade or your favorite Creole seasoning mix ( recipe follows)
1 Tbsp. cayenne pepper
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 lb. medium sized shrimp, peeled
Steamed or boiled rice

Heat the oil in a large stock pot, when the oil is warm, add the flour. Stir until well blended and cook over medium – low to medium heat, stirring frequently until the mix is thick and dark golden brown in color. This is the roux which will thicken and flavor your gumbo.
When the roux is done, add the onions, celery, bell peppers and garlic and cook until vegetables or tender. Add the chicken broth and water and bring to a boil. Once the gumbo is boiling, add the chicken, sausage and Creole seasonings.
Reduce the heat and allow to simmer 40-45 minutes. If the mixture starts to become too thick, add a little water or broth.
After about 40 minutes of simmering time, add the diced tomatoes and shrimp. Adjust the seasonings to suit your tastes. Once the shrimp have curled slightly and turned pink, the gumbo is ready to serve in shallow bowls over hot white rice.


¼ cup garlic salt
1/3 cup paprika
¼ cup chili powder
¼ cup cumin
4 Tbsp. chicken or vegetable boullion granules
3 Tbsp. dried thyme leaves

Combine all of the ingredients and store in an airtight container


½ cup fresh cilantro
¼ cup fresh parsley
3 tsp. garlic paste
1 (1/4inch) slices fresh ginger
1 cup lime juice
2 cups white wine or beer
¼ cup sugar
8 cups chicken broth
4 lbs. beef or pork ribs
2/3 cup teriyaki sauce
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup dark sesame oil
2 (1/4inch) slices of fresh ginger
3 tsp. garlic paste
3 green onion, minced
¼ cup beer
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. hot sauce (more to taste)

Combine the cilantro, parsley, 3 tsp. garlic paste. 3 slices ginger root, 2 cups beer, ¼ cup sugar and chicken broth in a large stock pot. Bring to a boil and add racks of ribs. Allow to come back to a boil, and then simmer for 45 minutes to one hour.
While ribs are simmering, prepare basting sauce by combining the remaining ingredients in a medium sized sauce pan. Bring to a boil let boil one minutes, remove from heat, reserve.
Remove ribs from the simmering liquid. Place in a roasting pan. Brush the ribs generally with the basting sauce and place under a preheated broiler or on a hot grill. Cook 4-5 minutes on each side, basting again with sauce as soon as you turn the ribs.

Easy Cubano Sandwiches for a Crowd

1 large loaf crusty French bread
thin slicd smoked ham
1 pork roast cookd, cooled and alsic thin
swiss cheese, sliced
slicd dill pickles
spicy mustard or chipotle mayo
Slice the loaf of bread in half lengthwise to make one large sandwich. Spread mustard of spicy mayo on both of the inside sides of the loaf. Layer with ham, pork, cheese. pickls, lettuce and tomato. To, wrap in foil and warm in oven to melt cheese. Unwrap and cut into serving-sized portions.

Original Buffalo wings

2 1/2 pounds chicken wings, split and tips discarded
3/4 cup Frank's Redhot Buffalo Wing Sauce

Season wings with salt and pepper. Bake wings 45 minutes at 425° until fully cooked and crispy, turning halfway.
Toss wings in Buffalo Wing Sauce. Bake 10 minutes more.


1 stick of butter
1 ½ cups half and half
2-3 cups of blue cheese

Melt butter in a medium sized saucepan. Add cream. When the mix is warm, add the crumbled cheese a little at a time until it melts and the sauce thickens. Serve the cheese sauce in a hollowed out bread round surrounded by the Buffalo wings for dipping.

3/4 cup shredded coconut
2 tsp. coriander seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground turmeric
4 fresh chilies, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (1/4 -inch) slice of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 onions, sliced
1 stick of cinnamon
2 wholes cloves
2 lbs. pork tenderloin, cut into chunks
2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
3 cups Thai coconut milk
Toss coconut in a hot skillet until lightly browned. Immediately remove from the pan and reserve. Grind the coriander, cumin, turmeric, chilies, garlic, and ginger together to form a paste. This is easily done in a coffee grinder or small food processor
Heat the oil in a larges stock pot and fry the onion until lightly browned. Add spice paste, cinnamon stick and cloves; stir-fry 3-4 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick and cloves. Stir in the toasted coconut and pork. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the pork has browned. Add the tomatoes; cook until they are soft, season the mix to taste with salt. Add the coconut milk bringing the mixture slowly to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about an hour.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Wine and Dine Your Valentine

For your sweetie's sweet Tooth...
Delivery of a Dozen Long-stemmed Cookies


1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs, beaten well
1 tsp. vanilla
1 ½ cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
3 cups oatmeal
1 ½ cups of chocolate chips,
3/4 cup raisins, nuts or Craisins

Cream butter and sugar and mix well. Add eggs and vanilla, blend well. Blend in all of the dry ingredients and mix well. Lay out a piece of plastic wrap and use it to help shape the cookie mix into a log. Chill the cookie dough until firm.
Slice the dough into ¼ inch rounds and baked on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.

