Category: Culinary Adventures

OINKERS Biscuits Recipe… a little south in YOUR mouth Barbecue Sandwich Biscuit Bites with BBQ Gravy Dip

Oinkers!! …“South In Your Mouth” skillet Barbecue Drop Biscuits
with BBQ Gravy Dip   ©Wendy L. Perry, Inc.
(feel free to publish and share with credit please)

OINKERS… Best Southern Biscuit Winning Recipe

Recipe By:  Wendy Perry

Yield:    About 4 dozen snack-size biscuits.

For the whole Biscuit Day story… scroll on down below this post!

It’s tailgate time, and all across America, particularly around the south, that means it’s time to EAT…BARBECUE!  Stadium parking lots are bustling with football fanatics who need tasty, yet quick and easy treats for themselves and guests.  BBQ restaurants thrive and the long lines of “tailgate traffic” waiting for drive-through BBQ has already begun.  BUT, if you swing by your local BBQ establishment the day or two before game day, you can toss these biscuits up faster than you can sit in that line on your way to the game… and grin as you zip on past those folks on your way to your pigskin party! Oinkers! are the perfect nibbler to pair with your favorite cold beverage and much easier to juggle than a sandwich, not to mention way more fun to eat. These are great warm or at room temp too… (just be sure to throw in your cooler during game time for safe post-game bites, IF you have any left.)  Instead of messy BBQ sandwiches, surprise your tailgaters with these tasty alternatives… with bread, bbq, slaw and sauce IN the biscuit bite…with some BBQ Dip’n Gravy on the side!  Great for skillet camping too!  Happy Fall Y’all… and GO (insert fav Team here)!

 

OINKERS

Biscuit Ingredients

 

2 cups NC’s Midstate Mills Southern Biscuit® Formula L Biscuit Mix
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup vinegar based BBQ Sauce (eastern NC Style-I use George’s)
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or to taste)
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 pinch salt
few dashes black pepper
few shakes hot sauce (NC’s Texas Pete preferred)
1 1/4 cups  firmly packed eastern NC barbecue, snipped with scissors if in big pieces
2/3 cups chopped slaw (yours or purchased)

BBQ Gravy Ingredients

1 bottle of your favorite vinegar based BBQ Sauce-I use 1/2 George’s original and 1/2 George’s Special sauces
1 Tablespoon brown sugar (if using a BBQ sauce that has no sweetener)
OR…use one of our many great “Western NC Style BBQ” sauces for a thicker dip!

 

To make BISCUITS:
Preheat oven to 425.  Place cast iron skillet into oven to preheat.

In mixing bowl, combine all biscuit ingredients.  Gently fold mixture until blended.  Drop by heaping teaspoon size mounds onto hot greased cast-iron skillet. Mounds should be near, but not touching each other.  Quickly place skillet back into oven.  Bake about 9 minutes until tops are lightly browned.

To make GRAVY:

Pour 1 bottle of your favorite vinegar based BBQ sauce into heavy-bottomed saucepan.  Bring to a boil; reduce to rolling simmer and continue cooking until reduced into thick sauce.  Or, use your own recipe and reduce as well.  If you use a sauce with little to no sweetener in the ingredients, add about 1 tablespoon per bottle (or per 1-2 cups of sauce) of any one of the following:

  • Honey
  • Brown sugar
  • Molasses

Serve biscuits, warm or at room temp, with BBQ Gravy in bowl for dip’n!

 

©Wendy L. Perry, Inc. (feel free to publish and share with credit please

For printable recipe, click here!

THE non-baker ‘cued up 1st Place in “Best Southern Biscuit®” Contest

1st Place Biscuits – Midstate Mills “Best Southern Biscuit” Recipe Contest *OINKERS!* Barbecue Biscuit Bites with BBQ Gravy Dip

The world’s slowest blogger and quintessential non-baker took home 1st Place last week in the 1st Annual “Best Southern Biscuit®” Contest at the 2nd Annual Midstate Mills Biscuit Day over in Newton, NC!  Come along and experience the day, the WHOLE day… in this Culinary Adventurist’s “Southern Biscuit Day” journey.  This is a story about biscuits, yet so much more… living a delicious life with obsessed old foodie friends… sharing food,  fellowship and culinary history with new ones… making new culinary memories with all those folks… and being blessed enough to live another day to tell about it to folks like you here reading this tale.  Fix yourself a jar of sweet tea and come on along…

