Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Red potato salad with dill

So I don't like potato salad and neither does my husband. In fact, neither of us like any mayonnaise based salad except tuna salad. I know he hates it, but sometimes when my friends are having a potluck, this just sounds good. I only like one kind of potato salad, and I only get a craving for it about once a year.

For 4th of July this year, my friends were having a BBQ. They made pulled pork and everyone else brought the side dishes. This is the only time of year when I felt that potato salad would not only be welcome, but delicious and desired. This was the one time of year that I wanted potato sald.

I only make one kind of potato salad. Actually, I take that back... I will make Japanese style potato salad from time to time. For the most part, I only make this one kind of potato salad. It's super savory and delicious from the grain mustard, dill and chopped egg. It's colorful and delicious and I love it.

Like most of my recipes, I don't have a real recipe. I just add things until they taste good.

  • 3 lbs potatoes
  • 1/2 bunch dill
  • 6 hard boiled eggs
  • grain mustard
  • mayonnaise
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 red onion
  • 4 ribs celery
  1. Cut potatoes into chunks and boil until cooked through. Drain and place in refrigerator until cool
  2. Dice red onion and celery. Chop the dill finely and cut the eggs into large pieces, setting one or two eggs aside for garnish.
  3. Mix onion, celery, eggs, dill, mustard, mayo, salt a pepper together. Mash some of the potatoes in between your fingers so you have large pieces and small pieces. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  4. Garnish the top with extra dill, paprika and chopped egg. Place in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Secret Recipe Club - Lemon Butter Baked Shrimp

It's the third Monday of the month! The third Monday of the month is a better than average Monday because it just so happens to be time for Secret Recipe Club. I'm sure ya'll already know what it is, but here's a little info for those who don't.

Secret Recipe Club is a great collection of bloggers who make each other's recipes. They're assigned another member's blog an
choose a recipe to make and feature on their own. They keep it secret (of course) and everyone reveals on a particular day. It's a great way to discover your fellow bloggers and revisit some great recipes from your own collection.

This month, I was assigned Julia's blog Little Bit of Everything. Julia lives in Nebraska and loves to cook, travel and garden. I wish I had a yard, let alone space for a garden where I live. I would love to grow my own vegetables and use only the freshest things from my garden. Her blog is full of great, homey recipes from a variety of cookbooks and other blogs. I really like that her index linked to a section on Pinterest where I could see images of all of her recipes. It helped me know that I really wanted to make her Lemon Butter Baked Shrimp. We had a lot of extra Shrimp in our freezer and it seemed like a great, easy weeknight meal that wouldn't keep the oven on for very long. It hasn't been that hot this week (about 90) but humid enough that I still don't want to keep the oven on.

This recipe was super delicious. It would have been wonderful with crusty bread, as Julia suggested, but we wanted something a little heartier. We served ours with whole wheat pasta (just tossed with parmesan cheese) and asparagus. The sauce from the shrimp was a great way to dress this simple pasta dish.

I made a few changes, but not many. I don't carry Italian Seasoning in my pantry, so I used my own combination of things when seasoning this shrimp. Additionally, I cut down on the butter (but it was still delicious). Thanks for this wonderful recipe Julia!

Lemon Baked Shrimp
  • 1lb raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (no smaller than 21-25)
  • 4 to 6 Tbsp butter
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 large pinch of dry basil
  • 1 large pinch dry oregano
  • 1 small pinch thyme
  • 1 small pinch crushed red pepper
  • 1 small pinch garlic powder
  • 1 small pinch onion pwoder
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 1/2 lemons
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh parsley and scallions for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place a glass pan  (8x11 rectangle or 9 inch pie pan) in the oven with the butter and garlic until the butter is melted.
  2. Remove pan and arrange lemon slices in a single layer over the bottom. Arrange shrimp on top of the lemon slices.
  3. Sprinkle salt and pepper as desired over the shrimp. Then sprinkle the blend of basil, oregano, thyme and red pepper over the top of the shrimp. Nestle the rosemary in the shrimp as well..
  4. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes and garnish with fresh parsley. Toss and serve over pasta or with bread.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Churro Waffles (or just good old buttermilk waffles)

