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You'll find over 465 of my favorite recipes here, including ideas for Quick meals, Cooking for 2, Feasting on Leftovers, and cooking with 5 Ingredients or Less. I'm adding new posts regularly; you can subscribe by email or RSS feed if you'd like to receive the latest recipes. Bon appétit!

Garlicky Steamed Clams

May 29, 2021

By Kath Dedon

We thoroughly enjoyed these Garlicky Steamed Clams this week! The recipe is from Cooking Light’s November 2016 issue. It was published as a recipe to serve 4; I found it easy to adapt it to serve two.

(A tip for West Seattle readers: West Seattle Thriftway has the best clams! They’re super-fresh and super-clean. I did scrub them, but I’m not sure it was necessary.)

If you love clams, give this recipe a try. I’m already thinking of picking up some more clams to make it again.

Garlicky Steamed Clams

A quick and easy dinner for two that can easily be doubled to serve 4.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Servings 2
Calories 289 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 Tbsps. finely chopped shallots
  • 6 Tbsps. dry white wine
  • 2 Tbsps. clam juice (Leftover clam juice can be frozen in ice cube trays.)
  • 1/2 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1 1/4 pounds small clams, scrubbed
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 3 Tbsps. chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 slices of sourdough bread

Instructions
 

  • Heat the oven to 400 degrees to heat the bread.
  • Heat a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat.
  • Add the oil and swirl it around. Add the garlic and shallots; cook for about 5 minutes, or until the shallots are soft.
  • Wrap the bread slices in foil and put them in the oven to get warm.
  • Turn the heat up to medium-high. Add the wine, clam juice, thyme, and red pepper and bring to a boil. cover and boil for 3 minutes.
  • Add the clams. cover and cook for 4 – 5 minutes, or until the shells open. Discard any unopened shells.
  • Stir in the butter and the parsley.
  • Serve in shallow bowls with the warmed bread.

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Fiasco-style Beans (Fagioli al Fiasco)

March 23, 2021

By Kath Dedon

Don’t let the simplicity of these Fiasco-style Beans fool you. They are seriously delicious!

I found the recipe on Heidi Swanson’s 101 Cookbooks blog. It’s a great resource for all things vegetarian.

Top-quality dried beans can make a big difference in the recipe. I used dried cranberry beans from Rancho Gordo and they were perfect. Heidi suggests you could also use cannellini beans, cassoulet beans, or even pinto beans.

I will definitely make Fiasco-style Beans again. They take a little over 2 hours to make, but the hands-on time is very minimal. They would make a terrific side dish for grilled meat, but they can be the main course served with bread and a salad.

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Fiasco-style Beans (Fagioli al Fiasco)

(Adapted from Heidi Swanson’s recipe on 101cookbooks.com)
Cook Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Course Side Dish
Servings 8

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound cranberry or cannellini beans
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 7 medium sage leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • Scant 1 tsp. fine grain sea salt

Instructions
 

  • Set the oven temperature to 225° and put the rack in the bottom third.
  • Drain the beans and put them in a large ovenproof pot. Add all of the other ingredients except the salt. Bring the pot to a boil.
  • Put the lid on the pot, leaving it slightly off to leave a small crack. Put the pot in the oven to bake for 90 minutes.
  • Check the beans after a few minutes to make sure they are gently simmering. Adjust the temperature to 250° if necessary.
  • After 90 minutes in the oven, add the salt and stir. You can add a bit more water if they are getting too dry. Bake them for 30 more minutes.
  • Serve hot or at room temperature.
Keyword cannellini beans, cranberry beans, vegan, vegetarian

Roast Chicken Thighs with Lemon

March 9, 2021

By Kath Dedon

This recipe for Roast Chicken Thighs with Lemon caught my eye on Leite’s Culinaria. Some good friends in California had sent us some Meyer lemons from their tree, and this seemed like the perfect way to use one of them.

The unusual thing about this recipe is that you start the thighs skin-side down in a cold pan. As the pan heats up, the fat slowly renders. The result is chicken thighs with crisp skin.

We loved this chicken! I will definitely make it again, even if I have to settle for a common supermarket lemon. It’s a quick and easy recipe that delivers a lot of flavor.

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Roast Chicken Thighs with Lemon

(Adapted from a recipe by Sheela Prakash on Leite's Culinaria)
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 4 bone-in chicken thighs
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives
  • 1 lemon, halved crosswise

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 400° with the rack in the middle position.
  • Drizzle some olive oil over the chicken thighs and rub it all over. Generously season them with salt, and give them a few grinds of pepper.
  • Place the thighs skin side down in a cold cast iron (or other heavy oven-safe) skillet. Scatter the olives around the chicken.
  • Place the skillet on a burner and turn the heat to medium high. Cook, undisturbed, until the skin is browned and crisp, 12 – 20 minutes. (My thighs took about 16 minutes.)
  • While the chicken is browning, slice one of the lemon halves into thin slices and set aside.
  • When the chicken is browned, put the lemon slices in the pan and put the pan in the preheated oven to roast.
  • Roast until they are done, 8 – 15 minutes. They will measure 165° with an instant-read thermometer. (My thighs took 15 minutes in the oven.)
  • Squeeze the other lemon half over the chicken and serve.
Keyword chicken thighs, kalamata olives, lemons

Mini Funfetti Cake

December 14, 2020

By Kath Dedon

We had a special birthday celebration last month. Our grandson, Emerson, turned 2! I wanted to make a special birthday cake for him. I wanted it to use all the flour, sugar, and butter, but I wanted a “mini” version so there wouldn’t be too much.

I turned to an experienced baker of mini desserts, Christina Lane, for ideas. I have two of her cookbooks, Dessert for Two and Sweet & Simple, and I find her recipes to be reliable and delicious. She has a recipe for a Mini Sprinkles Cake in Sweet & Simple. She also has a recipe for a Mini Funfetti Cake on her blog. I printed the recipe to make for Emerson. What could be better than a sprinkles cake for a 2-year-old?

This recipe is so easy to make and it produced a very good cake. I’m sure I’ll be making it again. It’s a fun celebration cake for any age!

If you want a small celebratory cake, I can’t recommend this Mini Funfetti Cake enough. Emerson LOVED it!

And if you like small batch baking and cooking check out Christina Lane’s blog and her books. I like her style.

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Mini Funfetti Cake

(Adapted from Christina Lane's recipe on her Dessert for Two blog.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Cooling time and frosting 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 45 mins
Course Dessert
Servings 4 – 8

Equipment

  • 6-inch cake pan

Ingredients
  

  • 4 Tbsps. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup + 2 Tbsps. granulated sugar (I used granulated Swerve sweetener.)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg white
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp. milk
  • 2 1/2 Tbsps. sprinkles

For the frosting:

  • 8 Tbsps. (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (I used 1 1/2 cups confectioners Swerve.)
  • 1 – 2 Tbsps. milk or cream (I used 1 1/2 Tbsps. of milk.)
  • 1 Tbsp. sprinkles

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°.
  • Grease the bottom and sides of a 6-inch cake pan. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit on the bottom of the pan. Press it in.
  • Use an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugar together. Beat on medium speed until it is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  • Beat in the vanilla and egg white.
    Beat the flour, baking powder, and salt in for just a few seconds, until it is just combined.
  • Beat in the milk until it is smooth. Don't over mix.
  • Stir in the sprinkles.
  • Spread the batter in the prepared cake pan. Put the pan on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Let the cake cool in the pan for about 20 minutes and then turn it out on a plate. Peel the parchment paper off and let the cake cool completely before frosting.
  • Beat all of the frosting ingredients together, and then stir in the sprinkles. Frost the sides and top of the cooled cake.
Keyword birthday cake, funfetti, funfetti cake, mini cake

Cheesy, Spicy Black Bean Bake

November 5, 2020

By Kath Dedon

Somehow this Ali Slagle recipe for Cheesy, Spicy Black Bean Bake in the New York Times caught my eye. The photo made it look like perfect comfort food. The recipe sounded great and it looked like it would be a cinch to make. It only uses one pan which is an added bonus.

Bob and I both loved this Cheesy, Spicy Black Bean Bake! I will definitely be making it again, and probably sooner rather than later.

Without further ado, here’s the recipe.

Cheesy, Spicy Black Bean Bake

(Adapted from Ali Slagle's recipe in the New York Times)
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Main Course
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 3 Tbsps. olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 tsps. smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese (about 6 ounces of cheese)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 475°.
  • Heat a 10-inch oven-proof skillet over medium high heat. When it's hot, add the oil and let it heat up.
  • Stir in the garlic and cook for about 1 minute, or until it's lightly golden.
  • Stir in the tomato paste, paprika, pepper flakes, and cumin. Cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds.
  • Stir in the beans, water, and a bit of salt and pepper.
  • Sprinkle the cheese over the top and bake until it is melted, about 5 – 10 minutes.
Keyword black beans, Cheesy bean bake, vegetarian

Off-Oven Roast Beef

October 27, 2020

By Kath Dedon

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I came across this Sam Sifton recipe for Off-Oven Roast Beef in the New York Times and I was intrigued. The reviews were mixed, but there were many people who said it was the best way to cook a less expensive beef roast.

The recipe calls for a 3-pound beef roast, “like top, eye or bottom round”. I recommend choosing a roast that is more “rounded” than flat. I think a flat roast may overcook. I chose a 3.3-pound top round roast.

I was definitely nervous about overcooking the roast so I used an oven cord meat thermometer so I could keep an eye on it without opening the oven door. When I checked the temperature with 10 minutes to go, it was 134°. After 10 more minutes it was still 134°. I don’t think it would have risen any higher.

There is no need to let the roast rest; it has been “resting” in the cooling oven for 2 hours. You can slice it right away and serve it. My 134° roast was perfectly medium-rare, just the way we like it! We enjoyed the roast on the first night, and the leftovers made excellent roast beef sandwiches.

I know I’ll be using Sam’s Off-Oven Roast Beef method again soon.

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Off-Oven Roast Beef

(Adapted from Sam Sifton’s recipe in the New York Times)

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 4 – 6, with leftovers for sandwiches

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Take 2½ hours, start to finish

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For this recipe, do not take the roast out of the refrigerator early. If it warms up too much, it will likely overcook. My roast was 38° when it went in the oven.

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1 beef roast, like top, eye or bottom round, approximately 3 pounds (My roast was a 3.3-pound top round roast.)

1 tablespoon kosher salt

A few grinds of freshly ground black pepper

3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 tablespoon olive oil

Red-pepper flakes to taste

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  1. Preheat the oven to 500°.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the salt, pepper, garlic, olive oil and pepper flakes together.
  3. Remove the roast from the refrigerator and put it in a roasting pan or cast iron skillet.
  4. Rub the seasoning mixture all over the roast.

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5. If using an oven cord meat thermometer, put the probe in the roast so it reaches into the center of the meat. (Optional; I probably wouldn’t use it next time.)

6. When the oven reaches 500° put the roast in the oven. Roast for 5 minutes per pound. (My roast was 3.3 pounds; 5 x 3.3 = 16.5. I roasted it at 500° for 16½ minutes.)

7. Turn the oven off. Do not open the oven door at any time. Set a timer for 2 hours.When the 2 hours is up, take the roast out of the oven. Slice it and enjoy!

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Grilled Corn and Avocado Salad With Feta Dressing

July 23, 2020

By Kath Dedon

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Carrie alerted me to this Grilled Corn and Avocado Salad With Feta Dressing on Tuesday. Since I was planning an actual mask-on trip to the grocery store (as opposed to Covid-19 InstaCart shopping), I added the ingredients that I needed to my shopping list and we had it that night.

I have to say this salad, developed by Sue Li for the New York Times, is fantastic! It felt like a bit of prep work, but the resulting salad was very rewarding. As Carrie said, it’s summer on a plate! I served it with grilled salmon. Perfect!

I followed Carrie’s lead and used just 4 ears of corn instead of the 6 called for in the recipe. It was more than enough corn. I might use just 3 ears next time.

Do give this Grilled Corn and Avocado Salad with Feta Dressing a try while we have great corn available. I think you won’t be disappointed.

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Grilled Corn and Avocado Salad with Feta Dressing

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Grilled Corn and Avocado Salad with Feta Dressing

(Adapted from Sue Li’s recipe in the New York Times)

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 4 – 6

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If you’re cooking for two it’s easy to save half of the salad for the next day. Set aside half of the dressing, corn, green onions, lettuce, and avocado before tossing the salad. The lettuce and avocado will keep better if they have not been tossed with the dressing. I really enjoyed having the salad again the next night without having to repeat all of the prep work.

