Category: butters ‘n spreads

A southern girl’s PC… Creamy Swiss Pimento Cheese

We all have our personal favorite pimento cheese. I invite you to try mine… with nutty Swiss cheese and the creaminess of whipped cream cheese. I also use North Carolina’s Mt. Olive Pickles Roasted Red Peppers, to keep it local y’all. But if you’re not lucky to have where you live, just substitute!

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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.

 

…gone to the dogs! Homemade “Frosty Pet nICE Cream” treats!

My sweet Chamblee’s resting place….

Four years ago today, my sweet Speagle Chamblee crossed the rainbow bridge.

As I sat here looking at our pictures in this heat wave, and having seen a friend post pictures on facebook last night of commercially sold pet “ice cream,” I came to realize I’d never posted this pet recipe here on my blog! 

On a last minute thought, I threw this together several years ago and entered it into the NC Sweet Potato Festival Contest “Miscellaneous” category where it won 2nd place!  (It seems the last minute recipes I “throw together” are the ones that do best in contests.) 

Frosty Pet “nICE Cream” Treats!

My sweet Chamblee was my guinea pig, and he did love my sweet potato “nIce Cream” treats. And guess what?  They are people friendly too.  So while making them for your fur babies, you can lick the bowl and spoon. This is a perfect recipe to get your kiddos involved in the kitchen. They will love these healthy snacks and feel so proud they made them for their furry best friends too.

Now being the North Carolina made foods evangelical that I am, y’all know I used NC made peanut butter (lots to choose from so use your favorite or quickly and easily make your own)…. and of course North Carolina Sweet Potatoes…. these grown just a few miles down the road!  

So without further ado…. I will leave you with a little bit of my stroll down memory lane today of Chamblee…. who was by my side for 15 years.  

My sweet Speagle Chamblee…. I miss him so.

And I think since I keep packets of baked sweet potato in my freezer (you DO do that don’t you?), in his memory, I will make my sweet little June Bug some today…. also a Speagle!  

 

My sweet Speagle girl June Bug… I love her so!

 

Y’all have a “nICE” week… stay cool, and treat your babies to some “nICE Cream” treats too!  A fun thing to do inside the air conditioning on a hotttt summer’s day.

 

 

 

 

 

Homemade Frosty Pet “nICE Cream”
These freshly made treats are so much better for your doggie friends than the store bought versions and can be made with ingredients you probably already have on hand. My Speagle, Chamblee, loved these on hot summer days, or about any day for that matter. He’s in doggie heaven now and my new Speagle girlie June Bug loves them too! Exact measurements are not required, making them easy for children to make for their furry friends (and themselves too). Being a ‘local foods evangelist’ I always use NC commodities and products whenever possible. For this recipe, I used North Carolina sweet taters from a local farm, local Franklin Co. honey and peanut butter made in Eastern North Carolina!
Servings: 5 doggie treats
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • about 1 cup cooked and mashed sweet potato
  • about 1 cup nonfat yogurt SEE NOTES
  • about 1/2 cup peanut butter, smooth or crunchy
  • 1 squirt honey adult dogs only
  • a few crumbled sweet potato chips, optional garnish
Instructions
  1. Throw everything into a small bowl and stir together until well mixed. Portion out into small custard cups; cover and freeze. Remove from freezer a few minutes before serving to soften.  
Recipe Notes

NOTE:  Chamblee l.o.v.e.d. spicy hot potato chips (and so does June Bug), so if I have some on hand, I sometimes crush a couple of chips and/or sweet potato chips on top of his nICE Cream... making him his own little nICE Cream Sundae!

BE SURE THE YOGURT YOU -- USE IS FREE OF SWEETENERS, NATURAL OR ARTIFICIAL!

***  There are many people foods that are not safe for your pets.  Before adding ingredients you might like in your nICE Cream to your pooch’s, be sure to look at safe pet food lists.  The last thing you want to do is harm your baby with a treat. 

…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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pantry Purge has its rewards… NEKKID nut butter!

homemade honey nut butter!

homemade honey nut butter

During our most recent snow “event” last week,  cabin fever set in.  So instead of being lazy like I did in the storm 2 weeks before, I hopped up off my buttkus and got productive around the house!  I have an awesome pantry that from time to time, gets in total disarray.  Little pantry devils come during the night and make the biggest mess you’ve ever seen.  So last week, I had to get in there and fix the mess those little demons had made.

I love nuts… and like to keep some in the truck for a quick snack when out and about…. keeps me out of those drive thru junk food places and they offer me a quick heaping of protein to tide me over till I’m home.  So I end up with bits and pieces of this, that and the other kinds of nuts from assorted companies… mostly from friends here in North Carolina… like Baker’s, Mackey’s Ferry, Bertie County, American’s Best Nut Co and others.  Since y’all know me to be a “throw cooker,” you know I threw all those nuts together.  There were VA blistered nuts, some salted nuts and some not, a menagerie of almonds (skin on, sliced, slivered), cashews and dry roasted.

So this morning, I threw them all into the food processor.  As they whirled around, I drizzled in a little peanut oil.  I also had a tidbit of local honey in a jar so I finished that off too, and drizzled that in while the nuts whirled about.  Since some of the nuts were salted, I didn’t need to add more.  I like creamy peanut butter and I also like it crunchy, so I pulsed mine to something kinda in-between the two.

And that was that!  I cleared out about 6 cans, jars and bags of bits and pieces of nuts along with that jar of honey that needed to be out of the way for a new jar.  And what did I end up with?  Three half-pint jars of the BEST NEKKID clean peanut butter… if you’ve never made your own nut butters, do!  You’ll never go back to store bought again… you’ll have just plain, natural butter without all those chemicals, preservatives and SUGAR you buy at the store.

Just look at the ingredients on the label of perhaps the most popular national brand you may have on your shelf… corn syrup solids AND sugar!  I added natural sugar with the honey… and you can too!  So had you rather eat and feed your family my recipe of…
just nuts, peanut oil and honey, or THIS:

jif label

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And… you can make it just the way YOU and your family like it.  If some like it crunchy, just take some out of the processor and make a jar of crunchy.  And for those who like it smooth, just keep whirling in the processor until nice and creamy.  Make it plain, with honey, or like I do sometimes with a tad of molasses.  You can even spice it up as you like by adding things like a touch of cinnamon, or stirring in some mini chocolate chips.  This is a great food to get the kiddos into the kitchen to have fun and make some good “whole” some peanut butter.  (Not to mention that the whole process took me about 5 minutes, from getting processor out, adding ingredients, whirling and spooning into jars.)

Here’s to pantry purging and reinventing goodies with all the tidbits of “stuff” you find in there.

I hope you will make some of your own NEKKID peanut butter… and come back and share it here with us…