End of the Year Fresh Market Surprises!

End of the Year Fresh Market Surprises!

We purchase our holiday turkey from New Town Farms in Waxhaw, North Carolina every year. This year, I was surprised to learn that Sammy, New Town’s Father Farmer also raises a small heard of Ossabaw Island Hogs. These are descendants of the famous Spanish Iberico hogs that are renowned for the most prize cured hams in the world – Jamón Ibérico. You may remember me writing about those hams after our trip to Spain a while back. The butchers in the fresh markets have contests to see who can cut the finest slices from the cured meat. It’s an art!

I also learned that these hogs have an interesting history. They were brought from Spain to a small island off the coast of Georgia in the 1500’s. They remained there for years, developing new characteristics for survival which make the meat delicious and extremely high in Omega 3’s. Sammy is one of a handful of farmers who raise these hogs, and he butchers just a few every year. Luckily, we will be the beneficiaries of this long history when we taste the pork that I purchased from Sammy on New Year’s Day.

And, if this is not delicious enough, my trip to the Mathews farmer’s market, where I picked up the pork, landed me right in front of the happiest farmer I ever met, Jim Mundorf of Nuthill Farms (pictured above). These are some of his yummy offerings!


He got me to taste his Henpecked mustard greens, which were delicate and tender and had an after-blast of mustard that ups the flavor profile in any salad…and especially on that left-over ham sammie.

He also sold me some Tokyo Cross turnips that you can slice raw into salads, but he suggested that I cook the tops with some vinegar and then roast the turnips to go with. Yes, Jim, I will! Click here to see New Town’s store!

Pork is a New Year’s tradition in our house. This was my Dad’s favorite thing to eat! My favorite way to enjoy the dish is to slow cook the meat (any cut works: chops, ribs, butt and shoulder) in the slow cooker with sauerkraut.

Here’s how ya do it!

Place the sauerkraut into the bottom of your slow cooker. I add sliced onions and slices of cabbage to the kraut. Season the meat and place it on top of the sauerkraut. Pour in about a cup of chicken broth. Cook the pork on low heat for a long time. I serve the dish with mashed potatoes and sautéed greens. This year, we’ll add some mustard greens to the mix!


Wishing You’re the Happiest and Healthiest of New Years!!



Move over Margarita – Tequila’s meant for Shortbread

Move over Margarita – Tequila’s meant for Shortbread

It’s Friday, and what my friends in the catering biz like to call Entry Night –when the folks you love most are likely to pop over for a holiday party weekend! This fun, desserty, liquor infused recipe ensures you are ready. Any kind of tequila will do – just don’t dip into any bottles with bows on them! And speaking of Christmas gifts, have you ordered an autographed copy of SUNDAY BEST yet for the foodie in your life? My large repertoire of versatile, colorful and yummy recipes will help ensure you have a happy belly through 2018 and beyond.

But I digress…we have an incredibly fun dessert to make…

Something you must know about this DISH OF THE DAY: The fresh picked fruit is the real star here, but good old-fashioned buttermilk biscuits and fluffy whipped cream are tasty co-stars. Then again, a generous pour of tequila certainly doesn’t hurt! I advocate here for ¼ cup, but be liberal if you wanna. Stay hungry, my friends…

Tequila Spiked Berry Shortcakes



½ cup fresh blueberries

¾ cup buttermilk

1 egg

2 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon table salt

½ cup granulated sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for topping

⅓ cup shortening, chilled

3 tablespoons butter

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 400°.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spill the blueberries onto a board. Use a serrated knife to roughly chop the berries, trapping them as they scatter off the board.

Whisk together the buttermilk and egg in a small bowl. Pour the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and ½ cup sugar into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse once or twice to combine the ingredients.  Pinch off pieces of shortening and drop them on top of the flour. Pulse the processor until the flour and shortening begin to climb up the sides of the bowl.

With the machine running, pour the buttermilk through the feed tube into the dry ingredients. The dough will clump together immediately. Stop the machine. The dough will be soft and gooey. Dump the dough out onto a well-floured board or counter top and sprinkle a little flour over the top.

Spill the berries on top of the dough. Sprinkle a little flour over the berries. Fold the blueberries into the dough, doing your best to evenly distribute them. If the dough is too wet to work with, you can work in a little more flour, but this is meant to be sticky dough.  Gently pat the dough into a rectangle about 4 x 8-inches, about ½-inch thick. Flour a 3-inch biscuit cutter and cut the dough into 12 circles re-using the scraps. Lift the biscuits onto the baking sheet. Place the baking sheet into the oven. Bake until the biscuits begin to rise and are just turning golden brown on the edges, about 10 to 12 minutes.

While the biscuits are cooking, melt the butter in a small saucepan or a microwave oven.  Stir in 2 tablespoons sugar and the nutmeg until you have a thick paste.  The sugar will not dissolve completely. Immediately brush the warm biscuits with the paste.  Cool biscuits on the pan.



6 cups fresh berries (include fresh peaches or cherries or other fresh fruit))

¼ cup Tequila

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Zest of 1 medium orange, about 1 tablespoon

2 cups heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

Cut the fruit into similar size pieces. For example, cut cherries in half and strawberries into fourths. Slide the fruit into a bowl. Pour in the tequila. Stir in the sugar and orange zest. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.

Use an electric mixer to whip the cream with 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar until soft peaks form.

Split the biscuits in half horizontally. Layer the shortcake as half a biscuit, a scoop of ice cream, a spoonful of fruit, more biscuit, more fruit and a big plop of whipped cream.