Posts Tagged by got to be nc

Pairing a couple of my NC favorite foods… Mimi’s Mountain Mixes & Carolina Gold Oils

Orange-y Everything Beer Bread with Mediterranean Dipping Oil

Pair North Carolina’s Mimi’s Mountain Mixes Beer Bread with Carolina Gold Oil’s Mediterranean Dipping Oil for an easy fun nibble. Great addition to your charcuterie boards too! I gave a little twist and used orange beer…. realllll good!

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Spicy Citrus Seafood Cocktail With NC wild-caught shrimp

Spicy Citrus NC Seafood Cocktail

Spicy Citrus NC Seafood Cocktail

Published in Carolina Country Magazine July 2020

Who has time or desire to do much cooking during the lazy hazy hot days of North Carolina summer?  Not me! Y’all, this seafood cocktail is light… so full of flavor with just a hint of fresh citrus, and only a little bit of fuss when it comes to cook’n. Loaded with a bounty of fresh seafood from our coast, you can enjoy this for a late morning brunch… for lunch… or right out of a jar in your porch swing watching the sun set!  

This is one of those recipes where specifics and exactness isn’t important — you know, throw cook’n!  Use all of one seafood or whatever combo you like. Go with your favorite vegetables and what’s in season.  Add veggies you like to my recipe… as The Frugal Gourmet Chef Jeff Smith would say…

“Omit and substitute! That’s how recipes should be written. Please don’t ever get so hung up on published recipes that you forget that you can omit and substitute.”

And in keeping with my North Carolina company ingredients, I chose North Carolina’s Bruce Julian’s Blood Mary Mix to finish out my recipe!  Just round up what you need and throw together some of my seafood cocktail… soon!  You’ll be so glad you did… and so will your company.

And while you’re at it, be sure to make some of my Savory Bay Crackers with browned butter too.  Followed up with a little dish of my No-Churn Cantaloupe & Coconut Ice Cream.

Come on over, and hang out with us in my fun facebook community too, where you will find this and lots of other goodies.

Spicy Citrus North Carolina Seafood Cocktail

Light and spicy... with just the right hint of fresh citrus, the seafood cocktail features all sorts of North Carolina goodness!

Course: Appetizer, Brunch, Fun Food!, Main Course, Snack, Supper
Cuisine: American, Farmers Market, Garden Goodies, Gluten Free, Mexican, North Carolina Goodies, Seafood, Southern, Summer Food, Tailgating
Keyword: bloody mary mix, bruce julian, crab, got to be nc, grilled salad, romaine, southwestern, north carolina shrimp, lobster, mexican seafood cocktail, north carolina seafood, seafood cocktail, spicy
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
Spicy Sauce
  • 2 quarts favorite Bloody Mary mix* or V8
  • 1 bunch radishes, roughly chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1-2 tablespoons horseradish
  • 4 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
  • zest of 1 lemon, lime, orange and juice of ½ each, Cut the remaining halves into wedges for guests to squeeze into their cocktails
  • cracked black pepper
Seafood Mixture
  • 2 pounds wild-caught North Carolina shrimp, peeled, cooked and cooled
  • 1 pound bay scallops
  • 6 small lobster tails
  • 2 firm avocados, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Garnishes
  • 1/2 pound lump crab meat
  • cilantro
Instructions
  1. Combine and chill the spicy sauce ingredients.

  2. A few minutes before serving, add about four pounds of cooked shellfish of your choice (or use our suggestions above) and gently stir in the avocados and cilantro.

  3. Sprinkle with crabmeat and more cilantro.

Recipe Notes

*I used NC’s Bruce Julian Bloody Mary Mix.

 

Pulled Pork & Orzo Italian Salad With roasted garlic

Pulled Pork & Orzo Italian Salad

Published in Carolina Country Magazine May 2020

Creations like this one is why I sometimes feel like the Queen of Throw Cooking!  Because that is just how this tasty salad came to be.

Each year, on the 2nd Sunday in September,  Dinner in the Meadow is held in Franklin County outside Louisburg, NC. Held atop a grassy knoll in the meadow of Meadow Lane Farm, this dinner supports a grant for the chosen applicant of that year’s small farm fund grant.  For many years, I have been a part of the dinner, handling marketing and social media. Most years, I throw together lunch for all the volunteer set up crew and that is how this dish came about.

Friend and farm owner Martha Mobley owns this NC Century Farm where she grows all sorts of organic produce and flowers… and raises all sorts of farm animals, mostly sheep and cows.  Although a full time extension agent in Franklin County, you can find her selling her farm goodness every Saturday at the Durham Farmers’ Market.  She gives me some goodies to work with for the volunteer lunch, so I had the best pork butts you can have to make this salad.

