10 “Egg”cellent Easter Brunch Tips

With spring just around the corner, plans for celebrating Easter with brunch at the family breakfast table are in the works.  Of course, the central focus of any brunch menu is eggs, but don’t just settle for the same ol’ bacon and eggs combo. There are countless other ways to prepare this versatile favorite.

Before you get started, here’s a word to the wise: Make sure to use the freshest eggs possible, and use eggs from free-roaming hens, which lay the most flavorful eggs because they eat a natural diet.  The eggs may be a bit more expensive, but like my mother used to say, “You get what you pay for!”

Fried Eggs

  1. Fry ‘em up. In my household, we use leftover bacon grease to fry up our eggs. If you ladle the crackling lard over the eggs in the frying pan, you’ll create a fluffy and sinfully delicious version of this classic.

    Scrambled Eggs

  2. Scramble ‘em up. Try adding a touch of cream, salt, and pepper before scrambling for a less-dense take on this old-time favorite.


  3. Mix ‘em up.Have you ever had a sweet corn and goat cheese omelet?  How about one with fresh crab and pimento cheese?  The great thing about an omelet is that anything goes (in it)!
  4. Don’t be afraid of the “flip.”A second cousin to the omelet is the frittata, which is essentially an unfolded omelet.  Try yours with country ham and scallions, or diced peppers, onions and pepperjack.  Start it on the stove, but finish it in the oven for about 5 minutes to cook the top.
  5. Brunch for two? Individual egg casseroles are a good way to go.  Add a bit of cream, scramble the eggs and bake in the oven in a one-inch water bath for a light and moist result.  Try adding some sautéed spinach and shiitake mushrooms for a twist.


  6. Feeling Frenchy? No, I’m not talking about making French toast; instead, create a traditional quiche. This egg and cheese baked pie is a great way to show off your culinary skills (but it isn’t difficult to make). Try out our mushroom and Swiss cheese recipe below. It’s one of my favorites!
  7. Want less mess to clean up? Try a one-skillet scramble.  Start by frying hash browns in a cast-iron skillet.  Then, add tasso ham, fresh vegetables, whisked eggs and cheese.  Finish with toasted English muffins and a dash of Sriracha sauce.

    Huevos Rancheros

  8. Feeling even spicier? How about some “huevos rancheros” with a fire-grilled tomato and jalapeno salsa on top.  Add a side of chorizo sausage, and you’ll really be feeling the heat!

    Eggs Benedict

  9. Eggs “Benedict Arnold.” You may defect from fried or scrambled eggs once you’ve tried them poached!  Add a tablespoon of white vinegar to your poaching liquid to add flavor and help hold the egg’s shape.  Serve over toast points with country ham and hollandaise sauce.
  10. Sweetie pie. What meal would be complete without dessert?  Try a dried cherry pop-over made of eggs, butter, sugar, flour and sweet dried cherries. This is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Bon Appétit!
Chef Russell Shinn
Executive Chef, Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen, Cary


6 each fresh eggs, beaten
2 cup chopped cremini mushrooms
1/4 cup melted butter
2 teaspoon thyme leaves
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
3 tablespoons` flour
1 cup half & half cream
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Salt & pepper to taste
1 each unbaked pie crust

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Add mushrooms to a hot sauté pan and sauté until they squeak. Add butter, thyme and garlic to pan and cook for 3-5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in flour until well combined. Mix in cheese.

In a bowl, whisk together eggs, half & half, nutmeg and salt & pepper to taste. Add mushroom mixture to eggs and combine well. Pour into pie shell and bake for 35 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean.

Makes: 1 quiche, 6-8 slices

Disclaimer: All our recipes were originally designed for much larger batch size. This recipe has been reduced – but not tested at this scale. Please adjust as to your taste and portion size.

Chocolate Chess Pie

Chess Pie … A Southern Tradition, Y’all!

Chess Pie is a Southern staple with historical roots in England. Though its basic ingredients – butter, sugar, eggs and flour – can be found in any Southern pantry, the variations on Chess Pie can seem as far-fetched as the folklore surrounding its etymology.

