Baby Kale, Roasted Grape, Radicchio, Green apple & Blue Cheese Salad

This salad has inspired me to roast all kinds of fruit, Grapes, Peaches, Apricots, Raspberries! also a fabulous use of fruit as it nears over-ripeness (hmmmm. . . . is that a word?)  Simply coat fruit with EVOO and fresh herbs, thyme, orange mint is lovely, and roast at 350 for approx 15-20 minutes.   Salad:  Baby Kale and other baby greens, sliced green apple, radicchio, roasted grapes, blue cheese (we love Sequatchie Cove's Bellamy with Alderwood Smoked Salt).   For the dressing, I prefer Epicurious grainy mustard vinaigrette recipe: 

  • 1/2 garlic clove
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon coarse-grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Mince garlic with a large heavy knife, then mash to a paste with salt using flat side of knife.
  • Whisk together garlic paste, mustard, vinegar, and pepper, then add oil in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified.
  • Just before serving, toss greens with vinaigrette.
Posted on August 7, 2016 .

Strawberry Caprese Salad with BUF Mozzarella

Fresh Strawberries with BUF Mozzarella, topped with Alta Cucina's Arugula Pesto and fried Basil (optional - works just as well with fresh basil) served over sweet baby greens, basil and blueberries.  Drizzle Alta Cucina's crema balsamica to finish.   Shown here with honeycomb ~ Chef's presentation!

Posted on August 7, 2016 .

Berry Cheese Plate

Fresh Arugula with blueberries, raspberries, Verdant Kitchen’s Candied Ginger Pecans, Greendale Farm’s Madison Mead or Capra Gia’s Feta, topped with Alta Cucina’s 2015 Flavor of Georgia Grand Prize winning, Blueberry Balsamic Reduction

Posted on September 7, 2015 .

Fennel-and-Citrus Salad with Mint

I like to add fresh, halved cherries. This is a delicious companion to blue cheese. Enjoy!

2 red grapefruits
2 navel oranges
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 fennel bulbs – halved, cored, and thinly sliced on a mandolin
2 tablespoons of chopped fronds reserved
2 tablespoons small mint leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander


  1. Using a sharp knife, cut the skin and white pith from the grapefruits and oranges. Working over a bowl, cut between the membranes to release the sections into the bowl. Squeeze the membranes to extract the juice.
  2. In a small bowl, stir the olive oil with the honey and lemon juice. Add 3 tablespoons of the citrus juice and season with salt. Reserve the remaining juice for another use. 
  3. In a shallow serving bowl, toss the fennel and citrus sections with the dressing. Garnish with the chopped fennel fronds, mint leaves, and ground coriander, and serve right away.  
Posted on August 25, 2015 .

Roasted Garlic, Jalapeno, and Feta Dip

2 bricks of feta cheese, 8 ounces each (keep it local!)
3 jalapeno peppers (I used Pickled Pink's Sweet Heat Jalapenos, diced)
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon olive oil  
1 head garlic (optional)
the juice and zest of half a lemon
salt and pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Chop the top off the garlic bulb and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap it in foil and roast for 25-30 minutes, or until garlic is soft. 
  2. Meanwhile, brush the jalapenos with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast them with the garlic just until charred (I just peeked at them every few minutes or so). 
  3. Remove both from oven and let cool. remove the jalapeno skins, cut in half and discard the seeds, then dice. 
  4. In a large bowl, crumble the feta bricks. Add the diced jalapenos, the zest of half a lemon, and the juice of half a lemon. Squeeze the roasted garlic out of the bulb directly into the feta. Add 1/4 cup of olive oil and mash with a fork. Taste the feta and season with salt and pepper and/or extra lemon juice or olive oil. 
  5. Serve with pita chips, warm pita, or naan, or spread it on sandwiches. Store it in the fridge for up to one week. It is best served at room temperature.  
Posted on August 25, 2015 .

Pickled Grapes & Walnuts

1 cup seedless red grapes, halved
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar (I used Alta Cucina's White Balsamic Reduction)
1/2 cup walnuts
2 tablespoons sugar (I used Turbinado Sugar)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a bowl, toss the grapes and vinegar. Let stand for 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, put the walnuts in a pie plate and bake for about 6 minutes, until lightly browned. Let cool, then coarsely chop. 
  4. Drain the vinegar from the grapes into a small saucepan. Add the sugar and cook over moderate heat until syrupy for about 2 minutes. Pour the syrup over the grapes, toss, and let cool. Fold in the chopped walnuts just before serving. 
Posted on August 25, 2015 .