Category: party foods

Tomato Swiss Slab Pie

Tomato Swiss Slab Pie with fresh dill

What makes a juicy ripe tomato even better? How about a cheesy, buttery flaky crust underneath with the bright, fresh flavor of dill! Serve this Tomato Swiss Slab Pie in small wedges as an appetizer, or in bigger wedges as a side dish. Perfect alongside a salad for a light, meatless meal.

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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.

Hot Diggity Dogs… Aloha Hula Hot Dogs Y’all!

Aloha Hula Hot Dogs with Mango Slawsa

Hot dogs are such a fun food for entertaining, and we do love our traditional fixin’s here in the South. But how about a fun twist? Light the Tiki torches and head outside and fix some Aloha Hula Hot Dogs with Mango Slawsa!!

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I ‘Cherry’ish You Rice Krispies Treats

Published in Carolina Country Magazine ~ February 2018

I do love cherries! Any kind of cherries, but most especially, maraschino cherries.  There’s just something about those bright red sweet little nuggets that take me back to my childhood in an instant.

I suppose my cherry affection is genetic. My Daddy Hocutt and Ma Hocutt, my mama’s mama and daddy, planted cherry trees in their back yard in Zebulon when they built their house back in the early 1950’s. It was only the 6th house built in the city limits best I remember them telling me. When I was born in 1958, they planted me a tree!  My Daddy Hocutt died when I was only 8 years old… he had a massive heart attack and they went off the side of a remote mountain road near Charlottesville, VA coming back from vacation in Washington, DC. He died then and there, and Ma Hocutt was torn all to pieces and was “invalid” the rest of her life until she died at 91.

Ok… so back to the story.  Every year, when the cherry trees would blossom, Daddy Hocutt would cover them with this gauze kinda cloth to keep the birds from eating our cherries!  He would let me help him do that. And I can remember waiting impatiently for “my” cherries to ripen so we could pull that cloth back and eat cherries until I had a stomach ache.  After he died, the trees all just wearied themselves away, but I do have a few short years of those memories.

We had a place in town called the Dairy Bar. One side served the BEST cheeseburgers, hot dogs… and milkshakes!  The other little room had a jukebox and bar stools where the cool teenagers would go hang out and dance. Daddy Hocutt would sometimes take me in there for burgers and a shake. 
Cherry Milkshakes!

Ma Hocutt loved a cherry milkshake too!  And after a few years of recovery from their accident, she was able to drive again. She would ride over the the Watkins Dairy Bar, just a few blocks from her house, and toot the horn. They knew she wasn’t able to get out and walk in to order, so they’d just make a cherry milkshake… and take it out to her!  If I went with her, I’d go in and order them… “2 cherry milkshakes please!”

They were in those big old waxed cups… white, with red lines around them and best I remember, hearts around the tops. And big ass straws! 
God I loved those things!  And to this day, still my favorite of all milkshakes, but it’s near’bout impossible to find a good cherry milkshake anymore!  

Did you know that Dairy Queen… yep, the Dairy Queen, doesn’t have cherries?
How in the hell can you have a proper sundae, or banana split, without a cherry on top?  Silliest thing I’ve ever heard tell of!  Cherries are a staple of such. 

Sooooo…  when coming up with ideas for the February issue of Carolina Country, my mind immediately went to cherries!  I also associate cherries with Valentine’s Day.  And I created some really yummy chocolate cherry truffles for Our State magazine years back too. I will have to throw those here on my blog soon too.

But for now, for my maraschino cherry brothers and sisters… I encourage you to make these rice krispie treats!  They are cherrylicious… fun to eat AND share. Grab some icing in those tubes and sprinkles and let your aspiring little culinarians get creative in decorating.
Y’all have a Happy Valentine’s Day too… I love you all for being here!

Wendy

I ‘Cherry’ish You Rice Krispies Treats
This twist on the tried-and-true Rice Krispies Treats® recipe is just in time to share with those you love on Valentine’s Day. It’s an easy recipe for the next generation of aspiring little chefs, too!
Course: Dessert, Fun Food!, Sweet Treats
Cuisine: American
Keyword: rice krispie treats
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 16 ounce bag mini marshmallows
  • 5 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 16 ounce jar maraschino cherries, drained & chopped (save juice)
  • 8 cup Rice Krispies® cereal
  • 1 cup toasted almonds, crumbled
  • decorating icing and sprinkles
  • heart shaped cookie cutters
Instructions
  1. Melt butter in a heavy pot over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until melted. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, cherries and cereal.
  2. Using a buttered spatula, fold together until well combined. Pour out onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet and spread to about 1-inch thickness. Cool.
  3. Cut, decorate and dust with toasted almonds.
Recipe Notes

VARIATIONS:
Very Cherry Vanilla Treats
Make basic recipe, stirring in 2 tablespoons of red cherry gelatin powder.

 

Black Forest Treats
Make basic recipe, substituting chocolate Rice Krispies cereal. Stir 1 cup of milk chocolate chips in with cereal.

 

Cherry Juice Goodness
Wait! Don’t pour out that delicious drained cherry juice leftover from this recipe. Use in frostings, whipped cream or cake batter. A splash makes your hot chocolate into “Chocolate Covered Cherry” hot chocolate and will turn your cola drinks into fun cherry ones. Use to make lemon or limeade cherry ice cubes, too. 

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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