Farm Fresh Recipes

Farm Fresh Recipes

Kale Salad
Combine 2 tablespoons lemon juice with 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, a finely grated garlic clove, a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper in a small bowl. Thinly slice kale leaves (about 4 cups) and place in a large bowl. Heat 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat and toss 1/3 cup almond, with skin, coarsely chopped, in the oil for about 2 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Remove nuts to a paper towel to drain and lightly sprinkle with sea salt. Whisk about 1/3 cup olive oil into the lemon juice/mustard mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add dressing to kale and about ¾ cup grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese. Toss to coat, season with salt and pepper, if needed. Garnish with almonds.

Kale Chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place kale leaves on the paper, lightly brush them with vinaigrette and bake for about 12 minutes or until crisp. Add a dusting of sea salt and enjoy.


Kale for Non-Kale Lovers
*I served this side dish when friends came for dinner one cold, January night. One friend, when she heard I was serving kale, said, “I don’t think I like kale.” After trying a small portion, this person remarked, “I really do like kale! Please pass some more.”
Wash about 4 cups of fresh kale and use a sharp knife to shred it. Place in a large bowl, but do not dry or use salad spinner. A little of the water is needed. Fry 3 strips of bacon until crispy and then heat reserved bacon fat until very hot, but not smoking. Toss shredded kale in the hot fat until it is bright green and slightly wilted, about 2-3 minutes. The wet kale will sizzle in the hot grease, so use a splatter screen or wear an apron to protect your clothing. Season with sea salt, freshly ground pepper and a dash of red pepper flakes. Using tongs, place kale in a large salad bowl and add 2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped. Top with crumbled bacon. Serve with vinegar on the side to dress individual portions.


Baby Cabbage Leaves, Sauteed
When I sow cabbage seeds, I often purposefully do not thin the young plants. We love the baby leaves, purple and green, shredded and quickly cooked. Simple, elegant and utterly delicious.
4 cups baby cabbage leaves, shredded (We like a colorful blend of heirloom varieties)
In a large saucepan, heat 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Add the cabbage and quickly cook, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes, or until the leaves just turn a rich color
Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper and serve warm


Preserved Harvest Soup

Saute 1 chopped onion and 1 garlic clove, minced, in 2 tablespoons hot oil in Dutch oven. Add 1 cup frozen crowder peas, 1 cup frozen corn, 2 potatoes, peeled and sliced, 1 quart canned tomatoes, undrained, 1 tsp. salt, ½ tsp pepper and 5 cups vegetable stock. Cook over medium high heat for about 15 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Add 1 cup frozen sliced okra and 2 cups fresh shredded kale. Adjust seasoning and cook 5 minutes.

GrandMom Tut’s Cornbread

Both my children have gratefully received a seasoned cast-iron skillet and this recipe from their grandmother. What a wonderful gift!

Preheat oven to 475 degrees and heat a large cast-iron skillet on stovetop with 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil.
Mix together:
1 tablespoon oil
1 egg
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. baking soda
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups Tendabake self-rising cornmeal mix

Pour mixed batter into smoking hot skillet and place in preheated oven. Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven, hold your breath and turn the cornbread cake onto a plate. For an absolutely silent meal, serve hot from the oven. With this delicious cornbread in a mouth, it is impossible to talk!

Roasted Winter Vegetables

For each serving, allow 1-2 vegetables. Wash, peel and cut into 1-inch chunks an assortment of winter root vegetables: Black Radishes, Carrots, Beets, Rutabagas, Turnips, Potatoes, Onions, Parsnips or Sweet Potatoes may be used. Place vegetable chunks in a large bowl and add 4 whole garlic cloves, peeled and slightly smashed, 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, ¼ – ½ cup olive oil, a few splashes balsamic vinegar, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Using hands, toss ingredients and place in a large roasting pan. If you like, top vegetables with a few sprigs of thyme, leaves attached. Roast in a 375 degree, preheated oven, for about 45 minutes, or until vegetables are softened, but not overcooked.
Winter Stir-Fry
Winter is a perfect time to use preserved vegetables. For this recipe, I used local Carolina Gold rice, purchased at the farmer’s market, and a variety of fresh and frozen goodies. Use your imagination, or your taste buds, to direct you when adding veg.
In a large Dutch oven, bring 2 cups of homemade chicken stock to a boil. Stir in ¾ cup wild rice and ¼ cup Carolina Gold rice. (Wild rice is actually a grass, not rice, and its long black grains require longer cooking, but are delicious. Carolina Gold rice is listed on the Slow Food USA Ark of Taste.) Lower heat, cover the pot and simmer rice for about 45 minutes, until tender and liquid is absorbed. In a very large skillet, heat about a tablespoon each sesame and olive oil. Add about ½ cup diced carrots, ¼ cup diced onion, 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms, ½ cup frozen asparagus spears, cut into 2-inch pieces, ¼ cup frozen peas and ¼ cup frozen corn and sauté for about 2 minutes. Add cooked rice and stir to blend with the veggies. Add a handful of fresh winter greens (kale or creasy greens, which grow wild in western NC and were revered by Appalachian mountain pioneers as a source of nutritional vitamins) and toss the hot mixture to wilt the greens. Add two fresh eggs, slightly beaten and stir the mixture until the eggs are cooked. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper and serve with soy sauce on the side, if you like.
Beans with Kale
Kale is a natural accompaniment to any bean dish and this is one we enjoy often during the winter months.

1 large bunch of kale, washed, shredded
2 cups cooked or canned white beans
1-2 tablespoons red pepper flakes
1 small red onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Dry white wine for deglazing
Extra virgin olive oil
Herbed Vinegar
Hard cheese (pecorino or parmesan) grated, to taste
Salt & pepper to taste

Heat a few tablespoons olive oil in a Dutch oven
Saute onions, garlic and red pepper flakes over medium high heat until softened
Add beans and stir to combine
Deglaze pan with wine
Add greens, stir to combine and add another half-inch or so of wine, season to taste with salt and pepper and cover for 5-7 minutes.
Check on the greens, add more liquid if you like.
Add a few splashes of vinegar, recover and let cook for a few more minutes
Adjust seasonings, complete by adding a good sprinkle of your favorite cheese
Serve immediately with a hunk of crusty bread or cornbread.


Parsnip/Carrot Soup

Parsnips are a wonderful vegetable that are new to me. When I was young, no one in my family grew this crop and I think I know why. . . parsnip seeds must be sowed in the spring, allowed to germinate and grow until the following fall, when the mature roots are dug after frost, which makes them sweeter. While the root vegetable is developing, weeding must be done in order to allow room for the roots to grow and plants that are too close must be thinned. Hundreds of parsnip seeds must be planted because there is a low germination rate and the roots reach deep into the ground, making it necessary to dig deeply with a shovel in order to loosen them and remove them without breaking the taproot. Parsnips were a saving grace for our Pilgrim settlers. Maize (corn) and squash (pumpkins) get all the credit when we read histories of these people, but parsnips were actually the crop that saved many families from starvation. Parsnips can be “stored” in the ground during winter and dug when needed and the vegetable is chock-full of sugary sweetness, making it both a side dish and dessert treat. My dear friend, Margaret, shared this recipe with me and it is now a family favorite.

(3 servings)
2 cups chopped carrots (I used white and yellow carrots, to keep a light color)
1 ½ cups chopped peeled parsnips
1 cup chicken broth
¾ cup water
¼ tsp. sugar (I omitted this because I thought the parsnips were sweet enough)
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup chopped sweet onion
1 garlic clove, minced (I used 1 green garlic, minced)
¼ tsp peeled grated horseradish (I used ¼ tsp prepared horseradish)
¼ tsp minced fresh gingerroot (I keep ginger root in my freezer and use when I need)
¾ tablespoon butter
½ cup buttermilk
½ tablespoon sour cream

Place carrots, parsnips, broth, water, sugar and salt in Dutch oven and bring to boil. Saute onion, garlic, horseradish and ginger in saucepan until tender, add to carrot mixture. Cover and cook about 25 minutes, until tender. Use immersion blender and blend until smooth or place in blender (in small batches) and blend until smooth. Return to pan and add buttermilk and sour cream. Heat until hot, but do not allow soup to boil. Serve with cornbread croutons.

Pretty carrots

Roasted Carrots
With mild winters in our area, carrots are often available for harvest during the coldest months. Although their tops are stunted by the cold weather, the roots are super sweet and tasty. This recipe is perfect for a side dish or an addition to a winter salad.
Wash and peel fresh carrots and place in a small bowl with a tight-fitting lid. Combine about ½ cup extra virgin olive oil and ½ cup balsamic vinegar. Pour the mixture over the carrots, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, shaking the bowl or turning it upside down after 30 minutes. Drain carrots and place in a shallow roasting pan. In a preheated 425 degree oven, roast the carrots until they are tender. Cool before adding to salad or serve warm as a side. Beets may also be used with the carrots.
Eggy Pasta
Although we do not own chickens, several friends do and we are always grateful recipients of fresh eggs. Unlike industrialized “manufactured” eggs, these are rich in color, taste and texture. One taste and you will never buy supermarket eggs again! This recipe is perfect for a busy weeknight or delicious as a quick, hearty, but low-calorie, breakfast.
Cook 2 ounces pasta per serving (angel hair, penne, bowtie, etc.)
In a large, hot skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter.
Add 1 green garlic, chopped finely. (All white parts and any green parts that are tender may be used. The flavor of green garlic is not as strong as grocery store garlic and is a wonderful winter/spring/fall treat)
Briefly (about 1 minute, careful not to burn!) stir the garlic in the hot oil. Add the drained pasta to the hot pan and mix with the butter, oil and garlic. Add a large handful (per person) of fresh shredded kale or arugula, toss with the pasta until the greens are wilted, but still bright green in color. Add one beaten egg, per person, into the hot pasta and stir until the egg coats the pasta and is cooked. Immediately, transfer to a plate and top with a bit of your favorite shredded cheese.
Other ingredients may be included in this dish. I have added mushrooms, shrimp, salsa, and olives and probably other ingredients that I can’t remember right now!


