Bounti-FALL Sides

Much of the garden is settling in for the upcoming winter’s rest, but it still shows off some pretty fantastic surprises in late fall, especially during a warmer season. Kale, mustard greens, Swiss chard, collards, beets, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts and more. Leaves turn, drop and accumulate to protect spring growth from winter cold and weeds finally thin (thank heavens!). Fall is a time to reflect and think about what’s to come. It’s also a time for late-afternoon walks, gathering around warm fires, sharing stories, listening to music…and eating special meals with family and friends!

We thought we’d share a couple of our favorite sides recipes that feature in-season garden veggies: our Brussels Sprout Choucroute (featured on our sides menu through January 12) and a Fall Wilted Greens Salad. Need the ingredients? Pick up a fresh stock of local greens from Lucky’s veggie cart on your way home. When the weather’s nice, you’ll find our farm-to-fork veggie cart just outside on the sidewalk. When it’s raining or below 65º, you’ll find it just inside. Pick what you want, and pay by the honor system.

Lucky’s Brussels Sprout Choucroute

  • ¼ pound bacon, cooked and rough chopped (reserve bacon grease). Head to the market for some locally sourced bacon! We’re big fans of Hickory Nut Gap Farm!
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, cut in half
  • ½ pound yellow onions – julienne cut
  • ¼ cup bacon grease
  • 1½ cups chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp Gulden’s mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • ½ pound small new potatoes, steamed and cooled

Melt bacon grease in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and sweat until golden. Increase heat, add Brussels sprouts and sauté until edges are browned. Add stock, mustard, salt, pepper and thyme. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until the sprouts are tender. Add potatoes and cook until hot. Turn off heat and stir in bacon.


veggi_cart_oct 22_GSO
Collards and Other Garden-Fresh Goodies on Lucky’s Veggie Cart

Aunt Susan’s Wilted Greens Salad

  • Any combination of greens: kale, Swiss chard, mustard greens or collards
  • One of the onion family: leek, Vidalia or red onion or scallions (plain white or yellow onions are OK in a pinch)
  • Pomegranate seeds (if fresh) or dried tart cherries
  • Any nuts, but walnuts or pecans are best (nuts also are available on our veggie cart)
  • Sections of citrus: tangerine, oranges or grapefruit are best (pears or apples are a good substitute)
  • Olive oil

Make a larger bowl of salad than you think you need: The salad will get much smaller when it begins to wilt! Wash the greens thoroughly. Tear bite-sized pieces into a large bowl, discarding the tough center rib and any stems. Slice the Onions thin and sauté them in a tiny bit of olive oil until they are brown and slightly crispy. Pour the onions over the greens while they are hot. Pan sauté the nuts and add them while hot to the salad bowl. Sprinkle the pomegranate seeds or dried cherries over the salad in the bowl. Cut and section your choice of fruit and add that to the bowl. Add the dressing while it is still boiling hot.

Wilted Greens Dressing Recipe

  • ½ cup combined balsamic and apple cider vinegar
  • 1 heaping tbsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup honey (pick up some Pleasant Bee Honey from Raleigh on our veggie cart)
  • ¼ cup pomegranate molasses, blackberry or blueberry syrup (or to taste)
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Bring all ingredients to a rolling boil except the olive oil, whisking the ingredients as they heat. Taste and adjust the balance of sweet and sour. When the mixture is boiling, add the olive oil slowly so as not to stop the boiling. Continue to whisk and boil until the dressing thickens.

Pour as much dressing as needed over the salad. Toss and let sit to wilt for 5-10 minutes at least. Any excess dressing may be refrigerated and used another time. The dressing may be made ahead and brought back to a boil just before dressing and tossing the salad.

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


Road trips and picnics!

Summer is finally here! Taking my child to camp in Eastern NC recently brought back memories of the picnics our family enjoyed on many car trips to the coast. Mom always had the cooler at hand for impromptu excursions, and she came up with easy, quick recipes that she whipped up like magic. Our family car was always (and still is) loaded up ready for a picnic at a moment’s notice.

On road trips, we would bypass the many restaurants and rest stops. Instead, we opted for stops at tiny roadside churches — where there always was a picnic table in the shade, welcoming folk and a playground to get the wiggles out — or the beautiful state parks along the way. And boy…Mom was ready to whip up a farm-to-fork snack right there in the parking lot when we happened upon a road-side stand.

We all have fond memories of picnics and tailgating with family, friends or a romantic interest. So we thought we’d share some yummy, fast recipes that incorporate the bounty of summer and travel well to your ultimate picnic spot. Get out there and make your own memories!

Heirloom Tomato Appetizer

  • ½ pound variety of heirloom tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1 pinch freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 fluid ounce Herb Vinaigrette (see recipe below)
  • 1 ounce Goat Lady chèvre

Slice tomatoes and place them on a serving plate. Sprinkle tomatoes with salt and pepper. Drizzle Herb Vinaigrette over tomatoes, and then sprinkle with goat cheese. Makes 1 portion.

Recipe Tips:

  • Pack recipe ingredients separately in your cooler, and then combine them when you get to your picnic. That way your tomatoes won’t get mushy on the way.
  • Cut your heirloom tomatoes at home, marry the pieces back together again in the shape of a ball and bind with a few rubber bands. Then, combine all ingredients when you get to your picnic destination.

Herb Vinaigrette (make at home and bring in a squeeze bottle)

  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dried tarragon
  • ¼ cup minced red onion
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 cups canola oil
  • ½ cup minced fresh basil
  • ½ cup minced fresh flat leaf parsley

Combine all ingredients except oil and herbs in a saucepan, and heat while whisking until sugar is dissolved and Dijon is incorporated. Pour mixture into a blender and slowly add oil until well combined. Stir in herbs. Makes 1 quart.

Curried Chicken Salad

  • 2 pounds diced roasted chicken
  • 1/8 cup diced red onions
  • ¼ cup diced celery
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ tbsp curry powder
  • 1/8 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1/8 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ¾ cup lemon juice
  • salt & pepper to taste
In a large bowl, mix all ingredients (except chicken) until well blended. Add chicken and mix thoroughly. Makes 4 cups.

