Category: sensational sides

Tomato-Pimento Cheese Shortcakes With Black-Peppered Whipped Cream

 

Serve for breakfast, brunch or alongside your favorite grilled meats!

Sometimes, those of us who create recipes for both pleasure and profit throw together something that becomes a personal favorite. It seems that mine tend to be those using freshly harvested tomatoes! I got most of the tomato gene in my family, because my sister has never liked them, (with the exception of them being turned into something else like sauce that involves some sort of pasta).  Myself, well I live for the first early spring hothouse tomatoes grown by “down the road” friends… be it at my Zebulon home in Franklin County and a quick zip over to The Vollmer Farm, or just up the road a piece at one of my new favorite places near my “other” home in Cedar Point, NC… Winberry Farm Produce Market!  It just so happened I was in Cedar Point when doing my happy dance creating this vision for the first time I’ve had parked in my head for a few years, but just never got around to making it come to life!

This recipe was created for Carolina Country Magazine... where I am blessed to contribute a couple of recipes each month, and occasionally get to write for the magazine too!  We create and shoot for magazines a few months in advance, so both Vollmer and Winberry’s hothouse tomatoes were none too soon for me to start playing with this… what I consider one of my personal “masterpieces!”  What’s not to love?
…fresh local tomatoes?  …pimento cheese?  …whipped cream? 
Goodness Gracious for sure! 
Nekkid food… just like God gave it to us.

My guinea pigs all gave this a thumbs up too, confirming what I thought… this one is a keeper.  So without babbling on, here is my recipe for Tomato-Pimento Cheese Shortcakes with Black-Peppered Whipped Cream.  It’s just right for a light summer breakfast or brunch (to be sure with a side of bacon, sausage or country ham)… or my favorite way to eat, alongside a big hunk’o grilled bone-in ribeye! 
Suit your fancy…

And just a helpful hint… the shortcakes can be made ahead and frozen. Just take out and “freshen” in your toaster oven. The microwave will do too. 

I hope you and yours enjoy these as much as I have this summer.  Now run along and make yourself some.  Stay tuned… still to come, more tomato faves, including my Dilly Swiss Tomato Pie.

Tomato-Pimento Cheese Shortcakes with Black-Peppered Whipped Cream

Serve these savory summer shortcakes for breakfast, brunch... and they make a perfect side for grilled steaks, chops and chicken.  The shortcakes can be frozen to quickly revive in your toaster oven or microwave. 

Course: Appetizer, Breakfast, Brunch, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Farmers Market, Garden Goodies, North Carolina Goodies, Southern, Summer Food
Servings: 12 servings
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • 3 1/4 cups biscuit mix
  • 1 cup thick pimento cheese
  • 1/4 cup Duke's mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup club soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
Filling:
  • about 14 large tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup minced sweet onion
  • 4 tablespoons oil, your preferred salad oil
  • 4 tablespoons vinegar, your favorite
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup each fresh chopped basil and oregano
  • salt and pepper to suit your taste
Whipped Cream:
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 1 8 ounce cream cheese with chives
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • fresh herbs to garnish, chives preferred
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine shortcake ingredients and drop by heaping tablespoon onto prepared baking pan. Spread flat with back of spoon.Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Cool.

  2. Stir all filling ingredients together least one hour before serving. Spoon filling over 12 shortcakes, covering each with second cake.
  3. For topping, whip cream and cream cheese until thickened. Blend in pepper.
  4. Top shortcakes with dollop of whipped cream and garnish with fresh herbs.

Fall = Applesauce!

Fall is in the air… well kinda sorta, now that fresh North Carolina apples are making their debut at farmers’ markets! And with that, comes comfort foods, like applesauce. Who doesn’t love that?  It makes such a quick and simple healthy side dish for so many things, including breakfast! What could start your day off better than some NC maple or brown sugar pork sausage with a side of freshly made applesauce?  Check out this site for lots of great information about North Carolina apples!

