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You'll find over 460 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!

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 teaspoon 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.

..

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.)

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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

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6. Remove the toast from the skillet. Spread the mayonnaise on both slices.

Mayo on bread

 

7. Add the shredded (or leaf) lettuce to one slice of bread. Top the lettuce with the tomato slices. Generously sprinkle the tomatoes with salt and pepper.

Lettuce added

 

8. Break the bacon slices in half and lay them over the tomato slices.

tomato slices and bacon

 

9. Top the bacon with shredded lettuce.

More lettuce added

 

10. Put the second piece of toast over the sandwich. Cut in half on the diagonal and serve immediately.

cut in half diagonally

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The Ultimate BLT

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The Ultimate BLT Sandwich.jpg

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Vegan Potato Salad

August 14, 2018

By Kath Dedon

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A couple of weeks ago I used my Instant Pot to cook potatoes for a Vegan Potato Salad. Using the Instant Pot made it so quick and easy! We took the potato salad to a potluck party and brought back an empty bowl. Bob and I both loved it!

I doubled the ingredients in my All-American Potato Salad for Two, omitted the hard-cooked eggs, and used vegan mayonnaise to make it vegan. (I like Just Mayo vegan mayonnaise, which I can find at QFC and Safeway.)

Bob has mentioned at least a couple of times how much he liked the Vegan Potato Salad since I made it. I guess I’ll have to make it again soon. 😉

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Vegan All-American Potato Salad.jpg

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Vegan Potato Salad

(Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen’s recipe for All-American Potato Salad for Two)

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 6 – 8

 

Most of the ingredients for the dressing

IMG_4195.JPG

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2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces

1 cup water

2 tablespoons dill pickle juice

2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar

½ cup vegan mayonnaise

2 small celery ribs, minced (about 2/3 cup)

3 tablespoons dill pickle relish

1 shallot, minced (about 4 tablespoons)

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon celery seeds

½ teaspoon fine sea salt (or table salt)

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

 

  1. Put the potatoes in a steamer basket in the Instant Pot. (A steamer basket makes it much easier to remove the cooked potatoes and to drain them, but if you don’t have one just put the potatoes in the pot.)

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potatoes in the Instant Pot.jpg

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2. Add the 1 cup of water to the Instant Pot; put the lid on and lock it in place. Make sure the pressure release handle is in the sealing position.

3. Select Manual. Set the time for 4 minutes at high pressure.

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4 minutes - High pressure

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4. When the 4 minutes of cooking time are up, use the Quick Release method to let the steam out.

5. Drain the potatoes and put them in a large bowl. Immediately pour the pickle juice and the vinegar over the warm potatoes. Stir gently and set them aside for about 20 minutes.

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Pouring the pickle juice and vinegar over the warm potatoes

Vinegar and pickle juice

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6. Make the dressing while the potatoes are cooling. Stir the mayonnaise, minced celery, pickle relish, minced shallot, minced parsley, dry mustard, celery seeds, salt, and pepper together.

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Ready to mix.jpg

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Dressing for vegan potato salad

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7. After the potatoes have cooled for about 20 minutes, gently stir the dressing into the potatoes. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

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Vegan All-American Potato Salad 2.jpg

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Vegan All-American Potato Salad - Copy

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Beautiful Victoria, British Columbia

August 3, 2018

By Kath Dedon

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I know. It’s been a while since I’ve posted. It’s been kind of hot so most of our dinners have been grilled protein and a salad. Simple! I just haven’t made anything “blog worthy” until just last weekend. That recipe will be posted soon. In the meantime, here’s a recap of our quick trip to Victoria (where it was beautiful – sunny, and 15 degrees cooler than Seattle!)

***

Last week we made a very enjoyable quick trip to Victoria, British Columbia, and we stayed at a fantastic new Airbnb that I want to tell you about.

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The view of “The Gorge” from the deck of our cottage – so peaceful!

Peaceful view.jpg

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GMC Projects, Inc. is a family business owned by our friends, the Milne family. One of their latest projects is Portage West which is located right on the Gorge Waterway, known as “The Gorge” in Victoria. The property was an Econo Lodge when GMC bought it. The company has done a magnificent job turning an old motel into beautiful, modern studio and 1-bedroom apartments. One of the buildings is finished and is renting up. The other two will be done soon.

The property also includes 10 cottages that GMC has transformed into beautiful vacation rentals. Each cottage has a living room, dining area, fully equipped kitchen, bedroom (with the most comfortable bed!), bathroom and a private deck with a full view of The Gorge.

We rented one of the cottages, the Nomad, for our two nights in Victoria. It was one of the best places we have ever stayed. The Milnes have thought of every little detail to make the cottages very comfortable. Things like: the bedside table lamps have an electric outlet – perfect for charging a cell phone overnight; there were more than enough hangers in the closet to hang our clothes; I needed a pair of scissors and, sure enough, there were a couple of pairs of scissors in the utensils drawer in the kitchen. Besides the bath towels, there are towels available to take to the beautiful pool.

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The living room in the Nomad cabin

 

The dining area

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The kitchen

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We loved sitting in the comfortable Adirondack chairs on the deck with coffee in the morning or a glass of wine in the evening. It is SO peaceful! There are Canada geese and ducks on the water. We even saw a sea otter sauntering along on the beach on the other side of The Gorge!

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The view from the kitchen

View from the kitchen

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Lots of Canada geese!

Canada geese

 

I highly recommend Portage West if you’re ever looking for a peaceful place to stay in Victoria!

***

There are several ways to get to Victoria from Seattle. The fastest, and most fun, way is to fly Kenmore Air from Lake Union to Victoria’s Inner Harbor. Bob and I took Kenmore Air on our last trip to Victoria. The 45-minute flight is absolutely gorgeous; the flight path is over Puget Sound, the San Juan Islands, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Beautiful!

The Victoria Clipper is a high-speed catamaran that takes 2½ hours to go from Seattle’s waterfront to Victoria. Bob took it years ago when he went to Victoria to be a crewmember on a friend’s sailboat in the Swiftsure Race. He said it’s “okay”. It is kind of pricey. I’d like to try it sometime, just for the experience.

If you want to take your car, you’ll have to take a ferry but you still have options.

You can drive across the border at Blaine, WA, to enter Canada. From there, it’s about a 40-minute drive to the Tsawwassen ferry terminal. The crossing to the Swartz Bay terminal in Sidney (just north of Victoria) takes about 1 hour and 35 minutes. It’s a beautiful crossing and the BC ferries are MUCH nicer than the Washington State ferries. They feel like little cruise ships. Once in Sidney, it’s about a 30-minute drive to Victoria.

You can also drive 2 hours north to Anacortes, WA, to take a Washington State ferry to Victoria. It’s a beautiful ride that takes a little over two hours cruising between the San Juan Islands. The ferry is comfortable, but not as nice as the BC ferries.

A third ferry you can take is the Black Ball Coho ferry that operates between Port Angeles, WA, and Victoria. Reservations are highly recommended for your car if you’re traveling during the high tourist season in the summer.

Reservations are not required if you walk on. You can pay a daily rate to park your car in one of the parking lots that are near the ferry terminal. That’s exactly what we did last week.

As of this writing (2018), you need cash to pay for parking. The rates that we saw ranged from $10 – $15 dollars a day. The “day” begins and ends at midnight. If you park at noon, that’s the first day. The second day starts at midnight. If you come back on the third day at noon, that’s the third full day. We chose a $12 lot. So our 2 nights away was 3 full days for parking. We owed $36, but we didn’t have the right change so we ended up putting two $20 bills in the envelope to pay.

So how did we get to Port Angeles? We started out on a Washington State ferry.

The Fauntleroy ferry dock to Vashon Island and Southworth is about a mile from our house. We wanted to catch the 8:45 ferry to Southworth to have ample time to get to Port Angeles in time for the 12:45 Coho ferry to Victoria. Sometimes there are long waits for the ferries, so we got to the dock at 8:00 which turned out to be way too early. But you never know.

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On the dock, waiting to drive aboard the ferry

Ready to board the ferry for Southworth.jpg

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The ferry ride to Southworth is about 30 minutes (on the ones that don’t make a stop at Vashon Island). Without any traffic issues, it’s about a 2 hour drive to Port Angeles from Southworth. Traffic was surprisingly heavy but we didn’t encounter any slowdowns so we got to Port Angeles at a little after 11:00. We parked the car and then walked to the ferry terminal to buy our roundtrip tickets.

After getting our tickets we walked to Kokopelli Grill for lunch. Bob had halibut fish and chips and I had fish tacos. The restaurant was nice; our lunches were okay. I would order something different or try a different restaurant next time.

