Savor the South Foodie Weekend in September

Here’s some news from our sister O.Henry Hotel on a big foodie weekend!

You are invited to join Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen and other food fanatics at the O.Henry Hotel in Greensboro for Savor the South® Weekend on September 26-28, celebrating the cookbook collection by UNC Press. The book authors, all well-known cooks and writers, will join hosts from Our State Magazine and the hotel culinary team to present extraordinary food and drink, mingling with guests, cooking demonstrations and samplings of more than 30 recipes from the books. Each day will conclude with an elegant five-course dinner.

Savor the South® cookbooks are a big celebration of a beloved food or tradition of the American South. Each book brims with personality and includes the culinary history of Southern foodways and 50 recipes. This event is the first occasion for all of these authors to gather for a single event:

  • Belinda Ellis, author of BISCUITS
  • Debbie Moose, author of BUTTERMILK and SOUTHERN HOLIDAYS
  • Kathleen Purvis, author of PECANS and BOURBON
  • Miriam Rubin, author of TOMATOES
  • Andrea Weigl, author of PICKLES & PRESERVES
  • Virginia Willis, author of OKRA
  • April McGreger: author of SWEET POTATOES
  • Kelly Alexander, author of PEACHES

In addition to ten cookbook authors, the weekend is hosted by Green Valley Grill culinary team, author Ronni Lundy, and Chef Nancy King Quaintance. Our State Editor-in-Chief Elizabeth Hudson and Our State Storyteller Amy Jo Wood Pasquini will host a welcome wine reception with live music and a conversation about favorite food memories. There’ll be plenty of optional activities during the weekend including a farmers’ market trip.

Weekend Details
Friday, September 26: Our State Welcome Wine Reception in the O.Henry Hotel Social Lobby with small bites made from featured Savor the South recipes and music by NC Hot Club. The Farm-to-Fork Grand Dinner includes cooking demos by our culinary team and special guests, Miriam Rubin, Debbie Moose and April McGreger. The bespoke menu will pair seasonal farm finds with recipes from Savor the South books.

Saturday, September 27: Early risers take a trip to the Farmers Market. Return to the hotel for a Biscuits & Preserves Bar, hosted by Belinda Ellis and Andrea Weigl. For lunch, there’s a Tasting Extravaganza & Book Signing with samplings of recipes from all the cookbooks, as authors chat with guests and sign their books. After lunch, talk with Our State about favorite Southern food memories. The grand finale dinner, Bourbon, Bluegrass & Bacchanal, starts with a Southern cocktail party with bites, bourbon and bluegrass fusion music in the lobby. The bacchanal-style dinner is hosted by Ronni Lundy, Nancy King Quaintance, Kathleen Purvis, Virginia Willis and Kelly Alexander.

The Savor the South Weekend One-Night Package includes overnight accommodations on Friday, September 26,  tickets to the four-course Farm to Fork Grand Dinner on Friday, matched with wine, Southern-style breakfast buffet for two on Saturday morning, transportation to the Farmers Market on Saturday morning, tickets to the Tasting Extravaganza & Book Signing for Saturday lunch and a cookbook of your choice. $295/person, based on double occupancy

The Savor the South Weekend Two-Night Package includes Everything in the One Night Package above plus the four-course Bourbon & Bluegrass Grand Dinner on Saturday and a second night of accommodations at O.Henry. $449/person, based on double occupancy

The O.Henry Hotel has received the AAA Four Diamond Award every year since opening in 1998. It’s also the top rated hotel in Greensboro on TripAdvisor. O.Henry and the adjacent Green Valley Grill is located in central Greensboro, adjacent to Friendly Shopping Center.

For information or reservations, call 336-854-2000 or go to

About the Hosts
Ronni Lundy is the author of Shuck Beans, Stack Cakes and Honest Fried Chicken and Butter Beans to Blackberries, as well as seven other books. She is the recipient of the Southern Foodways Alliance’s Craig Claiborne Lifetime Achievement Award and the editor of Cornbread Nation 3: Foods of the Mountain South.

