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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March 25, 2017

Chocolate Belgian-Style Waffles

2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tablespoon sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup canola oil

Prepare and heat your waffle iron according to manufacturer's instructions.

In a large bowl or bowl of a standmixer, beat eggs until fluffy. Beat in remaining ingredients until smooth. Pour the manufacturer's recommended amount of batter onto center of the hot waffle iron. Close lid of waffle iron. Bake about 5 minutes or until steaming stops or the iron beeps. Carefully remove waffle. Serve immediately or keep warm in a 200° oven. Repeat with remaining batter.

Yield: about 8 Belgian-style waffles (two batches on a 4-square waffle iron)

My thoughts:
Today is waffle day in Sweden and while these aren't Swedish style waffles, it seemed fitting to share a new waffle recipe with you. (If you are interested in making traditional Swedish waffles, check out my recipe for Våffel here.) We have recently gotten back on the waffle train after our last waffle iron (not the cute heart one but another Belgian-style waffle iron.) broke and we couldn't find a new one that we liked. I hate cleaning waffle irons (I know, use a toothbrush. Whatever.) so when I found this one with detachable plates, I knew I had to have it. It is huge, making 4 squares at once (I freeze the extras and the squares can fit in a wide-opening toaster to reheat) and makes the best waffles. They are moist inside and crisp outside like a good waffle should be. And the clean up is so easy, I don't regret making waffles like I used to when I had a traditional waffle iron.

As for this recipe, if you are looking for a dose of not-too-sweet chocolate in the morning or a dessert waffle, this is the waffle for you! Chocolatey, moist and crispy, they hold up to butter, syrup and ice cream.

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March 22, 2017

Orange Crush Bundt Cake


for the cake:
1 1/2 cups 7UP
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
zest from 1 orange (about 1 tablespoon)
1/2 cup canola oil
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

to decorate: confectioners’ sugar


Preheat oven to 325. Spray with baking spray or grease and flour one Bundt pan. Set aside. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Set aside.

In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the 7UP, juice, oil, zest and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Slowly beat in eggs. While the mixer is running, stream in the dry ingredients. Mix until all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour or until a thin knife inserted into the cake comes out with clean or with just a few dry crumbs.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.

Carefully loosen the cake from the pan and turn it out onto the rack. Cool completely. Sprinkle with a fine dusting of confectioners’ sugar.

My thoughts:
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of 7UP®. The opinions and text are all mine.

Who doesn't love a Bundt cake? It is hard to believe that Bundt cakes only became popular in the 1950s and '60s when Nordic Ware trademarked the Bundt pan and when the "Tunnel of Fudge Cake" won the Bake-Off. They are so simple to make and don't really need frosting beyond a sprinkle of sugar or a light glaze. This cake is an homage to 1950s and '60s baking by incorporating an unusual ingredient in the cake: soda! That era was full of recipes that had a "secret ingredient" and in this case, 7UP is what makes the cake light and fluffy and provides a touch of lemon-lime. The flavor of this cake was inspired by the popular Mid-Atlantic cocktail, the Orange Crush, which supposedly originated on Maryland's Eastern Shore. It is named after the orange "crusher" that extracts fresh orange juice from the oranges for each drink. To make the drink, you pour the pulpy freshly squeezed juice into a glass full of ice, stir in vodka and then top it off with 7UP. Perfect for sipping on a hot day on the beach or when having some steamed crabs. To turn it into a cake, I eliminated the vodka, kept the freshly squeezed orange juice and increased the ratio of 7UP. The result: a light, fluffy cake bursting with citrus flavor. Oranges are in season now, so the orange flavor is extra bold. If it isn’t citrus season when you go to make this, add 1/4 teaspoon of pure orange extract to up the orange flavor. Everyone will love this light, freshly flavored, citrusy cake! #7Waysto7UP

I bought my 7UP at our local Giant Landover using a coupon to save $1.00 when you buy two 7UP 2-Liter bottles located in their Savory Magazine “New Flavors” edition (available until 3/30). 7UP is also available in Stop & Shop and Giant Carlisle
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March 18, 2017

The Cloak and Dagger Sandwich

1 lb sliced corned beef (preferably hot/warm)
8 slices seeded rye or pumpernickel bread (or rye and pumpernickel swirl)


1 cup shredded cabbage
1/2 carrot, shredded
1/2 small onion, shredded
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
white pepper

Russian dressing:

3 tablespoons minced dill pickle
1 shallot, minced
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon tomato paste
1/2 tablespoon prepared horseradish
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
white pepper


Stir together the dressing ingredients. Set aside. To make the coleslaw: In a small bowl, whisk together the mayo, mustard, vinegar, and spices. In a large bowl, toss together cabbage, onion, and carrot. Pour the dressing over the vegetables, toss to evenly distribute.

Spread the dressing on all 8 slices of bread.

Top 4 slices with a layer of corned beef then coleslaw. Top with the remaining slices of bread. Slice and serve.

My thoughts:
The Cloak and Dagger is a lesser known Baltimore dish. Attman's, the last remaining original deli on Corned Beef Row, claims to have invented it and it still is available on their menu as 'The "Original" Cloak & Dagger'. It now shows up on a number of local delis and restaurant menus around the area. Not to be confused with the vaguely similar (and attractively named) "Rachel" sandwich, it is simply a corned beef sandwich topped not with mustard but with Russian dressing and coleslaw. I take it to the next level by making everything (but the bread!) from scratch. This time of year you might have some corned beef leftover from St Patrick's Day to use and if you, it should be on sale cheaply to pick some up. Of course, you can make your own if you are feeling ambitious and have time to wait. It a messy sandwich but so worth it! The contrast between the warm, salty corned beef and the cool, creamy coleslaw is sublime.

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