The Coho was quite crowded. We found some seats inside. Bob went exploring and found better seats on the aft deck. It was a great place to sit on a beautiful day. There was a cover for shelter from the sun and a great view.

Arriving in Victoria on the Coho

Arriving in Victoria

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The sailing time to Victoria is 90 minutes so we were at the dock in Victoria at 3:15. Lorne had said he would send one of the GMC employees, Bill, to pick us up. (Thanks, Bill!) So after going through customs we were off to Portage West.

After putting our luggage in the cottage, we headed to the poolside party hosted by GMC. They were celebrating the promotion of one of Lorne and Muggs’ sons, Jordan, to CEO. It was a wonderful party; it was catered with plenty of delicious passed hors oeuvres and there was a delightful Cuban band. It was great to see Lorne, Muggs, most of their grown children (the 4th one, a son, was working on a movie in Vancouver) and their grandchildren.

It was still light after the party. We took a short walk to a nearby Rexall to buy a couple of things. I paid in cash to get $10 Canadian for a bus ride the next day.

***

Our plan for the next morning was to catch a city bus across the street and go into the “Inner Harbor” area of Victoria. You can pay the bus driver $5 Canadian to get an all-day bus pass. We thought we’d go to the harbor area, find some breakfast, and then take another bus to Butchart Gardens.

However, before we left, Bob ran into David Milne who offered to give us a ride. (Thank you, David!) We asked him to take us to Blue Fox Café which sounded like a great place for breakfast. Well, apparently it is good and very popular. The line stretched way down the street to get in. Moving on…

David drove us to a nearby place, Jam Café. Its line was just as long as the one at Blue Fox.

I asked David to just drive us to the Inner Harbor and drop us off and we would find a place. While we were stopped at a stop light, Bob spotted Swans Brewery and Pub and asked David about it. David said it’s good; at night it’s a popular place to hear music. It looked like it was open so we thanked David, hopped out and went in.

Swans had just opened for lunch and we were the first customers so we got a great table in their glass-covered sidewalk seating area. The windows were open and it was very pleasant. The menu offers a lot of great-sounding choices. Bob had the “peameal(a type of Canadian bacon) sandwich and I had an especially good burger without the bun.

By the time we were finished with lunch we decided that we didn’t have enough time to do justice to Butchart Gardens. The bus ride was about an hour each way and it would probably be insanely crowded midafternoon on a beautiful summer day. We had dinner plans with Lorne and Muggs, so we couldn’t plan on staying into the evening.

We decided to walk over to the Royal BC Museum. We have been there many times, but they always have different featured exhibits.

Our first stop was at Thunderbird Park, the museum’s collection of totem poles that is just outside the museum. Bob feels that no visit to Victoria is complete without a visit to Thunderbird Park. It is spectacular!

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At the Royal BC Museum

Another totem pole.jpg

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We then went to the current exhibit, Egypt: The Time of Pharaohs. Wow! It is a fascinating exhibit. Some of the artifacts are 4,500 years old! We spent at least 2 hours in it. We really enjoyed it, but when we were done we felt that we were “museumed-out”. We didn’t go to any of the other excellent exhibits. I spent my Canadian $10 on a board book for Laura and Byron’s baby boy, due in November!  

 

We walked down to the dock to see the Duen, a tall ship that’s available for 3-hour cruises in the summer. We enjoyed talking to a young woman who is one of the crew members. She invited us aboard to look around. It would probably be fun to cruise on it sometime.

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In this photo the Duen is at the end of the dock. There are a couple of water taxis (“L’il Toots”) at the dock in the foreground.

Inner harbor of Victoria

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From the Duen we walked over to catch a Victoria Harbor Ferry (We call it “L’il Toot”.) to go across the harbor to the Delta Ocean Pointe Resort. It was easy to get a cab from there to go back to Portage West.

Lorne picked us up and took us to their new home, the penthouse of a beautiful apartment building in Victoria. Their home is spectacular! It has outdoor balconies with seating that goes all around the outside with a view of the Inner Harbor that is way more than 180°. They can watch the ships coming and going and other activity in the harbor, but they are up high enough that it is really quiet.

After visiting on their balcony with glasses of wine, it was time for dinner. We went to one of their favorite restaurants, Glo.

I can see why they like Glo so much. It’s a waterfront restaurant and it has a great menu with a lot of variety. It’s also very popular so it was crowded, but Lorne had made a reservation so we got right in. I really enjoyed the Tan Tan City Salad (“Moroccan inspired salad with blackened sockeye salmon, chopped dates, roasted almonds, avocado, goat cheese, seasonal mixed greens, orange segments + fresh mint in a key lime dressing”!)

Lorne gave us a ride back to Portage West and we enjoyed sitting on the deck before calling it a night.

***

Saturday morning we took a cab to Hotel Grand Pacific to have breakfast before catching the Coho ferry across the street. It was lovely sitting outside on a beautiful morning.

Bob enjoyed his eggs benedict!

Bob's eggs benedict at Hotel Grand Pacific

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We were one of the first to board the Coho and were able to get a front row seat inside.

Front row seats on the ferry

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Once we got into the Strait we didn’t have the clear weather we had had on Thursday. It was cool and a bit foggy. The fog got thicker as we approached Port Angeles. The people who were outside on the bow were ushered inside. A crew member went to the bow to watch for other boats and the Coho blew its fog horn at regular intervals.

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Bob supervising the loading of the cars on the Coho

Bob supervising the loading of the cars

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Bob on the bow

Bob on the bow as we leave Victoria

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Lone crew member on watch as we approached Port Angeles in the fog

Lone crewman on watch in the fog

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We were at the dock right on schedule. As we were walking in to the terminal, we spotted a gull with a little fuzzy chick on the pier. I had never seen a baby gull before!

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Can you see the fuzzy chick just to the left of the gull’s tail? Talk about camouflage!

Gull chick on the Port Angeles dock

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After a quick pass through customs, we got our car to head home.

We had lunch at a great little Thai restaurant in Sequim, Sawadee Thai Cuisine. We had eaten there years ago and it was just as good as I remembered. Bob thought it was right off the highway, but it’s a short drive from the highway and easy to find. It’s obviously very popular and was packed with people. We were able to get a table and the food was worth the moderate wait.

Sawadee Thai Cuisine in Sequim

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After lunch we continued home. We stopped at the 7 Cedars Casino because Bob wanted to get a closer look at the totem poles and other carvings there. They were interesting to see and it was a good little break in the trip. We had heard that you can watch artists carving totem poles. That turned out to be true, but they aren’t there on the weekends.

 

At Seven Cedars Casino

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Some of the totem poles at Seven Cedars Casino

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Seen at Seven Cedars Casino

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The rest of the drive to the Southworth ferry dock was uneventful. Again, traffic was heavy but we moved along at the speed limit the whole way.

Of course, when we reached the dock we found we just missed getting on the ferry that was loading. But the best attitude to have about catching the Vashon/Southworth ferry is to realize you’re going to get on the “whatever” ferry. The schedules are sometimes a bit “loose”. It was a pleasant afternoon to sit on the dock for 45 minutes waiting for the next boat.

We were home again by about 6:30 after two lovely nights in Victoria!

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Victoria

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Instant Pot BBQ St. Louis Style Ribs

June 5, 2018

By Kath Dedon

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Yes! You can use your Instant Pot to make really good BBQ St. Louis Style Ribs! I really love my recipe for Slow Roasted St. Louis Style Ribs, but it takes 4½ – 5 hours. Sometimes you don’t have time for “low and slow”.

I had wanted to make baby back ribs after finding Amy and Jacky’s great looking recipe for Easy BBQ Instant Pot Ribs. They look perfect and have rave reviews. But, alas, the only baby back rack of ribs at Safeway was frozen solid and it was already 3:00. I bought a St. Louis Style rack of ribs and headed home to figure out how to adjust the recipe.

As it turns out, all I had to do is add a bit of time. In a comment to a question about using St. Louis Style ribs, Amy and Jacky replied to simply add 5 – 8 minutes. Bingo!

We prefer ribs with a dry rub and no sauce. I skipped the BBQ sauce and substituted my favorite Southern Barbecue Rub for the salt and pepper to season the ribs. I already had a jar of the rub, so that saved some prep time.

Amy and Jacky recommend using a trivet in the Instant Pot. I used the one that came with the pot and placed the ribs on top of it. It turns out that the St. Louis Style ribs are too tall when they’re placed on the trivet in my 6-quart pot. Baby back ribs would have fit fine. I’m sure you could probably use a trivet with the taller ribs in an 8-quart Instant Pot. I didn’t use the trivet and the ribs turned out fine.

