Saturday, May 31, 2014

Boat Club for April

You might have noticed I didn't post anything about our Boat Club Potluck in April.

You didn't?


Well, I wasn't there so wasn't able to write about it or more importantly, was not able to take pictures.

Luckily for me, I have a friend.

Actually  I have lots of friends, but this one friend did go to Boat Club and she took her camera with her, and took pictures for me.   And the next time I saw her, which was at Tapas last month, she handed me the camera card and I downloaded the pictures, and then lost them.

Not exactly lost, they were saved somewhere on my hard drive, and every search I made to find them, was a failure.  And I spend hours doing searches and well...

Then today, I was cleaning up the hard drive, moving stuff around and guess what I found?

The pictures from Boat Club in April.

So, even though I didn't get to eat any of it, I can at least see what was brought and share it here, with you.

Again, I want to thank Donna who took all the pictures.
 There were Deviled Eggs and I'm sure they disappeared fast.
 There was Ham..
 There was a Pasta Salad, and I'm sorry I missed that.  
 Quiche, two ways.    Which makes me think I need to make some Quiche soon.  Or at least as soon as it cools down outside.
 And here's the other Quiche.
Those veggies look so good, wish I'd been able to sample them.

And of course desserts were well represented.   Ever get the feeling that we have a sweet tooth down here?
 These look so good, I bet they were.
 April is Easter month and there were some eggs, and maybe they were hard cooked?  Ummm, I guess I need to find out, but the colors looked like they would fit in here.
 Pineapple.  Don't see the toothpick holder anywhere.
 Brownies and Danish, looked yummy.
And then this.   Last but not least.     I don't know what it was, but OMG it looked good.

So there you have it.  A roundup of the great dishes brought by some of the great cooks in our area.

Even if I didn't get to taste any of it. 

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Asian Turkey Meatballs

I was in an Asian kind of mood for Tapas this month.    I'd planned on making some Sushi and Spring Rolls, and I wanted to make a protein of some kind as well.  I was thinking some kind of pork, cause let's face it, pork and sweet and sour sauce or Soy Ginger dipping sauce, it goes so well together.

But as I was rooting around in the freezer, I ran across some ground turkey and a light bulb went on over my head.

OK, so I hit the light switch with my elbow.

I wanted to give it some Asian style oomph so I did what any self respecting cook would do.  I typed  Asian Meatballs with Ground Turkey into a search engine and found several sites.   And they all had something in common,  actually they had a lot in common.   
There were two sites who had the same recipe, and not one of them credited the other one.  But I'm not like that, so here are the sites I went to, this one   then this one, with the exact same recipe.  And the final site I checked out.
They all had turkey, green onions, bread crumbs, sesame oil and an egg in common.

I figured I was on track then.  I had all the ingredients so I went to town.

Well, not really, I didn't want to go to town, I just wanted to use what I had on hand.  
 So, I thawed out a pound of turkey, and added an egg, some panko bread crumbs, sesame oil, chopped green onions (scallions if you prefer), chopped cilantro, soy sauce, some grated ginger and a little more sesame oil.    Mixed it all up and fried a little of the meatball mixture to see if I had the seasoning right.

The time to correct seasonings is before you cook it all up, not after.  

Believe me when I say I've done that before and really regretted it.   That is, cooked the whole thing and didn't taste test it first.

1 lb. Ground Turkey
1 large egg
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
2 teaspoons Sesame Oil
2 teaspoons Soy Sauce
4 green onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup Cilantro, finely chopped
1 tsp. ginger, grated.  (I keep a ginger root in the freezer all the time, and just use my Microplane on it when I need ginger) 

Mix together well, and then take a little bit out, fry it and taste for seasonings.   I didn't add any salt or pepper to this, as there is a fair amount of salt in the Soy Sauce.

After taste testing it and correcting seasoning, in other words, adding a little bit more sesame oil, (at least that's what I did),  use a small scoop or a spoon, or just your hands and form small meatballs from the mix.  I used my littlest scoop and ended up with 24 mini meatballs.   I then placed them on a cookie sheet and baked that at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.
They didn't brown real well, but when I checked the internal temperature, they had reached 165 deg.   So I pulled them out of the oven and let them cool.  (and forgot to take a picture).    I also ate one, just to make sure they were OK to eat.

And after all that, I then decided that maybe, if we had a crowd that I might not have enough.  So I grabbed another pound of turkey out, defrosted that and made another batch.

However, I didn't realize that I'd used up all the green onions in the first batch, so I pulled a Vidalia onion out of the cupboard and grated up about a quarter of it, and added that to the turkey along with the seasonings.

