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Apple Jacks

Ingredients:
1 lb. dried apples
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
dash of cinnamon or nutmeg

Directions:
Place all in a saucepan and cook until tender.

Use basic biscuit dough (or canned biscuits). Pinch off dough as for a biscuit. Roll out each piece, not too thin, and place apple mixture on half of dough, fold over other side and seal. Press edges with a fork. Fry in iron skillet in fat until golden brown. Turning to brown both sides. Drain on paper towel. Can sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon, if desired.

Apple-Jacks

Baked Smoked Ham

Wash and scrub ham well, using a brush if necessary to remove all outside salt. Soak ham in a large amount of water at least 15 hours, skin side up. Changing water at least once.

Pour off water and cover with fresh water and boil about 20 minutes per pound, turning ham during cooking.

Allow to cool in same water (reserve water in which greens, collards or beans may be cooked.)

Skin ham, rub with brown sugar and dry mustard. Bake at 325 degrees for about 30 minutes, basting occasionally with drippings from pan.

Baked-Smoked-Ham

Buttermilk Biscuits

Ingredients:
2 cups* Buttermilk Biscuit Mix
2/3 cup** water or milk

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425°F. Combine Buttermilk Biscuit Mix and milk or water in a bowl, mixing until just combined. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead 5-6 times. Roll dough to 1/2-inch thickness and cut out with biscuit cutter. Place on a cookie sheet. Bake 8-11 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 9 or 10 biscuits.

Buttermilk-Biscuits

*Do not sift this product as it contains shortening flakes that dissolve during baking.
**One cup of buttermilk may be used instead of water or milk.

Chicken and Pastry

Ingredients:
1 big fat hen or rooster, cut up
Water
Salt and pepper
Aktinson's Frozen Pastry Strips

Directions:
In a big pot, place a cut up chicken and cover with water. Add salt to taste. Let boil until tender and a golden fat rises to the top of the water, making a rich broth. Remove chicken and allow to cool, so the skin can be removed and the meat deboned. Place chicken back in broth. Place frozen pastry strips over the top of cooked chicken in gentle rolling broth. Allow each layer to cook 2-3 minutes and stir down in the broth with a wooden spoon before adding the next layer.

Chicken-and-Pastry

Don't add to much pastry for the amount of broth in the pot. If needed, add additional boiling water to the broth, and if the broth is not rich enough with chicken fat, add chicken bullion cubes. (It is best to have too little pastry than to have too much.) After the last layer has cooked at least 5 minutes, stir down in the broth and allow the whole pot to cook another 6-8 minutes longer. It will thicken some more when it sits awhile after removing from burner. You don't want it be too dry.

Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients:
2 cups Buttermilk Biscuit Mix
2/3 cup water
3 tbsp butter or margarine - melted
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp raisins - optional
1 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
6 tsp milk

Cinnamon-Rolls

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450°F. Mix House-Autry Buttermilk Biscuit Mix and water in a bowl; stir until combined. Roll the dough into a 12-inch x 8-inch rectangle. Brush with butter or margarine. Mix sugar and cinnamon in a cup. Sprinkle about 2/3 of the mixture evenly over the margarine. Sprinkle with raisins. Starting from a long side, roll dough up tightly. Seal seams, slice roll into 1-inch pieces. Place on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with remaining cinnamon sugar. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until done. Makes approximately 12 rolls.

For Icing: Combine confectioner's sugar, vanilla extract and milk; mix well. Drizzle over rolls.

Cooking A Pot of Collards

Collards are a year-round favorite in Carolina Tobacco Country. Each season produces a different flavor and texture. They are not a boring vegetable for they do not always taste the same.

Summer collards are tougher and require more cooking time. Though they may be put in at the same time as the meat, and cooked just as long, the are still a bit crunchy when served.

On the other hand, winter collards are tender after they are kissed by frost and require only 30 minutes of cooking. They are naturally sweet and certain to appear on the table at Thanksgiving and Christmas along with baked sweet potatoes.