When she gave them to me, freezer to freezer, I had no idea what I’d do with them.  I figured I would probably just make some pulled pork sandwiches… but when time came around, I dug around my pantry to see what else I could throw together instead!  I found some orzo… sun dried tomatoes… some toasted pine nuts… and my head started getting all giddy as I had this vision!  TaDa.
Pork and orzo salad!

That day, Martha said it was the best food she’d ever had and wanted me to make her more.  It took me a while but I did.  I also wanted to put on paper out of my head so I could share with others.  Thus, here came to be, that recipe, on paper, for Carolina Country Magazine customers and anybody else that wants it!  It’s has become one of my favorites too… and I hope you will give it a try as well. It takes just a little forethought to cook the pork, pasta and roasted garlic, but you can then make and enjoy this salad for days. I even froze some to see how it would hold up… and it was just as tasty! 

I do hope you will throw together this salad too.  And if you do, snap a picture and share over on my fun facebook page!  Enjoy y’all…

Pulled Pork and Orzo Italian Salad

 

 

Pulled Pork & Orzo Italian Salad with roasted garlic!

For those who love pasta salads and Italian food, it doesn't get much better! This will feed a crowd, but easy to cut in half... everybody will love it, so make a bunch! Freezes too...

Course: Main Course, Salad, Supper
Cuisine: Italian, Southern
Keyword: Italian, orzo, pasta salad,, pork, pulled pork
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • 5-6 lbs. pork butt, cooked, shredded and chopped (cook ahead in crockpot)
  • 1 16 ounce box orzo, cooked per package directions
  • 1 8,5 ounce jar julienned sun dried tomatoes with oil, undrained
  • 1 3.5 ounce capers, drained
  • 1 12 ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped (We used Mt. Olive.)
  • 1 cup white raisins
  • 1 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed, chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 6 ounce bag baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 heads roasted garlic
  • 1 cup oil*
Instructions
  1. Cook pork and roast garlic to have ready for assembling salad. For pork, I simply cook in crock pot until fork tender. Remove from drippings when done, shred with fork and cut up big pieces with scissors to bite size.

  2. To roast garlic: *Cut tops from 4 heads of garlic. Place in small baking dish. Pour oil over garlic. Roast at 325 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool and squeeze cloves into salad, along with the oil.

  3. To make salad: Fold pork into orzo. Add remaining ingredients, stirring until well blended. Serve immediately or refrigerate to serve later. Best if removed from refrigerator 30 minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes

Note: The orzo can be cooked 1–2 days ahead. Cook al dente, and toss with 2 tablespoons oil. Refrigerate in airtight container until ready to make salad.

 

 

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire… Fun Fall NC Festival!

 

 

 

Looking for a fun #culinaryadventure day trip from the Triangle area? Head over to High Rock Farm in Gibsonville on 11/4 where YOU can roast chestnuts over an open fire, sample goodies made with chestnuts and bring some home too! Here are a couple of pics… a blast from my past when I went in 2012! Details on their FB page. You’ll enjoy the beautiful historic home (open to tour) and farm (Est. 1807). I’m sure the festival has grown a lot since I visited! And you can take your doggie too…

“Come enjoy the day on the farm with food trucks, a variety of vendors, bounce house, historic house tours, hayrides, live music, and of course chestnuts roasting on an open fire!
Tickets ($8 a person) maybe purchased online or at booth day of event. This is a rain or shine event
Dogs welcomed but must be leased. 
So head to Gibsonville and have a roasty toasty nutty good time!! 

Peach on the Atlantic Beach Pie!

 

Pie.  This pie. My “ugly” pie.
My delicious ugly pie.
Atlantic Beach Pie.
PEACH on the Atlantic Beach Pie!

You’ll want to make my Peach on the Atlantic Beach Pie… it might be ugly… and weepy (read the story), but the damn good taste makes up for all that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No matter what you call it, this pie has deep roots in the “SOBX” area of North Carolina. Referred to by some as the South Outer Banks, the geographic area stretches for about 85ish miles… from the Cape Lookout/”Down East” areas on the upper end down to the Shackleford Banks/Bogue Banks area on the other… with the most familiar areas including beaches of Carteret County (“Crystal Coast area”) down south along with a few ports on the intercoastal waterway. The most well known towns and townships in this region are Harkers Island, Beaufort, Morehead City, Atlantic Beach, Emerald Isle and Swansboro.

