Biscuits & Jam with April McGregor

Owner of Farmer’s Daughter Brand pickles and preserves, April McGreger joined us at Midway to teach a demonstration class on the secrets to these iconic Southern foods. We made seasonal peach jam without added pectin, discussed the rules of small batch canning, and cooked up some Southern-style biscuits: flaky and tender. 

April shared some great tips, like how tough biscuits are the most common pitfall of all bakers. Most recipes call for biscuit dough to be kneaded.  Kneading is a technique used to develop gluten and sturdy structure in yeasted bread doughs, which is exactly what you trying to avoid when making biscuits. While the motion of gathering the dough by pulling and pushing is similar to kneading, it lacks all of the vigor.  Instead you want to fold it onto itself, pressing it out into a rectangle about 1 ½ inches thick each time before folding it in half again until you’ve done this three times.

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Cooking with Gabe Barker of Pizzeria Mercato

On June 28th Midway hosted vegetable-driven chef Gabe Barker, of Pizzeria Mercato. Gabe shared his Italian-inspired recipes utilizing ingredients from North Carolina’s red clay piedmont soil. The menu featured farro salad with burrata cheese and a lemon vinaigrette, warm lentils with fennel sausage, and risotto with sweet corn and cherry tomatoes. 

North Indian Dinner
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North Indian Dinner with Jaymie and Amit

Amit and Jaymie Nagar presented an evening of Northern Indian cuisine., creating a five course dinner, that started with a few street food experiences, a soup course to clear the palate, a main course of tandoori chicken and ended with Mango Lassi Ice Cream. Every course was be paired with a refreshing beer or wine that complemented the flavors of the dish.  

Amit grew up in New Delhi, India, but his family roots are in Rajasthan, in the western part of India.  His early love for cooking was set in motion by his mother, who was always willing to have her 8-year-old sous chef by her side. Watching street food vendors begin their day in the early hours of the morning while he waited for the school bus, he spent countless hours observing the food preparation that has now become his passion. Amit also had wonderful male cook role models in his extended family, including his uncle in the Indian Air Force, who taught him the finer points of chopping and cooking when Amit would visit him at the bases where he was stationed.  His maternal grandfather in Jaipur was the original “farm to table” shopper, knowing exactly where and what time of day to find the freshest prepared food and ingredients. Amit loves learning and experimenting with various cuisines, but his first love is cooking and sharing the rich flavors of his native cuisine. Jaymie is a great chef in her own right  - she brings her sparkling personality, charm and vibrancy to kitchen and keeping things running smoothly and efficiently

beautiful assortment of dried peppers

beautiful assortment of dried peppers

Silvana grinding up herbs for her sauce

Silvana grinding up herbs for her sauce

Flavors of Oaxaca

Silvana, owner and chef of Soul Cocina, a plant-based, latin-inspired food company, had just returned from Oaxaca, Mexico and was excited to come share her experience with us. There she cooked with the locals, explored the markets and drew inspiration for new flavors and recipes

Oaxaca is located in Southwestern Mexico. It is bordered by the states of Guerrero to the west, Puebla to the northwest, Veracruz to the north, Chiapas to the east. To the south, Oaxaca has a significant coastline on the Pacific Ocean. The state is best known for its indigenous peoples and cultures.

Often referred to as the Land of seven Moles, Oaxaca’s food culture is famously rich and diverse. But it’s even more varied than most travelers realize: incredible heirloom varieties of corn that get ground up into some of the country’s the best masa, pre-Hispanic drinks that drink like a meal, exceptional small-batch smoky mezcals, and also way more than seven types of mole. In the the first country that UNESCO honored on its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity solely for its food, Oaxaca state in southern Mexico stands out. We really enjoyed this class!

 

chef brian adornetto demonstrating northern Italian polenta making

chef brian adornetto demonstrating northern Italian polenta making

Bagna Caoda con Cavolfiori Scottati (Blanched cauliflower with warm garlic-anchovy sauce)

Bagna Caoda con Cavolfiori Scottati (Blanched cauliflower with warm garlic-anchovy sauce)

Tour of Italy, A Taste of Piemonte

Chef Brian Adornetto made his second stop of his Culinary Tour of Italy, Piemonte. Located at the foot of the Alps, this delicious land-locked north-western region borders Switzerland and France. Among other provisions, Piemonte is known for its corn (polenta), savory truffles, hazelnuts, chocolate, Barolo, Barbera and Barbaresco wines, and vermouth. This evening will focus on authentic Piemonte dishes while using local ingredients from farmers in and around the Triangle area. Thanks to all that came to this memorable night of food and fun!

