“As we passed the autumn equinox and approach cooler weather most people are quick to jump on fall food bandwagon. Replacing peaches with apples, tomatoes with pumpkin and potatoes with sweet potatoes. We are also anticipating the cooler weather and the delicious recipes that come with it; however we are not ready to let go of the abundant produce that summer provides.
A rich zucchini and summer squash gratin (think the cheesy, thinly sliced potato casserole you grandmother used to make) is the perfect combination of an autumn dish with late summer ingredients. We lightened it up a touch by removing the heavy roux and the sometimes too-heavy white cheddar. We are not without cheese in this dish as we added a generous amount of earthy goat cheese and topped it with some sharp parmesan. This side dish will serve enough for four.
A quick note on the amount of cream in the dish: to some it may seem like it is not enough but you have to consider the amount of water that is inherent in summer squashes. Trust us, it’s a lot. When the gratin cooks, liquid will be extracted from the squash to help with the consistency of the dish.” – Joe
2 summer squash – cut in half and sliced into half circles
1 zucchini – cut in half and sliced into half circles
0.5 yellow onion – julienned
0.25 cup parsley – finely chopped
2 clove garlic – minced
1 small shallot – minced
0.5 lemon – juiced
1 pint heavy cream
4 ounces goat cheese
0.5 cup grated parmesan
Place a medium sized sauce pot over medium heat on the stove top. Add two tablespoons of olive oil, shallots, and garlic to the pan in that order.
Gently cook the shallots and garlic until soft and translucent, or for about two minutes.
Add the cream, goat cheese, lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper.
Bring the cream mixture up to a boil and whisk until the goat cheese is fully dispersed.
Add the cream mixture to the sliced vegetables (in a large bowl) and season with salt and pepper, mix.
Transfer to a baking dish and sprinkle the parmesan over the top of the squash then place the gratin in a preheated oven set to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
Cook for thirty minutes, then switch the oven over to broil and brown the top of the gratin until golden
Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.
“Looks like I did it again. I was able to find another recipe that includes quinoa that Andi really seems to enjoy. It is a challenge to make it palatable to her tastes as she does not enjoy the taste of plain quinoa or the texture of the under cooked seeds.
I was flipping through a taco cookbook when a recipe caught my eye: a grilled chicken taco with roasted corn salsa, red peppers, and chili-lime. The flavor combination really stuck with me while I contemplated what dish I could make for a quick weekday dinner. I thought I would go out on a limb and try the recipe sans-taco shell. Place the roasted chicken in a bowl filled with quinoa, roasted local corn, red pepper, and garnish it with avocado and fresh, raw red onions. There was no complaint from my wife about the aforementioned seed when it was served on her plate; in fact she finished her bowl before I was able to eat half of mine. Winner, winner quinoa bowl dinner!
Not all quinoa is made the same. Some lesser quality brands can have small pebbles or other debris mixed in with their product. Even with higher end products it is always best to sift through the seeds and give it a quick wash. We enjoy tri-colored quinoa for its visual appearance on the plate.” – Joe
For the Quinoa:
1 cup quinoa – sifted and rinsed
2 cups water
2 cloves garlic – minced
0.25 cup red onion – small diced
For the Roasted Corn:
2 cobs corn – peeled, corn removed from the cob
remaining red onion – medium diced
1 red onion – seeded and medium diced
1 clove garlic – minced
0.5 lime – juiced
0.25 cup cilantro – chopped
dark chili powder
salt and pepper
For the Roasted Chicken
2 chicken breasts
salt and pepper
dark chili powder
0.5 lime juiced
0.5 avocado – thinly sliced
red onion – julienned
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and set a medium sized sauté pan on medium high heat and add two tablespoons of olive oil.
Season the chicken breast with salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, and dark chili powder.
Add the chicken breast and sear on each side until golden brown, or for about three to four minutes per side.
Place in the oven and continue to cook for approximately fifteen minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove the chicken from the oven and squeeze the lime juice over the chicken.
In a sauce pot with a lid on medium heat, add two tablespoons olive oil and the small diced red onion and minced garlic and gently sweat down for about three minutes.
Add in the quinoa and water and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and cook for ten minutes.
For the last pan, place a large skillet on medium high heat and add two tablespoons of olive oil and place all the remaining vegetables in the pan.
Stirring regularly roast the vegetables until golden brown, or for about five minutes, and add the cilantro and lime juice.
Remove the pan from the heat and season with the salt, pepper, cumin, and dark chili powder.