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4 ears of corn, shucked and silk removed

1 bunch green onions (about 6 – 7), trimmed

1 jalapeno, stemmed, halved lengthwise, and seeds removed

3 tablespoons olive oil

Kosher salt and black pepper

4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about ¾ cup)

1/3 cup buttermilk (or substitute milk + 1 tablespoon lemon juice, as I did)

1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 small garlic clove, grated

¼ cup sliced fresh chives

¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley

1 medium head romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces (about 8 cups)

1 or 2 avocados, sliced (I used just 1, but it was very large.)

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1/ Heat the grill (or grill pan) to medium high.

2. Toss the corn, green onions, and jalapeno halves with the olive oil in a large bowl. Set the bowl aside for tossing the salad.

3. Grill the corn, green onions, and jalapeno halves until they are charred and tender. This will take about 10 minutes, depending on the heat of your grill. Remove the vegetables to a cutting board or sheet pan and allow them to cool a bit.

Grilling corn, green onions, and jalapeno

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4. Mash the feta into a coarse paste in a medium bowl. (I used my immersion blender to quickly complete this task.)

5. Stir in the buttermilk, lemon juice, and garlic. Then add the chives and parsley.

6. Mince the jalapeno and add it to the dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

7. Cut the corn from the cobs, and cut the green onions into bite-sized pieces. Cut the avocado slices into bite-sized pieces.

8. Toss the lettuce and avocado with half of the dressing and serve it on a platter or individual plates.

9. Arrange the corn, and green onions on the salad. Drizzle with additional dressing.

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Grilled Corn and Avocado Salad

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Roast Chicken with Cabbage

May 20, 2020

By Kath Dedon

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When I saw Deb Perelman’s recipe for Roast Chicken with Schmaltzy Cabbage on her Smitten Kitchen blog, I knew I had to try it. I didn’t need a new recipe for roast chicken. Mark Bittman’s Easiest Roast Chicken remains my favorite recipe for foolproof chicken. I had to make it to try the cabbage.

Deb raved about the cabbage. I checked the comments, and people who had made the recipe talked about how great the cabbage was. “Transcendent” and “amazing” were words that they used to describe the cabbage!

And what’s not to like about a recipe that requires only 4 ingredients (not including salt and pepper)? That’s especially welcome in this time of quarantine cooking.

So I made it. And WOW! It was so good. The cabbage really was amazing. It was like cabbage candy! It was so flavorful after roasting in the butter and chicken fat. Wow! Oh, and the chicken was very good, too. 😉 Do try this Roast Chicken with Cabbage. You won’t be disappointed.

Roast Chicken with Schmaltzy Cabbage

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Roast Chicken with Cabbage

(Adapted from Deb Perelman’s Roast Chicken with Schmaltzy Cabbage on Smitten Kitchen)

 

(print the recipe)

 

Serves 4

 

The timing will depend on the size of your chicken. Deb had a 3-pound chicken and suggested a 45 – 60 minute roast time. My 4-pound chicken took 1 hour and 15 minutes. It’s best to use an instant read thermometer to confirm when the chicken is done. The thickest part of the thigh should measure 165° when it is done.

 

1 large head (2½ – 3 pounds) green cabbage

Splash of oil, any kind

Kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper

1 whole chicken (mine was 4 pounds)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

 

  1. Heat the oven to 450°.
  2. Stand the cabbage up on a cutting board with the core end on the bottom. Cut the cabbage in half from top to bottom. Put the cabbage halves cut side down. Slice the halves crosswise into 1 – 1½-inch slices.

slicing the cabbage

 

3. Put the splash of oil in a 12-inch oven-safe skillet and spread it around with a paper towel.

4. Arrange the cabbage slices in the skillet, cutting them, if necessary, to make them fit tightly. Sprinkle the cabbage with salt and pepper.

cabbage in the pan

 

5. If your chicken has giblets in the cavity, remove them and discard or save for another use.

6. Pat the chicken dry and place it on top of the cabbage. Brush 1 tablespoon of the melted butter over the chicken. Use about 1 tablespoon of kosher salt and rub it all over the chicken. Grind some pepper all over the chicken.

ready to roast

7. Roast the chicken breast side up. Set the timer for 1 hour for a 4-pound chicken.

8. After 20 minutes, spoon another tablespoon of the melted butter over the chicken and cabbage. Repeat this basting another couple of times during the roasting.

9. Check the temperature of the chicken after an hour. If the temperature is not 165°, roast for another 15 minutes. Mine was done at this point. Continue to roast and check if yours is not done.

10. When the chicken is done, put it on a cutting board to rest.

11. Put the cabbage back in the oven for 5 – 10 minutes, until the edges are browned. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

12. Cut the chicken into pieces and serve with the cabbage.

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Roast Chicken with Cabbage

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Homemade Bean with Bacon Soup

May 13, 2020

By Kath Dedon

 

When I was a kid, we often had Campbell’s soup for lunch. Mom believed in having something hot for lunch during the long, cold, Minnesota winters.

I can’t think of any Campbell’s soup that I didn’t like back then, but I think my favorite was their Bean with Bacon.

When I saw Elise Bauer’s recipe for Bean and Bacon Soup on Simply Recipes, I had to try it. I was not disappointed. We really enjoyed it. Beans and bacon really do partner well together! I’ll definitely keep this one in the soup rotation during the cooler seasons.

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Homemade Bean with Bacon Soup

(Adapted from Elise Bauer’s recipe on Simply Recipes)

 

(print the recipe)

 

Serves 4 – 6

 

1 pound navy beans (also called “pea” beans)

5 ounces of bacon, cut into ½-inch wide pieces (about 4 or 5 pieces of thick-sliced bacon)

2 cups chopped onion (1 large)

¾ cup chopped celery (about 2 large stalks)

¾ cup chopped carrots (1 large carrot)

3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)

6 cups chicken stock (plus an extra cup or two to thin the soup if it’s too thick)

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 tablespoon fresh)

2½ teaspoons kosher salt (or 1¼ teaspoons table salt)

¼ teaspoon black pepper

3 tablespoons tomato paste

½ teaspoon paprika

 

1 ounce bacon, cooked and crumbled for garnish (optional)

 

  1. First thing in the morning rinse and sort the beans. Put them in a large pot and cover with plenty of water. Cover and let them soak for 8 -10 hours.

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2. Put the bacon in a large, thick-bottomed Dutch oven. Cook over medium heat for 2 or 3 minutes, until it has started to render its fat.

3. Add the onion, celery, and carrots to the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened, about 12 – 15 minutes.

4. Add the garlic and cook, stirring for an additional minute.

5. Add the stock, bay leaves, thyme, salt, and pepper. Bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and partially cover the pot. Simmer for 1 hour, until the beans are done.

6. Stir in the tomato paste and paprika. Simmer for 5 more minutes.

7. Remove the bay leaves and use an immersion blender to partially blend the soup. You want some of the beans to remain intact.

8. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

9. If the soup seems too thick, thin it with a bit more chicken stock.

10. Serve, garnished with crumbled bacon, if desired.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Instant Pot Punjabi-Style Black Lentils

February 21, 2020

By Kath Dedon

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Inspired by Deb Perelman’s recipe for Punjabi-Style Black Lentils, I decided to see if I could adapt it to make it in my Instant Pot. I have to say, it worked quite well and my Instant Pot Punjabi-Style Black Lentils was delicious.

You might wonder why it is called “Punjabi-Style”. It is very similar to Dal Makhani, a dish from the Punjab region of northern India. Dal Makhani is made with a black bean called urad dal, which is not the same as the lentils called black beluga lentils. For most people in the U.S., black beluga lentils are easier to find than black urad dal. Deb used black beluga lentils and I decided to follow her lead. I found them at Metropolitan Market in Seattle.

Melissa Clark, of the New York Times, has a handy guide about using an Instant Pot. It has a section on how to convert conventional recipes for the Instant Pot. Following her guidelines, I reduced the cooking time and the water. I was very pleased with the way my Instant Pot Punjabi-Style Black Lentils turned out! Give it a try if you have an Instant Pot. If you don’t, try Deb’s recipe on her Smitten Kitchen blog.

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Instant Pot Punjabi-Style Black Lentils

(Adapted from Deb Perelman’s stovetop version on Smitten Kitchen)

 

(print the recipe)

 

Serves 4 – 6

 

2 tablespoons butter, oil, or ghee (I used butter.)

½ large yellow onion, finely chopped

½ teaspoon cumin seeds

1-inch piece of peeled ginger, finely chopped (2-3 tablespoons)

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 cup canned crushed tomatoes

1 teaspoon ground coriander

¼ teaspoon ground turmeric

½ teaspoon garam masala

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1½ cups water

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup dried black beluga lentils

 

To Finish:

1½ tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons heavy cream

Handful of chopped fresh cilantro

 

  1. Chop the onion and set it aside.
  2. Chop the ginger and garlic and put them both in a small bowl.
  3. Put the crushed tomatoes in a bowl, and then add the coriander, turmeric, garam masala, and cayenne pepper to the bowl. (They all get added to the pot at the same time.)
  4. Using the Sauté function, heat the Instant Pot until it indicates that it’s hot. Add the butter (or oil) to the pot. As soon as it’s melted, add the chopped onions and cumin seeds. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is starting to brown.
  5. Add the ginger and garlic and cook, stirring, for a minute more.
  6. Add the crushed tomatoes with the spices and cook, stirring often, for about 3 more minutes.
  7. Add the water, salt, and lentils. Stir.
  8. Press the Keep Warm/Cancel button to stop the sauté function. Put the cover on the pot, setting the Pressure Release to Sealing. Press the Manual button and set the time to 13 minutes.
  9. When the 13 minutes of pressure cooking is up, do nothing and let the pressure release naturally. (I didn’t time it, but it takes about 15 – 20 minutes.)
  10. When the pressure has released, open the pot. Put the butter on the lentils to melt and stir in the cream.
  11. Serve and top each serving with cilantro, if desire.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pan-Fried Onion Dip

January 27, 2020

By Kath Dedon

 

Next Sunday is Super Bowl Sunday. Are you looking for a dish to share at a Super Bowl party? I recommend that you consider Ina Garten’s Pan-Fried Onion Dip!

Onion Dip has been around for decades, but we used to stir dry onion soup mix into sour cream to make it.  I can’t lie; I loved that dip! Today, though, I prefer to use more natural ingredients. I’d had my eye on Ina’s Pan-Fried Onion Dip for quite a while. I decided to make it for a New Year’s Day party.

Of course, it was no surprise that the pan-fried onions made a dip that was much better than a dip made with a mix.  The dip was well-received at the party, and I would definitely make it again.

I kept it retro and served the Pan-Fried Onion Dip with potato chips. Delicious!

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Chips and onion dip

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Pan-Fried Onion Dip

(Adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe online.)

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(print the recipe)

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Don’t try to rush the onions. Keep the heat low to reach the stage where they are browned and caramelized, but not burned.

2 large yellow onions

¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

¼ cup vegetable oil (I used avocado oil.)

4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

½ cup sour cream

½ cup mayonnaise

½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (Optional. I added it for a bit of umami.)

 

 

  1. Peel the onions. Cut them in half from top to bottom (through the root end). Cut off the roots. Slice the onions into 1/8-inch half-rounds. Put them in a large bowl.
  2. Add the cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper and stir so the seasonings are well-distributed.

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Onions and seasonings in a bowl

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Spices stirred in

 

3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat.

4. Add the butter and oil to the hot skillet. When the butter has melted, add the onions. Cook, stirring often for about 10 minutes.

5. Turn the heat down to medium-low and continue to cook the onions, stirring occasionally, for 20 – 30 minutes more. The onions will become browned when they are done.

Browned onions

 

6. Remove the pan from the heat and let the onions cool a bit.

7. Put the cream cheese, sour cream, and mayonnaise in a food processor. Process until smooth.

In the food processor

8. Add the onions and Worcestershire sauce to the food processor. Process until the onions are mixed in well and cut up a bit.

Onions and Worcestershire sauce added

9. Serve with potato chips.

10. Can be made ahead and refrigerated. When it’s time to serve, bring it back to room temperature so the cream cheese can soften again.

 

Pan-Fried Onion Dip

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Streusel Coffee Cake

January 8, 2020

By Kath Dedon

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This Streusel Coffee Cake is the one I often made for breakfast for Laura and Carrie when they were little. The recipe is easy to make and I often had all of the ingredients I needed to make it for a spur-of-the-moment treat.

The recipe is from the 1981 edition of Better Homes and Gardens® New Cook Book. The original recipe calls for ½ cup of raisins stirred into the batter, but we prefer it without the raisins. If you just love raisins, you may want to include them.

I’m happy to add this family favorite to the blog. Laura and Carrie won’t need to wonder which coffee cake recipe I made back in the day.

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The Streusel Coffee Cake was terrific with our Christmas breakfast, which included Rhett’s fantastic scrambled eggs!

Christmas breakfast 

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Streusel Coffee Cake

(Adapted from a Better Homes and Gardens® recipe)

 

(print the recipe)

 

Makes one 9 x 9-inch coffee cake

 

Note that the butter needs to be softened to room temperature.

