Fall into Fun: Heidi Billotto’s 2017 October & November Cooking Classes

cropped-heidi-billotto-food-blog-logo-not-compressedAnyone can cook, let Charlotte Culinary Expert, Heidi Billotto show you how to make it fun!!

Each of Heidi’s cooking classes  classes include  the preparation of 4-5 different dishes centering around a main topic, using as much local and organic protein, produce and product as possible.

Each class is  a hands-on experience (as much or as little as you would like),  printed recipes, servings of each dish we create, wine pairings from our friends at Assorted Table Wine Shop, gift bags, coupons and, of course, tons of fun.

 

bb585753-46b1-4feb-8810-4297445b3655So now, the next step is yours…Call Your Friends, Save the Date and Make your Reservations now, to confirm your place in any one of the following October and November 2017 cooking classes. Never too late to make a reservation… Hope to see you soon!

For your convenience, visit the  “Heidi Billotto Food” shop  where you can make your reservation and pay in advance for the cooking classes you would like to attend all at once time – gotta love one stop shopping!

 

simply-email-heidi-to-make-your-reservationsAfter you make your reservation, Heidi will personally  follow up with an email giving you any details and directions you’ll need to know before class.

And if you would rather register by email and pay with a check, then by all means feel free to contact Heidi directly at HLNC@carolina.rr.com!

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Here’s the updated list of October and November cooking classes. Keep checking  back as we are adding in new classes all of the time!

 

Sun October 22, 1-4 pm  – At Home with Heidi  – Getting Sauced

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Even with great local proteins, its a wonderful well done sauce that often really makes the dish. In this hands-on class we’ll cover all there is to know in terms of basic technique for making the five “mother sauces” as  outlined in French culinary technique and then create an all local dish with each one.   Wine pairings with each course by Assorted Table. Cost is $85 per person. Make your reservations here

 

Tuesday October 24, 6-8pm    Like Cheerwine? Then you will love this special cooking class I am doing as a part of the YELP Charlotte Made series of events this fall.

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My “Cooking with Cheerwine” YELP class is free and promises to be tons of fun, but to make a reservation, you have to be signed up as a YELPER which is super easy to do… Here is the link for the class registration  ( which will also take you to the YELP website) once you are registered as a “Yelper” you can sign up for the class; but hurry,  The class is limited to 25 participants and is sure to sell out – its going to be tons of fun!  We’ll start with a little appetizer upon arrival and then I’ll be sharing 4 recipes using the iconic soft drink. We will also have a make-it-yourself Cheerwine Ice Cream Float station and then you’ll be able to photograph your creation for a posssible post on Cheerwine’s social media!! Plus the folks from Cheerwine will have swag, four pack bottles and Cheerwine syrup for sale at the class; and we have fun take home gift bags for everyone in attendance as well. Hope to see lots of familiar faces in the crowd!

Saturday October 28,  4-7pm – At Home with Heidi – Local Pork 101

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A “Back to Basics” presentation with great recipes and big time flavors and a focus on locally raised pork from several of my favorite farms. We’ll braise pork shanks in a rich tomato sauce, sear crusted pork tenderloin, sauté or grill bacon topped pork burgers and bake tender stuffed chops plus have a couple of other surprises on hand, like the easiest way to cook bacon ever!!… Its a class you won’t want to miss and with wine pairings by my friends at Assorted Table Wine Shoppe, this late afternoon event becomes a wine dinner of sorts! For more great local pork recipes, Check out this blog post done in coordination with a promotion run by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture

Cost for Pork 101 cooking class and wine dinner is $95 per person.  Make your reservation now 

Saturday November 5, 2-5 pm – Soups On – At Home with Heidi

Soups On Cooking ClassNothing speaks to calm and comfort like a great bowl of soup – perfect for a first course for guests,  an easy family dinner or quick heat and serve lunch.  On the menu for this class four of my personal favorites – The real deal French onion soup with a thick cheesy crust; Local Kale and white bean Ribolita just like like they serve in Tuscany;  an elegant vegetarian Potato and Leek soup with parslied pumpkin seed pesto and a totally from scratch real chicken noodle soup ( with your own bone broth and fresh made noodles) everyone in the family will love.

Cost is $75 per person. Click here to make your reservation

 

Saturday November 11, 5-8 pm – A Classic Steakhouse Dinner – At Home with Heidi

6428184741_c34a4ba8ca_mobileFor this class the focus is on a meal just like the big steakhouses made but I’ll show do it all at home. Recipes include from-scratch blue cheese dressing; creamed local spinach; killer scalloped potatoes with local spuds, and a braised garlic steak spread plus all the basics of cooking a steak – we’ll do local grass fed fillets, ribeyes, t-bone and a New York Strip all locally raised from Proffitt Family Farms – and then, for dessert a classic chocolate souffle. of course! Wine parings for each course offered by my friends at Assorted Table Wine Shop.

Cost is $95 per person. Make your reservations here.

bb585753-46b1-4feb-8810-4297445b3655Wanting Something More?? A Little More Personalized perhaps, or maybe one of these same classes, but a different day and time?

