Rice Vinegar Coleslaw

Usually, I make this Asian inspired coleslaw to top off Moo Shoo Pork Street Tacos, but, it turns out it stands on its own.

Really well.

Keep the ingredients simple; a bag of coleslaw mix and some scallions, or…

Go all out, as I did with this version, adding chopped parsley, blanched asparagus, red and yellow peppers, and roasted and salted pepitas (pumpkin seeds).

Oh, and some diced, Pickled Avocado also works a treat.

Basic Coleslaw:
•1 bag coleslaw blend
•Scallions, sliced
•Fresh parsley, chopped

•3 tbsp brown sugar*
•2 tbsp rice vinegar (I use seasoned)

Additional Add Ins:
•Sliced blanched asparagus
•Sliced peppers
•Pepitas (or sunflower seeds)
Pickled Avocado, diced

*A note on the brown sugar: I used one tablespoon of this Smoked Brown Sugar and two tablespoons of plain light brown sugar. Fair warning: the smoked brown sugar is not cheap; but I have found that a little (like one tablespoon) goes a long way.

First things first; whisk your rice vinegar together with the brown sugar(s) in a large bowl until nicely blended.

Add the coleslaw blend and whatever other veggies/extras you feel like, then toss until everything is lightly coated.

Note: it may not look as though there is enough rice vinegar and brown sugar dressing for the amount of veggies used, but it all works out perfectly.

Transfer the tossed salad to a bowl, cover tightly, and stash in the fridge until ready to serve.

If you feel like it, toss some crispy chow mein noodles into the salad just before serving.

I have not tried it (yet), but can only think that adding some chopped cooked chicken or turkey to the mix would give you a heartier, more main course salad.

And, of course…

I cannot stress enough how very, very good the diced Pickled Avocado is in this salad.

Two of my new favorite things, all in one tasty salad!

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Parfait! Moo Shoo Pork Tacos

I came across a file of this recipe from 2016 and cannot believe I haven’t made it again since.

This is, hands down, one of my favorite taco recipes.


Before we get carried away, I should point out that this is not your typical pork taco. The pork is shredded, sure, but the seasoning profile?

Moo Shoo, baby, all the way!

•4 large boneless country style pork ribs

•1/4 cup lower sodium tamari
•2 tbsp peanut butter
•1 tbsp honey
•2 tsp rice vinegar
•2 tsp sesame oil
•1 tsp Sriracha
•1/4 cup sweet chili sauce
•1/4 cup Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1/2 tsp Mesquite liquid smoke
•1/8 tsp garlic powder
•Black pepper
•Fresh chopped parsley
•1 tbsp key lime juice
•1 tbsp chopped basil
•1/2 tsp garlic powder
•3 scallions (white and light green parts), sliced
•1 tsp ground ginger

•1 bag coleslaw mix
•Dark green parts of the scallions from the pork, chopped
•3 tbsp rice vinegar
•2 tbsp brown sugar
•Chopped fresh parsley

•Mini flour tortillas (corn tortillas work a treat, too)

*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 used pork tenderloin tip ends in place of the country style ribs. Worked a treat.

Stir the sauce ingredients together in a slow cooker until well blended.

Add the pork ribs, tossing to coat with the sauce, then cook on high until tender, basting with the sauce and turning the ribs when you think to. My slow cooker did it in around four hours.

Remove the pork from the sauce and shred using two forks.

Transfer the sauce to a bowl and set aside to cool, then skim the fat off the top and return to the slow cooker. Add the pork and keep warm until ready to serve.

Toss the coleslaw mix with the scallions, rice vinegar and brown sugar until nicely dressed.

When ready to serve, lightly toast your tortillas and top with the pork and the coleslaw.

Additional toppings: pickled avocado and sweet chili sauce top these tasty tacos off very nicely.

Those pickled avocados go nicely in the coleslaw, too.

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Vinegar and Salt Roasted Potatoes

This may very well be one of my new favorite ways to make potatoes; and, I love me my potatoes!

The recipe, from budgetbytes.com and sponsored by the very nice folk who make Morton® Kosher Salt, is at once simple and wicked tasty.

They served the potatoes with a garlic and paprika mayonnaise blend, but I thought that my Medianoche Cuban style mayonnaise worked a treat.

•2 lbs small red potatoes
•1 cup white vinegar
•2 tbsp Kosher Salt, divided
•1 tbsp olive oil
•Freshly cracked pepper
•1 tbsp chopped fresh chives (optional)

Medianoche Mayonnaise:
•1 cup mayonnaise
•1/4 cup Italian salad dressing
•1 tbsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce (or your fave hot sauce, to taste)

Wash the potatoes well, place in a large pot and add the vinegar.

