Tag: Arkansas Grown

Capi Peck’s Summer Panzanella Salad {Foodie Friday}

Featuring Chef Capi Peck, sharing the bounty of Arkansas with #ArkansasGrown produce.

Capi Picture 1

This is one of my favorite things to make and eat in the heat of the summer when our Arkansas tomatoes are coming on strong.


Capi Peck's Summer Panzanella Salad
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For the bread
  1. 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  2. 6 cups 1-inch bread cubes, cut from French baguettes
  3. 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
For the vinaigrette
  1. 1 teaspoon minced garlic cloves
  2. 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  3. 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  4. 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  5. Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Remaining ingredients for the salad
  1. 2 large Arkansas heirloom tomatoes, cut 1-inch cubes
  2. 1 large cucumber, seeded, large dice
  3. 1 each red and yellow bell pepper, cut 1-inch pieces
  4. 1 Vidalia or other sweet onion, thinly sliced
  5. 25 large fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped or torn
  6. 3 tablespoons capers, drained
  1. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in large pan or stockpot over medium heat. Add the bread cubes and salt. Stir well to coat the bread. Cook, stirring often, until slightly browned, adding a little more oil if necessary. Set aside.
  2. For the vinaigrette, whisk garlic cloves, mustard, vinegar and olive oil together. Taste and add salt as needed. Set aside.
  3. Prep the remaining ingredients and place in a large mixing bowl. Add toasted bread cubes and vinaigrette. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes so that the flavors can marry.
  4. Optional ingredients: crumbled feta or blue cheese, Kalamata olives, diced avocado
Arkansas Women Bloggers http://arkansaswomenbloggers.com/



About Capi

Capi Peck is a Little Rock native who calls herself a “self-taught good cook”.  Her love of great food and cooking grew from her childhood experiences at her family’s establishment, the Sam Peck Hotel.  Capi’s grandparents ran the well-known downtown spot that brought a cosmopolitan flair and grand cuisine to Little Rock in the 1950’s and 1960’s.  As a tribute to her culinary roots, Capi serves a few of Sam Peck’s creations at Trio’s, the restaurant she has co-owned with her partner, Brent Peterson for nearly 30 years.

Capi is committed to featuring locally grown produce whenever possible. She supports more than eight Arkansas farming families by offering their produce on her ever-changing menu.


Strawberries from Caddo Crest Orchard in Guy

Strawberries from Caddo Crest Orchard in Guy

Capi serves as Chair of Little Rock’s Advertising and Promotion Commission and is immediate past president of the Arkansas Restaurant Association.

She is very committed to the No Kid Hungry Program, part of Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, where she serves as a volunteer chef in the Cooking Matters classes.

Capi is proudest of her extended family at both Trio’s.  More than 10 of her staff have worked with her for over 18 years and 4 have been part of the Trio’s family for 23 or more years.

About Trio’s (Courtesy of Trio’s Restaurant)

“Trio’s Restaurant, which began in 1986 as a gourmet shop with “good food to go” along with cookbooks, coffee, gadgets, and a well-stocked deli, has evolved into one of the finest dining and catering establishments in the state. Capi Peck and Brent Peterson have nurtured Trio’s from its inception. It is their “baby,” and it has grown into an award-winning restaurant known for innovation and consistency.

Trio’s patio


So many of Trio’s loyal customers began their culinary adventures more than 20 years ago as toddlers at the Trio’s table. And, for many displaced Arkansans, a visit home wouldn’t be complete without a meal at Trio’s with family and friends. Most important are the employees who were here almost from the beginning including Partner Stephanie Caruthers, who started at Trio’s as a baker in 1987, and directs the Catering Department. Apollos Merriweather, who many of you know from his catering work for Trio’s, has been part of the Trio’s team since 1988. Our catering would not be what it is today without Apollos! Eric Wilson began as a dishwasher in 1986! He runs the day kitchen line and is famous for his grilled chicken enchiladas. And, a few of the familiar faces of our floor staff have been with Trio’s for 10+ years: Richard LeSourd, Michelle Lee, and Wayne Pyland. Chef Shanna Merriweather, our Executive Chef, began as an apprentice while in culinary school. She’s a calm leader in the kitchen, and her culinary creativity shines throughout our menu.