In addition to these regularly scheduled cooking classes, just a reminder that Heidi teaches tons of private classes for  company team building events, for birthday parties or Girl’s Night Out gatherings, supper clubs, couples date nights or just as fun gathering of friends.

Email Heidi to Plan a Private Class all your own…Start with a cocktail hour complete with appetizers and a wine tasting from our friends at Assorted Table Wine Shop; then move into the kitchen for a hands-on class to cook and enjoy!

 

Save the Date! Don’t Miss the Fun at Heidi Billotto’s Cooking Classes

Two fabulous On the Farm classes on the calendar as September rolls into October; plus we’ll be cooking with local product in the At Home with Heidi classes on tap in the next several weeks as well…

Get ready to slice, dice, simmer and saute as you make plans to join in on the fun at any one of my exciting hands-on classes cooking classes taught as the name suggests, “At Home with Heidi ”  in my home kitchen; or  come and experience one of my unique On the Farm Classes are held at various farms in and around Charlotte. Each On The Farm class includes a walking Farm Tour and then we settle into the farm kitchen to cook with whatever is in season. You really just have to experience these classes for yourself, there is indeed something quite special about being on all these local farms…

Classes are a perfect  for a fun date night, night out with the girls and a great way to meet new people or host a team building event.  Don’t see a date that fits – Plan Your Own Private Cooking Class email me and lets plan your own private class with work associates or with friends or family.

Make + A + Reservation

Now it is super simple to make your reservation for any of my cooking classes. Simply click here to shop my online store and reserve your spot or spots in class! As soon as your payment is confirmed I’ll send you an email with all the class details and directions!

 

90a40f2d-b135-4501-b4b7-64c102593be3Sun Oct 8, 2-5pm – At Home with Heidi – Gluten Free Gourmet    

This class features an entire Gluten free menu from  appetizer to dessert; plus we’ll make a delicious gluten free pistachio cake with North Carolina’s own chestnut flour from High Rock Farm in Gibsonville, NC and Japanese milk bread gluten free dinner rolls that will freeze perfectly and are ready to reheat when you are. Wine pairings with each course by Assorted Table Wine Shop. Cost for the class is $85 per person.  Click Here to Make Your Reservations

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Sun October 22, 1-4 pm  – At Home with Heidi  – Getting Sauced

Even with great local proteins, its a wonderful well done sauce that often really makes the dish. In this hands on class we’ll cover all there is to know in terms of basic technique for making the five “mother sauces” as  outlined in French culinary technique and then create an all local dish with each one   Wine pairings with each course by Assorted Table. Cost is $85 per person. Click Here To Make Your Reservations

 

 

 

cropped-heidi-billotto-food-blog-logo-not-compressedPlan a Private Class all your own as a team building event or to enjoy with friends. Start with a cocktail hour complete with appetizers and a wine tasting from our friends at Assorted Table Wine Shop; then move into the kitchen for a hands-on class to cook and enjoy!

Classes are a perfect  for a fun date night, night out with the girls and a great way to meet new people or host a team building event.  

Don’t see a date that fits? Email me and lets plan your own private class with work associates or with friends or family.

 

Don’t Miss These September & October Nibbles and Sips

Tons of fun Food & Drink-centric Events In and Around Charlotte – Don’t Miss a single one!

Do you find yourself in transition from the carefree vacation-full season of summer to what can become a more hectic, more scheduled back-to-school season that starts with September and October and before you know it its November?  Whoa! Let me help you put on the breaks for just a second…

Make + A + Reservation

It’s time to make some plans to keep the fun stuff going. So today I offer you a list of ” and Sips”, a round up of 17 different food and drink events you can attend in the next two months.  Save the dates, Call Your Friends, Make your Reservations, Have Fun this Fall and keep checking  back for more Nibbles and Sips as new fun food-centric events hit the calendar! 

 Don’t forget to #TellThemHeidiSentYou….

imagesSeptember is North Carolina Wine Month!! So plan to spend September sipping, stomping and celebrating North Carolina’s many outstanding wineries and vineyards. With an entire month dedicated to tasting our wine, it’s the perfect time to pair your winery or vineyard visit with harvest festivals, grape stomps, special wine tasting tours and more. There are events at wineries across the state – too many to individually list here, but you will find a list of fun festivals on the NC Wine website here

4462defff12cf8d1eea3160c6d7ffbb0Thursday – Sunday, Sept 7-10 – The 2017 Yiasou Greek Festival, Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox cathedral, 600 Eat Blvd. in Charlotte.  Charlotte’s Yiasou Greek Festival began in 1978 and since then has become one of Charlotte’s largest cultural events. It is eagerly anticipated by the Charlotte community each year. The Yiasou (the Greek word for Hello, Goodbye and Cheers) Greek Festival features Hellenic cultural exhibits, authentic Greek cuisine and homemade pastries, entertainment, live music and dancing, wine tastings, art, shopping and more. Experience the sights and sounds of Greece when you visit the 40th Annual Yiasou Greek Festival. It’s a time of the year when everyone can be Greek! Hours: Thurs., 11am – 9 pm; Fri/Sat., 11am- 10 pm; Sun., Noon-8pm For more info…

