Category: Published Recipes

…krave-worthy Krispy Kreme Kroutons!

Being that today is “National Doughnut Day,” seems fitting to share one of my Krispy Kreme Kreations with you.

It just so happens that my lastest, krunchy Cinnamon-Butter Krispy Kreme Kroutons, is one of four North Carolina food icons I got to blab about in the November issue of Carolina Country Magazine. I chose Krispy Kreme as one of the four for a couple of reasons. For starters, when talking about iconic foods here in North Carolina, KK is at or near the top of any such list. KK is also celebrating a milestone birthday this year… their 80th! I even made this scrumptious sundae with KK Kroutons and Kookies to celebrate.

Aren’t we so happy Krispy Kreme was born?

I’ve been making these blissful little krouton morsels for years, just never got around to sharing until now!  You can make ’em in no time flat, but be warned.

….krunchy krispy kreme kroutons

Nobody can eat just one, or 10, so make a big old mess of them! Folks love to munch on “kroutons” right out of the bowl, but I enjoy on top of Ma Perry’s Boiled Custard, a Perry family tradition that started before I came along… a long time ago.

I do hope you will make some kroutons, and come back to let me know what you think… I’m pretty sure you will be the Kueen if you serve up a pile of these sometime soon.
Don’t you think KK should bag my kroutons too?  

Krispy Kreme Kroutons

Cinnamon-Butter Krispy Kreme Kroutons

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Cinnamon-Butter Krispy Kreme Kroutons
Krispy Kreme “Kroutons” are a fun treat by themselves, but floating in boiled custard to enjoy at the bottom of your cup is good, too!
Ingredients
  • 6 Krispy Kreme Doughnuts,
  • 1 stick butter. melted
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Using kitchen scissors, cut each doughnut into 12 "coins." Spread cut pieces out on baking pan and let air dry, uncovered, overnight.

  2. Preheat toaster oven or oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in microwave and stir in cinnamon. Toss “kroutons” in bowl with cinnamon butter. Bake about 5 minutes, tossing as needed, until golden brown.

  3. Cool and store in airtight container.

So, what are your ideas for using Krispy Kreme Kroutons?
Do tell…

What time is it? Muscadine time….

One of my favorite things about the arrival of fall would be grapes! Muscadine grapes…. native to the south grapes. We know, as they turn into those sweet little balls of deliciousness and ripen into nature’s candy, that fall is on our doorstep. And for those of us who are drained by the heat and humidity of another North Carolina summer, they are a harbinger of cooler days ahead!

I have fond memories as a child of the vines….  one was in my Mama and Daddy Hocutt’s back yard… a vine he’d planted and tended and nurtured long before I came along in 1958. He left us when I was just 8, but I still can remember going up under that big shady vine with him that would be hanging full of luscious scuppernong grapes. We would suck the slimy pulp and juice out of dozens of grapes, spit seeds, laugh… then fill our bowls to put in the refrigerator to get nice and cold for later.  I remember how sweet the air that surrounded us was. I remember how nice and cool it was up under there. I remember…

muscadine grapes

Now let’s stop right here and do a little grape lesson… 
Scuppernong grapes are muscadines, but not all muscadines are scuppernongs…. got it?  Scuppernong is a variety of muscadine… but many of us grew up with only scuppernongs and thinking they were one an the same and only muscadine, so we grew up believing what turned out to be a myth.

OK… back to the topic at hand!
So, I’d never cooked anything using muscadine grapes. The few recipes I’d come across just seemed like a whole lot of work with those seeds and skins and all… for only a few bites of something.  Oh my, was I WRONG!

A couple of years back, my old friend Lisa Prince (at NC Department of Agriculture) asked me if I would like to be a part of an episode of Flavor, NC they were going to be filming on muscadine grapes!  And if so, I would need to come up with a few recipes using them. Well of course I would LOVE to be a part of a show I love… and helping promote goodness grown here in North Carolina… but I admit, a bit of panic set in about creating grape recipes!  But I love a challenge and new culinary adventures, so I jumped right on it.

However… my first question as we were to film in November…. where the heck shall I get grapes at that time of year?

First thing I learned… you can freeze grapes!  Whaaaat?  
Yep, Lisa assured me so and said they would have bags for me to work with!  Who knew?!?  So folks, as we are in the prime days of our muscadine grape season here in North Carolina, grab yourself some big old zippered bags and freeze away! Because when you see my Muscadine Crisp recipe, you’ll know why.

So with that worry aside, I started googling, and “Pinteresting” (my new word) to find inspirations and “how-tos” from others who have created muscadine grape recipes. I quickly learned… these are about as scarce as a fresh muscadine grape in April!  I could count on one hand anything close to what you’d call “creative” that my searches turned up.
No problem… I’ll figure this out because that’s what I do… even if I have a limited supply of frozen grapes, with little room for error to recreate or start all over. (Insert mini panic attack, but hey, I’ve GOT this.)

