Sunday, September 27, 2015

Tapas Night for September.

The wine glasses have been washed and put away, and I've uploaded all the pictures I took last night of the food.

And boy did we have some great dishes that were brought.

I've actually given up being surprised by variety and the kinds of food people bring to Tapas Night.

I just enjoy it, and try to sample a little of everything.

I don't always succeed but, I try...

But best of all, are the conversations I get to have with our guests.   A couple of months ago we had our front porch screened in, and then we put up a ceiling fan out there and people migrated in and out of the house, and it was wonderful.

But since this is a food blog, you're probably wondering just what all was brought.

Here are the dishes.

Pizza, with pineapple and ham.   I know it has a name, just gotta think of it and look up how to spell it as well.

Hawaiian Pizza.

Got it... 
 A selection of pickles, which is something I love.
 There was this rice dish, which I did not get the name of.  But really, rice and mushrooms, together happens to be one of my favourite flavour profiles.
 There was this dish of chicken drums being either guarded by or being consumed by the crabs.
These are Blue Crabs which were caught yesterday and cooked. 
(I ummm, took one of the claws and ate it.  And it was good.)
 Then there was this Taco dip, mine never looks this pretty.  

 Baba Ganoush, with perfectly crisped pita points.
 Grapes and Cheese, and in the background a Crudite platter. 
 I'm going to call these Ham and Cheese Sliders for lack of a better name.

And they were very good.   I know who brought them so if I get the proper name for them, I'll tell you. 
 Chicken Satay. 
I was told this was spicy, but I didn't think so.   I just thought it tasted great.  
 I love, love, love Honeydew melons and Cantalope and these were excellent, just a hint of liqueur.
 Little sausages in a BBQ sauce.  So good.

I have to admit to an inordinate fondness for Broccoli Salad.    There is just something about the sweet tang that will keep me eating this.

I once made some to take to a gathering, but ended up 'tasting' too much of it, so had to substitute another dish. 

It was totally worth it.

 It's a good thing I have a sturdy table.  

Look at all the great food.  In the front is some Pineapple Salsa along with some Guacamole.  In the back, is a Meatloaf that was brought.

I have to apologize, I didn't get as many pictures as usual.

We had a glass bowl shatter on the floor just as I was taking pictures, and when glass meets tile too abruptly, it gets messy, so I missed a couple of shots.

This is another view of the table.     There was also a chickpea dish, the name of which escapes me at the moment.

 And yet another view of the table.

I also made a couple of things.
 A Kentish Pie.  I actully made one a couple of years ago, and decided it was time to make it again. 

This time round I cut the apples thicker, and used a different kind of bacon and I liked it a lot better. 
This is a lousy picture taken at the end of the night, but you can see the distinct layers inside the pie. 

And judging by the fact that this was the last piece left, I think it was a success.
 This one wasn't so much.  I thought it would be fun to coat some goat cheese in toasted almonds, but it really wasn't a good idea.
 I also made some Seeded Crackers, cause I like them, and they're just plain good.   

And honestly, they're not hard to make, at all.

 I found a Keitt's Mango at Winn Dixie last week and bought two. 

These are a large, and I do mean large mango, with a green skin.  They look similar to a large avocado.

And the flavour was so wonderful.    I used one of the mango's in a Mango Papaya Salsa on some salmon earlier in the week,  but this one was destined for Tapas.
I think I need a couple more.
 I also picked up a couple of Papaya's as well.  
I do love a good Papaya as well. 
 I also made some oven baked Won Tons with Cream Cheese filling.

I'll share how to make this at a later date.
I don't dare not make a loaf of my No-Knead bread for Tapas.  I wasn't really thrilled with this one, but it was pretty much eaten.

And now for the desserts...

I managed to not get a shot of the Pineapple, sigh.

But here are the rest of them.

I'm sorry I don't remember the name of this cake, but I had some and I loved it. 
 I didn't get to taste this, but it looked fantastic.

Chocolate Cake with a Chocolate whipped topping, I was told it was really good, moist and rich and delicious.
And in the back there, some brownies. 

That's it for this month.  

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Bagna Cauda

Do you ever wonder about the person who first created a recipe?
I mean who would think of putting anchovies, garlic, olive oil and butter together and then using it as a warm dip for veggies? 
I can see the garlic, olive oil  and butter together, but why would someone throw in anchovies? 

