Just jotting this down because I made it up tonight, and it ROCKED. You’re lucky there were leftovers, or there would be nooooo pictures to prove I made it. (;
Quick Southwestern Potato Salad
- 12 red creamer potatoes
- 1 large green onion, chopped
- 1/2 a small red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- a small handful of cilantro, minced
- juice of one lemon
- dollop of Best Foods olive oil mayo (use your favorite mayo)
- splash of hot sauce (I used Arizona Gunslinger chipotle hot sauce)
- salt and pepper to taste
Boil the potatoes until fork-tender. While they are boiling, chop the onion and bell pepper, and make the dressing by mixing the garlic, cilantro, lemon juice, mayonnaise, and hot sauce until well-combined.
Drain the potatoes, cool slightly, and chop into quarters. Toss with the onion, bell pepper, and dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.
I haven’t made jam since … eesh. Before Christmas. (That batch was quince. Ah, gorgeous quince, but that’s not today’s post!) I’ve been busy and kinda run-down. Doing better, so I made jam today.
How do you detect a perfectly ripe Bartlett pear? It should be a warm just-turned-yellow color with speckles, and deliciously fragrant. Your Bartletts are green and hard? No problem! Pears don’t ripen until they’re picked. Set them out and they’ll ripen on the counter over the course of a few days. It won’t hurt to use some slightly underripe pears, but you may need to cook them longer. Could you make this with D’Anjou or Bosc pears? Sure. They’re not as sweet, so you may not get as much yield — jam yields depend on the sugar in the fruit and the sugar you add. Don’t want apple pie spice? Leave it plain, or use your favorite sweet spice blend (look, poudre douce again!), or a splash of vanilla. Never canned? This will make fine freezer jam.
Super-Easy Pear Jam
Makes approximately 7 half-pints. I got just under 8, but I like my jam soft. If you like it firmer, you’ll get a bit less.
- 3 1/4 lb. delicious juicy-ripe Bartlett pears
- generous 1/4 c. lemon juice
- about 5 c. sugar
- 1/4 tsp. apple pie spice
Prepare your canner, jars, and lids if you’re canning. Otherwise, set out some freezer-safe containers. Set out a blender or food processor. I use an immersion blender because I’m lazy, and because I don’t like scooping hot-like-lava food into a blender.
You can peel the pears if you like. I don’t bother. I like a bit of texture in my jam, and the skins are full of nutrients. Core the pears and chop into small chunks. Put the pears and the lemon juice in a wide saucepan, cover with a lid, and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook for about 25-30 minutes, until the pears mash easily with a spoon. Puree the pears with your blender or food processor — be careful, it’s hot! You can leave some small chunks if you like; it doesn’t have to be perfectly smooth.
Add the pears back to the pan and set the heat to low. Add the sugar and 1/4 tsp. apple pie spice. The spice here is supposed to be subtle — the jam should taste like delicious sweet pear, only better. If you want it more pie-like, you can add more spices.
Stir the pear mixture until the sugar is all dissolved, then raise the heat to medium-high. Boil the jam vigorously for 10-15 minutes, until it sheets off a spoon or mounds in a chilled dish. This went very quickly for me. I think it was because my pears were so sweet that there wasn’t a lot to boil down. Ladle hot jam into hot jars (pints or half-pints), cover with lids and bands, and process in a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes. Or allow to cool and scoop into freezer containers and freeze.
I am being overrun with greens from our CSA. It’s that time of year, it happens. Mark’s not so much a fan of greens as I am, so we end up with more than we can easily eat, sooner or later. What to do with a plethora of greens? Make soup! This recipe is easily adaptable for whatever greens you have, and it’s a snap to throw together.
Creamy Greens Soup
- one large onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. butter
- a pile of greens — I used a mix of kale, beet greens, radish greens, and broccoli leaves, stems removed and roughly torn
- chicken broth
- salt and pepper to taste
In a medium pot (trust me, a big pile of greens shrinks fast), saute the onion in the olive oil and butter until tender. Add the garlic. When it is nicely fragrant, add the greens. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the greens have wilted. Add enough chicken broth to make the soup look brothy, then splash in some milk — I think I used about two cups of chicken broth and half a cup of milk.
With an immersion blender, puree the soup to your preferred smoothness. Or use a food processor or a blender, working in batches. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and enjoy. Add a little nutmeg if you think it needs it. I thought the radish greens gave it enough pep that it didn’t.
Be aware that beet greens bleed red — if you use beet greens, your soup will not be a pretty green color, but kind of muddy looking. It’ll still taste fantastic.