To plate, slice the chicken on a cutting board. Scoop about one half to three-quarters of a cup of quinoa into a bowl, about a cup of the roasted corn sauté, and place the sliced chicken on top. Garnish with sliced avocado and raw red onion.
“We had our first taste of autumn weather in the Carolina mountains this past weekend. A brisk 64 degree weekend had us daydreaming about being basic with pumpkin spiced coffee, braised short ribs, roasted chicken (and the inevitable chicken stock simmering on the stovetop the next day), and football. Having one foot in the summer heat and the other in autumn weather had us wanting to roast something, anything, but to keep it light as to not get too ahead of ourselves. Our farmer at the restaurant helped plant the seed for this recipe when he brought in fresh spaghetti squash from his property just down the mountain.
Last we spoke, we talked about a man-made squash substitute for pasta. This week we are speaking of one made by mother nature. Spaghetti squash is a vegetable that once cleaned and roasted has a resemblance of angel hair spaghetti. Some restaurants use it as a gluten free substitute for spaghetti in dishes, however I think once added to other ingredients it can get lost and often overcooked. That is why we love using it as a side dish to just about anything, especially in the autumn and winter months. This recipe will make enough to serve for guests as a side dish.
A half sheet tray is something that we as chefs use daily and take for granted. It’s small size and versatile attitude allows us to use it for anything from roasting meats and vegetables to holding cakes slices for service. Known outside of the professional kitchen as a cookie sheet, one of quality will serve you a lifetime no matter how you use it.” – Joe
1 spaghetti squash – cut in half and seeds scooped out
4 sprigs thyme – cut in half
2 cloves garlic – cut in half
1 small shallot – small dice
3 tablespoon chives – thinly sliced
2 tablespoon organic olive oil
salt and pepper
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place two halves of garlic and four halves of thyme in each half of the spaghetti squash, drizzle each half of the squash with one tablespoon organic olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
Wrap each half of seasoned squash in a sheet of aluminum foil and place on a half sheet tray or cookie sheet.
Place in the oven and roast for an hour. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for five minutes.
Remove the squash from the aluminum foil and remove the garlic and thyme.
Scoop the squash from the skin into a bowl, add the shallots and chives to the bowl, and season with any additional salt and pepper.
“Not to sound like we are late to the whole low carb party, but we kind of are. Trendy keto and paleo diets have been around for years and preach about the benefits of a low carbohydrate diet. Rather than a low carb diet, our personal philosophy is everything in moderation. Time to get off the soapbox and talk about food.
We have not cut anything completely out of the diet but have greatly reduced the amount of carbohydrates and simultaneously raised the number of veggies we have on our dinner plate. A new-ish ingredient that has helped out greatly in our efforts is the zoodle, a clever hyphen of zucchini and noodle where you spin a squash into rotini-like shapes. You can use a zoodle anywhere you can use regular pasta, but after discussing it with Andi we came to the conclusion that a zoodle would be perfect to swap out with the soba noodles in our Peanut Chicken recipe. We changed up the peanut sauce a touch to help let the zucchini shine through the richness of the recipe.
This quick and easy dish is perfect for a weekday night dinner for two people.
Making a zoodle is rather difficult if you are trying to make it by hand; believe me when I say I’ve tried and it did not go well for the zucchini or the dish. A vegetable spiralizer is a must when making any type of zoodle. Look for one that suctions to the countertop which will make your life that much easier it eliminates the need to chase the device all over the counter.” – Joe
For the Sauce:
3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons Tamari
2 tablespoons Sesame Oil
1 lime zested and juiced
0.5 teaspoons Sriracha
2 teaspoon cilantro – chopped
For the dish:
2 chicken breasts – skin and cartilage removed, diced
1 small yellow onion – diced
3 clove garlic – minced
1 medium sized crown of broccoli – florets removed and stem chopped down
1 zucchini – spiralized
Combine all the ingredients for the sauce in a bowl and whisk until smooth.
Set a large skillet to medium high heat and add two tablespoons olive oil.
Add the chicken to the skillet and brown on all sided, or for about five minutes.
Remove the chicken from the skillet, turn the heat down to medium, and add the onion, garlic and broccoli. Cook for three to four minutes or until the broccoli is tender.
Add the chicken back to the skillet along with the sauce and bring everything to a simmer.
Add in the zoodles to the pan and bring to a simmer once and stir. Remove the pan from the heat.
To plate, use a pair of tongs to scoop the chicken and zoodles and place into two bowls. Use a spoon to scoop the sauce into each of the bowl, top with more cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice.
“Lucky for us, we serve some of the nicest guests one could ask for at the restaurant’s culinary bar. Just this past week a regular from New Orleans came in and gifted us with straight from the bayou crawfish tails. The obvious recipe answer was to make crawfish etouffee.