Those of us fortunate enough to have part time happy places in these “South Outer Banks” or live on the “Crystal Coast” as permanent residents are blessed, and are surrounded with a whole lot of land and sea culinary offerings, steeped in a history of its own.

Like this pie.

Ever since Chef Bill Smith at Crooks Corner in Chapel Hill introduced hundreds to his version of the vintage Atlantic Beach Pie a few years back at a Southern Foodways Alliance event, nearly every culinary magazine and blogger has made and written about it, or created their own version.  It’s a yummy pie, and except for the crust, is pretty much one of the few things my mama “cooked”… Eagle Brand Lemon Pie.

The pie is a “descendant” of the Harker’s Island Lemon Milk Pie. The recipe can be found numerous places online, but I highly recommend you get yourself the Island Born and Bred Cookbook where you will find it and so many other local recipes handed down through generations.

Harker’s Island North Carolina’s history, culinary and otherwise, in this tasty cookbook!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This book is a collection of Harkers Island food, fun, fact and fiction compiled by the Harkers Island Methodist Women! You will love the recipes and history scattered about this book that was featured in Good Housekeeping’s “Cookbook Corner.” And if opportunity presents itself, be sure to grab tickets to one of Core Sound Museum‘s dinners with some of these recipes… oh my gosh!  The local food is lovingly prepared by ladies of and supporters of the museum, and you’ll not find any better meal along the crystal coast!  As I finish writing this today, they are busy preparing for tonight’s sold out supper and disappointed I couldn’t go this time as I’ve done in the past. Just take a look at the menu… and drool!

So, back to the pie!

Now I’m a citrus love’n gal, but not especially fond of lemon. Give me lime, and especially orange! I alway order my sweet tea with orange… and now most of my friends do the same. Even if I just get ice water when out, “no lemon, orange please!” is my order.  Most places have some, definitely those that have a bar, and are usually happy to oblige.

Since the original version was made with just lemon and most of the remakes use that or lemon-lime combination, I’m thinking to myself… “Self, why not add some ORANGE in there too?”
So that’s exactly what I did.  And unlike most newer versions, I stayed true to the original with a meringue, although you can use fresh whipped cream, which will work equally as well on this pie.

But I added to my twist on the pie!  Fresh.Juicy.North.Carolina.PEACHESohhhh la LA!  Such a great pairing with this tangy citrusy filling.
So… here’s Wendy’s version of Atlantic Beach Pie… with the bonus of North Carolina peaches tucked in as an added surprise!  Without further adieu… Peach on the (Atlantic) Beach Pie!
Do make one to enjoy, and run on back over here and tell me what you think?

P.S.  When I was making my test and final versions of the pie for Carolina Country Magazine, it was a terribly hot and humid week here in North Carolina. I was nearly weeping myself at the weeping pie meringues. And my ugly pies! I can’t shoot THAT thing to put in the magazine!
So I threw it out for conversation on my facebook community and personal page too… to get everybody’s consensus on weeping meringue. It was 100% votes FOR weeping… with folks calling them “little droplets of gold,” and “I thought all good pies weep” to “it reminds me of my grandma’s pies.” Even the staff at the magazine where I took one of my “ugly” test versions agreed and asked, “don’t ALL good pies weep?”
I agree with all those sentiments, so if your pie meringue weeps, don’t let it make you weep! It’s supposed to be that way… right?

Here’s my weepiest pie!  It doesn’t make me sad, how about you?

You’ll love my version of this vintage Atlantic Beach Pie… made with a surprise of juicy North Carolina peaches nestled inside.

Peach on the Atlantic Beach Pie
In recent years, a revival of the vintage Atlantic Beach Pie has occurred. We created our version of the recipe by using a combination of citrus juices (not just one), a little zest, and snuck in a surprise layer of NC peaches. Enjoy!
Course: Brunch, Dessert
Cuisine: North Carolina Goodies, Southern, Southern Desserts
Servings: 1 pie
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 sleeves saltine or Ritz crackers, or combination
  • 4 tablespoons butter softened
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed juice, (lemon, lime and orange mix)*
  • 1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk Eagle Brand preferred
  • 1 cup chopped North Carolina peaches
Meringue
  • 4 egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


  2. Roughly crumble crackers into bowl. Knead in butter and sugar until crumbs stick together, breaking up any large pieces of cracker (but not into dust). Press into 8-inch pie dish and chill for 15 minutes. Bake about 16 minutes until the crust starts browning.


  3. Beat yolks, juice and zest into condensed milk.


  4. Scatter peaches over crust; cover with the filling.


  5. Whip egg whites and tartar until soft peaks form. Add vanilla, salt and sugar, one tablespoon at a time until stiff peaks form. Spread over filling and bake about 18 minutes.


