Shout out to Perkins Orchard - A Deep Rooted Family Roadside Farm Stand. Look at them NOW!

When I first started buying fresh produce from this roadside orchard, there were still fruit bearing trees. Late summer, I would call, Rev. Dr. Joseph Perkin’s grandson Alex, to ask if the figs were ripe as it was a race between me and the birds.

The Reverend and his wife began this business almost 50 years ago…and now, Alex is the owner…Here are some photos from earlier times and, my just picked garden flower bundles that I want Alex to include in his vast repertoire...Or, you can come to my house for flowers, Ancient Mediterranean Seasoning and what else I have conjured up this week!

Mr. Perkins Grandson Donovan Alexander Watson took over daily operations at the age of 10!

Mr. Perkins Grandson Donovan Alexander Watson took over daily operations at the age of 10!

Home grown zinnias, sunflowers and herbs

Home grown zinnias, sunflowers and herbs

Perkins Orchard is simply an amazing place to visit.

Perkins Orchard is simply an amazing place to visit.

The Wonderful Cuisine of Peru

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I have fallen in love with Peruvian food. To my surprise, the much improved Latino Compare Market on University Dr. now carries many of the needed ingredients and Amazon Prime offers the missing links. At ZCC, we are pleased to announce this addition to our "Cook In Your Nook" list of culinary classes. Commencing in August, here is a cooling alternative to beat the heat:

"Peruvian Delight Night"

  • CHICHA MORADA (this is a drink made from boiled purple corn, pineapple, apple, lime juice and sugar.) It can be served as a beverage. To make it a cocktail, the Peruvian way would be to add the liquor called Pisco. This is unfortunately NOT available at the ABC stores in NC. A good substitute is vodka or tequila.

  • CEVICHE APPETIZER Fresh raw tilapia fish diced and marinated in lime juice and served with Peruvian corn and onions.

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  • YELLOW PLANTAINS (FRIED)

  • CAUSA DE POLLO Boiled Peruvian Mashed potato seasoned with Ají Amarillo (Peruvian yellow chili pepper) and layered with Peruvian style chicken salad.

  • CREMA VOLTEADA Peruvian style crème caramel or FRUIT STUFFED EMPANADAS

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Come learn with us! Sign up now and visit www.zackisculinarycreations.com

Cheers, Zacki & the ZCC Team

Ode to Butter Beans and a Salute to Cornbread

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My sister Karen’s “Singing Circle,” dressed in hand-sewn aprons, belted out this song at St. Mary’s Church Homecoming. It inspired me to go make some fresh lima beans with ham pieces and skillet cornbread.

 "Just a Bowl of Butter Beans" (Sung to "Just a Closer Walk with Thee" )

Just a bowl of butter beans
Pass the cornbread if you please
I don't want no collard greens
All I want is a bowl of butter beans

Just a piece of country ham
Pass the butter and the jam
Pass the biscuits if you please
And some more o' them good ol' butter beans

Red eye gravy is all right
Turnip sandwich a delight
But my children all still scream
For another bowl of butter beans

Some folks think that cornpone's best
Some likes grits more than the rest
But if I was a man of means
I'd just want them good ol' butter beans

See that lady over there
With the curlers in her hair
She's not pregnant as she seems
She's just full o' them good ol' butter beans

See that big, fat, ugly lad
He's made everybody mad
They don't love him, by no means
He's the hog that ate the last of the butter beans

When they lay my bones to rest
Place no roses upon my chest
Plant no blooming evergreens
All I want is' a bowl of butter beans

Just a bowl of butter beans
Pass the cornbread if you please
I don't want no collard greens
All I want is a bowl of butter beans
(Written by Charles Colvin recorded by Little Jimmy Dickins in 1965)

I made and styled a Southern picnic spread for Family Circle magazine, including skillet cornbread. I like to substitute buttermilk whenever I can. Here is a delicious recipe that serves a dozen:

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 EASY BUTTERMILK CORNBREAD In a Skillet

Ingredients

· 1 stick of unsalted butter, melted

· 1 cup all-purpose flour

· 1 cup yellow or white cornmeal 

· 1/4 cup white sugar

· 1 teaspoon baking powder 

· 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

· 1 cup buttermilk 

· 1/4 cup honey

· 2 large eggs

· 1/4th teaspoon of salt

· ½ diced scallion, opt.

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F and position a rack in the middle. Lightly grease a 9-inch cast iron skillet with butter and hold rest to recipe. Place into the oven or over stove to heat up. 

