Local Love

Herb Cheese Biscuit with Blackberry Mostarda, Country Ham, and Melon

Chef Benjamin Park, Easy Bistro

ll-2Local List: Easy Bistro uses country ham from Jakes Brothers Country Meats in nearby Joelton, Tennessee, but they also love Benton’s Smoky Mountain Country Hams based in Madisonville, Tennessee.
Their buttermilk comes from Cruz Farm in Knoxville, herbs from nearby Crabtree Farms, and cheese from Sequatchie Cove Creamery.

Herb Cheese Biscuit with Blackberry Mostarda, Country Ham, and Melon


4 ounces verjus (champagne vinegar will work if you can’t source verjus)
4 ounces soy sauce
2 ounces local honey
2 pounds of seedless watermelon, cut into blocks (we use sugar babies)

Whisk together wet ingredients and marinate watermelon one hour or up to overnight. Take out of marinade and slice blocks into 1/8 inch thick square slices (think sushi).

Blackberry Mostarda

2 pounds of ripe blackberries
4 cups of granulated sugar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1/4 cup black mustard seed
1/4 cup yellow mustard seed

Wash and sort through berries, picking off any stems or leaves and removing any that are not firm and fresh. Add half of the berries to a large pot with half the sugar. Very lightly crush, then top with remaining berries, vinegar, salt, and sugar; toss, and then lightly crush again. Add the lemon zest, juice, and mustard seeds. Stir and let rest for 30 minutes.

Cook in heavy-bottomed pot on medium heat for 10-12 min, stirring constantly until mixture has reduced and thickened. Let cool.

Herb Cheese Biscuit

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
2 tsp. minced fresh garlic
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, optional
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup herbs of your choosing
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 cup cheese of your choice

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; set aside. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, garlic powder, salt, and cayenne pepper, if using.

In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk together buttermilk and butter. Pour mixture over dry ingredients and stir using a rubber spatula until moist. Gently fold in herbs and cheese. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop the batter evenly onto the prepared baking sheet. Place into oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden

Country Ham

Have your butcher or grocer slice it as thin as possible.

Building the Biscuit

Cut biscuit in half and lay down a slice of watermelon. Top generously with mostarda. Pile ham on top until pillowy and delicious. Eat.

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Braised Grass-Fed Short Ribs

Chef Charlie Loomis, The Feed Co. Table and Tavern


Local List: Charlie uses goat cheese from Humble Heart Farms in Elkmont, Alabama, and grass-fed beef from a local farm.

Braised Grass-Fed Short Ribs

6 local short ribs
salt and pepper
extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion (1 inch diced)
2 ribs celery (rough chopped into 1 inch pieces)
2 carrots (peeled and rough chopped into 1 inch pieces)
6 cloves garlic
1 cup tomato paste
4 cups red wine
2 cups water (maybe more)
2 sprigs rosemary and thyme
4 bay leaves
6 heirloom tomatoes of various colors
4 oz. fresh goat cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Season short ribs with salt and pepper. Add enough olive oil to the bottom of a thick-bottom ovenproof braising dish, and sear each side of the ribs until they are dark brown. Do not overcrowd the pan or they will steam.

Remove the ribs and pour off all the oil except for a tablespoon and add the vegetables and garlic. Sweat these until they have softened (about five minutes). Add tomato paste and red wine to deglaze and make sure to remove anything that has stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add ribs back to the pan as well as enough water to barely cover the meat (about two cups). Add the thyme, rosemary, and bay leaves. 

Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid or thick aluminum foil and braise for three hours in the preheated oven. Check ribs once after about one and a half hours and turn them, making sure you don’t need to add more water. After three hours, pull the top off and allow the ribs to rest. 

Remove the bone and serve in an entrée bowl over the sliced heirloom tomatoes and top with goat cheese and braising liquid.

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Chef Nathan Lindley, The Public House


Local List: Nathan gets most of his fresh fruits and vegetables, like the ones used here, from farmer Chris Irons at Southland Farms in nearby Morrison, Tennessee


1 medium yellow onion
2 Tbsp. bacon fat (or substitute olive oil)
6 ears corn, shucked and removed from cob
2 cups fresh lady peas or butter beans
1-2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 tomato, seeded and cut into small cubes
salt and pepper
2 Tbsp. butter
fresh basil, chiffonade

Thinly slice one yellow onion. Add two tablespoons bacon fat to a pan and heat on medium (you may substitute olive oil for bacon, but you will lose some of the smokiness). Add the onion and sauté until fully cooked. Add the corn and coat in oil from pan. Add the fresh lady peas or butter beans and one cup chicken stock.

Bring to boil and then remove from heat. Check corn and peas for desired doneness. If you would like the peas or corn cooked more, add more chicken stock and return to heat. If cooked to your liking, add tomato and season with salt and pepper. To finish, add butter and coat completely. Garnish with basil.

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Poached Egg, Dry-Fried Green Beans, Tempura Peppers & Summer Squash, and Concord Grape Mostarda

Chef Ocia Hartley, Terra Mae


Local List: Ocia got the peppers and squash from Signal Mountain Farm; the green beans, cayenne peppers, and concord grapes from White City Produce and Greenhouse in Monteagle, Tennessee; the leaf lard from Chattanooga’s Main Street Meats; and the eggs from Holley Hill Farm in Flintstone, Georgia.

Dry Fried Green Beans

1 lb. tenderette green beans
2 Tbsp. leaf lard
1 Tbsp. garlic, rough chopped

Wash and dry beans. Heat wok or cast iron pan to medium and put lard in to melt. Add garlic, cook for two minutes. Add green beans and cook until they are a little wrinkly. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Tempura Peppers & Summer Squash

2/3 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 egg white
1 cup soda water
1 whole yellow squash cut into circles
1 whole sweet pepper cut into rings

Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg white until soft peaks form. Add the soda water to the dry mix. Fold the egg white into the wet batter. Heat oil to 350 degrees and drop in squash and peppers until golden brown.

Concord Grape Mostarda

2 cups concord grapes
1/4 cup red table wine
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 salt
1 cup white table wine
1/4 cup dry mustard seeds
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

Smash grapes in sauce pan and add 1/4 cup red wine, sugar, and salt. Simmer gently for 10 minutes until everything in the pan looks juicy. Strain out the grape skins and seeds and discard. Save the juice.

Add one cup white wine and mustard seeds. Simmer until the wine has reduced and the seeds have plumped up.

Mix together grape juice, mustard seeds, and mustard. Salt to taste.

Poach or fry one egg and add to plate.

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Bison Spring Roll with Dipping Sauce

Chef Sarah Benoit, 212 Market


Local List: Sarah uses fresh local bison from Eagles Rest Ranch in Flintstone, Georgia, chilies from Signal Mountain, and shitake mushrooms from Southern Foothill Farms in Oneonta, Alabama.

Bison Spring Roll

3 oz. bean thread noodles
1/2 oz. shallot, finely chopped
5 shiitake mushrooms, sliced, sautéed, and cooled
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups grated carrot
1 lb. ground bison, cooked
1 oz. fish sauce
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
spring roll wrappers and egg wash

Soak bean thread noodles in hot water around 10 min. Drain them well and coarsely chop. Mix all ingredients together and fill the wrappers evenly. Roll wrappers up, using a little egg wash to hold them together.

Pan fry rolls in canola oil over medium heat and serve with dipping sauce.

Dipping Sauce

3/4 cup hot water mixed with 3 Tbsp. sugar to dissolve
2 1/2 oz. fish sauce
2 tsp. lime juice
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Thai bird chilies, thinly sliced, including seeds

Mix ingredients together and serve.

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