Wendy & Jody tour the mill…

My friend Jody Currin of Mrs. Picky’s Biskits and Marmalades (and 3rd place winner of this year’s International Biscuit Festival) and I never miss a beat when we set out on our next adventure… and we weren’t about to disturb that trend on this trek…we meet the most interesting folk along our way at the backroads junktique and antique stores we swerve into!  And we see some of the dangdest things… I just have to share this quick sighting here before moving on to biscuits… because in all my galavanting, NEVER have I seen a drive-up window at a hoochie coochie lingerie establishment, until now… and even though it was dark-thirty when we left our hotel and headed to Biscuit Day (just 9 miles away because we were both so giddy and ‘cited to go there and because Jody beds down at 8pm and is up by 4am!), I insisted Jody stop the truck so as to photograph this unusual phenomenon!  Turns out the fellow at the hotel desk was intrigued as well to see the installation of a drive up window when they all knew there at the hotel what kind of store was soon to open… so in Hickory, NC, one can peruse the online store of this here place, order… and just drive up…never needing to grace the inside of said store! 
Now don’t that just beat all???
And here’s proof… Hoochie Coochie Drive Thru Window!

So…on to BISCUITS!

Downtown Newton, NC was all aflutter as folks from Midstate Mills were busy sharing their biscuits with town folk and others like us who made the pilgrimage… to b.i.s.c.u.i.t.s. ~ Lotsa Midstate Mills biscuits… these filled with Neese’s Country Sausage! About 1600 biscuits were devoured and on hand to fill them were folks from Neese’s… and that cute and bubbly Andrea Neese you see in their TV commercials… and also a sister Home Economist!

Andrea and her folks were cook’n up sausage, liver mush (that went first!) and bacon as the perfect fill’n for all those biscuits! 


Sooooo…
as Midstate Mills Baking Expert Belinda Ellis started talking about all the entries and announced 3rd, then 2nd place winners, she started hinting around at the winning recipe…  said that at first glance of the recipe and ingredients, she thought them to be rather odd… and quite frankly, didn’t look very appealing. BUT, having made them and other recipe entries for her panel of chefs and foodies to try, my “OINKERS” quickly disappeared and they asked her to make MORE! When she started saying that this recipe included chopped barbecue, slaw and Eastern NC vinegar-based BBQ sauce in their Southern Biscuit Formula L mix,

Wendy with Belinda Ellis, Midstate Mills Baking Expert and big old PRIZE!

I turned to Jody (professional biscuit maker!) and said something to the effect of… “OMG, that’s MY recipe!” Having a reputation for being THE non-baker amongst my cheffy friends, not only did this increase my giddyness level, I just HAD to snicker a little… what better poster child for the product and how easy it is to create with it than with little old ME throw’n together creative (and winning)  biscuit concoctions??

In addition to being totally surprised by this accolade, I met the greatest folks in Newton… Midstate Mills is now welcoming its 4th generation into this family business… and from the founder’s granddaughter Cindy Gabriel

to her siblings 

to other folks like John Craig, who produces the International Biscuit Festival in Nashville, TN, the people were just the “butter on the biscuit!” I also had a fun chat with Tim and Jan

about their Southern Fresh Show on the RFD-TV Network… a culinary and gardening show filmed entirely here in North Carolina! Their show airs on Mondays at 4:30EST, so tune in…

Biscuit makers are a friendly lot and hearing the stories shared at MM’s 2nd Annual Biscuit Day by well-seasoned ladies and gents there was very humbling and I felt like I should relinquish the win to those more experienced than me-self… their Biscuit Tales need to be preserved as does the art of biscuit making!

As the festival concluded we enjoyed lunch across the street at Callahan’s Cafe where I satisfied my cheeseburger craving and Jody (and I) enjoyed the house special “Chicken Pie.” We then strolled a block away where a few of us were treated to a tour of the lab, testing kitchen and mill by yet another sibling… where I was outfitted with my “Tour de Couture”  loverly paper shoes (since this flip-flop wear’n gal didn’t have any “closed toe touring shoes” in her bag)! 

