• Elderberry Featured on Four Square Restaurant's Winter Menu

December 18, 2013

Four Square - Winter Menu

Folks living in the Chapel Hill, Durham and Raleigh "triangle" of North Carolina have many great dining options, yet for those truly special evenings and events, one restaurant comes to mind, and that place is Four Square Restaurant.  Founded by the husband and wife team of Chefs Shane Ingram and Elizabeth Woodhouse in 1999, Four Square Restaurant is well known for its exquisite menu and wine selection.  The menu changes every two months and is built upon what is seasonally available from local farmers.

Four Square has a Fresh Local Menu

Shane sources his greens from a farm in Pittsboro, heirloom tomatoes from Flat River Farms in Timberlake, the chicken, turkey, eggs and honey used at Four Square come from Little Tree Farms in Granville County, the lamb is sourced from Captain John S. Pope Farm in Cedar Grove, and the pork is supplied by the Brinkley family in Creedmoor.  You'll also find Shane or his staff at local farmers' markets on Saturday mornings to pick up the best of locally grown foods, and once those goods are back at the restaurant, the magic begins!  Four Square Restaurant is famous for its inventive and amazing paring of foods and flavors and for the beautiful presentation of each dish.

You can imagine how thrilled we were when Shane wanted to experiment with our elderberry juice, and we were "over the moon" when he decided to add elderberry to his November/December 2013 menu! His dish, Braised Beef Shortribs with a Smoked Gouda Polenta Cake, Roasted Local Broccoli and a Green Peppercorn-Elderberry Sauce was a staple of the entree menu throughout the months of November and December.  For dessert the Chocolate PB & J featuring Four Square's homemade elderberry jelly was a very popular choice.

Four Square also worked elderberry into their specials, which included a first course of Beef Carpaccio Wrapped Maytag Cheese with Local Greens and Hazelnuts with a Cranberry Elderberry Glaze and Pumpkin Seed Oil (featured left).  The strong flavors of this dish--including blue cheese and arugula--blended perfectly to create an amazingly delicious and refreshing first course.  The elderberry drizzled on top went so well with the carpaccio and the mixed green salad.



Stephen Kennedy, the Pastry Chef at Four Square, created several specials for the dessert menu. No stranger to unique ingredients, Stephen said that elderberry reminded him of the marionberry from the northwest, but found elderberry easier to work with because it is less tart.  One of Stephen's creations, Elderberry Gels with Dry Caramel, Gingerbread Croutons and Peppermint from Stephen's own garden is pictured here...this dessert is amazing! The elderberry was so deep, dark and wow when set against the subtle sweetness of the dry caramel, the spice of the gingerbread croutons, and fresh zing of peppermint greens.  Four Square does a genius job of flavor pairings, and this dish was no exception!

Ever inventive, Shane continues to experiment with elderberry.  On the morning of my visit to Four Square, Shane presented me with an Elderberry Teriyaki Glazed Prawn with a Grey Oyster Mushroom Eclair in an Egg Drop Soup and explained that they are testing this dish to see if it is worthy of the January/February 2014 menu.

Four Square's creativity and general genius with food is undeniable, and their farm-to-fork mission fits so perfectly with our values as a small family-owned business.   In the expert hands of Shane, Stephen and the other talented chefs that create the Four Square cuisine, our elderberry has been brought to life by one of the culinary greats.  And, as Shane said,  "We are having fun exploring elderberry, and we've only just begun to scratch the surface."

Like ginger, garlic, turmeric, or any of the more popular superfruits such as blueberry, pomegranate, or acai berry, elderberry is a food that is both good for you and can be a blast to experiment with in the kitchen.  (For ideas, be sure to check out our recipes page!)  Next time you pull your elderberry juice or jelly or jam, ask yourself, how else might I incorporate this delicious and healing fruit into my food life?   If you come up with anything good, be sure to let us know!  And if you live in the Triangle, be sure to check out Four Square Restaurant for a completely memorable dining experience and remarkable elderberry inspiration.


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