When I have guests in town for the holidays, there is nothing I love more than to treat them to seasonal local flavors fresh from the farms of Haywood County.
Winter can be pretty slim pickins’ you say?
When we think of farm fresh products, what often comes to mind are juicy berries, beautiful ripe tomatoes, garden fresh peppers sizzling on the grill, aromatic herbs, crispy green beans or an apple so sweet you can’t help but lick your fingers when your finished.
You can have all those flavors and MORE during the off-season, if you just know where to look!
Craving a juicy local tomato?
Pick up a jar of Oven Roasted Tomato Jam from our partners at Copper Pot & Wooden Spoon. Chef DeMarco and team oven roasts perfectly ripened tomatoes with olive oil before adding garlic and fresh herbs to create a flavorful savory spread. Surprise your guests by serving it on sandwiches, pair with fresh mozzarella cheese and crispy grilled bruschetta for an elegant appetizer or between-meal snack. Create a new twist on roast pork by serving this as a condiment in the place of holiday chutney. Or, top your favorite omelet with a generous dollop for a punch of savory flavor and vibrant color.
Copper Pot & Wooden Spoon and other local producers perfectly preserve the season’s best flavors in a variety of products including jams, jellies, savory spreads and artisan pickled products. What a great time to explore new flavor combinations and treat your guests to unforgettable meals! Visit our web directory for a list of agripreneurs, local products and specialty retail partners.
Here is a new personal favorite that I served at a business meeting recently…and my guest (who isn’t local) asked to take the rest of the jar back to South Carolina with her!
Bored with burgers but want to serve a hearty dish that is light enough for lunch & elegant enough to present at dinner?
Stop by Sunburst Market in downtown Waynesville for some fresh fillets to create Chef Heidi Dunkelberg’s “Sunburst Trout Reuben.” While you are there, grab all the ingredients for your side dishes and even pick up some “welcome” gifts for your out of town guests! Sunburst Market is a one-stop fabulous shop.
Chef Heidi was generous enough to share her recipe!
Sunburst Trout Reuben
(Makes 4 sandwiches, double recipe for larger group)
6 Sunburst Trout filets (1 1/2 filets per sandwich)
Salt & Pepper
4 slices Swiss Cheese
Russian Sauce (sorry this recipe is a Coffee Cup secret!)
8 slices local Rye Bread
Oil – olive, vegetable or canola
Line a baking sheet with foil. Arrange filets skin-side down, and lightly salt & pepper. Bake for 10 minutes. Allow filets to cool slightly, then they lift right off the skin.
Arrange 4 slices of Rye bread and lightly brush bottom side with desired oil. Place 1 1/2 baked filets on each slice. Top filets with Swiss cheese and sauerkraut. Lay out remaining 4 slices of Rye and spread with Russian sauce. Top the sandwiches and lightly brush with desired oil. Grill in a hot pan on the stove top until golden brown and cheese is perfectly melted. Serve & Enjoy!
You can enjoy more of Chef Heidi’s “Uniquely Local – Farm to Table” dishes by dining at Coffee Cup Cafe in Clyde, NC.
Play with Sweet & Savory Flavors
Introduce local honey into your menu in an unexpected way. The sweet floral notes add so much depth to a classic Dijon vinaigrette and serves to create a nice crust on grilled meats when used as glaze.
Bored with the richness of traditional holiday sweets?
Draw inspiration from global flavors to create an unexpected dessert layered with local ingredients! Here is a recipe for a traditional Italian cake that we have modified with a Southern twist by using local apples, Georgia pecans, garden fresh herbs and floral Haywood County honey then baked in a cast iron skillet for a rustic presentation.
Torta di Mele with Rosemary Pecans & Max Patch Clover Honey
(Recipe courtesy of Tina Masciarelli and her daughters)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon dried ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
8 oz butter, softened
2 farm fresh eggs
3/4 cup Vanilla Greek yogurt (or plain yogurt)
1-2 local apples, peeled and thinly sliced
**Adjust the amount of apple depending on size
of the fruit. If the apples are large, use one. If
small, use two. I used NC Golden Delicious for this
1 cup pecan pieces
Sugar in the Raw **To sprinke on top**
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
Vanilla Ice Cream
Local Clover Honey **I used Clover Honey from Max
Patch, the floral notes add the exact flavor that I
TO MAKE THE TORTA
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Chop 1-2 Tablespoons of fresh rosemary and toss in a bowl with 1 cup Sugar in the Raw. The rosemary will infuse the sugar.
- Toast the pecan pieces for 5-8 minutes until done. Add hot pecans to rosemary sugar and toss until well coated. Let stand until ready to garnish dessert.
- Butter a 9 inch baking dish of your choice. I used my Grandmother’s cast iron skillet – sprayed lightly with cooking spray – for a rustic presentation.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger and salt. Set aside.
- In another mixing bowl, cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Add the eggs one at a time, mixing just until incorporated after each egg. Reduce the mixer speed to low, add 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix just until incorporated. Careful not to overmix after each addition. Add half the yogurt, mix just until incorporated. Add another 1/3 of the flour mixture, mix just until incorporated. Add the remaining yogurt, mix, and then the last portion of the flour mixture. Let stand while you prepare the apples.
- Peel and thinly slice the apple(s). Add to the batter and mix on low until apples are incorporated, careful not to overmix.
- Pour into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the top with Sugar in the Raw to lightly cover top and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Careful not to overbake.
GARNISH & SERVE
- Remove the Torta from the oven and let rest for 8-10 minutes before cutting. Meanwhile, assemble the toppings: Vanilla Ice Cream, Rosemary Pecans & Local Honey
- Place a slice of the Torta in each bowl, top with a scoop of ice cream, toasted pecans (making sure to get bits of rosemary and sugar), drizzle with honey.
There are so many ways to incorporate local ingredients into your menus year-round…from honey to farm-fresh eggs, meats, poultry, trout products & preserved items.
Southern food is less about any particular ingredient and more about a state of mind. Appalachian cuisine is deeply rooted in our heritage—born through centuries of “making do,” never wasting and seeing delicious opportunities everywhere.
May you enjoy many bountiful feasts throughout the season!
When you GET LOCAL, don’t forget to enter our #ShopSmall Contest through December 25, 2014.
Complete contest rules & details on our website!