Nancy King Quaintance is Vice-President of Quaintance-Weaver Restaurants and Hotels, the owner/operator of O.Henry Hotel. She started her career at 15 as a dishwasher with Disney in Florida. She went on to Johnson & Wales in Rhode Island, then to Cornell’s Hotel School, where she studied hospitality and culinary arts. While at Cornell, she served as a culinary teaching assistant. From there, she went to work in sales and front office operations for several hotel companies. In 1994 she joined the Quaintance-Weaver team, assisting with the culinary team with everything from recipe development, to expediting, to doing weekly cooking segments for a local TV station. Now, she works with the company’s marketing, operations and culinary teams.

Elizabeth Hudson is a native of North Carolina who grew up in the small community of Farmer, near Asheboro. She holds a B.A. degree in English from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and began her publishing career in 1997 at Our State magazine, where she started in the circulation department answering telephones before moving to the editorial department. She held various editorial titles for 10 years before becoming Editor in Chief of the 80-year-old publication in 2009.

Amy Wood Pasquini is currently the marketing development director for Our State and is the Executive Producer of Content for “Our State,” a ten-time, Emmy Award winning, television show produced by UNC-TV. She is also the producer of many Our State travel weekends including the Best of Our State and Learn & Live Weekends. Born in Atlanta, Wood grew up in North Carolina. She obtained her BA in journalism from Georgia State University. She is the author of two books “Life Between Azalea Festivals,” and “White Bred, A Prodigal Jaunt Through the Suburban South” in addition to many articles for Our State.

More about the Cookbook Collection & UNC Press
Each little cookbook in Savor the South® cookbook collection is a big celebration of a beloved food or tradition of the American South. From buttermilk to bourbon, pecans to peaches, bacon to catfish, one by one each Savor the South® cookbook stocks a kitchen shelf with the flavors and culinary wisdom of this popular American regional cuisine. Written by well-known cooks and food lovers, each book brims with personality, the informative and often surprising culinary and natural history of southern foodways, and a treasure of some fifty recipes–from delicious southern classics to sparkling international renditions that open up worlds of taste for cooks everywhere.


Finding the Farmer’s Market: A Lucky’s Guide

These days more and more people are shopping at farmers’ markets and while it’s not feasible to expect to get everything you need there, the farmers’ market is your best bet for finding the freshest, most seasonal food in your area.

We’ve lost touch with the origin of our food and what we’re eating— its journey from the farm to our plate. We eat apples that have lived in a truck for the better part of a week, instead of apples just picked in the next county over and we eat conventional tomatoes in December instead of fresh ones in July. But we’re finding our way back.

Going to the farmer’s market is about a human connection—the relationships we form with the people growing our food. They’re not hiding behind a colorful ad on a box or a long, indecipherable ingredient list. They’re at the market and they’re ready to meet us. And now is as good a time to go as any.

It’s good to get in touch with what’s fresh and in season. A varied, colorful diet is key to good nutrition and knowing what’s in season and how to properly care for your food are valuable tools to navigating the farmers’ market. Here are a few tips for successfully making your way through the market.

Lucky 32’s Guide to Navigating the Farmer’s Market

  • Go early! You know what they say, the early bird gets the worm. So get out of that bed and down to the market!
  • Bring cash. Some vendors have caught onto the new card reader fad but many still aren’t that equipped. Even for the vendors that do carry them, it’s still a rather pricey transaction so cash is always best. If you forget cash, the market may have an ATM, but be advised, it’ll probably charge you extra.
  • Think about what makes you hungry. Look for inspiration as you peruse the market and let what’s available guide you rather than an ingredient list for a specific recipe. That will determine what meal you’re going to make. Think outside the box and get creative—try something you’ve never tried before! Shopping at the market should be fun, not stressful!
  • Quality is worth it. Some items at the farmers’ market may cost more than at the grocery, but those fresh local strawberries are always going to taste better than the ones shipped from California.
  • Ask questions. Engage the farmer in conversation—ask questions like, “did you grow this,” and, “what is the best way to keep this fresh?” Knowing how to take care of food is paramount in avoiding waste and making the most of your bounty. Don’t be intimidated by produce that’s foreign to you. If you’ve never tried sunchokes before, you probably don’t have the faintest clue what to do with them. So ask the farmer to recommend something for you. Chances are, they’re going to have some good ideas and they’ll be glad you asked.
  • Research your markets. Be wary of re-sellers—not all farmers’ markets are producer-only markets, which means you may as well be shopping at a grocery store. Not all produce is organic or free of pesticides either, so if it’s not specific, then ask.