And because you can crock a pot so fast, unless you really want to, there’s no need to do huge batches and can.  Just make some fresh every week or so as you need in your house!

Apple Pie Spiced Slow Cooker Applesauce

Apple Pie Spiced Slow Cooker Applesauce

This recipe is so easy… you can have it in the pot in 5 minutes and go on about your business. It takes care of itself… wouldn’t it be great if all our foods did that?  

My applesauce is featured in this month’s September issue of Carolina Country Magazine but you can find it printable below.  As you will see in the notes, there are easy ways to vary this basic recipe.  You can use your favorite pie spice… and I really like to use the Georgia Peach Spice from Savory Spice Shop.

And here’s a helpful hint... for those of you with small households, I highly recommend getting yourself a mini crock pot (or two) for cook’n. I have a couple and cook in them several times a week.  The heat is so intensified due to its smaller size, food gets hot faster and cooks much faster too. I enjoy soft creamy grits some mornings in 30-45 minutes. I buy Boston butts when on sale and have them cut in half to freeze one/cook one… a half fits perfectly into the mini pot and in a couple of hours, I have my own Eastern North Carolina pulled pork BBQ!  The portions are perfect for a couple of folks and you won’t end up with lots of leftovers (but maybe just enough to throw together a mini crock pot of soup).  I’m not sure all the places you can get them, but I picked up both of mine at thrift stores… one for $3 and the other was $7. And I recently gifted one to my “other mother” from Roses for $12!  You can’t beat that….  and they are a great inexpensive Christmas gift for singles, couples and seniors that aren’t able to stand and do much cooking anymore.  You can even pair up with a grocery store gift card if you want to help someone on a fixed income at holiday time! And for you single and couple campers out there, a mini is a must-have.

So without further adieu I give you my delicious slow cooker applesauce! Happy Sauce’n and Happy Fall y’all!  Please be sure to share my recipe and blog with friends, and thanks!

Apple Pie Spiced Slow Cooker Applesauce
Fall is here, and so are North Carolina apples! Some are better for applesauce than others, so be sure to ask at the farmers market or do a quick online search to get just the right ones. We like to leave half the peel on for a chunkier sauce, but peel them all if preferred.
Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Dessert, Sauces, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: American, Farmers Market, North Carolina Goodies, Southern
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • 8-10 large apples cored and roughly chopped, peel half
  • 1/3 cup apple juice or water
  • pinch salt
  • brown sugar, honey or sugar as needed
  • apple pie spice or something similar
Instructions
  1. Add apples, water and salt to slow cooker. Stir and cover. Cook on high about 2 hours or low about 5 hours until tender.
  2. Leave chunky, or puree with an immersion blender for smooth sauce. Taste for sweetness and add sugar as needed. Dust with apple pie spice.
Recipe Notes
  • Serve warm or chilled. Great alongside pork and chicken or stirred into your morning oatmeal or yogurt. Perfect for lunchboxes too!!
  • Spice:  Use cinnamon or any sort of "baking" spice you like such as pumpkin pie spices. I love to use the George Peach Spice blend from Savory Spice Shop!
  • Variation: Use half apples and half pears for a wonderful apple-pear sauce.

 

 

 

Speaking of tomatoes, fried green ones…

A few years ago while food styling and creating recipes at Our State Magazine, I had the opportunity to create some “sauces” for Fried Green Tomatoes!  We Southerners know summertime isn’t complete without enjoying this tangy fried treat. OK, I’m sure some folks may coat and bake them, but Wendy don’t play that with some things, and “Fried” green ‘maters are one of those things.

Most of us have our preferred way to cook those, so this post isn’t about that…. since basically you just dip in buttermilk, crumbs…. and fry!

Saucy Fried Green Tomatoes
photography by Matt Hulsman for Our State Magazine!

 

Today, I’d like to share the 3 toppings the magazine published.  See if you find one you like, or if you have a preferred way to serve, please add a note about that in the comments below! 

