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You'll find over 400 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!

Classic Margaritas

May 6, 2017

By Kath Dedon

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Do you celebrate Cinco de Mayo? We don’t really. But yesterday I was inspired to make margaritas by Facebook posts and blog posts that I stumbled upon. Plus, I had way too many limes left over from making Chiang Mai Chicken. Margaritas seemed the perfect way to use them.

One of the online pieces I read was Michael Dietsch’s 2014 post on Serious Eats about which tequila is best for margaritas. In his opinion, Blanco (or Silver, the clear tequilas) worked best in margaritas. They first blind tested “mixto” tequilas (tequilas that are no more than 51% agave) and the two winners in that test were Jose Cuervo and Sauza.

They next blind tested the Cuervo and Sauza against 100% agave brands. The 100% agave brands turned out to be clearly better than the mixtos.

Their two favorites were Casa Noble Crystal (Michael said it cost about $33) and Herradura (quoted as about $29).

Armed with this new information about tequila, I headed to the liquor store. Now I don’t know if tequila prices have gotten insanely high since 2014 or if it’s just that Washington State has insanely high taxes on liquor, but his two favorites were out of my price range! They were on the top shelf and were in the $65-$70 price range. Not what I was willing to pay for margaritas! So I looked down a few shelves and chose Cazadores Tequila Blanco. With taxes, it was $40. Still expensive, but I was willing to give it a try.

I made the Classic Margarita from the “Serious Eats Team”. They used “high quality” blanco tequila, limes, Cointreau, and coarse salt. They noted that if you use a budget tequila, it would be better if you swapped the proportions of the Cointreau and lime juice and added ¼ ounce simple sugar for each drink. I figured my tequila was fine enough and made the classic recipe.

This recipe did make mighty fine margaritas! And it was very easy. I don’t have a cocktail shaker, so I used my Blender Bottle without the Blender Ball in it and it worked just fine. (The reason it’s a good idea to shake it with ice is that the margaritas will get really cold. Then when you put the strained drinks in the glasses with fresh ice, the ice won’t melt as quickly.)

I’ll definitely make this recipe for margaritas again. When I’m out of the Cazadores tequila I may try a less expensive blanco, all in the name of research, of course. How bad could it be?

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Classic margarita

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Classic Margarita

(Adapted, barely, from a recipe on Serious Eats)

Note: Serious Eats claims that this works best with a high quality tequila. If you use a budget tequila, they suggest it would be better if you swapped the proportions of the Cointreau and lime juice and added ¼ ounce simple sugar for each drink.

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 2

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Lime wedge, plus 2 lime wheels (optional, for serving)

1 tablespoon coarse salt, for glass rims

4 ounces high quality blanco tequila (See note above)

2 ounces Cointreau

1½ ounces fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)

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  1. Run the lime wedge around the rim of two glasses and dip in the salt.
  2. Put the tequila, Cointreau, and lime juice in a cocktail shaker (or Blender Bottle). Add several ice cubes and shake until the cocktail shaker frosts over on the bottom or the Blender Bottle feels cold, about 15 seconds.
  3. Strain the margarita into both glasses. Add ice cubes. Garnish with lime wheel, if desired, and serve.

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Classic margarita - Copy

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A Trip to Florida

May 4, 2017

By Kath Dedon

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Have you tried Airbnb yet? On Wednesday, April 19, we flew to Tampa to see Bob’s cousins who live in St. Petersburg. I found the best Airbnb accommodation in Gulfport that was a short drive to our cousins’ homes.

This was our first experience with Airbnb and we loved it. Stephanie’s Lovely Guesthouse was perfect. It is a lovely one-bedroom guesthouse attached to Stephanie’s home. Stephanie has thought of all the little details, like plenty of hangers so we could hang up all of our clothes. It has a large private patio for relaxing outside. It’s a short walk to Gulfport Beach and all of the restaurants and shops in the town. There are even a couple of bicycles available. Gulfport is a great town for a leisurely bike ride; the neighborhood is flat with very little traffic. We didn’t use the bicycles. Maybe next time!

