Category: sensational sides

Dilly Grilled German Potato Salad Packets

This Dilled Grilled German Potato Salad will be a “go to” side for your cookouts and gatherings. Make ahead and stack in fridge to throw on a hot grill… sensational side in only 15-20 minutes!

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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!

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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Sometimes you win… sometimes you lose! This time, I have a winner~ with Aunt Nellie’s!

Aunt Nellie’s Bacon & Rosemary Roasted Pears n’Onions… kissed with Cinnamon Honey ~ Aunt Nellie’s 2018 State Fair Cooking Contest ~ 3rd Place Sides/Salads Winner


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  

Aunt Nellie’s 2018 State Fair Contest Winners

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

I do hope you will pick up some Aunt Nellie’s Onions and make this really easy recipe and if you do, come over to my facebook community and tell me all about it!

Aunt Nellie’s Bacon & Rosemary Roasted Pears n’Onions… kissed with Cinnamon Honey
We all love tasty speedy side dishes and this one can be thrown together in the time it takes to preheat your oven. This rustic sweet and savory combo is perfect alongside roasted meats. Roast a pork tenderloin at the same time for a complete supper. Or, turn it into a warm wilted salad by drizzling in a bit of balsamic vinegar when done and while hot, tossing with a big bowl of fresh spinach. No matter how you serve it, it’s sure to please… especially when BACON is involved! 
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: roasted pears and onions, bacon, aunt nellie's
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425. Scatter pieces of bacon on large roasting pan and place in oven while preheating.  
  2. Prepare pears and red onion and place into large mixing bowl. Stir in drained onions and rosemary.
  3. 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. 
  4. Combine honey and cinnamon.

  5. Once this roasted goodness is removed from the oven, drizzle with the cinnamon honey. Scatter with toasted pine nuts and blue cheese. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

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!

 

 

 

 

 

collards + cabbage + frost = “cabbards” time…. with Crispy Cornbread Cookies, Molasses Bacon Butter & Pot Likker

The time has just about come for the annual “cooking of the cabbards” to fill the freezer!  Like a squirrel stowing away acorns for the winter, I too, “get my cook’n on” once our local collards have had a good kissing o’ the frost.  Some think that’s just an old tale, but not this gal, lovingly called THE “Collard Queen” by those lucky enough to have had some bestowed uponst them by said ‘queen’ or have rubbed their full bellies after a sit’n at her table… served up with a side of Crispy Cornbread Cookies, some Molasses Butter, a warm cup of Pot Likker or cold buttermilk.  And don’t forget the farmers’ market treasures… including a menagerie of homemade chow chows destined to crown a heap’n helping of fall’s green ‘gold!’

So I’m in my kitchen a few days ago cooking cornbread cookies for this here post… setting up my photo shot, and about to savor the very last tidbit of my 2010 stash of cabbards I lucked up and found tucked into a back corner of the freezer when…”ding dong”… my doorbell rings.  My kitchen sidekick and 7YO nephew hollers…“Dee Dee, who is THAT?” (seeing as how it is mid-afternoon and we’re still in our loungy clothes  watching movies, blogging and eat’n).  I looked at him and said… “I have NO idea!” But I surely am hoping it’s somebody that won’t mind my receiving them in my ‘old lady house dress,’ (probably something akin to what my grandmas were wearing when they cooked collards) and Wyatt, running around in his ‘underdraws.’  I swing the door open, and there stands my cousin Mark… who I see fairly rarely, but usually when he drops by (less often than the proverbial blue moon), he has some sort of vegetable(s) gleaned from a nearby garden.  He leads me out to the back of his pick up truck (the preferred method of transportation for most of us country folk)… and what do I see…. THESE!  *C.O.L.L.A.R.D.S*

I’m not believing this… as mere seconds ago I’m in my kitchen, cooking up, photographing and in the middle of writing this very blog post about collards… when a big ole’ mess of them land on my front porch…  the weirdness of this timing is CRAYzee! And as delighted as I am about all this, I’m trying to factor in my head…  when in the world can I squeeze cabbard cook’n into this particular week’s schedule... with a TV show taping (see show video at My Carolina Today!) and a ginormous exciting photo shoot for Our State Magazine (where I’m so blessed to be food stylist and recipe developer…so subscribe if you don’t already, and buy holiday gift certificates too).  But never one to let a little thing like ‘limited hours in the day’ get in my way… a cabbard cook’n will commence!  I decided to just throw ’em in my big chest freezer till that can happen…something I have had to do before, and equates to that sweet kiss of frost… a BIG deep freeze kiss!

So without further ado, here is my much requested method for cooking collards (or in my case, “cabbards”).  These are sooo good, and worth every minute of effort it takes to get from the back end of a truck to your supper (and sometimes breakfast) plate.

