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The Entertaining Season

Nothing says summer quite like kicking back with friends over some good eats and chilled beverages on a warm summer night. With stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains as your backdrop, ready the grill and don your “Kiss the Cook!” apron for your next backyard soirée. With holiday weekends fast approaching, take note of our entertaining tips and recipes to help inspire your planning. 

setting the mood al fresco
Create a warm and inviting ambiance with cozy seating adorned with festive throw pillows and Mexican blankets if someone gets chilly. Decorate the table with craft paper as an alternative to a tablecloth, festive melamine dinnerware, mini pots of succulents or rosemary nosegays, and colorful cotton napkins. Douse the lights and decorate the scene with tea lights, globed candles of different heights, twinkling fairy garland and light the outdoor fireplace. Finally, choose one of Spotify’s BBQ Summer playlists to set the tone and add to the fun. Putting your guests at ease allows them to relax and savor the moment.

what to serve
Since you have set the mood, mingling over a signature cocktail such as an Aperol Spritz, a chilled glass of rosé, or a craft beer will be ideal at the start of the evening. Serve simple small bites such as bright, seasonal strawberries and/or cherry tomatoes with basil and mozzarella (secure with toothpicks) to dip in nicely aged balsamic vinegar. Since we are grilling out, prepare skewers of grilled shrimp and lemon ahead of time and serve with a feta-dill sauce (click here for recipe on foodandwine.com).

When it comes to the main course, BBQ is always a winner especially when it comes to wine and beer pairings. Ribs are easy, and our recipe is a fan favorite. However, if you want a little less mess, go with a brisket or burgers on the grill. For sides, a grilled peach, Vidalia onion and bacon salad is divine along with a favorite corn bread. For an easy dessert, individually fill small glasses or espresso cups with gelato. Keep in the freezer until ready to serve and top with a sprig of fresh mint.

For beverages, pork and rosé are great pairings, but if you prefer to serve a red try a zinfandel or pinot noir. For beer lovers offer a local golden IPA to pair with your pork. For other food pairings, consult seriouseats.com. 

tools of the trade

The Charcoal Weber for the Traditionalist: 
Nothing beats the taste of charcoal and Weber is known in the industry to make a quality, long-lasting charcoal grill. Prices range from $50 to $3000, but capacity can sometimes be a problem when buying the less expensive versions. Weber offers multiple sizes and upgrades and the price goes up accordingly. Light your charcoal with an electric starter or all natural grill starters to avoid the chemical taste imparted by lighter fluid.
 
The Gas Grill for the “No Fuss” Cook: 
Looking for something easy, go for the gas grill. According to TopTenReviews.com, Weber Genesis II gets the best reviews for its grill space, price and heating consistency. Despite its hefty price tag ($1200 and up), the Napoleon Mirage is recommended for its quality construction with stainless steel burners that provide heat consistency, an infrared back burner for rotisserie and infrared side burner for searing meats.

The Big Green Egg or Kamado Joe for the Serious Food Enthusiast: 
These round ceramic grills/smokers are well constructed and will last a lifetime. Using better lump charcoal, it is all about temperature control with these popular grills for fast or slow cooking. There is an initial learning curve and a considerable investment, but users swear by the results. Since both cook all types of food from pizza to smoked meats to veggies, they make an ideal all-in-one choice. Note: In the event you get strong winds at your mountain home, these heavily weighted grills will stay put while a gas grill could skip across your deck unless secured (this writer has witnessed it!).

For great grilling accessories, shop Amazon for Elizabeth Karmel’s BBQ tools. We especially love her long handled silicone basting brush and burger press.

GOOD TO GO!
If you want to take the night off from cooking, “take away” the hog from anyone of these local haunts. Don’t worry you can still wear the Kiss the Cook apron and no one will know you didn’t do the cooking!

On the Side BBQ
Cashiers Farmers Market
78 Highway 64 East 
Cashiers, NC 28717
828-743-4334
www.cashiersfarmersmarket.com 

In addition to sandwiches piled high with pulled pork, smoked brisket, smoked turkey and more, On the Side BBQ also serves up Carolina Chicken, Ribs by the Rack, Pulled Pork, Smoked Sliced Brisket and Smoked Sliced Turkey Breast by the pound. Famous for their flavorful sauces, you should try them all! True to its name, the sides at On the Side BBQ are worthy of your attention, as well, featuring barbecue-complementing classics like baked beans, macaroni and cheese, and collard greens.


Mountain Fresh Grocery & Wine Market
521 East Main Street, Highlands, NC 28741
828.526.2400
www.mfgro.com 

Located at the end of the main drag in Downtown Highlands, Mountain Fresh Grocery offers a barbecue feast as part of its “Summer Dinners To Go” Menu. On Saturdays, patrons can take home a fully prepared meal for four featuring tender hand rubbed pork butt, pit-smoked overnight and pulled to order served with coleslaw, apple-bacon baked beans and yeast rolls. Available on a first-come, first-served basis, it is best to call ahead to reserve your order. Make sure to pick up one of their handmade desserts too- your guests will appreciate it!
 
 


 

Charming Cottage with Chimneytop Mountain View

This charming cottage is located in the well established, gated community of The Chattooga Club on Highway 107 South. The vaulted ceilings of the main level highlight the impressive stone wood-burning fireplace in the great room. Two bedrooms and baths round out the main level with a third bedroom and bath upstairs. A loft adjoins the upstairs bedroom and could be used as an office, family gathering area, or extra sleeping space. Admire the pretty view of Chimneytop Mountain from the outdoor deck with a wood-burning stone fireplace while enjoying evening cocktails on cool summer evenings. 

