Parfait! Zippy & Sweet Mustard

It seems as though Spring is finally here to stay around about these parts, and, given the number of barbecue themed recipes I’ve been posting of late, I thought it high time to revisit and update my favorite mustard – for when you plan on brats ‘n burgers in place of barbecue.

Now, this recipe, based on Howard Johnson’s Spicy Mustard from the always helpful folk at Ask Uncle Pahedrus – Finder of Lost Recipes is pretty much perfect just the way they published it, but…

I happen to prefer Trader Joe’s Dijon mustard, which has an almost horseradish-y bite to it, and now – after coming across it in a new local fave pizza joint – I much prefer using Mike’s Hot Honey (available on Amazon) in place of your regular, run o’ the mill honey – though that works a treat, too! We just prefer the touch of heat this brings with the sweet.

The recipe is simplicity itself: one plus one plus one – ermmm, plus the hint of Aleppo pepper I also like to add.

I use half-cup measures, because that is what fits best in the mustard squeeze bottle I keep in the fridge. Feel free to scale up or down to suit your needs and tastes.

INGREDIENTS
•1/2 cup Dijon mustard
•1/2 cup French’s yellow mustard*
•1/2 cup Mike’s Honey (or your fave honey)
•1 tsp Aleppo pepper

*Yes, I really think that it needs to be French’s yellow mustard. I keep my standards, well… standard. Heinz ketchup. Hellmann’s mayonnaise. And French’s yellow mustard. I believe that you do not mess with the best.

Whisk (well, I use an immersion blender) the mustards together with the honey until well blended, then stir in the Aleppo pepper and transfer to your container of choice.

Store in the fridge until needed.

I believe that you will find yourself needing this a lot.

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BBQ Baked Beans

A while back, while looking through old magazine recipes from the 1950’s and 1960’s, I came across one for a “Barbecued Bean Bake” that promised the “entire family will love” this one pot meal of doctored canned baked beans with sliced hot dogs stirred in.

Well…

in truth,the recipe called for “pushing the hot dog slices down into the beans,” which seemed to me just a touch violent,

but, to each their own, I guess.

I thought that the recipe held promise, as long as I skipped drowning sliced hot dogs in the casserole, and brought a bit of 21st seasoning into the mix. In fact, I skipped the hot dogs entirely, opting for what could be, depending on the type of canned beans you chose, a vegetarian entrée or side dish.

Also, 21st century dietary issues here, did you know that a lot of canned baked beans are gluten-free? Check on the brands’ web site for confirmation.

I chose to add Peach Butter to my beans, along with a local, spicy ketchup that added an extra bit of a kick to the finished casserole; and had my husband going back for seconds at dinner as well as later in the week for lunch; so mebbe that vintage advertisement was on to something.

INGREDIENTS
•21 oz can beans
•1/4 cup brown sugar
•1/4 cup Peach Butter
•2 tbsp ketchup
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1 tsp dried shallot
•1/2 tsp curry powder
•1/2 tsp dried mustard
•1/4 tsp lower sodium Tamari

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Heat your oven to 350º.

Stir everything together in a two quart casserole until well blended.

Cover and bake for 45 minutes.

Remove the cover and bake for an additional 30 minutes, then remove from the oven and allow to rest for five minutes before serving.

Tasty with grilled chicken and yellow rice!

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Barbecued Salmon With Sweet Onion

We were so happy with our Easter Pineapple Salmon that I thought I might revisit the recipe and try it out with some of my Barbecue Sauce and sliced sweet onion.

Unlike our Easter dinner, I wanted to try this version in the oven, as the original recipe called for, then finishing up under the broiler after the oven had been hot.

Worked a treat, and made for a fine dinner with those roasted sweet onion slices and potato salad on the side.

INGREDIENTS
Fish:
•1 lb salmon filet (I had the skin removed)
•1 sweet onion, peeled and sliced thick
Seasoned Salt

Sauce:
•1/4 cup of your fave Barbecue Sauce
•2 tbsp avocado or olive oil
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1 tbsp water (if the barbecue sauce is thick)

Garnish:
•Sliced scallions

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Note: combining barbecue (or most any other) sauce with a bit of avocado or olive oil before grilling or baking is a cool new trick I picked up from somewhere or other, and it works really well with salmon and chicken – probably on most any protein that doesn’t have a lot of extra fat.