The “Trio’s Family” extends far and wide, and Capi and Brent have successfully fostered the fundamental ideal of “hearth and home” in the staff at Trio’s. We all believe that ideal is the key to our success. And, of course, there’s the food!”

Note: Tri0’s was recently named the best Farm-to-Table Restaurant in Arkansas by Travel and Leisure Magazine.


Capi Peck Twitter

Trio’s Twitter








Talya Boerner: Cooking From the Farmers Market {Foodie Friday}

Celebrating the Flavors of Arkansas: Riceland Rice and the Farmers Market

Hundreds of farmers markets and roadside vendors are registered with Arkansas Grown, so odds are great, you’re able to enjoy locally grown produce no matter what part of the state you call home. Cooking and eating locally grown food is beneficial to our environmental and your health. Before I share one of my favorite recipes using local veggies, let’s talk about the benefits of buying locally. It’s important, y’all!

  • Did you know that for every dollar you spend locally, three dollars is pumped into your local community? This impact is called the Multiplier Effect.

Farmers Market Risotto

  • Buying local creates more local jobs. Not only do small business owners hire employees, these are the companies buying local advertising, printing, hiring attorneys, etc. In other words, buying local is a long-term investment in community.

shopping at farmers market

  • Buying fresh veggies from the local farmer’s market reduces overall environmental impact. Think about it… Oregon apples sold in Arkansas include the cost of transportation, congestion, and pollution. Buying local minimizes and nearly eliminates this. (And I have nothing whatsoever against Oregon apples.)
  • Local food is fresher, tastier, and in season.

White Truffle Oil

Going to the Fayetteville Farmers Market is one of the best things about Saturday morning. My husband and I typically go without a plan, buy whatever is fresh and in season, and then create supper using what we bought. And lots of times supper includes fresh vegetables—either roasted or stir-fried—and Riceland rice.

medium grain rice talya boerner
                                       Use medium grain rice for risottos.

My Farmers Market Risotto can be used with a variety of vegetables. On our most recent trip to the farmers market, we purchased two types of onions, red bell pepper, and asparagus. (For this dish, I roasted the asparagus separately and served it on top of the risotto.)


Talya Boerner: Cooking From the Farmers Market {Foodie Friday}

Talya Boerner: Cooking From the Farmers Market {Foodie Friday}


  • 1 cup uncooked short to medium grain Riceland Rice
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoons Butter
  • ½ cup chopped Green Onion
  • ½ cup diced Yellow Onion
  • ½ cup diced Red Bell Pepper
  • 3 cups Vegetable Broth
    Roasted Asparagus
  • 1 bunch of Asparagus spears (10-20 depending upon size)
  • Olive Oil, just a drizzle
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon Thyme
  • ½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • White Truffle Oil


  1. Sauté onion and bell pepper in olive oil and butter for 3 minutes. Add rice, stirring for 2 more minutes.
  2. Stir in 1 cup of broth. Stir and cook until broth is absorbed.
  3. Stir in remaining broth ½ cup at a time. Wait until broth is absorbed before adding additional broth. This is the key to risotto’s creamy texture.
    Roasted Asparagus:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Snap ends from asparagus. Place in roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with ¼ cup Parmesan and lemon thyme.
  3. Bake. Turn once. Keep and eye on your asparagus so you don’t overcook.
  4. To serve, divide risotto among pasta bowls. Arrange asparagus on top of each serving. Drizzle white truffle oil. Add remaining Parmesan. Salt and pepper to taste.


White truffle oil (a light oil infused with bits of truffle) is a splurge, but the flavor added with only a small amount is incredible.

Substitute your favorite in-season vegetables (i.e. mushrooms & peas, broccoli & squash, tomato & basil, etc.) to create your own risotto recipe. Tasty!



talya crop

Arkansas Women Bloggers member Talya Tate Boerner is a delta girl who grew up making mudpies on her family’s cotton farm in Northeast Arkansas. After thirty years in Texas, she has returned to the state she loves, settling in Northwest Arkansas. Talya draws inspiration from nature and appreciates the history behind food, family, places and objects. She blogs at Grace, Grits and Gardening and has been published in Arkansas Review, Front Porch and several on-line publications. Talya believes most any dish can be improved with a side of collard greens. Her debut novel, The Accidental Salvation of Gracie Lee, is available at Barnes & Noble, via Amazon, and at certain indie bookstores.

