Do you collect cookbooks? I certainly do and read them just like detective mysteries! It is not just the recipes; it is the cooking hints, author’s experience, the cooking lore and the historical context of the publication. Many times, I stop by yard sales, thrift stores and book sales at local libraries. Other times I shop cookbook magazines or bookstores. My best finds are those that often come to me through friends and fellow foodies. I have recently acquired several cookbooks and would like to introduce you to these authors.lost-art-of-pies-cover-128x200


I just received an email about a new cookbook that includes the Western North Carolina Farmers Market.  The cookbook is by ( Southern Living and is entitled “Farmers Market Cookbook: Harvesting a Fresh Look at Local Flavor” (available March 16, 2010) It is all about local fresh ingredients available at farmers markets throughout the south. We are very fortunate here in Asheville to have a great selection of winter markets, farm stores and natural food markets.


One book I recently purchased is (www. “Sublime Soups, vegetarian soups and quick breads” by local author Lenore Baum. Lenore brought several copies to our last Slow Food “soup event” and donated a share of the proceeds to our education fund. We shared many great soups that night and the leftovers were packaged and donated to local homeless shelters. With all the snow and ice, this cookbook is one I am reading and cooking from this winter.


Was your power off in the last snowstorm? Did you wish for a wood cook stove? You need to know about the books available from Barbara Swell of () Native Ground Books and Music, here in Asheville. Barbara has researched and published ten cookbooks with recipes dating from the 18th century to the 1950’s. These wonderfully illustrated books tout the uniqueness of “Early American Cookery” or “The Lost Art of Pie Making” with tips for using wood cook stoves and old-fashioned recipes and folklore.


Whatever the season or reason, we have a wealth of great cooks, wonderful markets, dedicated farmers and many cookbooks by local authors. Head to your local bookstore or check out the mentioned websites and support this vibrant community!

Chill Out: A guide to making the ultimate seasonal treat

Do you remember the expression “to make hay while the sun shines?” Well, with all this recent snow, I’m reminded of my youth and making Snow Cream whenever the clouds allowed. As I grew up, we were warned to only use the snow for snowmen and snowflAKEsnowballs due to the pollution and nuclear tests effecting the atmosphere. But recently, with back-to-back snows and large accumulations, I think it is time to eat snow again! Here’s how to do it.

I prefer a fluffy dry snow to the wet heavy snow (too many ice crystals) but any snow will do. Be sure to scoop the snow from a safe place, like the top of your car or from a clean trusted surface. Ask yourself, “If I dropped a piece of toast on this thing, would I still pick it up and eat it?”

Take a large mixing bowl and place in it 2 or more cups of either milk, half-an-half, whipping cream or a mixture of any of these. Then add sugar, and stir until the sugar is totally dissolved and tastes just as sweet as you like it. Add a pinch of salt and as much vanilla extract as it suites your taste buds. Here comes the fun part: add snow gradually while stirring until the right consistency (or it just feels like ice cream) has been reached. For those of you with a dairy allergy, think “snow cones” and use your favorite fruit juices to mix into the snow and serve.

Pass around bowls and spoons and sit by the fire and just chill out! With enough of the right ingredients I think we can eat our way right into spring.

7th Asheville Wine & Food Festival

Our Festival brought together a vibrant culinary community, attracting 5000 attendees over the celebratory week!


August 28, 2015 – The seventh annual Asheville Wine & Food Festival, presented by sponsor Asheville Color Imaging, was held August 20-22 in downtown Asheville. The festival attracted 5,000 wine and food aficionados to three days of signature events: ELIXIR, NC’s largest distillery showcase and craft cocktail competition; SWEET, a feast of desserts, wines, and spirits; and the GRAND TASTING, featuring farm-to-table restaurants, artisan food producers, bakers, chocolatiers, craft brewers and distilleries, and winemakers who turned out to cook, pour, demonstrate, and serve their love to eager attendees. The festival, one of the largest indoor culinary festivals in the southeast, is a testament to the region’s growing food scene. [Read more…]



A Culinary Circus of Drink, Music, Competitions & Fun in Asheville NC

Culinary artistry and showmanship preselected by chefs and mixologists, intensified by the competition among competitors and emphasizing smaller, more intensely flavored courses. “The amuse-bouche is the best way for a great chef to express his or her big ideas in small bites.”

May 1 from 6:00 – 8:00 PM at the MHCC Event Center. Presented by Capital at Play.

Got Tickets?

Can’t wait?  Sample this signature AMUSE cocktail in anticipation of the upcoming event:


1 oz Absolut Vanilla

3/4 oz Domaine de Canton

1 oz Orange Juice

1/2 oz Roses Lime Juice


Shake and strain into a martini glass. Top with a splash of ginger ale.

Lime twist and/or cherry garnish.




