|December 4, 2018||Posted by Wendy Perry under corn, gluten free, holidays & breaks, party foods, shindigs & hootenannies _ parties & entertaining|
Over 3+ decades of catering, I did many a party of every description… for young and old alike! When my friend Jim called me to throw a surprise 50th for his wife, we talked about several themes, and ended up doing a variety of fun stations and bars, each features local and NC products. There was a hot dog bar, hot and cold corn on the cob station, pickle tub, pimento cheese and field pea caviar area and for dessert… a blueberry and strawberry shortcake bar too. Since there was a bunch of kiddos coming, he wanted something fun for them, so I did a great big table of old fashioned candies, peanuts and all sorts of popcorns with spicy shakes for those who wanted theirs spiffed up a bit.
Since Sunday was “National Business of Popping Corn Day” (and forgot to post this then), I figured this would be a good time to share this popcorn bar! With the holidaZe on the way and gatherings of friends and family, this would be a fun, budget-friendly and quick idea for your entertaining…
Folks of all ages love popcorn and vintage candies. Just keep it simple… pop corn or buy it in a big old tin… add some kettle, caramel and candied corns. See what you have in your spice cabinet, or pick up some fun salts and seasonings. I’m a big fan of Savory Spice Shop and shop often at the Raleigh location, but they have other stores all over. Or you can just shop online and have goodies sent right to your door!
Throw a sheet of burlap or something festive over a table… sit boxes of various heights up under there so you can put your containers at different levels on your table! If it’s in a dark corner, don’t forget to sit a lamp on the table. The light will give your display a “pop” and draw folks to it.
TIP: Do that with all your tables! Lighting creates beautiful ambiance for your food displays, not to mention, it helps your guests see what they are getting in dimly lit areas.
It’s also helpful to make little folded cards to sit by your foods for that same reason. You can make with stickers right onto notecards or any number of ways.
Pick up some festive “take home bags” for folks to take a goodie bag with them so you’re not stuck with leftovers…
Enjoy your holiday season, and have FUN! If you do a popcorn (or any other) bar, please do snap a picture and send me! I’d love to share your ideas here with others.
|August 3, 2017||Posted by Wendy Perry under cook & eat nekkid, corn, farms & farmers' markets, garden goodness, honey, Mindless Mutterings from the Teacher's Lounge, salads, slaws and such, sensational sides, wendy's signature recipes|
Corn…. here, there and over yonder! Oh, the delicious time of summer is here in all its golden glory, and I don’t know about you, but I just can’t get.enough.CORN!
I love it raw… lightly steamed on the cob… grilled… in my grandma’s corn puddin… as a side…. or as a meal, like last night when I made my favorite corn salad. Just good nekkid food at its finest…. nekkid just like the Good Lord gave it to us!
Corn time is HOT time here in North Carolina, so anytime I can “cook” supper, without cook’n a damn thing…. well, that’s what I’m talkin’ about. I tell you, we just do not appreciate our local farmers enough… who toil in this heat for US… and bring us their goodness, for such bargain prices! I get a tad defensive when I hear folks saying “that food is more expensive… I can’t afford it.” Say WHAT? I sometimes feel like I’m stealing from them, and just say “keep the change” even though it’s a mere pittance of what they deserve. Having come from generations of farming families in rural NC, I consider them to be “my people.” I know my food didn’t come from the back cooler at the Food Lion. So when I have the choice, it’s farmers’ market freshness for this gal.
I love strolling about, tasting little “wheels” of fresh corn, to find that day’s bestest! But usually, there’s little difference so I
try to buy from different farmers each trip to share the love. I think about how early they had to rise to get that freshly harvested load of corn to the market… some coming from counties away. Sleepy. Hot. Tired. …and ready to call it a day! And probably not interested in cook’n anything either when they get home.
So wherever you are, run to your local farmers’ market and shop! And don’t cook this salad for supper. Grab some fresh corn…. field peas that are abundant right now, squashes and tomatoes and peaches and figs and melons…. oh my! The bounty right now is endless… too bad it can’t be available all year long, although if it were, it probably wouldn’t taste nearly as good. Savor the seasons.… and Make.Corn.Salad! Your mouth (and those you share it with) will thank you!!