Some markets we like:

501 Yanceyville St., Greensboro, NC, Saturdays 7 am-12 pm (year-round), Wednesdays 8 am- 1 pm (from May thru December)

2914 Sandy Ridge Rd, Colfax, NC, Monday-Sunday 7 am-6 pm

Cary & Raleigh Farmer’s Markets:

1225 Morrisville Carpentener Rd, Cary, NC, Saturdays 9:30 am-12 pm December-March and 8 am-12 pm April-November

1201 Agriculture St  Raleigh, NC, Monday-Saturday 5 am-6 pm, Sundays 8 am-6 pm

(At City Plaza) 400 Fayetteville St  Raleigh, NC, Wednesdays 10 am-2 pm April 24-October 30

301 Kinsey St, Raleigh, NC, Saturdays 9:30 am-1:30 pm

Other Resources:

  • Find out which markets accept SNAP benefits (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program).
  • Follow the Triangle’s roaming market truck, LoMo, which makes daily rounds all over the Triangle and features loads of goodies from local farmers, food purveyors, bakeries and restaurants.
  • Download the free Farmstand app—co-founded by Greensboro’s John Ford— to scope out the latest at the farmers’ markets in your area, find restaurants serving local food, register with a CSA and more.

Some of our favorite resources for the food we buy at the market: 

Do you have any helpful tips for shopping at the farmer’s market?

For more about our seasonal recipes, see our current menu at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen and our Blog Recipe Index:

Join The Lee Bros. for a book signing Thursday night: Celebrate the cookbook they “intended to write the first time.”

Ask anyone who’s met them, and you’ll hear, “I just love the Lee brothers. Those boys are so sweet!” They are at the populist forefront of this new southern food movement that we find ourselves in; with people like Linton Hopkins, Hugh Acheson, and Sean Brock earning all of the critical accolades. Because of all of these folks, our southern food tradition is alive and growing.

Lee Brothers Cook Book
The third cookbook is the self-proclaimed “book they intended to write the first time.”

5:30 to 6:30 pm Thursday March 28, the Lee brothers will be hanging out and signing cookbooks in the bar at the Greensboro location. Books will be available for purchase. No admission charge. Tweet it up: Meet me in the bar Thursday, March 28 with the Lee Brothers.

Speaking the same language

Let us draw a parallel for you. Food is language. Latin can be studied and understood, and Latin is key to understanding lots of other languages, but there are no new words. It’s a classical language, but it’s not alive.

Well, there are folks who want you to believe southern food is a carved-in-marble type of work, where there are platonic ideals of what southern classics should be: Chicken and Dumplings is “x” and Fried Chicken is “y.”

The beauty of the Lee brothers — and this new wave of Southern cooks — is that it’s not just about recreating classics, it’s about reinventing things, coming up with new combinations of southern staples. The new “Charleston Kitchen” cookbook by the Lee brothers gets to the heart of this new southern foods movement.

Telling a good story

The first book came out in 2006 to critical acclaim. Our CEO, Dennis Quaintance, recommended the book right away. It was this immense compendium of updated recipes of southern classics: Catfish Muddle, Devilled Ham, Fried Chicken, and Collard Greens.

This coincided with a time in 2007 when we were casting about here at Lucky 32 for a new identity for the restaurant. We needed inspiration. We knew we were rooted in the North Carolina piedmont, but we didn’t know we were going to be a southern kitchen.

With food, you have to figure out what language you’re speaking when you create dishes. Agree on the lexicon, and use the vegetables, traditions and touchstones within that lexicon, and the menu will tell a story.

