olive oil

Okra & Potato Hash with Nut-free Arugula Pesto

Recipe by Southern Living and presented by Chef Tracy Stuckrath of Thrive!

Creamy Corn Grits, Bean Salad with Kombucha Vinaigrette, Roasted Veggies & Eggplant Chips

Recipe by Chef Woody Back of Table & Main.

Fairytale Eggplant with Bitter Greens, Cherry Tomatoes and Savory Yogurt

Eggplant is often polarizing.  It can be bitter, rubbery or bland, but when cooked properly it is heavenly.  I love using the little fairytale eggplants because they are very manageable and easy to cook.  I use a method of scoring and salting the eggplant to enhance the flavor and texture while reducing some of the moisture and bitterness.  The result is sweet and tender flesh that plays nicely with the bitter greens, juicy tomatoes and creamy yogurt.


1 pound fairytale eggplant, halved lengthwise and scored
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning greens and cherry tomatoes
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 bunch dandelion greens or other bitter greens
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
freshly milled black pepper
basil leaves for garnish

  1. Season the scored eggplant evenly with the measured kosher salt and allow to sit.  Meanwhile wash and halve the cherry tomatoes and trim and wash the dandelion greens.  Prepare the yogurt mixture (recipe below) by mixing all ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. In a wide skillet over medium heat, warm 6 tablespoons of the olive oil.  Place the eggplant halves cut side down in a single layer.  Cook until lightly browned about 7 minutes.  Turn eggplant over and cook on skin side until the flesh is tender all the way through, about 5 minutes more.  Remove from pan and set aside.  
  3. In the same skillet, warm the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and wilt the dandelion greens.  Season with salt and pepper and add the sliced garlic.  Continue to cook for 2 minutes until the greens are tender and the garlic is no longer raw.  
  4. Spread the yogurt mixture on a large platter with the back of a spoon.  Layer the greens on top of the yogurt, then the cooked eggplant.  Garnish with cherry tomatoes, black pepper and basil leaves.

Lemon-garlic yogurt

1 cup greek yogurt
1 clove garlic, grated on microplane
1 teaspoon lemon zest, grated on microplane
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon kosher salt



Roasted Sweet Peppers & Okra with Heirloom Garlic Aioli, Slow Roasted Tomatoes & Garlicky Croutons


3-4 ea sweet peppers (variety of bell, frying, etc), sliced into ½” strips
¾ lb okra, halved
As needed olive oil
2 Tbl kosher salt
½ cup aioli (recipe below)
¾ cup roasted tomatoes (recipe below)
1 ½ cup garlicky croutons (recipe below)


  1. Pre-heat a large cast iron skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Working in batches if needed, add enough oil to the skillet to lightly coat it.   Immediately add the sweet peppers and season with salt.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender but not soft.  Remove the peppers from the skillet (into a bowl), and continue to cook okra, using the same process as the peppers.  Be careful to not overcook the okra - high/fast heat will help keep it from getting slimy!
  2. When the okra is done, toss it into the bowl with the peppers.  Add the roasted, chopped tomatoes and adjust seasoning as needed (salt, pepper, red wine vinegar).
  3. To serve (hot or room temperature), smear the aioli onto a platter, place pepper & okra mixture on top, then finish with croutons.  
  4. ENJOY!

Heirloom garlic aioli (w/lemon)

Makes ~ 2 cups


2 each egg yolks
1+ each garlic clove*
1 ½ Tbsp water
1 each lemon - zest & juice
¾ tsp kosher salt
1 cup EVOO
¾ cup veg/canola/other neutral oil

*(large - heirloom preferred), if subbing store-purchased, use 2 smaller cloves


  1. Paste the garlic clove until relatively smooth with a small pinch of salt. In a small non-reactive bowl, combine the first 5 ingredients and whisk until the yolks are light yellow in color and frothy.  You may also use an immersion blender or food processor for this recipe if desired. Slowly whisk in the oil, making sure to start the emulsification properly before adding all of the oil. Adjust seasoning as needed.  Keep chilled.

Slow roasted tomatoes

Makes ~1 ½ c

**This base recipe is one that I make every summer to keep on hand during the winter.  The only difference is that I do not chop or add any additional seasoning before canning.**


4 each sliced tomatoes, cored & halved (quartered if large)
As Needed EVOO
As Needed salt
As Needed pepper
12 each thyme sprigs                       
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
½ tsp crushed red pepper


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350.  Place a resting rack onto your roasting pan, and scatter the thyme sprigs on the rack.
  2. Toss tomatoes, oil, salt & pepper together in a bowl until the tomatoes are thoroughly coated.
  3. Place the tomato halves, cut-side down, on the roasting rack and bake until the skins are very wrinkled and the tomatoes are significantly dryer/smaller in size (~⅔ to ½ the size of the original tomatoes), but still juicy!  This will take at least 1 hour.
  4. Once roasted and cool enough to handle, peel off the skin and discard.
  5. Rough chop the tomatoes and mix with vinegar, crushed red pepper, and additional salt & pepper if needed.  At this time, also add another ~1T of EVOO back into the tomatoes.  Keep chilled

Garlicky croutons

**you will need the oven to produce these croutons, so make them at the same time you do the roasted tomatoes**


4 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp EVOO
2 each garlic cloves, smashed
10 each thyme sprigs
4 cup bread - torn into small bite-size pieces


  1. In a small sauce pot, combine the first 4 ingredients and melt until the butter is just starting to brown & smell nutty and aromatic.
  2. Remove the garlic from the butter mixture (depending on its tenderness, you may be able to save it for a roasted garlic application).  Toss the oil/butter/thyme sprigs with the torn bread, seasoning with salt & pepper, then spread evenly (not stacked) onto a baking pan.  Cook in the oven until golden and crispy.  When cool, remove the thyme stems.
  3. To store, you may leave at room temp in an airtight container or freeze!

Basil Turkey Meatballs + Watermelon Salad

Basil Meatballs

4 servings

1 lbground poultry/beef/pork/lamb*
1 package Basil Better than Breadcrumbs (garlic clove foods)
½  onion
1 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

*Today we are using turkey.

  1. Rehydrate Basil Better than Breadcrumbs by adding ⅔ cup of water directly to package.  Let sit 5 minutes. 

  2. In large mixing bowl add ground turkey. 

  3. Dice onion and add to turkey. 

  4. Add better than breadcrumbs and mix thoroughly.    

  5. Divide the turkey mixture into 4 roughly equal parts, then split each of those into 3 for 12 meatballs.

  6. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add olive oil to pan and allow to warm through.

  7. Add meatballs to hot sauté pan. Do not overcrowd the pan, cook in 2 batches if needed.  

  8. Turn the meatballs over as the outside begins to brown. Cook until the meatballs are brown on the edges and cooked all the way through (no pink in the center and the juices run clear).


Watermelon Salad

3 cups diced watermelon
3 Tbsp white basalmic vinegar
1 Tbsp honey

  1. In a small mixing bowl mix vinegar and honey together.

  2. Place diced watermelon in a large mixing bowl. Add vinegar and honey mixture and toss together to coat.