Local & Organic Recipes

The Carolina Farm Stewardship Association is on a mission to bring local, organic food to your table from a farmer who shares your values.  We believe that when farmers grow foods raised with community, health, and the environment at their heart, the result isn’t just better flavors—it’s a better world.

Join us at the table! Become a member of CFSA!

The Perfect Farm Tour Picnic

Chapel Hill Creamery Cheese makes for a perfect picnic lunch

Photo by Chapel Hill Creamery

It’s Spring! The perfect time for a picnic. Whether you’re planning on touring the farms on the Piedmont Farm Tour, April 23-24, heading out on another great farm tour this summer, or just want to deepen your connection to your local farms, filling a spring picnic basket full of treats from the land is a lovely way to celebrate Spring.

Chef Ryan McGuire, instructor at The Chef’s Academy in Raleigh and founder of the Common Roots Project, offers the following ideas for the perfect picnic lunch that can be crafted with produce, meats, cheeses, and breads from your local markets and farms no matter which region of the Carolinas you call home:

  • Deviled eggs with smoked roasted red peppers and scallions
  • Chicken liver pate with grilled spring onions and crusty bread
  • Dips: baba ghanoush, pimento cheese, tzatziki, and/or a local pea hummus
  • Fresh radishes with lemon-herb butter and citrus salt
  • Spring rolls with fresh, local veggies; try Bibb lettuce, herbs, jalapenos, and radishes with a sweet potato hoisin sauce
  • Edamame or green beans with togarashi
  • Tortilla Española with farm eggs and potatoes, with herbs, flowers, and/or cheese as garnishes
  • Spring veggie terrine with local cheese
  • Slaw or kimchi
  • Tamales made with sweet potatoes
  • Thai peanut chicken salad in spring lettuce cups
  • Hand pies made with local berries
  • And definitely, says Chef Ryan, some cheese, bread, wine, and/or beer. 

If you’re going on the Piedmont Farm Tour, don’t forget to bring a cooler to take home all the goodies you collect for your picnic!


A few great tips on where to visit on the Piedmont Farm Tour to create some of these delicious dishes:

Sunset Ridge Buffalo Farm – bison burgers, steaks, sausages, roasts and more!

Four Leaf Farm – herbs, tomatoes and other vegetables

Two Chicks Farm – pickles, pepper jelly, sauerkraut and more

Minka Farm – fresh asparagus, grass-fed beef, pastured pork, and duck and chicken eggs

Fickle Creek Farm – pork, beef, lamb, chicken, eggs and produce

Cates Corner Farm – produce

Chapel Hill Creamery – cheese and sausage

Peaceful River Farm – produce

Cane Creek Farm – meat and charcuterie for sale at Left Bank Butchery, a five minute walk from the farm

Celebrity Dairy – goats milk cheeses, gelato, fudge

Harland’s Creek – vegetables and flowers

Granite Springs Farm – mushroom fruiting kits and tomato seedlings

The Student Farm at CCCC – honey


The 2016 Piedmont Farm Tour is April 23-24 from 2-6pm. Advance tickets are $30 per car for all farms, all weekend; day of registration is $35; discounts for CFSA members.

Pork Trotter Pho-Ramen Fusion

by Chef Patrick Wagner, CFSA Board Member and Culinary Arts Instructor at Greenville Technical College

Chef Patrick's Pho

I love both Pho and Ramen, but many people don’t have time to go through the extra effort to make ramen noodles from scratch. I wanted to create a dish that would reflect the heartiness of some of my favorite ramen dishes, but still be quick, flexible, and flavorful. The recipe is very flexible for the addition of any of the seasonal products, but I wanted to focus on a undervalued cut, and the dish can incorporate tons of vegetables, it is very rich, but it has virtually no fat.

The broth can be cooked in a crockpot, and it would only take a few minutes to pull together the remaining ingredients for a healthy dinner. Please play with the garnish, greens, and proteins that you add to the dish!

The Russian Kale and Pork Trotters were sourced from Greenbrier Farms, the chicken eggs and green garlic were sourced from my yard.


Broth Ingredients:

Ginger             1 finger about 3 inches long

Onions                                     2 ea.

Thai Chili                                1 ea.

Star Anise                               3-4 ea.

Cloves                                     3 ea.

Black Peppercorns                  ½ tsp.

Pork Trotters                           6-8 lbs.

Fish Sauce                               1 oz.

Soy Sauce                               1 oz.

Sugar                                       1 oz.

Water                                      1 gal.

Salt                                          ½ Tbsp.


Miso                                        1 Tbsp.

Soy Milk                                 2-4 cups.


Pho Ingredients:

Thin Rice Noodles                  1 lb.

Hot Water                               1 qt.

Additional Protein                  as desired.

Russian Kale or other greens  1-2 lbs.



Green Garlic                            4 each

Thai Basil                                1 bunch

Cilantro                                   ½ bunch

Limes, wedged                       2 ea.

Thai Chilies, minced               2 oz.

