At The Hive, executive chef Matt McClure pays tribute to the High South through his refined, country cuisine. Here, he discusses his family's coffeecake recipe that they make every Christmas. "When I was growing up, my family always served coffeecake on Christmas morning. Last Christmas, I actually went on a hunt for one and couldn't find one anywhere! I ended up taking matters into my own hands. This recipe is a more Arkansas-style coffeecake and incorporates pecans. It has more of an intense flavor than the generic kind, and is unapologetically delicious."
- 6 Ounces butter, softened
- 1.25 Cups light brown sugar
- 1.25 Cups chopped pecans
- .75 Cup all-purpose flour
- 1.5T cinnamon
- .5t nutmeg
- 1.75 Cups granulated sugar
- 6 Ounces butter, softened
- 3 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 t baking powder
- 1 t salt
- 1.25 Cups whole milk
- 1 t vanilla extract
- 1/4 t almond extract (optional)
- 3 egg whites, whipped to stiff peaks
Calories Per Serving616
Folate equivalent (total)119µg30%
Matt Tebbutt was born in High Wycombe but moved to Wales when he was six months old and classifies himself as 'an honorary Welshman', having grown up in Newport.
A passion for good food and cooking developed early for Matt, partly thanks to family holidays to France and Italy, but the decision to be a chef didn’t come until later in life. He studied geography at Oxford Brookes University and an early ambition to be a pilot led him to join the university air squadron. He eventually decided against a 12-year signing with the RAF and turned his attentions to becoming a chef.
Matt's culinary career began with a diploma from Leith's School of Food and Wine. He completed a traineeship with Marco Pierre White, then moved to the kitchens of Chez Bruce, followed by a stint at Clarke's, where he learned the art of bread-making.
He returned to Wales in 2001 after an absence of eight years and, with his wife Lisa, has transformed the former Foxhunter pub at Nantyderry into an acclaimed restaurant, winning AA Restaurant of the Year for Wales in 2004. Matt had previously also worked with pioneering chef Alastair Little at his Lancaster Road and Soho restaurants, and the chef's influence is evident in Matt's menu at the Foxhunter.
Dishing It With Chef Matt McClure
This year’s Foodie Friday preconference of #AWBU featured four outstanding speakers, including Chef Matthew McClure (@matthewrmcclure) of The Hive at 21CBentonville. He encouraged all of us to eat seasonally and eat locally. Much of his menu at the restaurant is determined by the produce he procures from local vendors and farmers. We were treated to two of his favorites during his presentation which we devoured on the spot. He graciously agreed to share his Roasted Chicken with Garam Masala Spice and OkraTouille recipes with us.
He brought along a little friend to help with the presentation.
We might have been tempted to lick the platter!
We are especially thankful to Taste Arkansas for sponsoring Foodie Friday and supporting ARWB.
Ina Garten's Sour Cream Coffee Cake Recipe For Beginners Is Comfort Food at Its Sweetest
Professional chef and vodka-loving queen Ina Garten has kept us full with her indulgent dinner recipes for years, but her new recipe for sour cream coffee cake has me so hungry for brunch. The detailed recipe was made with at-home chefs in mind, and it breaks down exactly how to get from a mixing bowl and a bag of flour to a decadent cake topped with cinnamon brown sugar streusel and a maple syrup glaze.
The recipe is easy to follow (and perfect for baking beginners) and calls for a generous bit of sour cream to make the cake moist and rich. So, yes, this is definitely a recipe you can be proud of at the end of the day and brag about on the 'gram . . . if you can resist digging in long enough to snap a few photos. Keep reading to find out exactly what Ina's formula is for creating such a brunch-worthy cake, and don't forget to brew up a delicious cup of coffee to enjoy this breakfast (or dessert) with.
Matt McClure’s Buttermilk Cornbread with Sorghum Butter
We are extremely fortunate that Executive Chef Matt McClure of Bentonville’s 21C Museum Hotel The Hive Restaurant will be one of our featured speakers at the Foodie Friday pre conference of Megaphone Summit 2016 to be held at the absolutely beautiful Pratt Place Inn and Barn in Fayetteville.
Those of you who had the privilege to enjoy Matt’s presentation at the 2014 Foodie Friday session held at NWACC will remember what a joy he was. And I’m sure many of you have continued to enjoy his okratouille and chicken recipes he shared with us that day.