The following recipe comes with a warning: this soup is highly addictive and after one taste, you will be consumed with a need to grow your own white tomatoes. Of course, it also comes with a story . . .a few years ago, Richard and I partnered with our friends, Kim and Benny Myers, who own Laurel Gray Winery in the Yadkin Valley of North Carolina. The four of us wanted to host a “farm to table” dinner, but with a twist. Rather than selecting wines that would pair well with the dishes we created, we decided to actually GROW food that would complement the flavors of Laurel Gray’s award-winning French varietal wines. On November 12, 2011, fifty guests were greeted with a barrel tasting, followed by The Preserved Harvest Dinner, which was held in the candlelit barrel room at the winery. Five courses, paired with wine, featured foods that Richard and I grew specifically to complement tasting notes made by Kim and Benny. The dinner was the culmination of a two-year project and, judging by the guests’ comments, it was a success. Although each course received rave reviews, it was the White Tomato Bisque soup, paired with LGV’s Scarlet Mountain, that generated numerous requests for the recipe. I have prepared this soup many times since that dinner and always serve it with Scarlet Mountain. The Bing Cherry hint in the wine perfectly complements the spicy pepper notes and rich sweetness of the tomatoes. When Kim and I first discussed creating a tomato soup recipe, I originally planned to use Green Zebras, a tomato that, eaten fresh, has a naturally high salt content and crisp flavor and a beautiful, bright green color when ripe, but after canning or cooking, the Green Zebra did not pair well with the wine. I next tried purple tomatoes, since they have a dark richness that I thought would complement the beautiful color of Scarlet Mountain and, although the colors were eye-pleasing, the combination did not work as well as I hoped. Orange, yellow, pink, striped and yes, even red tomato varieties were tried before I finally attempted the soup recipe with Cream Sausage, a paste tomato that is sort of mealy and lacking in flavor when eaten fresh. This lowly tomato, only included in my heirloom plantings for its interesting color contrast, becomes something entirely elevated in taste when it is cooked or canned. When Kim and I tasted the soup, paired with Scarlet Mountain, we agreed we had achieved culinary excellence. Look for Cream Sausage tomatoes at your local farmer’s market and buy all you can, or better yet, grow your own. Short, bushy plants and prolific production make this an excellent container plant. Of course, you may use any kinds of peppers, but I think the soup is best when made with Thai Yellow Chili, Marconi Golden Frying and Yellow Sweet Stuffing heirloom varieties. Since this soup uses preserved ingredients, it is a perfect winter dish. I freeze heirloom peppers whole, while they are in season and the pesto swirls are made from dried and frozen ingredients. Bon Appetit!

White Tomato Bisque Soup Recipe

1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/3 cup diced peppers, seeded (I used heirlooms: Yellow Stuffing, Anaheim, Golden Marconi Frying, Yellow Thai Chili, Jalapeno)
1/3 cup sweet onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced

Saute vegetables in melted butter and olive oil in large Dutch oven or stockpot until softened, about 5-8 minutes.

Add 2 cups chicken stock (I used homemade from free-range chicken purchased at the farmer’s market.) and ¼ cup dry white wine. (LGV Chardonnay recommended.)

Add 2 quarts canned white tomatoes, with juice. (Cream Sausage, a paste-type heirloom is recommended and I can those at home.)

Season with sea salt, white pepper, garlic granules and onion granules to taste. Adjust seasoning after cooking for about 10 minutes.

Allow to cook, over low to medium heat, for about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally and do not allow to reach full boil.

Remove pot from heat and allow to cool about 10 minutes. Use an immersion blender to process soup until very smooth. Pour mixture into a food mill and process into a second pot. Clean the first pot, unless you have three large pots, because you will then need a very large fine sieve or a cleaned window screen to process the mixture a second time into a large pot. This process removes all seeds and makes a very smooth mixture.

Place the soup pot on low heat and add about ½ cup heavy whipping cream. Heat, but do NOT allow soup to boil. Adjust seasoning, if needed.

Top with basil pesto and sun-dried pesto sauce swirls and a crusty cornbread crouton.

Yield: About 4-6 servings.

Basil Pesto Sauce

1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup chopped walnuts or pine nuts
Salt and pepper to taste

Process all ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth. Add about ¼ cup olive oil in a steady stream until pesto is smooth. If pesto is not thin enough, add a little chicken stock and place pesto in a plastic squeeze bottle to add swirls.

Sun-Dried Pesto Sauce

1 cup dried tomatoes (I dry Romas and several heirloom varieties in a dehydrator and place the dried tomatoes in the freezer for storage.)
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

Process ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth. Add about ¼ cup olive oil in a steady stream until pesto is smooth. If pesto is not thin enough, add a little chicken stock and place pesto in a plastic squeeze bottle to add swirls.

Cornbread Croutons

2 cups Tenda-Bake Self-Rising Corn Meal Mix (I use yellow)
1 cup buttermilk
½ cup sour cream
1 beaten egg
¼ cup fresh, homemade salsa
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon diced jalapenos, seeded (or 1 tablespoon canned peppers)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
¼ cup fresh sweet corn (canned, drained, or frozen is a substitute and it is almost impossible to find corn that is not grown from genetically modified seed, but I grow my own)
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking soda

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl and heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large cast-iron skillet on the stovetop until it is smoking. Pour mix into the hot skillet, taking care not to splatter the batter. Bake in a preheated oven at 475 degrees for about 20 minutes, until golden brown. Turn the bread out onto a dish and invert onto another. Allow to cool, cut into crouton squares and toast in a hot oven until crusty and browned.




Asparagus Frittata

Planting asparagus requires a leap of faith, since even spears from three-year-old crowns must not be harvested the first year. Richard and I planted approximately 650 two and three year old crowns in 2010 and the sometimes-almost impossible tasks of late winter/early spring weeding just about breaks our backs! Weeding requires a special, small tool that gently loosens weed roots, while leaving asparagus crowns undamaged. Susceptible to late frosts and asparagus beetles, it is easy to see why organic, fresh asparagus is expensive, but we regard it as a true harbinger of Spring and our favorite way to enjoy it is to eat it raw in the field, as soon as it is cut.

Yield: Makes 4 servings
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
1 large green garlic, white and green parts, chopped
1 12-ounce bunch thin asparagus, trimmed, cut on diagonal into 1-inch pieces (about 2 1/2 cups)
8 farm fresh, local eggs, from happy chickens with names
1 cup diced Fontina cheese, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat broiler. Melt butter in heavy broilerproof 10-inch-diameter nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté 4 minutes. Add asparagus, sprinkle lightly with salt, and sauté until tender, about 6 minutes. Whisk eggs, 3/4 cup Fontina cheese, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in medium bowl. Add egg mixture to skillet; fold gently to combine. Cook until almost set. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup Fontina cheese and Parmesan cheese over. Broil until frittata is puffed and cheese begins to turn golden, about 3 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve.


Asparagus Rolls

One of my favorite recipes for asparagus was given to me by Mary Mast. Ms. Mast, a lifelong resident of Happy Valley, inspired future chefs at Hibriten High School and provided them with the tools they needed for success. These asparagus rolls may be made when the crop is in season and frozen, providing a year-round taste of spring.

20 slices white or wheat sandwich bread, crusts removed
12 – 14 lightly steamed asparagus spears
3 oz. cream cheese
4 oz. blue cheese crumbles
1 egg, beaten
¾ cup butter, melted

Using rolling pin, flatten bread slices. Combine cheeses and egg. Spread cheese mixture onto bread slices. Place asparagus spear onto bread and roll tightly. Dip rolls into melted butter and place rolls on cookie sheet, lined with parchment paper. Place in freezer and leave until rools are firm, but not frozen through. Remove from freezer and slice into thirds. Store frozen rolls in bags. Bake in preheated, 425 degree oven, for about 15 minutes, or until golden. Serve warm.

