Bill Hawkins was lured away from the stylish Victoria National Golf Club in Newburgh, Indiana, by a simple Internet ad posted on a natural foods forum. “I printed it out and carried it around in my wallet,” says Hawkins. He fit the characteristics listed in the ad and it intrigued him: he was an executive chef, he valued small-town life, and he cared about local food.
At the golf club, he’d always cooked with local food, free of antibiotics, steroids, and growth hormones, even though he wasn’t required to. The Bluebird cafe in Stanford “was a chance for my values and principles to align with the ownership,” he says. When he first met owners Jess and Angela Correll, he says, “It was like meeting old friends.”
At the cafe, Hawkins buys Kentucky-grown meat, eggs, and cheese to serve in the restaurant. “We make our own cinnamon rolls and wheat rolls every morning,” he says. Chicken comes in whole from nearby Marksbury Farm. Hawkins cuts them into parts: breasts go into sandwiches; bones are the base for his all-natural chicken noodle soup, served daily, and for sauces.
Bluebird’s pastry chef Stella Clay uses Kentucky-made Weisenberger flours to create many of her desserts, which change often–each more tempting than the next–as well as breads, focaccia, and rolls.
Bluebird is located at 202 W. Main Street in Stanford, www.bluebirdnatural.com, (606) 365-1010, and is open Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m.-4 p.m.
Red Velvet Truffle Cake
Recipe by Stella Clay
1 3/4 C plus 2 Tbsp self-rising flour
1 C plus 2 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp cocoa
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 C vegetable oil
3/4 C buttermilk
1/3 C melted butter
1 tsp vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 oz red food coloring
1 lb semisweet chocolate chips
2 1/3 C whipping cream, divided
Preheat oven to 325°. Grease and flour two 9-inch round pans. Put dry ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Beat eggs in a large bowl. Add remaining wet ingredients to eggs and beat to mix. Gradually add flour mixture and combine on low speed.
Divide batter between pans. Bake 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then run a knife around the sides of the cake layers to make them easier to remove from the pans. Cool layers on wire racks.
Make the frosting while the cake bakes and cools. Scald 2 cups whipping cream. Remove from heat and add chocolate. Let it stand 1 minute, then stir to blend evenly. Keep 1 cup of the mixture in a warm place to use as glaze and store the rest in the refrigerator.
When the cake is cool, beat cold chocolate with an electric mixer. As it starts to fluff, pour in 1/3 cup whipping cream and beat until the mixture is fluffy and resembles whipped cream. Put a cake layer on a serving plate and top with 1 1/2 cups whipped frosting. Top with second cake layer and pour the warm glaze over the top, smoothing it into a thin, shiny layer over the top (it’s okay if a little drizzles over the sides). Ice the sides of the cake with the remaining whipped frosting. Chill several hours before serving. Serves 12.
Horseradish Cheese Spread
Recipe by Sarah Fritschner
This spicy cheese spread is easy to make and a little spicy. Grated horseradish is usually found in small jars in the refrigerated section of the supermarket.
12 oz grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese, about 3 C
8 oz sour cream
4 Tbsp grated horseradish
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard, or other spicy mustard
Combine all ingredients and beat or whirl in the processor until fairly smooth. Makes about 3 cups. Serve with crackers or thin slices of French bread.