May 24, 2013
1/2 lb chicken livers, pureed
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapenos, minced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large bunch spring onions, bulbs and greens diced (separate use)
2 tablespoon minced fresh Italian parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
1/2 teaspoon hot paprika
1 1/3 cups chicken stock (divided use)
2 cups cubed, cooked chicken breast
3 cups hot cooked white rice
In a 12-inch cast iron skillet, heat some oil. Add the liver and the white parts of the spring onion. Cook the mixture, stirring occasionally until the liver is browned. Add 1/3 cup of chicken stock and all spices and cook until the stock evaporates. Add the celery and jalapenos and cook until they are soft.
Stir in the rice, herbs, remaining stock, cubed chicken and chopped spring onion greens. Stir until the liquid is absorbed then serve.
May 22, 2013
3 lbs peeled, cooked beets
3 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
2 teaspoons dill seed
2 teaspoons fennel seed
2 teaspoons tellicherry peppercorns
6 whole cloves
6 whole star anise
1 teaspoon white coriander seeds
1 teaspoon canning salt
3 bay leaves
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup red wine vinegar
2 cups beet cooking water
1 onion, sliced thinly (about 3/4 cup)
Slice the beets into 1/4 inch slices if large or leave whole.
Place all of the ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Prep your jars. Pack the beets into the warm jars and ladle the pickling solution over them. Leave a 1/4 inch headspace. Process in a water bath for 30 minutes.
Yield: about 3 pints
Note: A great source for canning information is the Blue Book guide to preserving. I highly recommend it for learning how to can. Here is a bunch of other canning books and equipment I find useful.
My thoughts:Whenever I eat beets I think of Ellen Tebbits pulling that weed in the sidewalk and ending up with a beet. I know it is a somewhat unorthodox choice but Beverly Cleary books are my all time favorite bits of food writing. Who can forget the cracking of the raw egg over Ramona's head at lunch or the eating of tongue disguised as steak when Ramona's dad was out of work? Or Ramona eating just one bite out of all the apples because the first bite was always the best? Ellen Tebbits just wanted to bring that beet to show-and-tell. So many writers forget to include the everydayness of food but Beverly Cleary never did.
I don't think I had ever even had a beet when first I read Ellen Tebbits but it made such an impression. I do love beets now so if I dug up a giant beet, I'd be quite pleased and possibly pickle it. I've made savory beet pickles before and they were very, very good. This time I tweaked the flavors a bit and used some red wine vinegar, which I had found in the proper concentration and in large bottles over the winter and stored so I tried that out. I also decided to use the beet cooking water instead of just plain water.
I wasn't planning to make pickles this week but I needed some pickled beets for a recipe I was developing and when I went to the store, I saw that fresh beets were only 89 cents a pound! It is a bit early for local beets but there they were. So I thought I'd just pickle them myself versus buying a jar. More work but a bit cheaper and a lot more tasty. They came out wonderfully and now wish I had bought more beets.
I know most pickled beets are a sweet and sour affair but I found I really like them when treated as just straight, savory pickles. The beets are sweet enough on their own, I don't think they need extra sugar.
May 20, 2013
6 hard-boiled eggs
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Dijon
3 oz Norwegian smoked salmon, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons minced dill
freshly ground black pepper
Remove the yolks from the eggs. Place them in small bowl. Mash lightly then stir in the mayo, mustard, pepper, salmon and dill. Chop the whites (discarding some if desired). Stir them into the egg mixture. Serve immediately or refrigerate in an air-tight container.
My thoughts:I'm still on my quest for an egg salad I will love. For this one, I didn't actually put in all of the whites; I think I had about 3/4 of an eggs' worth left. I did this because I think part of my hesitation to love egg salad (despite loving deviled eggs) is that the egg white sort of remind me of the sneaky, potato-disguised ones I find in potato salad. It is so disappointing to bite into what you think is a potato only to end up with egg! Especially if you aren't expecting any eggs in the salad. You, of course, can leave in all your whites but I found leaving them out made for a creamier salad that I enjoyed. More like a deviled egg salad than a straight egg salad. I threw some salmon and dill in because I love them and that was a good choice too. Lots of flavor throughout.
May 17, 2013
8 eggs, beaten
1 lb smoked kielbasa (I used wiejska which has garlic and marjoram), diced
1 small onion, diced
8 oz crimini mushrooms, diced
3/4 oz chives, chopped
1/4 cup milk
2 cups cubed rye bread
freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 325. In a 12 inch cast iron skillet* heat oil and butter. Saute the kielbasa, onion and mushrooms until the onion is translucent. Whisk together the eggs, milk, chives and spices. Set aside. Add the bread cubes to the pan and saute for 1 minute. Pour in the egg mixture. Stir to evenly distribute the sausage, onions and garlic. Keep on medium heat and cook until just beginning to set. Bake about 10 minutes or until the top is just beginning to brown. Remove from pan and slice.