Order-Fire_S3E1-poster-663x1024Sunday Sept. 10th, noon  – The season premiere of Order/fire at Free Range Brewing – Chef Matthew Krenz of The Asbury at the Dunhill Hotel is hot off of his NCRLA NC Chef Showdown Chef of the Year award, is the focus of Order/fire’s Season 3 premiere. These events are always a blast – Free Range offers a cash bar with beer and my friend, farmer and local producer Jamie Swofford’s non-alcoholic shrubs; while chef Matthew is making Krenz Ranch beef tacos – my oh my! The doors open at noon, the social hour begins at 1 pm and the screening starts at 2. No admission fee but there is a great raffle to enter, if you would like – generally $10 a ticket, $$ goes to a charity important to Chef Krenz.

downloadSeptember 13, 2017, 6:30 pm – Portuguese Wine Dinner – Roosters Wood-Fired Kitchen, SouthPark. Chef Jim Noble and his team always do it right!  Look for this special evening to start with passed hors d’oeuvres followed by four courses of food paired with fabulous Portuguese wines. Cost $70 per person. Call 704.366.8688 to make a reservation. Seating is limited.

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September 17, 2017, 6:30-9:30 pm – 5 course Mushroom menu at Heirloom Restaurant –   In celebration of the health department approved foraged mushroom consumption in a restaurant setting, Chef Clark Barlowe has prepared a 5 course tasting menu featuring some of his favorite finds and mushroom farming friends. Click here to reserve your seats

21034608_1541902652497378_4269546947028118295_n13091953_1344016235612340_6126695405623522528_nMonday September 18, 6:30-9:30 pm – Southern Beer + Southern Food –  The Asbury at The Dunhill Hotel and Chef Matthew Krenz welcome Sean Lilly Wilson, owner and chief executive optimist at Fullsteam Brewery in Durham, NC and Chef Kyle McKnight, Fullsteam’s Director of Food Operations all reunite once again to bring you a fabulous dinner of food and beer. I attended the dinner this talented trio did last year ( see the photo on the right with Sean and my friend Susan Dosier) and even though I am not a beer drinker ( with apologies to Sean), I had a fabulous time! This year  Raleigh entrepreneur and founder Steve Mangano of CurEat joins in the fun. CurEat is  the new restaurant-finding app you will all want to download to find out where your favorite chefs and foodies are eating out!

Cost of this Southern food and beer extravaganza is $65 per person. For reservations, call The Asbury at 704.342.1193

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Sept 21 -24 in Greenville, SC Its time for another big annual gathering of foodies – Euphoria 2017!! Founded in 2006 by platinum-selling singer/songwriter Edwin McCain and restaurateur Carl Sobocinski, euphoria educates, entices, enlightens and entertains. The four-day event includes exclusive tasting events, intimate musical experiences, cooking demonstrations and wine seminars, as well as multi-course dinners and live music concerts and many  Charlotte area chefs such as Amy Fortes, Ashley Boyd, Blake Hartwick, Bruce Moffett, Scott Hollingsworth, Thomas Marlow, Clark Barlowe,  Matthew Krenz,  and more are taking part! Dedicated to excellence, euphoria features domestic and international wines, award-winning chefs, master sommeliers and renowned singer/songwriters. For more info, tickets, etc…

db_logo116sSunday September 24 , 2-5 pm – Heidi Billotto’s Hands-On On the Farm cooking class at Dancing Bees Farm in Monroe, NC.    Just Follow the Buzz and learn all about the Business of Local Bees with Master Beekeeper Jeff Knight. Robin Knight will be there, too, to share with us how she makes all the wonderful bees wax candles, lotions, bath scrubs and more. 5 honey-centric courses perfect for family dinners and entertaining too, make this class extra sweet. Assorted Table Wine Shop will be on hand to provide a wine pairing with each course.  Can’t wait to see you there!  Cost $85 Simply Email Heidi to make your reservations 

17098240_1659386481022112_7978105722794810790_nTuesday, September 26 at 6 PM – 9 PM –  A Caribbean Voyage –  Soul food sessions CLT – a dinner series featuring a group of very talented African American chefs and mixologists in Charlotte, Including Greg Collier, Michael Bowling, Sam Dotse, Jamie Barnes and DiSean Lamar Burns, just to name a few. Their goals are “to promote minorities in the hospitality industry, reclaim the ingredients of our heritage by redefining “soul food”, and donate to charities that help causes that directly affect our communities”   This Soul Food inspired dinner  will be  a progressive culinary journey to the Caribbean with 6 courses  The evening will be coupled with amazing beverage pairings and fantastic music! All of the proceeds from this dinner (like all Soul Food Sessions) will be donated to a local Non Profit that is making a positive impact in our community. This evening’s event will benefit Project 658 and their efforts in serving the refuge, immigrant, and poor of our City. Check out www.project658.com to find out  more. Cost is $80 per person. Link to get your tickets here. For more info visit the Soul Food Sessions CLT page on Facebook.