Instant Pot BBQ St. Louis Style Ribs took 1 hour and 45 minutes from the start to sitting down to dinner. That might sound like a long time, but it was only about 20 minutes of active time. And it’s much quicker than my Slow Roasted St. Louis Ribs.

I started the recipe at 5:10. Sealed and started the Instant Pot at 5:25. It was done cooking at 6:10 and the Natural Pressure Release finished at 6:30. I moved the ribs to a baking sheet and roasted them for 15 minutes. As they roasted I put together side dishes, a quick cabbage salad and peas. Everything was done, served and on the table by 6:55. That’s what I call an easy weeknight meal!

I hope you’ll try these tasty ribs. Bob and I loved them! Bob twice enthusiastically said how much he liked them and said they are definitely “blog-worthy”! And do look at Amy and Jacky’s post. They have a great video that shows you just how easy it is to make.

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Instant Pot BBQ St. Louis Style Ribs.jpg

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Instant Pot BBQ St. Louis Style Ribs

(Adapted from Amy+Jacky’s recipe on their Pressure Cook Recipes blog)

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(print the recipe)

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For baby back ribs follow the recipe, shortening the cooking time to 25 minutes.

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Serves 3 – 4   (Baby back ribs will most likely serve 2 – 3.)

 

1 rack St. Louis Style ribs

About ½ cup of Southern Barbecue Rub (recipe below), or your favorite BBQ rub

1/3 cup of your favorite BBQ Sauce (Optional. I didn’t use sauce.)

1 cup water (1½ cups of water if you’re using an 8-quart Instant Pot)

 

  1. Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs using a blunt knife and a paper towel. (A sharp knife is not recommended because it’s too easy for it to slip and cut you. Watch this video to see the method I use.)

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Ribs with the membrane removed. You can see the dinner knife I used.

St. Louis style pork ribs, membrane removed.jpg

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2. Spread the rub all over both sides of the ribs.

Covered with spice rub.jpg

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3. Put the ribs in the Instant Pot.

In the Instant Pot

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4. Add the water. Seal. Make sure the pressure release handle is in the sealing position. Press the Manual button and set the time for 33 minutes. (For baby back ribs, set the time for 25 minutes.)

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33 minutes, high pressure

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5. When the ribs are done, do nothing and let the pressure release naturally. (Natural Pressure Release) This will take about 20 – 25 minutes and the float valve will go back down. While the pressure is releasing, preheat the oven to 450°.

6. Remove the ribs from the pot and lay them on a baking sheet. If using BBQ Sauce, spread it over the ribs.

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Falling-off-the-bone done.jpg

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7. Roast for 10 – 15 minutes to add a bit of color. Cut the ribs and serve!

 

Southern Barbecue Rub

(Adapted from a recipe in Joy of Cooking)

 

¼ cup sweet paprika

2 tablespoons chili powder (You could use smoked paprika instead.)

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 tablespoons salt

2 tablespoons ground pepper

2 tablespoons brown sugar (optional)

 

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. The rub can be used with pork or beef.

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In the Instant Pot - Copy

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Instant Pot BBQ St. Louis Style Ribs - Copy.jpg

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Grilled Dijon Chicken Thighs

June 1, 2018

 

By Kath Dedon

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I enjoy listening to Tom Douglas’ and Thierry Rautureau’s weekend radio program, Seattle Kitchen. A while ago Thierry talked about his favorite way to grill chicken. I don’t remember all of the details, but I do remember that the main ingredients in his marinade were Dijon mustard and olive oil. So, inspired by Thierry, I recently made delicious Grilled Dijon Chicken Thighs.

With only an hour of marinating time, the chicken thighs were nicely seasoned. You could cover the thighs, refrigerate them, and let them marinate for several hours. That would certainly enhance the flavor.

Using my Weber gas grill (which Bob recently thoroughly cleaned and then installed new burners, “flavorizer bars”, and cast iron cooking grates) I grilled the chicken thighs using the Indirect Grilling method.

The chicken thighs were huge, about 8 ounces each, so I thought it would take about 45 minutes to cook them. I checked them at 30 minutes with an instant-read meat thermometer and they were done! They measured 180° in the thickest part.

The thighs were golden brown and were really ready to eat, but I moved them over to the hot side for a couple of minutes to give them some subtle grill marks.

We both really enjoyed these Grilled Dijon Chicken Thighs! They were cooked perfectly and the mustard added great flavor.

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Grilled Dijon Chicken Thighs served with Green Beans

Grilled Chicken and Green Beans

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Grilled Dijon Chicken Thighs

Inspired by Thierry Rautureau (The Chef In The Hat), owner of Luc and Loulay in Seattle

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 2 – 4

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The timing and directions are what worked with my Weber gas grill. You may need to make adjustments for your grill.

 4 chicken thighs, about 2 pounds total

1/3 cup Dijon mustard

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

 

  1. Whisk the mustard and the olive oil together.
  2. Put the chicken in a baking dish and rub the mustard mixture all over it.
  3. Leave the chicken skin-side down, covered and refrigerated for at least 1 hour.

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Chicken thighs marinating

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4. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and gently scrape most of the mustard mixture off, leaving a thin layer.

 

Ready to grill

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5. Start the grill, turning all burners on high. Let it preheat for 10 minutes (15 minutes if you have cast iron grates).

6. When the grill is hot, turn one of the burners off for Indirect Grilling. If you have a 2-burner grill, turn the back one off. If you have a 3-burner grill, turn the center one off. Turn the remaining burner(s) down to Medium heat.

Center grill off

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7. Place the chicken skin-side up over the area that has the burner turned off. Close the lid. With the 2 burners on Medium and the center one off, my grill maintained a temperature of just over 400°.

Indirect grilling

Temperature

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8. Check them with a meat thermometer after about 20 minutes. They are done when the temperature is 165°.

9. If desired, move the chicken over to the hot part of the grill to sear for a minute or two on each side.

Searing a bit

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10. Turn off the grill, remove the chicken and enjoy!

Grilled chicken thighs

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Grilled chicken thighs - Copy

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8 Days in Louisiana

May 4, 2018

By Kath Dedon

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(Print the list of our favorite New Orleans and Louisiana places)

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This is a long post about our recent trip to Louisiana. I wrote it primarily for Bob and myself so we can relive the trip when we read it. All of the things mentioned are restaurants and places that we truly enjoyed, so if you have vacation plans in Louisiana you may find it helpful. If you’re only interested in the recipes on the blog, I promise I’ll be back with a new one soon!

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Bob moved to Seattle from New Orleans in May, 1980. He had lived there for 2 years, long enough to make many life-long friends. I also have 3 first cousins who live in Louisiana with their families. Bob and I got married in 1983, and we now have a lot of favorite people to visit when we go to Louisiana.

We have traveled to Louisiana several times, but we hadn’t been there since 2007 which was before I started this blog. That year we visited New Orleans in early May to go to Jazz Fest with friends from Seattle. Our plan was to have BBQ Shrimp for lunch at Pascal’s Manale on Friday before heading to Jazz Fest. While we were there it started to rain. It rained, and it RAINED! New Orleans had 4.2 inches of rain that afternoon! As we were finishing our lunch, we watched the street fill with water and the TV in the restaurant was showing live video of the rain and mud at Jazz Fest. We ordered another bottle of wine and decided to wait until Saturday to go to Jazz Fest.

 

Jackson Square and St. Louis Cathedral, 2005

March 2005 photo of St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square

 

2018

We couldn’t believe that it’s been 11 years since we had been to New Orleans. We were long overdue.

We planned this trip around the Festival International de Louisiane in Lafayette. One of my cousins, Maggie, lives in Lafayette with her family. She has long told us that we need to go to this special music festival. We had been to New Orleans Jazz Fest several times, but this was the year to go to the Festival in Lafayette.

On Monday, April 23, we flew to New Orleans. We stayed with our good friends, John and Ann, at their beautiful home near Magazine Street. They really enjoy being able to walk to all of the shops and restaurants that are so close to them. It was so great to see them and we were really glad they were in town. They have grandchildren in Boston and Atlanta, so they are often out of town. 😉

When we flew in, John and Ann met us at Meg’s house and the five of us went out for dinner. Dinner was at Brisbi’s. We feasted on raw oysters and Basin Debris Fries (“slow roasted beef debris over cheese fries topped with horseradish cream”) for appetizers and then ordered dinner. I enjoyed their wedge salad with fried shrimp. The  food and service were both great. We were enjoying catching up with each other so much that we didn’t realize that the restaurant had closed. When we left, every other table was empty and the chairs had been put up. We were never once rushed to leave! Amazing!