Another great picnic recipe is our Cucumber-Tomato Salad “Liquor House Salad” (see it on our “Fresh, cold hothouse tomatoes” blog post)

Curried Chicken Salad over baby spinach tossed in Meyer lemon vinaigrette, topped with fresh blueberries and sliced almonds
Curried Chicken Salad over baby spinach tossed in Meyer lemon vinaigrette, topped with fresh blueberries and sliced almonds

Chocolate Brownies

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 pound semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 ¾ cups packed brown sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup melted unsalted butter
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, blend flour, baking powder and salt. In a double boiler, melt the chocolate chips while stirring. In a mixing bowl, combine brown sugar, eggs and vanilla. Mixture should turn light brown in color when done (about 5 minutes on medium speed). Add melted chocolate and melted butter to egg mixture and then add that mixture to the flour mixture, blending well with a spatula. Add walnuts, stirring to incorporate. Pour mixture into a greased pan. Bake in 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Makes 6 large brownies.

Tips for a fun and easy picnic:

  • Keep the car packed with the essentials: blanket, basket or backpack to carry it all in, wet wipes, paring knife, wine tool, chairs (if needed) and an empty Tupperware container (you’ll use it for something).
  • Think ahead of any road trip — bring along some basic ingredients in a cooler, and supplement them with roadside stand produce. (Here are some of our favorites: hard cheeses, olive oil, French bread, cured meats, capers, smoked salmon, olives and a few basic herbs and/or spices. Take our suggestions or add your own favorites!)
  • Choose an ant-free, soft, grassy spot at a park, church or school. Many rest stops have lovely picnic areas in the shade.
  • Pack a big blanket (the bigger the better — it helps prevent those pesky bugs from climbing on).
  • Bring along a small pillow to lie back on while you watch clouds go by, take a nap or stay late for a romantic star gaze!
  • Flashlights and citronella candles are important for evening picnics. And don’t forget the bug spray, especially when the mosquitoes are out.
  • Be sure to clean up after yourself — leftover foods, drinks and trash can attract wildlife to picnic areas, which isn’t safe for the animals or picnickers!

There you have it: A few of our recipes and tips for delightful and yummy summer picnics. Load up your car with family and friends (or a romantic rendezvous) and take off to explore the back roads and popular destinations near you. With a few simple recipes and a little forethought, you can avoid the fast food trap and enjoy a tasty, farm-to-fork meal while en route.

Contributing Writer: Virginia Phelps

These recipes are available on our Suddenly This Summer menu at Lucky’s through August 4. See the menu.


10 “Egg”cellent Easter Brunch Tips

With spring just around the corner, plans for celebrating Easter with brunch at the family breakfast table are in the works.  Of course, the central focus of any brunch menu is eggs, but don’t just settle for the same ol’ bacon and eggs combo. There are countless other ways to prepare this versatile favorite.

Before you get started, here’s a word to the wise: Make sure to use the freshest eggs possible, and use eggs from free-roaming hens, which lay the most flavorful eggs because they eat a natural diet.  The eggs may be a bit more expensive, but like mother used to say, “You get what you pay for!”

  1. Fry ‘em up. Use leftover bacon grease to fry up your eggs. If you ladle the crackling lard over the eggs in the frying pan, you’ll create a fluffy and sinfully delicious version of this classic.
  2. Scramble ‘em up. Try adding a touch of cream, salt, and pepper before scrambling for a less-dense take on this old-time favorite.
  3. Mix ‘em up.Have you ever had a sweet corn and goat cheese omelet?  How about one with fresh crab and pimento cheese?  The great thing about an omelet is that anything goes (in it)!
  4. Don’t be afraid of the “flip.”A second cousin to the omelet is the frittata, which is essentially an unfolded omelet.  Try yours with country ham and scallions, or diced peppers, onions and pepperjack.  Start it on the stove, but finish it in the oven for about 5 minutes to cook the top.
  5. Brunch for two? Individual egg casseroles are a good way to go.  Add a bit of cream, scramble the eggs and bake in the oven in a one-inch water bath for a light and moist result.  Try adding some sautéed spinach and shiitake mushrooms for a twist.
  6. Feeling Frenchy? No, we’re not talking about making French toast; instead, create a traditional quiche. This egg and cheese baked pie is a great way to show off your culinary skills (but it isn’t difficult to make). Try out our mushroom and Swiss cheese recipe below. It’s one of my favorites!
  7. Want less mess to clean up? Try a one-skillet scramble.  Start by frying hash browns in a cast-iron skillet.  Then, add tasso ham, fresh vegetables, whisked eggs and cheese.  Finish with toasted English muffins and a dash of Sriracha sauce.
  8. Feeling even spicier? How about some “huevos rancheros” with a fire-grilled tomato and jalapeno salsa on top.  Add a side of chorizo sausage, and you’ll really be feeling the heat!
  9. Eggs “Benedict Arnold.” You may defect from fried or scrambled eggs once you’ve tried them poached!  Add a tablespoon of white vinegar to your poaching liquid to add flavor and help hold the egg’s shape.  Serve over toast points with country ham and hollandaise sauce.
  10. Sweetie pie. What meal would be complete without dessert?  Try a dried cherry pop-over made of eggs, butter, sugar, flour and sweet dried cherries. This is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Bon Appétit!


  • 6 each fresh eggs, beaten
  • 2 cup chopped cremini mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 2 tsp thyme leaves
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup half & half cream
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 each unbaked pie crust

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Add mushrooms to a hot sauté pan and sauté until they squeak. Add butter, thyme and garlic to pan and cook for 3-5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in flour until well combined. Mix in cheese.

In a bowl, whisk together eggs, half & half, nutmeg and salt & pepper to taste. Add mushroom mixture to eggs and combine well. Pour into pie shell and bake for 35 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean.

Makes: 1 quiche, 6-8 slices

Disclaimer: All our recipes were originally designed for much larger batch size. This recipe has been reduced – but not tested at this scale. Please adjust as to your taste and portion size.

For more recipes visit, our blog recipe index.

Pork Shank Braised in Red-Eye Gravy

Pork comes in all shapes and sizes. Chops, loins, butts and bellies seem to get the most love in the kitchen, but did you know that the shank can be a dandy piece of meat, too? It’s an excellent, but often-overlooked choice: When properly cooked, it’s full of flavor and super-easy to make.

