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Spring cookbooks take readers to Asheville



4/14/2011 - Spring cookbooks take readers to Asheville
by Mary Constantine

  They say that Asheville has become a "foodie" town... The many fine restaurants and professionals that have made this a reality come to Asheville for the same reason most everybody does, the quality of life. Come and have a taste of Asheville. Your table is waiting. -Ben Falcon



Tell a friend you took a trip to Asheville, N.C., and inevitably the following questions will be asked: "Did you visit Biltmore Estate? Did you stay at the Grove Park Inn? Did you eat at Tupelo Honey Cafe?"

Given the historic nature of the first two destinations, that puts the 11-year-old restaurant in pretty good company.

Released this month is its first cookbook, "Tupelo Honey Cafe: Spirited Recipes from Asheville's New South Kitchen," by Elizabeth Sims and Chef Brian Sonoskus (Andrews McMeel Publishing (29.99).

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The book focuses on the region's culinary offerings, featuring 125 recipes, complete with gorgeous color photos of food, farms and fresh produce taken by Brie Williams.

Sprinkled throughout the book are snippets of the area's eclectic history, including a brief profile on Asheville native and author Thomas Wolfe.

Mouth-watering recipes like chicken andouille stir-fry with orange jalapeno glaze, salsa verde pinto beans, peachy grilled chicken salad with pecan vinaigrette, smoked jalapeno sauce and three-berry cream cheese pie are featured in the book.

And giving a nod to the region's large selection of breweries and wineries, most of the recipes include pairings for each.

Here's a sample recipe.

Nutty fried chicken

This nutty fried chicken, featured on the menu at Tupelo Honey Cafe, is soaked in buttermilk before being rolled in Panko bread crumbs and crushed, roasted nuts. Serve with white gravy.

Brie Williams for Tupelo Honey Cafe

This nutty fried chicken, featured on the menu at Tupelo Honey Cafe, is soaked in buttermilk before being rolled in Panko bread crumbs and crushed, roasted nuts. Serve with white gravy.

6 (6-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 cups buttermilk

2 cups Panko bread crumbs

2 cups roasted and salted mixed nuts

2 cups canola oil

Marinate the chicken in buttermilk in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Combine bread crumbs and nuts in a food processor and grind until fine. In a cast-iron skillet, heat the canola oil to 325 degrees or until the oil is bubbling. Remove the chicken from the buttermilk and dredge in the nut mixture until well coated. Fry the chicken in the hot oil for 4-5 minutes on each side, until golden brown.

Transfer the chicken to paper towels to drain the excess oil. Serve with sweet potatoes topped with milk gravy.

Note: The sweet potato and gravy recipes are in the cookbook.

Tupelo honey coleslaw

4 cups shredded green cabbage (approximately 1 medium head)

2 cups shredded red cabbage (approximately 1 small head)

1 cup peeled, shredded carrot (about 2 large)

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

4 1/2 teaspoons ketchup

5 tablespoons sugar

1 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons stone-ground mustard

1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

4 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 cup canola oil

Combine green cabbage, red cabbage and carrot in large bowl. In separat e bowl combine vinegar, ketchup and sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Put vinegar mixture in food processor and add mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, stone-ground mustard, hot pepper sauce, Worcestershire, salt and pepper. Blend and slowly drizzle in canola oil until mixture is emulsified. Combine vegetables with dressing, adding the dressing a little at a time until it suits your personal slaw to dressing ratio. Any leftover dressing can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 1 week. Yield: 4-6 servings.

Source: "Tupelo Honey Cafe: Spirited Recipes from Asheville's New South Kitchen (Andrews McMeel, $29.99)

Orange cilantro sauce

1 medium tomato

1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (about 4 oranges)

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper

1 teaspoon minced fresh cilantro

1 1/2 teaspoons unsalted butter

1 orange, peeled, seeded and segmented

Core and halve the tomato. With a spoon, gently remove the seeds and squeeze out the juice. Cut the tomato into thin strips, about 1/2 cup and refrigerate the rest of the tomato in an airtight container for future use. Place orange juice in small saucepan and boil for about 5 minutes or until juice is reduced by half. Lower the heat to medium and add the salt, white pepper, tomato and cilantro. Add the butter and stir constantly until melted. Remove from the heat and add the orange segments. Serve immediately. Yield: 1 1/2 cups.

