May 15, 2017

Kimchi Burgers


for the burger:
1 lb 90% lean ground beef
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1 tablespoon gochujang
2 tablespoons soy sauce

to serve:
4 brioche rolls
gochujang mayonnaise*
3/4 cup chopped kimchi

In a medium bowl, mix together all burger ingredients until they are evenly distributed. Form into 3 or 4 patties. Set aside.

Heat a small amount of oil in a large skillet. Cook the patties, flipping once, until cooked to desired doneness over medium heat. Place on buns, top with mayo and kimchi. Serve immediately.

*I bought some at Target but you can make it yourself by mixing mayo and a small amount of gochujang together.
My thoughts:
Matt has been studying sign language for a while now and goes to a ton of events about ASL. I think the most exciting one he went to was a kimchi making class in ASL where he not only came home with a jar of homemade kimchi but had learned a few words of Korean sign language!

The kimchi was great on its own but we thought we'd make something fun incorporating it. Matt found gochujang mayo at Target (who knew?), we already had gochujang, sesame oil and Korean soy sauce in the fridge (if you don't, a quick trip the Korean or other well-stocked grocery store will get you all set) so burgers seemed to be the obvious choice. The burgers are not quite as hot (unless you use extra hot gochujang!) as one might think but they are very flavorful. A great change from the typical burger.

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May 10, 2017

Very Berry Rice Krispies Treats

2 tablespoons butter
6 oz large marshmallows
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups crisped rice cereal (AKA Rice Krispies)
scant 1/4 cup freeze-dried strawberries*
scant 1/4 cup freeze-dried raspberries
scant 1/4 cup freeze-dried blueberries


Coat 8-inch pan with cooking spray or brush with oil. Set aside.

Place all of the freeze-dried fruit into a small bowl. Lightly crush using your hands or the back of a spoon. In a large bowl, stir together the cereal and freeze-dried fruit. Set aside.

Melt butter over low heat in a large, tall pot. Add marshmallows and vanilla and stir until nearly completely melted. Remove from heat and stir in cereal/fruit mix. Use a greased spoon or spatula the cereal into the pan. Use the back of the spoon to press it firmly into the pan in an even layer. Cool, cut into 9 squares and eat.

*I used Crunchies brand fruit (if you have a bag, you can trace it back to where the fruit was grown!)

Note: Double this recipe to make in a 9x13 inch pan.

My thoughts:
Am I the only one who thinks of the '80s commercial of the mom making the Rice Krispies Treats and then tossing flour on her face before taking them out to her family to imply that they were so difficult and time-consuming to make? I swear I just saw it again this past Christmas. Anyway! Rice Krispies Treats are an even better treat to make during the warmer weather than the holiday season, they are quick, don't heat up the house and are lighter than a lot of desserts. This time of year my mind turns to berries but they are not really ripe here yet beyond strawberries so I subbed in freeze-dried fruit to provide that berry flavor. The great thing about freeze-dried fruit in something like this is that if you lightly crush it, it gives off some dust that helps spread the flavor throughout the whole bar. Really yummy and perfect for summer. These would be great at a cookout, especially for Memorial Day or 4th of July as they are red, white and blue!

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May 08, 2017

Cincinnati Chili Mac

1 tablespoon canola oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
1 lb ground chicken (or sub in lean ground beef)
28 oz canned crushed tomatoes
15 oz canned dark red kidney beans, drained
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 oz hot, cooked, elbow macaroni

to serve:
shredded sharp cheddar cheese
chopped onion


Heat oil in a large skillet. Saute the onion and garlic until the onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken (or beef!). Brown, breaking up large chunks until nearly fully cooked, about 8-10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, spices, and beans. Simmer until warmed through and the liquid is nearly completely evaporated, about 5-10 minutes. Stir in the pasta, cook 1-2 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and onions. Serve immediately.

