Category: salads, slaws and such

Grilled Southwestern Romaine Salad with NC Shrimp

Grilled Southwestern Romaine with North Carolina Shrimp

Let your grill do the work on this one… dressed up or down as you’d like, grilled southwestern romaine with NC Shrimp is as quick a side as you can fix … but watch it closely, it is ready in a flash!

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Traditional Hawaiian Macaroni Salad… with my little twist

 

Published in Carolina Country Magazine  May 2018

OK… for starters, let me just say that if you are no fan of mayonnaise, you’ll want to skip this one!  Because THE big “thing” about Hawaiian Macaroni Salad is mayonnaise, and a LOT of it. The noodles are cooked soft… well past al dente (it is said so it will absorb more mayonnaise)… mucho mayo to make it very creamy… and you’ll find carrots in there too!

Macaroni salad dates back to the 1880’s in Hawaii and was a staple part of lunch for the pineapple field workers. This salad is found on just about all diner and “plate lunch” menus in Hawaii, often alongside of and served with rice (which is weird to me).  For the most part, the only ingredients are soft macaroni, MAYO, carrots, salt and pepper.  You might see some with a bit of celery and onion, but that’s not often in authentic macaroni salad. And my research found that you NEVER.EVER. put ham or pineapple in there!!  I also found that Best Foods is their preferred brand of mayo, but I’m sure that’s only because they haven’t had Duke’s there!  So my version is made with Duke’s. Period. 
And a couple of tiny twists to make it mine.

I made this one to pair with my Aloha Hula Hot Dogs… it’s hard to fault such a simple recipe and one that goes nicely alongside all sorts of foods. I hope you will give this one a try. I’m not a big fan of pasta, but do love me some mayonnaise, Duke’s… so I’m a fan of this creamy salad.

Aloha y’all!

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

Authentic Hawaiian macaroni salad is all about mayonnaise, and a LOT of it! Usually slightly overcooked (to absorb the dressing), it is a staple on their “lunch plates” alongside grilled, fried or teriyaki meats. Enjoy this simple tropical make-ahead side salad this summer!

Course: Brunch, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Tailgating
Keyword: Hawaiian, macaroni salad
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 cup sweet pickle juice*
  • 1 large carrot. grated
  • 1/2 large onion, grated
  • 1 small bunch green onions, diced
  • 2 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
Instructions
  1. Cook macaroni per directions plus 2 minutes until soft. Drain. Stir in pickle juice. Cool 20 minutes.

  2. Add carrot and onions. Combine remaining ingredients and mix into macaroni. Chill 4 hours, or overnight (best). If not moist and creamy, stir in more milk at serving time.
    Remember... this salad is all about the creaminess!

Recipe Notes

*Vinegar with sugar can be substituted for pickle juice. This is important for mayonnaise absorption into the macaroni.

 

It’s Asparagus time… Spring Green Veggie-Pasta Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

Spring Green Veggie-Pasta Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

It’s Asparagus time… and here is a simple way to put this bright-in-color-and-flavor salad on your spring table!

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

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.

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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.

[singlepic id=127 w=320 h=240 float=left]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[singlepic id=126 w=320 h=240 float=right] 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….

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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…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.

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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.

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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!

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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…

P.S.  Don’t forget to come follow along in my facebook world too…
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?

…sweet summer corn salad with honey-citrus dressing

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!

summer corn salad with honey citrus dressing

Enjoy this vibrant sweet summer corn salad with honey-citrus dressing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.  

…tasty little wheels of fresh summer corn at Raleigh State Farmers Market!

I love strolling about, tasting little “wheels” of fresh corn, to find that day’s bestest! But usually, there’s little difference so I 

…one of many fresh corn vendors at the NC Raleigh State Farmers Market!

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!!

What could be wrong about combining these delicious ingredients together?

The dressing is so simple…. bright and flavorful, and citrus is the perfect pairing with the corn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet Summer Corn Salad with Honey-Citrus Dressing

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!

Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: Farmers Market, No Cook, Southern
Servings: 4 ish
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  1. Combine all vegetables and herbs in large mixing bowl.  Drizzle with honey and juices.  Add spice rub and stir to combine.  EAT!!

Recipe Notes
  1. 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.
  2. 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.  

Beat the heat with this Green & Gold Okra Summer Salad! No cook’n here….