The dressing is so simple…. bright and flavorful, and citrus is the perfect pairing with the corn.
Summer = Farm Fresh Vegetables! And there are few things better that freshly pulled corn. The hardest thing about corn is deciding which way to eat it on any given day, but when my craving sets in, I just MUST stir up this summer corn salad. There's just nothing like the sweet corn, with its little "bite" stirred together with some feisty radish.... and freshly snipped herbs all dressed simply with honey and the bright flavors of citrus! So run to your local farmers market and get some sweet corn and make some for yourself. But watch out, it's addicting!
- 5-6 ears fresh corn shucked, cleaned and cut off cob
- 1 bunch radishes cleaned and chopped
- 1/2 medium red onion diced
- a few snips fresh herbs (I used chive, cilantro and thyme)
- about 1/2 cup local honey (drizzle in a little more if suits you!)
- juice of 1 orange
- juice of 1/2 lime
- 1-2 tablespoons Savory Spice Shop California Citrus Rub
Combine all vegetables and herbs in large mixing bowl. Drizzle with honey and juices. Add spice rub and stir to combine. EAT!!
- Feel free to add other herbs that you prefer. I just use what I have growing in my herb pots around the porch. Feel free to throw in other veggies too! I sometimes add a little bit of minced celery to this salad. Just don't get too carried away and lose focus on the CORN.
- If you do not have a Savory Spice Shop near you (although you can order their incredible goodies online!)... just look at what they have in it and use similar things. I do love pairing citrus with the honey for this salad. It just seems like a perfect match. You can zest your orange and lime into the salad and add whatever seasonings you have on hand. Don't not make it just because you don't have the SSS rub.
|July 3, 2017||Posted by Wendy Perry under bacon & belly, cook & eat nekkid, cook'n with NC goodies, corn, garden goodness, grill thrills, molasses, wendy's signature recipes|
I know, I got you with BACON dust, right? Well then let’s add Cheerwine to the party too!
Bacon doth make everything more better, and on my “Cheer”y grilled corn is no exception. We’ve all seen the “same old same old” grilled corn recipes…. usually Mexican in nature. Well y’all know this southern gal is an evangelical when it comes to preaching that we should all cook and eat local. And around here, it’s North Carolina goodies, but the same applies wherever your “local” might be. Local and nekkid…. the way God gave it to us!
So when it was decided I’d do something featuring sweet North Carolina corn for the July issue of Carolina Country magazine, my little brain went to spinning…. because I do love some grilled roasted toasty corn. But I wanted to give it some good old North Carolina pizzazz, and when I opened my fridge and pantry to find my inspiration…. there it was, glistening in my face…. CHEERWINE!
We are the proud birthplace of Cheerwine here in North Carolina and all celebrating their 100th birthday this year with them. So a basting glaze with that was “it!”
So then, I needed cheese. I grew up loving hoop cheese. My mama, rest her soul, was no cook and made no bones about it. I can count on both hands (actually more like one) the cooking memories I have of her. But one of those that I vividly remember was the nights she would take out her well seasoned 10″ cast iron skillet (I’m sure my grandma gave her to be a 60’s housewife!) and melt hoop cheese daddy had brought home from the little family-owned downtown Zebulon grocery store up the street from First Federal Savings and Loan where he worked.
That hunk of bright orange cheese, with its cherry red rind, would be wrapped in “freezer locker” paper. While mama’s canned biscuits were burning in the oven (she cooked everything on HIGH or 500…. no other settings were needed on our appliances!), she was melting that greasy gooey hoop cheese in that skillet.
I really don’t even recall having anything “on the side” with those cheese biscuits… and adding a side dish might have sent mama into culinary panic and running for the hills! So cheese biscuits it was. A “Menia supper” in all its glory.
OK…. let’s hop off memory lane and get back to this corn thing!