Matt was born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas, where his passion for food was ignited by hunting, fishing and his grandmother’s cooking. Following a stint at the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont, he settled in Boston working at a number of restaurants including Troquet, Harvest and No. 9 Park.
Eager to get back to his home state to reconnect with the ingredients and foodways of his childhood, Matt returned to Little Rock where he worked under Lee Richardson former Executive Chef at Ashley’s (now One Eleven) in the Capital Hotel, developing strong relationships with local farmers and producers and rediscovering the agricultural resources of his home state.
In 2012, Matt joined the opening team of The Hive, located at 21C Museum Hotel Bentonville. At The Hive, the restaurant’s menus showcase the unique culinary identity of Arkansas. McClure’s cooking pays homage to the High South, highlighting ingredients such as black walnuts, freshly milled corn meal, hickory smoked hams, peaches, melons and sweet onions and demonstrates Matt’s longstanding commitment to support local farmers and purveyors. (Courtesy The Hive).
In 2013, Garden & Gun, featured The Hive in it’s Feb/Mar edition.showcases the refined, country cuisine of the High South, focusing on the local ingredients of Northwest Arkansas and the region’s traditional methods of cooking. Matt was a James Beard Award semi-finalist for the “Best Chef: South” award in both 2014 and 2015, and was awarded Food & Wine Magazine’s “The People’s Best New Chef” award for the Midwest in 2015. He is also an active member of the Southern Foodways Alliance.
Upon dining at The Hive, you will be served Matt’s Buttermilk Corn Bread along with a dish of sorghum butter. I just happened to get lucky and received a copy of his recipe. The sorghum butter recipe is from Anson Mills. While it may not be Matt’s recipe, it’s pretty darn close.
I suppose you’ll just have to make it at home and then visit The Hive in order to make your own taste comparison.
In the meantime, go get yourself registered for Foodie Friday. I’m eager to see your smiling faces and am so excited to be sharing our amazing line up of speakers for you.
Details on the agenda and speakers will be coming in a couple of weeks. Just a head’s up
Our Best Recipes From Thomas Keller
Thomas Keller, renowned chef and restaurateur, has the recipes you need for simple but charming meals. Everything Thanksgiving, Keller honors veterans in the country by serving an incredible family meal. He serves these Thanksgiving recipes from his restaurant Bouchon Bistro. But these recipes are simple enough to replicate at home. From his coconut cake to sweet potato casseroles to his Thanksgiving turkey, we’ve rounded up our favorite recipes from Thomas Keller.
Thomas Keller’s Coconut Cake
Coconut Cake Matt Taylor-Gross
Thick Italian meringue is sandwiched between moist layers of cake, which is topped off with sweetened shredded coconut in this recipe from chef Thomas Keller. Get the recipe for Thomas Keller’s Coconut Cake »
Ciabatta and Sausage Stuffing
Ciabatta and Sausage Stuffing Ingalls Photography
This rustic stuffing from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bistro is made with crusty Italian bread and laced with fresh herbs, aromatics, and sausage. Get the recipe for Ciabatta and Sausage Stuffing »
Macaroni au Gratin
Macaroni Au Gratin Ingalls Photography
The foundation of this creamy casserole is a classic mornay sauce, a béchamel sauce to which cheese has been added—in this case, comté, a French cheese with a complex, nutty flavor that melts beautifully. With lots of freshly grated nutmeg to season it and a golden, crunchy breadcrumb topping, it’s a luscious, satisfying side dish for the Thanksgiving table. The dish comes from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bistro, in the Napa Valley, where the staff makes it as part of their annual Thanksgiving dinner for veterans and their families. Get the recipe for Macaroni au Gratin »
Sweet Potato Purée
The staff of Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bistro prepares this decadent version of sweet potato casserole each year as part of a Thanksgiving feast for veterans and their families. The potatoes are first baked in foil packets with allspice, butter, honey, and brown sugar. Then, infused with aromatic sweetness, they’re puréed with creamy mascarpone cheese and topped with marshmallows. Get the recipe for Sweet Potato Purée »
Haricots Verts Casserole
Haricots Verts Casserole Eilon Paz
Sherry vinegar balances the richness in the cream sauce for this Thanksgiving staple. Get the recipe for Haricots Verts Casserole »
Bouchon Roast Turkey
