Broccoli & Ramen Salad

04dRamenSaladbzLOSo…

this salad has a lot of things going against it.

For example, Rich doesn’t mind peas, but hates it when they’re in with other foods.

Then there’s the ramen noodles. And the canned corn. Add in the broccoli slaw and feta cheese and this thing is gonna be a train wreck, right?

Wrong. It is frikkin’ genius!

00aBookbzLOI was paging through Chrissy Teigen’s cook book, Cravings, and came across her very excited description of this salad and how very much she loved it.

01aRamenbzLOWell… I had some ramen in the pantry, and peas in the freezer, so all it took was a trip to the market for the canned Southwestern corn and the broccoli slaw.

Let’s make this!

INGREDIENTS
Salad:
•2 pkg Oriental flavor ramen noodles
•1 pkg Chicken flavor ramen noodles
•12 oz bag broccoli slaw
•1 cup frozen peas
•1 cup shredded carrot
•11 oz can Southwestern corn, drained
•1 cup thinly sliced red onion

01bCrushbzLODressing:
•3 ramen seasoning packets
•1/2 cup sugar
•1/2 cup cider vinegar
•1/3 cup veggie oil

Garnish:
•Crumbled feta cheese
•Roasted sunflower seeds
•Fresh chopped parsley

03bVeggiesRamenbzLOPlace the uncooked ramen noodles in a gallon-sized zipper bag and seal, squeezing out any excess air.

Using a meat mallet, rolling pin, or other heavy object, crush the noodles into bite size pieces and transfer to a large bowl.

Stir in the broccoli slaw, peas, corn,and sliced red onion.

Whisk the sugar together with the cider vinegar, seasoning packets, and veggie oil in a ‘wave-safe bowl, then pop into the ‘wave for one minute.

04bSaladbzLOPour over the noodle and veggie mixture in the bowl and stir to mix thoroughly.

Transfer to a storage bowl, cover, and stash in the fridge for at least three hours, or – always more better – overnight.

Add the crumbled Feta and toss to blend.

When ready to serve, spoon over baby spinach or chopped Romaine, sprinkle with the sunflower seeds and parsley, and serve cold.

Without the baby spinach or lettuce, the salad will keep in the fridge for several days so… why aren’t you making it right now?

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Red Cabbage Chow Chow

CabChowChowbzLOIf you’ve been following this blog for any time at all, you’ll know that I do this “Mystery Bag” thing at a local family farm. You join the facebook event on Thursday, then show up the next Tuesday with your ten dollars and you get a HOOOGE bag o’ veggie goodies.

The thing is; there is just the two of us, so I need to plan. And pickle. And just, mebbe, skip a Mystery Bag or three while I try to catch up with canning all of the goodies my ten dollars have bought.

01aVeggiesSaltbzLOIt has been two weeks since my last Mystery Bag, and I am still dealing with some of the cukes (I am thinking dill relish).

But.

This Chow Chow – a pickle relish kinda thing with red and green cabbage and cauliflower 01cVeggiesDrainbzLOand – well – it’s MY recipe – jalapeño – is kinda hard to ignore – and so much better than plain ole sauerkraut.

INGREDIENTS
•8 cups chopped red cabbage
•4 cups chopped green cabbage
•2 cups chopped cauliflower
•3 cups chopped tomatoes
•3 cups chopped sweet onion
•3 cups chopped green pepper
•1-1/2 cup chopped red pepper
02cChowChowbzLO•1 cup chopped jalapeño
•3 tbsp fresh minced garlic
•5 tbsp pickling salt
•3 cups sugar
•4 tsp celery seed
•4 tsp dry mustard
•2 tsp mustard seed
•2 tsp ground turmeric
•1 tsp ground ginger
•4 cups white vinegar
•1 cup cider vinegar

Stir the veggies together with the salt in a large bowl or pot, then set aside to stand for four to six hours.

03bChowChowbzLODrain well.

