Johnson and Wales student gives cooking demonstration at farmers market

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 22, 2009

By Darrell Blackwelder
For the Salisbury Post
Shoppers at Saturday’s Farmers Market had a special treat when Kris Reid, a culinary student at Johnson and Wales University in Charlotte, treated the crowd to a delightful and tantalizing cooking demonstration.
Within 5 minutes of her arrival, Reid had selected vegetables and meat and was preparing for her cooking demonstration. Without a prepared menu or recipes, Reid collected tomatoes, peppers, corn, blueberries and watermelon from vendors to perform her demonstration.
Like TV’s “Iron Chef,” her recipes and demonstration techniques were created “on the fly” for curious onlookers. Within minutes, they were awed by her corn fritters ó roasting fresh sweet corn directly over the grill flame. Reid blended the sliced kernels into a batter that sizzled and drew the crowd into sampling the fritters. She created a creamy tomato-pepper salsa-type salad for those that are lactose intolerant.
Grilled Wild Turkey bratwurst added protein to the first course.
Reid then quickly grilled stuffed jalapeno peppers with goat cheese wrapped in bacon. Reid concluded her demonstration with grilled watermelon and blueberry sauce.
Yes, you read that right. She quickly grilled a seedless watermelon on an open flame and topped it with fresh blueberry sauce.
Reid, already an accomplished chef and caterer who’s had training in Los Angeles and Mexico, is working on a formal degree from Johnson and Wales, the culinary school in Charlotte.
Reid, the mother of a 3-year-old, is a very busy woman with an inspiring passion. Her love of cooking was evident in her cheerful nature and rapport with the audience. Being a great chef is just one of her passions. Another passion is working with several Charlotte clients on incorporating local foods into their diets. Reid is committed to supporting and using locally grown vegetables and produce.
A vegetable gardener herself, Reid actively promotes healthy eating lifestyles, incorporating them into her recipes. Reid stresses that locally grown fresh produce and meats paired with cooking techniques is a major strategy to build healthier diets for families. Here are just a few of her culinary delights.
Tahini Dressing
Equal parts Tahini (ground sesame seeds) and olive oil
Season with salt, pepper and a drizzle of local honey
This makes a great “creamy” salad dressing for anyone who is lactose intolerant or anyone who can’t have sulfates (vinegar based dressings). It is very versatile as it can be used on salads, slaw and even as a marinade for chicken or fish.
Note: If you want a thicker marinade, use more tahini and less olive oil.
Corn Fritters
3 ears corn, (about 1 C.) fire roasted on a grill or open flame until slightly blackened
1/2 C. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
3 eggs
1/2 C. cream or whole milk
Mix ingredients together until you have the consistency of pancake batter. In a hot cast iron skillet with vegetable oil or grape seed oil, add spoonsful of batter to form small cakes. Turn once, cooking until golden brown. Season with salt and serve hot with grilled bratwurst and a relish or chopped salad.
Note: You may add any flavor component to this batter; paprika, cumin, chopped chilies, onions or sun dried tomatoes
Brunouise Salad
Any leftover vegetable in the produce drawer at the end of the week can be finely chopped and tossed with the tahini dressing some fresh herbs and salt and pepper to taste. For the demo, Reid used equal parts onion, peppers and tomatoes. You can grill the veggies before you chop them for a deeper, more complex flavor.
Grilled Watermelon Salad with Blueberry Vinaigrette
1 watermelon, sliced in 2-inch slices
1 pint fresh blueberries
3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. olive oil
3 Tbsp. grilled or caramelized onions, finely chopped
Pinch of salt
2 Tbsp. feta cheese
Sprig of fresh basil or mint
In a sauce pan over medium heat, cook blueberries and balsamic vinegar until all the berries have burst and juice is released (5-10 minutes). Strain berries reserving the juice.
Discard pulp and return juice to the sauce pan. Add honey, olive oil and cooked onions. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
On a hot grill, cook watermelon on each side for 15 seconds. Serve watermelon with a drizzle of vinaigrette then garnish with a sprinkle of feta cheese and fresh chopped basil or mint.
Roasted Corn Salsa with Peaches
Serves: 6
Serving size: 1/2 cup
4 ears roasted corn, shucked
4 tomatillos, finely diced
1 roasted poblano chili, diced
1 small medium onion, finely diced
4 peaches, peeled and diced
1 bunch cilantro, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 serrano chili, minced (optional for extra heat)
Heavy dash of paprika
Cumin to taste
Salt to taste
Fresh ground pepper to taste
Roast corn and poblano chili. Once slightly blackened remove from flame and cool.
Chop rest of vegetable ingredients and add to a bowl. Season with cumin, paprika, salt and pepper.
Remove charred skin of Poblano chili under running water. Remove the stem and seeds, then chop the chili and add to salsa.
Cut roasted corn off the cobs, scrapping the cobs with the back of the knife to remove the cream as well. Mix into salsa and serve.
Note: This recipe gets better as it sits or marries. Peak flavor will be 12-24 hours after it’s made and it will be shelf stable in the refrigerator for 5 days. This is a great salsa to serve over grilled fish, pork or chicken. It’s also great on its own with tortilla chips.
Tomato Zucchini Saute over Chunky New Potatoes
Serves: 6
Serving size: 1/2 cup
12 small new potatoes, unpeeled
2 tsp. salt
6 cloves garlic, each clove cut in half
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/8 tsp. pepper
6 small zucchini or 3 large, cut in 1/4-inch thick slices
4 medium tomatoes, sliced
6 strips of bacon
1/2 C. sliced onion
1/2 Tbsp. fresh oregano
Salt to taste
Scrub potatoes. Cook, covered, for 10 minutes in an inch of boiling water with 1 teaspoon of salt. Add garlic and cook for about 4 minutes, or until tender; drain with a fine mesh strainer to capture garlic.
Mash potatoes and garlic together with a fork or potato masher adding olive oil, pepper and salt to taste. Cover to keep warm and begin Tomato Zucchini Saute
Heat large non-stick skillet, add olive oil, onion, and bell pepper. Cook until fragrant.
Cook bacon in skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove from pan to drain on a paper towel or brown paper bag.
In the same skillet saute onion slices in bacon drippings until fragrant about 2 minutes. Saute zucchini with onions until tender, adding sliced tomatoes and oregano last only to be cooked for 1 minute on high heat. Season with salt and pepper. Turn mixture onto of chunky potatoes, garnish with crumbled bacon.
Health note: Tomatoes are loaded with a powerful antioxidant called lycopene. Diets high in lycopene are shown to lower risk of certain cancers (cervical, breast, mouth, pancreatic and esophageal). Cooked tomatoes have the highest quantities of lycopene, so enjoy recipes throughout the year that incorporate them!