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:  http://veryculinary.com/2015/09/16/malt-vinegar-roasted-potatoes/

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:  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/baked-fish-and-chips-recipe.html

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):  http://iowagirleats.com/2015/01/26/bbq-salmon-blt-salad/

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:  http://www.closetcooking.com/2011/10/creamy-mushroom-and-roasted-cauliflower.html

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:  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/bacon-and-scallion-corn-muffins-recipe.html

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Salsa Verde Chicken and Rice Casserole


OK....looking for a wonderfully delicious and  oh-so-easy entree OR side dish?  This delightful dish is so versatile.  Since finding this recipe, I've made it as an entree (serving it with a caprese salad) and have also served it as a Mexican side dish (omitting the chicken).

Found (as with so many other lovely recipes), I keep in touch with sweet Kristin at www.iowagirleats.com.  I'll post the full link below so you can see step-by-step instructions and also, Much Better Photos!  Kristin is just the cutest thing with the most handsome husband and sweet little boy, Lincoln.  And if you're looking for some fabulous Iowa eats destinations, you need to keep an eye out on her blog.


3 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup salsa verde (Herdez brand recommended)
2 cups long grain white rice (jasmine or basmati recommended)
3 small or 2 large green onions, chopped
1 tsp EVOO
about 14 oz chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
4 oz green chiles
3 tsp minced fresh garlic
5 tsp AP flour
2 cups milk (any ok.....skim through whole milk....I used 1%)
8 oz shredded Jack cheese, or Mexican blend, cheddar, or your preferred)
1/3 cup light (not FF) sour cream

Spray an 8x8" baking dish (or equivalent-sized baking dish) very well with nonstick then set aside (unless using stoneware dish, like Temp-tations).  Bring chicken broth and salsa verde to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan then add rice, place a lid on top, turn heat down to medium, then coook according to package directions.  Remove pan from heat then fluff rice, spinkle green onions on top and place the lid back on the pan for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat EVOO in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat.  Add chicken and green chiles, season with S&P, and then saute until chicken is just cooked through.  Add garlic then saute for 1 more minute.  Remove chicken and chili mixture to a plate then very carefully wipe out the inside of the skillet with a couple of paper towels (don't burn yourself!)  Let the skillet cool off the heat while you whisk the flour into a dish with 1/2 cup milk.

Return to the skillet to the burner over medium-high heat, add the flour and milk mixture, and then add the 1 1/2 cups milk.  Season with S&P then let the mixture come to a a bubble (NOT a rolling boil), stirring constantly.  Turn heat down to medium then simmer until thickened (8-10 minutes), stirring constantly.  Remove the skillet from the heat then stir in 6 oz shredded cheese and sour cream.  Taste then add S&P if necessary.

Add the chicken mixture and rice to the cheese sauce then stir to combine and scoop into the prepared baking dish.  Top with remaining cheese then broil until golden brown.

Recipe Source:  www.iowagirleats.com/2014/11/03/salsa-verde-chicken-and-rice casserole/

Friday, September 11, 2015

Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup

We are getting so close to autumn, I can feel it!  After tonight, our lows are going to be in the 50s and highs in the mid- to upper-70s!!!  So we're on coarse for changing colors, cooler temps, and soup!!!

I'm a few weeks ahead of myself but I just couldn't wait.  I've had this recipe on my docket for months  and just took the plunge.  This will be a must-have for the upcoming cooler months, and you can use your slow-cooker or adjust the recipe and make it stove-top.

Since there are just the two of us, I cut this recipe and half and still had plenty for leftovers (which you'll want).


2 (14 oz) can regular or petite-diced tomatoes, with juice
1 cup finely diced celery
1 cup finely diced carrots
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup finely diced onions
2 tsp finely minced fresh garlic
1 small bay leaf
1 tsp dried oregano or 1 Tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
1 Tbsp dried basil or 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1 cup shredded or shaved Parmesan
2 cups half-and-half, warmed
S&P to taste
extra Parmesan for garnish, optional
croutons for garnish, optional

In a large slow cooker, combine tomatoes, celery, carrots, chicken broth, onions, garlic, bay leaf, oregano, and basil (if using fresh oregano and basil; if using dried oregano and basil, add those two ingredients in the last hour of cook time).  Cover and cook on low for 5-7 hours, until flavors are blended and vegetables are soft.

About an hour before serving prepare a roux.  Melt butter over low heat in a skillet and add flour; stir constantly with a whisk for 5-7 minutes.  Slowly stir in 1 cup hot soup from the slow cooker.  Add another 3 cups soup and stir until smooth.

Add all back into the slow cooker.  Stir and add Parmesan cheese, warmed half-and-half, and S&P.  Cover and cook on low for another hour until ready to serve.  Garnish with more Parmesan and croutons, if desired.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Amazing and Simple Greek Feta Dip

Football season is here!!!  That means hours of the weekend (and Thursdays and Mondays) noshing in front of the tv.  And this treat will be at every single game.  It is utterly the most delicious and easiest dip I have ever made.

Talk about simple!  Only takes a minute to make.  The original recipe calls to kind of "build" the dip on a place, but I just mixed it all together.  Click on the link below for more info (especially about block feta vs crumbled feta) and better photos.  