Combine vinegar, sugar, and spices in a large non-reactive pot, bring to a boil, and simmer for ten minutes.

Note: it’s gonna LOOK like you don’t have anywhere near enough pickling liquid. Trust me on this, you’ll be good.

Add the drained veggies, simmer for ten minutes, then bring back to a boil.

03cLabelbzLOPack in prepared jars and process for ten minutes in a boiling water bath.

I ended up with six pints and four half-pints of BRIGHT red pickled cabbage.

Friends are enjoying this as a salsa, but I, true to my mid century New England roots, suggest you try a bit of this on top of some cottage cheese, which has been dolloped on a cracker.

Heaven on a cracker.

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Best! Burger Blend

02cCheeseburgerbzLOI had been looking around the interwebs for something to do with the cabbage I had on hand after picking up my $10 Mystery Bag from a local family farm, and came across a recipe for a ground beef and pork burger with a beer and bacon braised sauerkraut.

Hmmm.

I ended up doing something else entirely with the cabbage (details tomorrow), and tossed most of the fussiness from the burger recipe (eggs, breadcrumbs, etc.) but still…

01bBurgersGrillbzLOThis is one. FINE. Burger.

Well… eight FINE (quarter pound) burgers.

INGREDIENTS
•1 lb ground chuck (80/20 blend)
•1 lb ground pork
•1/2 tsp Seasoned Salt
01cCheesebzLO•1/2 tsp paprika
•1/2 tsp dried parsley

Combine the ingredients in a bowl until well blended, then form into patties and stash in the fridge to rest for at least 40 minutes.

That is all.

Grill or pan-fry the burgers for six minutes, then flip and cook for another five minutes or so, until nicely done.

02aBurgersbzLOGo ahead and add a slice of cheese to each burger for the last couple of minutes – we went old school with processed cheese (you know, the “V” word) but go ahead and use the real stuff if you prefer.

As a side note, if you’re looking for smooth melting cheese for burgers, sauces, nachos and the like, you can make your own at home, with very simple, real ingredients. Check out me “cheeez of threes” recipe here.

Back to the burgers…

02bCheeseburgerbzLOReally tasty – the seasoning blend and the mix of beef and pork add a little sumpin’ sumpin’ to them that lets you know you are not eating a basic burger.

I now buy a pound each of ground chuck and pork every time I stop by my butcher’s counter, add the seasonings, and keep a batch of the patties and a bag of the seasoned meat in the freezer.

Great burgers (with medianoche mayonnaise), and pretty frikkin’ delicious in barbecue black bean chili…

But that is another post.

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Parfait! Chop Pickle

03cLabelsbzLO‘Tis the season…

whether you garden or, like me, participate in a local family farm’s “goody bag” promotion (ours is called Mystery Bag); you will come back from your garden or farm with a bunch of cucumber. I was gonna say crap-ton, but this is a family kinda blog.

So, even if you’re my friend Mira who has a family of five and a line on fresh Bulgarian Feta cheese for cucumber salad, you are gonna be making pickles.

01aVeggiesPotbzLOThis particular pickle is an hommage to my grandmother, Rachel, who always had a jar or forty of her sweet “chop pickle” relish in the cellar. Mine isn’t quite as sweet, and has a bit of an added bite from the red pepper flakes and sliced fresh jalapeño.

Still mighty tasty, and well worth the effort to try and deal with some of the cucumbers hanging around the house right about now.

02a2ndStartbzLOI think dill relish is next on my agenda.

INGREDIENTS
•6 cups chopped cucumber
•4 cups diced green pepper
•2 cups diced red pepper
•2 cups diced sweet onion
•1/2 cup chopped jalapeño
02bSugarSeasoningsbzLO•4 cups cider vinegar, divided
•2 cups sugar
•2 tbsp pickling salt
•2 tbsp mustard seed*
•1 tsp celery seed
•2 tsp red pepper flakes

*I used yellow mustard seed. For a spicier relish, try substituting brown or black mustard seed for some of the yellow.