Add enough water to cover the potatoes, then stir in 1-1/2 teaspoons of the Kosher salt.

Cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat.

Boil the potatoes for ten to fifteen minutes, until you can pierce them with a fork, but they are not too mushy.

Remove from the heat, drain, and set aside to cool.

Now would be a fine time to make your Medianoche mayonnaise!

Whisk the Italian dressing and hot sauce into the mayonnaise, then transfer to a small container, cover, and stash in the fridge.

When ready to finish the potatoes, heat your oven to 400º, thinly slice the cooled potatoes, and toss with the olive oil, black pepper, another 1-1/2 teaspoons of Kosher salt, and, if you’re using them, the sliced fresh chives.

Arrange the sliced seasoned potatoes in a single layer on a large baking pan and pop into the oven for 15 minutes.

Stir the potatoes and bake for another 15 minutes, until the potatoes are nicely browned on both sides and just a bit crispity.

Serve with the mayonnaise for dipping.

Note: any leftover potatoes work a treat stirred into taco seasoned meat; they might could even take the place of ground beef, pork, turkey, or chicken in your tacos if you are feeling vegetarian.

Just a thought…

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Cheatin’ Cheese Fondue

So, thanks to our Canadian cousins, I am now hopelessly in love with fondue.

I went on Amazon and dropped a bit of cash for this pretty terrific ceramic pot. And the stand and burner. And the fondue forks.

All sold separately, by the way.

I do not care; it was well worth the investment, and in the bit over a month since we’ve been back from Canada, we’ve enjoyed our fondue several times.

Shhh. Don’t ell our doctor.


and here’s a pretty cool secret…

You can google the recipe and buy a bunch of Swiss and Gruyère cheese, then grate it, then do all the rest of it, or…

You can drop $13 or so and buy this box o’ Fondü from the specialty cheese section of your market.

Well… my market, anyway.

And… it is very good right out of the, ermmm, box, but…

I played around a bit, and we think this version is much more better!

•1 (14 oz) box Swiss Fondue
•1 cup white wine
•1 tbsp Kirsch
•1/2 tsp dry mustard
•1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper

Secret Bonus Ingredient:

*I know, sacrilege! But! I can set you up with a simple, three ingredient (cheese, dried nonfat milk, and gelatin – well, and water) – that melts every bit as well as Velveeta. Or, you could substitute freshly grated Fontina.

The reason I ended up adding the Velveeta was that I mebbe should’ve just added a couple of tablespoons of the white wine instead of a whole cup, so I needed to thicken my fondue by adding additional cheese until it was as thick and bubbly as I wanted.

To prepare, place your fondue pot on the stove over low heat and add the basic ingredients.

Feel free to just use one or two tablespoons of the white wine and skip the additional cheese; but – we really thought this tasted much better than the original.

Cook, stirring often, over low heat until the cheese is melted and ooey-gooey thick and practically perfect in every way.

If you choose to go with the full cup of wine, add Velveeta, or cheese in small chunks, stirring until it has melted and the fondue is as thick as you like.

Light your fuel, place the fondue pot on the stand at the table (I use a trivet to protect the tabletop), and serve.

Bread? A natural choice!

Apple and/or pear slices? Toss ’em with a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice and you are good to go!

Tater Tots?!? Surprisingly perfect, and gluten free! Simply bake the tots until nicely crispity, then spear and dip to your heart’s content.

So many very tasty options; and, really, not very much effort.

I like that in an appetizer!

As a bonus, try stirring a bit of any leftover fondue into tomato soup.

Yum! Especially served along side a chicken salad sammich with pickled avocado.



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Parfait! Nicely Spiced Oyster Crackers

We have some friends coming over for dinner tomorrow night, and I have a pretty decent menu planned, if I do say so myself…

Pickled Avocado, cheese fondue, Pork Tenderloin Wellington, garlic smashed potatoes, tomato carpaccio salad, and lemon cake for dessert.

Still, I wanted just a little bit sumpin’ sumpin’extra, amd there I was, staring at that hoooge bag o’ oyster crackers I had picked up for some reason.


Spiced oyster crackers are always tasty; and using this Fiesta Dip Mix in place of the more usual Ranch turned out to be perfection!

