A Few GOOD CHEFS

Have you ever wondered what might happen if you combined four of the most influential women on the Wilmington food scene in one room?
That was exactly our thought as we rounded up Fanny Slater, Elena Rosemond-Hoerr, Jessica Cabo, and Tiffany Eslien for an afternoon of laughs, fun, and most importantly, food.  While each of these women has a unique background in the culinary industry, all share a passion for delicious food and a knack for creating innovative, fresh recipes, often inspired by local ingredients and seasonal produce.

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By now you’ve probably heard of our local food celebrity, Fanny Slater, the winner of Rachael Ray’s Great American Cookbook Competition. Since taking the title, Fanny has worked tirelessly writing and testing recipes for her upcoming cookbook.

“You know how a groundhog burrows in his hole and only occasionally comes out to meet his friends for dinner?” Fanny asks. “It was kind of like that. I was given a very short deadline to write the entire manuscript, so I buried myself in my cookbook and didn’t come out until it was done.”

While we anxiously await the arrival of Fanny’s first cookbook, you can get your “Fanny fix” via her blog, Fanfare, or locally on her food segments for CBS 10 WILM.

03-chefs in 120Mint & Roasted Tomatillo Gazpacho Shooters with Chili Oil
By Fanny Slater (Serves 10 to 12)

1/2 pound tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed under warm water
1 Tbsp olive oil
Kosher salt and coarse black pepper
1 yellow bell pepper, diced (about 1 cup)
1 medium vine ripened tomato, diced (about 1/2 cup)
1 large seedless cucumber, peeled and diced (about 1 cup)
1 Tbsp finely minced shallot
1 medium clove roasted garlic
1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
1 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
Juice of 1 lime
2 Tbsps champagne vinegar or red wine vinegar
1/4 C olive oil
Kosher salt and coarse black pepper
1/4 C sour cream
Chili oil (Recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to broil. Toss the tomatillos with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Spread them onto a baking sheet in a single layer and broil, turning once, until they are blistered and charred—about 6 to 8 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

In a large bowl, combine the bell pepper, tomato, cucumber, shallot, dill, mint, lime juice, vinegar, oil, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Measure 1/4 cup of this mixture and set aside. Place the remaining diced veggies into a blender.
Add the tomatillos to the blender and pulse until the mixture is creamy and smooth. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.

Refrigerate for at least several hours before serving. Divide among shooter glasses. Top each portion of soup with a dollop of sour cream, a small spoonful of the diced mixture, and a swirl of the chili oil (recipe follows).

Chili Oil
1/4 tsp dried red chili flakes
1/4 C olive oil

Rub the dried chili flakes between your palms to wake them up. Heat the olive oil and chili flakes over low heat for 5 minutes. Remove the mixture from heat and let it stand for 1 hour. Strain the oil through a fine mesh sieve and transfer to a container.

***

Jessica Cabo, executive chef at the ultimate food-meets-art destination, CAM Café, finds inspiration from both local ingredients and international cooking styles.

“I am inspired by the beautiful fruits and vegetables that come with each micro season here in Wilmington.”  Jessica says, “I also go on kicks where I get interested in a cuisine, like Peruvian, then I just try to learn as much about that culture, read about it, cook their foods, learn about what types of fish and meats they prepare, what vegetables and herbs they grow, and blend them with what we have available here.”

05-chefs in 120Green Curry Clams & Bay Scallops
By Jessica Cabo

Curry Sauce:
13.5 oz can coconut milk
2 Tbsps green curry paste
Juice of 1 – 2 fresh limes
Clams & Scallops:
20 littleneck clams, cleaned and scrubbed
1 C bay scallops
1 C white wine – Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris
3 Tbsp of curry sauce
1 tsp lime juice
1 C diced fresh pineapple
2 C snap peas, sliced on the diagonal
3 Tbsps butter, divided
olive oil
Charred bread, for serving

Bring all ingredients to a simmer for Curry Sauce in small pot, whisking until smooth. Cool for use (this can be stored in a container for up to a week).
Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat and add enough olive oil to lightly coat the pan.

Add the clams, curry, wine, and one tablespoon of butter. Cover and let steam for 4 minutes. Add the pineapple, re-cover, and cook for an additional 2 minutes. When the clams start to open, add the bay scallops, snap peas, and remaining butter. Cook uncovered until all of the clams have opened and the sauce is reduced. Salt to taste, and add additional butter, wine, or curry sauce as needed. Garnish with your choice of green onion, cilantro, microgreens, pea tendrils, or violets.  Serve with charred bread.

