Pineapple Relish

I was reading a novel, and one of the characters was enjoying pineapple relish on something or other, so, quicklikeabunny, I went to da Google, where I found a recipe for Hawaiian Hot Dogs with Pineapple Relish on Rachael Ray’s web site.

Her recipe looked really good, but I needed to make a few changes, based on the content of my pantry and crisper drawer, and also based on the fact that I am not a big fan of the cilantro. I also eschewed the hot dogs in favor of Soul Rolls.

And you know what? This is still a fine fresh relish for use in any number of tasty ways.

INGREDIENTS
Relish:
•2 tbsp avocado or olive oil
•20 oz can pineapple chunks, drained
•1/2 cup diced red onion
•1 jalapeño, sliced
•2 cloves minced garlic
•1/4 cup cider vinegar
•2 tbsp key lime juice
•1 tbsp Zippy & Sweet Mustard – or Dijon Mustard
•1/4 tsp Seasoned Salt
•1/4 tsp black pepper
•1/4 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1 tsp dried parsley*

Add Ins:
•1 Persian cucumber, sliced
•Sliced scallion

*If you have fresh parsley, by all means add it with the cucumber and scallion once the relish has been cooked and cooled.

Warm the oil in a sauce pan of medium heat, then add the onion, jalapeño and garlic and cook for five minutes.

Drain the pineapple, saving the juice to make a dipping sauce for the Soul Rolls,

Add the pineapple chunks to the veggies in the pan and cook for another ten minutes or so, until bits of the pineapple are browned in spots and mebbe a bit charred.

Reduce the heat to low, then add the vinegar, mustard, black and Aleppo pepper, and dried parsley (if using) and cook, uncovered for 30 minutes more, stirring often.

Run an immersion blender through the relish to give you a more or less smooth, spreadable relish – or – transfer to a blender and pulse a couple of times.

Transfer the relish to a bowl or other container, then, when cooled, stir in the cucumber, scallion, and fresh chopped parsley, if using.

Pretty darned spiffy on those Soul Rolls, if you ask me.

A note on the pineapple: I used chunk, because that’s what I had, but slices would probably be easier to brown.

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Parfait! Sherry Peppers Sauce

Y’know, I make a batch of this stuff three or four times a year – I literally add it to just about everything savory that I make – so I am kinda surprised that has been two years since I last re-shared my recipe.

And this is MY recipe. I picked up an old book at antique store by the Outerbridge company – a Bermuda concern that makes Sherry Peppers Sauce – and I was intrigued.

So, I did some research on the interwebs, compared and contrasted options and…

this is what I’ve come up with. A slightly sweet, kinda zippy sauce that adds a little sumpin’ sumpin’ to most any dish – from eggs to chicken wings to pasta sauce and soup or stew. It is that good.

INGREDIENTS
•32 oz hot cherry peppers, drained
•1/2 cup juice from the peppers
•2 (11.3 oz) cans tamarind nectar
•2 jalapeños, sliced
•3 cups water
•2 cups white vinegar
•3-3/4 cups sugar
•4 tsp pickling salt
•1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
•2 tbsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce, or your fave hot sauce
•1-1/4 cup sherry
•1 (3 oz) pouch liquid pectin or 6 tbsp powdered pectin

Note: add powdered pectin in the beginning, before boiling; add liquid AFTER boiling.

Look for the cherry peppers in the gourmet pickle section of your market (or at most any good Italian deli). The tamarind nectar is usually stocked with Mexican/Hispanic foods.

Stir all the ingredients together (except for the liquid pectin, if you are using it) in a large non-reactive pot and bring to a rolling boil for three minutes.

If using liquid pectin instead of powdered, stir it in now.

Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes.

Puree with an immersion blender.

Note: the sauce shouldn’t be totally smooth, you want some chunks of peppers and pepper seeds floating in it.

Pour the sauce into prepared canning jars and process for 15 minutes.

I usually get anywhere from 10 to 12 half pint jars, which will last me for three months or so.

I told you I use it a lot.

Now go on, get out there and sherry your peppers!

An important note on the sherry: do not use any of that “cooking” stuff from the supermarket. Buy yourself a decent bottle, many are not that expensive. I should note that that old standby, Harvey’s Bristol Cream Sherry works a treat here.

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White Lasagna

Rich came across a recipe on Taste of Home that he wanted me to try so, when we had some family up, I thought I’d experiment.

Hey, if you can’t experiment on family, who can you experiment on?

I know I posted a lasagna recipe a while back that is mostly white, with just a topping of red sauce – Julia Child’s Lasagna a la Française – but this one goes in another whole direction, using Italian sausage and cream cheese and half and half and stuff…

Well, let’s just start in on it, shall we?