Soy Eggs                                 8 each




  1. Place the pork trotters in a stockpot large enough to hold them. Cover them with water and bring to a boil. Once the water has come to a boil, turn the heat off and remove the meat from the pot; discard the liquid. (This is referred to as blanching the bones)
  2. While the trotters are heating up, char the onion, ginger, and Thai chili until blackened on their surfaces. This can be done over an open flame or under a broiler.
  3. Once all of the onion, ginger, and chili have been blackened, peel off the outer skin (that has been charred) and discard: chop the remaining sections into pieces
  4. In a small pan, toast the star anise, cloves, and peppercorns over a medium-low heat until they become aromatic. Be careful not to burn them!
  5. Place the trotters, toasted spices, fire-roasted onion, chili, ginger, fish sauce, sugar, soy sauce, salt, and water in a stockpot, and bring to a simmer over a medium-high flame.
  6. Once the mixture reaches a simmer, skim the film developing on the surface and turn the heat to a gentle simmer.
  7. After the broth has gently simmered for 3 hours, and remove the trotters
  8. Strain out the soup broth and keep it hot
  9. Once the trotters have cooled, pick the meat from the trotters.
  10. Place the dried rice noodles in a container with 2 quarts of hot water to hydrate.
  11. Whisk the soy milk and miso into the soup base.
  12. Adjust the flavor as desired with additional soy sauce or miso.
  13. To serve, place a small pile of the hydrated rice noodles in a bowl, along with a couple slices of chucks of pork, and top with heap of Russian Kale or other winter greens.
  14. Serve the garnishes at the table, to be added to the soup by the diner’s discretion.


Suggested variations:

  • Omit the soy and Miso for a traditional flavored Pho broth
  • Add additional garnishes that suit your pantry and whim. Any thin cut root vegetables can be quickly blanched in the broth to get the cooked.


Chef Patrick Wagner has spent 24 years in the culinary arts field, working as pastry chef, executive chef, roundsman chef, and cook. He is a chef instructor with Greenville Tech’s Culinary Institute of the Carolinas, specializing in ethnic cuisine. Check out his cooking demos on his YouTube Channel.

Apple Rose Puffed Pastry

by Dani Rowland, chef and farmer at Rowland’s Row Family Farm in Gold Hill, NC

Take advantage of our local North Carolina apples with this super fun, super simple pastry. This is an impressive individually sized dessert perfect for special occasions, like Valentine’s Day!


Photo from handletheheat.com


2 North or South Carolina Pink Lady apples

Juice of half a lemon
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
Flour, for dusting
3 tablespoons homemade peach jam

Powdered sugar, for dusting




Photo from handletheheat.com

Start by taking your puff pastry out of the freezer and thawing according to the package directions. Preheat the oven to 375°F and grease a standard muffin tin.


Prepare a medium, microwave safe bowl with lemon juice. Next core and slice your apples in half; using a sharp knife slice your apples very, very thinly; approximately 1/8 inch. In order to prevent browning, toss your sliced apples with the lemon juice immediately after slicing. Next, add your butter, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg to the apples and toss it all together till the apples are well coated. Microwave the apple mixture for 45 seconds, or until soft and pliable enough to mold.


Next, place the puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface. Gently roll out the puff pastry into a 9 by 12-inch rectangle. Once the dough is rolled out, cut six 2-inch wide strips of dough.


In a small bowl, combine the jam with 2 tablespoons of water, microwave for 30 seconds if it was refrigerated. Spread the jam evenly over each strip of dough. Arrange about 10 apple slices lengthwise in a straight line, overlapping slightly, on a strip of dough. Fold up the bottom part of the dough so that the bottom half of the apples now have pastry folded over them.

Start at one end of the strip of pastry and tightly roll the dough up like a pin wheel and press the edge to seal. Repeat for all the roses placing each rose in the muffin tin.


Bake the pastries for 40 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar.


This recipe was slightly adapted from handletheheat.com

Chicken Marsala

by Dani Rowland, chef and farmer at Rowland’s Row Family Farm in Gold Hill, NC

If you love mushrooms and a decadent sauce, this dish is for you! This classic Italian-American dish made its debut in the 19th century and is sure to impress any loved one or guest.

Editor’s Note: Dani gets the chicken, mushrooms and produce for this dish from her farm or at her local farmers’ markets, but you can find great Carolina local ingredients where you live! 



4 boneless, skinless, Rowland’s Row Farm, chicken breasts (available at the Davidson Farmer’s Market in Davidson NC, the Cobblestone Farmer’s Market in Winston Salem and the Atherton Mills Farmer’s Market in Charlotte NC)
All-purpose flour, for dredging
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 ounces thinly sliced Meadows Family Farm shoulder bacon (available at the Cobblestone Farmer’s Market in Winston Salem)
8 ounces Urban Gourmet Mushroom Farm shiitake mushrooms stemmed and sliced (available at the Atherton Mills Farmer’s Market and the NODA Farmer’s Market in Charlotte NC)
1/2 cup sweet Marsala wine
1/2 cup homemade chicken bone broth
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley


Start by placing your chicken breasts on a cutting board and laying a piece of plastic wrap over them. Pound out the chicken breasts so they are flat and approximately ¼ inch thick. Now, put your flour in a wide shallow bowl and season generously with salt and fresh ground black pepper.