I am a huge fan of certain Cajun favorites, so much so in between visits home where we fill ourselves on the local flavor, I sustain myself and my husband by making these Mississippi Delta delicacies. On days where work is going to be especially busy and I know I’m going to be tired when I get home, I typically prepare food before heading into work for a reheat later when we get home. I was so excited to devour the etouffee when we got home that night that I almost forgot the finished dish photo.
Some may say hot sauce is just hot sauce and that they all taste the same. We say otherwise. Besides Slap Ya Momma, a southern favorite dried chili mixture, Tabasco is a staple in our house. The vinegary brightness along with the heat from the peppers makes it perfect accompaniment to gumbos, etouffee, or even tacos!” – Andi
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 yellow onion – chopped
2 celery stalk – chopped
1 green bell pepper – chopped
1 garlic clove – minced
1 12 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon Worcestershire
1 teaspoon Tabasco
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 pound crawfish tails
1 cup of long grain rice
In a pot with a lid, bring two cups of water to a boil.
Add in one cup of rice and reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and cook for ten to fifteen minutes or until the rice is soft and tender. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
In a large, heavy bottomed pot (not an aluminum one), over medium-high heat melt the butter.
Add the flour and cook, stirring regularly to make a light-colored roux. This should take about six minutes. It should have a nice light golden color to it when it is ready.
Add the chopped onions, celery, bell peppers, garlic, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are soft and translucent. This should take about eight to ten minutes.
Add the can of diced tomatoes and bring back up to a simmer for another two to four minutes.
Add the chicken stock and crawfish tails and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until thickened. This should take another five minutes.
Add the Tabasco and Worcestershire. Serve over the cooked rice.
“On occasion my father would help prepare the ingredients but rarely did he actually cook. One of his staples was shrimp scampi. I honestly do not know where he got the recipe from nor why only he would make it but what I do remember is my father slicing onions, garlic, and tomatoes fresh from his garden with this little old paring knife right next to the stove. Never did he use a chef knife for any of the prep work, just his trusty little knife.
When Andi and I were debating what to make for a light summer dinner, Dad’s scampi popped into the conversation. The recipe was rather simple and classic in its preparation: pasta, garlic, onions, tomatoes, shrimp, wine, salt and pepper. We wanted to keep with tradition but put our ‘Chefy’ touch on it, so we added fresh parsley, lemon zest and juice, and marinated artichokes to the usual lineup of ingredients. This will make enough for three for dinner, or two for dinner and a fight for the lunch leftovers, you choose.
Silverware is silverware, but a quality set of silverware will add a touch of timeless style to any meal. We play around with different styles, and have a whole drawer of random spoon shapes, but these from Reed and Barton we just love. We use them almost every day and can foresee them being in rotation for years to come.” – Joe
12 ounces 60-80 count shrimp
1 medium shallot – minced
2 cloves garlic – minced
2 Roma tomatoes – small diced
0.25 cup parsley leaves – thinly sliced
0.5 lemon – zested and juiced
0.25 cap dry white wine
1 – 8 ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts – drained
1 quarter sized pinch of whole wheat thin spaghetti
Set a medium sized pot of salted water on high heat and bring to a boil.
Once boiling, reduce to medium high and add in the pasta. Stir and allow to cook until al dente, or for about four to eight minutes. Drain the pasta and set aside.
In a large skillet set to medium heat, add two tablespoons olive oil, shallots, and garlic. Lightly cook for one minute or until slightly translucent and aromatic.
Add the shrimp and cook for two minutes, stirring the shrimp regularly.
Add the wine and bring up to a simmer.
Add the remaining ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Bring all the ingredients to a simmer for one minute.
To plate place a serving of pasta in the center of the bowl, spoon a generous amount of shrimp and artichoke sauce over the pasta.
“I strive to find great quick summer meals for our weekday lunches. We were at the Cashiers Farmers Market when I got inspiration from the fresh summer vegetables surrounding us. Ratatouille utilizes all the vegetables that the summer has to offer. It also just so happens to make an amazing light lunch before work. I added a seared chicken breast on top of my ratatouille for our lunch last week to add a punch of protein. But you can really add any other protein to this dish to round it out.
The perfect large wood cutting board is essential for a recipe that includes dicing of vegetables. A nice quality cutting board will give you enough space and will last a lifetime.” -Andi
1 yellow onion – medium diced
1 garlic clove – sliced
1 red bell pepper – medium diced
1 yellow squash – medium diced
1 green zucchini – medium diced
1/2 eggplant – medium diced
1 8 ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
On a large cutting board, dice all the vegetables and keep them in small piles organized on the board.