The guesthouse has a well-equipped kitchenette, but I have to admit we only used the Keurig coffee maker and the wine opener!

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Bob, in front of the entrance to the Lovely Guesthouse

Bob in front of the Lovely Guest House

Living room and kitchenette at the Lovely Guest House

Lovely Guest House

The Lovely Guest House 1

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The first night, after checking in to the Lovely Guesthouse, we drove to meet Maria and Carol. They took us to their favorite Greek restaurant in St. Petersburg, Athenian Gardens. It was excellent! I ordered their Greek salad with gyro meat. It turned out to be delicious and a huge portion. I took some back to the guesthouse to save in the refrigerator.

After dinner Maria drove us out to St. Pete’s Beach and we got there just in time for the sunset! It was a beautiful evening.

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Sunset at St. Pete Beach

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Thursday morning we walked to Gulfport to look around and have breakfast. Stella’s was obviously very popular, so we went there. It was so nice to eat breakfast outside in warm weather after the long, rainy winter in Seattle. (It has, in fact, been a record-breaking winter for rain in Seattle!)

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Sitting outside at Stella’s

Breakfast outside at Stella's

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Thursday night we met Maria and her son James and his family (Safina, Gabriel, and Dominic) at O’Maddy’s Bar and Grille in Gulfport.  O’Maddy’s is very popular pretty much all day long. James and Safina had made a reservation so we were able to get right in. The restaurant is right across the street from the water and it has a fun beach-town atmosphere. And the food was great! I enjoyed fried grouper, a Florida treat that we don’t get in the Pacific Northwest.

Friday morning we went to Mangia Gourmet for breakfast. They have a very pleasant outdoor patio that is bigger than the indoor seating area. We were the only people there so we had the patio to ourselves. The menu has a lot of gluten free and vegan options, but they also have eggs, cheese, and meat. But, as Bob pointed out to the very nice server, they don’t have bacon! I had a slice of quiche and a fruit cup; Bob had the bagel (gluten free because they only had gluten free bagels), lox, and cream cheese.  The gluten free bagel was actually quite tasty. The breakfast was good and we were ready for the day.

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Breakfast at Mangia Gourmet (Bob’s wearing his worn-out St. Petersburg Yacht Club cap.)

Breakfast at Mangia Gourmet)

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The last time we had been in St. Petersburg was 2009, eight years ago. Bob had gotten a St. Petersburg Yacht Club cap on that trip. It was a favorite cap and it was worn out. We stopped by the yacht club to get a new one for him. (As Seattle Yacht Club members, we’re able to enjoy reciprocal privileges at many other yacht clubs.)

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The porch at St. Petersburg Yacht Club

The porch at SPYC

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After driving around St. Petersburg a bit, we headed to Fort De Soto County Park. It’s a large park featuring camping areas, nature walks, and beaches (including a dog beach). There is a $5 parking fee collected as you enter the park. We went to East Beach. We had the beach chairs provided by our host, Stephanie, at the guesthouse and enjoyed an afternoon at the beach.

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At East Beach at Fort De Soto County Park

East Beach, Fort De Soto Park

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Bob with his new SPYC cap

Bob at East Beach, Fort De Soto Park, Tierra Verde, FL)

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Yes, I was there, too, in the shade and with plenty of sunblock! (The beach chairs were great! We found them in the closet for our use at our Lovely Guesthouse.)

Kath at East Beach at Ford De Soto Park.jpg

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Dinner that night was a feast at Maria’s! She made her cabbage rolls, which she called Arabian-style cabbage rolls. They were fabulous and different from other cabbage rolls I had seen. They were rolled into narrow cylinders. An Internet search produced several recipes for “Malfouf” that looked very similar to Maria’s. Maria said she had found a much easier way to make them. Instead of boiling the cabbage, she puts a whole cabbage in the freezer for two weeks. Then she defrosts it and the leaves are ready to be stuffed. I’ll have to see if Maria will share her recipe with me. 🙂 She served the cabbage rolls with a wonderful quinoa tabbouleh.