On Tuesday, Bob and I went to Audubon Park and the zoo. We love the Louisiana Swamp exhibit where they not only exhibit local wildlife, but they also post recipes for many of them. It’s an education about the culture of the Cajun people who live in Southern Louisiana.

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Spanish moss on some, but not all, of the oak trees in Audubon Park

Audubon park, oak tree with Spanish moss

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As seen in the Louisiana Swamp Exhibit at the Audubon Zoo

At Audubon zoo

 

Other meal highlights in New Orleans included lunch at Guys Po-Boys, where we had fried shrimp po-boys, and a steak dinner at the classic Crescent City Steaks.

On Wednesday morning we went to the National World War II Museum, which is most definitely a must-see museum in New Orleans. It’s rated by Trip Advisor as the #1 museum in New Orleans, the #2 museum in the US, and the #2 museum in the world!

We couldn’t believe how much it has grown since we were last there over 11 years ago. When we first visited, the Museum was housed in just one building, the Louisiana Memorial Pavilion. Today there are 5 buildings on 6 acres and there are new buildings planned for the future.

We didn’t have much time before we had to leave for Covington. Our friend, Meg, who works at the Museum, told us that the first thing to do is to see the movie, Beyond All Boundaries, which is narrated by the Executive Producer, Tom Hanks. It is really excellent and gives you a great perspective on what the world was like at the time. The rest of the exhibits are more meaningful after having seen the movie. We left after the movie but decided we had to go back when we returned to New Orleans in five days.

We left the WWII Museum to drive across Lake Pontchartrain on the causeway to visit my cousin, Marty and his wife, Mary Thomas in Covington. It was so great to spend some time with them. Their beautiful home has a park-like backyard and you can walk down to the East Fork Little Bogue Falaya with its white sand beach. We had lunch at the Money Hill Golf Course. Dinner that night was a fantastic Spicy Shrimp Creole that Marty and Mary Thomas made. They said it was adapted from a recipe in Donald Link’s Real Cajun, a cookbook that is a favorite of theirs. (I just got it and I’m looking forward to exploring its recipes.)

 

Bob and Marty and I walked down to the East Fork Little Bogue Falaya

Marty and Bob - East Fork Little Bogue Falaya

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Marty and Mary Thomas’ peaceful backyard

Peaceful backyard

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Lunch the next day was at Acme Oyster House in Covington. We had both raw and chargrilled oysters. Both were delicious, but the chargrilled ones (“sizzling, chargrilled oysters saturated in an herb butter sauce, topped with a special blend of cheese.”) were especially good. I had the Fried Oyster Salad. Bob ordered, and ate, an oyster po-boy, gumbo, and red beans and rice. He didn’t want to miss out on any Louisiana delicacies.

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Acme Oyster House in Covington

 

My fried oyster salad with balsamic vinaigrette

Fried Oyster Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette at Acme Oyster House

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Bob enjoyed his oyster po-boy, gumbo, and red beans and rice!

Bob's Oyster Po-Boy, Seafood Gumbo, and Red Beans and Rice

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That afternoon we cruised a bit of the Tchefuncte River on a 32-foot Grand Banks power boat with some friends of Marty and Mary Thomas. It was just a beautiful afternoon. We sipped wine and enjoyed cheese, salami, and pate.

 

Cruising down the Tchefuncte River near Madisonville, LA

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After docking the boat we headed for dinner at Crabby Shack in nearby Madisonville. I tried a grilled fish that was new to me, Sheepshead. It was delicious served over a salad with remoulade dressing. Bob had crawfish and a small hot sausage po-boy. I tasted the crawfish and they were great. The po-boy featured sausage patties instead of links. Bob really enjoyed it! My big surprise was when I tasted Marty’s fried catfish. I didn’t think I liked catfish, but here it was fresh, thinly sliced, battered lightly, and fried. It was delicious!

We hit the road on Friday to travel to Lafayette. On the way we stopped in Baton Rouge to see our friends, Julia and Stewart & Becky. It was great to see them. We had lunch with Stewart and Becky at Heads & Tails. I had their Shrimp Remoulade Salad. Bob ordered the Fried Oyster BLT. It was a like a club sandwich with 3 slices of bread. The fried oysters were on one side and the BLT was on the other. The waitress said you just have to squish it down to get it in your mouth. Bob removed the middle slice of bread to reduce it a bit.

Bob’s Fried Oyster BLT

Bob's triple decker Fried Oyster BLT at Heads & Tails Seafood in Baton Rouge

 

My Shrimp Remoulade Salad, with the Remoulade Sauce on the side

Shrimp Remoulade Salad with the Remoulade sauce on the side

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We got to Maggie and Rick’s house in Lafayette at about 5:00. Rick was already at the Festival International de Louisiane, so we took an Uber with Maggie to the Festival grounds to meet him.

Bob expected the Festival to be a lot like Jazz Fest, but it’s really quite different. As their website says, it’s “a non-profit organization that produces the largest international music and arts festival in the United States with a special emphasis on the connection between Acadiana and the Francophone world”. There were musicians from all over the world performing on 5 different stages. We saw musicians from Gambia, the Czech Republic, Finland, Quebec, Ireland, Jamaica, Iran, New Brunswick, Haiti, and Louisiana.

 

On Friday night we saw Mydy Rabycad, a group from the Czech Republic

Mydy Rabycad from the Czech Republic

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Unlike Jazz Fest, the Festival is free, and it is strongly supported by the Lafayette community. 2600 people volunteer in various roles to make it all happen. The food and drinks are reasonably priced ($4 beers). The food was really good! Over the course of 3 days we enjoyed shrimp po-boys, pulled pork, crab cakes, jambalaya, and grilled gator. My favorite meal in Lafayette, though, was Maggie’s homemade crawfish pie that we had for dinner Sunday night. It was fabulous!

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Bob and Kath making the “Y” in Lafayette at the Festival

Making the Y in Lafayette.jpg

 

Besides music, The Festival features many artists and they are quite good. 

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Alligators represented in art at The Festival

Alligators painted on a screen.jpg

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Bob doing his best alligator imitation

Bob making his best alligator face

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We even bought a couple of pieces and had them shipped to Seattle.

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Our mask by Calvin Walton 

Mask by Calvin Walton

 

Our flying fish sculpture by Mitch Landry

Fling fish sculpture by Mitch Landry.jpg

 

On Saturday we enjoyed 6 different musical performances.

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Frigg, from Finland

Frigg on stage.jpg

 

Socks in the Frying Pan, from Ireland, as seen from our shaded seats

Socks in the Frying Pan from Ireland.jpg

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The Festival is indeed free, but you can buy a “Bons Temps Pass” and Maggie and Rick treated us to that perk. You wear a wrist band each day, and it entitles you to front row viewing right in front of the stages, shaded seating with chairs, and private air-conditioned restroom trailers which were kept spotlessly clean throughout the festival. It was very nice to have that pass. (Thank you, Maggie and Rick!)

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We had the Bons Temps Pass

Festival pass

Pass benefits

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On Sunday, before the Festival opened at noon, we went to Mass at The Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist. In honor of the Festival, the Mass was in French and the choir was Les Jeunes Chanteurs d’Acadie from New Brunswick, Canada. The acoustics in the Cathedral are wonderful and the music was just beautiful. We saw the choir again later in the day at the Festival.

 

Inside the Cathedral

The Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist

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VERY large oak tree at the Cathedral

Oak at St. John's

About the St. John's oak.jpg

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After Mass we enjoyed another afternoon of great music at The Festival!

On Monday, April 30, we returned to New Orleans via US 90 so we could stop at Avery Island to tour the Tabasco factory. I had purchased tickets for the self-guided tour online. I don’t know if it’s necessary to purchase tickets in advance, but it seemed like a good idea. The tour is very well done. Each area is numbered so you know where to go next. There are brief videos at each section that describe what you’re seeing.

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Barrels of Tabasco

Barrels of Tabasco.jpg

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Caps being put on the bottles

Putting the caps on Tabasco.jpg

 

Bob actually did not plan his outfit to match the Tabasco bottles. The Original Tabasco Sauce is his very favorite hot sauce.

Bob at the Tabasco Sauce Factory

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The Tabasco Gift Shop had an amazing assortment of all things Tabasco! They provide pretzel sticks to use for tasting the different flavors of the sauce. One product that was new to us was Tabasco Sriracha sauce. We loved that one. We didn’t want to carry it home; I trusted that I would be able to order it online. Sure enough, I found Tabasco Sriracha on Amazon. It’s being delivered today.

After our tour, we continued on US 90 through the Acadiana Region of Louisiana toward New Orleans. We were driving along and Bob mentioned a great seafood place, Spahr’s, which he had visited near Des Allemands about 40 years ago. He said they had a giant stuffed turtle.