The toppings are…

  • Herby Mayo Dressing… like Green Goddess
  • Whipped Feta & Basil Pimento Cheese
  • Sweet ‘n Hot Strawberry Spread

Enjoy these recipes on Our State’s site or printable below!
Recipes published June 2015

Herby Mayo Dressing for Fried Green Tomatoes

Try a drizzle of this dressing, then add bits of bacon and chopped chives. (Hint: It tastes great on salads or as a vegetable dip, too.)

Yield: About 1¼ cups.

Course: Brunch, Dressings, Main Course, Salad, Sauces, Side Dish
Cuisine: Farmers Market, Southern, Summer Food
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise, Duke's preferred
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons garlic paste (or 4 cloves, grated)
  • 4 whole scallions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • several turns freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the dressing is blended and the herbs are incorporated. Store in a jar in the refrigerator. Serve at room temperature. 
Whipped Feta & Basil Pimento Cheese for Fried Green Tomatoes

This recipe calls for feta cheese, but you can easily substitute goat cheese if preferred.

Yield: About 1 pint.

Course: Brunch, Dressings, Main Course, Sauces, Side Dish
Cuisine: Farmers Market, Southern, Summer Food
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces feta cheese
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons diced pimento, drained
  • 2 teaspoons spicy brown mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1-2 teaspoons sugar optional
  • 6-8 fresh basil leaves
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients except basil leaves into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until combined and fluffy. Tear up 3 or 4 of the basil leaves, add to the pimento cheese, and pulse until chopped and incorporated into the cheese. Roll up remaining leaves and slice into thin ribbons.
  2. Spoon cheese on top of warm fried green tomatoes. Garnish with basil ribbons.
Sweet ’n’ Hot Strawberry Spread for Fried Green Tomatoes
The best of both worlds: strawberries for sweetness, chowchow for a little kick.
Course: Brunch, Dressings, Main Course, Sauces, Side Dish
Cuisine: Farmers Market, North Carolina Goodies, Southern, Summer Food
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons drained chow chow
  • 1 tablespoon strawberry jam or preserves
  • fresh basil optional
Instructions
  1. Stir to combine and spread onto fried green tomatoes.

 

…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.  

Wendy’s Dilly Swiss Tomato Pie!

’tis pie season. Tomato Pie Season. And I can’t believe I have never put my Dilly Swiss Tomato Pie here….  

Dilly Swiss Tomato Pie

Dilly Swiss Tomato Pie
Photo by Matt Hulsman for Our State Magazine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As food stylist and recipe developer at Our State Magazine for 5 years, I often prepared and styled recipes from church and community cookbooks they featured each month, while sometimes I created recipes for the magazine. Now those who know me well know getting in one of my kitchens and doing some “throw cooking” creating recipes of my own…. usually with North Carolina goodies, is my mostest favorite thing to do!  And this tomato pie 

Sometimes, ingredients just harmonize and the recipe turns out just right the first time!  This tomato pie is one of those times. I get visions in my head… and can hardly wait to pull together the ingredients and start playing! Although rare, there certainly are disasters and some “what was I thinking” concoctions, but for the most part, I believe this to be a talent given to me by God… there’s just no other explanation.  That, along with just having taste buds that seem to know what tastes good together is my “formula.”  This comes to me naturally, and it is so hard for me to grasp that this simple thing, for others, is terrifying and beyond anything they can or will do.  We had this very conversation this past weekend where I was throwing together my okra salad, a variation of it, and folks there were just mesmerized at what I did, and said in a million years would have never thought to do such a thing… while gobbling it all down!

So when the subject of tomato pies came up, I came here to get the link and text to them. And it wasn’t even here!  So today, I’m fixing that.  

This simple summer pie can be made in a flash… and that’s just what kind of cook’n we all prefer in prime tomato season when adding heat to our lives in any fashion is not on our agenda… at least not here in North Carolina, where the heat and humidity becomes absurd.  July, August and September are prime field tomato months for us, although I’m fortunate to have some farmers near me who grow some pretty darn good hot house tomatoes we start eating about March or April! So “Tomato Everything” graces my menus and recipes, and that’s fine by me… as I’d just as soon eat juicy fresh local summer ‘maters as I had a hunk’o steak!  

