Seafood Bisque Casserole

Published in Carolina Country Magazine February 2019

For many years, I was a very busy personal chef… and was the first girl personal chef in the Triangle area.  During some of those years, I founded a professional association to teach others how to be a personal chef and manage their own businesses.  One of my personal chef client favorite dishes was my Seafood Bisque Casserole.  I had a couple of households that had me make doubles of this at each visit.  It can be served over any number of things… pasta, rice, creamy grits, in puff pastry cups… or my personal favorite, over creamy buttery mashed potatoes.

This is a nice comfort food dish for enjoying on a chilly night by the fire.  As we find ourselves here in fall and winter on the way, add these ingredients to your shopping list to have on hand to make when the notion strikes you.  

So find yourself the freshest local North Carolina seafood you can… and just make some!  Support your local seafood fishermen and woman… #shoplocal #eatlocal
#GotToBeNC Seafood #NCCatch

Be sure to come over and share if you do in my facebook community!  

Seafood Bisque Casserole

For those that enjoy a warm bowl of seafood bisque, you'll be sure to love this Seafood Bisque Casserole. Fully of shrimp, scallops and crab, this buttery creamy dish can be enjoyed over pasta, rice, grits, creamed potatoes or spooned into puff pastry cups.

Course: Main Course, Supper
Cuisine: American, Seafood, Southern
Keyword: bisque, casserole, crab, scallops,, seafood, shrimp
Author: Wendy Perry
  • 6 sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 2-3 large shallots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled
  • 1 pound bay scallops
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 cup sherry, divided
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups milk, half-and-half or combination, room temperature
  • 1/2 pound cooked crabmeat (more if desired)
  • 2 cups grated Swiss cheese
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup minced parsley
  • 6 cups cooked pasta*
  1. Preheat oven broiler.

  2. Cook bacon in soup pot over medium high heat until crispy.

  3. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of drippings and add butter. Once butter is melted and sizzling, sauté shallots about 2 minutes. Add shrimp and scallops. Cook 3–4 minutes just until done, being careful not to overcook. Using slotted spoon, remove seafood from juices. Stir in salt, pepper and ¼ cup of sherry; reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes.

  4. Whisk flour into remaining sherry to make a slurry.

  5. Stir milk into simmering liquid. Once warm, whisk in slurry and continue heating several minutes, whisking until thickened. Return seafood to bisque and heat 1 minute.

  6. Spoon over pasta in a large baking dish. Scatter with crabmeat, cheese and crumbs. Place in oven on middle rack and broil 4–5 minutes to melt cheese and brown crumbs. Garnish with bacon and parsley. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

* If preferred, the bisque can be prepared as noted without the pasta to be spooned over grits, rice, mashed potatoes or into phyllo pastry cups.

Culinary Adventures of a State Fair Judge

Culinary Adventures @ NC State Fair with Lisa Prince

I always have such fun each year judging at the NC State Fair! Enjoy this tale…. “Culinary Adventures of a State Fair Judge”


Read… Culinary Adventures of a State Fair Judge Carolina Country Mag October 2017

I do declare! I had no idea until today I’d never shared this here on my blog.  So here you go.

This week, the NC State Fair opens… and I love the fair!  For a longggg time, I have had the fun opportunity to judge several of the daily cooking contests each year.  How lucky am I?  

Each day of the fair, there is a different cooking contest, most sponsored by one of our many awesome agricultural commodities here in North Carolina… and with pretty darn good prize money. I sometimes think I should give up judging and enter some of my recipes, but the annual “get-together” of old friends, colleagues in the world of us few home economists, local TV celebs and friends at the NC Department of Agriculture keeps me going back to my judges chair.

Since I’ve included all the goodies in my story, I’ll leave it at that.  So do hop over to Carolina Country Magazine, where you can read my article I wrote for them a couple of years ago.  I encourage you to enter next year. Just google “NC State Fair Daily Special Cooking Contests” about July or August. Get in your kitchen… fine tune your recipe(s) and enter!  Just make sure to read the rules and criteria of each carefully… because if you don’t adhere to that, your dish will be put aside and disqualified!
This year, I’ll be judging NC Vegetables… Apples, Pork and Beef!  Taste buds in training this week. 

