Category: butters ‘n spreads

State Fair Stoup

State Fair Stoup

State Fair Stoup

Published in Carolina Country Magazine  October 2019

Thank you Jesus… I can feel fall in the air!  My favorite time of year… when we can stop sweating and turn to cook’n.  Tailgate pot lucks… comfort foods… and goodies like chowders, soups and stews.  

We work months ahead for the magazine (just covered an event Saturday for next September issue!), and when I was thinking about October in April and May, while eating my first tomato sandwiches, I was trying to put my head into sweater season.  Ahhhh…. state fair time!  

I do love state fair time… and all that comes with it. I especially enjoy all the days I get to judge the daily cooking contests with the NC Department of Agriculture.  For years, more than I can remember now, I get all giddy when my packet of stuff arrives with my judging dates, tickets, parking pass and all.  Each year, I block off fair days on my calendar for the next and do my best not to let anything interfere with those culinary adventurous days.  This year, I will be judging vegetables, apples, pork and beef days.  It’s really fun to see what entries arrive… and honestly, some are rather scary!  I want to coach some of the entrants… to fine tune their dish just a bit to what we, as judges, usually all come to a consensus on would make their dish a big winner!  My biggest advice (and usually a comment from all around the table)… “where’s the SALT!?”  For years, folks got scared of salt… and went from one extreme to another. 

My best advice… make your dish and get a variety of honest folks to taste it.  Make sure they tell you the good, bad and ugly of it and fine tune it from there. There is great prize money on the contests… so if not this year, do start looking at the NC State Fair site (or your own state) mid-summer for the daily categories. Read all the specifics of the one(s) you want to enter (one little omission can disqualify your awesome recipe) and get to cook’n and tweaking!  And maybe next year, you will take home a ribbon and money.  To see all my suggestions… take a look here at this piece I wrote for Carolina Country Magazine a couple of years ago. 

Till then, get out your pot and cook up some of this stoup!  You can have the delicious aromas and tastes of the fair right now in your own kitchen.  When you do, hop over to my facebook community and tell us all about it.   

State Fair Stoup

You know you’ve arrived at the NC State Fair when you’re greeted on the midway with the smell of sausages, peppers and onions. This stoup is my version of these fair favorites, but in a bowl to enjoy on chilly days at home … along with toasted hoagies and cheese butter.

Course: Fun Food!, Soup, Stew, Stoup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: stoup, stew, soup, state fair
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • 6 tablespoons cooking oil, divided
  • 2 each red, green, yellow bell peppers
  • 2 large onions,
  • 2 stalks celery
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 pound Italian Sausage
  • 1 14 ounce pkg. kielbasa
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 15 ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon minced dehydrated garlic
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 16 ounce jar pepperoncini, drained
  • 1 12 ounce jar sliced sweet ‘n’ hot pickled peppers (We used Mt. Olive)
  • 1 6 pack hoagie rolls, toasted and sliced in wedges

Cheese Butter
  • 1 pound butter, softened
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon each mustard and mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 and crockpot to low.

  2. Cut peppers, onions and celery into 1-inch pieces. Toss with 4 tablespoons of oil, salt and pepper; spread out on large baking pan. Roast 30-40 minutes until lightly charred, tossing after 15 minutes.

  3. As peppers roast, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in large skillet. Over medium heat, cook sausages, turning to brown on all sides. Remove to bowl and cut into bite-sized pieces.

  4. Add broth, tomatoes, seasoning, garlic and sugar to drippings and bring to a slow simmer.

  5. Put vegetables into crockpot. Add sausages, broth mixture, applesauce and pepperoncini. Stir to mix. Cover and cook 2–3 hours in crock pot. Garnish with pickled peppers.

  6. For the cheese butter, whip ingredients together until creamy. Serve on toasted hoagie buns.

Butterbean Hummus

 

 

Published in Carolina Country Magazine July 2019

Hummus is one of those things we southerners didn’t grow up eating… at least in my neck of the woods! As for international cuisines, Italian was about the limit of our exposure. We surely didn’t know of any Middle Eastern/Mediterranean concoctions. It has only been in the last decade or two we started learning of such, and took a liking to it.. at least some of us.  You would have never opened up a southern lady’s pantry and found chick peas sit’n there on the shelf to fix something with. 

