State Fair Stoup

State Fair Stoup

State Fair Stoup

Published in Carolina Country Magazine  October 2019

Thank you Jesus… I can feel fall in the air!  My favorite time of year… when we can stop sweating and turn to cook’n.  Tailgate pot lucks… comfort foods… and goodies like chowders, soups and stews.  

We work months ahead for the magazine (just covered an event Saturday for next September issue!), and when I was thinking about October in April and May, while eating my first tomato sandwiches, I was trying to put my head into sweater season.  Ahhhh…. state fair time!  

I do love state fair time… and all that comes with it. I especially enjoy all the days I get to judge the daily cooking contests with the NC Department of Agriculture.  For years, more than I can remember now, I get all giddy when my packet of stuff arrives with my judging dates, tickets, parking pass and all.  Each year, I block off fair days on my calendar for the next and do my best not to let anything interfere with those culinary adventurous days.  This year, I will be judging vegetables, apples, pork and beef days.  It’s really fun to see what entries arrive… and honestly, some are rather scary!  I want to coach some of the entrants… to fine tune their dish just a bit to what we, as judges, usually all come to a consensus on would make their dish a big winner!  My biggest advice (and usually a comment from all around the table)… “where’s the SALT!?”  For years, folks got scared of salt… and went from one extreme to another. 

My best advice… make your dish and get a variety of honest folks to taste it.  Make sure they tell you the good, bad and ugly of it and fine tune it from there. There is great prize money on the contests… so if not this year, do start looking at the NC State Fair site (or your own state) mid-summer for the daily categories. Read all the specifics of the one(s) you want to enter (one little omission can disqualify your awesome recipe) and get to cook’n and tweaking!  And maybe next year, you will take home a ribbon and money.  To see all my suggestions… take a look here at this piece I wrote for Carolina Country Magazine a couple of years ago. 

Till then, get out your pot and cook up some of this stoup!  You can have the delicious aromas and tastes of the fair right now in your own kitchen.  When you do, hop over to my facebook community and tell us all about it.   

State Fair Stoup

You know you’ve arrived at the NC State Fair when you’re greeted on the midway with the smell of sausages, peppers and onions. This stoup is my version of these fair favorites, but in a bowl to enjoy on chilly days at home … along with toasted hoagies and cheese butter.

Course: Fun Food!, Soup, Stew, Stoup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: stoup, stew, soup, state fair
Author: Wendy Perry
  • 6 tablespoons cooking oil, divided
  • 2 each red, green, yellow bell peppers
  • 2 large onions,
  • 2 stalks celery
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 pound Italian Sausage
  • 1 14 ounce pkg. kielbasa
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 15 ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon minced dehydrated garlic
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 16 ounce jar pepperoncini, drained
  • 1 12 ounce jar sliced sweet ‘n’ hot pickled peppers (We used Mt. Olive)
  • 1 6 pack hoagie rolls, toasted and sliced in wedges

Cheese Butter
  • 1 pound butter, softened
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon each mustard and mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 425 and crockpot to low.

  2. Cut peppers, onions and celery into 1-inch pieces. Toss with 4 tablespoons of oil, salt and pepper; spread out on large baking pan. Roast 30-40 minutes until lightly charred, tossing after 15 minutes.

  3. As peppers roast, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in large skillet. Over medium heat, cook sausages, turning to brown on all sides. Remove to bowl and cut into bite-sized pieces.

  4. Add broth, tomatoes, seasoning, garlic and sugar to drippings and bring to a slow simmer.

  5. Put vegetables into crockpot. Add sausages, broth mixture, applesauce and pepperoncini. Stir to mix. Cover and cook 2–3 hours in crock pot. Garnish with pickled peppers.

  6. For the cheese butter, whip ingredients together until creamy. Serve on toasted hoagie buns.

Breakfast Sausage Harvest Hash











Published in Carolina Country Magazine November 2017

As the days slowly grow shorter, and eventually cooler, our cravings turn to comfort foods. There’s just something about supper cooked in our favorite cast iron skillet.  And breakfast. For supper.  

A good hearty hash makes for a real good fall meal and checks all the boxes.  Add a mug of spiced apple cider… chilled or warm… and you’re all set.  The eggs are optional, and easy to add for those who want, and those who don’t.

This recipe can be tweaked to suit your fancy.  Throw together some hash soon.  And come tell me about it in my facebook community.

…and, Happy Fall Y’all!

Breakfast Sausage Harvest Hash

In about 30 minutes, you can be sitting down for this cool night supper by the fire! Or enjoy as a late morning brunch. Either way, this is a crowd pleaser and great way to enjoy your favorite North Carolina breakfast sausage with NC sweet potatoes.

Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Main Course, Supper
Cuisine: American, Farmers Market, North Carolina Goodies, Southern
Servings: 6
Author: Wendy Perry
  • 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 6 small turnips, peeled and cubed
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound breakfast sausage
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and sliced in strips
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced in strips
  • 2 apples, peeled, cored and cubed
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • fresh parsley roughly chopped
  • 6 eggs, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

  2. Toss potatoes and turnips with oil and salt. Spread onto baking pan and roast for 20 minutes, tossing during cooking to brown all sides. If adding eggs, leave oven on when done.

  3. While vegetables are roasting, pinch tablespoon-size pieces of sausage and place into a large skillet over medium heat. Scatter with onion and cook until sausage is browned. Remove with slotted spoon.

  4. Add peppers and apple to drippings. Cook over medium-high heat until tender and caramelized. Stir in vegetables and sausage mix. Remove from heat and dab out any excess grease with a paper towel. Stir in syrup, cumin and salt. Toss to coat and garnish with parsley.

  5. To add eggs:  Make indentions with spoon for each egg. Crack egg into indention and place (oven-safe) skillet into hot oven. Bake 10–20 minutes until egg whites are set. Test whites with a fork as they may appear on top to be done but not quite set.

Spicy Fried Red Tomatoes With Cilantro Tartar Sauce

Spicy Fried Red Tomatoes with Cilantro Tartar Sauce

Published in Carolina Country Magazine September 2010

Y’all.  I do a lot of recipe creations.  Some for products and publications and some just because I have some wacky idea, usually about 3AM… when I say “Hey Siri….” and go to making voice notes with her to run with when I get up lest I forget in those few short hours. Years ago, pre-Siri, I kept a voice activated mini cassette recorder on my bed table to do the same.  Ideas just fly thru my head, some great, some not so, and now more than ever, I have CRS… that “can’t remember shit” disease, and if I don’t record in some way, it’s gone like the wind.

Some of my recipes I like, Some I LOVE.
This one is a LOVE.  
There are few things yummier to me than a perfectly ripe tomato. As summer wanes along with those “real” tomatoes, many of us are sad to see them go, but on some days, kinda wish they would!  

When deciding on recipes months ago for the September issue of Carolina Country magazine, this love/hate of tomatoes came to mind. We love ’em, but by September are weary of eating them every which way, from juicy Duke’s mayo and white bread sandwiches, to sauce and whatever!

Those of you who know me or follow my blog know I also love crispy crunchy things!  So I went to thinking about some way to “do that” to soft ripened tomatoes. We are all familiar with fried green tomatoes, and I’ve done those too… but I’m working with end of summer last tomatoes of the year tomatoes… juicy ripe red ones!

So here is what I ended up with. I do have a few other ideas to play with, but with fall issues wrapped up and now into winter issues and recipes, I’ll save those for next summer.  I hope you will give this one a try… use the recipe as a basis… switch up the chips (dill pickle ones are great too)… add more cayenne if you like spicier… just make some before they are all gone.

And when you do, please come over to my facebook community and share your pictures and tweaks, if any!  

Spicy Fried Red Tomatoes With Cilantro Tartar Sauce

Many of us have enjoyed fried green tomatoes — but what about frying up some juicy, red, ripe ones? As summer wanes and tomatoes lose their shine, we thought you’d enjoy a unique way to eat up the last of this year’s crop — crispy and cheesy with a dollop of tartar sauce.

Course: Appetizer, Brunch, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Farmers Market, Garden Goodies, Southern, Summer Food
Keyword: cilantro, fried tomatoes, tartar sauce
Author: Wendy Perry
  • 4 medium meaty ripe red tomatoes, cut into ⅓” slices
  • salt
  • preferred frying oil
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten with 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup finely crushed hot potato chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
Cilantro Tartar Sauce (Combine all and mix well.)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (Duke's preferred)
  • 2 tablespoon minced onion
  • 1/2 cup minced celery
  • 1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery salt
  1. Slice tomatoes and lay onto paper towels. Lightly sprinkle with salt and drain at least 30 minutes before cooking.

  2. Heat ½-inch oil over medium heat in a frying pan. 

  3. Combine flour, eggs and chips in a bowl. Dip tomato slices into this mixture and fry in batches until crunchy and lightly browned, about two minutes per side. Drain. 

  4. Serve with tartar sauce.

Grilled Eggplant with Blueberry Mustard Vinaigrette …and how to freeze eggplant

Grilled Eggplant with Blueberry Vinaigrette & Stone Ground Mustard

In addition to creating recipes, I offer social media services. One of my clients, my “oldest” one, is a small farm… originally only a blueberry farm that now has 2 high tunnels and grows organically produced veggies year round.  I always challenge myself to create simple recipes for her newsletter offering fresh new, yet quick and simple, ideas for her farm fans to use them all.

