Friday, January 25, 2013

Winter Weather Stuffed French Toast

If you have too much bread and milk in anticipation of the winter storm, perhaps this recipe for Winter Weather French Toast is just what you need.....
Local eggs, cheese and sausage make it a practically perfect recipe!
French Toast with Sausage and Cheese

Recipe by Charlotte Culinary Expert Heidi Billotto



1 lb. local sausage, browned ( or you can use vegetarian sausage patties as well)

1 container plain Bosky Acres goat cheese

½ cup Ashe County super sharp cheddar cheese

1 cup whole milk

3 local farm eggs

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 large croissants

4 Tbsp. butter or a flavorful extra virgin olive oil


Slit croissants in half lengthwise to make a pocket but do not cut them completely in half. Stiff each with a patty of browned sausage (or crumbled browned sausage) and some of each of the cheeses. Press together lightly to close. Whisk together the milk, eggs, and salt. Dip bread into mixture, allow to soak for a bit on each side; and then place in a sauté pan with hot melted butter or olive oil.

Brown toast on both sides. Keep warm in oven until ready to serve.

To make a sweet version of the same, add a bit of vanilla and local honey to the egg mixture. And stuff the croissants just with Bosky Acres honey and walnut goat cheese.

Toss fresh fruit in peach or orange liqueur.  Cook the stuffed croissants as directed above. Top toast with fresh fruit and enjoy!


Thursday, January 17, 2013

In Praise of the Braise

 I prepared this recipe this morning live on Charlotte Today - Jan 17  with co host Romona Holloway - great fun, easy to do, and the  video includes lots of helpful tips.

Recipe follows, but first a few ingredient notes - Buy great local pork from A Way of Life Farm a the Yorkmont Regional Farmers' Market on Saturdays in Charlotte.
Or this recipes also works well with chicken, stuffed or unstuffed - I love the local birds from New Town Farms -  usually available on Saturdays at the Matthews Community Farmers' market -  and from Windy Hill Farms at the Atherton Mills Market in Southend - open five days a week.
All of the dried spices in this recipe are available at the Savory Spice Shop in Southend - my favorite place for spices and seasonings. As for olive oil, I suggest extra virgin current harvest - take your pick from the selection at Pour Olive on East Blvd. Tell 'em Heidi sent you !

Here is the link to the video from Charlotte Today - simply click here
Here we go...
Stuffed Braised Local Pork Chops
By Charlotte Culinary Expert Heidi Billotto

 4 bone-in pork chops, cut thick enough to stuff, prepared with a slit or  little pocket cut through the side of the chop -

For the marinade:
1 cup dry white wine
2 Tbsp.  Pour Olive extra virgin olive oil
1 sprig fresh rosemary
2  bay leaves
1 Tbsp. Herbs de Provence
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
6 juniper berries, lightly bruised or 1/4 cup gin

For the stuffing:

1 cup chopped fresh flat leaf Italian parsley
2 Tbsp. Herbs de Provence
2 whole garlic cloves
Salt and pepper
2 eggs
1 cup panko bread crumbs

 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 cups stock (half beef and half chicken combined)

Marinate the chops for several  hours, turning it occasionally. Remove from refrigerator and bring to room temperature; remove chops from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Strain the remaining marinade and reserve.
While the chops are marinating, prepare the stuffing. Chop the garlic to a fine mince with some salt and pepper. Combine with remaining stuffing ingredients until the mixture has the consistency of a paste. Fill  the pocket you cut in each chop with an equal amount of the stuffing mix. Season the outside of each chop with coarse sea salt and  coarse black pepper or Heidi’s hot pepper blend ( available at the Savory Spice Shop in Southend).

Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or stovetop to oven pan. When the oil is hot and aromatic, sear the chops on both sides until nicely browned. Remove the chops and deglaze the pan with the reserved marinade.

Return the chops to the deglazed pan and add enough of the broth blend to come one-half of the way up the side of the meat. Cover the pot and place it in a 325 oven for about one and a half hours, basting the chops at 20 minute intervals.

To serve, transfer the chops to a serving platter or individual plates. Strain the liquid from the pot into a small saucepan and simmer until the sauce is reduced by half. Strain sauce of any fat. Serve over soft polenta rice or mashed potatoes.