Cottage Lane Kitchen, founded by Samantha Cheek Swan in 2011, makes flavorful pepper relishes that complement food without overpowering it. Their mission is “to share and spread the pepper love to everyone.”
Samantha’s family has lived in Orange County since colonial times and owns a house on Cottage Lane in Chapel Hill. Samantha herself grew up all over the world, attended UNC-Chapel Hill to study art history, and then worked in Texas. In 2009 she traveled the world with her husband, bringing home exciting condiments from other lands.
But the family house on Cottage Lane remained, and in 2010 Samantha came home to visit her family. While there, she and her dad decided to make a batch of pepper relish. Both her great grandmother and her grandfather had grown peppers on the land and produced relish in the kitchen. The supply made by her grandfather was dwindling, however, and no one had made the relish since. Since no written recipe existed, Samantha tried to convert her father’s dashes of ingredients into repeatable measurements. This was the beginning of Cottage Lane Kitchen’s products; after refining, her flagship “Get Me A Switch” relish was ready in November 2011.
“Get Me A Switch” is “sassy yet sweet” and won the Critic’s Choice award at the 2012 NC Hot Sauce Festival, as well as 3rd place in the Relish (Hot) category at the 2013 Fiery Food Challenge in Dallas, a national competition. The name recalls the story grandparents tell of being forced to get a switch when they misbehaved, but also refers to the way the flavor changes from sweet to hot. It contains jalapeno and serrano peppers, and is locally sourced, preservative-free, and gluten-free. Samantha’s second relish, “Cape Fear,” is “a modern day relish with pineapple, citrus, and a touch of habanero” and debuted in May 2012. Both provide “just enough heat to make you happy.” Samantha makes her relishes in small batches with all natural ingredients. Pepper relish is a healthy alternative to salsa, pickle relishes, and pepper jelly, as it is low in sugar and sodium.
To help you abide by their slogan, “Relish…Every Day!” Samantha posts ideas for using relish on her website. Mainstream relish refers to pickle relish served on hotdogs and hamburgers, or used to make tartar sauce, but relishes can be so much more. For example, they make great appetizers served with nachos, over a block of cream cheese, or atop hummus or guacamole. They add flavor when mixed into side dishes like slaw, collards, bean salads, mashed potatos, or cornbread, or use them in grits to make breakfast exciting. They can top main dishes like crab cakes, chicken salad, eggs, sandwiches, or even the archetypal hotdogs and hamburgers. See more ideas on the Cottage Lane Kitchen website, http://www.cottagelanekitchen.com.