Saturday, September 27, 2008

Revisiting our day with the forager...

So, a friend of mine from the local slow foods chapter was one of the people I went mushroom foraging with the other day. Come to find out, he's an awesome photographer! I saw some of the photos he took on his flickr page. Made me a little jealous of my photographer abilities as well as a little pissed that I spent so much on my camera thinking it was top of the line! Eh, live, learn, laugh is what I (almost) always say.

Anywho, here are a couple pictures I downloaded from his page, check it out to see the rest.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Cooking Class: Grilled Pizza Night!

I had the great opportunity to teach a cooking class at a couples house in Charlotte. The theme was "Grilled Pizza Night" to be grilled outside. I thought it would be a good reason to hang out outside and show people that pizza doesn't always have to be cooked on a stone, ordered in or zapped in a microwave!

The weather didn't cooperate though and it rained all night. But, luckily I had a grill pan laying around that we were able to use. We did it inside and all was well! Everyone loved it.

We went through a simple crust recipe and then made three different grilled pizzas that everyone loved. Here's the menu:

Pizza #1
Tiny Pizza “Bruschetta” w/ Sun Dried Tomatoes, Fresh Made Pesto Sauce and Pecorino Cheese (Choose your favorite Red wine here)
• With our fresh made pizza dough, we’ll make crackers and top them with some fresh ingredients to make some great bruschetta with a twist.

Pizza #2
Piadine w/ Italian Grilled Chicken and Spinach Salad w/ a whole citrus dressing (Choose your favorite White wine here)
• This salad “thin pizza” is a great fresh salad with a grilled crispy base drizzled with a fantastic citrus vinaigrette.

Pizza #3 (dessert)
Apple and Goat Cheese Dessert Pizza w/ Brown Sugar Caramel. (Dessert Wine Here)

Check out some pics:

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Foraging for wild shrooms!!!

Another great time was had by all :)

Yesterday, I had the great opportunity to forage for mushroom with a few people from the local "slow foods" community. We went to a local park with a forager named Reed. We must have walked over 5 miles and went WAY off the beaten path. I don't think we saw a trail for 3 miles, lol. I must say though, what a beautiful and enjoyable way to see nature. Not one bit of trash anywhere. The streams we saw were flawlessly clear with healthy fish swimming all around. Boulders un-touched since they made their way there so many years before. I kept having to remind myself that we were only a couple miles from the bustling city. Makes you appreciate how awesome the world can be without cars, cell phones and HD TVs.

Anyway, enough of my tree hugging rant, check out some pictures:

Monday, September 15, 2008

Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Gala Apple Tart

Apple season is upon us, rejoice!!! Got me a fresh picked bag of Gala apples and ate raw apples until my eyes popped out! Just when I thought I couldnt eat another damned raw apple, I took a sheet of puff pastry and put this baby together. Oozing sugary goodness with vanilla ice cream melting on top! YEAH!!! That's the spirit :)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Drag Race Day at the Zmax Dragway at Lowes Motor Speedway!!!

Holy CRAP we had a great time. We just got back from an entire day (9 hours) of drag racing at the new Zmax Dragway at the Lowe's Motor Speed. Funny, there's so much crap going on about the place with the owner, the local government and the neighbors that live within earshot that we were suprised that it didn't effect the attendance! Oddly enough, today was a sold out event! Guess noone gave a shit, lol. Check out this article for more info...

Anywho, since this is supposed to be a food related blog, let me tell you about the best place to get an affordable lunch. Let me tell you, it's not at the race track! But, if you want to get an 8 dollar shitty "pulled pork sammich", a 5 dollar corn dog or a 3 dollar bottled water, then the race track is your thing. But, if you're like most of us and the price of gas, food and the 120 bucks it takes to get INTO the race has left you a bit strapped, try packing a picnic like we did :) Besides, its kinda romantic, right?


So, we got there around 11:00 this morning not really knowing what to expect as we've never been to a drag race. We waded through the thick traffic, found a parking spot (with help from some minimum wage, self important, bleach blond, over weight, sweaty, tobacco chewing, inbred, toothless whore of a parking attendant with too much power and a matching orange vest and flag), waded through the thousands of people, through a long tunnel, up a million stairs and to our seat and sat with a deep sigh, lol. After we settled in, we saw two fast looking cars called "Top Fuel" pull up to the line. They heated up the tires, burning out huge plumes of thick white smoke to make them stick to the track. We thought, "Wow, that was kinda loud!" but that was NOTHING!!! Both cars backed up to the starting line while their crews fiddled with the engines and stuff to get the cars ready to race, was kinda cool looking to see it all, I was amazed. Then, the starting lights went from yellow to green and.....let me tell you. Those cars were SO FUCKING LOUD that we thought there was something wrong. The literal ROAR from the engines pierced our ear drums so bad that it forced us to shove our fingers in our ears!!! Needless to say, we shoved ear plugs in our holes post haste :) .

They rumbled by us so much that we felt it in our bones!!! My empty plastic water bottle shook with the engines vibrations. "Unreal" is the only way to describe it!!! The smell, the heat of the engine, the rumble and the sound is truly an amazing experience. We saw right away why this was a sold out event.

The track was really impressive too, state of the art man. A must see if you're ever in the Charlotte area.

To help put it into perspective, here are a couple videos;

We were about 14 rows from the ground, at least 200 feet away and the rumble of the cars jiggled my bottle!!!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Great questions for chefs and restaurant owners...

Was reading a fantastic blog from a pair of great chefs and they brought up some interesting questions:

"What exactly is the responsibility of the chef? The basic answer is creating and executing great food and all that entails, the more complicated answer encompasses education, responsible sourcing, staffing, and safety. So what do you think? What is the responsibility of a chef or a restauranteur in these modern times?"

Check out the entire post here:

My new gig at Weekday Gourmet!

As if I didn't have enough going on in my busy life, I just had to take on one more project (no, I'm not complaining, I'm excited!!!). Over at Weekday Gourmet here in Charlotte, they were in need of a couple Chef/ Instructors to offer cooking classes to their customers. The three of us currently offer a monthly class focusing on certain food creations. Its a blast! Some of the most fun Ive ever had. Check out the write-up;

Chef Bradley’s training began in Manchester, New Hampshire at the age of 13 at a local diner. That’s when his passion for food became his main motivation in building his career. He graduated with honors from Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, North Carolina in May of 2000 and has recently earned his Certified Chef De Cuisine certification in 2007.

While in Charlotte, Chef Bradley trained under great chefs at some of the most prestigious country clubs in the Carolinas. After over 6 years with the Carmel Country Club and then Myers Park Country Club, he took his new found knowledge to the VanLandingham Estate Inn and Conference Center. He then went to The Point Lake and Golf Club where he was the Sous Chef until moving up to the Executive Chef position for Providence Day School in Charlotte for Flik Independent Schools, a Compass Company. He currently offers a private chef and consultation service in Charlotte and the surrounding areas.

You can learn more about him at his web site:

Weird to see myself written about by someone else :)

Check out there web site for more information. I'll be adding pictures and blogging about these calsses as they progress so stay tuned!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Upcoming competition arrives in October...

So, getting ready for the upcoming F3 competition down in Atlanta on October 15th! Very excited and going for the gold! Will keep ya' posted as the days progress.