Ashley Christensen Restaurants

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Category: Recipes

Meet a kitchen dedicated to empowering female chefs

Our new cookbook obsession features so many amazing recipes that we don’t even know where to start: with pupusas and curtido? Or with forbidden rice krispy treats? Maybe kuku sabzi, or jerk chicken? 

The cookbook we’re talking about is We Are La Cocina, and it documents the stories and recipes of the entrepreneur participants of the non-profit business incubator of the same name. 

And on September 17th, we’ll be celebrating the cookbook and the people behind La Cocina with a special event! Join us for a cocktail book party with snacks from the book; beer, wine, and cocktails; and a chance to meet the people behind this amazing program. 

La Cocina is dedicated to supporting talented, working-class food entrepreneurs, primarily immigrant women and women of color, in building successful food businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

La Cocina’s director, Caleb Zigas, and one of the entrepreneurs of the La Cocina program, will join Ashley Christensen in a panel conversation about the trials, challenges, and triumphs that women face in pursuit of financial freedom in the culinary world. The cookbook will be available  to purchase. 

Don’t miss this chance to get a sneak peek of this amazing cookbook, and hear about this incredible program. Tickets are limited, and available here.

AC Restaurants Guide to Fourth Of July Week

Summer means longer days, hotter weather, weekends at the lake and endless cookouts. July is right around the corner, and that means Fourth of July festivities are quickly approaching!

On Thursday, July 4th, Poole's Diner, Death & Taxes, and Fox Liquor Bar will be CLOSED; Beasley's Chicken & Honey and Chuck's Burgers will be open for regular business hours, from 11:30am to 10pm.

Though you can’t dine with us at Poole’s on the fourth, we can still be with you in the form of Poole’s Cookbook. Think of your family's reaction when you carry out trays of Charred Summer Squash with fresh herbs, Short Ribs, and Warm Broccoli Salad with Cheddar and Bacon Vinaigrette. You’ll have a feast to make Ashley herself proud! Get your copy of Poole’s: Recipes and Stories from a Modern Diner here or pick up a copy at the shop this weekend. 

All our restaurants will be open for regular business hours starting Friday, July 5th. We hope you have a very happy and safe holiday!

Recipe: Embered Sweet Corn with Lime and Basil Butter

Looking to become a grillmaster this summer? We asked the cooks at Death & Taxes, our wood-fire focused restaurant, for tips and tricks to harnessing the power of the grill. (Make a reservation at Death & Taxes here.)

Picking Your Fuel

Gas grills are great for quick, easy grilling in the summer, but they don’t offer the same flavor or intense heat that you get from grilling with wood or charcoal. At home, we opt for natural hardwood charcoal.

Lighting the Grill

The best way to light your grill quick is to put newspaper or cardboard under the charcoal and light it, let the coals turn gray and wait until they are mostly covered in ash before you start grilling. At home, use a charcoal chimney, which will help the coals ignite more quickly. Place your paper in the bottom of the chimney, pile the charcoal on top, and light the paper from the bottom end of the chimney. Do not use lighter fluid—it can affect the taste of the food.

Arranging Your Flame

Once the charcoal is going, carefully pour it out of the chimney and into the grill. We suggest pouring the charcoal into a pile on one side of the grill, so you have a hot direct heat zone, and a cooler indirect heat zone. This is sometimes called “banking the coals” to one side. Doing this allows you to char your ingredients on the direct heat side, then move them over to finish cooking them without burning them on the indirect heat side.

Or, ditch the grill grates altogether and try cooking directly in the embers, a technique we use often at Death & Taxes. This is where grill baskets really come in handy. Pile hearty ingredients (like oysters, for instance) into the grill basket, and then carefully nestle the basket into the embers of your charcoal. Get the recipe for roasted oysters here. Or, try cooking delicate vegetables in the grill basket, like corn kernels. See our recipe for embered corn below.

What to Grill

Classics are classics for a reason: we love to grill steaks, sausages, chicken thighs, and corn just as much as the next person. But if you want to get fancy and impress your friends, try grilling avocados or peaches. Wipe the cut surface of the fruit with neutral vegetable oil before you place it cut side down on the grill. Soft delicate ingredients like peaches only need a few minutes on the grill, so watch carefully. Serve peaches with ice cream, or as part of a savory summer salad.

Grilling Housekeeping

Make sure your grill is set up away from the house, never leave it unattended, and always have a backup plan in case your fire gets bigger than you can control.

Lastly, cleaning your grill is very important. The most effective way to clean your grill is to use agrill brush and a hot fire. Let the grill get really hot so it burns off whatever's left on the grill, then use the brush on the grates to finish cleaning.

Embered Sweet Corn with Lime and Basil Butter

Serves 4

6 ears fresh corn, shucked

8-12 large basil leaves, torn

Fine sea salt

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

2 limes

Prepare a grill with charcoal; arrange the charcoal in an even layer. Place a grill basket with fine holes directly on coals to preheat for about 3 minutes. Add the corn kernels, and a few pieces of torn basil to the hot basket and season with sea salt. Roast directly on the coals until the kernels start to char, about 3-5 minutes. Be careful not to overcook, especially with fresh sweet corn.

