5 Recipes to Celebrate the End of a North Carolina Summer

From tomatoes to berries to field peas, this home-cooked menu celebrates the best of local produce
photography by Taylor McDonald | recipes by Sandy Kipp

Each year, Sandy Kipp hosts friends and neighbors for a homemade feast. She shared this menu with WALTER: A North Carolina-inspired feast that celebrates summer produce. On it, sweet tomatoes and zucchini shine in a creamy flaky tart, a zesty blackberry sauce complements a crispy, spatchcocked chicken atop a bed of field peas; and a cherry-berry sorbet is a fresh finish to it all. Below, she’s generously shared her recipes with us for you to throw together your own end-of-summer soiree.

Southern Picnic Board

Dilly Beans Ingredients
6 ounces fresh green beans 
3 sprigs fresh dill 
1 cup white distilled vinegar
½ cup water 
1 teaspoon coriander seeds 
1 teaspoon mustard seeds 
¼ teaspoon black peppercorns 
1 bay leaf 
1 tablespoon sugar 
1 teaspoon salt

Directions Rinse green beans and break off stem ends. Cut the bean ½-inch shorter than your pint jars. Place the beans in a pint jar, standing them up and squeezing as many into the jar as you can. Push dill sprigs down into the jar. In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, spices, bay leaves, sugar, and salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat slightly and simmer for two minutes. Pour liquid in the jar with green beans. The beans should be covered but there should still be ¼-inch to ½-inch head space. Seal jar and allow to cool, then refrigerate for at least two days.

Deviled Egg Ingredients
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons mayo
1 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Chives, minced (for garnish)

Directions: In a medium pan filled with cold water, add eggs. Place over high heat, and bring to a rolling boil. Remove from heat, cover, and let set for 10 minutes. Drain the hot water, cover with ice water, and let set until completely cool, about 10 minutes. Drain again. Peel the eggs carefully, and then slice in half lengthwise. Remove the yolks, keeping the whites intact. In a medium bowl, add egg yolks and mash using a fork. Add mayo, mustard, vinegar, and salt. Mix well to combine. Transfer to the refrigerator to set for at least one hour. Just before you are ready to serve them, fill the egg whites with the yolk mixture. Top with minced chives.

Southern Pimento Ingredients
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature, cut into 1-inch cubes 
1 cup extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated 
1 cup extra-sharp white cheddar cheese, grated 
1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, and minced
2 tablespoons mayonnaise 
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Directions: In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer, add cream cheese, and beat until fluffy. Add cheddar, bell peppers, mayonnaise, vinegar, and a few shakes of tabasco, and mix until thoroughly combined. Season to taste with salt. Set aside at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

Summer Vegetable Crostada

Summer Vegetable Crostada Crust Ingredients
1½ cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
½ cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, very-cold, cut into ½-inch cubes
4 to 6 tablespoons chilled water 

Directions: In the bowl of a food processor, add flour, cheese, and salt. Pulse a few times to blend. Add half the butter, and pulse several times. Add the remaining butter, and pulse six to eight times until the largest pieces of butter are the size of large peas. Add four tablespoons of cold water (no ice cubes), and then pulse several times. Add more cold water, a tablespoon at a time, pulsing twice after each addition, until dough just barely begins to hold together when you pinch it between your fingers. Empty the bowl on a clean, dry, flat surface. Using your hands, press and knead the crumbs together just until it holds together without cracking. Form into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Crostata filling Ingredients
2 glugs olive oil
3 medium shallots, peeled and chopped
2 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise, seeded, and chopped
1 medium yellow squash, quartered lengthwise, seeded, and chopped
2 medium tomatoes, sliced ¼-inch thick
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
2 eggs
8 ounces smoked Gouda cheese, coarsely grated
¾ cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated

Directions: Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a medium fry pan over medium heat, add olive oil and shallots, and sauté until softened, about five minutes. Add zucchini and yellow squash, and sauté until slightly softened, about 10 more minutes. In a small saucepan over medium heat, add butter. When melted, add flour, and whisk continuously until fully incorporated. Continue to whisk until the flour is cooked, about two minutes. Add milk, and continue to whisk until it thickens, about five minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the grated cheeses. Whisk until the cheese is fully melted and incorporated into the sauce. Add eggs and whisk vigorously until it is fully incorporated. Set aside to cool.