This creation is shared with you by Kenny Rieg of Chop House, Downtown Asheville.Chop House Logo

Ramps: A Sustainable Harvest

Ramp season is nearly upon us here in the Appalachian Mountains. These delicious wild leeks are becoming increasingly popular among chefs and home cooks throughout the country, but many people do not know how to properly harvest them. The Appalachian Food Storybank and the Smoky Mountain Native Plants Association have partnered to create a video that shows potential foragers how to sustainably harvest ramps so that the plant will continue to grow in following seasons. We hope that you or your organization will help us promote this video, “Ramps: A Sustainable Harvest,” by sharing it on your website, blog, or social media platforms. If you know of any other parties that might be interested in helping us promote the video, please feel free to forward it to them as well.  The embedded link will take viewers to the Appalachian Food Storybank’s website where they can view the video.


Poached Farm Egg with Ramp & Chevre Grits & Benton’s Country Ham “Cracklins”

Recipe submitted by Chef William Dissen of The MarketPlace

(Yield: 4 servings)


Ramp & Chevre Grits Anson Mills Coarse Yellow Grits                                        1 cup

Water                                                                                 3 ¼ cups

Olive oil                                                                             2 tbsp.

Onion, finely chopped                                                      2 tbsp.

Garlic, minced                                                                   1 tsp.

Heavy Cream                                                                     ¾ cup

Chevre                                                                              4 tbsp.

Franks’s Red Hot Sauce                                                     1 tbsp.

Ramps, bulb trimmed, grilled, roughly chopped                 10 ea.

Salt & Pepper                                                                     to taste

Poached Farm Egg                                                             4 ea. (see recipe)

Benton’s Country Ham “Cracklins”                                    4 tbsp. (see recipe)


  1. In a medium pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat and stir in the onion and garlic and cook until translucent.
  2. Add the water and bring to a rapid boil. Rapidly whisk in the grits and stir continuously until the grits are combined with the water and the grits begin to bubble.
  3. Turn off the heat and cover the pot with plastic wrap. Keep in a warm place for 1 hour.
  4. While the grits are resting, bring a grill to medium high heat. Lightly oil the ramps and season with salt and pepper. Place on the grill until they are lightly charred and the bulbs are tender – about 2 minutes. Remove the ramps from the grill and allow to cool. Cut them roughly and reserve to finish the grits.
  5. Unwrap the pot and place over medium heat to heat back through. Stir in the heavy cream, chevre, Frank’s Red Hot. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Stir in the chopped ramps and serve immediately.
  6. To finish, place the grits into a ramekin and place a poached egg on top of the grits. Season the egg with salt & pepper. Sprinkle 1 tbsp. of the “cracklins” over the egg. Serve immediately.

Rising Star Chef of the Year

Rising Star Chef of the Year by James Beard Foundation – Katie Button, Cúrate, Asheville, N.C.

Baby Beet Salad with Marcona Almonds, Pickled Oranges, Idiazabal Cheese, and Blood Orange Vinaigrette

Recipe click here


Home-cooked & Cozy Dinner

Home-cooked & Cozy Dinner by Ruth Gonzalez

Pouring snow inspired this cozy dinner of cornbread, beans, and greens, a favorite combo in these parts and for most of the south.

Appalachian White Crackers

From Carolina Ground L3C

Appalachian White Crackers

3 cups appalachian white whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon fine sea salt + some for topping

1 cup warm water + a bit to add in if neccessary

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Whisk together flour & salt. Add water and oil to the dry mix. The dough should be slightly tacky. Not too dry or too sticky. Slowly add flour or warm water accordingly. Once the dough has been mixed, divide it in half, cover and let rest for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment. (If you turn your baking sheet upside down and lightly flour the parchment you may roll your dough directly on the sheet pan. I did this for my second attempt.) Roll out your dough paper thin. This is important: the thinner the dough, the crisper the cracker. Transfer to sheet pan and top with ingredients of your choice. I brushed my first batch with olive oil, salt & poppy seeds and loaded the second try with crushed sage, cheddar and black pepper. The herbs were a great addition I would highly recommend. Bake until golden brown. Let your crackers fully cool before you eat them to get a real snap. Enjoy & share!

How to Fry a Turkey… and Turn Your Leftover Oil into Biodiesel

By Alisha Goodman, Client Services Manager at Blue Ridge Biofuels

The iconic image of a Thanksgiving meal is a perfectly basted bird being pulled out of the oven, but there are many ways to prepare a tasty turkey. I had some interesting Thanksgivings with my family when my Dad tried smoking our turkey with a beer can shoved into the space formerly occupied by giblets. One year, my Uncle Jimmy fried a turkey for our dinner. I remember thinking that it was remarkable that my Uncle Jimmy hadn’t burned the house down, but also, that the resulting bird was pretty darn tasty. I don’t have that recipe, but I’ve provided one below from the brilliant mind of Alton Brown. To read the entire article and recipe go to

Holiday Recipes – Asheville Area Favorites

caramel-pecan-sticky-bun-cookies-1Asheville, North Carolina’s local B&Bs and independent chefs share Christmas and holiday recipes to help the rest of us create that gourmet feast at home.

See the recipes.