Fire in the Triad 2012 Highlights

Fire in the Triad may have concluded a week ago, but fires are still being stoked across our region.

While you're reading this sentence, all 15 of the Fire in the Triad chefs are busy debuting new fall menus, expanding restaurant spaces, preparing restaurant grand opening speeches, tweaking dishes and preparing wine dinners in their respective restaurants.

Included in this post is a pictorial view of the highest scoring dishes and a few recipes of popular Fire in the Triad dishes provided by area chefs.


Battle Cheerwine: Highest Scoring Dish--Fig Mousse with Cheerwine Sorbet and Peach Bacon Jam

Highest scoring judge course--Chipotle Cheerwine Braised Veal with Black Beans, Cassava & Curtido

How to prepare braised veal cheeks
By Chef Jay Pierce, Lucky 32 Restaurant

Veal cheeks, when prepared properly, taste like boneless osso buco – velvety texture, tremendous flavor, love on a plate. Here’s how we did it:

Thaw the veal cheeks, season with salt and pepper, allow to sit at room temperature for 30-45 minutes to absorb the seasoning.

Meanwhile, render Nueske’s apple-smoked bacon and linguiça in a heavy-bottomed pan. Remove meat, reserve for use another day. Dredge the seasoned veal cheeks in flour and shake off excess. Brown veal in the rendered fat in the heavy-bottomed pan. When all cheeks are browned, remove from pan. Add onions, carrots and celery to pan, scraping the bottom to release any browned bits. When veggies are browned, add Cheerwine, chipotles in adobo and chicken stock. Return veal to the pan, making sure that there is enough liquid to cover the meat.

Bring pan to a simmer and season with granulated garlic, oregano, cumin, salt and black pepper. Simmer until cheeks are easily pierced with a fork. The cheeks aren’t done until they can be cut with a fork. Remove cheeks to another pan; puree sauce and strain through a mesh strainer. Adjust seasonings with veal glace, lime juice, Cheerwine and salt; all of the flavors should be noticeable without one predominating. Pour strained sauce over cheeks and allow to rest 30 minutes before serving. The cheeks are even better as leftovers the next day, or as a sandwich with chipotle mayo and soft bread.

Battle Rabbit: Highest Scoring Dish--Mustard Rabbit Schnitzel and Cheddar, Charred Carrot Andouille Dirty Lentils, Smoked NC Tomato & Corn Bechamel, Crispy Sweet Potato & Truffled Honey

Highest scoring judge's course--Grilled Rabbit Loin, Old Mill of Guilford Stone Ground Grits, Rabbit Braised Collards, Cherry Mustarda, Rabbit Jus

Battle Watermelon: Highest Scoring Dish--Watermelon Glazed Manchester Farms Quail with Grilled Herbed Polenta Cake, Port Soaked Sultana-Pickled Watermelon Rind Relish

Highest scoring judge's course--Pan Seared Pink Peppercorn Rubbed Breast of Duck, Pickled Watermelon Rind, Potato Trio-Goat Cheese-Fig-Watermelon Mousse Au Gratin, Pistachio-White Wine Béchamel

Battle feta & goat cheese: Highest Scoring Dish--Marinated and Grilled Pork Loin with Feta Grit Cake stuffed with Andouille and Shrimp, Three-Pepper Relish, Goat Cheese Mousse, Sriracha-Goat Cheese Demi, and Balsamic Reduction

2nd highest scoring dish--Goat Cheese, Corn, Sweet Onion Fritter with Bacon Chipotle Jam and Peruvian Potatoes with Crumbled Feta
Corn, Goat Cheese, & Sweet Onion Fritter from Chef Tim Grandinetti
2.5 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1 T baking powder
2 T brown sugar
1 T kosher salt
3/4 C cup corn
6 oz. fresh goat cheese, crumbled
2 sweet onions, sliced thinly

Combine flour, baking powder, brown sugar, & salt in mixing bowl.  In another bowl, whisk together: milk, eggs, corn, & goat cheese. Pour over the flour mixture - stir until JUST blended - do not overmix. Add & stir in the sliced onions.  Allow to rest 20-30 minutes.

Utilizing a cast iron Dutch oven - pour vegetable oil to a depth of 3" & heat vegetable oil to 360F.  Drop the onion fritter batter into the hot oil by the tablespoonful, just a few at a time. Cook 2-3 minutes. The fritters will have an irregular, spider-like look, with a few loose pieces of onion escaping. Drain on paper towels.  Lightly season with malt vinegar. Serve.

Battle Honey: Highest Scoring Dish--Pan Seared Breast of Quail, Honey Poached Cherries, Honey-Ginger-Lime Vinaigrette, Fennel-Orange Slaw

Highest scoring judge's course--Confit Breast of Chicken, Honey-Bacon Braised Collard Greens, Smoked White Cheddar Polenta, Honey Balsamic Gastrique, Bing Cherry Chutney

Battle Bison: Highest Scoring Dish--Herb Crusted Bison Ribeye, Yukon Potato-Mushroom-Bison Ragout, Smoked Corn Cream & Country Ham
2nd highest scoring dish--Bracioli Bison Stuffed with Panko, Chevre & Parsley, Red Gravy with Rosemary Polenta

Braciole from Chef Janis Karathanas

1 1/2 lb flank steak (beef OR bison), pounded and tenderized
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
¼ cup goat cheese
salt and pepper, to taste
2T olive oil
Red gravy, recipe follows

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Lay out flank steak and layer all of the ingredients, in order along the length of the steak. Roll up the steak and tie with butcher's twine. Heat a large skillet to medium high and add olive oil. When the oil is shimmering, add steak and brown on all sides. Place in tomato sauce to simmer in the preheated oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Red gravy
Slice 1 onion and saute in 2T of olive oil until translucent. Add 1/4 Cup tomato paste and 2 cups fresh tomatoes, 3 T fresh basil, chopped and salt & pepper to taste. Let simmer for 1 hour.

Rosemary polenta

1 cup Heavy cream
1 cup Milk
3T Butter
1 cup Polenta/yellow cornmeal
3T Rosemary, fresh, chopped

Put heavy cream, milk and butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring mixture to a slow boil, then whisk in the polenta. Stir for 15 minutes. Add rosemary at the end.

Battle heirloom tomato & scuppernong: Highest Scoring Dish--Tomato-Gravy Braised Leg of Lamb, Tri-Tomato Sweet Potato Old Mill of Guilford Grits, Tasso Crumble
Tomato-Gravy Braised Leg of Lamb from Chef Taylor Brett

6-7 lbs Boneless leg of lamb - cut into smaller pieces
10 cloves garlic
4 carrots - diced
2 onions - diced
6 ribs celery - diced
12 fresh tomatoes - diced
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
2 cups red wine
4 cups chicken stock
3 Qt whole milk
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 bunch flat leaf parsley
1/4 cup sage
4 stems fresh thyme
1/4 cup roux (2T fat and 2T all-purpose flour)
veg oil, as needed
salt & pepper, as needed to taste

preheat oven to 300 degrees F
preheat large braising pan
add oil
when the oil begins to smoke add lamb pieces (do not crowd)
brown all sides and remove lamb from pan and reserve
add carrots, celery, onions, garlic, tomatoes and peppercorns and saute until soft
add red wine and cook (stirring to remove and tasty bits from the bottom of the pan)
add lamb pieces and chicken stock
add enough milk to cover the lamb generously (this liquid will reduce)
add rosemary, parsley, sage, thyme and stir in roux
cover and put into the oven for 3.5 hrs (checking occasionally to make sure there is plenty of liquid to cover meat)
remove from oven and remove lamb carefully and set aside
strain solids from the remaining liquid (be sure and save the liquid)

Highest scoring judge's course--Herb-Roasted Lamb Loin, Gold Potato-Goat Cheese Fondue, Pistachio-Mint Pesto, Tomato Tartar, Cherokee Purple Espagnole Sauce