My thoughts:
I was planning to make chicken chili mac tonight for dinner as it is oddly chilly for May and was trying to think of a way to make it more exciting when it hit me, Cinncinati Chili is basically chili mac but layered rather than all mixed together. There are several ways to eat Cincinnati style chili:
3-way: Spaghetti topped with chili, covered with shredded cheddar cheese
4-way: Spaghetti topped with chili, cheese, onions
5-way: Spaghetti topped with beans, chili, cheese & onions
I just swapped out the spaghetti for macaroni noodles and stirred the kidney beans into the chili rather than layering them on top. The result was a super comforting dinner. I used ground chicken so it would be a bit lighter but feel free to use the more traditional beef.

Can't get enough? Make traditional Cincinnati Chili, this slow cooker version, and even Cincinnati Chili Dogs.

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April 17, 2017

Ham & Spring Vegetable Pasta Salad

1 1/2 cups cubed ham
1/2 lb asparagus, cut into bite-sized pieces
12 oz small pasta, cooked and cooled
1 cup fresh or frozen peas*
1/2 red onion, diced
1 baby cucumber, diced
1 (loose) cup baby arugula

1 teaspoon paprika
1/4-1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons Dijon

Heat a small amount of oil in a large skillet. Saute the ham and asparagus until the ham is lightly browned and the asparagus is tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, whisk together the dressing ingredients in a small bowl until well combined. Set aside.

In a large bowl, toss together the peas, onion, cucumber and arugula. Add the pasta, ham, and asparagus. Stir to evenly distribute. Gently stir in the dressing until the ingredients are evenly coated. Refrigerate up to one day or serve immediately.

*if frozen add the peas to the pasta while it cooks for the last 5 minutes

My thoughts:
Matt's been off on spring break so I haven't had to make my usual cold dinner for him to take on the night he goes directly from work to class. He goes back tomorrow so I thought why not kill two birds with one stone and use up the ham we bought on sale (my mom hosts holidays so we never have leftovers) and some vegetables we had on hand and make a packable dinner? I love getting my farm box delivery (although I don't get it every week until the growing season really picks up), the arugula from last Tuesday was still super fresh! I tossed that in along with some asparagus, peas, cucumbers (which aren't quite in season here yet) and red onion for crunch and bite. I wasn't sure about ham in pasta salad but it was actually really good; just resist any temptation to add salt. I'm adding this to the rotation for next spring, it is a great way to use up spring and Easter odds and ends.

We also made a great spring vegetable matzo ball soup for Passover this year if you are interested!

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April 14, 2017

Egg Salad with Ham and Watercress

6 hard-boiled eggs
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1-2 tablespoons Dijon
2/3 (loose) cup watercress
4 oz cubed ham
3 scallions/green onions, chopped
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
freshly ground black pepper


Slice eggs in half and remove the yolks. Place the yolks in a small bowl. Set aside.

Chop up the egg whites. Place in a medium-sized bowl. Add the ham, greens and scallions. Stir.

Place the mayonnaise, mustard and spices in the small bowl with the yolks. Mash with a fork until smooth. Pour over the chopped egg mixture. Stir to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

My thoughts:
I love watercress. I don't know why it isn't more popular here in the US. When we were in England nearly every grocery store (we went to a lot) and sandwich shop had something with watercress (or its cousin "cress" aka "garden cress") for sale (or as they said "on offer"). It is light, crispy and has a pleasant peppery-mustardy bite that complements creamy dishes like this one quite well. I am not a huge lettuce on sandwiches person (I always remove half of the "spring mix" that is on my beloved smoked salmon BLT) but the leaves of watercress are so small that they can be left whole and mixed into the egg salad rather than lining the bread. Adding the ham made the sandwich more satisfying and filling than egg salad normally is and added a smoky note. This recipe is a great way to use up any leftover ham or egg you might have hanging about in a satisfying (packable!) lunch.

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March 30, 2017

Somewhat Classic Meatloaf


2 lbs 90-93% lean ground beef
2 hot dog rolls, torn into tiny pieces
1 egg, beaten
1 small onion, diced
1 carrot, small dice
1 stalk celery, small dice
1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chili sauce (like Heinz)


Preheat oven to 400. In a large bowl, mix together the beef, egg, rolls, onion, carrot, celery, and spices. Form into a loaf. Place in a loaf pan (or, preferably, a meatloaf pan). Brush the top with the chili sauce to coat. Bake for 40 minutes or until fully cooked. Wait a few minutes before slicing for best results.

