Monday, March 31, 2014

Coleslaw

If you're in the south you know you'll be served Coleslaw as a side dish, it goes with everything.   And I do mean everything.   From a side for Pulled Pork to a side for fried fish to a topping on a hot dog, southerners seem to serve it everywhere.   

I basically made this up one day, I was in the mood for 'slaw, had a cabbage, carrots and an apple but no dressing.  So I started throwing a few ingredients together, and tasted it and it was pretty darn good.   Then the next time I made it, it was my contribution to a potluck, and this time the entire bowl disappeared.  Well, the contents disappeared that is, so I figured I was onto something.   Especially when requests were made for the recipe.
I cheat sometimes, I'll buy a bag of the prepared slaw at the grocery store, but then I add a couple more things to it.   I like a couple of finely grated carrots, as well as a grated apple or two, preferably a tart apple.

But, since I'm making this to take to a friends house tonight, I thought I would share the recipe.  I had put it on my other blog, but really, this is good enough for a second, third or even fourth look.  At least I think it is.
Coleslaw dressing.

8 oz.  (approximately) Miracle Whip
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tsp. yellow mustard
1-2 tsp. brown sugar
1-2 tsp. celery seed
1-2 tbsp. sweet pickle relish or a couple of sweet gherkins or some bread and butter pickles, chopped fine.
Whisk all together, and taste.

If you need a little more tart, add in a little more vinegar, more sweet, add sugar.     This is for your taste, and your taste is important.   For myself I like it a little sweet tart and I have to have celery seed in it.  Otherwise it just does not taste right.  

 I have to confess, I chop the cabbage by hand.  I slice it very thin, then cross cut it.  I like the texture better and it doesn't seem to 'mush' up as much.   

And when you grate the apples, don't peel them first, those peels are good for you.  Just make sure you wash the apples first.  
Pour over a head of shredded cabbage, a couple of shredded carrots and a shredded apple.   Serve immediately for maximum crunch.   Slaw will soften when it's been sitting.

Personally, I like it a little more relaxed so I put the dressing on a couple of hours before I serve it. 
 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Roasted Peppers with Balsamic Vinegar

A few years back I was sitting and visiting with one of my sisters and she brought out a dish of pepper strips, which had been charred, peeled and pickled in balsamic vinegar and we snacked merrily away on them.

OK, so we ate them all.

But I really liked them so I started making them for myself whenever peppers came on sale and then I would have to hide them from myself so I wouldn't eat them all at once.

Well, it just so happened I had a few peppers in the fridge that needed to be eaten soon.  And umm, gee, NPA is Friday so I had one of those light bulb moments, and decided to make them up for Friday.

I also happen to have a red onion in the pantry and lots of garlic, so I decided that maybe the onions and garlic would be amenable to the slight pickling action of the balsamic vinegar.  Figuring if it didn't work, well, gee, I would just eat the evidence or make an offering to the kitchen goddess.

So here's the how to's.

First off, you need to skin those peppers.  I don't have a gas stove, but I do have a broiler element in my oven so they went under the broiler for a few minutes, just until the skin on the peppers blackened and cracked.  At which point I turned them around and did the other side.  I wanted the skin to be 'burnt' off on all sides.   If you have a gas stove this is even easier, just turn them over in the flame until they blacken.  Or use your gas BBQ grill.  All of these methods work.

As soon as the skin is blackened, place the peppers in a Ziploc bag or a covered bowl so they can 'sweat' a little.


















This loosens the skin so you can just wipe or peel it right off.























Once that is done, go ahead and cut the peppers down on each side, and then cut them into strips.  But don't keep the inside seeds or ribs, they just get downright nasty, throw those away.   Place into a bowl and set aside.

 Pour about 1/4 cup or just three or four glugs of balsamic vinegar over the peppers and about the same amount of olive oil.  Set aside.  I didn't measure, just glugged it on there.