Fresh Asparagus Soup

(Yield: 2 cups, double or triple if you need more yield)
2 green garlics, split in ½ and cut into pieces
Large handful of asparagus stems
½ cup veggie stock
Fresh herbs: garlic chives, onion chives, bronze fennel, lemon balm, lemon thyme
¼ tsp salt (I used grey), 6 grinds of freshly ground black pepper, ¼ tsp garlic granules, ¼ tsp onion granules, ¼ tsp Possum’s Seasonings
¼ cup dry white wine
Place all in a glass baking dish and sprinkle with olive oil and top with a tablespoon of butter
Bake in a preheated, 375 degree oven, for about an hour or until all vegetables are very tender
Put all ingredients in blender with about 1 ½ cups veggie stock and blend until smooth
Pour into a potato ricer and strain soup base into a large saucepan. Discard what is left in ricer. If you do not have a ricer, strain mixture through a colander and then a fine mesh strainer
Add ½ cup heavy whipping cream or half and half and heat until hot, but not boiling
Stir in 1/3 cup shredded Fontina cheese, or your favorite cheese, stir until melted and smooth
Top each serving with a couple of tender asparagus spear ends and enjoy!


Raw Radish Sauce

I love growing (and eating!) heirloom radishes in a rainbow of colors. For this recipe, any varieties may be used, but red-skinned ones will make this sauce a beautiful pink, which is nice to serve for bridal or baby showers.

(4-5 Servings)
½ cup finely chopped radishes
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 green garlic bulb, minced
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp dried dill or 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
Dash of freshly ground pepper (I use white, but black is fine)

Combine the first 6 ingredients and mix well. Season with pepper. Turn into serving dish and chill for about 4 hours. Garnish with a few dill sprigs and thin radish slices. Serve with assorted crudités, as a side or as a sauce for any protein main course.

Radish Top Soup

I hate to waste any edible components of fresh vegetables and this recipe is a delicious way to use radish tops. If I have them, I also add carrot tops to the mixture, which gives a unique flavor.

(3 servings)
1 tablespoon butter
½ sweet onion, diced
1 medium potato, sliced
2 cups raw radish greens, washed and dried
2 cups chicken broth (I use stock)
¼ cup heavy cream
2-3 radishes, thinly sliced

Salt & pepper to taste


Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion, sauté until tender. Mix in potatoes and radish greens, coating them with the butter. Pour in chicken broth or stock and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30 min. Allow soup mixture to cool slightly and transfer to a blender or use an immersion blender to blend until smooth. Return mixture to pan and add cream. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Cook and stir until well blended and hot, but not boiling. Serve with radish slices on top. If you are lucky enough to have radish blossoms, those make a pretty and delicious garnish.


Fresh Radishes

Sometimes, the most delicious foods are simple to prepare.

Wash and cut fresh radishes into pieces. Place radishes on a platter with a bit of butter, cream cheese and/or coarse sea salt.


“Kilt” Lettuce

Kilt is a Southern Appalachian term and means “killed,” but this dish is truly alive and especially enjoyable when Spring lettuce is in season.

Fry about 4 strips of bacon, reserve hot fat in skillet.
Place washed lettuce mix in large bowl.
Dice a green garlic (white and light green parts) and one spring onion and add to hot bacon fat. Stir until veg is softened.
Pour hot fat, with garlic and onion, onto lettuce, toss to coat. Lettuce will wilt. (Kilt!)
Drizzle vinegar (herbed, if you have it) and add a dash of salt/pepper/sugar/red pepper flakes. Crumble bacon, add, and stir all to combine.


Roasted Garlic Salad Dressing

In late spring, our garlic is no longer “green,” but has developed a more pronounced bulb and is perfect for roasting whole. The white and light green parts of the stalks may still be used and the tops are wonderful for acting as “racks” for roasting meats or other veggies. For a buttery smooth, rich spread, slice the very top part of a bulb and remove. Place the bulb in aluminum foil or a garlic roaster. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Wrap with foil or cover with roaster top and place in oven, preheated to 400 degrees. Roast for about 30-35 minutes, until the bulb is tender. Allow to cool briefly and squeeze garlic from bulb and spread over crusty bread like butter.
For an outstanding salad dressing for those tasty fresh greens, try this roasted garlic recipe:

1 whole garlic bulb, roasted and soft garlic removed and placed in blender
Add ¼ cup olive oil and the following:
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or herbed vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Juice from ½ fresh lemon
Sprinkle of Possum’s Seasonings, sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Blend until smooth and add to fresh salad greens. Toss to coat.


Deviled Eggs

Nothing says “SPRING” like deviled eggs. I only use local, fresh eggs that come from happy chickens who have names.

Place 4 fresh eggs in a pot of cold water that covers the eggs. Place lid on pot. Add 1 tsp. salt. Bring water to a rolling boil and remove pot from heat. Allow to stand about 20 minutes. Drain hot water and add cold water. Allow eggs to sit for about 10 minutes. Peel eggs and using sharp knife, slice in half, lengthwise. Remove yolks and place in large bowl. Place egg whites on plate. Using fork, mash yolks until smooth. Add about 1 tsp. Dijon mustard, 1 heaping tablespoon mayonnaise, a dash of turmeric, and a tablespoon diced dill relish, with juice. You may substitute capers for the dill relish, if you like. Mix all ingredients and use a spoon to fill the egg whites. Top with any fresh herb you like and chill until ready to serve.

Spring Salad

My artist friend, Mary, not only creates beautiful art, she is the consummate salad maker. This is her basic recipe, but almost any ingredient can be deliciously added.

In large bowl, combine fresh salad greens, radishes, pea shoots, chopped spring onion, diced green garlic, baby carrots and any other fresh vegetables. (Meat lovers may add grilled beef, chicken or shrimp) Sprinkle salt, freshly ground pepper, dried oregano and other spices/herbs you like. Squeeze juice from one lemon, add a splash of herbed vinegar and a generous topping of olive oil. Toss to thoroughly mix. Serve with crusty bread.


Granny’s Carrot Cake
With fresh, tender Spring carrots, this cake is a winner. Granny was famous for her cakes and this one is a family favorite. I top mine with fresh carrot pieces, cut into candy corn shapes and candied.
Sift the following:
2 cups plain flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 ½ cups sugar
½ tsp. salt

In large mixing bowl, combine the following, then add dry ingredients.
1 cup oil
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 small can crushed pineapple, drained
2 cups grated carrots

Stir into mixture:
1 cup chopped nuts
1 cup chopped dates

Bake 350 degrees for about 1 hour, 15 minutes in greased tube pan.

Cool completely, frost with:
½ cup butter, softened
2 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened
About 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Grilled Romaine Salad

Several years ago, Richard and I had a restaurant version of this salad and we loved it so much, I had to attempt to try it at home. For a vegetarian dish, skip the bacon and just brush the lettuce with a bit of olive oil and omit the pan searing step.

Two whole Romaine heads (if using lettuce from a supermarket, you will need to trim the top ends and slice it in half, being careful keep the halves intact, if it’s from H&S, it is tender enough to leave it whole)
Fry 4 strips of bacon until crispy
Working quickly, sear the Romaine in the hot bacon fat, turning to briefly cook both sides
Remove the lettuce and sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Place the lettuce on a grill over medium hot coals (you may use a gas grill, but Richard only uses natural charcoal and we love the flavor)
As soon as the lettuce is hot on both sides, remove from the grill. You really just want to “smoke” it a bit for flavor and not overly cook the leaves. Immediately after removing from the grill, sprinkle shredded Parmesan cheese over the lettuce and then crumble the bacon over the cheese. Serve while still warm with your favorite dressing, or the recipe below. When cherry tomatoes are in season, they are a nice addition. We also add shredded carrots.

Fresh Caesar Salad Dressing

Our family really loves a Caesar salad and the fresh Romaine has been a treat to have. It is so tender and mild and we have enjoyed a Caesar salad several times lately. The dressing I make is a recipe from my son, Chef Clark. If you are concerned about using a raw egg yolk, you may omit that, but we love it for texture, taste and color and think it really adds a richness to the dressing. Of course, we only use eggs from the happy chickens!

1 2-oz tin anchovies, drained
1 clove garlic, chopped finely

Using a mortar and pestle or a blender, make a thick paste from the garlic and anchovies. If you use a blender, but be sure to leave a bit of texture to the paste. Put the paste in a large bowl and add 2 ounces of shredded Parmesan cheese, 1 tablespoon sour cream or crème fraiche, the juice from ½ fresh lemon and 1 large egg yolk. Whisk all ingredients together and then add olive oil and whisk until the dressing is smooth. You will need to add about 3-4 times olive oil to lemon juice amount. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
*Note: this recipe makes enough salad dressing for 2 salads for us; if you would like more, feel free to double or triple the recipe.

Red Mustard/Artichoke Dip

Japanese Red Mustard is a beautiful Brassica with deep purple savoy leaves on the top side and almost neon green undersides This spicy green has an almost wasabi-like heat when fresh and retains a bit of heat when cooked. I have grown some for the past few years and it reseeds, yielding a seasonal small crop when desired. Tender young leaves make a spicy salad; when mature, Japanese Red Mustard is a wonderful substitute for spinach, chard and beet greens and just might be beneficial for migraine sufferers. (Note: I reserved the liquid I drained from the cooked greens and it is a deep purple color. Who knows where that may be used?)