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TOTN LOGO-1Wednesday, September 27, 2017 – Charlotte’s 22nd Taste of the Nation® for No Kid Hungry 2017 will  at the Fillmore Charlotte, 820 Hamilton Street.  Ensure that no kid goes hungry, whether in Charlotte or across the nation, by joining the city’s finest chefs, sommeliers and mixologists for a remarkable night of dining in support of No Kid Hungry’s work to end childhood hunger in America.   for the fourth year running, guests will have the opportunity to purchase a $20 raffle ticket which will correspond to one of over 100 bottles of wine!  The Wine Grab – always a popular part of this annual event – will be set-up in the bar closest to the Fillmore’s front doors so stop by when you first arrive because these bottles will go quickly!  Each donated bottle of wine ranges in retail value from $20 to over $100!  At the event itself,  mix, mingle, and enjoy food and drink prepared by more than 30 of Charlotte’s top chefs and mixologists.

VIP Admission : $120,  6:00pm – 9:30pm.  General Admission : $85, 7:00pm – 9:30pm  For more information, visit the website and follow Taste of the Nation Clt on all of their social media.

 

8112e840-ea24-4e43-8e44-1237232945f0September 29 & 30, 2017 – Time for a road trip to enjoy a great annual festival – The Carolina Jubilee, a two-day music festival in Harmony, North Carolina at VanHoy Farms.  The fun features local and national music acts, celebrity chefs including Executive Chef Clark Barlowe from Heirloom Restaurant, Carolina breweries, wineries and distilleries.   This is a family friendly event with kid’s activities provided by Discovery Place Kids and the option to camp on-site at VanHoy Farms. There is an a 5k and 10k the morning of September 30.      Tickets to one day of the festival are $35. Both days are $55. Both days and camping is $65. Children under 12 are free. Parking will be $10/car and cannot be paid in advance. Proceeds from the event benefit the Carolina Farm Trust. For more info…

HRG_ChefSaturday, September 30, 4pm-10pm – 25th Anniversary Bash at Harpers’ Restaurant, SouthPark Location. Seems just like yesterday I was writing that the doors opened at Harpers’ Restaurant and now it seems that 25 years have flown by! The restaurant is celebrating all month long with lots of specials you’ll enjoy, but don’t miss the fun when they throw their 25th Anniversary Bash on the 30th on Harper’s outdoor patio. There will be plenty of food and drink specials, like 25% off Bar Bites ALL day and a Tap Takeover by Winston Salem’s Foothills Brewery. Look for some of Foothill’s best sellers, such as Torch Pilsner, Jade IPA, Sexual Chocolate Imperial Stout 2015 & 2016, plus a couple other surprises. Larkin & Gary Dodgen will supply live music from 4pm-7pm and Scott Smith will continue with entertainment on the patio, 7:30pm-10pm. Party-goers will be treated to gift card giveaways and great door prizes from Foothills Brewery. 

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Thursday, October 5, 2017, 3PM “Outstanding in the Field” regional dinner at Renfrow Farms in Matthews
Host Farmer: Pressly Williams, Renfrow Farms, Matthews, NC (Charlotte)
Guest Chef: Adam Reed, Santé of Matthews, Matthews, NC

Adam Reed is one of farmer Pressly Williams’ favorite chefs and a longtime friend. That relationship bodes well for eaters in the field. Chef Reed’s Santé restaurant is across the street from Renfrow Hardware (est. 1900), and has been in the same spot since Adam answered an ad in the New York Times placed by a North Carolina lady looking to hire someone to run her restaurant. Adam moved his family down from NYC and changed the local food scene for good. The rest is accolades and good times. Before we sit down, Pressly will show us around her fields filled with okra and chard, figs and radishes, flowers and happy honeybees. Cost $215 per person Click here for reservations

upStreamFriday Oct 6, 6:30 pm – Upstream Restaurant’s 9th Annual Oyster Bash  Half-shell connoisseurs can reserve tickets now for this all-you-can-eat party that includes oysters from  around the world and pairs them with fabulous, interesting wines and sparklers.  Here’s what’s on the menu: raw oysters paired with incredible wines; Live entertainment; Fire roasted oysters—prepared New Orleans-style; A chance to Win a case of wine in a raffle to benefit Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry. Tickets:  $125 per person, inclusive. Reservations are limited and pre-payment for the event is required. Make your reservation online here.   For more info:  704.556.7730

first harvest of baby ginger - Windcrest farmSaturday Oct 7, 2017 – Heidi Billotto’s Hands-On On the Farm  Ginger harvest cooking class at Windcrest Farm in Monroe, NC, 3-6 pm – This class kicks off with an ginger-centric appetizer and aperitif and a toast to the season of all things ginger! Then the group is off on a walking tour of Windcrest Farm as we explore the lay of the land and visit all the greenhouses to see what is growing for the season. Most of our focus will be in the greenhouse filled with rows of ready to be dug ginger and turmeric. Class participants will learn how to harvest their own and can try a hand at digging if they would like.  Once we learn the farming and harvesting side of this year’s ginger season, we’ll head back to the garden shed where I will have a makeshift kitchen  all set up for all of use to work together to prepare 4 courses of  “Ginger-liciousness” with all of Windcrest’s fine local, USDA certified organic produce and the local protein and products of other producers as well. our friends at Assorted Table wine shop will provide wine pairings for each course.  Cost of the class is $85 per person. Simply email Heidi at Heidi@HeidiCooks.com to make your reservations.