I tried adding the red onions, raw, but they were too harsh, so I zapped them in the microwave in some balsamic vinegar and olive oil, along with a clove of garlic.  Yes. A single clove, I restrained myself.   But I had a hard time keeping from eating all the onion.

I had to taste test it.
And gotta say, I'm so going to do this again, however, I added them to the peppers. What was left, that is.

Gave them a good stir and made them pose, a couple of times.

And they are now ready to be eaten.  



These would be great on a cheese plate with salami or on an antipasto plate, oh heck with it, just fork em up and eat them.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Leek Pancakes

I found the following recipe at the LA Times , and I knew I wanted to make it for Tapas this month.    I not only had Leeks in the fridge, I also had some Kamut flour I'd bought awhile ago and I wanted to try it in something, anything.

Not really, I've just been having fun experimenting with some of the different flours around. So many people I know are trying/are eating gluten free, so I get to play around in the kitchen with the flour.


And last Saturday, I was also ahead of the game, I was prepared, and ready to go.
 See, I had the dishes on the table, and all I had to do was put the salmon in that gorgeous glass dish which I just got at this little shop in my town.  And I needed this glass dish, really I did.



According to the Times these will make about 5 1/2 dozen pancakes, but I didn't count them.  I know it made a lot and I ended up freezing probably half of them.  And I have an idea for the rest of the cakes, but I will let you know later on what I do with them.  And the green Leek tops that I did not use, they are going into a soup later on this week.   Also, wash, wash, wash that Leek.  They tend to hold onto the sand, and I hate biting into that. 

Recipe

3-4 large leeks, white parts only, washed and thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
6 tablespoons and a little more for the pan
1 teaspoon sea salt
4 eggs
2 cups  milk
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 cup flour
1 cup Kamut flour
2 teaspoons baking powder


Sauté the leeks in 6 tablespoons of butter with a pinch of salt in a large fry pan, until soft and just barely beginning to caramelize, about 10-12  minutes. Remove from the heat and let it cool in the pan.
Whisk together the eggs and milk until well-blended and let it rest for about 10 minutes.  Mix together the two flours as well as the salt, pepper and baking powder.  Then add that mixture to the egg/milk and whisk together until combined.  After the leeks have cooled, mix the leeks into the batter, being sure to add all the melted butter from the pan.
 Heat the same skillet you used for the leeks over medium heat, adding a little more butter if necessary.
Ladle a heaping spoon of batter for each pancake into the pan, and cook until bubbles form and the underside is golden brown, about 1 1/2 minutes. Flip and finish cooking about 1 minute on the other side. Repeat with the rest of the batter, keeping the pancakes warm on a plate near the stove.


I served these with a lovely smoked salmon with Creme Fraiche, chopped red onions and capers.   I also made some Buckwheat Blini as well, but I'll tell you about them another time, I still have to 'nail' the right way to make them.  However...

I took the leftover Buckwheat batter, stuck it in the fridge overnight and made them into Buckwheat Pancakes for breakfast.  And that recipe is ready to be revealed, but you will just have to wait for another day for that.




Sunday, March 23, 2014

Tapas Night for March

Tapas Night report for March: 

Really I couldn't think of a good way to start this post.  As usual we had a houseful of guests and wonderful conversations and incredible food.   Although I did get caught up in a couple of conversations and fell down on the job of getting photos of a couple of the offerings.  I just realized that this morning when I downloaded the pictures.

So in advance, let me tell you that one of our guests brought an incredibly tasty venison stew, and I didn't get a picture, grrrr   And there was also a pie I missed, and some ambrosia apple salad, and I hope that is all I missed getting shots of.

But...

Here are the dishes that I did get a shot of, and also barely got a taste of, cause they disappeared so fast. 

We do have a lot of talented cooks here. 

We do.

 And they make fun and tasty dishes as well. 