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups shredded Japanese Red Mustard Greens
1 green garlic, diced (not bulb, only white and light green parts of stalk)
¼ tsp salt (I used grey sea salt)
Few grinds of black pepper
¼ cup diced, roasted chile peppers
1 12 oz. jar artichoke quarters
¼ cup shredded cheese of your choice
¼ cup mayonnaise
Crumbled crispy bacon (optional)

Heat oil in heavy saucepan, add garlic and sauté briefly, about 1 minute, until softened. Add greens and 1 tablespoon dry white wine or water. Add chiles, season with salt and pepper, stir, cover pan and cook until greens are tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and add to a large bowl with the other ingredients. Combine all ingredients and spread into a baking dish that has been coated with cooking spray.
Top with additional cheese, if desired.
Bake at 375 degrees until heated through or golden, if topped with cheese, about 15 minutes.
Serve with crackers, toast points, tortilla chips or use as a side dish or topping for main course.

Foraged Salad

Even though our farm provides us with beautiful salad greens, sometimes it is nice to have something on the “wild” side! . Find a chemical-free field (or your own lawn, if you do not use chemicals!) and pick dandelion or creasy greens. Spicy and filled with Vitamins A and C, (dandelion juice has more Vitamin A than carrots and creasy greens contain more Vitamin C than an orange) these greens make an tasty warm salad and are a home remedy to treat viruses, jaundice, edema, gout, eczema and acne. Best of all, they are free to foragers!

4 cups dandelion or creasy greens, washed and dried
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
2 strips crisply fried bacon, crumbled, fat reserved in hot skillet
In hot bacon fat, toss greens and quickly sauté until bright green and slightly wilted. Season with salt, pepper and a dash of red pepper flakes. Place greens in bowl and stir in eggs and bacon. Serve with vinegar on the side.

Fresh Chicken Stock

For some reason, I always associate fresh chicken stock with Spring. I no longer buy chicken that is grown through industrialized food production processes and an interesting observation I have made when I cook chicken that is purchased locally, from trusted growers, is that there is almost no fat in the pot.

When I cook a whole chicken, I usually put it in the crockpot with about 2-3 cups of water and a cup of dry white wine. I liberally season the bird, inside and out, with garlic granules, onion granules, freshly ground black pepper, a light sprinkling of sea salt or kosher salt and fresh herbs, stuffed inside the cavity and placed on the skin. Thyme and sage are always used, but I add others if I have them on hand. You could also put a whole onion, a green garlic (or whole garlic head, sliced in ½) or ½ a fresh lemon in the cavity, if you like. After we have the chicken for a meal, I remove the meat from the bones and reserve that for another use, usually chicken salad. The remaining bones are broken and put into a large stockpot with the skin. Now, for the fun part. Add any vegetable scraps you have saved from other meals during the week. I keep these (saved from the compost bin) in the fridge and then put them in the pot when I am ready to make stock. Chicken stock (and veggie, veal or seafood stock) is like culinary gold. It’s all about getting as much flavor as possible into a liquid that will be added to any dish you make to enrich it. Add enough water to fill the pot after you have added as many vegetables or veggie scraps as you can. Onions, chopped, with skin, carrots, the tops from that green garlic, celery and any fresh herbs you have go into the pot. Dried bay leaves and whole peppercorns are great to use. Add seasonings to taste. Let the mixture come to a slow boil and then reduce the heat and cook the whole thing all day, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until it reduces and becomes a rich, flavorful liquid. Strain the liquid and discard the solids. Stock may be canned or frozen. Use chicken stock, rather than water, when cooking rice, couscous, quinoa or pasta. Yum!
CB’s Salsa

This recipe has been requested by friends for years, but I believe salsa is one of those dishes that takes on personality from its maker and the results are different for each cook, even when the same ingredients are used.

Place in food processor:
1 sweet onion, peeled, cut in quarters
1-2 jalapenos, seeded
1 handful cilantro
½ tsp onion granules
½ tsp garlic granules
½ tsp Possum Seasoning
½ – 1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp pepper
1 can diced chiles, drained (I use my own peppers)

Pulse about 4 times. Add 1-2 quarts canned tomatoes, drained, or equal amounts fresh tomatoes. Pulse about 3-4 more times.

Fish with Veracruz Sauce

I first had Veracruz sauce over red snapper at a Blowing Rock restaurant. Back in the day, Riverwood was a favorite of ours and a friend of mine, who was also a fan of the place, described their cuisine as “taking something from the earth, sky and sea and making it fabulous.” One of many delicious foods I had there, this recipe is my version of that memorable main dish. Note: Veracruz sauce is regarded as Mexican in origin, but was probably influenced by early Spanish settlers, who lent a Mediterranean flair to the sauce. Most traditional recipes use green olives, but the Riverwood sauce used Kalamata olives and I love them. Pitted ones are expensive, but are a special treat. Heart & Sole salsa is a “quick fix” for this sauce, since many of the ingredients are included and the home cook who is in a rush does not have to do all the chopping! This recipe is 4 servings. Using fish fillets is much easier, but if you really want a showstopper presentation, use a whole fish and adjust the baking time to reflect the weight. Dockside Seafood Market in Hickory (2014 N. Center Street, Hwy 127) is a great place to get fresh fish.

4 fish fillets, about 1 ½ pounds total (Red Snapper, Halibut, Cod, grouper or any fish that “flakes” when it is done will work)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 green garlic bulb, diced (the light green part is fine to use, also)
¼ cup dry white wine
1 ½ cups salsa
2 teaspoons capers, drained
1/3 cup Kalamata olives (whole or sliced, your preference)
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
4 sprigs fresh oregano
4 sprigs, fresh thyme
2 bay leaves

Place fish fillets in a baking dish that has been coated with olive oil or vegetable spray. Season with sea salt/freshly ground pepper.
In a large saucepan, heat olive oil and add garlic. Cook, stirring, until fragrant and softened, about 2 minutes. Add wine and cook over medium until the liquid begins to reduce. Add salsa, capers, olives and herbs. If you do not have fresh herbs on hand, feel free to substitute dried, but in smaller amounts. Cook over low heat until sauce has thickened, about 20 minutes. Remove fresh herbs and adjust salt, if needed. Pour sauce over fish and bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees. Test fish for doneness after about 15 minutes. If it pulls apart easily or flakes, it is done. If it needs more time, check every few minutes. Fish is easy to overcook, but the sauce makes this a forgiving dish to make if you are not comfortable cooking fish.

Mushroom/Rice/Salsa Bake

For those of you who have been initiated as Whole Foods shoppers, you know what an overwhelming experience that store can be. My son took us to a newly-opened store in D.C. and I could not believe the array of beautifully displayed ingredients. We had a great time selecting dried mushrooms and various olive oils and flavored honeys. Since I still had some of those mushrooms in brown bags, I decided to try this dish last week and, judging by Richard’s clean plate, it must have turned out ok. Or maybe he was just hungry! If you do not have dried mushrooms, feel free to substitute canned or fresh. Richard and I had a foraging lesson in gathering wild mushrooms a couple of years ago. The mother of a friend of ours took us to a beautiful forest and showed us the big, bright yellow mushrooms that, she assured us, were delicious. After a couple of hours of searching, I presented two that I thought were identical. The expert looked at them both and told me the one in my right hand was “good” and the one in my left “will kill you.” I turned them both upside down, compared the colors, examined the tops and decided I would not make a good wild mushroom-gatherer. Since we really love mushrooms, it’s a good thing they can be safely purchased!

1 cup wild rice mix
1 ½ cup chicken stock (that tasty liquid “gold”) or vegetable stock, if you would like a vegetarian dish
2 cups dried mushrooms (I used Bolette, lobster, porcini and oyster)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 green garlic bulb, white and light green parts, diced and divided
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
¼ cup dry white wine
1 cup salsa
1 beaten egg

Soak the mushrooms in ½ cup stock for about one hour or until they have softened. If you do not have chicken or vegetable stock, you could also use water.
In a large oven-proof saucepan, (I used a cast-iron dutch oven) over medium-high heat, add the white stem and light green garlic parts to olive oil and stir until softened, about 4 min. Add mushrooms and cook for about 10 minutes or until liquid evaporates. Add garlic bulb, minced and 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped. Cook 1 min. Stir in rice mix, ¼ cup wine and simmer for about 2-4 minutes or until almost all liquid is absorbed. Add remaining 1 cup stock and 1 cup salsa, simmer for about 5 minutes and stir in beaten egg. Place lid on pan and put in preheated 375 degree oven. Bake for about 45 minutes. Remove lid and bake for another 25 minutes until most of the liquid is absorbed. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes. Add seasoning, if needed, before serving.
*For meat lovers, top with grilled chicken, shrimp or thinly sliced beef.


Chef Clark cuts honey from a frame.

Randy’s Banana Pudding

After our early summer honey harvest was taken, we went to a “honey tasting” party at a friend’s house. I never realized how many flavors could be detected in local honey. We tasted, jotted notes about impressions and compared observations. It was interesting to see that several of us had similar comments. As much fun as the tasting was, the famous banana pudding dessert, made by cousin Randy, was the highlight of the evening. The recipe originated with cousin Donna’s mother, Bobbie, but Randy’s own honey and eggs from his (named) chickens make it the best.

