Category: baking (she said in terror)
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…
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!
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,
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 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…
|January 21, 2019||Posted by Wendy Perry under baking (she said in terror), Mindless Mutterings from the Teacher's Lounge, peanut butter, Substitute Teachers, sweet treats|
It’s been a crazeee bizzeeee week for this old gal as I’ve embarked on yet another new adventure (more about that soon) so this post is draggin’ butter a few days. I’m really excited about it though, because it features my blog’s very first guest post!
A few days ago was “National Peanut Butter & Jelly Day” (although I’m not sure who proclaims some of the ‘national days’ I’ll be blogging about). Teresa Williford, my baker bud and friend from down the road in Elm City quickly jumped at my invite to create something reallll good to celebrate the day. She recently created another fun recipe featuring Lizard Lick Towing Company’s (and TV Show) new BBQ Sauce, but since we’ll be publishing that soon in a magazine along with a few I stirred up myself, we’ll save that surprise… but what she came up with for that was simply unbelievable! Stay tuned for that…
So back to PB&J Day…. Teresa sent me several yummy recipes and it was hard deciding on which one(s) to share… so I narrowed down to my two favs. I surely hope y’all will try one or both of these and also, please give Teresa some feedback below in the comments section… and if you like the looks of either (or both), be sure to click that little Facebook button to share on your FB page. If you are in this neck of the woods and need an outside-the-box OR traditional baked goods, contact Teresa at email@example.com!
THANK YOU Teresa! I’m sure everbody else will join me in welcoming you and will be looking forward to more wondermous recipes from you too…
1 lb of confectioners’ sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup jelly or jam
3/4 stick of butter, cubed
Sift the confectioners’ sugar and salt together in a microwavable bowl. Add milk, vanilla, peanut butter and jelly and butter cubes. Blend until mixed together. Microwave on high for 1 minute, stir. *Microwave an additional minute and stir until smooth. Pour into wax paper lined 8 inch square dish. Refrigerate until cool and solid. Best if it sits overnight.
* Watch carefully and adjust time based on wattage of your microwave.
** If you want to make it chocolate, sift 1/2 cup of cocoa in with the sugar and salt.
PB&J Pop tarts
1 Box of Puff Pastry
1 egg, lightly beaten
6 TBS jam (I used grape jam)
6 TBS peanut butter
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 TBS milk or water
Rainbow sprinkles (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Take pastry out of freezer and let it sit on counter for about 30 minutes or until pliable. Roll both sheets out on lightly floured counter, enough to get about 6 card size rectangles. Brush one sheet with the beaten egg. Score the egg washed sheet into 6 rectangles. Spoon 1 TBS of peanut butter and 1 TBS of jam in each rectangle. Put the other sheet over the egg washed one and press down to make the 6 rectangles. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut out the rectangles and press around edges to seal. Place the rectangles, spaced, on a baking sheet. Put in freezer for 10 minutes.
Take out of freezer and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the tops of the pastries are golden brown. Let
When the pastries are cooled for 30 minutes, in a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and enough of the milk or water to make a smooth, pourable glaze. Pour or brush the tops with the glaze, then sprinkle with the rainbow sprinkles. Let them stand for 15 minutes so the glaze will set.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 days.
…and for you more advanced bakers out there ~
Note from Teresa… This Pâte Brisée recipe is from The Professional Pastry Chef. I bake by weight not measure, and have included both. Pâte Brisée is French for “short dough.” This means it has a high fat to flour ratio making it nice and crumbly, flakey and rich! It is said that if you only learn and make one pastry, this should be ‘it.’
1 3/4 cups (245 grams) unbleached all purpose flour
1 TBS sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks/228 grams) cold unsalted butter, cubed
2 egg yolks
3 TBS cold milk
Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the flour, sugar and salt for 15 seconds. Scatter the butter over the top and mix on low speed for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, or just until the flour is no longer bright white and holds together when you clump it and the lumps of butter are visible throughout.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and milk until blended. Add to the flour mixture all at once. Mix on low speed for about 20 seconds, or until the dough just barely comes together. It will look really shaggy and more like a mess than a dough.
Dump the dough out onto an unfloured work surface and gather it together into a tight mound. Do not knead! Using your palm and starting on one side of the mound, smear the dough bit by bit, starting at the top of the mound and then sliding your palm down the side and along the work surface, until most of the butter chunks are smeared into the dough and the dough comes together. Do this once or twice on each part of the dough until the mound comes together and you have a cohesive dough with streaks of butter.
Gather up the dough; wrap tightly in plastic wrap and press down to flatten into a disk about 1 inch thick. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Dough will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
Before using, take out of refrigerator and let rest on counter for 10 minutes. Proceed to roll.
Appropriate side dish for any of the above…
|December 5, 2018||Posted by Wendy Perry under baking (she said in terror), Christmas, Culinary Adventures, Food & Prop'n, Style'n & Photography, Mindless Mutterings from the Teacher's Lounge, sweet treats, vintage|
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!
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…
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 Chocolate… this is like Devil’s Food, but the oil is replaced by butter (oh yes!) making it a richer (more “devilish?”) version.