 

¼ cup packed brown sugar (I used maple sugar)

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon butter, at room temperature

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts)

1½ cups all-purpose flour

¾ cup granulated sugar (I used maple sugar)

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 beaten egg

½ cup milk

¼ cup oil

½ cup raisins (optional, I didn’t add them)

 

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Grease a 9x9x2-inch baking pan.
  3. Make the streusel topping. Mix the brown sugar, 1 tablespoon flour, butter, and cinnamon together. Stir in the chopped nuts. Set aside.

 

Sugar, flour, butter, and cinnamon for streusel topping

ingredients for topping

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Chopped walnuts added to streusel ingredients

walnuts added

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4. In a large bowl, stir the 1 ½ cups of flour, ¾ cup of sugar, baking powder and salt together.

5. In another bowl, whisk the beaten egg, milk and oil together and add to the flour mixture. Stir well.

6. Stir in the raisins, if using.

7. Spread the batter in the greased baking pan.

8. Sprinkle the streusel topping over the batter. Bake at 375° for about 25 minutes.

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Streusel Coffee Cake

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Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy

November 24, 2019

By Kath Dedon

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If you have made Make-Ahead Turkey Stock, it’s easy to make Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy. Get your gravy made ahead of time and freeze it. On Turkey Day you’ll have one less thing to make.

Without further ado, here’s how I did it.

 

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy

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Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy

(Adapted from a Julia Child recipe in The Way to Cook)

 

(print the recipe)

 

Makes about 4¾ cups, serving 12

 

9 tablespoons turkey fat, skimmed from the top of refrigerated Make-Ahead Turkey Stock

3 tablespoons butter

6 tablespoons flour

6 cups turkey broth

1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional; adds umami, not fishy flavor)

Salt and pepper, to taste

 

  1. Melt the butter in the turkey fat over medium heat.
  2. When the butter is melted, add the flour to make the roux. Cook, stirring constantly, for 10 – 15 minutes. The roux will turn brown.

 

Whisking the roux

Whisking the roux

Darkened roux

Darkened roux

 

3. Remove the pan from the heat. Pour a small amount of the broth into the roux and whisk vigorously until it is smooth and lump-free.

4. Whisk in the rest of the broth. Whisk in the fish sauce, if using.

5. Put the pan back on the burner; reduce the heat so it is just simmering. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.

Simmering gravy

Simmering

 

6. Refrigerate the gravy until it is chilled. Then freeze it. Defrost on the stovetop over low heat, stirring occasionally.

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy - Copy

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Make-Ahead Turkey Stock

November 19, 2019

By Kath Dedon

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You can get a head start on your Thanksgiving feast if you make this Make-Ahead Turkey Stock and stick it in your freezer. I use a lot of stock to make Turkey Gravy and my Cornbread Dressing. It’s great to have it ready to go!

I chose a Food and Wine recipe because it makes about 3 quarts. But I took a tip from America’s Test Kitchen and used chicken stock instead of water. I figured it would have to make the stock more flavorful. I used Swanson’s Chicken Stock because it’s made with real food ingredients (Chicken Stock, Contains Less Than 2% Of: Salt, Carrots, Cabbage, Celery, Onions, and Parsley).

Make-Ahead Turkey Stock is admittedly an afternoon project, but it’s mostly hands-off and is very easy. There’s still time to get some turkey parts and make turkey stock for the big day.

 

Finished Make-Ahead Turkey Stock, ready to freeze

Turkey stock

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Make-Ahead Turkey Stock

(Adapted from recipes from Food and Wine and America’s Test Kitchen)

 

(print the recipe)

 

Makes about 3 quarts

 

7 pounds turkey parts, such as wings, thighs, and drumsticks (I used meaty turkey backs)

4 quarts chicken stock (or water)

1 large onion, thickly sliced

1 large carrot, thickly sliced

1 large celery rib, thickly sliced

2 garlic cloves, smashed

Freshly ground pepper

(1 tablespoon salt, if you use water instead of stock)

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°.
  2. Put the turkey parts in a large roasting pan and roast for 1½ hours. Put the turkey in a large stock pot.

Turkey backs

7 lbs, turkey backs.jpg

Finished roasting

Roasted turkey backs

 

3. Put the roasting pan over two burners. Put 4 cups of the stock in the pan and heat it up, scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Pour all of the liquid with the bits into the pot with the turkey.

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Browned bits left in the pan.jpg

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Four cups of the chicken stock added to the roasting pan

chicken stock added

 

4. Add the rest of the chicken stock to the pot, along with the onion, carrot, celery rib, garlic, and pepper.

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Ready to simmer.jpg

 

5. Bring the pot to a boil. Then reduce the heat so it is simmering. Simmer for 2½ hours, partially covered with a lid.

 

Lid askew.jpg

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6. Strain the stock. Refrigerate overnight.

The next day:

  1. Carefully scrape the congealed fat from the surface of the stock. Reserve for making gravy. The stock and turkey fat will keep for 3 days in the refrigerator. For longer storage, freeze the stock and the fat separately. They can be frozen for a month.

Tip: Measure the amount of stock you will need for the gravy and put it in one labelled container or freezer bag. Measure the amount of stock you will need for dressing and put it in another labelled container or freezer bag. You can freeze any extra stock in a third container. You’ll now be able to defrost what you need when you need it.

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Finished turkey stockCopy.jpg

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Braised Lentils with Polish Kielbasa and Cabbage

November 4, 2019

By Kath Dedon

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Carrie recommended this Braised Lentils with Polish Kielbasa and Cabbage to Laura, and she recommended it to me. With their good reviews in mind, I had to give it a try.

The recipe is from Carla Snyder’s excellent cookbook, One Pan, Two Plates. The subtitle is “More than 70 Complete Weeknight Meals for Two”. I love the idea of cooking an entire meal in one pan. Although each recipe is supposed to serve two, I find that the portions are so generous that there is usually enough to save some for my lunch. As someone who enjoys leftovers for lunch (or breakfast), I consider that a bonus.

Braised Lentils with Polish Kielbasa and Cabbage is a great recipe for cooler fall evenings. I’m sure we’ll enjoy it again soon!

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A meal in a pan!

Braised Lentils with Polish Kielbasa and Cabbage

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Braised Lentils with Polish Kielbasa and Cabbage

(Adapted from Carla Snyder’s recipe in One Pan, Two Plates)

 

(print the recipe)

 

Serves 2 – 3

 

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced

2 cups (about 6 ounces/170g) thinly sliced cabbage

1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced

½ celery stalk, thinly sliced

1 clove garlic, minced

2 teaspoons fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried

½ teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup dry white wine (or apple juice)

¾ cup dried lentils

1¼ cups chicken broth (I used 1 teaspoon Better than Bouillon Chicken Base in 1¼ cups water.)

8 oz./255 g Polish kielbasa, cut into bite-size pieces (I actually used Uli’s Smoked Bratwurst.)

2 teaspoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley (Optional; I didn’t use it.)

 

1. Prep all of the ingredients so they are ready to go. (Chop the vegetables and sausage, measure the wine, lentils, and broth, etc.)

2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the oil. Swirl it around and let it heat up.

3. Add the onion to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until it softens a bit, about 1 minute.

4. Add the cabbage, carrot, celery, garlic, rosemary, salt, and a bit of pepper to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened a bit, about 3 or 4 minutes.

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IMG_4800

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5. Add the wine and cook until most of the wine has evaporated.

6. Add the lentils, chicken broth and kielbasa, Stir so the lentils are submerged in the broth. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover, reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 25 – 30 minutes, until the lentils are done.

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IMG_4802

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7. Serve and garnish with parsley, if desired.

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Braised Lentils with Sausage and Cabbage

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Sheet Pan Chicken, Sausage, and Brussels Sprouts

September 22, 2019

By Kath Dedon

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We have enjoyed this Sheet Pan Chicken, Sausage, and Brussels Sprouts recipe twice now. The recipe is adapted from an Emily and Matt Clifton recipe on Serious Eats. They used a 12-inch cast iron skillet. The first time I made it, I also used a cast iron skillet. The skillet was pretty full, despite the fact that I didn’t use the sausage and only had about a half pound of Brussels sprouts. The second time I made it I did use 12 ounces of sausage and decided to make it a sheet pan dinner.

I have to say I enjoyed it with and without the sausage. Either way, it’s a tasty dinner. The shallots and the sliced lemon add wonderful flavors to the dish. And the sauce on the chicken is perfect!

This easy Sheet Pan Chicken, Sausage, and Brussels Sprouts is a perfect meal for a fall evening. And it’s quick enough for a weeknight dinner.

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Chicken Sausage, and Brussels Sprouts

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Sheet Pan Chicken, Sausage, and Brussels Sprouts

(Adapted from Emily and Matt Clifton’s recipe on Serious Eats)

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(print the recipe)

.Serves  .

1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved (I actually only used about 12 ounces)

5 medium shallots, peeled and quartered

1 lemon, thinly sliced into rounds, seeds discarded

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 medium cloves garlic, minced

1½ tablespoons Dijon mustard

1½ tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 1½ pounds)

12 ounces fully cooked Italian sausages, cut into 2-inch lengths

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Shallots

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  1. Put the oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 450°F (230°C).
  2. Put the Brussels sprouts, shallots, and lemon slices in the center of a parchment-lined sheet pan. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over them; toss them with the oil and spread them out on the sheet pan. Sprinkle them with kosher salt and pepper.

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Brussels sprouts, shallots, and lemon slices

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3. Mix the garlic, mustard, honey, Worcestershire sauce, and the remaining tablespoon of oil together in a small bowl. Put the chicken and sausage on top of the vegetables. Spread the sauce on top of the chicken.

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Ready to roast.jpg

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4. Roast until the chicken is done (165°F, 75°C). This took 40 minutes in my oven. Start checking the chicken at 30 minutes.

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This is the sausage I used.

Sausage

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The first time I made it without the sausage.

One-Pan Chicken, Brussels Sprouts, and Shallots.jpg

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Sheet Pan Chicken, Sausage, and Brussels Sprouts

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Quick Zucchini Sauté

August 2, 2019

By Kath Dedon

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Our neighbor has been generously sharing the bounty of her garden with us. (Thank you, Gail!) We do love zucchini and yellow summer squash. I’ve been roasting them and air frying them. Delicious, but I was looking for some different ways to prepare them.

Quite a while ago Laura and Byron told me how much they liked Deb Perelman’s Quick Zucchini Sauté. The recipe was published 12 years ago on her Smitten Kitchen blog. I made it but Bob didn’t really like it. I’m pretty sure I followed the recipe as written, including the optional pecorino Romano cheese.

Yesterday I stopped by Laura and Byron’s house to give them some zucchini. I mentioned  that I was going to make Deb’s Zucchini Fritters. They have made them and said that they are very good, but again told me how much they like the Quick Zucchini Sauté.

I revisited the Quick Zucchini Sauté recipe and thought, what’s not to like? I decided to try it again without the cheese. Bingo! It turned out to be a hit at Chez Dedon!

Think of this recipe as simply a guide. It’s not really necessary to measure anything. Cut up as much zucchini as you want to eat. For every cup or so of zucchini, use a tablespoon of almonds.

This is such a quick and easy recipe! I’m sure I’ll be making it again soon.

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Dinner out on our deck last night featured Quick Zucchini Sauté.

Quick Zucchini Saute

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Quick Zucchini Sauté

(Adapted from Deb Perelman’s recipe on smittenkitchen.com)

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 3 – 4

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1 large zucchini (about 1.3 pounds, 3 – 4 cups when cut up)

2 – 3 tablespoons olive oil

4 tablespoons sliced almonds

Salt and pepper, to taste (I used a bit of Jane’s Krazy Mixed-Up Salt.)

Shavings of pecorino Romano or parmesan cheese for serving (Optional; we prefer it without the cheese.)

 

  1. Cut the zucchini into 1/8-inch slices and then cut the slices into matchsticks.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat.
  3. When the pan is hot, add the oil. Swirl the oil around the pan and heat it up.
  4. Add the almonds. Cook, stirring, until they are golden-brown. This will take a minute or two.
  5. Stir the zucchini into the pan and cook for about 1 minute. The zucchini should be warmed and starting to soften, but fully cooked.
  6. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve. Top with the cheese, if using.

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Zucchini

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Quick Zucchini Saute - Copy

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Authentic Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

July 26, 2019

By Kath Dedon

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Last week we had a family dinner to celebrate Bob’s birthday. I planned on Kalua Pork with Cabbage. And then I got the bright idea to go in the direction of a Hawaiian plate lunch. So I added steamed rice and this Authentic Hawaiian Macaroni Salad.