Remove the pie crust from the refrigerator and let it set at room temperature for 10 minutes.  Place the pie crust on a piece of parchment paper. Dust the top and bottom with flour. Then, using a rolling pin, roll the pie crust into a rough circle, about ⅛-inch thick. Place the parchment paper and rolled-out pie crust onto a baking sheet.

Arrange the squash-onion mixture in the center of the pie crust, leaving a 1½-inch border all around. Evenly pour the cheese mixture over the squash mixture. Lay the tomato slices on top of the cheese mixture. Fold the edge of the pie crust up and over the filling, pinching the dough together at the folds. Brush the rim with the egg wash and dust with extra Parmesan cheese. 

Bake the crostata until the crust is golden and the vegetables are very soft, about 45 minutes. Let the crostata cool on the baking sheet to cool until just warm. Cut into wedges and serve. 

Grilled Half Chicken with Blackberry-Thyme Shrub

Blackberry-Thyme Shrub Ingredients
1 pink blackberries
1 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Aleppo chilli flakes
6 sprigs thyme

Directions: In the blender, add blackberries and vinegar and puree until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer. In a small saucepan over medium heat, add the puree, sugar, salt, chili flakes, and thyme. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, about 30 minutes. Remove the herb springs. Let cool completely. 

Chicken Ingredients
1 3-pound chicken
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Directions: Using a pair of sharp kitchen shears, cut down each side of the backbone and then remove it. Use a chef’s knife to make a score on the center of the underside of the breast bone, then flip the bird over. Using the heel of your hand, press down one the breasts until you hear a snap and the bird flattens beneath your weight. (The bird is now spatchcocked.) Adjust the chicken skin so that it is evenly distributed across the front of the bird. Using a sharp chef’s knife, slice through the skin in the center of the breasts from top to bottom to ensure the chicken is divided evenly. Then, place the knife on that line and press down through the meat until the chicken is cut in two halves. It will take some effort to cut through the bones and cartilage. 

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Season on both sides with salt and pepper. Preheat your grill around 350° to 400°F. (Do this first if using a charcoal grill.) Place the chicken on the grill, skin side down. Close the lid and cook for 20 minutes. Flip the chicken halves skin side up and cook for another 20 minutes. Then rotate the chickens and cook for another 20 minutes. 

Pink-Eyed Peas with Herbed Vinaigrette Ingredients
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Directions In a glass jar, add vinegar, oil, and mustard. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover and shake vigorously to emulsify.  

Pea Salad Ingredients
2 cups fresh or frozen field peas
½ cup celery, minced
¼ cup shallots, minced
2 tablespoons parsley, minced
1 tablespoon basil, minced
1 tablespoon mint, minced

Directions: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the field peas and three cups cold water, and bring to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer. Partially cover and cook until the beans are tender, about 15 to 18 minutes. Stir occasionally, skimming any natural foam that rises to the top. Then drain and let cool.

In a medium bowl, add field peas, celery, shallots, herbs, and vinaigrette. Toss gently to combine. Scatter a few more basil leaves on top and finish with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Set aside for 30 minutes. 

Cherry-Berry Sorbet with Lemon Biscotti

Cherry-Berry Sorbet Ingredients
4 cups mixed fruit (such as cherries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries)
½ cup sugar
¼ cup St. Germain

Directions: In a pitcher attached to a blender, add fruit and puree until very smooth. Pour the puree into a fine mesh strainer set over a bowl and strain out the seeds and skins. Add sugar and St. Germain to the puree and stir until sugar completely dissolves.

Lemon Biscotti Ingredients
2¼ cups flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon lemon zest
3 tablespoons lemon juice
¾ teaspoons almond extract

Directions: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add butter and sugar. Turn to medium speed and cream together until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, and cream together until incorporated. Add lemon zest, vanilla, and aniseed and mix on medium speed for 30 seconds Add half of the flour and mix on low speed for 30 seconds. Stir in remaining flour by hand. Divide dough in half onto the prepared baking sheet. Form each dough half into a log about 15 inches long (about 1¼ inches wide). Ensure that the logs are at least 3 inches apart. Bake logs until almost firm to touch but still pale, about 28 minutes. Set aside to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes. 

Carefully transfer logs to a cutting board. Using serrated knife and gentle sawing motion, cut logs crosswise into generous ½-inch-thick slices. Place each slice, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake until firm and pale golden, about 10 minutes per side. Transfer cookies to racks and cool.