  6. Chill at least 6 hours before serving.
Recipe Notes

*One large lemon, lime and orange should give you at least a half cup of juice,

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 & 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 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.

 

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!

***Happy 80th Birthday Krispy Kreme!***

One of North Carolina’s finest, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, is turning 80 today!  And THAT, my friends is cause for celebration.  Those of us lucky enough to have grown up with being fed KK’s in our high chairs are truly blessed.  And I’m certain, just better folk because of it.

Life gets better with Krispy Kreme KKroutons & KKrispy KKookies!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So many memories of going to the KK on Person Street in Raleigh and swooning by the doughnut-making room window…. and years later, beckoning the call of the “Hot Doughnuts Now” sign aglow!  Even today, if passing by, I succumb to that sign!! My car just automatically “hangs a left” into the parking lot. And even though now there’s a drive-thru, I just must go inside…. for the full and complete experience ~ ok, so I just want to watch those morsels of heavenly round fried dough get slowly bathed in a shower of liquid sugar!! Oh lort, is there anything better on earth? If so, I’d just as soon not even know.

(Trivia…. Do you know what year that “Hot Doughnuts Now” sign made its debut?  Why that was in 1992!)

There’s even a “Hot Light App!”

My now ‘tween nephew Wyatt was raised “right” as they say… and in the south, that raise’n includes full indoctrination to Krispy Kremes from near’bout the time of birth. I suspect there are probably folks who detoured down Person St. over the years on their way home with their new baby… to celebrate!

Surely made some fond memories with my nephew Wyatt on Person Street… @ Krispy Kreme!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve got other Krispy Kreme Koncoctions to share, so stay tuned. But for now, without further ado, I bring to you…. my Krispy Kreme Birthday Sundae “Kake” ~ because who needs “cake” when you can have Krispy Kreme Kroutons, Krispy Kreme Krispy Kookies and Krumbles instead!  I’ve been making these things long as I can remember… (mostly just to nibble on) and decided as a birthday present to you, it was high time I passed along this quick little secret!

To make KK Kroutons, snip a few doughnuts with scissors and toast about 1-2 minutes in toaster oven until lightly browned.  Let sit for about 5 minutes to let cool and turn krispy! EAT ’em. Or, scatter on ice cream sundaes…. or crumble and scatter on ice cream, on milk shakes…. they’re pretty tasty with a sprinkling of good flaky salt too.
I find them rather tasty with crispy crunchy bacon with coffee in the morn. Put in the comments below what you’d do with them!?!

To make KK Krispy Kookies, just tear doughnuts into about 4 pieces. Roll flat and place pieces into preheated waffle iron. It’s hard to say exactly how long since those things all seem to have a mind of their own… just check after a minute and keep a close eye on ’em or they will burn.  Lay out on a plate or pan and let cool. They will crisp up once well cooled!  Great alongside ice cream… (you can use them to “dip” in your ice cream).  Also yummy with a dab of peanut butter or with your morning yogurt. Let your mind go wild…. or, just eat them as they are!

And a final note… Thank you, Mr. Vernon Rudolph, for bringing us this melt-in-your-mouth simply divine concoction. And thank you for an outstanding fundraising opportunity, that has bought band uniforms and air conditioners for schools, books for libraries… and paid for church needs too!  Gosh, it surely would be interesting to see a list of all the many things your doughnuts have helped to fund.

Now go make yourself one of these KKrispy treats…. because we all need to celebrate Krispy Kreme, right?

Grunt?… or Slump? Campfire Blueberry Peach Fruit Grunt

So which is it…. Grunt? or Slump?  You might have seen these descriptions for fruity desserts and wondered…what the heck?  Well you will be happy to know that grunts and slumps are one in the same!  Now don’t confuse them with cobblers, crumbles and crisps, buckles, brown bettys, pandowdy or the regionally almost-famous North Carolina Sonker!  Are you fully befuddled now?  

Each one of these baked goods are delicious in their own way, but are not the same… and traditionally include fruit, flour, sugar and butter. What can be wrong about any such thing? So, let’s have a quick lesson to un-confuse ya. 

Let’s start out with the grunt, aka slump, since this post’s recipe is just that!  Featured in June’s Carolina Country Magazine, you will find my Campfire Fruit Grunt recipe down below you can easily print out and make for your crowd this July 4th!