Bouchon Roast Turkey Eilon Paz
At California’s Bouchon Bistro, turkey is divided into pieces for cooking to maximize its flavor and texture. The drumsticks and breast soak in a tenderizing brine—honey, lemon, herbs, garlic, and lots of salt—before roasting, while thighs are deboned and stuffed with an herbed turkey mousse for roulades. Get the recipe for Bouchon Roast Turkey »
TKOs (Chocolate Sandwich Cookies)
TKOs (Chocolate Sandwich Cookies)
This riff on an Oreo is filled with a creamy white chocolate ganache. Make sure to use white chocolate with at least 35 percent cocoa butter when making the filling to ensure ultra-smooth melting. Get the recipe for TKOs (Chocolate Sandwich Cookies) »
Better Nutters Noah Fecks
This peanut butter sandwich cookie–Thomas Keller’s take on his favorite childhood cookie–has a sophisticated edge thanks to vanilla paste and high-quality butter, while keeping all of the sweet-salty goodness from the classic Nutter Butters on which it’s based. Get the recipe for Better Nutters »
The 10 Chefs From Arkansas You Should Know
You don’t have to travel to dining meccas like New York or Chicago to find terrifically talented chefs – there are plenty of creative chefs currently cooking up a storm right here in Arkansas. We profile ten of the state’s best chefs, from James Beard Award nominee Matthew McClure and his ‘refined country cuisine’ to chef James Patterson’s Southern comfort-Asian fusion fare.Chef Matthew Bell | © Arshia Khan
A native of Montana, chef Matthew Bell received his training at Austin, Texas’ Le Cordon Bleu before moving to Little Rock and working at local dining mainstays including Ristorante Capeo and Capital Hotel. Since it opened in 2013, Bell has been based at South on Main – one of Little Rock’s best loved new eateries – where he has made a name for himself with his sophisticated ‘refined Southern’ cuisine. When he isn’t cooking up tempting eats like pig trotters with fried yard egg or pan-seared catfish with cornmeal pancake, Bell can be found participating in charitable programs like No Kid Hungry.
Chef Jerrmy Gawthrop, alongside co-owner Clayton Suttle, is the mind behind Greenhouse Grille – a Fayetteville dining favorite opened in 2006 that focuses on ‘conscious cuisine’ crafted from organic, locally sourced produce. In 2013, Gawthrop scooped the US Foods Next Top Product Award for his healthy, vegetarian black bean slider, winning the opportunity to have his recipe distributed to restaurants across the USA. In the summer of 2014, he teamed with Suttle again to open Wood Stone Craft Pizza, bringing a dining experience centered on artisan pizzas, cocktails and local craft beers to south Fayetteville.
One of Arkansas’ most recognized chefs, Todd Gold is a three-time winner of the American Culinary Federation Central Arkansas Chapter’s Chef of the Year Award and in 2008, was inducted into the American Academy of Chefs, placing him firmly amongst the South’s top culinary stars. From his humble beginnings as a dishwasher at a local Italian eatery, Gold went on to graduate from Memphis’ La Maison Meridian and rose to the top of Little Rock’s dining scene working as executive chef at local several hotels and country clubs. Today, Gold is the dean at Pulaski Technical College Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute inspiring the next generation of Arkansas chefs.
After graduating from Portland’s Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, Matthew Cooper cut his teeth working at some of the city’s top restaurants before returning to his native Arkansas to work as executive sous chef at Little Rock’s Chenal Country Club. A two-time winner of Iron Chef Arkansas, a competition that pits the state’s top culinary talents against each other, Cooper recently departed his role as executive chef at Little Rock’s chic Cache, and is currently concentrating on two projects – Dandelion, a specialty herb and spice store he opened with his wife Priscilla Fincher, and a new restaurant set to open in a 111-year-old church in Bentonville in collaboration with boutique hospitality group, RopeSwing.
Donnie Ferneau, the former owner and executive chef of Little Rock’s Rocket 21, kick started his culinary career apprenticing at various restaurants throughout the Midwest before settling in Arkansas and making a name for himself as one of the state’s top chefs. In 2008, Ferneau battled against Arkansas-based French Chef Andre Poirot to win the Diamond Chef Arkansas competition and in 2014 opened Good Food by Ferneau – a restaurant located in Little Rock’s lovely Argenta neighborhood that specializes in healthy, organic alternative to typically butter-heavy, fried Southern fare and focuses on sustainable, locally sourced ingredients.