Whisk the barbecue sauce together with the oil and Sherry Peppers Sauce, adding water if it looks a bit too thick.

Heat your oven to 350º and line a large, rimmed cooking sheet with foil.

Apply cooking spray, then arrange the sweet onion slices in a single layer across the bottom of the pan.

Season lightly with the Seasoned Salt, then brush with a bit of the barbecue sauce mixture over the top.

Arrange the salmon filet on top of the onion slices, season light with more Seasoned Salt, then brush with the barbecue sauce mixture.

Pop into the hot oven and bake for 25 minutes, until the salmon is cooked through.

Set your oven to broil, place the baking pan about four inches below the heat, and cook for another two minutes, until the salmon is golden and mebbe a bit blackened in spots.

Remove from the broiler, sprinkle with scallions, and serve.

Note: I get our salmon from a local fishmonger and smokehouse, Captain Porky’s and think that this filet, coming in around $13+ cannot be beat for freshness and flavor. Their smoked salmon is also pretty darned terrific, and makes for a wicked tasty brunch casserole.

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Pressure Cooker Short Ribs, Jamaican Style!

My first job out of college was that of a designer at a medical school in Boston.

For lunch, there was a cafeteria, as well as tons of very good local dives, specializing in Greek and middle eastern foods.

There was also this Jamaican barbecue food truck that put out this incredible beef rib sammich on sweet bread.

I have never come across another like it; and the success of my Korean-Style ribs spurred

me to try to replicate the sweet heat of my food truck fave, and I think I may very well have come wicked close.

Is it authentic Jamaican barbecue?

Heck no! But it is wicked tasty, so come along and let’s make a batch.

INGREDIENTS
•Beef short ribs
•Shredded carots

Sauce:
•1/2 cup Barbecue Sauce
•1/2 cup pineapple juice, divided
•2 tbsp lime juice (I used Key lime)
•3 or 4 cloves roasted garlic
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1 tsp ginger
•1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
•1/4 tsp allspice
•1/4 tsp black pepper
•1/4 tsp Aleppo pepper

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Note: for this batch o’ ribs, I used the more usual sliced beef short ribs instead of flanken-style, but either would work a treat.

Combine the barbecue sauce with 1/4 cup of the pineapple juice and remaining ingredients (I used my immersion blender) until smooth.

Set your Multi/Instant Pot to “Brown” and add the ribs and shredded carrots – do this in stages, if need be, so you don’t crowd the pot.

Brown the ribs for two minutes per side – since these were thicker and sliced with the bone, I did all four sides of each rib piece. If you use longer, thinner flanken ribs, brown for five minutes on each side.

Remove the browned ribs and carrots to a platter and repeat with any remaining ribs and shredded carrots.

Turn the Multi/Instant Pot off and wipe out to remove any excess fat.

Pour the sauce into the pot, then add the ribs and carrots, stirring to coat evenly.

Lock the lid in place and set the pot to “High” pressure for 25 minutes.

When the pressure cycle has finished, quick release the pressure (remember, a clean kitchen towel loosely wrapped around the valve will help to keep the steam from burning you or damaging cabinets.

Using a slotted spoon, remove ribs and carrots from sauce, set pot to “Sauté” and reduce the remaining barbecue sauce for ten minutes, stirring often.

Give it a taste.

Pretty good, but I chose to stir in 1/4 cup additional pineapple juice and sautéed for another seven to ten minutes.

Toss the ribs and carrots in the now nicely thickened sauce and serve.

We didn’t have any sweet Jamaican bread, so instead we enjoyed ours first with garlic smashed potatoes.

Leftovers, as it turns out, were really nice as tacos over shredded cabbage with chopped onion and tomato, and a horseradish and sweet chili sauce (I am still working on this recipe, details to come).

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Pressure Cooker Short Ribs, Korean Style!

Well… technically, this is not just a pressure cooker recipe; it is an all-in-one “Instant Pot/Multi Pot” recipe; where you brown the ribs, then pressure cook ’em to tender goodness and then reduce the sauce to a thick, tasty gravy – all in one pot (kinda the point of the whole “multi pot” thing).

But... if your are old school and still have a stove top or electric pressure cooker, you can use that for these tasty, tasty ribs, too. You’ll just need another pot on the side for browning and simmering.

Oh… and we thoroughly enjoyed these ribs, with a freshly pickled relish on top, over Cauliflower Rice Waffles, but, feel free to go classic and serve ’em with rice.

