Cast Iron Cobbler

by Kitchenworks29. October 2014 11:23

   This cobbler is the real dealAfter moving to the South and discovering a wonderful talent for baking, one of our favorite Kitchenworkers introduced us to this amazing cast iron berry cobbler. 

   This is not a boxed dessert from aisle 3 that requires a cup of oil and an egg. This the dessert that your grandmother would have pulled from the oven on a crisp fall afternoon and served with homemade ice cream. Trust us, when you taste this sweet bubbly creation with it's golden brown biscuit topping, you'll be a believer.

4 T   butter, divided
8 cups

  berries, rinsed and drained  

(We love a mix of blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries!)

1 cup   sugar, divided
1/4 cup   brown sugar
3 T   cornstarch
2 cups
  biscuit flour
1/2 t   salt
2T   vegetable shortening
3/4 cup

  heavy cream 

  1.  

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Melt 1 T butter in a 10" cast iron skillet.

In another bowl, combine fruit, 3/4 cup sugar, brown sugar, and cornstarch. Mix and pour into skillet.

Sift flour, the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder and salt into bowl. Cut butter and shortening into mixture. Add cream and mix until just combined.

Knead on a floured surface until dough comes together. Roll out dough to 3/4" thickness. Cut biscuits and place on top of fruit. Sprinkle biscuits with sugar (and maybe a little cinnamon!)

Bake 45-55 minutes until biscuits are cooked through and golden brown.

 

You still don't have a cast iron skillet? We can fix that! Check out our selection of Lodge Cast Iron Cookware. Beautifully pre-seasoned and made in America for over 100 years!

 

 

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Autumn | Recipes | Staff Favorites

Put it in a Pie!

by Kitchenworks22. October 2014 15:52

Check out some of our favorite pie tips, tools, and recipes!

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Autumn | Holidays | Recipes | Tips and Tricks

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

by Kitchenworks14. October 2014 12:52

 October is a popular month in our store. Halloween goodies come out of hibernation. The linens section transforms into a beautiful cornucopia of deep reds, burnt oranges, and sage greens. And, our bakeware finally gets the attention it deserves!

 One of our favorite fall traditions is enjoying the first batch of Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins. Spicy, pumpkiny, chocolatey, and best right out of the oven, they pair wonderfully with a steaming cup of tea. Here's our tried and true recipe that we are thrilled to share:

 Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
1 3/4 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 T. Pumpkin Pie Spice*
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1 t. salt
2 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin (or try mashed sweet potato!)
1/4 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup
milk
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup nuts (optional)

 

 

 

Thoroughly mix flour, sugar, pie spice, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk together eggs, pumpkin, butter, and milk until well blended. Stir chocolate chips and nuts (optional) into egg mixture. Pour egg mixture over dry ingredients and fold until just moistened. Scoop batter into greased or paper-lined muffin pans.  Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until center is puffy and springy to the touch.

*1 T. Pumpkin Pie Spice = 2 t. cinnamon + 1/2 t. nutmeg + 1/2 t ground cloves 

 

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Autumn | Recipes | Staff Favorites

Dreaming of Picnics

by Kitchenworks7. April 2014 13:20

I don’t know from where in the States (or world) you are reading this, but it is finally looking like we will be getting some spring weather around here.

Today was a gorgeous day: bright sunshine, blue skies, and flowers blooming. As you could guess, today was the perfect day to be outside. Fortunately, here in Chapel Hill, we have a lot of outdoor spaces, and plenty of people to occupy them. Weaver Street (a local hotspot in Carrboro that is both a neighborhood-owned grocery and communal gathering space) was overflowing with people enjoying a perfect spring day. A beautiful patchwork of blankets were spread across the lawn covered with lounging people, homemade picnic food, store-bought snacks, and more than a few bottles of wine and cider. Some children and a few pets ran and played in the “avenues” in between. The pleasant hum of laughter and conversation was all the music necessary.

Of course the most packed places are the parks of Orange County. Here is where the children reign supreme. Parents sit back and watch their kids tumble over each other playing and laughing at the Community Center Park (just down the street from Kitchenworks). The large hill and an elaborate jungle gym transform into a colossal mountain and expansive castle for anyone under the age of six. The nearby flower garden and the gazebo become the perfect places to calm down with a juice box and some snacks (or to discuss the heavy issues of “tag” with the adults). The Wilson Community Park caters to a slightly older group of kids. Cobbled together on the diamond are some teenagers in a pick-up game of barely adversarial baseball. The tennis courts nearby have the same style of lazy play, crazy stunts, and continuous laughter.