But first; a note on cottage cheese. I only use full fat products because, have you seen what they put into the “lite/light/no fat” versions? It is not pretty. So, full fat cottage cheese is still only 4% – and naturally contains less fat than ricotta, so win. But. Check the ingredients! Note them on this container of Daisy® cottage cheese. Simple, right? Compare to ingredients on some other 4% cottage cheeses. There is a hoooge difference.

INGREDIENTS
•Olive oil
•9 lasagna noodles
•1 lb bulk Italian sausage
•2 cups diced onion
•2 cups diced celery
•1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
•3 garlic cloves, minced
•1/2 cup white wine
•1 cup half and half
•1 tbsp Sherry peppers Sauce*
•3 oz cream cheese, cubed
•1/4 cup minced fresh basil
•1/2 tsp dried oregano
•1 tsp black pepper
•1 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1/2 tsp Seasoned Salt
•1 egg, lightly beaten
•2 cups shredded white Cheddar cheese
•2 cups cottage cheese
•Sliced Mozzarella cheese
•Sliced Swiss cheese

*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 375º.

Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.

Add the sausage, onion, celery, garlic, and Sherry Peppers Sauce and cook for about ten minutes, breaking up the sausage as you cook, until the sausage is no longer pink.

Drain, if you feel the need to, but my store made sausage did not leave a lot of fat after cooking.

Add the white wine, bring to a boil, and cook for four minutes, until the liquid is reduced by about half.

Reduce the heat to medium low, then add in the half and half, cream cheese, and seasonings, stirring until blended and the cream cheese has melted.

In a small bowl, stir the egg together with the shredded Cheddar and cottage cheese.

Brush the bottom of a rectangular 2-1/2 quart baking pan with one tablespoon of olive oil and arrange three lasagna noodles across the bottom of the pan.

Spread half of the sausage mixture over the noodles, then spread half of the Cheddar and cottage cheese mixture over that. Top with Mozzarella slices.

Repeat with three more noodles, the remaining sausage mixture, remaining Cheddar and cottage cheese blend, and more Mozzarella slices.

Top with three more noodles and the Swiss cheese slices.

Note: I had some of that basil paste in the fridge that needed using up, so I spread a bit of that over the top of the Swiss cheese.

Now, and this is very important. You may have noted that I did not cook the noodles; nor did I call for the “no-boil” variety. That is because they are all no-boil; if you do this…

Cover the pan tightly with foil, place on a large, rimmed baking sheet (in case of spilling) and pop into the oven for 50 minutes or so.

Pull out of the oven and remove the foil. It’ll look something like this.

Noodles tender, cheese nicely melted, but…

a bit pale, so, back into the oven, uncovered this time, for another 15 minutes.

Now that, my friends, is some nicely melted and browned cheese.

And our white (well, more beige?) lasagna is almost ready.

Let the lasagna rest for 15 minutes, then go ahead and serve.

Done deal, and wicked tasty!

Also a nice change from the more usual method and flavors.

And, as with most dishes like this, the leftovers were even better the next day, so, mebbe think about pre-baking tightly covered the night before, then cooling and stashing in the fridge. The next day, cook for mebbe 30 minutes, then uncover and cook until you achieve golden cheese-y perfection.

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Fang’s Favorite! Phyllis Diller’s Potato Salad Recipe (kinda)

I was out and about on the interwebs when I came across a vintage magazine page featuring celebrity recipes.

Phyllis Diller’s Deli Potato Salad caught my eye and I resolved then and there to make it.

With a few wee, tiny changes of course.

Ms. Diller’s recipe called for thinly sliced boiled large potatoes, and I opted for smashed small red. I also used red onion, added celery and… well, you’ll see.

INGREDIENTS
Smashed Potatoes:
•1-1/2 lb small potatoes
•1 tbsp salt

Salad:
•1/2 cup mayonnaise
•2 tbsp lemon juice
•1 tbsp Zippy & Sweet Mustard – or your fave Dijon mustard
•1/2 tsp sugar
•1/2 tsp celery salt
•1/2 tsp black pepper
•1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1/2 tsp dried parsley
•1/4 cup diced red onion
•1/4 cup diced celery

Garnish:
•Paprika
•Black pepper
•Sliced green olives

Stir the salt into a large pot of water and add the potatoes.

Bring to a boil and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft.

Drain in a colander and allow to rest for five minutes or so while you make the dressing and prep the veggies.

Whisk the lemon juice into the mayonnaise in a large bowl along with the mustard, sugar, celery salt, black and Aleppo pepper, and the dried parsley.

Add the potatoes and mash into the salad dressing.

Stir in the onion and celery until everything is nicely blended.