Chef Justin Patterson, a graduate of The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Tennessee, gained experience working in some of Nashville’s finest restaurants and at Little Rock’s Pleasant Valley Country Club before deciding to go it alone in 2012 when he established The Southern Gourmasian – a gourmet food truck fusing Southern comfort food with Asian street fare into what Patterson calls ‘Arkasian fusion’. Recently, The Southern Gourmasian launched as a bricks and mortar restaurant in downtown Little Rock to rave reviews, while Patterson also competed in the final stages of the 2015 Diamond Chef Arkansas contest.
Coming from a foodie family – her mother and grandmother were professional chefs and her parents ran a restaurant – it is perhaps no surprise that Angela Nardi would become a chef herself. A native of Hot Springs, Nardi is currently setting the spa city’s dining scene ablaze in her role as head chef at the Superior Bathhouse Brewery and Distillery where she crafts unique seasonal dishes from produce grown by local farmers and artisans. Her eclectic Arkansas-inspired pub fare includes Southern black eyed pea hummus and beer bratwurst made with local pork.Chef Brian Deloney | Courtesy Maddie’s Place
A graduate of New York’s prestigious Culinary Institute of America, chef Brian Deloney honed his craft working as executive sous chef for famed American chef Emeril Lagasse’s NOLA in New Orleans’ French Quarter and Delmonico Steakhouse in Las Vegas. In 2007, Deloney returned to his hometown, Little Rock, where he helped with the re-opening of the historic Capital Hotel before setting up his own restaurant, Maddie’s Place, in 2009. Drawing on his time in Louisiana, Deloney packs Maddie’s menu full of New Orleans-inspired upscale comfort food like Creole-seasoned pork skins and seared redfish with garlic grits.
An Arkansas native, chef Stephen Burrow graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in Austin, Texas, before returning to his homeland to take up the role of head chef at the Clinton Presidential Center’s onsite restaurant, Forty-Two, in 2009. Inspired by farm-to-table fare, Burrow looks to local farms and the Center’s own herb and vegetable garden in crafting his recipes and applies what he calls a ‘contemporary Southern colonial’ approach to Forty-Two’s menu. When he isn’t cooking up a storm at Forty-Two, Burrow can be found taking part in the restaurant’s Student Chef Series, which educates local schoolchildren on subjects including healthy eating and urban farming.Chef Matthew McClure | Courtesy 21c Museum Hotels
Born and raised in Little Rock, chef Matthew McClure later moved to Boston where he studied under acclaimed chef and restaurateur Barbara Lynch, before returning home to work with award-winning chef Lee Richardson at the Capital Hotel. In his current role as executive chef at The Hive in Bentonville’s 21c Museum Hotel, McClure crafts a menu that showcases Arkansas’ unique culinary heritage and offers his signature ‘refined country cuisine’. His unique cuisine – think crispy pig tails with pickled vegetables and seared diver scallops with black eyed peas – has earned him both James Beard Best Chef South and Food and Wine Magazine’s Best New Chef nominations.
Kardea Brown's Best Comfort Food Recipes
Bring the comforting flavors of lowcountry cooking home with these family recipes from Delicious Miss Brown.
Fried Shrimp Baskets
These indulgent fried shrimp are made with Kardea's signature Gullah seasoning.
No-Fuss Baby Back Ribs
The name says it all here. Kardea marinates meaty ribs with a savory-sweet mixture of soy sauce, brown sugar and Worcestershire then bakes them until the meat is succulent and tender.
French Onion Grilled Cheese
Kardea slow cooks onions until they're soft and luxuriously sweet to deliver the classic taste of French onion soup to this super-gooey grilled cheese.
Seafood Mac and Cheese
This mac and cheese is not messing around: it's made with four different kinds of cheese! Kardea's secret is to add a bit of cream cheese, which creates the perfect texture.
Pimento Cheese Stuffed Burgers
These juicy burgers ooze melty pimento cheese.
Aunt TC's Lemon-Lime Soda Cake
Kardea is most proud to have mastered this favorite family recipe: a super-fluffy cake her aunt TC made for her growing up. Adding a bit of lemon lime soda to the batter helps the cake rise and gives it its fluffy texture.
