Winter Recipes to Warm up your Appetite

The weather may be cold outside, but Jackson County’s restaurants are on top of their game, serving up warm, comforting dishes to satisfy any craving. From cocktails to appetizers, dinners to desserts, a few of Jackson County’s restaurants share their favorite winter recipes. Now you can make a dish to impress!

To Start the Party: Smoky Mountain Skies cocktail from The Cut Cocktail Lounge


¼ ounce of The Bitter Truth’s Violet Liqueur
¼ ounce of Grind® Espresso Rum
¼ ounce of Luksusowa Vodka
¼ ounce of Baileys®
½ ounce of cream
Splash of soda
Old Fashioned glass

  1. Layer all the booze and cream using a spoon.  Hold the spoon on the side of the glass to create a nice layered effect. It’s very impressive to guests!
  2. Then fill glass with ice and a splash of soda. Tastes like a violet chocolate!

Recipe courtesy of The Cut Cocktail Lounge in Sylva.

For an Appetizer: Sri Salad from City Lights Café


1 bunch fresh kale
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup feta cheese crumbles
½ cup Craisins
½ cup olive oil
½ cup lemon juice
1 Teaspoon garlic powder
1 Teaspoon salt
1 Teaspoon ground pepper

  1. Rinse uncooked quinoa and cook 5 minutes in 4 cups of water and allow to cool.
  2. Wash kale, remove stalks and chop finely.
  3. Mix half the olive oil in with the kale and massage the leaves.
  4. Combine spices, lemon juice and remaining olive oil and mix in with the kale.
  5. Add the remainder of the ingredients and mix well.
  6. Serve chilled.
  7. Keeps up to 3 days.

Recipe courtesy of City Lights Café in Sylva.

For Dinner: Cranberry Fig-Glazed Duck with Candied Walnut Cornbread and Chocolate Spice-Roasted Winter Squash from Guadalupe Café

Candied Walnut White Cornbread
Candied Walnuts

2 cups walnuts
½ cups sugar
2 Tablespoons butter

3 eggs beaten
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups white cornmeal
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoon baking powder
¼  melted butter
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar

For Candied Walnuts:

  1. Combine walnuts, sugar, and butter into a sauté pan on medium heat stirring constantly until sugars have melted and coated the walnuts. Immediately transfer to parchment paper and, using two spatulas, separate so nuts do not stick together. Let rest for five minutes to harden.
  2. Chop 1 ½ cups to put in corn bread and enjoy snacking on the rest.

For Cornbread:

  1. Combine chopped candied walnuts, cornmeal, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar and whisk thoroughly to incorporate ingredients evenly.
  2. In separate bowl, combine beaten eggs with buttermilk, then add to the cornmeal mixture. Mix in melted butter and whisk until batter is even consistency.
  3. Take a large cast iron skillet and butter the bottom and sides very generously.
  4. Transfer batter into skillet and bake at 350 for 30 to 35 minutes or until batter no longer moves in center when skillet is shaken.

Chocolate Spice-Roasted Winter Squash
1 teaspoon cocoa powder

1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ Tablespoon nutmeg
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup olive oil
3 lbs winter squash (such as acorn squash)

  1. Remove seeds and peel squash, then cut into 1×1 inch cubes. Set aside in mixing bowl.
  2. Mix all spices, brown sugar and olive oil together until it makes an even mixture.
  3. Spread evenly over squash then toss to coat all pieces evenly.
  4. Bake at 375 for 30 min or until squash pieces are semi soft.

Cranberry Fig-Glazed Duck
4 duck breasts
6.5 ounces chopped golden figs
7 ounces cranberries
¼ cup white wine
½ stick butter
¼ cup brown sugar
1 cup orange juice

For Sauce:

Melt butter in sauté pan and add figs. Sauté the figs on medium heat until they start turning golden brown on outsides, about 4 to 5 min.

Add cranberries stir and cover for 5 minutes or until all the cranberries have popped.

Deglaze the pan with white wine then add brown sugar and orange juice. Stir and reduce for 5 to 10 min or until it begins to thicken, then turn off the heat.

For Duck:

  1. Take the four duck breasts and cross-score the fat side. Place fat side down in very hot sauté pan.
  2. Sear the duck, draining off fat when needed, until it is deep golden brown, then turn over and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes.
  3. Remove from pan and thin- slice all four breasts, cover with fig cranberry sauce and place on a baking pan into the medium heat oven for 7 to 10 minutes, depending on how well you would like your duck cooked: 7 to 10 min should give you a nice medium rare to medium. 10 to 15 will be medium to well done.

Take all three dishes and serve together on a plate ready to savor with your friends and family this holiday season.

Recipes by Chef Perry Matthews of Guadalupe Cafe in Sylva, NC. 

For a Sweet Treat:  Chocolate Fudge from Baxley’s Chocolates


2 cups semi-sweet chocolate
1 ¾ cups (7 oz.) marshmallow crème
1 tbs. butter
4 cups sugar
1 cup milk chocolate
1 2/3 cups evaporated milk
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 2/3 cups chopped nuts (optional)

  1. Butter a 9-inch or 13X9X2-inch pan.
  2. Melt semi-sweet and milk chocolate in a double boiler. Cover and set aside.
  3. Combine evaporated milk, marshmallow crème, sugar, butter and salt in 4 quart saucepan.
  4. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a full rolling boil; approximately 240 degrees F; boil and stir constantly for 8 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and immediately add melted chocolate stirring until completely melted.
  6. Pour into buttered pan and cool.Yield 4 ½ lbs. of fudge.

Recipe courtesy of Baxley’s Chocolates in Sylva.