My salad is adapted from Erica’s recipe on Favorite Family Recipes, the blog she writes with her sisters, Emily and Echo. Erica writes that she used to live in Hawaii; her goal was to replicate the macaroni salad that she had so often enjoyed at L&L Hawaiian BBQ.

Erica proclaims that this Authentic Hawaiian Macaroni Salad is the “real deal”, and there are many comments on her blog post by people who agree with her. This was the recipe to try!

I followed Erica’s advice to use Best Foods (or Hellman’s) mayonnaise. She said there are NO substitutes! I was a bit horrified to see how much mayonnaise is used, but I trusted the recipe. Tasting the finished salad, I had to admit that it was the perfect amount of mayonnaise.

If you want to make it gluten free, I recommend Barilla Gluten Free Elbows. I followed the package directions, cooking the macaroni for 8 minutes. The Barilla elbows worked so well! They were the perfect texture and if you don’t tell anyone, no one will know that they’re eating gluten free pasta. I have tried many brands of gluten-free pasta and I know many of them would not work as well. (Note that boxes of Barilla Gluten Free Elbows are only 12 ounces, so you’ll need 2 boxes to have a pound.)

I subbed ¼ cup of water for the ¼ cup of milk to keep it dairy free and it worked fine. And I used 2 teaspoons of maple sugar instead of regular sugar.

With my changes, maybe my Hawaiian Macaroni Salad is not quite “authentic”, but it was probably the best macaroni salad I have ever had. Sometimes you just have to splurge a bit, and this Authentic Hawaiian Macaroni Salad would be welcome at any barbecue or potluck party.

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Authentic Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

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Authentic Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

(Adapted from Erica’s recipe on the Favorite Family Recipes blog)

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 10 – 12

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1 pound macaroni (use Barilla Gluten Free elbows for gluten or wheat free)

1 tablespoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 carrots, shredded

2½ cups Best Foods or Hellman’s mayonnaise (I have successfully used Best Foods Vegan Dressing and Sandwich Spread.)

¼ cup milk (or water for dairy free)

2 teaspoons sugar (I used maple sugar)

Kosher salt and pepper to taste

 

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. When it’s boiling, add the tablespoon of kosher salt and the macaroni to the pot. Stir and cook according to the package directions. The pasta should be well-cooked, not al dente. (I cooked the Barilla Gluten Free Elbows for 8 minutes.)
  2. Drain the macaroni and put it in a large bowl. Stir in the vinegar and the shredded carrots. Stir gently until the carrots are evenly distributed. Allow it to cool slightly while you prepare the dressing.
  3. Stir the mayonnaise, milk (or water), and sugar together in a smaller bowl or a 1 quart Pyrex pitcher.
  4. When the macaroni has cooled a bit (15 minutes or so), stir the dressing in. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (I added a bit of salt, but no pepper.)
  5. Cover the salad and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.

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Gluten-free Hawaiian Macaroni Salad

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Sous Vide Beef Back Ribs

June 24, 2019

By Kath Dedon

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These Sous Vide Beef Back Ribs taste like they’ve just been cut from a Perfect Ribeye Roast. And that was my goal!

The Anova recipe that I used as a guide used a barbecue rub. I’m sure that would be delicious, but I really wanted the taste of a ribeye roast. I just used salt and pepper and finished the ribs with a bit of garlic powder. I also cut the sous vide bath time from 48 to 30 hours and that worked perfectly.

I’ve had my Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker for a little over a year, and I have just recently become comfortable using it. I don’t know why it took so long, because it’s really quite easy to use. I’m using it more and more often, but I don’t post all of the recipes to this blog. I recognize that probably most of you are not using a sous vide cooker.

I couldn’t find a lot of information on the Internet about using a sous vide cooker for beef back ribs. Bob and I enjoyed these Sous Vide Beef Back Ribs so much that I had to post this recipe so I would have it for the future.  🙂

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Bob’s ready for his beef ribs, seen served with spaghetti squash.

Sous Vide Beef Back Ribs

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Sous Vide Beef Back Ribs

(Adapted from an Anova recipe online for Sous Vide Dry Rubbed Beef Back Ribs)

(print the recipe)

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Note that I did not add the garlic powder until I was ready to grill the ribs. I was concerned that it might develop an odd flavor after 30 hours in the sous vide bath.

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Serves 3 – 4

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1 (3.3 pound) rack of beef back ribs (sometimes referred to as prime rib bones)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Garlic powder, for finishing

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  1. Fill a large container with hot tap water. Put your sous vide cooker in the container and set the temperature to 141°F (60.5°C). Set the timer for 30 hours.
  2. Generously season both sides of the ribs with salt and pepper.
  3. Seal the ribs in a vacuum seal bag, or use a 2-gallon Ziploc bag. (If using a Ziploc bag, use the water immersion technique to seal the bag.)

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Beef Back Ribs

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4. When the sous vide water has reached the cooking temperature, put the bag of ribs in the water, making sure the ribs are fully submerged.

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Ribs in the water

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5. Use a lid, as I did, or cover the top of the container with aluminum foil to minimize water evaporation. (If your water does evaporate, you will have to add more water to keep the ribs submerged. I had no evaporation with my 12-quart container and silicone lid.)

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12 quarts of water

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6. Just before the 30 hours are up, heat your grill to high. (Or heat your oven to 450°F, 232°C.)

7. When the sous vide timer goes off, remove the ribs from the bag and pat them dry with paper towels.

8. Season the ribs with more salt, pepper, and the garlic powder.

9. Keeping your grill at the highest heat, grill the ribs for about 1 minute on each side. (Or roast in the oven on a baking sheet for about 10 minutes.)

10. Cut into individual ribs and enjoy!

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Sous Vide Beef Back Ribs with Spaghetti Squash

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Sous Vide Beef Back Ribs - Copy.jpg

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Blondies

June 9, 2019

By Kath Dedon

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To me, Blondies are what you get when Brownies marry Chocolate Chip Cookies. You get a chewy bar, like a brownie, loaded with chocolate chips. It’s a great combination!

On Friday I said I would bring Blondies to a birthday party on Saturday. I realized that I don’t have a go-to Blondie recipe, so I turned to Eat Your Books for suggestions. The Cook’s Illustrated recipe came up high on the list. The Food52 blog shared it. Eat Your Books also said the recipe is in the Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook. I know you’re not supposed to try new recipes for entertaining, but I trust Cook’s Illustrated so I decided to go for it.

My, oh, my! I now have a go-to Blondies recipe! These Blondies were incredibly good. The texture was perfect. I loved the crunch of the pecans. Cook’s Illustrated said they tried adding the white chocolate chips on a whim, and using them with the semisweet chips turned out to be the winner. I have to agree.

I would not change a thing about this recipe. It’s very easy and produces fabulous Blondies. Put this one in your back pocket to pull out when you want to take a dessert to a summer barbecue. You’ll be a hero!

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The Best Blondies

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Blondies

(Adapted, barely, from a recipe in the Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook and on the Food52 blog)

 

(print the recipe)

 

Makes 36 bars

(I haven’t tried it, but I’m confident that this recipe could be cut in half and baked in an 8-inch square pan if you wanted fewer Blondies.)

 .

About 1 tablespoon of softened butter to grease the pan

1 cup pecans

12 tablespoons unsalted butter

1½ cups (7½ ounces) all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 ½ cups packed (10 ½ ounces) light brown sugar (Tip: if you have a kitchen scale, measure the brown sugar by weight in a small bowl.)

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

½ cup (3 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

½ cup (3 ounces) white chocolate chips (For best results, Cook’s Illustrated recommends Guittard Choc-au-Lait or Ghirardelli Classic White Chocolate Chips. I found Ghirardelli at Safeway and that’s what I used.)

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  2. Use 2 long sheets of heavy-duty foil to make a sling in a 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Use one sheet lengthwise and the other across the width of the pan. Gently press the foil into the corners and along the edges, leaving the extra foil to hang over the edges. Use a paper towel to grease the foil with the softened tablespoon of butter.

foil in the pan

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4. Spread the pecans out on a baking sheet and toast in the preheated oven for about 5 minutes, until they’re lightly toasted and aromatic. Watch closely because they can quickly burn. Coarsely chop the pecans and set them aside.

5. Melt the 12 tablespoons of butter and set aside to cool slightly.

6. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Set aside.

7. Put the light brown sugar in a large bowl. Whisk in the butter until it’s well-combined with the sugar. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla.

8. Use a spatula to fold the flour mixture into the brown sugar mixture. Do not overmix; fold just until it’s combined.

9. Fold in the pecans and the semisweet and white chocolate chips.

10. Spread the batter into the prepared pan.

ready to bake

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11. Bake until the top is shiny and a bit cracked and the surface feels firm, 22 – 25 minutes. (In my oven 24 minutes was perfect.)

Done

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12. Put the pan on a wire rack and cool completely.

13. Use the foil sling to lift the Blondies to a cutting board.

14. Cut into 2 x 1½-inch bars. (I used my pizza cutter to cut the bars and it worked great!)

 

Blondies

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Slow Cooker Pepper Jack Cauliflower

May 19, 2019

By Kath Dedon

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I have made this Slow Cooker Pepper Jack Cauliflower about 4 times now. I love it!

The recipe was developed by Carolyn Ketchum for A Sweet Life. She has contributed many great recipes to the site, which is a program of the Diabetes Media Foundation. Their goal is to help people with diabetes live better lives.

The first time I made Slow Cooker Pepper Jack Cauliflower I followed Carolyn’s recipe exactly, including the 6 slices of bacon. Bob and I both loved it. But Bob, Mr. Bacon-Lover, actually said he didn’t think the bacon was necessary. So I’ve made it without bacon ever since.

Since you cook it on Low for 3 hours, this isn’t a slow cooker recipe that you can start in the morning before working all day. But it’s great if you’re home and want to get a great side dish going a few hours before dinner.

This makes a really good vegetarian main course, too. I doubled it for Easter (which is possible if you have a 6-quart or larger slow cooker) and served it with ham, green beans, and a Greek salad. I think our vegetarian guest appreciated having something a bit more substantial to eat with the beans and salad.

Slow Cooker Pepper Jack Cauliflower will certainly be something that we will enjoy now and then. It’s easy and tasty. And did I mention that leftovers are delicious? I may have eaten some cold out of the refrigerator for breakfast.  But then, I am someone who thinks cold pizza makes an acceptable breakfast.

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This particular night I served the Pepper Jack Cauliflower with pork chops and a big salad.

Pepper Jack Cauliflower

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Slow Cooker Pepper Jack Cauliflower

(Adapted from Carolyn Ketchum’s recipe on asweetlife.org)

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 6

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I have included the bacon as an optional ingredient. It truly does take it over-the-top and is delicious, but we like it without the bacon, too.

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Cauliflower cut in fourths.

Cauliflower cut in fourths

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It’s easy to cut the core out after cutting the cauliflower in fourths. Then break, or cut, it into florets.

Cut the core off

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1 head of cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets

4 ounces cream cheese

¼ cup whipping cream

2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

4 ounces Pepper Jack cheese, shredded

6 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled (optional, but really good)

 

  1. Grease the inside of a 4 to 6 quart slow cooker.
  2. Put the cauliflower, cream cheese, whipping cream, and butter in the slow cooker. (No need to stir them together.)
  3. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

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Cream cheese, cream, butter, salt and pepper added

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4. Cook on low for 3 hours.

5. Stir in the cheese and continue to cook on Low for another 30 minutes to an hour.

6. Stir in the bacon, if using, and serve.

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Slow Cooker Pepper Jack Cauliflower

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Instant Pot Bacon and Cheddar Egg Bites

April 20, 2019

By Kath Dedon

 

We love these Instant Pot Bacon and Cheddar Egg Bites!

My friend, Becky, introduced me to Starbuck’s Sous Vide Egg Bites when I was visiting her. Have you tried them? Well, they are quite tasty and are popular enough that the Internet has many copycat recipes for egg bites.

I actually have a sous vide cooker, but I’m not really as comfortable with it as I am with my Instant Pot. So when I saw recipes for Instant Pot egg bites I was excited to give it a try.

Some recipes use cream and/or cream cheese. I was drawn to the simplicity of Erin’s recipe on her Platings and Pairings blog. She uses just eggs and cottage for the egg base. And she gives five different variations. You can easily customize the egg bites to suit your taste.

I admit that I used a lot of specialized equipment for these Instant Pot Bacon and Cheddar Egg Bites. If you have an Instant Pot and love egg bites, you may want to consider a couple of accessories to make it easier to make them. This is the egg bite mold that I used. And I bought this silicone sling that makes it much easier to lift the egg mold (or any other dish or cake pan) out of the Instant Pot. (Alternatively, Jill, on her blog, shows how to make a sling using aluminum foil. I haven’t tried it, but I have no doubt that it works.)

