April 14, 2015

Blue Crab Celeriac Remoulade



Ingredients:
1 cup finely grated celeriac (aka celery root)
8 oz blue crab meat (I used leftovers from steamed crabs)

dressing:
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2-2 tablespoons Dijon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper


Directions:
Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.

Place all place the crab and celeriac in a medium bowl. Drizzle with dressing. Stir to evenly distribute all ingredients. Refrigerate at least 1 1/2 hours prior to serving.


My thoughts:
Years ago I had céleri rémoulade, a classic French cold, raw salad made with celeriac, mayonnaise and mustard and really enjoyed it. It is so refreshing yet filling. I had thought about making it myself but never got around to it, our stores frequently have celeriac (lucky!) but they are often small and honestly, I don't love grating. Then this weekend we had crabs for the first time and I was trying to think of what to do with the leftover meat from the last couple of crabs when I spied the (finally, huge) celeriac I've had in my fridge for a shocking long period of time from my Washington Green Grocer order weeks ago.

Luckily the celeriac was still fresh* so I grated it up using the second largest holes in my box grater, tossed it with the crab and dressing and refrigerated it for about an hour and a half. Matt raved about the salad. It was just as good as I remembered but it was made even better thanks to the sweet plump crab. The flavors melded wonderfully and the celeriac, though raw, is soft and creamy, not starchy or hard. It just may be my favorite dish of 2015 so far! Oh, and if you don't want to serve it as a salad, it is divine scooped on  a piece of (cooked) firm fish like cod.



*I was skeptical but my new BerryBreeze does seem to actually keep things fresh longer. I had 2 week old Brussels sprouts and blackberries in there that were just as fresh as they were when they were delivered.


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April 10, 2015

Creasy Green Egg Salad



Ingredients:
8 hard-boiled eggs
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Dijon
3/4 (loose) cup chopped creasy greens*
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
dash hot sauce**

Directions:
Slice 3 eggs in half and remove the yolks. Place the yolks in a food processor or mini chopper. Set aside.

Chop up the remaining whites and the rest of the eggs. Place in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside.

Place the mayonnaise, mustard and hot sauce in the mini chopper with the yolks. Pulse until smooth. Pour over the chopped eggs. Add the creasy greens and red onion and stir to combine.


*Or arugula or watercress

**I used locally made Snake Oil hot sauce by Woodberry Kitchen which is made with my favorite: fish peppers!


My thoughts:
As I mentioned in my previous creasy green recipe, creasy greens are a spring green that is often foraged in West Virgina and grows wild in a lot of the south. I think the creasy greens I received must been grown in a greenhouse however, they were super clean; nearly pristine. If you are lucky enough to find some either in your backyard or at the market, pick them up! They have a great peppery, sharp bite to them.

I tempered that bite a bit by stirring them into this creamy, rich egg salad. We had it as part of a dinner I like to call "snackies" (a bit of cheese, a bit of bread, a bit of veg etc) but it would make a fine lunch treat.

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April 08, 2015

Cheesy Creasy Green Grits




Ingredients:
2 cups yellow stone-ground grits
6 cups water or chicken stock
1 cup grated extra sharp cheddar*
4 bunches creasy greens, leaves finely chopped (about 3 1/2-4 loose cups of chopped greens)
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes

Directions:

Heat a small amount of oil in a medium skillet. Saute the garlic and pepper flake until fragrant, 2-3 minutes then add the greens and saute until wilted, 3-5 minutes. Set aside.


Meanwhile, in a medium pot, bring the water or stock to a boil. Add the grits and stir continually for about 10 minutes or until all the broth is absorbed. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese and greens. Keep covered until ready to serve.

*I used a mix of Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar and their Extra Sharp Cheddar

My thoughts:
I was excited to see creasy greens in the local-only produce box this week so I switched my order to that vs my usual mixed box. I had to google creasy greens to figure out exactly what they were! It turns out they are a spring green that are a popular plant to forage for in WV. How fun! I ended up with an enormous bag so I divided them up to make these grits and saved some to make another recipe that I hope to post here. They have a peppery bite sort of like arugula or watercress (that is what I would sub in, if you can't find creasy greens) but the flavor lingers in your mouth more. I thought creamy, cheesy grits would be the perfect way to highlight their flavor while tempering it a bit. I'm not sure what a traditional way to make creasy greens is but this is a must-try!



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March 30, 2015

Hot & Sweet Apple Butter Sloppy Johnny's


Ingredients:
1 1/4 lb 90% ground beef
3/4 cup water or beef stock
3/4 cup Musselman's apple butter
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 serrano peppers, diced
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon ground chipotle
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
freshly ground black pepper
sea salt

rolls or English muffins for serving
cheddar for topping, optional

Directions:

In a large saucepan, saute the garlic, pepper, and onion in oil until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add beef and saute until brown, stirring to break up the meat. Add the remaining ingredients.


Saute, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes, until thickened. I served mine sprinkled with cheddar on sesame rolls.

(prep time: 5 minutes, cook time: 25 minutes, serves: 6)

My thoughts:
Sorry about the unexpected hiatus! I've been busy developing recipes for clients, making dinners that have appeared here before and going out for exciting dinners with friends and for our tenth anniversary. Excuses, excuses! I'm back now and bringing you this new recipe for Sloppy Joe's my mom has deemed Sloppy Johnny's after her childhood interest in Johnny Appleseed because they feature apple butter. I was lucky enough to have been contacted by Musselman's to become an apple butter blogger in 2015. I love apple butter so much, we go to the Apple Butter Festival in Berkeley Springs, WV each year despite it being two hours away. Musselman's Apple Butter is sweet, of course, but it also has a great spicy note to it that really lends itself to savory applications like these Sloppy Johnny's. Apple butter is more than just a spread. Normally I use tomato paste in Sloppy Joe's but the apple butter is thick enough to serve as a substitute. I added some serrano peppers, mustard powder and ground chipotle to kick up the heat and complement the ginger and cinnamon flavor of the apple butter. This made it a Sloppy Joe that was not only suitable for children but for adults as well.