So what exactly is a pork shank? It’s a cut of meat from the lower leg of a pig. It tends to be leaner because it doesn’t have much fat. As a result, if you cook it the wrong way, you’ll never tear that meat off the bone. Lucky for you, Lucky’s braising recipe will have you going “hog wild” for the pork shank!

Red-Eye Braised Pork Shank (Serves 4*)

  • 4 each pork shank
  • 3 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp pepper
  • ²⁄3 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 fl oz canola oil
  • 1 ¹⁄3 cup yellow onion – diced
  • ½ pound carrots – sliced
  • 4 stalks celery
  • 3 each bay leaves
  • 2 ²⁄3 cup ham stock
  • 2 cups double strength coffee
  • Salt
  • Pepper


Prep veggies, meat, stock and spices. Dredge pork shank in flour. Shake off excess flour, but reserve. Heat oil in a wide, heavy bottomed pot. Sear and brown shank on all sides over medium heat

When fully browned, remove shank from pot and let rest. Add reserved flour to pot and stir well to make brown roux. When brown color is achieved, add onions, celery and carrots to roux.

Add salt, pepper, bay leaves and ham stock, continuing to stir. Stir in coffee. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to simmer. You have now made our modernized version of red-eye gravy.


Return pork shank to a pot and pour the red-eye gravy and vegetables over it. Partially cover  the pot while simmering until meat is tender, about 2 hours.

*All our recipes were originally designed for much larger batch sizes. These recipes have been reduced – but not tested at this scale. Please adjust as to your taste and portion size.

Pick up fresh vegetables like carrots and onions from our veggie cart at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen in Cary or Greensboro! We offer the same local crops that we serve to  you, which means that we have seasonal samplings to spice up your meals!

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


What do you do with all those cucumbers?

LOCAVORE’S DELIGHT: The Series # 46. Follow us as we explore the bounty of our region’s farms.

The three vegetables that we most associate with summer are tomatoes, summer squash and cucumbers. We all have neighbors or grandparents who grow mounds of them each summer, bringing fresh produce to every cookout. Because they are so common, we think sometimes the potential of vegetables like these gets overlooked.

Lately, though, people have been celebrating heirloom tomatoes—and how wonderful they can be, eaten with just a touch of salt! If we paid that sort of attention to every overlooked vegetable that we took for granted, the possibilities would be amazing. One of the other veggies on that list — cucumbers — is one that folks often have “too many” of. But there are countless great things to do with them! Cucumbers come in all shapes, sizes and colors.

Many people will tell you the best way to eat a cucumber is to pickle it. At Luckys, we buy white cucumbers from Mark Schicker, and turn them into pickles. We also have purchased Armenian, English and Japanese cucumbers from Guilford College Farm and Screech Owl Greenhouse.

Traditional fermented pickles are really cucumbers on a higher plane. By immersing cucumbers in a saltwater brine, osmosis extracts moisture from the cucumbers and the moisture that comes out undergoes a malolactic fermentation. The salt inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria, while the lactic acid creates a sourness that makes our mouths pucker ever so delightfully.

Our pickles are flavored with dill, garlic and crushed red pepper flakes, and they are featured on our pickle plate alongside some roasted radishes, crackers and Green Goddess Dressing. We’re also excited to have three different kinds of pickles on our new featured menu — pickled watermelon rind, the above-mentioned dill pickles and zucchini pickles, with a Summer Breeze Gazpacho Jelly by our Summer recipe contest winner Felice Bogus! Be sure to stop by and try some of the many different ways we celebrate this humble vegetable.

Contest Winner! Summer Breeze Gazpacho Jelly (by Felice Bogus), with three kinds of pickles: zucchini, dill, and watermelon, with stoned wheat crackers

One favorite summertime Southern dish is cucumbers with white vinegar, salt and pepper — an answer to a quick pickle. It just has a simplicity and bracing tanginess that reminds us of summer. (And, if avocados are on sale, you can buy some and eat them the same way.) Our cucumber salad is my take on my this simple dish. It’s as easy as can be, and yet it hits every note. On the other end of the spectrum lies our cucumber avocado soup, which is the perfect antidote to a hot summer’s day. It’s deceptively light on the palate, but there’s an extensive array of flavors going on, so you’ll notice different nuances each time you taste it. It’s been our most requested recipe from our seasonal menus over the last five years.

Cucumber 4-1-1

  • Cucumbers come from the gourd family, Cucurbitaceae, along with melons, squash and pumpkins, and they originated in India.
  • They are one of the easiest vegetables to grow at home, and they thrive in both tropical and temperate climates. Some people grow them on fence lines, so the cucumbers grow in the air and won’t rot from sitting on the moist ground.
  • Cucumbers, which are over 95% water, are low in calories and rich in B vitamins.
  • Cucumbers sometimes get a bad rap for being hard to digest, when actually it’s not the cucumber, but rather the seeds that are hard to digest.

There are three main types of cucumbers:

  • Slicing cucumbers are meant to be eaten fresh and are usually uniform in color –long, smooth, and thick-skinned.
  • While any cucumber can be pickled, pickling cucumbers, or Kirby cucumbers, work best. They have bumpy, spiny skins, are never waxed, and range in color from pale yellow to dark green.
  • Burpless cucumbers are the sweetest type of cucumber. They have thin skins, are easier to digest, and are practically seedless. They can grow up to two feet long.

Some of the most common varieties within each of the three types are:

  • English Cucumbers: Usually around 12 inches long, these cucumbers are of the seedless variety, and have a thin, smooth skin.
  • Garden Cucumbers: Dark green, with smooth skin, these are the most common cucumber in North America. They usually are waxed, so make sure you peel them first.
  • Armenian Cucumbers: Long, thin, and with a thin skin and soft seeds, Armenian cucumbers are ideal for eating raw, not pickling. This is my favorite cucumber, because the tiny seeds are barely there, the skins aren’t tough, and they just look really cool when you prepare them because of their ridged texture.
  • Kirby (or Pickling) Cucumbers: Short, oftentimes bumpy, these vary in color from yellow to dark green. They are good to eat raw, but they’re especially ideal for pickling.
  • Persian Cucumbers: Similar to English Cucumbers, these are mild in taste. Sometimes bumpy, and with thin skins, they are ideal for eating raw.