So far, I’ve only made this cheddar and bacon version. I’d love to try swapping the bacon for some cooked broccoli or mushrooms. (Bob might object to that.) I’m thinking that leftover Easter ham and Swiss cheese would be good. Be sure to check out Erin’s blog post to see some of her other versions for inspiration.

Bob and I both love these Instant Pot Bacon and Cheddar Egg Bites for a quick bite to eat in the morning. Frankly, I think they’re great cold out of the refrigerator. But they reheat beautifully in the microwave. In ours it takes 20 seconds at 70% power to heat them up beautifully.

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Instant Pot Bacon and Cheddar Egg Bites

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Instant Pot Bacon and Cheddar Egg Bites

(Adapted from Erin’s recipe on Platings and Pairings)

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(print the recipe)

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Makes 7 egg bites

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4 large eggs

½ cup cottage cheese

½ cup (2 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese

4 slices of cooked bacon (or about ¼ cup cooked vegetables or ham or sausage)

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  1. .Put the eggs and the cottage cheese in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Distribute the cheese among the 7 egg cups.
  3. Cut the bacon slices in half. Crumble 7 halves into the egg cups. Eat the 8th half.

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Cheese in the egg cups, adding bacon

cheese and bacon in the cups

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4. Pour the egg mixture into the egg cups.

Eggs poured in

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5. Cover the egg mold tightly with foil to keep moisture out of the eggs.

6. Lower the egg mold into the Instant Pot with a silicone or foil sling.

Covered with foil in the Instant Pot

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7. Seal the Instant Pot and press Steam. Set the time for 10 minutes.

8. When the time is up, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes. Then do a quick release for the remaining pressure.

9. Let the egg bites cool for a minute or two before removing them from the mold.

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Cooked egg bites

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Bacon and Cheddar Egg Bites

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Easy Cashew Chicken

March 12, 2019

By Kath Dedon

 

This Easy Cashew Chicken was truly very easy. It required a bit of time to prep the ingredients, but then it took less than 15 minutes to cook. I loved it! Bob thought it needed some heat, but he remedied that with some Tabasco. (I tried to tell him that not every dish needs to be, or should be, spicy.)

I found the recipe on Megha Barot’s and Matt Gaedke’s Keto Connect blog. If you click on the link you can see Megha’s excellent video that shows just how easy it is to make.

Megha says it serves 3. It made 2 servings for us, which was perfect. It would double easily for a family dinner.

I will definitely be making this Easy Cashew Chicken again. I loved the non-spicy flavors and the ease with which it came together. I’ll just make sure we have Tabasco or Sriracha on hand for Bob. 😉

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Cashew Chicken

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Easy Cashew Chicken

(Adapted from Megha Barot’s and Matt Gaedke’s recipe on ketoconnect.com)

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 2 – 3

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3 raw boneless, skinless chicken thighs

½ medium green bell pepper

¼ large white onion (about 4 ounces)

3 cloves garlic

1½ teaspoons chili garlic sauce (I used the Huy Fong brand)

½ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon salt

1½ tablespoons soy sauce (use wheat-free tamari for gluten-free)

1 tablespoon unseasoned rice wine vinegar

¼ cup raw cashews

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 tablespoon sesame seeds, for serving

1 tablespoon sesame oil (optional, to drizzle on the finished dish – I didn’t use it.)

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It looks like there are a lot of steps, but I wanted to make the directions really clear. The recipe is so much easier if you have all of the ingredients prepped before you start cooking.

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  1. Cut the chicken thighs into 1-inch pieces and set aside.
  2. Cut the green pepper and white onion into equal-sized squares and set aside on a different plate from the chicken.
  3. Mince the garlic and add it to the green pepper and onion.
  4. Measure out the chili garlic sauce into a small dish.
  5. Measure out the ginger and salt into another small dish.
  6. Put the soy sauce and rice wine vinegar in a small dish.
  7. Heat a large skillet over low heat. Add the cashews and cook, stirring often, until they are starting to get toasted. It will take 5 – 8 minutes. Remove the cashews from the pan and set aside.

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Toasted cashews

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8. Increase the heat to medium high. After it has heated for a couple of minutes, add the coconut oil and let it melt.

9. Add the chicken to the pan. Cook, stirring often, until it is done. It will take about 5 minutes.

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Chicken cooking. Not done yet.

Chicken thighs cooking

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10. Add the green pepper, onion, garlic, chili garlic sauce, ginger, and salt to the chicken in the pan. Stir and cook for 2 – 3 minutes.

11. Add the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and toasted cashews to the pan. Cook, stirring often, for a few minutes. Cook until the liquid in the pan has reduced until there is no more liquid in the pan.

12. Serve topped with the sesame seeds and sesame oil, if desired.

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Easy Cashew Chicken

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Instant Pot Hard-Cooked Eggs in the 6-quart or 8-quart Pots

February 14, 2019

By Kath Dedon

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If you have followed my blog for any length of time, this post is going to make you think I’m obsessed with hard boiled eggs. I’m not really obsessed, but Bob and I both like having a few hard boiled eggs in the refrigerator for a quick breakfast or snack. So when I see a new recipe for “perfect” hard boiled eggs, I’m eager to try it.

You’ll note that I am not calling this post Perfect Hard-Cooked Eggs. There’s a reason for that. I have already posted 3 different methods for “perfect” hard cooked eggs (Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs and Deviled Egg Salad Sandwiches, Perfect Instant Pot Hard-Cooked Eggs, and Perfect Hard Cooked Eggs, in case you’re curious). None of them turned out to be perfect.

I have come to realize that there are just too many variables that can affect how the eggs turn out. The size of the eggs (not all of the “large” eggs I buy appear to be the same size), the temperature of the eggs (right from the refrigerator or room temperature), and the freshness of the eggs are just a few of the variables that could make a difference.

And then, of course, there’s personal preference. My idea of a perfectly cooked egg may not be the same as yours. Although I think we can all agree that we don’t want the dreaded green ring around the yolk.

I really thought I had the best method for Instant Pot eggs, but there are a couple of problems with it. I’m not sure every electric pressure cooker has a Low Pressure function. And, if you have an 8-quart Instant Pot, it probably wouldn’t work for you. Carrie tried it in hers and the eggs were terribly over-cooked.

I wondered why it hadn’t worked for Carrie in her 8-quart pot. I turned to the Internet and discovered Kristine’s Kitchen. Kristine did a lot of research and testing and came up with a most reasonable explanation. It takes a bit longer for the 8-quart Instant Pot to get up to pressure, and those extra minutes add cooking time to the eggs. She recommends the 5-5-5 method in a 6-quart pot (5 minutes at high pressure, 5 minutes natural release, and 5 minutes in an ice bath) and the 5-5 method in an 8-quart pot (5 minutes at high pressure, then quick release, and 5 minutes in an ice bath).

Armed with this new information, I decided to try the 5-5-5 method myself in my 6-quart Instant Pot. It worked (ahem) perfectly, so this is my new hard-cooked egg method.

Laura tried Kristine’s 5-5 method in her 8-quart pot and she reported that it worked perfectly!

If you don’t have an Instant Pot, I recommend steaming the eggs as I did in Perfect Hard Cooked Eggs. It’s a method that’s practically perfect in every way, and it’s the method I would use if I didn’t have an Instant Pot.

Do check out Kristine’s Kitchen to see the details of her research. She also tells how she makes soft-cooked eggs in the Instant Pot.
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IMG_2905

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Instant Pot Hard-Cooked Eggs for the 6-quart or 8-quart Pots

(Adapted from methods in Kristine’s Kitchen)

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(print the “recipe”)

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Some say use older eggs for easy peeling. With this method for cooking eggs, I have noticed that freshness makes no difference in the outcome. I have used very fresh eggs and they are easy to peel.

These directions are for large eggs. I have not tested any other egg sizes, but I assume the timing could be different.

 

5-5-5 directions for 6-quart Instant Pot eggs

1.    Place the desired number of large eggs on the trivet in your Instant Pot. (I used cold eggs, right from the refrigerator.)

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Eggs on the trivet that came with the Instant Pot

eggs on trivet

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If you have a steamer basket, you can use that instead of the trivet. It does make it easier to take the eggs out of the pot.

6 large eggs

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2.  Pour 1 cup of cold water into the Instant Pot.

3.  Seal the lid and set it at Manual for 5 minutes.

4.  Prepare a bowl with ice water so it’s ready when you need it.

5. When the 5 minutes of pressure cooking are up, do nothing and let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes. (I always set the timer on my phone. If they’re left longer than 5 minutes they will continue to cook, risking overcooked eggs.)

6. After 5 minutes of natural release, move the pressure release handle to the venting position to quickly release any remaining pressure.

7. Immediately put the eggs in the ice water and leave them for a minimum of 5 minutes. (A bit longer is OK.)

ice bath

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8. The eggs are ready to peel and eat or store in the refrigerator for later.

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Easily peeled eggs

5-5-5 hard-cooked egg

 

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5-5 directions for 8-quart Instant Pot eggs

1. Place the desired number of large eggs on the trivet in your Instant Pot. (I used cold eggs, right from the refrigerator. You can also use a steaming basket, if you have one, instead of the trivet.)

2. Pour 1 cup of cold water into the Instant Pot.

3. Seal the lid and set it at Manual for 5 minutes.

4. Prepare a bowl with ice water so it’s ready when you need it.

5. When the 5 minutes of pressure cooking are up, move the pressure release handle to the venting position to quickly release the pressure.

6. Immediately put the eggs in the ice water and leave them for a minimum of 5 minutes. (A bit longer is OK.)

7. The eggs are ready to peel and eat or store in the refrigerator for later.

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I could say this is the last time that I’ll post about hard-cooked eggs. But I’m not making any promises. 😉

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Instant Pot Hard-Cooked Egg

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Stir-Fried Green Cabbage with Fennel Seeds

February 3, 2019

By Kath Dedon

 

A few years ago I shared my take on Mark Bittman’s Cabbage Braised with Onions. It’s very good and we enjoy it whenever I make it.

Yesterday I made a very similar recipe, but it has a different flavor profile. Madhur Jaffrey’s recipe for Stir-Fried Green Cabbage with Fennel Seeds (Bhuni Bandh Gobi) is from her Quick and Easy Indian Cooking. Like Bittman, she uses cabbage, onion, and a bit of cayenne pepper. The cumin seeds, fennel seeds, sesame seeds, and garam masala that she adds gives the cabbage a very subtle Indian flavor.

We really liked the cabbage served with Uli’s Famous Sausage Hungarian Kolbasz.

(For those of you with an air fryer:  I air fried the sausage. Prick holes in one side of the sausages. Put them holes-side-down in the basket. Air fry at 375° for 8 minutes; turn over and  air fry for 8 more minutes. Perfect!)

I will happily make this Stir-Fried Green Cabbage with Fennel Seeds again! As Madhur Jaffrey points out in her book, it’s a great side dish with any meat.

(And…I just ate some leftover cabbage cold out of the refrigerator. It’s.really.good.)

 

Stir-Fried Green Cabbage with Fennel Seeds with Uli’s Hungarian Kolbasz

Stir-Fried Cabbage with Fennel Seeds and Uli's Hungarian Kolbasz

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Stir-Fried Green Cabbage with Fennel Seeds

(Adapted from Madhur Jaffrey’s recipe in Quick and Easy Indian Cooking)

 

(print the recipe)

 

Serves 4

 

1 medium head of green cabbage (1½ – 1¾ pounds)

¼ cup vegetable oil (I used avocado oil.)

¾ teaspoon cumin seeds

½ teaspoon fennel seeds

1 teaspoon sesame seeds

½ large white onion (about 7 ounces), thinly sliced crosswise

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 – ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (I used 1/4 tsp. and it wasn’t really too hot. Use less if you prefer.)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

½ teaspoon garam masala

 

  1. Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage. Cut it in half through the core, and then cut each half again through the core. Remove the core. Cut the cabbage in thin strips lengthwise.

Head of cabbage

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2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the oil and let it heat up. When the oil is hot, add the cumin, fennel, and sesame seeds. Cook stirring often. When the sesame seeds start to pop, add the sliced onion.

Fennel seeds, cumin seeds, and sesame seeds

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3. Cook the onion, stirring often, for 3 – 4 minutes or until the onion is just starting to brown.

Onions added

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4. Add the cabbage to the pan. You’ll most likely have to add it in stages. Fill the pan with as much as you can, and cook, stirring, until it cooks down enough to add some more. Continue cooking, stirring, and adding more cabbage until it is all in the pan. Cook, stirring often for 4 – 5 more minutes, or until the cabbage is just starting to brown.

Cabbage added

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5. Stir in the salt and cayenne pepper. Turn the heat down to medium and cook, stirring often, for another 7 – 8 minutes.

6. Stir in the lemon juice and the garam masala and serve.

 

Stir-Fried Cabbage with Fennel Seeds

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Fudgy Keto Brownies

February 1, 2019

By Kath Dedon

 

These Fudgy Keto Brownies were a big hit with family and friends a few nights ago!