Put a large sauté pan on medium heat. When the pan is hot add a tablespoon of olive oil.
Add the diced onions to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Cook the onions until translucent or for about eight minutes.
Add the garlic. Sweat the garlic for three minutes.
Add the red peppers and eggplant next. Season with salt and pepper. Cook the eggplant and pepper for about ten minutes.
After the vegetables becomes soft, add the squash and zucchini. Cook the squash and zucchini for another ten minutes.
Add the fire roasted tomatoes. Season with salt and cook for another five minutes.
“Just because the summer holiday is past us does not mean it is time to put up the grill until the first weekend in September. We have been on a major grilling kick going as far as par-grilling vegetables and proteins to reheat later in the week for quick and complete dinners or lunches when time is limited, and we are unable to give all of our attention to a meal. We have already featured red snapper before on the blog, however when we stand in front of the display at the local grocer we are almost always drawn to the red snapper verses all the other usual offerings. The addition of the 45/50 sized shrimp adds another dimension of flavor and texture to the dish and breaks up the monotony.
Eggplant is not usually in our weekly grocery list but summer beckons us to expand our culinary horizons and branch out and try different ingredients. We included yellow tomatoes that practically sang to us from the shelves as we walked by. Green bell peppers round out the taste profile and add a nice pop of color to the dish. This will make enough for two for dinner.
It is said that tools make the man. If that is true, then it can be said that the right knives make the chef. In the restaurant we use primarily all Japanese steel, however in the home kitchen it is all German steel. Wustof makes great knives and with proper care, they will last a lifetime.” – Joe
2 – 6 ounce filets of red snapper
1 pound 45/50 shrimp – peeled, de-veined
1 tablespoon chives – chopped
1 tablespoon cilantro – chopped
1 tablespoon basil – chopped
Half of an eggplant – cut into slices
2 yellow tomatoes – washed and cut into slices
1 green pepper – seeded and cut into pieces
2 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
Fire up the grill.
Place half of the chopped herbs in a bowl with all the shrimp, season with salt and pepper, and set aside.
Place the second half of the herbs in a bowl with all the sliced vegetables along with the white balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Grill the vegetables in batches, getting both sides lightly charred (about three minutes a side) and set aside.
Season the fish with salt and any other desired seasonings. Place the fish skin side down and cook for approximately five minutes, flip, and cook for another three minutes.
When you flip the fish, add the shrimp to the grill and cook for about one and a half minutes per side. Be careful that they do not fall in between the grates of the grill.
To plate, arrange the grilled vegetables in a circular pattern on the bottom of a plate, place the fish in the center, and the shrimp on top of the snapper. Add any additional herbs or squeeze of lemon.
“Is there anything more synonymous with the Fourth of July holiday then grilling, brats, and beer? Those three summertime icons will be enjoyed by themselves by many over the next weekend, however, they also can be rolled into one delicious dish which is perfect for the summer grilling season. Think a better ballpark bratwurst in all its glory. This recipe does need a little more finesse then the traditional throwing sausage on the grill, but the end result is going to well worth the extra little effort. We paired these brats with our tried and true summer side dish, marinated grilled vegetables. This recipe will make enough for two, however this recipe can easily be doubled or tripled.
Any beer can be used for this recipe; however, I am a lover of all things hazy and IPA. Drinking fresh, local beer is something Andi and I enjoy and can support wholeheartedly. When New Belgium opened its second brewery in Asheville, we were overjoyed to have fresh Fat Tire and their experimental beers near us. Their Ranger series of IPAs, in our opinion, make this dish a success.” – Joe
1 package bratwurst (5-6 pieces)
2 yellow onions – one sliced, one rough chopped
2 cloves garlic – rough chopped
1 green pepper – seeded and sliced
1 sprig rosemary
6 ounces beer
6 ounces chicken stock
Enough buns for all the brats cooked
Light the grill.
On the stove top, place a sauté pan that fits a lid on medium heat. Add two tablespoons of olive oil.
Add the rough chopped onion and garlic with the rosemary sprig and sauté lightly until golden brown, or for about six minutes.
In a separate medium sized pan, on medium high heat, add two tablespoons of olive oil, along with the sliced onion and peppers. Season with salt and pepper and cook stirring regularly until golden brown and delicious, or for about five minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
Returning to the first pan, once the onions and garlic have finished roasting, add the bratwursts.
Add the beer and stock next, cover with the lid, turn the heat down to medium-low, continue to cook for another six minutes.