Stir the cucumber together with the onion, green red pepper, and sliced jalapeño in a large, non-reactive (stainless steel, enamelled, or anodized aluminum) pot.

02cChopPicklebzLOAdd two cups of the cider vinegar, stir to mix, and bring to a boil. Don’t fret, once the veggies start to cook down, there will be plenty of cooking liquid.

Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 or 40 minutes, until the veggies have cooked down and cooking liquid has reduced by about one third.

Drain the veggies, discarding the simmer liquid, and return to the pot.

03aCannerbzLOAdd the other two cups of vinegar, the sugar, salt, and the seasonings.

Give a stir to mix, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for five minutes.

Remove from the heat and transfer the chopped pickle to prepared canning jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace from the top of the jar.

03bReadybzLOAdd covers and secure bands ‘fingertip’ tight (only tightening the bands using your fingertips), then process in boiling water for ten minutes.

Remove the jars to a rack to cool, listening for the lids to “pop” which means they have sealed. To check, simply press a fingertip to the center of the lid. If you can “click” it, the jar has not sealed.

Label the cooled jars and store in a cool dark space until needed.

One taste of this relish and you will find that you need it quite often.

I got eleven lovely half pint jars.

Now… on to that dill relish.

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Cherry Chip Dr.Pepper Cake

01aSodaMixbzLOSurprisingly, it took me three supermarkets, but I finally found a Cherry Chip cake mix to satisfy Rich’s craving.

Don’t get me wrong, he was most pleased with the kinda made up cherry Dr. Pepper cake I’d cobbled together, but now, I had a mix with cherry chips!

How can one go wrong?

So. To review. 12 ounces of Dr. Pepper (no diet) and one cake mix.

01bPourInbzLOThat is all you need to make this cake.

Add the cake mix to a mixing bowl, pour in the soda, and mix for a couple of minutes until you have a smooth batter.

Turn the batter into your chosen cake pan(s) and bake according to the directions on the back of the box.

02aCakeBakedbzLODone.

Now, the cake is a snap, why not go a little overboard on the frosting?

Real buttercream, with real butter and heavy cream because, it’s a cake, right?

INGREDIENTS
•1 cup butter, softened
•3 cups confectioners’ sugar
03eAddCreambzLO•1/8 tsp salt
•1/8 tsp black pepper*
•1 tsp vanilla
•2 tbsp heavy cream (or more)

*?!!? Yep. Just a hint of black pepper, much like the salt will help to bring out the rich, creamy flavor of the frosting.

Place the softened butter in a mixing bowl fitted with the whisk attachment.

A04aCherryChipCakebzLOdd the salt, pepper, vanilla, and confectioners’ sugar and mix until thick and creamy. Start slow so you don’t end up with clouds of powdered sugar all over everywhere. Do not ask me how I know this.

Once you have a rich, fluffy frosting, add the two tablespoons of heavy cream and beat in.

If the frosting seems too thick, go ahead and add more cream until you have a consistency you are happy with.

Cake baked and cooled, you can now frost and enjoy.

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Garlic Roasted Red Potatoes

01dRoastedParsleybzLORecipes don’t come much simpler than this one, by the barefoot contessa; but don’t let the simplicity fool you, they more than deliver in the taste department!

I added a bit of duck fat to mine, well, because I could; if you aren’t fortunate enough to have a stash of duck fat in your freezer, go ahead and add another tablespoon of olive oil or butter, butter is always good. I also added one tablespoon of my Sherry Peppers Sauce. If you haven’t any at hand, go ahead and skip it.

01aPotatoesGarlicbzLOINGREDIENTS
3 pounds small red potatoes
•1 tbsp duck fat, melted
•3 tbsp olive oil
•1 tbsp red wine
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce
•1-1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
•1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
•2 tbsp minced garlic (6 cloves)
01bBakingPanbzLO•1/2 tsp dried rosemary
•Minced fresh parsley

Heat your oven to 400º.

