Category: farms & farmers’ markets
Learn why Bogue Sound Watermelons are in a league of their own… brightest of reds, super sweet and juicy! It ain’t about the melon.
Take the heat off your hot summer days with this cold Bogue Sound Watermelon Granita… with some North Carolina blueberries thrown in too!
Don’t throw out that watermelon rind! It won’t take long for you to cook up a batch of this delicious Sweet n’Hot Watermelon Rind Pepper Relish!.. soooo good on just about everything!
|August 26, 2017||Posted by Wendy Perry under apples, cook & eat nekkid, cook'n with NC goodies, crock pottery, slow cook'n & instant pots, farms & farmers' markets, honey, Mindless Mutterings from the Teacher's Lounge, published, sensational sides|
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!
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!
- 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
Add apples, water and salt to slow cooker. Stir and cover. Cook on high about 2 hours or low about 5 hours until tender.
Leave chunky, or puree with an immersion blender for smooth sauce. Taste for sweetness and add sugar as needed. Dust with apple pie spice.
- 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.
Peas are such a simple food… they don’t need much fuss’n with, and can be fixed in all sorts of ways. Cook simply with some country ham pieces. Ladle up a cup of the pot likker from their cook’n. Add some cornbread and call it supper! Top with stewed tomatoes or homemade tomato jam!
Whirl up for some right tasty hummus. Or make what we call “Carolina Caviar” for porch sit’n or tailgate’n which we will be doing soon!
To make this rather southern “dip,” you can cut up fresh veggies like peppers and tomatoes and onions and shake in some hot sauce, or just stir in some prepared salsa and “doctor it up” for a simpler version. I like to stir in some thicker tomato based BBQ sauce for a tasty surprise too. I like to serve mine with pork rind dippers as you’ll see here at this big reception I did long ago, but just serve with your own favorite chip!
Any way you use them, North Carolina field peas are just good eats. And right now is prime pea pick’n season. Load your freezer with all sorts of great peas to enjoy throughout the coming seasons, until it is time to load up again next summer.
You will need to blanch them before freezing, but that’s really easy to do. You will find several methods to do that here, at the National Center for Home Food Preservation’s site!
So run along to your local farm or farmers’ market and pick up PEAS! Beautiful peas in all shapes sizes and beautiful colors! Cook some cornbread, pour a glass of iced tea, and plop yourself down in that rocking chair on the porch… enjoy these dog days of summer before they are gone.
I rocked many a mile with my mama and grandma…. shelling peas on my grandma’s porch… back in the day, before pea shelling machines stole that “joy” from us. Who else has those memories? I remember my mama saying… “you will be glad you shelled those peas when we are eating them this winter” to which I defiantly declared… “I’d just as soon not eat a pea as to have to do this right here” as any young girl wanting to go play would say. But you know what, those WERE “the days.”
And oh how I’d give ANYthing… to go back and have those days again… with my mama, my Ma Hocutt, and the sounds of peas falling into those metal pans and my sore little thumbs. Anybody care to join me?
|August 3, 2017||Posted by Wendy Perry under cook & eat nekkid, corn, farms & farmers' markets, garden goodness, honey, Mindless Mutterings from the Teacher's Lounge, salads, slaws and such, sensational sides, wendy's signature recipes|
Corn…. here, there and over yonder! Oh, the delicious time of summer is here in all its golden glory, and I don’t know about you, but I just can’t get.enough.CORN!
I love it raw… lightly steamed on the cob… grilled… in my grandma’s corn puddin… as a side…. or as a meal, like last night when I made my favorite corn salad. Just good nekkid food at its finest…. nekkid just like the Good Lord gave it to us!
Corn time is HOT time here in North Carolina, so anytime I can “cook” supper, without cook’n a damn thing…. well, that’s what I’m talkin’ about. I tell you, we just do not appreciate our local farmers enough… who toil in this heat for US… and bring us their goodness, for such bargain prices! I get a tad defensive when I hear folks saying “that food is more expensive… I can’t afford it.” Say WHAT? I sometimes feel like I’m stealing from them, and just say “keep the change” even though it’s a mere pittance of what they deserve. Having come from generations of farming families in rural NC, I consider them to be “my people.” I know my food didn’t come from the back cooler at the Food Lion. So when I have the choice, it’s farmers’ market freshness for this gal.
I love strolling about, tasting little “wheels” of fresh corn, to find that day’s bestest! But usually, there’s little difference so I
try to buy from different farmers each trip to share the love. I think about how early they had to rise to get that freshly harvested load of corn to the market… some coming from counties away. Sleepy. Hot. Tired. …and ready to call it a day! And probably not interested in cook’n anything either when they get home.