Green and Gold Okra Salad

Published in Carolina Country Magazine Summer 2018

Well I don’t know about where you are, but here in Eastern North Carolina, we’re in the middle of a ridiculous heat wave…. too bad it can’t melt fat off our bodies like heat melts fat in my cast iron fry’n pan!  I saw this cute little what-cha-majig recently and just had to have it! I’m not one for dust collectors, but this one makes me giggle! And who doesn’t need more giggles in their life? My body has been doing a lot of “crying” this past week.  Not because of being OUT in the heat, but mostly from hearing the cha-ching of the AC running nearly non-$top INside!

Okra is every which way these days, so today, because there’s not much cooking going on, I wanted to share with y’all this okra salad I first made several years ago in a cooking class at Savory Spice Shop in Raleigh…. my toy store!  If’n you have a Savory near you and haven’t been there, and do any sort of cooking at any point in time…. I order you to GO THERE! (Check out their nationwide store locator.)  Even if your bought food just needs some spiff’n up, go there. When Bob and Cindy Jones opened their store years back, I high tailed it right on over there, and we’ve been buddies since day one.  I used to buy those “other” spices (that start with a P)…. but the assortment at Savory is IT. And you can purchase in tiny amounts, or by the boatload!  Lots of area chefs and competition (barbecue) cooks create their secrets from Savory. They are always bringing in new herbs and spices from around the globe… and new blends…. and I especially love all their salt free ones.… like I use in this salad.   They have lists of all sorts of their blends with no garlic, no onion, no this or that, etc. (See all that on the left margin of link.)  Something for all!

At my class, there were about 15 or so “Yankees.”  When I said the word “okra” I saw these blank stares across the board…. and might have heard a few signs of disgust. Bless their hearts, they didn’t grow up eating this mostly-southern green garden candy like we did….. and probably only saw it boiled and slimy… although we true Southerners do love it that way too… and fried, and roasted, and grilled…. and pickled!  As a matter of fact, my first okra memories were eating it that way…. slimy!  My Mama Hocutt would boil the hell out of it, drain it, and put in some butter… and me and Daddy Hocutt would pull those seeds out of the slimy pods through our teeth and then eat the pods…. together, me and him!  He died when I was 8, but I remember eating “stewed okra” as she called it, with him, like it was yesterday!

OK…. so back to the salad!  My salad is published in the current August issue of Carolina Country magazine... I had to tweak it a bit from my original version to make it more generic since not everybody across North Carolina that gets the magazine has access to a Savory (although there are 4 Savory’s in NC and you can also shop online!)…. nor my friend Paige’s Yah’s Best products and her Summer Mango Salsa I used in the class… available in lots of places across NC!  

Yah’s Best Summer Mango Salsa!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So here’s the generic recipe, with notes on how to make my original version…. with Savory’s Salt-Free Summit County Seasoning (one of my faves there) and Yah’s Summer Mango Salsa!  I do hope you will try it and come back to let me know what you think…. and one note, it’s best if you eat it shortly after making it…. especially if you don’t like the “slime” factor. It’s good overnight, but some of that starts showing up…. so without further blabbering…. here you go!

Green & Gold Summer Okra Salad

We are all used to stewing and frying okra, but surprise your guests with this delightfully different way to enjoy a Southern summertime favorite... RAW... in a fresh salad!  You will find 2 versions below.... my original version created several years ago for a (non) cooking class and this newer more generic version for the magazine.... for folks who don't have access to Yah's Best Summer Mango Salsa and Summit County Spice Blend from Savory Spice Shop.  Make one or the other, or take parts and pieces from each to make your own version. Either way, it's just damn good.

Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: Southern
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • juice and zest 1 lime
  • 3 large mangos
  • 1 small sweet onion peeled and diced
  • 1 1/2 cups white seedless grapes halved
  • 1-2 cups mild green and gold peppers seeded and sliced
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 quarts okra sliced in 1/2" pieces shortly before serving time
  • 1 large jalapeno optional
Instructions
  1. Combine vinegar, sugar, pepper, lime juice and zest. Whisk together and let stand while making salad.
  2. Combine mango, onion, grapes and sweet mild peppers. You can make the salad up to this point ahead of time and keep refrigerated several hours.
  3. When ready to serve, toss cilantro and fresh-sliced okra (in ½" pieces) into mango mixture. Stir well and garnish with jalapeno slices. 