Depending on their size, halve or quarter your potatoes and toss in a bowl with the garlic, duck fat, olive oil, red wine, Sherry Peppers Sauce, black pepper, garlic, and rosemary until nicely mixed.

Transfer to a baking pan large enough for the potatoes to fit in a single layer.

01cRoastedParsleybzLOBake, uncovered, for 45 minutes to one hour, flipping the potatoes every 20 minutes, until the potatoes are browned and crispity.

Remove from the oven, sprinkle with the minced fresh parsley, give ’em a good toss, and serve.

See?

Simple.

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Green Tomato Chow Chow

03bChowChowbzLOEssentially, a mix of pickled veggies, this chow chow is a bit zippier than the one I grew up with in New England, which certainly had no jalapeño in it.

Not any green tomatoes, either, come to think of it, but they work and, while I made this batch at the beginning of the season and green tomatoes are mebbe a bit scarce just now, they will be back come the fall, so you may as well save this recipe and keep it in the back of your mind for your garden harvests before the frost comes.

01aGreenTomatoesbzLONote: I usually try to provide real measurements, but believe I must have been a bit overwhelmed that day and just listed the numbers. Sorry; but next week, I’ll be posting a red cabbage chow chow with cup measurements, so check that out. This recipe yielded four half-pints.

01cPeppersbzLOINGREDIENTS
Veggies:
•4 green tomatoes, cored and quartered*
•1 sweet onion, diced
•1 green pepper
•1 red pepper
•1 jalapeño

02aStartbzLOPickling Liquid:
•1 cup white vinegar
•1/2 cup water
•3/4 cup sugar
•1 tbsp pickling salt
•1/2 tsp celery seed
•1/2 tsp mustard seed
•1/2 tsp black peppercorns
•1/8 tsp ground allspice
•1 cinnamon stick
•Dash ground green peppercorns

*I didn’t bother seeding my tomatoes, just quartered them and cut out the stem end.

Pop the quartered tomatoes into the bowl of your food processor and pulse until well chopped. Transfer to a non-reactive pot.

02bChowChowbzLODice the onion and add to the pot with the green tomatoes, then roughly chop the peppers, add them to the food processor, and pulse until well chopped. Add to the pot.

Add the pickling liquid ingredients to the pot, stirring to combine.

Heat to a boil over high heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

03aJarsbzLOTransfer to sterilized canning jars, add lids and secure the bands “fingertip tight” – just using your fingertips to tighten the bands.

Process in a boiling water bath for fifteen minutes, then remove to a rack and allow to rest; you should hear the lids “pop” which means the jars are sealed. Even if you don’t hear the pop, you can easily check the seal by pressing down on the center of the lid. If it the lid doesn’t make a clicking noise, your jars are sealed. Store in a cool, dark place until opened, then in the fridge afterwards.

Might sound weird, but do try this over baked or mashed potatoes.

Dee-licious!

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Asian BBQ Beef Burritos

06aBurritobzLOThis just looked too good not to try: thin (sammich sliced) sirloin steak, slow cooked in a pear, ginger, garlic, and tamari sauce rolled into a flour burrito with rice, fresh herbs, green onion, kimchee, and a spiced mayonnaise based “Japanese Steakhouse White Sauce” – also called Yum Yum Sauce.

And, it is.

ALL of it. Totally yummy, and really pretty simple to toss together – even my own, home made, quick kimchee.