James, Gabriel, and Dominic are crazy about baseball! They watch it (they’re Rays fans) and Gabriel and Dominic both play on elite teams that do very well. It’s a huge time commitment with all of the practices and games. Each boy can have as many as 5 or 6 games on a weekend. (Safina likes it, too, but I don’t think she likes it as much as her 3 “boys” do!) We were excited to get to see Dominic play on Saturday. His first game was at 9:00 in Sarasota, an hour away. We decided to go to his second game at 11:00.

We drove to the Sarasota Farmers’ Market to look around and grab breakfast. There didn’t seem to be too many farmers at the market. It was mostly food vendors and crafts. We got breakfast from Annalida’s Gourmet Foods. Bob had a great crab cake and a sausage, and I had a gluten free wrap with a sausage and grilled onions, peppers, and zucchini. We didn’t spend much time at the market because we had to get to the game.

It was really fun baseball to watch, even though Dominic’s team didn’t win. They were ahead until the bottom of the last inning when the opposing team scored enough runs to win the game. It was disappointing for Dominic, but we got to see some great plays by both teams. So it was fun!

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Dominic at bat

Dominic at bat

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After the game we headed up Longboat Key, which was not as interesting as we thought it might be. It’s a residential area and you can’t see the water most of the way because of all of the large McMansions on both sides of the road. By the time we got to the north end of the key the traffic was stop and go because there was a beach and park area that was crowded with people. There’s only the one road in and out, so it was very busy on a Saturday afternoon. While we were stuck in traffic, I had plenty of time to look for a lunch stop on yelp. I zeroed in on Tide Tables Restaurant and Marina in Cortez. We finally made it to the place to turn to take a bridge to Cortez on the mainland.

Cortez is a small commercial fishing village on the Gulf Coast. Tide Tables Restaurant was very busy with a late lunch crowd. We felt lucky to get a spot to sit outside. They say the grouper is delivered right to their dock by the fishermen. So I chose fried grouper and Bob had conch fritters. Both were good, but I think mine was better. After lunch we continued on to Gulfport and relaxed at the guesthouse before dinner.

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Tide Tables Restaurant and Marina, Cortez FL.jpg

Tide Tables Restaurant.jpg

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Great Egret on the dock at Tide Tables

Great Egret at Tide Tables

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That evening the boys went to the Rays baseball game with friends. James wasn’t feeling well so he stayed home. We took Safina to dinner at Alesia, a Vietnamese-French restaurant a short walk from their home. Safina said she always likes to start with the Raw Honeycomb appetizer and it was amazing. The honeycomb was handcut from the hive and paired with a creamy bleu cheese, spicy candied pecans, grapes and toast points. It was a wonderful combination of flavors! I tried their Bún, perhaps my favorite Vietnamese dish. It’s a bowl of cooled rice vermicelli noodles served with lettuce, herbs, topped with crushed peanuts and grilled pork. It did not disappoint!

When we had stopped at the yacht club on Friday we learned that we could go sailing at St. Petersburg Sailing Center, which is across the street from and operated by St. Petersburg Yacht Club. If you’re not a member of St. Petersburg Sailing Center ($350/year for local people), you can take a boat out if you pay $45/hour for a sailing lesson. It’s not unusual for accomplished sailors to make an appointment for a “lesson” so they can take out a boat.

On Sunday we had an appointment at 10:00 for a lesson with Daniel. Dominic, Safina, and James had a day of Dominic’s games. Gabriel and his friend, Kevin, wanted to go sailing with us.

We got going early and needed a really quick breakfast so we (gasp!) stopped at McDonald’s for Egg McMuffins on our way to pick up the boys. It had probably been at least 15 years or more since I had eaten at McDonald’s. It wasn’t horrible, and it quickly solved breakfast.

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Egg McMuffin before sailing

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We picked up Gabriel and Kevin who had just rolled out of bed so they needed breakfast, too. We stopped at Burger King so they could eat. Then off to our 10:00 appointment with Daniel.

There was not much wind, but we still had a good time. Daniel helped Bob rig the boat, and then he just went along for the ride. Bob took the boat out, and Gabriel and Kevin each got some time at the helm. Bob and Daniel were both good teachers, giving them tips. We ended up being out for about two hours and it felt good to be out on the water.