Cucumber Storage and Preparation Tips

Whenever you want to use cucumbers as an ingredient (like in our Weaver Tuna Salad), you should chop them up, salt them, let them sit for about 30 minutes, and then rinse the salt off. Because cucumbers are so watery, the salt helps draw the excess water out so your dish won’t get waterlogged when you combine the cucumbers with your other ingredients.

Store cucumbers in your refrigerator. If they are kept at room temperature for too long, they’ll start to wilt and lose their wonderful crunch.

For more on pickling, check out our previous post.

Looking for more? We recommend Sandor Ellix Katz’s book Wild Fermentation.

Chilled Cucumber-Avocado SoupCucumber Avocado Soup

  • 1½ cucumbers, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • ¼ red onion, diced
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 avocados, peeled and pitted
  • 1¾ cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • ¾ tbsp salt (or to taste)
  • ½ cup cold water
  • ¼ tsp ground white pepper (or to taste)
  • ½ cup sour cream

Place all ingredients in a large bowl and puree with an immersion blender on low speed. When mixture begins to become liquid, increase speed on blender until liquefied.

Makes 1 gallon

Recipe: Weaver Tuna Salad

Another way to use those cucumbers is in our Weaver Tuna Salad. This dish is named for Mike Weaver, a founding partner of Quaintance-Weaver Restaurants and Hotels and an amazing man in his own right. This is one of only a handful of dishes that have been on Lucky 32’s menu since day one.

  • ¼ cup diced cucumbers
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 6 oz can chunk white Albacore tuna
  • 1/3 cup Lemon-Mustard Vinaigrette Dressing (see recipe below)
  • pepper to taste

Mix together cucumbers and salt; allow to sit for ten minutes. Pour off liquid and combine cucumbers with remaining ingredients.

Makes 1 cup

Recipe: Lemon Mustard Vinaigrette Dressing

  • 1½ tbsp water
  • 2/3 cup Gulden’s Mustard
  • 1 ½ tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 ½ tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup canola oil

In a mixing bowl, combine water, mustard, vinegar and lemon juice. Whisk until well blended. Slowly pour oil into the mixing bowl while whisking till well emulsified.

Makes 2 cups

Herbed Cucumber Sauce

This sauce is sort of our take on Tzatziki. It was a very popular fish topping when the menu was arrayed a bit differently. Now we use it to balance the Voodoo Sauce on our Bayou Shrimp Cakes plate, where all of the elements are brought into harmony by the wonderful herbed cucumber sauce.

  • 2 cucumbers
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp garlic, whole, peeled and chopped
  • 3½ tsp lemon juice
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 6 tbsp fresh mint, chopped

Peel and slice cucumbers lengthwise. Remove seeds and dice. Toss with salt and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Pour off accumulated liquid. Combine cucumbers with remaining ingredients; mix well.

Makes 3 cups

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


Which Came First? Massey Creek Eggs

LOCAVORE’S DELIGHT: The Series # 43. Follow us as we explore the bounty of our region’s farms.

Most of us take eggs for granted. Not the role they play in our lives – they’re a staple of breakfast and brunch menus, and integral to desserts – but until recently, where they came from was not consciously pondered by folks. Most people we know lacked any connection to their eggs, and where they were from. Nowadays it’s become more trendy to buy more sustainable eggs or to raise raise your own in the backyard; but many of us remember over the last five to ten years, shopping in the grocery store and buying organic or free-range eggs, and just not noticing the flavor difference. It has been well-documented that organic produce (and eggs) usually travels further to get to your plate (so it’s not as fresh or sustainable as you think). Ultimately, we thought we could make a better impact on our guests and this community by focusing on the food that is grown nearby and working with these producers to collaborate on better tasting, more sustainable food.

Massey Creek Farms 

If you Ruby McCollum, of Massey Creek Farms, gives you an egg, you just have to crack it open. The first thing you’ll see is how firm the white is. One of the first things to deteriorate in an egg is the white, which gets soft, so a firm white is a good sign. Also exciting is that Ruby and her husband Garland have a chicken tractor, where the chickens live in a moveable house, or “hotel.” This pasture-raised method affords them a higher quality of life, with frequent exposure to better grass and bugs, thus producing healthier, tastier eggs, and happier chickens! Massey Creek Farms, which is located just north of Greensboro, in Rockingham County, is a family affair. Garland originally started out as a hog farmer on his family’s 200 year-old farm. But Garland became disillusioned with the harsh reality of a massive hog farming operation and in 2008 he completely re-evaluated his family’s practices. This led to raising lamb on pasture and learning the ins and outs of farming chicken eggs with those chicken tractors. He and Ruby are responsible for the farming, with the help of their children and his parents. The farm is Piedmont Grown certified, and has a strict no added hormones, antibiotics, and animal by-products policy. Their practices are humane and eco-friendly, nurturing both the animals and the environment in which they live.

While they also raise pigs, lamb, chickens, and turkeys for meat—some of which you may have seen us cooking at the annual Farm to Fork picnic in Hillsborough—eggs are at the forefront of what they do. If their ethos and practices weren’t reason enough to support them, their eggs sure are. We especially love them for making poached eggs, which we do on Saturdays and Sundays at Lucky 32. We feel fortunate to have this relationship with Garland and his family, and as a chef, it is gratifying to work with genuine people, who endeavor to create a healthier and better planet. Garland has evolved into an earnest pillar of our local food community, and several restaurants, bakeries, groceries and co-ops in the triad, use his eggs and meat. He’s very generous with his time and experiences, and people really enjoy stopping by his stall at the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market, which is turning into a regular scene on Saturday mornings. Stop by, pick up some eggs for yourself and tell ’em we sent you.

Where to Find Massey Creek Farms Eggs:

Deep Fried Grit Cakes with Poached Eggs & Country Ham Cream Sauce

There’s a poached egg dish that used to be a staple of our brunch menu and we still feature sometimes. I feel that poaching eggs are the best way to showcase how lively they can be, and this dish is one of the best (and most delicious) ways to eat Massey Creek Farm’s eggs. our grit cake recipe cooks the grits for a shorter duration than we normally would for creamy grits, then we dredge them in our a cornmeal creole-seasoned breader, deep fry them, and top them with poached eggs, country ham cream sauce and Texas Pete fried onions. It’s simple and soul satisfying. Come have brunch with us this weekend and try it for yourself!