Before we can get started cooking, we need to get our pan hot. Place a large skillet with your oil on the stove on a medium-high flame. Meanwhile, dredge both sides of your chicken breasts in the seasoned flour; making sure to shake off any excess flour. Once the oil in your pan is hot gently place your chicken breasts in the pan, you may need to do this in two batches in order to not over crowd the pan. Fry the chicken for 5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Once the chicken is full cooked remove the chicken from the pan and place on a platter, in a single layer, to rest.

Now we can make the delicious Marsala Sauce. First, drop the heat on your stove to medium and add the shoulder bacon to the drippings in the pan, sauté for about 2-3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and sauté until their moisture has evaporated and they have browned; about 5 minutes; this is a good opportunity to season with salt and pepper. Next pour the Marsala wine into the pan and boil down for 5 minutes in order to cook out the alcohol. Add the chicken stock and simmer for another 5 minutes to reduce the sauce slightly. Now, stir in the butter and return the chicken to the pan; simmer gently for 1 minute, just till the chicken is heated through. Season the whole dish with salt and pepper and garnish with chopped parsley before serving.

I like to serve this with mashed potatoes or buttered noodles that are tossed with parmesan and fresh parsley. Pair this dish with a rich, buttery chardonnay or pinot noir that has notes of truffle, berry, and spices.

This recipe was adapted slightly from Tyler Florence’s recipe on foodnetwork.com

Piemonte Farm Gnocchi

by Sandra, Fabian, Fiamma & Fermin Lujan of Piemonte Farm

Read more about this wonderful family and their farm located right outside of Greensboro, NC on our blog!


We make gnocchi to be inspired for a meal that will take some hand-floured work and preparation time together. Gnocchi is the magic word, and this dish can be served with a pesto sauce, tomato sauce, béchamel – no matter how you make it, potato gnocchi is a must.

Ingredients, serves 4:

  • About 1 3/4 pounds of potatoes, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Don Gabino Cheese
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, or as needed
  1. First make mashed potatoes: Place the peeled potatoes in a large pot with enough cold water to cover, salt to taste. Bring the water to a boil and cook, until the potatoes are easily pierced. Drain the potatoes and mash them and add salt and pepper. Let them cool a little (until you feel comfortable handling it without getting burnt).
  2. Next make the gnocchi dough: Put the mashed potatoes in a large bowl, gradually add enough of the flour, about 1 1/2 cups, to form a smooth but slightly sticky dough. It should take no longer than 3 minutes to work the flour into the potato mixture. As you knead the dough, add flour being careful not to overdo it as the more flour you add the more hard the dough gets. It will stick to your hands and to the work surface, so rub this rough dough from your hands and scrape it from the work surface back into the dough as you knead.

Now let’s get those gnocchi done!

Wash and dry your hands. Dust the dough, your hands, and the work surface lightly with some of the remaining flour. Cut the dough into six equal pieces and set off to one side of the work surface. Place one piece of dough in front of you and using both hands, in a smooth back-and-forth motion, roll the dough into a rope 1/2 inch thick, flouring the dough if necessary as you roll to keep it from sticking.

Slice the ropes into 1/2-inch-thick pieces.

  • Sprinkle the rounds lightly with flour and roll each piece quickly between your palms into a rough ball, flouring the dough and your hands as needed to prevent sticking.
  • Hold the tines of a fork at a 45-degree angle to the table with the concave part facing up.
  • Dip the tip of your thumb in flour. Take one ball of dough and with the tip of your thumb, press the dough lightly against the tines of the fork as you roll it downward toward the tips of the tines.
  • As the dough wraps around the tip of your thumb, it will form into a dumpling with a deep indentation on one side and a ridged surface on the other.

Two pairs of hands are better than one! Repeat the whole process with the remaining pieces of dough. Keep the gnocchi in a floured surface while waiting for the water to boil. At this point the gnocchi must be cooked immediately or frozen.


3. Cook gnocchi: Bring six quarts of salted water to a vigorous boil in a large pot over high heat. Drop about half the gnocchi into the boiling water a few at a time, stirring very gently and continuously with a wooden spoon. Cook the gnocchi, stirring gently, until tender, about 1 minute after they rise to the surface. (You can cook the gnocchi all at once in two separate pots of boiling water. If you make a double batch of gnocchi, I strongly recommend cooking them in batches in two pots of water.) Remove the gnocchi from the water with a slotted spoon or skimmer, draining them well, and transfer to a wide saucepan with some of the sauce to be used. Cook the remaining gnocchi, if necessary.

When all the gnocchi are cooked, place them in a container you have chosen to serve at the table. I first sprinkle a handful of fresh shredded Don Gabino, then spread the sauce, place the gnocchi and top with more sauce and serve. Buon Apettito!