Classic Dark Chocolate Fudge… deep rich chocolate flavor
Swiss Chocolate… most like milk chocolate with a less “chocolatey” flavor
German Chocolate… a 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!
|December 3, 2018||Posted by Wendy Perry under apples, baking (she said in terror), pie please, product recipe development, sweet treats|
Who needs plain old apple pie when you can lip-smack with this Apple Cheddar Biscuit Cobbler instead?
|August 24, 2018||Posted by Wendy Perry under baking (she said in terror), Mindless Mutterings from the Teacher's Lounge, pie please, published, sweet treats|
Pie. This pie. My “ugly” pie.
My delicious ugly pie.
Atlantic Beach Pie.
PEACH on the Atlantic Beach Pie!
No matter what you call it, this pie has deep roots in the “SOBX” area of North Carolina. Referred to by some as the South Outer Banks, the geographic area stretches for about 85ish miles… from the Cape Lookout/”Down East” areas on the upper end down to the Shackleford Banks/Bogue Banks area on the other… with the most familiar areas including beaches of Carteret County (“Crystal Coast area”) down south along with a few ports on the intercoastal waterway. The most well known towns and townships in this region are Harkers Island, Beaufort, Morehead City, Atlantic Beach, Emerald Isle and Swansboro.
Those of us fortunate enough to have part time happy places in these “South Outer Banks” or live on the “Crystal Coast” as permanent residents are blessed, and are surrounded with a whole lot of land and sea culinary offerings, steeped in a history of its own.
Like this pie.
Ever since Chef Bill Smith at Crooks Corner in Chapel Hill introduced hundreds to his version of the vintage Atlantic Beach Pie a few years back at a Southern Foodways Alliance event, nearly every culinary magazine and blogger has made and written about it, or created their own version. It’s a yummy pie, and except for the crust, is pretty much one of the few things my mama “cooked”… Eagle Brand Lemon Pie.
The pie is a “descendant” of the Harker’s Island Lemon Milk Pie. The recipe can be found numerous places online, but I highly recommend you get yourself the Island Born and Bred Cookbook where you will find it and so many other local recipes handed down through generations.
This book is a collection of Harkers Island food, fun, fact and fiction compiled by the Harkers Island Methodist Women! You will love the recipes and history scattered about this book that was featured in Good Housekeeping’s “Cookbook Corner.” And if opportunity presents itself, be sure to grab tickets to one of Core Sound Museum‘s dinners with some of these recipes… oh my gosh! The local food is lovingly prepared by ladies of and supporters of the museum, and you’ll not find any better meal along the crystal coast! As I finish writing this today, they are busy preparing for tonight’s sold out supper and disappointed I couldn’t go this time as I’ve done in the past. Just take a look at the menu… and drool!
So, back to the pie!
Now I’m a citrus love’n gal, but not especially fond of lemon. Give me lime, and especially orange! I alway order my sweet tea with orange… and now most of my friends do the same. Even if I just get ice water when out, “no lemon, orange please!” is my order. Most places have some, definitely those that have a bar, and are usually happy to oblige.
Since the original version was made with just lemon and most of the remakes use that or lemon-lime combination, I’m thinking to myself… “Self, why not add some ORANGE in there too?”
So that’s exactly what I did. And unlike most newer versions, I stayed true to the original with a meringue, although you can use fresh whipped cream, which will work equally as well on this pie.
But I added to my twist on the pie! Fresh.Juicy.North.Carolina.PEACHES! ohhhh la LA! Such a great pairing with this tangy citrusy filling.
So… here’s Wendy’s version of Atlantic Beach Pie… with the bonus of North Carolina peaches tucked in as an added surprise! Without further adieu… Peach on the (Atlantic) Beach Pie!
Do make one to enjoy, and run on back over here and tell me what you think?
P.S. When I was making my test and final versions of the pie for Carolina Country Magazine, it was a terribly hot and humid week here in North Carolina. I was nearly weeping myself at the weeping pie meringues. And my ugly pies! I can’t shoot THAT thing to put in the magazine!
So I threw it out for conversation on my facebook community and personal page too… to get everybody’s consensus on weeping meringue. It was 100% votes FOR weeping… with folks calling them “little droplets of gold,” and “I thought all good pies weep” to “it reminds me of my grandma’s pies.” Even the staff at the magazine where I took one of my “ugly” test versions agreed and asked, “don’t ALL good pies weep?”
I agree with all those sentiments, so if your pie meringue weeps, don’t let it make you weep! It’s supposed to be that way… right?
Here’s my weepiest pie! It doesn’t make me sad, how about you?
- 1 1/2 sleeves saltine or Ritz crackers, or combination
- 4 tablespoons butter softened
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar
- 4 eggs, separated
- 1/2 cup fresh squeezed juice, (lemon, lime and orange mix)*
- 1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk Eagle Brand preferred
- 1 cup chopped North Carolina peaches
- 4 egg whites, room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 5 tablespoons sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Roughly crumble crackers into bowl. Knead in butter and sugar until crumbs stick together, breaking up any large pieces of cracker (but not into dust). Press into 8-inch pie dish and chill for 15 minutes. Bake about 16 minutes until the crust starts browning.
Beat yolks, juice and zest into condensed milk.
Scatter peaches over crust; cover with the filling.
Whip egg whites and tartar until soft peaks form. Add vanilla, salt and sugar, one tablespoon at a time until stiff peaks form. Spread over filling and bake about 18 minutes.
Chill at least 6 hours before serving.
*One large lemon, lime and orange should give you at least a half cup of juice,