Thursday, January 6, 2011

Heidi's Cooking Warm and Comforting Winter Soups

Quick and Easy Winter Soups
Recipes from Charlotte Culinary Expert Heidi Billotto
As seen as WCNC's Charlotte Today - Jan 6, 2011


1 ½ lbs. potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes or slices
4 medium leeks, chopped
4 cups water
1 cup heavy cream or fat free half and half
sea salt and pepper to taste
minced chives to serve on top

Bring the potatoes, leeks and water to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes,
Puree the soup in a blender of food processor
Return to the pot and stir in the heavy cream or fat free half and half. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot or cold

Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup
By Heidi Billotto

3-4 whole organic carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
2 shallots, minced
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2-3 small butternut or acorn squash, peeled and cut into chunks
Water or broth to cover
1 cup heavy cream or fat free half and half, more if needed
Sea salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil for a minute or so till it becomes aromatic. Add carrots and shallots and saute until they start to brown. Add butternut squash, cover with water or broth; bring to a boil and allow to boil until squash is tender. Use an immersion blender or a food processor to puree the squash and carrots and stir into broth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the heavy cream or half and half for a creamier soup. Adjust seasonings.
Serve hot, freezes well. Thin with additional broth or water if desired.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A New Year Of Cooking Classes with Heidi Billotto

January and February
At Home with Heidi
Schedule of Cooking Classes

With the holidays behind us now and the kids back in school, its time to start our Winter session of cooking classes.

All of the classes are held in the intimate setting of my south Charlotte home.
Email or call to reserve your spot and then your reservation is confirmed by your cash or check payment. Once your reservation is confirmed I'll send you detailed directions to my home.

Class size is limited. You and your fellow classmates can watch or lend a hand if you'd like and together will learn to chop, slice, simmer and saute along the way.

It's always a blast! Wine parings with every dish, recipes packets and wine notes for each class participant. Cost is $55 - $75 per person depending on the class.

For reservations for any of the classes listed below, simply email Heidi at

Here's the January - February Class Line up...

Sat. Jan 8 11 am - 2:30 pm Cost $65 - THIS CLASS IS FULL, BUT WE'VE PLANNED A REPEAT ON SUNDAY JAN 9, 1-4 pm - so you won't have to miss out!
Heidi Billotto and the entertaining Nada Vergili of Nada's Italy join forces in the kitchen for and afternoon of fun and flavor!

As class participants watch and work with Heidi to prepare an entire authentic Italian meal perfect for wintertime entertaining, special cooking class guest Nada Vergili will be teaching us all about this beautiful regions of Italy as well as fun little Italian expressions, sayings and phrases - plus how to talk with our hands! All as we eat and drink our way through the afternoon.

To make your reservations FOR THE JAN 9 class , email Heidi at

Tues. Jan 11 6-9 pm Cost $55
Winter Soups and Breads

Are you in some need of cold weather comfort food? Then, tonight's line of up of potage will surely fill the bill. The menu includes recipes for white chicken chili with easy creamy cornbread, winter vegetable soup in an edible baked bowl, saffron-lace bouillibasse with goat cheese crostini and Mom's hearty sweet and sour cabbage beef borchst with fresh baked pumpernickle - talk about comfort...aaahhh!

To make your reservations for this class , email Heidi at

Sat. Jan 22 11 am - 2:30 pm Cost $55
Eating Well, Living Well

A Fun and Fabulous Winter Dinner for Four. All NEW recipes for an entire dinner based on the tenants of the Mediterranean - American Diet. Nutrition facts provided by the team of nutritionists at Presbyterian's Heart and Wellness Center.

To make your reservations for this class , email Heidi at

Sat. Jan 29 11 am - 2:30 pm Cost $55
Great Balls of Fire, it's Hot off the Winter Grill

Beat the winter blues by cooking up a storm this season outside on the grill or indoors in your favorite grill pan ... recipes include Heidi's most popular mushroom stuffed flank steak, the ultimate grilled hot dog with homemade slaw and chili, grilled ( then braised) Coq au Vin and grilled whole stuffed NC trout for all to share. We'll finish up with Heidi's infamous grilled Krispy Kreme doughnuts, as we do at every grilling class.

To make your reservations for this class , email Heidi at

Sun. Jan 30 1-4 pm Cost $65
Cooking On The Farm at Proffitt Family Farms

After all the fun and success of our summer On the Farm Classes at New town Farms in Waxhaw with my good friends Sammy and Melinda Koenigsberg, we've decided to take the concept slightly north this month and head to cook at a fabulous local ranch - Proffitt Family Farms in Kings Mountain.

Home to Shelley and Brian Eagan and their family, Proffitt Family Farm is the only cattle ranch in NC to raise beef on certified organic pastures.
This beef is pasture finished, dry aged, 100% grass fed, USDA procesed with no hormones and no antibiotics.

Hopefully the weather will cooperate with us so that class will begin with a farm tour where we will visit with the chickens, the horses and of course, the cows and then we'll all settle into the Eagan's beautiful home kitchen to cook with some of the best beef around.

Afterwards, class participants are invited to stock their freezers with a shopping spree at the farm store.

To make your reservations for this class , email Heidi at

Tues. Jan 25 6-9 pm Cost $55
Cajun and Creole Cooking

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!

To make your reservations for this class , email Heidi at

Sat. Feb 5 11 am - 2:30 pm Cost $75
Cake College with special guests Tiz Benson and Anita Stack from Tizzert's

Tiz Benson and Anita Stack from Tizzerts will be holding one of their wonderful cake decorating classes as a part of my winter class series and guaranteed, this one will fill up fast!

The class begins with a champagne toast to all that is sweet in life and continues with a facinating and informative demonstration on assembling, frosting and decorating a cake. Class winds up with some hands-on instruction on decorating cupcakes, making icing roses and more!

To make your reservations for this class , email Heidi at

Sat. Feb 12 11 am - 2:30 pm Cost $65
That's Amore! Food, Wine and Converstaion of Italy

Once again Heidi and Nada team up to bring you a special Valentine's edition of their very popular Food, Wine and Conversaion of Italy series of classes. This one will have your sweetie eating out of your hands - plus while Heidi cooks, Nada will fill us in on all the romantic Italian pillow talk we need to include before, during and after the meal -Oh, My!

Recipes will all be written for two servings, but can easily be doubled for four or more.

To make your reservations for this class , email Heidi at