Fresh green beans and I don’t get along, I’ve never been able to cook them right. Maybe that will be one of my summer goals, to finally figure out cooked fresh green beans! I love canned green beans though. It’s another one of those turn arounds from when I was a kid. When I was a kid I hated them but since I didn’t like most veg that was okay.
Elephant garlic is not just giant garlic although it is closely related. It has a really mild garlic taste so it’s okay to use a lot of it. You do not want to use regular garlic in a straight across swap unless you are really into garlic (like me!).
Use the best bacon you can find (like there’s bad bacon, ha!). I used Trader Joe’s Black Forest bacon which is one of the best bacon’s I’ve had. They seem to have tried to follow the real Black Forest method which you can read about here. Be careful when cooking it, it cooks fast and must have a high sugar content as it burns fast.
This is a total fake for one of those all day kind of recipes, it doesn’t take very long at all. You could serve it as a side by I frequently it as an entrée with some toast. Continue reading →
Kale and I never used to get along. My first job was in a pizza parlor. Every morning we had to fill the salad display with ice and prepared salads. These displays were edged with large leaves of kale which we kept in a bucket with water when not on display. They smelled horrible. It wasn’t being kept in the water; they smelled horrible when they were freshly delivered. I often put the produce order away and they stunk right off the truck. I couldn’t imagine how people could eat the stuff. I knew they did, but it was smelly and the leaves were tuff and fibrous. It was even worse if you were hung over.
Twenty some years later a coworker offered me his salad that he wasn’t going to eat. Kale and I had met a few times at the store and farmer’s market but there had been no real introduction. This kale looked different and it didn’t seem to smell, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to go there. But this coworker had pretty good taste and the salad had sesame and ginger in it. You can sell me just about anything if it’s been coated in sesame and ginger. It was love at first bite and kale and I have been spending a lot of quality time together since. It’s even managed to introduce me to some of its other leafy friends like sorrel, mustard, and beet. A gate opened and suddenly there was a whole new leafy world available!
This is my ode to that life changing salad.
Sesame Ginger Kale Salad
½ Tbsp. shredded fresh ginger
¼ cup seasoned rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 ½ Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
4-5 cups finely chopped kale
1 cup shredded carrot
½ cup diced red onion
1 Tbsp. sesame seeds
Combine the ginger, vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic, and sesame oil in a closed container and shake to mix or in a small bowl and whisk together.
Add the kale, carrot, and onion to a salad bowl. Add the dressing and sesame seeds and toss the salad to combine all ingredients. Enjoy!
Last week was one long week. The roofers showed up Monday for the new roof, I started a new job, and allergy season hit like Mohammad Ali. By Friday night I was all in. Good news showed up in my inbox from Denison Farm though, strawberry season has started! They’re a few weeks early, but I’ll take it! The first strawberries of the season were enough to draw my itchy, watery, exhausted rear out the door and down to the farmer’s market. I had planned on getting at least a half flat, but since they only had about a flat left by the time I made it down there. There was a line behind me, so I settled for a couple of pints. There will be more strawberries to come.
The first strawberries call for something simple, I’ve waited all year to taste fresh strawberries, I want to taste the strawberry. So I settled for a classic, which is all I could handle through allergy fog anyway. I used raw almonds, if you use salted almonds I would leave the salt out.
Strawberry & Spinach Salad
2 handfuls spinach
7-8 strawberries, halved
7-8 almonds, rough chopped
Thin drizzle olive oil
Thin drizzle balsamic vinegar
Sprinkle coarse salt
Sprinkle course pepper
Layer each ingredient onto a plate, enjoy!
Raw broccoli isn’t high on my list of favorites. To be totally honest, it’s not on my list of favorites, it’s in the okay section. It’s just so…fibrous. It takes forever to chew and takes over the taste of everything else. So for this salad I do one of the following: defrost a bag of frozen broccoli and chop it, steam chopped fresh broccoli, or shred the broccoli. Shredded broccoli is my favorite but it takes the most work and clean up (drag out the mandolin, try not to maim myself using it, then clean the mandolin trying to get all the little bits of broccoli off of it). The picture is of defrosted and chopped broccoli.
