Saturday, March 28, 2015

Spring Roll Salad


We love spring rolls, the Asian rolls wrapped in rice papers (not fried).  It's a great light meal for late evenings or hot weather.  I generally put all of the ingredients out and then we just roll our own putting in as much or as little of each ingredient as we desire.

This is basically just a deconstructed spring roll.  And it is good!  I prefer to use roasted shrimp, but you could certainly use some cooked chicken (a great place for leftovers).  I found the Japanese salad dressing recipe in own of my beloved Moosewood cookbooks (while tossed salads aren't a traditional Japanese food, they've become popular and often served in Japanese restaurants).

I'm listing the dressing recipe as I found it, but I only made a quarter of the recipe....just right for two entree salads.  And there are no amounts for salad ingredients, it just depends on how much you want to make (I roast my peeled and deveined shrimp with a bit of EVOO and black pepper on "High Broil," top rack for 3-6 mintues, depending on the size).

Serve this with egg rolls or potstickers on the side.

Salad Ingredients:
chopped lettuce (green or red leaf, romaine, or spring mix)
shredded cabbage
chopped cucumbers
carrots cut into matchsticks
rice noodles, run through hot water until softened
bean sprouts
chopped red pepper
fresh mint leaves, torn
fresh basil leaves, torn 
sliced green onions
cooked shrimp or chicken
roasted peanuts
salt to taste

Salad Dressing:
1 small garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/4 medium onion, minced (about 2 Tbsp)
1/2 medium carrot, grated small (about 1/4 cup)
1 1/2 Tbsp grated peeled fresh ginger root
1/4 tsp dried mustard
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp apple cider or apple juice
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup mild rice vinegar (you can use apple cider vinegar, but first bring to a boil and let cool to room temp)
S&P to taste

For the dressing:
In a food processor or blender, whirl the garlic, onion, carrot, and ginger for about 30 seconds (I simply whisked it).  Add the rest of the ingredients, except the S&P, and process until thickened.  Stir in S&P to taste.

For the salad:
Toss all of the salad ingredients together (can be made ahead and refrigerated).  You can either toss the shrimp or chicken with the salad, or serve it on top.  

When ready to serve, toss salad and dressing until well-covered.

Recipe Source for the dressing:  Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant, 1990, p. 405

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Corned Beef with Carrots and Potatoes (and Cabbage)


Did you do a traditional St. Patrick's Day Corned Beef and Cabbage?  I certainly did.  Every year I have to ask myself why I only make it once a year.  I love corned beef and cabbage.  Maybe it's that seasonal/holiday thing like only having eggnog at Christmastime.

Regardless, it's one of the things I adore about this time of year.  I have found in the last few years that my favorite brand, hands-down, is Groebbels (vs. Murphy & David which are usually these only two choices in these parts).  And I generally use either the crock pot or pressure cooker with outstanding results (adding the vegetables at the end of the cooking time).  

But when I saw this recipe in our local paper a few weeks prior to SPD, I thought I'd try this elevated approach.   It includes adding extra spices (including a specialty spice blend), bay leaves, allspice berries, mustard, and beer.  Their recipe called for fingerling potatoes, but I had some large red potatoes on hand which I simply quartered.  Also, they did not call for the added cabbage but, come on, what's SPD with corned beef and cabbage?

CORNED BEEF with CARROTS and POTATOES (and Cabbage) (servings depend on size of corned beef)

1 packaged corned beef brisket with seasoning packet (as big or small as your family needs)
4 dried bay leaves
8 whole allspice berries
1 Tbsp of Kitchen Creole's Black Rose spice blend (available online)
1 onion, sliced
2 stalks celery
4 large whole cloves garlic
2 Tbsp whole-grain mustard
1 bottle Dark Stout Guiness beer or other dark lager
1 1/2 bottle of water
Fingerling potatoes, leave whole
Carrots, cut in large chunks (I used small baby carrots)
1/2 or whole head of cabbage, quartered, optional

Place bay leaves, berries, kitchen creole, onion, celery, and garlic in the bottom of a slow cooker.  Place corned beef fat side up on top of mixture, along with seasoning packet.