Many folks believe that its name originated from the closely related English lemon curd pie, which often was called cheese pie; “Chess Pie” allegedly derived from Southerners’ tendency to drawl our words. Another version tells of a plantation cook who was asked what she was baking that smelled so great: “Jes’ pie” (just pie) was her answer. Yet another myth states that the pie’s high sugar content allowed it to keep well in a pie chest at room temperature, so “Chest Pie” turned into “Chess Pie.”

Though basic Chess Pie is remarkably easy to prepare by mixing simple ingredients and baking for 30 minutes, you can get fancy by adding innovative flavorings. Popular additions include zesty lemon juice, earthy nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon, tropical flaked coconut, and toasted, chopped pecans. Some believe a splash of buttermilk makes Chess Pie better, while others swear by a tablespoon of vinegar. If you’d like to double the decadence, just stir in some cocoa powder!

Whether you call it cheese pie, chest pie or “jes’ pie,” there are no boundaries to this traditional Southern confection. - Chef Russell Shinn, Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen (Cary)

Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen Chocolate Chess Pie
(makes 1 pie)


4 eggs
1⁄4 cup cocoa powder
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1⁄2 tablespoons white cornmeal
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1⁄4 pound melted butter
1 unbaked pie crust

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, then assemble pie as described below.

Chocolate Chess Pie Recipe

In a bowl, sift dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl, beat eggs with mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs to the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated.

Chocolate Chess Pie Recipe

Add vanilla, cream and butter and mix until incorporated.

Chocolate Chess Pie7

Pour into an unbaked pie shell (see recipe below). Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool; serve cold.

Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen Housemade Pie Crust (makes 3 pie shells)

4 1⁄2 cups all purpose flour
1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt
1 1⁄2 cups unsalted butter
1⁄2 cup plus 1 tablespoon cold water

Pie Crust Recipe

Sift the flour and salt together. Freeze the butter then grate it to make it easier to handle. Work the cold butter into the flour mix.  Add ice to water to make it cold, make sure you don’t pour any ice into the dough mixture.

Pie Crust Recipe 2

Add water slowly and mix until just combined. Portion out enough for one shell and begin to roll it into shape on a floured surface.

Pie Crust Recipe

This recipe makes 3 pie shells. Freeze any unused portions.




Disclaimer: All our recipes were originally designed for much larger batch sizes. This recipe has been reduced – but not tested at this scale. Please adjust as to your taste and portion size.

Pork Shank Braised in Red-Eye Gravy on slow-cooked pinto beans, topped with green tomato chowchow

Pork Shank Braised in Red-Eye Gravy

Pork comes in all shapes and sizes. Chops, loins, butts and bellies seem to get the most love in the kitchen, but did you know that the shank can be a dandy piece of meat, too? It’s an excellent, but often-overlooked choice: When properly cooked, it’s full of flavor and super-easy to make.

So what exactly is a pork shank? It’s a cut of meat from the lower leg of a pig. It tends to be leaner because it doesn’t have much fat. As a result, if you cook it the wrong way, you’ll never tear that meat off the bone. Lucky for you, Lucky’s braising recipe will have you going “hog wild” for the pork shank!

Red-Eye Braised Pork Shank (Serves 4*)
4 each pork shank
3 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon pepper
2/3 cup all purpose flour
4 fluid ounces canola oil
1 1/3 cup yellow onion – diced
1/2 pound carrots – sliced
4 stalks celery
3 each bay leaves
2 2/3 cup ham stock
2 cups double strength coffee


Prep veggies, meat, stock and spices. Dredge pork shank in flour. Shake off excess flour, but reserve. Heat oil in a wide, heavy bottomed pot. Sear and brown shank on all sides over medium heat


When fully browned, remove shank from pot and let rest. Add reserved flour to pot and stir well to make brown roux. When brown color is achieved, add onions, celery and carrots to roux.


Add salt, pepper, bay leaves and ham stock, continuing to stir. Stir in coffee. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to simmer. You have now made our modernized version of red-eye gravy.