Not long after our conversation we drove past Spahr’s on the highway! We were ready for lunch so Bob pulled off the highway and we drove back to the restaurant. Bob looked around for the turtle, but it wasn’t there. He asked about it and was told that the restaurant he remembered had burned due to a kitchen fire. They opened another restaurant in Thibodaux and then rebuilt at the original location in 2006.

The stuffed turtle may have been lost, but they had a photo of a huge turtle right by our table. Spahr’s is known for their Wild Caught Des Allemands Catfish” so, naturally, that’s what we had. I had a half order of their “original” Catfish Chips with French fries. Bob had the Monday special, Catfish Chips with red beans and rice. The catfish was fantastic! I can no longer say that I don’t like catfish. I’m just picky about the source of the catfish and how it’s prepared!

 

Spahrs Seafood Restaurant on Hwy 90 just west of Des Allemandes.jpg

 

Really delicious catfish!

Catfish chips at Spahrs

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When we got back to New Orleans we went back to the WWII Museum. The first thing we did was to go to the interactive Final Mission: USS Tang Experience. It’s a submarine experience that places visitors aboard the most successful submarine in WWII for its fifth and final war patrol. Each person is given a card with a picture of one of the men on the submarine and your assigned station. I was 28-year-old Pete Narowanski from Baltimore, MD. I was assigned to station 13, the Torpedo Data Computer. The presentation is very moving and it gives you a feeling for what it would have been like to have been on that mission.

That night we had dinner at Juan’s Flying Burrito at the Uptown location (5538 Magazine Street), not to be confused with their Lower Garden District location at 2018 Magazine Street. Our friend, Meg, joined us as did my New Orleans cousin, Maureen, and her family. Maureen and Steve’s college-aged daughters were home for a brief visit before heading off for internships. It was wonderful to have the chance to see the whole family!

To celebrate crawfish season, Juan’s featured Crawfish Enchiladas and that’s exactly what Bob and I enjoyed. We may have some great Mexican restaurants at home, but none of them serve crawfish enchiladas!

We had a full day on May 1, our last day in New Orleans. We met our friends, Berkley and Susan, for breakfast at Riccobono’s Panola Street Café. I was excited to see liver and onions on the breakfast menu, so that’s what I had with grits. Bob chose eggs, bacon, and a biscuit that he declared to be really good. Susan had to leave early to teach a ceramics class, and we learned from Berkley that she is quite the accomplished artist. Besides teaching classes, her ceramics are featured in the gift shop at the New Orleans Museum of Art!

 

Riccobono’s Panola Street Cafe

Riccobono's Panola Street Cafe.jpg

 

My liver and onions with grits! 🙂

Liver and Onions and grits at Riccobono's Panola Street Cafe.jpg

 

After breakfast we drove out to the art museum to see Susan’s art. It is truly beautiful. As Susan says on her website, “The Shop carries a range of my work from tiny boxes and pitchers to floral bowls and large curious animals.” It was fun to see these creations made by our talented friend.

 

New Orleans Museum of Art

New Orleans Art Museum.jpg

 

Ceramics by Susan Bergman

By Susan Bergman.jpg

Ceramics by Susan Bergman.jpg

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We met our friends, Victor and Bunny, for lunch at Mandina’s, “New Orleans’ favorite restaurant for Italian and seafood home-style cooking for more than eight decades.” They were featuring soft shell crab, so I had fried soft shell crab with French fries. Fantastic! And it was wonderful to see Victor and Bunny. It had been too long.

 

Soft Shell Crab at Mandina’s

Softshell crab at Mandina's.jpg

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After lunch we still had some time before our evening flight home, so we drove out to the Southern Yacht Club to see its new building. We had visited the old clubhouse prior to Hurricane Katrina. The clubhouse was flooded, but it was a fire after the storm that destroyed it. With online coverage of the destruction in New Orleans, we watched live videos of the building fully engulfed in flames. It was surrounded by flood waters and it was impossible for fire fighters to reach it.

We visited New Orleans in 2006, 8 months after Katrina. We went out to SYC and they were back in business, but they were operating out of trailers. There were still boats under water at the destroyed docks, including a sailboat that Bob had raced on in the late ‘70s. Most of their trophies and memorabilia had been lost. We took a burgee from our SYC (Seattle Yacht Club) to help them rebuild their collection. When we visited the new building on Tuesday, they had a fine collection of burgees displayed in the bar, including one from the Seattle Yacht Club. Perhaps it is the one we gave them.

 

Some of the burgees in the bar at the Southern Yacht Club, including one from the Seattle Yacht Club

Burgees at SYC

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After touring the yacht club we headed out to the airport for our flight home. It was a fabulous 8-day vacation in Louisiana. Amazingly, we visited for 8 days without ever going to the French Quarter. That was a first! The best part of this trip was seeing our Louisiana family and friends. We can’t let another 11 years go by before we see them again.

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Slow Cooker Creamy Lentil Soup

April 13, 2018

By Kath Dedon

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After returning from a ski trip to Whistler, we invited the out-of-town ski friends who were in Seattle on Tuesday night for a soup dinner at our house. I decided to make Instant Pot Chicken Soup, so I borrowed Laura and Byron’s Instant Pot so I could make 2 pots of soup. Our guests included 6 good friends from New York and Michigan. I knew that some local friends and Laura and Byron were coming, but I didn’t really know for sure how many to expect. I wanted to have plenty of soup.

I learned that another friend from Maine was in town and there was a possibility that she would be joining us. Mary Kate is a vegetarian so I made this Slow Cooker Creamy Lentil Soup to have available for her and anyone else who might show up and prefer a vegetarian option. We had plenty of soup! (As it turned out, Mary Kate couldn’t make it. We did get to see her the next night at Carrie and Rhett’s house.)

I ate the Slow Cooker Creamy Lentil Soup, and a few other people tried it as well. It was really a great lentil soup! It’s vegan and gluten free. It gets its “creamy” texture from a can of drained chickpeas blended with water and a bit of olive oil and lemon juice.

The recipe is from Cooking Light’s web site. Their recipe called for “green lentils”. Apparently, there are lentils known as “French green lentils” that look very similar to the common “regular” brown lentils sold at most grocery stores. I used French “lentilles du Puy because I had just enough in my cupboard. They are darker than green or brown lentils. I like the way they hold their shape even after slow cooking for hours.

Slow Cooker Creamy Lentil Soup is a vegan soup that can be enjoyed by all. I don’t think anyone will miss the meat whenever I serve it. It’s a keeper that I’m glad to add to my repertoire.

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Slow Cooker Creamy Lentil Soup

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Slow Cooker Creamy Lentil Soup

(Adapted from a Cooking Light recipe)

 

(print the recipe)

 

My Vitamix worked really well when I blended the chickpeas. If you don’t have a powerful blender but do have a food processor, I’m sure you could use that. It probably won’t be quite as creamy, but it will still work and taste delicious.

 

Serves 5 (about 1½ cups each)

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A bit of oil for the slow cooker

4 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth (I actually used 2 teaspoons of Better Than Bouillon Vegan Certified No Chicken Base and 4 cups of water.)

1 cup uncooked green lentils  (I used French “lentilles du Puy)

1 cup chopped yellow onion

¾ cup chopped carrots

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon kosher salt (or ½ – ¾ teaspoon table salt)

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

5 thyme sprigs

4 garlic cloves, minced

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1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

¾ cup water

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

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2 cups thinly sliced lacinato kale

½ teaspoon sherry or red wine vinegar

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  1. Put a small amount of oil in the slow cooker and rub it around the interior with a paper towel.
  2. Put the broth, lentils, onion, carrots, cumin, salt, pepper, thyme, and garlic in the slow cooker. Cook on Low for 7 hours.
  3. Put the chickpeas, water, olive oil, and lemon juice in a blender and blend until it is smooth.
  4. Add the chickpea mixture and the kale to the slow cooker. Cook on Low for 30 additional minutes.
  5. Stir in the vinegar and serve.

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Slow Cooker Creamy Lentil Soup - Copy

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Fennel, Pear, Celery, and Hazelnut Salad

March 17, 2018

By Kath Dedon

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About 3 weeks ago I had a great dinner with Laura and Byron while Bob was away on a ski trip. Byron’s beef roast was amazing! He had seasoned the roast and then put it in a sous vide bath. He then refrigerated it before finishing it in the oven. Really, really good!

Laura made a salad that I just loved! It was the Fennel, Pear, Celery, and Hazelnut Salad from Deb Perelman’s Smitten Kitchen Every Day: Triumphant & Unfussy New Favorites. I have the book and made a mental note to make the salad soon.