I saw a recipe on Pinterest a couple months ago for Churro Waffles. They sounded great (especially since I love churros) but the execution was not the best. The cinnamon sugar clumped and didn't spread evenly. It ended up being too sweet overall and was just not my preference.
However, this base waffle recipe was easily the best waffle recipe I've ever had.  I'm still partial sourdough waffles because it uses things that will be thrown away, but these were fantastic. They weren't too sweet, they stayed perfectly crispy and they were dense yet airy (I know that seems like it shouldn't work and I'm not sure how to better describe it, but that's how it was).
My husband and I are not really sweet breakfast people. We usually go for a smoothie or an egg dish and keep pancakes and waffles a very rare occurrence. I'm pretty sure this waffle recipe will make it into our regular rotation of great breakfast recipes. This makes a good amount for a family, so for the two of us we cut the recipe in half. If you have leftovers, these waffles freeze very well and are great with a quick time in the toaster.
Buttermilk Waffles
  • 1 1/2 cup AP flour
  • 1/2 cup corn starch
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
  1. Preheat waffle iron and preheat oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Mix together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together buttermilk, milk, egg yolks and vanilla extract.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites until soft peaks form. Add sugar and whisk until stiff peaks form.
  4. Stir buttermilk mixture into flour mixture until just combined. Fold in egg whites. Cook in waffle iron according to manufacturers directions. When done, place in warm oven to rest until all waffles are finished.
  5. Serve with butter and cinnamon sugar if churro waffles are desired. I prefer it with just fruit and whipped cream or syrup or yogurt and honey.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Baked Beef Empanadas

Empanadas are one of those essential drunk foods I have grown to love in recent years. When I was a college student, we had tamales or papusas from those excellent carts at 2am in the San Francisco Mission District. Now, I tend not to have as many of those nights. The husband and I tend to get home closer to 11 and promptly go to bed, even on our wild nights out. Drunk food now usually includes Dominoes pizza (for lack of wonderful ethnic options near our house) or sometimes empanadas when we happen to be downtown.
My friends like one particular place, but I find it only ok. I mean, it's good, but a little expensive for how easy empanadas are. I made these at home and they were fantastic. They were best fresh out of the oven, but still great frozen and reheated. Next time you want a hearty snack (or you can make tiny ones for appetizers) give this one a try.

Ingredients for Dough (from Laylita's Recipes)
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 oz unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 1 egg
  • 4-5 Tbsp water
Ingredients for filling
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 hard boiled eggs
  • 1 potato, cut into 1/2 inch cunks and boiled until tender
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup raisins, soaked in hot water
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • cumin, paprika, salt, pepper to taste (curry powder is also an excellent choice... be creative)
  • green olives (this is traditional, but I hate olives so I omit them)
  1. Mix the flour and salt in a food processor. Add the butter to the food processor and pulse until crumbs form
  2. Mix egg with the water and stream into the food processor. Pulse until dough comes together. Roll into a disk, wrap in plastic and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, brown the ground beef in a pan and drain the fat. Remove from pan.
  4. Sautee the onions, carrot, pepper and garlic. When vegetables are tender, all beef, chopped egg, raisins and potato and season to taste.
  5. Let filling cool completely. Roll pastry dough and cut to the desired size. Fill circles, fold over and crimp edges. Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes to seal.
  6. Brush empanadas with eggwash and bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until they are golden.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Cinnamon Rolls

There's nothing better than Cinnamon Rolls for a great weekend breakfast. I rarely make them, but that's what makes them special. I got this recipe from someone who used to work at The Biltmore. I guess this is how they make their cinnamon rolls as well. This recipe makes a lot of cinnamon rolls (like 2 dozen) so I recommend cutting it in half (or only making it if you have a party to go to)