90a40f2d-b135-4501-b4b7-64c102593be3Sunday Oct 8, 2-5 pm – At Home with Heidi Cooking Class – Gluten Free Gourmet – If you are tired of not being able to eat the pizza crust or pie crust, or the stuffing or the bread, then be tired no more. In this hands-on cooking class, we’ll work together prepare an entire meal – all of it gluten free from the appetizers right down to dessert and the bread in the bread basket. As always its as hands on as you would like to be – or if you want to watch, take it all in and eat and enjoy that’s fine too! Assorted Table Wine Shop will provide our wine pairings for each and every course. Cost is $75 per person Email Heidi at Heidi@Heidicooks.com to make your reservations. 

WineandTapasWeek-just-charlotteOct 13- 22, 2017 – Charlotte Wine & Tapas Week – Fall Edition . The first Charlotte Wine & Tapas week took place last spring and was a huge success – you can read about it in an article I wrote for Charlotte Living Magazine – The concept is a delicious one, its all about little plates, sharing and pairing food and wine. Many Charlotte restaurants participate with special menus and for $30 or $35 you get a trio of little plates to enjoy on your own or share with your friends. You’ll be hearing more from me as the event gets closer – just pencil these dates on your calendar so you won’t miss a single bite!

DI_wEiCWsAIweIjMonday October 16, 2017 at Heirloom Restaurant. My friends photographer Peter Taylor and Chef Marc Jacksina have done it again… Don’t Miss, Order/fire’s first ever ordertogether dinner!  Tickets are $125 each and includes a 7 course dinner from 14 of Charlotte’s best chefs and beer pairings from Free Range Brewing. Plus the promise of other special guests in the kitchen! The evening also includes a silent auction, a grand raffle and the sharing of some great stories.

 

download-1October 18-21, 2017 – Terra Vita Food & Drink Festival  in Chapel Hill, NC – The Chapel Hill, NC-based nationally noted festival of food & drink, now in its eighth year, offers exceptional dinners, tasting events, after parties, chef demos as well as the “Sustainable Classroom” – educational experiences featuring renowned chefs, authors & national media. Many Charlotte chefs and food-centric folk are involved including Clark Barlowe, Matthew Krenz, Joe Kindred, Keia Mastrianni and Bruce Moffett just to name a few. Detail on all the dinners, workshops, and seminars as well as reservation links are all on the very informative Terra Vita website.

https-cdn.evbuc.comimages348776111395543578761originalSaturday Oct. 21, 3-6 pm – The annual Carved event sponsored by the Piedmont Culinary Guild.  This is an annual pumpkin carving extravaganza with lots of local chefs and food-centric folks in the mix! Its a family-friendly fall festival and pig pickin’ and included in the $20 ticket purchase price , you will enjoy a delicious plate of locally sourced food, created by Piedmont Culinary Guild chefs, a beverage from Lenny Boy Brewing Co. ( with the option to buy more), entry into the public pumpkin carving competition, and more. For more Info and tickets… 

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Save the dates, Call Your Friends, Make your Reservations, Have Fun this Fall and keep checking  back for more Nibbles and Sips as new fun food-centric events hit my calendar! 

Going Gluten Free? Here’s a great North Carolina Chestnut Flour bread recipe you’re gonna love!

cropped-heidi-cooks-logo.jpgWhat a fabulous weekend, filled with three great cooking classes – two a part of my At Home with Heidi series and the other a private cooking class designed for a group of 10-year-old-chefs-to-be celebrate a birthday and make dinner for Saturday night sleepover!

gluten freeEarlier that Saturday morning my At Home with Heidi Gluten Free Gourmet cooking class was a huge success; and in addition to a wonderful soft gluten free white bread we also created a heartier gluten free bread with Locally produced Chestnut flour from my good friends at High Rock Farm in Gibsonville NC.

High Rock Farm is the largest working and producing chestnut orchard in the mid-Atlantic region with a grove of nearly 500 chestnut trees. While the farm is chestnut-centric, High Rock also produces a hearty crop of pecans each fall from some 400 pecan trees; and in the spring visitors can look to enjoy the annual blackberry harvest.

HRF 3High Rock Farm was built in 1807 by Joseph McCain, Senator John McCain’s fourth great-grandfather. This federalist style home features many large rooms including eight fireplaces, antique furniture, and beautiful landscape. High Rock Farm is one of North Carolinas Historic landmarks and is listed under Preservation North Carolina.