The Lee brothers helped us tell that story, by showing the world how inspiring their own story was.

They started out selling boiled peanuts by mail order to homesick southerners (as they realized they were) from New York City.

Boiled Peanuts

They started out selling boiled peanuts by mail order to homesick southerners (as they realized they were) from New York City. Matt and Ted Lee went on to write about wine and travel for Martha Stewart Living and Travel + Leisure, before publishing their doorstop of a first book, which went on to win the James Beard award for cookbook of the year, as well as the Julia Child award from the IACP, in 2007.

Charleston Kitchen

Charleston Kitchen is the self-proclaimed “book the Lee Brothers intended to write in the first place.”

The first book was more of an overview of contemporary takes on southern traditions. The second book was a lighter, fresher approach to southern ingredients. This third book is more about the comfort food surrounding the brothers, as they grew up in Charleston. They reference the legacies of Charleston, talking about Clementine Paddleford and Edna Lewis and the legendary Charleston Receipts book, which strikes close to my heart.

It really is sort of recapturing their youth in book form. Seafood, like Shad Roe (fish egg) Low-Country Gumbo, She-Crab soup, and a Venison Dish with Mulberries that I look forward to creating for our dinner here.

Cheesecakes, Grapefruit Chess Pie, the cornbread pudding I look forward to making, peach upside down skillet cake sounds yummy, I’m also gonna make the sorghum marshmallows.

We’ve been looking forward to this new book of theirs for a while, so that we can invite the boys back to see the restaurant that they helped inspire, and to introduce them to a new legion of folks who love what we do.

Won’t you stop by next Thursday? Join us in the bar.

Tweet it up: Meet me in the bar Thursday March 28 with the Lee Brothers.

The Lee brothers in their natural habitat.

More about the Lee brothers.

Siblings Matt and Ted grew up in Charleston, South Carolina. When they left to attend colleges in the Northeast, they so missed the foods of their hometown that they founded The Lee Bros. Boiled Peanuts Catalogue, a mail-order catalogue for southern pantry staples like stone-ground grits, fig preserves, and, of course, boiled peanuts. When an editor of a travel magazine asked them to write a story about road-tripping their home state in search of great food, they embarked on a second career as food and travel journalists. They currently are contributing editors at Travel + Leisure and frequently write food stories for Bon Appetit, The New York Times, Fine Cooking and Food & Wine, among other publications.

Ted lives with his wife, the artist E.V. Day, in Brooklyn, NY; Matt, his wife Gia, and their two sons live in Charleston, SC.

For more about our seasonal recipes, see our current menu at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen and our Blog Recipe Index:


A lucky garden: Get started now to have your own garden and market this summer

We asked our favorite farmers for the best tips on prepping the spring garden in February. From the state’s Extension Agent Karen Neill to our own resident farmer Mark Schicker, all were happy to share their best tips with you. And judging by the weather report, things may stay pretty soaked for a little while; plenty of time to sit inside and plan this year’s garden.

Your local county extension office can help you with soil tests, and provides free classes and information – including a monthly planting calendar – to start your own garden. Visit the North Carolina State University Web site, Offices are listed by county.

Find your local county center
Wake County Extension Office (919) 250-1100
Guilford County, (336) 375-5876 

Karen Neill
Extension Agent, Agriculture – Urban Horticulture at North Carolina State University

Gardeners spend their lives trying to improve their soil — because we know that good soil is the foundation to a productive, prosperous garden. Here in the Piedmont, we tend to have a very high clay content that makes our soil extremely sticky when it rains.

