Tag Archives: cooking

Snout to Tail

Freshly Ground Meat

Developed as way to utilize scraps of meat that occur as butchers broke down animals in search of the best cuts, ground meat is an essential part of the ‘snout to tail’ philosophy of whole animal butchery. And that philosophy is essential to the Italian culture of meat eating. Why is this relevant you might ask? Because of our new favorite addition to our butcher counter: a meat grinder! And while ground meat sometimes sounds gross, sometimes even looks gross, rest assured, there are a lot of benefits to having freshly ground meat.

For starters–let’s be real. Most the ground meat you have in the ordinary grocery store is, more or less, mystery meat. You won’t find a soul in the meat department of those stores that knows when the meat was ground, let alone what cut of beef it is. And that mystery gets even harder to solve when you move past the ground beef into the ground pork, the veal, and so-on. First and foremost, having our own grinder will mean that all of our meat is as fresh as can be, and the beef we use is the same quality, dry-aged local black angus as our steaks that you’ve come to know and love.

With that quality and freshness in mind, the possibilities become seemingly endless. Looking for the perfect beef to make your famous burgers? We’re happy to grind you whatever you need to order. And for those of you still looking to find your favorite, come try one of our creations! This past weekend we had two special patties: one made with sun-dried tomato paste and one with ‘nduja, a spicy spreadable salami. They were awesome! Now that the weather is getting warmer and grilling season is upon us we are going to have burgers in the case regularly so make sure you stop by to get some.


But burger patties aren’t the only way ground meat can be used! The original way Italians would make use of ground meat, typically pork, was as sausages–which are essentially the same thing as a burger, just stuffed into a casing. Having a meat grinder in the case puts us one step closer to making our own sausages and I couldn’t be more excited. If you ask me, a sausage thrown on the grill, or on the skillet is one of life’s simplest pleasures.

The biggest takeaway from all this is that freshly ground meat is one of the most versatile things you can cook with. Whether you press it into a patty, stuff it into a casing, or cook it up in a pasta sauce, there’s no doubt that it will be delicious. Come visit us–we’re happy to get you whatever you need.


Scott Weiss
Scott Weiss

Possibilities become endless Read more

Developed as way to utilize scraps of meat that occur as butchers broke down animals in search of the best cuts, ground ...

Fresh Produce, From Farm to (Your) Table

When we opened our doors on a cold and rainy November morning, we made a promise to ourselves to use fresh, seasonal, local produce in our café, on our dinner menus and to sell in our market. And though I love a good root vegetable – beets, turnips, radishes, winter squashes and potatoes – no one was happier than me to see the weather turn from winter to spring, bringing with it a new produce season.

Black Tomatoes
Krim tomatoes look different, but did you know they always place high in tomato taste trials?

First came the mushrooms, and not just the usual cremini and portabello but beech mushrooms, oyster mushrooms and maitake mushrooms as well! Hot on their heels came the rest of the goodies. I have never been so excited to see rhubarb, spring garlic, and, at long last, tomatoes and strawberries. Hallelujah, now the fun begins! For starters, we will be eating everything straight up raw, or maybe with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt. We will also be experimenting with the produce – cooking with them, adding them to pasta and soups, making desserts and pastries – seeing how to best capture their natural flavors to enhance our favorite dishes.

Stop by and enjoy the bounty at Via Umbria! Take our produce home to prepare in your kitchen, or if you’re not up to cooking, you can enjoy them in our café or at a dinner event. If you see something unfamiliar that you don’t know how to cook – ask! We are ready to help.

Via Umbria gets deliveries from Tuscarora Farms every Tuesday and Friday. Come early and come often because now every day is Farmer’s Market Day! Here are a few of my favorite ways to enjoy this week’s delicious haul:

Fresh Strawberries
These juicy red berries are a sure sign that a sunny summer is on its way.

My favorite way to eat them? Definitely just straight out of the carton (probably before I even make it home)! And of course, they’re fantastic on top of gelato, zabaglione or in a tiramisu with cream and prosecco. But strawberries aren’t just for dessert, try them tossed in a salad with wildfire lettuce, almonds and parmigiano. If you love trying new things, drizzle them lightly with aged balsamic. Sounds a bit weird, but tastes amazing!

Asparagus tastes great on its own, but there are many ways to really ehance the flavor: roasted with hearty olive oil and sea salt, wrapped with guanciale and grilled, or roasted with rhubarb and toasted pistachios. You can combine it with pasta sauce, guanciale and fresh tomatoes served with homemade tagliatelle. And for a lighter dish, lightly steam the asparagus and serve in a baby lettuce salad with roasted chicken and sliced tomatoes.

Red and Green Tomatoes
The colors of Christmas, but the taste of spring! Who’s ready for fried green tomatoes?

Sometimes simple is the best way to go! Tomatoes taste great sliced and served with a drizzle of Olio Verde and Sea Salt from Cervia. But if you want to experiment with flavors, try a traditional dish like Caprese salad with fresh Mozzarella from DiPalo’s (arrives fresh every Thursday!) and fresh basil from the farm. Tomatoes are also a primary ingredient in Bruschetta (everyone’s favorite!) – simply mix with olive oil, garlic, and a hint of pepperoncini. Another way to enjoy them is diced with red onions, Firefly Creamery’s Black and Blue Cheese and a drizzle of balsamic.

