Clark began his culinary career in his hometown of Lenoir, NC, where his family, which can be traced back 7 generations in North Carolina, was a constant source of inspiration for traditional Southern cooking techniques and ingredients.  Before attending Johnson and Wales in Charlotte, NC, Clark worked at a small local eatery, Bud’s Pub, in Lenoir.  While attending culinary school in Charlotte, Clark worked for legendary Charlotte restaurateur Frank Scibelli at Mama Ricotta’s.  Clark also had stints at some of the world’s top restaurants, including The French Laundry, in Napa, California, and El Bulli, in Spain.  Clark name his two most formative kitchen experiences as his time at Chez Pascal in Providence, RI, under Che Matt Gennuoso, and his time spent managing for Clyde’s Restaurant Group, in Washington, DC.  Clark has also appeared on The Food Network’s Chopped and Beat Bobby Flay.  He was most recently responsible for revamping North Rock Restaurant in Bermuda before returning to North Carolina to open his dream restaurant- Heirloom.  With a passion for changing food culture in the United States, Clark spends his time as an active member of several non-profits in Charlotte.  He served as a board member of Green Teacher Network (GTN), which works to advance academics, health and sustainability through school gardens and outdoor learning.  GTN collaborates with over 30 area organizations in support of school gardens, composting, and growing natural environment. They maintain a network of over 2,000 educators throughout 185 schools in the Charlotte area. Clark is also a founding member of the Mecklenburg Community Food Health Coalition, which brings together partners from the private and public sectors, including the Mecklenburg County Department of Public Health, to deal with food policy issues in Mecklenburg County. Clark is also an adjunct professor in Regional American Cuisine, Contemporary Cuisine, and Latin Cuisine at the International Culinary School at the Art Institute in Charlotte, NC.  With a primary focus on serving the best North Carolina foods and beverages, Clark enjoys creating original and unique dishes that reflect his travels and training. Clark is an avid forager and when he is not in Heirloom’s kitchen, he can most likely be found in NC forests and fields, sourcing ingredients for Heirloom’s menu.

 

Three Bean Portobello Mushroom Tamales- GF, Vegan

Makes 25 small tamales, plus 1 qt. of chili (or double the dough for 2x tamales)

1- 6 oz. package of dried corn husks, soaked in hot water for 40 minutes

For the Dough

2 ½ cups masa harina

1 ½ cups hot water

1 cup cold coconut oil

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 ½ teaspoon sea salt

1 cup vegetable broth

In a large bowl, stir the masa harina with the hot water until moistened; let cool. In the

bowl of a standing electric mixer, using the paddle blade, mix the coconut oil with the

baking powder and salt at medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. With the machine

on, add the corn masa mix, in golf-ball- size lumps, then drizzle in the vegetable stock and

beat the masa until completely smooth. Increase the speed to high and beat until fluffy,

about 3 minutes; the texture should resemble mashed potatoes. Cover the bowl with a

damp towel and set aside until ready to use.

For the Chili Filling:

Olive oil

2 large onions, (or 4 small onions)

1 chopped yellow bell pepper

1 chopped red bell pepper

1 chopped jalapeño pepper

1 chopped Serrano pepper

3 Portobello mushroom

2 cups fire roasted corn (frozen pack)

1 can fire roasted tomatoe with chile

2 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 can organic pinto beans

1 can organic kidney beans

1 can black beans

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Using a large heavy skillet (I use my cast iron pan) sauté the onion in olive oil, until

translucent. Add the peppers and garlic and continue cooking until soft. Add all of the

spices, the Serrano peppers and the corn, and cook for 10 minutes, until all of the flavors

come together. Add the beans and cilantro. Cook for 10 more minutes, allowing the

flavors to meld. Adjust spices to your taste.

For the Sauce:

1 small green bell pepper

1 small yellow bell pepper

1 chopped jalapeño

1 chopped Serrano

1 chopped Red onion

½ cup cilantro

¼ cup cacao nibs

Salt to taste

1 can Fire roasted tomatoes with chili

1 Tb garlic

Place all sauce ingredients into the blender, and blend on high until smooth.

To Assemble the Tamales:

Remove a corn husks from the water and pat dry. Working in batches of 4, lay the husks

on a towel and spread about 2 tablespoons of the dough in an even layer across the wide

end of the husk, creating a rectangle of dough. Leave about 1/2-inch border on the edges.

Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the chili filling in a line down the center of the dough. Roll

the husk so the dough surrounds the chili filling, then fold the bottom under. Use 2 corn

husks and rip them into thin strands, creating pieces of corn twine, to use to tie up the

tamales. Tie the tamales, around the center, using the thin strips of a corn husk. Repeat

until all husks, dough and filling are used.

To Cook the Tamales:

Using a deep stock pot, with a steamer in the bottom, fill the pot with water, just coming

up to the bottom of the steamer. Make balls of tin foil to fill in the side gaps. Cover the

steamer and the tin foil balls with a thin layer of corn husks. Stand the tamales upright on

their folded ends, tightly packed together, securing them with more tin foil balls on the

sides to prop them up. Cover, place over high heat and bring to a boil. Steam for 15

minutes. Reduce the heat, partially remove the lid, and simmer for 1 ½ hours. Serve the

tamales warm with the sauce on the side.

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