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Bob, Daniel and Gabriel

rigging the sailboat.jpg

Gabriel and Bob sailing

Gabriel driving the boat

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After our sail we took the boys for lunch at St. Petersburg Yacht Club. They had a big Sunday buffet going on, but we were also able to order from the menu, so I had (of course)  grouper with sweet potato fries and remoulade sauce. Delicious!

Grilled mahi mahi with remoulade sauce and sweet potato fries at SPYC

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We took Gabriel and Kevin home and then headed back to Gulfport for an afternoon at the beach. The water seemed a bit warmer than it had been at Fort De Soto, but it was still not warm enough for me to consider swimming. We enjoyed sitting on the beach and watching the Laughing Gulls who were busy with all kinds of mating dances.

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Bob and Laughing Gulls at Gulfport Beach

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When we had had enough of the beach, we went to the upstairs balcony at Manatee’s across the street from the beach. Most of the buildings in Gulfport are one story, so the view from the upstairs balcony is the best in town. The food looked alright, but we just had Bloody Marys and enjoyed the view.

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The view from Manatee’s

Manatees on the Bay.jpg

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Relaxing on the patio at the Lovely Guesthouse

Relaxing at The Lovely Guest House

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After relaxing with some wine out on the patio at the Lovely Guesthouse, we headed back to Gulfport for a dinner for two at Pia’s Trattoria. Maria had told us about it and it was, indeed, very good. I had Shrimp Scampi with really delicious gluten free pasta, and Bob had Linguine with Clam Sauce. It was an excellent dinner for our last night in Gulfport.

Monday morning we took Maria and Carol for breakfast at Stella’s. It was busy, but we luckily got a table for 4 outside. It was fun to have the chance to see them again before we left.

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Stella’s is in the heart of “downtown” Gulfport. We loved that the town was so walkable.Stella's in the heart of Gulfport.jpg

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After breakfast we just relaxed at the Lovely Guesthouse and then drove to the airport to fly home. Both flights were nonstop on Alaska Airlines. It’s amazing that you can go from Seattle all the way to Tampa in 6 hours!

We had a wonderful, relaxing vacation in the Gulfport/St. Petersburg area. The best part was spending time with our cousins. We’re Facebook friends, which makes it easier to keep up, but it’s not the same as spending some time together. We all agreed that we can’t let 8 years go by without getting together again.

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The resident cat at the Lovely Guesthouse had a favorite chair on the patio

Resident cat at The Lovely Guest House

 Sign in private patio

Chiang Mai Chicken (Kai Yang)

May 2, 2017

By Kath Dedon

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Chiang Mai Chicken (Kai Yang) may be the best chicken I have ever made or eaten!

I adapted the recipe from Christopher Kimball’s recipe in the current issue (May-June 2017) of Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street Magazine. I just started subscribing to the magazine this year and I really like it. It’s published 6 times a year and is full of recipes from around the world. I just noticed today that my Thriftway store has the current issue for sale, so you may be able to buy a single copy if you don’t want to commit to a subscription.

Kimball traveled to Chiang Mai in northern Thailand where he ate this amazing chicken prepared by two young chefs who grill spatchcocked chickens over a charcoal grill. He loved the chicken and the tamarind-based dipping sauce that was served with it.

Back home, he set out to recreate Chiang Mai Chicken for home chefs. He makes it simple, giving directions for roasting in the oven.

The marinade is fabulous and gives the chicken so much flavor! The chicken should be marinated for 2 hours. Kimball says 1 hour is not enough and 3 hours makes it too salty.

After reading over the recipe I knew I wanted to make it for Laura’s and Rhett’s birthday dinner. (With their birthdays just 11 days apart, we celebrated both of them on the same day.) I doubled the recipe to have enough for everyone. Since two family members are currently eating a super low-carb diet, I used Truvia instead of sugar in the marinade. It worked really well!

I made both the Chili-Lime Dipping Sauce and the Tamarind Dipping Sauce. I doubled the sauces by making two batches of each one – one with Truvia and one with sugar. There was no difference in taste so I wouldn’t hesitate to use Truvia again. I found it was not necessary to double the sauces. We had quite a bit left over.