I’m not a chick pea fan. I tried. Just not the pea for me.  But I do like the idea of hummus, so like my pimento cheese, had to create a recipe of my own that suits my fancy. 

My mostest favorite bean is the butterbean.  I’m the butterbean cook’n queen to a lot of friends and family… some even pay me to cook some for them. At all our meal events, it is expected I cook some for my nephew Wyatt. 

I especially those little tiny ones. But they are the hardest to shell, and Lord, I did shell many a bushel of butterbeans on my grandma’s porch on hot summer days… back in the day!  Children now have no idea what they missed.  I hated it at the time, but now… oh, what I would give for more of those days, in locally hand-made rocking chairs, with mama and grandma, shelling beans.  I didn’t have sense enough to know at the time we were making memories that are still with me today. And they tasted so much better too, knowing the toil and strife that went into shell’n those butterbeans.

A few years ago, I decided to throw some butterbeans in my processor with some stuff, and make myself some hummus… butterbean hummus!  So without further ado, I share with you, my southern gal’s version of hummus… 

Butterbeans make great hummus, but do know that any of our summer field peas make great hummus too!  Who needs a chick pea?  And what are they anyway?  

Butterbean Hummus

We do love our butterbeans here in NC. Did you know you can use those, or any of our tasty summer field peas, to make hummus? Just say no to canned garbanzo beans when gardens and farmers’ markets overflow with beans and peas. (FYI, it’s the butter that makes this hummus extra creamy!)

Course: Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine: American, Farmers Market, Garden Goodies, Southern, Summer Food
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • 3 cups fresh or frozen butterbeans
  • 2 cups chicken broth or water
  • 6-8 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup toasted sesame seed*
  • 1 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup olive oil or other preferred oil (I use garlic oil)
Instructions
  1. Cook butterbeans in broth until almost done, but still a bit firm and green. Drain and cool.

  2. Set aside a few nuts for garnish.

  3. Put butterbeans into food processor bowl and add remaining ingredients. Process on high, pausing to scrape down sides, until nice and creamy. Garnish with a drizzle of oil and a scattering of toasted pine nuts.

  4. Serve at room temperature with crackers, celery sticks or your favorite dippers! Will keep up to a week in the refrigerator.

Recipe Notes

*Note: Find the best buy on toasted sesame seeds at Asian grocers. You can also substitute store-bought tahini if a creamier hummus is preferred.

collards + cabbage + frost = “cabbards” time…. with Crispy Cornbread Cookies, Molasses Bacon Butter & Pot Likker

The time has just about come for the annual “cooking of the cabbards” to fill the freezer!  Like a squirrel stowing away acorns for the winter, I too, “get my cook’n on” once our local collards have had a good kissing o’ the frost.  Some think that’s just an old tale, but not this gal, lovingly called THE “Collard Queen” by those lucky enough to have had some bestowed uponst them by said ‘queen’ or have rubbed their full bellies after a sit’n at her table… served up with a side of Crispy Cornbread Cookies, some Molasses Butter, a warm cup of Pot Likker or cold buttermilk.  And don’t forget the farmers’ market treasures… including a menagerie of homemade chow chows destined to crown a heap’n helping of fall’s green ‘gold!’

So I’m in my kitchen a few days ago cooking cornbread cookies for this here post… setting up my photo shot, and about to savor the very last tidbit of my 2010 stash of cabbards I lucked up and found tucked into a back corner of the freezer when…”ding dong”… my doorbell rings.  My kitchen sidekick and 7YO nephew hollers…“Dee Dee, who is THAT?” (seeing as how it is mid-afternoon and we’re still in our loungy clothes  watching movies, blogging and eat’n).  I looked at him and said… “I have NO idea!” But I surely am hoping it’s somebody that won’t mind my receiving them in my ‘old lady house dress,’ (probably something akin to what my grandmas were wearing when they cooked collards) and Wyatt, running around in his ‘underdraws.’  I swing the door open, and there stands my cousin Mark… who I see fairly rarely, but usually when he drops by (less often than the proverbial blue moon), he has some sort of vegetable(s) gleaned from a nearby garden.  He leads me out to the back of his pick up truck (the preferred method of transportation for most of us country folk)… and what do I see…. THESE!  *C.O.L.L.A.R.D.S*