The recipe was developed by Carolyn Ketchum and can be found on her excellent blog, All Day I Dream About Food. If you’re starting the new year watching your carbs, I recommend checking out her blog and her books. She’s a very prolific low carb (and keto) recipe developer. I bought her four books that are currently available and find them very inspiring.

The brownies are sweetened with Swerve, a sweetener that I feel good about using. It measures the same, cup for cup, as sugar, making it easy to use.  I think it’s available at my Safeway stores, but I usually order it from Amazon.

The Lily’s dark chocolate chips are sweetened with stevia. I can buy them, and many varieties of Lily’s chocolate bars, at my local West Seattle Thriftway, but they are also available from Amazon if you can’t find them.

The only change I made was I used a bit less gelatin than Carolyn. Gelatin is the “secret” ingredient that gives the brownies the “fudgy” texture. Carolyn uses 1 tablespoon. I had bought packets of Knox gelation. I did an online search and learned from the Knox site that each packet has about 2½ teaspoons of gelatin. (One tablespoon equals 3 teaspoons.) Knox recommends just using 1 packet if a recipe calls for a tablespoon of gelatin. That’s exactly what I did and it worked fine.

If you want a chocolatey, fudgy treat that’s low in carbs and sugar, give these Fudgy Keto Brownies a try. I think you’ll agree that they are pretty darn tasty.

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Fudgy Brownies

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Fudgy Keto Brownies

(Adapted, barely, from Carolyn Ketchum’s recipe on alldayidreamaboutfood.com)

 

(print the recipe)

 

Makes 16 servings

 

½ cup butter, melted

2/3 cup Swerve Granulated Sweetener (or the equivalent of your favorite sweetener)

3 large eggs

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup almond flour (50g) (I used Bob’s Red Mill Super-Fine Almond Flour)

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1 tablespoon gelatin (or 1 packet of Knox gelatin)

½ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ cup water

1/3 cup sugar-free chocolate chips (Optional, but so good. I used Lily’s.)

 

Ingredients for Fudgy Keto Brownies

Ingredients for Fudgy Keto Brownies

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  2. Grease an 8×8-inch pan.
  3. Mix the butter, Swerve, eggs, and vanilla together in a bowl.
  4. Add the almond flour, cocoa, gelatin, baking powder, and salt. Stir until well-combined.
  5. Stir in the water. Then stir in the chocolate chips.
  6. Spread the dough out in the prepared pan. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, until the edges are done but the center still looks a bit wet. (It took 20 minutes in my oven.)

 

I lined the pan with parchment paper. I don’t think it’s necessary and I won’t do it next time. The paper on the right side folded over the brownies while baking, leaving the mark that you see.

baked fudgy brownies

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7. Let the brownies cool completely in the pan before cutting them into 16 pieces.

 

Fudgy Keto Brownies

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Roasted Eggplant with Anchovies and Oregano

January 26, 2019

By Kath Dedon

 

Not only do I own Ottolenghi SIMPLE, Yotam Ottolenghi’s latest book, but I have an autographed copy! Carrie went to hear him speak last fall when his book tour brought him to Seattle, and she got a signed copy for me for my birthday! She knows me well.

The SIMPLE in the title is actually an acronym for the 6 different ways that Ottolenghi feels a recipe can be “simple”. They are:

Short on time – quick recipes

10 Ingredients or less

Make ahead

Pantry – recipes that use ingredients that most people keep on hand

Lazy – recipes like long-simmering braises or one-pot wonders

Easier than you think

Each recipe in the book is “simple” in at least one of these ways, and they’re identified with colorful letters right under the recipe titles.

I’m excited to try a lot of the recipes in Ottolenghi SIMPLE. Every recipe is accompanied by a gorgeous photo which really makes me want to get cooking! I have several of his other books and they’re all amazing, but I think I’m most excited about this one.

I have twice made this Roasted Eggplant with Anchovies and Oregano. It is so good! It’s identified as being  I  (10 Ingredients or less)  M  (Make ahead) and  (Using Pantry items). Simple!

This is a recipe that, indeed, can be made ahead of time and served at room temperature. When I’m entertaining, that is my favorite type of side dish!

I recommend that you give this Roasted Eggplant with Anchovies and Oregano a try. I made the full recipe for just the two of us and we enjoyed the leftovers the next day. I just pulled them out of the refrigerator to bring them to room temperature. Delicious!

 

Eggplant served with Porcupine Meatballs

roasted eggplant with anchovies and oregano with porcupine meatballs

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Roasted Eggplant with Anchovies and Oregano

(Adapted, barely, from Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipe in Ottolenghi SIMPLE)

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 4 

3 or 4 medium eggplants (about 2 pounds total weight) sliced into ¾-inch thick rounds

½ teaspoon salt

7 tablespoons olive oil, divided

6 anchovy fillets in oil, drained and finely chopped

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 small clove of garlic, crushed

1/8 teaspoon salt

About ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon oregano leaves

¼ cup Italian (flat-leaf) parsley leaves, roughly chopped

 

These 3 beauties weighed a total of about 2¼ pounds.

2.25 pounds eggplant

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  1. Heat the oven to 450°.
  2. Put the eggplant slices in a large bowl. Sprinkle the ½ teaspoon of salt over them and toss them with your hands to distribute the salt.
  3. Line a large (21 x 15 x 1 in) baking sheet (or 2 smaller baking sheets) with parchment paper. Spread the eggplant slices out on the baking sheet. Measure out 2½ tablespoons of olive oil and brush all of it over the eggplant slices. Turn the slices over and brush another 2½ tablespoons of olive oil on the other side.

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My little OXO ¼-cup measuring cup was perfect for measure 2½ tablespoons of oil. The eggplant slices all fit on my large baking sheet.

brush with olive oil

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4. Roast the eggplant for 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool a bit.

cooked eggplant

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5. Mix together the chopped anchovies, vinegar, garlic, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and the pepper in a small bowl. Slowly pour the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil into the mixture while whisking until the ingredients are well combined. At this point the eggplant and dressing can be set aside at room temperature until you’re ready to serve.

6. When it’s time to serve, put the eggplant, oregano, and parsley in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the eggplant, toss gently and serve.

 

tossed

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roasted eggplant with anchovies and oregano

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Instant Pot Porcupine Meatballs

January 15, 2019

By Kath Dedon

 

My mom used to make Porcupine Meatballs fairly frequently. I’m pretty sure her recipe involved a can of Campbell’s Tomato Soup. I always liked the meatballs, so I was excited to see Coco Morante’s recipe for Instant Pot Porcupine Meatballs in her new book, The Ultimate Instant Pot Cookbook. (The recipe is also on Elise Bauer’s Simply Recipes food blog.)

The recipe is easy and the meatballs are tender without the use of bread crumbs. They’re great for people who avoid wheat.

Coco states that the original recipe was from Betty Crocker. That sounds about right. It felt very retro to have the Instant Pot Porcupine Meatballs last night. Peas seemed to be the perfect retro side dish.

 

porcupine meatballs and peas

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Instant Pot Porcupine Meatballs

(Adapted from Coco Morante’s recipe on simplyrecipes.com and in The Ultimate Instant Pot Cookbook)

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 4

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Don’t double this recipe. The meatballs need to be in a single layer to cook properly.

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1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped (about 6 ounces)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound ground beef (85% lean)

½ cup long-grain white rice

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

One 15-ounce can tomato sauce

½ cup water

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Chopped flat-leaf parsley or small basil leaves for garnish (optional)

 

  1. Put half of the onion and half of the garlic in a bowl.
  2. Add the ground beef, rice, salt and pepper to the bowl. Mix well with your hands so the onion and rice are evenly distributed. Don’t worry about over-working the beef.
  3. Shape the meat into 12 meatballs.

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12 meatballs

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4. Press Sauté and adjust heat to Normal on the Instant Pot. When the pot is hot add the olive oil. Let it heat for about a minute, and then add the chopped onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until the onion is softened.

5. Add the tomato sauce, water, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir and let the sauce come to a simmer.

6. Press the Cancel button to turn the Instant Pot off. Carefully place the meatballs in the sauce so they are in one layer. Spoon a bit of sauce over each meatball.

 

in instant pot with sauce

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7. Put the lid on the pot and set the Pressure Release to Sealing.

8. Press the Manual or Pressure Cook button. Set the time for 15 minutes at high pressure.

9. When the time is up, let the pressure release naturally for about 10 minutes. Then do a quick release to release the rest of the pressure. Open the pot and serve, garnished with parsley or basil, if desired.

 

done

 

instant pot porcupine meatballs

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Chana Salaad (Chickpea Salad)

January 7, 2019

By Kath Dedon

 

There are already several chickpea salad recipes on my blog. We like chickpeas. This new recipe, though, for Chana Salaad (Chickpea Salad) is the one that we find is perfect. Bob is actually quite smitten with it, saying that I should be making it all the time.

Urvashi Pitre’s recipe in Indian Instant Pot Cookbook uses the Instant Pot to cook the chickpeas. I think freshly cooked chickpeas really make a big difference. If you don’t have an Instant Pot, you could cook the chickpeas on the stovetop, or substitute 2 cans of chickpeas.

The first time I made this Chana Salaad I did wonder about Urvashi’s instructions to cook the dried chickpeas under pressure for 20 minutes, but I followed her directions. Sure enough, the beans weren’t done. That was really no problem. I simply sealed the pot  again and cooked them for another 20 minutes and they were perfect.

In hindsight, I think she might have meant to have you cook soaked chickpeas for 20 minutes. Since I love to skip the soaking step with my Instant Pot, the next time I made this I cooked the dried chickpeas for 40 minutes. Perfect!

Give this Chana Salaad a try! Leftovers keep well. (We might have had leftover Chana Salaad for breakfast.)

If you have an Instant Pot and love Indian food, I highly recommend Urvashi’s book!

 

chana salaad

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Chana Salaad (Chickpea Salad)

(Adapted from Urvashi Pitre’s recipe in Indian Instant Pot Cookbook)

 

(print the recipe)

 

Serves 4 – 6 (depending on how many other courses are served)

 

The olive oil added to the beans helps to keep the foam down. Foam can clog the pressure valve.

While you can use canned chickpeas, I think you’ll find this recipe is vastly improved if you use freshly cooked beans.

 

To cook the chickpeas

1 cup dried chickpeas, rinsed and drained

3 bay leaves

4 cups water

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon olive oil

 

For the salad

1 cup finely minced red onion

1 large plum tomato, seeded and diced

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Drained cooked chickpeas (or 2 cans rinsed and drained chickpeas)

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

 

  1. Combine the chickpeas, water, bay leaves and salt in the Instant Pot.

chickpeas ready to cook

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2. Stir in the olive oil. Seal the lid. Use high pressure with the Bean/Chili function, and set the time for 40 minutes.

3. When the time is up, use the natural pressure release (in other words, don’t do anything) for at least 10 minutes. (Longer is OK.) Then use the quick release and remove the lid. Drain the chickpeas and discard the bay leaves.

4. Combine the red onion, tomato, and cilantro in a large bowl.

5. Add the chickpeas to the bowl with the salt, cayenne pepper and lemon juice. Stir well to distribute the lemon juice and seasonings and serve.

 

chana salaad - chickpea salad

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Air Fryer Chicken Wings

January 5, 2019

By Kath Dedon

 

Air Fryer Chicken Wings are the best chicken wings I have ever had! They are crispy, not at all greasy, and the meat is moist and cooked perfectly.

My family will tell you that I was pretty clear that I really, really wanted the Cuisinart® AirFryer Toaster Oven. Bob “surprised” me with it for my birthday, which happens to be a few days before Christmas. That meant I could make 3 batches of chicken wings for an afternoon snack on Christmas Day!

The reason I wanted this particular air fryer is because it’s a multi-talented toaster oven that not only air fries, but it also bakes, convection bakes, broils, convection broils, warms, and makes toast. I also like the fact that it has a window and an oven light, so it’s easy to check on how things are going.

So far, I’ve only used the air fryer, baking, and warming functions. I baked perfect potatoes. I warmed some leftovers. I made a batch of cookies with a large, full sheet of cookies in my regular oven, and I was able to bake the few cookies that were left at the same time in my toaster oven. They were perfect. It’s really nice to have a second oven that works well.

These Air Fryer Chicken Wings were the first thing I made. I just followed the recipe in the small Cuisinart cookbook that came with the oven. We were amazed at how good they were.  Using no oil and seasoning them only with kosher salt made the perfect wings.