Recipe Notes

If you would like to make my original version.... do this:

To the cut up okra, add in 1 pint carton of Yah's Best Summer Mango Salad and 1-2 tablespoons of Savory Spice Shop's Summit County Seasoning! That's it.... 
It's just fresh sweet and savory summer in your mouth!

Y’all keep cool wherever you are… and feed your fat some of this crispy salad so maybe it will stop cry’n!

Wondermous Winter Salad… after the flood came!

Hey Y’all…. The world’s slowest blogger checking in here in the new year!

I’m telling ya, my Ma Hocutt was so right all those decades ago when she would tell me “when you’re my age, the years just fly right on by.”  I AM now her age at that time, and I’m not sure 2013 actually had all 365 days, because it whizzed by so fast, I’m still at about day 237 or so.

The holidaze have been that for me, a pure DAZE.  For starters, I woke up Thanksgiving Friday morning to an unidentifiable pshhhhhhhhhh sorta noise.  After lying in bed for another 20 minutes, I decided to get up and see what it could be.  OMG, I stepped into a couple of INCHES of water, in my kitchen.  Talk about waking up f.a.s.t.  Before I could utter “what tha h…” my eyes were sucked upwards, where a drizzle was falling out of both ends of the light fixture!  Still hearing that noise, now AMPLIFIED, I jump back up the 3 steps and, with dread, follow it… thru my bedroom and bathroom into the big room I call my office….

SQUISHHHHHHHHHH…. Underfoot as soon as I stepped onto the carpet.  I turned and went into the big walk-in closet, still following that unnerving sound… and find the ceiling about to fall in, while what appears to be spigots wide open on each end of that light fixture pouring water! Now keep in mind, I came to find all this from arising from peaceful slumber.

Fast. Immediate. Decisions.   I ran to the breaker box to shut off Niagara Fails!  I sat on the kitchen steps, wanting to SCREAM. CURSE. CRY.  But no time for any of that (yet).  I hit the jackpot with quick “wake up” calls to neighbors to get a plumber’s name and number.  He arrived within 20 minutes.  A silly pipe had broke up in the attic (not weather related).  While he was on the way, I had to do an online search to locate the number to my insurance company since it was A EARLY and B) a holiday weekend and C) who keeps that no. quickly available (I do NOW)!  I hate to jinx all this, but they have been THE BEST.  They had folks here within an hour and a half with those ginormous fans (18!) and dehumidifiers (6).  It sounded like a jet airplane revving up for takeoff in my house, and I have NO IDEA how (or why) I stayed in the house that first night.  I was a nomad (with my newly adopted rescue dog June Bug) for about a week until I told my insurance company “I NEED A HOTEL ROOM!”  He kindly obliged and hooked me up with nice folks who found a local hotel that’s pet friendly where June Bug and I stayed for about a week, until all that NOISE was gone, and kitchen was ‘somewhat’ back together.  Only 5 little hours of gushing water did a LOT, a WHOLE LOT of damage.

I said all that to say this… my flood happened at THE worst possible time… the start of my “busy season!”  Holiday parties and events back to back… but somehow, I made it through and now on the backside, with “RE”construction to commence this coming week.  I’m excited about the spiffing up my kitchen will get and will come back to share that soon.

This salad was a big hit at several of the Christmas parties this year… and also last week at a Girl Scout Cooking Class I had fun doing… and again yesterday at Flowers Plantation’s Health and Wellness Fair.  I promised folks there I’d get this posted “in the next few days” with a disclaimer of being “THE world’s slowest blogger!”  So here it is in record time, my Wondermous Winter Salad.

Cooking what is in season, with local goodies whenever possible and CLEAN and NEKKID… that’s what you’ll find here… because “Undressed Tastes BEST!”  This salad of awesomeness makes you feel like you’re doing something SO great for your body and your health, from looking at it, to eating it.  And guess what ~ you ARE!

...a tasty salad of the season!

…a tasty salad of the season

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So you want to throw together this beautimous salad?  It doesn’t get much easier than this…

WONDERMOUS WINTER SALAD
…with Maple Balsamic Mustard Dressing

Let me start by saying you don’t have to have all of these exact ingredients.  Fling open your refrigerator and pantry and see what you have to use for your starter, then grab a few goodies to spiff up just the way you want it!  Use different grates, slices, chops, shreds and such for added “personality” to your salad.