I was amused that Deb wrote that her family calls it the “Haters’ Salad”. She explained that many people have strong feelings about fennel, celery, and even pears. She made the salad anyway because she loves all of them.

Bob hates fruit in salads. So I was sure that he wouldn’t like it, but I loved it so much I made it anyway. It turns out he liked it! When I was surprised that he liked it so much, he said that his serving had only had one slice of pear. 😉

All of the ingredients in this salad just work very well together. There’s the crunch of the fennel and celery, the tender sweet slices of pear, the tasty toasted hazelnuts and the salty Pecorino Romano. The lemon juice and olive oil dressing is perfect. The salad holds up pretty well, so it can be made a bit ahead of time. I enjoyed leftover salad for breakfast the next day!

I whole-heartedly recommend Deb’s latest cookbook, Smitten Kitchen Every Day. I’m looking forward to trying many more recipes in it. And do give this Fennel, Pear, Celery, and Hazelnut Salad a try.

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Fennel, Pear, Celery, and Hazelnut Salad

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Fennel, Pear, Celery, and Hazelnut Salad

(Adapted from Deb Perelman’s recipe in Smitten Kitchen Every Day)

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(print the recipe)

 

Serves 3 – 4

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1 medium (about 1 pound) fennel bulb, thinly sliced, with some fronds saved for garnish

2 large celery stalks

¾ medium pear (red D’Anjou is especially pretty), halved, cored, and thinly sliced

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

½ cup hazelnuts, toasted, skinned, and cooled

½-ounce piece of Pecorino Romano cheese, shaved (That’s what I had and used. You could use Parmesan as Deb did.)

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  1. Toss the fennel, celery and pear together in a bowl.
  2. Add the lemon juice, olive oil, and a generous amount of salt and pepper and toss.
  3. Add the hazelnuts and cheese; toss and serve garnished with the fennel fronds.

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Fennel, Pear, Celery, & Hazelnut Salad

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Easy Taco Pie

March 15, 2018

By Kath Dedon

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Yesterday was Pi Day (3.14). Do you make a pie for Pi Day? I have often made a pie to celebrate the day. Yesterday, though, I didn’t feel like making a dessert pie. So I made Easy Taco Pie for dinner!

I’ve made this Easy Taco Pie twice now, and we love it! The recipe is in Carolyn Ketchum’s excellent cookbook, The Everyday Ketogenic Kitchen. It’s a recipe that she also published on her blog, alldayidreamaboutfood.com, in 2014. It’s so good; it definitely deserves all of the coverage. It’s a great example of the easy family-friendly recipes that Carolyn shares on her blog and in her first book. (If you’re in the market for a new low-carb cookbook, don’t hesitate to buy The Everyday Ketogenic Kitchen. Most of the recipes are brand-new and have not been published on her blog.)

I almost pulled out my 6-inch pie plate to make half of the recipe, but I’m glad I didn’t. The leftovers reheat beautifully.

Easy Taco Pie turned out to be a great way to celebrate Pi Day!

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I topped mine with a bit of sour cream and chopped tomatoes and avocado.

Easy Taco Pie with Sour Cream, tomato, and avocado

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Easy Taco Pie

(Adapted from Carolyn Ketchum’s recipe on her blog, alldayidreamaboutfood.com, and in The Everyday Ketogenic Kitchen)

(print the recipe)

Serves 6 – 8

 

1 tablespoon butter or oil to grease the pie plate

1 pound ground beef

3 tablespoons taco seasoning

6 large eggs

1 cup heavy cream

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground pepper

1 cup (4 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese(I used Tillamook Sharp Cheddar.)

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  1. Preheat the oven to 350° and butter or oil a pie plate. (I used my larger Pyrex 9½-inch pie plate.)
  2. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until it is done.

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Ground beef

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3. Stir in the taco seasoning and cook a minute or two.

4. Put the beef in the prepared pie plate.

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Beef in pie plate.jpg

5..Whisk the eggs.

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Whisked eggs

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6. Add the cream, garlic, salt, and pepper to the eggs and whisk again.

7. Pour the egg/cream mixture over the ground beef.

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Eggs and cream added

8. Spread the cheese over the top.

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Sharp cheddar added

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9. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the center is set.

10. Let the pie sit for 5 minutes before cutting it into servings.

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Easy Taco Pie

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11. Serve, garnished with your favorite taco toppings.

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Easy Taco Pie with Sour Cream, tomato, and avocado - Copy

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Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken Taco Meat

March 14, 2018

By Kath Dedon

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We really enjoyed Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken Taco Meat last Sunday. It’s a great recipe to make when you’re home for the day. The recipe, from Elise Bauer on her Simply Recipes blog, recommends cooking the chicken thighs on high for 3 hours or on low for 6 hours. It’s not the best recipe to leave for 8 – 10 hours while you’re at work. I find chicken does better with shorter cook times.

The “secret” ingredient is a 6-ounce can of pineapple juice. Elise says the juice adds a very subtle sweetness and makes the chicken extra-tender and easy to shred. You won’t taste the pineapple.

The recipe is super-easy. It took about 10 minutes to do the prep work. I started the slow cooker at noon and the chicken was ready to shred at 6:00. I used my new Cave Tools Metal Meat Claws to shred the meat right in the slow cooker. They made it incredibly easy! I can’t wait to try them out the next time I have a big family-size pork roast to shred!

Elise recommends making tacos garnished with shredded cabbage, radish slices, avocado and cilantro. Click here to see to see her beautiful photo of the finished tacos.

I decided to make taco salads instead. I just put a handful of shredded cabbage on each plate and topped it with some of the shredded chicken. Radishes, diced avocado and cilantro were the perfect garnishes. It was the perfect dinner on a beautiful, sunny and warm spring day!

Next time you have a day at home and want an easy meal for dinner, consider this Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken Taco Meat. Your house will smell terrific all afternoon and when it’s time to eat it will be simple to put together tacos or salads.

 

Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken Taco Meat

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Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken Taco Meat

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

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 6 – 8

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Spice rub:

2 Tablespoons chili powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1½ teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled in your hands

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon allspice

¼ teaspoon cayenne

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2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (do not remove excess fat)

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Sauce:

6 ounces (3/4 cup) pineapple juice

2 Tablespoons tomato paste

1 heaping teaspoon chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (optional – I added it because I had some leftover in the refrigerator.)

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For serving:

Shredded cabbage

Sliced radishes

Diced avocado

Cilantro

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  1. Whisk the spice rub ingredients together in a large bowl.

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Spices

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Whisked spices

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2. Add the chicken thighs to the bowl and cover them on all sides with the rub.

3. Put the chicken thighs in the slow cooker and add the rest of the rub in the bowl to the slow cooker.

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Chicken thighs in slow cooker

 

4. Stir the tomato paste (and chipotle chile, if using) into the pineapple juice. Pour the sauce over the chicken.

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Pineapple juice, tomato paste, and chipotle chile stirred together

Sauce

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Sauce added

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5. Cook on low for 6 hours (or on high for 3 hours).

6. Shred the chicken right in the slow cooker with meat shredders or a couple of forks.

7. Serve over shredded cabbage, garnished with radishes, avocado, and cilantro.

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I’m really glad I bought these amazing meat shredders!

Cave Tools Metal Meat Claws

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Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken Taco Meat - Copy

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Instant Pot Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

March 10, 2018

By Kath Dedon

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Instant Pot Chicken and Wild Rice Soup is not exactly “instant”, but it’s super easy and really good. The gluten-free, dairy-free recipe is from Ashley Singh Thomas’ blog, myheartbeets.com.

Ashley cooks a small potato with the soup and then blends it with ½ cup of coconut milk to make a creamy base to blend into the finished soup. I decided to skip the potato and stir a can of coconut milk into the soup. It turned out great! Do hop over to Ashley’s blog to see how she uses the potato if you’d like to try her version. (And to see her photos which are much superior to mine!)

Start to finish, it took about one hour and 45 or 50 minutes to make the soup. But only 30 minutes of that time was “hands on”. The time breaks down like this: 30 minutes prep time (chopping, slicing, mincing, measuring), 19 minutes to get up to pressure, 30 minutes cooking at pressure, and 30 minutes Natural Pressure Release (NPR). Once you seal the pot and start the pot, the Instant Pot does all the work.

We enjoyed the Instant Pot Chicken and Wild Rice Soup so much that I’m sure I’ll be making it again. It’s a perfect soup for warming up on a cold night. And all that “hands off” time gives you a chance to make a salad, or maybe even biscuits or cornbread to go with it. Or you could just enjoy a glass of wine and a good book while your Instant Pot cooks your soup.