Then I thought, "hmmm, I wonder if I can make this gluten free by using some all purpose gluten free flour' along with all the other stuff.  (and yes, I know these are not truly gluten free as I did not use gluten free soy sauce, but you can if you like)  And as gray pallid and pale looking the first meatballs were, I decided that this batch was going to be fried.  So I did.
And they were good. 

 This end had the non gluten free meatballs, and they didn't look all that appetizing, I thought.   Tasted wonderful dipped in the
Sweet Chili Sauce, but...

And this end of the dish (complete with note) had the fried, gluten free meatballs. 

I really loved how they tasted, both versions that is, and would do them again. 

However, next time, I'm frying them.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Herbs in my garden...

I was loving the whole idea of being able to go outside and pick fresh herbs for the Herbie Chicken I did last week.

It felt wonderful, just knowing I had all those great flavours growing in my little backyard.

And when I say little backyard, I'm not kidding.  It's all of 7 feet wide, and bricked.

But I have pots and pots and pots of stuff growing.   And when I went outside just now I realized that I don't have a lot of flowers, most of my pots contain herbs.

Gee, I wonder what that says about me?   Apart from the fact that, most herbs like not being in direct sun to grow, and my backyard is a little shady.

I have a Meyer Lemon tree, in a pot, which produced a lot of lemons last year, but this year, it's not doing too good.  But, it's OK if it wants to take a year off from producing.  I'll just keep feeding it, and watering it, and removing the little pesties that invaded it this year.

I also have some violets which I brought with me from our first house, many years ago.  I love how they smell when they bloom.  And you know, you can candy the violets if you want to.  In fact  there is even a liqueur that is made from violets.   I think I'm getting ideas here.

I have Rosemary, which has lasted for a year now.  I hasn't killed it yet.

Dill, was just a little sprig when it started.  And I'm going to be using it a lot this year. 

Chives, which need to be repotted or planted in the dirt, but in the meantime, I raid them on a regular basis.

Parsley, which also need to be repotted or something, I need to pick some of it and freeze it before the swallowtails get to it, and eat it all gone.

Cilantro, I cannot wait til it's big enough to harvest.  GROW, GROW, GROW...

Mint, which did escape and one of the long runners rooted in a pot where I have some lemon trees growing.

Oregano, and I think I can start harvesting and drying or just chopping and freezing it now.

Thyme, another herb which can be harvested and dried, or maybe harvested, and frozen in little olive oil blocks, hmmmm.

Celery, which I started from the base of some celery I'd used a couple of months ago. I grab the leaves and chop them up for flavour. 

And out front I have some Heirloom tomatoes, Anaheim Peppers and more Parsley. Gotta plant lots of that for the swallowtail and monarch butterfly caterpillars. 

Just need to plant some Basil, maybe some Chervil, but that has to wait for fall, Chervil doesn't like hot weather.

And I need some Sage, otherwise how can I sing?

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme.

Get it?

Never mind, I need to go water something now.   

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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Tapas for May

I had fun yesterday, but then again I have fun most days in the kitchen.

Yesterday however, I had a friend come in and make some of the dishes for Tapas last night, and then she went home and made a strawberry pie and a potato salad to bring.

It all started a while ago, I'd been talking about making Sushi and she asked me if the next time I was making it, would I show her how to do it.

I was kinda in an Asian food mood for Tapas this month, so I arranged with Nancy to come on down and I'd show her how I made Sushi. 

 It wasn't hard for her to come either, she lives in the next house down from me.

So we made a few rolls, and then I showed her how I make Spring Rolls, and we had fun.   And when she came down for Tapas, I showed her how to cut them and we taste tested it and they were good. 
You cannot be afraid to taste test as you're cooking.  Or slicing up the food.  

I also made some Asian Style Turkey Meatballs, in two versions, one of them gluten free.  And both were good.  I'll give you the recipe for those another day. 

In the meantime, here are the stars of the night.  And I missed two pictures, bad Sid.   One was of some lovely fish dips and crackers and the other was some sliced meats. 
I have to learn to take a big picture of everything on the table. 
Next time. 
But, here are the dishes that I did get a picture of:

The Spring Rolls, of which there were only a couple left last night.  So, I guess I have to eat them for breakfast along with some of the leftover Sushi.  

You didn't think I was going to let them go to waste?  

The Potato Salad Nancy made after our marathon Sushi and Spring Roll session.  
 Asian Style Turkey Meatballs, I'll share how I made them a little later on.   I was actually quite pleased, but I know I can do better next time.
 Mudbugs, or Crawdads.  You have any idea how hard it is to crack the claws and get the meat out of these little guys? 