While cookies are baking snip the blossom end off of 12 plastic or silk long-stemmed artificial flowers. When cookies are done and stll warm, quickly and carefully transfer them to a cooling rack. Carfully insert the tip of the stem well into each cookie and allow to cool. Carefully arrange your long-stemmed cookies in a flower delivery box, wrapped in colorful tissue, tie with a ribbon and let Cupid take it from there!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Heidi Cooks at Johnson & Wales

A special Chef's Choice Cooking Class at Johnson & Wales

February 20
9 am to 1 pm
Easy and Elegant Dinner Party for Four

Entertaining at home is a breeze when you are equipped with all the right tools and knowledge. Join, Instructor Heidi Billotto, Food, Wine and Restaurant writer for Charlotte Living Magazine, who will guide you through prep to last minute garnishes, providing everything you'll need to know from A to D...appetizers to desserts! Seasonal recipes and lots of fun and informative culinary tips included, as you cook your way from start to finish. Recipes include a trio of stuffed profiteroles, truffle-laced brie and mushroom bisque and flaming crepes suzette for dessert!

Just 8 spaces left - register now by clicking here

Cost $140.00 per person

Cooking Up A Storm with Heidi Billotto at Reid’s Fine Foods


Our Eating Well, Living Well class originally scheduled for sat Jan 30 was snowed out - new date is Sat Feb 6 - we have several openings and would love for you to join us! See registration link below


If the class you are interested is full, don't fret; just call Margaret or Josh at the Wine Bar at Reids - 704-377-1312 to be put on a waiting list - we'll call or email on a first come, first served basis, if space opens up. With enough people on the list, we'll schedule another class

Saturday Classes 11:00 am - 2:00 pm

Sunday Classes 1:00-4:00 pm

Sat Feb 6 - 11 am - 2 pm - Eating Well, Living Well - A fun and Fabulous Dinner for Four - Demonstration-format. All recipes based on the tenants of the Mediterranean - American Diet. Nutrition facts provided by the team of nutritionists at Presbyterian's Heart and Wellness Center. Menu includes: hummus topped toasts with a balsamic drizzle, Baked snapper nicoise with spaghetti squash "pasta", wild rice and lentil salad, Marinated and grilled Grateful Growers' rib chops, and a fabulous low fat dessert. Cost is $40 per person.

Sat Feb 13 - 11 am-2 pm - Chinese New Year Feast - Demonstration Format. It's the Year of the Tiger and we're ready to celebrate with a fabulous Asian Banquet full of "lucky" foods for a healthy and prosperous new year! Menu includes: Make your own eggrolls, with an orange-teriyaki dipping sauce, Heidi's favorite seafood Hot and Sour Soup; Firecracker beef with long rice noodles; fish with black bean sauce and a sweet sticky rice cake for dessert. Cost is $45.

Sun Feb 14 -1-4 pm - Ciao and Chill with your Valentine! - Food and Wine of Italy - A dinner for Two - Demonstration format - Menu includes: Italian stuffed mushrooms, risotto with asparagus, toasted pine nuts and parmesan, braised chicken medallions with a rich cacciatore sauce and goat cheese crostini, and martini glasses of warm zabaglione with wine-soaked fruit for dessert. You'll have your sweetie eating out of your hands! Cost is $45 per person

Sun. Feb 21-1-4 pm - From Scratch Sauces, Gravies and Homemade Stocks - Hands-on format. You'll learn all
the basics of preparing a from-scratch stock as well as an easy pan gravy, and then each class participant will make his or her own batch of each of the five "mother sauces" with a host of variations. This is a hands-on class of culinary technique you'll not want to miss! Cost is $90 per person.

Sun Feb 28 - 1-4 pm - Homemade from scratch pasta and sauces, too! - Hands-on format. Pull out the pasta machine and lets get cracking. We'll make from-scratch fettuccini, angel hair pasta and ravioli along with four different easy homemade sauces including an herb buerre blanc, homemade marinara, a creamy alfredo with several variations and a rich beefy bolognese. Cost is $90 per person.

As always, Reid's own Margaret Barry and Josh Villapando will pair wines with each dish served at every class. Class participants will receive detailed wine notes, a complete packet of class recipes, the opportunity to take advantage of many class-only special sales and a same-day, ten-percent class discount on any purchases excluding already case-discounted merchandise, additional cooking classes and Reid's gift certificates.

See the complete WINTER 2010 schedule of Heidi Billotto's weekend cooking classes at Reid's Fine Foods