A culinary secret! Because spring garlic hasn’t yet fully developed, it has a milder flavor than regular garlic. Slice and use it in everything, either cooked or raw. Try it with aioli, stir fry, in a vinaigrette, tossed with handmade pasta and olive oil, and add it to salads.

Ramps, or wild leeks, have a sharp flavor that tastes like a combination of garlic and onion. You can use them any way that you would normally use leeks or onions. Try them grilled and served as a side drizzled with olive oil and sea salt, in scrambled eggs, a frittata, or simply toss them into a salad. If you aren’t ready for Ramp season to be over, pickle them and use them all year long!

Worried about garlic breath? The taste of spring garlic is a bit more mild!
Worried about garlic breath? The taste of spring garlic is a bit more mild!

Everybody knows rhubarb! It’s quite tart, so the best way is to add a bit of sugar. It’s great in a crumble, crisp or buckle (whatever it’s know as to you) topped with a sweet dough or oatmeal and brown sugar and baked. And of course, rhubarb pie – with or without strawberries – is a classic! You can also cook it down with sugar to make a compote for a crostata, to serve over gelato or to spread on toast. Rhubarb is a great addition to savory dishes as well, it can be diced and cooked with wild greens served with freshly grilled Umbrian Sausages.

Spring's Bounty Read more

When we opened our doors on a cold and rainy November morning, we made a promise to ourselves to use fresh, seasonal, ...

A Culinary Event of Pork Proportions

I’m always a bit timid about large scale food or drink events, they tend to turn to a nice series of lines to wait in. So, I was a bit unsure of what to expect when I went to Cochon555 the other day. A nominal competition anchoring a series of pork-centered events, Cochon555 brings in several chefs, each partnered with a local pig farmer to deliver three pork dishes, in order to raise funds and awareness about the importance of local farms and humanely raised livestock. Let me tell you, this quickly turned into one of the most delicious evenings I have had in a long time. From sausage tartare to coney-style hot dogs, spring rolls to sliders; it never ceases to amaze me how much one can do with pork. If the only thing that you think of when you think of eating pork is overcooked grilled pork chop served alongside something sweet, you don’t know what you’re missing out on. Which brings me to something else that I noticed there: all of these doctored up little pork things were just variations of simple things that any home cook could do. From a slow cooked pork shoulder to reforming a sausage into the shape of a burger: don’t be intimidated by cooking pork. It can end up being the most forgiving and rewarding meat to cook.

The centerpiece of the event, however, was a “pop-up” butcher shop that followed a demonstration. The master butcher, who later told me how happy he was to see butchery reemerging after so many years as a dying art, and a chef broke down a small pig in under thirty minutes. It was a sight to behold. I’ve experienced it before, but participating in or observing this process never ceases to be a humbling experience. You are watching a transformation: from an animal into recognizable food. Food that you could have picked up at the grocery store. The respect gained from just a little bit of knowledge of this process goes a long way, I think. First of all, you begin to pay more attention to where your meat comes from, how it was treated, and what it ate. Second of all, you make sure you buy the right cut for what you’d want to make.

Breaking Down a Pig

That’s where I come in! Come by the butcher shop with some ideas and we can work together to make sure you have exactly what you need. I can receive special orders and work with you to make sure you get precisely what you want, or whatever your recipe calls for. It is amazing how easy cooking can be when you are using the right ingredients. And we can get you the right ingredients!

Scott Weiss
Scott Weiss

A recap of Cochon555 Read more

I’m always a bit timid about large scale food or drink events, they tend to turn to a nice series of lines ...

Simone’s Super Bowl Snacks


This Super Bowl Sunday, ditch the store bought salsa for some real food. These recipes from Chef Simone are an Italian twist on some classic favorites to keep you warm, full, and happy (no matter the outcome) this game day.


And why not complete your foodie football day with some beers from Birra Perugia? Stop by our store in Georgetown to get your hands on the most unique imported brews and view the game in style.




Ground chicken meat



Parmigiano cheese



Sundried tomatoes – chopped

Sundried tomatoes –  paste

Materials: Carta Fata Paper, available at Via Umbria

Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl, setting aside part of the tomatoes.
Lay out the Carta Fata on a table, put the meat in the middle of the paper. Press and spread the chicken out until is about half an inch thick.
Put the rest of tomatoes in the center of the chicken. Wrap the meat well until you have formed a tube.

Close the top and the bottom of the tube with string.
Boil for 20 minutes in hot water. The Carta Fata will not melt because it is magic!
After boiling, slice and serve with fresh salad by the side. Drizzle olive oil over the entire plate and serve!





Beef ground 30% fat

Bread crumbs


Garlic parsley



Parmesan cheese

Egg yolks

Tomato sauce


Chili pepper



Mix the meat with Rosemary and sage, and then the breadcrumbs, egg yolks, and parmesean. Start to make little ball.

In a pan, sauté the garlic and add the tomato sauce. Cook the sauce with salt and hot pepper until it thickens. Add the meat ball and go on to cook for 20 minutes.










Tomato sauce

Chili pepper




Sauté the greens in a pan with the herbs too. When they are fragrant and cooked, add the beans (if using dried beans, they must be hydrated. The day before, put them in a bowl with water, and then boil them for 30 minutes and let stand). Sauté all of the ingredients little more and then add the tomato paste. Heat on low flame, simmering until soup becomes thick. Garnish with sour cream or Italian cheese and serve!


— Via Umbria 

American Football with Italian Food Read more

This Super Bowl Sunday, ditch the store bought salsa for some real food. These recipes from Chef Simone are an Italian twist ...