Category: butters ‘n spreads

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…

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.

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

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.