02aPearGingerbzLO02cSaucebzLOINGREDIENTS
BBQ Beef Filling:
•2 lb top thinly sliced sirloin steak
•2 pears, peeled and cut into chunks
•2 inch knob ginger, chopped
•4 cloves garlic
•1/4 cup lower sodium tamari
•1/4 cup brown sugar
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce (or good sherry)
•1 tbsp sesame oil

Burritos:
•Cooked rice
•Fresh parsley, chopped
•Fresh basil, chopped
•Scallions, sliced
Quick kimchee pickle
•Large flour tortillas
•Aluminum foil (for wrapping)

03aAddBeefbzLOYum Yum Sauce:
•1-1/4 cup mayonnaise
•1/4 cup water
•1 tbsp melted butter
•1 tsp tomato paste
•1 tsp sugar
•1/2 tsp garlic powder
•1/4 tsp paprika
•1/8 tsp Cayenne
•1/8 tsp Seasoned Salt

Add the pears, ginger, and garlic to the bowl of your food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse until you have a kindofa “pear sauce” and pour into your slow cooker.

03bCoverCookbzLOStir in the tamari, brown sugar, Sherry Peppers Sauce (or sherry – or mebbe add a bit of Sriracha, to taste) and the sesame oil until nicely blended.

Cut the thin sirloin steaks into strips, add to the slow cooker, and stir to coat the steak evenly in the sauce.

01aTomatoPowderbzLOCover and cook on high for three to five hours or on low for nine hours.

Once the meat is in the slow cooker, it’s time to make the Yum Yum Sauce. You want to do this early on so that the flavors have time to meld really well in the jar.

First things first: “one teaspoon of tomato paste?!?”

Yeh, I know.

01cYumYumbzLOThing is, there is this really cool product called Tomato Powder, and that is exactly (100%) what it is! You need a wee, tiny bit of tomato paste, pull this jar from your fridge, stir one part tomato powder into three parts water to make a fine tomato paste.

I get mine from my fave local spice merchant, here; but Amazon and other retailers carry tomato powder as well, so, have a ball.

04aVeggiesbzLOWhisk all of the sauce ingredients together, I used my immersion blender, until well mixed and smooth, then transfer to a jar, cover, and stash in the fridge while the beef is cooking, at least four hours.

So!

Beef is cooked, Yum Yum Sauce nicely chilled and flavors melded, you’ve cooked a pot of rice for the burrito, let’s gather the rest of our burrito fillings together…

I tossed the scallion together with the chopped basil and parsley in a small bowl and set them aside.

03cBeefReadybzLOFull disclosure: the original recipe I came across called for using cilantro in place of the parsley and gave an option of adding chopped fresh mint as well, but…

Cilantro and mint are not my favorites, s0…

As you can see, the meat and sauce have cooked together really well, and, you could just spoon this over rice or mebbe even soba noodles – heck, I was picking bits out of the pot, but, we are here to make a burrito.

05aFillingbzLOWell, actually, I got eight.

Arrange your fillings in a row; rice, beef, kimchee, veggies, and sauce, then cut heavy-duty aluminum into eight squares.

Warm a tortilla over medium heat for about 30 seconds per side, then place in the center of a foil square.

Place some rice in the center of the tortilla, then top with the meat, kimchee, scallion mixture, and Yum Yum Sauce.

05bBurritobzLOFold the sides in then, starting from the front, roll tightly to the back to form your burrito. Wrap the foil around the burrito and repeat with the remaining tortillas.

Once you’re done filling, rolling, and wrapping, pop the burritos into a 250º oven for about 20 minutes to heat through and serve; with additional Yum Yum Sauce, if you like.

These were really, really good!

07aBurritoFrozenbzLOBut! They made eight pretty large burritos and, there were just the two of us for dinner.

Good thing they were already individually wrapped in foil – I now have a quick nosh in the freezer!

Update:

07bWavedbzloI was feeling a bit bad about the way I ended this morning’s post, talking up those no doubt tasty, foil wrapped frozen burritos stashed in my fridge, but not talking about how, exactly, to reheat them.

Well, all it took was removing one from the freezer for lunch today, unwrapping and discarding the foil wrapper, and placing it on a ‘wave safe plate or bowl.

