Eating Greeneville

Farming, bartering and foraging for meals in East Tennessee.


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Margherita Farinata Bread (not Gluten Free Pizza)

soccamisenplace

Farinata (also knows at Cecina in Italy and Socca in France) is an unleavened bread very simply made of chickpea flour and water.   People have been eating Farinata WAY before everything that doesn’t contain wheat was dubbed holy and labeled “gluten-free”.  And it is upon principle that I refuse to call this “gluten-free pizza” which it actually kinda is.  Not eating wheat for every meal doesn’t have to have a label and a special diet and make you feel special.  It’s the way a lot of people have been eating for many many centuries.  It’s called moderation.  I love a good wood-fired sourdough pizza crust bubbling away with little black bubbles all around the outside, but sometimes I like the deep dish feel and nutty flavor of farinata as a pizza crust.

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Tempura Squash Blossoms with Smoked Sardines.

friedsquashblossoms

This week, we are giving the CSA a break after 3 steady weeks of summer squash heavy in the baskets.  It’ll be there as an optional grab in our walk-in, but not mandatory.  Just to mix it up a bit, squash blossoms will make an appearance in the basket.  Squash blossoms are so beautiful and delicate and unless you are growing squash or eating out, you probably rarely see them.  They are so highly perishable that I can’t imagine any major retailer of food would ever be able to sell them and if they find a way, I wouldn’t trust it.  Good, more for me.

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Dog Days and Ethereal Sweetness.

“The Romans referred to the dog days as diēs caniculārēs and associated the hot weather with the star Sirius. They considered Sirius to be the “Dog Star” because it is the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major (Large Dog). Sirius is also the brightest star in the night sky. The term “Dog Days” was used earlier by the Greeks.”

Cherry Tomatoes of all sizes, colors and shapes.

Cherry Tomatoes of all sizes, colors and shapes.

It’s happening.  The “dog days” of summer are just around the corner in the southeast.  Telltale signs include mandatory afternoon river breaks, sweaty nights and ripe tomatoes.  Yes, those green ones are ripe.  They are called “Green Doctors” and if you don’t grow them, you should.  Not only do they get to confuse the heck outta everyone harvesting them, they are so super sweet it’s hard for me to not eat them all in the field.

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Mediterranean Summer Stirfry in Tennessee.

Brown rice with zucchini, green beans and cherry tomatoes.  Tzatziki and spicy Italian sausage.

Brown rice with zucchini, green beans and cherry tomatoes. Tzatziki and spicy Italian sausage.

Right now I am excited for cucumber.  Because I just ate my second cucumber of 2014.  In 3 weeks I am sure I will be singing a different tune, but right now, I am in love. Crunchy, refreshing, versatile and truly a summer treat.  Of course being a farmer and a chef I am going to be a food snob about seasonal ingredients but let me tell ya, cukes in season are where it’s at.  I don’t do  a cuke in the winter….I want fresh, I want crisp I want my own.   I drew from my Sicilian roots and former California cuisine life for this one.  A medley of summer veggies with sausage (optional) and a refreshing tzatziki to top it all off. 

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A to Zucchini, the Blog that never was.

I’ve had the brilliant idea for several years now to start a blog entitled ” A to Zucchini”. “A to Zucchini” chronicles a season of summer squash, from the first day it’s harvested to the very last. Recipes along the lines of “anchovy aioli and fried patty pan”, “basil pesto and grilled zucchini”, “cocozelle and coconut curry” and, well, you get it…it goes on….and on. BUT every year I realize that while I am constantly picking, hauling, selling, culling and composting squash I don’t have that much time to eat it, nor do I want to eat it to the extent of writing that blog. But this is the first time we are including summer squash in the CSA and I thought I’d share one of my very favorite recipes for our perfectly round little eight ball squashes. My farming mentor, Bob Cannard, really does make the best version of these stuffed, but I try.

Eight ball squashes, stuffed and ready to bake.

Eight ball squashes, stuffed and ready to bake.

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Roast a Chicken Sunday, Eat for a Week.

Garlic scapes, salt, lemon and butter.  Ready to roast.

Garlic scapes, salt, lemon and butter. Ready to roast.

This entry isn’t a recipe, but a story.  A story of a chicken.  A chicken from Kany Farm in Bulls Gap, TN.  If you happen to live close enough to the area do get one of these delectable birds, you consider yourself damn lucky.  The bucolic location of this farm alone is enough to make you swoon but the pure pasture raised REAL chicken taste of Mike’s chickens will have you hooked in no time. (He’s at the Jonesborough Farmer’s Market on Saturdays)

I like to roast a chicken on Sunday and this is why.

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Fried Green Tomatoes/Zucchini and Kittens.

This is a picture of Fried Green Tomatoes and Zucchini with Basil Mayonnaise.

This is a picture of Fried Green Tomatoes and Zucchini with Basil Mayonnaise.

And this is a totally unrelated picture of my new kitten, Tina (named after my idol Tina Turner),

And this is a totally unrelated picture of my new kitten, Tina (named after my idol Tina Turner).

There is no greater condiment in the world than homemade mayonnaise.  I will stand by this statement for the rest of my days. Blanched or raw vegetables dipped in homemade mayo are divine. A thick slathering of mayo on a roast beef sandwich piled high with fresh greens is pure lunch heaven.
Fresh basil mixed into a zesty mayonnaise is twice as nice.  These fried green tomatoes and zucchini are a perfect start to a summer cookout.  You could also throw a few on your burger for an interesting twist on a classic.

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Boiled New Potatoes with Fresh Peas and Anchovy Butter

Everything I love about Spring in a bowl.

Everything I love about Spring in a bowl.

There are few things that bother me more than the phrase “it is what it is” and self-checkout registers at the grocery store.  One of those things is people that say they don’t like anchovies.  I think these people grew up equating anchovies with the gross pizza their Sicilian uncles ordered during the Super Bowl.  I think these people have certainly grown past eating pizza with JUST CHEESE.  They might even be quite adventurous eaters now.  I also think most of these people have never tried an anchovy as an adult.  And I know all this to be true because until my late 20’s, I was one of these sad, anchovy-less people.

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Spring Coconut Curry with Zucchini and Peas

There is no denying varying shades of green steal the show in late spring.

There is no denying varying shades of green steal the show in late spring.

Do you have a favorite season?  Mine is Spring.  I think.  From the first foraged salad of the early days to the summer solstice, watching the plant world come alive after a long winter of hibernation is magical.  I forgot just how magical it was after spending 4 years in the 2 seasons that are Northern California, rainy one and not rainy one.

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