Posts Tagged Freckle Face Farm

Mighty Good Recipe: Hillcrest Farmers Market Italian Sausage Panini

Fantastic ingredients!

Fantastic ingredients!

It’s time for another Mighty Good Recipe!

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, then you know how much I enjoy heading to the Hillcrest Farmers Market on Saturday mornings. In fact, it’s one of my favorite social events of the week. I typically run into a handful of friends while milling around the various tables, drinking coffee, and soaking up the gloriousness that is Hillcrest.

I always end up buying way too much, but that’s a good thing. The vendors are wonderful folks and many of their products are of the highest quality.

And while some people head to these markets with focus and purpose, my brain is a clean slate (no jokes, please), and I typically buy what inspires me at that moment. Many of the ingredients for this recipe below were purchased at last Saturday’s market.

Ingredients
-1 loaf of rustic bread (from Mylo Coffee Co.)
-roasted red peppers (from North Pulaski Farms)
-1 package of Italian sausage (from Freckle Face Farm)
-1 cup of Amy B’s garlic sauce
-1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
-2 tablespoons butter

Directions
Cook the Italian sausage in a pan (medium heat) for 10 minutes. Once the casings are brown, add a half cup of water to the pan, cover, and let cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Plug in a sandwich press (if you have one), or place 1 tablespoon of butter in a skillet (set on medium heat). Cut the bread into fairly thick slices. Cut sausage links (length-wise) and place on one slice of bread. Top with sliced red peppers, a spoonful of garlic sauce and some cheese. Place the second slice of bread over the top. Add butter to the outside of both slices. Place inside sandwich press until brown and crispy. If you’re using a pan, it should take about 5 minutes per side.

Note: Amy B’s garlic sauce can be purchased in the Little Rock area by contacting Amy directly on her Twitter account. This is my favorite sauce, but if it’s unavailable to you, then any tomato sauce will do.

Support local!

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The Dish: Waffle Wagon’s Dunbar Garden Pear & Brown Sugar Waffle

Dunbar Garden Pear & Brown Sugar Waffle

Mmmmm!

The dish…on just one dish!

I’ve always enjoyed a good waffle, yet never have REALLY craved one. That all changed last Tuesday night at the first ever Trinity Fall Farmers Market, when I paid my first visit to one of Little Rock’s newest food trucks … Waffle Wagon.

On this particular evening, their Dunbar Garden pear and brown sugar waffle happened to catch my eye. But if you check Waffle Wagon’s ever-changing menu online each day, you’ll see that Matt and Melissa are cranking out a variety of waffles, usually 4-5 options a day/night.

They do things like chicken and waffles, a Freckle Face Farm andouille sausage stuffed waffle topped with okra, corn and pepper sauce, a white chocolate chip waffle, pigs in a blanket, and even just a plain, old waffle.

Hungry yet?

My pear and brown sugar waffle was cooked to a perfect golden brown. The soft interior, with its subtle sweetness from the brown sugar, was filled with warm, diced pieces of locally-grown pear. A generous pat of butter and a moderate amount of maple syrup were the icing on the cake (so to speak) and made for a beautiful presentation. And here’s an added bonus … the waffle was easy to eat. It wasn’t messy, or loaded with crazy toppings, or drowning in syrup.

I took my small pizza box and headed for the nearest curb. Five minutes later, I had polished off the entire thing—utterly satisfied and ready for another visit in the very near future.

Waffle Wagon is a wonderful edition to our Little Rock food truck scene, and major props to them for teaming up with farmers to incorporate local ingredients into many of their menu items when possible.

Follow them on FB to see where the wagon will be popping up next.

Note: (Cash only) Cash and credit. WW also serve up wings. Tuesdays (4-7pm) they’ll be at the Trinity Fall Farmers market, along with a variety of other food vendors.

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Around Town: Mellow Mushroom Falters and Natchez Shines

2013-08-17 15.45.04A look back on my week of food in Little Rock!

This week was certainly a nice mixture of dining out and cooking at home. During the week, I prepared an Asian stir-fry, highlighted by some wonderful pork cutlets from Freckle Face Farm. I just can’t recommend enough the delicious and high quality meat they produce. Kudos, Mitchell! Definitely stop by their booth at the Hillcrest Farmers Market on Saturday mornings.

I prepared some chicken parm the following evening with a bottle of garlic sauce given to me by the ever so nice Amy Bradley-Hole. Other Little Rock foodies can attest to the amazing-ness of the product. The sauce is bursting with flavor and has a nice slow, back end burn to it. Correct me if I’m wrong Amy, but I believe several of the sauce’s ingredients, including the tomatoes and olive oil, come straight from Italy.

Switching gears, our family dinner at the local Mellow Mushroom proved to be quite disastrous. This was my first experience with MM, and admittedly, I was somewhat excited. The place is five minutes from my house and is super kid-friendly. Unfortunately, just about everything related to our meal was a train wreck. Our two, 12-inch (small) pizza pies took 45 minutes to reach the table. One of them, the Holy Shiitake was completely undercooked. The crust, both soggy and oily, tasted like a bad soft pretzel you’d get at a baseball game. To make matters worse, my wife found a hair imbedded in the crust. I can safely say it’s one-and-done for me and Mellow Mushroom.