The salad in this picture has:

  • several kinds of lettuce
  • 3 kinds of cabbage (shredded savoy because I like the ‘ruffly look’ along with some fine grated purple for specks of color, and a bit of regular green cabbage, because I had some on hand)
  • “Cuties”…. those fun little winter Clementines (these are seedless and so easy to peel, so get your kiddos to do that part)
  • pomegranate… because they are pretty, seasonal and add great crunch and texture!
  • a handful of sugar snap peas… because I had them in my produce drawer (just do a quick blanch in boiling water for one minute, then drain and cool rapidly with cold water)
  • sprouts… because, again, I had some in my produce drawer and it also looks pretty (and why not one more layer of flavor?)
  • carrots… long shreds, because of the color, and it’s FUN!
  • little cubes of roasted butternut squash… because I had some (sweet potatoes and beets are great too)
  • thin slivers of red onion… for flavor and color (cut really thin with my inexpensive $19.95 mandolin)
  • a handful of dried cherries (or any dried fruit is good)
  • and 3 kinds of seed… sunflower, pumpkin and my FAV, toasted sesame seed!!  (I keep a jar by my stove and use almost like salt for added flavor, especially for my personal chef clients that want no added salt)

Just toss everything together, saving a few pretties for garnishing the top like in the picture.  Drizzle with dressing as served to keep the salad from flopping and getting all soggy.

MAPLE BALSAMIC MUSTARD DRESSING

Now y’all know by now I do most of my cooking by just THROWing stuff together to come up with something dee-lish on the other side!  However, I did try to jot down a few measurements to make this dressing, but please, DO feel free to throw your own ingredients together to suit your fancy.  Use what you have on hand.  If you don’t have garlic oil, use whatever oil you prefer and have.  Use honey instead of maple.  Use any kind of mustard you have… I purposefully didn’t note what kind I used so you’ll pick your own.  Don’t be afraid.  Just throw stuff in a jar, shake your booty (and it) around the kitchen, and have yourself some FUN!

  • 1 cup garlic olive oil
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Clementine (or tangerine or orange) juice
  • 1/4 cup real maple syrup (or honey or molasses)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • LOTS of freshly ground black pepper

Put all into jar and S.H.A.K.E.

Twisted:  For an Asian twist, shake in 1 tablespoon sesame oil and toasted sesame seed!

HELPFUL HINTS….

So you’ve never exactly know how to peel and eat a pomegranate?  Here’s a quick minute and a half video that will show you how easy it is!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjnn7jg5pww

Video from Chatelaine Magazine!

Now, run grab yourself a few of these seasonal goodies before they are gone, and savor the season!

Do come back and tell me all about what you threw in your winter salad…

my almost famous “Pickled” Pickled Shrimp and Eastern NC Cotton Honey-Mustard Slaw

Happy July y’all….  the world’s slowwwwest blogger dropping by!  I’m gonna be ramping things up (yes, I know I’ve said THAT before!) since I’ve been doing so many shindigs lately and have lots of NEKKIDness to share… plus, I’ve been getting requests from clients and their guests for recipes.  I don’t keep many recipe secrets and am always happy to share (most), so feel free to ask for others anytime… happy to oblige.

A couple of weeks ago, I had a fun afternoon in the kitchen with a fun family celebrating a high school graduation.  Instead of going out to a noisy restaurant to celebrate this momentous event, they decided to have an intimate afternoon and supper at home.  They enjoyed playing board games, Wi and other fun stuff.  Dad, who hired me, had put together a really special video with snippets of all the important folks in his daughter’s life.  I didn’t even know these folks, but that was so heart-warming to see well wishes from around the globe… but I think perhaps most touching were the words of wisdom from her little-bit-older-but-VERY WISE sister.  She is one smart cookie!  They have an ”international” family of Germans and Japanese… (who says I can’t come up with a crowd pleasing menu?)….  and it warmed my heart to be there in the open kitchen putting together their dee-lish Nekkid Supper while seeing them enjoy each other’s company on this special day!