Everyone loved the chicken! It’s delicious even without the dipping sauces because the marinade delivers so much flavor.

The Chili-Lime Dipping Sauce was really good, but the Tamarind Dipping Sauce was outstanding and was everyone’s favorite.

This Chiang Mai Chicken is a great recipe to make when you have a leisurely afternoon. It’s easy, but you need to give it that precise 2-hour marinating time. The Tamarind Dipping Sauce takes a bit of time to make, but it is worth it. If you can’t find tamarind pulp or just want something that’s simpler, you won’t be disappointed with the Chili-Lime Sauce. Honestly, you’ll love this chicken as is with just a squeeze of lime juice!

Chiang Mai Chicken served with Cauliflower “Rice”

Chiang Mai Chicken with Cauliflower rice

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Chiang Mai Chicken (Kai Yang)

(Adapted from Christopher Kimball’s recipe in the May-June 2017 issue of Milk Street Magazine)

(print the recipe)

Serves 8 (cut the ingredients in half for 4 servings)

 

Special equipment that makes it easier:

2-gallon zip-close bag

A large sheet pan

An oven-safe cooling rack that fits in the sheet pan

Heavy duty foil

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Some of the ingredients for the marinade and the sauces

some ingredients

Lemon grass, ends trimmed and the hard outer layers peeled off

lemongrass

Marinade ingredients

2 cups lightly packed cilantro leaves and tender stems

1 cup fish sauce

1 cup soy sauce

½ cup packed light brown sugar (or 6 packets of Truvia)

2 lemon grass stalks, ends trimmed, bottom 8 inches chopped

8 garlic cloves, smashed

2 tablespoon coriander seeds

2 tablespoon black peppercorns

2 teaspoons white peppercorns

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Other ingredients

6 pounds chicken parts (I used 12 chicken thighs)

1 cup kosher salt

Lime wedges, to serve (optional)

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  1. Put all of the marinade ingredients (the cilantro through the white peppercorns) in a blender and blend until smooth, about 1 minute.
  2. Reserve ½ cup of the marinade for a glaze.
  3. Pour the rest of the marinade in a 2-gallon zip-close bag. Put the chicken in the bag skin-side down and spread it out as best as you can. Seal the bag; put it in a large baking dish in the refrigerator. Marinate the chicken for 2 hours, turning it over a time or two. (While the chicken is marinating, you can make the Tamarind Dipping Sauce and/or the Chili-Lime Dipping Sauce – recipes follow this one.)
  4. Preheat the oven to 400° and put the oven rack in the center of the oven.
  5. Line a large sheet pan with foil. Spread 1 cup of kosher salt over the foil. Place a wire rack over the salt. (The salt prevents the marinade from burning when it drips off of the chicken.)

Kosher salt in the baking sheet

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wire rack over the salt

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6. Put the chicken on the rack. Roast for 30 minutes.

Chicken ready to roast

Chiang Mai Chicken ready to roast

7. Brush the chicken with the reserved marinade and roast for another 10 – 15 minutes, or until the thighs measure 175°F (160°F for breasts).

8. Let the chicken rest for 20 minutes and then serve with lime wedges, Tamarind Dipping Sauce, or Chili-Lime Dipping Sauce.

Chili-Lime Dipping Sauce

(Adapted from Christopher Kimball’s recipe in the May-June 2017 issue of Milk Street Magazine)

Makes about ¾ cup

 

½ cup lime juice (4 – 6 limes)

3 tablespoons fish sauce

2 tablespoons light brown sugar (or 3 small packets of Truvia)

2 teaspoons chili-garlic sauce

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Stir all ingredients together until the sugar dissolves.  Keeps refrigerated for up to 3 days.