*or other oven-safe skillet
My thoughts:One of the many good things about living in Baltimore is the abundance of Polish markets. I'm not just limited to national brand grocery store kielbasa (although a lot of the grocery stores here also sell locally made kielbasa). I can find kielbasa with the flavor profile I want for a dish. I'm partial to the garlic-y varieties so I used that. I also used up some leftover Polish rye bread I had. It was sort of an experiment but I really liked how it turned out. The bread stucked up some of the egg mixture so the texture was a little denser than a regular frittata but in an appealing, I don't need to serve bread with this sort of way. It added a lot of flavor to the dish as well. Not to mention the sturdiness meant the leftover were both tasty and easy to reheat the next day.
3/4 cup Fiber One 80 Calories Chocolate Squares
6 oz 0% plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon cocoa nibs
1/2 cup raspberries
Layer the cereal, yogurt, nibs and berries in a parfait glass or bowl. Serve immediately.
1 cup Fiber One Nutty Clusters and Almonds
2 tablespoons rolled Kamut (khorasan wheat flakes)
2 tablespoons old fashioned rolled oats
1 tablespoon milled flax seed
Place Fiber One Nutty Clusters and Almonds in a mixing bowl. Set aside. In a small, dry skillet, heat the kamut and oats until lightly browned and toasted. Allow to cool. Add to the cereal and top with flax seeds. Toss to evenly distribute all ingredients. Store in an airtight jar or eat immediately.
1 cup Fiber One Nutty Clusters and Almonds
1/4 cup macadamia nuts
1/4 cup coconut flakes
1/4 cup dried pineapple chunks
Toss Fiber One Nutty Clusters and Almonds together with macadamia nuts, coconut flakes and pineapple in a small bowl. Serve dry or with milk.
My thoughts:Fiber One asked me to come up with 3 ways to jazz up their cereal. I went the route of adding some new flavors but also a lot of nutritional ingredients as well like cocoa nibs, kamut flakes, oats and flax. The perfect way to mix up breakfast or a snack! Check out other Fiber One ideas here on their Facebook page.
May 15, 2013
6 mini cucumbers, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
1 small onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup 10% Ättiksprit (Swedish white vinegar)
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 1/2 tablespoons yellow mustard seed
1 1/2 tablespoons dill seed
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
Toss together the salad ingredients in a small nonreactive bowl or jar. Set aside. In a second bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients until the salt and sugar dissolve. Pour over the salad and allow to sit at least 3 hours prior to serving.
Note: If you keep this too long in the fridge, you'll find it has turned into pickles! Which are also tasty, of course!
My thoughts:I love cucumber salad in the warmer months because you can make it ahead of time and it is refreshing. Plus it reminds me of pickles, which is another big love of mine. I used some Swedish vinegar in the recipe, which is like regular white vinegar but much more acidic. It made the lemon rind very, very soft and completely infused the cucumber in only 3 hours. As for the flavor of the dish? Very bright, very lemon-y and crisp. Perfect for serving with any summery meal.
May 13, 2013
2 strips crisp thick cut bacon, diced
1 large onion, halved the thinly sliced
2 lb mixed Betty Crocker Fresh Baby Red and Yellow Potatoes
3 sprigs' worth of thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3 cups chicken stock
1 oz crumbled Gorgonzola
Saute the bacon in high-walled, lidded pot until crisp. Drain the bacon grease from the pot.
In a single layer, arrange all of the potatoes and onions into the bottom of the pot. Cook for 1-2 minutes without stirring. Add the thyme, pepper, salt and chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and partially cover with a lid. Continue to boil for 20 minutes or until the broth has evaporated to the point of only reaching the halfway point of the potatoes.
Carefully use the back of a spoon to gently crack the skin of each of the potatoes. Raise the heat slightly and continue to cook until all of the broth has evaporated and the potatoes have browned on the underside, about 10 minutes. Flip the potatoes and cook the other side for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with Gorgonzola. Serve immediately.
My thoughts:When the folks at Betty Crocker asked me to come up with a recipe showcasing the versatility of potatoes, I knew the method I wanted to use. It is very simple but not one I see very often. You are basically braising the potatoes in just a bit of liquid then cracking their skins and allowing them to caramelize. It is based on an old French method but I jazzed it up (and honestly, gilded the lily) by adding bacon, onions and just a sprinkle of cheese at the end. The The potatoes are positively dripping with flavor and the onions caramelize with virtually no effort on your part and the whole dish is just a the most savory, smoky, decadent way to serve potatoes. I like using baby potatoes, I most often use the yellow-fleshed varieties or the mixed bag of red white and blue if I can find* them but fingerlings work well too. Don't use cut up or whole large potatoes because the texture will not be correct and all of the yummy crispness will be missing.
*blue potatoes have been oddly absent from the stores lately, even in potato chip form. Blue potato blight?