With nearly two decades of professional cooking experience and over ten years’ experience teaching people how to cook, Chef Brian Adornetto is a formally trained veteran chef, published food writer, seasoned culinary instructor, skilled imaginative recipe developer, discerning competition and cookbook judge, and restaurant consultant.  For more information visit http://www.loveatfirstbite.net/

 

John and Lil cooking up some Tuscan food, while Chef Brian demonstrating cantuccini (mini biscotti)

An Evening in Tuscany, Late Summer Feast

We enjoyed our first night touring Italy with Chef Brian Adornetto, a personal chef, food writer, restaurant consultant, and culinary instructor.  He showed us what makes the Tuscan region exceptional in its diverse cuisine, wine, and culture. The evening focused on Tuscan style dishes and used local ingredients from farmers around the triangle area, these are all authentic Tuscan recipes. We made: Pappa al Pomodoro, Carpaccio di Zucchine, Arrosto di Maiale, Cantuccini all paired with a Tuscan red.

Charcuterie Class with James Naquin

Thursday, May 26, 2016

We learned how to make a chicken liver mousse that was as smooth as butter. Using a not so secret blend of spices, James demonstrated how to utilize liver in dishes that left behind most of the iron flavor negatively associated with it. Break out the crostini please! One sausage was a spicy/sweet version of an Italian sausage. Fairly classic but much more flavorful than anything found in a store. The other was a style of bratwurst known as Rost bratwurst. Mild in heat but bold in flavor with small additions of garlic and egg. Lastly, we made a terrine. A really good version of meat loaf typically served at room temperature on bread or crostini. This variation wase a riff on the French classic with a trick or two from the Chef's own toolbox. 

Fish Fry with Locals Seafood & Haw River Farmhouse Ales

Al Bowers and Kathy Gunn cooked up a delicious meal at our fish fry with Locals Seafood and Haw River Farmhouse Ales. The menu undoubtedly knocked our socks off! Great times were had by all!

Ravioli Making Class

Seth Kingsbury, owner of PAZZO! Restaurant in South Village, Chapel Hill graced us with his talents for a hand made ravioli class. He demonstrated how to make two kinds of ravioli (as well as an amazing caesar dressing)  The amazing meal was paired with hand selected Italian wines. We made:

  • Classic Caesar Salad
  • Springtime  Pine Nut, Basil, Lemon Ravioli ( deconstructed pesto) with a Pomadoro Sauce
  • Maine Lobster Ravioli in a Creamed Leek Sauce with Local Asparagus
  • Fresh Strawberries with Honey Mascarpone & Pistachio Florentine Cookie

Farmer/Chef Mashup, Alex Hitt & Al Bowers

Alex Hitt, owner of Peregrine farm and Al Bowers, owner of the beloved Al's Burgers joined forces to create a farm fresh meal that helped benefit the community. We served up loads of fresh produce from Peregrine farm and the proceeds were donated to Heavenly Groceries to help feed families in need and to our local youth program. We loved hosting this pop-up!

Cook Book Club

Midway Community Kitchen's monthly Cook Book Club meetings are a blast! We chose a book from Fly Leaf Books' shelves and come togehter to create 4-6 recipes. We cook, we laugh, we enjoy good wine, and best of all, we eat great food! Come be part of the fun! All members receive 20% off ANY cook book from Fly Leaf Books when they mention the club!

Healthy Fish with Ricky Moore

Ricky Moore, owner of Saltbox Seafood in Durham graced us with his presence shortly after Midway's opening. The class sold out fast and this beloved chef taught a healthy fish class with great enthusiam. Ricky grew up on the coast of NC and has a lifetime of experience handling seafood. He shared tips for for choosing the right fish, cleaning them, utilizing all parts, and easy preparation. His cauliflower grits were divine too!