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Chili-Lime Chili Sauce

Chili-Lime Dipping Sauce

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Tamarind Dipping Sauce

(Adapted from Christopher Kimball’s recipe in the May-June 2017 issue of Milk Street Magazine)

Makes about 3 cups

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Tamarind pulp found at an Asian grocery near me

Tamarind paste

2 ounces tamarind pulp

2 oz tamarind paste

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2 lemon grass stalks, ends trimmed, bottom 8 inches chopped

1 large shallot, chopped

3 tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil

1 serrano chili, stemmed and chopped

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger

2½ cups water

2 ounces tamarind pulp (about ¼ cup)

5 tablespoons packed light brown sugar (or 7½ small packets of Truvia)

¼ cup fish sauce

1 tablespoon soy sauce

3 tablespoons lime juice (1 – 2 limes)

Ground black pepper

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  1. Put the lemon grass, shallot, oil, and chili in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until it is just starting to brown, about 5 minutes.

shallot, lemon grass, and chili

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2. Add the tomato paste and the ginger and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds.

tomato paste and ginger added

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3. Add water, tamarind pulp, and sugar. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat so it is just simmering and simmer for 15 minutes.

water, tamarind pulp and sugar added

4. Take off the heat and stir in the fish sauce and soy sauce.

5. Let the sauce cool a bit and then pour it into a blender and blend until smooth, about 1 minute.

6. Pour the sauce through a wire mesh, pressing on the solids. Throw out the solids.

7. Stir the lime juice into the sauce.

8. Season to taste with pepper.

9. Keeps refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

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Tamarind Dipping Sauce

Tamarind dipping sauce

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Chiang Mai Chicken with Cauliflower rice - Copy

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Milk Street Magazine

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Asparagus with Brown Butter and Sage

April 30, 2017

By Kath Dedon

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Asparagus is in season now! I love asparagus and I love it when we can buy fresh local asparagus. The New York Times recently published a David Tanis recipe for Steamed Asparagus with Pistachios and Brown Butter that I had to try.

Mr. Tanis calls for ¼ cup of crushed toasted pistachios. I thought that would be overwhelming. I used only about a tablespoon. Next time I might just skip the pistachios. They were good, if you happen to have them, but, to me, it’s all about the brown butter and sage.

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Asparagus with Brown Butter and Sage

(Adapted from a David Tanis recipe in the New York Times)

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 4

 

1½ pounds asparagus, tough ends cut off

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons chopped sage, plus 12 whole sage leaves

2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus ½ teaspoon lemon zest

1 tablespoon toasted pistachios, chopped (optional)

Salt and pepper

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IMG_4117

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1. Put a plate in the oven and preheat the oven to Warm.

2. Bring one inch of water to a boil in a skillet. When it’s boiling, add 1 teaspoon salt and the asparagus. Cook for 2 minutes.

3. Drain the asparagus and put it on the warm plate in the oven.

4. Return the empty skillet to the burner on medium-high heat and add the butter. When it’s melted, add the chopped sage and sage leaves. Cook for a minute or two until the butter is lightly browned.

5. Add the lemon juice and zest and turn the heat down to low.

6. Add the asparagus. Season with salt and pepper and turn the asparagus in the butter with tongs.

7. Put the asparagus on a serving plate and pour all of the butter sauce over it. Sprinkle with the pistachios, if using.

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A Simple Charcuterie and Cheese Board

April 17, 2017

By Kath Dedon

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We had our usual Snake River Farms ham for Easter dinner with family and friends this year. It’s gotten so it wouldn’t be Easter without an SRF ham. It’s so good!!

I had originally said that I would provide the whole dinner, but then I came to my senses and delegated. Everyone brought great contributions to the meal and I had a very relaxing day! 🙂

I wanted to set out an appetizer that would include “something for everyone”. Some of my favorite people at the dinner are serious CrossFit devotees and they eat a keto (super low carb, high fat) diet. A couple of people are dairy-free, and two are gluten free. I decided to do A Simple Charcuterie and Cheese Board.

I’d never done a charcuterie and cheese board and found it was quite easy. I just selected a few meats, some cheese, olives, cornichons, and pickled peppers and arranged them on a large wooden cutting board. I set out some rice crackers, wheat crackers, and Parmesan crisps to go with the meats and cheese. Everyone seemed to enjoy it.

