While perusing the gourmet foods aisle at the Marshall's store at the midtown Metropolitan shopping center this past weekend, I came across a jar of Dalmatia fig spread.
It was from this inspiring find that I came up with this flatbread pizza, which I will call "The Metropolitan" because all the ingredients can be found at the Metropolitan.
Grab some fig spread for $4.99 at Marshall's, then head down to Trader Joe's and get yourself a bag of arugula, a package of prosciutto, a chunk of mozzarella cheese, and package of TJ's pre-made plain pizza dough.
I blew my own socks off with this creation. Sweet fig flavors blend well with salty prosciutto. The mozzarella lends a creamy texture and the spicy, peppery arugula adds a slight bite. Trader Joe's reminds me again why I love them ... their pre-made dough is amazing it cooks up perfectly crisp and chewy.
Making the pizza is incredibly easy and it's ready to eat in less than 20 minutes. This recipe would be a great option for a weekday meal.
Using a pizza stone makes a big difference in making this pizza, so use one if you can.
Pre-made pizza dough
Slices of prosciutto
A ball of mozzarella, sliced
Fresh cracked black pepper
Preheat pizza stone in oven set to 450 degrees.
On a baking sheet or pizza paddle dusted with cornmeal, roll out pizza dough into a rough 12-14" circle. (I put the dough over my fists and used my knuckles to carefully stretch the dough out.) Make sure the dough is loose and isn't sticking to the baking sheet or paddle. (You'll need it to slide off easily when you transfer it onto the stone.)
Drizzle olive oil over dough.
Dollop bits of fig spread over dough, and then spread it evenly over dough.
Top pizza with strips of prosciutto and then place a layer of sliced mozzarella over that. Season with black pepper.
Transfer pizza onto the pizza stone in the oven. Bake for 10-12 minutes until crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbly.
Take it out of oven and top with arugula. Sprinkle on a pinch of sea salt. Slice and serve.
Charlotte's 2nd Annual Hog Jog 5K is coming up on Saturday, September 12.
As you race, inhale the scents of BBQ as your run past the competitive barbecue teams vying to win a trip to the national "Memphis in May" BBQ competition.
The race runs through uptown and finishes with live entertainment and a Bloody Mary contest at the finish line as part of the Blues, Brews, and BBQ street festival in Charlotte's Center City.
In addition to the 5K race, they will have a Squeel Chair division and Piglet Fun Run.
The race starts bright and early at 8 am.
It costs $25 to register online prior to the event. You can register here. If you register the day of the event, the price goes up to $30. (If you are wondering why the registration price has gone up a bit, it's because you'll be receiving a performance tee!)
Mosey on down to Savannah next weekend for Labor Day to take part in the Savannah Craft Brew Fest 2009.
The event running Friday, Sept. 4 through Saturday, Sept. 5, will include some of the region's most eclectic craft brews, food, live music, and activities including a craft brew tournament, Brews 'n Booms fireworks and dessert display, a brew master lecture, and for the ladies, beer-inspired spa treatments.
Tickets are available for purchase online. Visit www.savannahcraftbrewfest.com to buy your tickets to the various Craft Brew Fest events.
Everyone is Greek at the 32nd annual Yiasou Greek Festival, open from Thursday, Sept. 10 through Sunday, Sept. 13. The best time to buy pastries, though, is the first two days. Some pastries and items in the market run out quickly. Other foods available are entrees of roasted lamb, Grecian baked chicken, Athenian baked fish; gyro and souvlaki sandwiches; tiropita (feta cheese pie) and spanakopita (spinach and feta cheese pie), Greek salads, and Greek pizza. Near the front entrance are the loukamades and frappe stations. The festival hours are 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. on Thursday, 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from noon until 8 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $2 for Adults, children under 12 are free. The drive-up and pick-up station for combination dinner plates and assorted pastries is on the corner of East Boulevard and Winthrop Avenue. Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 600 East Boulevard. For more information: yiasoufestival.org.
Ruth's Chris Steak House is celebrating their 44th anniversary. Though it's their anniversary, you get the anniversary gift -- right now you can get a $88 gift card for $44. You have a week to purchase these cards and must redeem them by Oct. 15, 2009.
To buy a gift card, go to CharlottePrimeoffers.com. Offer is good at Charlotte uptown and SouthPark locations only.
Enso Asian Bistro & Sushi Bar has opened at the EpiCentre uptown. The posh restaurant, located across from CVS on the lower level, threw their V.I.P. grand opening party Wednesday night. Guests were treated with a red carpet entrance, a looooong sushi bar, an open bar that included high-end liquors, small plates of appetizers, and a bottle of pear sake as a take-home gift.