You can Google and scour Pinterest for “tomato pie” recipes, and find thousands of them… most claiming to be “the best tomato pie you’ve ever had.”  But I’m here to tell you, I’m laying claim to that title with MY tomato pie. Period.

There are a couple of reasons for this.  First, it has Duke’s mayonnaise, which speaks for itself! And if you live in a place where there is no Duke’s, I have full pity on you… (but you CAN order online from them or have friends and relatives visiting you from The Land of Duke’s bring you some). Many of y’all know by now that my “little” (back then) nephew Wyatt and I had the opportunity to be featured in several Duke’s commercials a few years back. We became something akin to “celebrities” for a few years as they would run starting in spring and tomato sandwich time, right on through the end of tomato season in fall.  And he was BMOC2G (big man on campus in 2nd grade). So anytime I can throw some Duke’s in a recipe, I do.

Nextly… most tomato pies you see use mozzarella, or cheddar cheese.  Nope, not around here! I’m a Swiss cheese fanatic, and when others are using the same old kinds of cheeses in recipes, you’ll likely find Swiss in mine…. like my Swiss Pimiento Cheese (another recipe I throw together and need to throw here too)!

And lastly…. you will typically see herbs from what I call the “Italian Family” in tomato pies, but you haven’t lived until you’ve enjoyed a meaty juicy tomato pie…with fresh DILL!

So those couple of things married together make my taste buds do a culinary happy dance. And I’m sure they will do the same for yours.  So without further babble…. I bring you, my Dilly Swiss Tomato Pie! I do hope you will make one soon, and come back here and share your review with me… and that you and yours love it as much as me and mine do. And since I have all the ingredients on hand, I think I shall throw myself one together now too. One can never have too much tomato pie, right?

Dilly Swiss Tomato Pie

Most tomato pies will feature cheddar or mozzarella cheeses, and typically, herbs and seasonings in the Italian family. This one takes the "usual" to "unusual" and brings the fresh flavor of dill to the table, with the rich creaminess of Swiss cheese... finished off with the crispy crunchy onion topping. You can even make this crustless.... for more of a tomato pudding than pie!

Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Side Dish
Cuisine: Southern
Servings: 6 (or sometimes, just 1!)
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • 1 store bought deep dish pie crust (or your own)
  • 3-4 large tomatoes, cut into 1/2" slices
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • several turns freshly ground black pepper
  • 2-3 whole green onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup Duke's mayonnaise
  • 1 cup grated Swiss cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1/2 cup canned French-fried onion topping
Instructions
  1. Place the tomato slices in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Let tomatoes drain for at least 20 to 30 minutes. Dry any surface moisture with a paper towel.
    NOTE: The longer you let the tomatoes sit the better as the more moisture you can pull, the meatier they will be. I sometimes slice and salt in the morning for cooking my pie later in the day.

  2. Preheat the oven to 350º. Prick the bottom and sides of the piecrust with a fork. Bake for 10 minutes.

  3. In a bowl, combine the mayonnaise and cheese. Fold in the chopped dill.
  4. Layer the tomato slices in the piecrust. Season them with black pepper. Scatter with chopped green onions. Dollop the mayonnaise and cheese mixture over the tomatoes and onions.

  5. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the cheese is melting and starts to brown. Scatter with fried onion topping, then bake for an additional 5 minutes. Let stand about 10 minutes. Slice and serve warm.

Recipe Notes

Variation: You can use a variety of tomatoes for added color and flavors!  

Your pie will have more onion crust topping than this picture.... sometimes "things" have to be done in the name of food styling for better photos, and this is an example.  Too much of the onion and you wouldn't see the beautiful meaty tomatoes underneath!

Recipe originally published in Our State Magazine ~ July 2015