From The Kitchen

Make Your Next Party Menu with Trevor Iaconis

Fall is such a wonderful time for gathering and festivities! I like to invite over a group of friends and family, and I have everyone bring a bottle of their favorite wine to share. The grill will be fired up, and music will be rocking on the porch.

We always start out with a big cheese and charcuterie spread and some cocktails. My drink of the moment is Dirty Aperol Spritz, it’s bright and bubbly, with a briny kick.

Dirty Aperol Spritz
3oz dry prosecco
2oz aperol
1oz soda water – Sanpellegrino is my go-to!
Splash of Castelvetrano olive juice

Pour over ice and stir. Serve in a wine glass with olives and an orange slice. For dinner, I like to fire up the wood or charcoal grill. I usually cook a big piece of meat and a variety of seasonal vegetables. Southern Natural Farms beef ribeyes are easy to find locally, and they are a great grass-fed, Tennessee product.

For the beef, I season with salt and pepper. Then I brush it with a marinade of olive oil, chopped garlic, thyme and rosemary. In all the kitchens around Blackberry Farm, we refer to that as “grill marinade.”

I char the beef over the coals to develop a tasty crust and impart a bit of smoke to the meat.

Slice and serve with chimichurri.

- This goes great on all your grilled items!
1 cup olive oil
1 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup chopped oregano
2 cloves minced garlic
6 thinly sliced scallions
1tsp red pepper flakes
2oz red wine vinegar

Combine all ingredients and season with a pinch of salt.

Charred Spaghetti Squash
Take quartered spaghetti squash, with the seeds removed, and slowly roast it in the oven until tender. Next, brush it with grill marinade, and char the flesh on the grill. After its charred, let some whole butter melt onto the squash, scrape it up, and season with red wine vinegar and salt.

Cabbage, broccoli, mushrooms or roasted sweet potatoes are all also great options. Just season with some grill marinade, salt and pepper.

A pot of Benton’s Bacon braised greens will always steal the show. The smell will fill your kitchen with happiness and warmth!

Benton’s Bacon Braised Greens
1 cup chopped Benton’s Bacon
2 Vidalia onions, chopped
2 heads garlic, chopped
6 bunches kale/collards
2 quarts chicken stock

Sweat the bacon, onions and garlic down together with a healthy pinch of black pepper. (This is my favorite smell!) Add the chicken stock and the greens, and slowly cook for a few hours. Season with salt, apple cider vinegar and a pinch of brown sugar.

Trevor Iaconis, sous chef at the Dogwood

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