Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 47

Sweet Potato Scramble:
EARLY GIRL EATERY, ASHEVILLE, N.C.
John Stehling likes to keep his kitchen small, even if
Early Girl does see 500 people in a day.
"I got a couple big, 12-inch cast iron skillets I use,"
he says - also some 25- to 30-gallon hash pots from
South Carolina for pork cracklings, a food processor
- "another fryer would be amazing."
But really, small is better. "I'm good at making do
with what's available to me. I'm thrifty, I'm frugal.... I
have a plan for my leftover mashed potatoes."
Which is how the Local Sausage and Sweet Potato
Scramble came to be. "All the ingredients were all things
we had around at the restaurant." The menu had
included sweet potatoes, and they'd been kept in the
steam well to stay warm a little long that day and gotten
"mushy," as Stehling puts it.
"We cook a lot of bacon at the restaurant, so we have
a lot of bacon fat around" - and there was local sausage.
The end result was "a salty-sweet combination that fit."
"People loved it - I couldn't believe people love it!"

said Stehling. "There's dishes I spend all day on and I
can't give it away."
John and his wife, Julie, who co-own the restaurant,
aren't from western North Carolina originally - John
grew up in Winston-Salem, N.C. and Julie is from
Detroit. They met while working at The Hominy Grill,
a restaurant owned by John's brother Robert. They
clicked, got married, traveled around India and the
Midwest, and ended up in Asheville, where they helped
open Tupelo Honey, still a neighbor to Early Girl's
downtown Wall Street location. They opened Early
Girl (named after a tomato variety) in October 2001.
"We grew up lower middle-class and we had a garden and a farmer who had a cow and would slaughter
it for us," John remembers. "It's what I knew. I grew up
in the south, cooking southern food, and had worked
in lots of kitchens that were pretty straightforward
Southern. If I had grown up Italian, I might have
cooked Italian food.
"...I try to concentrate on Appalachia - that's why
we do so much corn, and sweet potatoes and squash."
John and Julie, who have two children - Henry, 9, and
Milo, 7 - garden: "strawberries, peppers, squash, a

The origins of Early
Girl's sweet potato
scramble: leftovers
that had gotten a
little too "mushy," and
bacon and sausage
that happened to be
around that day.

JULY/AUGUST 2014 | 47



Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014

Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014
Table of Contents
Print to Mobile
From the Editor
From the Farm
Festivals & Events
The Hike
Creature Feature
Mountain Report
Country Roads
Potomac Highlands Adventures
Get Up Early! Great Farm Vacations
Saving Mabry Mill
Photo Essay: Mountain Skies
Signature Mountain Dishes
Waterfront Living
Mountain Garden
Cabin in the Woods: Canaan Resort
Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Table of Contents
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 4
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Print to Mobile
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - From the Editor
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 7
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - From the Farm
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 9
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Festivals & Events
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 11
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 12
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 13
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 14
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 15
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - The Hike
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 17
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Creature Feature
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Mountain Report
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Country Roads
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 21
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 22
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 23
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Potomac Highlands Adventures
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 25
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 26
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 27
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 28
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 29
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 30
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 31
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 32
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 33
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Get Up Early! Great Farm Vacations
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 35
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 36
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 37
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Saving Mabry Mill
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 39
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 40
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 41
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Photo Essay: Mountain Skies
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 43
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 44
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 45
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Signature Mountain Dishes
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 47
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 48
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 49
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 50
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 51
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 52
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 53
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Waterfront Living
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 55
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 56
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 57
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 58
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 59
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 60
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 61
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 62
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 63
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 64
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 65
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 66
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 67
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 68
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 69
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 70
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 71
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 72
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Mountain Garden
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 74
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 75
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 76
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 77
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Cabin in the Woods: Canaan Resort
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 79
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 80
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - 81
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - July/August 2014 - Cover4
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