So… get your fair on this week!  I hope to run into you there. 

Nope… “this is NOT ‘derby pie!'” HorseRace Pie perhaps??

"This is NOT 'derby pie Pie!"

I’m a pie gal… give me a piece of good ole pie over cake any day!  Like this not-derby “horserace pie.”  LOL
I didn’t know for years, and most folks still do not know, you cannot call your pie “derby pie.”  If you do, you might just have a lawsuit showing up on your doorstep. The Kern’s had foresight years ago to trademark “derby-pie” and have been known to aggressively protect it.  So while I share this pie I’ve made for decades with you, known for years as that but made a little differently, you will NOT hear me calling it “derby pie.” Imma not going to get all into that, but you can read all about the trademark those folks obtained here for those details. And more here too from the Smithsonian!

According to their web site, their pie has walnuts, and bourbon, neither of which you will find in my pie recipe. So I guess I was just confused for years since the recipe came to me with that name.  Maybe I’ll have a ‘name that pie’ contest!  

Just about everybody has their version of this simple and “wow-some” gooey-on-the-bottom chocolate pecan pie.  I’ve had this recipe for decades and no idea from whence it came. I just know it’s good, it’s quick and easy to make, and checks off several boxes… chocolate pie, pecan pie, and even brownie pie!  And best of all…
the recipe makes TWO pies… one to keep and one to share.

Do you have a version of your own?  Do come over to my facebook community and share it!
And till then…. make PIE! Just don’t be make’n no derby pie.

"This is NOT 'derby pie' Pie!"

I love pie. I love this pie. Simple. And covers many bases... pecan pie... chocolate pie... brownie pie... gooey pie! The recipe makes 2 pies too... so you can keep one and share one. Just make PIE and be sure not to call it "derby pie."

Course: Dessert, Pie, Sweet Treats
Cuisine: American, Southern
Keyword: pecan pie, chocolate pie, gooey chocolate pie, brownie pie
Servings: 2 pies
Author: Wendy Perry
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 stick butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 12 ounce semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 16 ounce chopped pecan pieces
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 9" pie crusts (not deep dish)
  1. Preheat oven to 350.

  2. Poke bottom of crust a few times with fork and place into oven while it preheats.

  3. Mix all ingredients together and divide into the 2 pie crusts.

  4. Bake about 35-40 minutes until set in the middle.

    Let cool a bit before cutting.

Cinnamon Candy Apple Nut Brittle

Cinnamon Candy Apple Nut Brittle

Published in Carolina Country Magazine October 2019

YaY!  It’s finally NC State Fair week.  Most everyone loves the fair, for so many different reasons.  I have fond memories of fairs with friends during high school… fun dates… and taking my now 15-year-old nephew Wyatt in his younger years and loving every minute of glee in his little eyes and giggles on the kiddie rides and playing the games where he’d win a toy for $20 that we could buy at the dollar store.
Or a fish in a bag!! LOL 

Another enjoyable thing for me is to find a bench to plop down on… and just watch people.
You see some of the damndest things at the fair.  I’ll leave my thoughts and comments right there!

I have no idea what year it was… 15-20 or so ago, when I was first invited to be a judge for the daily cooking contests. By far, this may be my most favorite fair thing of all!  As a recipe creator myself, I always love sitting in that little room and seeing what will show up on the days I judge… and enjoy the camaraderie of those of us in that little room all tasting… oooh-ing and ahhh-ing… and sometimes saying “nope, can’t do that!”  I do admire all who enter their recipes, but some need to be sure and have a back up plan if they have aspirations of a culinary career.  

So… back to this recipe!  This is my final of 3 recipes to blog here I created for Carolina Country’s October 2019 fair-inspired recipes.  I had this idea in my head, and it took me a couple of times to get it like I wanted it… so I do hope you will enjoy.  My best advice for making this, as with most all candies, is to not make it on a humid day.  When creating and testing this candy apple brittle, it just fell that way in my schedule a couple of times.