Return pork shank to a pot and pour the Red Eye Gravy. partially cover pot while simmering until meat is tender, vegetables over it. partially cover pot while simmering until meat is tender, about 2 hours.

Return pork shank to a pot and pour the red-eye gravy and vegetables over it. Partially cover  the pot while simmering until meat is tender, about 2 hours.


*All our recipes were originally designed for much larger batch sizes. These recipes have been reduced – but not tested at this scale. Please adjust as to your taste and portion size.
Me (Jay Pierce) with our farmers' cart.

Seasons Change

As I look out of the window on this overcast day, I can’t help but think about the fact that summer is fading and all of the lovely produce that we have been enjoying recently will not reappear for months. However, I rejoice at what is to come – although autumn’s bounty is less celebrated than summer’s, it is no less delectable.

In the same spirit, I would like to share with you that I have accepted a position with a restaurant in Charlotte, so I will be handing over the reins of culinary operations at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen in Greensboro to our general manager Felicia McMillan and her more-than-capable team. Felicia is not new to this, she has been with this outfit for 12+ years, including five as Chef de Cuisine. I have no doubts that she and her colleagues will carry the southern culinary baton like championship relay runners. In Cary, long timers Russell Shinn and Shane Garrity will continue to provide you with earnest hospitality and make sure the collard greens are as good as ever.

It would be dishonest to imply that I have been any more than a gear in the great machine of Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen. It takes right many noble souls to provide the highest quality hospitality at a great value that our guests have come to expect from us. That team, led by Dennis Quaintance and many others, is committed to guaranteeing that the flavors continue to make your eyes roll back in your head and the gracious hospitality of our service team does not skip a beat.

I will miss all of the wonderful people that I have had the honor of serving in the Greensboro and Cary communities over the last eight years. I can only move on from this delicious endeavor to the next stage of my career because I feel safe in the knowledge that all of our wonderful advocates will be cared for with the same or even greater care than they have been in the past.

I look forward to dining in our restaurants in the future as a guest … and enjoying some of that delicious skillet-fried chicken while sitting down.

-Chef Jay Pierce

Jay Pierce

It takes a village!

Let’s Revisit the Cabbage Patch

LOCAVORE’S DELIGHT: The Series # 48. Follow us as we explore the bounty of our region’s farms through the eyes and palate of Chef Jay Pierce.


While we’re sad to say goodbye to those sweet summer tomatoes, fall is officially here, and there’s a whole new set of crops on the block. The key to this whole local food system is really having locally produced food available year-round, because people need to eat year-round. We’re starting to see that become more of a reality here in the Piedmont, where more farms are growing crops that are available during both the spring and fall.

It’s easy to eat strawberries all year, because conventional farming makes that possible. But when we eat foods that aren’t really in season where we live, we’re really doing ourselves (and our local farmers) a big disservice. There are some excellent crops that can’t tolerate high heat but can tolerate cool nights; radishes, turnips, beets, spinach, Swiss chard, and cabbage are all delicious spring and fall crops.

When I think about one spring and fall crop in particular – cabbage – I don’t picture the perfectly smooth, spherical mounds we’re so accustomed to seeing in the grocery store. Instead, I picture Early Jersey Wakefield cabbage. It’s a pointy-topped variety of cabbage that used to be really popular in this area; but sadly, it has become less available. Farmers used to love growing it because it’s so sweet and wonderful. The reason it’s less common nowadays is that if you get an inordinate amount of rain, the cabbages will split, making them less attractive and less profitable. Because most farmers can’t afford that loss of investment, many gravitate toward plainer varieties. We’re really excited about three farms we work with regularly that do a strong job of growing at least three seasons’ worth of produce. All three – Schicker’s Acre, Guilford College, and Farlow Farm – supply us with some amazing cabbage!

North Carolina coleslaw – whether it’s the creamy slaw from “down east,” or the barbecue slaw from around Lexington – is made from generic cabbage. But if you can get your hands on some pointy-topped cabbage (such as Early Jersey Wakefield or Caraflex) when you visit the farmer’s market this fall, I urge you not to cook it. Shave it and make some coleslaw. Maybe it’s an Asian slaw with some ginger-sesame vinaigrette, or perhaps your favorite barbecue coleslaw; whatever your preference, these less-common types of cabbage will make your coleslaw sublime. (And when you happen upon some heavy, dense, flat-headed cabbage, that stuff is ideal for braising. That’s how we prepare our mustard-braised cabbage.)