Green Chile Beef Stew

Recipe by Chile Shack John and crew at Angelina’s Kitchen in Pittsboro, NC

green chile beef stew

Angelina’s always sources the beef and beef bones for this stew locally.  Most recently they have been using Firsthand Foods. The roasted Anaheim and Poblano chiles come from Screech Owl Greenhouse and the black beans come from Cohen Farm.


Beef Broth  (best to make the day before)

2 – 3 lbs good quality beef bones (marrow or knuckle bones when possible)

1 large onion


Salt and pepper to taste



1.5 – 2 lbs stew beef (the better your meat, the better your stew)

1 medium crushed onion

2-3 tbl crushed garlic

16 ounces (or more!) roasted green chile (the better the chile the better the stew)

3 small carrots cut into small cubes

1 small potato cut into small cubes

16 oz crushed or chopped tomatoes

Black Beans, optional



To Make Beef Broth

Place soup bones in a deep pot with, onion, salt and pepper and about 1 – 1.5 gallons water.  Bring pot to boil and turn heat down to medium – you want the pot cooking with a few bubbles but not rocking boiling as that will make a watery broth.

Cook for about 3 hours.  Drain broth into container and pick through bones making sure to poke any marrow back into the broth.  Also any meat tidbits are delicious as well. If possible, let broth cool in fridge overnight, this will allow the saturated beef fats to come to the surface and you can toss it in the trash before using the broth.  If you’re in a hurry then place the broth in your freezer for about 30 minutes and you can spoon most of the fat off the top.


To Make the Soup

Get a heavy bottom large pan.  Put 1 tablespoon oil in pan and turn heat to high.  Start browning cut stew beef in small batches, seasoning with salt and pepper for each batch.  Pull out browned meat and repeat till all your meat is browned.

Deglaze the pan with the chopped onions.  Cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the crushed garlic.  Cook 1 – 2 minutes and add the chopped green chile.  Turn the heat down and enjoy the excellent aroma in your kitchen!

Now add the carrots and potato, give a good stir.  Add the meat back into the pot and add the broth.  Cook on gentle heat for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally and adjust the seasoning to taste.

Now add the tomato and black beans.  Cook another 30 min or so and viola .. soup is served!


Or …. Go to Angelina’s Kitchen in Pittsboro, NC and get a cup!


‘The Southern Harvest Cookbook’ + Sneak Peek Recipes

By Cathy Cleary, cookbook author and CFSA member

Editor’s Note:

The Southern Harvest Cookbook is a new cookbook written by CFSA member, Cathy Cleary which features seasonal and regional recipes, stories, plus interviews with some of North Carolina’s famed Chefs Vivian Howard, John Fleer (Rhubarb), and Andrea Reusing (Cooking in the Moment), and includes the brilliant photography of Katherine Brooks.
Fifty-percent of the proceeds from sales of the cookbook will go toward food justice causes and sustainable agricultural initiatives. CFSA is one of the causes that Cathy selected, and we are feeling utterly grateful for her generosity.
Cathy wanted to give fellow CFSA members a sneak peek, so below she shares an article and two recipes Chocolate-Ginger Sweet Potato Pie and Whiskey-Braised Sweet Potatoes from her book, The Southern Harvest Cookbook.
All photos by Cathy Cleary, unless otherwise noted.

Sweet Potatoes by Cathy Cleary

The Sweet Potato Underground

I wonder how many of us grew up thinking sweet potatoes could only be served mixed with loads of brown sugar or dripping with toasted marshmallows. I personally did not wake from this sweet potato sugar coma until age 21 when a companion convinced me to try them roasted in their skins and adorned with nothing but butter. I fell in love with both the companion and the orange-fleshed tuber.

Fortunately for me, this humble root grows well in North Carolina, which produces more sweet potatoes than any other state in the US according to the USDA. Joe Evans, owner of Paper Crane Farm explains,


“Sweet potatoes definitely grow well here in the mountains around Asheville. I’d say our main challenge compared to the piedmont is the cold. Sweet potatoes are a long season crop that take anywhere from 90-120 days to reach maturity. Our growing season is shorter here than in other parts of the state.”


Sweet potatoes don’t grow from seeds. They are one of those fascinating regenerative vegetables. Plant a sweet potato and it will grow baby sweet potatoes. Onions, ginger, turmeric, cassava, and so-called “Irish” potatoes all fall into this crazy category.

In order to get a jump on the long growing season most farmers plant “slips” — leafy green sprouts grown out of a mature potato. They purchase the slips or grow them in a greenhouse until there is no danger of frost in the spring, then plant them in outdoor fields.

Young plants need lots of water, but once those slips take hold miraculous things happen. Vigorous vines take over entire fields, or in my case entire front yards.  All summer long, as people walk past our house, they ask what vine is taking over the sidewalk. When savvy gardeners walk by, they ask what varieties of sweet potatoes we grow.

Those leafy vines are great conversation starters, good ground cover, and the leaves themselves are incredibly delicious. I like to season them with smoked paprika, dry them in the oven and eat them like crunchy kale chips.