During the season, she has ample eggplant.  A few years ago, I figured out how to freeze eggplant for enjoying during the off winter months… in all sorts of stews and casseroles. I also enjoy finding simple ways to use in the lazy days of summer.

This recipe is one of those. It uses not only her eggplant, but the blueberry vinaigrette she offers as one of several products from the farm.  I know not everyone has that, but look at your local farmers’ market to see what your area farms have to offer that is similar… or see what you can find in your grocery store.  I really love the sweetness of the vibrant blueberries with the bit of stone ground mustard drizzled over the grilled eggplant, so do look for blueberry or something fruity if you can.  That pairs well with the eggplant. Surely use your own favorite vinaigrette… and heck, you can macerate some blueberries and add in too.

Either way… do make this. It’s so simple to do, and a great side for all sorts of things, and great over a bed of greens too!  


how to freeze eggplant











  • Slice/cube and toss with salt and a little oil. Place on baking pan in single layer into preheated (350) oven.  Roast about 40 minutes. Cool and freeze in single layer. Bag pieces once frozen.
  • Repeat the same method above, but rather than roasting in the oven, grill over medium high coals/heat until lightly charred and moisture has cooked out (as in image). Freeze and bag as noted above.
Grilled Eggplant with Blueberry Vinaigrette & Stone Ground Mustard

Enjoy the bounty of eggplant, grilled, and drizzled with blueberry and mustard vinaigrette

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Farmers Market, Garden Goodies, Gluten Free, Grilling
Keyword: eggplant, grilling,, blueberry vinaigrette
Author: Wendy Perry
Recipe Notes
There's no need for a "formal" recipe... here's how you simply throw this together!  
Prepare gas or charcoal grill to a high heat (or indoor grill pan to medium-high heat). Remove stem end of eggplant. Slice vertically into 1/4" pieces. Brush with your favorite oil. Place onto hot grill grates and cook several minutes until lightly cooked and grill marks are visible. Brush and turn to cook the other side.  Remove to serving platter.

In a small cup, whisk any sort of mustard into some of our Blueberry Vinaigrette.  Drizzle over slices of grilled eggplant. Garnish with fresh herbs of choice!!! 


Crispy Fish Sandwich With Roasted Tomato, Peach and Nectarine Jam

Crispy Fish Sandwich with roasted tomato, peach and nectarine jam

Published in Carolina Country Magazine September 2019

Tired of tomatoes yet?  Finding new ways to enjoy them as we harvest the last ones of this season can be a challenge. But here is a great way to pair them with the last summer peaches too… in this sweet ‘n hot jam!  

You can enjoy this over cream cheese or pork chops and chicken. We like it spooned over spicy fried fish, like on these sandwiches.  Slice and add other garden goodies like crunchy cucumbers and raw peppers for some crunch… along with fresh cilantro and even bacon!  It stores well in your fridge for a few weeks, your freezer for a few months …but you can also can and process to put on your pantry shelves!

I hope you will give this a try and hop over to my facebook community and share your pictures and how you used this jam!

Crispy Fish Sandwich With Roasted Tomato, Peach and Nectarine Jam

Roasting tomatoes with peaches and nectarines cooks out their moisture, leaving pure, concentrated fruit goodness. The diced peppers add a nice bite, along with a little heat. Spoon this jam over fish, chops or chicken! Or serve over cream cheese as an appetizer.

Course: Appetizer, Condiments, Main Course, Snack
Cuisine: American, Farmers Market, Garden Goodies, Southern, Summer Food
Author: Wendy Perry
Crispy Fish
  • frying oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs. flounder fillets, cut into 1/2" strips
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups ice water
  • 1 cup corn mesa flour
  • 1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 lb. cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 nectarines, pitted and diced
  • 2 large peaches, peeled, pitted and diced

  • 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, or oil of choice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large colored bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1-2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
  • 1/4 cup honey or sugar
  1. For fish, heat ½-inch deep oil to 350 degrees in fryer. Beat egg into ice water. Whisk in flours and seasonings. Dip fish into batter, let excess drip off, and fry until golden brown, about 2–3 minutes.Drain.

  2. Stack on buttered and toasted sourdough or buns with favorite toppings and drizzle with jam.

  3. For jam, preheat oven to 425 degrees.

  4. Toss tomatoes, fruits and onion in a large bowl with oil, salt and pepper. Spread onto large, foil-lined baking pan.

  5. Roast about 30 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes, until beginning to caramelize. Remove to large bowl and mash into jam, leaving a bit chunky.

  6. Fold in peppers and honey. Add seasonings or sweetener to taste. Chill well.

  7. Will keep in a refrigerator for up to two weeks, or up to three months in a freezer.

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