1 ½ boxes vanilla wafer cookies
6 bananas, sliced
Mix 8 egg yolks with 1 tsp vanilla, ¾ cup honey, 4 cups milk and 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour in large glass bowl. Cook in microwave for about 3 minutes, stir. Continue to cook in microwave for additional 2 minute intervals, until the custard has thickened.
Line a deep-dish 9 x 9 dish with the cookies and layer ½ the bananas on top. Pour ½ the hot custard over, repeat layers.
Beat 4-6 egg whites with 1 tsp. vanilla and ½ cup honey until fluffy. Top the pudding mixture with meringue and bake at 350 degrees until meringue is golden.


Dilly Beans

This recipe, given to me by Richard’s grandmother, Vestal Anderson, is a favorite of our family. These treats are extra special when made with my Granny’s beans, heirloom seeds grown at our farm. I treasure the handwritten copy shared with me by “Gran,” and love to see her added note: “Double if you want to make LOTS!” I always do . . .

4 pints whole young beans, strings and ends removed
Cover beans with boiling water and allow to gently cook for about 10 minutes, remove beans from hot water and place in ice water
In each of 4 pint jars, place a sprig of fresh dill (or about ¼ tsp dried dill), one garlic clove, and the cooled beans (I sometimes add some dried pepper flakes, also)
In another large pot, heat 2 cups white vinegar and 1 ¾ cups water, 3 tablespoons sugar (I usually omit the sugar) and 4 tablespoons salt
Stir the pickling mixture until the sugar and salt are dissolved
Pour pickling mixture over the beans and either can them (using a safe method) or place in the refrigerator.

kateandbob 001
Daughter Kate plows potato field with Belgium Bob

Pub Fries

Although we have grown twenty varieties of potatoes at Heart & Sole, our family has six favorites, which is what we now grow. The mix of colors, tastes and textures is a delicious blend when they are cooked together and makes for unique visual appeal. Purple potatoes are purported to be lower in sugar content and the Purple Majesty ones grown at Heart & Sole keep their color when cooked. With the white center of Purple Viking and the deep pink of Mountain Rose, this combination makes beautiful red, white and blue fries for the 4th of July.

Scrub potatoes (I used about 4 medium ones), do not peel, and cut into ¼ inch slices. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray or lightly coat with olive oil. In a large bowl, pour 2-3 tablespoons olive oil. Put potato slices in the bowl and liberally sprinkle with any blend of spice you like. Using your hands, toss the potatoes until they are coated with both the oil and the seasoning. Place in a single layer in the baking dish. I added a bit of a NC coast seafood seasoning, but you could use Old Bay or skip this step. Bake in a preheated oven (400 degrees) for about 20-30 minutes, check for doneness. If you like your pub fries extra-crispy, broil for about 1-2 minutes at the end of the cooking time. Serve with herbed vinegar and enjoy!

Herby Bean Salad

For this recipe, I used Dragon’s Tongue beans in the mix and they are beautifully striped and colored, but should only be added to the marinade about an hour before serving. Dragon’s Tongue beans are best served fresh and raw; cooked, they lose the colors that make them a visual delight.

½ pound fresh green beans, ends trimmed and strings removed, sliced into 1 to 2-inch pieces, on a diagonal
A large handful of Dragon’s Tongue beans, ends removed and sliced into 1 to 2-inch pieces, on a diagonal
Juice from ½ fresh lemon
1 tablespoon herbed vinegar
About 1/3 cup olive oil
4 large basil leaves, thinly sliced into a chiffonade (roll leaves tightly together and slice)
3-4 stems thyme, strip leaves from woody stalk
3-4 sprigs oregano, strip leaves from stem
Several garlic or onion chives
¼ cup slivered almonds or pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted

Steam the green beans for about 3 minutes and then place in ice water. Do NOT cook the Dragon’s Tongue beans, as they will lose their pretty color!
Drain the green beans and place in a large ziplock bag with the Dragon’s Tongue beans.
Chop the oregano, thyme and chives together and then mix with the basil. Add to the beans.
Combine the lemon juice, vinegar and olive oil in a small jar. Add a good sprinkling of sea salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Shake to combine and add to the bag. Zip closed and shake all ingredients, then place bag in the refrigerator overnight.
Add the nuts just before serving.

GrandMom Tut with a Purple Viking potato "head."

GrandMom Tut with a Purple Viking potato “head.”

Shrimp-Stuffed Potatoes

For a vegetarian version, omit the meat and shrimp, or if you like, add scallops and crab to the mixture. With fresh potatoes, this is a showstopper of a dish.

4 large Purple Viking baking potatoes
2 tbsp butter
1/3 cup sour cream
½ cup cheddar cheese (or cheese of your choice)
1 lb cooked shrimp
2 slices bacon or 1/3 cup chopped ham (optional)
¾ cup thinly sliced fresh mushrooms
3 cups fresh baby spinach
¼ cup freshly grated white cheddar cheese
Fresh chopped chives; herbs of your choosing; salt & pepper
Bake potatoes at 425 degrees for about an hour, until soft, cool slightly
Remove skin from top of potato and scoop out inside, leaving potato shell.
Sprinkle potato cavities lightly with sea salt and place on large baking sheet
Stir cooked potato in large bowl with butter and sour cream. Mash potato with fork until smooth. Add mushrooms and spinach, stir to combine, Salt and pepper to taste.
Add cheese and shrimp, chopped or whole.
Stir ingredients and spoon into potato shells.
Top each with crumbled bacon or chopped ham and white cheddar cheese.
Bake in 350 degree oven until cheese is golden.
Before serving, add fresh chopped chives or other herbs.

Stuffed Zucchini

This recipe serves 2-4 people, but can be easily doubled for a larger party.

2 medium zucchini (green or golden), sliced in half, ends trimmed
In a glass baking dish, place about 4 tablespoons water and then add squash slices, cut side up
Loosely cover with plastic wrap and cook in microwave, high heat, for about 2 minutes, until squash is tender
Remove wrap, drain water. Use a sharp knife to outline the inside of the squash, careful to avoid puncturing the squash shell. Scoop out the center of the squash with a sharp spoon and place it in a medium-sized bowl.
Using kitchen shears, cut the center squash into very small pieces and add about ¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese, about ¼ cup shredded white cheddar cheese, ¼ cup toasted pecan pieces, (or pine nuts) a little less than ¼ cup Italian bread crumbs and a few grinds of freshly ground black pepper and a few sprigs of fresh thyme leaves, stripped from the woody stems. ¼ tsp. dried thyme may be substituted for fresh. With just a few grains, lightly salt the cavity of the squash shells with sea salt. Stir the remaining mixture thoroughly and add to the shells. Top with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and shredded parmesan cheese. Bake in a preheated, 375 degree oven for about 10-12 minutes, until the topping is golden.
Serve immediately.

Cheddar Squash Bake

This recipe is from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook I received as a wedding gift in 1980 and has been a favorite with our family for years. For people who claim to hate squash, the bacon, egg and cheese will win over even the most vocally opposed to that vegetable. I overheard one of my nephews whisper to his brother at a family dinner, “The secret ingredient is SQUASH.” Despite their distaste, both boys came back for seconds!

6 cups thinly sliced squash (yellow or zucchini)
2 slightly beaten egg yolks (fresh eggs)
1 cup dairy sour cream
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 stiffly beaten egg whites
1/1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
6 slices bacon, cooked
1 tablespoon butter, melted
¼ cup dry fine dry bread crumbs

Salt cooked squash. Mix next 3 ingredients, fold in whites. Layer half the sqush, egg mixture and cheese in 12 x 7 ½ x 2 inch baking dish. Crumble bacon, sprinkle atop. Repeat layers. Mix butter and crumbs. Sprinkle over. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. Serves 8 to 10.

pickled tomatoes before lids

Pickled Cherry Tomatoes

The secret to making these jars of pickled tomatoes look beautiful is to carefully place all the herbs and peppers. Time-consuming, to be sure, but you will be pleased with the final effort, as will those who receive these as gifts from you. As a proud graduate of “Pickle School,” I offer a word of caution: be sure to thoroughly clean every tomato, use only firm, unblemished fruit and do no omit the inversion step.

4 pints heirloom cherry tomatoes, various colors, washed
4 sprigs fresh basil
4 cloves garlic
2 fresh jalapenos, sliced in half, lengthwise

2 cups white vinegar
1 ¾ cups water
4 tablespoons salt (sea salt, not iodized)
3 tablespoons sugar (I use less than this recipe, about 1 tablespoon)

Heat the vinegar, water, salt and sugar until the spices are dissolved.

Pack the garlic, jalapeno, tomatoes and basil into a pint jar. Pour the pickling solution over and leave about ½ inch headspace. Wipe rims of jars with a clean cloth and affix hot lids. Place all jars into a boiling water bath for 5 minutes. Remove from boiling water and invert jars onto a large towel. Leave for 5 minutes and then upright jars. Cover with the towel and leave for 24 hours. Check to be sure the lids have sealed before storing. If any jars do not seal, store in refrigerator.