The historic home at High Rock Farm in Gibsonvie, NC

The historic home at High Rock Farm in Gibsonville, NC

The farm house sits off High Rock Road and was used as a stage coach stay in the 1800’s. At one time, the house was also home to a local tavern and area post office. Today the historic house is home to Richard Teague who planted his first chestnut tree in 1991, and is available for home and farm tours by appointment.

Pecans are generally harvested in October and then packaged for sale directly from the farm, but they go fast! To extend the life and flavor of the pecans High Rock Farm also produces and sells sugar toasted pecans and chocolate covered pecans as well as their chestnuts, chestnut flour, dried chestnut kernels and in season fresh blackberries and raspberries and as well as their own blackberry jam. These fabulous local products are available all year round.

For information about ordering product or visiting the farm ( or perhaps hosting your wedding celebration there) visit for all the details http://www.high-rock-farm.org/

fresh picked chestnuts

Fresh picked chestnuts are roasted and then ground into flour at North Carolina’s own High Rock Farms

If you are looking to cook gluten free – chestnuts and pecans will be a great healthy addition to your diet and kitchen pantry. The fact that these nuts are a local North Carolina product, makes them all the better! High Rock Farm’s Chestnut flour may be used in any gluten free bread or baked good recipes to give a heartier taste and texture similar to that of whole wheat flour.

gluten free chestnut flour breadBelow you will find the High Rock Farm Chestnut Flour  Bread recipe I developed for the class – I was inspired by a great little cookbook called Gluten Free on a Shoestring. See details at the end of this post.

This fresh baked bread is best enjoyed once it is out of the oven and has been allowed to cool completely. While it is tempting to cut it while it is still hot from the oven, with the bread cool, it may be cut to a thinner slice and is perfect for sandwich bread.

If you would like to serve the bread warm (Gluten free or not – who doesn’t love warm bread?) wrap the completely cooled loaf in foil and reheat in a 250-300 degree oven. If you cut into the loaf hot out of the oven just after baking, the interior will still be damp with steam.

If you wait and rewarm the bread, you will be rewarded with much better results both in terms of taste and texture.

tj flourJust a couple of recipe notes before we begin.

After doing a lot of research and trying several different gluten free flours, my favorite blend in the  gluten free flour blend from Trader Joe’s – it seems to work the best in  all sorts of baking, from yeast breads to cobblers which rise with the addition of baking powder or baking soda. so we’ll start with 2 cups of this all purpose Gluten free flour as the base for our bread and then blend in the wonderful High Rock Farms Chestnut Flour to give our bread the nutty tasting finish.

 

X gumThe Xantham Gum is a very important part of the Gluten free yeast bread equation. It is the ingredient which interacts with the yeast – in place of the gluten found in regular all purpose flour – to give your bread dought the elasticity to rise.   Some gluten free flour mixes already include xantham gum, but I prefer to use a mix that does not and add my own. In manufacturing, xanthan gum is used as a thickening, emulsifying and stabilizing agent in foods such as chewing gum, toothpaste, bottled salad dressings, etc. and it works exactly the same way in your yeast bread, but to make it work the most effectively, you really need to mix it in vigorously – which is why mixing this batter up in a stand mixer is the best way to blend the batter.

saf yeastFinally about the yeast – Yeast is a living growing organism and is what gives your bread dough the power to rise.

In proofing yeast, as soon as bubbles begin to form on the surface of the water you are good to move forward with the recipe.

In proofing yeast, as soon as bubbles begin to form on the surface of the water you are good to move forward with the recipe.

Normally a package of yeast must be proofed before you use it in any yeast bread so that you can be sure it will indeed rise. To proof yeast, simply mix a tablespoon with tepid water and a bit of sugar and stir, as soon as little bubbles form on the surface of the water, the proofed yeast is ready to add to your bread dough.

Heat can kill the yeast – so it is best stored in a cool spot like your refrigerator or freezer.  Personally, I like SAF brand yeast. It is a French instant yeast and it needs no proofing and it works wonderfully each and every time. Once open I keep my bag in a freezer quality Zip Lock bag in my freezer. The fact that it doesn’t require proofing means you may add it directly to the dry ingredients in your recipe – which is how I have written the recipe here. I have found SAF yeast locally in Charlotte at the Healthy Home Economist Food Store; but it is also available online, as is xanthan gum, at www.KingArthurFlour.com

chestnut flour bread - gluten freeHeidi’s Chestnut Flour Sandwich Bread
As taught by Charlotte Culinary Expert, Heidi Billotto
hlnc@carolina.rr.com

2 Cups Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Flour Blend ( after experimenting around, I think this is the best gluten free flour blend on the market.
1 cup High Rock Farm’s Chestnut Flour
2 ¼ tsp. Xantham Gum
2 tsp. Sea salt – I like to use the fine grind of pink Himalayan sea salt available at the Savory Spice Shop in Southend Charlotte
3 ¼ tsp. instant Yeast (I like the SAF Instant brand)
¼ tsp. Cream of Tartar
2 Tbsp. organic Sugar
1 ½ Cups organic whole Milk (fat free,almond, soy and coconut mild yield less than desirable results in this recipe)
¼ Cup Butter, melted then cooled
1 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
2 local Egg Whites

Combine the gluten free flour blend and the chestnut flour in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the xanthan gum, cream of tartar, sugar and yeast, salt and blend on low speed to combine the dry mix well.