Brunch is served on Saturdays from 11:15 AM-3 PM and on Sundays from 10 AM-3 pm. We’ll save a seat for you!

Lucky 32’s Deep Fried Grit Cake with Poached Eggs & Country Ham Cream Sauce

Deep Fried Grit Cake

  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 ½ tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup yellow grits
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 3 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 medium eggs (or 1 large), beaten
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper (or to taste)
  • 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup corn flour
  • ½ tbsp Creole Spice Blend (see recipe)
  • canola oil for deep frying

In a large sauce pot, bring vegetable stock, heavy cream, and butter to a boil. Stir in grits and reduce to medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until grits are cooked and liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and stir in cheeses, beaten eggs, salt, and pepper. Spread mixture onto a greased 8 x 8 pan and cool completely. Grits may be refrigerated overnight. When cooled, cut grits into desired shape and set aside. Meanwhile, blend cornmeal, flour, and Cajun spices in a shallow baking dish. Heat oil for deep frying to 350 degrees. Dredge grit cakes in cornmeal mixture and fry in hot oil, turning to brown on both sides. Drain fried grits on paper towels. Makes four 4 X 4 squares or 8 triangles.

Creole Spice Blend

  • 2 ½ tbsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 3 tsp black pepper
  • 3 tsp onion powder
  • 3 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 tsp oregano leaves
  • 3 tsp thyme leaves

Add all ingredients to a large bowl and combine with a whisk until spices are evenly distributed. Store in an air tight container with lid. Makes – ¾ cup.

Country Ham Cream Sauce

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ pound country ham cut into small pieces
  • ¼ cup diced onions
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 ¼ cups heavy cream
  • ½ tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch

Heat oil in stock pot. Add onions to the stock pot and sauté until tender. When onions are tender, add country ham to stock pot and sauté until hot throughout. Do not overcook. Add butter to melt, and then add cream and pepper. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Cook 8-10 minutes. Dissolve cornstarch in a little water; add only enough to slightly thicken. Remove from heat. Makes – 3 cups.

Poached Eggs

  • 8 eggs
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 3 tbsp white vinegar
  • 3 quarts water

Bring 3 quarts of water to a simmer in a 4 quart sauce pot. Dissolve salt and vinegar in water. Crack eggs, one at a time, into a small bowl. Stir simmering water with a spoon. Slide each egg from the bowl into the simmering/swirling water. Cook until the whites are firm and the yolks are just set. Lift eggs out with a slotted spoon and serve. Serves – 4.

Texas Pete Fried Onions

  • 1 pound yellow onions, ¼ inch julienne sliced
  • ½ cup Texas Pete® Hot Sauce
  • 1 cup Corn Flour Onion Dredge (see recipe)
  • canola oil for frying

Slice onions to ¼ inch slices. Break onions apart into rings and place in a bowl. Pour Texas Pete Hot Sauce over the onions, toss to coat well and then marinate for at least 20 minutes. Add ½ cup of dredge to bowl and toss to coat. Add the remaining ½ cup of dredge to bowl and toss to coat. Shake off excess dredge as you place onions into hot fry oil. Cook 2-3 minutes or until crispy.

Corn Flour Onion Dredge

  • ½ cup yellow corn flour
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme leaves

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl until seasonings are evenly distributed. Makes 1 cup.

All About Eggs:

  • Most hens begin laying eggs when they are around 20 weeks old, and will lay eggs for up to two years before decreasing their production.
  • Some hens lay eggs every day, while some are less consistent, only laying once or twice a week.
  • Laying eggs depletes calcium from the hen’s system, so that calcium must be re-obtained through feed or supplements (oyster shells are a good source of calcium, and are a good supplement).
  • Egg shell color varies among breeds, and the size depends on the breed, age, and weight of the hen.
  • Eggs are a complete protein, since they contain all of the essential amino acids. They also are a good source of calcium, choline, phosphorous, potassium, iron, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins A, B2, B6 ,B9 and B12. The yolk contains most of the vitamins and nutrients, as well as over half the calories of the entire egg (around 60 for a large egg yolk).
  • Eggs contain so much protein, the United States Department of Agriculture classifies them as meat in the food guide pyramid.
  • Typically, the richer the hue of the yolk, the richer the egg will taste; it’s all dependent on the hen’s diet.

Cooking Tips:

  • One way to determine if an egg is too old is to submerge it in water. If the egg lays on its side at the bottom of the bowl, it’s the freshest. If it lays upright on the bottom, it’s still okay to eat, but should be eaten soon, preferably hardboiled. If the egg is too old for consumption, it will float to the surface.
  • When hard boiling eggs, it is important to know that fresh eggs don’t peel well; the shell sticks to the egg and it tears. Age your eggs about two weeks for better results.
  • If you’re trying to quickly bring an egg to room temperature (which is best for baking), place your eggs in a bowl of warm water for at least 10 minutes.
  • If you’re allergic to eggs (or just don’t eat them), apple sauce, arrowroot powder, and bananas can be good binder substitutes in baking.
  • If you’re poaching eggs, add a little vinegar to your boiling water, to help the eggs maintain their shape.
  • Ever wonder about the easiest way to separate an egg? Watch!

For more tips on cooking eggs, visit:

For more: See our current menu at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen and our Blog Recipe Index:


Choose your own Christmas adventure: Holiday sides for you and yours

We don’t have much of a recovery period between Thanksgiving and the whirlwind Christmas season. The holidays are similar in that they’re both centered around food and family, but we’ve always felt Thanksgiving is the purest holiday because it’s about food and togetherness, and you can’t misconstrue that. Christmas is a holiday centered around kindness and giving, which can make it prone to over-exploitation.

We’re all acquainted with many families whose food traditions are pretty much the same for Thanksgiving and Christmas, except maybe they swap out turkey for ham. A lot of folks in our community celebrate on Christmas Eve and have a meal, go to a special service, and exchange gifts around midnight. Come morning, they’re usually pretty exhausted, and in many houses, Christmas day is always a lazy day. We watch Christmas specials with my kids, and avoid changing out of our pajama bottoms for as long as possible. Sometimes, we fill the house with the aromas of bacon, butter and pancakes, making an elaborate bone-warming breakfast for the family, and having it late. That way, you can have all of those traditional holiday side dishes and your ham at dinner, allowing you to laze around and bask in the glory of family time for most of the day. You may have certain traditions you hold close to your heart, but perhaps you’ll be inspired to also try a new tradition this year. Whatever you do, make sure you savor this all too fleeting season.