Chrisan Klak, co-owner of Blue Meadow Farms in Hendersonville grew up eating taro leaves, and sweet potato leaves are a good stand-in. “I’m Filipino and we use them in Philippino culture and Asian culture. Usually, a lot of the recipes that I follow for sweet potato greens are using taro leaves, but they have a similar texture and flavor so I just use them in lieu of taro leaves.”

We don’t grow taro leaves in these parts, but nutrition consultant Katherine Wilson explains,


“Sweet potato greens can be cooked in the same way as spinach, chard, and other leafy greens, and they may contain more nutrients than spinach.”


In the fall, leaf covered vines get cut all the way back and roots should be harvested before first frost. Annie Louise Perkinson, co-owner of Flying Cloud Farm told me “Frost can ruin them, but also we don’t want them to get too big because people don’t want to buy a six-pound sweet potato.”

I can speak from experience when I say cooking a six-pound sweet potato takes some time. I almost always end up with something roughly the size and shape of a football when I harvest. After showing it off for several days, I light up the wood-fired oven, have a pizza party and as the oven cools down overnight, the enormous sweet potato football bakes. In the morning, warm tender sweet flesh is ready to eat with butter or sorghum whipped cream for breakfast.

Perkinson agrees with me that roasting is one of the best ways to cook these sweet miracles. “I love leftovers because you can do anything with them, put them in soups, stews, quesadillas or pie.”

Their versatility may be obvious, but when those marshmallow topped, brown sugar baked casseroles come out of the oven we rarely think about nutrition. Wilson says,


“Actually sweet potatoes are packed with nutrients, they help boost immune function, eye health, cell growth, blood sugar regulation, and are a great addition to an anti-inflammatory diet.”


She contends they are best without added sugar.

As if versatility and nutrient density were not enough, the variations in color shape and size are almost endless. This year I grew round yellow fleshed Painters, orange oblong Beauregard’s, and lanky white Nancy Hall’s. Cut up and roasted all together, they hardly look like the same vegetable.

The sweet potato edition of Crop Stories, a “Zine” edited by André Joseph Gallant, describes varieties of purple-fleshed Okinawan, dark red Georgia Jets and bright gold skinned Vardaman sweet potatoes.  This informative journal combines planting, growing, and management information as well as essays devoted to conditions for immigrant laborers working in sweet potato fields, stories of passionate farmers, and intriguing recipes like Sweet Potato Adult Milkshake.

I may make adult milkshakes a new household tradition. They should work well alongside my other traditions; Whiskey Braised Sweet Potatoes and Chocolate Ginger Sweet Potato Pie listed below.

Cathy Cleary's Chocolate-Ginger Sweet Potato Pie, by Katherine Brooks

Chocolate-Ginger Sweet Potato Pie

Recipe from The Southern Harvest Cookbook by Cathy Cleary
Photo by Katherine Brooks
Serves: 8


4 tablespoons butter
¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips
1¼ cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon powdered ginger


2 cups baked, peeled and mashed sweet potato
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup half and half
2 eggs
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup chopped crystallized ginger


3 tablespoons half and half
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
¼ cup chopped crystallized ginger


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. For the crust, melt butter in microwave or saucepan. Add chocolate chips and continue to melt stirring until smooth. Combine with remaining crust ingredients and press into a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan.

For the filling, combine all ingredients in a bowl or electric mixer and mix well. Pour filling into crust and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. The filling will be starting to brown on edges and will puff slightly in the center.

Meanwhile, heat half and half for the topping in microwave or saucepan. Add chocolate chips and continue to melt, stirring until smooth (Note: when melting chocolate be sure to only use completely dry utensils—water causes chocolate to seize up).

Sprinkle pie with ginger and drizzle with chocolate sauce. Allow to cool at least 15 minutes before serving.


Cathy Cleary's Whiskey Braised Sweet Potatoes

Whiskey-Braised Sweet Potatoes

Recipe from The Southern Harvest Cookbook by Cathy Cleary
Serves: 8


¼ cup plus 2–3 tablespoons whiskey or bourbon, divided
1½ cups water
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon chipotle pepper puree (optional)
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
6 cups (2 pounds) peeled and cubed (1-inch) sweet potatoes
1 teaspoon cornstarch
½ cup toasted pecans (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. For the crust, melt butter in microwave or saucepan. Add chocolate chips and continue to melt stirring until smooth. Combine with remaining crust

In a wide-bottomed sauce pot combine ¼ cup whiskey, water, butter, brown sugar, salt, chipotle and nutmeg. Bring to a simmer and add sweet potatoes. Spread potatoes so that they are all at least partially submerged in liquid. Cook uncovered at a low simmer for about 20 minutes. Test a potato to make sure they are cooked through. If they need additional cooking time, cover and simmer 5–10 additional minutes.

Mix 2 tablespoons of whiskey with cornstarch, add to simmering sweet potatoes and stir until thickened. Taste and add additional 1 tablespoon of whiskey, to taste. Sprinkle with toasted pecans before serving.