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IP Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

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Instant Pot Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

(Adapted from Ashley Singh Thomas’ recipe on myheartbeets.com)

 

(print the recipe)

 

Makes 6 servings

 

1½ pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces

½ large onion, diced

1 cup chopped carrots (2-3 medium)

1 cup chopped celery (2 large stalks)

1 (8-ounce) package sliced mushrooms

2 tablespoons minced garlic (about 6 large cloves)

1 Serrano pepper, minced (I did not take the seeds out and it was not too hot.)

3 teaspoons fresh thyme plus extra sprigs for garnish (The garnish is optional.)

2 teaspoons minced fresh sage

2 teaspoons salt (I used sea salt)

½ teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 cup uncooked wild rice

4 cups chicken broth (I used Swanson chicken stock.)

 

Add later:

1 (13.66-ounce) can coconut milk (not lite)

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  1. Rinse the wild rice in a fine-mesh strainer and drain.
  2. Put all of the ingredients except the coconut milk in the Instant Pot.

 

.ready to add the chicken broth and seal the pot

Ingredients

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3. Seal the pot, setting the Pressure Release to Sealing.

4. Select Manual, High Pressure, for 30 minutes.

5. When the 30 minutes of cooking are done, do nothing and just let the pressure release naturally. It will take about 30 minutes for the pressure to release and the valve to drop back down.

6. Once the pressure has released, open the pot, and stir in the coconut milk. Garnish with thyme sprigs, if using, and serve.

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Instant Pot Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

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IP Chicken and Wild Rice Soup - Copy

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Better-Than-Mounds Chocolate Coconut Candies

March 4, 2018

By Kath Dedon

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With only 5 ingredients you can make these delicious sugar-free Better-Than-Mounds Chocolate Coconut Candies!

The recipe is from Carolyn Ketchum’s excellent blog, All Day I Dream About Food. And let me tell you, she does dream up some wonderful recipes for people who are watching their carbs. (I like her blog so much that I bought her book, The Everyday Ketogenic Cookbook, which I love!)

To accommodate food preferences and sensitivities in our family, I am constantly on the lookout for tasty treats that are low carb, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and almond-free. These Better-Than-Mounds Chocolate Coconut Candies fit the bill perfectly!

I had never used coconut butter before. It remains solid at room temperature. The contents of the jar I purchased had separated. Because it was hard, it wasn’t possible to just stir it back together like you would with peanut butter. I microwaved it on Reheat (80%) for 30 seconds and then stirred it a bit. I repeated this process 2 or 3 times more until I could easily blend the coconut butter together. Problem solved!

Carolyn’s recipe makes 20 candies, but I found I could make 24. I served them at a gathering of friends and family a couple of nights ago and had just 2 left for photos. I’m sure I’ll be making Better-Than-Mounds Chocolate Coconut Candies again. They would make a great Easter treat!

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Two candies left

 

Better-Than-Mounds Chocolate Coconut Candies

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

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(print the recipe)

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Notes:

Carolyn recommends, and I used, parchment mini cupcake liners. They are truly non-stick.

If you can’t find Lily’s chocolate bars, go to Carolyn’s recipe to see how you can make the chocolate topping.

If you have Swerve granulated sugar, just give it a spin in a mini food processor or blender to make it “powdered”.

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Makes about 24 candies

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Just 5 ingredients needed

Ingredients

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Coconut Candies

½ cup coconut butter

½ cup coconut oil

½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut

3 tbsp. Swerve Confectioners Sweetener

 

Chocolate Topping

1 (2.8 – 3 oz.) sugar-free dark chocolate, like Lily’s

 

  1. Line 2 mini muffin pans with paper liners. (Parchment liners are recommended.)
  2. Melt the coconut butter and coconut oil in a saucepan over low heat, stirring until blended together. Remove from heat and stir in the coconut and the sweetener.
  3. Spoon about a tablespoon of the coconut mixture into each muffin cup. Freeze for 30 minutes.
  4. For the chocolate topping, break the chocolate bar into a Pyrex measuring cup. Microwave on Reheat (80%) for 15 – 20 seconds. Stir and repeat until it is melted.
  5. Spoon a bit of chocolate topping over each candy. There’s no need to refrigerate the candies. They will keep at room temperature for up to a week.

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Better-Than-Mounds Chocolate Coconut Candies

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Low Carb Chocolate Coconut Candies - Copy

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Low-Carb Pizza Casserole

February 8, 2018

By Kath Dedon

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We have had this Low-Carb Pizza Casserole a couple of times now, and I just love it! Even Bob, who really can’t get very excited about pizza, likes it. So I decided it’s a recipe to share.

The recipe was developed by Kalyn Denny and you can find it on her blog, Kalyn’s Kitchen. Click here to see her recipe, including a video that shows you how easy it is to make. (By the way, Kalyn’s blog is a great resource if you are watching your carbs. She’s been sharing low-carb recipes for 13 years!)

It does take a little bit of time to separately cook the sausage and then the mushrooms, but this Low-Carb Pizza Casserole is super-easy and can be on the table in less than an hour.

One of the things I love most about this recipe is the fact that the leftovers reheat beautifully in a microwave oven. I love to pack leftovers in my lunch when I’m subbing! In fact, I find I crave this just for the leftovers!

If you like pizza but don’t want the carbs, do give this Low-Carb Pizza Casserole a try. It can easily be adapted to suit your taste.  You could use black olives, green peppers, or onions. Just think about your favorite pizza toppers. I even thought of swapping the sausage and mushrooms for cubes of ham and pineapple for a Hawaiian pizza version! However, I know Bob would not eat it so that version will probably not be happening in my kitchen.

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Low-Carb Pizza Casserole + The Dedon House Salad = Dinner!

Low-Carb Pizza Casserole

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Low-Carb Pizza Casserole

(Adapted from Kalyn Denny’s recipe for “Low-Carb Deconstructed Pizza Casserole” on her Kalyn’s Kitchen blog)

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 4 – 6 (Kalyn says it serves 6, but at our house it’s 4 generous servings.)

1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes (do not use petite dice)

1 pound Italian sausage (Use bulk sausage or remove the casings from links.)

2 tsp. + 2 tsp. olive oil

¾ tsp. dried oregano

Freshly ground black pepper

12 oz. fresh mushrooms, washed and cut into thick slices

1½ cups (6 oz.) grated Mozzarella cheese

15 slices pepperoni, cut in half

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I found all of the ingredients at my local Safeway.

Isernio sausage

Tillamook Mozzarella

Gallo Pepperoni

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  1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Lightly oil an 8-inch x 11-inch (2 quart) baking dish.
  2. Put the tomatoes in a strainer to drain.

Tomatoes draining

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3. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. When it’s hot, add 2 teaspoons of the oil and swirl it around to cover the bottom.

4. Add the sausage and cook until it is done, breaking it up as it cooks.

Cook sausage

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5. When the sausage is done, put it in the prepared baking dish.

Sausage

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6. Top the sausage with the drained tomatoes. Sprinkle the oregano and grind the pepper over the tomatoes. (If you use unsalted tomatoes, sprinkle with a bit of salt.)

Tomatoes

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7. Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil in the skillet. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until done and starting to brown.

Mushrooms ready

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8. Spread the mushrooms out over the tomatoes.

Mushrooms added

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9. Cover the mushrooms with the cheese.

Cheese added

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10. Spread the pepperoni out over the cheese.

Ready to bake

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11. Bake for 25 minutes. Serve immediately.

Low-Carb Pizza Casserole - Copy

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Easy Remoulade Sauce

January 22, 2018

By Kath Dedon

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This Remoulade Sauce is much like what you would find in Louisiana. I found the recipe on Elise Bauer’s excellent blog, Simply Recipes. Reading some of the comments convinced me that this was the recipe to try. Zoe said, “I’m from New Orleans. The recipe is 100% authentic.” I think it’s worth hunting down a couple of ingredients to achieve that authenticity.

I couldn’t find Zatarain’s Creole Mustard at my regular grocery stores, although I’m certain there must be some places in Seattle that carry it. Rather than search, I ordered a 2-pack from Amazon. The list of ingredients (vinegar, water, brown mustard seed, salt, xanthan gum) gives no clue as to what makes this mustard unique. I do think, though, that it gives the Remoulade Sauce a flavor that you would not get from other mustards.

Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning seems to be pretty widely available. You’ll find it with the seasoned salts in the spice section. I always have it in the cupboard and use it often to add a bit of spice to my cooking.

The third ingredient that makes this Remoulade a Louisiana-style sauce is hot sauce. For me, that means Tabasco.

I made the Remoulade Sauce the day before Carrie’s birthday dinner. Refrigerating it overnight helps the flavors develop. It was fabulous served with Roasted Shrimp. The recipe made more than I needed for the 1½ pounds of shrimp, so I just served some of it and saved the rest for later. It will keep for at least a couple of weeks refrigerated. You can use it with any seafood. Try it with crab cakes. It would be good on sandwiches. Elise says it’s “awesome” with French fries!