The restaurant's decor features luxe red and gold colors. Upon entering the restaurant, you will find dark wood floors, stone walls, red crocodile print stools, velvety lounge chairs, high-backed red upholstered dining chairs, and red bars flecked with metallic pieces. Glass lotus flower votives illuminate the bar area with a rosy glow.
The sushi was exceptional and served with pickled ginger arranged into rose buds and wasabi molded into little leaves placed on radish slices. Among the small plates that were passed around were dumplings which Enso calls "dim sum," Kobe beef with fried rice, impressively large rock shrimp, lamb shanks, sea bass, and more. All were beautifully presented and served by attentive wait staff (many of which were Asian!).
Watch out Nikko ... there is a new hip sushi restaurant in town. I anticipate Enso to become the new chic place to see and be seen on the weekends prior to a night of schmoozing uptown. Check out these pics:
The 15th Festival of India will be held on Saturday, Sept. 5, and Sunday, Sept. 6 at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center's Belk Theater. Food is sold outside on the sidewalk via tokens: $20 for 19, $10 for nine, and $5 for four. Food vendors include Bombay Chat, Bombay Cuisine, Bombay Cuisine Buffet and Snack House, Cakes n Flakes, Fu Lin, Namaste, Planet Smoothies, Rajbhog Foods, Siristi, Two Cents of Hope, and Unique Sprinkles. Tickets for performances in the Blumenthal are $5 and are valid for both days. Children under 10 are free. There is no entry fee for Garba Dance. For more information: indiafestival.net.
A complimentary gourmet food tasting? That's how I like to start my Saturday off ...
Come down to Green with Envy Saturday morning (Aug. 29) between 10 and 12 for an incredible tasting of Gullah Gourmet. We just received our new Gourmet Food line Gullah Gourmet from our good friends in Charleston SC. The line offers thirty-two bagged products, twenty-four bottled and jarred. They are proud to say that they have been featured on the Food Network many times, the first of which was the Food Finds program. The most recent production was with Paula Deen's sons, Jamie and Bobby, on their show Road Tasted. Their products are now known worldwide and are award winners for taste as well as packaging.
We also just received our new music series "Hipster Music". They have lots of great artists from all genres.
So come down to Green with Envy for a gift for that special person or spoil yourself with some of our "necessary luxuries".
1111 Central Ave., Suite 200
Revolution Pizza and Ale House in NoDa will be hosting the release party for Olde Mecklenburg Brewery's seasonal beer Mecktoberfest this Thursday, August 27.
The free event begins at 8 pm and will feature live music.
3228 N. Davidson
Charlotte, NC 28205
Known to many as the Kosher Guy or Kosher Police, Menachem Vorst spends his life surrounded by all aspects of the food business. His work at the Charlotte Jewish Day School as the food service manager, kosher supervisor, and cafeteria chef led to him becoming Charlottes only kosher gourmet soup salesman and kosher caterer for occasions such as bar/bat mitzvahs, parties, and meetings. A native of Amsterdam, Vorst was a restaurant manager in Holland before moving to Charlotte in 2004 and becoming a jack-of-all-kosher-trades.
Creative Loafing: Why keep kosher?
Menachem Vorst: The Torah gives guidelines for what makes food kosher. A simple breakdown is that kosher animals need to have split hooves and chew their cud and need to be slaughtered in a certain way. Insects arent kosher. Fish need to have scales and fins to be kosher. The Torah gives us the guidelines on what is kosher and what is not, and we cannot consume anything that has non-kosher ingredients. As a kosher person, you cannot go into a regular restaurant and buy a soup because even if all the ingredients are kosher, its still made in a kitchen that has produced non-kosher items. Jewish law has thousands of pages on it.
How did you earn the title of Kosher Police?
Its a school job where I make sure that whatever the kids bring to school (if they dont buy school lunch) needs to have a kosher symbol. If it doesnt have a kosher symbol, I replace it with a different snack. Sometimes we have smart kids that will bring in something without a kosher symbol because my snacks are better.
Why did you decide to sell gourmet kosher soup in Charlotte?
I thought it would be an interest for the people in Charlotte to get good kosher soups so we decided to make a variety of gourmet soups that we sell frozen so you can have it any time you want. All soups are vegetarian, come in three sizes, and they are made by a very experienced chef, Gene. Papa Genos Gourmet Kosher Soup is available in French onion, tomato basil, zucchini squash, roasted potato and garlic, corn chowder, and hearty vegetable. 8 ounces costs $2, 16 ounces costs $3.90, and a quart costs $7.50.
For more information on Menachem Vorst and kosher food in Charlotte, please visit:
photo: Menachem Vorst enjoying kosher food at Gleibermans Deli & Grille.
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