Category Archives: From our Farmhouse Kitchen

The Best Watermelon Salad

Labor Day picnics and family reunions beg something wonderful to bring. If you want to wow everyone, make a watermelon salad. And it’s just so easy! The following adaptable, changeable recipe is based on three of our favorite summer flavors – watermelon, peaches, and ripe tomatoes. Combined in this salad, they speak end of summer and celebration. You salt the watermelon and tomatoes first. Just before serving, add the peaches, and pile the fruit on top of your favorite lettuce, and sprinkle with oil, vinegar, and fresh herbs. Garnish with feta and almonds. You can serve on individual plates, or pile onto a large platter to feed 8. If you don’t have the basil or mint, use dill or parsley. And if you don’t have feta, use cubes of fresh mozzarella. In a hurry? Drizzle with one of our Old Mill favorite salad dressings.

The Best Watermelon Salad
Recipe type: Salad
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 6 cups seedless watermelon chunks, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 4 cups good, ripe heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups sliced, peeled ripe peaches
  • 6 cups fresh arugula or your favorite salad greens
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1½ tablespoons white or red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint or basil, or a combination
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sliced almonds
Instructions
  1. Place the watermelon and tomatoes in a mixing bowl and season with salt. Toss to coat, and let the fruit sit for 30 minutes. Drain well.
  2. Fold the peaches into the watermelon and tomato mixture. To serve, spoon the fruit on top of the salad greens. Drizzle with oil and vinegar. Garnish the top with chopped fresh herbs, feta cheese, and toasted almonds.

 

Old-Fashioned Blackberry & Peach Crisp

 

When summer blackberries and blueberries arrive in the mountains, well, it’s a signal that summer is really here. If you didn’t know from the heat and the lines in front of the Creamery, you surely know summer is here when berries come into season.

Berries used to grow wild in vacant lots and along fences, and you had to brave the chiggers to wander into those weeds to pluck wild blackberries. You can still find them, but most of the berries we are eating here in the Smokies are grown by local farmers.

A great way to use them is this easy pie called a crisp. No crust is needed. You just pile the fruit and sugar into a baking dish or iron skillet, and then top with a crumbly mixture of oats, flour, sugar, and butter. It bakes up into a heavenly rite of summer passage – something to enjoy with vanilla ice cream.


Old-Fashioned Blackberry & Peach Crisp
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Appalachian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
An old-fashioned favorite, using fresh berries and fruits of the season.
Ingredients
  • 1 teaspoon soft butter for greasing the skillet
  • 4 cups fresh blackberries
  • 3 cups sliced fresh peaches
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1½ cups light brown sugar
  • 1½ cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
  • 1 cup Old Mill Thick Table Rolled Oats
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Rub a 12-inch cast iron skillet with the butter. Toss the fruit with the sugar to combine, and turn the fruit into the skillet. Set aside.
  3. Make the topping: Place the brown sugar, flour, salt, and cinnamon in a mixing bowl and stir. Scatter the butter over the top and cut into the dry ingredients with two dinner knifes until it forms coarse crumbs. Fold in the oats. With your hands, crumble this mixture over the top of the fruit. Place the pan in the oven.
  4. Bake until the topping is golden brown, and the fruit mixture is bubbly, about 40 to 45 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

 

Old Mill Jams, Jellies, & Preserves – Meet the man who makes them

Here at The Old Mill, we take canning seriously. It’s a craft well known in the mountains, for it was the way we preserved one season to the next. In our kitchens, John Wethington keeps the craft alive by creating small batches of berry jams and preserves for us. He cans about 40 jars at a time.
Made with strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries grown by local farmers, these jams are made the old-fashioned way. Which is how John learned to make them. He learned how to skim off the impurities that turn to foam when the jam is cooking, and how long to boil down the jam so it sets. “It’s time-consuming, but I enjoy it,” says John.
For the Old Mill Heritage Line of jams, jellies, and preserves sold at the Old Mill, the fruit comes from local growers. Blackberries, elderberries, and muscadine are just a few of the ingredients that go into John’s jams. It’s a way for us to share a taste of the mountains with you, and it’s a way for The Old Mill to support local farming. Farmers in nearby Madisonville, Maryville, and Greenville, TN, are contracted by the Old Mill to grow fruits and berries.
John works his craft out of the Farmhouse Kitchen and the Candy Kitchen depending on which jelly or jam he is making, and for which line. Come see him! During summertime, when peak berry season has arrived, John makes plenty of Triple Berry Jam, The Old Mill’s best-seller. He makes about four batches a day, or about 750 jars a week to keep up with the summer demand. He also makes gallons of the Triple Berry Jam for the Old Mill Restaurant to serve to every table at breakfast, seven days a week. Strawberry is typically the first berry we get in each season, and for a limited time, it is being sampled at breakfast too.

Summer Panzanella Salad

One of our chef’s, Danielle Speelman, recently developed a new summer salad that everyone loves. It combines the best summer flavors and is a fresh Old Mill twist on a panzanella, with the cornbread croutons. She featured it on a recent visit to one of our local afternoon tv shows.

Watch her make it here: Summer Panzanella Salad

Summer Panzanella Salad

For salad:

4 cups of cubed day-old cornbread (Prepared from Old Mill Self Rising Yellow Cornmeal)

¼ cup salted butter

1 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 red onion, sliced

1.5 cups of fresh corn (sliced from 2-3 ears)

½ TSP Cumin

½ TSP Farmhouse Kitchen Bourbon Smoked Paprika

½ TSP Salt

1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut into halves

1 medium avocado, pitted and cubed

2 cups of arugulaFresh basil, chopped

½ cup feta cheese

 

For dressing:

3 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 TBSP Farmhouse Kitchen Honey Balsamic Vinegar

1 ½ TSP Farmhouse Kitchen Bourbon Maple Syrup

1 ½ TSP chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (to make spicier, include minced chipotle pepper)

Salt to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place cornbread cubes on baking sheet, pouring melted butter over to coat. Toast in oven until golden brown and crispy 16-18 minutes, gently stirring pan halfway through (be careful not to toss the cornbread or it will crumble). Remove from oven and set aside.

Preheat olive oil in large sauté pan. Add red onion and cook 2 minutes until it starts to soften. Add corn kernels, cumin, paprika, and salt. Cook approximately 5 minutes until tender and fragrant. Set aside to cool slightly.

To prepare vinaigrette, combine all ingredients in mason jar or lid with a container. Shake until emulsified, or liquids have become one. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, toss together cooled corn mixture, sliced tomatoes, avocado, arugula, and cornbread croutons. Pour vinaigrette over to coat and toss gently. Garnish with fresh basil and feta cheese. Serve immediately.

Perfect light summer side dish or paired with grilled protein for a heartier entrée.