 

Air Fryer Chicken Wings and Fries

Air Fryer Chicken Wings and fries.jpg

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Air Fryer Chicken Wings

(Adapted from the recipe that came with the Cuisinart AirFryer Toaster Oven)

 

(print the recipe)

 

Makes about 11 wing sections

 

1¼ pounds “party” chicken wings (drumette and flat sections)

Kosher salt

 

chicken wings.jpg

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  1. Sprinkle kosher salt over both sides of the chicken wings.
  2. Put the air fryer basket on the baking pan. (Line the baking pan with foil, if desired, for easier clean up.) Put the salted chicken wings in the basket.

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in the air fryer basket

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3. Put the pan and basket in the middle position of the oven. Set the oven to the Air Fry function and 400°.

4. Set a timer for 10 minutes. (I use my cell phone timer because the one complaint that people seem to have about this air fryer is that the timer is not accurate.)

5. When the timer goes off, take the pan out of the oven and turn the wings over.

6. Return to the oven and set the timer for 10 minutes. Enjoy!

 

air fryer chicken wings

 

Some of my family liked Frank’s Red Hot Sauce with the wings, but Bob and I both loved them plain.

 

air fryer chicken wings and fries - copy

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The Best Yorkshire Pudding

December 26, 2018

By Kath Dedon

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J. Kenji López-Alt calls this “The Best Yorkshire Pudding”. I found his recipe on Serious Eats and made it to serve with our Christmas dinner. I made my Perfect Rib Eye Roast for the main attraction.

Yorkshire puddings typically call for using beef drippings from the roast, but my roast never produces enough drippings. Kenji suggests using drippings, lard, shortening, or vegetable oil. I used a couple of tablespoons of drippings from the roast and added melted duck fat to make the ½ cup of fat needed to finish the Yorkshire pudding.

This Yorkshire Pudding recipe is SO easy to make and it drew rave reviews at the table. I had to share it on the blog to keep the recipe handy for future feasts at Chez Dedon.

The secret is to make the batter the day before. Kenji did all of the scientific experiments, and found that Yorkshire Pudding rises much higher if the batter has been made ahead of time. You just whisk the ingredients together and refrigerate overnight. When the roast is done, you take it out of the oven to rest and make the Yorkshire Pudding. Simple!

I made mine in my 10-inch cast iron skillet. If you have a 10-inch skillet that is oven-safe it is clearly the easiest pan to use because you don’t have to divide the fat and batter between multiple wells. According to Kenji, you can also use two 6-well popover tins, one 12-well standard muffin tin, one 24-well mini muffin tin, or two 8-inch cast iron skillets.

I know I’ll be making The Best Yorkshire Pudding again. There’s no reason not to with such an easy recipe! I might try it in my 12-inch cast iron skillet next time. I think it would work. If you try that, please let me know how it works for you!

 

My pudding rose so high! I think it would work in my 12-inch skillet next time.

Yorkshire Pudding.jpg

 

The Best Yorkshire Pudding

(Adapted from J. Kenji López-Alt’s recipe on Serious Eats)

 

(print the recipe)

 

Makes one 10-inch skillet-sized,  or two 8-inch skillet-sized, 8 popover-sized, 12 muffin-sized, or 24 mini muffin-sized puddings

 

For the batter

4 large eggs (200g)

1 cup plus 2 teaspoons (150g) all-purpose flour

¾ cup (175g) whole milk

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons (28g) water

½ teaspoon (2g) kosher salt

 

To finish the Yorkshire Pudding

½ cup beef drippings, lard, shortening, vegetable oil, or duck fat (I used about 2 tablespoons of beef drippings and then added duck fat to make ½ cup.)

 

  1. Whisk the eggs, flour, milk, water, and salt together to make a smooth batter. Pour into a container, preferably something like a Pyrex quart measuring cup. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or for up to 3 days.
  2. Put the oven rack in the center position and heat the oven to 450°.
  3. Put the ½ cup drippings or other fat in the 10-inch skillet. (Or microwave the fat to liquefy it if it is solid, and divide it between the two 8-inch skillets, 8 popover cups, 12 muffin cups, or 24 mini muffin cups.)
  4. Put the skillet (or muffin tins) in the hot oven and heat for about 10 minutes, until the fat is “smoking hot”.
  5. Pour the batter into the skillet. (Or divide it between the wells of the tins. Each one should be between ½ and ¾ full. The skillet should be about ¼ filled.)
  6. Bake until the Yorkshire pudding has quadrupled in size, is browned, and sounds hollow when tapped. My 10-inch skillet took 24 or 25 minutes. Smaller muffins will take about 15 minutes; popover-sized or 8-inch skillets will take about 25 minutes.
  7. For the 10-inch skillet pudding, cut into 8 pieces and serve immediately.

The Best Greek Chicken and Potatoes

December 16, 2018

By Kath Dedon

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The Best Roast Greek Chicken and Potatoes is pretty darn good! Heather Christo posted it on her blog, heatherchristo.com, saying it’s one of her most popular recipes. I decided to make it for Laura and Byron and took it over to their house, along with Chopped Greek Salad with Feta Cheese. (They had their adorable baby boy, our grandson, 3 weeks ago today!*) They declared that it was a “winner winner chicken dinner”! It’s so easy to make, I know it won’t be too long before I make it again.

I used a 4.5-pound whole chicken and cut it in half. I don’t see why you couldn’t use about 4 pounds of your favorite chicken pieces if you don’t want to split a whole chicken.

Don’t skimp on the lemon juice, olive oil, oregano, or garlic. They are the key flavor ingredients.

 

The Best Roast Greek Chicken and Potatoes

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The Best Roast Greek Chicken and Potatoes

(Adapted from Heather Christo’s recipe on heatherchristo.com)

 

(print the recipe)

 

Serves 4 – 6

 

1 whole 4 – 4.5 pound chicken split in half

2 large lemons

11 garlic cloves

2 tablespoons dried Greek oregano

1 cup olive oil

6 medium Yukon gold potatoes

Kosher salt and pepper

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  2. Place the chicken halves on a sheet pan.
  3. Cut one of the lemons in half and squeeze all of the juice over the chicken. Rub the lemon halves over the chicken.
  4. Pour ¼ cup of the olive oil over the chicken.
  5. Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the oregano over the chicken.
  6. Peel and mince 5 of the garlic cloves and sprinkle over the chicken.
  7. Peel and quarter the potatoes and put them in a large bowl.
  8. Peel and mince the remaining 6 garlic cloves and sprinkle over the potatoes.
  9. Add the remaining ¾ cup olive oil, 1 tablespoon oregano, and the juice of the second lemon to the bowl of potatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and gently toss so everything is evenly distributed.
  10. Put the potatoes and all of the seasoned olive oil around the chicken on the sheet pan.
  11. Roast until the chicken is done (165°, measured with an instant read thermometer), about 1 hour and 10 – 15 minutes.
  12. Remove the chicken and potatoes to a serving dish. Pour all of the remaining sauce in the sheet pan over the chicken and potatoes.

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The Best Roast Greek Chicken and Potatoes - Copy.jpg

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Emerson, 16 days old, and his dog, Louie (photo by Laura)

Emerson (16 days old) and Louie

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Chopped Greek Salad with Feta Cheese

December 15, 2018

By Kath Dedon

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This Chopped Greek Salad with Feta Cheese is colorful and delicious! It’s best made ahead of time, so it’s perfect for entertaining, potluck parties, or your holiday table.

The recipe is adapted, barely, from Kalyn Denny’s recipe on her blog, Kalyn’s Kitchen. Kalyn uses Newman’s Own Olive Oil and Vinegar Dressing. I made a quick batch of Zesty Homemade Italian Salad Dressing and used that instead.

Kalyn cuts the Feta cheese into cubes and stirs it into the finished salad. I served it on the side. If it’s served on the side, people who like Feta can add it to their servings, and people who avoid dairy or who are vegan can enjoy the salad without it.

I highly recommend this Chopped Greek Salad with Feta Cheese for this busy holiday season!

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Chopped Greek Salad with Feta

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Chopped Greek Salad with Feta Cheese

(Adapted from Kalyn Denny’s recipe on Kalyn’s Kitchen)

 

(print the recipe)

 

Serves 3 – 4

 

1 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half

1 English cucumber, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, and sliced

½ red bell pepper, cut into ¾-inch squares

½ yellow bell pepper, cut into ¾-inch squares

½ orange bell pepper, cut into ¾-inch squares

½ cup pitted Kalamata olives, cut in half (or sliced Kalamata olives)

¼ cup chopped red onion

½ cup diced Feta cheese (or more), or sliced Feta served on the side

 

Dressing

½ cup Zesty Homemade Italian Salad Dressing (or Newman’s Own Olive Oil and Vinegar Dressing)

1 teaspoon dried oregano

 

  1. Mix the oregano into the salad dressing and set aside.
  2. Put the tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, olives, and red onion in a bowl.
  3. Pour the desired amount of salad dressing over the salad. (I used almost all of it.) Gently stir the salad so the dressing is well-distributed.
  4. If adding the Feta cheese to the salad, stir the cheese into the salad. Otherwise, serve it on the side.
  5. The salad can be served immediately, but it’s even better if it’s allowed to marinate at room temperature for an hour or two. Refrigerate leftovers; it keeps well.

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Chopped Greek Salad with Feta Cheese

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The Chopped Greek Salad with Feta Cheese was part of a meal that I delivered to Laura and Byron. They welcomed our little grandson, Emerson, into the world 20 days ago. He was born on November 25.

That’s right! I’m a first-time Grammy! Of course, Emerson is the most beautiful baby ever born! GrandpaDude (Bob) and I are thrilled!! (I’m speaking with a lot of exclamation points these days. 😉 )

(Oh, and Laura wanted me to let you know that they loved the salad! 🙂 )

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Laura, Byron, and Emerson

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Photo by Bella Baby Photography 

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A Few of Our Favorite Holiday Treats

December 11, 2018

By Kath Dedon

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Can you believe that Christmas is just two weeks away?

We don’t have desserts on a regular basis, but this is one time of year when we like to indulge in a few favorite treats. A few days ago Laura suggested that I should post some of our holiday favorites. I thought it was a great idea. So without further ado, here they are. (Just click on the names of the desserts for the recipe.)

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Our favorite holiday pies!

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Happy Apple Pie

baked apple pie 2.JPG

 

Mock Mincemeat Pie

baked mincemeat pie

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Pecan Pie

slice of pecan pie

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Naturally Sweetened Pumpkin Pie

Naturally sweetened pumpkin pie

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If you need a gluten-free option, this Almond Flour Pie Crust works very well with the pecan or pumpkin pie recipes.

almond crust ready to fill

 

Our Favorite Holiday Cookies!

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Toffee Squares

toffee squares 3

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Ginger Crinkle Cookies

Ginger Crinkle Cookies 4

 

Sugar Cookies….aka Million Dollar Cookies

Christmas sugar cookies 2

 

 

Maple Sugar-Pecan Shortbread

Maple Sugar Pecan Shortbread Cookies

 

 

Rosemary Shortbread

Rosemary Shortbread 5

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Gluten Free Lemon Bars

Gluten Free Lemon Bars.JPG

 

And one spectacular holiday cake!

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This Portuguese Orange Olive Oil Cake should be made a couple of days before serving, and it deliciously serves a lot of people. A holiday win-win!

Portuguese Orange Cake 3.JPG

 

Wishing you and yours a very happy and tasty Holiday Season!

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Gluten Free Lemon Bars 2.JPG

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The Simplest and Best Shrimp Dish

November 18, 2018

By Kath Dedon

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The Simplest and Best Shrimp Dish is my take on a Mark Bittman recipe. It is indeed simple, but is it the best? I don’t know about that, but it certainly is good enough that I made it twice in one week. Bittman calls it a Spanish tapa-style dish and says that everyone he’s served it to has loved it. Perhaps it is the Best!

The most time-consuming part of this recipe is peeling the shrimp, but even that doesn’t take too long. And if you buy shrimp that’s already peeled and deveined, the recipe is even simpler!

Be sure to have all of the ingredients ready to go (mise en place) because the cooking goes really quickly.

Bob and I really did enjoy this Simplest and Best Shrimp Dish! Just writing about it is making me crave it. The first time I made it I just served it by itself on a plate. The second time I served it with cauliflower rice. It would be great served over rice or by itself with a good bread to sop up the flavorful sauce. I’ll be making this again soon; it’s sure to be part of our regular rotation.

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Served with cauliflower rice

The Simplest and Best Shrimp Dish

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The Simplest and Best Shrimp Dish

(Adapted, barely, from Mark Bittman’s recipe on his website and in How to Cook Everything)

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 4

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1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

4 cloves garlic, peeled

1½ pounds shrimp

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1½ teaspoons hot smoked paprika (Look for the word “picante” on the label.)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Chopped fresh parsley leaves, for garnish (optional)

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Ingredients for the Simplest and Best Shrimp Dish

Ingredients

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cumin and smoked hot paprika

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  1. If the shrimp aren’t already peeled and deveined, do that first and set aside.
  2. Slice the garlic into thin slivers. Measure out the cumin and paprika. (You can put them both in the same dish.) Prep the parsley, if using.