If you search the Internet you’ll find all kinds of fancy charcuterie and cheese boards. I found it a bit intimidating to think about trying to reproduce something like those picture-perfect examples. So I just relaxed and put together A Simple Charcuterie and Cheese Board. I highly recommend it for entertaining. You can truly make it so there’s something for everyone.

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In the upper left-hand and lower right-hand corners are Milano Salami and Fontina cheese, and then clockwise from the top: Sicilian olives, prosciutto, cornichons with pickled onions, Mama Lil’s Kick Butt Peppers, Beecher’s Herb Cheese Curds, and Salumi Salami 

Charcuterie and Cheese Board

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I set out rice crackers (gluten-free), Parmesan crisps (keto) and wheat crackers to go with the charcuterie and cheese.

Crackers.jpg

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I have never tried it, but Parmesan crisps sound very easy to make yourself. I may try that next time. (Just google “parmesan crisps” and you’ll find recipes.)

Happy Easter and Happy Spring!

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Charcuterie and Cheese Board - Copy

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Lamb-Almond Dumplings with Tomato Cream Sauce

March 6, 2017

By Kath Dedon

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Lamb-Almond Dumplings with Tomato Cream Sauce is a fabulous recipe from Raghavan Iyer’s 660 Curries. I had a pound of ground lamb in the refrigerator and wanted to try something new with it. A search for “ground lamb” on eatyourbooks.com led me to the recipe. (If you have a large cookbook collection, as I do, a subscription to Eat Your Books is SO useful!)

The recipe uses ¼ cup ground slivered blanched almonds as a binder. I have some blanched almond flour so I used that. If I were to grind slivered almonds, I would probably use the coffee grinder that I use for a spice grinder. If you have a nut allergy, you might try grinding sunflower seeds instead.

In his tips, Iyer mentions that the ground almonds are the binder, but he says if the meatballs fall apart when you’re forming them, you can add a beaten egg to the meat mixture. With the almond flour, I found the egg was not necessary. The meat was easy to form into meatballs.

I did not make Iyer’s recipe for Punjabi garam masala to use in this recipe. Instead, I used Kashmiri garam masala from World Spice Merchants. The curry was absolutely delicious, but I am now curious to make it again with the garam masala that he recommends.

Lamb-Almond Dumplings with Tomato Cream Sauce is one of the best things I’ve made lately. Bob and I both loved it over cauliflower “rice”. I’m excited to have leftovers tonight!

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Lamb-Almond Dumplings in a Tomato Cream Sauce

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Lamb-Almond Dumplings with Tomato Cream Sauce

(Adapted from Raghavan Iyer’s recipe in 660 Curries)

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 4 – 6  (4 as a stand-alone main dish, 6 as part of a multicourse dinner)

1 pound ground lamb

½ cup finely chopped red onion

¼ cup slivered blanched almonds, ground (or blanched almond flour)

¼ cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems

6 medium cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 tablespoon garam masala

1½ teaspoons kosher salt (or 1¼ teaspoons table salt)

2 tablespoons oil (I used avocado oil.) or ghee

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 cup canned tomato sauce

½ teaspoon ground cardamom

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

½ cup heavy whipping cream

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Cooked rice or Cauliflower “Rice”* for serving

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Ingredients: Lamb, blanched almond flour, mint, cumin seeds, coriander and cayenne, garlic, cilantro, red onion, cream, tomato sauce, and garam masala

Ingredients

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  1. Mix the lamb, red onion, ground almonds (or almond flour), mint, cilantro, garlic, garam masala, and salt together in a bowl. (Using your clean hands is the easiest way to do it.) Form the mixture into 12 meatballs.

Lamb meatballs

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  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. When it is hot, add the oil or ghee. Add the cumin seeds and cook, stirring, for about 5 – 10 seconds. They’ll turn reddish brown and smell nutty.

 

  1. Add the meatballs and cook, gently turning them, until they are evenly browned. This will take 5 – 8 minutes. Remove the meatballs to a plate.