My Christmas Morning Menu: 

  • Strata
  • French Toast
  • Hash
  • Liver Pudding

Country Sausage Strata

  • 1 pound bulk country sausage
  • 2 ½ cups chopped yellow onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 4 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 cups half & half cream
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 tbsp dried sage
  • 4-6 slices white bread with crust cut off
  • 1 cup grated white cheddar cheese

Crumble sausage in a heavy bottomed pot and cook on medium heat until cooked halfway. Add onions and celery and continue cooking and stirring until there is no pink left in meat.

Add salt, cayenne pepper and garlic; combine well and then remove from heat. Meanwhile whisk eggs well in a large bowl; add half & half cream and combine thoroughly. Add parsley and sage; fold together with spatula until well combined.

Using pan spray, grease a 9” X 13” dish. Line bottom of dish with bread. Top with sausage mixture. Pour egg mixture over all and top with cheese. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. The following day, bake in 350 degree over for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Serves 8-10.

Bourbon Apple Baked French Toast

  • 1 pound softened cream cheese
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 each fresh eggs
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk
  • 8 slices ciabatta bread
  • 1 cup Bourbon Stewed Apples (see recipe)

Beat softened cream cheese in mixer with paddle attachment until smooth. Add sugar, cinnamon and vanilla; mix well. Add eggs one at a time, while mixing. Scrape down sides of bowl and mix again. Slowly incorporate milk while mixing. Place two slices of bread in each of 10 casserole dishes, flat sides to the center. Top bread with 3 ounces of custard mixture. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven and top each portion with ¼ cup of bourbon stewed apples. Serves: 4.

Bourbon Stewed Apples

  • ¼ pound Bourbon Butter (see recipe)
  • 1 cup Apple Pie Filling (see recipe)

Heat apple pie filling in a sauté pan. Add butter in chunks. Stir until butter melts. Makes 1 cup.

Apple Pie Filling

  • 2 ½ pound apples – peeled, cored and sliced
  • ¼ cup apple cider
  • 1 ½ tsp corn starch
  • 1/8 pound butter
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 oz granulated sugar
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon

Dissolve corn starch in apple cider. Melt butter in skillet. Add apples and sauté until coated in butter. Add sugars and cinnamon and cook until syrup is thick. Add corn starch – cider mixture and simmer for 5 minutes. Makes 1 cup.

Bourbon Butter

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, ¼ lb)
  • 3 tbsp bourbon, Jim Beam

Allow butter to come to room temperature, and then combine with remaining ingredients in a mixer. Using a rubber spatula, remove mixture to a sheet of wax paper and roll into a log. Place in freezer until set. Slice off a coin as needed. Makes ¼ pound.

From our family to yours: Christmas reflections from the folks behind the blog:

Lee Healy, culinary attaché: “My family gets together on Christmas Eve for a traditional meal, but Christmas day is a different story. We get up and have coffee, open presents and then have breakfast at 10am. We always had a large open house for family and friends on Christmas afternoon with BBQ. Breakfast was country ham (in a black skillet, with red eye gravy—made with cold coffee poured into hot pan of drippings), grits, scrambled eggs, cooked apples (sliced Granny Smiths with a little butter, cinnamon and sugar – cooked until they’re caramelized), biscuits (out of a can because mom did not bake), served with butter and molasses.”

Hayley Teater, food blog sidekick : On Christmas eve my family and I stay up all night making my great grandmother’s yeasted Hungarian coffee cakes. The recipes are a bit painstaking but there’s lots of cocktails and laughter involved, and it’s just become this fun tradition. There’s nothing like waking up Christmas morning and devouring them fresh out of the oven, along with some coffee, while we listen to the Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack.

Brussels Sprout Choucroute

  • 2 tbsp bacon drippings
  • 2 tbsp duck fat
  • ½ pound yellow onions, julienned
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, cut in half
  • 1 ½ cups chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp Gulden’s mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • ½ pound small new potatoes, cooked and cooled
  • ¼ pound bacon, rendered to yield above drippings and rough chopped

 Melt fats in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add onions and sweat until golden. Increase heat and add Brussels sprouts and sauté until edges are browned. Add stock, mustard, salt, pepper and thyme. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until the sprouts are tender. Add potatoes and cook until hot. Turn off heat and stir in bacon. Serves 4.

Recipe: Creamy Grits

  • 1 ½ quarts Heavy hipping Cream
  • 3 quarts Water
  • ¾ pound Butter
  • 1 tbsp Salt (or to taste)
  • ½ tbsp Cracked Black Pepper (or to taste)
  • 4 ½ cups Grits, Yellow (Old Mill of Guilford)
  • 1 ½ cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated

 Add cream, water, butter, salt and pepper to sauce pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and stir in the grits. Stir with wire whisk continuously to keep grits from clumping up. Once all the grits are blended, continue to stir for 2-3 minutes. Reduce heat and cook for about 15- 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cheddar cheese. Makes: 1 Gallon.

Cranberry Orange Sauce

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup Apple Cider vinegar
  • 3 cups dried cranberries
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground mustard
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 fl oz ginger puree
  • ½ cup orange juice

Add sugar, apple cider vinegar and cranberries to a sauce pot. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat. Makes 3 cups.

Beans & Greens

  • 2 pounds kale
  • ½ pound dried black eyed peas
  • 5 tbsp canola oil
  • 3 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 ¼ tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 ½ tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • salt & pepper to taste

Soak peas overnight and then drain. Cook peas in salted water until tender, turn off heat and allow to sit until needed. De-stem, chop and wash kale. Heat oil in large sauce pot over medium heat. Sweat garlic and pepper flakes until aromatic. Turn heat up to medium high and quickly add kale. Stir rapidly to wilt down the kale. When kale has reduced in volume to 1/3 its size, add drained beans and vinegar. Cover and simmer until kale is tender. Adjust seasoning to taste. Makes 1 ½ quarts.