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Ingredients “mise en place” (ready to go)

Ingredients mise en place

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3. Heat a large skillet over low heat. When hot, add the olive oil and let it heat up.

oil in pan

 

4. Add the garlic to the pan and cook, stirring often, until it is starting to brown.

garlic

 

5. Raise the heat to medium-high. Add the shrimp, the cumin and paprika, and a bit of salt and pepper.

shrimp and spices added

 

6. Stir to distribute the spices.

Shrimp cooking

 

7. Cook, stirring often, until the shrimp are done. It will take 5 -10 minutes. (Timing will depend on the size of your shrimp and the heat of the pan.)

8. Serve, garnished with parsley, if desired.

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The Simplest and Best Shrimp

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Instant Pot Apple Butter

October 12, 2018

By Kath Dedon

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We had a big crop of Akane apples this year. I decided to use some of them to make Ashley Singh Thomas’ recipe for Instant Pot Apple Butter. I found the recipe on her blog, My Heart Beets. I had had my eye on her recipe for a while. When Carrie told me she made it with some of the apples we gave her and how fabulous it is, I had to make it!

I love the fact that Ashley leaves the peels on. That really simplifies the prep work. I treated myself to a Cuisipro Apple Corer which worked great. I had 4½ pounds of apples prepped in under 30 minutes.

Ashley said she used 5½ pounds of apples in her 6-quart Instant Pot, but mine was looking pretty full with just 4½ pounds so that’s what I used. I did not reduce the other ingredients.

I put the finished apple butter in half-pint jars. I have one jar in the refrigerator to eat now and the others are in the freezer. I understand that apple butter freezes really well. We can look forward to enjoying Instant Pot Apple Butter over the next few months.

If you have an abundance of apples and an Instant Pot, I highly recommend this recipe!

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A couple of Akane apples from our tree and Instant Pot Apple Butter

Instant Pot Apple Butter

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Instant Pot Apple Butter

(Adapted from Ashley Singh Thomas’ recipe on My Heart Beets)

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(print the recipe)

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The final quantity will depend on how much you cook it down in the last step. I ended up with a little over 5 cups of apple butter.

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You may wonder why this recipe only uses ¼ cup of water when Instant Pot recommends at least 1 cup of liquid. Amy + Jacky, in the comments on their version of Instant Pot Apple Butter, say that the apples release a lot of juice as they’re heated, so ¼ cup of water is enough. Indeed, it worked fine for me.

4½ pounds of apples

¼ cup water

½ teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch of ground cloves

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg, optional (I didn’t use it.)

Sugar, optional (I used 1 tablespoon of coconut sugar, but I think it would have been great without any sweetener.)

  1. Wash, core, and quarter the apples.
  2. Put the apples in the Instant Pot and add ¼ cup water.

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4.5 pounds apples

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3. Put the lid on the pot, and turn the pressure regulator to Sealing. Use Manual, High Pressure and select 20 minutes of cooking time.

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Instant Pot set.jpg

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4. When the time is up let the pressure release naturally.

5. Use a high speed blender or an immersion blender to puree the apples. (If using a blender, put the apple puree back in the Instant Pot.)

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Cooked apples, just before I blended them

Cooked apples just before blending

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6. Stir the spices and sugar into the apple puree.

7. Press Sauté and set it to Low. Cook for 30 minutes, without the lid on, stirring occasionally.

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Simmering on Low, without the lid

Apple Butter cooking on Saute

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8. When the 30 minutes are up the Instant Pot will turn off. You’ll probably want to cook it down a bit more, so Press Sauté to cook for another 30 minutes.

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Tips:

  • The apple butter will sputter when it’s cooking down. I used a splatter screen to keep it from splattering all over.
  • If you want to freeze the apple butter in jars, be sure to leave about ½ inch of space to allow for expansion.

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Instant Pot Apple Butter - Copy

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Purple Plum Torte

October 3, 2018

By Kath Dedon

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I adapted Deb Perelman’s recipe for a Purple Plum Torte to make an almost sugar-free version. Deb wrote in her Smitten Kitchen blog post that her recipe was an adaptation of the very popular version made famous by Marian Burros.

Amanda Hesser, author of The Essential New York Times Cookbook, says the Marian Burros recipe is the most often requested and published recipe in the New York Times. When she was looking for recipes to include in her book, she had 265 people rave about the Purple Plum Torte. So now it can be forever found in The Essential New York Times Cookbook.

Both Deb and Amanda point out that you can really use any fruit for this torte, but purple Italian plums are especially good when they’re in season.

This Purple Plum Torte is best made the day before you serve it, making it a perfect dessert for entertaining.

(Be sure to check out Deb’s photos of her Purple Plum Torte to see how lovely it can be when it’s baked in a springform pan instead of a pie plate.)

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Italian Plum Torte

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Purple Plum Torte

(Adapted from the Smitten Kitchen version, which is adapted from the Marian Burros recipe. Amanda Hesser included the Marian Burros recipe in The Essential New York Times Cookbook.)

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(print the recipe)

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I used granulated Swerve sweetener in the cake batter and maple sugar to sprinkle on the top. Substitute regular sugar if you wish.

A 9-inch springform pan is recommended for this recipe. I used my 9½-inch pie plate. It worked fine, although the presentation would be better if a springform pan were used.

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13 purple Italian plums (I could only fit 11 on my cake)

Italian prune plums

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1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

Large pinch of salt

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

2/3 cup granulated Swerve sweetener (or ¾ – 1 cup sugar)

2 large eggs

11 – 12 smallish purple Italian plums, halved and pitted

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons of maple sugar (or 1 tablespoon sugar)

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  1. Heat the oven to 350°.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl.
  3. Cream the butter and sweetener (or sugar) together with an electric mixer for about 5 minutes, until it is fluffy and light.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each one.
  5. Add the flour mixture and beat until it is just combined.
  6. Spread the cake batter into an ungreased 9½-inch pie pan (or ungreased 9-inch springform pan) and smooth out the top.
  7. Put the plums, skin-side up all over the cake.
  8. Sprinkle the cake with the lemon juice, and then the cinnamon and maple sugar (or sugar).

Ready to bake

Sprinkled with maple sugar and cinnamon.jpg

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9. Bake the cake for 45 – 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with no cake batter. (If you have an instant-read thermometer, the cake’s temperature will be 210° when it’s done.)

10. Cool the cake on a rack and then cover it and leave it overnight at room temperature before serving the next day.

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Baked and cooling on a rack.jpg

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Italian Plum Torte - Copy.jpg

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Tapas Salad with Grilled Bell Peppers, Olives, and Capers

September 13, 2018

By Kath Dedon

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I recently made this Tapas Salad with Grilled Bell Peppers, Olives, and Capers for a potluck party. I loved it, and several people commented on how much they enjoyed it.

The recipe is adapted, barely, from a recipe by Kalyn Denny on her Kalyn’s Kitchen blog. It’s a very easy recipe to make, and it’s perfect when you need a recipe that you can make ahead of time.

Kalyn used canned black olives. I used a jar of pitted Kalamata olives instead and liked the swap.

Next time you need an easy salad for entertaining, give this Tapas Salad with Grilled Bell Peppers, Olives, and Capers a try.

Tapas Salad with Grilled Bell Peppers

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Tapas Salad with Grilled Bell Peppers, Olives, and Capers

(Adapted from Kalyn Denny’s recipe on her Kalyn’s Kitchen blog.)

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 4 – 6 (You could easily double it for more servings.)

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1 large red bell pepper

1 large yellow bell pepper

1 large orange bell pepper

1 jar pitted Kalamata olives (6 – 6.5 oz., drained)

2 Tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained

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Dressing

2 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons olive oil

1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar (or substitute white wine or white balsamic vinegar)

1 teaspoon caper brine

2 – 3 Tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram (or substitute fresh basil or oregano)

½ teaspoon minced garlic

Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

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  1. Preheat your grill with the burners on high.
  2. Wash and dry the peppers. Cut the peppers into fourths, removing the seeds and large pieces of white membrane.

peppers

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3. Put the peppers, skin side down, on the hot grill. Grill for 15 – 20 minutes until they are charred. As they get finished, remove them to a large bowl.

peppers on the grill

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4. When all of the peppers are done, cover the bowl with plastic wrap so they can steam for at least 15 minutes.

covered in a bowl

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5. Put the olives in a strainer to drain.

6. Whisk the dressing ingredients together.

7. After the peppers have steamed for at least 15 minutes, remove the charred skins. Cut the peppers crosswise into bite-size strips.

8. Put all of the salad ingredients in a bowl.

Peppers, olives, and capers in the bowl

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9. Add the dressing and toss well. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste. (The olives and capers are salty, so you may not need much salt.)

10. The salad can be kept at room temperature until you’re ready to serve.

 

Tapas Salad

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Tapas Salad with Olives

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The Ultimate BLT Sandwich

September 3, 2018

By Kath Dedon

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A few weeks ago I saw J. Kenji López-Alt’s video about The Ultimate BLT Sandwich. I challenge you to watch the video and not want to make that sandwich right away!

The thing that really puts this sandwich over the top is toasting the bread in bacon grease. Bob thought it was AMAZING! I never would have thought of doing that!

Kenji says that the most important ingredient, though, in a BLT is the tomato. He says not to bother with standard, flavorless supermarket tomatoes. This is the time of year when great tomatoes are available, maybe from your own garden. If you don’t have great homegrown tomatoes, beautiful and delicious heirloom tomatoes are available at grocery stores right now. Those are the ones to use; they’re juicy and full of real tomato flavor.

If you read the article closely, you’ll see that his favorite BLT bread is Oroweat/Arnold Country Buttermilk, unless you can get your hands on, or make, Japanese-style shokupan bread. I wasn’t going to make homemade bread, so I got a loaf of Oroweat Country Buttermilk bread.

Kenji recommends immersion-cured bacon, like Nueske’s or Wright. They may be especially good, but I found that Farmland Thick Cut bacon worked fine.

When I make one of Kenji’s recipes for the first time, I like to follow it pretty closely. After all, he’s the expert. So I used shredded iceberg lettuce on the bottom slice of toast. Bob declared that the Ultimate BLT was outstanding, but he did say that the bottom piece of toast got a bit soggy.

I’m wondering if it got soggy because it took me a while to put it all together since I was taking photos. I think next time it will fare better when I can get the sandwich put together more quickly.

I’m also wondering if the shredded lettuce allowed more of the tomato juices to soak through. Next time I would use several large leafs of lettuce, thoroughly dried, on the bottom slice of toast, and perhaps shredded iceberg on the top. I’m looking forward to giving that a try.

In the end, Kenji’s Ultimate BLT Sandwich is a thing of beauty and a great sandwich! It’s definitely a diet splurge, but it’s worth it to have a treat now and then.

Update 9/19/18 

I made this a second time for Bob last weekend, using whole lettuce leaves and working quickly to put it together. He still thought it was soggy. He declared that he prefers BLTs that are made on regular toasted bread. And with more bacon. He thinks 4 thick slices would be perfect. If you make Kenji’s Ultimate BLT Sandwich and have any insight for us, please share in the Comments. 😉

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Ultimate BLT

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The Ultimate BLT Sandwich

(Adapted from J. Kenji López-Alt’s recipe on Serious Eats)

 

(print the recipe)

 

Serves 1

 

3 strips thick cut bacon (I used Farmland.)

2 slices high-quality sandwich bread (I used Oroweat Country Buttermilk bread.)

4 tablespoons mayonnaise*

1½ cups finely shredded iceberg lettuce (or large crispy lettuce leaves, washed and thoroughly dried)

4 thick slices ripe tomato

Coarse sea salt, such as fleur de sel or Maldon

Freshly ground pepper

 

* Kenji’s recipe says to use total of 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise, but if you watch his video you’ll see that he recommends a generous amount of mayonnaise. He clearly uses more than a tablespoon on each slice. I used 4 tablespoons, about 2 on each slice, and it seemed just right.

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The ingredients, except for the bacon and pepper

Ingredients for BLTs

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  1. Turn the oven on Warm. Place the bacon in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Cook, turning often, until the bacon is crisp and that fat has rendered.

Bacon

 

2. While the bacon is cooking, prep the lettuce. Shred the iceberg lettuce or wash and dry leaf lettuce if you’re using that.

3. Slice the tomato and get the mayonnaise and salt and pepper ready to go.

4. Place the cooked bacon on a paper towel on a piece of aluminum foil. Wrap the foil around the bacon and put it in the oven to keep warm while you finish the sandwich.

5. Keep the skillet on medium-low and add the bread to the bacon grease. Toast until it is browned on the first side and then turn it over to brown the second side.

toasting bread in bacon grease