Apple Cider Turkey Brine


Try brining your turkey this year!!!


Fresh Herbs and Juniper Berries


In as little as 4 hours, you can add amazing flavor and moisture to the outcome of your turkey!


Simmer the herbs, juniper berries and apple cider.


I love including apples in my stuffing, so I decided to brine the turkey in apple cider, too!  I plan to smoke a turkey breast – using “apple wood” chips. I also plan to roast a turkey in the oven. We have 17 guests for Thanksgiving this year, so I think if there is to be leftover turkey for sandwiches, I’d better prepare the smoked turkey breast as well.

Did someone say Turkey Sandwiches??? Well, we have to have home-made bread!!


Clay Bread Cloche


My “new” old bread cloche! I’ll be making bread tomorrow for Turkey Sandwiches!!

Ok – not famous “YET”, but here is my little article from a few years ago in TIME MAGAZINE!! 

Thanksgiving Turkey Brine Recipe in Time Magazine
Check out this link to my full instructions for cooking a heritage turkey in parchment!

Apple Cider Turkey Brine


  • 2 quarts Apple Cider
  • 2 quarts Water
  • 1 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 cup Kosher Salt
  • 3 Bay Leaves
  • 3-4 sprigs Fresh Parsley
  • 3 sprigs Fresh Thyme
  • 1 Large Sprig Fresh Rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons Juniper Berries (crushed.)
  • 1 tablespoon Black Peppercorns
  • 2-3 sprigs Fresh Sage Leaves


Add 1 Quart water to a deep stockpot. Add the kosher salt and brown sugar and simmer, stirring, until both have dissolved in the water.
Add the remaining ingredients - 1 quart of water, two quarts of apple cider and fresh herbs, peppercorns and juniper berries. Simmer for 15 minutes to
Chill the brine in the refrigerator. This can be done in advance.
The turkey should brine overnight. Add the chilled turkey to the chilled brine and refrigerate. The chill is important to prevent pathogens!!
Remove the turkey from the brine and dry it with a kitchen towel. Rub the turkey skin with olive oil (or butter) and place in the roasting pan - ready for the stuffing and roasting process.

Delicata Squash with Cranberry Bean Cassoulet



This fall has been a beautiful season of appreciation for me – in the kitchen, out in nature and in my personal life. As Thanksgiving approaches, I am almost overwhelmed with gratitude this year. My husband and I were able to move to the mountains of North Carolina, back to my family home, to spend a dedicated time with family through the illness and passing of my father. I owe him a huge debt of thanks for the many profound life lessons he shared with me and for the very heightened appreciation of nature and the outdoors.

My emphasis on seasonal eating is very much wrapped up in how I was raised and the rhythm of life that was instilled in me through the way my family lived in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains. Our garden was a focal point of everyday life, and so it is for me still. What is in season is the predominant question I ask myself when thinking of food and nourishment.

This delicata squash and bean cassoulet, another dish from my love affair with the Rhubarb Restaurant of Asheville, NC, highlights the seasonality of the late summer and autumn garden. Having a stock pile of winter squashes in the pantry and jars of dried beans leads to endless possibilities in the kitchen.


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Grilled Calamari – Orange, Potato and Leek with Romesco Sauce

I have been almost fixated on grilling and smoking in recent weeks. I think it is my way of holding on to summer as the autumn unveils itself. The cooler morning and evening temperatures and the subtle change of leaves beckons me to indulge in the transition.


Grilled oranges are smoky sweet


I developed this recipe after recently having dinner with my husband at the AhhhMazing Rhubarb Restaurant in Asheville, NC. We have eaten there quite a few times and Chef John Fleer is one of my favorites of all time. Really, I mean that. His menus celebrate the seasons, he has a strong affiliation with a beautiful local farm for gorgeous vegetables that he highlights and celebrates. His team works around a wood-fired oven and there is an earthiness in his menu that cannot be ignored. It is perfection.


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Curry of Potatoes, Apple and Greens

Coconut Curry of Potato, Apple, Kale and Garbanzo Beans





Coconut Curry of Potato, Apple, Kale and Garbanzo Beans


  • 1 tablespoon Sesame Oil
  • 2 tablespoons Curry Spices
  • 1/2 cup Onion (diced)
  • 3 Small Red Potatoes (diced)
  • 2 Medium Apples (tart apples preferred)
  • 1 Small Bumch Kale (ribs removed, then chopped to 1 inch pieces)
  • 1 can Coconut Milk (light preferred)
  • 1 can Garbanzo Beans (drained)
  • 2 cups Jasmine Rice (cooked to package directions)
  • 1 tablespoon Sliced Almonds (per serving, as topping)
  • 1 dash Ground Coriander (per serving, as garnish)


Heat oil in a dutch oven style heavy pot on top of the stove over medium-low. Add curry spices to the oil and allow to simmer a few minutes to release the flavors.
Add sliced onion to the curry oil and saute slowly to cook the onion down to almost caramelize it - about 15 minutes.
Add the peeled and diced potato cubes to the onion mixture and allow potatoes to soften and even begin to brown just a bit. Allow to cook until potatoes begin to soften - about 10 minutes.
Toss chopped kale leaves and diced apple into the mixture and stir, mixing the ingredients and allowing the kale and apple to begin to cook very gently for about 5-7 minutes. Season the pan with salt and white pepper at this time.
Add coconut milk, along with the garbanzo beans, to the pan. Stir to combine all the ingredients and allow the curry to simmer on very low to combine flavors and complete the cooking of the ingredients. The elements of this curry dish should have some texture of the ingredients in tact when served.
Serve over a scoop of jasmine rice and garnish with sliced almonds and a dusting of ground coriander.



