Tag Archives: recipes

The comfort of a good meal and lively conversation

I agree with the interviewee who I heard on NPR yesterday that it is important to be able to enjoy the lively and open discussion of politics with your guests.  I actually believe we need to have more open and respectful discussions outside our homes as well, but I will save this topic for a future post because today I am sharing my gratitude for a meal enjoyed with friends.  Good food and lively conversation is definitely one of my favorite ways to enjoy an evening, and thanks to Susan’s new cookbook, I finally ventured back into the kitchen.

We sampled three of Susan’s savory bites with the Blue Cheese and walnuts with a dollup of Bee Branch Farm honey, of course, being our favorite.  This is very simple to prepare and to have all the ingredients on hand for when guests drop in for a visit, which is one of the aspects I appreciate about Susan’s recipes, they are not overly complicated and most of the ingredients are readily available.  Entertaining should be fun; keep it simple and relaxing.  It is not about impressing people; it is about having a lovely time with friends.

My mouth is actually already watering for the main course of Beef Bourguignon, again.  Before you jump to correct my English/French combination name of this dish, you will just have to get the cookbook and learn the rest of the story.  This was my first time making this french classic, and Susan has simplified and adapted the recipe to easily available ingredients and modern cooking styles.  Absolutely delicious!!  Well done Susan; I am going to add this to my favorite recipe repertoire.  I served it with peas and a crusty seeded sourdough bread to soak up that tasty gravy.

We finished off with an apple and pear bread pudding, which was a slight adjustment on Susan’s Pumpkin Bread Pudding.  Susan’s recipe called for a pumpkin butter, but I had a jar of my mom’s apple butter, and my mom makes the best apple butter.  This recipe can be served for breakfast or dessert, and Glenn and I just enjoyed it for both!

There is no pretension in Susan’s cookbook, just as there is no pretension in Susan.  It is absolutely delightful.  Enjoy.

Cookbook Confession

I love reading and collecting cookbooks, but lately I have not been in the mood to cook.  Now before you think, “That is a great way to lose weight.”  Notice, I did not say I was not in the mood to eat, just not cook.    Thus, when I saw Susan Murray’s Our Family Table:  Recipes & Lessons from a Life Abroad at Addison Farms Vineyard’s A Handcrafted Christmas event this past weekend, I decided it was time for culinary inspiration.  Susan and her husband, James, are the charming innkeepers of Carolina Bed and Breakfast in the historic Montford neighborhood of Asheville.  We have partnered with them on a Sandy Mush Fall Farms and Artisans Tour the past couple of years, and I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them and hearing stories of their travel adventures.  If you were at Addison Farms this past weekend, then you were treated to some of Susan’s delectable specialties.  Lucky you!


While on that topic, thanks to everyone who came out to Addison Farms Vineyard this past weekend and supported our farmland conservation efforts in Sandy Mush.  We raised $500, and Jeff and Dianne Frisbee, owners of Addison Farms Vineyard generously matched that $500 for a total donation of $1000 to Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy to support the continued conservation efforts in Sandy Mush.

Back to culinary inspiration, I have thumbed through recipes, invited friends over to dinner and now heading to the market to gather ingredients.  Soon to be out of my culinary rut, or so my friends and Glenn hope!  A few bites I am considering to whet the appetite…Bourbon Grape Truffles…Proscuitto-Wrapped Asparagus….

Wishing you all inspiration,


Kale recipes from neighboring Sandy Mush Farms

This recipe was a huge hit at the fall potluck; courtesy of our friends and neighboring farmers in Sandy Mush, Full Sun Farm.  Check them out at the North Asheville Tailgate market on Saturdays.

Baked Kale (aka Kale Chips)

You take the kale off the stem and tear or cut it into bit sized pieces, maybe a little bigger because it shrinks. Spread it out on a cookie sheet and drizzle it with olive oil and sprinkle it with salt. I toss the kale until the oil and salt lightly coats the leaves. Then bake it in the oven at around 375 for 5-10 minutes. Take it out and stir the kale a little so it is cooking evenly and then put in back in for another few minutes, just until it is all crispy but before it turns a brownish green. It is still okay when it gets a little over done but better before.

Recipe from Ostara Farm CSA member Barb Svenson.  You can get Ostara Farm products at French Broad Coop.

Massaged Kale Salad

more a formula than a recipe

1 Bunch of Kale (lacinato works really well) or young collards or a mix of each.
Olive oil (preferably one with a peppery taste)
1/2 t. sea salt
lemon juice to taste (optional)

wash and dry the greens and de-stem them.
stack and roll the leaves tightly cigar style and slice into very thin ribbons
place the greens in a large shallow bowl, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt & lemon
massage the greens (aka like kneading bread) for a few minutes (they should oxidize a little and completely turn darker green, they will also release some moisture and shrink in quantity)

Now the creative part, add whatever you like –

here are some of my standard combos

greek or french olives, sun dried tomatoes (soaked and sliced) or oven roasted plum tomatoes chopped, feta cheese crumbles, thinly sliced red onion and a splash of balsamic vinegar, a little finely chopped oregano or thyme  (add white beans or tuna to make it main dish salad)

walnuts, dried cranberries, feta or goat cheese, sectioned oranges or clementines, splash of red wine vinegar or lavender vinegar (just a little chopped rosemary is also nice in this)

chopped pecans,  diced avocado, diced apple, and 1 diced protein (sausage, tempeh, baked tofu, smoked cheese, splash of balsamic and  a little dijon mustard mixed in or a little tahini.  (fresh chopped sage if you like)

pine nuts, chopped roasted garlic, grated parmesan, chopped fresh tomatoes, lots of fresh black pepper

Diced tempeh, cooked tofu, any pork, hard cheeses, chicken sausage and seafood (esp whole seared scallops) and beans (chick peas, white beans, black eyed peas)  all seem to work well as proteins to add to make a nice main dish salad.

Variety in the garden keeps it interesting in the kitchen

I love fresh, healthy, and flavorful food.  I love growing it, sharing it,  talking about it and especially eating it.  A couple of our farm families inspired me to make a homemade garlic and greens pizza this week.  Joanne mentioned that her family loves arugula on pizza, and Darlyne made a delicious pizza for book group that included spinach from our garden.  I kept is simple with olive oil rubbed on the crust, a mix of freshly harvested and chopped greens and garlic, and mozzarella topping it off.  Yummy!

We have also been enjoying a variety of salad greens.  I love the romaine with a light citrus vinaigrette that enhances the greens.  Olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, freshly squeezed lemon juice and a hint of ground pepper and sea salt.

Tomorrow I plan to braise and saute pak choi to accompany our crab cakes and make a slaw with kohlrabi, apples and spring onions.

We are growing over 100 varieties of various vegetables so there are plenty of flavors to tempt the taste buds.    Feel free to share some of your favorite ways to enjoy fresh garden vegetables.

Bon Appetit!

p.s. A few links to fun sites to find recipes if you need them: