Category: salads, slaws and such

Winter Citrus Salad… with blood orange & red wine vinaigrette ~ Sunshine!

Published in Carolina Country Magazine… January 2018.

Winter Citrus Salad with blood orange & red wine vinaigrette

 

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.

 

Seeding a Pomegranate in Water

Peeling and Seeding a Pomegranate

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.
Source:  Wikipedia 

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…

 

Winter Citrus Salad With Blood Orange & Red Wine Vinaigrette
Vibrant citrus fruits are plentiful in the dead of winter, and this is a great salad to brighten the dreariest of days. Don’t worry about exact measurements for salad ingredients. Use as much or as little as suits your fancy.
Course: Brunch, Dressings, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: blood orange, red wine vinaigrette, winter citrus salad
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • 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
Vinaigrette
  • 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
Instructions
  1. Peel the citrus fruits and cut into thin slices, removing any seeds. Place onto platter along with avocado.
  2. Garnish with pomegranate seeds, nuts, pepper and sprigs of mint.
  3. To make vinaigrette:
    Put all ingredients in jar with lid and shake to blend. Best if made at least one hour ahead.

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Are your bloomers exposed tonight?

Tub ‘o Chive

Gotcha!
I’m not much on that yard work stuff… but on occasion, it’s simply necessary.  I’ve been at it for weeks, in snippets (to make it more digestible)… in order to make sure I’m as de-snakified as can be.  Because for those who know me, know that I DO NOT DO SNAKES. Period.  No such thing as ‘good snakes’ for this girl.  I actually have thought that I probably need to check myself into some sort of snake phobia program, except I’m sure that would, at some point, involve the handling of snake(s)… therefore, I’m not inclined to voluntarily enroll.

As I was out and about today in my back yard, I smiled as I saw how well my chives are flourishing.  Not being much on gardening either, (aka ‘yard work’), the one thing I’ve always managed to cultivate successfully are chive… or is it chives?  My smile quickly turned to concern as I remembered that… tonight it is supposed to dip into the 20’s!  Just days ago I was sweating in shorts, tank top and flip flops, and here I sit writing this bloomer blurb by a burning fireplace!  When I saw all those cute little chive blossoms… little teardrops …about to ‘splode, I stopped yard work’n (doesn’t take much to divert my attention from THAT!).  I immediately went into ‘mama chive mode’ to do what is needed to protect my bloomers!  Because, you see, we must.

One of my favorite early spring treats are my blooms… thus the importance of bloomer protection!  Did you even know you can EAT those fluffy little lavender flowers?  Some folks do not know this, and so this, my friends, is for you!  (I have had folks look at me like I’m some sort of weirdo when plucking these and snacking while strolling around the yard.)  There are quite a few edible flowers, (note: make sure they have not been treated with chemicals and pesticides… or peed on by passing critters)… and my very favs are chive flowers.  I grow mine in fence hanger boxes and in the Hungarian Baby Bathtub (see picture) so they stay up off the ground and ‘pee free.’  They are really pretty on salads, and a nice surprise for folks not used to eating floral matter.  I, however, don’t always make it back into the house with them… I snack tub side.

The ‘by product’ of these bloomers are the chive fronds… is that what they are called?  I don’t know, and because I know you really don’t care, I’m too tired from all that YARD WORK today to go research proper ‘chivese’ so for now, they’re fronds!

OK… I got a bit diverted there.  Back to bloomer protection!  Short of hauling that big ass Hungarian Baby Bath Tub in the house (and not even possible at this point due to the Ben Gay slathered ‘every muscle aches in my body’ condition), I am putting faith in those annoying

plastic grocery store bags… and have bagged my bloomers!  I surely hope that works… ’cause I’m looking forward to the Chive Blossom Jive real soon… maybe by the time they bloom, my old sore muscles will be healed and jive’n will actually be possible… stay tuned!

Oh, P.S.  Do YOU eat chive bloomers?  (I’m just trying my best to get y’all to put something in that comment box down there!)….

And please click the ‘like’ button (if you do) and share on your FB pages and invite your friends to come here too.  THANKXXX

…i can almost smell salt air!