So wherever you are, run to your local farmers’ market and shop! And don’t cook this salad for supper. Grab some fresh corn…. field peas that are abundant right now, squashes and tomatoes and peaches and figs and melons…. oh my! The bounty right now is endless… too bad it can’t be available all year long, although if it were, it probably wouldn’t taste nearly as good. Savor the seasons.… and Make.Corn.Salad! Your mouth (and those you share it with) will thank you!!
The dressing is so simple…. bright and flavorful, and citrus is the perfect pairing with the corn.
Summer = Farm Fresh Vegetables! And there are few things better that freshly pulled corn. The hardest thing about corn is deciding which way to eat it on any given day, but when my craving sets in, I just MUST stir up this summer corn salad. There's just nothing like the sweet corn, with its little "bite" stirred together with some feisty radish.... and freshly snipped herbs all dressed simply with honey and the bright flavors of citrus! So run to your local farmers market and get some sweet corn and make some for yourself. But watch out, it's addicting!
- 5-6 ears fresh corn shucked, cleaned and cut off cob
- 1 bunch radishes cleaned and chopped
- 1/2 medium red onion diced
- a few snips fresh herbs (I used chive, cilantro and thyme)
- about 1/2 cup local honey (drizzle in a little more if suits you!)
- juice of 1 orange
- juice of 1/2 lime
- 1-2 tablespoons Savory Spice Shop California Citrus Rub
Combine all vegetables and herbs in large mixing bowl. Drizzle with honey and juices. Add spice rub and stir to combine. EAT!!
- Feel free to add other herbs that you prefer. I just use what I have growing in my herb pots around the porch. Feel free to throw in other veggies too! I sometimes add a little bit of minced celery to this salad. Just don't get too carried away and lose focus on the CORN.
- If you do not have a Savory Spice Shop near you (although you can order their incredible goodies online!)... just look at what they have in it and use similar things. I do love pairing citrus with the honey for this salad. It just seems like a perfect match. You can zest your orange and lime into the salad and add whatever seasonings you have on hand. Don't not make it just because you don't have the SSS rub.
|June 19, 2017||Posted by Wendy Perry under appetizers, butters 'n spreads, cook & eat nekkid, cook'n with NC goodies, Cooking ~ Recipes, farms & farmers' markets, garden goodness, put'n up... pickles & preserves, tomatoes|
Tomatoes… my love! I doth live for this tasty time of year when they are bountiful at farmers’ markets and in generous friends’ gardens. I make tomato sauce…. plain I can spiff up at time of use, and spicy Arrabbiata too, to heat up with some local North Carolina coastal shrimp that cook in the sauce as it heats to spoon over garlic bread, pasta or spaghetti squash for a quick supper.
Today, I’m enjoying my latest batch of tomato jam. I have tasted many a tomato jams, but my personal preference is this simple concoction… without heavy spices found in some. I make in small batches to eat on and share, so I don’t always do the canning process, but you certainly “can.” I will probably do that later in the summer to store away some to get me through until next year this time. But now, while starting to be plentiful, and some farmers will sell “canning tomatoes” at a huge discount, I’ll just keep making my small batches.
You can enjoy tomato jam in many ways. It’s tasty over cream cheese and other soft cheeses (like here on my favorite, Cambozola) on crackers… or spooned over a bowl of summer peas (like my favorites here, White Acre Peas)…. over grilled chops and chicken… on a bacon sandwich or morning toast… just about anywhere you need “a little something.”
So go ahead and throw yourself a batch together when you’ll be around the house for a few hours. It really only takes about 15 minutes to get ready and in the pot to simmer, and after that, just a stir now and then until reduced and all “jammy!”
Jam on y’all!
Tomato time is happy time, and this truly simple tomato jam will put a smile on everybody's face!
- 3 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes
- 3 pounds sugar
- several grinds black pepper
- 1 teaspoon crushed red or cayenne pepper optional
- 2 big pinches salt
Heat pot of water to boiling. Cut "X" shape in bottom of each tomato. Put tomatoes into boiling water for about 1 minute or until you see skins start to loosen. Cool to touch.
Peel, core and cut into half-inch size pieces in colander to drain juice (save for another use or sip). Pour sliced tomatoes into heavy pot or Dutch oven. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking until your jam reduces and it thickens and gets "jammy."
Ladle into jars, cover and refrigerate. If canning for future use, follow instructions on canning jars for processing. Without processing, the jam will be fine in refrigerator up to about 6 months, if it lasts that long!
The 2 hours of cooking is approximate. If needed, cook less or more... depending on how yours thickens up. Some folks like to add in about 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, but I personally don't care for that, but is an option if you want to add.