AMUSE + ESSENCE = ELIXIR

AMUSE + ESSENCE = ELIXIR

A Culinary Circus of Drink, Music, Competitions & Fun in Asheville NC

Culinary artistry and showmanship preselected by chefs and mixologists, intensified by the competition among competitors and emphasizing smaller, more intensely flavored courses. “The amuse-bouche is the best way for a great chef to express his or her big ideas in small bites.”

May 1 from 6:00 – 8:00 PM at the MHCC Event Center. Presented by Capital at Play.

Got Tickets?  http://ashevillewineandfood.com/amuse-essence-best-chefs-mixologists-new

Can’t wait?  Sample this signature AMUSE cocktail in anticipation of the upcoming event:

AMUSE:

1 oz Absolut Vanilla

3/4 oz Domaine de Canton

1 oz Orange Juice

1/2 oz Roses Lime Juice

 

Shake and strain into a martini glass. Top with a splash of ginger ale.

Lime twist and/or cherry garnish.

 

ENJOY!

 

This creation is shared with you by Kenny Rieg of Chop House, Downtown Asheville.Chop House Logo

Ramps: A Sustainable Harvest

Ramp season is nearly upon us here in the Appalachian Mountains. These delicious wild leeks are becoming increasingly popular among chefs and home cooks throughout the country, but many people do not know how to properly harvest them. The Appalachian Food Storybank and the Smoky Mountain Native Plants Association have partnered to create a video that shows potential foragers how to sustainably harvest ramps so that the plant will continue to grow in following seasons. We hope that you or your organization will help us promote this video, “Ramps: A Sustainable Harvest,” by sharing it on your website, blog, or social media platforms. If you know of any other parties that might be interested in helping us promote the video, please feel free to forward it to them as well.  The embedded link will take viewers to the Appalachian Food Storybank’s website where they can view the video.

 

Poached Farm Egg with Ramp & Chevre Grits & Benton’s Country Ham “Cracklins”

Recipe submitted by Chef William Dissen of The MarketPlace

(Yield: 4 servings)

Ingredients

Ramp & Chevre Grits Anson Mills Coarse Yellow Grits                                        1 cup

Water                                                                                 3 ¼ cups

Olive oil                                                                             2 tbsp.

Onion, finely chopped                                                      2 tbsp.

Garlic, minced                                                                   1 tsp.

Heavy Cream                                                                     ¾ cup

Chevre                                                                              4 tbsp.

Franks’s Red Hot Sauce                                                     1 tbsp.

Ramps, bulb trimmed, grilled, roughly chopped                 10 ea.

Salt & Pepper                                                                     to taste

Poached Farm Egg                                                             4 ea. (see recipe)

Benton’s Country Ham “Cracklins”                                    4 tbsp. (see recipe)

Method

  1. In a medium pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat and stir in the onion and garlic and cook until translucent.
  2. Add the water and bring to a rapid boil. Rapidly whisk in the grits and stir continuously until the grits are combined with the water and the grits begin to bubble.
  3. Turn off the heat and cover the pot with plastic wrap. Keep in a warm place for 1 hour.
  4. While the grits are resting, bring a grill to medium high heat. Lightly oil the ramps and season with salt and pepper. Place on the grill until they are lightly charred and the bulbs are tender – about 2 minutes. Remove the ramps from the grill and allow to cool. Cut them roughly and reserve to finish the grits.
  5. Unwrap the pot and place over medium heat to heat back through. Stir in the heavy cream, chevre, Frank’s Red Hot. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Stir in the chopped ramps and serve immediately.
  6. To finish, place the grits into a ramekin and place a poached egg on top of the grits. Season the egg with salt & pepper. Sprinkle 1 tbsp. of the “cracklins” over the egg. Serve immediately.

“Traditional and Essential Seeds” with Bill Best

Appalachian Foodways Course for the UNCA Asheville/OLLIE/College for Seniors, April 1, 2015. “Traditional and Essential Seeds” by Bill Best.