Add the  milk, cooled butter, vinegar, eggs, to the dry ingredients and then combine until well blended on low speed. Once the wet ingredients have been incorporated into the dry ingredients, turn the mixer up to high speed and allow to mix for about 5 minutes – yes 5 minutes – gotta work up the xantham gum so it can do its job!

Once the dough is blended, spoon it into a buttered and parchment paper lined bread pan. Allow the dough to rise in a warm but not hot spot for about 30 minutes. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45-50 minutes or so. Allow the bread to cool for about 5 minutes in the pan and then use the parchment paper to lift the bread out of the pan and allow it to cool completely before slicing – enjoy!

GF bread bookGF bookCheck out these two cookbooks for more great gluten free recipes and of course more ways to use the High Rock farms chestnut flour – substitute it in any gluten free recipe for up to half of the flour called for in the list of ingredients for a fabulous nutty flavor to your final baked product.

Anyone can cook, let Heidi Billotto show you how to make it fun – 2014 kicks off with Eleven Fabulous Cooking Classes!

cooking class with Nadacropped-heidi-cooks-logo.jpgIt’s always a blast! My Cooking Classes are held at my South Charlotte home in my kitchen. Once you make your reservations I will send out directions to our home,  its all hands on unless you’d rather just sit and watch, enjoy, eat and drink, which is fine, too. Wine parings with every dish, recipes packets and wine notes for each class participant. Cost is $65 – $75 per person. Class size is limited – your advance reservations via email gets you on the class list and advance payment confirms your space in class. To make your reservations for any of these classes – or to plan a private cooking class or teambuilding event of your own, just email me at HLNC@carolina.rr.com and we’ll get it set up.

tables set for cooking classMy unique On the Farm Classes are held at various farms in and around Charlotte.
 Each On The Farm class includes a walking Farm Tour and then we settle into the farm kitchen to cook with ( and eat!)  whatever is in season.    You really just have to experience these classes for yourself, there is indeed something quite special about being on all these local farms…

Class size is limited depending upon the size of the farm. At each farm we cook and eat and drink and 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.

So,  now that you know how it works…Lets Get Cooking!!!

Roman Holiday – Food and Wine of Rome with guest Nada Vergili of Nada’s Italy.                                 Wednesday Jan 15, 6:30-9:30 pm.

Nada Vergili of Nada's Italy

Nada Vergili of Nada’s Italy

Want to travel to Rome? Nada’s tours are fabulous and when you do go to Rome, you should plan the trip through Nada. But for now, why not just attend my Roman Holiday cooking class with my special guest Nada Vergili of Nada’s Italy-Tours!  These hands -on cooking classes with Nada are always great fun.                                                    We’ll all cook, enjoy food and wine of Italy ( in this case of Rome and surrounds in particular) and then Nada will teach us all some fun Italian phrases and a little bit about this wonderful and historic region.                                                                    

The classic Roman entrée, Porchetta

The classic Roman entrée, Porchetta

On the menu: we’ll kick things off with a negroni cocktail, but make it a bit more local by using TOPO Distillery certified organic gin from Chapel Hill! Then we’ll prepare cacao e pepe – a fabulous pasta dish with pecorino romano and cracked pepper; a pasta and chick pea soup; porchetta made from local pork shoulder from A Way of Life Farm in Bostic NC and a nutella tiramisu for dessert – Italian wines to pair with each course provided by my friend Josh Villapando at the Assorted Table Wine Shoppe.

Cost is $75 per person, class runs from 6:30-9:30 – printed recipe packet and wine notes for all participants.    To Join us for your Roman Holiday, simply email me at hlnc@carolina.rr.com to make your reservation – Ciao!

gluten freeSat Jan 18 – Gluten Free Gourmet –
11am – 2:30 pm
Now here’s a class I’ve been wanting to offer for some time and so excited to finally have it on the books – an entire dinner meal – all gluten free – with easy substitutions and a host of new products with which to work; plus we’ll adding fresh and local product from this morning’s farmers’ markets. Wine pairings with each course, of course!
Cost is $65 email Heidi at hlnc@carolina.rr.com to make your advance reservations

pieSunday Jan 19 -The Apple of My Pie – 1-4 pm
Nothing more fun than baking in the winter and filling the kitchen with warm wonderful aromas, This afternoon the concentration will be on pies – 4 different from scratch crusts with sweet and savory fillings and an easy way to make pie for a crowd with the refrigerator crust you just unroll and bake.
Cost is $65 email Heidi at hlnc@carolina.rr.com to make your advance reservations