First things first: this recipe (and, I apologize, but I did NOT note the source), calls for flanken style beef short ribs, which really works a treat with this preparation. I found this batch at Whole Foods, but have subsequently asked the butcher at my local market to cut them for me, and they were happy to comply. Interestingly; the flanken ribs from Whole Foods were a touch less expensive than at my local market, so you should definitely shop and compare.

INGREDIENTS
Ribs:
•2 lb flanken style beef short ribs

Relish:
•2 scallions, sliced thinly
•1 cup sliced, quartered Persian cucumbers
•1/4 cup diced carrots
•1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
•1 tsp sesame seeds
•1 tsp dried shallots
•1 tsp granulated sugar
•2 tbsp rice vinegar
•1 tbsp sesame oil
•1/2 tsp Key (or regular) lime juice

Sauce:
•1/4 cup lower sodium tamari
•3 tbsp gochujang
•2 tbsp peeled and grated ginger
•2 tbsp dark brown sugar
•1/2 pear, peeled, cored, and finely chopped
•2 cloves garlic
•2 tbsp sesame oil
•1/4 cup water

Toss the prepped relish veggies and seasonings with the sugar, vinegar, oil, and lime juice; then transfer to a covered container and stash in the fridge until you are ready to serve.

Set your Multi Pot to “Brown” and add the flanken ribs – in batches if need be. Brown the ribs for five minutes per side, then turn the pot off and remove the ribs to a plate before continuing.

Wipe the cooking pot clean of any excess fat.

Whisk the sauce ingredients together and pour into the pot.

Arrange the browned ribs on top of the sauce, then lock the lid in place, set the valve to “Pressure” and set your pot to High Pressure for 25 minutes.

Once the pressure cook cycle has completed, quick release the pressure – I find a clean kitchen towel loosely placed over the valve helps to keep the steam from going up and doing a number on my cabinets – and, when the steam has fully vented, open the cover and remove the ribs to a clean platter.

Set your pot to “Sauté” and cook the sauce, stirring every now and then, for about 15 minutes, until it has reduced and thickened.

You can remove the bones from your now oh! so tender ribs or serve them as is, with the sauce drizzled over the top along with some of that fine fresh relish.

Rice, Cauliflower Waffles, plain savory waffles, or heck, even tacos, with mebbe some freshly shredded cabbage and chopped onion as a base – it is all good!

But wait! Tomorrow, we’ll move this Asian inspired recipe to Jamaica, for mebbe even tastier results!

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Roasted Pineapple Moscow Mule

Book Club was coming up, and that meant it was a good time to try out my wicked nizza Moscow Mule cups Ruth and Michael had given me for Christmas, and, it was also a great time to try out a new version of the classic cocktail, made with brown sugar brushed, then roasted pineapple.

The original recipe, from the nice folk at Creative-Culinary.com, called for using fresh pineapple wedges and adding mint (as is usual for a Moscow Mule) – but I had sliced pineapple, and don’t care for mint, so…

All in all, a pretty terrific cocktail to serve to a crowd, and easy, too; especially if you roast the pineapple before hand, and mix up a large batch in a blender, pouring into your cups over ice and topping with good ginger beer and a slice of lime.

A note on the ginger beer: my current fave is Fever Tree, which can be found at most Targets (look in the “mixers” section).

INGREDIENTS
Pineapple:
•1 (20 oz) can pineapple slices in juice
•Brown sugar

Cocktail (for a crowd):
•1/4 cup lime juice
•1/4 cup pineapple juice
•1/2 cup vodka
•Roasted pineapple

Finishers:
•Ginger beer
•Sliced limes

Early in the day, or the day before; heat your oven to 450º and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Arrange the pineapple slices (save the juice!) in a single layer in the pan and brush with brown sugar.

Bake in the hot oven for ten minutes, then remove, turn the pineapple slices over, brush with additional sugar, and return to the oven for ten minutes more.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. If doing this the day before, go ahead and stash the cooled roasted pineapple slices in a covered container in the fridge.

When ready to serve, place a couple of slices of the cooled roasted pineapple in a blender container.

Stir the cocktail ingredients together in a pitcher and pour over the pineapple slices in the blender container.

Pulse until well blended.