Tips for Cooking Ham:

  • If you’re roasting a city ham or heating up a country ham, it’s important to remember that salt is an essential ingredient in the ham process. You don’t generally need to season a ham, but it behooves you to be aware of its moisture content.
  • Let your ham sit at room temperature for an hour before cooking, and be careful not to cook it too high or for too long.
  • A lot of times, you’ll encounter hams with a thick sweet glaze, which helps to balance the salt. If you choose to glaze your ham, make sure you don’t glaze the ham until the last hour of cooking, so the glaze doesn’t burn. While some like a good glaze, if you spend good money on a country ham, you might want to opt for the less is more route and leave it unadorned. When all else fails, serve a glaze or sauce on the side so everybody’s happy.
  • If you buy a bone-in ham, be sure to save the bone for stocks and soups.

Other Tips for Easy Christmas Meals:

  • If you’re planning on cooking a big Christmas dinner, make a strata, and/or a french toast casserole the night before, refrigerate and then bake them in the morning while your kids are opening their presents so you don’t have to spend the whole day cooking.
  •  If you’re doing a big dinner, a lot of your sides can be prepared at least a day or two in advance. Knock out whatever you can before the day of, so you won’t have as much to do and you can enjoy more time with your family.

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

What are your favorite Christmas traditions?

We wouldn’t be a “southern kitchen” if we didn’t fry okra

LOCAVORE’S DELIGHT: The Series # 33. Follow us as we explore the bounty of our region’s farms.

Okra season is upon us, and we’re pretty excited. Due to the abundance of rain we’ve had this month, okra has been rather scarce. It’s been a shaky start for local crops, because these African plants, which come from the Mallow family thrive in hot, dry climates. Things may be looking up though because Farlow Farm and Meadows Family Farms both report positive news. When the plants hit their stride, the pods grow so rapidly in the heat of the summer that the plants often have to be harvested twice a day.

Recipe: Okra Popcorn

When we’re unable to get fresh okra, we won’t fry it. We will buy it frozen, to use in stews or gumbo, but those are heartier, wintry dishes anyway. Although it’s available all year in some form, fresh okra is great in the summer because it travels the shortest distance to your plate. During the peak of summer, if the good stuff’s around, we prefer not to adulterate it with a cacophony of too many flavors. we want the flavors of the okra to be at the forefront of the dish, and fried okra is the best way to do that. If you lightly batter and fry okra with just a little salt, buttermilk, cornmeal and a hint of spice, it stands out with little manipulation and you can really taste it. You can eat it like popcorn, hence the “okra popcorn” on our menu.

Tips for Frying Okra

  • Barely trim the tops and bottom of the vegetable, cut into half-inch rounds, toss it in some buttermilk, dredge in your breader (our recipe is below), shake in a sifter to remove the excess flour and then fry.
  • Fry it in piping hot shallow oil.
  • Make sure that if the okra crushes under the weight of the knife, don’t cut it up and fry it. That’s a sign that it’s too “woody,” or fibrous, making it unpalatable.
  • Typically, if okra is longer than your fingers, it’s not ideal for cooking. The smaller it is, the more tender it will be and no amount of cooking can tenderize okra that’s too large.
  • Okra is best eaten right when you buy it but should be stored in a plastic bag in your refrigerator’s crisper drawer.

Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen’s Fried Okra 

Okra Breader  *this recipe is to be used with 2 oz. of buttermilk for every ½ pound of okra

  • ½ cup corn meal
  • ½ cup corn flour
  • 1 tbsp Creole Seasoning

Creole Seasoning

  • 2 ½ tbsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 3 tsp black pepper
  • 3 tsp onion powder
  • 3 tsp cayenne powder
  • 3 tsp oregano leaves
  • 3 tsp thyme leaves

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and whisk until well-blended. Transfer the breader to a shallow dish for dredging.

More Okra Tips:

Beyond frying okra, we love to take the pinky-sized baby okra of the bunch and serve it blackened with creole seasoning or skewered and grilled with a drizzle of white vinegar and some salt and pepper, as sort of an impromptu pickled okra. Pickled okra is something I can’t get enough of. When prepared just like you would dill pickles, it lasts for quite some time and is a wonderful appetizer or accompaniment to a sandwich or a plate of cheese. Along with frying okra in hot oil, the vinegar used in the chemical process of pickling is also a great way to help counteract some of the inherent sliminess found in the vegetable’s texture. In addition, cooking okra with tomatoes achieves the same effect, because of the high acidity levels in tomatoes.

Some Fun Facts About Okra:

  • The word okra originates from West Africa
  • One nickname for okra is “lady’s fingers,” due to the long, slender nature of the vegetable’s pods
  • It’s from the same family as hollyhocks, cotton and hibiscus
  • It is high in fiber, folate and vitamin C and is also a good source of calcium, potassium and antioxidants
  • Okra plants have beautiful white or yellow flowers which open in the morning

For more recipes, visit

How do you like to eat your okra?

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


Three recipes, one sustainable ingredient: Asparagus

LOCAVORE’S DELIGHT: The Series #30. Follow us as we explore the bounty of our region’s farms.

We never knew, or even thought of, asparagus as a product of a farm. We didn’t give it much thought at all. It was a product of a can. Overcooked. Inedible. Eaten cold.

One ingredient, three recipes: Serve fresh asparagus from the Farmer’s Market for dinner on Wednesday and Saturday and make soup from the discarded stems on Sunday. Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen recipes below.

Now, today, farming asparagus has become the emblem of sustainability to us. It takes three years to raise a crop that will feed you for 20. Guilford College’s Rock Star farmer Korey Erb uses asparagus as the logo for his farm. It’s not an easy thing to grow. You need to be patient. You harvest with a light hand. Take less now to have more later. And because it’s a perennial, the land you set aside for asparagus works just like a fruit orchard. You dedicate a plot. It’s a commitment between a farmer and his crop.

Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen uses asparagus from Meadows Family Farm.

Purple asparagus in the garden at Foggy Ridge Farms. Purple asparagus turns green when you cook it so try to eat it raw.

A field of green

The nature of the plant is that asparagus is a bush. What you’re eating is actually the new shoot of the bush.

Among the growing procedures: Per the “Farmer’s Almanac”

  • Asparagus is planted in early spring as soon as the soil can be worked. The plant is grown from “crowns” (1-year-old plants).
  • Asparagus does not like to have its feet “wet,” so be sure your bed has good drainage. For that reason, raised beds can be a good place to plant asparagus.
  • Do not harvest the spears in the first year, but cut down dead foliage in late fall and side-dress with compost.
  • During the second year, keep the bed thickly mulched, side-dress in spring and early fall, and cut down dead foliage in late fall.
  • Cut spears that are about 6 inches in length at an angle.