Here it is, middle of February, and as typical here in North Carolina, we’re having a beautimous day approaching 80 degrees!  A few windows have flung open to ‘air out’ the house, hopefully blowing out the germs from another visit from Mr. Winter Crud.  I’m trying to pretend the fragrance of Vick’s Vaporizer that fills the air is actually salt air and close my eyes, visualizing I’m strolling down one of our beautiful North Carolina beaches.

One of my favorite warmish day meals is Shrimp or Seafood Salad.  This is such an easy and f.a.s.t. treat to throw together and for me, gets better after a day or two in the fridge!  I hope you’ll enjoy making this salad and enjoy eating it as much as I do!  Now, I’ve gotta run and rinse the sand off my toes….

Many recipes I post in my my blog will not give you exact measurements.  I like to teach folks “throw” cook’n… throw some of this, that and the other together till it tastes like you like it!  Those are usually the best dishes, so don’t be afraid!  What’s the worst that can happen?  You have “A” dish that’s not going to be a family fav?  The other side of that is you *might* even create something you’ll be making for years to come!  So, don’t be afraid just because there are no measurements here ~ let’s just  throw down…

Start with fresh local shrimp if possible.  Here in my neck of the woods, I can get peeled and deveined North Carolina Shrimp at Lowe’s Foods (where they have seafood markets).  I stock up when on sale and buy 5# bags still frozen (just ask the folks behind the counter for those).  That way, I can just grab out a few handfuls at the time to throw on a salad, in a quick stir fry or to make shrimp butter to top a steak just off the grill.  Sometimes (as in this batch), I throw in some of that ‘fake’ crab, not a big fav of mine, but in this case, had a few extra folks coming and needed a quick stretch of the salad (and one in the crowd loves the stuff)!  The shrimp need to be well drained…. so throw in the colander to thaw and drain.

After draining, I take some paper towels and dab the shrimp to dry out as much as possible… then throw in a bowl.

One of my fav kitchen tools are my Dollar Store scissors… I keep several pair handy (along with my wondermous Cutco Shears).  The scissors are perfect for snipping things like the ‘crab’ in this salad.

Celery is a ‘must’ for me in seafood salads… so just finely dice up as much as you like., then throw it in the bowl.

A little red onion never hurts either, so throw that in too!  I usually add some boiled eggs, again, as much or as little as you like… but didn’t use egg in this particular batch.  Sometimes I throw in some pickle relish or cubes too.

Any kind of pepper will do, but I like using white pepper in light salads!

…and in my kitchen, the o.n.l.y. mayo is DUKE’S!  End of story.  Start with a couple of tablespoons and stir in… add a tablespoon at the time until the consistency you like.

The is where you can play with seasonings…now y’all know I’m not one to measure, so throw in whatever herbs and spices you like with fishy wishy stuff.  I sometimes grab a pack of Ranch Dressing mix and throw in a bit to mix with the Duke’s to ‘dress’ this salad.  Even a dab of honey mustard is good in a seafood salad.  Some herbs and spices that work well with shellfish are bay, basil, cayenne, coriander, curry powder, dill, marjoram, oregano, tarragon and thyme.

And as ‘standard’ for many of us Southern cooks, we have to throw in some sugahhh because that just enhances everything… a little dab ‘l do ya!

Mix it all up real good, and dish up!  Garnishes that work well are parsley, chive or cilantro… I ♥ cilantro, so I often use that on my Shrimp Salad.  Try to make this a day ahead, or at least a few hours ahead if possible and throw in the fridge.  All those goodies will ‘marry’ and taste bunches better  after ‘dating’ for a while!  I hope this recipe has inspired you to throw together a shrimp salad real soon.  And if you do, come on back here and tell us about it.  And oh, can you smell the salt air where you are?

Candy Apple Slaw… fall in a bowl!

Candy Apple Slaw

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And just like that, it’s fall!  A few morns have dang near felt like we went from summer right into winter. Time to fire up those pig cookers around here in North Carolina and gather ’round friends and family.

Each month, I create a couple of recipes for Carolina Country Magazine.  The November issue is their annual food issue, so I get to do some extra goodies for that.  The issue will hit mailboxes in the next few days and I’ll be back then to share the recipes I did along with my “How To Host A Pig Pick’n” article.  Till then, I’ll share one of my others… 

Our 2018 NC State Fair has come and gone… and I had fun again judging some of the daily special cooking contests… 3 this year.  Something I think about in fall at fair time is candy apples.  So I threw together this Candy Apple Slaw recipe… which would be great to serve at a pig pick’n… or just on your supper table!  We have dozens of varieties of apples here in North Carolina and some farmers’ markets have rows of them available for tasting before you buy.  So visit your local market and find some shiny red apples for this recipe! 