Originally an English steamed fruit dessert, a grunt/slump is basically a cobbler, but cooked covered on a campfire or grill… or stovetop, rather than inside the oven. This kinda sorta steams the topping (typically a biscuit type dough)… and when it cooks, it makes a “grunting” noise around the edge and topping… thus, the name “grunt.” And once done, it “slumps” down into the skillet…. voila, “Slump!”  I’m particularly fond of crispy crunchy things, so you will find the topping on my grunt/slump recipe below to have a bit of those features rather than a softer biscuit dough as you will find with traditional recipes.

Cobbler… the name comes from the “cobblestone” appearance of the baked topping of a cobbler. Traditional cobblers are cooked casserole style and topped with biscuit dough and once cooked resemble cobblestones you may see on an old street…. not pie crust as many folks do these days. If you are served cobbler with pie crust on top, that’s pie, not cobbler! Sometimes you might even see a “crust” bottomed cobbler too. The filling cooks down into a fruity syrupy goodness. Nowadays you might see cobblers topped with such things as cookie dough and even cake batter.

Crumbles and Crisps... as the name says, this crumbly-topped fruity baked goodie is topped with an oatmeal struesel mixture…. thus, you have a “crumbly” topping.  Nowadays these have become one and the same. Originally, the main difference was that crisp toppings had oats while crumbs did not. Other toppings might have nuts, graham crackers or cookies in the mixture.

Buckles… these are kind of a cake with fruit on top of the batter and a crumb topping.  They are kinda sorta like a coffeecake, but have a softer and more buttery texture. And of course the name…. because it buckles when cooked!

Brown Bettys…. from Colonial days, this dessert usually features layers of sugared apple slices and buttery crumbs, most often made from stale bread.  Our ancestors wasted nothing and of course, would turn old bread into a sweet treat! 

Pandowdy… this is basically a pie without a bottom crust. Pieces of crust dough are scattered about the top and as ready to serve, broken up into the fruit with a spoon a bit and “dowdied” up so to speak.  Traditionally made with apples, pandowdy can be made with any sort of fruit. Molasses is sometimes used as sweetener in Pandowdy, or Pan Dowdy, spelled both ways.

NC Surry County Sonker… The Sonker is indigenous to North Carolina and so loved that it has it’s own festival (1st Saturday in October) and “trail.”  Over in Surry County, the rich heritage of the Sonker is celebrated and showcased on the trail in cafes and restaurants. Sonkers are cooked casserole style, like a deep dish pie, in a rectangle baking dish. Back in the day, it was often cooked in a big bread pan so there would be a plenty to feed all the farm hands that day.  As for its composure, you will get differing opinions on that. Some say it has a bottom crust while others say only side crusts. Either way, the fruit is often covered with a lattice pastry top.  Pretty much any sort of fruit can be used, combination of fruits…. and some even have vegetables like sweet potatoes… one of the most popular kinds of sonker.  No matter the crusts, a milk “batter” is poured over top, and the cooked sonker is served with milk “dip.”
I could go on and on about the sonker and will one day do a post just on that topic. For now, you can read more about its history at Our State Magazine.

And for a traditional Sweet Potato Sonker, here’s a recipe I prepared and styled for this piece a few years back when at Our State Magazine as food stylist and recipe developer. (This is not my recipe.)

There are other similar fruit desserts, but will save those for another time… like Clafouti, Shortcakes, Boy Bait, Long Cakes, Bird’s Nest Pudding and some I may not even have heard of.  Today’s post will get you started…. so throw yourself together this Grunt/Slump I recently created for Carolina Country’s June edition. I declare, here in mid-blueberry/peach season in North Carolina with folks camping and grilling all around, there’s no reason not to!  So stop by your local peach and berry farms or farmers’ market and get some fresh summer fruits… your favorites, and GRUNT!

Campfire Fruit Grunt

Grunts (also called Slumps) were born in New England and are a steamed cobbler that “grunt” when cooking and “slump” as they settle. This treat will make you the envy of the campground!  Great as a dessert, but also enjoyed as a breakfast treat as well.

Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: Southern
Servings: 8
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • 12" cast iron skillet
  • about 3 cups each fresh blueberries and sliced peaches
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup self-rising flour
  • 1/2 cup self-rising corn meal mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice
  • pinch salt
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 5 tablespoons butter softened
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/3 cup milk
Instructions
  1. Prepare coals or heat grill to medium high heat. Put fruits, sugar and cornstarch in skillet and stir to combine.

  2. Put all dumpling ingredients except milk into zippered plastic bag. Squish with fingers until butter has been incorporated and you have a crumble mix. Blend in milk.

  3. Add dollops of dumpling batter on top of fruit, leaving space for it to bubble and “grunt.” Close grill lid to cook. If cooking on open coals, cover with foil.

    Cook over indirect heat for about 15 minutes until hot and bubbly.