On a day like today, you can’t take things too seriously. After the cold of winter, before the hot humidity of summer, these are the kind of days we North Carolinians celebrate. We long to be outside enjoying the sunshine and those of us that have to be indoors spend the day daydreaming at a window. We dream of bright warm afternoons spent lazing about in a park or on a patio enjoying friends and hopefully some amazing picnic-fare.

Soon the picnic season will be upon us and as everyone knows, the name of the game is finger foods. Orange wedges, beautiful berries, or bags of almonds are perfect easy choices to keep the focus on fun rather than food preparation. A fresh crusty bread, deli meats, and some of your favorite cheeses are a great easy combo for DIY mini sandwiches. And of course, a picnic isn't complete without a festive beverage, whether it's a bottle of wine or a pitcher of lemonade. 

Of course if you have the time, there are some amazing recipes out there for picnic food. Pasta salad, deviled eggs, and fruit salad are classic picnic fare that will satisfy most appetites. As for the main attraction, a good Club sandwich would be perfect. This recipe is taken from The Food Network in 2001 and is one of our favorites.

Ingredients:

12 slices white bread

3/4 cup mayonnaise

8 romaine lettuce leaves

16 slices vine-ripened tomatoes

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

16 slices crispy cooked bacon

16 ounces sliced roasted turkey

16 frill picks, or plastic cocktail swords

 

Directions:

Toast the bread in a toaster, or under a broiler on both sides. Cut the lettuce leaves in half crosswise and form into 8 neat stacks.

To make a double-decker club:

  • On a clean work surface, arrange 3 bread slices in a row.
  • Spread 1 tablespoon mayonnaise over 1 side of each bread slice.
  • Place a lettuce stack on top of the first bread slice, top with 2 tomato slices, and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Place 2 slices bacon over the tomatoes (broken to fit neatly if necessary) and top with 1/8 of the turkey (without letting any hang over the sides).
  • Season the turkey with salt and pepper, to taste. Repeat with the second bread slice.
  • Carefully place the second layered bread slice on top of the first layered bread, turkey side-up.
  • Cover with the third bread slice, mayonnaise side-down.

Pin the sandwich's layers together by piercing them with 4 frill picks or cocktail swords through the top bread slice, in 4 places in a diamond-like pattern, all the way to the bottom bread slice.Repeat entire process with the remaining ingredients to form 3 more sandwiches.

Using a serrated knife cut each sandwich, diagonally, into 4 triangular pieces (each piece should be secured in the center with a pick or sword). Serve with pickles.

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North Carolina | Recipes | Chapel Hill

It's More than Green Beer

by Kitchenworks17. March 2014 13:29

I am not Irish. I have never been Irish, and will never be Irish. I cannot even be confused with being Irish. But that has not stopped St. Patrick’s Day from being one of my favorite holidays ever. All things considered, my love for the holiday probably predates my existence. My father moved to Chicago, Illinois just after he graduated college and to this day, it remains one of his favorite places to have lived. He has told me many great stories about the city: from the die-hard sports fans to the harsh cold winters. Mixed in with those stories are the joyous celebrations around the city on March 17th. He and my mother would venture out to watch the parades and drink up the jubilant atmosphere that was so very different from their southern rural North Carolina traditions.

By the time I was old enough to enjoy St. Patty’s Day, we lived in suburban New Jersey. In our borough, the celebration was not demonstrated by huge parades and river-dying, but in a district-wide meal. My elementary school would make an immense breakfast and the whole town would show up to celebrate in camaraderie and conversations. I would find my classmates, play, and have my fill of jelly doughnuts (not a traditional Irish meal but I was young). Then it would be over. Parents would go to work, children to school, but all riding on a high that is unique to such social gatherings. It, for me, cemented an appreciation and an expectation for what the day could bring.

Now I am older, and the world sometimes feels a little bit colder. But on March 17th (and often the weekend before or after) I strive to find ways to find my friends and play. It is not that hard, because year after year, it seems they want to play too. We pick an apartment or house and gather to make a variety of dishes. Someone must make corned beef. It is a requirement. The only other requirement is that we have fun and enjoy each other’s company. Generally, at some point, we all find our way to the nearest bar. But even if we don’t, the point is that we see each other, and have fun. More than the great food, Guinness, and Irish whiskey--Saint Patrick’s Day is about good friends and good people.