In the third year, the bush produces more sprouts. And the farmer, the hobbyist, has to make a decision about when to stop harvesting at a certain point to have a bigger crop next year.

Asparagus is featured on the Spring in Our Step menu May 15 to July 2: Green Goddess Plate roasted radishes, grilled asparagus, boiled potatoes, Screech’s tomatoes and green goddess dressing

Raw asparagus for dinner Monday

  • Store asparagus raw. You don’t want to store cooked asparagus, because the cooking process breaks down the cellular structure and it lead to spoilage faster.
  • To make a raw asparagus salad, chop it up and create your own dressing. Use three parts oil (a neutral oil, such as Canola oil) to one part vinegar.
  • Put all the ingredients in a mason jar, shake it up well, and shake it up, sprinkle it over, add salt and pepper.

Blanched asparagus on Wednesday

  • Wash and clean the asparagus.
  • Trim off the woody stems. If you bend asparagus, it’s going to naturally bend at the point where it’s most flexible. There’s a rigid part and there’s a flexible part. The woody part snaps off and is the much smaller part of the asparagus.
  • Set aside all your woody stems to make asparagus soup at the end of the week (recipe below). It will keep, uncovered, about a week in the fridge.
  • Bring salted water to a boil.
  • Place trimmed, washed asparagus into water.
  • Prepare ice bath.
  • After the asparagus is in the pot for sixty seconds, remove it from the boiling water and place asparagus into the cold water.
  • Let it soak in the ice bath for five minutes.
  • Remove and towel dry.
  • Either place it in a hot dry skillet, then drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper; when it’s heated through it’s done. Or, place on an oiled grill and sprinkle with salt and pepper until it begins to wilt.

Chef’s note: thin asparagus doesn’t need to be blanched. Only standard and jumbo need to be blanched.

Asparagus soup on Sunday

We save all of woody stems and make asparagus soup. We simmer it down in some cream and put in it a little Parmesan cheese. Purée to get the flavor out. Strain the soup to remove the fiber (cellulose) and get all the flavor. There really is no recipe for it. So we encourage people to experiment on their own. Feel free to add more asparagus to ramp up the flavor and make it more subtle.

Cream of Asparagus Soup

  • 1 pound asparagus
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 1 fl oz canola oil
  • ½ cups chopped yellow onion
  • 1 quart vegetable stock
  • ¼ pound diced, peeled potatoes
  • 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 tsp dried thyme leaves (or 1TBSP fresh)
  • ¼ pound Parmesan Reggiano cheese rind only
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

Wash asparagus and cut the woody part of the stalk off. Blanch the tops, shock in ice water, drain and set aside for garnish. Blanch the stalks for 5 minutes. Add hot asparagus stalks to a blender with first portion of heavy cream and puree, then strain reserving solids and liquids separately. In a pan, sauté onions in oil until translucent.

In a large pot, add vegetable stock. Add all ingredients except pureed asparagus liquid and solids, stirring to incorporate. Add solids from asparagus puree and continue to simmer until potatoes are soft. Remove the Parmesan rind and discard. Puree the soup with an immersion blender.  Stir in asparagus liquid puree and then strain all through a large hole strainer.Garnish soup with cut asparagus tips.

Makes 1 quart

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

Saving Spring Strawberries

LOCAVORE’S DELIGHT: The Series #28. Follow us as we explore the bounty of our region’s farms.

Strawberries, dandelion greens, asparagus, and rhubarb are all indicative of spring, but strawberries are the only item on the list that are grown in any significant numbers here in the piedmont. So what does that mean?

There are a lot of former tobacco farms in close proximity to Greensboro that have switched over to growing strawberries in the last 10 or 15 years. There’s a rather thriving business of pick-your-own strawberry farms, too.

Find a pick-your-own strawberry farm near you at

The first year we moved here, my family and I went out and picked strawberries until our hearts content. We filled two flat boxes full of strawberries. We came home, washed them up, ate a bunch of fresh berries, and then we were full. But we still had one and three-quarters boxes of strawberries left! They just don’t disappear.

You don’t want to see the fruits of your labor – your toiling in the field – go to waste. You can fill a mason jar full of the bruised berries and make your own vinegar; soak them in brandy; and, freeze a box worth of berries and save them until fall. Here’s how.

Fill a mason jar with bruised strawberries and make an infused vinegar for fresh grilled summer vegetables, or soak the berries in bourbon, brandy or vodka.

Make strawberry vinegar

Fill a mason jar with some of the bruised and overripe strawberries. Add red wine vinegar, cap it off, and let it sit for about a month.

Mash it up, then strain the berries out, and keep the strawberry vinegar/juice.

Add strawberry vinegar to grilled summer vegetables. Place lightly salted grilled vegetables on the plate and sprinkle with a little strawberry vinegar. It will remind you of spring, brightens the flavor, and adds a little zest to the bland expanse that is summer squash.

Strawberries on the rocks

Steep berries in a mason jar full of your favorite booze, such as bourbon or brandy. Let the jar sit for a few months. Purée, then strain out the berry mash.

It would be fine if you let the strawberries soak for a day, but I try to do things like that for a month or so.

Freeze strawberries to last you the whole summer

  • Wash whole berries.
  • Drain berries on a kitchen towel.
  • Trim off the green part and any excessively white part.
  • Set the trimmed strawberries on a parchment paper lined baking tray. Space them out so they don’t touch.
  • Set the pan of strawberries in the freezer, uncovered, overnight.
  • Then, collect the strawberries and put them in a ziploc freezer bag for long-term storage.

Materials needed: pan, knife, parchment paper, freshly picked strawberries, a freezer, and a ziploc bag for storage.

Use frozen strawberries for ice cubes. Eat them frozen for a sweet summer treat. Thaw them out and chop them up as needed for pancakes, or our special infused vinegar.

Materials needed: Freshly picked strawberries, parchment paper, a pan, knife, freezer, and ziploc bags for storage.
Line the baking tray with parchment paper.


Trim off the green tops.
Set berries on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Space out the berries so they don’t touch each other.

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


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