A Year-Round Guide to Franklin and Nantahala

When my dad worked for Burlington Industries back in the early 1960s, we spent our summer days at the Bur-Mil Club in Greensboro. The club, now a park open to

Rosemary and Goat Cheese Strata

When my dad worked for Burlington Industries back in the early 1960s, we spent our summer days at the Bur-Mil Club in Greensboro. The club, now a park open to

4 Poolside Recipes That Make a Splash

Cherry pineapple slushies, smashburgers, peanut butter ice cream cups

When my dad worked for Burlington Industries back in the early 1960s, we spent our summer days at the Bur-Mil Club in Greensboro. The club, now a park open to the public, was once reserved for employees of the textile company. It was at the lap pool there that I jumped off the high dive for the first time and spent all day in the water.

The lifeguards would blow their whistles for adult swim at 10 minutes till every hour. For my friends and me, this was the signal for snack time. We’d dash to the pool grill, leaving chlorine-scented puddles behind us with every eager step. My skin, still warm from the sun, broke out in goosebumps as I stepped into the air-conditioned clubhouse and felt the cold concrete floor on the bottoms of my feet. I headed straight to the flat-top.

The smashburgers were some of the best I’ve ever had, always topped with American cheese. The buns were buttered, toasted, and crowned with a pickle slice on a toothpick. On the side were crinkle-cut fries — my favorite — served so hot, they’d burn your mouth.

After a burger and fries, we’d head outside to the lounge chairs to enjoy either a Nutty Buddy or an ice-cold, fruit-filled slushy. Today, I find myself telling my nieces and nephews as they splash around at my sister’s pool that they’ll never be hungrier than after spending an afternoon in the water. They roll their eyes, and I laugh as I watch them jump back in.

Smash cheeseburger with crinkle-cut fries on a tray

photograph by Matt Hulsman

Smash Cheeseburgers

Yield: 4 burgers.

1½ pounds ground chuck
½ teaspoon seasoning salt
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 slices American cheese
4 hamburger buns, buttered and lightly toasted
4 to 8 dill pickle slices

Special Sauce:
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
2 teaspoons dried minced onions
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon granulated sugar

In a large bowl, combine beef, seasoning salt, Worcestershire, and pepper. Using your hands, mix ingredients together until well combined. Form the mixture into 4 large meatballs (6 ounces each).

Heat a 12-inch cast-iron or heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to the hot pan, making sure it is evenly distributed. When skillet has just begun to smoke, add meatballs and firmly smash them flat, about ¼-inch thick, with a heavy metal spatula. Let cook for about 2 minutes, until a crust forms on the bottom.

Flip patties and top with cheese; cook for another 2 minutes for medium-rare to medium burgers, or 3 minutes for medium to medium-well burgers (internal temperature should reach 160°).

Place patties on toasted buns and serve with special sauce and pickle slices.

For the sauce: Place all ingredients into a mixing bowl and whisk until well incorporated. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Salt and pepper crinkle-cut fries

photograph by Matt Hulsman

Peppered Crinkle-Cut Fries

Yield: 4 servings.

4 large russet potatoes, peeled and washed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Using a crinkle cutter, slice potatoes, then cut into individual fries.

Place fries on a paper towel; pat dry. Transfer them to a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Using your hands, massage oil into fries until well coated.

Lay fries flat on baking sheets, making sure there is space between them. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon salt overtop.

Bake fries for 15 minutes. Turn fries over and continue baking for 10 minutes or until golden.

Remove fries from oven and place in a large, clean bowl. Sprinkle remaining salt and pepper overtop; toss until evenly coated. Serve immediately with your favorite dip.

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Glass of cherry pineapple slushies

photograph by Matt Hulsman

Cherry & Pineapple Slushies

Yield: 4 servings.

1 cup frozen cherries, pitted
1 cup frozen pineapple chunks
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 cups crushed ice
½ cup cherry juice
1 cup club soda, cold
4 fresh pineapple wedges (for garnish)
4 cherries with stems (for garnish)

To a blender, add frozen cherries, frozen pineapple, sugar, ice, and cherry juice; blend on high until smooth. Add club soda and blend on low speed a few seconds more. Pour into chilled glasses and garnish each with a pineapple wedge and a cherry.

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Three peanut butter ice cream cups

photograph by Matt Hulsman

Peanut Butter Ice Cream Cups

Yield: 10 to 12 servings.

½ gallon vanilla ice cream, slightly softened
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
½ cup chocolate shavings
½ cup fudge sauce
½ cup roasted peanuts, chopped
4 waffle cones, chopped, for garnish

Into a stand mixer, add vanilla ice cream, peanut butter, and chocolate shavings; mix on low speed until well incorporated.

Line a cupcake tin with paper cupcake liners. Scoop ½ cup ice cream mixture into liners. Drizzle each scoop with fudge sauce and sprinkle peanuts over each. Place tin in freezer until ready to serve. Garnish with chopped waffle cone pieces.

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This story was published on Jun 12, 2024

Lynn Wells

Lynn Wells is a personal chef with more than 20 years of experience in the food and hospitality industry and a degree in Nutrition Management from UNCG.