About The Book
The southern garden produces delights in all four seasons, from asparagus to tomatoes, apples to collard greens. Make use of the bounty of your garden or farmers’ market with new twists on familiar favorites. Recipes for Apple Radish Salad and Bacon Apple Burgers break up a fall parade of crisps and crumbles. Instead of roasting, make Whiskey Braised Sweet Potatoes (recipe above) or Sweet Potato Peanut Stew and add greens to Shrimp and Grits. Recipes for preserving herbs, pickling peaches and berry jams mean that your harvest will never go to waste. Let experienced gardener and cook Cathy Cleary walk you through four seasons of fresh, flavorful cooking.


About The Author
Cathy Cleary began cooking and baking at the ripe age of four. In 2000, she opened the West End Bakery Café in West Asheville, which quickly became an iconic eatery, and in 2014 published The West End Bakery and Café Cookbook to satisfy requests to share her recipes. Cathy and her husband own a small farm outside Asheville where they grow as much food as possible. Cathy is a contributor to the Carolina Table: North Carolina Writers on Food, and her website includes a blog of stories about her adventures in the kitchen and garden.

Hot Pepper Jelly, Jerusalem Artichoke Relish and Refrigerator Pickles

by Andrea Weigl, cookbook author and producer at Markay Media

Editor’s Note: Andrea shares three recipes: Habanero Gold Pepper Jelly, Ben Barker’s Jerusalem Artichoke Relish and Sweet and Spicy Refrigerator Pickles from her book, Pickles & Preserves: A Savor the South Cookbook.

Pickles - Andrea Weigl

Habanero Gold Pepper Jelly

This recipe was shared with me by an avid canner Rebecca Ashby of Winston-Salem. She not only serves it over cream cheese with crackers but also as a basting sauce for swordfish or pork loin. N.C. She was inspired by a version in the “Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.” From “Pickles & Preserves: A Savor the South Cookbook,” by Andrea Weigl, (UNC Press, 2014).

Makes about 6 to 7 four-ounce jars


½ cup diced dried apricots (about 12 medium)

¾ cup white vinegar

¼ cup finely chopped red onion

¼ cup finely chopped red bell pepper, seeds removed

½ cup finely chopped habanero pepper, seeds removed

3 cups sugar

1 (3-ounce) pouch of liquid pectin


Place the apricots and vinegar in a large stainless-steel stockpot or enamel Dutch oven. Let the apricots soak for at least 4 hours at room temperature.


Add the red onion, peppers, and sugar. Stir. Bring the mixture to a hard boil, or a boil that cannot be stirred down. Add the liquid pectin, bring back to a boil and cook for 1 more minute.


Pour the jelly in hot, sterilized jars, leaving a ¼-inch headspace. Process the jars for 10 minutes.



Ben Barker’s Jerusalem Artichoke Relish

I grow a patch of Jerusalem artichokes, also called sunchokes, in my backyard. The second year I harvested them, I had more than I could possibly use. I found a willing taker in the James Beard award-winning chef Ben Barker, who along with his pastry chef wife, Karen, owned the now closed-Magnolia Grill in Durham, N.C. (It should be noted that Karen has her own James Beard award.) In exchange for the artichokes, Ben shared his relish recipe and graciously let me reprint it in this book. Although I can’t claim credit, this relish adapted from Barker’s recipe receives many compliments. Be sure to clean the artichokes with a scrub brush to remove all the dirt and cut off any troublesome or soft spots. From “Pickles & Preserves: A Savor the South Cookbook,” by Andrea Weigl, (UNC Press, 2014).


Makes about 7 pint jars.


1 gallon plus 2 cups cold water

1 ½ cups kosher salt, divided

3 ½ pounds Jerusalem artichokes, scrubbed, trimmed and cut into a small dice

2 cups small diced red pepper

2 cups small diced yellow pepper

2 cups small diced onion

2 cup sugar

1 cup light brown sugar

5 cups cider vinegar

2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons mustard seeds

2 teaspoons pepper flakes

2 tablespoons ground turmeric


Place 1 gallon cold water and 1 cup kosher salt in a large bowl. Stir to dissolve the salt; add the diced artichokes. Soak overnight or at least 5-6 hours. Drain well.


Place the peppers, onions, ½ cup salt and 2 cups water in another large bowl. Let soak 1 hour. Drain. Combine with the artichokes.


Combine the sugars, vinegar, mustard seeds, pepper flakes, and turmeric in a stainless steel saucepan.  Bring to a simmer and simmer gently for 2 minutes. Pour over the artichoke mixture. Let cool to room temperature. Pack in the hot sterilized pint jars, leaving a ¼-inch head space.


Process the jars for 10 minutes. Let sit at least 2 weeks before enjoying.


Spicy and Sour Refrigerator Pickles

I first tasted these pickles while judging an office cooking contest at Burt’s Bees corporate headquarters in Durham, N.C. This recipe is adapted from Beth Ritter’s winning entry. Ritter says the recipe appeared in the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram years ago and was attributed to Dock and Opal Everett who used to own a produce stand in Waco, Texas. I use a mandoline to make quick work of slicing the cucumbers, jalapeño and onion. From “Pickles & Preserves: A Savor the South Cookbook,” by Andrea Weigl, (UNC Press, 2014).

