Category: appetizers

Honey Orange Grilled Watermelon

…a tasty sweet and salty side that pairs great with spicy grilled meats.

As summer wanes, there’s still an abundance of fresh watermelons!  So grab yourself one and do some Honey Orange Grilled Watermelon “steaks.”  These really do not need a printed recipe… 

Just whisk a little OJ into some local honey.  Cut the “steaks” in 1/2″ pieces. Place on hot grill and baste, cooking on each side just a couple of minutes to get a light char.  That’s it… unless you want to take it up to a “more better” level by scattering with some crunchy Maldon Sea Salt and some freshly ground black pepper!  This salt isn’t required but is great to have on hand, and readily available now in many places, so put on your shopping list and add to your pantry.

 

Tomato-Pimento Cheese Shortcakes With Black-Peppered Whipped Cream

 

Serve for breakfast, brunch or alongside your favorite grilled meats!

Sometimes, those of us who create recipes for both pleasure and profit throw together something that becomes a personal favorite. It seems that mine tend to be those using freshly harvested tomatoes! I got most of the tomato gene in my family, because my sister has never liked them, (with the exception of them being turned into something else like sauce that involves some sort of pasta).  Myself, well I live for the first early spring hothouse tomatoes grown by “down the road” friends… be it at my Zebulon home in Franklin County and a quick zip over to The Vollmer Farm, or just up the road a piece at one of my new favorite places near my “other” home in Cedar Point, NC… Winberry Farm Produce Market!  It just so happened I was in Cedar Point when doing my happy dance creating this vision for the first time I’ve had parked in my head for a few years, but just never got around to making it come to life!

This recipe was created for Carolina Country Magazine... where I am blessed to contribute a couple of recipes each month, and occasionally get to write for the magazine too!  We create and shoot for magazines a few months in advance, so both Vollmer and Winberry’s hothouse tomatoes were none too soon for me to start playing with this… what I consider one of my personal “masterpieces!”  What’s not to love?
…fresh local tomatoes?  …pimento cheese?  …whipped cream? 
Goodness Gracious for sure!
Nekkid food… just like God gave it to us.

My guinea pigs all gave this a thumbs up too, confirming what I thought… this one is a keeper.  So without babbling on, here is my recipe for Tomato-Pimento Cheese Shortcakes with Black-Peppered Whipped Cream.  It’s just right for a light summer breakfast or brunch (to be sure with a side of bacon, sausage or country ham)… or my favorite way to eat, alongside a big hunk’o grilled bone-in ribeye!
Suit your fancy…

And just a helpful hint… the shortcakes can be made ahead and frozen. Just take out and “freshen” in your toaster oven. The microwave will do too.

I hope you and yours enjoy these as much as I have this summer.  Now run along and make yourself some.  Stay tuned… still to come, more tomato faves, including my Dilly Swiss Tomato Pie.

Tomato-Pimento Cheese Shortcakes with Black-Peppered Whipped Cream

Serve these savory summer shortcakes for breakfast, brunch... and they make a perfect side for grilled steaks, chops and chicken.  The shortcakes can be frozen to quickly revive in your toaster oven or microwave. 

Course: Appetizer, Breakfast, Brunch, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Farmers Market, Garden Goodies, North Carolina Goodies, Southern, Summer Food
Servings: 12 servings
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • 3 1/4 cups biscuit mix
  • 1 cup thick pimento cheese
  • 1/4 cup Duke's mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup club soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
Filling:
  • about 14 large tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup minced sweet onion
  • 4 tablespoons oil, your preferred salad oil
  • 4 tablespoons vinegar, your favorite
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup each fresh chopped basil and oregano
  • salt and pepper to suit your taste
Whipped Cream:
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 1 8 ounce cream cheese with chives
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • fresh herbs to garnish, chives preferred
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine shortcake ingredients and drop by heaping tablespoon onto prepared baking pan. Spread flat with back of spoon.Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Cool.

  2. Stir all filling ingredients together least one hour before serving. Spoon filling over 12 shortcakes, covering each with second cake.
  3. For topping, whip cream and cream cheese until thickened. Blend in pepper.
  4. Top shortcakes with dollop of whipped cream and garnish with fresh herbs.

Speaking of tomatoes, fried green ones…

A few years ago while food styling and creating recipes at Our State Magazine, I had the opportunity to create some “sauces” for Fried Green Tomatoes!  We Southerners know summertime isn’t complete without enjoying this tangy fried treat. OK, I’m sure some folks may coat and bake them, but Wendy don’t play that with some things, and “Fried” green ‘maters are one of those things.