Battle Poulet Rouge: Highest Scoring Dish--Duck Fat Infused Poulet Rouge Leg Arancini di Riso, Dried Fruit Compote, Roasted Fig Demi-Glace

Highest scoring judge's course--Fried Poulet Rouge, Brown Sugar Sweet Potato Soufflé, Savory Collard Greens, Fig & Currant Bordelaise


Battle Mustard: Highest Scoring Dish--Bacon Wrapped Spicy Mustard Pork Tenderloin, House Made Fennel & Mustard Dusted Herb Pâte à Choux Gnocchi, Mustard Yellow Cauliflower Puree, Chipotle Mustard Sauce Choron, Crispy Yucca

Battle Bacon: Highest Scoring Dish--Crispy Bourbon Bacon Pound Cake Bread Pudding with Blueberry Custard, Crumbled Honeycomb Candy, Basil Syrup

Battle Red,White & Bleu: Highest Scoring Dish--Candied Bacon-Apple Sticky Bun, Buttermilk Semifreddo and Bacon Caramel

Candied Bacon + Bacon Caramel from Chef Michael Harkenreader
1 pound Bacon, diced
2 cups Sugar
2 cups water
2 cups Heavy Cream

1 – Dice bacon and render bacon in a pot until crisp.
2 – Strain off the fat then return the bacon to the pot.
3 – Add sugar and water and cook until the syrup reaches 240º F, remove the bacon from the syrup and reserve it for the filling.
4 – Continue to cook the syrup until it is caramelized.
5 – Carefully whisk in the heavy cream until the caramel is smooth.

Battle Pork: Highest Scoring Dish--Ancho-Chili Rubbed Pork Rib Roast, Carolina Bleu Cheese-Sweet Potato Pave, Braised Pistachio Nuts, Blueberries, and Pork Jus

Highest scoring judge's course--Pork Belly Brown Sugar Sweet Biscuit, Ginger-Apple Butter, Apple Cracklin and Charred Jalapeno Ice Cream


Battle North Carolina Eggs: Highest Scoring Dish--Pan-Seared Sea Scallop with Scrambled Egg and Chorizo Sushi Roll, Tempura-Chili Glazed Onion Ring, Pickled Radish, Quail Egg, Sriracha-Tomato Sauce, Bing Cherry Reduction

Highest Scoring Judge's Dish--Grilled Cilantro-Lime Marinated Flank Steak topped with Caramelized Onions, served over Poulet Rouge Potato Cake, Ostrich Egg Hollandaise, 3-Mustard Sauce, Bacon-Deviled Egg

Potato Cake from Chef George C Neal
4 cloves peeled minced garlic
16 oz cream cheese
3lbs of baking potatoes
1 stick of butter
2 cups buttermilk
Bring large pot of water to a boil enough to cover potatoes add peeled potatoes to boiling water then return to a gently boil, drain when soft into a colander, whisk potatoes in a large boil and the rest of your ingredients together with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside and let chill in the refrigerator.

Next, add
1 whole onion diced
1 red pepper diced
8 oz shredded cheddar
1lb pound cake
Mix all of these ingredients into your chilled potato and more salt and pepper to taste, form into a 4oz size portion.
Using the standard breading procedure, dip each cake in all-purpose flour then egg wash and finally Japanese bread crumbs. Lightly saute in vegetable oil until browned on both sides.

Battle Crab: Highest Scoring Dish--Popcorn Crab Fritter, Chocolate Sponge Cake, Roasted White Chocolate Mousse, Pecan Buttercream, Toasted Meringue

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About the author

Nikki Miller-Ka

Nikki Miller-Ka

Ms. Miller-Ka is a classically trained chef with a BA in English from East Carolina University and a Culinary Arts Associate Degree from Le Cordon Bleu-Miami.

Formerly, she’s worked as a researcher, an editorial assistant, reporter and guest blogger for various publications and outlets in the Southeast. She has also worked as a catering chef, a pastry chef, a butcher, a baker, and a biscuit-maker. Presently, she is a food editor, freelance food writer, and a tour guide for Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours.

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