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Friday, September 2, 2011

Beef Market Update

The months of no rain in Texas and Oklahoma have sent record numbers of cattle to the processors. There is just no grass out there for the cows to eat. What about hay you ask, well hay is just tall grass so quit asking.  You would think this would bring prices down but the brains who trade in beef have found a way to firm the market instead. 

Imports of Beef and Veal are down 13% and here is the kicker, Exports are up 30% over last year.  The weak US dollar is making it more profitable to send our beef over seas than to sell it domestic. Price increases in economy cuts are spiking first. Consumers are opting for more economical cuts as our pocket books tighten, they are looking to flank, chuck, rounds and grinds. As more US beef goes overseas Lipons, Strips and Tenders will follow.  So what is a steak house to do. Take a position! Buy forward! I would rather have a frozen beef tender in my cooler at $9 per # than a  $12 one.  

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Jim Schaal Catering Roanoke V.A.

Nobody does it better. Jim Schaal in Roanoke V.A. has the most acute eye for making everything he touches look fantastic. The flavor and execution are  a given. He has been masterfully pleased the most "Zilla" of the Bridezillas and impressed the most discerning corporate clients for years. Serving the greater Roanoke Valley he may be coming to a venue near you as well. Please check out his link above.

Coming from a catering background myself, I really miss the days when I could take a knife and mobile flattop grill and produce some goodies. Now most of the food I see is either in a brown box or in our Corporate Chef's kitchen. When I go see Jim I am amazed at what he does with my Brown Boxes of food. Just take a gander at the following Pics.

Mussels and Beer
Southern Foods Item 3999

Seared Rare Tuna
Southern Foods item 5056

My Favorite Bacon Wrapped Pork Sirloin
Southern Foods item 8250

Moroccan Spiced Cheese
Item 3438

Smoke Salmon Platter
Item 7479

Anti Pasta Skewers
Item number: Many!

More Mussels with Red Pepper

If you are ever going to crash a wedding or event, Make sure Jim Schaal is the Caterer!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Painted Plate Catering Greensboro NC

      This past weekend I had the pleasure of working with my old friends at Painted Plate Catering in Greensboro NC. Lucky for me they had such a busy weekend they called and asked if I'd lend a hand. Brad Semon, owner and Chef, has been a loyal Southern Foods customer for over 15 years. I was a little rusty thankfully Brad was there and so was Garde Manger Isreal Rios.
Mixed greens in Phyllo with Fresh Strawberries, shaved Parm and Honey-Lime Vin.

Quinoa Salad with Fresh Tomatillo Salsa Verde vin over Spin.

Whole Poached Salmon by Isreal Rios

Spiced 26\30 North Carolina Shrimp

Chocolate Mousse Shooter

 We also served: Spinach and Chicken Ravioli From Drake's Pasta in a Gorgonzola cream sauce garnished with toasted walnuts and chives, Five cheese tortellini with a tomato cream sauce and shaved Parmesan. And a carving station with Certified Angus Beef Striploin grilled whole. No picture though... I was in the weeds!

I have to say, it was really nice seeing what happens when a you take the high quality ingredients from Southern Foods and put them in the hands of such masterful chefs as those at the Painted Plate.

Friday, May 20, 2011


The Mangalitsa Pig

This wooly beast is a "rare breed". His lineage goes back to Hungary and other European countries and is closely related to the wild boar. His distinctive wooly coat suggests he is built for the colder regions which is also the reason for his fat content. And fat equals flavor. We Americans have done a great job breeding the fat out of domestic breeds of pigs (the other white meat) doing a great disservice to all of us bacon lovers. Well the fat is back. (back fat... get it?) 

Johnston County Hams is now available at Southern Foods. We are stocking Mangalista bacon and cured hams. We are also stocking Proscuitto, Country Ham from Johnston County. Another great line of North Carolina products.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

New Cheese from Southern Foods Cheese Monger, Sasha Shredder.

Southern Belle From Froagerie Belle Chevre

 2 oz disc of award-winning montrachet style goat cheese is perfectly dressed for the Kentucky Derby (or anytime you want a Southern treat) with bourbon pecans, mint and sugar for a mint julep inspired taste sensation!

Greek Kiss From Froamgerie Belle Chevre

 2 oz fresh chevre discs and wrap them delicately in a beautiful brined grape leaf which imparts a surprising hint of Greek essence to our award-winning French cheese! Greek Kiss makes a gorgeous appearance for any cheese plate or first course.

Belle And Bees From Fromagerie Belle Chevre

Belle & The Bees Breakfast Cheese combines two indulgences in one: Creamy Belle Chèvre goat cheese and Savannah Bee Company Tupelo Honey. Simply spread on a bagel for a healthy start to your day or on a cracker for the perfect savory afternoon snack. You never knew “good for you” could taste so great.

Green Hill From Sweet Grass Dairy

Green Hill is pasteurized, soft-ripened, cow’s milk cheese. A Camembert-style bloomy-rinded cheese, Green Hill is the shining star of the Sweet Grass Dairy line. They have received numerous awards for this cheese and it’s success is rooted in our grass-based milk. Their artisan modes of production yield a thin rind with a rich, unctuous paste and a sweet, buttery flavor.