Remove the bratwursts from the pan. Transfer them to the grill and finish cooking them on the open flame, or for about five more minutes.
To plate, warm the hotdog bun slightly, add the grilled, braised bratwurst and top with the sautéed onions and peppers.
“This week our inspiration came from the Twitter, of all sources. The original tweet from a popular food publication was for ‘baked white fish with potatoes’, which I am sure is a respectable recipe, but we wanted to trick it out.
Store shelves are filled with fresh squash, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes, and fresh trout is a mainstay on most fishmonger’s shelves up here in the mountains, so why not use those ingredients to our advantage? The idea may have come from the internet, but the dish itself came from the store shelves!
This recipe will serve enough for two for dinner.
Anchor Hocking has built a reputation for quality glass casserole dishes. We actually have multiple sizes for a variety of specialized dishes, but a standard, and all around great size is a ten inch by sixteen inch (or three quart) and we love using ours for this recipe.” – Joe
1 pound trout, cut into two pieces
1 yellow squash – cut in half and sliced
1 zucchini – cut in half and sliced
1 red onion – cut in half and sliced
0.5 pound cherry tomatoes – cut in half
2 tablespoons Herbs de Provence
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place all the prepped vegetables into a bowl and season with salt, pepper, one tablespoon of Herbs de Provence, and olive oil.
Place the vegetables into a casserole dish and place in the oven. Cook for ten minutes.
Season the trout with salt, pepper and one tablespoon of the Herbs de Provence.
Add the two pieces of trout on top of the pre-roasted vegetables and place back into the oven for an additional fifteen minutes.
Remove the casserole dish from the oven and allow to sit for five minutes before serving.
To plate, scoop some of the vegetables into the bottom and top with a trout filet.
“It is officially that time of the year when you get invited to an “on the fly” barbeque. What to bring on short notice is always the challenge. My go-to satiating option is grilled chili lime corn on the cob. It’s easy to transport and super quick to prepare in a pinch. Corn adds a complementary side option to the usual meat-laden dishes at every barbeque.
I recommend picking up a quality pastry brush for the recipe. A pastry brush, though sometimes overlooked thought of as an obscure kitchen utensil, is very versatile and needs to be in every kitchen to spread marinade on your next steak and corn on the cob dinner.” – Joe
6 ears of corn- shucked and rinsed with cold water
3 tablespoons of butter, cut in half
2 tablespoons scallions sliced
For the marinade:
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon crushed red chili flake
1/2 teaspoon Slap Ya Mamma (or other chili powder seasoning mix)
1 lime zested
1/2 lime juiced
Fire up the grill.
Thoroughly mix all your ingredients for the marinade in a bowl.
Tear six, 12 inch pieces of aluminum foil and set aside.
Put aluminum foil down first. Place corn on foil. With a pastry brush, baste the corn with the marinade.
Add a 1/2 table spoon of butter. Wrap up the corn.
Repeat until corn is complete.
Place on a hot grill for five minutes.
Rotate and cook the corn for another five minutes.
Unwrap the corn from the foil and place on a serving platter and garnish with the cut scallions.
“Farm fresh heirloom vegetables are starting to come onto the market and they are absolutely gorgeous! Andi and I love seeing the bright colors and shapes of these veggies on our specialty markets shelves. In a restaurant they pose a unique challenge for chefs; we love their fresh taste but the inconsistent size is an obstacle. We want every guest to enjoy a consistent plate every time. With heirloom vegetables that is not always possible but for home cooks who care less about consistency and more about flavor, heirloom vegetables are a seasonal treat!
This past week we found an heirloom cherry tomato bar at our local grocer and the tiny multi-colored delicacies gave us the spark of inspiration. We were grilling that night and were still looking for an imaginative side. An heirloom tomato salad sounded perfect but we did not want to go strictly traditional and add simply basil to the mix. Instead we added chives and cilantro to drive up the flavor of the petite tomatoes. White balsamic vinegar and organic olive oil round out the ingredients for this side dish that will be a perfect addition to your next backyard barbeque. This recipe will make enough for four people as a side.
I bought our first Le Creuset casserole dish for Andi shortly after a friend invited us to a dinner party and served homemade crab cannelloni in a very cute miniature Le Creuset stoneware dishes. In our opinion the petite size makes it the perfect size to serve any side dish for any dinner situation.” – Joe
1.5 pounds heirloom cherry tomatoes – cut in half
1 tablespoon chives – finely chopped
1 tablespoon cilantro – finely chopped
1 medium shallot – finely chopped
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons organic olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Place all ingredients into a mixing bowl and gently stir to incorporate.