This salad is supper yummy and filling. It has tons of crunch and the cranberries give it just the right amount of sweet. Poppy seed dressing (at least Annie’s brand) is pretty sweet as well. This is the only salad I use it with so far. The broccoli can take all that sweetness in stride and still be tasty broccoli. Continue reading →
When my grandmother was in her late eighties I lived with her awhile. It ended up being a fairly short time as she was in need of 24 hour company and I could not provide that. She was more than willing to give up cooking duty and I was happy to take it over. At some point she had lost interest in food and after 80 years of cooking (she started as a child helping to prepare meals) she was ready to give it up. Don’t get me wrong, she complained bitterly if I baked pie or cake or some other goodie and didn’t leave her any. She just wasn’t hungry for most meals. She had also become quite picky.
Chicken ‘n Pea Salad was one of the things I could routinely serve that she would eat. It’s also something that you can whip up quick after working all day. You can use up leftover chicken or defrost and grill up some (breaded tenders would be quite tasty). There always seems to be a bag of peas in the freezer (it feels empty without them) and some pasta sitting in the cupboard waiting to be used up. I’m not sure it’s allowed not to have ranch dressing in the fridge, at least not with my family. You can make it as basic or fancy as your audiences taste buds will allow, throw in some diced onion or shredded carrots. I normally use shell shaped pasta but I didn’t have any, the macaroni works just as well. Continue reading →
I have a confession. I believe this may have been the first time I’ve cooked bone in ribs. They always seemed difficult and rib meat tends to dry out quickly. That is why I love my slow cooker! You put the food in and several hours of ignoring it later, viola, done! This is so easy I’m afraid that I’ll be cooking ribs much more frequently now. It’s time to use up all that barbecue sauce sitting in the cupboard.
It was too wet and cold here (and I was far too lazy today) to try this, but instead of adding the barbecue sauce to the pot you could remove the ribs and finish them on the grill. That would give them those caramelized barbecue sauce bits that many people mistake for burnt sauce, mmmm. This method will still be great in the summer as a slow cooker doesn’t produce a lot of heat like your stove or BBQ would.
You will have to check on this recipe once or twice as the cooking time will vary as to the type of ribs and the bone to rib ratio. The garlic slow cooks and starts to melt into the sauce. If you want slow cooked garlic (it tastes kind of like roasted) then use the largest cloves. Continue reading →
I was looking for ways to use hard boiled eggs when I came across a recipe for pan bagnat. According to Wikipedia it’s a sandwich from Nice, France. In the local dialect, the name translates as wet bread. You stack the ingredients on the bread, after removing enough to make a trench, then pour the dressing over it, and set it aside for some time.
French dips, hot roast beef with gravy, even some people’s French toast, are just not my style. I’m not much for soggy bread but the sandwich sounded really good otherwise! That’s when I realized I could turn it into a salad. I thought about leaving the bread completely out and calling it something else. But while this recipe was percolating in the back of my mind, I started thinking more about bread. Most recipes that combine liquid with bread are an effort to revive stale bread. Until fairly recently most bread was much thicker and coarser than what we normally eat. The bread normally used for the sandwich is a crusty wheat bread; this was starting to make sense. I decided to give it a try. I still don’t know if I would like the sandwich but the salad was right tasty! The bread absorbed just enough dressing that it was damp but not soggy.
