|May 14, 2019||Posted by Wendy Perry under asparagus, cook & eat nekkid, dressings, garden goodness, honey, Mindless Mutterings from the Teacher's Lounge, pasta, published, salads, slaws and such, sensational sides|
It’s Asparagus time… and here is a simple way to put this bright-in-color-and-flavor salad on your spring table!
|January 30, 2019||Posted by Wendy Perry under dressings, gluten free, honey, low carb, Mindless Mutterings from the Teacher's Lounge, published, salads, slaws and such, sensational sides, wendy's signature recipes|
As I sit here on this really cold day, watching stories from temps in the midwest United States colder than Antarctica with records being broken, this salad came to mind. I created it for January 2018 issue of Carolina Country magazine… when citrus fruits are plentiful. Sure to break through the winter doldrums, this vibrant salad, both in taste and color, will break the monotony of heavy winter comfort foods, and offer a reminder of warm spring and summer days ahead.
A few helpful hints:
Getting the arils (seeds) out of a pomegranate are not as challenging as one might think. Don’t let that keep you from enjoying these tasty fruits. They are most plentiful and in season from November into the early part of the year. Here are a couple of ways to get those crunchy little nuggets out in just a minute or two.
Pomegranates have all sorts of nutritional benefits. Just do a quick google search to find a site you trust to “read all about it.”
When buying… look for smooth-skinned fruits that feel “heavy.” That means more juicy arils tucked inside! They will keep for weeks in the refrigerator, and can even be frozen.
Ways to use pomegranate…
- for a snack “as is”
- on top of salads
- scattered on yogurt
- in grains and grain salads
- in salsa and guacamole
- over oatmeal
- scattered over hummus
- in cocktails and in champagne
- over ice cream
- in sauces spooned over grilled or sauteed meats
- as a garnish for pureed vegetable soups
- in relishes
- tossed over vegetables like green beans or asparagus
What are blood oranges?
The blood orange is a variety of orange with crimson, almost blood-colored flesh. The distinctive dark flesh color is due to the presence of anthocyanins, a family of antioxidant pigments common to many flowers and fruit, but uncommon in citrus fruits. Chrysanthemin is the main compound found in red oranges.
The skin of blood oranges may be darker orange and “blood” toned like the flesh. It tends to be thicker also. The flavor of a blood orange is different than your usual orange… some say it has raspberry undertones. I don’t find that to be the case (I don’t care for raspberries but love blood oranges). Due to growing conditions necessary for them, you will not find them year round. Their season is from December to early spring.
When buying, look for those that feel “heavy.” Stay away from those that feel spongy. They can be stored a couple of weeks in the refrigerator. Use to spiff up winter salads or enjoy as is. Blood oranges have some great medicinal qualities too. Just google to read from trusted sources.
Add these salad ingredients to your next grocery shopping list! And add some sunshine to your table this week…
- 2 blood oranges
- 2 naval oranges
- 2 clementines or tangerines
- 2 limes
- 2 lemons
- 2 grapefruit
- seeds from one pomegranate
- 1-2 avocados
- 1 cup chopped pistachio nuts
- freshly ground pepper (I like to use pink peppercorns for color)
- fresh mint, optional
- 1/2 cup grapeseed oil (or EVOO if preferred)
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon grapefruit juice
- 2 tablespoons blood orange juice
- 1 tablespoons blood orange zest
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 teaspoon dried spearmint
- pinch of salt
Peel the citrus fruits and cut into thin slices, removing any seeds. Place onto platter along with avocado.
Garnish with pomegranate seeds, nuts, pepper and sprigs of mint.
To make vinaigrette:
Put all ingredients in jar with lid and shake to blend. Best if made at least one hour ahead.
|January 27, 2019||Posted by Wendy Perry under bacon & belly, contest creations, gluten free, honey, published, roasted goodness, sensational sides|
I love entering cooking contests. There’s rarely a win with so much great competition out there, but it’s fun coming up with ideas and getting in my kitchen to make what’s in my head come to life. But… every now and then, I end up with a winner, like my Aunt Nellie’s Bacon & Rosemary Roasted Pears n’Onions… kissed with Cinnamon Honey
A few months back, friend Lisa Prince, who knows my passion for both entering and judging cooking contests, sent me a note about Aunt Nellie’s “State Fair” Cooking Contest. In case you don’t know, Aunt Nellie’s is a 90 year old company born in Wisconsin. Their products now include six varieties of glass-packed beets, onions, three bean salad, and red cabbage. Turns out, Aunt Nellie Jones (yep, there really was an Aunt Nellie) was a Home Economist like me… at the University of Wisconsin! And I didn’t realize until recently their first product was peas.