‘Wave the burrito for two minutes, then turn it over and ‘wave for another 30 to 60 seconds, until the burrito is heated through. Let rest for 30 seconds before thoroughly enjoying this wicked nice lunch, snack, or dinner in less than five minutes.

Call that a good deal? ‘Cause I do.

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Parfait! Cheesy Garlic Bread

02cBreadTraybzLOCheesy in a good way.

I have a very good local(ish) spice merchant; The Spice House, in Milwaukee and in Evanston and other places. Their prices are good, service excellent, and I love, Love, LOVE many of their spice blends.

Like the one used for this garlic bread; Brady Street Cheese Sprinkle (in Milwaukee, it’s known as Old Taylor Street Cheese Sprinkle in Chicago and on line) – a nice blend of Romano cheese and seasonings.

01aBradyStbzLOI add additional seasonings to my garlic butter, and now use only KerryGold unsalted Irish butter, but if you want to try this bread at home and don’t want to place an order with the nice folk at The Spice Shop, mebbe up the garlic and herbs added to the butter, and shave a bit of fresh Romano cheese over the top of the bread.

01cBreadOvenbzLOIt’s all good.

INGREDIENTS
•1 stick unsalted butter, softened
•1 tbsp Brady Street Cheese Sprinkle
•1 tsp garlic powder
•1/4 tsp onion powder
•1/4 tsp chives
•1/4 tsp parsley
•1/4 tsp oregano
•1/4 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1 loaf French bread

02aToastedbzLOCombine the cheese sprinkle and seasonings with the softened butter until well blended, then slice the bread in half lengthwise and butter each half well.

If you want to be thorough about it, cut the bread into slices, almost all the way through the loaf, but leaving the slices attached at the bottom, and then apply the butter in between each slice.

Tedious, but you get all that tasty garlic butter more evenly spread around.

Toast the bread in a 350º for 20 minutes, until nicely browned and just a bit crispity.

Note: this also works nicely for grilled corn on the cob.

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No-Bake Cherry Cheesecake Cups

04aBitebzLOI came across the idea for this recipe somewhere on line. Allshecooks.com had done a post about mint Oreo cheesecake cups, and I was pretty certain I could adapt it to accommodate the graham crackers and cherry all-fruit spread I’d picked up for another, slightly fussier, project.

This recipe, I should note, is the total opposite of fussy. The biggest deal was waiting for the cream cheese to soften so it could be whipped, and, I will admit to being skeptical about the taste.

03aCrackerCrustbzLOI shouldn’t have been. This tasty little treat is every bit as good as any cheesecake mix you’ll find at the market, but, it has real, simple, basic ingredients that you don’t need a degree in chemistry to understand.

03bAddCheesebzLOIs it gonna take the place of that special cheesecake from that special place? No; but then, start to finish, this cheesecake can be prepped and resting in the fridge in well under a half-hour (after you’ve softened the cream cheese), so c’mon and live a little.

INGREDIENTS
•7 graham crackers, crushed
•2 tbsp butter, melted
•8 oz cream cheese, softened
•1/2 cup sugar
•1 tsp vanilla
•Cherry preserves
•Whipped cream

03cCherryToppingbzLOPlace the graham crackers in a gallon sized zipper bag and crush them – a rolling pin works a treat here – then add the melted butter and toss in the bag to mix well with the cracker crumbs.

Add some of the buttered cracker crumbs to the bottom of five or six small jars or containers, then tamp them down a bit to pack the crust.

01bCherryAllFruitbzLOWhip the softened cream cheese together with the sugar and the vanilla until fluffy, then layer on top of the cracker crumb crust in the containers.

Spread some of the cherry preserves over the top, cover the containers, and stash in the fridge until ready to serve.

You can add a bit of whipped cream and mebbe some additional graham cracker crumbs on top, if you like.

A note on the preserves: I used Polaner All Fruit, which contains no corn sweeteners or other additives.

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