Summer Pepper Salad with Bulgur

This first recipe is an adaptation of one from Ian Winslade, formerly of many Atlanta restaurants including Bluepointe, Shout and Spice market. He just opened Buckhead Bottle Bar in June and he demonstrated this pepper salad at the Morningside Farmers Market last week.

Winslade suggests using different colored peppers, but the salad will, of course, be just as delicious with the exclusively red peppers that were in my box today. I haven’t cut into them yet, so I don’t know if they’re all sweet peppers, or if some hot ones are lurking in the bunch. Be sure to taste your peppers as you’re using them in any recipe to be sure the final result is what you expect!

Oh – and a note. There was some conversation several weeks ago about sherry vinegar. Almost every chef I’m working with these days is using it, and I was reminded that I bought mine at the DeKalb Farmers Market – I think it’s less than $2 for the bottle.


I was delighted to see the return of cornmeal in this week’s box. I’ve been dying to make polenta. When we received a bag or two of cornmeal earlier in the season, I spent lots of time making cornbread and corn muffins, and saved cornmeal to use for pan frying all that yummy okra. But I still had cornmeal left over.

One day, thank goodness, the word “polenta” popped into my head, and I did some research. While corn ground specifically for polenta is probably a little coarser than what we’re getting in our little brown bags, I discovered that our cornmeal made delicious polenta, and the polenta was a fabulous base for a number of recipes.

You can serve it freshly cooked as you would use mashed potatoes – a nice base for other savory flavors. If you have leftover polenta, let it cool and it will firm up. Cool the polenta on a rimmed baking sheet, spreading it out to make a thin layer. Once firm, you can cut it into any shape – dredge it in flour and Parmesan and pan sauté it to make little crispy bases for other savory flavors (again).

Our favorite use was to create “lasagna” made with polenta instead of noodles. I layered the pieces of polenta (just cooled, no sautéing) with ricotta, mozzarella, sautéed vegetables and marinara sauce, and then baked it like lasagna. Delicious. And it would work in lots of Mexican-style dishes since it’s similar in flavor to cooked masa harina.

1947 Tabasco Sauce Recipe

This week I discovered that a work colleague is a subscriber at one of Riverview’s other CSA pick-up locations. We chatted about the cayenne peppers in last week’s box, and agreed we’d like to have something to do with them beyond chopping them up and storing in the freezer for when you need a tablespoon or two of hot chiles for a recipe.

He and I talked about experimenting with Tabasco-type sauces. I found a great website,, with a bunch of ideas, and I liked this particular one, maybe because I’ve been working on a story that features recipes from the 1920s and 1940s.

Depending on how many peppers were in your box (that you haven’t already used), you may have to scale things up or down. I guess you could use any kind of vinegar you like, but white vinegar is probably what is meant here. I’ll be working on my sauce this weekend. Let us know if you decide to experiment, too.

Balsamic Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Butternut Squash

Finally, this is a recipe we ran in the AJC last year in a story about sweet potatoes. It will work perfectly well with just butternut squash – and it really is good.

This dish is pretty irresistible even for those who expect their sweet potatoes to be sweet. A little honey tips the scale slightly to the sweet side, but the natural sweetness of the butternut squash and sweet potatoes may be all you need.

These savory roasted vegetables combined with crisp arugula could be served as a salad-like first course, or as a side dish with the main meal. And it’s easy to halve or double the recipe, depending on the number of people you’re serving.

To make ahead of time, roast the sweet potatoes and squash a few hours or a day ahead and refrigerate up to 1 day. Heat roasted vegetables in a microwave in 2- to 3-minute intervals until just warmed through, then combine with arugula and dress with balsamic vinegar and olive oil just before serving.