Our coleslaw recipe is made with our own buttermilk salad dressing, and it was developed to play a complementary role to the smoky pulled pork sandwich on our lunch menu.

Another great fall dish we love is red cabbage cooked with wine and cranberries, which is delicious. It is wonderful with grilled meats like chicken or pork.

I really want to celebrate fall crops and encourage more people to plant all kinds of edible crops throughout the year. Ultimately, that’s the only way we’ll have a sustainable food system: by extending the seasons, and embracing the produce available to us within each of those seasons.

Cabbage 4-1-1

  • Cabbage originated in Europe, and it was a staple in people’s cuisine during the Middle Ages.
  • In Britain during World War I, cabbage leaves were used to treat trench foot because their leaves have cooling properties.
  • Cabbage is full of vitamin K, vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and folate, and it also has anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Cabbage should be wrapped and stored in the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator, and should keep for up to a week or so.
  • There are many different varieties of cabbage. Some of the most common are:

Green: This is one of the most common and versatile types of cabbage. It has large, tightly packed leaves and can fluctuate in size — from baseball to basketball size!

Red: This tightly packed cabbage actually has more of a purple hue, and it is often smaller than green cabbages.

Bok Choy: This dark green cabbage is more like Swiss Chard than other cabbages. It has crunchy stems and tender leaves, and it is best eaten in stir-frys.

Napa (also referred to as Chinese or celery cabbage): This mild cabbage looks more like a lighter colored romaine lettuce than its other cabbage relatives. It has an oblong shape, and its leaves grow off of thick stalks.

Savoy: Green and loosely packed, with a ruffled, lace-like texture, this is one of the most tender varieties of cabbage

Recipe: Lucky 32 Slaw

  • 8 c. cabbage, sliced ¼ inch
  • 2 c. carrots, ¼ inch julienne
  • ½ c. red onion, ¼ inch dice
  • 1 Tbs. salt
  • 1 c. Buttermilk Herb Dressing
  • 1 ½ tsp. Old Bay spice
  • ¾ tsp. celery seed
  • 1 Tbs. apple cider vinegar

Cut cabbage into quarters, and then slice into ¼ inch thick slices.
In a bowl, toss cabbage, julienned carrots, diced red onion, and salt to combine.
Let mixture sit at room temperature for 20 minutes, then rinse salt off and drain well. Set aside. In a bowl, combine Buttermilk Herb Dressing, Old Bay spice, celery seed, and vinegar. Add buttermilk herb mixture to cabbage mixture and combine well.

Makes 3 quarts

Recipe: Buttermilk Herb Dressing

  • 3 c. buttermilk
  • 1½ c. sour cream
  • 1½ c. mayonnaise
  • 1½ Tbs. granulated garlic
  • 1½ tsp. dried oregano leaves
  • 2 Tbs. chopped chives
  • 1 tsp. Tabasco® sauce
  • 1½ Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients well.

Makes 6 cups

Lucky 32’s Cranberry-Braised Cabbage

Recipe: Cranberry-Braised Cabbage

  • ½ c. red wine vinegar
  • ½ c. fruity red wine
  • 1 c. cranberries, dried
  • 1 Tbs. canola oil
  • ¼ c. yellow onion, diced
  • 1 lb. red cabbage, chopped
  • 1 c. vegetable stock

Combine wine and vinegar and add cranberries. Allow to sit for 10 minutes or until the cranberries soften.
Heat oil in skillet to medium-high, and sauté onions until golden.
Add rough chopped cabbage and sauté until shiny and softened, but not wilted.
Add stock and wine/cranberry mixture and simmer for five minutes.

Makes 3 cups

For more about our seasonal recipes, see our current menu at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen and our Blog Recipe Index: http://lucky32southernkitchen.com/recipes/