Grilled Autumn Salad – Rustic Radicchio, Apple and Fennel

Ahhh….grilling outdoors in the fall – crisp air, swirling leaves, football and bonfires. Our instincts are telling us to braise and slow cook and hunker down now, but a charcoal fire on a cool fall afternoon will heighten your experience of the change of seasons without abandoning summer entirely.  A lovely thought, isn’t it?

The charcoal grill touches our most fundamental desires when it comes to food, I think. Smoke on our food bridges the history of mankind from hunter-gatherer to the backyard grills we know and love today. And while we are most often focused on meat over fire, magic happens when we expose deliciously seasonal vegetables and fruits to smoldering wood and smoke.




The art of the grill is in the temperature and cooking zones you create with the embers. If cooking meat, you want the sear of the fire at it’s hottest, yet when the bark and the crust begin to set up on the outside, you want to move to a more subtle flame for cooking the inside. This, of course, varies with the cut of meat, but the principles apply regardless.

Vegetables respond to a slower, more subtle area of the charcoal grill, allowing time for the soft caramelization to occur while cooking without burning and charring. The smoke has a chance to infuse the foods while cooking and maintaining the moisture and texture of the veggies.




Grilled apples – Sublime.

Grilled Fennel – Complex.

Grilled Radicchio – Smoky.




Brush the individual elements of the salad with olive oil as you shuffle and turn the vegetables to achieve the perfect intact softness. Then spritz with fresh orange juice and dust with salt and pepper as you remove from the grill to seal in the intense flavors from the cooking process. The salad can be prepared in advance up to this point well before serving.

When ready to serve, I layer the radicchio, fennel and the apple rings atop a simple bed of red leaf lettuce. If serving a group or buffet (it’s perfect for a fall harvest potluck!) – arrange on a platter. The salad makes beautiful individual plates for table setting as well. Either presentation, the smoky, crunchy intense elements come together perfectly accompanied by the salty-sweet orange champagne vinaigrette and light dusting of parmigiano reggiano.




As you transition from the season of grilling and enjoying light meals outdoors in the warm, summer evenings, take a baby step into fall with wood fired cooking.  Don’t put that grill away just yet!


Grilled Autumn Salad – Rustic Radicchio, Apple and Fennel



  • Walnuts
  • parmigiano reggiano


  • 1 Radicchio (Cut in half)
  • 1 Apple (Cored and Sliced in Rings)
  • 1 Fennel (Halved, stems removed and cored, then sliced.)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • Orange Slices to Squeeze On Grill


  • 1/2 cup Walnut Oil
  • 1/4 cup Champagne Vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Orange Juice (fresh squeezed, if possible.)
  • 2 tablespoons Maple Syrup
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  • salt and pepper


Prepare the grill and assemble and cut the vegetables. for grilling.
Brush the vegetables with olive oil and place on the grill. Grill on medium to slow, turning and rotating as necessary.
As you turn the veggies, brush with additional olive oil, the before you remove them from the grill, spritz with a fresh orange wedge and season with salt and pepper. Hold until ready to assemble.
Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar or container and shake to combine.
Place a bed of red leaf lettuce on your platter or plate. Layer the radicchio, fennel, then apple. As you serve, drizzle with the dressing. Top the salad with shaved parmesan cheese and chopped walnuts.
Sweet Potato, Apple and Leek Pancakes

Sweet Potato Pancakes with Apples and Leeks

This autumn twist on the potato pancake is simple, seasonal and sophisticated. A great side dish for the fall, this potato pancake can be served alongside a simple sausage, or a bean dish for a vegetarian meal.


Apple – Leek – Sweet Potato Pancakes


  • 2-3 Medium Granny Smith Apples (peeled and chopped.)
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon Juice (freshly squeezed over the apples.)
  • 1-2 Medium Sweet Potatoes (peeled, diced and steamed.)
  • 1 Medium Leek (white part, carefully cleaned, halved and sliced.)
  • 1/4 cup Almond Meal
  • 2 tablespoons Flax Seed (finely ground.)
  • 1/4 cup Almond Milk
  • 2 tablespoons Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg (freshly ground)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Fresh Sage (finely chopped.)
  • 1 tablespoon Coconut Oil
  • 1/4 cup Almond Meal (for dredging)
  • Apple Butter (for topping)
  • Fried Sage Leaves (for garnish)
  • kosher salt and white pepper


Peel and coarsely chop the granny smith apples and squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice on the fruit.
Peel and dice the sweet potato, place in your steamer basket and steam until just tender (not mushy).
Clean and prepare the leek and saute in 1 TBSP coconut oil on low heat until tender and translucent - about 10 minutes.
Combine the potato, apple and leeks and cook together over medium - low heat until apples begin to become tender. Season at this time with a bit of salt and white pepper.
Continue cooking and when the mixture is tender and beginning to caramelize a bit, transfer to a bowl and mash with a potato masher.
Add remaining ingredients to this mixture and stir to combine and allow to cool. Check the mixture for seasoning and adjust as necessary.
Heat remaining TBSP coconut oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Shape the mixture into pancakes and lightly dredge them in almond meal.
Add potato-apple pancakes to the skillet and cook for 5-7 minutes on each side, until a nice golden crust is achieved.
A dollop of apple butter will provide a nice complement to the subtly sweet yet savory, crispy pancakes. Enjoy!


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