I know hoop cheese crumbles nicely, so keeping with my local and southern recipe and ingredients, Ashe County Hoop Cheese would be the perfect cheese to crumble and throw on the hot corn off the grill. I can pick that up at the Raleigh State Farmers’ Market, but if that’s not convenient for you, many grocery stores carry hoop cheese, and you’ll likely find it sold down the road in your local country store with saltine crackers…. if you are fortunate enough to live out in the country!
But my corn needed one little something else. And naturally, I concluded that should and must be…. B.A.C.O.N.! Bacon Dust!
So once I had all of this new concoction in my head, I could hardly wait to make it. With plans at the beach with the family that coming weekend for a mess of steamed crab legs, I knew testing my new recipe with that crowd that would be perfect, one of my gaggles of guinea pigs… and what’s better alongside crab legs than corn?
Well turns out my first trial run was perfect and didn’t need any tweaking. (A recipe developer loves it when that happens!) Lips were smack’n and fingers were being licked…. and nothing was left but a big old pile of gnawed off corn cobs and demolished crab shells….
So I’ll leave you at that… and wish you and yours a fun and safe and most blessed July 4th! I do hope this week or sometime soon while corn is plentiful you will give this recipe a try. And if you do, come back and tell me what your crowd thunk about it! I’m pretty darn sure you will be the hostess with the mostess and be crowned “best corn” winner.
And while here, don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss more local goodie recipes to come!
And God Bless America! Land that I love…
- 2 cups Cheerwine® soft drink
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1/2 cup stone ground mustard
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 teaspoon sage
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 dozen ears of fresh corn shucked and cleaned
- 1/2 pound hoop cheese crumbled
- 12 ounce package bacon cooked and crumbled into "dust"
Heat gas or charcoal grill to high heat. While grill is getting hot, combine Cheerwine, molasses, mustard and butter in heavy bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce to low boil and cook until sauce has reduced to about half, making a thickened glaze. Remove from heat and whisk in sage.
Put corn onto hot grill, baste with glaze and cover. Turn every 1–2 minutes, basting as you turn, until charred in spots (about 8–10 minutes). Remove to platter and while hot, scatter with cheese crumbles and bacon dust. Drizzle with any remaining glaze. Serve immediately.
|October 7, 2013||Posted by Wendy Perry under cook'n with NC goodies, corn, sensational sides, Thanksgiving, wendy's signature recipes|
Thought it was about time for the world’s slowest blogger to drop by. So much has been happening and sometimes it just gets to be a bit much to keep up here, there and everywhere.
About a month or so ago, my old friend Patrick Johnson asked me to be his “show chef” on his WPTF radio show. Patrick is there daily, but you can catch me on Thursday’s, around 11:45ish. Sometimes he replays our chat on Friday too. We talk about this, that and the other and usually a recipe idea or two that you can “throw” together…. that is seasonal, and features local goodness. So I’m going to start “throwing” those recipes here, along with whatever else pops up, since I can offer in an easy and quick printable way for you and the radio listeners.
Last week, along with chatting about my appearance with my new Squash Blossom Vintage Travel Trailer at the Fall Southern Ideal Home Show, I shared my recipe for my Ma Perry’s Corn Pudding. This is GOOD stuff, easy to make, and is a great side dish for just about anything. I hope you will make some…. I even served this on a Christmas Dessert Buffet last year (and it was a hit!) with some Cinnamon Whipped Cream. So here it is… for you to make and enjoy too. Corn pudding is a family tradition with the Perry crowd… maybe it will become one for yours too.
What to throw together...
- 1-15 ounce can corn, drained and reserved (or equivalent fresh or frozen)
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup water (I used the drained from above)
- 1 cup sugar
- pinch salt
- pinch white pepper
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 4 tablespoons butter
How to throw together...
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Combine drained corn, egg, half of the water, sugar, salt and pepper.
- Pour into small baking dish.
- Scatter with flour and stir to mix.
- Dot with pats of butter.
- Bake about 30 minutes. If pudding is becoming dry, add remaining water and stir to moisten.
- Continue baking about 15 minutes until hot, bubbly and lightly browned.
This is a great side dish for just about any meat dish, especially pork and poultry. I really like it alongside fish and seafood too.