Chef Shane Henderson of Argenta Market generously sent me selection of recipes he created for the All Arkansas Basket-A-Month Community Supported Agriculture Program. Until Argenta Market officially opens its doors, hopefully this Spring, you can find goodies by Chef Shane in BAM and available to order from the Certified Arkansas Farmers Market online. According to The Fashionable Traveler, Shane’s pasta rivals any she’s tasted in Italy. His breads, sauces, and canned goods are the way to go if you don’t have the time to make your own.

I haven’t tried the following recipes yet, so I’d love to hear what you think about them. I was pleased to see I wasn’t the only one who was inspired to make soup from those beautiful fall apples. Enjoy!

Muscadines Wrapped in Caramelized Bacon with Roquefort Cheese
Makes 16 pieces, enough for 4-6 people as an appetizer.

I remember as a child my father coming home during the fall with tons of wild muscadines, we never really knew what to do with them, so they usually ended up getting juiced and stored away, and maybe a few made them into a pie.

As I have gotten older I have began to see that there are a lot more applications for this sweet fruit than just that.  This is part of a borrowed idea I got from one of the farmers at the market, we started discussing how well the sweetness of them played with cheeses, especially blue cheeses.  I then started thinking about how well bacon goes with sweet applications, and thus this dish was born right there during a busy market day.  If you would prefer not to caramelize the bacon that would be just fine as well, simply follow the directions omitting the cinnamon and brown sugar.

16 muscadines
8 pieces caramelized bacon (recipe follows)
2-4 ounces Roquefort cheese (or your favorite blue cheese)

Caramelized Bacon
8 strips of bacon
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°.  Spray a cookie sheet with pan spray.  Cut the bacon in half.

Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl, coat bacon slices with brown sugar and cinnamon mixture.
Place coated bacon onto prepared pan. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until beginning to brown, but not quite cooked through.  (If you are wishing to only make caramelized bacon continue to cook 2-5 more minutes until browned and finished cooking.)

While the bacon is cooking prepare the muscadines by cutting through ½ ways and removing the seeds.  Break up the cheese into small pieces and place inside the slit you just cut into the muscadines.  Wrap the filled muscadines with the caramelized bacon.  Place these back onto the cookie sheet, and place it back into the oven to finish cooking 2-5 more minutes.

Serve while they are still warm, you can complete all the steps to the last cooking ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until ready to heat and serve.

Smokey Sweet Potato and Apple Soup
Serves 4 dinner sized servings

I’ve been making some version of this recipe for years.  It is always the Henderson households welcome to the fall dish.  Feel free to play with the recipe, I never make this the same way twice.  Ginger, more spice, maple syrup, omitting the apples, adding roasted chicken, etc… have all been parts of the recipe.  Sweet potatoes are a real super food and go well with so many different foods.  If you need a little more acid in the dish try a little aged balsamic and good quality olive oil right on top of each bowl.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
3 sweet potatoes (quartered)
4 apples (any type will work, but try to use a less mealy type, for better texture)
3 ½  cups chicken stock
½ cup heavy cream
¼ cup apple cider
½ cup jack daniel’s bourbon
2 tablespoons Sparkling River Chipotles
½ tablespoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg

Peel and cut apples, be sure to remove the seeds.  Store in water with a dash of lemon juice to prevent browning.

In a large sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter and sweat the onions, carrots, celery and garlic for 3 minutes or until translucent. Raise the heat to high, add the sweet potatoes, chipotle, apple cider and broth and bring to boil. Lower the heat to medium and simmer for about 30 minutes.

Remove from the heat and add the heavy cream, chipotles, cinnamon and nutmeg, plus salt and pepper to taste. Puree in a food processor and refrigerate. Reheat before serving, adding the bourbon to finish. Top with goat cheese, chopped chives or a fresh crouton and serve.

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Sweet Potato French Toast with Pumpkin Sauce
Serves 4

I love French toast for breakfast, but of course I’m always in a morning rush, and I just can’t start my day with something that heavy, without having a nap scheduled.  So with very little change made to the recipe French Toast can easily be made into a fabulous and unexpected dessert.  If you have some apples laying around peel them and cook them with butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar.

sweet potato bread, sliced into 8 pieces
3 eggs beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk
2 tablespoon honey
4 tablespoons butter
pumpkin butter sauce(recipe follows)

In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients except the bread.  Place the sliced bread into the mixture, and let it rest at least 1 hour before cooking.

Over medium-low heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a nonstick pan. Place 2 slices of bread at a time into the pan and cook until golden brown, approximately 2 to 3 minutes per side.   Serve immediately with pumpkin butter sauce.

Pumpkin Butter Sauce
½ stick (4 tablepoons) unsalted butter
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup heavy cream
¼ cup pumpkin butter*
1 tablespoon honey

Melt the butter in the top of a double boiler set over gently simmering water.
Beat the sugar and egg in a small bowl until blended. Stir the egg mixture into the butter. Stir until the mixture coats the back of a spoon, about 7 minutes. Remove from the double boiler and let cool to room temperature. Stir in the cream, pumpkin butter, honey and if desired 1 shot of whiskey.
Serve on top of the French toast, sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar, and serve.  Garnish with cooked apples if desiIMG_2584red.

*Stephanie’s note: The pumpkin butter in this recipe (pictured) was created for BAM by Cedar Rock Acres, a small farm in Cleveland, Arkansas. Look for their products in BAM and in the online and physical farmers markets.

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