Cover and stash in the fridge for a couple of hours to chill.

Serve topped with paprika, additional black pepper, and sliced green olives, if you like.

This may very well be my new favorite potato salad.

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Best! Deviled Egg Dip

Based on a recipe I came across on the interwebs; this is a great way to change up your deviled egg intake.

I served this batch with gluten free sweet chili crackers from ALDI, and everyone was asking for more!

One cool thing, you can make this dip as simple to toss together as possible when you look for the BAGS of PEELED hard cooked eggs in the dairy case at your market. Ours seem to always be on the top shelf near the

regular egg cartons; so you might need to do a little searching for the bag of ten. Around about here, they run $4 or so for 10 hard-cooked eggs.

Trust me, it is worth it.

INGREDIENTS
Dip:
•6 eggs
•1/2 cup mayonnaise
•2 oz whipped chive cream cheese
•1 tbsp Zippy & Sweet Mustard
•1-1/2 tsp champagne vinegar – or white wine vinegar
•1 tsp chopped fresh chives
•1 tsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce – or your fave hot sauce, to taste
•1/2 tsp dry mustard
•1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1/4 tsp Seasoned Salt

Garnish:
•Paprika
•Chopped fresh chives
•Sliced green olives (optional)

Cut the eggs in half and separate the yolks from the whites.

Place all the egg yolks and three of the egg whites (six egg white halves total) in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade.

Note: a mini food processor works a treat here, but, if you are planning to make this dip for a crowd, go ahead and use your full sized processor.

Chop the remaining three egg whites (six egg white halves total) finely and transfer to a mixing bowl.

Add the mayonnaise, whipped cream cheese, and remaining dip ingredients to the food processor and pulse until well blended and smooth.

Add to the chopped egg whites in the mixing bowl, then stir to combine.

Taste and add additional salt and pepper, if you feel the need to.

Transfer to a tightly covered container and stash in the fridge until needed.

If you think about it (I obviously didn’t), garnish the dip in a serving bowl with paprika, additional chives, and, if your tastes lie that way, some sliced green olives.

Who needs onion dip?

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Parfait! Butterbeer

‘Tis the season…

for Hallowe’en parties!

And parties mean punch!

Sooo, why not channel your inner Harry Potter (or Neville Longbottom or whomever) and whip up a batch of butterbeer?

It is dead simple to make with just two ingredients, and, kinda surprisingly tasty and refreshing.

The recipe comes to us from the nice folk who gave us The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook, and it is, I think a keeper.

INGREDIENTS
•7 cups cream soda
•1 cup butterscotch schnapps

Pour the schnapps into the bottom of a pitcher and add the cream soda on top.

Note 1: do it in this order to get a nice, foamy head in the pitcher.

Note 2: feeling adventuresome? Add extra schnapps to the mix, or mebbe even add vodka. It is a party, after all.

Happy Hallowe’en!

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Here We Go A Spaetzel-ing…

A couple of years ago, I set about making my own spaetzel from scratch, and it was pretty simple and very tasty.

Thing was, it was kinda labor intensive, dropping the noodles into the boiling water and fishing ’em out as soon as they float to the top was a bit of a last minute flurry of activity that, quite frankly, I can do without.

Then, I was at the market and came across bagged spaetzel; and the ingredients list was nicely simple and real, so…

I decided to give ’em a try.

Great decision!

You empty the bag into boiling salted water and cook for 25 minutes or so.

No standing over the pot and instant scooping of dumplings after they make their way to the surface; just a stir or two and then a nice drain at the end.

Really, every bit as good as my homemade, and, consider this list of ingredients:

I can work with packaged food like this!

Now, you could simply cook the spaetzel, drain it, then toss it with butter or gravy or whatver you have going on with your main course but, the back of the bag also offers ideas to dress things up a bit, so, here’s what I did with ours…

Cook and drain the spaetzel, then toss the hot dumplings with butter and season with black and Aleppo pepper. I used nicely salted water to cook the spaetzel, so chose not to add any more.

I then added some chopped basil and shredded quattro formaggi cheese from Trader Joe’s and tossed to blend.

No basil and no quattro formaggi? No worries! Simply use your fave cheese and whatever herbs and seasonings you think will work well with dinner.

Pop into the oven and bake until the cheese has melted and the spaetzel is heated through.

One of our new favorite pasta delivery systems. I might even try them with marinara at some point.

Go ahead, enjoy your spaetzel, and mebbe let your friends and family think it’s made from scratch.

Just remember to hide the bag.

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Who Knew?

My dad’s cousin Leona – well, OK, she was my cousin as well, but, and here is a bit of family lore, she was his first cousin, so, then, my… ?