I like anchovies, on a hard cooked egg, but in a dip? Really?

I actually heard about this from Russell Blair who used to help me out from time to time at the Senior Center.  And since I like to play with food, I decided to make it for Tapas last month.  BTW, Russell is actually a real life Chef who's been cooking professionally for many years.  So, I listen to him when he talks about food.
Back to the Bagna Cauda from Tapas last month.
I really wasn't that crazy about it.  I have to admit.
But then again, I'm told I didn't let it simmer long enough, that the 1/2 hour or so I had it on the stove was not long enough for the anchovies to 'melt' and change.
He swore that the longer you cooked it the better it became.


I had to try making it again, cause I knew it could be good.  I even searched a few websites for recipes.   I found this recipe and then ended up tweaking it a little, well, maybe more than a little, but it was so good.

And you know, this time I done did it, I nailed that recipe and I will make this again.  Thanks Russell.

We were invited to a friends house this past week and were treated to an array of home made pizzas'.  I didn't take pictures of the various pizzas', and now I'm kinda sorry.  But I wanted to bring something to share that was Italian in nature and decided to try the Bagna Cauda again.

I'm glad I did.

Very glad.

Recipe:  Bagna Cauda

1/4 lb. butter, melted
2 roasted garlic cloves (I made my own)
2 tablespoons garlic infused olive oil
1 tablespoon anchovy paste
1 cup heavy cream.

Melt the butter over very low heat, the lowest heat you have on your stove.  Add the garlic, anchovy paste, and olive oil.  Let cook for at least 45 minutes or so.  Stirring it from time to time.  The garlic and anchovy paste will disappear into the butter.  Pour in the cream, and let it cook until it thickens.
Take off of the heat and serve with some crusty bread or do as I did, roast some cauliflower, carrots and slice up some crusty bread for dipping.  I did end up serving this lukewarm, and it was very good.   I'm told that it should have been served hot, but we ate it anyway. 

I have to admit to two new addictions.  Roasted Cauliflower and Roasted Carrots.   The ones I made the other day barely made it to the gathering.  I had to keep tasting them. 
And the little bit of Bagna Cauda left over?  Well, I've been dipping bread into it and eating it for lunch.

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Sunday, September 20, 2015

Monte Cristo Sandwich

I remember the first time I had this sandwich.

I'd never heard of such a sandwich before, and it sounded so exotic to my Danish tastebuds.

Monte Cristo Sandwich
Monte Cristo Sandwich with Jelly

The name evoked images of castles and seasides and Counts.

I have a great imagination.

I was in Victoria,  at a little restaurant, which was tucked away in a shopping mall  and was kind of upscale and a place where 'ladies lunched'.  They had a proper 'tea' you could order as well as a nice assortment of sandwiches.

I don't remember the name of the restaurant, but I will never forget the sandwich.

The Monte Cristo.

It was a lightly battered and fried sandwich which contained cheese and turkey and was served with a little pot of currant jelly.  Oh, and it had a dusting of confectioners sugar over the top.

Monte Cristo Sandwich with Jelly

After tasting it for the first time, I was in love, and made a point of going there for that sandwich whenever I was in Victoria.    I have no idea what else was on the menu, cause I only wanted a Monte Cristo.

Fast forward a few years, I'd moved away, far, far, away and got the craving for that sandwich again.  So I decided to make it.  And it was just as good as I remembered it.  But then, I got the bright idea of combining thinly sliced ham alongside the turkey and it was better.   And I've been making it that way ever since.
This is great as a light dinner, a lunch or a brunch...

I love multi purpose meals like that.

Recipe:  Monte Cristo Sandwich
Per person
2 slices white bread (I like french bread or challah or a good bread, but use whatever kind you like)
2 thin slices ham
2 thin slices turkey
2 thin slices provolone cheese
1 egg beaten with 3 tablespoons of milk
1 Tbsp. butter for frying
Red Currant or other tart jelly for serving with the sandwich.

Whisk together the egg and milk, heat pan with the butter over medium-low heat.
To make the sandwich, lay out one slice of bread, place a slice of provolone cheese on top,

then layer the ham and turkey finishing it off with the second slice of provolone cheese and the second slice of bread on top.