Most of us have our preferred way to cook those, so this post isn’t about that…. since basically you just dip in buttermilk, crumbs…. and fry!

Saucy Fried Green Tomatoes
photography by Matt Hulsman for Our State Magazine!

 

Today, I’d like to share the 3 toppings the magazine published.  See if you find one you like, or if you have a preferred way to serve, please add a note about that in the comments below! 

The toppings are…

  • Herby Mayo Dressing… like Green Goddess
  • Whipped Feta & Basil Pimento Cheese
  • Sweet ‘n Hot Strawberry Spread

Enjoy these recipes on Our State’s site or printable below!
Recipes published June 2015

Herby Mayo Dressing for Fried Green Tomatoes

Try a drizzle of this dressing, then add bits of bacon and chopped chives. (Hint: It tastes great on salads or as a vegetable dip, too.)

Yield: About 1¼ cups.

Course: Brunch, Dressings, Main Course, Salad, Sauces, Side Dish
Cuisine: Farmers Market, Southern, Summer Food
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise, Duke's preferred
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons garlic paste (or 4 cloves, grated)
  • 4 whole scallions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • several turns freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the dressing is blended and the herbs are incorporated. Store in a jar in the refrigerator. Serve at room temperature. 
Whipped Feta & Basil Pimento Cheese for Fried Green Tomatoes

This recipe calls for feta cheese, but you can easily substitute goat cheese if preferred.

Yield: About 1 pint.

Course: Brunch, Dressings, Main Course, Sauces, Side Dish
Cuisine: Farmers Market, Southern, Summer Food
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces feta cheese
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons diced pimento, drained
  • 2 teaspoons spicy brown mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1-2 teaspoons sugar optional
  • 6-8 fresh basil leaves
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients except basil leaves into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until combined and fluffy. Tear up 3 or 4 of the basil leaves, add to the pimento cheese, and pulse until chopped and incorporated into the cheese. Roll up remaining leaves and slice into thin ribbons.
  2. Spoon cheese on top of warm fried green tomatoes. Garnish with basil ribbons.
Sweet ’n’ Hot Strawberry Spread for Fried Green Tomatoes
The best of both worlds: strawberries for sweetness, chowchow for a little kick.
Course: Brunch, Dressings, Main Course, Sauces, Side Dish
Cuisine: Farmers Market, North Carolina Goodies, Southern, Summer Food
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons drained chow chow
  • 1 tablespoon strawberry jam or preserves
  • fresh basil optional
Instructions
  1. Stir to combine and spread onto fried green tomatoes.

 

…just sweet n’simple peppered tomato jam

…just sweet n’simple peppered tomato jam

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!

....just sweet n'simple peppered tomato jam
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
2 hrs
Total Time
2 hrs 15 mins
 

Tomato time is happy time, and this truly simple tomato jam will put a smile on everybody's face!

Course: Appetizer, Breakfast, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: Southern
Servings: 3 pints
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  1. 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.

  2. 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."  

  3. 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!

Recipe Notes

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.

…just sweet n’simple peppered tomato jam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sesame Parmesan Squash Crackers

Sesame Parmesan Squash Crackers

It’s here!  Squash season… the start of that time of year when squash seems to be coming at us from every which way. I planted squash seeds in the spring, but just for squash blossom cook’n and eat’n. If you have never eaten them but love squash… oh lordy!  I’ll come back soon with some recipes and “how tos” on that, but today, enjoy these nearly carbless goodies!  

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Sesame Parmesan Squash Crackers

A fun side for summer soup and yummy snack for low carbers! Soooo addicting.  

Course: Side Dish, Snack
Servings: 8
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • 4 cups grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups grated and drained* squash (yellow or zucchini)
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375.

  2. Combine cheese and drained squash. Mix together with fingers. Line baking pan with parchment paper. Pinch tablespoon amounts of mixture and place onto baking pan about 2 inches apart to allow for spreading as they cook. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seed herbs of choice.

  3. Cook for about 8-9 minutes, until bubbly and lightly browned. Let sit in pan a couple of minutes, then remove to cake cooling rack with spatula to finish cooling about 20 minutes. Store for a few days in covered container, if they last that long!  

Recipe Notes

Squash prep:  Line colander with paper towels. As you grate each squash, put onto paper towels and top with another layer of paper towels and repeat till all done. Make sure you remove as much water/moisture from squash as possible.  If too much moisture remains, your crackers won’t crack!