A note about the mix I used: this local (St. Charles, IL) company makes a variety of dip/salad dressing mixes that are wicked good, Gluten Free, contain no MSG, and are ALL. REAL. INGREDIENTS.

I can find them at one of my local markets, but you can always order online.

And you should.

•9 or 12 oz pkg oyster crackers
•1 packet dry Fiesta or Ranch mix
•1/4 tsp black pepper
•1/4 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1/8 tsp Seasoned Salt
•1/2 tsp dried parsley
•1/4 tsp garlic powder
•1/2 cup canola oil

Heat your oven to 200º and spread the oyster crackers in the bottom of a rimmed baking pan.

Add the dressing packet, the seasonings, then the oil, and stir to combine well.

Pop into the hot oven for ten minutes, then remove and stir well.

Back into the oven for another ten minutes, then remove and set aside to cool; trying not to eat it all.

Transfer the cooled seasoned oyster crackers to a tightly sealed container and share with really good friends.

Or, just enjoy them by yourself, because, c’mon, you are well worth it!

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Tuna Noodle Casserole

We were running errands, and I was asking Rich what he had a taste for for dinner that night.

His answer totally surprised me.

“Tuna noodle casserole.” He said.

“With peas.”

The thing is, he loves peas, just not when they are touching other foods, so this was kindofa big deal.

“Hmmm.” I said.

“I think we can make that work.”

As it happened, I had some home canned tuna with jalapeño from friends in Washington state, a box of our new fave chickpea pasta in the pantry, and the rest of the needed ingredients on hand; we were good to go!

•8 oz pasta
•2 tbsp olive oil
•1/2 cup onion, diced
•1/3 cup carrot, chopped
•2 tbsp flour
•2 cups milk
•3/4 cup heavy cream
•4 oz cream cheese, softened
•2 tbsp good mustard (like this one)
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1/2 tsp sea salt
•1 tsp black pepper
•1 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1 cup frozen peas, thawed
•1/4 cup grated Parmesan
•1/4 cup grated Mozzarella
•Tuna, drained (2 cans or 1, 16 oz jar)
•Panko crumbs (I used gluten free)

*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 a truly gluten free casserole, substitute two tablespoons sweet rice flour for the regular flour.

Another note: if you’re using chickpea pasta, pay attention to the warning on the package to “expect foam.” There will be a heckofa lot of it; so use your biggest, tallest pot.

Cook the pasta according to package directions, skipping any added salt and oil. Drain and set aside.

Heat your broiler.

Warm the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat, then add the onion and carrot and cook for six minutes, until the onion is translucent and the carrot almost tender.

Sprinkle the flour over the onion and carrot, and cook for one minute more, stirring until the flour is slightly golden.

Slowly stir in the milk with a whisk; stirring constantly until the roux has thickened a bit, another five minutes or so.

Add the cream cheese, mustard, Sherry Peppers Sauce, salt and peppers; stirring until the cheese has melted into the sauce.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the noodles, peas, Parmesan cheese, and the tuna until nicely mixed.

Transfer the tuna noodle mixture to a lightly oiled casserole – this 2-1/2 quart rectangular casserole worked a treat.

Sprinkle the grated Mozzarella over the top of the casserole, then pop under the broiler for three minutes.

Sprinkle Panko crumbs over the top, then pop back under the broiler for two minutes more.

Remove from the broiler, loosely cover, and let rest for ten minutes before serving.

Tasty tuna noodle casserole! And mostly gluten free, so there’s an added bonus!

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Bonus Parfait! Aunt Beezy’s Soda Bread

This time of year, my in box is loaded with this person’s or that’s “best” soda bread.


It can’t be.

Because our friend Barb’s Aunt Beezy’s recipe is by far, the A NUMBER ONE, All Out BEST Soda Bread we have ever had the good fortune to savor.

Check out the wicked simple details…

•3 cups flour
•2/3 cup sugar
•1 tsp baking powder
•1 tsp baking soda
•1 tsp salt
•1-1/2 cup dried fruit*
•2 tsp melted butter, cooled
•2 eggs, beaten
•1-3/4 cup + 2 tbsp buttermilk

*Dried cherries, raisins, cranberries, choose your faves or mix and match to come up with 1-1/2 cup. Just do not use fresh fruit. I have tried it, and the results were not pretty.

Heat your oven to 350º and apply cooking spray to a loaf pan.

Whisk the flour together with the sugar, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl to combine.

Stir in the dried fruit.

Whisk the eggs together with the cooled melted butter and the buttermilk until well blended.