I’m not believing this… as mere seconds ago I’m in my kitchen, cooking up, photographing and in the middle of writing this very blog post about collards… when a big ole’ mess of them land on my front porch…  the weirdness of this timing is CRAYzee! And as delighted as I am about all this, I’m trying to factor in my head…  when in the world can I squeeze cabbard cook’n into this particular week’s schedule... with a TV show taping (see show video at My Carolina Today!) and a ginormous exciting photo shoot for Our State Magazine (where I’m so blessed to be food stylist and recipe developer…so subscribe if you don’t already, and buy holiday gift certificates too).  But never one to let a little thing like ‘limited hours in the day’ get in my way… a cabbard cook’n will commence!  I decided to just throw ’em in my big chest freezer till that can happen…something I have had to do before, and equates to that sweet kiss of frost… a BIG deep freeze kiss!

So without further ado, here is my much requested method for cooking collards (or in my case, “cabbards”).  These are sooo good, and worth every minute of effort it takes to get from the back end of a truck to your supper (and sometimes breakfast) plate.

Wendy’s Locally Famous Cabbards (Cabbage + Collards)

Wendy’s Cabbards

As THE “throw cooker” that I am (come see my Throw Cooking web page and recipes), I’m going to tell YOU how to throw these together… exactness is not important here!  These are the necessary ingredients and process.  I have, on occasion, cooked these in MASS to fill my freezer for the winter, but you can do any amounts that work for you.  A couple of years ago, I cooked 40 lbs. bacon and forget how many birds to have broth and bacon grease for 100 lbs. cabbage and 50 lbs. collards!  It took me quite some time to figure all this out, but because the collards ‘evaporate’ and disappear in the pot, I decided to see what happened if I added in some cabbage… and it makes the collards even better… sweeter… AND, the cabbage doesn’t disappear as much as the collards… so you end up with a whole lot more “cabbards” to store away and nobody but you knows this little secret, till NOW!

  • Chicken(s) or Hen(s)
  • Bacon (lots!)… more that you think… you need a goodly amount of rendered bacon grease
  • Collards… about 1/2 as much collards as cabbage (washed real good)
  • Cabbage… about twice as much cabbage as collards (washed real good)

EQUIPMENT:

  • BIG pot
  • Cast Iron Skillet
  • Tongs
  • Time

Put some water in a big old pot and throw your chicken(s) or hen(s) in there.  Bring to rolling boil, then reduce heat and keep cook’n till you have some tender bird and a big ole’ pot of chicken stock.  Take that bird out and make yourself a mess ‘o chicken salad or freeze for cooking in other stuff, like Chicken Pot Pies or Brunswick Stew.

Get that big old cast iron skillet out and fry up a LOT of bacon.  Sometimes on cabbard cooking day I’m outside doing all that AND cooking up a ginormous amount of my “Almost Famous Brunswick Stew”-will post that soon if you ask!… so I invite folks to drop by and eat bacon sandwiches.  Put this bacon grease into a big can (coffee can works great).

Rough slice the cabbage.  Throw some in the pot of broth, alternating with handfuls of torn collard leaves.  As it wilts, keep adding more to the pot.  Let this cabbard mix boil and boil… the more ‘tenderer’ the better.

On a burner beside this pot, put your big iron skillet on med-hi and add (generously) some bacon grease.  With tongs, grab some of the cabbards and plop into the hot skillet, including some of the wondermous Pot Likker they produced.  Start chopping with long-handled veggie chopper… as they cook down and shrink as you chop, continue grabbing more cabbards with your tongs and continue this process, stirring around to incorporate the bacon grease.  Once these are really tender and chopped real good, dump into big bowl to cool before putting into containers and continue doing this until you’ve cooked all your cabbards.