Bill Best brought a large bag of Heirloom Appalachian Bean Seeds to accompany his talk of flavorful pots of “Beans and Leather Britches!” He spoke of “Traditional and Essential Seeds” and his lifetime of collection, identifying and sharing Appalachian bean seeds. Bill says that our Appalachian Foodshed is one of the most diverse of any county and seed saving preserves that diversity. We are losing much of that Lazy_Wife Greasy Beansbiodiversity as our right to save seed is a disappearing inheritance, thus we are losing much of our food culture heritage.

Bill keeps almost 700 varieties of heirloom bean seeds at the Sustainable Mountain Agriculture Center, which is at his farm in the Knobs country of Madison County just outside of Berea, Kentucky. Bill says that “Appalachian seeds represent a heritage going all the way back to the Native Americans.” He was recently invited to an Appalachian archeology burial site dig dating back 13,000 years. This was a woman who was buried with bean seeds. Many of those seed types still remain with us in today.

The culture of seed saving is an ancient one. The Native Americans planted beans in a configuration referred to as the three sisters. Beans, corn, and winter squash planted together. The beans will grow up the corn stalk and the squash covers the ground and helps keep down weeds. Bill says to “look for heirloom corn because the heirloom corn has the thicker stalk to support the weight of the vines.”

Bill’s family has been saving seeds for over 150 years and he gathered some of his first seeds in 1973. He started selling heirloom beans at the Lexington Kentucky farmers market and he now sells his seeds in all 50 states.

Bill Best’s new book, Saving Seeds, Preserving Taste is a must read for understanding why commercially grown beans are just a decoration, and not for eating. Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2013/09/27/2846594/berea-farmer-bill-best-advocates.html#storylink=cpy

What is eaten and why? “Cornbread Nation” with Ronnie Lundy

Appalachian Foodways Course for the UNCA Asheville/OLLIE/College for Seniors, April 1, 2015. What is eaten and why? “Cornbread Nation” with Ronnie Lundy

Ronni Lundy started her session by bringing biscuits and local Sorghum Molasses Syrup. She made a real southern treat, warn sorghum molasses mixed with warm butter. What a wonderful childhood memory. To mix warm sorghum molasses and warm butter into a sticky spread, just for those hot biscuits on a cold morning – yummmmm!

Ronnie Lundy & Bill Best

Ronnie Lundy & Bill Best

Sorghum cane (looks similar to sugar cane but with a big clump of seeds on top) is harvested and crushed in the fall here in the mountains. The syrup is boiled in pots or vats until it thickens. Then it is sealed into canning jars for enjoyment. For some families, other than honey, this was the only sweetener available for pancakes and stack cakes.

Ronni explained the difference between what most people know as molasses and what a lot of mountain folk call molasses or sorghum molasses. Most molasses (blackstrap) are derived from sugar cane or beets. Sorghum is a major grain that originates from Africa. Brought here by slaves, the sorghum plant has a sturdier stalk that yields the green sticky liquid that must be boiled down for hours to achieve thickness and sweetness. Sorghum molasses is a product unique to the Appalachians.

Ronni talked about the dual cultures of Appalachia (rural & cities) and her journey from the coal mining mountains to the city. “Everyone in the mountains seems to be connected by kinship or sometimes by hardship.” The rural mountain culture is one of connections and mountain people spend that time “nurturing connections.” Perhaps, that’s why the mountain people tend to know their neighbors much more easily than people in cities. Even death is a nourishing time in Appalachia. Everyone brings food and stories to share around the table.

Ronnie is the author of Shuck Beans, Stack Cakes, and Honest Fried Chicken, a classic fusion of the food and music cultures of our region. https://www.southernfoodways.org/awards/ronni-lundy-2009-lifetime-achievement-award-winner/

2015 Tailgate Market Spring Openings

Spring is here and the growing season is upon us! Tailgate tents are going up, and area farmers markets are opening outdoors for the season. Celebrate spring by getting a taste of what is growing in your community. At early spring markets, expect fresh greens, spring onions and asparagus; meats, cheeses, baked goods, value-added farm products like preserves, and a wide selection of plant starts. Produce offerings will differ from market to market based on the location of vendor farms—microclimates vary greatly in the region. But the season changes quickly, with new offerings sprouting up each week.

