It’s full on autumn, autumn flirting with winter even, and I’m finally back home here in Tennessee for a month. If you’ve been following along on Instagram, you’ll know that I’ve been wandering as of late. There are seasons for digging your roots in deep, seasons for sprouting upward, no fear of heights. But it’s good to be home in the South during my favorite season, the season of words like crisp and smoke and everything shivering, a last hurrah of leaves aflame. Well, usually. The pernicious leaves remained green despite it being October. But the air beat of fall regardless, so I took a drive into the mountains my bones call home for a creekside Appalachian picnic complete with tiny fennel olive oil cakes and this quinoa, fennel, and parsnip salad with a raw honey vinaigrette & 5-minute eggs, the recipe for which I’ve included after the jump. My partner for this little expedition, GMC, lent me a rather swanky Yukon for the trek, and given that I come from a third generation car dealing family (I’m the only one that took a different route…), I couldn’t resist the opportunity to try out a truck that could actually fit the large amounts of things & humans I haul to and fro events and workshops, dinners and gatherings of all sorts.
And, not gonna lie, heated seats, a back-up camera, and bluetooth so that I can inflict my inane, up-beat music on my dear friends cord-free are all selling points. So, we loaded up the back (after reacting to the button that automatically lowers the seats in the back like confused, medieval peasants equal parts mystified, thrilled, & frightened by the technology) with wicker and woven grass filled with all manner of picnicking goodies and headed to Blue Hole, an exceedingly pretty spot near my house complete with giant boulders and crystal clear, blue water that I, in a different life, used visit to both drink tall boys and kiss human boys. This was much better, and I have a strong preference for this life. This picnic was a little reclaiming of this spot, a re-christening.
We shared sparkling cider, cake, Tennessee ham sandwiches, a cheese plate featuring two of my local favorites, Sequatchie Cove Shakerag Blue and Noble Spring’s goat feta, as well as local sopressata from Main Street Meats here in Chattanooga. And some pimento cheese. Cause Tennessee, y’all. The main affair was my new favorite whole grain salad, a mix of quinoa and caramelized roasted parsnip & fennel with the crunch of sprouts, tamari roasted pepitas, shaved shallot, and all soaked in a simple raw honey vinaigrette with luscious 5-minute eggs on top.
The sandwich breakdown:
Tennessee country ham, sliced thin with quick pickled shallot (in a honey apple cider vinegar brine), parsley, and cranberry chevre. Would also work with a bit of jam and chevre if you can’t get your hand on the cranberry coated logs of it. On baguette. So simple, but so good.
Disclaimer: This was a sponsored post, and I was compensated for my participation. As per usual the opinions & ramblings herein are all my own.