Well it just so happened that in the time between I was to do this creation and then make again for filming the show, I had previously planned another of my culinary adventures up… wayyyyyy up in the NC mountains to the John Campbell Folk School, for a week-long 18th Century Open Hearth Cooking Class! 

{Let me digress here for a moment to tell you that this place is “all THAT and then some!” If you love learning new things… in the old school way, be it wood-working, blacksmithing, banjo or dulcimer making and playing, art by needle/thread/fabric and a gazillion other things, GO THERE! My jaw was on the floor at our lunch on Friday as we all gathered to display our accomplishments that week and I long to go there again and again. A small group actually built, from scratch, their own dulcimers AND learned to play a few songs from Sunday eve till Friday noon!}

So… in my hearth cooking class, where I learned the most amazing things and actually cooked in a ginormous hearth so big we could bend over up in it to move pots and kettles and coals around (while hobbling on crutches as well), we cooked things each day, 100% authentic to that era.

Hearth at John Campbell Folk School

Hearth at John Campbell Folk School and WAY bigger than it looks in this picture!

We even learned which of the herbs we could harvest from the garden there to use in our cooking since not all of them had been brought “here” yet. Recipe choices would be laid out on a wooden table (that was, of course, made at the school in the woodworking shop) that was draped in vintage cloth and we would select those we wanted to prepare. Well normally, I wouldn’t choose any sort of baked thing, but low and behold, there laid a “receipt” for a Muscadine Pie!  And as it was in October, there were muscadine grapes there in the mountains in our pantry fridge. I grabbed that one right away so I could get down to the nitty gritty (and get my fingers stained and “broke in”) of this muscadine phobia here, where I had an instructor who could help me with this self-imposed terror.

First, I had to… MAKE DOUGH for my pie! A terrifying thing in itself…. that turned out to be a piece of cake.
Next, I had to prepare the grapes, and to my surprise, wasn’t such a big deal either… as I had no idea the hulls were a part of the filling. (And oh my, the soft baked texture in the sweet muscadine syrup of the pie was divine!)  

Without belaboring this story to get to why we are here (my Flavor, NC grape recipes!), I share my very first ever muscadine creation!  I even “garnished” it with some edible violets from the garden and a dough design of a bunch of grapes (unlike how you see muscadines growing)… LOL  Pretty snazzy, eh?  

Muscadine Pie

…my first muscadine creation!

And I’m here to tell you, this may have been the b.e.s.t. pie to ever cross my lips. It SO inspired me to get in my cookhouse when I returned home to create muscadine recipes for the show.  I think the timing was surely one of those Godwink moments… to put that muscadine challenge before me, the week before I was to attempt my first creations, with few resources “out there” to help me.  I knew in that moment as I savored that deep, rich grape infused pie… yet, I’ve got this too!

Fast forward to getting back home, after pulling my cute little Squash Blossom Vintage Camper into, and back out of the mountains… as far into the mountains you can go in North Carolina and still be IN North Carolina. Eight hours, much of which was the definition of “white knuckles.” 

My adventure to John Campbell Folk School!

I didn’t fully set up Squash Blossom due to an ongoing foot “issue” but just enough to sleep at night! So this is the abbreviated Blossom….

My mini Squash Blossom set up at John Campbell Folk School.

So… back at home, it was time to hunker down and get some muscadine recipes created for the show! I had sent Lisa my thoughts and she liked them all.  My creations were Muscadine Pepper Jelly, Muscadine Shrub and Muscadine Grape and Gingersnap Crisp. Now I’m here to tell you, although I don’t care for a lot of sweets, this crisp may be in my “Top 5” of the best things to ever cross my lips in that category… not to mention the incredibly wondermous smell of it fresh out of the oven!

We had such a fun time filming this episode in my vintage cookhouse and in the process, I overcame my intimidation of “the grape” cooking, created some tasty recipes, and fill my freezer each fall with grapes to enjoy making my crisp during cold, winter, fireplace months. Find and enjoy all 3 of my Flavor, NC Muscadine Grape recipes down below.

Filming Muscadine Grape Episode for Flavor, NC with Lisa

Fun day filming Flavor, NC Muscadine Grape Episode in my cookhouse with friend Lisa Prince!

We had this crisp for our family Christmas dessert last year, and might again this year too. 

muscadine grape and gingersnap crisp

Muscadine Grape & Gingersnap Crisp on Flavor, NC

My Muscadine Pepper Jelly is yummy over cream cheese… or as a baste on chicken or pork & veggie kabaobs!