Check out the Musselman's Apple Butter Pinterest account for more ideas.


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March 17, 2015

Irish Potato Candy


Ingredients:
2 cups unsweetened, finely shredded coconut (sometimes labeled as "desiccated coconut")
2 cups confectioner's sugar
pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste
1/4 cup PLUS 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup ground cinnamon (I used Saigon cinnamon*)
1/4 cup cocoa powder

Directions:

In a large bowl, mix together the coconut, salt and sugar. Then stir in (or beat in with the paddle attachment if using a mixer) the cream and then the vanilla paste until a firm, sticky, paste-like mass forms. Set aside.

Whisk together the cinnamon and cocoa in a small shallow bowl. Set aside.

Use your hands to form 1 1/2-2 inch long ovals out of the coconut mixture. Roll in the cocoa mixture to coat. Repeat for remaining coconut mixture.

Yield: about 2 dozen candies (recipe can be halved)

*This recipe uses a lot of cinnamon, if you have a Costco (or similar warehouse store) membership, good quality cinnamon can be purchased there quite cheaply.

My thoughts:

Growing up I had a friend who's mom would make homemade candy for every holiday. Tons of fudge for Christmas, homemade candy eggs at Easter and at St. Patrick's Day, Irish Potato Candy. I hadn't thought of them in years but after passing the remnants of the St Patrick's Day parade this weekend, I got to thinking about how odd it was that I see so many references to corned beef and cabbage; whiskey, beer and Irish soda bread this time of year but no real mention of Irish Potato Candy. I came home and googled it and it turns out there is a reason I don't hear much about the candy; it is a regional treat central to Philadelphia! Well, Baltimore is not Philadelphia but we are only 1 1/2 hrs south and have a good sized Irish-American population so it makes sense they'd trickle down here, even if in just in homemade form. Despite their name, they don't have potatoes in them, they are coconut candies rolled in cinnamon to mimic a potato pulled fresh from the ground, still covered in dirt.

This article in Serious Eats gives a good overview of the history of the candy and a behind-the-scenes peek at the Oh Ryan's Irish Potato factory in Linwood, Pa. I made mine to the best of my memory with a bit of a tweak: instead of just cinnamon, I coated them in unsweetened cocoa as well. I like cinnamon, but straight cinnamon is a bit overwhelming. You could also dip them in just cocoa powder, the effect will be the same. I did read about cream cheese versions, but I am sure the ones I had years ago did not use cream cheese so used heavy cream instead. The lack of cream cheese also means these can be stored at room temperature, in a sealed, air-tight container, up to 5 days but I will say they are best consumed the first day or two.



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March 16, 2015

Black Radish, Potato and Green Bean Salad



Ingredients:

1 lb red skin potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 1/2 cup (1 1/2 inch) green beans
2 cups shredded Spanish black radish


for the dressing:
1 1/2 tablespoon Dijon
3 tablespoons tarragon vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper



Directions:
Boil the potatoes in a large pot of water until fork-tender. Add the green beans for the last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain and allow to cool to room temperature. Toss with the radish. Set aside.

Whisk together dressing ingredients. Drizzle over salad and toss to coat.


My thoughts:
I was excited when Spanish Black Radishes showed up in my produce boxI was excited when Spanish Black Radishes showed up in my produce box one week. I had heard of them before but I had never had the chance to try them, they are a late winter radish and winter farmers markets are rare here in Baltimore. I was surprised when they showed up and they were huge! One radish (the one I used for this dish) was over half a pound and at least the size of softball. I had heard they were quite pungent so I grated it and made a salad with milder ingredients to balance the flavor. I found they smelled stronger than they tasted; it was sort of like fresh horseradish crossed with a regular radish and with the texture of a rutabaga. I loved the textures in the dish, the crisp beans contrasted nicely with the creamy potatoes and shredded radish. A great side dish to help you transition into spring.

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March 13, 2015

Rueben Sliders



Ingredients:
6 oz Swiss cheese slices, halved
15 oz potato slider rolls
3 lb corned beef*
1 cup sauerkraut


Russian dressing:
1/4 cup minced dill pickle
1/2 small onion, minced
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons sour cream
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
white pepper


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.

Stir together the dressing ingredients. Spread a thin layer of dressing on the bottom half of each roll. Top with sliced corned beef, a bit of sauerkraut and a slice of Swiss. Place on the baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes or until the cheese is fully melted. Serve immediately.



*I heated the corned beef for 4 hours on high in the slow cooker.

My thoughts:
I'm always excited this time of year because between St Patrick's Day and Passover brisket and pre-corned beef is always on sale pretty cheaply. I like to stock up and freeze some for later in the year when it is a little more difficult to find. This year I kept it simple and made sliders; in previous years I made corned beef and cabbage bao and corned beef stuffed cabbage (among other things, check out my corned beef Pinterest board) but they were very good. Matt isn't the biggest Reuben fan (I agree, putting cheese on corned beef sounds wrong) but even he liked this version. The homemade dressing really makes it; it pulls together all of the pickling flavors and is much fresher tasting than the bottle stuff.


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