Twitter: @gracegrits
Instagram: @gracegrits
Blog: www.gracegritsgarden.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GraceGritsGardening/?ref=hl


Debbie Arnold: Feta with Peppered Honey and Toasted Almonds {Foodie Friday}

By Debbie Arnold of Dining With Debbie
One of my favorites for summer dining is a simple cheese and fruit plate, such as this Feta with Peppered Honey and Toasted Almonds served along with locally grown Arkansas peaches.  This plus a fresh-from-the-garden salad (or local farmers’ market) and probably some crunchy bread might easily be a meal at our house.  If needed, a simple protein, perhaps a chicken breast, thrown on the grill could round it out.
The fruit and cheese plate serves two roles: as an appetizer or as a dessert. It’s summer in the south, ya’ll and that means it’s hot!  While most Southern belles “glisten,” I sweat, especially when the oven comes on.  Fortunately, Hubby’s great with the grill and the smoker, and he really doesn’t mind a light meal at all. 

The man has will power.  He does so well with his weight.  I wish that trait passed on to me by osmosis.  Or something that doesn’t involve dieting and exercise (aka work). But he does have a weakness for desserts, nuts and cheeses.

feta with honey 2 Foodie Friday

Ta – dah!  This Feta With Peppered Honey and Toasted Almonds works perfectly to satisfy his cravings (and mine), and it borders on healthy when served alongside fresh, locally grown summer fruits.  I think peaches , such as those we get from our Arkansas Grown friends at Peach Pickin’ Paradise  (Twitter) in Clarksville or Barnhill Orchards in Lonoke, are perfect but you can use whatever fruit you like.  I usually use slivered almonds, but here again,  you can use toasted walnuts or pecans if that’s what you have and what you prefer. I prefer the honey I get from  P. Allen Smith’s Moss Mountain Farm hives.  If you’re lucky enough to have your own hives, or have a neighbor who does, then definitely use that. 

Don’t limit yourself to feta for this dish either.  Goat cheese or homemade ricotta (check that out next week on Dining With Debbie) work very well.  I like feta because of its sharpness which contrasts nicely with the sweetness of the honey.  And you just won’t believe what the cracked pepper does until you give it a try!  Not a pepper fan?  Leave it off.  There’s nothing hard and fast about the cheese plate — always suit the tastes of yourself and your family.  Be brave.  Experiment.  Some of my best dishes, okay and some of my worst, have been through experimentation.  

feta with honey Foodie Friday

If you have edible flowers available, such as nasturtiums, use those as garnish.  The peppery flavor of the nasturtiums goes quite nicely with this dish.  Or, garnish with basil or mint for a different palate pleaser.

Summer is all about relaxing, and this dish definitely fits that bill.  Take it easy, ya’ll.

What are some of your go-to summer dishes?  I hope you’ll share.


Feta with Peppered Honey and Toasted Almonds
Serves 4
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  1. 8 ounces chunk feta
  2. 1 1/2 teaspoons coarsely cracked black pepper
  3. 1/4+ cup honey
  4. 1/4 + cup toasted slivered almonds
  5. Fruit or crackers
  6. Mint or edible flowers for garnish, optional
  1. Dry feta and place on a serving platter. Chill.
  2. Prepare fruit (slice peaches, etc.)
  3. Stir together cracked pepper and honey.
  4. When ready to serve, pour honey mixture over feta and arrange fruit around the cheese.
  5. Garnish
  6. Serve with crackers, if desired.
Adapted from Gourmet's Casual Entertaining
Adapted from Gourmet's Casual Entertaining
Arkansas Women Bloggers http://arkansaswomenbloggers.com/
Debbie-Arnold-1 Dining With Debbie

 Debbie Arnold serves as a co-administrator for Arkansas Women Bloggers and pontificates and eats at Dining With Debbie.  She and her Hubby split their time between Central and Northwest Arkansas.  She loves to cook, develop recipes and have play dates with her two perfect grands.  Mostly, she has play dates with the Perfect Ones.  If you’re interested in writing for Foodie Friday, she’s the one to contact.