August is winding down. The trees are alive with the sounds of tree frogs and cicadas as they prepare for the autumn. Sunrise is later and there is a feeling of something new to come in the air. As the seasons change, this is often a slower time for us at the Carolina Bed & Breakfast. Schools are back in session and people are focused on the next season to come. This includes James and me as we enjoy the gentle breather that late August and early September afford before the onslaught of guests who come to enjoy Fall in the mountains.
In the kitchen, it means using the abundant produce of summer to make jams, pickles and relishes which will be used throughout the next year. And while I can never be tired of a beautiful ripe Carolina peach, my thoughts do turn to apples, pumpkins and pears. A friend posts on Facebook that Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte will return to the store on September 8th.
But in our Asheville Bed and Breakfast kitchen, we live in the now. This is when I take a ride to the WNC Farmer’s Market with James. I want to see what is still good, what is coming to an end and what is just about to be good. It’s a place of inspiration at a time when I need it. Just like the way you feel tired of your wardrobe after a full summer of wearing it but it’s too early for sweaters and jeans, I find myself tiring of the same dishes so it’s time to accessorize!
Followers of our FaceBook Page and Instagram may have already noticed this; #fridaynightbites is back, kicking off with a bruschetta of fresh basil, goat cheese and prosciutto topped with sauteed grapes and a little balsamic vinegar. Today I changed out the tomato,feta, basil of our zucchini cups for a mixture of artichoke cream, cream cheese and diced tomato.
Of course in Asheville the activity never stops! This past week we attended the finals of Elixer, the Mixology Competition for the WNC Food and Wine Festival. Guests saw Bruce Hornsby at the Biltmore Concert Series as well as Live after Five downtown on Friday. The Diana Wortham Theater just sent information on their fall and winter line-up and I need to get working on our Christmas at the Biltmore Package as well. And of course September 1st sees the beginning of our very special, very exclusive tour of Sandy Mush Valleywhere you can enjoy the beauty and serenity of our mountains in Fall, visit vineyards, farms and buy art and craft pieces from the homes of our best artists far away from the crowds of the Blue Ridge Parkway!
Balsamic Sauteed Grape Bruschetta
Baguette, sliced into 1/2″ pieces (12)
24 Green or Red Grapes
Fresh Basil Leaves
1/4 Cup Softened Goat Cheese
Toast the sliced bread and brush lightly with good quality olive oil
Place a basil leaf on each slice then spread with goat cheese. Top with a piece of proscuitto.
Heat a little olive oil in a sauteed pan (medium heat) and cook the grapes until they have softened. This may take 5-10 minutes. Remove the grapes and toss in a about 1/2 tablespoon of Balsamic Vinegar and some fresh cracked pepper. Place one or two grapes on top of the bruschetta and serve.
These are good hot or at room temperature.