Farm to Table July SIX, 2015


Mountain Caviar with Crackers

Rubbed Steak Strips with Bloody Mary Tomato Salad

Berries and Scoops of Ricotta with Balsamic-Honey-Mint Syrup

Keep the Fourth of July celebrations going with this vibrant menu of gifts from the farms in southwest Virginia.  A perfect backyard menu, everything can be made ahead and presented to your guests within 20 minutes – you, the picture of a composed and graceful host!


Mountain Caviar; began life as Texas Caviar, developed by Helen Corbitt as a New Years Eve good luck side dish. Legend has it, she wasn’t fond of this legume, so she made them pickled and that was that.  Later versions added stuff, like bell peppers and cilantro, but the field peas were left whole.  The one we made in class has some of the ingredients roughly chopped in a food processor, some of the whole black-eye peas are left whole, for auld lang sine, but chopping the base product makes the dip more chip-friendly – you won’t be finding black-eye peas under your couch.

Serving Size  : 30


7 1/2, 16 Ounce  Black-eyed Peas — drained

1 large  Green Bell Pepper — chopped

1 large  Red Bell Pepper — chopped

1 small jalapeno — chopped

5  cloves  Garlic

1  Onion — chopped

5  tablespoons  Fresh Basil


1 1/4           cups  Olive Oil

5/8           cup  Red Wine Vinegar

2 1/2    tablespoons  Dijon Mustard

Salt and Pepper — to taste

Tabasco Sauce

Juice of 2 limes.

Reserve roughly 1/3 of the chopped red pepper and black-eye peas.  Combine remaining vegetables in food processor – process for 3, one-second bursts so that it’s really chunky.  Scoop out dip into a bowl.  Fold in remaining red bell pepper and black-eye peas.  Add lime juice and remaining dressing ingredients.

Serve with saltines.



“Make-ahead dip – better if sits for a day or so”

Rubbed, Seared and Roasted Steak Salad with Bloody Mary Vinny

Rubbed, Seared & Roasted Bloody Mary Steak Salad

Rubbed, Seared & Roasted Bloody Mary Steak Salad

Get whatever beautiful heirloom tomatoes you can find.


Makes 6 to 8 servings



3 pounds assorted tomatoes, sliced

1/3 cup diagonally sliced celery

Romaine lettuce – shredded

Bloody Mary Vinaigrette

Rubbed Steak Strips

1/2 cup firmly packed celery leaves

Garnishes: the last class we made Quick Pickles, the spicy pickled summer squash would be a nice touch around the side of the platter.  I wish I’d thought of that last night when I was plating.  I’ve got several jars left in the fridge…sigh.


Arrange shredded romaine lettuce, and sliced celery on a large chilled platter. Sprinkle with table salt and black pepper to taste. When ready to serve, add tomatoes.  Drizzle with desired amount of Bloody Mary Vinaigrette. Place Rubbed Steak Strips over tomatoes. Top with celery leaves. Serve immediately with remaining vinaigrette.

Rubbed Steak Strips

2 1 1/2 pounds sirloin steaks

Coarse-ground steak seasoning – we tested with Food City brand Steak & Burger seasoning

2 teaspoono(packed) light brown sugar

1 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Vegetable oil (for brushing) – we used organic canola oil

Place steaks on a large rimmed baking sheet; season with seasoning blend. Mix sugar and next 3 ingredients in a small bowl; rub all over steaks. Cover; refrigerate 1-3 hours.

Let steaks stand at room temperature for 1 hour. Blot them a bit.

Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to high. Brush grates with oil. Grill to desired doneness, about 5-7 minutes per side for medium-rare. Let rest for 10 minutes. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Let cool; cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before slicing.

We didn’t have a grill worth a shucky-darn, so knowing the handicap, we seared the steaks in a heavy pan, flipped them, and slammed them into a pre-heated 400 degree oven for 5 minutes.

Let the meat rest for about 6 minutes, then slice thinly.

Bloody Mary Vinny

Make this vinny “to taste” – the ingredient measurements are more for general proportions than a rule.

Yield: Makes about 1 cup

originally from Southern Living


1/2 cup spicy Bloody Mary mix – we used Tabasco brand, medium

1/4 cup olive oil – for a thicker dressing, add more oil

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon prepared horseradish

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon hot sauce

3/4 teaspoon celery salt – we used more of the Food City Steak & Burger seasoning salt here.

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce


Whisk together Bloody Mary mix, olive oil, lemon juice, horseradish, pepper, hot sauce, celery salt, and Worcestershire sauce.

Finish with THE EASIEST, LAZIEST DESSERT EVER!  10 minutes from shopping bag to table.

Berries and Scoops of Ricotta with Balsamic-Honey-Mint Syrup

berries with balsamic-honey-mint reduction

berries with balsamic-honey-mint reduction



Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen



Total Time: 10 min

Prep: 10 min

Yield:4 servings



Boil 1 cup balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons honey and a sprig of mint in a small saucepan until syrupy, about 7 minutes. Cool the syrup slightly, then drizzle over sliced strawberries and/or blackberries and ricotta.

Recipe courtesy of Food Network Magazine’s cookbook: Great Easy Meals


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