Barely Buzzed from Beehive Cheese Company

This is a full bodied cheese with a nutty flavor and smooth texture. The cheese is hand rubbed with a Turkish grind of Colorado Legacy Coffee Company's (The Cheesemakers brother) "Beehive Blend". The blend consists of a mix of South American, Central American, and Indonesian beans roasted to different styles. French Superior Lavendar buds are ground with the coffee and the mixture is diluted with oil to suspend the dry ingredients in the rub. The rub imparts notes of butterscotch and caramel which are prevalent near the rind, but find their way to the center of the cheese. The cheese is aged on Utah Blue Spruce aging racks in our humidity controlled caves, and moved to different temperature during the aging process to develop texture and flavor. The name "Barely Buzzed" comes from Andrea at Deluxe Foods in California. She was the winner of the name this cheese contest.

Sea Hive From Beehive Cheese Company

From the land of Salt and Honey. We couldn’t resist this one. Our SeaHive is hand rubbed with Beehive wildflower honey and local Redmond RealSalt. The honey is harvested from a local farm where the bee’s visit wildflowers and fruit orchards. The salt is from an ancient sea bed near Redmond, Utah and contains unique flecks of color that are the result of more than 50 natural trace minerals. This cheese is shaping up to be one of our best experiments yet and is a true expression of our local flavors

Habenaro Smoked Cheddar

This Utah original gets its name from Promontory Summit, the historic location where the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific Rail Road lines linked the country nearly 150 years ago This Irish style cheese is: buttery, full-bodied and lively with snappy, citrus-like and fruity notes. Warms on your tongue and leaves a subtle sharp note in your mouth   Smoked with English Walnut Shells, apples and peppered with habenaro.

Chocolate Butter With Pecans

In Cajun and Creole Country, cooks are always in search of extra flavor, even in simple accompaniments and spreads. Unexpected ingredients are often added for that special element of surprise. At Chef John Folse's Bittersweet Plantation Dairy, a line of flavored butters has been created for just that reason. Enjoy our award-winning chocolate butter on waffles, pancakes, bagels, biscuits, breads or as a baking ingredient.

Marinated Feta from Bittersweet Plantation

 Bittersweet Plantation Dairy's Bulgarian-style goat milk feta offers authentic flavor, superior texture and a multitude of uses. Here it is bathed in olive oil and infused with garlic, peppers, and spices to make a delightful appetizer or accompaniment to crusty bread or crackers.

Holy Cow from Bittersweet Plantation Dairy

 This bloomy rind cow’s milk cheese builds its tremendous flavor characteristics through longer aging. Although a triple cream, the one-and-a-half to three pound catch weight size allows the cheese to slowly soften over a ten to twelve week period without achieving a molten state. Perfect for cheese trays, eating alone, or as an added flavoring to rich lobster or oyster bisque, no wonder it’s named Holy Cow!

Fleur dis Lis From Bittersweet

 This triple cream Guernsey milk blend is characterized by a slightly firm rind and a wonderful, buttery, creamy interior. This cheese is named after the symbol of France, the founder of Louisiana.
Benning  Aged Goat Cheese

This goat cheese is not at all what you would expect from a goat cheese because its taste is very mild compared to other goat cheeses. Its made in the traditional old fashioned way, using wooden forms to shape the cheese. Its aged for 1 year in a temperature and moisture controlled room on wooden shelves and hand turned every week. It pairs well with semi-dry to semi-sweet white wines, cider and beer. Great on a sesame seed cracker or whole wheat breads

Ewephoria  Sheep Milk Gouda

The punny name that only makes sense in English should give it away; this cheese was invented for the American market’s infamous sweet tooth. Presumptuous - if only the butterscotch sweet, nutty result wasn’t so gosh darn successful. And there’s an upside to a focused market; the single producer of pasteurized milk is much smaller than most export sources - the farmer’s wife posits that the sheep ‘eat better than her children’ on lush pasture surrounded by a nature preserve. The crunchy stuff makes a blissful snack with drinks like Sherry or Porter and is delicious melted on pies or dessert breads.

Roomano  6 Year aged Cow milk Gouda

Roomano is a skimmed cow's milk Gouda from Holland aged up to six years. The texture is hard and crystalline; the flavor has intense caramel and butterscotch tones. Roomano is suitable for grating as well as eating - pair this cheese with big reds or crisp, fruity whites.

Prima Donna Dutch Gouda

Prima Donna is a relatively mild style of a Dutch Gouda cow's milk cheese that is aged for one year. As compared to a four- or six-year Gouda, Prima Donna has a distinctly softer texture and a more subtle flavor. It has an ivory rind with a slight rose blush, a crystalline texture, and a sweet, nutty flavor with a caramel aftertaste. Prima Donna is a versatile cheese for pairing with wines yet it pairs especially well with bigger reds such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel

Asiago Pressato

Produced in the Po Valley near Treviso, Asiago Pressato is a milder, sweeter Asiago with a springy, pale interior. It is classified as an Italian DOC (Denominiazione di Origine Controllata) cheese, meaning that it is protected by governmental standards regarding the cheese's origin and techniques. Made from pasteurized whole milk and aged for 20 to 40 days, this young cheese has a full, creamy flavor. We suggest enjoying Pressato with crusty Italian bread and a glass of Pinot Grigio!