Browning the meatballs

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  1. Stir in the tomato sauce and scrape the pan to deglaze it. Stir in the cardamom and cayenne. Lower the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for about 5 – 8 minutes stirring occasionally. A thin layer of oil will form on the surface and on the sides.
  1. Stir in the cream.

Tomato Cream Sauce

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  1. Add the meatballs to the cream sauce and spoon some sauce over them. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Serve over rice or cauliflower “rice”.

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Meatballs in sauce

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*Cauliflower “Rice”

1 small head cauliflower, leaves and tough core removed, and cut into smaller pieces

1 tablespoon butter

 

(You can use the grating disc with your food processor, if you have one. It’s very quick and easy. If you don’t have one, grate it by hand with a grater that you would use for cheese.)

 

  1. Grate the cauliflower. (I did this step before I started the meatballs.)
  2. While the meatballs are simmering in the sauce, heat a second skillet over medium heat. When it’s hot, add the butter. Add the cauliflower and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 – 4 minutes. Serve with the meatballs and sauce.

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grating cauliflower

 Shredded cauliflower

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Lamb-Almond Dumplings in a Tomato Cream Sauce - Copy

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Green Bean Salad with Cilantro Sauce

February 23, 2017

By Kath Dedon

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Instead of a tossed green salad, I served this Green Bean Salad with Cilantro Sauce as a side dish with Tortilla Soup. They paired together quite well, and we all loved the beans!

The cilantro sauce is kind of like a cilantro pesto but, unlike traditional pesto, it does not include cheese. Cilantro, walnuts, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and a green onion are processed in a food processor to make the tasty sauce. Very easy. Very good!

The green beans are boiled and then plunged in an ice bath to stop the cooking. After tossing the beans with the cilantro sauce, they’re ready to eat.

The recipe, which is adapted from a recipe in America’s Test Kitchen’s The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook, says the salad can be made up to 4 hours before serving. I think you could easily stretch it to more than 4 hours, though, based on how great the leftover salad tasted the next day. It still tasted fantastic and was still a vibrant green color.

I have made this Green Bean Salad with Cilantro Sauce twice in the last couple of weeks. I made the whole recipe, which generously serves 8, the first time. The second time, I cut the recipe in half for 4 servings. Bob and I enjoyed it for dinner two nights in a row.

At dinner, Bob wondered if it wouldn’t also be good hot. I had been thinking the same thing. I may try that next time. I would skip the ice bath and just drain the hot beans and toss them with the cilantro sauce. If I do that, I’ll update it here to let you know how it went.

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Green Bean Salad with Cilantro Sauce.JPG

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Green Bean Salad with Cilantro Sauce

(Adapted from a recipe in America’s Test Kitchen’s The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook)

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 4 (double to serve 8)

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2 tablespoons walnuts, chopped a bit

1 garlic clove, unpeeled

1¼ cups fresh cilantro leaves and stems, tough stem ends trimmed (about 1 bunch)

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 green onion, sliced thin

¼ teaspoon salt

A grind or two of black pepper

1 pound green beans, trimmed

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I like to line the beans up along the edge of a knife to cut the tips off several at the same time.

Cutting beans

 1. Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add the walnuts and garlic clove. Cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes or until toasted and fragrant. Transfer to a small plate.

2. Let the garlic cool for a couple of minutes and then peel the clove and chop it up.

3. Put the cilantro, walnuts, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, green onion, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Process for about 1 minute, or until it’s smooth. You may have to stop the processor to scrape down the sides. Put the cilantro sauce in a large bowl.

cilantro-walnuts-in-food-processor

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cilantro-sauce

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4. Fill a second large bowl halfway with ice and water.

5. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. When it’s boiling add 1 tablespoon of salt and the green beans. (If you double the recipe, still use 4 quarts of water and 1 tablespoon of salt.) Cook the beans for 4 minutes, then drain them and add them to the ice bath.

ice-bath

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6. Let the beans chill for about 5 minutes. Drain and pat dry a bit with paper towels.

7. Put the drained beans in the bowl with the cilantro sauce. Gently toss so the sauce is distributed well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

mixing-beans-with-cilantro-sauce

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green-bean-salad-with-cilantro-sauce-copy

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