Market of Choice carries a demi baguette that I adore (just big enough for two servings). However, I didn’t use it right away and it became stale. I won’t say I could’ve drove nails with it, but it was close. If you use stale bread, please be careful cutting it! Continue reading →
Every Easter we were inundated by boiled eggs when I was growing up. There were three of us kids and there needed to be enough eggs to hide that we could all find some. Back then very few people bought the plastic eggs as that meant you had to buy stuff to put in them and boiled eggs were far cheaper as you could eat them afterwards. But then you ended up with a couple dozen eggs to eat up. “Mom, I’m hungry!” was met by, “Eat a boiled egg!” followed by, “Noooo, I’m tired of eggs!” The fridge would smell like boiled eggs for what seemed like an eternity.
If you find yourself in this situation, you might check out my recipe for pickled eggs as they’ll keep quite a bit longer than fresh ones. You could even use pickled eggs in Scotch Eggs; it would give them extra flavor. Scotch Eggs are a tasty way to use up your boiled eggs.
I was introduced to Scotch Eggs through Scottish festivals and games. I took to calling them heart attack balls for quite a while. There is nothing healthy or politically correct about them (well, okay, I used pastured organic eggs and bought the sausage from a local store). Quite simply, a Scotch Egg is pork sausage molded around a boiled egg, breaded and deep fried. These tasty, filling orbs were often packed into lunches or snacks for tea (working people’s tea, not fancy tea). You can eat them hot out of the oven but they are meant to be served cold or at room temperature and really are better that way. They’re best eaten by hand so no utensils needed. They’re even better with beer. Continue reading →
As a kid you don’t really question the names of things, but as we grow older we may notice the inconsistencies of our language. Salad is one such inconsistency. As a child I never once pondered why a fruit dish heaped in whipped cream would be called salad and served with the main meal. Even as I learned to make whipped cream for said fruit dish, I never once questioned why it was called salad. It was what it was and I did not question it (I’m sure there is some existential story in here if I really dug for it). Perhaps it’s because my family didn’t eat many salads made from greens, they were too expensive. But at some point I asked, why do we call this salad?
This question grew when I first started visiting buffets and was baffled to find mousse and whipped cream at the salad bar. Aren’t they supposed to be on the dessert bar? Why do we call it chicken salad? Why do we call it egg salad? While you can argue the token celery and green onion in chicken salad, there were no vegetables in our egg salad.
The fruit salad my mom made was a monument to the 60s and 70s. The ingredients were easy: canned fruit salad (canned grapes are really, really sad), an apple, a banana, and as many maraschino cherries as you thought you could afford to include dressed with whipped cream. As whipped topping came down in price the whipped cream was replaced with whipped topping. Fruit salad was served at holiday dinners as part of the meal, not to be confused with the pie that we would have for dessert. By the next day it was a sad dish as the cream would have started to separate, the bananas turn brown and mushy, and you could see the poor canned grapes. All the maraschino cherries would have been dug out by then of course.
So this is not my mom’s fruit salad. I’m sure her original recipe would have called for coconut; however, since she did not like coconut ours never had it. Tropical fruit would have cost way too much when I was growing up and nobody but health nuts eat yogurt. This salad will last a couple days in the fridge without separating looking sad. I kept the maraschino cherries though, but you might want to wear gloves when you cut them in half. They can stain your nails. Continue reading →
This is just the soup for a weary soggy day or if you feel like you’re coming down with something or if you’re nursing someone who’s come down with something. I’d say that you want to make it when you come down with something, but I can tell you for sure that when I have a cold I’m not cooking something this complicated. If it involves much more than opening and heating, it’s too way to difficult when I’m sick. Plus, it makes me think of my dad. The first thing that he asked when we complained we were sick is if we had taken our vitamin C, the second is to ask how much garlic we’d been eating. I’m pretty sure he believed that vitamin C and garlic could cure just about anything.
Pho is my very favorite kind of soup. The broth is amazing, it doesn’t seem to matter what restaurant I go to. This isn’t quite it, but it’s darn close. I think cooking the seasonings into a paste before adding the liquid is the important part. The ingredients become incorporated in the broth rather than sitting in it. Of course starting with a good stock is important as well, but that’s another post. I think this soup would freeze well if you left out the noodles. Continue reading →