|December 2, 2019||Posted by Wendy Perry under appetizers, apples, cheesy, garden goodness, honey, Mindless Mutterings from the Teacher's Lounge, party foods, pie please, product recipe development|
I love a good tart. Once I managed to get past letting puff pastry intimidate me and realized how simple it is to use, I’ve created quite a few. This sweet and savory one was created for my client L&M Companies Produce a while back and is featured on their web page here!
Realizing it’s Apple Pie Day, and this is the closest thing to an apple pie in my repertoire, I decided to share this recipe with you too. It’s basically a flat open faced apple pie I do suppose.
You can enjoy this as an appetizer, as a side dish, and pairs nicely with a salad for lunch. Or as an adventurous and outside-the-box dessert with coffee too.
I hope you will make this tart… and will come over to my facebook community where we’ll chat about this and all sorts of other goodies too.
...a delightful sweet and savory tart to enjoy as an appetizer, side, with salad for brunch or as an outside-the-box dessert!
17.3 ounce box
frozen puff pastry,
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large red onion, thinly sliced and divided thinly sliced and divided
- 2 red apples (such as Gala or Braeburn), cored and cut into ½” thick half-moon slices
bunch green onions,
trimmed and cut into 1” pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 8-ounce carton cream cheese with chives, softened
minced fresh rosemary
- 1 cup grated Swiss cheese
- 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
Preheat oven to 400.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add ¾ of the sliced red onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and caramelizing, 4-5 minutes.
Stir in the apple, green onions, salt and pepper. Cook until barely tender, about 2 minutes.
Unfold the 2 sheets of pastry and place end to end on sprayed large baking pan. Pinch middle seam together to make one large sheet. Pinch crust up around outside edge.
Spread softened cream cheese over the pastry leaving a 1” border. Top with the onion-apple mixture. Scatter with the remaining uncooked red onion and rosemary.
Bake 30-35 minutes until browned. Remove from oven and immediately scatter with the grated cheese and nuts. Slice and serve while warm.
|November 6, 2019||Posted by Wendy Perry under Culinary Adventures, food preservation, frugality, Mindless Mutterings from the Teacher's Lounge, Southernisms|
The work has commenced. The ladies have trimmed the “scrap” meat, and it’s time to add the seasonings… it’s SAUSAGE time y’all! The best you ever had…
Published in Carolina Country Magazine… November 2019!
Always eager to share my culinary adventures… foods and traditions of my life and growing up in the country, this tale and annual “ritual” I have grown up around is a story not often told. Folks love pork chops, ribs, butts and sausage, but some balk at what it takes to have such on their plates. Those pork chops, like the vegetables we/they also eat, don’t just “appear” behind swinging doors at the local grocer. Whether corporate farm-raised, or backyard grown and harvested, those are the places our nourishment comes from.
I realize that for some, parts of this pork harvest may be bothersome. So YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. I have shared more of the day’s images here on my blog post beyond what is appropriate for or would fit in the magazine.
This is for me… as I addressed in my piece. But as I pondered, and prayed about “the deed” of putting down the hogs, and being a part of this day from start to finish, I found peace. Generations before us have carried out this annual butchering… often on several community days on chilly, even really cold, winter days, to do as they just did “back in the day.” This was just part of life… and necessary to feed their families throughout the year. I can still remember my Ma Perry grabbing a chicken out back, ringing its neck, pluck’n and frying up the best chicken ever. These things are part of my personal heritage, and I’m damn glad of it.
Writing about this topic had to be handled judiciously. And I think I accomplished telling the story… of the spirit of the little rural crossroads community of Hopkins, NC… with love and with a focus on its purpose, the love and spirit these friends and neighbors have for helping one another… and most especially, with the tale of multiple generations of the Jackson family carrying on this century-plus old tradition. It truly made my heart smile that day to be a bystander, and watch as the “dance” was done… teaching a next generation all the intricacies from start to finish… culminating with a freezer and salt house full of the BEST pork you could ever eat.
I wish I had a patty of that perfectly seasoned, hand mixed sausage right now… with a little “crunch” just the way MY family made it decades ago. There are some things that just need to carry on till eternity… and this is one of them! I hope you will enjoy my story, and feel as though you were there with us. Please do share your own such memories in comments below, OR come over and add them to this post on my facebook community!
And editor Scott at Carolina Country might like for you to share your own memories after reading the article too… send those to email@example.com
There were too many pictures from the day for the magazine… here are a few for you to enjoy! But just know that if blood is bothersome, you’ll want to leave now. Be sure you subscribed to my blog while here as one of these days I will add videos from the kill’n here. And subscribe to my YouTube channel where they will be eventually for you to enjoy as well.