Stir the buttermilk mixture into the flour and fruit mixture just until mixed together.

Transfer the batter to your prepared loaf pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes; or until the top is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool completely on a rack, then tip the loaf out of the pan and serve.

Mebbe with some of our fave Kerry Gold Irish butter, because, why not?

Just an observation; but any leftover slices make mighty fine French Toast.

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Parfait! Barbecue Corned Beef

So, yeh, most everyone will be “Erin go something” and dying rivers green and parading and stuff this weekend.

Most likely, they’ll also be sitting down to some form of corned beef and cabbage and potatoes and such, too.

Why not mix things up a bit?

I never really carded for veggies braised under a kindofa fatty cut of meat anyway, so this method solves that and is wicked tasty!

Mebbe better than the traditional.

See, I cook toss out that seasoning packet that comes with the corned beef, place it on a bed of coarsely chopped onions, then add my own seasonings and a bottle or two of Guinness (or regular beer works, too) and slow cook it on low for four hours.

Then, stuff gets interesting.

But, I am getting ahead of myself…

Slow Cooker:
•1 flat cut corned beef
•2 sweet onions, coarsely chopped
•12 oz beer (not “lite”)
•Garlic steak seasoning
•Black pepper
•Dried parsley
•Dried chives
•Freeze dried shallots

Barbecue Sauce:
•12 oz Barbecue Sauce
•12 oz cherry cream soda (or Cherry Coke)
•1/2 pint jalapeño pepper jelly
•2 tbsp brown sugar
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1 tsp mustard powder
•2 tsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce – or your preferred hot sauce, to taste

•Small potatoes, chopped

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No problem! Simply add one tablespoon of decent sherry and your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Arrange the chopped onion in the bottom of a slow cooker, then place the corned beef, fat side up, on top.

Add the seasonings, then pour the beer over the top.

Important Note: you do not have to totally cover the beef with the beer. Half to 3/4 of the way up the sides will work a treat, and you won;t have a water (beer?) logged corned beef at the end.

Cover and cook on low for four to six hours.

Another Note: my main slow cooker, a 12 year old Cuisinart, tends to cook fast, even on low, so my corned beef was well and truly ready in four hours. Your time may vary.

While the corned beef is cooking, make the barbecue sauce by stirring all of the sauce ingredients together in a pan (non stick works a treat, here), bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook, stirring often, until the sauce has thickened nicely, mebbe 40 minutes. Set aside until the corned beef is ready.

Yet Another Note: don’t have, or don’t want to make, my Barbecue Sauce? No worries! Simply substitute your fave bottled sauce.

Sauce made and corned beef cooked; heat your oven to 250º.

Arrange the chopped potatoes in the bottom of a 13×9 pan, and season with pepper and a bit of the garlic steak seasoning.

Strain some of the onions from the slow cooker and add to the potatoes.

Arrange the corned beef on top, then cover with the barbecue sauce.

Cover tightly with foil, then pop into the oven for 90 minutes.

When done, remove the corned beef from the pan and set aside to rest, lightly covered in the foil, for ten minutes or so.

Stir the potatoes into any sauce and/or pan drippings in the baking dish, and pop under the broiler while the corned beef is resting.

Nice job, eh?

The corned beef is oh! so tasty and tender; the potatoes slightly crispity and coated with barbecue sauce.

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Pear Galette With Cheese and a Vodka Crust

How very fitting that on Pi Day (3.14), I am featuring a pear galette; a kindofan unstructured, casual pie.

You would almost suspect I planned it this way, but, honestly, I did not. It was just the way things worked out.

This pear galette is nicely spiced, has an added bonus of sharp Cheddar cheese added to the filling, and makes use of my new fave pie crust made with vodka (!); this time home made Cherry Vodka.

Vodka Pie Crust:
•2 stick unsalted butter, chilled
•1/4 cup cold vodka
•1/4 cup ice water
•2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
•1 tsp salt
•1 tbsp granulated sugar*

•4 pears, cored and thinly sliced
•1/2 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded
•1/3 cup granulated sugar
•1/4 cup packed brown sugar
•3 tbsp flour
•1 tbsp lemon juice
•1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
•1/8 tsp allspice
•1/8 tsp ground clove

For the Galette:
•1 egg, beaten
•2 tbsp butter, softened

*If you plan on using this dough for something savory, like a quiche, by all means leave the sugar out.

First, the vodka pie dough.

Chill the vodka, then cut the butter into about 16 cubes, then stash that, too in the fridge or, even better, freezer to chill.