The contest had 5 categories, and I spent a ton of time (not to mention money) creating, testing, styling and photographing a recipe for each category. Of course, I surely was hoping for something more, (don’t we all?!?), but grateful for my 3rd place win in the “Sides and Salads” category. The prize was $25 and a box full of Aunt Nellie’s products. And I was very pleased with how this and all my recipes turned out. So maybe I will find other contests where I can tweak them and enter somewhere else since my entries are now the property of Aunt Nellie’s. That is the downside of most contests. Their fine print in rules usually states that entries become the property of the company where you entered… they can publish, use, and even change the name of it!
BUT… for those of you that don’t know but may be interested, recipes cannot be copyrighted. Processes to make a recipe can be, as are head notes/descriptives, but the recipe itself… nope. Anybody can take anybody else’s recipe and call it their own! But there is usually a way I can make revisions to a recipe to turn it into something else. And like others, I sometimes get inspiration for a new recipe from another I run across. My goal is to always create something that hasn’t yet been done 1 or 100 ways. That can be challenging, but most ideas in my crazy head are unique.
I don’t know I will do that (revamp) with my Aunt Nellie’s entries… but I did come up with a few mighty fine recipes and it would be a shame not to share some day!
The Aunt Nellie’s categories were…
Appetizers, Salads/Sides, Soups, Main Dishes and Desserts/Sweets.
So… one of these days, if I tweak my other entries, I’ll share those too. And since most contests prohibit entries that have been previously published, I’ll refrain from sharing them now in case I tweak to enter somewhere else. For now, I will enjoy this win as I’m sure there were hundreds, if not more, entries in the contest, and to be one of 15 is an accomplishment I’m tickled to enjoy! I “beet” out a many a fine cook for this honor and am excited to share with you… be sure not to miss my recipe down below.
- 8 sliced bacon, cut into 1/2" pieces
- 4 pears, unpeeled-cored and cut into 8 wedges
- 1 large red onion, peeled, quartered and sliced
- 1 15-ounce jar Aunt Nellie's Holland-Style Onions, drained
- 1 tablespoon dried rosemary, crumbled with fingers
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
- 1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
Preheat oven to 425. Scatter pieces of bacon on large roasting pan and place in oven while preheating.
Prepare pears and red onion and place into large mixing bowl. Stir in drained onions and rosemary.
Once oven has heated and bacon fat has started rendering, remove and pour bacon and drippings over pear mixture. Toss to coat well. Spread out onto hot pan and roast for about 30 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes, until onions and pears are caramelized and bacon is cooked.
Combine honey and cinnamon.
Once this roasted goodness is removed from the oven, drizzle with the cinnamon honey. Scatter with toasted pine nuts and blue cheese. Serve immediately.
Another Serving Suggestion:
For a rustic salad, while warm, toss the pear and onion mixture into a big bowl of fresh spinach to “wilt,” drizzle with the cinnamon honey and some great balsamic vinegar. Scatter with the pine nuts and blue cheese. Also great alongside roasted chicken, turkey, pork or grilled steaks!
|January 4, 2019||Posted by Wendy Perry under appetizers, butters 'n spreads, cook'n with NC goodies, duke's mayo!, funeral food, honey, Mindless Mutterings from the Teacher's Lounge, Mt. Olive Pickles, party foods, published, wendy's signature recipes|
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!
|November 14, 2018||Posted by Wendy Perry under barbecue or is it BBQ?, bbq sauces, blueberries, gluten free, honey, Mindless Mutterings from the Teacher's Lounge, Thanksgiving|
It surely is hard to believe it, but Thanksgiving is on our doorstep! There always seems to be some of that bird leftover… and many enjoy eating it with leftover dressing, as is, for days on end, while other are looking for ways to reinvent it. One of my social media clients is a blueberry farm, with all sorts of blueberry goodies (jams, salsa, juice, syrup) and honey too. I’m sharing this recipe that is going out in Creekside Farm’s newsletter this week. You can use fresh or frozen berries, or even mix some blueberry jam with the BBQ sauce instead.
(excused the poor quality pics… these were from long ago!)
So as you prepare your grocery shopping list for the holiday, pick up some blueberries so you can stir together this sauce… really quickly! It’s soooooo good over turkey and pork too.
Gobble! Gobble! Get your turkey ON.
This is a sweet and savory sauce that is great on grilled chicken, pork or fish… or leftover turkey and dressing. It’s simple and quick to make, and can be stored in a jar in the refrigerator for up to about 2 weeks.
- 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
- 1 cup favorite thick bbq sauce
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- several sprigs fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried
- 1/2 cup honey
Put the berries, bbq sauce, vinegar and thyme into heavy bottomed sauce pot. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to slow boil, stirring frequently. Cook until the berries have popped and the sauce has cooked down and thickened. Whisk in honey.