Cool’n Cabbards

When packing into containers, I try to leave good head space and top off with some of the broth so when heating, that is there to give a little moisture while warming.

Serve with Cornbread Cookies with Molasses Butter and mug of Pot Likker or Cold Buttermilk.

Cornbread Cookies with Molasses Bacon Butter

Wendy’s Crispy Cornbread Cookies

It’s really easy to throw together these crispy crunchy Cornbread Cookies and they are the perfect sidekick for your Cabbards.

  • your favorite hushpuppy mix
  • finely diced onions (any kind…sweet, green, scallion, chive, etc.)
  • sugar
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • lard

Mix hushpuppy mix according to package directions.  Add in onions and sugar to taste (you want these to be lightly sweetened and the sugar helps make them crispy too).  Grind in some pepper.  If your mix is really thick, add a little more water or milk/buttermilk, whatever you are using until thinner and pourable/spoonable.  I like to let my mixture sit about 10 minutes before cooking to adjust this consistency as it will thicken as it sits (but also, the flavors will marry a bit).

Heat thin amount of lard in cast iron skillet on med-high heat.  With a tablespoon, spoon into hot skillet and spread thin with back of spoon.  Fry until golden brown and flip; repeat on the other side.  Drain well on brown paper bag or paper towels.

Serve with Molasses Butter alongside Cabbards with mug of Pot Likker or Buttermillk.

MOLASSES BUTTER

  • Softened Butter
  • Molasses
  • Bacon Grease, optional
  • Cinnamon or Apple Pie Spice, optional

Drizzle some molasses over butter and swirl to blend.

VARIATIONS: To make Molasses Bacon Butter, stir in a bit of bacon grease.  A bit of cinnamon or apple pie spice is also tasty in Molasses Butter, depending on what you will be serving it with (especially great with pancakes, waffles or French Toast too)!

Enjoy y’all… and please throw me your comments below AND ‘share’ with all your friends!

…”butter” late than never!

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 twilliford7@nc.rr.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…

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PB&J Fudge

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.

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PB&J Pop tarts

For pastry:

1 Box of Puff Pastry
1 egg, lightly beaten
6 TBS jam (I used grape jam)
6 TBS peanut butter

Vanilla Glaze:

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[singlepic id=129 w=320 h=240 float=right] cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes and remove to a wire rack to cool for about 30 minutes.

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.’

Pâte Brisée

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…

got MILK?

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!

keep reading

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…

 

my almost famous “Pickled” Pickled Shrimp and Eastern NC Cotton Honey-Mustard Slaw

Happy July y’all….  the world’s slowwwwest blogger dropping by!  I’m gonna be ramping things up (yes, I know I’ve said THAT before!) since I’ve been doing so many shindigs lately and have lots of NEKKIDness to share… plus, I’ve been getting requests from clients and their guests for recipes.  I don’t keep many recipe secrets and am always happy to share (most), so feel free to ask for others anytime… happy to oblige.

A couple of weeks ago, I had a fun afternoon in the kitchen with a fun family celebrating a high school graduation.  Instead of going out to a noisy restaurant to celebrate this momentous event, they decided to have an intimate afternoon and supper at home.  They enjoyed playing board games, Wi and other fun stuff.  Dad, who hired me, had put together a really special video with snippets of all the important folks in his daughter’s life.  I didn’t even know these folks, but that was so heart-warming to see well wishes from around the globe… but I think perhaps most touching were the words of wisdom from her little-bit-older-but-VERY WISE sister.  She is one smart cookie!  They have an ”international” family of Germans and Japanese… (who says I can’t come up with a crowd pleasing menu?)….  and it warmed my heart to be there in the open kitchen putting together their dee-lish Nekkid Supper while seeing them enjoy each other’s company on this special day!

This is the menu created for their casual family-style meal…

“Pickled” Pickled Shrimp  (recipe below)

Toastettes topped with a dollop of Greensboro’s
My Three Sons Pimiento Cheese
garnished with fresh chive from my garden and topped with a dollop of cherry preserves

Eastern North Carolina Cotton Honey-Mustard Slaw (recipe below)

The Bestest Cheesyest au gratin 'taters EVER!