Aunt TC's Potato Salad
Aunt TC still comes over to help Kardea make her famous Potato Salad. To make it she dresses up red potatoes and hard boiled-eggs with ingredients like yellow mustard and sweet pickle relish.
Rotisserie Chicken Salad Sandwiches
It's a good idea to let the chicken salad chill in the fridge for a few minutes before building the sandwiches. That'll ensure all the flavors have a chance to marry.
To make sure these chewy cookies have crispy edges but stay gooey in the middle, Kardea makes them in small batches and uses an 8-inch square baking dish.
Matt McClure’s Arkansas Trail Mix Another restaurant on this year’s Kitchen|Fields Table Tour, an educational food program created by the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board, is absolutely one of my very favorites and has been since we first dined there during their opening week. The Hive, located in Bentonville’s 21C Museum Hotel just off the square, “showcases the unique culinary identity of Arkansas.” Executive chef and Arkansas native, Matt McClure, focuses on sourcing local products and supporting local farmers and producers. “The Kitchen|Fields Table Tour speaks so much to The Hive’s desire to source local food. We are always looking to support the farms in our region which serves our ingredient-driven approach to cooking.” The Hive’s menu reflects his desire to tell the Arkansas food story and soybeans are a part of that story. The Hive is a partner restaurant in the Kitchen|Fields Table Tour which kicked off in November at Three Fold Noodles and Dumpling Co. during Arkansas Soybean Month. The KFTT returns in January with 6 Arkansas-owned restaurants. In addition to The Hive and Three Fold, those restaurants are: McClure’s Arkansas Trail Mix is a multi-stage recipe which is why I always double the recipe. It sounds rather complicated, but it really isn’t, y’all. It just takes some advance planning. I suggest preparing it over the course of a couple of days when you have the time to dedicate to it. If you’re looking for a unique gift to share with family and friends, this would make an excellent choice. The trail mix combines house-made cheese straws with a whole host of local additions: candied black walnuts, candied pecans, flash-fried spiced soybeans and flash-fried black -eyed peas. It definitely says “Arkansas,” doesn’t it? McClure says, “I wanted to give people a snack that told the story of Arkansas.” There are a few shortcuts I can suggest if you are time strapped during this busy holiday season. Know that you can easily freeze the components if you want to really get a head start on the preparation. The ingredients I’m using on this week’s THV11 This Morning segment have been in the freezer for a couple of weeks. Easy peasy! For centuries, soy has been a staple in Asian dishes it is now a commonplace ingredient in diets worldwide. It’s not all tofu or tempeh either which, by the way, are delicious alternatives to animal protein. My granddaughter is an edamame lover as am I. Edamame are just immature soybeans. High protein soy flour can replace some flour in many recipes — a boon to those who are gluten free or those who are trying to reduce the wheat in their diets. We typically drink soy milk at our house do you? If you use vegetable oil for frying or baking, you are most likely using soybean oil. Most soybeans are processed for their oil and protein for the animal feed industry. Soybeans are also used in many industrial products. (ncsoy.org/media-resources/uses-of-soybeans/) Why is that important to me as an Arkansas? Arkansas ranks 10thin the nation for soybean production. In 2016, Arkansas farmers harvested over 3 million acres and more than 160 million bushels of soybeans By consuming soy and foods that consume soy, Arkansans support local Arkansas soybean farmers and contribute toArkansas’s $2 billion soybean industry. I can’t wait to hear what you think about this Arkansas Trail Mix from my friend Matt McClure of The Hive. I sure hope you’ll stop by for a bite on your next trip to Northwest Arkansas. Tell them “thanks” for being such a great supporter of Arkansas soybean farmers and producers. Be sure to follow them on social media: Twitter: https://twitter.com/21cBentonville Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheHiveBentonville Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/21cmuseumhotels/the-hive Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board Twitter: https://twitter.com/arkansassoybean Web: https://www.themiraclebean.com/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/arkansassoybeans Be sure to catch my segment this Tuesday on THV11 This Morning. I’ll be on at 6:15, y’all. Grab a cup of coffee, prop your eyelids up and sit a spell with me. Restaurant Transitions: Hawgz Blues Cafe to open in ex-U.S. Pizza spot The Meteor coffee shop/bakery sets May openingMark Abernathy of Loca Luna and Red Door is headed to Washington next week to “help raise awareness that Arkansas has a vibrant and creative food and restaurant scene.”
