Grilled farmer’s salad
White sangria with grilled fruit
Chef Todd Hudson gives props to the cow and the pig for landing his burger on the cover (and atop the list) of Cincinnati Magazine’s 40 Best Burgers in the Queen City in 2010. The secret? Hudson insists that pasture-raised meats from the small-herd Webb Valley Farm in Wilmington (pictured at left)—like all of the local and regionally sourced ingredients that contribute to the seasonal menu at his Mason restaurant, The Wildflower Café—make the difference in building a superior burger. Hudson recommends that you season the tomato “like your grandma would after she picked the tomato fresh from her garden.” No fresh tomatoes? Hudson says skip it and use sun-dried tomatoes instead.
3 pounds grass-fed beef, ground
1 pound pastured pork, ground
2 Tablespoons black pepper
3 Tablespoons kosher salt
8 half-dollar-size coins of herb butter (made earlier in the day; see recipe below)
½ pound Blue Jacket Dairy mozzarella (made in Bellefontaine, Ohio, it’s available at Whole Foods and area farm markets)
Desired dressing: tomatoes, onions, lettuce, etc.
8 pretzel buns (available at Trader Joe’s), or local artisanal bread like the Blue Oven English muffins at left
Herb Butter: Soften ½ pound of quality sweet cream butter to room temperature. Stir in 1 Tablespoon each chopped fresh rosemary, parsley, and oregano, plus 1 teaspoon minced garlic. Salt and pepper to taste. Roll into a small log on wax paper and freeze. Slice into half-dollar-size rounds.
Burgers: Combine beef and pork. Season with salt and pepper. Divide into 16 thin 4-ounce patties. Top 8 with a coin-sized piece of herb butter, stack another patty on top of each, and pinch edges to seal butter in (if you leave any holes, the butter will leak out). Over hot coals or gas grill, cook burgers to 140 degrees or medium (the USDA recommended cooking temp for pork), flipping only once. Place an ounce of cheese on top in the last minute. Lightly butter and toast the buns on the grill. Dress with local, seasonal vegetables, and serve.
Hudson uses wild chives from his yard, but you urban folks can pick them up from the market. He likes the lettuce and beets from Walnut Ridge Acres, buttermilk from Dell Farms, and cucumber from That Guy’s Family Farm. Look for them—or your favorite farmer—at local farm markets.
12 ounces yogurt
4 ounces buttermilk
1 Tablespoon garlic, chopped
½ teaspoon granulated onion
10 wild chives, snipped or minced
4 sprigs of fresh dill, chopped
3 teaspoons kosher salt
2 Tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Dash of Sriracha sauce
1 Tablespoon dill pickle juice
½ teaspoon dry mustard
Mix all the ingredients together with a wire whisk, and let the flavors make love for a few hours. (Bonus tip: Makes a great overnight marinade for chicken. Grill it the next day.)
2 beets, peeled and diced
1 English cucumber, peeled and julienned
1 carrot, peeled and julienned
12 mint leaves, chopped fine
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
1 package Gretna Grillin’ from Blue Jacket Dairy (a halloumi style cheese made in Bellefontaine, Ohio; available at farm markets and Whole Foods)
4 small heads romaine lettuce
Croutons (Hudson makes his own using bread from Blue Oven Bakery)
Toss beets with salt, pepper, and a bit of sugar. Place them inside a foil packet, dot with butter, and seal. Grill over hot coals for approximately ½ hour. Set aside. Toss cucumber, carrot, and mint together. Season with salt and pepper, a pinch of sugar, olive oil, and white balsamic vinegar. Set aside. Brush a few slices of bread with olive oil. Place on grill away from direct heat. You want it to char a bit, but also to dry out. Dice into cubes when ready.
Have all of the ingredients and plates ready, then grill the cheese and lettuce: Rub some olive oil on the cheese, and grill it on a low-heat area of the grill. (“It seems dumb, but trust me, it works,” Hudson says.) When ready, dice it into cubes of gooey goodness. Split the lettuce heads in half with the root intact. Season with olive oil, salt and pepper, and grill for about 1 minute. Chop root off when finished. Chop lettuce roughly and toss with buttermilk dressing. Place dressed lettuce on the plate and top with the cucumber slaw, beets, cheese, and croutons.
8 large potatoes
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
4 garlic cloves, chopped
A few sprigs of fresh rosemary (set aside one for garnish, chop the rest)
Truffle oil (optional)
Slice raw potatoes and julienne to the size of fast food fries (you can also use a mandoline). Toss fries in a bowl with salt, pepper, and enough olive oil to coat them well. Place in a foil package with chopped fresh rosemary. Add chopped garlic and seal package so it can steam. Place over hot coals and grill for 30–50 minutes. Drizzle with truffle oil when done.
White Sangria With Grilled Fruit
Not all peaches are born in Georgia or California. Some pretty darn good juicy varieties have Midwest pedigrees. For this recipe, Hudson uses peaches and strawberries from Branstrator Farm in Clarksville, Ohio.
6 peaches, peeled and split
1 small melon (cantaloupe, or your choice), cut into thick slices
32 strawberries, de-stemmed
2 cups halved grapes
1 bottle pinot gris (Hudson recommends Burnet Ridge)
2 bottles Champagne (Hudson’s local choice is Valley Vineyards)
Two sprigs fresh mint, extra for garnish
One sprig fresh lavender, extra for garnish
Grill peaches until they are a bit caramelized and soft-ish. Grill melon slices until softened. Muddle herbs with the fruit in a pitcher. Puree strawberries in a blender. Mix all ingredients together in a pitcher (or more than one) and chill. Place a peach and melon slice on the rim of each glass; fill with sangria. Garnish with mint and/or lavender.
To make Todd Hudson’s full menu, he recommends these steps:
A portion of this menu created by Todd Hudson appeared in the July 2012 issue.
Photograph by Jonathan Willis
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