In the winter, I just don’t want to eat cold food. Coupled with the fact that I crave comfort food and I’m trying to cut down from the sugar insanity that is Christmas, it’s nice to have something semi-healthy to fall back on.
Speedy “Baked” Apple (serves 1)
- 1 apple, cut into 8ths and cored
- generous pinch brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp. raisins
- a nice sprinkle of poudre douce
- 1 tsp. butter
Put the apple pieces in a microwave-safe bowl. Top with brown sugar, raisins, poudre douce, and dot with bits of butter. Microwave 3-5 minutes depending on the power of your microwave and how cooked you like your apple. Eat with care as it can be like flaming hot lava. Delicious flaming hot lava.
I really did honestly just throw these together out of what was in the house, so your version may not look like my version. That’s fine, it’ll be tasty, trust me. (: I would like these to have a bit more of a creamy filling, but they’re still pretty good just as they are. This makes enough filling for about 12 pasties, pocket-pies, calzones, whatever you call them.
Curry Chicken Pasties
- 1 to 1.5 recipes Sourdough Piecrust
- 1 lb. ground chicken
- olive oil
- 1 small-medium onion, chopped
- about 10 button mushrooms, chopped
- 1/2 c. celery or Swiss chard stems, chopped (I used reconstituted dried celery and chard from my stash)
- 1 hot pepper, minced
- 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric (if you’re using Penzey’s turmeric, use less — it’s strong stuff)
- 1/2-1 tsp ground ginger
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 c. raisins (or more)
- 1/4-3/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (depending on how much heat you like)
- salt to taste
- juice of 1 lemon
- generous pinch sugar
- 1/2 tsp. garam masala
- 2 Tbsp. butter
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Saute the onion and celery in a generous splash of olive oil until they start to turn soft and tender. Add the mushrooms, hot pepper, and spices. When the mushrooms are beginning to get tender, add the garlic and the ground chicken. Chop and smash the chicken with a spoon as you cook it to get small pieces. Add a little water to loosen it all up if you need to (the mushrooms will release liquid as they cook, which may be enough), then add the lemon juice, sugar, and raisins. Let cook until the raisins are nice and plump and the chicken is fully cooked. Swirl in the butter, remove from the heat, add the garam masala, and stir well. Taste and add salt or more garam masala if needed. Allow to cool.
Make small balls of the sourdough piecrust, each a little larger than a golf ball. Roll one ball into a round, top half the round with chicken mixture, fold over the other half, and seal it shut with a fork. Cut a vent hole in the top of the pastie with a sharp knife and place it on a cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining pastry balls. You will get about eight pasties with 1 recipe of piecrust, and some chicken left over. You’ll get about 12 for 1.5 recipes of piecrust, and no chicken left over.
Bake the pasties at 350°F for 40 minutes, until golden brown and crisp. They can be frozen and re-heated in the oven to crisp them up — 20 minutes at 350°F for reheating.
It’s been hot here. So hot. I haven’t been wanting to cook much, but dang it if I didn’t want to eat at home tonight, and I wanted warm food that wasn’t too heavy. Been eating out way too much lately.
About 45 minutes after raiding the fridge for whatever was in it, I came up with this:
Completely Impromptu Krab Casserole
- Half a large onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Splash of olive oil
- Kernels from 1 ear of corn
- 1/2 lb. krab or real crab, whichever you prefer, chopped
- 1 hot pepper, minced
- 4 Kalamata olives, minced
- Dollop of Lemonaise (or the best other mayonnaise you can get your hands on)
- Dollop of lowfat yogurt
- About a cup of shredded jack and Fontina cheese, divided
- Half a jar of the Desert Pepper Trading Company black bean-corn salsa
- Salt and pepper to taste
To serve: tortilla chips and guacamole (preferably homemade)
Preheat the oven to 350°.
Chop the onions and garlic, and saute in the olive oil until translucent. While those are cooking, cut the kernels off the cob, mince the pepper and the olives, and chop the krab, and place all of them in a medium bowl. Add the onions and garlic. Stir to combine, then mix in the Lemonaise and yogurt and about half the cheese, and season to taste with the salt and pepper. Spread in a greased 8×8″ baking pan.
Top the krab mixture with a layer of the black bean-corn salsa, spreading it over the surface, then top with the remaining cheese. Bake at 350°F until the cheese is melted and the casserole is bubbly, about 20 minutes. Serve hot with tortilla chips and guacamole, or roll into tortillas. (Make sure you include the guacamole. The cool creamy taste with the little pops of sweet corn and krab is to die for.)