Second cousin? First cousin once removed?

These were discussions that filled a lot of family gatherings.

Anywho, Leona and her husband, Fred, had a friend who, at the drop of a hat, would jump up and say “BRAINSTORM!”

And then suggest a mildly wacky, last minute kind of thing to do.

FYI: Leona was not a mildly wacky, last minute kind of person.

As I was saying, anywho, I was putting a simple dinner together of chili dogs (Vienna Beef, of course, because… Chicago!) cooked in beer and garlic; and discovered that the canned chili I’d bought (vegetarian, because, we do try) had beans in it; and my husband does not really care for beans in his chili dog chili. What to do?

Then, I had a “BRAINSTORM!” moment.

Why not use the immersion blender and grind those beans to a paste! It helped to smooth and thicken the chili, and added all that lovely bean protein to the dish.

Who’da thunk it?

We both enjoyed our bean laden chili dogs with onion, chopped pickles, Zippy and Sweet Mustard, and…

also, who knew?

Pomegranate Guacamole goes really, really well spread on the toasted hot dog rolls.

Fergettabout your avocado on toast, you want you some of this guacamole.

BRAINSTORM, indeed.

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A Different Way to Breakfast Sausage

Rich had spent a day feeling achy and tired and sleeping a lot, so, when he got up, I tossed out the idea of “Breakfast for Dinner” – which would be waffles and sausages.

As I knew it would, the meal plan was warmly welcomed, and I set about looking at ways to cook the sausages.

Hmmm.

I did not know that there were quite so many interesting options!

I decided to go with “boil, then fry” – but then went and made a couple of wee, tiny changes to the concept.

I love precooking our brats in beer and butter, so thought, why not beer for breakfast sausages? And, of course, because I am me, Sherry Peppers Sauce needed to be involved as well.

Worked a treat!

INGREDIENTS
•Breakfast sausage links
•Beer
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*

*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.

Arrange the sausages in a single layer in a large pan and drizzle with the Sherry Peppers Sauce.

Add enough beer to come up around 3/4 of the way up the sausages and set the heat to medium high.

Bring to a boil, then simmer, uncovered, in the beer 12 to 15 minutes.

Reduce the heat to medium low and continue to cook four minutes.

Turn and cook another four minutes, until you have nicely browned sides.

Remove from the pan and keep warm until your waffles are ready.

A note about the pan: I used my default deep non stick pan and, as you can see, the bottom was a blackened mess by the time I was finished cooking.

No worries!

Once you’ve removed the sausages, deglaze the hot pan by adding water and, while still over the heat, bring this back to a boil, scraping all that black goo from the bottom of the pan with a non-metallic scraper.

As you can see, it worked a treat and cleaning up the pan was no big deal.

Note: you could, if you wanted, mebbe use coffee in place of the water, add some additional seasonings and make a kind of red flannel gravy, which would be brilliant with waffles and sausages.

Or waffles and bacon.

Or… well, you get the concept.

We totally enjoyed our Breakfast for Dinner of freshly made (but, I cheated, from a mix) waffles, the sausages, and maple syrup from the state of Maine.

Ermmm… my waffles had the added embellishment of Jalapeño Cream Cheese Spread; but my husband thinks I am more than just a bit weird that way.

Either way, breakfast or dinner. Nice!

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Parfait! Rémoulade Redux

Folk tend to freak out a bit over rémoulade; I mean, it sounds so very French that it must be complicated and involved to make!

Nope.

I mean, you can start by making your own mayonnaise, but, if you already have one from the store that you like, you are good to go and, start to finish, you’ll have a tasty jar of nicely zippy rémoulade in about ten minutes. Mebbe less, if you don’t have to go searching for that jar of relish.

INGREDIENTS
•1/4 cup mayonnaise
•1 tbsp ketchup
•1-1/2 tsp sweet relish
•1-1/2 tsp Zippy and Sweet Mustard (or Dijon mustard)
•1/2 tsp dried parsley
•1/2 tsp horseradish
•1/2 tsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce – or your fave hot sauce, to taste

Note: for everyday use, we have been loving this 78 Red Spicy Ketchup, imported from Poland by a local Chicago company. They also have a less spicy version.

To make the rémoulade, simply stir all the ingredients together and stash in a covered jar in the fridge.

You can use it right away, but it is always just that much better if you allow the flavors to blend for a couple of hours. Your choice.

Now, you’ve made rémoulade, what the heck to do with it?

We love it on fish in place of tartar sauce; but you could certainly spread it on a sammich or burgers, even cooked veggies or salads; and of course, just think of the shrimp and/or lobster salad possibilities!

Rémoulade.

Not really so hard, is it?

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