 ***

With three cookbooks under her belt, a fourth in the works, and her popular blog, Elena Rosemond-Hoerr has mastered the art of creating recipes.

“Everything I cook for the blog has roots in Southern food culture,” Elena continues, “It makes sense to cook with the seasons because that is how food in the South has traditionally been prepared.”
Find more of Elena’s southern-inspired recipes on her blog, Biscuits & Such.

01-chefs in 120Sorghum & Goat Cheese Hand Biscuits
By Elena Rosemond-Hoerr (makes 12 biscuits)

4 1/2 C flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsps salt
2 sticks butter
2 C buttermilk
1/2 stick melted butter for topping
1 log fresh goat cheese
1/2 C sorghum

Heat oven to 425. Mix together dry ingredients. Cube butter and work in with your hands, breaking the butter up into small pieces and mixing in with the dry ingredients, until the texture resembles cornmeal. Stir in the buttermilk. Transfer to a floured surface and press into a rectangle. Fold on itself and pat into a rectangle. Repeat three or four times, finishing with a large rectangle of dough that is 1-inch thick.

Use a round biscuit cutter to cut into 3-inch rounds. Roll the round out further until they are about ¼-inch thick. Fill each biscuit with a tablespoon of goat cheese and a drizzle of sorghum. Pinch the edges and place on a lined baking sheet. Brush the top of each biscuit with melted butter. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown and baked through.

 ***

Chef Tiffani Eslien made the move to Wilmington more than two years ago to help open local favorite, Hops Supply Company.  

“I find inspiration for the menu with all the local and fresh ingredients that North Carolina has to offer, from fruits and vegetables to meats and fish,” Tiffany says.
With a selection of wines on tap, a fun and inviting atmosphere, and of course a variety of inventive and delicious menu items, Hops quickly climbed the ranks as one of Wilmington’s hottest Gastropubs.

02-chefs in 120Pimento Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers Wrapped in Bacon & Drizzled with a Bourbon Glaze
By Tiffani Eslien

12-18 mini sweet peppers, depending on size
12-18 slices of bacon
Pimento Cheese:
½ C cream cheese
½ C goat cheese
½ C yellow cheddar, shredded
4 Tbsp pimentos, minced
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp granulated garlic
¼ tsp chipotle powder
Bourbon Glaze:
½ C brown sugar
1 Tbsp water
1 ½ ounces bourbon
2 oz beer – bourbon barreled or porter

To prepare the pimento cheese, place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse, allowing all ingredients to mix together.  Place in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.

Halve mini sweet peppers from stem to tail.  Remove any seeds and ribs in the pepper.  Stuff the pepper with pimento cheese, and place in freezer for 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 and bake the bacon until almost done, but still soft.  Increase oven temperature to 450.  Once cool enough to handle, wrap the peppers in bacon.  Bake for 5-7 minutes, or until crispy.  

Meanwhile, prepare the bourbon glaze.  Place all ingredients in a pot and boil until the sugar dissolves. Drizzle over peppers when they are ready to eat.

Edamame Deviled Eggs & Pickled Beet Deviled Eggs
1 dozen eggs
1 C edamame, shelled and cooked
1 beet  
1 quart pickling liquid (recipe follows)
½ C mayonnaise
1 ½ Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp onion powder
Salt, pepper to taste

Hard boil the eggs for 8 minutes.   Allow the eggs to cool, then peel them. Refrigerate 6 of the eggs while preparing the remaining 6 for pickling.

Boil or roast beet until tender (1-3 hours depending on size).  Cool, peel, and slice.

Combine whole eggs and beets in the pickling liquid (recipe follows) and refrigerate 3-5 hours.

Halve each of the eggs, remove the yolks, and place yolks from all 12 eggs into a food processor (or use a whisk to mash them).  Add mayonnaise, mustard, onion powder, and salt.  Mix until smooth.   Reserve half the mixture for filling pickled egg, then add edamame to the remaining yolk mixture in the food processor.  Blend until smooth, adding more mayonnaise as needed.  Fill pickled eggs with plain filling, and fill the remaining eggs with edamame filling.

Pickling Liquid
3 C white vinegar
1 C water
2 C sugar
¼ C salt
¼ C pickling spices
3 garlic cloves, halved

Place all ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil.  Turn off and allow mixture to cool.
With recipes like these, it’s easy to predict that we haven’t seen the last of any of these talented culinary powerhouses.

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