I suppose technically, this is a quiche, since it involves eggs and leftover bits and pieces. But I like pie. Mmmm, pie.
Since my stovetop is currently unreliable for simmering, I’ve started baking for breakfast. Or more accurately, baking ahead of breakfast and reheating. Pies are easy to reheat — plop a slice or two on a pie pan, cover with tin foil, set your oven to 350°, pop the pan into the oven, and wait 10-15 minutes. Not quite as good as fresh, but way better than the microwave. The tin foil helps retain the moisture in the crust, so don’t go without it.
This week’s breakfast is using up some meat and mushroom crockpot ragu that I made last week; it’s a recipe from The Italian Slow Cooker by Michele Scicolone. (By the way, it’s an excellent book. Everything I’ve made out of it has been dynamite.) This particular leftover includes ground chuck, Italian sausage, and mixed mushrooms. I’m also using up some poor zucchini that got left in the bottom of the fridge. Such a sad thing — try not to do that to your zucchini. (; The recipe is infinitely flexible; about six cups of cooked mixed meat and veggies, three eggs, some cheese, and a pie crust.
I love making pie crust by hand, but the high around here has been in the 90°s (that’s about 33° for you Celsius people) for the past week, and it’s going to continue for the rest of the week. So hand-making the crust is not very practical right now. Too melty. Fortunately, the food processor is a great tool for making pie crust in the heat, so I’m including the recipe for that as well. Make the pie crust first, and let it chill while you put together the rest of the ingredients.
Food Processor Pie Crust
- 1/2 c. whole wheat flour, plus more for dusting
- 1/2 c. white flour
- 1/2 tsp. sugar
- generous pinch salt
- 1/4 c. butter, cold
- 1/4 c. bacon drippings, cold (you can use all butter, but I like bacon drippings for meaty pies)
- 2-3 Tbsp. milk
Put the flours, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor, and process just to combine. Cut the butter and bacon drippings into chunks and add to the food processor. Process just until they are incorporated into rough pea-sized bits. With the motor running, add the milk slowly through the feed tube, stopping immediately when the dough gathers itself into a ball. You may need to whip the dripping feed tube out of the processor. Remove the dough from the food processor, wrap it in plastic wrap, and tuck it in the fridge for at least half an hour to chill out.
Leftovers for Breakfast Pie
- 3-4 c. zucchini, small dice (about four small zucchini)
- olive oil
- about 2 c. leftover cooked meat and mushroom ragu, or whatever meaty thing you have left over, well drained
- 3 eggs
- 1/4 c. milk
- 1/2-3/4 c. shredded cheddar, or whatever cheese you like (cheddar was just what I had on-hand)
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
Saute the zucchini, seasoned with salt and pepper, in a generous splash of olive oil until nicely browned.
Add the drained ragu and set aside to cool.
Beat the eggs well with the milk, season with salt and pepper, and set aside. Shred the cheddar. Check your pie crust and see if it’s firm enough to handle.
When the pie crust is firm enough to handle, roll it out, dusting with extra whole-wheat flour to prevent sticking.
Scoop it up with the rolling pin and drape it into the pie pan, and flute the edges however you like. I used a fork because to be honest, I didn’t wait long enough to roll the crust out and it was sticking.
Fill the pie with the zucchini-meat mixture and top with half the cheese. Pour the eggs over, then top with the remaining cheese.
Bake at 350°F for 30-40 minutes, until a sharp knife stuck in the center comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes and serve, or let cool completely, cover, and store in the fridge for breakfast.
I bragged about making these on Facebook, so of course then I got a request for the recipe. It is really easy! I got the recipe from one of Peter Reinhart’s bread books. I am embarrassed to admit that I don’t recall which one, but all his books are good.
Homemade Ritz Crackers
- 1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 c. cake flour
- 1 tsp. kosher salt, plus additional for garnish
- 1 Tbsp. sugar
- 3/4 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 10 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted, plus an additional 4 Tbsp. melted unsalted butter for garnish
- 1 egg for the dough, 1 egg beaten with 2 Tbsp. water for egg wash
- 6 Tbsp. cold milk (any kind – I used nonfat)
Combine all ingredients except butter for garnish, salt for garnish, and egg wash. Mix for one minute by hand or with a paddle attachment on your mixer. The dough should form a firm, non-sticky ball. (This will be an unusual dough – it should be pliable and smooth, and absolutely not sticky at all. It may feel somewhat greasy to you.)
