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.