I did try.  
 Green Salad.   See how pretty?   I love craisins in salads and the walnuts, just amps the salad right up.
 This was the best squash casserole.  I noticed some people went back for seconds.  

You were looking, huh? 

Robin makes such fun vegetarian dishes. 
 And continuing with the Asian motif, there was this General Tso style chicken dish.   Very, very good.   
I love when Mark makes a dish and brings it, it's always good.

And then there were the desserts:

Brownies, and I managed to get a piece that was corners, I like that the best.  
 Then there was this Toffee Bar.  Such a simple recipe and not that many ingredients, just lots of butter and sugar, which of course can make anything taste good.    But I wrote down the recipe and I'm going to make it.
 Gotta love a good Danish.   And this was pretty darn good too. 
 Watergate Salad.    One of those dishes that doesn't know if it's a dessert or side dish, but it really doesn't matter, it's always good.   My MIL used to make this all the time, and I've missed it.  

The pineapple and Santa Toothpick holder made their appearance as well.    We don't let Kathleen in without either one of them.  
 Harriet made a Strawberry Shortcake Trifle dish.  And it was good.   

It's funny but I cannot stand the smell of fresh strawberries, but I do like the taste.  

I grew up on a farm and we grew Strawberries, Raspberries and other soft fruits for market.  And one of my jobs as a teen was picking strawberries. I grew to hate dislike the smell of them, but I still like the taste.  And processed into jam, or Rodgrod, they're just fine.

And last but not least, there was this Strawberry Pie.  And it was good as well. 

And as I said, I missed a couple of pictures but next month I will try to do better, and get an overview of the table, but last night I just enjoyed the company, and it was good as usual.      And the food wasn't bad either. 

I think the diet will start on Monday...

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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Agurk Salat (Fresh Cucumber Salad)

You ever go to the grocery store with a list and then get everything on that list and nothing more?

Really, you can do that?

Not me.   I go with a list and then usually add to it.  Like last week.

I'm looking at the lemons, and my attention was caught by the cucumbers.       So I picked up a couple.

Took them home, and decided to make some Agurk Salat. Which is basically a fresh cucumber salad/pickle, which my mom would make and serve as a side dish with dinner, goes so well with grilled meat.   And it's not bad on an open face sandwich either. 

Or just straight out of the dish, eaten, before dinner.

 Mom made these with regular vinegar, as that is all we had back then, but I would like to think that she would like my version as well.  I like using Rice Vinegar as it is not as acidic tasting and the Cider Vinegar adds a nice tang to it as well.

Agurk Salat
1 cucumber, sliced thin
1/4 cup Rice Vinegar
1/4 cup Cider Vinegar
2  tablespoons sugar (or to taste)

Slice one cucumber, very thinly.  If you have a mandoline, that works, or just use your knife skills.  Which is basically all I do.   Use my knife skills and slice very, very thin, making sure not to get any fingers in the way.  Red and green are great for Christmas, but not in a cucumber dish.

If you want to get a little fancy, just use a zester or the tines of a fork and scrape all the way down the cucumber.  That way when you slice it, you get some pretty designs. 

After slicing it, just layer the slices in a dish, I used this small pyrex dish. 
Sprinkle salt over the slices, put another layer down, a little more salt until you've layered all the slices.  Let it sit for about 15 minutes or so, then basically stir it together to make sure that the salt is evenly distributed.    Walk away from it at this point.  Just for an hour or so, not too long.

Drain the salty cucumber juice from the slices and give it a little rinse if you want with some fresh water.   Then squeeze out the rest of the liquid.    Set the cucumber aside.

Measure out the vinegar and sugar and heat it, stirring it until the sugar dissolves.  You want this to be warm, but not hot.    Place a fresh sprig or two of Dill into the pan, let sit for just a minute then pour over the cucumber slices. 
Make sure that they are all submerged in the vinegar.
Taste.  Well, actually you don't need to taste them at this point, but I wanted to, so I did.

Cover and let sit for an hour or so, then serve.

These are fantastic on some fresh Leverpostej (Liverpaste) or on top of a grilled burger or just as a side dish.

If there is any left over, refrigerate them for a couple of days.   I have no idea how long they will stay good for in the fridge, cause they just don't last that long in our house.  

I had some on my lunch today, a lovely pork sandwich.
And I will share how to make a proper Smørrebrød later on, but for now, my lunch is waiting.

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