A-Pot-of-Collards

They withstand all but the very hardest freezes, and even the stalks where the winter collards were cut off sprout again in the spring giving yet a different flavor. They are tender and are served with sliced green onions and vinegar. Summer collards are good with fresh, hot green pepper chopped in them, sliced tomatoes, stew fried corn made from corn just out of the corn patch.

Collards are cooked very much like rutabagas and other vegetables but require more meat to season them and must not be crowded in the pot. Tender collards are put in the pot when the meat is almost done, while though ones are put in with meat.

There is just a bit of "know-how" required in cooking a good "mess" of collards. Some people like to add a little sugar to them while others do not. Corn dumplings are good with them no matter what the season. Even though dumplings may be cooked with the collards, fried corn bread usually accompanies the meal also.

2 lbs. collards1 to 2 lbs meat, (smoked or unsmoked) depending on the fatness
Salt to taste (may not require salt if your meat is very salty)
Water to cover collards well after they are wilted

Look collards well for vermin and bad spots to remove. Wash in several waters, if needed. Put summer collards in with the meat, accouding to their tenderness. Winter collards are put in after the meat tenders. Use your won judgement. Cook until done. Peeled potatoes and corn meal dumplings may be added abut 30 minutes before collards are done.

When done, take up potaotes and dumplings and lift collards out of pot liquor. Drain collards well and put in a bowl. Chop with hand chopper, or with a knife in each hand, cut through collards simultaneously until collards are chopped well. Drain again. Then, with a big spoon, scoop some of the fat off the top of the pot liquor and mix in with the collards.

Note: Collards are good warmed over for breakfast. Serve with hot biscuits.

Country Ham Biscuits and Red Eye Gravy

Ingredients:
1 2/3 cups Buttermilk Biscuit Mix
1/2 cup water
8 ounces thinly sliced country ham
3/4 cup coffee

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425°F. In a medium bowl, combine biscuit mix and water; stir until blended. Drop 5 equal portions onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake until tops are crispy and golden brown, about 11 minutes.

Country-Ham-Biscuits-and-Gravy

Meanwhile, place ham in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until both sides are browned, about 8 minutes. Pour coffee into skillet to deglaze pan, stirring to make sure any particles that have stuck to the skillet are loosened. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 5 minutes.

Split biscuits in half and place a slice of country ham between halves. Dip in the red eye gravy.

Fried Okra

Mix together:

6 cups okra, sliced about 1/2 inch pieces
1 1/2 tsp.salt
1/2 cup corn meal

Heat oil in frying pan. Place okra into hot grease. Brown on one side and gently turn to brown other side. When crisp and tender, remove from skillet, drain on paper towels and serve.

Fried-Okra

Hoecake or Corn Meal Cakes

Ingredients:
1 cup Atkinson's Mill Plain Yellow or White Corn meal
3/4 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of water

Directions:
Mix corn meal and salt. Stir in water until well mixed. Put 2 to 3 teaspoons of mixture on a hot greased griddle. Pat into cakes 1/2 inch thick and let cook. When one side is done, turn over and brown the other. Serve very hot. Good with fish or vegetables. Extra finely ground corn meal or Atkinson's self-rising corn meal are not recommended for this recipe.

Hoecake-or-Corn-Meal-Cakes

How To Cook A Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes are delicious cooked whole. When baked, their thin skin puffs to a crisp finish and inside you’ll discover a sweet, pillowy flesh. While baking is the most traditional way to cook sweet potatoes, there are countless ways to prepare them and cash in on their heavenly sweetness.

  • When cooking whole sweet potatoes, wash and place on a foil covered baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until fork tender.
  • Sauté sliced or diced sweet potatoes in oil for about 10 minutes.
  • Quick boil by adding 1-inch thick slices to a skillet with 2 inches of boiling water; cook for about 12 minutes or boil with skins on for 25-30 minutes, drain, peel off skin.
  • Steam 1-inch slices over simmering water.
  • Microwave whole sweet potatoes for 5 to 8 minutes rotating halfway through.

Sweet-Potato

  • Micro-bake whole sweet potatoes: microwave 4 minutes, then bake at 450 degrees for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Grill or broil 1-inch thick slices for 10 minutes or cut sweet potato in half lengthwise and grill 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Grate raw into slaws and salads.