grillSunday Jan 26 – On the Winter Grill –  At Home with Heidi – 1-4 pm
This is a fun seasonal At Home with Heidi Class everyone will love. Local chicken, pork, beef and veggies all on the grill. Class covers basic grilling techniques, marinades, dry rubs and more. You’ll  be good to grill for any occasion after this fun and flavorful and informative class. Lots of tips and tricks to help you achieve grilling perfection. On the menu – grilled antipasto veggies and house marinated olives, tuna burgers with grilled jalapeno and cilantro pesto,  dry rub bbq chicken with tabouli,  grilled from scratch sausage biscuits and a fun  grilled dessert you are going to love. Wine pairings with each dish, of course!
Cost is $65 email Heidi at hlnc@carolina.rr.com to make your advance reservations

eiffle towerTues Jan 28 – French Dressing – 6:30-9:30 pm – At Home with Heidi
A Winter spin on a delicious Food and Wine of France menu. Wine pairings, techniques for making sauces, braising and more
Cost is $65 email Heidi at hlnc@carolina.rr.com to make your advance reservations

may 2013 007Feb 1 – Superbowl Spread On the Farm at Tega Hills Farms – 3-6:30 pm
Come prep for the big game in the warmth of Tega Hill’s hydroponic greenhouses in Ft. Mill and we use all Mark and Mindy Robinson of Tega Hill grow and have in season. Farm tour and cooking class with wine and some local beer pairings, too!
Cost is $75 email Heidi at hlnc@carolina.rr.com to make your advance reservations

wines of spainTuesday Feb 4 – Food and Wine of Spain – 6:30-9:30 pm
Hands -on class – At Home with Heidi- a complete meal from tapas to dessert with regional wine parings with each dish
Cost is $65 email Heidi at hlnc@carolina.rr.com to make your advance reservations

breadSat Feb 8 – Bread baking 101- 11 am – 3pm -At Home with Heidi
This is the winter therapy you’ll knead to keep you happy! Nothing like baking your own bread and I’ll share several tips and tricks to make it easy and fun; using recipes from my own collection and some from several of my favorite bread baking books –
Cost is $65 email Heidi at hlnc@carolina.rr.com to make your advance reservations

december 2013 076Tues Feb 11 – On the Bone with local beer pairings -At Home with Heidi- 6:30-9:30 pm
A fun twist on one of my favorite classes – we are cooking local beef, pork, lamb and chicken all on the bone and then pairing each dish with a local Winter beer – Eat Local – Drink Local
Cost is $75 email Heidi at hlnc@carolina.rr.com to make your advance reservations

Nada Vergili of Nada's Italy

Nada Vergili of Nada’s Italy

Sat Feb 15 – The Annual That’s Amore cooking class with Nada Vergili of Nada’s Italy – 5:30-9:30 pm
This At Home with Heidi class is always a quick sell out – so make your reservations soon -Nada is back with us for a food and wine of Italy class for you and your Valentine; although you can come as a single or with friends too. We’ll cook a full meal, share Italian wine pairings and Nada will fill us in on some fun and flirtatious Italian pillow talk – good anytime of the year!
Cost is $75 email Heidi at hlnc@carolina.rr.com to make your advance reservations

Sammy and Melinda Koenigsberg of New Town Farms

Sammy and Melinda Koenigsberg of New Town Farms

Sat March 8 – On the Farm at New Town Farms                        11 am – 4 pm                                                                       Veggies and heritage breed chickens and pigs are just a few of things you’ll see on this fabulous family farm in Waxhaw NC. So happy to be cooking once again with my good friends, local farmers Sammy and Melinda Koenigsberg.  This class begins in the kitchen as we prepare a menu
of recipes featuring New Town’s  chicken and eggs in addition to all that is ripe
and ready to pick in  the field. After we cook – and eat and drink – we’ll enjoy
a walking farm tour with our gracious hosts where we will meet the pasture raised
chickens and heritage breed  pigs and  learn about the ins and outs of farming acres
of wonderful produce.  Sammy will share with us his philosophy of farming and sustainability
and the importance of knowing how what we eat is grown and is raised.  Its more
than just a farm tour and cooking class – it’s an event that will change the way
you think about where your food comes from. Cost is $75 email Heidi to make your advance reservations at hlnc@carolina.rr.com

bosky acres baby goatsSat March 22 – On the Farm at Bosky Acres – 11 am – 4 pm.                                                                                               Join me and meet Bosky Acres’ owner Michele Lamb and her oh-so-friendly herd of goats at the farm – including the group of new born kids who you can bottle feed if you would like.  its the only cooking class in twon  where you will learn how to milk a goat and how Michele makes her delicious fresh chevre. As the cheese process takes place, I will cook four different dishes – appetizers, entrees and a dessert – all using Bosky Acres tasty chevre and feta cheese.  Menu to come  – so happy to be at Bosky Acres once again!. Farm tour and cooking class- Cost is $65. For reservations, simply email Heidi at hlnc@carolina.rr.com