This is the menu created for their casual family-style meal…

“Pickled” Pickled Shrimp  (recipe below)

Toastettes topped with a dollop of Greensboro’s
My Three Sons Pimiento Cheese
garnished with fresh chive from my garden and topped with a dollop of cherry preserves

Eastern North Carolina Cotton Honey-Mustard Slaw (recipe below)

The Bestest Cheesyest au gratin 'taters EVER!

As requested, REALLLY Cheesey Taters... so I made some…
“The Bestest Cheesyest au gratin ‘taters EVER!” …
with Gruyere, Jarlsberg, and Fontina topped with Asagio!
(AMAZING and I think the BEST I’ve ever made!!!)

 

Honey Carrot Butter

 

 

 

 

Crispy Toastettes with Honey Carrot Butter”

 

 

Beef Tenderloin Medallions with "Mushroom Menagerie Marsala Gravy"

 

 

 

 

Skillet Seared Beef Tenderloin Medallions with sides of
“Mushroom Menagerie Marsala Gravy” along with
Whipped Horseradish Cream
, and…

 

 

 

Herbed Chicken in Browned Butter Chicken

 

 

Fresh herbed chicken tenderloins
…sauteed in browned butter

 

 

 

Dessert was left warm in the oven… an ooey gooey Chocolate Pudding Cake!

I hope you’ll enjoy, and call me if you’d like to enjoy life’s celebrations at home instead of out in a busy…loud and noisy… impersonal restaurant!  We can even do an interactive party if you wanna roll up your sleeves and throw-cook with me!

Wendy’s Almost Famous “Pickled” Pickled Shrimp!
"Pickled" Pickled Shrimp

Wendy's almost famous “Pickled” Pickled Shrimp

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: PT15-20ishM

What to throw together...

  • about 2 lbs. jumbo sweet North Carolina Shrimp, peeled/de-viened with tail on
  • 1 jar NC's Mt. Olive Sweet 'n Hot Pickled Peppers WITH juice
  • 1 pint jar Pierce Foods Watermelon Rind Pickles WITH juice
  • 1 pint jar Pierce Foods Okra Pickles, DRAINED

How to throw together...

  1. Cook Shrimp. I prefer to steam in microwave or stove top vs. boiling as steaming keeps the good flavor and nutrients IN the shrimp instead of boiling them out into the water!
  2. Place cooked shrimp into non-reactive container. Pour peppers with juice, watermelon rind pickles with juice and DRAINED okra pickles over shrimp. Toss well. Refrigerate and chill. I like to do this a minimum of 8 hours before serving for the juices to "pickle" the shrimp and get nice and cold.
  3. Pierce Foods is a shop I frequent at the Raleigh Farmers' Market. If you go by there, tell Mr. Pierce I sent you. If not in this area, you can sub any similar products, but try to buy LOCAL and from your area farmers' market too!

Notes

Don't be alarmed with the color change to a yellowish tint. That simply means the pickle juices are "pickling" the shrimp just as you want to happen!

The reason I drain the okra pickles is because that juice is twangy and I want my pickled shrimp to be sweet.

Eastern North Carolina Cotton Honey-Mustard Slas

Eastern North Carolina Cotton Honey-Mustard Slaw

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 20 minutes

What to throw together...

  • Cabbage and/or other similar greens
  • turnips
  • carrots
  • jicama
  • any kinds of radishes
  • spring onions-red onion-sweet onions…any sorts of onions or combination
  • cilantro
  • and any other nekkid veggies you'd like!

How to throw together...

  1. A variety of cuts makes this slaw pretty and far from boring. I thinly slice cabbage into ribbons... cut turnips into matchsticks, make long wide shreds of carrots using a vegetable peeler, slice/dice radishes and throw in thinly sliced red onions and chopped green onions (white and green parts).
  2. Just at serving time, throw in a heap'n help'n of chopped cilantro. This not only gives the slaw a pretty and vibrant punch of green, but throws in one more level of flavor... and THAT is rarely not a good thang!

Notes

The fun thing about this slaw is it can be whatever you want it to be... and can throw in any old things you wanna. If you have some of these nekkid ingredients on hand but not others, fix it anyway. This is a great way to clean out that produce drawer with those tidbits of this and that... not enough on its own, but perfect with thrown together with sister veggies.


Wouldn’t you love to make memories around your supper table at home… instead of a noisy restaurant with strangers?
happy family!
It was my pleasure Robert… thanks to you and your happy family!!