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for about 30 seconds to make sure it is well-mixed. Dough should be slightly tacky, but not sticky. Adjust with flour or water as needed.
Preheat the oven to 400F and line three baking sheets with parchment paper. You do not need to grease the parchment paper, but do use it – otherwise the crackers may scorch.
Roll the dough out on a floured surface to 1/8″ thick. I do this in several batches because that is really thin and requires a lot of space. Prick the rolled-out dough all over with a fork. Cut the dough with a pizza wheel or with cookie cutters (I have a cute tiny fall leaf set that I used), and place on the cookie sheets. If you are feeling fastidious, you can cut the dough first and then prick, so that the docking is pretty. I will admit to doing that. ^_^; The dough will not expand as it bakes, so go ahead and cram them close together on the sheets.
Brush the crackers with the egg wash, sprinkle with salt, and bake two pans at a time in the preheated oven, for 16-20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the bake time. At the end of the bake time, brush the crackers with the remaining melted butter and return them to the turned-off oven for 3-5 minutes. They should be a rich golden brown, and crisp. If you find they are deep golden brown when you pull them out of the oven the first time, just brush on the butter and get them out of the pan quickly so they don’t overbake.
When baking the third sheet, check them at about 14 minutes – they will cook faster if it’s just one pan. Let cool and enjoy!
Malmenye is something I got introduced to many years ago in the SCA, at the first event where I helped in the kitchen. I’d never heard of it then, but it made quite the impression — shredded chicken napped in a rich wine sauce, studded with pine nuts and raisins. And if that wasn’t good enough, it was then put in honey-brushed pie crusts and baked off. Amazing stuff.
When I inquired as to the recipe, I got told that it was in Take A Thousand Eggs or More, by Cindy Renfrow. Aha! thought I — I have those books. It turned out that it was in the second book, which is the one with the translations, but no redactions. Since it’s been over fifteen years and I couldn’t remember exactly how it got made, I ended up re-redacting it myself. And since I loved the recipe, but didn’t want to deal with a million dishes, I took a shortcut, and made it in the crockpot. This is actually a mix of several malmenye recipes; one’s specifically a capon recipe, the others are pottages (think of a pottage as a soft cereal dish, kind of like oatmeal).
Crockpot Malmenye Furnez
- 1 chicken, skinned and cut into 8-10 pieces (I did 10 — the breasts were huge)
- 1 medium onion, chopped (this is in none of the original recipes; it’s my own addition, because I felt the dish was too sweet otherwise)
- 1 c. almond milk (find this at your local health-food store)
- 1 c. good red wine
- 1 Tbsp. poudrefort or poudredouce
- 1/2 c. honey
- 1/4-1/2 c. red wine vinegar
- 3 oz. pine nuts (1 small package)
- 1 c. raisins
- 1/4 c. rice flour
- salt and black pepper to taste
Combine everything except the salt and pepper in a large crock pot. Mix well. The dish will be scary pink right now because of the red wine and red wine vinegar. Do not fret; it will turn a lovely brown color as it cooks. Cook on low 5-6 hours, until the chicken is done and falling-off-the-bone tender. Remove the chicken from the crockpot, shred well, and return it to the rest of the sauce. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.
You can serve it as-is, or serve it in a pie crust. To serve in a pie crust, brush the bottom crust with honey, add the malmenye, cover with a second pie crust, crimp, and bake at 350° until the pie crust is golden. (I’ll admit, I haven’t baked the current batch in a crust — it’s good just plain or over rice.)
You may find that the sauce is not thick enough for your liking; the rice flour clumped in mine because I didn’t stir well enough. If that happens, remove the shredded chicken and sauce from the crockpot and put it in a pot on the stove. Bring to a boil. Make a slurry of equal parts cornstarch and water, and add it to the sauce 1 Tbsp. at a time, allowing it to return to a boil (that’s when the thickening occurs) before you add more.
Easy and delicious. Give it a try — you’ll like it. (:
I’ve seen some recipes for raw kale salads floating around on the interwebs, and I’ve tried them, and they were OK, but they weren’t what I wanted today. Today, my body flat-out demanded Raw. Kale. Now. OK, OK, OK, says I. Here you go:
Extreme Italian Kale Salad
- 3 leaves lascianato (dinosaur) kale, stems removed and leaves sliced very thin
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 sprig basil, sliced very thin
- 1 sprig oregano, leaves and buds torn off
- generous amounts salt, pepper, olive oil, and good balsamic vinegar
Combine all ingredients, mix well, and eat. OM NOM NOM. This is insanely good. I might go make seconds.