Spread mustard on top of brisket, along with more kitchen creole.  Pour in beer and water.  Cover and set to low heat for about 5 hours; at that time check to see if brisket is tender.  If it's tender, leave it in the cook and add potatoes and carrots (and cabbage, if adding).  

Turn heat to high and continue to cook for 45 minutes (test beef and vegetables, add more time if necessary).

When ready to serve, remove beef and let it sit for several minutes before slicing.  Serve with vegetables.  Serve with butter/more mustard/and/or horseradish sauce.

Recipe Source:  www.timesfreepress.com/news/life/entertainment/story/2015/mar/04/courtes-kitchen-low-n-slow-corned-beef-simple-make-packed-flavors-and-good-several-meals/291186/

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Coconut Shrimp Curry


If I had to pick only one protein that I could eat for the rest of my life, it would be in the fish/seafood family.  And oh! how I do love shrimp!  And curry.  And anything with coconut milk.  Needless to say, I savored this dish.

And it's another quick and easy one.  I served it with some of that coconut rice I just made and stashed in the freezer, plus I found another bag of frozen coconut milk I had tucked away.  And, of course, I had shrimp in the freezer (I'm plowing my way through my freezer at a pretty good clip these days.....I actually have room to put more stuff in.....{just kidding, Sweetheart}).

I served this with steamed broccoli, but mango slices would also be good if you're wanting some sweetness.  Also, I had some leftover petite diced tomatoes with chipotle, so I left out the cayenne pepper and it still had enough heat for a little a bit of a bite, but not too hot for us.  Also, I cut this recipe in half and used a 12-oz package of 26/30 shrimp.

COCONUT SHRIMP CURRY (6'ish servings)

For the shrimp marinade:
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 1 lemon)
1-2 pounds large or extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined

For the sauce:
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium red or yellow onion, finely chopped
1 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp minced fresh garlic, from about a 1" piece of ginger
1 Tbsp kosher salt
2 tsp finely minced garlic
2 tsp ground corianer
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp curry powder
1 (14.5 oz) can diced or petite diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can coconut milk, light or regular
1/2-1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Hot cooked rice for serving, if desired

For the shrimp marinade, toss the shrimp with the S&P, cayenne, and lemon juice in a resealable large bag or in a bowl.  Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes (or hours if you want to do this step earlier).

Meanwhile, in a medium-sized pot, heat the oil over medium heat until rippling and hot.  Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Stir in the pepper, ginger, salt, garlic, coriander, turmeric, and curry powder.  Add the undrained tomatoes to the pot and cook, stirring and scraping up the browned bits from the bottom, for about 1 minute.

Increase the heat to medium-high and then simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring often.  Add the coconut milk, stirring to combine.  Bring the mixture to a boil and add the shrimp and marinade liquid.  Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until the shrimp are curled, slightly pink, and cooked through, about 2-4 minutes. Stir in the cilantro. Serve over hot, cooked rice, if desired.

Recipe Source:  www.melskitchencafe.com



Friday, March 20, 2015

Coconut Rice


This is about and basic and simple as it comes.  I tend to make quite a few Asian-inspired dishes and this is a perfect accompaniment to almost anything.  It make quite a bit and since there are just the two of us, I freeze leftovers so I have a ready-made side dish.

I actually used this to serve with the Thai Pork and Mango Salsa I made back in July (see 7-25-14) post.  And yes!  That pork freezes and thaws wonderfully (eight months in the freezer!)  And one more thing:  don't throw out unused coconut milk.....it also freezes wonderfully.

COCONUT RICE (6 servings)

2 cups jasmine rice
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
1 tsp kosher salt

Rinse and drain rice in cold water.  Place in a saucepan with water, coconut milk, and salt.  Place the pot over high heat and bring the liquid to a boil.  Stir and reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting and cover tightly with the lid.  Continue cooking for 15 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and let stand 10 minutes, covered.  Fluff with fork and serve.

Recipe Source:  www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/coconut-rice-recipe1.html

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Cauliflower Broccoli Cheese Soup


I had some leftover cauliflower and broccoli in the fridge and looked up a recipe for a creamy soup.  I was so in luck....I just happened to have every ingredient on hand!  So this soup came together in a snap. 