As our day ended and we headed back eastward and home, our journey couldn’t simply end there… and somewhere ‘tween Greensboro and Liberty, sumthin’ happened to Jody’s truck… smoke was fly’n out the tail end like an oven full of burnt biscuits…so as we’re so good at doing, swerved OFF the highway onto a side road, jumped out of the truck and scurried up the hill (till we heard a fierce barking dog). Possible Exploding Truck Fire?… or dog bite in the rumpus… tough decision! We thought for sure the truck was on fire… and at this writing I’m not sure what it ’twas… but we met the kindest locals on the side of that road in the THREE HOURS we spent there… SO typical of fellow North Carolinians… and this story just wouldn’t be complete without thanking these strangers…

First, Highway Patrol Officer Pike, whose family owns the farm up the road where the annual Liberty Antique Sales are held… and who hung with us (and our diesel splattering there to the left) until he had to tear off and chase a drunk driver somebody was tailing down that road… and who also managed to move the truck out of the middle of the road (since after we jumped out and made our get-away, it wouldn’t crank again)…. then, this fellow in the bright green shirt who works for the Town of Liberty, (name unknown) whose daughter came by right after our “incident” happened and sent him to help us… and some time (a lotta time) later…  Mr. Tow Truck Driver there with me… a most welcomed sight, second only to Jody’s hubby Mike arriving from an hour and a half away in Erwin to take us Biscuit Queens homeward bound!  And never one far away from cookbooks… Jody managed to snap a shot of me…during our ‘detour’ home… “ditchside,” reviewing cookbooks for the “Carolina Cooking” features section for the beautimous Our State Magazine where I do food styling and recipe development… with hundreds of books to review to make just the right selections  this gal NEVER leaves home with out a sack o’ cookbooks!  ‘Cause I was a Girl Scout…always prepared!!

Reflections… Winning this contest is such an honor I will forever cherish and is a ‘culinary feather in my cap’ I feel so blessed to have… but with such a wondermous product as Midstate Mill’s Biscuit Mix (just one of their many great goodies), anybody, and I mean ANYbody can make biscuits… fast as you can open a can and bang it on the counter before your oven is pre-heated! Go get yourself some today and see what fun biscuits you can stir up… and while you’re at it, find a kiddo and let them help!

This product is PERFECT for getting little ones involved in the kitchen… and it’s high time we all do that…
teach a child to cook and show them what REAL food is all about!

Now, go make some biscuits y’all  Printable recipe right here…

Part 1: Old Fashioned Coconut Cake… and Caramel Cake from Hell #CakeDisaster

I like a good moist coconut cake… not “love,” but do enjoy on occasion.   As is the case all around, there have been some ladies in my community, who, over the years, made a name for themselves with their cakes.  I’ll start this tale with a funny happening I had regarding “vintage” cakes that will take us full circle to this coconut cake saga.

I was recipe developer and food stylist for years at Our State Magazine here in North Carolina. (Check out my work there here and here!)  Before I came on board, they had been asking readers to send in their favorite church and community cookbooks for consideration in the new section they were creating in the magazine where these books would be featured. By happenstance, I judged at the NC State Fair that October as I do each year, but one day the Our State editor, Elizabeth Hudson, happened to be judging too.  We exchanged cards and she said, “well maybe we can use you at the magazine someday.”  Well of course I was giddy at that idea but had little faith anything would come to be.  But a couple of weeks after that, they got in touch and told me of this new section starting… in JANUARY!  Now keep in mind, this was the end of October, and they, like all magazines, work months in advance of publication!  They asked if I would like to prepare the foods for this new cookbook feature section each month….
Ummmm, a nanosecond later I said, “why yes I would!”
Now keep in mind, I’d n.e.v.e.r. done any such thing, and had no idea nor training in the world of food styling!!  

But off on yet another culinary adventure I went.

For the first few months, we did 10…. yes, TEN recipes each month!  Folks, that is a LOT of food shopping, prepping and cook’n. To have to cart over to monthly shoots in Greensboro one day a month that we started at 9:00AM!  

A few months later, that was trimmed to 8, then 5, and by the time I left 5 years later, we were down to 3 a month!  Much of that is dictated by ad sales and how many pages will be in each issue.

So the first 4 years, the editor in charge of the recipes would select which book(s) would be featured (there were hundreds if not thousands of books on the shelf there at the OS office).  Then, she would speak to the entity who did the book and find out any favorites in the book(s). The recipes chosen to be featured would be sent to me to shop, prep, prepare and prop!  It wasn’t until 4 years later I got to create and feature my own recipes each month.  

Now most that know me know that I don’t particularly care to BAKE.  The words “yeast” and “knead” send my brain into a tizzy!  I didn’t let this on for a while at OS because I was so tickled and excited for this opportunity, I didn’t want to be negative about such.