Consider the following soil prep tips:

  • Make sure not to work your soil when it is too wet. The soil should crumble in your hand versus rolling in a ball.
  • Adding organic matter is key. Compost, well-rotted sawdust, and leaf mold are just a few examples. Add a four to six-inch layer of organic matter to the existing soil and till in thoroughly. Organic matter loosens the tight clay particles allowing air, water and roots to move through the soil.
  • A soil test is also extremely important in finding out your pH as well as nutrient levels. Contact your county Extension office for information and assistance on soil testing.
  • If the soil is too soggy, consider raised beds. I am a big fan of raised beds for just this very fact. Using raised beds, you can get a jump on the garden season versus your friends trying to garden in the heavy clay of the Piedmont. These beds dry out quickly and are easily accessible.
  • Mulching garden beds also preserves soil moisture and keeps down weeds. Vegetable gardens may be mulched with herbicide-free grass clippings, compost, straw, or other easily degradable materials. Use caution with grass clippings or straw, they may harbor weed seed. In fact, it might be best to compost grass clippings first so they don’t mat down preventing water and air from entering as freely.
  • It’s not too early to get your vegetable gardens planted. English peas, carrots, leaf lettuce, mustard and radishes should be seeded now.
  • Garden centers will also  be bringing in transplants for other cool season vegetables such as cabbage and broccoli, and don’t forget those onion sets or certified seed potatoes.
  • Warm season vegetables can start to go in after the last frost which is typically around April 15 in the Piedmont. Season extenders can be used if you wanted to try and cheat mother nature.
  • Go green. Enroll in the North Carolina 10% campaign. Through this program you pledge to spend 10% of your food budget to eating local foods. You can do this by growing your own but also shopping where locally grown or raised food is sold and/or eating at restaurants that also serve local foods. This program not only keeps dollars here in North Carolina supporting our local food economy but it also cuts down on carbon emissions when food has to be trucked in from hundreds of miles away.

Check out the Guilford County Extension web site for upcoming gardening classes:

Korey Erb at Guilford College farms.

Korey Erb
Guilford College’s Rock Star Farmer

  • Make plans. This is the time for making plans. Well-considered plans can often be the difference between a profitable farm and one treading water. Aggregating (or compiling) notes from the last two years into an Excel spreadsheet will help determine when and where to plant what in the coming months, especially if doubling one’s acreage under cultivation (from one acre to two).
  • Succession Planting. New plants are put in every two weeks, in an attempt to lengthen the growing season and hopefully outwit pests in the fields.
  • Clean up the greenhouse to prepare for starting summer crops from seed by the end of the month.
  • Decide on supplements. Soil reports are coming back, so deciding what supplements to till into the fields when discing under  winter cover crops in a few weeks (this winter’s wheat, was easier to manage than last winter’s rye) is done now.

Charlie Headington is a bio-diversity expert.

Charlie Headington
Bio-diversity expert and gardener profiled in Carolina Gardener, BackHome Magazine and Our State as well as appearing on local TV. Most recently Charlie co-designed, built and directed the first Edible Schoolyard in North Carolina.

  • Landscape with edible plants and herbs. Groow dwarf fruit trees and bushes, herbs, and flowers that attract beneficial insects. See Permaculture books and go to
  • Design your own landscape to reflect your values. Be willing to be different whether in the front or backyard.
  • Build and plant a culinary herb spiral near your back door. Keep herbs handy and plentiful. See “Gaia’s Garden” for ideas. 
  • Start small, close to the house. Plant leafy greens and a few favorites. Plum and fig trees are reliable. 
  • Practice “no-till” gardening. Feed the worms and let them do the work of turning and fertilizing the soil.
  • Plant or keep a “wild” or “sacred” space for all the other creatures.The Wildlife Federation has a program or design your own. Get a hive of bees!
  • Eat from your garden during all four seasons. Grow the best food in the world all year long. Read “Four Season Harvest. 
  • Supplement your home garden with food from the farmer’s market. Local or “slow” food tastes best and supports your local economy..
  • Compost your kitchen waste and even your newspaper. Turn waste into “black gold.” You can even do it indoors with worms.
  • Sit back and enjoy the beauty and abundance of nature. Ecological and organic gardening can take less time than you think.

Charlie is hosting an introduction to permaculture class at his home April 27. For more information email Charlie at

Mark Schicker’s farms hard to find foods.