I am most grateful to my friends, the Jackson family, and to the community folk who let me be a bystander on this day… to capture these images of what so many of us grew up with and around. I hope you enjoyed the day I photo-journaled for you all. The sense of community is alive in well in Hopkins… and little crossroads outside of Zebulon, North Carolina… my forever home. May this time-honored tradition of neighbor helping neighbor survive this crazy world… and continue for generations to come.
As I close, I give thanks to the 2 hogs that provided the meat for this family and those of us who helped that day. As noted, we must be grateful, and teach future generations that their food doesn’t magically appear through those swinging doors at the grocery store. Much sacrifice is made for them to eat… and eat good food. We honor and give thanks to these animals… the farmers that feed and tend them, and prepare them for the family table.
Published in Carolina Country Magazine… November 2019!
Freelance Writer & Culinary Adventurist
For more information visit my web age at WendyPerry.com
I would love to hear from you if you have other ideas of interest or if you have stories to be told for your publication.
|October 20, 2019||Posted by Wendy Perry under appetizers, baking (she said in terror), breads, fun food, Mindless Mutterings from the Teacher's Lounge, party foods, Peggy Rose's Jellies|
Recipe by Wendy Perry for Peggy Rose’s Jellies!
As most of you know, I wear many hats around here. In addition to all my culinary pursuits and “jobs,” I also have a social media and marketing business… that primarily focuses on small local NC food products and restaurants. My newest client happens to be a company with a lady at the helm I have known for years… crossed paths with at many a NC food event… and sometimes see when judging at the NC Specialty Foods Association contests.
I am now doing social media and marketing for Mrs. Peggy Rose Newsome…. aka Peggy Rose’s Jellies! For some of my clients, I also do recipe development to help market their goodies. I have a gazillion ideas of ways to use her jellies… champagne mustard, and cranberry pepper jelly sauce, so stay tuned. I will occasionally share those here with you on my blog, but do come follow along on her facebook page where they will all land for starters.
I like to keep my recipes as simple as possible to encourage busy folks like yourself to actually make them. When I open a magazine or blog and see a recipe with a list of ingredients long as my arm, and with stuff I don’t have and don’t have desire to go hunting for, I just turn the page! When this idea popped into my head last week, I just had to give it a try. And again, what was in my head worked like a charm!
These fun little biscuits only have 2 ingredients… well, three, counting black pepper. But they are so tasty… and good warm or room temp. All you do is pick up a bag of frozen tea biscuits… (I use Mary B’s) put a few on a baking pan (I baked mine in my toaster oven!) and let thaw until soft… poke a dent with your thumb, and add a dollop (my favorite culinary word!) of Peggy Rose’s jelly… any will do… and pop into preheated (375) oven. It took them about 12 or so minutes to get lightly browned. The jelly oozed over the biscuits and made them all “sticky” and yummy! As soon as I took them out of the oven, I gave them a few twists of freshly ground black pepper. Folks, it just doesn’t get any easier that that! Serve for breakfast… or alongside any meal! Another great thing is that you can keep some tea biscuits in your freezer to make just a few at the time.
I’m really tickled that this idea popped into my frenzied brain! This is a great example of how sometimes… less is more! You can make ahead to serve at parties… for bridge club ladies… on your holiday tables instead of plain old rolls… tailgate tables and more. Just let YOUR imagination run!
So till next time, make yourself some sticky biscuits! And come join the fun on my facebook community too.
FYI… these are the frozen tea biscuits I use…
Mary B’s made by HomemadeFoods!
|October 19, 2019||Posted by Wendy Perry under casseroles, crab, fish & shellfish, pasta, published, scallops, shrimp, wendy's signature recipes|
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!
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.
- 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*
Preheat oven broiler.
Cook bacon in soup pot over medium high heat until crispy.
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.
Whisk flour into remaining sherry to make a slurry.
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.
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.
* 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.
|October 14, 2019||Posted by Wendy Perry under contest creations, Culinary Adventures, Mindless Mutterings from the Teacher's Lounge|
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.
|October 14, 2019||Posted by Wendy Perry under baking (she said in terror), chocolate, funeral food, pie please, sweet treats|
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.
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."
- 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)
Preheat oven to 350.
Poke bottom of crust a few times with fork and place into oven while it preheats.
Mix all ingredients together and divide into the 2 pie crusts.
Bake about 35-40 minutes until set in the middle.
Let cool a bit before cutting.
|October 13, 2019||Posted by Wendy Perry under apples, candy, Christmas, fun food, party foods, published, sweet treats, wendy's signature recipes|
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!
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.
- 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
Combine sugar and syrup in an 8-cup glass measuring cup. Microwave on high for 5–6 minutes until it reaches a rolling boil.
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.
Pour onto greased slab or cookie sheet and spread with back of spoon. Sprinkle with salt.
Let the brittle cool at least 1 hour. Break into pieces and store in airtight container.
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.