In spirit of Saint Patrick’s Day (and my really good friends); here is one of the better recipes for Corned Beef and Cabbage. It is taken from The Scottish-Irish Pub and Hearth Cookbook published in 1999.

1 lean corned beef Brisket (about 4 pounds) trimmed of excess fat

1 peeled medium onion, stuck with 4 whole cloves

1 teaspoon dry mustard

½ teaspoon dried thyme

Freshly ground pepper

3 medium yellow onion, peeled and cut in halves

4 large carrots, scraped and sliced thickly

6 medium all-purpose potatoes, peeled and halved

1 medium (about 2 pounds) green cabbage outer leaves removed cored and cut into wedges

 

Place the beef in a large pot. Add enough water to cover the meat by 2 inches. Bring to a boil on high heat. Lower heat to medium-low. Skim and discard any froth that rises to the top. Add onion stick with Cloves, mustard, thyme, and pepper. Cook slowly, covered, accordion to the package instructions or until meat is tender and can be easily pierced with a fork, about 3 hours. Add onions, potatoes, and cabbage during the last 30 minutes of cooking. Remove and discard onion stick with cloves. Take out beef. Cover with aluminum foil; keep warm. Allow meat to rest 20 to 30 minutes before serving.

 

To serve, cut into slices and place in center of a platter. Arrange vegetable around it. Top with some of the broth, if desired. 6 to 8 Servings.

 

What makes St. Patrick's Day great for you? Is it the food, the family traditions, or maybe the sense of community in your town? Jump over to our Facebook Page and let us know!

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Holidays | Recipes

Sticking it out

by Gia26. January 2014 10:01

I've never been very good at New Years Resolutions. Apparently, I'm in good company. Only 8% of resolution-makers hold out. We're here today to talk about sticking it out.

The top 5 New Years resolutions are to:

  1. Lose Weight
  2. Get Organized
  3. Spend Less, Save More
  4. Enjoy Life to the Fullest
  5. Stay Fit and Healthy

Look familiar? Fear not! We have the perfect sanctuary for you to achieve your goals:

Your Kitchen!

You probably already know that home-cooked meals are healthier and cheaper than meals cooked outside of the home. Still throwing around some lame excuse for not cooking at home? Let's go through these huh?

I can't cook.

At a certain point in your life you couldn't read or type or speak more than 6 intelligible words. But, you learned. No one is born with the ability to slow-braise a perfect pork shoulder. As long as you're willing to eat your failures (or stock a few emergency frozen burritos) you can learn to cook anything.

  • Ask: your butcher, your grocer, your mom, your best friend. Everyone has an opinion on how to cook something and most people love to talk about food. Its also a great way to pick up cute chicks in the pasta aisle.

  • Use the internet: you can access the entirety of human knowledge from a screen in your pocket. Stop scrolling through top-10 lists and look up something of value. Youtube is chock full of how-to videos, and there are probably more cooking blogs than chefs in the world at this point. Benefit from someone else's mistakes.

  • Call Kitchenworks. Didn't think you could do that huh? Loving food is pretty much a pre-requisite for working here and we've helped customers through many a kitchen nightmare. Chances are, we have a good idea why your biscuits taste like glue

I don't have the right equipment.

You don't need fancy equipment to cook for yourself. When you find yourself coveting that new gadget on tv, remember that your ancestors got by with little more than a skillet and a stick and we're still passing down those recipes. 

All you need are:

I don't have time

Let's return to our ancestors, shall we? On average, they had more children, less electricity/running water, and far more diseases. You have time, you're just not spending it wisely. Here are some things that might help:

  • Plan your meals. You'll save time and money by pre-answering the much-resented 'what's for dinner' conversation. Go through your cookbooks or browse your grocery store serials for inspiration.

  • Involve the kids – picky eaters are much more likely to eat something that they had a hand in choosing and preparing.
  • Prep ahead of time. Only using half an onion for that breakfast omelet? Chop all of it anyway and save the rest for the sauce you're making for dinner. Having tacos for lunch? Cook all of the ground beef in the package and save the remainder for tomorrow's sloppy joes.

Salt & Smoke

by Gia10. November 2013 21:02

Last weekend was one of those times that reminds me why living in North Carolina is one of the smartest decisions I've ever made. Salt & Smoke is a community pig and oyster roast. I heard about it from the folks at Acme, who put on the event with Core Sound Seafood and Rock Quarry Farm, which hosted the afternoon's revelries. The rest of the details read like a who's who of the Chapel Hill/Carrboro local food scene.

After checking in I headed to the bar, which featured Steel String Brewery on tap and wine curated by De Maison Selections. I decided a spanish red was best for wandering and headed over to the oyster pit.

 

Tending the fire under a bed of roasting oysters

 

I didn't garner an appreciation for oysters until college, so when I get to eat them, I feel compelled to make up for lost time. Shooting Point Oyster Company hauled 3000 oysters from their farm on Virginia's remote eastern shore and were roasting the first batch when I arrived. A grill the size of a twin bed sat beside the barn, covered with a pile of steaming oysters underneath a burlap sack. Company men stoked the fire and shoveled cooked oysters into basins for waiting shuckers. 

Checking the oysters (note shovel)

 

 My oyster experience up to this point has been a fairly privileged one - I've never had to shuck them myself. In anticipation of an afternoon of shucking, I stopped by Kitchenworks and picked up a Carolina Oyster Knife. We've carried these knives for years and customers ask for them by name, but I've never had an opportunity to try them out until today. 

 After throwing back at least a dozen (pre-shucked) raw oysters, and switching to a Big Mon IPA, I sidled up to the shucking tables and dug in. My first impression was congratulatory: a number of other shuckers were clutching Carolina Oyster Knives, and there were more scattered across the table. I patted myself on the back for at least dressing the part. Now came the moment of truth - admitting to the woman next to me that I had no idea what I was doing.

She waved off my trepidation and handed me an oyster. "You gotta find one that's smiling," she said, "Or smirking!" added her friend. "Find a seam, slide the blade along until you get inside the shell and twist to open." Seemed easy enough.

I soon learned how much of this technique is dependent upon picking the right oyster. After a few minutes digging into tight-lipped shells and cursing myself for coming without a glove or washcloth (those things were hot and sharp!) I learned to spot the smilers and fell into a nice rhythm.

The first thing I noticed about the oysters was that the shells were fairly thin. They chipped easily and felt light in my hand. I thought this could just be what happened when you roast oysters, but upon investigation, learned that this is one of the things that makes Shooting Point oysters special - the farmers 'tumble' them regularly to cull for shape and quality, which makes them more delicate and, ultimately, tastier.

I went to this event by myself because I couldn't convince anyone that an afternoon slurping oysters was one well-spent. 'They taste like boogers' was a common response among those surveyed and, really, who could blame them. Most oysters, even after they've been cooked, retain a kind of gelatinous structure that is hardly appetizing. I've eaten oysters from all over the world and, barring some differences in size and taste (mostly variations in sweetness and freshness), the texture is generally consistent.

Shooting Point Oysters are a whole other bivalve. I scolded myself between mouthfuls for not knowing about these sooner! Instead of a Dali-esque puddle, the oyster meat sat plump and bright inside the shell - even the raw ones - as if it had been waiting these past two years for just this moment. The meat was tender and perfectly cooked - a texture at the elusive sweet spot between jello and rubber, much like an expertly poached egg, that evokes the satisfaction of scallops or young octopus. These oysters are meant to be chewed, not just swallowed, which gives you ample time to find the pure sweetness underneath an expertly balanced layer of, what else, salt and smoke.

I lost track of time: transfixed by the seductive smoke and the regular cadence of tossed oyster shells. When I finally came up for air, I had finished most of my Big Mon, and it was time to switch proteins.

During my initial survey of the grounds I snuck a pre-chopped chunk of pork from under the dedicated gaze of Wyatt Dickson, the master behind The Pig Whistle, a whole-hog pork BBQ outfit dedicated to everything local and delicious. 

Wyatt pulling and talking pork with eager guests

I've eaten a lot of BBQ since I've moved here and, I must say, not all pork is created equal. There are only two local BBQ outfits I take yankees to when they visit (the barometer for my devotion) and, after Salt & Smoke, I am actively trying to determine how to gather enough people to justify bringing The Pig Whistle to my backyard. 

Wyatt encourages folks to come up and check out the meat, nab choice cuts, and talk pork with him. I lingered long enough to dip in for a check morsel. The meat was juicy, tender, and flavorful in a way that melts into your tongue - evidence of Wyatt's expertise at picking local, pasture-raised hogs, and smoking them to perfection.