Mark Schicker
Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen server and farmer, Shicker’s Acre

  • Start Indoors. Garden Peas can be started as early as Valentine’s Day; and by the end of the month, start summer plants indoors, that will be transplanted outdoors.
  • Sharpen tools. Now’s the time to get your shovels and shears in good working order.
  • Till. Lime and other fertilizers or soil additives need to worked into the soil now.
  • Direct seed. Start radishes and kale directly in your garden, in the coming weeks, they can tolerate the temperature swings of winter’s transition into spring.
  • Transplant. Weather permitting, transplant winter vegetables that have been started indoors, like cabbage, broccoli, and kohlrabi.

Justin Leonard
Edible Schoolyard Garden Manager and Garden Educator at the Greensboro Children’s Museum

  • Have a plan. Look up a planting calendar for our region. There’s a good one here at Southern Exposure.
  • Be mindful.  As the season progresses some of your plants might start going to seed/flowering–let them go. This is food and habitat for beneficial insects.
  • Involve the whole family in planning, planting, tending, and harvesting.
  • Invest in drip irrigation
  • Stagger planting dates for extended harvest.
  • Enjoy! Have a party in the garden!
  • Experiment.  Plant something new to you. Try an heirloom variety–the growers at the local farmer’s market often have older varieties.
  • Mulch around plants to retain soil moisture and keep weeds down.

For more about our seasonal recipes, see our current menu at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen and our Blog Recipe Index:

Collards and Cognac and five great southern kitchen love affairs

I think Collard Greens and Cognac are a match made in heaven. But it’s Valentines Day. Everybody tries to dine out on the day, February 14. Some people try to dine out the day before and after so we run our special Valentines Day menu all week long. The idea is that people are here to celebrate. So we thought, “Wouldn’t it be great to do a special cocktail for this special menu?”

We travelled far south for this Valentines Day drink, all the way to Hadestown: The Persephone Cocktail

The Persephone Cocktail comes from two fascinations for me. First, I am definitely intrigued by Greek Mythology. Second, the recent fad of pomegranate everything. Pomegranate juice, dark chocolate covered Pomegranate; the six Pomegranate seeds that eventually gave us the seasons.

And we wanted something pink, a pink drink. Something the color of love’s first blush; the blush in the cheeks when someone’s in love. And we were thinking about all the great love stories — and Persephone.

When Hades, the King of the Underworld, kidnapped Persephone to be his Queen, he told her she couldn’t eat anything. If she did, she’d have to stay there forever.

While she was gone, her mother Demeter missed Persephone so much that she made Zeus persuade Hades to let her go. On appeal, Hades said that Persephone had actually eaten six pomegranate seeds, so he’d let her go for six months out of the year: One for each seed eaten.

For the six months Demeter has her daughter back, she makes everything bloom. The rest of the time, when Persephone is back the Underworld, Demeter is so sad that nothing grows in the winter season.

This drink celebrates Valentines Day and the soon-to-be return of spring.

PERFECT PAIRS: Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen Cocktails and Entrées

Persephone Cocktail and Veggie Ravioli

Pomegranate has a sweet, astringent flavor. The red Pomegranate liqueur is partnered with sloe gin – a wild plum relative indigenous to England. It’s not overly sweet. We also put a little pineapple in there. You get this really pink drink that reinforces the name blush.

Because the Veggie Ravioli is not very assertively flavored, the nuance of the cocktail can shine through. The cocktail’s acidity cuts through the richness of the cream sauce. The roasted vegetables make for a subtle and nuanced flavor in the drink. If you had chile peppers and pork, or filet mignon, it would be too strongly flavored to be a perfect pair.

Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen’s New Jersey Cocktail is inspired by a drink in David Wondrich’s book, Imbibe!

The New Jersey Cocktail and the Roasted Chicken Poppy Seed Salad

This drink is modeled after a cocktail in Imbibe! by David Wondrich. Named so because in Antebellum America, New Jersey really was the Garden State and where apples came from. Anything made with apples was generally referred to as “Jersey Style.” The name of this drink is more of a tribute to that legacy. It’s made with NC apple brandy, Foggy Ridge hard cider, bitters and a sugar cube in a champagne flute.