Remove from heat and transfer the corn into a large metal mixing bowl. Toss with the butter (it will melt from the residual heat of the corn), more torn basil, and the finely grated zest and juice from both limes. Add more sea salt to taste, and serve immediately.

 

AC Restaurants Closed on July 16th

We are closed July 16thfor our annual staff appreciation day. While we’re away you can still enjoy our food, by using recipes from our cookbook, Poole’s Recipes and Stories from a Modern Diner. There are so many great recipes to choose from, but this time of year we’re particularly fond of making the watermelon salad. It’s one of our favorite recipes and it’s perfect for a hot summer day.

Enjoy this recipe and we’ll see you on the 17th!

Watermelon Salad with Avocado, Chèvre, Basil, and Sweet Onion Vinaigrette

SERVES 4

Ingredients:

4 (2-inch-thick) slices of ripe watermelon

Sea salt

Black pepper in a mill

2 ripe avocados

4 ounces chèvre

8 fresh basil leaves

¼ cup Sweet Onion Vinaigrette (recipe follows)

Place a watermelon slice on each of four plates and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Cut each avocado in half, remove the pit, and carefully remove the peel. Thinly slice the avocado halves, leaving ½ inch at the top so that they stay together. Gently press at the center to form a fan. Season each half with sea salt and coarsely ground pepper. Place 1 avocado portion on top of each watermelon slice. Crumble 1 ounce of the chèvre over each plate. Tear the basil leaves into pieces and distribute over the four plates. Drizzle the vinaigrette over each plate and serve.

For the sweet onion vinaigrette: In a mixing bowl, cover 3 table­spoons minced sweet onions with 1/3 cup champagne vinegar. Let marinate for 15 minutes. Using a whisk, stir in 2 teaspoons honey and a pinch of salt. Begin whisking the vinegar mixture in a circular motion. Slowly drizzle 1 cup neutral vegetable oil in a thin, steady stream, whisking continuously until all of the oil is added to the bowl and the mixture is emulsified. Season with salt to taste.

Recipe: Roasted Oysters with Preserved Lemon & Chili Butter

These oysters are the stars of the show at Death & Taxes, where the wood fire grill is the focus. If you make the preserved lemon gremolata and the chili butter ahead, these come together pretty quickly. Serve them as an appetizer to a grilled steak.

Yield: 24 oysters

For the preserved lemons:

8 lemons

1 cup kosher salt

1 cup sugar

 

For the gremolata:

½ preserved lemon rind, finely diced

½ clove garlic, roughly chopped

1 bunch parsley

Juice from ½ lemon

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Fine sea salt to taste

 

For the oysters:

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened

Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon

1/2 teaspoon chili paste or sambal

24 oyster, shucked, on the half shell

Make the preserved lemons: Thoroughly wash and scrub each lemon. Slice each lemon as if you were cutting it into quarters lengthwise, starting from the top and cutting only to within ½ inch of the bottom; do not cut all the way through. In a mixing bowl combine the salt and sugar.

Carefully pack each lemon incision with the salt mixture and place them with the incisions facing up in a container just large enough to fit them snugly. (A Tupperware or other square container with high sides will work.) Place a layer of plastic wrap directly over the lemons, inside the container. You want to create a seal so the lemons are protected. Place a small plate or lid smaller than the container on the lemons to weigh them down. Keep the container at room temperature for 4 days to a week. Remove the weight and plastic. Cover the container with tight fitting lid and store in the refrigerator. The lemons should be ready to use in about a week and will keep in the refrigerator for about a month. They can also be frozen.

Make the gremolata: Carefully remove the rind from ½ a preserved lemon, being careful to remove all pith. Finely dice the rind and set aside.

In a food processor combine the garlic, parsley, lemon juice. Pulse until the garlic and parsley are finely chopped. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Transfer to a mixing bowl and fold in the diced preserved lemon. Season with fine sea salt to taste.

Make the oysters: Prepare a charcoal grill, removing the top grill grate.

In a medium bowl, combine the butter, lemon juice and zest, and chili paste with a fork until smooth. Line a grill basket with rock salt or crumpled tin foil. Arrange the oysters in the basket, in an even layer (you may have to work in batches), being careful not to tip them. Top each oyster with about 2 teaspoons of the butter. Place the basket directly in the embers and roast for about 5 minutes until the butter is melted and starts to boil.

Transfer the oysters to a platter and top each oyster with ½ teaspoon of the gremolata. Serve warm.

James Beard Award 2019Outstanding Chef James Beard Award 2014Best Chef: Southeast
2019 James Beard AwardOutstanding Chef 2014 James Beard AwardBest Chef: Southeast
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Beasley's Chicken + Honey,
Chuck's, Fox Liquor Bar

237 S. Wilmington St, Raleigh NC, 27601

[919] 322-0127, 322-0126, 322-0128 Respectively

Bridge Club

105 W. Hargett St, Raleigh NC, 27601

Death & Taxes

105 W. Hargett St, Raleigh NC, 27601

[984] 242-0218

Poole's Diner

426 S. McDowell St, Raleigh NC, 27601

[919] 832-4477

Poole'side Pies

428 S. McDowell St, Raleigh NC, 27601

[919] 803 8660