Once you have the ingredients, Remoulade Sauce is super-easy to make. It makes an impressive appetizer served with shrimp.

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Easy Remoulade Sauce is terrific with Roasted Shrimp

Shrimp with Remoulade Sauce

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Easy Remoulade Sauce

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

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(print the recipe)

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Makes about 1½ cups (could easily be cut in half)

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1¼ cups mayonnaise

¼ cup Creole mustard (Zatarain’s is great!)

1 Tablespoon paprika

1 teaspoon Cajun or Creole seasoning (I like Tony Chachere’s)

2 teaspoons prepared horseradish

1 teaspoon pickle juice (dill or sweet; I used dill)

1 teaspoon Tabasco

1 large clove garlic, pressed

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Ingredients for Remoulade Sauce, including the pickle juice in the measuring cup

Ingredients

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  1. Whisk all of the ingredients together. Cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve. It’s best made at least a few hours ahead.

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Ready to whisk

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IMG_4163

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Remoulade Sauce

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Shrimp with Remoulade Sauce - Copy

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Pan-Roasted Blood Orange Chicken

January 16, 2018

By Kath Dedon

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Laura recommended Jessi Heggan’s Pan-Roasted Blood Orange Chicken, saying that it’s SO easy and SO good. I checked it out and made it a few days later. It was just as Laura said; this roast chicken recipe delivers so much flavor for so little effort. Bob and I both really enjoyed it!

It’s high citrus season right now. I find that it’s pretty easy to find blood oranges, but if you can’t find them you can substitute navel oranges.

The seasoned olive oil is so flavorful that it’s not necessary to marinate the chicken. Just cover the chicken with the seasoned oil and roast. Quick and easy!

I did find I had to roast the chicken for a longer time than Jessi suggested. Perhaps my chicken thighs were larger. It’s always best to check the chicken with an instant read thermometer to determine when it’s done.

I will definitely be making Pan-Roasted Blood Orange Chicken again before the blood oranges are out of season! And I’m planning on spending some more time exploring Jessi’s Kitchen. It looks like she has some interesting recipes. Check it out!

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Pan-Roasted Blood Orange Chicken was terrific with Perfect Instant Pot Broccoli

Blood Orange Chicken with broccoli

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Pan-Roasted Blood Orange Chicken

(Adapted, barely, from Jessi Heggan’s recipe on jessiskitchen.com)

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 4 – 6 

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2 blood oranges (if not available, can substitute navel oranges)

1 Tablespoon garlic powder

1 Tablespoon chili powder

1 Tablespoon dried oregano

1 Tablespoon cumin

2 teaspoons black pepper, freshly ground

2 teaspoons sea salt

1/3 cup olive oil

3.5 – 4 pounds chicken thighs (can use either bone-in skin-on or boneless skinless thighs)

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  1. Preheat the oven to 425°.
  2. Zest one of the blood oranges.

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Zest of one blood orange

Blood orange zest

 

3. Combine the orange zest, garlic powder, chili powder, dried oregano, cumin, pepper and salt in a small bowl.

Stir dry spices together

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4. Stir the olive oil into the spice mixture.

Stir in olive oil

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5. Put the chicken skin-side down in a cast iron skillet. Spread half of the seasoned oil over the chicken. Turn the chicken over so it is skin-side up and spread on the rest of the seasoned oil.

Spice mixture rubbed all over the chicken

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6. Slice the second blood orange and place the slices on top of the chicken.

Blood orange slices added - ready for oven

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7. Roast until the chicken temperature, measured with an instant read thermometer, is 165°. This took 45 minutes for my bone-in chicken.

Pan Roasted Blood Orange Chicken

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8. Serve and enjoy!

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Update January 22, 2018:

I made this again for Carrie’s birthday dinner and I multiplied all of the ingredients by 1.5. (I used 12 chicken thighs instead of 8.) I roasted them on a sheet pan and they turned out great! They took only 30 minutes to roast, not 45 like they did in the crowded cast iron pan. I may use the sheet pan from now on, no matter how many chicken thighs I’m roasting. You could use parchment paper or cover it with foil, as I did, for easy clean-up. 

Ready to go into the oven for a 30-minute roast!

chicken on a sheet pan

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Blood Orange Chicken with broccoli - Copy

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Perfect Instant Pot Broccoli

January 8, 2018

By Kath Dedon

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We had delicious Pan-Roasted Blood Orange Chicken last night which I will be adding to the blog soon. Today I’m here to share how I successfully cooked broccoli in my Instant Pot.

I bought a steamer basket that fits perfectly in my 6-quart Instant Pot. I simply washed the broccoli, peeled the stems and cut them into small pieces, and cut the florets into smaller pieces. I prepared the broccoli ahead of time and just left it in the basket until I was ready to cook it.

I have a couple of Instant Pot cookbooks that recommend 2 – 3 minutes for broccoli. However I had run across posts online that say 0 minutes is plenty if you don’t want mushy broccoli. I decided to go with that.

When the chicken was done I just let it rest in the pan while I cooked the broccoli.

I put 1 cup of water into the Instant Pot and then put the basket of broccoli in and sealed the lid. I pressed the Manual button and then used the “-“ button to set the time to 0 minutes.

It took about 10 minutes to get up to pressure and it was done! I used a quick release and it was ready to eat.

I am now eager to try cooking other vegetables in my Instant Pot. It will be a bit of a trial and error, I’m sure, as I try different things. The time needed will depend on the size and density of the vegetable pieces. For small broccoli florets, 0 minutes was perfect!

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Instant Pot Broccoli

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Perfect Instant Pot Broccoli

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(print the “recipe”)

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  1. Wash the broccoli, peel the stems and cut them into small pieces. Cut the florets into smaller pieces. (This can be done ahead.)

Broccoli in the steamer basket.jpg

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2. About 10 minutes before you want to serve, put 1 cup of water into the Instant Pot. Put a steamer basket in the pot and fill with the broccoli.

Red handle folds down

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3. Seal the lid and set the Pressure Release to “Sealing”.

4. Press Manual and use the “-” button to set the time to 0 minutes.

5. When it’s done, use the quick release method to let the steam out. Serve!

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Instant Pot Broccoli - cropped.jpg

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Happy New Year!

January 4, 2018

By Kath Dedon

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As In the Kitchen with Kath enters its 9th year, I decided to take a look back at the most popular recipes of 2017.

As Laura wrote in our Christmas letter, “In the Kitchen with Kath basically became a love letter to the Instant Pot.” It took me a bit of time to get acquainted with the electric marvel, but 4 out of the last 5 recipes have involved my 6-quart Instant Pot. And 3 out of the 8 most popular (most viewed) recipes for the whole year are Instant Pot recipes. It has earned a permanent place in my kitchen and I expect I’ll be using it even more this year.

So here are the 8 most popular recipes on my blog in 2017. Just click on the name of each recipe to see its blog post.

 

#8 Kung Pao Chicken is great Chinese take-out at home. The chicken marinates for just 10 minutes and then you’re a quick stir-fry away from a tasty dish!

kung-pao-chicken

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#7 Roasted Shrimp Cocktail I made this more than once last year. It’s a super easy appetizer. The cocktail sauce is old-school classic. We also enjoyed it with homemade remoulade sauce. (That’s on my to-do list to share sometime soon.)

Roated Shrimp Cocktail up close - Copy

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#6 Instant Pot Chicken Soup We really love this low-carb chicken soup! If you have an Instant Pot, you know that “instant” does not mean it’s ready instantly. With a Natural Pressure Release, this takes a little over 2 hours, but the hands-on time is short. The Instant Pot makes such a flavorful broth; we don’t miss noodles or rice in this one.

Instant Pot Chicken Soup

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#5 Easy Butter Chicken Made 3 Ways (Instant Pot, Slow Cooker, or Stovetop) I made this in my Instant Pot and also in my Slow Cooker. It uses canned coconut cream instead of dairy cream making it perfect for those with dairy sensitivities.

butter-chicken

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#4 Keto Ground Lamb Casserole When I first saw this recipe I thought, “That looks like it’s probably pretty good.” Then I made it. Wow! I loved it and have made it several times. I find I crave the leftovers to pack in a lunch when I’m subbing. It heats up well in a microwave.

Keto Ground Lamb Casserole

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#3 Chiang Mai Chicken takes more time than a lot of my recipes but it is very easy. It serves 8 and is perfect when you are looking for an impressive recipe for entertaining. It truly is one of the best chicken recipes I have ever made!