Beef and Chicken Empanadas.   I didn't get a chance to taste these, as they were gone by the time I got there. 
 I made a loaf of my No-Knead bread and put out a plate of cold cuts. 
 Then there were the Guava Empanadas.  I did manage a taste of them, there was a single, solitary Empanada left and I got it. 
 Savoury Rollups served with salsa.   Again, a popular dish.
 Here's a fun way to serve pineapple and canned pears.   And they are tasty.  I would never, ever have dreamed of pairing up cheese and canned pears, but it is quite common in the south. 
 Who doesn't love stuffed pretzel bites.  I know I do. 
 Veggie Pizza and I got the recipe.  Which I will share with you, later on.  This was really delicious. 
 Squash casserole, and again was told it was really good, but I didn't get to taste it.  It was gone by the time I got to it.

 Overview of the table, clockwise.  From the lower left, Chicken and Beef Empanadas, Smoked Salmon with Leek Pancakes and Buckwheat Blini served with capers, Creme Fraiche and minced red onion.  The Guava Empanadas, Rollups, Squash Casserole, Veggie Pizza, and bread with cold cuts.  

I made the Leek Pancakes as well as the Buckwheat Blini and will post that recipe later on.
 Stuffed Jalapeno's.   And they were HOT!!!!!  So good, I managed to get one.  And when I went back for a second one they'd disappeared. 
 Dim Sum, Pearly meatballs and I don't remember the name of the other stuff peppers, but so good, and I am getting the recipe for the dipping sauce.  I do love a good dipping sauce.  It can make a dish go from good to WOW.  

 Flat Bread pizza with goat cheese and various toppings,  very tasty.  











And then there were the desserts... by the time I'd made my rounds and tasted stuff, I only got tastes of a couple of things. 
  Oatmeal cake, with Coconut topping.  Very Nice.
 An Apple Caramel Cake, and YUM.  I really have to think of new descriptions, but for now YUM, will have to stay.
 In the front some grapes and in the back a luscious coconut cake. 
 I believe these were brownie squares.  All I know is they disappeared before I got to them.
Cheesecake slices.  Nuf said.  












And as I said before, I missed getting a shot of the Venison Stew, the Apple Ambrosia salad and another chocolate pie. 

I'm sorry about that, but I do reserve the right to enjoy my own parties and not be a total bore with my camera taking pictures. 


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Deviled Egg Chicks for Easter

I had fun yesterday, I made deviled eggs to bring to NPA and then I went a little further and made these
 Chicks out of some of the eggs.


To start with, hard cook your eggs however you like.  I use my Eggsact  Egg Timer, just cause I love it and have been using this particular one for almost 20 years.  I learned a long time ago, I cannot time eggs, but with this, I can. 

After cooling and peeling the eggs, reserve a couple of eggs for these cute little chicks.

Cut a little slice off of the bottom of the egg, so that it can sit nicely without falling down.  Then cut the egg across about a third of the way down, and scoop out the yolk, being careful you don't split it.

 Add that yolk to the rest of the egg yolks, and make your filling however you like.  I was a purist with these, just a little mayo, mustard and a touch of miracle whip, plus some fresh ground pepper.   Place the yolk filling in a piping bag with a star tip or just place the filling into a ziploc bag and snip off a corner for piping the filling into the eggs.  




Fill the white and then pipe a little more of the filling into the cap (the top third you cut off), and place on top, at a slight angle.
Add some eyes, I used Capers, but you can use pickles, or black olives or...  And then add the beaks.  I used some colby jack cheddar cause I was too lazy to peel a carrot and cut it into pieces.  But I think either a carrot or regular cheddar cheese would have been better.   And go ahead and pipe a little of the filling onto the pieces you cut off of the bottom.  If you haven't eaten them already.  (I ate a couple, well, gee, deviled eggs? I mean who can resist them). 


I then decorated them all purty with some paper parasols, and got them ready to take to NPA last night.   The toothpicks you see there were to help tent the plastic wrap so the pretty piping didn't get smooshed.

I did notice that the plate I took for the guys was eaten almost right away, but no one wanted to eat the chicks.  

Well, gotta go and get ready for Tapas tonight.  I'm sure there will be some really fantastic dishes brought again and a good time will be had by all.