If you follow me on social media, this blog or have watched me cooking on television or have come to any of my cooking classes, then you know I am a big supporter or eating and shopping local. “Local” can mean many things, from supporting local farmers, ranchers, and fisherman at area markets to buying from local independently owned shops. Today I’m tossing a whole new spin in on things.
Did you know you can shop local at many North Carolina big box grocery stores as well as the smaller independent chains? I recently went on a search for local product available at some of the larger area chains and you will be amazed at the North Carolina goodness I found. I shared my resources with viewers of the Charlotte NBS midday show “Charlotte Today” a couple of weeks ago, so today I share the recap and details of that video and LOTS of recipes.
In case you missed it, here is the video segment with Charlotte Today, original air date Dec 5, 2016.
And here are all the where-to-find details plus photos and below the listings, recipes of what do to with each of these fabulous North Carolina made products after you open the package, jar, bottle or box.
Drake’s Fresh Pasta Co.
High Point, NC 27262
Simone and Rick Drake, owners of Drake’s Pasta in High Point, North Carolina and their team of pasta makers have been making fresh pasta for 30 years and Parla is their relatively new retail line. Boxed and frozen, you may select from an assortment of ravioli, manicotti and tortellini direct from your grocer’s freezer case to your table. Rick and Simone started this local business with a small hand-cranked pasta machine. Now they have big automated pasta machines that churn out thousands of stuffed pastas in just minutes. The pasta is flash frozen, boxed and delivered to your local grocer. This delicious stuffed pasta is made from extremely high quality ingredients from the dough to the filling, just like you would make it from scratch at home, but now, thanks to the pasta makers at Parla, you don’t have to. When you open a box of Parla, in the time the pasta boils to perfection, you can create a quick sauce or pesto ( or buy a jar of a local sauce) to toss with the stuffed noodles and enjoy in just minutes. We love the cheese tortellini in Pasta e Fagioli – a great cold weather soup to keep on the stove and enjoy for lunch or dinner. Parla Pastas are available in the freezer case at area Harris Teeters, Lowes, Publix and Fresh Markets. For more info visit ParlaPasta.com
Locally sourced flour and cornmeal since 1935
While the name Renwood Mills, may not ring a bell, the names of Renwood’s popular brands will. These are the makers of Southern Biscuit Flour, Tenda Bake Pancake mixes and Tenda Bake cornmeal mixes all coming to you from Newton, North Carolina. One of the wonderful things about this local mill is that they source local North Carolina wheat to mill for their products just as they have done since the company’s beginnings! You can read more about the Tenda-Bake Pancake mixes here in a blog post I did several months ago. I make it a point to keep a package or two on hand in my pantry. My new Renwood love now though, is Renwood Mills/Southern Biscuit Flour “Formula L”. This is biscuit mix blend perfect for making easy high rising biscuits, sausage cheese biscuit balls and more – just add milk and let this local mix do the rest. Keep a supply in stock for all of your baking needs – Southern Biscuit Flour comes in all purpose and self-rising varieties. For more information visit RenwoodMills.com
Carolina Farmhouse Dairy
Organic Cream Top Yogurt and Kefir
North Carolina is a big dairy state and I am thrilled to introduce you, my readers to Cindy Hamrick and her family, owners of Carolina Farmhouse Dairy – the first Yogurt Dairy of its kind. Located just outside of Durham North Carolina, they are doing it right – its just like cream top milk, but this is cream top yogurt as yogurt was meant to be. Its all organic and I am in love with the yogurt and kefir this dairy produces. The yogurt comes in plain and vanilla and a variety of fruity flavors like coconut, strawberry and blueberry. The Kefir, a yogurt based drink, also comes in flavors from their Golden Milk variety packed full of good-for-you-and-your-joints ingredients such as organic turmeric, cinnamon, ginger and coconut milk as well as fruit flavors like Blueberry and Strawberry kefir and plain kefir – perfect as an healthier option as an ingredient in cream based salad dressings like the Green Goddess dressing below. Enjoy the yogurt and kefir as they are or use them to up your mornings smoothie game by blending them you’re your favorite frozen organic fruit or veggies. The plain and vanilla varieties are wonderful to cook with in recipes like the coffee cake I have shared in this post. Carolina Farmhouse Dairy Yogurts and Kefir are available in Charlotte at the Queen City Pantry at the Atherton Mill and Market on South Blvd.. For more info visit CarolinaFarmhouseDairy.com
Artisan Honey, Charlotte NC
Cloister Honey in Charlotte North Carolina is owned and operated by my friends Joanne de la Rionda and Randall Young. Randall keeps the bees and Joanne works on the flavors of the infused honeys and honey spreads – its a talented team for sure. This product starts with the work of the bees and the rest is handcrafted from jar to jar without the addition of any artificial ingredients. I’ve seen this artisan business develop since the beginning and I’m thrilled to see Cloister Honey taking the nation by storm!!! In 2016 Cloister Honey was nationally recognized as the winner of Southern Living’s national food awards – getting top honors in the jams and spreads category and also received a Sofi award by the Southern Specialty Food Association ! Cloister Honey comes in a variety of guises – traditional honeys, whipped honeys and my favorites, the infused honeys and the honey spreads. The newest member of the Cloister family the Power Seeded Honey was the one I talked about in this segment – wonderful on yogurt or a peanut butter sandwich or used as a finishing sauce simply spread on skewers of Chicken Sate, you’ll find the recipe for the sate later on in this post. And if you’re looking for a quick and easy appetizer recipe, just grab a jar of Cloister Honey Salted Honey and you are on your way , more details below, sa-weet! For more info visit CloisterHoney.com – if you stay on the site for anytime at all, a little customer service icon will pop up for a chat and you will see Randall’s head pop up in the window – #TellHimHeidiSentYou
Goodnight Brothers Country Ham
Dry Cured Country Ham Boone North Carolina
The Goodnight Brothers company, based in Boone NC has been in the business of curing, aging, de-boning, slicing and packaging country ham since the company’s beginnings in 1948. My favorite Goodnight Brothers product is in the company’s All Natural Country Ham line sold in Charlotte at Whole Foods and Earthfare stores. Some chefs call it North Carolina prosciutto, I just call it delicious! This paper thin sliced ham is cured without any artificial nitrates, only those occurring naturally in sea salt and celery; and it is beautifully packaged with a thin sheet of butcher’s paper between the thin slices of ham so that they are easy to pull apart. I’ll love this ham in something as simple as a charcuterie platter or a ham biscuit with spicy mustard – its also great to wrap around shrimp asparagus or scallops for a flavorful first course or appetizer. More recipes below. For more info visit GoodnightBrothers.com
In this world of automation and face paced technology it is hard to believe that much food production is done by hand any more, but it is. I am delighted to introduce my friend Amy Gaw at OuterBanks SeaSalt, who leads the charge in harvesting and packaging 100% all natural sea salt in small batches using artisan and heritage practices. No preservatives, no anti-caking agents just all natural sea salt from the Atlantic Ocean. Use the OuterBanks sea salt as a culinary finishing salt, or in any of your favorite recipes. Today I share two sweet and salty recipes – one for candied sea salt ginger. Beside the recipe, you’ll see the salt and the candied ginger displayed in beautiful handcrafted salt cellars made by OuterBanks artist Antoinette Mattingly of Kinnakeet Clay. The final recipe for this post is for a sea salt ginger caramel sauce, repurposing the syrup from the candied ginger. In addition to their well know culinary salts, Amy also makes OuterBanks Sooo Salty bath products, Check it all out at their new Etsy store: OuterBanksSeaSalt . For more info visit their Facebook page @OuterBanksSeaSalt
….The Start with a Package, Jar, Bottle or Box Recipes….
Parla Pasta e Fagioli
1 can organic cannellini beans, drained
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 leek, chopped
1 tsp. fresh minced rosemary
1 tsp. fresh minced thyme leaves
1 (28-ounce) can organic fire roasted tomatoes and liquid
water, if needed
Pinch of sugar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 Tbsp, tomato paste (or tomato powder from the Savory Spice Shop)
dried red pepper flakes to taste
1 or 2 rinds of real Parmesan cheese
1 bay leaf
1 box Parla Pasta Cheese Tortellini, cooking according to package directions
chopped fresh parsley to garnish
Grated Parmesan cheese, for sprinkling
Heat oil over medium heat in a large, heavy casserole or Dutch oven and add chopped leek. Cook until just tender, about 5 minutes. Add rosemary and thyme and stir together until fragrant. Stir in tomatoes, drained beans, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until tomatoes have cooked down and the mixture is very fragrant, 10 to 15 minutes.
Add beans, tomato paste, hot pepper, Parmesan rinds, and salt to taste and bring to a boil. Add water or broth if the liquid is too thick. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 30 minutes. Season with a pinch of sugar if you would like.
10 to 15 minutes before serving, stir in the cooked Parla Pasta. When it is heated through, serve in shallow bowls garnished with chopped parsley and Parmesan.
Parla Pasta with Black Olive and Artichoke Pesto
1 box of your favorite Parla Pasta – choose from ravioli, tortellini or manicotti
FOR THE PESTO:
2 cups whole pitted black olives, drained
1 cup pine nuts
1 ½ cups Parmesan or Romano cheese
1 cloves garlic, minced ( optional)
1 cup marinated artichoke hearts
1 cup sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained
2-3 Tbsp. fresh basil leaves
dash of dried red pepper flakes
¼ -1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook your favorite Parla Pasta according to package directions. In the 6-8 minutes it takes the pasta to cook, you can make this wonderful winter pesto.
Make the pesto by combining all of the ingredients except the olive oil in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to chop fine. Drizzle olive oil through the feed tube with the machine running until the mixture has formed a smooth paste. Taste for seasoning. Toss with your favorite hot Parla Pasta and serve. Its just that each
Renwood Mills/Southern Biscuit Flour Formula L From-the-Farm Sausage and Cheese Biscuits
1 lb. your favorite local cheese, shredded
1 lb of your favorite local mild or hot bulk pork sausage
1 stalks local or organic celery, sautéed with 2 Tbsp. fine chopped onion and 1 tsp. sage leaves
1 cup whole milk or buttermilk
Mix Southern Biscuit Flour’s Formula L, with shredded cheese, bulk sausage, milk and sautéed celery onion and sage in a large bowl. Blend well. Pat the dough out into a large thick round and cut small biscuits. Place the sausage and cheese biscuits side by side, but not touching on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 300 degree 20-25 minutes. Enjoy hot or cold.
Keep Southern Biscuit Flour in the pantry for all of your baking needs. I used the Southern Biscuit Self Rising Flour in the Carolina Farmhouse Dairy Coffee Cake that follows.
Carolina Farmhouse Dairy Vanilla Yogurt Coffee Cake
1/4 lb butter
1 cup organic sugar
2 organic or local eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup Carolina Farmhouse Dairy Vanilla Yogurt
for the topping:
1/2 cup organic sugar
2 Tbsp. cinnamon ( I like the Saigon cinnamon from the Savory Spice Shop)
1/ cup of your favorite chopped nuts, optional
Cream together butter and sugar with a hand or stand mixer/ add the eggs and vanilla. Blend well. In another bowl, sift together dry ingredients and add alternately to the butter and sugar mixture with the yogurt. Spoon half of the batter into a buttered angel food cake pan and sprinkle with half of the topping mix. Add the rest of the batter and sprinkle with the rest of the topping mix . Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 35-40 minutes. cool, unmold and enjoy topped with an additional dollop of Carolina Farmhouse Yogurt drizzled with your favorite Cloister Honey.
Use Carolina Farmhouse Dairy Yogurt makes a great start to the day when combined with organic oats, your favorite local jam and a dash or two of Crude orange bitters – yes bitters for breakfast!
Carolina Farmhouse Dairy Kefir
Green Goddess Dressing
2 anchovy fillets, rinsed, patted dry, and coarsely chopped
1 medium clove organic or local garlic, peeled and smashed
1/2 cup organic mayonnaise
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh Italian parsley leaves
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh tarragon leaves
2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh chives
2 Tbsp, freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp. sea salt, plus more as needed
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender with a rubber spatula as needed. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as needed. Refrigerate in a container with a tight-fitting lid for up to 1 week.
Cloister Honey Power Seeded Honey Chicken Sate
2 Boneless organic or local chicken breasts and 4 boneless chicken thighs
For the marinade:
1 clove organic or local garlic
2 Tbsp. Sorghum Syrup Molasses
2 Tbsp. organic sugar
¼ cup lime juice
1 Tbsp. fish sauce
2 Tbsp. Tamarind sauce
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
For the peanut sauce:
3 cups dry roasted peanuts or cashews ( or mix them half and half)
4 Tbsp, orange infused olive oil
2 Tbsp, tamarind sauce
1 Tbsp. red chili flakes
1 (1/4 inch thick slice) local or organic ginger
¼ cup fish sauce (Nam Pla)
½ cup mushroom flavored soy sauce ( I love Healthy Boy Brand)
1 can organic Asian coconut milk
¼ cup minced cilantro or 2 Tbsp. dried cilantro leaves
lemon or lime juice to taste
Cut raw chicken into bit sized pieces and toss with all the marinade ingredients. Allow to marinate in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours of overnight.
Remove chicken pieces from marinade and pat dry, Skewer the chicken on fat smooth wooden skewers. Grill the chicken skewers in a grill pan on top of the stove for 2=3 minutes on each side. Remove from heat. This part may be done ahead so you can now hold the grilled skewers in the fridge for a day or two or proceed with the recipe.