2-3 Tbsp EVOO
3-4 (about 1 1/2 cups) Roma tomatoes, chopped
2 green onions or a bunch of chives, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
8 oz feta cheese
2 tsp Greek Seasoning (found in the spice aisle or you can make your own)
White or regular Balsamic vinegar, optional
Sliced baguette, crostini, or pita chips for serving

Drizzle the olive oil over a plate or platter.  Add the tomatoes and green onions or chives and crumble the feta cheese over the top.  Sprinkle on Greek seasoning and toss lightly to combine.  Drizzle with the balsamic vinegar, if using (just a tsp or so to start, add more to taste).

Serve the dip with soft, sliced baguettes, crostini (baguette slices brushed with EVOO and baked at 325F for 15-20 minutes or until desired crispness), or pita chips.

Recipe Source: http://www.melskitchencafe.com/amazing-greek-feta-dip/

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Sesame Cashew Slaw

Once again, I must tell you that I am a cole slaw aficionado.  Even the often-kinda-icky deli coleslaw.  If they bring it, I will eat it.  Especially if I eat it with saltine crackers.  It's my caviar on toast!

This one is a bit different in that it is served warmed, but not wilted.  It was served with that awesome sweet smoked broiled fish demo-ed at Publix last week (do they ever serve a bad dish?!!!....wait 'til you try the cornbread salad I had the other day!!!)

They used a pre-cut coleslaw mix found in the bagged salad section of the produce department (but I have a fabulous cole slaw chopper.....see it at http://www.qvc.com/Genius-10-piece-6-Cup-Mix-Slice-and-Chop-Set.product.K40357.html?sc=K40357-ISRC)....it chops it KFC-style.  Anywho.....however you like your coleslaw cut, try this recipe if you, too, are a coleslaw aficionado.

SESAME CASHEW CLAW (approximately 4 servings)

3 oz scallions, finely chopped
3 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp minced roasted garlic
1 (16 oz) bag shredded 3-color coleslaw mix
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup citrus rice vinegar
1/2 cup roasted cashews

Chop shallots.  Place sesame oil and garlic in large saute pan on medium, cook and stir 1-2 minutes.  Add shallots, cook and stir 2-3 minutes or until shallots are soft.

Stir in slaw, salt, and vinegar until evenly  coated.  Cover and reduce heat to medium-low; cook 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally or until slaw is tender.  Stir in cashews.  Serve.

Recipe Source: http://www.publix.com/recipes-planning/aprons-simple-meals/sweet-smoke-broiled-fish-with-sesame-cashew-slaw

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Chicken and Lemon-Chive Dumplings

I love, love, love chicken and dumplings.  Unfortunately.....Jim, not so much.  Therefore, I rarely make one of my favorites dishes.

But I got a new pressure-cooker cook book and I had to try this one.  It is a really easy recipe (don't let the ingredient list scare you.....prep everything ahead and it goes pretty quickly).  Also, you don't need a pressure cooker.  I'm listing the recipe as it is in the book, but you could simply use a stock pot to make this and just cook the chicken and potatoes until ready.

One Note:  I really like these drop dumplings, except I thought there was just too much lemon zest.  I would start with half the amount called for.  You would still get the lemony flavor, but I found the original amount to be a bit overwhelming.

One More Note:  I was delighted to bring back my Grandma Barton's dining dishes when I was in Oklahoma a few weeks ago.  Isn't this bowl precious?  No one is certain how old they are, but we know them to be at least 70-years-old.  What a shame no family member (except me....such a sucker for by-gone days) wanted these beautiful memories of our childhood.


2 Tbsp EVOO
1 onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
2 tsp minced fresh garlic
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 cup white wine or dry vermouth
4 cups chicken stock
3 cups diced red-skinned potatoes (about 1 pound)
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts and thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups Bisquick mix
1/2 cup milk
6 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
2 Tbsp lemon zest, about 2 lemons (I would cut this in half, at least)
1/4 cup butter, softened at room temp
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the pressure cooker using the BROWN setting (mine doesn't have a brown setting, so I did this step in a saute pan).

Add the olive oil to the cooker and saute the onion, celery, and carrots until they start to become tender-about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and dried spices and cook for another 2 minutes.  Add the white wine (or vermouth), chicken stock, potatoes and chicken pieces.  Season with S&P, give everything a good stir and lock the lid in place.

Pressure cook on HIGH for 10 minutes.

While the stew is cooking, make your dumplings.  Combine the Bisquick mix with the milk, chives, and lemon zest in a bowl and stir until the dough forms.  Set aside.

In a second bowl, combine the butter and flour to form a paste and set aside.

Release the pressure using the QUICK-RELEASE method and carefully remove the lid.  Ladle some of the hot liquid from the cooker into the bowl with the paste and whisk well.  Pour the mixture back into the cooker, and add the cream and parsley.  Return the cooker to the BROWN setting and bring everything to a gentle simmer.  Season to taste with S&P.

Drop the dumplings by the large spoonful onto the surface of the stew.  Then, put the lid on the cooker, turn it off and let the chicken and dumplings sit for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe Source: "Delicious Under Pressure" by Meredith Laurence, 2015, p. 72