So without fail, each month, there would be a “vintage” cake of some sort for me to fix!  UGH…
And they NEVER would turn out right!  I’d make the recipe several times with failure each time.  I’d call the editor in panic and despair, and she’d sometimes pick another last minute recipe for me to sub.

Well one month, sometime into the first year and after multiple cake “issues,” I was sent a caramel cake to make.
I made that damn cake 3 times. It called for use of a candy thermometer (another tool causing me extreme stress)!  
Before I could lift the pot of sauce off the burner and turn around to spoon over the cake, that damn frosting turned to concrete, right there in the pot!  The one recipe I did manage to get “poured” onto the cake wasn’t enough to ice a large cupcake! (see picture below).
I actually found some pictures of this nightmare I shot that day to send the editor to show her what this recipe she sent me was doing… and asked… “WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO?”  Do excuse the horrible quality of them… they were shot quickly on an old phone to send to her to see what I was trying to describe and are as bad as the icing and cake themselves!

The caramel cake disaster!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was crying. The shoot was the next morning. I was on try 4 of this monster! 
I was posting my angst on facebook! 

A baking friend saw my panic and called me… said to send her the recipe to make. She got the stuff together and made it.
Well low and behold, it did the same thing for her too!
She surmised, which made perfect sense…. that oftentimes, these ladies (Church Cake Ladies I call them) were known for “their” cake!  Their particular cake was their claim to fame so to speak in their community! So when somebody in the church or community was putting together a fundraiser cookbook and asked them to contribute their recipe, they’d change it in some way, unbeknownst to the cookbook person, so nobody could actually successfully duplicate “their” cake!
I’m certain that was the case with those old recipes I was sent.  And in each case, the book contact was asked to get in touch, but the ladies had passed on. 

So I said all that to say this. (I don’t like writing longgggg stories since y’all probably don’t like reading longgg stories!)…

Last week, my friend Lisa Prince (Marketing @ NC Department of Agriculture) I judge for at the NC State Fair each year shared a Coconut Cake recipe on her noon news feature on WRAL TV.  Well mercy, ever since, I’ve wanted to make that cake!  It’s a 5-day-to-make cake, and haven’t had time nor space in my refrigerator that’s full of stuff for February magazine issue recipes I’m working on…  

WRAL TV”s Elizabeth Gardner’s Old Fashioned Coconut Cake! …Photo from NC Department of Agriculture

Phot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s such an easy cake to make, and perfect for folks like me who don’t particularly care to bake.  And I’m pretty certain this one will work!  Tried and proven by Lisa!  Even though it’s an old fashioned cake! And y’all know me. I’m always looking for ways to tweak a recipe that has inspired me into my own… 
Sooooo… I’m thinking to myself… “self, I bet that cake would be damn good made with chocolate layers…. like a Mounds, or Almond Joy!” 
So self got in gear.
I dropped by the grocery store today but while in there, to get my favorite Duncan Hines mix… I pondered… “ummmm, which one of all these chocolates would be the best?” 

And “what IS the difference in all these chocolates?”
So I googled there in the Food Lion and pieced together some information to share with you right here… for making a chocolate version of this coconut cake… or just because! 

I am only discussing Duncan Hines mixes here as that is my preferred… because it’s what my Ma Hocutt used, and what my mama used.

Devil’s Food... this is DH’s “basic” chocolate cake.  It offers what might be called a “medium chocolate” flavor.

(Ever wonder why it’s called “devil’s food” cake?)

Butter Chocolatethis is like Devil’s Food, but the oil is replaced by butter (oh yes!) making it a richer (more “devilish?”) version.

Classic Dark Chocolate Fudgedeep rich chocolate flavor

Swiss Chocolatemost like milk chocolate with a less “chocolatey” flavor

German Chocolatea light German flavored chocolate.  This cake is most likely frosted with a pecan and coconut frosting.

My mama’s favorite candy bar was an Almond Joy. So sometime this Christmas season, in her memory, and because I’m curious, I’m going to make this old fashioned coconut cake. BUT… I got the Classic Dark Chocolate Fudge mix for my layers… and some almonds I’m going to toast and put on top!  So stay tuned. When I get around to Part 2 of this cake tale, you won’t want miss out on MY version!

Till then, if you make this cake, come over to my facebook community and share your experience… review, and pictures too! Hopefully it will look a whole lot better than this thing!

The caramel cake from hell!

 

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire… Fun Fall NC Festival!