The Roasted Chicken Poppy Seed Salad is its perfect match: made with baby spinach; a Poppy Seed Vinaigrette; pears, goat cheese, and candied pecans.

Sazerac and Gumbo

Believed by many to be the first cocktail ever created (but not believed by everyone), our Sazerac (originally named after the brand of Cognac used) is made with, Jim Beam Rye, a touch of Absinthe, Peychaud Bitters, and a bit of sugar with an orange twist.

Antoine Amédée Peychaud was a Creole apothecary who settled in New Orleans and started mixing drinks in the pharmacy as a way for folks to take their “medicine.” Peychaud served his Absinthe and Cognac in an egg glass known as a coquetier, similar to a sherry glass.

The Big Easy Gumbo and the Sazerac are a perfect match; both in geographic proximity and hearty flavor.

Sazerac’s perfect match is Gumbo for their geographical proximity; they’re both from New Orleans, both heartily flavored. Sazerac smells like Anise and the gumbo has some assertive, vegetal qualities as well. The okra and roux is strong and it will stand up to the Sazerac.

We’ll be  featuring this pairing at the Whiskey school in Cary on February 23.

Check this out! Lucky’s “The Revolution” was featured in Cary Magazine recently as a “Local Signature Cocktail.”

The Revolution and Jambalaya

When Makers Mark 46 came out, we thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool to mix it with some Ginger Liqueur?” So we called it a Swamp Mule originally because it reminded us of a Moscow Mule (Vodka and Ginger Ale).

One of our bartenders made one and served it to Karen Walker, the General Manager here at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen, and she said, “This is fantastic and I would never order anything called a Swamp Mule.”

So for the name, the drink made us think of having a new way of seeing the same old thing: It’s a revolution on Vodka and Ginger Beer, Makers Mark. Reminds us of that quote in the Wild One, when Marlon Brando’s character is asked, “What are you rebelling against?” And Brando says, “What do you got?”

Jambalaya has that creole seasoning and the andouille sausage with quite a bit of spice that will stand up to any kind of ginger revolution. But it also has some earthy notes and the rice, and the rice helps hold down the boozy nature of the drink.

Bayou Punch  & The Cornmeal Crusted Catfish

This is actually a reworking of the Philadelphia Fish House punch from David Wondrich’s book, Punch. We use it as a template with some substitutions. We make it with Mount Gay Rum, Courvoisier, Apricot Brandy, and Sour Mix.

It goes with the Cornmeal Crusted Catfish because it’s crunchy and crisp; the orange and sour mix heightens the flavor of fish. The acidity of the punch cuts the richness of the grits.

For more about our seasonal recipes, see our current menu at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen and our Blog Recipe Index:

Relish the last of summer vegetables: Granny’s good manners, chowchow, and pickling recipes

LOCAVORE’S DELIGHT: The Series # 22. Follow us all summer long as we explore the bounty of our region’s farms.

In days gone by, when unexpected company popped in or supper was not quite at hand, assorted preserved foods could be pulled out to nourish, sustain, appetize or entertain. The idea was to sample a few preparations, share with friends, and whet the appetite for the meal that lay ahead.

Here at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen, we’ve embraced the resurgence of this culture of pickling. We make our own pepper vinegar for collard greens; preserve a rare bounty of wild ramps from an earlier spring foraging adventure, and make our own pickled cucumbers that are then fried for an appetizer.

Not only does pickling go well with the food we serve, it delivers the message that we’re rediscovering something our ancestors have already figured out: ways to extend seasonal foods, to balance rich and creamy southern foods with a zesty counterpoint, and to transform the taste of seasonal vegetables.

Sample Granny’s Relish Tray on our Endless Summer Menu (now through Oct 2.) The appetizer features tomato aspic — an heirloom tomato puree, flavored with celery seed, cayenne and green onion, that is set with gelatin and served cold (a Southern tradition you just don’t see anymore); Goat Lady Dairy Crottin; butterbean pate; zucchini pickles; and Nabisco Premium Saltines.

