Monday, October 5, 2015

Pickle Juice Marinated Chicken

OK, I gotta be honest.  When I heard about this idea I was perplexed.  But there are few things I won't try at least once.

On my last trip to OK, I heard about marinated chicken in pickle juice.....any kind: dill, sweet, I used bread and butter.  Just marinade the chicken a good part of the day.  No recipe.

When I got home, I did a search to see if this was a legitimate idea and was shocked to find uses for leftover pickle juice.  I do loves me pickles and always have several on hand.

One tip:  I served mine over rice and ended up drizzle a bit more juice to "flavor-it-up" and served it with more pickles.  Another idea: Take a jar (or so) of pickle juice and reduced it down about half-way to deepen the flavor.  Of course your house will smell like a vinegar factory, but the results will be worth it.

See the other neat ideas for using leftover pickle juice at:;postID=6244903463525859335

or just put in a search "uses for leftover pickle juice."

Friday, October 2, 2015

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies

I used to bake and send cookies, etc. to Jim's office.  But now that he's home, I'm finding that I have a backlog of sweet things that aren't being used.  So once again, I'm on a mission to declutter my pantry.

When I first ran across this recipe, I knew I would try it regardless.  But when it had butterscotch chips and chocolate chips (of which I had extras looking for a home), I knew it was next on my "To Make" list.

I have to say, I'm generally a nut-cookie girl.  While I'm not a big sweet fan, if I'm going to have a cookie, it must have nuts (usually double what a recipe calls for).  So you can imagine my surprise when this nut-less cookie came out so well for me.  The oats give it a wonderful chewiness and the combo of butterscotch and chocolate is a match made in heaven.

Check the link below for more info on quick vs old-fashioned oats.  Also, Mel used a #40 scoop for her cookies, I used a heaping Tablespoon.  While her recipe said it made 3 dozen cookies, mine made about 5-6 dozen so I'm assuming the #40 scoop is much larger (that's what a college degree from an engineering school will do for you!)


1 cup (16 Tbsp, 8 oz) butter, softened to room temp
3/4 cup (5.5 oz) lightly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup (5.5 oz) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cups (8.75 oz) AP flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3 cups (12 oz) oats
1 cup (6 oz) semisweet, milk or bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup (6 oz) butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line large, rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or lightly grease with cooking spray (I use silicone baking pans).

In a large bowl with a handheld mixer or in the bowl of an electric stand mixer, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar.  Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy, a minute or so.  Add the flour, salt, baking soda and oats.  Mix until just combined.  Stir in the chocolate and butterscotch chips.

Scoot out the cookie dough into heaping tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing a couple inches apart.  Bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes until set but not overbaked.

Recipe Source:

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Malt Vinegar Roasted Potatoes

The are the potatoes I mentioned in the baked fish and tartar sauce post.  I love roasted red potatoes and almost always roast them the same way (Montreal and Southwest seasonings, S&P, and EVOO) so this was a really nice change.  It had been so long since I'd had malt vinegar and this was a most welcome way to bring it back in my life.


6 medium yellow or red potatoes, cut into 1" cubes
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup malt vinegar
3 Tbsp granulated sugar

In a large bowl, soak potatoes in cold water for 30 minutes.  Drain and pat dry.

Preheat oven to 425F.  Toss potatoes with the oil on a baking sheet and spread in an even layer.  Season with a sprinkle of S&P.

Roast for 45 minutes, turning 2-3 times, until golden and crisp.

In the meantime, place vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan; simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes, or until liquid is reduced by half, stirring occasionally.

Serve malt sauce on the side for dipping, or drizzle over potatoes.

NOTE:  Soaking the potato cubes in cold water for at least 30 minutes removes excess starch, which prevents the potatoes from sticking together and helps achieve maximum crispness.

Recipe Source:

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Baked Fish and Homemade Tartar Sauce

I ran across a recipe for Malt Vinegar Potatoes the other day (recipe to follow) and it reminded me of the early days of the Long John Silver's restaurant.  I remember when the first one opened in my hometown of Midwest City, OK back in the 60's.  It was a real treat for us!  I'd never heard of malt vinegar and it was a new culinary treat.

And while I wanted to make the potatoes, I really didn't want to fry fish.  So I found this Alton Brown recipe on Food Network.  It's so light and delish and uses crisped rice breakfast cereal for the crunch.

The tartar sauce recipe is from "Joy of Cooking" and has been a staple for me for years (Jim's a cocktail sauce fellow, I  like both).

BAKED FISH (4 servings)

Olive oil cooking spray
2 3/4 cups crispy rice cereal
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 large egg whites
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless firm white fish (pollack, tilapia, swai) cut into 2"x4" pieces
Tartar sauce, cocktail sauce, and/or malt vinegar, for servings (optional)

Set a wire rack on a baking sheet and coat with cooking spray.  Lightly crush the cereal in a bowl with your fingers.  Add 2 tsp salt and black pepper to taste.  In another bowl, whisk the egg whites and a pinch of salt until frothy.

Dip the fish in the egg whites, then roll in the cereal crumbs to coat.  Place the fish pieces on the rack (position them on their sides so that the majority of the crust is exposed) and mist with cooking spray.

Bake the fish on the bottom oven rack until crisp and just cooked through, about 12 minutes.  Season with S&P.  Serve with tartar sauce, cocktail sauce, and/or malt vinegar.

Recipe Source:

TARTAR SAUCE (makes 1 1/3 cups)

1 cup mayo
1 hard-cooked egg, finely chopped
1 Tbsp chopped drained sweet pickle relish
1 Tbsp chopped drained capers
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp chopped green olives, optional
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp minced shallot
S&P, to taste
cayenne pepper or hot sauce, to taste

Whisk together.  To thin, you may add a little:

white wine vinegar or fresh lemon juice.