 

 

 

Looking for a fun #culinaryadventure day trip from the Triangle area? Head over to High Rock Farm in Gibsonville on 11/4 where YOU can roast chestnuts over an open fire, sample goodies made with chestnuts and bring some home too! Here are a couple of pics… a blast from my past when I went in 2012! Details on their FB page. You’ll enjoy the beautiful historic home (open to tour) and farm (Est. 1807). I’m sure the festival has grown a lot since I visited! And you can take your doggie too…

“Come enjoy the day on the farm with food trucks, a variety of vendors, bounce house, historic house tours, hayrides, live music, and of course chestnuts roasting on an open fire!
Tickets ($8 a person) maybe purchased online or at booth day of event. This is a rain or shine event
Dogs welcomed but must be leased. 
So head to Gibsonville and have a roasty toasty nutty good time!! 

Fall = Applesauce!

Fall is in the air… well kinda sorta, now that fresh North Carolina apples are making their debut at farmers’ markets! And with that, comes comfort foods, like applesauce. Who doesn’t love that?  It makes such a quick and simple healthy side dish for so many things, including breakfast! What could start your day off better than some NC maple or brown sugar pork sausage with a side of freshly made applesauce?  Check out this site for lots of great information about North Carolina apples!

And because you can crock a pot so fast, unless you really want to, there’s no need to do huge batches and can.  Just make some fresh every week or so as you need in your house!

Apple Pie Spiced Slow Cooker Applesauce

Apple Pie Spiced Slow Cooker Applesauce

This recipe is so easy… you can have it in the pot in 5 minutes and go on about your business. It takes care of itself… wouldn’t it be great if all our foods did that?  

My applesauce is featured in this month’s September issue of Carolina Country Magazine but you can find it printable below.  As you will see in the notes, there are easy ways to vary this basic recipe.  You can use your favorite pie spice… and I really like to use the Georgia Peach Spice from Savory Spice Shop.

And here’s a helpful hint... for those of you with small households, I highly recommend getting yourself a mini crock pot (or two) for cook’n. I have a couple and cook in them several times a week.  The heat is so intensified due to its smaller size, food gets hot faster and cooks much faster too. I enjoy soft creamy grits some mornings in 30-45 minutes. I buy Boston butts when on sale and have them cut in half to freeze one/cook one… a half fits perfectly into the mini pot and in a couple of hours, I have my own Eastern North Carolina pulled pork BBQ!  The portions are perfect for a couple of folks and you won’t end up with lots of leftovers (but maybe just enough to throw together a mini crock pot of soup).  I’m not sure all the places you can get them, but I picked up both of mine at thrift stores… one for $3 and the other was $7. And I recently gifted one to my “other mother” from Roses for $12!  You can’t beat that….  and they are a great inexpensive Christmas gift for singles, couples and seniors that aren’t able to stand and do much cooking anymore.  You can even pair up with a grocery store gift card if you want to help someone on a fixed income at holiday time! And for you single and couple campers out there, a mini is a must-have.

So without further adieu I give you my delicious slow cooker applesauce! Happy Sauce’n and Happy Fall y’all!  Please be sure to share my recipe and blog with friends, and thanks!

Apple Pie Spiced Slow Cooker Applesauce
Fall is here, and so are North Carolina apples! Some are better for applesauce than others, so be sure to ask at the farmers market or do a quick online search to get just the right ones. We like to leave half the peel on for a chunkier sauce, but peel them all if preferred.
Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Dessert, Sauces, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: American, Farmers Market, North Carolina Goodies, Southern
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • 8-10 large apples cored and roughly chopped, peel half
  • 1/3 cup apple juice or water
  • pinch salt
  • brown sugar, honey or sugar as needed
  • apple pie spice or something similar
Instructions
  1. Add apples, water and salt to slow cooker. Stir and cover. Cook on high about 2 hours or low about 5 hours until tender.
  2. Leave chunky, or puree with an immersion blender for smooth sauce. Taste for sweetness and add sugar as needed. Dust with apple pie spice.
Recipe Notes
  • Serve warm or chilled. Great alongside pork and chicken or stirred into your morning oatmeal or yogurt. Perfect for lunchboxes too!!
  • Spice:  Use cinnamon or any sort of "baking" spice you like such as pumpkin pie spices. I love to use the George Peach Spice blend from Savory Spice Shop!
  • Variation: Use half apples and half pears for a wonderful apple-pear sauce.