Thursday, March 31, 2011

Fast Food Meal, Local Ingredients

One of my good friends was in town this past weekend and insisted that we take her to Big Daddy’s, Charlotte’s favorite burger bar. While sitting at the restaurant that night, I took a look around at what was on our plates and knew that I could not only recreate the dishes but do so with local ingredients right down to the pickles served on the side.

As I’ve mentioned, I can’t eat red meat or certain types of beans and most of the burgers at Big Daddy’s are either beef or black beans. Usually I would use ground turkey but the Atherton Market vendors haven’t had any. However, there is a relatively new vendor, Underwood Family Farms, that has ground pork (Windy Hill Farm also has ground pork who, as any regular reader of this blog will know, are one of my favorite vendors. I felt like I was cheating not using their ground pork but I did use their eggs!). The easier part of the meal was the side items and finally an appetizer and dessert. Luckily, a new vendor was at the market yesterday carrying cheeses and crackers so the meal was soon completed:

Cheese and crackers
-Polka Dot Bakery sweet potato crackers (V)
-Beverly’s Gourmet Foods pimento cheese (LPO)
-Holton Hollow Farm Artisan Farmstead cheese (LPO)
Pickleville Pickles garlic dill pickles (V)

Main course
Underwood Family Farms ground pork burgers (LPO) (hand-mix 1 lb with one egg, seasonings of choice, and 1 piece of bread worth of crumbs [I suggest Nova’s Bakery’s French Pullman], sauté on both sides until cooked through) garnished with:
-Houston Farms green leaf lettuce
-Landis Gourmet Mushrooms (lightly sautéed with olive oil)
-Ashe County Cheese mountain super sharp cheddar
-Nova’s Bakery French Brioche buns (I was told by the manager that these are the buns that many local high end restaurants use for their burgers and I can’t blame them – they’re amazing!)
Houston Farms sweet potato fries (V) (peel, slice and put on an oiled cookie sheet, sprinkle with favorite seasoning [ie chili powder, salt], bake on both sides at 350 for 5-10 minutes)

Pretty, right?
Note: the burgers did not include tomatoes since they’re not in season. I had to be a little creative but the lettuce, mushrooms and cheese were more than enough to liven up the burgers.

Pumpkin pie (v) (made using half of the leftover Houston Farm pumpkin from my last post that I had frozen)

The moral of the story is that it’s not hard to put together one of your favorite meals with local alternatives. With a little creativity and adventurousness, you can recreate mainstream food with local ingredients!


  1. The day you can create a Cantina 1511 burger is the day that I'd like you to move back to Chapel Hill and start a restaurant.

  2. My burger looks just as delicious in the picture as it tasted! Thanks, Russell for the excellent photography, and of course, thanks to Sarah for yet another fabulous meal!!! :-D