Results = Total Sticky Pull-Your-Teeth-Out FAIL!

So when you’re missing fair time, and a good ole candy apple, give this a try.  It might help satisfy your craving just a bit.  It makes a pretty red Christmas red for your holiday festivities.  

I hope you’ll give it a try and come over and add your comments or questions on my facebook community.

…and hope you can make it to the NC State Fair next week too!

Cinnamon Candy Apple Nut Brittle

For those who might miss our NC State Fair, I stirred up something reminiscent of those iconic candy apples. My nut brittle will tickle your taste buds with its crunchy texture and candy apple flavor filled with toasty NC pecan pieces, plus a hint of cinnamon! Made in less than 10 minutes in your microwave.

Course: Fun Food!, Sweet Treats
Cuisine: American, Southern
Author: Wendy Perry
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon apple pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup toasted pecan pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons flakey or coarse ground sea salt, optional
  1. Combine sugar and syrup in an 8-cup glass measuring cup. Microwave on high for 5–6 minutes until it reaches a rolling boil.

  2. Carefully remove and stir in ¼ teaspoon salt, butter, extract, spices and pecans. Microwave 1–2 minutes longer until boiling. Remove and quickly stir in food coloring and soda.

  3. Pour onto greased slab or cookie sheet and spread with back of spoon. Sprinkle with salt.

  4. Let the brittle cool at least 1 hour. Break into pieces and store in airtight container.

Recipe Notes

Variation: Unsalted roasted peanuts or other nuts can be substituted for the pecans.

Tip: Best not to make this (or most candy) on humid days. You may end up with chewy rather than crunchy brittle.


Country Ham Lollipups with Molasses Mustard


Published in Carolina Country Magazine  October 2019

Several years ago, I won 2nd Place at the NC Sweet Potato Festival in Snow Hill for my Gingerbread Lollipups. The idea of nibbles on a craft stick is so fun, so when I was working on NC State Fair inspired recipes, I just knew something was going on a stick!  This recipe combines several of my personal favorites from the fair. First, the country ham biscuit!  We all have our personal favorite spot for those at the fair. Next, well… sticks! So many goodies come on the end of a stick… like the corn dog.  And lastly, one just can’t go to the NC State Fair and not eat a hot hushpuppy in the Education building from House Autry!  I get a few extra of those on days I’m there judging daily cooking contests since they are just steps outside of our little cove where we judge.  

This fun recipe is a compilation of all those iconic fair faves into one.  They are really easy to make, and can be served hot, or not!  Make some molasses butter to dip your pups in… or create your own dip.  You can find the sticks at craft stores and usually dollar stores too.  

So fix yourself some Country Ham Lollipups soon… and enjoy them long after the fair has come and gone!  I hope you will make it to the fair this year, and have yourself a heap’n help’n of good ole North Carolina good times!

Country Ham Lollipups

Ham biscuits and corn dogs … now there are a couple of fair favorites … along with those hot and crispy hushpuppies in the education building. We’ve combined this threesome into one fun food you’ll be sure to enjoy.

Course: Appetizer, Fun Food!, Snack
Cuisine: American, North Carolina Goodies, Southern
  • vegetable or peanut oil
  • popsicle sticks
  • 1 cup hushpuppy mix... I used House Autry
  • 1 tablespoon dehydrated onion
  • 1/2 cup seltzer water*
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 cup diced cooked country ham, about 4 ounces
Molasses Mustard

  • 3 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2-3 shakes Texas Pete
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  1. Pour oil 3 inches deep in fryer. Heat to medium-high (375 degrees).

  2. Combine all ingredients and mix together until well blended. Let rest 15 minutes. Batter will be stiff.

  3. Using fingers, pinch batter and make 1-inch balls. Carefully put into hot oil making sure not to crowd. Cook 3–5 minutes until golden brown. Drain. 

  4. Stick popsicle stick into pups. Serve with molasses mustard.

  5. For molasses mustard, combine mustards, mayonnaise and hot sauce. Swirl in molasses.

Recipe Notes

*Water can be used but seltzer water will make a crispier lollipup.


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