Ingredients for the dough
  • 1 1/4 oz dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cups flour
Ingredients for filling
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup butter
Ingredients for icing
  • 8 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp sat
  • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  1. Dissolve yeast in milk in a large mixing bowl. Add sugar, butter, salt, eggs and flour to form the dough. Mix well and knead dough until smooth. Let dough rise until doubled (about 40 minutes
  2. Meanwhile, make the filling by mixing the cold butter, brown sugar and cinnamon together. Set aside until ready to use. It should be grainy, not smooth
  3. After rolls have risen, roll out dough into a rectangle. Spread filling over the surface (you can add nuts or raisins if desired) and roll dough into a spiral. Cut into individual rolls and place, on a baking sheet to rise again.
  4. After dough has risen, bake at 350 for 20 minutes until done.
  5. Meanwhile, mix all ingredients for icing until smooth. Spread on cinnamon rolls as soon as they come out of the oven.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Banh Mi Sandwiches with pickled carrots and daikon


So I never ate Vietnamese food until I went off the college. I didn't know what I was missing and it's now one of my favorite foods. I love the South East Asian/French fusion with so many herbs, pickles, spices and delicious ingredients in general. I loved the first time I had Vietnamese sandwiches at this great bakery and they cost $2. Now that they've become popular, they're often $6 or more at a nicer, hipster restaurant. I don't buy them from those places. I only buy them from my cheap sandwich shops (though I've raised my budget to $3... sometimes you have to)

The next time you want a different sandwich, give this one a try. It's refreshing and delicious.

Ingredients for pickled vegetables
  • equal parts carrot and daikon, julienned on a mandolin
  • rice vinegar
  • white sugar
  • salt
  1. Add vinegar, sugar an a big pinch of salt to a pan on the stove. Bring to a boil and taste to make sure it's balanced. Add more sugar if needed.
  2. Pour vinegar mix over vegetables and place in the refrigerator for several hours until pickles are done and cool
Ingredients for Sandwich
  • Small French rolls
  • Pate
  • Tofu/chicken/beef/pork marinated in fish sauce, lime and chili
  • Cilantro, mint and basil
  • Pickled vegetables
  • Fresh sliced jalapenos
  • Cucumber
  • Mayonaise
  1. Place rolls in the oven until slightly toasty. Let cool before slicing in half.
  2. Spread mayo and a thin slice of pate on the bread. Add pickled vegetables, herbs, desired meet, cucumber and jalapenos.
  3. Add sriracha if desired and enjoy.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Almond Biscotti

There are certain recipes I change (I'll put my own spin on them, I'll tweak them, whatever) and certain ones that I don't mess with. Almond biscotti is one of those recipes that needs no tweaks. It's just a perfect, crunchy cookie that I love with morning (or afternoon) tea. I don't drink coffee any more save after meals (the acid upsets my stomach too much) but I love a good cup of tea at all hours of the day. 

I like the chocolate ones (sometimes) but plain ones are great too. My husband likes the plain ones best but we only have chocolate pictured. Didn't even give it time to dry, just enough time to put the chocolate on.

I ended up making these biscotti for my coworker's birthday. She's not much for parties or celebration, so this was just the thing for someone who doesn't want cake or candles or obnoxious singing coworkers. Give this recipe a shot the next time you want biscotti (best of all, these last forever... that is, if you can stop yourself from eating them).

Almond Biscotti
  • 1 cup whole almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 3/4 cup AP flour
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Sift together flour, salt and baking powder
  3. Mix sugar, eggs and extracts together until sugar is dissolved and eggs come up in ribbons when beaters are pulled away.
  4. Add sifted flour and mix until just combined. Fold in almonds
  5. Press dough into a log 12" x 3". Bake for 25 minutes.
  6. Remove log from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Slice into biscotti and place, cut side down, on the sheet pan. Lower oven temperature to 325 and bake for 20 more minutes, flipping biscotti halfway through.
  7. Top with chocolate if desired, eat with coffee, etc.