Molly Gardner's Chocolate Cake

Chocolate CakeMolly Gardner was Ava's mother and the following recipe was provided by Mary Edna, Ava's neice.  This cake was made for several years as Mary Edna's birthday cake.

2 cups cake flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 (2 oz. squares unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup boiling water

Cream butter and gradually add sugar.  Beat until fluffy. Add eggs which have been beaten well.  Add melted chocolate, alternate dry ingredients (which have been sifted together) with milk.  Add boiling water and vanilla and beat well.  Pour into 2 greased pans.  Bake at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes, test with toothpick.  Frost with fudge frosting with pecans or 7-minute icing.

North Carolina Pit Cooked Barbecue

Barbecue in most parts contain ketchup or tomatoes in some form. NC Barbecue contains no tomatoes, but is basted with hot sauce made of selected peppers and vinegar, as it cooks.

1 100-125 lb pig, cleaned and split so it will lay flat and soaked in lightly salted water for 2 or more hours
A sauce made of crushed home-grown peppers, chili powder, salt and lots of black pepper, in a base of hot pepper vinegar

North-Carolina-Pit-Cooked-BBQ

Dig a 4 x 6 ft. pit about 2 ft. deep. Put coals from a fire made of hickory, oak or apple wood, in the bottom of the pit. Stretch a piece of fencing wire over the pit to hold the pig.

Let the pig cook slowly, adding coals as needed, about 6-8 hours. Put the split side of the pig on first. Turning occasionally, letting the skin get very crips. Keep basting with the vinegar pepper sauce.

It is served at a "Pig Picking" where everyone does just that. They pick off the part they want to eat. There is usually more wast when it is served that way. Another way is to have one ore more person chop up the meat and add additional sauce as they mix it together. It is then served on plates with slaw and corn bread.

Today, there are special built grills for pig barbecues; and there are some good commercial sauces.

Old Fashioned Banana Pudding

Pudding
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup self rising flour
2 2/3 cups milk
2-4 eggs (2 if you top pudding with wafers, 4 if you top with meringue)
1 tbsp butter or margine
2 tsp vanilla
1 box Vanilla wafers
4-5 ripe bananas

Banana-Pudding

In a medium sauce pan mix all ingredients (2 whole eggs or 4 egg yolks) stir it really well with a whisk. Continue to stir with large spoon, making sure to not let mixture stick or scorch. Cook until it reaches pudding consistency.

Layer vanilla wafers in bottom of dish, top with sliced bananas and half the pudding. Repeat layers. Then top with meringue.

Meringue
4 egg whites, at room temperature
5 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat the egg whites at high speed until they form soft peaks. Add the cream of tartar. At high speed, gradually add the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold the vanilla into the meringue, and spread the meringue over the pudding, sealing it at the sides of the dish.

Bake in a preheated 375°F oven until meringue browns, 12 to 15 minutes, depending upon your oven.

Pecan Pie

3 Eggs
1/2 Cup heavy cream
1/2 Cup dark corn syrup
1/4 Teaspoon salt
1 Cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 Stick Butter, melted
1 1/2 Cups chopped pecans

Preheat oven 350 degrees. Beat eggs, then blend in all ingredients. Pour into unbaked 9” deep pie shell. Bake about 45 minutes or until crust is brown and filling is puffed and set. Cool.

Pecan-Pie

Potato Salad

Ingredients:
8 medium potatoes, cooked in salted water and diced
4 boiled eggs, chopped
2 heaping Tbsp. mayonaise (may need more)
2/3 cup sweet pickles, cut up
1 teas. prepared mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
1 medium onion, diced (onion optional)

Directions:
Mix all ingredients in a large bow; then put in a smaller bowl for serving.