Crucolo is an artisanal cheese that comes from the Trentino-Alto Adige region in Northern Italy It is a cow’s milk cheese that is produced by unpasteurized milk only by a single producer, Rifigio Crucolo. The pate is ivory in color with irregular holes dispersed throughout.  It is manufactured in cylindrical shaped wheels that typically weigh 25 pounds. It is similar to Asiago and Trugole in appearance. Its texture is fairly soft and elastic with a flavor that is somewhat mild, rich, buttery with a slightly tangy finish.

Fontina Val D’aosta

The recipe for Fontina Val d'Aosta is rumored to have been revealed to the early inhabitants of the Val d'Aosta by a near-mythical man called Sarvadzo. He taught them to make this unpasteurized, full-fat cheese, matured in grottos for at least three months. Its taste reflects its origins in the high, Alpine slopes - it is actually an Italian cousin to the French Gruyère. Fontina is earthy, mushroomy, and woody, and pairs exceedingly well with roast meats and truffles. This cheese also pairs well with a burly red wine - try a Barolo from Piemonte to the south, or a Zweigelt from Austria to the northeast.

Provolone Valpadana

Provolone Valdapana is only produced in the plains from Milan to Udine. There is also a Provolone cheese made in the areas around Naples called the “Provolone del Monaco.” If it comes from anywhere else it is a fake. Even when produced in these regions there is a difference between the industrial crap and true Provolone. Provolone will be in its traditional form. The traditional shapes are large Salami, Pear or Melon, truncated cone (for sizes above 100 lbs) and the wine bottle. Your Deli should have the Pear/Melon shaped Provolone.

Gorgonzola Naturale

Gorgonzola Naturale (also known as Piccante) is what most people think of as Gorgonzola - it is a large wheel of blued cow's milk cheese from Northern Italy. The texture is semi-soft which softens even further at room temperature. The molds inside are a characteristic blue/green color and provide a sharp piquancy throughout the cheese

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Certified Angus Beef and Southern Foods Visit Back Creek Farm

Joe and Robin Hampton began Back Creek in Mt Ulla, NC in 1981. They breed Angus cattle which supply other farms with breed stock. Friday, Nov. 19th, Joe and Robin were hosts to us at Southern Foods and Certified Angus Beef. The Hamptons were nice enough spend the day showing us around. They have a beautiful farm just west of Charlotte NC with about 100 head of cattle. I had no idea angus beef was being bred right here in NC but Mr Hampton explained there are operations like his all over the country. In fact, the average farm has 30 head of cattle. When you think about the number of cattle needed to supply the world market for angus beef ,that's a lot farms. That means there are small farms in every community that you support every time you order Certified Angus Beef from Southern Foods.

I'm all about supporting local businesses, keep the money close to home ya' know. Now I have even more reasons to like Certified Angus Beef.. But what happens when try to get beef from a guy down the street direct? What are you getting? At best the local processors are state inspected and they sure don't have anyone on hand to grade the beef. Is it select, choice, maybe if you are really really lucky prime? You could be paying allot more to serve a tough steak that was a dairy cow last week. Wouldn't you rather support local farmers and get the quality you are accustomed to with CAB.

With Certified Angus Beef  from Southern Foods you get it all.. First you ARE supporting local farmers in every community across the nation. You also get all the quality assurances that come with the CAB brand. Upper Choice, "A" maturity, carcass weight under 1000# (smaller primals = thicker steaks!), modest or better marbling with fine texture and all the marketing support available thru CAB.....need I go on?
For more reasons to choose CAB and Southern Foods Give me a call Or....

Please check out for more info.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Free Range Turkeys and Tristan Lobster Tails

The Holidays will be here before you know it. Southern Foods has a few new items that will make those Holiday menus special..

Maple Lawn Turkeys are raised in those wide open spaces. They are true Free Range Birds. They also have no antibiotics, no water or solutions added, no additives, no preservatives, and never ever frozen. We are taking pre-orders now and must have them in before the 8th to ensure you take delivery before Thanksgiving. We have hens from 12/14 #, 16/18#, 20/22# and big birds at 24/26#. We are also featuring all breast meat 10/12#.

Now lets talk Lobster Tails... We are now offering Tristan Lobster Tails. They come from a small island in the South Atlantic , Tristan du Cuna. With 300 inhabitants whose main source of income is lobstering. This fishery is in the process of acquiring a green Eco-Label certifying them as  well managed and sustainable. They have 9 small open boats that fish the cold waters just of the coast. Seems like a tough way to make a living, why do they do it? Because, the Tristan lobster is the best in the World! They are highly sought for the delicate sweet flavor. You will not find Tristan Lobster tails in your local fish market, or middle of the road seafood places. You will only find them very high end establishments. They would look great on your Holiday menu.