The mature landscaping is replete with indigenous trees, shrubs, and flowering plants. Property owner amenities include Mac's View, a beautiful picnic spot just a short walk away, a perfect spot to enjoy the incredible evening sunsets. A fully stocked trout lake is nearby, as well. Club membership is by member referral and board approval only.

Learn more about this special offering.

 

 

Contemporary Haven with Incredible Views in Wade Hampton

Tour this contemporary masterpiece for an awe-inspiring experience! Filled with natural light, this luxurious home boasts a spacious gourmet kitchen, a family room, an office/den, two laundry rooms, a wine cellar, an elevator, and an inviting, three-season porch that can be enclosed or left open and screened, complete with stone fireplace.

Designed by Al Platt and sitting on over five acres, this home is perfectly sited for taking in the highly desirable eastern views of the Nantahala Forest. A wall of windows in the living room displays the panoramic mountain views while an impressive stacked stone fireplace provides a welcoming ambiance. The sumptuous master suite on the main level includes a sitting room, a private screened porch and bath with deep soaking tub, a separate shower, double sinks, and heated floors. The lower level offers three bedroom suites and a spacious family room with a beverage center. This home's opulent, high-end finishes will not disappoint and were designed to stand the test of time, such as the metal shingle roof (noted for at least a 50-year life).

Learn more about this special offering.

 

 

Simple Summer Recipes

4 Easy Steps to an Aperol Spritz

Fill a wine glass with ice.
Combine equal parts of Prosecco and Aperol.
Add a dash of soda.
Garnish with an orange slice.

 

Foil-Wrapped Baby Back Ribs

RUB 

1 T. kosher salt
2 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. granulated garlic
2 tsp. dried thyme
1⁄2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper 
2 racks baby back ribs, each about 2 pounds 
1 cup prepared barbecue sauce 

 

INSTRUCTIONS 

Soak the wood chips in water for at least 30 minutes (wood chips are optional if you want a smokier flavor). 
Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat (350° to 450°F). 
In a small bowl mix the rub ingredients. 
Remove the membrane from the back of each rack of ribs. Cut each rack crosswise in the middle to create two smaller racks. 
Season each half rack evenly with the rub. Using eight 18-by-24-inch sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil, double wrap each half rack in its own packet. 
Brush the cooking grates clean. Place the ribs on the grill over direct medium heat and cook for 1 hour, with the lid closed, occasionally turning the packets over for even cooking, making sure not to pierce the foil. 
Remove the packets from the grill and let rest for about 10 minutes. Carefully open the foil packets, remove the ribs, and discard the rendered fat and foil. 
Drain and add the wood chips to the charcoal or to the smoker box of a gas grill, following manufacturer’s instructions, and close the lid. When the wood begins to smoke, return the ribs to the grill, bone side down. Grill over direct medium heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until they are sizzling and lightly charred, 10 to 12 minutes, turning and basting once or twice with the sauce. Remove from the grill and let rest for about 5 minutes. Cut into individual ribs and serve warm with any remaining sauce. 

Recipe from Weber's Time to GrillTM by Jamie Purviance 
 

 

Grilled Peach, Onion & Bacon Salad with Buttermilk Dressing 

Total Time: 45 minutes | Serves 8

 

Ingredients 

How to Make It 
Step 1 Preheat the oven to 325°. In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with the sour cream, buttermilk, mint, parsley, chives and vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate. 
Step 2 Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the bacon slices on the sheet in a single layer and sprinkle with the brown sugar and cayenne. Bake for about 25 minutes, until caramelized (the bacon will crisp as it cools). Let cool, and then cut the bacon into bite-size pieces. For a vegetarian option, skip the bacon.
Step 3 Meanwhile, light the grill. Brush the onions with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until softened and browned, 10 minutes. Separate the onions into rings. Brush the peaches with olive oil and grill over moderately high heat until tender, 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate. 
Step 4 In a large bowl, toss the onions with the peaches and bacon.  If preparing ahead cover with foil and set aside. Add the buttermilk dressing and toss to coat. Serve right away. 

 

 

Tags

Community Update: Phase One of Easing Restrictions

On Friday, May 8 at 5 pm, North Carolina will move into Phase One of easing restrictions. The Stay-at-Home order stays in effect with some modifications:

 

- Retail stores can open with 50% capacity and customers standing 6 feet apart
- 10 person limit on general gatherings indoors
- Teleworking and face-covering are still encouraged
- Salons, spas, entertainment venues, gyms, playgrounds, and theaters are still closed
- State parks and trails are encouraged to re-open
- Restaurants will still only be able to serve food via take-out, drive-thrus, and delivery

Private Cabin with 7+ Acres

Conveniently located near the village of Cashiers, this private cabin in the woods is situated on seven acres of walkable land with a fish pond and a small creek with a waterfall. The cabin lives large with wonderful outdoor living space, including spacious decks and covered porches. Listen to the frogs and crickets as you rock away the hours on the porch after you've fished in the pond and hiked the trail down to the waterfall. Enjoy the splendor of nature only a five-minute drive away from boutique shopping and fine dining.

 

Community Update

Paws on the Mountain (828-743-7500) and Woof Gang Bakery (828-743-9663) are delivering pet supplies.

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