Potato-Salad

Rigatoni al Ragu di Agnello

RigatoniIngredients:

One box dried large rigatoni
5 cloves garlic minced
1 cup finely chopped onion
Two carrots peeled
One tbsp extra virgin olive oil
One tbsp vegetable oil
Two tbsp salted butter
Three 28 oz cans of whole stewed tomatoes
Two 15.5 oz cans fire roasted tomatoes
One 6 oz can tomato paste
One lamb shank about 3 to 4 lbs cut to 2 inch cubes lightly trimmed
One tbsp balsamic vinegar or one cup dry red wine
One tbsp of the following
Dried and rubbed oregano,rosemary and Italian blend seasoning
Three tspns of instant beef bouillon
Salt and pepper to taste.  Always remember to season in layers as you go to avoid over seasoning any time you cook!

In a large pot (6 to 8 qt 18/10 stainless preferred)  Heat olive oil to a shimmer and add garlic and onions. (not to burn)  Next add tomato paste and lightly fry.  De-glaze your pan with one can of the stewed tomatoes and vinegar or wine.  And we're off...add butter, about half the cans of tomato products stir in your dry seasonings and beef bouillon before your pan gets too full (we will try to keep most of this sauce in the pot) then add remaining tomato products.  Your carrots will do two things for you at this point 1.  They will add a light sweet flavor and 2. tell you  when the sauce is ready for the boat motor.  Add the carrots whole if possible and cover.  Simmer over a low to medium low temp with the lid on.  Always stirring to lift the sauce bottom to the top.  When the carrots are soft you get to use your submersible blender.  This takes a little practice if this is your first time.  You want to puree your sauce to a thick but consistent texture.  In a thick heavy frying pan heat to med high temp with some vegetable oil (about one tbsp) and brown your lamb cubes.  Please don't cook, just brown.  Add the browned lamb to your sauce and simmer for at least three hours.  Let stand to cool then refrigerate over night.  Pull your lamb out and separate with your fingers or smash with a wide chefs knife.  The object here is to have a pulled pork affect not a chopped or diced look.  We want the meat fibers to remain long and thin so it sticks to you rigatoni.  Once you have your meat finished add back to the sauce.  Gently heat though to incorporate and your are done.

When you cook any pasta salt your water just before it boils and never rinse pasta.  If you have to add more water to your pan that is ok.  When your pasta is finished drain and return to pan then add some olive oil and mix well while still warm to keep from sticking.

When you are ready to serve add sauce and pasta to a saute pan and heat while tossing then serve with a generous portion of pecorino romano cheese.  You will notice that in this picture I did not mix the sauce in with the pasta.  This was to give the photo a contrast, sauce to pasta.  Most chefs would yell at me for doing this and that is why I work for myself.  Any questions that you may have about food I'm sure to have an answer.  Please visit me at   www.imposimato.webs.com

Buon appetito from Chef Imposimato

Sweet Potato Biscuits

Ingredients:
2 cups Buttermilk Biscuit Mix
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cups cooked sweet potatoes - mashed
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/3 cup raisins - optional
5 ounces milk
3 tbsp butter or margarine - melted

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Mix Buttermilk Biscuit Mix, nutmeg, and cinnamon together; set aside. In a separate bowl, mix sweet potatoes, brown sugar, optional raisins and milk together. Stir into dry mix to form soft dough. Turn onto lightly floured surface and knead 5 times. Roll to ½-inch thickness; cut with 2-inch biscuit cutter. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until done. Brush tops of hot biscuits with melted butter or margarine. Makes 10 to 12 biscuits.

Sweet-Potato-Biscuits

Sweet Potato Casserole

Ingredients:
7-8 Small Sweet Potatoes
1 cup sugar
1 stick butter
1 small can evaporated milk
3 eggs
salt
nutmeg (to taste!)
marshmallows or crunchy topping of (1/3 cup flour, 1/2 brown sugar, 1/2 stick soft, 1 cup chopped nuts)

Directions:
Boil sweet potatoes and mash. Mix all ingredients except marshmallows and place in 9x13 inch dish. Bake one hour at 350. Add marshmallows and brown. This makes large family servings for Thanksgiving or Christmas! If using crunchy topping on the sweet potatoes top and bake for the full hour.

Sweet-Potato-Casserole

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235-A East Market Street
Smithfield, North Carolina 27577

tel 919.989.8687  |  fax 919.989.6295
toll free 1.800.441.7829

 

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