Category: tomatoes

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.

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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?

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.

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.

 

Peas, please… field peas, that is!

…field peas and country ham

Peas are such a simple food… they don’t need much fuss’n with, and can be fixed in all sorts of ways. Cook simply with some country ham pieces.  Ladle up a cup of the pot likker from their cook’n. Add some cornbread and call it supper!  Top with stewed tomatoes or homemade tomato jam

White acre peas with a dollop of tomato jam!

 

 

Whirl up for some right tasty hummus. Or make what we call “Carolina Caviar” for porch sit’n or tailgate’n which we will be doing soon! 

Add some tomato based BBQ sauce for a little kick to your Carolina Caviar!

To make this rather southern “dip,” you can cut up fresh veggies like peppers and tomatoes and onions and shake in some hot sauce, or just stir in some prepared salsa and “doctor it up” for a simpler version. I like to stir in some thicker tomato based BBQ sauce for a tasty surprise too. I like to serve mine with pork rind dippers as you’ll see here at this big reception I did long ago, but just serve with your own favorite chip!  

 

All sorts of fresh field peas are plentiful during July and August… time to stock up!

Any way you use them, North Carolina field peas are just good eats.  And right now is prime pea pick’n season. Load your freezer with all sorts of great peas to enjoy throughout the coming seasons, until it is time to load up again next summer. 

 

Putting up peas… White Acre Peas

 

You will need to blanch them before freezing, but that’s really easy to do.  You will find several methods to do that here, at the National Center for Home Food Preservation’s site! 

 

So run along to your local farm or farmers’ market and pick up PEAS!  Beautiful peas in all shapes sizes and beautiful colors!  Cook some cornbread, pour a glass of iced tea, and plop yourself down in that rocking chair on the porch… enjoy these dog days of summer before they are gone.  

….beautiful summer field peas

I rocked many a mile with my mama and grandma…. shelling peas on my grandma’s porch… back in the day, before pea shelling machines stole that “joy” from us.  Who else has those memories?  I remember my mama saying… “you will be glad you shelled those peas when we are eating them this winter” to which I defiantly declared… “I’d just as soon not eat a pea as to have to do this right here” as any young girl wanting to go play would say. But you know what, those WERE “the days.”

Oh how I’d love to turn back the clock… to these days… porch pea-shelling days!

And oh how I’d give ANYthing… to go back and have those days again… with my mama, my Ma Hocutt, and the sounds of peas falling into those metal pans and my sore little thumbs. Anybody care to join me?

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