Enjoy this Candy Apple Slaw… and be sure you’re subscribed to my Table Scraps newsletter… about to re-launch after being asleep for a while! 

Candy Apple Slaw @ Carolina Country Magazine!

 

 

 

 

 

Candy Apple Slaw

This sweet and tangy slaw is a tasty, colorful fall side dish. Enjoy the variety of textures … crispy bits of apple along with the chewy cranberries and toasty nuts.

Course: Brunch, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Farmers Market, Garden Goodies, No Cook, North Carolina Goodies, Southern, Tailgating
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • 6 cups chopped cabbage
  • 4 large red apples, diced, not peeled
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red onions
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 1/2 cups toasted pecans, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed peanut brittle,* opt.
Instructions
  1. Put cabbage, apples, cranberries, onions, seasonings and half the pecans in a large bowl. Add dressing and stir to coat.
  2. Pour into serving bowl and chill several hours. 
  3. At serving time scatter with remaining pecans; scatter optional peanut brittle to add a delightful candy crunch.
Recipe Notes

*Store bought or your own. 

 

 

Italian Rotisserie Chicken Salad Stuffed Tomatoes

Throw together this no-cook chicken salad in no time for a tasty meal on a hot summer’s day.

Well here we are, in the dog days of summer!  In my neck of the woods, it’s been the monsoon days of summer. Rain! RaiN! RAIN!  But hopefully, we have a little break in sight for that and can now “look forward” to good old hot.humid.days.of.August!  And who wants to turn on anything that will add to that heat?  Ummmm, nobody.  This recipe for Italian Rotisserie Chicken Salad Stuffed Tomatoes was first published last summer in Carolina Country Magazine and a frequent go-to for me.  We all love to grab a cooked rotisserie chicken now and then… we can do so many things with one… not to mention throwing the skin and bones into the crock pot overnight after pick’n for the BEST flavorful chicken broth. You DO do that don’t you?  Oh there’s so much flavor in those bones and skin (if you don’t eat it) and all you have to do is cover with a quart or two of water, turn on low, and head to bed.  By morning time, you’ll be waking up to the aroma of tasty broth to use for soups, cooking veggies like greens and butterbeans or just to sip. You can throw in some herbs on the front end, or simply cool and freeze and season on the back end depending on how you’ll be using it.  I freeze in pint-size containers and it’s great to be able to grab and cook a little pot of butterbeans or collards with this deliciousness!

So here’s to the versitile Rotisserie Chicken!!  Pick one up today and make this chicken salad twist… ooooh la LA, you’ll be glad you did.

While here, please subscribe to my “Table Scraps” newsletter (green box over there to the right)… an e-zine with great stuff for in, out and about the home!   Take a look at my contributors…

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classy with a bit of sass!!  

Italian Rotisserie Chicken Salad Stuffed Tomatoes

Who wants to cook on hot summer days?  No need with this flavorful Italian chicken salad.... just pick up a rotisserie chicken, throw in a few ingredients and toss with the simple Dijon dressing, and that's it!  Except for a juicy ripe summer tomato you're going to stuff with this good stuff.  

Servings: 8
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, skinned, boned & shredded (about 5 cups)
  • 1/2 cup sliced roasted peppers, drained
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, plus 2 tablespoons for garniish
  • 1 4 ounce carton feta cheese with basil and tomato, reserve 2 tablespoons
  • 2 tablespoons capers drained
  • 8 large tomatoes, cored and drained upside down
DIJON HONEY MUSTARD DRESSING
  • 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • crushed black pepper
Instructions
  1. Whisk all dressing ingredients together. Stir dressing into chicken to coat. Add all remaining ingredients (except the tomatoes) and mix well.

  2. Chill several hours or overnight. Stuff tomatoes and garnish with reserved feta cheese crumbles and parsley. Serve immediately
Recipe Notes
  • Don’t cut out too much of the delicious tomato — just enough to mound the chicken salad!
  • If you have fresh herbs... oregano, rosemary, basil, etc., use them instead of dried for more robust flavor!

#BlackboardBlurbs… a little teachable moment!
So what are capers?