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