Homemade Catsup (Ketchup)
I only make catsup (ketchup!) once a year. It is an arduous process, but one that I think is worth the effort. I began with a recipe three years ago and after accidentally spilling quite a bit of turmeric in the first batch and fine-tuning the second, I now have a recipe that reminds Richard of the taste of catsup at the Burger House restaurant that was located at Smith’s Crossroads (in Lenoir) when we were kids. For those of you who are curious about the specific tomatoes I used this year, here is the breakdown: 11 Striped Romans, 5 Japanaese Plums, 2 pink icicles and 9 Romas. 10 pounds, total. Homemade catsup is great because you control the sugar/salt content and the type of tomatoes you use. Enjoy!

10 pounds tomatoes, dead ripe (I blanch and peel, then quarter)
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped (since I do not have a pepper crop this year, I had to purchase this item. Sigh)
4 large onions, chopped
1 ½ cups cider vinegar (I use half cider and half herbed)
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp peppercorns
½ tsp ground allspice
1 tsp whole cloves
5 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp celery seed
½ tsp dry mustard
¼ tsp cayenne (I use my own dried pepper flakes)
2 tablespoons brown sugar, firmly packed
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tsp sea salt, not iodized
½ whole nutmeg
½ tsp turmeric

Puree the quartered tomatoes with the bell pepper in a food processor. (This step is messy! I work in batches.) Strain puree through a coarse sieve and remove skins and seeds. You could use a colander to do this step. Puree onions in the food processor and add the onion puree to the tomato and pepper puree in a very large, heavy-bottomed pot. Cook, stir occasionally, over low heat until it is reduced about a third or more. This step takes about 6-8 hours!
In a small saucepot, combine garlic, peppercorns, allspice, cloves, cinnamon, celery seed and nutmeg with vinegar. Cover and simmer for about 30-45 minutes to steep. Pour this mixture through a fine sieve into a large measuring cup. Add about ½ of the vinegar mixture to the reduced tomato mixture and also add sugars, mustard, cayenne, tumeric and salt.
Stir until thoroughly blended and then simmer for another hour. Taste, adjust seasoning.
At this point, I put the reduced catsup in a smaller pot and chill in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, I use the immersion blender to smooth everything and then cook for another 1-2 hours. By this point, the catsup looks more like catsup should look. Pour hot catsup into hot jars, add lids, and place jars in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Remove jars, invert for 5-6 minutes, and then turn right side up. Cover jars with a heavy towel and allow to rest overnight. Check for sealing the next day. If any jars do not seal, refrigerate the product and use within a few weeks.

Cherokee Bean & Tomato Soup

Any bean or tomato variety could be used for this simple soup, but I thought the recipe deserved to have these paired, since they originated with the same Native American tribe. Both heirlooms are grown at our farm.

In a large Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and sauté 1 cup chopped onion and 1 clove garlic, minced, until translucent. Add the following to the pot:
1 lb. Trail of Tears black beans, shelled (yields about ¾ cup beans)
2 cups chicken stock (I use my own, but you could use purchased stock or broth, vegetable stock or just water)
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Cook over low to medium heat, covered, for about 45 minutes. Add 1 or 2 large Cherokee Purple tomato, peeled and cut into chunks, into the soup. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Add salt/pepper to taste.
*I also added the kernels from 2 cobs of our corn. The corn is not quite mature enough to harvest, but I couldn’t wait and I wanted to be able to taste it before the raccoons discover it!

Roasted Cherries

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

In a medium-sized baking dish, drizzle about 2 tablespoons olive oil
Add about 2 pints cherry tomatoes to the dish
Sprinkle the tomatoes with kosher sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a medium saucepan, heat 2/3 cup dry red wine and 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar. Simmer over low/medium heat until reduced by ½. About 30 minutes.

Pour the wine/vinegar mixture over the tomatoes and scatter fresh thyme leaves over the tomatoes.

Place in a preheated (400 degree) oven and roast for about 30 minutes, stirring once, until the tomatoes begin to collapse.

Remove and spread about 2 tablespoons fresh basil, shredded, atop the tomatoes.


Fresh Heirloom Cherry Tomato Salad

Heart & Sole cherry tomato varieties usually include: Snow White, Black Cherry, Pearly Pink, Jujube, Red and Green Grape, Yellow, Red and Ivory Pear, Green Doctors, Chadwick Cherry, Fox Cherry, A. Grappoli D’Iverno, Principe Borghese, Snowberry, Egg Yolk, Hssiao His Hung Shih, (do NOT ask me to pronounce that one, but it is one of my favorite yellows!) Egg, Koralik and probably several others I can’t recall at the moment. Try a mixture of colors for a beautiful presentation in any dish!

For each serving, slice about 6-8 cherry tomatoes in half and place in a large bowl
From a fresh mozzarella cheese ball, cut about ¼ – ½ cup of bite-sized pieces and add to tomatoes
For each serving, add 1 tsp balsamic or herbed vinegar and 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Add 1-2 large snipped fresh basil leaves for each serving and the leaves from 1 stem of fresh thyme (Hold the top end with one hand and strip the leaves off by pulling down the stem with your other hand, discard the woody stem)
Stir or toss until blended
For a little crunch, add a few toasted, chopped walnuts just before serving

Southern-Style Green Beans

3 slices smoked pork side meat
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large sweet onion, diced
2 quarts canned green beans or 3-4 pounds fresh, washed and strings removed

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven, slowly cook side meat until fat renders (Meat may be removed or left in pot)
Add onion and stir to coat with oil, cook until tender, about 4 minutes
Add beans (if using fresh, break into desired lengths)
Cover beans with water
Add ½ tsp sea salt, several grinds of fresh black pepper, ¼ tsp garlic granules and ¼ tsp onion granules
(A dash of dried red pepper flakes is optional, but gives a spicy kick)

Place lid on Dutch oven and cook beans over medium heat until they are tender.

*For a vegetarian version, increase oil to 2 tablespoons and omit pork.


Fried Squash Blossoms

The best fried squash blossoms will include a tiny, baby squash attached. Work carefully to keep the fruit attached to the blossom and for a variety of interest and taste, use several types of squash. I “field dress” blossoms as I harvest them, but you may need to remove the center stamens, if they are still attached.

Any softened cheese mixture may be used to stuff blossoms, but I like fresh chevre, mixed with chopped fresh herbs, a light sprinkle of sea salt and a bit of freshly ground pepper. Carefully spoon the cheese mixture into the blossoms and twist the blossom end together tightly. Roll the squash blossoms in a beaten egg and then roll in a seasoned flour mixture. Drop into hot oil and fry until the blossoms are golden brown. Always make extra; when your guests try these, you will never have enough!


Tomato Pie Before Baking

And after

Rustic Tomato Pie

Cooking is a stress-relieving exercise for me, but even if it is not yours, we all love a dish that is quick and easy to prepare and packs great flavor. One hot summer evening, after harvesting, washing and storing fresh veggies, I decided to try something new with some tomatoes that needed to be used right away. I pulled a sheet of puff pastry from the freezer (you could easily substitute a prepared pie crust or make your own), thawed it on the counter and made a tomato pie. I am including before and after baking photos, so you can see it was a “rustic” presentation, but still pretty enough for a dinner party. The great thing about a tomato pie is that you could use large slicing tomatoes, paste-style or cherries. I included some of each. My crust would have been prettier if I had used a beaten egg, mixed with a little water, to brush over the crust before baking; however, this was to be a “quick” recipe and I didn’t want to “waste” a precious egg from a happy chicken!

One sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 small, sweet onion, thinly sliced
About 12 thick slices of tomatoes (I peeled them before, but it is not necessary. Cherries or paste-style (Romas) should be halved.)
Line two large baking sheets with foil or parchment paper. Place onions, in single layer on one pan and tomatoes, single layer on the other.
Drizzle olive oil over onion and tomato and add a very light sprinkling of sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Place in a 400 degree oven to roast for about 20 minutes, stirring onions a couple of times to avoid burning.
Remove onions from pan, but leave tomatoes to roast for another 15-20 minutes.
Allow onions to cool slightly while the following is mixed in a large bowl:
1 cup Ricotta cheese
1 egg
About 1 cup of shredded Italian blend cheese (white) or shredded mozzarella
¼ cup shredded or grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup chopped or sliced Kalamata olives (you could substitute regular canned black olives or green)
Mix thoroughly, add the onions and stir again
Roll the thawed puff pastry lightly with a rolling pin or just use your hands (floured) to thin the sheet a bit
Spray a round baking dish (or a small rectangular one) with a cooking spray, then place pastry in dish
Spoon the mixture on top of the pastry and add the roasted tomatoes on top, overlapping slightly
Using kitchen shears, snip fresh basil leaves (I used 6 large ones, tightly rolled) over the tomatoes.
Lightly sprinkle the top with coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Place in the 400 degree oven and bake until the crust is golden, about 15-20 minutes.


Granny’s Pea Hummus

This is great to serve with chips or crackers! I am including directions for making tahini, but you could purchase that, if you like. “Granny’s Peas” are grown from heirloom seeds inherited from my grandmother, who died in 1986. My parents stored the seeds in their freezer, until they were again grown at our farm. Planted on June 26, 2012, for the first time in probably thirty years, these peas thrived and produced an abundant crop. They are a type of “crowder” pea or black-eyed pea and make a rich, almost-meaty broth, when cooked. Richard and I are grateful to have these treasured seeds and plan to save them for future generations to enjoy.