Muscadine Pepper Jelly

Muscadine Pepper Jelly over Cream Cheese or as a Chicken or Pork & Veggie Kabob Baste!

And to freshen up, how about a nice Muscadine Shrub?

Flavor NC Muscadine Grape Shrubs

Refreshing Muscadine Grape Shrubs for Flavor, NC!

I hope you will enjoy my recipes, and leave a comment about ways you enjoy muscadine grapes too!

muscadine grape and gingersnap crisp
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Muscadine Grape & Gingersnap Crisp
Don’t be intimidated by using muscadine grapes for crisps, cobblers and pies. It’s a simple process that takes just a few minutes of time to cut into and remove seeds with your fingers… but so worth the time and effort! Every North Carolinian needs to be sure and make muscadine desserts… the flavor will have you asking “why haven’t I done THIS before?”
Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Dessert
Cuisine: Farmers Market, Garden Goodies, North Carolina Goodies, Southern Desserts
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • about 6 cups muscadine grapes, washed
  • about 1 1/4 cups sugar*
  • about 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 30 small gingersnap cookies
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice
  • pinch sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 stick cold butter cut into small pieces
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350.

  2. To prepare grapes: Over bowl (to capture juices), cut grapes in half (scissors work best) and push seeds out with thumb. Toss grape halves (hull and pulp) and juice into bowl. Stir in sugar and flour. Mix well and put mixture into prepared baking dish.

  3. Put all topping ingredients except butter into food processor. Pulse until cookies are roughly chopped. Add butter and continue pulsing until incorporated and mixture is crumbly.

  4. Scatter crumbs over grape mixture. Bake about 30-40 minutes until hot and bubbly. Baking time will vary a bit depending on depth of baking dish.

Recipe Notes

*If grapes are super ripe and sweet, you might use a bit less sugar.

This recipe will do best in 9×9” or 11×7” baking dish.

 

Muscadine Pepper Jelly
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Muscadine Grape Pepper Jelly (and basting sauce)
This tasty jelly can be warmed and used as a glaze on meat and vegetable kabobs! Serve over salty and tart cheeses on toast as an appetizer too. The muscadine flavor really shines through with this jelly. If using purple/black hulled grapes, the rich red-hued color is spectacular!
Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Main Course, Sauces
Cuisine: Farmers Market, Garden Goodies, Grilling, North Carolina Goodies, Southern
Servings: 8 1/2 pint jars
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • 5 cup muscadine grape juice
  • 1 box pectin
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 1-2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
  • 1-2 finely diced jalapeno jelly, optional
Instructions
  1. Heat grape juice and pectin in heavy bottomed pot. Whisk to dissolve the pectin. Stir in sugar and peppers. Bring to a boil for one minute. Remove from heat and put into hot sterilized jars. Process as usual.

 

Flavor NC Muscadine Grape Shrubs
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Muscadine Grape Shrub
This refreshing old-fashioned “tonic” is making a comeback. The syrup is really versatile and can be used for all sorts of tasty beverage concoctions. Such an easy way to enjoy the rich flavor of muscadines throughout the year!
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • about 4 cups muscadine grapes
  • 2 cups sugar, (see notes)
  • 2 cups vinegar
  • aromatic herbs, optional (I use rosemary)
Instructions
  1. Combine grapes and sugar in large jar with lid. Muddle to break up grapes and incorporate with sugar. Cover and sit in a cool dark space for up to 24 hours. Shake occasionally so that sugar dissolves.
  2. Add vinegar and any aromatics as desired. Cover and shake. Let this mixture steep in cool dark place or refrigerator for about a week (or more) to let the flavors meld.

    Using a sieve or cheesecloth, strain the syrup into jar. This mixture will keep in the refrigerator up to six months (if it lasts that long!).

  3. To serve: Pour a bit of the syrup over ice and top with club soda or sparkling water. For cocktails, omit the water and add a splash of liquor. Those that work well are vodka, rum and gin.

    Generally, you will want to mix one part syrup to about 3-4 parts sparkling water. Champagne shrubs are tasty too!

Recipe Notes
  • Sugar options: Most any sugar (and combinations) will work. Just be sure the sugar you use complements the grapes (or whatever fruit you use).
  • Vinegar options: Apple cider vinegar tends to offer best flavor for shrubs, but other flavorful vinegars work nicely, as long as they do not complete with and drown out flavor of the grapes.

So… visit a local muscadine farm right now while the get’n is good… and if you don’t have time to use them, fill up your freezer so when hunkered down on a cold winter’s day, you can make yourself this Crisp… you will be SO glad you did!

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
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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

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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. 
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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.
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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.