Wendy’s Locally Famous Cabbards (Cabbage + Collards)

Wendy’s Cabbards

As THE “throw cooker” that I am (come see my Throw Cooking web page and recipes), I’m going to tell YOU how to throw these together… exactness is not important here!  These are the necessary ingredients and process.  I have, on occasion, cooked these in MASS to fill my freezer for the winter, but you can do any amounts that work for you.  A couple of years ago, I cooked 40 lbs. bacon and forget how many birds to have broth and bacon grease for 100 lbs. cabbage and 50 lbs. collards!  It took me quite some time to figure all this out, but because the collards ‘evaporate’ and disappear in the pot, I decided to see what happened if I added in some cabbage… and it makes the collards even better… sweeter… AND, the cabbage doesn’t disappear as much as the collards… so you end up with a whole lot more “cabbards” to store away and nobody but you knows this little secret, till NOW!

  • Chicken(s) or Hen(s)
  • Bacon (lots!)… more that you think… you need a goodly amount of rendered bacon grease
  • Collards… about 1/2 as much collards as cabbage (washed real good)
  • Cabbage… about twice as much cabbage as collards (washed real good)

EQUIPMENT:

  • BIG pot
  • Cast Iron Skillet
  • Tongs
  • Time

Put some water in a big old pot and throw your chicken(s) or hen(s) in there.  Bring to rolling boil, then reduce heat and keep cook’n till you have some tender bird and a big ole’ pot of chicken stock.  Take that bird out and make yourself a mess ‘o chicken salad or freeze for cooking in other stuff, like Chicken Pot Pies or Brunswick Stew.

Get that big old cast iron skillet out and fry up a LOT of bacon.  Sometimes on cabbard cooking day I’m outside doing all that AND cooking up a ginormous amount of my “Almost Famous Brunswick Stew”-will post that soon if you ask!… so I invite folks to drop by and eat bacon sandwiches.  Put this bacon grease into a big can (coffee can works great).

Rough slice the cabbage.  Throw some in the pot of broth, alternating with handfuls of torn collard leaves.  As it wilts, keep adding more to the pot.  Let this cabbard mix boil and boil… the more ‘tenderer’ the better.

On a burner beside this pot, put your big iron skillet on med-hi and add (generously) some bacon grease.  With tongs, grab some of the cabbards and plop into the hot skillet, including some of the wondermous Pot Likker they produced.  Start chopping with long-handled veggie chopper… as they cook down and shrink as you chop, continue grabbing more cabbards with your tongs and continue this process, stirring around to incorporate the bacon grease.  Once these are really tender and chopped real good, dump into big bowl to cool before putting into containers and continue doing this until you’ve cooked all your cabbards.

Cool’n Cabbards

When packing into containers, I try to leave good head space and top off with some of the broth so when heating, that is there to give a little moisture while warming.

Serve with Cornbread Cookies with Molasses Butter and mug of Pot Likker or Cold Buttermilk.

Cornbread Cookies with Molasses Bacon Butter

Wendy’s Crispy Cornbread Cookies

It’s really easy to throw together these crispy crunchy Cornbread Cookies and they are the perfect sidekick for your Cabbards.

  • your favorite hushpuppy mix
  • finely diced onions (any kind…sweet, green, scallion, chive, etc.)
  • sugar
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • lard

Mix hushpuppy mix according to package directions.  Add in onions and sugar to taste (you want these to be lightly sweetened and the sugar helps make them crispy too).  Grind in some pepper.  If your mix is really thick, add a little more water or milk/buttermilk, whatever you are using until thinner and pourable/spoonable.  I like to let my mixture sit about 10 minutes before cooking to adjust this consistency as it will thicken as it sits (but also, the flavors will marry a bit).

Heat thin amount of lard in cast iron skillet on med-high heat.  With a tablespoon, spoon into hot skillet and spread thin with back of spoon.  Fry until golden brown and flip; repeat on the other side.  Drain well on brown paper bag or paper towels.

Serve with Molasses Butter alongside Cabbards with mug of Pot Likker or Buttermillk.

MOLASSES BUTTER

  • Softened Butter
  • Molasses
  • Bacon Grease, optional
  • Cinnamon or Apple Pie Spice, optional

Drizzle some molasses over butter and swirl to blend.

VARIATIONS: To make Molasses Bacon Butter, stir in a bit of bacon grease.  A bit of cinnamon or apple pie spice is also tasty in Molasses Butter, depending on what you will be serving it with (especially great with pancakes, waffles or French Toast too)!

Enjoy y’all… and please throw me your comments below AND ‘share’ with all your friends!