Prepare the peanut sauce by combining peanuts and olive oil in a food processor and grind until you have peanut butter. Place the fresh ground orange scented peanut butter in a saucepan and add tamarind sauce, chili flakes, ginger, fish sauce, mushroom soy sauce, and cilantro. Add enough coconut milk to give the sauce the right consistency for a dipping sauce. Cook until thick and smooth ( except for the small pieces of peanut)
Dip the grilled chicken skewers in the peanut sauce or spread the sauce across the chicken and place the coated chicken skewers on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until the peanut sauce glaze has browned slightly. Spread the shot skewers with Cloister Honey Power Seeded Honey and baked 2 minutes more. Serve hot or at room temp.
Cloister Honey Salted Honey Blue Cheese Toasts
Creamy blue cheese
Toasted slices of French Bread
Spread the toasted slices of French Bread with the creamy blue cheese. Drizzle with the Cloister Honey Salted Honey and top with chopped Pistachios and orange zest. Doesn’t get much easier than that!
Goodnight Brothers Country Ham and Bechamel Biscuits
For the Béchamel:
¼ cup unsalted butter
¼ cup all purpose Southern Biscuit Flour
1½ cups whole organic milk
2 Tbsp. whole grain mustard
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
For the Biscuits:
Make 8 biscuits with whole milk or buttermilk according to the package directions on the Southern Biscuit Flour “Formula L” Package
1 -1 ½ cups shredded Gruyère, cheese
1 tsp dried Herbes de Provence
For the Bechamel: Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. When butter is hot and all melted, add flour and stir cook, until all the raw flour has been absorbed in the butter and the mix is a golden brown about 3 minutes. Add the whole milk and whisk continually to thicken over medium high heat. Season with the nutmeg and mustard. Remove from heat and reserve.
Place the slices of bread on a baking sheet, cut side up and toast lightly in a preheated 375 degree oven for 3-4 minutes. Remove toasts from the oven and turn up the heat to a broil. Meanwhile assemble sammies by placing the toasts on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Top each toast with a a slice of Goodnight Brothers Thin Sliced Country Ham and then a generous sprinkling of the gruyere. Top each with a spoonful of the béchamel and a little bit of the herbes de provence. Run sammies under the broiler until golden brown. Serve hot with a little side salad of lettuce, eggs, Goodnight Brothers Thin Sliced Country Ham and ripe pears and you’ve got the perfect brunch.
Sweet and Spicy Goodnight Brothers Country Ham Wrapped Shrimp
24 large local shrimp, shells removed, tail intact
1 package Goodnight Brothers Thin Sliced Country Ham, cut into thin strips
3 Tbsp. chili powder
2 Tbsp. ground cumin seed or powder
3/4 cup brown sugar
Peel shrimp, then rinse and pat dry. Carefully wrap the body of each shrimp with a strip of the Goodnight Brothers Thin Sliced Country Ham. Place the wrapped shrimp on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Sprinkle first with the chili powder and cumin and then with a generous amount of the brown sugar. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 15 minutes or so until the sugar has caramelized and shrimp have turned pink. Best served hot or warm.
OuterBanks SeaSalt Sweet and Salty Candied Ginger
1 hand of local or organic ginger root -you can peel it or not, totally up to you
2 1/2 cups organic sugar
2 cups water
Slice into rounds about 1/8 inch thick. Mix sugar and water in a large sauce pan and bring to boil. When sugar is dissolved, add ginger slices and boil for 45 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the ginger slices to a cake rack and let dry for 20-30 minutes. To keep the syrup that drips from the ginger slices contained, place the cake rack over a baking sheet with sides. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar over the ginger slices. The sprinkle them with the OuterBanks SeaSalt. Let the coated ginger dry overnight. Keep the leftover syrup in a covered container in the refrigerator and use it to make the next recipe for a goat cheese salted caramel sauce.
OuterBanks SeaSalt Goat Cheese Salted Caramel Sauce
1 cup of the syrup left over from making the candied ginger ( recipe above)
6oz. your favorite local goat cheese or Chevre
OuterBanks SeaSalt to Taste
Place the ginger syrup in a saucepan and allow to boil down until the mix has reached one half its original volume. Stir in the goat cheese or chevre. Stir until the goat cheese has melted and the mixture is smooth. Take off the heat and allow to cool, or serve the sauce warm over ice cream, pound cake or over a slice of the Carolina Farmhouse Dairy Yogurt Coffee Cake recipe in this post.
For more recipes to help you eat local by opening a package, jar, bottle or box featuring all of these wonderful North Carolina products and more visit each company’s individual website for recipes, to order product and to see all the retail locations for each company in Charlotte and across the state.