Makes 2 quarts
2 pounds pickling cucumbers, such as Kirby, cut into ¼-inch slices (about 8 cups)

1 jalapeño, sliced

1 onion, peeled and sliced

4 cups distilled white vinegar

1/4 cup pickling salt

3 1/2 cups sugar

1 ½ teaspoon celery seeds

1 ½ teaspoons turmeric

1 ½ teaspoons mustard seeds

1 tablespoon black peppercorns
Combine the cucumbers, jalapeño, and onion in a large bowl. Set aside.

Heat the vinegar, salt, sugar, celery seeds, turmeric, mustard seeds, and black peppercorns in a medium stainless-steel saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir about 10 minutes, until the sugar and salt are dissolved.

Pack the vegetables into two quart jars. Ladle the hot brine over the pickles, leaving ½-inch headspace. Seal the jars with lids.

Let these pickles sit in the refrigerator for 5 days before eating. These pickles are good for a year but best within 3 months.

Pies for September

by Sheri Castle, award-winning professional food writer

These recipes are from my book, Sugar, Butter, Flour: The Waitress Pie Book. It
is a companion cookbook to the hit Broadway show. The producer and publisher
hired me to develop the recipes based on the script and lyrics.

I picked these three pies because pears and apples are just coming into season in September – depending upon where you live in the Carolinas, they should be easy to find at the farmers market. Pear will be in season until about October, but you should be able to find good apples until February. Blackberries, on the other hand, have an amazing – and fleeting – second season in September. This savory meat and winter squash pie makes the best of them before they’re gone until next summer.


Almost Make You Believe Again Pear and Cranberry Pie


Makes one 9 1/2-inch pie



One 9-inch deep dish pie shell



1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

¾ cup packed dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

1 teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 tablespoons molasses



6 pears (3 pounds) peeled, cored, and cut into bite-size chunks

2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (do not thaw if frozen)

½ cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup quick tapioca

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon brandy

1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon ground ginger

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into bits and chilled


Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. Place a rimmed baking sheet on the rack as it preheats.


For the streusel: Whisk together the flour, brown sugar, peppy seeds, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the melted butter and molasses. Drizzle the butter mixture over the flour mixture and stir together with a fork until small clumps form. Chill until needed.


For the filing: Toss together the pears, cranberries, sugar, tapioca, vinegar, brandy, lemon zest, cinnamon, salt, and ginger in a large bowl. Pour into the pie shell, dot with butter bits, and sprinkle with streusel.


Place the pie on the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375°F and bake until he filling is bubbling vigorously and the crust is baked through, 50 to 60 minutes more. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.


 The Apple of My Eye Rum Raisin Hand Pies

Apple hand pie - Sheri Castle

Makes 6



1/3 cup golden raisins

3 tablespoons dark rum

1 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground mace or freshly grated nutmeg

1 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

5 apples, peeled, cored, and cut into ½-inch cubes (4 cups)



Dough for a 9-inch double-crust pie shell


Egg Wash

1 large egg

2 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon coarse sugar, such as Demerara


Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment


For the filling: Stir together the raisins and rum in a small bowl. Microwave on high for 20 seconds then let stand until the raisins plump and absorb the rum.


Stir together the granulated sugar, flour, cinnamon, and mace in a large bowl. Stir in the sour cream and vanilla, Fold in the apples and raisins.


Working with half of the dough at a time, divide each dough ball into thirds. Roll each portion into a 1/8-inch-thick round on a lightly floured surface. Repeat the rest of the dough to make a total of six rounds. Divide the filling among the round, and then fold the pastry over the filling to make half-moons. Crimp the edges tightly.


Makes an egg wash by whisking together the egg and water in a small bowl. Gently brush the hand pies with the egg awash and sprinkle with the coarse sugar. Place the filled hand pies on the prepared baking sheet and bake in the center of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until deep golden brown. Place the pies, still on the baking sheet, on a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes before serving.


A Little Wild, Wild Berry Pie

Wild berry pie - Sheri Castle

Makes 8 individual pies



1 1/2 pounds venison shoulder or bottom round roast or beef chuck roast cut into 2-inch pieces

2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

1 tablespoon bacon fat or vegetable oil

1 large onion, chopped (about 3 cups)

2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

2 cups pinot noir or other dry, fruity red wine

2 cups beef stock

3 cups winter squash such as pie pumpkin, butternut, red kuri, or kabocha, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

1 cup peeled and diced parsnip

1 cup peeled and diced carrot

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 small sprig each fresh rosemary, sage, and thyme

1 pint fresh blackberries, crushed

2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons whole-grain Dijon mustard

Juice of 1 lemon


Pumpkin Drop Biscuit Topping

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup canned pumpkin puree

3/4 cup heavy cream

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


For the filling: Blot the meat dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat the bacon fat in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Working in batches, add the meat and cook 2 to 3 minutes per side or until deeply seared and browned, turning with tongs. Transfer the browned pieces to a bowl.