I followed the recipe exactly, but found that the end result was very, very thick.  So I thinned it out a bit with a little extra milk.  It was perfect.  However, when I reheated leftovers in the microwave, it was too thin.  So I would suggest if you plan on having leftovers,  put that aside first and thin out what you want to use first.  Then if the reheated soup is still too thick, you can add a little extra milk at that point.

Regardless, thick, thin, or just right, it's a really good soup!

CAULIFLOWER BROCCOLI CHEESE SOUP (4 servings)

1 1/2 cup small cauliflowerets
1 1/2 cup small broccoli florets
1/2 cup chopped onion\
1/2 cut sliced or chopped carrots, or whole or halved baby carrots
1-2 Tbsp butter
3 cups milk, divided
1 tsp chicken bouillon granules
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
black pepper to taste
1/4 cup AP flour
2/3 cup (about 4 oz) processed American cheese, like Velveeta

In a large saucepan, cook the cauliflower, broccoli, onion, and carrots in butter for 5 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender.  Stir in 2 1/2 cups milk, bouillon, S&P.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for about 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.

Combine the flour and remaining 1/2 cup milk until smooth; add to saucepan.  Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened.  Reduce heat; add cheese and stir until melted.  Serve immediately.

Recipe Source:  www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/cauliflower-broccoli-cheese-soup

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Holiday Cookie Recipes



Well, this is obviously a really late post!  Christmas cookies.  But I wanted to add it because you can get such a great deal on seasonal cookies after holidays.

After any holiday, stores always put their seasonal candies on sale.  Not having much of a sweet tooth, it takes quite a cookie recipe to say it is my favorite.  And that is so with these Espresso Mint Cookies (see 10-22-14 post)...the cookies in the middle.  But this year I also picked up a package of Hershey's Mint Chocolate Chips and Nestle's Dark Chocolate & Mint Morsels.    These two make a great chocolate cookie with mint flavoring, but can only be found around Christmastime.  

I used the recipe on the package for these last two cookies, but fall back on the Espresso Mint Cookies I found several years ago (I wish I knew who published that recipe....it's the best!)  And if, in the future, you find a recipe you like for any seasonal chip/candy, don't be afraid to load up on them.  When the Candy Cane Kisses are marked 50% off, I usually get about a dozen bags and throw them in the freezer.  The are good for at least a year, you'll save money, and your friends and/or family will think you're the Easter Bunny, even if it's 4th of July!

HERSHEY DOUBLE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES (makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies)

2/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp AP flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 cup baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 pkg (10 oz) Hershey's Mint Chocolate Chips

Heat oven to 350F.

Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl until creamy.  Add egg and vanilla; beat well.  Stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; gradually add to butter mixture, beating well.  Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 8-9 minutes or until just set; do not overbake.  Cool slightly, remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.  Cool completely.

MINT CHOCOLATE DELIGHTS (makes about 4 dozen cookies)

2 cups AP flour
2/3 cups baking cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks butter or margarine, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 package (10 oz) Nestle's Toll House Dark Chocolate & Mint Morsels

Preheat oven to 325F.

Combine flour, baking cocoa, baking soda, and salt in small bowl.  Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in a large mixer bowl until creamy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Gradually beat in flour mixture.  Stir in morsels.  Drop by well-rounded tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake for 11-13 minutes or until cookies are puffed and centers are set.  Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Buttermilk Pound Cake


I had some buttermilk looking for a home and decided to make use of it in a couple of bundt cakes.  I generally make a coffee cake with cinnamon and pecans, but this is a straight-up pound cake.

Moist and dense, it's a perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea or coffee.  You could make a glaze for it, but for travel purposes, a little sprinkle of powdered sugar might be easier.

BUTTERMILK POUND CAKE (16-20 servings)

1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
2 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
3 cups AP flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Confectioners' sugar, optional

In a large bowl or stand-mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Combine flour and baking soda, add alternately with buttermilk and heat well.  Stir in flour.

Pour into a greased and floured 10" bundt pan or tube pan (I use cooking spray for baking).  Bake at 325F for 70 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.  Dust with confectioners' sugar if desired.

Recipe Source:  www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/buttermilk-pound-cake