If your fridge does not dispense ice water, then measure out 1/4 cup of water and stash that in the fridge until well and truly chilled.

All that done?


Add the salt, flour, and sugar (if you’re using it) to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and pulse a couple of times to combine.

Arrange the cold butter cubes evenly over the top of the flour mixture and, using short pulses, cut it into the flour until flour and butter are mixed together with no bits larger than a pea – mebbe two to four pulses.

Here, you get to make a choice.

Depending on the weather and temps in your kitchen, you might only need 1/4 cup of liquid total to bring the dough together, so…

You could do two tablespoons each of vodka and water, then pulse to a three or four times, then pick a couple of tablespoons of the dough up in your hand and squeeze it together. If the dough holds together, you don’t need to add any more liquid.

If the dough is still crumbly, add one tablespoon each vodka and water, then pulse and repeat the squeeze test.

Some days, you will only need 1/4 cup total of liquid, some you’ll need the whole 1/2 cup; so…

Are you gonna start with those two tablespoons each of vodka and water?

Or, are you just gonna go big and use 1/4 cup (four tablespoons) of vodka in the beginning, and add water as needed?

I went with all vodka, and supplemented with water until my dough was right.


Split the dough in two, place each half in the middle of a sheet of plastic wrap, press into a disc, then fold the wrap up and over, and stash in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Sealed in a freezer bag, any dough not needed immediately can be kept in the fridge for five days, or the freezer for two months.

When you’re ready to make the galette, place the dough between two sheets of waxed paper (or however you usually roll out dough – for me, the waxed paper method works and works well, so I stick to it).

Heat your oven to 400º and roll your dough into an 11 inch round.

Transfer your dough round to a parchment paper lined rimmed baking sheet, then ccatter the Cheddar over the dough, keeping it to about one or two inches from the edge of the dough.

Make the pear filling by tossing the sliced pears with the sugar, lemon juice, sugars, flour, and spices until the pears are more or less evenly coated.

Note: you can help this bit along by whisking the flour, granulated sugar, and spices together before adding to the pears along with the brown sugar and lemon juice.

Arrange the pears over the top of the cheese and fold the dough up and over as shown.

You can arrange the pear slices in a lovely, artistic fan; but that particular refinement always eludes me, so I settle for a more or less uniform pile o’ pears, with mebbe a small peak in the center.

Brush the top of the dough with the beaten egg, and then with one tablespoon of the butter.

Dot the pears with the remaining tablespoon of butter, then bake until the crust is golden brown and the pears are tender and juicy – about 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and serve warm or at room temperature, with or without a scoop of good vanilla ice cream.

Happy Pi Day.

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Drunken Cabbage

Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day! This tasty recipe for cabbage cooked until crsip tender in beer with mustard and spices will be a sure hit at any gathering!

I’ve adapted a recipe from Food Network’s Michael Symon; using freshly shredded green and red cabbage, and carrots, from my local market – hey – I made two cakes in two days, Barbecued Corned Beef, bacon wrapped asparagus, the BEST Soda Bread, and Pickled Avocado, I think I was allowed to cut a corner or two.

I also cut waaay back on the caraway seed called for, and used my own, Zippy Mustard in place of the coarse mustard called for in the original.

We were all wicked pleased with the results, and I was even happier about the fact that you can make this a bit ahead and it is every bit as good served hot or at room temperature; so, one less worry during a feast day dinner!

•1/2 lb bacon, diced
•1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
•1 head cabbage, cored and sliced (or, check out your market’s prepared fresh, here!” assortment)
•1/4 cup Zippy Mustard*
•12 oz beer
•2 tbsp sugar
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce**
•1 tsp caraway seeds
•1/2 tsp Kosher salt
•1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1/2 tsp black pepper

*Or, use your fave coarse brown or Dijon.

***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.

Cook the bacon in a large pot over low heat until browned and a bit crispity.

Add the onions, tossing with the bacon and any fat in the pan to coat, and cook for another ten minutes or so, until the onion is nicely tender.

Add the remaining ingredients, with the beer at the last, scraping up any tasty browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

Cook, stirring every now and again, until the cabbage is crisp tender, about 30 minutes.

AT this point, I covered the pan, set it on the back of the stove, and went along with entertaining our guests and putting the finishing touchings on the rest of dinner; safe in the knowledge that the cabbage was well and truly in hand.

And wicked tasty!

Go ahead and enjoy your feast day, and relax in the fact that the veggies, at least, are a snap to toss together.

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