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From Farm to Feast at Carnes Crossroads

December 11th, 2023

As the holiday season approaches, our picturesque community transforms, adorned with the warm glow of cozy fires, festive wreaths, and twinkling lights. The holidays evoke a connection to nature and memorable feasts. We’re grateful for our upcoming multi-acre farm amenity and to be nestled near Charleston, a culinary hub known for its diverse flavors and world-renowned chefs. If you aspire to cook like a Charleston chef for future holidays, the Carnes Crossroads farm will supply all the fresh ingredients you need once it’s open. Explore these local dishes that you can add to your Charleston-style Thanksgiving using fresh local ingredients cherished by the Carnes Crossroads farm-to-table lifestyle.

Chef Robert Stehling — Sweet Potato Spoon Bread

Chef of the acclaimed Hominy Grill, one of the most popular restaurants in the area in its day, and the James Beard award winner in 2008 – Robert Stehling likes to knock his Thanksgiving guests off their feet with a dish that packs a surprising punch. Sweet Potato Spoon Bread, which you can make at home with locally-grown sweet potatoes. Begin by baking 1 pound of sweet potatoes in a preheated oven at 375°F for about 1 hour. Let them cool, then scoop out the insides and mash them until smooth. In another bowl, whisk together 2 ¼ cups of stone-ground yellow cornmeal, sugar, salt, and baking soda. Melt unsalted butter in 3 cups of boiling water and stir it into the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk, honey, as well as some pinches of ground cumin, freshly ground white pepper, ground cloves, and cayenne pepper with the mashed sweet potatoes. Combine the two mixtures. In another bowl, beat 5 large egg whites until stiff but not dry, then gently fold them into the sweet potato mixture. Pour the batter into a buttered and cornmeal-dusted 2-quart baking dish and bake at 425°F for about 40 minutes or until golden and a toothpick comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Charlotte Jenkins — Fried Okra

Growing up in a large family, Charlotte Jenkins acquired her culinary skills steeped in the Gullah tradition. As a professional cook, she operated out of Mt. Pleasant, SC for years, preserving her mother’s recipes, including fried okra. With the okra that will be grown fresh at Carnes Crossroads, you’ll be able to bring that same flavor to the holiday table. To make her delicious fried okra, start by mixing 2 cups of milk with flour, cornmeal, and Gullah seasoning in a bowl, adding ¼ cup of milk as needed to create a thick batter. In a skillet, heat vegetable oil to 375°F. Dip okra slices into the batter and fry in batches for 4-5 minutes until they turn crisp and golden. Once done, place them on paper towels to drain. Season with salt to taste and serve immediately.

Chef Kevin Mitchell — Spicy Collards with Red Peppers

Chef Kevin Mitchell is a renowned figure in Charleston’s culinary scene. His remarkable career includes being the first African-American Chef Instructor at the Culinary Institute of Charleston and spearheading the 150th-anniversary reenactment of Nat Fuller’s Feast in 2015, an iconic event in Charleston’s culinary history. Ingredients for his flavorful Thanksgiving Spicy Collards include vegetable oil, Applewood smoked bacon, shallot, bourbon, chicken or vegetable broth, red pepper flakes, kosher salt, and black pepper, plus the onions, red bell peppers and collard greens that will soon be growing at Carnes Crossroads. To prepare this dish, heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat and cook the bacon until crisp. Then, add the onions, cook until tender, and stir in shallots. Incorporate bourbon, allowing the alcohol to cook out, and add red bell peppers. Afterward, add collard greens until they begin to wilt, and introduce the stock along with red pepper flakes. Simmer on low heat, covered, for about 20 minutes, or until the greens are tender and most of the liquid is absorbed. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy this New Year’s side dish inspired by Southern traditions!

Marion Sullivan — Blackberry Cake

Marion Sullivan is the food editor at Charleston Magazine and has a stunning recipe for Blackberry Cake, a great way to top off your delicious Charleston feast with fruit that will be grown seasonally at Carnes Crossroads. Crush a pint of blackberries and combine them with eggs, sugar, and olive oil. Blend this mixture with a dry mix of all-purpose flour, corn flour or cornmeal, baking powder, and kosher salt. After baking, cut the cake into rounds. Meanwhile, prepare a luscious stone-fruit purée by blending plums, peaches, lemon juice, sugar, and salt, adding grapeseed oil for a velvety texture to place on top of the cakes, along with some vanilla ice cream or yogurt. This tantalizing treat is a delightful journey through flavors and textures.

Let the culinary expertise of these Charleston chefs elevate your seasonal celebrations this holiday. Whether it’s a bite of sweet potato spoon bread or a slice of blackberry cake, every dish brings us closer to the essence of the Lowcountry and the farm-to-table lifestyle we cherish. And as you savor each bite, you’ll remember that you’re part of a community dedicated to good food and the joy of the holiday season. Join our community today.