  2. In a food processor, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder (If using), baking soda and salt.

  3. Make a well in the center and add the buttermilk, honey and eggs. Mix together to combine, then add in the melted butter. Mix until 'just' combined.

  4. Carefully remove your 'hot' pan or dish from the oven or stovetop, and pour the batter into the hot skillet or dish.

  5. Bake until the cornbread begins to brown on top and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean (about 20-23 minutes). Allow to cool before slicing.

Enjoy!,
Zacki Murphy

July Recipe of the Month: Kale & Blueberry Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

Kale & Blueberry Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

Kale & Blueberry Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

This delicious and healthy salad is the perfect summer recipe. Prepare this salad for a family cookout or neighborhood potluck as a tasty side that won’t leave guests feeling weighed down in the heat.

Serves: 12

Ingredients:

-         5 cups loose cleaned kale cut

-         ½ Cups Blueberries

-         ½ Cups Shredded Carrots

-         ½ Cups Purple grapes cut in half

-         ¼ Cups Raisins

-         ¼ Cups Roasted sunflower kernels


Dressing:

-         ¼ cup Vidalia Onion, diced

-         1 cloves of garlic

-         2 Tablespoons Balsamic vinegar

-         ¼ Cups Lemon Juice

-         ½ Cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil

-         ¼  Teaspoons Celery Seed

-         ¼  Teaspoons Poppy Seeds

-         ¼ cups Honey (for a vegan version substitute maple or agave syrup)

-         Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:

1.    In A large bowl, blend all the greens and fruits. Reserve the kernels until the last step.

2.    Combine dressing ingredients and blend until well mixed.

3.    Add dressing to salad just as you are serving. Finish with the kernels.

A Voyager Academy Charter School student enjoying his first experience with a kale salad.

A Voyager Academy Charter School student enjoying his first experience with a kale salad.

FujiFilm Health Expo

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At the end of June, ZCC participated in its second FujiFilm Health Expo sponsored by Excel Fitness.

ZCC demonstrated two nutritious recipes: Avgolemono soup with lemon, egg yolks, brown rice and chicken & an egg salad guacamole with edamame from ZCC’s Eating4Life curriculum.

Our first expo experience was outdoors in April on an eighty-five degree day, and there was no beating the heat! This health fair was inside in the air conditioning, and such a relief.

Wonderful FujiFilm employees eating Egg Salad Guacamole with Edamame served with blue corn chips.

Wonderful FujiFilm employees eating Egg Salad Guacamole with Edamame served with blue corn chips.

Zacki’s terrific assistant Gigi preparing Avgolemono soup with lemon, egg yolks, brown rice and chicken.

Zacki’s terrific assistant Gigi preparing Avgolemono soup with lemon, egg yolks, brown rice and chicken.

Egg Salad Guacamole with Edamame served with blue corn chips.

Egg Salad Guacamole with Edamame served with blue corn chips.

Bride's Breakfast Croquembouche

When Zacki was at Peace Jr. College in Raleigh, there was always a consistent smell that wafted over the campus. The addictive aroma was from a next door Krispy Kreme donut store and it called her name. In those slim days, she never gained weight, but saw her dentist more often.

Krispy Kreme is a North Carolina based company founded in the 1930’s. Founder Rudolph Rudolf purchased a secret recipe for yeast-raised doughnuts from a New Orleans-French chef and opened a doughnut shop in Paducah, Kentucky. Rudolph soon moved to Winston-Salem, NC, (some say Camel cigarettes attracted him to the city) where he opened the first Krispy Kreme on July 13, 1937.

ZCC had a request to make a donut hole croquembouche for a bride's breakfast in May. This was the first croquembouche Zacki had made since working on Martha Stewart's Christmas book croquembouche using filled puff pastry. Zacki started this project by purchasing a Christmas tree styrofoam shape from a craft store, then purchasing 75 fresh "holes" (minus 2 for sampling!). Geranium leaves decorated the base using wooden toothpicks.

Croquembouche base in progress.

Croquembouche base in progress.

Donut holes were then added and it was wrapped with layers of cling wrap for transportation.

Croquembouche with Krispy Kreme Donut holes attached.

Croquembouche with Krispy Kreme Donut holes attached.

Once on the lovely table created by the hostess, the gaps were filled in with fresh mint and white roses.

Croquembouche on Bride’s Breakfast table.

Croquembouche on Bride’s Breakfast table.

Cake-holes could be used for a dessert version of this beautiful addition to a buffet table.