Hawgz Blues Cafe is going into the former Aydelotte's/U.S. Pizza mansion, 5524 John F. Kennedy Blvd., North Little Rock, with a March 31 soft opening, featuring "A Taste of Hawgz Blues Cafe" a special April 4 "Celebration Day Honoring Dr. Rev. MLK Holiday in Arkansas" and a grand opening slated for April 14. A building inspector for the North Little Planning Director told our ace reporter Jake Sandlin that the move-in has involved just some cleaning up and adding some paint so the project has not required a building permit however, according to a news release, "Currently, our restaurant is undergoing a major remodeling and refurbishing -- inside and outside."
A sneak peek at the menu shows soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers, barbecue, wings, hand-cut steaks, smoked chicken and ribs, catfish and a vegetable pasta. Oh, and among the appetizers: the market-price Hawgz Signature Oysters, "charbroiled over an open flame with our unique white wine garlic and herb sauce." It'll have a full bar with Friday-Saturday entertainment. Hours will be 11 a.m.-midnight Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Friday-Saturday, 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday (Sunday Gospel Brunch and Soul Food Buffet, 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m.). A phone number will become "live" next week. At last check at deadline, the website, hawgzbluescafe.com, was still under construction.
Mickey's Cakes and Sweets, in business for 28 years, had its grand opening Saturday in its new location, Suite 14A (two storefronts, including the former Igibon space) in the Market Place Shopping Center, 11121 N. Rodney Parham Road, Little Rock. That's just 'round the corner from its former spot, 11614 Huron Lane. A list of what they make (including cupcakes, brownies, petit fours, cake pops, cake truffles, torte bowls, cheesecakes, cookies, pies and a strawberry French roll), is available at mickeyssweets.com. Hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Wednesday 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday-Friday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday. The phone number: (501) 221-1989.
A multi-month expansion of The Root Cafe, 1500 Main St., Little Rock, is pretty much complete, says co-owner Jack Sundell, and they've started regular dinner service, 5:30-8:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday. Chef Jonathan Arrington presents a limited but enticing menu (at present eight appetizers, four main courses and a handful of desserts) that, like the Root's other meals, focuses on seasonal ingredients and local sourcing -- "the same guiding principle," Sundell says, "building community through local food." The menu could see minor week-to-week changes and will see major seasonal changes, based on what's available from the farmers they work with and what's at the farmers markets. Dinner includes table service (it's counter service for breakfast, lunch and Sunday brunch), and Sundell has added a wine license, "so we have several organic wines," to his native beer permit, which has allowed him to serve the products of five local breweries. He's also pouring some light, wine- and prosecco-based spritzers "and other drinks like that." They're taking reservations for parties of six or more otherwise, walk-ins are not only welcome but encouraged. The remodeling expanded the kitchen, quadrupled the indoor seating and added a second bathroom. The restaurant's other current hours are 7 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday the phone number is (501) 414-0423 email [email protected]
The Meteor, a full service coffee shop and bakery, is set to open sometime in mid-May next door to Spokes, a bicycle shop, 1001 Kavanaugh Blvd. at West Markham Street, Little Rock. Tentative hours will be 7 a.m.-9 p.m. daily. The bike-shop phone number is (501) 664-7765.
Mark Abernathy of Loca Luna and Red Door, will be working, with others from Arkansas, to "help raise awareness that Arkansas has a vibrant and creative food and restaurant scene" at the Taste of the South, April 1 in Washington. The congressional delegations from each Southern state are hosting the formal fundraiser. "I will be taking our famous cheese dip and working with the hotel on upgrading a few recipes for the donated products," he explains. Arkansas sponsors are Tyson, Ben E. Keith Foods, Riceland Foods and Mountain Valley Water.