Recipe Source:  Joy of Cooking, 2006, p. 581

Friday, September 25, 2015

BBQ Salmon BLT Salad

Ooh-la-la!!!  With our love of fresh salad and fresh seafood, this was a non sequitur to an entree salad.  Easy to make and oh-so-good for you.  Thank you again, IowaGirl, for a lovely dinner.


2 (4-6 oz) salmon fillets
1/2 lemon
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp black pepper
3 slices bacon
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1 avocado, chopped
Choice of greens: Mixed, spring, romaine, kale combo

Preheat oven to 400F.  Add smoked paprika, salt, brown sugar, and pepper to a small dish then mix to combine and set aside.

Place bacon in a large, cold cast iron or other oven-safe skillet then turn heat to medium and cook until bacon is crisp.  Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain then chop when cooled.  Remove all but 1 Tbsp bacon grease from the skillet then turn the heat up to medium-high.

Squeeze lemon juice over salmon then sprinkle seasoning mix generously on top and rub in lightly.  Add salmon to skillet skin side up then saute for 2 minutes.  Flip then saute for 3 minutes, and then place the entire skillet into the preheated oven and bake for 6 minutes.

Divide lettuce between two plates then top with chopped bacon, tomatoes, avocado, and BBQ salmon.  Serve with your favorite salad dressing (Kristin recommends Italian, balsamic vinaigrette, or basil vinaigrette).

Recipe Source (for lovely photos and step-by-step instructions):

Monday, September 21, 2015

Creamy Mushroom and Roasted Cauliflower Soup

First, as usual, my photos are not those of a professional.  But if you love cauliflower and mushrooms, you absolutely have to try this.

First, the roasted cauliflower adds a lovely depth of flavor with the addition of mushrooms.  And leeks.  Oh yummm.  I added some sliced almonds to add another texture.
Also, if you're just looking for a wonderful cauliflower side dish, just roast the cauliflower per directions.

See the original post (below) for better photos and a much more eloquent description.


1 small head cauliflower (cut into florets)
2 Tbsp oil
S&P to taste
1 Tbsp oil
2 leeks, thinly sliced (some reserved for garnish, if desired)
2 tsp minced fresh garlic
1 pound of mushrooms (button, cremini, wild, sliced, some reserved for garnish, if desired)
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped (some reserved for garnish, if desired)
1/4 cup dry white wine
3 cups vegetable or chicken stock/broth
S&P to taste
1 cup cream (or milk)
sliced almonds, optional

Toss the cauliflower florets in the oil along with the S&P and arrange them in a single layer on a large baking sheet.

Roast the cauliflower in a preheated 400F/200C oven until lightly golden brown, about 20-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat.  Add the white of the leeks and saute until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add the wine and deglaze the pan.

Add the broth and cauliflower, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.  Season with S&P.

Puree the soup until it reaches your desired consistency with a stick blender (I used my Vitamix).

Add the cream (or milk), return to a boil and remove from heat.

Garnish, if desired, with some of the mushrooms, cauliflower, almonds (if using), and thyme.

Recipe Source:

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Bacon and Scallion Corn Muffins

I have two cornbread recipes I always resort to:  my favorite, Southern Cornbread from Joy of Cooking (see 11-18-14 post) and Jim's favorite, Calico Cornbread from a Cooking Light 1997 cookbook (see 10-30-13 post).  And those are the two cornbread recipes I always make.  Always.

But I happened to catch an episode of Giada's Food Network show in which she featured these corn muffins.  I gotta tell you, she's not one of my favorites, but flipping through channels I happened to hear "Bacon and Scallion Corn Muffins."  What was I to do?  I had to try them.

A mighty tasty muffin, I must admit.  With fall so close I can feel it, I'm ready to get back in the kitchen and get ready to line up some soups, chilis, and beans (you need cooler weather and changing colors to really appreciate these dishes.)  And what can go better with these things than cornbread (ok, maybe it's the Okie in me).

Regardless, if you're looking for a variation on the standard corn bread/muffin, this is recipe you won't regret.

BACON and SCALLION CORN MUFFINS (makes 12 muffins)

8 oz (about 8 slices) applewood-smoked bacon, cut into 1/3" pieces
1 1/3 cups buttermilk, at room temp
1 tsp hot sauce
2 large eggs, at room temp
1 1/3 cups yellow cornmeal (about 7 oz)
1 1/3 cups AP flour (6 to 6 1/2 oz)
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp fine salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 sticks chilled unsalted  butter, cut into 1/2" cubes
5 large green onions, chopped

Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400F.  Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.

In a large nonstick skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp and brown.  Transfer the bacon to paper towels; drain and cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, hot sauce, and eggs.  Combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and S&P in a food processor.  Drop in the cold butter cubes.  Using the pulse button, blend until the butter is cut in finely and the mixture resembles a coarse meal.

Pour the dry ingredients over the buttermilk mixture.  Scatter the bacon and chopped green onions over the batter.  Using a thin, flexible spatula, fold the batter together, scraping up the liquids from the bottom each time and turning the bowl as you fold.  Do not over-fold; some dry patches are fine.  Using a rounded 1/3 cup of batter for each muffin, fill the paper liners.

Bake until puffed and browning at edges, and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 18-20 minutes.  Let the muffins stand 5-10 minutes.  Twist each muffin in place to loosen the edges from the pan.  Life the muffins out onto a rack and cool.

Recipe Source: