In the Kitchen with James Farmer

James Farmer shares recipes for Basil Blackberry Salad and Cashiers Farmers Market Pasta from his book DINNER ON THE GROUNDS: SOUTHERN SUPPERS AND SOIRÉES (Gibbs Smith, 2014)

Basil Blackberry Salad

Serves 4-6

James Farmer recipes, blackberry salad


  • 1 – 1 ½  cups of microgreens (include some of your favorite herbs such as parsley, chervil, oregano and mint)
  • 12 basil leaves, julienned
  • 1 small log (about 4 ounces) of goat cheese
  • 1 heaping teaspoon honey
  • ¾ cup blackberries
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  1. In a small bowl, drizzle the goat cheese with honey, and mix the two together.
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, toss together the microgreens and basil leaves. Add in blackberries and cheese. Squeeze the juice of both lemon halves over the salad mixture, and then dress with olive oil. Toss lightly, top with dabs of cheese, and serve and enjoy!

Farmer’s Note: This is one of my standby summer salads. Since the cheese provides protein, I can eat this salad alone as a meal or with a simple piece of fish or chicken.

Cashiers Farmers Market Pasta

Serves 6-8

James Farmer recipes, baked pasta

The first thing I do when I get to Cashiers is stop by the farmers market and gather goodies for this dish. My sweet friends the Crawfords are purveyors of the area’s best and freshest produce—and barbeque too. I can buy everything I need at their market for this dish and love that one-stop shopping.

I love to prepare this dish for a crowd or to feast on it myself for days! It gets better and better with each day, especially if you toast it in the oven to reheat—I really like the crunch factor the pasta and cheese create. Plus, you can freeze this dish for your next trip to the mountains, which I often do when I want a delicious meal at home there and don’t feel like cooking proper.


  • 2 medium yellow squash, sliced
  • 2 small zucchini, sliced
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 heirloom tomato, chopped into cubes
  • 1 yellow tomato, chopped into cubes
  • 2 banana peppers, sliced
  • 1 pound fusilli pasta
  • 2 cups grated Pepper Jack cheese
  • 6 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup chopped red onion or shallots
  • ½ cup chopped green onion
  • ½ cup olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon for pasta
  • 2 ears white corn, shaved from the cob
  • 2 cups white wine
  • 1 stick butter



  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and toss with about 1 tablespoon olive oil to prevent sticking.
  3. In a large frying pan or wok-style skillet, heat olive oil and butter. Brown the red onion or shallots.  Add in garlic and wine and reduce by ¼. Add in squash, zucchini, and banana peppers. Toss mixture until tender.
  4. Transfer cooked pasta to a large baking dish. Add in vegetable sauce and corn and toss with pasta. Top with grated cheese and bake until cheese and pasta are slightly brown and melted. Garnish with green onion.

Recipes and photos Copyright James Farmer, from Dinner on the Grounds: Southern Suppers and Soirées (Gibbs Smith, 2014).

book cover for Dinner On The Grounds: Southern Suppers And Soirées by James Farmer (Gibbs Smith, 2014)