You will recall that for the second straight year, Matthew McClure, executive chef of The Hive in Bentonville, was Arkansas' sole candidate for a James Beard Award, nominated in the "Best Chef: South" category (encompassing Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Puerto Rico). And for the second straight year, McClure, one of 20 semifinalists, did not make it through to the next round. The five finalists for the award, to be handed out at a May 1 gala at the Lyric Opera of Chicago: three New Orleans chefs -- Slade Rushing, Brennan's Nina Compton, Compere Lapin and Rebecca Wilcomb, Herbsaint -- plus Vishwesh Bhatt, Snackbar, in Oxford, Miss., and Jose Enrique, Jose Enrique, in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Towpath's Oatmeal with Walnuts, Butter and Demerara Sugar
April 08, 2021
A few years ago, I made an orange-scented Tuscan olive oil cake that I loved so much, simple yet perfect. The recipe came from Towpath, the seasonal East London cafe owned by Lori De Mori and Laura Jackson, and was included in The London Cookbook by Aleksandra Crapanzano. I'd heard about Towpath from Rachel and Brian and various other discerning people over the years, but without having ever been there myself, I just thought it was a cafe with nice food in London. Not much mystery there.
Well, in the meantime, Lori and Laura published their own cookbook, Towpath: Recipes and Stories, and I was sent a copy by their publisher Chelsea Green in the fall. Upon reading the book, it's safe to say that I was wrong to think of Towpath as just a café with nice food in London. The book makes clear that Towpath is more than that it is a family, an institution, a state of mind. Idiosyncratic, personal, completely unique. My travel fantasies have taken on baroque proportions over the past 12 months (whose haven't, I ask you?), but I'm particularly fond of the one in which we travel around the United Kingdom, alternating between exploring small towns and cities and hiking in vast tracts of wild countryside, and a stop at Towpath features centrally in this fantasy.
The Towpath cookbook is organized by month, because Towpath closes from November until March (usually) and because the kitchen's cooking hews so closely to the seasons. The book's recipes toggle between restaurant-y dishes with various components (though always appealingly rustic and largely approachable) and simple meals doable for any level of home cook. It skews Italian (Lori De Mori has a home in Tuscany), but with lots of other Mediterranean influences and the kinds of "new English" flavors that have become a hallmark of recipes from England over the past 20 years. In between the recipes are little essays about the restaurant itself and its quirky community of revolving employees and ever-loyal patrons. For anyone who's ever dreamed of opening a cafe or restaurant that is an extension of their home, Towpath is that dream come to life.
I've made lots of things from the pages of the book, including a Tuscan beef stew (peposo) and a Neapolitan sausage ragù, and I've so many earmarked things to get to (including pickled radicchio with toasted breadcrumbs and mozzarella, which sounds like the summer dinner of my dreams), but funnily enough, the recipe that has had the most effect on me is one of the simplest things in the book. It's barely a recipe, more an idea, the oatmeal (porridge, here) with walnuts and butter and raw sugar.
It's the first recipe in the book, for March, when Towpath opens again after a long winter break. It's been on their menu since the beginning. I know it seems prosaic, but for me, the recipe unlocked the potential of eating oatmeal, transforming it from something dutiful and humdrum into something I crave. (Oatmeal!)
Towpath uses pinhead oats, while I stick with rolled oats. They cook them with milk, I cook them with water. But the oats, either way, are salted, then topped with toasted walnuts, a lump of butter (my American grandmother buttered her oatmeal, so I love this touch) and a sprinkle of raw (demerara) sugar. The interplay of textures, from the creamy oats to the toasty, velvety walnuts to the sparkly crunch of the raw sugar that keeps its integrity as you eat, is a delight. The balance of sweetness and saltiness with the homey oats, rich butter and earthy walnuts is, too. I love this breakfast and the ritual of making it (scooping out a spoonful of soft butter, cracking the walnuts with satisfaction, the final scattering of the coarse-grained and glittering sugar).
Now, when I think of oatmeal for breakfast, it is Towpath's way and only Towpath's way you can keep your berries and milk, your cinnamon and apples, your chia seeds and maple syrup. It's walnuts, butter and raw sugar forever for me.
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Oatmeal with Butter, Walnuts and Demerara Sugar
Adapted from Towpath: Recipes and Stories
Print this recipe!
1/3 - 1/2 cup rolled oats (depending on how hungry you are)
Pinch of salt
5 - 8 walnuts (depending on how hungry you are)
1 to 2 teaspoons salted or unsalted butter
2 teaspoons raw (demerara) sugar
1. Place the oats in a small sauce pan with twice as much water. Add the salt. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring, until the oatmeal is the consistency you like. Scrape into a serving bowl.
2. Crack the walnuts and crumble them with your fingers over the oatmeal. Top with the butter and sugar.