Pour the mixture over ice in a glass or – preferably, a Moscow Mule cup, add a good splash of ginger beer, a slice of lime, and, if you like, a chunk or two of the remaining roasted pineapple; though… given our Book Club, I saved those slices to make another blender batch or three.

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Lemon Ginger Cheesecake (Gluten-Free!)

It’s a cold, damp, gray Monday, so let’s bring a bit of sunshine to the table with this pretty spectacular lemon and ginger cheesecake.

The original recipe, from my FAVORITE Mommy Blog and Recipe Hub: Wonkette.com, called for Lemon Oreos or mebbe Carr’s Ginger Lemon Cremes for the crust, but, I was aiming for a gluten-free dessert, so I went with almond flour and butter.

Worked a treat.

Important Note: while I loves me my Wonkettes; I should note that, as a collective, they tend to be snarky, a touch profane, and really, quite liberal, so, if you feel uncomfortable about any of that you might just want to give them a pass.

INGREDIENTS
Crust:
1-1/4 cups almond flour
2 tbsp firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
6 tbsp butter, melted
•1/8 tsp ground ginger

Filling:
•32 oz cream cheese, softened
•1 cup sugar
•1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
•1/4 cup lemon juice
•2 tbsp almond flour
•1 tbsp grated lemon zest
•2-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
•1 tsp lemon extract
•5 large eggs

Heat your oven to 375º and wrap the bottom of a nine inch spring form pan with aluminum foil.

Attach the spring form ring and apply cooking spray to the pan.

Wrap the outside (including the bottom) of the spring form pan with three layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil (use mebbe six layers if using regular foil).

Stir the butter into the almond flour, brown sugar, lemon zest and ginger in a large bowl until well blended, then pat into the bottom and with a wee, tiny bit up the sides of the spring form pan.

Pop the pan into the oven, bake for ten minutes, then remove from the oven, set aside to cool, and reset the oven temperature to 325º.

Now, for the filling…

Beat the softened cream cheese together with the sugar until smooth.

Beat in the whipping cream, lemon juice, almond flour, lemon zest, and vanilla and lemon extracts.

With the mixer running, add the eggs one at a time, incorporating each egg into the filling before adding the next.

Scrape down the bowl, then add the filling to the spring form pan on top of your (now cooled) crust.

Place the cheesecake in a large roasting pan (if you have one, the pan you use to roast your turkey works a treat for this) and add water to the pan to about one inch below the edge of the spring form pan.

Note: this is called a Bain Marie, and really helps when baking cheesecakes and the like.

Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, until the center of the cheesecake looks to be almost set, then turn the oven off, crack open the door, and allow to cool to room temperature.

Pull the cooled cheesecake from the Bain Marie and remove the foil wrappings (do this near the sink, just in case water got into the foil layers), then cover the cheesecake and stash in the fridge overnight.

When ready to serve, run a knife along the inside edge of the spring form pan to loosen the cheesecake, then open and remove the ring and transfer the cheesecake to a serving platter.

Note: if your cooked and cooled cheesecake splits open a bit on the top, it is no big deal. If, however, you think it a big deal, then feel free to top the cheesecake with fruit before slicing, so that no one can tell the top is not absolutely perfect.

I sliced and served mine with Cointreau macerated strawberries on the side and folk were really pretty happy.

Final note: next time I make this, I will bump up the ginger in the crust to 1/4 teaspoon, and mebbe add crystallized ginger to the filling. Just a thought.

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Parfait(ish)! Better Berries!

I have covered this nifty trick for improving your berries – or, most any fruit, really – in other posts, which makes it a Parfait! (repeat) post.

But! It would seem that I haven’t spotlighted just the method of macerating fruit in sugar and a bit of liquid – my faves are Cointreau or Limoncello, but go for plain orange juice if you’d rather skip the alcohol.

It is simple, takes next to no time, and really does make your fruit taste better.

INGREDIENTS
•Berries (your choice) washed and prepped
•1 tbsp sugar
•1 tbsp Cointreau or Limoncello

Place your berries of choice in a large bowl and sprinkle with the sugar.

Drizzle the Cointreau (or Limoncello or orange juice) over the fruit and stir gently to mix well.

Set aside to sit for ten minutes or so.

When you come back, you will notice that there seems to be a bit more liquid in the bowl than you can justify from just that one tablespoon of whatever you might have added – this is what makes your berries, well, better!