Note: This is good served over seafood or chicken.

Source: "Tupelo Honey Cafe: Spirited Recipes from Asheville's New South Kitchen (Andrews McMeel, $29.99)


Flipping through the pages of "A Southerly Course: Recipes and Stories from Close to Home," by Martha Hall Foose (Clarkson Potter, $32.50) will bring back memories of watching your mother prepare a Sunday feast.

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The author has an incredible knack for beckoning memories of bygone days by using the foods of her home state of Mississippi to draw you in.

And just as your mother would share the origin or backstory of a dish, she does the same with most of the recipes featured in this book.

For example, the grilled green onions recipe featured below was inspired by a family wedding reception held at her house at which foods from Texas, New Orleans, Korea and Mississippi were served.

She writes that the fried pan trout recipe reminds her of Estella's Tavern, a place she frequented during her high school years, and that the rum tum tiddy is a dish indigenous to Mississippi that's made with tomato soup, toast and melted cheese, and is fed to children who were too ill to attend school.

Other recipes in the book include Satsuma tart made with Satsuma mandarin oranges grown along the Gulf Coast; Yazoo souffle that includes daylilies as an ingredient; and corn oysters, deep-fried balls of fresh corn breaded and served as a vegetarian po' boy or as a party food.

Anchoring the cookbook are photos by Chris Granger, who will take the reader on a tour of Mississippi neighborhoods, fields and food, and essays by Foose who reminisces about family and traditions.

Her first cookbook "Screen Doors and Sweet Tea," won a 2009 James Beard Award. I suspect this book will be just as successful.

Grilled green onions

Nothing says spring like green onions. These grilled green onions, coated with a Korean-inspired glaze, are included in the cookbook

Chris Granger for "A Southerly Course" Cookbook

Nothing says spring like green onions. These grilled green onions, coated with a Korean-inspired glaze, are included in the cookbook "A Southerly Course."

4 bunches green onions or purple scallions

1 tablespoon sugar

1 small garlic clove, minced

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup sake

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 cup finely chopped Asian pear or Golden Delicious apple.

Heat grill to low. In food processor pulse together the white part of one of the green on ions with the sugar, garlic, soy sauce, sake, honey and pear. Place remaining green onions on the grill 4-6 inches above low coals or over low flame and brush them with soy sauce mixture. Cook for 5 minutes, turning as needed, or until onions are tender. Remove from heat and brush with more sauce right before serving. Yield: 6 servings.

Source: "A Southerly Course," by Martha Hall Foose (Clarkson Potter, $32.50)

Mexican Co-cola drumsticks

1 (8-ounce) bottle cola (Mexican cola preferred)

1/4 cup chopped white onion

1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed

4 garlic cloves

2 tablespoons ketchup

1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger

1 tablespoon yellow mustard

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon salt

4 pounds chicken drumsticks, trimmed of excess fat

Peanut oil for frying

2 cups chicken broth

Combine cola, onion, brown sugar, garlic, ketchup, ginger, mustard, Worcestershire and salt in a large bowl. Add chicken, toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for one hour. Remove chicken from marinade; set aside. Pat chicken dry. Heat 1 inch of peanut oil in a deep skillet over medium-high heat, Reduce temperature to low and add chicken. Simmer 15 minutes, turning once. Transfer chicken to a serving platter. Boil sauce, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until thickened slightly. Pour sauce over chicken. Yield: 6 servings.

Source: "A Southerly Course: Recipes and Stories from Close to Home" (Clarkson Potter, $32.50)

Soybean salad

2 medium cucumbers, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices

1 small onion, quartered and sliced

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup cooked shelled edamame (soybeans)

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons cottonseed or vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Put cucumber and onion slices in bowl and toss with salt. Allow to stand at room temperature for about 1 hour. Rinse, drain well in colander and return to bowl. Add edamame, lemon juice, cottonseed oil, sesame oil, sesame seeds and cayenne. Toss well to combine. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Yield: 4 serving

Source: "A Southerly Course: Recipes and Stories from Close to Home" (Clarkson Potter, $32.50)

Mary Constantine may be reached at 865-342-6428. Follow her on twitter @skilletsister.

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