With Wendy’s offering an Artisan Egg Sandwich, authenticity in the kitchen isn’t always obvious. But when I see a farm stand with local produce outside a busy restaurant in Greensboro, NC, I know I’m in for an authentic experience. I’m talking about Chef Jay Pierce, the talent behind Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen. Chef Jay is a long time friend of Foggy Ridge: he’s joined us for ramp hunting, apple picking and lamb roasting, and we enjoy his cooking whenever we’re in NC. He is a thoughtful force in the food world, and I hope you enjoy his musings on how he brings fall to his kitchen.
Fall is on the way with new produce and ingredients for your seasonal menus at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen. What do you like to cook in the fall?
“I really look forward to fall fruits like apples and pears and using them in desserts and cocktails, making varietal applesauce or shrubs. I also like smoky roasted dishes, cooked with smoke or over a real fire, like brussels sprouts choucroute with fantastic bacon and spicy mustard. Another favorite is Butternut Squash, which I use for an autumnal version of succotash with boiled peanuts and butternut squash.”
What are your favorite fall vegetables and how do you prepare these?
“I’m really excited about Cushaw Squash which is hard to find. It’s an Appalachian long necked pumpkin with yellow flesh and yellow stripes on the skin. I’m intrigued by the story in Joseph Dabney’s book about how the crooked neck of the Cushaw were hooked around trees so they wouldn’t roll down the mountain and kill someone.”
NOTE: Cushaw Squash is in the Slow Food Ark of Taste, a living catalog of distinctive foods facing extinction.
We’re thinking “apples” this time of year at Foggy Ridge. What are your favorite apples, for eating and cooking?
“I love Earlygold, Ginger Gold, Rusty Coat, Arkansas Black and Honeycrisp. But even more I enjoy discovering new apples I’ve never heard of. I really wish I enjoyed Virginia Beauty more—it’s such a cool name, but I don’t know what to do with that apple.”
(Arkansas Black pictured)
Tell us about the new Autumn Carnival Martini on the menu at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen.
“This is a lighter offering, combining NC apple fortified wine and Foggy Ridge Cider’s Pippin Gold apple port, plus some fantastic Italian vermouth. It’s sort of like a spritzer with no bubbles.”
Everyone loves your Skillet Fried Chicken Dinners. Why does cider pair so well with all kinds of food, especially fried chicken?
“The best thing about cider and fried chicken is the slight residual sweetness, and the effervescence. That mild effervescence helps to clean the palate while eating something rich like lard fried chicken. Cocktails are the way to go also: we love our Apple Martini, which we developed for a Foggy Ridge Cider Dinner. And the Autumn Carnivale is a wonderful addition to our Tuesday night Skillet Fried Dinners.”
Read more from Chef Jay Pierce on his Farm to Fork Blog, follow him on Twitter or check out Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen’s events and specials on Facebook. And be sure to stop by Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen for specials all month on Foggy Ridge Cider…and an authentic taste of fall.