That bit of sugar and liquor (or juice) combine to add a subtle bit of extra sweetness which is great with the fruit on its own, topped with Lemon Curd and Yogurt Sauce, or, as is shown above, spooned over a Tres Leches Cake (recipe to come).

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Lemon Basil Vinaigrette

As it happened; I made way too much Thai-Style Pineapple Salmon for our Easter feast; so, we had leftovers.

Also, as it happened; I came across a very nice looking recipe for a lemon basil vinaigrette that I thought would work a treat with the leftover salmon, lettuce and other assorted salad fixings.

The original recipe called for using all olive oil, which I find turns into a brick when stored in the fridge, so I went half and half

olive (actually avocado) and canola oil, which keeps the vinaigrette nicely liquid, even after hours in the fridge.

I also added a touch of sugar, because I thought the honey was good, but needed a bit of help; and, of course, my old stand-by, Aleppo pepper, to make a truly superlative vinaigrette.

INGREDIENTS
Vinaigrette:
•1/4 cup lemon juice, plus zest of one lemon
•1/4 cup olive oil
•1/4 cup canola oil
•1 tbsp Zippy & Sweet (or Dijon) mustard
•1 tsp honey
•2 cloves garlic
•1-1/2 tbsp fresh minced basil leaves
•1/4 tsp sugar
•1/2 tsp dried oregano
•1/4 tsp kosher salt
•1/8 tsp black pepper
•1/8 tsp Aleppo pepper

Salad:
(feel free to adjust to your preferences)
•Shredded green leaf lettuce
•Baby spinach
•Red onion, thinly sliced
•Diced carrot
•Blanched asparagus
•Feta cheese, crumbled
•Persian cucumber, thinly sliced
•Leftover Thai pineapple salmon, shredded

Combine the vinaigrette ingredients in a large beaker or blender jar. Use an immersion blender (beaker), or pulse (covered blender jar), until emulsified.

Transfer to a jar, cover, and stash in the fridge for at least a few hours to let the flavors blend.

When ready, assemble your salad in a large bowl and toss to mix well. I prefer to let people dress their own salads, but feel free to toss the vinaigrette in when you toss the rest of the ingredients.

Nice vinaigrette. Nice salad!

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Thai-Style Pineapple Salmon

We were talking about what to have for Easter dinner, and both decided that we could skip the traditional ham or lamb. Then, I came across a recipe for Baked Pineapple Salmon from the nice folk at delish.com, and knew that our feast day question had been answered.

Fortunately, we have a most excellent fish monger and smokehouse right in the neighborhood by the name of Captain Porky’s, so I knew that the salmon would be fresh and oh, so tasty!

It also helped that prep and cooking was so simple that we could have hosted a houseful of folk, and still had plenty of time to chill and enjoy the day and our company.

INGREDIENTS
•8 pineapple rings, fresh or canned
•1 large salmon fillet (about 3 lbs)

Sauce:
•1/4 tsp Kosher salt
•1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
•3 tbsp melted butter
•2 tbsp sweet chili sauce
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1 tbsp pineapple juice
•Cilantro, chopped (I used parsley)
•3 garlic cloves
• 2tsp freshly grated ginger
•2 tsp toasted sesame oil
•1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Garnish:
•Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
•Thinly sliced green onions, for garnish
•Lime wedges, for serving

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Note: I am not a fan of cilantro, so I substituted fresh parsley, but,  on thinking about it, basil might could be a fine replacement here as well.

Heat your oven to 350º or your grill to medium and line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Combine the sauce ingredients into a large beaker or blender container and, using an immersion blender (beaker) or your blender, pulse until you have a thick sauce.

Apply cooking spray to the foil and arrange the pineapple slices in a single layer across the pan.

Place the salmon filet (I had our fish monger remove the skin) on top of the pineapple slices and brush with the sauce.

Bake or grill the salmon until it is cooked through – 20 to 25 minutes.

Note: if you grill your salmon, preheat your broiler the last five minutes or so of grilling.

Pop the pan under the broiler for two minutes, until the fish is light gold. As you might note from this image, I hadn’t thought to preheat my broiler, so – while the salmon was lovely, moist, tender, and oh! so tasty – it did not get the slight golden char I was hoping for.

Oh well. Next time.

Serve with fresh lime slices, sesame seeds, and sliced scallions.

We had a spinach salad with red onion, Cointreau macerated strawberries, and shredded green leaf lettuce on the side.

We did not miss the ham or lamb.

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