As requested, REALLLY Cheesey Taters... so I made some…
“The Bestest Cheesyest au gratin ‘taters EVER!” …
with Gruyere, Jarlsberg, and Fontina topped with Asagio!
(AMAZING and I think the BEST I’ve ever made!!!)

 

Honey Carrot Butter

 

 

 

 

Crispy Toastettes with Honey Carrot Butter”

 

 

Beef Tenderloin Medallions with "Mushroom Menagerie Marsala Gravy"

 

 

 

 

Skillet Seared Beef Tenderloin Medallions with sides of
“Mushroom Menagerie Marsala Gravy” along with
Whipped Horseradish Cream
, and…

 

 

 

Herbed Chicken in Browned Butter Chicken

 

 

Fresh herbed chicken tenderloins
…sauteed in browned butter

 

 

 

Dessert was left warm in the oven… an ooey gooey Chocolate Pudding Cake!

I hope you’ll enjoy, and call me if you’d like to enjoy life’s celebrations at home instead of out in a busy…loud and noisy… impersonal restaurant!  We can even do an interactive party if you wanna roll up your sleeves and throw-cook with me!

Wendy’s Almost Famous “Pickled” Pickled Shrimp!
"Pickled" Pickled Shrimp

Wendy's almost famous “Pickled” Pickled Shrimp

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: PT15-20ishM

What to throw together...

  • about 2 lbs. jumbo sweet North Carolina Shrimp, peeled/de-viened with tail on
  • 1 jar NC's Mt. Olive Sweet 'n Hot Pickled Peppers WITH juice
  • 1 pint jar Pierce Foods Watermelon Rind Pickles WITH juice
  • 1 pint jar Pierce Foods Okra Pickles, DRAINED

How to throw together...

  1. Cook Shrimp. I prefer to steam in microwave or stove top vs. boiling as steaming keeps the good flavor and nutrients IN the shrimp instead of boiling them out into the water!
  2. Place cooked shrimp into non-reactive container. Pour peppers with juice, watermelon rind pickles with juice and DRAINED okra pickles over shrimp. Toss well. Refrigerate and chill. I like to do this a minimum of 8 hours before serving for the juices to "pickle" the shrimp and get nice and cold.
  3. Pierce Foods is a shop I frequent at the Raleigh Farmers' Market. If you go by there, tell Mr. Pierce I sent you. If not in this area, you can sub any similar products, but try to buy LOCAL and from your area farmers' market too!

Notes

Don't be alarmed with the color change to a yellowish tint. That simply means the pickle juices are "pickling" the shrimp just as you want to happen!

The reason I drain the okra pickles is because that juice is twangy and I want my pickled shrimp to be sweet.

Eastern North Carolina Cotton Honey-Mustard Slas

Eastern North Carolina Cotton Honey-Mustard Slaw

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 20 minutes

What to throw together...

  • Cabbage and/or other similar greens
  • turnips
  • carrots
  • jicama
  • any kinds of radishes
  • spring onions-red onion-sweet onions…any sorts of onions or combination
  • cilantro
  • and any other nekkid veggies you'd like!

How to throw together...

  1. A variety of cuts makes this slaw pretty and far from boring. I thinly slice cabbage into ribbons... cut turnips into matchsticks, make long wide shreds of carrots using a vegetable peeler, slice/dice radishes and throw in thinly sliced red onions and chopped green onions (white and green parts).
  2. Just at serving time, throw in a heap'n help'n of chopped cilantro. This not only gives the slaw a pretty and vibrant punch of green, but throws in one more level of flavor... and THAT is rarely not a good thang!

Notes

The fun thing about this slaw is it can be whatever you want it to be... and can throw in any old things you wanna. If you have some of these nekkid ingredients on hand but not others, fix it anyway. This is a great way to clean out that produce drawer with those tidbits of this and that... not enough on its own, but perfect with thrown together with sister veggies.


Wouldn’t you love to make memories around your supper table at home… instead of a noisy restaurant with strangers?
happy family!
It was my pleasure Robert… thanks to you and your happy family!!