Another delicious Appalachian mountain kiss from Asheville's Tupelo Honey Café

We’ve just been planted with another kiss from the authors of the newly released “Tupelo Honey Café: New Southern Flavors from the Blue Ridge Mountains.” As in 2011’s especially sweet “Tupelo Honey Café: Spirited Recipes from Asheville’s New South Kitchen,” which I referred to then as an “Appalachian mountain kiss,” Elizabeth Sims with Chef Brian Sonoskus, a graduate of the prestigious Johnson and Wales University, once again serve up 125 mouth-watering, hyper-approachable recipes from one of the most culinary diverse areas of our country – the mountain South. Chef Sonoskus continues to triumph as the creator of scratch-made “sassy and scrumptious” dishes that has made the downtown Asheville, North Carolina Tupelo Honey Café, where Chef Sonoskus has been since it opened its doors in 2000, so celebrated – and innovative. Luckily, we can sample some of this innovation right at home, via cookbook recipes for dishes such as Frogmore Stew, the quintessential “from field and sea to the pot” meal that originated in the lowcountry of South Carolina – my neck of the woods for almost 30 years now. Chef Sonoskus’ version (also known as Beaufort Stew or Lowcountry Boil in this region) contains scallops – an addition that was not only new to me, but to be honest – fabulous. Additionally, the book’s recipe for Maple Sweet Potato Bread Pudding is pretty remarkable, too, with the flavors of sweet potatoes and maple, as Chef Sonoskus states, “a match made in nirvana.” For information about either cookbook, which includes stunning photography of the mountains, farms and foods of the region, visit


Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at

Frogmore Stew

Recipe from "Tupelo Honey Café: New Southern Flavors from the Blue Ridge Mountains," by Elizabeth Sims with Cheft Brian Sonoskus; photography by Brie Williams; Andrews McMeel Publishing 2014.

"Got a hungry crowd to feed? Just spread some newspapers over your kitchen table and prepare to eat this "stew" with gusto. This is a favorite dish in the Carolina Low Country, where shrimp and fresh corn are a way of life. Did it firs appear in Frogmore, South Carolina? Residents of that community certainly lay claim to this scrumptious fame. Regardless of where this dish got its start, we love our version with its addition of sea scallops." - from the "Tupelo Honey Café: New Southern Flavors from the Blue Ridge Mountains," by Elizabeth Sims with Chef Brian Sonoskus; photograph by Brie Williams.

2 tablespoons olive oil

6 to 7 large sea scallops

7 ounces kielbasa sausage, cut into 1-inch pieces

1½ cups chopped onion

1½ cups chopped celery

2 cups V8 juice

1½ cups water

1½ cups lager or other light beer

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon McCormick Grill Mates Montreal Chicken Seasoning

1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning

2 small bay leaves

8 to 10 small red potatoes

(¾ to 1 pound), quartered

2 ears corn, cut crosswise into 2-inch-thick pieces

10 large shrimp, unpeeled, halved lengthwise

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley


Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the scallops and cook for about 30 seconds per side, or until seared on both sides. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Add the sausage slices to the Dutch oven and cook for 1 to 2 minutes on each side, until browned on both sides. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Add the remaining 1tablespoon olive oil to the Dutch oven. Add the onion and celery and cook for 5 minutes, or until the onion begins to brown and is tender. Add the V8 juice, water, beer, lemon juice, chicken seasoning, Old Bay Seasoning, and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Cover, lower the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 10 minutes. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the potatoes. Cover and cook at a gentle boil for 10 minutes, lowering the heat to medium-low when the mixture boils rapidly. Add the corn and sausage, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the shrimp and parsley and simmer until the shrimp is opaque, about 5 minutes. Add the scallops and cook for 2 minutes, or until just opaque. Remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes before serving with crusty bread. You may also wish to serve this over rice.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Maple Sweet Potato Bread Pudding

Recipe from "Tupelo Honey Café: New Southern Flavors from the Blue Ridge Mountains," by Elizabeth Sims with Chef Brian Sonoskus; photography by Brie Williams; Anders McMeel Publishing 2014.

1¼ pounds small sweet potatoes, or 3 large sweet potatoes

5 eggs

2 cups heavy cream

2 cups whole milk

1 cup maple syrup, plus additional for serving, warmed

½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 (1 pound) loaf challah bread, cut into 1½- to 2-inch cubes (12 packed cups)

Ice cream or whipped cream

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wrap the sweet potatoes in foil and bake until tender when pricked with a fork, 50 to 60 min¬utes. Carefully unwrap the foil and let them stand until they are cool enough to handle. Remove the skins and place the cooked sweet potatoes in a bowl. Mash coarsely using a potato masher. Lower the oven temperature to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until frothy. Whisk in the cream, milk, the 1 cup maple syrup, the brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Stir in the sweet potatoes. Add the bread cubes and stir to mix thoroughly. Let stand for 15 minutes for the bread to soak up the liquid, stirring occasion¬ally. Butter a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Pour the bread mixture into the dish, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and bake until the pudding is set in the center, 50 minutes to an hour. Uncover the baking dish and cook until browned on top and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Serve warm, drizzled with the warm maple syrup and topped with ice cream or whipped cream. Makes 9 to 12 servings.

Tupelo Honey

Appreciated for its purity and distinctive, almost buttery flavor, all-natural, unfiltered pure tupelo honey is the honey of choice for recipes containing honey in Tupelo Honey Café’s cookbooks. The only places in the world (yes, world) certified to produce pure tupelo honey commercially is along the swampy Chipola and Apalachicola river basins of northwest Florida, where the White Tupelo Gum tree grows profusely.

You will pay a premium for tupelo honey – but it’s worth the price and then some.