 

Find a list of spring tailgate opening days for the central mountains below. For a complete list of the 90+ tailgate markets in the region, including their season start dates, visit ASAP’s online Local Food Guide at appalachiangrown.org. The 2015 print guide hits stands in mid-April. [Read more…]

More Than Honey

More Than Honey

March 16th at 7pm – Tryon Theatre

Bring your friends and family to a free movie on bees and beekeeping with a reception beforehand at La Boutielle Wine and Beer Boutique. This awesome documentary showcases beekeeping around the world, demonstrating why bees and beekeepers are vital to our existence on earth.

Thanks to Slow Foods Asheville – Foothills for the reception sponsorship. 

honey

11th Annual ASHEVILLE BREAD FESTIVAL, May 2nd, 2015

The Festival rapidly approaches!

The bread bakers and other artisans are planning their products to share with you on MAY 2, 2015.  Bring your hunger for bread and your thirst for knowledge about the stuff of life.  Occasionally between now and then, you’ll be receiving an update on ticket availability. At this time there is very good availability on all the workshops, but from experience we know that isn’t going to last long!  http://www.ashevillebreadfestival.com/

Reception and Movie to Follow.
After the festival you can enjoy dinner with the bakers, exhibitors and festival organizers.   The festival is sponsoring the release party for JD McLelland;s acclaimed documentary  “The Grain Divide.”  The story of the geneticists, farmers, millers and bakers who are making locally grown wheat a reality, is an inspiring look at the frontiers  of wheat, flour, and bread. Preceding the film, there will be a panel discussion featuring the film’s director and cast. The reception  with appetizers, beer, and wine begins at 6pm and the film will be shown at 8pm. Tickets are $40 and must be purchased in advance. The event is at Carolina Cinema.

Carolina Mountain Cheese Fest

Come out and celebrate everything cheesy.  The festival will be held rain or shine at Highland Brewery in Asheville, NC.  The festival will utilize the indoor and outdoor areas of the brewery so you can get your hands on goats and calves outside and participate in discussions and tastings inside.  Tickets for the 1st annual Carolina Mountain Cheese Festival will go on sale on this website starting November 1, 2014.

Ticket prices are listed below:

DATE:  April 26th, 2015
LOCATION: Highland Brewery, 12 Old Charlotte Highway
Asheville, NC 28803
TIME: 12 noon to 4pm

Prices:

  • Ages 13 to 103: $12.00
  • Children 12 & under:  Free

If there are any remaining tickets, they will be sold at the gate the day of the event for $15.00 each.

Slow Food at Indie Grits – Columbia SC

Slow Food at Indie Grits Sustainable Chefs Showcase

April 19, 2015 3:00-6:00pm

711 Whaley Street (701 Whaley)

$25/$20/$10

 

The Midlands’ finest eco-conscious chefs will serve small bites featuring sustainably produced ingredients at this popular culinary fiesta, presented by Slow Food Columbia. Guests will enjoy tastings by 17 chefs, a Slow Food community potluck, tunes by the Greater Columbia Society for the Preservation of Soul and a cash bar with craft beers and great wines by The Whig. Entering its fifth year, Slow Food at Indie Grits has been a sold-out smash hit described as “laid-back,” “family-friendly,” and “a can’t miss event for foodies and green enthusiasts.” An official partner event of the Nickelodeon Theater’s 9th Annual Indie Grits Festival. For more information, contactinfo@slowfoodcolumbia.org. Tickets on sale March 1 at http://www.indiegrits.com. @slowfoodcola @indiegrits

MARCH 2015 EVENT AT THE WEINHAUS

Join us for an Escoffier wine dinner at Chestnut restaurant. Georges Autuste Escoffier was a French chef, restaurateur and culinary writer who popularized and updated traditional French cooking methods. For this special wine dinner, Joe Scully and the awesome, talented team at Chestnut will recreate some of Escoffier’s recipes and the Weinhaus will select wine pairings for each course. This is a rare opportunity to enjoy great food and learn some culinary history too. Thursday, March 19th Time: 7:00 PM. Price: $80 all inclusive. Please call the Weinhaus for reservations at 254-6453.