Celery Soup from Natchez

Celery Soup from Natchez

On the opposite end of the spectrum was our Saturday dinner at Natchez. Wow, people…you need to get over there. The place is a hidden gem (especially as a dinner destination), due in large part to its off-the-beaten-path, downtown location. But don’t let that stop you from going. My tile fish with lentils and roasted grapes, along with bites from other diners’ dishes–including the shrimp, chicken livers, and pork–were all fabulous. Save room for one of their fabulous desserts, prepared by my friend and recent Natchez addition, Zara Abbasi Wilkerson. Don’t think twice ordering the triple chocolate torte if it happens to be on the menu on your particular visit.

I stopped by Stone’s Throw Brewery for the first time. The place is a perfect neighborhood watering hole and a nice addition to the downtown scene. Honestly, I’ve never had a beer this muddy looking, by found it to have a delicious taste. Best of luck to the crew over there…it will be fun watching STB grow.

Is a week complete without a visit to Hillcrest Artisan Meats? I say no! In fact, I made two visits. Brandon had a few remaining scraps of the contest-winning La Quercia prosciutto. The stuff literally melts on your tongue.

Burgandy Okra from Willow Springs Market Garden

Burgandy Okra from Willow Springs Market Garden

Even though I missed out on Saturday’s Hillcrest Farmers Market, I was able to attend the one at Bernice Garden on Sunday morning. Once again, I overspent…but it was so worth it. Highlights included Geek Eat’s caramelized onion hummus ($4), as well as the peach preserves ($12) from Goatroper. The hummus proved to be my favorite one of GE’s assortment, and the awesomeness of Goatroper’s peach preserves is almost beyond words. I slathered some on a piece of bread from Mylo’s … then followed that up by devouring several spoonfuls straight from the jar.

Thanks to Willow Springs Market Garden, I was also able to partake in my inaugural consumption of burgundy okra and pawpaw. The first tastes like regular okra, but, as you might have guessed, is burgundy in color (turns green when you cook it). The latter is a tropical-like fruit with innards that are both soft and creamy, with a mild banana custard-y flavor. Very cool!

The breakfast tacos at Mug’s Cafe are delightful. For $4, you get two corn tortillas, each topped with a fried egg and pico. I highly recommend you give them a try.

What did you eat this week?

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Mighty Good Recipe: Hillcrest Farmers Market Panzanella

2013-07-21 14.50.14It’s time for another Mighty Good Recipe!

I visit at least one Little Rock farmers market every weekend. I enjoy them all but especially favor the Hillcrest Farmers Market, a year-round gathering that gets going every Saturday morning at 7 a.m. (2200 Kavanaugh Blvd.). For me, what once was a simple act of purchasing a few random fruits and veggies has turned into an informal foodie meet-up of sorts. I can always count on running into a few friends, usually sitting on the steps alongside Mylo’s and opposite The Southern Gourmasian truck.

Chit-chat aside, I actually had a plan last Saturday morning.

I wanted to make panzanella, specifically, a Hillcrest Farmers Market Panzanella.

Not familiar with panzanella? It’s a bread-based salad, comprised of other various, fresh ingredients like cheese, herbs, oils, celery, and onions. Truthfully, as long as you have good bread…it’s really up to you what else goes into the bowl.

Here’s my Hillcrest Farmers Market Panzanella:

Ingredients (serves a ton)
-1 loaf rustic bread {cubed} (Mylos’s Coffee Co.)
-1 block cheddar cheese {diced} (Honeysuckle Lane Cheese)
-1 pint of grape tomatoes {sliced} (Cedar Rock Acres or North Pulaski Farms)
-½-pound cooked bratwurst {chopped} (Freckle Face Farm)
-4 cloves garlic {minced} (Little Rock Urban Farming)
-10 basil leaves {lightly chopped} (Little Rock Urban Farming)
-3 ears of cooked corn-on-cob {chopped} (Barnhill Orchards)
-½ cup olive oil
-¼ cup balsamic vinegar
-Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Just as a side note, panzanella was invented as a way to use up stale bread. Getting Mylo’s fresh bread to grow stale proved to be quite challenging. It took a full 24 hours of sitting in the open air to harden up. But please, make absolutely sure the bread is stale. I like to cube the pieces while still fresh and let sit out on the counter. Place bread in the bowl and pour in the oil and vinegar. Mix thoroughly. Add rest of prepared ingredients. Mix thoroughly once again. Let sit and toss several more times over the course of a few hours. Keep in the refrigerator overnight. Take out and serve.

Remember…have fun with this recipe. If you want to add in a different ingredient of your choice, then go right ahead. If it needs more oil and/or vinegar…feel free to add to your liking.

Finally, I encourage you to get out there and visit any of your local farmers market. Cooking with local (and usually organic) ingredients is often a rewarding experience.

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