3 garlic cloves, peeled
½ cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1/3 cup tahini (sesame-seed paste) In a blender, blend 2 tablespoons sesame seeds with ¼ cup water, ¼ tsp sea salt and ½ tsp sesame oil until a paste forms
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp sea salt
½ cup dried tomatoes (I used my dehydrated red cherries)
1 cup Granny’s Peas, simmered in 2 cups chicken stock and ½ cup water for about 30-40 minutes, or until tender, seasoned to taste with sea salt and pepper, and most liquid is absorbed
½ cup black olives

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Blend all ingredients in a food processor until smooth, adding olive oil in a thin stream until desired consistency. Scrape sides of bowl a few times.

Serve with crackers, pita chips, tortilla chips, celery, or any protein.

Vegetable Soup

A dreary, late-summer day was perfect for making a soup from the farm’s bounty and was an excellent way to use some of the produce that was about to “go to the bad,” as my friend, Margaret, would say. If you start with good ingredients, this is really a recipe to just play around with and you should end up with something you really enjoy. Granny’s peas add a thick, almost-meaty texture and a rich deep color.
Bring 1 cup of Granny’s peas to a boil in 2 cups water. Season with sea salt and pepper. Simmer peas for about 40 minutes or until tender.
In a large stockpot over medium heat, sauté one medium diced onion and 2 garlic cloves, minced, in 2 tablespoons olive oil until softened.
Add 1 quart chopped fresh tomatoes, blanched and peeled.
Cook over low heat until tomatoes have released juice and are very soft. Add peas, with liquid, and combine well. Season, if needed. I added about ¼ tsp red pepper flakes, but you could omit this. Add 1 bay leaf and cook for an additional 20 minutes.
Add 1-2 cups sliced okra and cook for another 15-20 minutes.
Remove bay leaf and add 2 cups fresh kale and cook just until kale is wilted.
Serve with crusty bread.


Tut’s Fresh Green Bean Casserole

This is my version of a recipe shared with me by my mother-in-law, Tut. Years ago, she belonged to a book club and one of the members would serve her famous green bean casserole, but the recipe remained a closely guarded secret. Members compared tasting notes and after many attempts to recreate the dish, Tut developed a recipe that was close enough to serve and garner rave reviews from all who tasted it. Fresh or canned beans may be used.

1 pound fresh green beans, picked before maturity, strings and ends removed and cut or broken into about 2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
½ medium onion, chopped
½ tsp salt
2 cups water
Heat oil in a medium saucepan and add onion, cooking until onions are thoroughly cooked. Add beans, water and salt, stir, and cook, pot covered, until beans are tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and drain water from beans.
For the topping:
3 tablespoons butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 ½ cups sour cream
2 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted

Melt butter over medium high heat in large skillet, sift flour into butter and stir until a thick mixture is formed, about 5 minutes. In a separate saucepan, heat olive oil and briefly cook mushrooms until slightly browned. Add mushrooms and sour cream to the roux and stir to combine. Cook over low heat until heated through.

Place beans in a glass rectangular baking dish and pour topping over beans. Scatter almonds over top of the casserole and bake in a preheated, 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes.


Fresh Green Beans With Vegetables

When I make this dish, I use a special cast-iron pot that belonged to Richard’s grandmother, Dollie Smith Barlowe, and probably her mother before her. Richard’s dad recalls helping to build his family’s stone home while his mother cooked wild blackberries in this pot, over an open fire. The children would take turns coming by the pot to grab a homemade biscuit, dip it into the berries and enjoy a cobbler, of sorts.

2 pounds young beans, strings and ends removed, slice beans in half on a diagonal
2 cloves garlic, minced (green garlic is best, if available)
1 medium sweet onion, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
Sprinkle of red pepper flakes
2-3 cups water
1 ½ pounds freshly dug fingerling potatoes, washed, but not peeled
1 pound baby squash

Heat oil in Dutch oven and add garlic and onion. Cook over medium-high heat until onions are transparent, but not browned. Add beans, half the salt and peppers, stir to combine with onions and garlic. Add water just to cover beans. Place lid on Dutch oven and cook over medium heat until beans are tender, about 15 minutes. Remove lid and place potatoes and squash atop beans. Sprinkle with remaining salt. Cover and continue to cook until potatoes and squash are tender, about 15 minutes.


Baba Ghanoush

If you enjoy hummus, the following recipe is one you might like. Eggplants replace typical chickpeas or other beans (Granny’s Peas) and the resulting mixture is a classic spread that is healthy and very tasty.

4 small eggplants, halved and lightly coated with olive oil
Place eggplants, cut side down, on foil-lined baking sheet and roast for about 15 minutes at 400 degrees
Allow eggplants to cool slightly and then scoop out flesh from skin and place in food processor
Add 2 cloves garlic, minced and 2 tablespoons tahini
Pulse until blended and add 2 tablespoons lemon juice and sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Pulse a few times and then add about ¼ tsp red pepper flakes, ¼ cup dried tomatoes and about ¼ cup olive oil
Blend until smooth
Serve with pita bread, crackers or tortilla chips

Eggplant Tapas

This recipe was shared by my friend, Sheila, and is a “sweet” way to enjoy eggplants! We love using our bees’ honey and enjoy the health benefits from a daily spoonful of our own honey.

Wash small eggplants and slice into about ¼ inch slices
Prepare a light batter for frying (Bisquick, or a flour/seasoning mixture)
Add a bit of sugar to the batter
Quickly fry eggplant slices, coated with batter, in hot oil, turning when golden
Place on a large platter and drizzle with pure, local honey

Roasted Fingerling Potato Salad

You may omit the Brussels Sprouts from this recipe, but I really love them with the potatoes. Brussels Sprouts have not grown successfully at Heart & Sole, but in typical gardeners’ fashion, Richard and I look forward to the next year’s attempts . . .

2 cups of fingerlings, washed and sliced in half
6 Brussels Sprouts, shredded (may omit, if you like)
2 Handfuls fresh kale, chopped
¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
½ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
¼ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

In a medium saucepan, cover the potatoes with water and bring to a boil. Cook gently for about 10 minutes, over low/medium heat. Remove potatoes from water and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with sea salt and pepper. Roast in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes.
While potatoes are cooking, add kale, Brussels Sprouts and cheese to a large bowl.
Mix other ingredients in a blender or put in a glass jar with a lid. Shake to combine.
Add hot potatoes to the bowl and pour mixture over. Toss to combine.

Fresh Gazpacho

This recipe was shared by my dear friend, Ann, who obtained it from an elderly lady years ago. Perfect for storing in the fridge for those days when it is almost too hot to think about dinner.

3-4 very ripe tomatoes, finely diced
2 ribs celery, finely diced
2 cucumbers, finely diced (Add when served)
3 green onions, finely diced
3-4 cloves garlic, mashed
1 cup corn
½ tablespoons chopped green chiles
64-ounce can vegetable juice (or make your own!)
1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
Juice from ½ lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)
½ teaspoon hot pepper sauce
Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all vegetables in a large mixing bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients and refrigerate overnight. Makes 2 quarts and keeps, refrigerated, for several days. May garnish with cheese, shrimp, chopped cilantro or sour cream.

Fall at Heart & Sole Gardens, 2010

Fall at Heart & Sole Gardens, 2010


Crab/Arugula Salad

After a long, hot summer that saw us growing over 400 tomato plants, the cooler Autumn weather was welcome and Richard and I escaped for a few days to visit dear friends, Jeff and Kim, in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. It was nice to enjoy warm weather without the pressure of working in the heat and we had a version of this salad at a local restaurant and fell in love with the combination of flavors. We agreed our own arugula was much tastier and couldn’t wait to make our own salad when we arrived home. With fresh NC lump crabmeat and our own greens, it was even better than what we enjoyed at the restaurant.

1 hand full of arugula, per person
1 large scoop crab, per person
In a glass jar with a lid, add the following:
1 lime, juiced
½ lemon, juiced
2 clementines, juiced
2 stems fresh thyme, leaves stripped and added to juice
¼ tsp sea salt
About 4 grinds, black pepper
Splash golden balsamic vinegar (about ½ tsp)
Pinch of garlic granules, onion granules
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (I used the Aldi Dijon with herbs that is wonderful)

Place lid over jar and shake ingredients to combine. Pour over arugula and toss to combine. Scoop large portion of crabmeat over greens and drizzle dressing over crab. Enjoy with crusty bread, toast points or crackers or serve salad atop a slice of flatbread.