Extend the season

Before kitchen freezers, Interstate transportation and commercial agriculture, the only way you could enjoy okra in the winter was if it were preserved with one of three traditional preservation methods: salting, drying, and pickling.

The advantage pickling brings is that it adds depth of flavor. Pickling discourages bacteria while the natural juices of the vegetable undergo lactic fermentation and become sour.


A zesty counterpoint to rich and creamy foods

Our European ancestors pickled foods to balance the palate. In cooler climates like Northern and Eastern Europe, you find more vegetable pickling. In warmer climates, people cut rich foods with acidic wines or citrus fruit.

In addition to being a beneficial part of a macrobiotic diet, which introduces enzymes to improve digestion, pickled foods cleanse the palate and balance the rich, creamy dishes of the south.

Try it at home: Transform your favorites

The great thing about chowchow is that you throw in everything from the garden at the end of summer: unripened tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, cabbage – chop finely, season well and cook away. Scroll down for the recipe below. 

  • Chowchow is a wonderful addition to anything that needs a little zing. Use it with anything bound with mayonnaise such as egg salad, chicken salad, or tuna salad.
  • Put chowchow in the food processor for your deviled eggs.
  • Spicy chow chow or pickles are good chopped finely and folded into pimento cheese. Or bread and butter pickles can be served atop pimento cheese.

Simple salads

One of our favorite suppers at home — if we don’t feel like cooking — is lettuce, tomato, cucumbers, hard boiled eggs, some sort of grated cheese, and whatever we have pickled in the refrigerator: pickled cucumbers, sunchokes, turnips, or chow chow.

Make your own Relish Tray

Don’t contaminate the reagent jar. Don’t use your hands to pull pickles out of the jar, bacteria on your hands will spoil the pickles.

The key to building a relish tray is contrast. Use a variety of pickles, not just sweet pickles: use sweet pickles, sour, and spicy (tell your guests which are which).

Pick a homemade potted meat. Choose devilled ham or pate’.

Pick a creamy side. Deviled eggs, pimento cheese, hummus, or butterbean pate’.

A thick, creamy cheese. A slice of Brie, or Goat Lady Dairy Crottin, a surface-ripened chevre that has begun to mellow.

Barbecue is always a good addition.

Serve with crackers. Nabisco Premium Saltines are my favorite.

For more information, read “Wild Fermentation” by Sandor Ellix Katz. Several of our pickle processes are adapted from his book. The zucchini pickles on the tray are from Judy Rodgers’ book, “The Zuni Cafe Cookbook.”

Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen’s Green Tomato Chowchow

  • 1½ cups green tomatoes, seeded and rough chopped
  • ½ cup green bell pepper, rough chopped
  • ¼ cup red bell pepper, rough chopped
  • ½ cup yellow onion, rough chopped
  • ¾ tsp mustard seed
  • ½ tsp celery seed
  • ½ tsp chopped garlic
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper

In a food processor, pulse tomatoes until finely chopped, but not pureed. Pulse peppers and onion until finely chopped. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer on medium heat for 20-30 minutes. Cool and store in a properly labeled container with lid.

Makes – 2 ½ cups

Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen’s Watermelon Rind Pickles
The restaurant uses watermelons from Schicker’s Acre and Guilford College Farms.

  • 8 pounds watermelon
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp ginger puree
  • 1 each yellow peel only from one lemon
  • 2 tbsp Allspice
  • 2 tbsp whole cloves

Remove rind from watermelon and reserve the red part to enjoy at your leisure. Using a vegetable peeler, remove green skin from the rind; discard skin. Cut rind into ½ inch x ½ inch pieces; the yield should be about 8 cups.

In a large bowl combine 2 tablespoons salt and 4 cups of water and allow rind to soak in brine for one hour, then drain.

In a large pot, combine lemon juice, 1 cup water, sugar, ginger puree, lemon peel and spices. Add rind, cover and bring to at boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer covered over medium low for 40 minutes or until rind is translucent.

Transfer rind with slotted spoon to a plastic container. Strain liquid and pour over rind.

Makes 4 cups

For more about our seasonal recipes, see our current menu at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen and our Blog Recipe Index:


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