After rinsing the salt off my fingers, I ambled up to the barn for a plate of pork, collards, cornbread, sweet potatoes and beans. I knew Acme was in charge of the sides, but a pig picking generally means the pork is the star of the show, so I had low expectations. The pork was chopped and bathed in sauce, which added a nice tang to balance the fat in the pork, but wasn't too briney that it overpowered the smokiness. The cornbread was peppery and moist. The collards were (of course) salty and smokey, but fresh and not at all oily. The beans were cooked but not mushy, sweet but not syrupy. The sweet potatoes were not-so-subtly packed with aromatics - like a holiday ale - that had everyone swooning. Lesson learned: never underestimate Acme.

After a few more rounds of oysters and beer, I finished the night beside the bonfire, contentedly breathing in the lingering smoke and watching the younger guests make castanets out of empty shells. It took a good 24 hours for the smoke smell to dissipate from my fingers, and I my palm is still healing from a few errant knife pokes, but I'm keeping my Carolina Oyster Knife, and I'm ready for next year.

The bonfire action post-gorge

 

Haitian Art

by Gia3. November 2013 18:37

 Across the back wall of our store, we have a huge Haitian art display.

Each item is a unique, handcrafted, piece of art imported straight from Haiti. 

 

 Using recycled 55-gallon oil drums, the artist first removes both round ends of the drum and places these inside the cylinder along with dried banana or sugar cane leaves. He sets this on fire, to burn off any paint or residue. When cooled down, the artist then cuts the round drum from top to bottom. The flattening process is a sight to behold, as one of the artists’ helpers will climb inside the drum and using all his weight, push with feet, legs, arms and shoulders to open it up.  It is then pounded into a flattened "metal canvas" of approximately 3" x 6". With chalk, the design is drawn onto the metal sheet. Using hammer, chisel and various primitive tools, the shape is cut and the various decorative patterns are pounded into the metal. The finished design is signed by the artist and coated with a protective finish.

 

 

Haitian steel art began in the early 1950's with a simple blacksmith: Georges Liautaud. In his small shop, he made and repaired tools and created primitive metal crosses for the graves in the Croix-des-Bouquets cemetery. It was at the encouragement of an American teacher, DeWitt Peters, who in 1944 opened the Le Centre d'Art in Port-au-Prince, that Georges Liautaud expanded into the creation of decorative metal sculptures. A few talented men apprenticed under him, and this tradition has continued. 

Click here to check out our Haitian Art! 

History and info courtesy of http://www.haitimetalart.com/

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Products | Vendor Spotlight

Happy Birthday to Us!

by Gia26. October 2013 13:45

On October 5th, we celebrated our 29th birthday! We had giveaways, promos, sweet treats and demos from professional food producer Debbie Debetino! Check out the festivities below. 

 

 Our Chapel Hill storefront, all decked out for the occasion.

 

 

Our birthday cake, courtesy of Sugarland Bakery in Chapel Hill.

 

 

Our awesome prize wall!

 

 

Swivel peeler test kitchen

 

 

Apple Corer/Slicer test kitchen

 

 

Corn tools test kitchen

 

 

Our sweet salespeople work the crowd.

 

 

Come and get it!

 

 

Our Lucky Winners!

Staff Picks: Joanna

by Gia4. October 2013 12:16

Joanna is a New England native with an eye for design and a soft spot for a great deal. Come check out her fabulous window displays at our University Mall location!

Name: Joanna

If you could choose your last meal, what would it be?

Steamers, Lobster (with lots of melted butter for dipping) and fresh sweet corn on the cob; all to be shared with close family and dear friends.

What are your three favorite meals to prepare?

  • Party Appetizers
  • Sunday Dinners
  • Baking on a Snow Day

What are your favorite restaurants?

  • Crook's Corner (Chapel Hill, NC) - Shrimp & Grits on the patio: heaven!
  • Antonia's (Hillsborough, NC) - Perfect place for a leisurely Sunday afternoon brunch.
  • The Silver Shores Shanty (Falmouth Height, Cape Cod, MA) - Best fried clams on the cape!
  • Allen & Son BBQ (Pittsboro, NC) - Always good and tasty. They never dissappoint!

What are your top 5 essential cooking tools?

What are your top 5 essential kitchen tools?

What products would you like to receive as gifts?

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