Maw’s Pumpkin Pie

Maw Hamby was not the stereotypical grandmother. She would rather travel with friends, discuss the latest book she read or watch Dodgers baseball (the LA Dodgers, that was), than stir a pot or clean house. She referred to the latter as “idiot work;” tasks that were repeated over and over without an end in sight. Her garden was magical. It was always a destination when visiting her and she would send a bag of fresh vegetables or a “flowerpot” of posies with me when I left. The pumpkin harvest was a highly-anticipated annual event for her great-grandchildren and we all looked forward to Maw’s famous pies, one of the few dishes she enjoyed preparing and we all enjoyed eating. She shared her pie recipe with me years ago and it is one that I serve every Thanksgiving. I believe that when one makes a special recipe shared by a loved one who is no longer with us in body, a part of that person remains in spirit.
2 eggs
2 cups pumpkin, cooked and mashed
3 ¼ cups sugar
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp. ginger
¼ tsp. ground cloves
1 ¾ cups milk
Combine ingredients and pour into 2 prepared pie shells. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes and reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for 45 minutes or until pies are set. Serve as is, or add a pecan/caramel topping.

maw pumpkins 001

How to Roast a Fresh Pumpkin

For years, I peeled pumpkins, cut them into chunks and boiled until the pumpkin was tender. My friend, Kim, and I recently discussed how much easier it is to bake a pumpkin (no peeling or cutting necessary) than the method we had both used for years. Kim said she guessed we just did what our mothers had done and I think that is true, but if you would like to try a fresh pumpkin, here is the easiest method I have found:

Wash a pumpkin and dry it. Place the pumpkin in a deep sink or on a work surface covered by a towel. Using your sharpest, largest knife, cut the pumpkin and split it into halves or quarters. Use a large metal spoon to scoop out the seeds and the stringy interior. In a large glass baking dish, add about ½ inch of water and then place the pumpkin pieces, cut side down, in the dish. Bake in a preheated, 375 degree oven for about an hour or until the pumpkin is soft. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool a bit. Use a large spoon to scoop out the flesh and discard the skin. If you want to use firmer chunks of pumpkin, do not cook it as long. If you like toasted pumpkin seeds, wash those and remove the pulp. Place the seeds, in a single layer, on a foil-lined pan and drizzle the seeds with olive oil or vegetable oil. Season with sea salt and toss to coat. Bake at 325 for about 10 minutes, stir and then bake another 10 minutes.

Pumpkin Butter

I found a version of this recipe online and, with a roasted pumpkin that needed to be used, I decided to try it. After tasting the results, I quickly made more and Richard and I slathered it on toast, pancakes, blueberry bread pumpkin pie and ate it with a spoon!

8 cups pumpkin puree (After scooping out the roasted pumpkin flesh, I used the immersion blender to make the puree)
4 cups sugar (I equal amounts white sugar and honey, but may use brown sugar and honey next time. I also think molasses would be super tasty to try)
1 ½ tsp cinnamon (I also added a cinnamon stick)
1 tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground nutmeg (I ground fresh)
Juice from 4 fresh lemons

Mix all ingredients and put in crock pot. Cook on low heat until the mixture is thickened. (With my small batch, it was perfect in about 3 hours.)

kale leaves

Stuffed Kale Leaves

Kale leaves grew quite large in late Autumn and Richard and I experimented with some of those. Even though they are larger than the ones we normally harvest, they are still very tender and tasty. Try this for a super-quick and easy appetizer or side/main dish:

Wash and remove end stems from 10 large kale leaves
Place kale in a large glass bowl and microwave on high for about 20 seconds
In a medium saucepan, heat about 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium/high heat and add ¼ cup diced onion, ¼ cup frozen or canned whole-kernel corn, ¼ cup frozen peas and 1 cup cooked rice (I used Granny’s peas, Golden Bantam corn, and would have added ¼ cup diced carrots, if they were available)
Stir the rice mixture in the pan and add about 1 tablespoon soy sauce
Cook until heated through and frozen vegetables thawed (about 5 minutes)
Place a heaping tablespoon of the rice mixture in the center of each kale leaf and add a couple of cooked shrimp (I used some we brought from the coast and they were lightly steamed)
Tuck in the sides of the leaves and gather the mixture into the bottom portion of the leaf. Roll tightly to enclose the mixture completely, rolling from bottom to top
Place the rolled leaves on a vegetable steamer in a large saucepot that has about 1 inch of water in the bottom.
Steam for about 2 minutes.
Serve with soy sauce or any dipping sauce you like.


Trompe L’Oeil Oyster Stew

Trompe l’oeil is a French term that means “trick the eye” and this phrase is usually applied to works of art, but I think it works perfectly for this recipe, which relies on the rich yellow color of squash and the smoothness created by an immersion blender to make the soup base appear to be rich with butter and cream. Actually, this recipe is a very heart-healthy one that is low in calories, carbs salt and fat. I created this recipe several years ago and make often. I just wish our heirloom squash would be in season at the same time as oysters!

In a large skillet, heat about 1 tablespoon olive oil.
Add ½ cup diced onion and ¼ cup diced banana pepper (you may use either sweet or hot pepper)
Saute onion and pepper until softened
Remove skillet from heat

About 1 pound fresh yellow squash, washed, stem ends trimmed and sliced into ¼ inch rounds.
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
¼ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp ground white pepper

Cook squash, with added seasoning and the onion/pepper mixture, in stock in a large stockpot until softened, about 15-20 minutes.
Allow to cool slightly and use an immersion blender to puree the mixture until very smooth.
Add fresh or canned oysters (about 1 cup) to the soup base and heat until the oysters are done to your liking.
Add about ¼ cup whipping cream to the soup and heat just until hot, but not boiling.
Serve with crusty bread, oyster crackers or cornbread.


Sauteed Pak Choy with Asian Sauce

Wash 4-5 Pay Choy and slice in half
Heat about 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil in a large saucepan
Cook greens in hot oil until slightly wilted, but still bright green, turning once to cook both sides (NOTE: I did NOT use salt or any other seasoning, since the sauce is salty enough)
Place hot greens on a platter and drizzle lightly with this mixture:
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp lemon grass herb blend (this is a paste that is sold in a tube in the produce section)
1 tsp roasted red chili paste (Asian foods section at supermarket)
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tablespoon minced red onion
1 tsp minced fresh green garlic bulb
1-2 tablespoon fresh Thai basil, chopped finely with the garlic and onion

Place all sauce ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake until thoroughly blended

Tom Yum Soup

Although we do not have a great Asian market in our community, our beautiful Pak Choy greens inspired me to try a recipe for this soup, which Richard and I love. Even with limited ingredients, we still think it is pretty tasty.

1 tablespoon olive oil, heated in a large saucepan
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
1 hot banana pepper and 1 sweet banana pepper, seeded and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced (I used ½ bulb roasted garlic bulb, minced)
Saute the veg mixture in the hot oil until softened, about 5 minutes
Add 2 cups chicken stock and 1 quart canned tomatoes, undrained, and cook until veg is softened, about 15 minutes. Add 1 heaping tablespoon Thai roasted red chili paste and 1 tablespoon fish sauce, the juice of one fresh lime and a good sprinkling of red pepper flakes. Cook another 10 minutes.
Add 2 cups shredded Pak Choy greens, 1 cup sliced baby Bella mushrooms and 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined, cook 2 minutes.
Add a handful of chopped, fresh cilantro and several leaves of fresh Thai basil to the soup and simmer for about 2 minutes.
Ladle into warm bowls and serve with crusty bread.

Creamed Kale

One of my most popular kale recipes, this is a delicious way to enjoy those fall greens.

4 tablespoons butter, melted
¼ cup all-purpose flour
5 cups fresh kale, shredded into ribbons
¼ tsp onion granules
¼ tsp garlic granules
¼ tsp sea salt
Several grinds black pepper
¾ cup sour cream
¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Sift flour into melted butter in a large skillet. Stir together over medium heat until thickened, about 4 minutes. Add sour cream and seasonings and stir to combine. Cook over low/medium heat for about 3 minutes. Microwave shredded kale in a glass dish for about 1 1-2 minutes. Add kale to cream mixture. Cook over medium-low heat until tender, about 4 minutes. Since mixture will thicken, add about ¼ cup whipping cream to thin. Heat through and serve with Parmesan cheese.


Faux “Spinach” Artichoke Dip

When our spinach crop failed to produce abundantly, I decided to try other greens in recipes that I would normally use Popeye’s favorite vegetable. This dip was a hit!

4 Pak Choy (I used 2 Extra-Dwarf plants and two others) Clean and slice white bases into ¼ inch pieces, Shred green leaves (yield about 2-3 cups)
Cook green leaves in a covered pot with about 2 tablespoons water and ¼ tsp salt until tender, about 10 min.
In a large bowl, mix 1 4 oz. can diced green chiles, 1 12 oz. jar artichoke hearts, cut into small pieces, ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese, ½ c. mozzarella shredded cheese, ¼ cup mayonnaise, ¼ cup sour cream and a good sprinkling of red pepper flakes, add drained greens and stir to thoroughly combine
Pour into a glass baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray, top with light sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese
Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes.
Serve hot with crackers, tortilla chips or toast points.

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

Approximately 1 pound fingerling potatoes, washed
1/2 cup chicken stock
Salt, pepper, onion and garlic granules to taste or your favorite seasoning blend.
Place potatoes in single layer in roasting pan. Add chicken stock and seasoning. Roast in 400 degree oven about 20 minutes, until tender. Remove and top with grated parmesan cheese and chopped chives.

Picnic Potato Salad

About 1 pound small fingerlings, washed
2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1 stalk celery, diced
1-2 tablespoons diced onion
1 tablespoon pickle relish
1/4 – 1/2 cup mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste
Lightly boil fingerlings in salted water about 10-15 minutes, until tender. Mix other ingredients in large bowl. Drain cooked potatoes and fold in mixture until blended. Serve immediately or chill.

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