Eno Restaurant & Market to Open in Durham

June 26, 2008

The folks behind Raleigh’s Zely & Ritz have combined forces with local food enthusiast and bon vivant Jamie DeMent to open a new farm-to-table restaurant in Durham, Eno Restaurant & Market.  Scheduled to open at the end of this year, Richard Holcomb and Sarig Agasi, will open in partnership with Holcomb’s Coon Rock Farm in the Fire Station Building in downtown Durham.

A native North Carolinian, DeMent was raised around her family’s farm supply store and developed an interest in organically farmed foods and environmental issues after seeing nearby farms slowly disappear throughout her childhood. Holcomb, who began Coon Rock Farm in 2005 after 20 successful years as a software entrepreneur, is pleased to have a new outlet for his heirloom vegetables and pasture raised meats including chickens (and some of the best eggs around), pork, lamb, goat and more.

The restaurant’s menu will be dictated by Coon Rock Farm’s harvest and the season.  In addition to the vegetables, expect to see house-made bacon, whole hog terrines, pates and sausages. Eno will tap into other local providers for dairy products and other staples for the restaurant.

One of the cool parts of Eno comes from their restaurant staff work-share program, where cooks and servers alike will be involved in the growing of vegetables and raising of livestock.  It’s their belief that this involvement of the staff from farm to restaurant will make a big difference in what is ultimately put on the diners’ plates.  Very interesting.

In addition, Coon Rock Farm will offer its goods at a retail market adjacent to the restaurant , essentially bringing the farm to the customer.

Eno Restaurant & Market will serve lunch and dinner daily, and brunch on the weekends.

Eno Restaurant & Market

Rogers Alley

101 City Hall Plaza

Durham, NC



World’s Simplest Cobbler

June 26, 2008

(This is a big old cobbler with lots of peaches before baking.  Photo courtesy of Jason Perlow.  I don’t have a shot of the finished product, so you’ll just have to make it to see how good it looks!)

People love them some cobbler.  I knew I made a lot of people happy when I recently posted my recipe for Bill Neal’s Four Berry Cobbler, which certainly wasn’t a secret (I don’t believe in secret recipes, quite honestly — especially for home cooks).  But that’s not the only type of cobbler I make: one of my favorite desserts is a simple peach cobbler where the crust makes itself.  Yup, you don’t have to make a biscuit dough and cobble it on top — you  start with a simple cake-like batter that creates its own crust as you bake.  It’s extraordinarily simple, and you really can use any kind of fruit you want, but I prefer peaches.

This recipe came from the wonderful cookbook, Coastal Carolina Cooking, which is very near and dear to me because the first chapter focuses on my wife’s late grandparents, Emest and Katherine Taylor, from the Currituck County town of Maple (population 50, including livestock).  This cookbook is a treasure trove of wonderful stories and great recipes, but the one I use more than anything else is the one for Cherry Cobbler.  And I rarely make it with cherries. Read the rest of this entry »

Herons Names New Executive Chef

June 23, 2008

The Umstead Hotel‘s Herons Restaurant has a new executive chef, Paul Kellum, who comes from Vail’s Blue Moon Restaurant and Bar.  Kellum replaces Phil Evans after Evans’ sudden and somewhat mysterious departure from Herons.

Here’s a link to Kellum’s menu at the Blue Moon.  I’ll be interested to see what he does here in North Carolina.

Thanks to Dana at gogoraleigh for the tip!

Ed Mitchell Kicks South Carolina’s Butt on NBC

June 23, 2008

Raleigh’s Ed Mitchell went head to head with South Carolina pitmaster James Hagood on NBC’s Today show this morning, in a battle between NC and SC barbecue.  Of course, Ed’s barbecue was the unanimous winner among the three judges.

Click here for the video.

And be sure to look for newlywed Greg Hatem in the background!

New North Carolina Barbecue Book Coming

June 23, 2008

I received in the mail a notice from UNC Press about a book that will be coming out in November, a book on North Carolina barbecue with the title, “Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue.”  Yeah, I know — “Just what we need, another barbecue book.”  That’s what I thought, too., until I saw who wrote this sucker: John Shelton Reed, Dale Volberg Reed, and William McKinney.  I know each of these individuals, but Will McKinney is a friend who may be more knowledgeable about NC barbecue than anyone I know.  How knowledgeable?  Well, how many people have spent HUNDREDS of hours gathering oral interviews from owners and pitmasters of NC barbecue establishments?  How many people can say they founded the North Carolina BBQ Society — when they were a student??? McKinney has a passion for barbecue that few can match, so I’m quite sure his contributions were invaluable to this book.

John Shelton Reed is not a historian or a food writer by trade; he’s a sociologist, and that makes this book even more exciting in my mind.  It’s the human dynamic of barbecue that fascinates me, and I really can’t wait to dive into this book.  Professor Reed and his wife are two of the leading authorities on Southern culture (if you haven’t read their book, 1001 Things Everyone Should Know About the South, you need to), so I’m pretty darned sure that this book on barbecue won’t disappoint you.

Changes at the News & Observer

June 17, 2008

The News & Observer, like most newspapers, is struggling with the competition from the internet. No story there, but today the N&O announced it was reducing its workforce by 70 people, including 16 from the newsroom. Among those who are no longer with the N&O is food editor Amber Nimocks, who played a large part in dramatically improving the paper’s food and dining content. Along with Andrea Weigl, Greg Cox, and several free lance writers (including former editor Debbie Moose), the N&O had one of the country’s best food sections for a regional paper.

The parent of the N&O, The McClatchy Co., instigated the changes as a result of huge losses nationwide. The Charlotte Observer, another McClatchy company, will be even harder hit, losing 123 positions. The features departments of the two newspapers, which includes the food sections, will collaborate on future stories. So don’t be surprised if you see a Kathleen Purvis byline more frequently in the N&O, which is definitely not a bad thing.

All is not lost, however, and I expect the N&O to continue to put out great food stories. Andrea Weigl is remaining with the paper, and Nimocks will write free lance stories from time to time. Nimocks’ editorial presence will be missed, but let’s hope they’ll fill in the gaps. It’s a tough time for print media, so be sure to give the N&O your support if you want to continue seeing good local food writing.


June 17, 2008

I hosted a small dinner party on Saturday where I planned to make a dinner that really highlighted what was fresh at the North Carolina Farmers Market. I picked up some plums, raspberries and blackberries, as I planned on making a plum tart served with berries. I bought some great looking tomatoes and basil for a basic mozzarella and tomato salad. When I got home, every damn thing started to go wrong.

The tomatoes were not that good. In fact, they were a little mealy. But they had decent enough flavor. So I pureed the tomatoes and strained them in a cheesecloth, collecting the tomato “water.” I then cooked the tomato water, reducing it by two-thirds. I added a bit of salt and served this essence of tomato with the mozzarella and basil and just a drop of aged balsamic vinegar. It was a really great starter for our meal and very light.

The other problem was the plums — they were way too hard to just plop on top of a tart, so I decided to poach them briefly in some riesling. I got distracted for a few minutes, and before you knew it, those plums had disintegrated. Ugh. Rather than making a plum tart with berries on the side, I reversed things, making a classic fresh berry tart with pastry creme (glazed with some wonderful blackberry-rosemary jelly I had in the fridge) and served with a plum-riesling gelato. I ran my plum mush through a food mill and made ice cream out of it. Frankly, this worked out better than my original plan, as the gelato was incredibly creamy, tart and just damn good.

So, when life gives you stewed plums, just make ice cream out of it!