Take the assembled sandwich, dip into the egg batter, making sure that the entire sandwich has a chance to absorb the egg,

flip over, dunk the other side.  Don't let it sit too long in the egg batter though.

Place into the heated pan and cook over medium low heat until one side is nice and browned,
then flip over and cook the other side adding more butter to the pan if needed.
  This is done when the egg is cooked and the cheese is melted.
Serve on a warmed platter with some tart jelly.  I like Red Currant Jelly with this but Mayhaw Jelly is great as well.   You can also use your favourite jelly or jam, after all, it's your sandwich.

This makes a wonderful light dinner, an elegant lunch or a hearty breakfast.

And, and, and...

You can actually make a bunch of these, put them on a platter in the oven to stay warm and serve them as a special brunch.    I've also warmed the jelly in the past and poured it over the top of the sandwich, but that was a little much. 

If you want to read a little more about Monte Cristo Sandwiches, click here. 

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Friday, September 18, 2015

Coleslaw Dressing

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 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 of the bowl disappeared, 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.

I used to make this when I cooked at the Senior Center and it was always well received.  Sometimes I added more carrots, sometimes more apples.  It was all good.   I even added canned Pineapple from time to time.

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
Whisk all together, and taste.   If you need a little more tart, add in a little more vinegar, more sweet, add sugar.  This is all to your taste.   Remember, you're the one making it. 
Personally I love celery seed so I use a lot.

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.  
And if you're in the mood for something a little more, try adding a can of crushed pineapple, juice and all. It makes for a slightly different taste, but boy is it good.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

From Paneer to Rye Bread, this week in the kitchen.

I may have been making a lot of the same old same old this past week, but that doesn't mean I haven't been busy in the kitchen.  

We were up in the big city last week and I picked up a few pounds of Hatch Green Chiles, I only got 10 pounds, sheesh... I then proceeded to roast them and freeze them for future meals.  I didn't feel like roasting them over a gas flame, just put them under the broiler this year.  Big mistake, I ended up kinda 'cooking' them a little too much.  But they're still edible.  And this year those Chiles' were really hot.   I do mean hot, as in mouth fanning, whooshing, hot.  But soooo good.  

  I did peel a few and make some Chile Rellenos
for dinner.  I had to.  They were fresh and smelled so good. 

And they were hot!!!!

That's really not a bad thing. 

I also got some pork cooked for some Chile Verde. And froze the meat and some of the chiles for future meals. 

One of which happened to be this week.  

I didn't say how far into the future I wanted to go.

I do love having the makings for a few dinners in the freezer.  Especially when it comes to Mexican dishes. 

I've got lots and lots of chiles and pork in the freezer. 

Then I made some Paneer.  

Cause we ended up with a lot of milk which would have gone south if we didn't use it.  And I've been craving some Palak Paneer anyways, so having the Paneer ready made and waiting in the freezer is a good thing.  

I have a makeshift 'paneer' press going on here.  

Paneer is a fun Indian cheese which lends itself so well to a lot of dishes.  I may experiment a little more since I have lots of Paneer now. 

And since we were going to a Labor Day potluck I cut up a bunch of onions for the burgers and hot dogs, but ended up taking some of the onions back home so I just caramelized them and stuck them into a ice cube tray to freeze for meals down the road.
 This is a silicone ice cube container I got last year, and is so darn handy.  I bought it at Winners while visiting family.
I think it's really pretty as well.
 I moved as I was taking the picture but I thought it looked kinda cool so I included it.

I also made that incredible Blossom Dipping Sauce and told you that it would be good on a roast beef sandwich.
Well, gee, when I made the London Broil the other day I had some left over, so I sliced it very thin, then smeared some of the sauce onto a piece of warmed up Naan, placed the London Broil on it, and proceeded to eat it.
OMG, it was so good.  I'm seriously contemplating just roasting some more meat so I can have more sandwiches.
You need to try this, I mean it, honestly, I think it's one of the best sauces I've ever come up with.

 I also made a sourdough starter for Rye Bread.  It smelled wonderful, but when I baked the rye bread off, it was kinda disappointing, but I'll eat it anyway.   Not quite sour enough.  Next time I'm using buttermilk again. That did give it that 'sour' taste I love in rye bread. 
Now to figure out what to make for next week.

Any ideas? 

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