My thoughts:
To be honest, I didn't want to make dinner today. In fact, I was sort of hoping the ground beef was spoiled so I'd have an excuse to not make dinner. I didn't have a plan on how to use it but since I had 2 lbs of it (normally I buy the 1 lb packages but the store was out) I thought I might as well make meatloaf and use it all up at once. I read a post about meatloaf in some e-newsletter that mentioned celery as being a "typical" meatloaf ingredient. That didn't sound right to me but whatever, I had some so I tossed some in my new chopper along with some carrot chunks and tossed it in the mix. I had some squished hot dog rolls so I used them instead of slices sandwich bread as the binder. They were soft and melted right into the meat mixture.  I loathe tomato ketchup (I only like ketchup made from fruit or other vegetables lol) so I always use chili sauce on mine which is like ketchup's less sweet, less coying, zestier cousin. I really slather it on so it seals the meatloaf so doesn't dry out while the pan takes care of any extra grease. Anyway! I am glad I went ahead and made the meatloaf, it came out really good! Tender, juicy and full of flavor. I'm glad I added the celery, I think it added some moisture and flavor without being overpowering or watery. It made a good meatloaf sandwich too. So, if you are in the mood for a classic meatloaf with a little extra veggies, try this one. You won't be disappointed.

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March 28, 2017

Collards with Smoked Turkey

2 lb collard greens, shredded*
2 quarts chicken or turkey stock
4 cloves garlic, sliced
3 smoked turkey legs
2 onions, diced
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 lb bite-sized baby potatoes


In a large (at least 8 quart) pot, heat the oil. Saute the onions, garlic, and bay leaves until the onions are soft but not browned, about 10 minutes. Add the broth, vinegar, turkey legs, salt, pepper, pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, skimming off anything that rises to the surface. Reduce heat and simmer 1 hour. Remove the turkey legs and pick off all of the meat. Reserve the meat, discard the bones.

Add the greens, return to a boil. Stir so all of the greens are coated in broth and starting to wilt. Reduce heat, add the turkey meat back in and the potatoes. Cook for 1 hour or until the potatoes are fork-tender.

*I buy mine pre-shedded. If this is unavailable to you, cut them into 1/4 inch wide strips, spine (ribs) and all.

Yield: approximately 10 servings. Extras freeze well. (Honestly! I made this and wrote up the post a couple of weeks ago and just had some for dinner yesterday--I just put the frozen greens in a pan and simmered until warmed through. Tasted the same as the day I made them.)

My thoughts:
We made these greens the other day and when I Instagramed it, someone asked for a recipe. I directed her to an earlier recipe I had made and then realized that I had made so many changes to it (different greens, different seasonings etc) that it really only made sense to post a new recipe showing what we did. Plus that recipe was from July 2008, if you can believe it, so it seemed way overdue for a makeover. We still use smoked turkey legs instead of the more traditional ham hock because they are meatier and I think easier to deal with than hocks. I always would get some bit of bone in my greens (somehow! I am the princess and the pea but with bones and rocks when it comes to food) when I use ham hocks but never with turkey legs. Plus turkey legs (perhaps oddly?) seem easier to find here in Baltimore than ham hocks. We just pick out the meatiest ones we can find. Sometimes they are so meaty, you can serve these greens and have a complete meal. I also love using turnip greens but since I found pre-shredded collards, I've made the switch. It is just so much easier, especially if you are making a bunch of other foods to serve with the greens. No more removing the spine (ribs), chopping and washing repeatedly in the salad spinner to remove the grit. We just boil the meat, remove it, dump in the greens then the meat and potatoes and we are done. Only about 5-10 minutes hands-on time to pick the meat off the bone and chop the onion. Super satisfying. I love to serve it with my favorite catfish or Maryland Style Fried Chicken but it really goes with anything.

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