Add the onion and a big pinch of salt to the pot and stir to coat. If the brown glaze on the bottom of the pot begins to scorch, add a couple of tablespoons of water to loosen and stir into the onions. Cook 8 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.


Whisk together the flour, paprika, allspice, and cayenne in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the onions and stir to coat. Cook 2 minutes, stirring continuously.


Add the wine and stir to loosen the glaze on the bottom of the pot. Stirring continuously, add the beef stock in a slow, steady stream.  Bring to a simmer, and cook 3 minutes or until thickened, stirring all the while.


Return the meat and any accumulated juices to the pot. Stir in the squash, parsnip, carrot, garlic, and herb sprigs.


Partially cover and cook at a bare simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until the meat is very tender, stirring occasionally. Discard the herb stems.


Stir in the blackberries, brown sugar, mustard, and lemon juice, and heat through. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm over low heat.


Preheat the oven to 425°F.


For the topping: Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and kosher salt in a large bowl. Whisk together the pumpkin and cream in a small bowl. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture and stir to form stiff dough.


Divide the warm filling among eight individual skillets or baking dishes that are about 5 inches in diameter. Drop a biscuit-size mound of dough evenly over the stew. Brush the tops with a little cream and sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper


Bake in the center of the oven for 25 minutes or until the biscuits are firm. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.


Sheri Castle hails from Watauga County, but came down off the mountain to go to Carolina and now lives in Fearrington Village. She is a writer, recipe developer, cooking teacher, and popular public speaker. She is fueled by mountains, excellent bourbon, farmers’ markets, and searching for the right word. Sheri believes that stories happen only to those who can tell them. Check her out at shericastle.com.

Green Tomato Pickles and Spicy Ginger Pickles

by Rebecca McKinney, Academic Program Director, Sustainable Agriculture
Culinary Institute of the Carolinas at Greenville Tech


Summer vegetables can be enormously productive in September through early November. Some years, my tomatoes have had hundreds of green fruits on them right before our first frost.  The fastest way for me to preserve the end-of-season of tomatoes, peppers, squash, and cucumbers is pickling.


Green Tomato Pickles

Pickling works especially well for green cherry tomatoes. So many tomato recipes are based on pecks or bushels – but here’s one that’s great for small batches and easily adaptable for larger quantities, based on a version available at www.foodinjars.com.  If you leave out the dill and peppercorns, this recipe also can be used to pickle peppers.   



If you’re using green currant or cherry tomatoes, pickle them whole.  For larger green tomatoes, cut them into wedges.  For each 1 lb. of green tomatoes or 2 pints of pickles, you’ll need:

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup water

1½ tsp sea salt (or pickling salt; you just need to avoid salt that has anti-caking additives)


In each hot, sterilized pint jar, place:

1 tsp dill seed

2 garlic cloves

¼ tsp peppercorns



  1. Combine vinegar, water, and salt and bring to a boil. Turn off.  This is your brine.
  2. Pack stemmed green tomatoes or wedges into the jars. Pour brine into the jars. Use a wooden spoon or chopstick to remove the air bubbles and add additional brine if necessary, to ½” of the rim. Wipe rims, apply simmered lids, and screw on the bands.
  3. Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes. When time is up, remove jars from canner and let them cool on a towel-lined countertop (8 hours or so). When jars are completely cool, remove rings and test seals by grasping the edges of the lid and lifting the jar. If the lids hold fast, the seal is good. If they don’t, refrigerate immediately.
  4. Store in a cool, dark place.  They can be eaten after a week, but are best if left for a month before opening.  Store in refrigerator after opening.



Spicy Ginger Pickles 

For cucumbers and squash, I start with the Ball Blue Book bread & butter pickle recipe, but adapt it to my own tastes.  I use grated, fresh ginger and turmeric from my garden, and add hot peppers.  The brine recipe also can be used in making watermelon rind pickles.


Pickled squash

Ingredients for 4 pints:

2 pounds cucumbers, squash, or a combination, cut into 1/4-inch slices

1 pound onions, thinly sliced

1/6 cup sea salt or canning salt

1 cup brown sugar

1 TBSP mustard seed

1 TBSP freshly grated turmeric

1 TBSP freshly grated ginger

½ tsp peppercorns

4 small hot peppers of your choice (I use 4 Rooster Spur or 2 cayenne peppers, halved)

1 ½ cups apple cider vinegar



Combine cucumber and onion slices.  Layer with salt in a large bowl.  Cover with cold water and ice cubes. Let stand 1 ½ hours.


Drain and rinse twice to remove as much of the salt and excess water as you can. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large saucepot and bring to a boil. Add drained cucumbers and onions and return to a boil. Pack the hot vegetables and liquid into hot jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Make sure that each jar contains peppercorns and a hot pepper (or pepper half).  Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.


Rebecca McKinney, a long-time CFSA supporter and member, is Academic Program Director for Greenville Technical College’s Sustainable Agriculture Program and Executive Director for SC Organization for Organic Living (SCOOL).  SCOOL produces an organic growing conference in late winter/early spring each year.  Rebecca and her husband, Jay, enjoy growing, cooking, and preserving much of their own food.