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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!

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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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.

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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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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

(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.

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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.

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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.

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Kung Pao Chicken

February 10, 2017

By Kath Dedon

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This recipe for Kung Pao Chicken is seriously delicious! I found it on epicurious where it was credited to Diana Kuan (The Chinese Takeout Cookbook). Almost all of the ingredients are easy to find, but I did have to go to our local Chinese grocery store to find the Chinese black vinegar. The recipe says you can substitute “good-quality balsamic vinegar”. I also already had Sichuan pepper which I had ordered from Penzey’s a while ago. (You may see it spelled “Szechuan” peppercorns. It’s the same thing.)

The recipe says it serves four as part of a multicourse meal. As main course served with a bit of rice it really serves three at the most, and two hungry people could easily polish off the whole thing. I added a red bell pepper to include a tasty vegetable that went well with it, served it with rice and a tossed salad. We had just a small serving of the Kung Pao Chicken left.

If your dried red peppers are really hot and you don’t like 5-star heat, use them anyway for their flavor; just pick them out of your serving. That’s what I do. Bob, Mr. 5-star plus, eats his.

The ingredient list for Kung Pao Chicken looks long, but the recipe is very easy to execute. Give this a try the next time you’re hungry for Chinese takeout. It’s sure to satisfy your craving!

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Kung Pao Chicken

(Adapted from Diane Kuan’s recipe on epicurious from her The Chinese Takeout Cookbook)

 

(print the recipe)

 

I actually had some Sichuan pepper on hand, which I had ordered from Penzey’s. There’s no real substitute for it. It’s been described as having a slight citrusy or piney flavor. If you don’t have it for the sauce you could try subbing about ¼ teaspoon of ground black pepper.

 

Serves 2 – 3 (more if part of a multicourse Chinese dinner)

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Some of the ingredients for Kung Pao Chicken

ingredients

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Marinade and chicken

1 tablespoon tamari sauce (or soy sauce)

2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry (I used sherry)

1½ teaspoons cornstarch

1¼ pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes (can substitute breasts)

 

Sauce

1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar, or substitute good-quality balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon tamari sauce (or soy sauce)

1 teaspoon hoisin sauce

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

2 teaspoons honey (or sugar)

1 teaspoon cornstarch

½ teaspoon ground Sichuan pepper

 

For the stir fry

2 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil

1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch squares

8 to 10 dried red chilies

3 green onions, white and green parts separated, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon minced or grated fresh ginger

¼ cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts

 

Steamed rice for serving (optional)

 

  1. Stir the marinade ingredients together in a medium bowl. Add the chicken and stir to distribute the marinade well. Marinate for 10 minutes.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients for the sauce and set aside.
  3. Heat a large skillet (or wok) over high heat until a drop of water instantly sizzles.
  4. Add the oil. Add the chilies and stir fry for about 30 seconds, or until they are starting to blacken. (You may need your exhaust fan on because chilies can smoke over high heat.)
  5. Add the chicken and cook, stirring, until it is just done and no longer pink in the middle (3-4 minutes). (Cut a larger piece to check.)
  6. Add the red bell pepper and continue to cook, stirring, for about 1 minute.
  7. Add the white part of the sliced green onions (reserve the green part), garlic, and ginger and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds.
  8. Add the sauce and stir. Add the peanuts and cook for another 1 – 2 minutes. Top with reserved sliced green onions and serve with steamed rice.

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Instant Pot Refried Beans

January 26, 2017

By Kath Dedon

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Do you have an Instant Pot? If so, you can make Instant Pot Refried Beans in about 2 hours. No kidding!

There’s no need to soak the beans. Just rinse them well and look for any bits that should be removed.

I used Michael Natkin’s recipe on Serious Eats as my guide. He used a stovetop pressure cooker and cooked the beans under pressure for 35 minutes. Knowing that the Instant Pot cooks at a lower PSI than stovetop pressure cookers, I added 10 minutes and set the time for 45 minutes. The beans were cooked perfectly!

When cooking dried beans in any type of pressure cooker you should add some oil to the pot. The beans froth and foam less when oil is added so the steam vent won’t get clogged.

It’s also important not to fill the pot more than halfway when cooking starchy foods that tend to foam (like dried beans or rice). A pound of beans worked well in my 6-quart pot. I would not try to double it.

I followed Michael’s lead and used the sauté button to quickly cook the onion, garlic, and oregano before adding the beans and water and sealing the pot. I think this step may be unnecessary. Next time I will simplify and just put everything, except the salt and bacon grease, in the pot!

You may have heard that people love the Instant Pot because they can get rid of other appliances like their slow cookers. I, for one, will not be doing that. While my Instant Pot Refried Beans were cooking, my slow cooker was busy making Slow Cooker Mexican Pulled Pork. It was very handy to have both to prepare our Mexican feast!

Speaking of slow cookers, Laura and Carrie wanted to know if these beans could be prepared in a slow cooker. A quick Internet search brought up Sommer Collier’s guest post on The Pioneer Woman blog all about making refried beans in a slow cooker. Although I haven’t tried it, I am sure you could do it with this recipe. I would put all of the ingredients, except the bacon grease, in a 6-quart slow cooker, including the 8 cups of water. Cook on HIGH for 8 – 10 hours. Drain the beans, reserving a couple of cups of the liquid. Put the beans and 1 cup of the liquid back into the slow cooker. Blend with an immersion blender or a potato masher. Add more cooking liquid, ¼ cup at a time, if needed to get the desired consistency. Stir in a tablespoon or two of bacon grease or butter, if desired.

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Instant Pot Refried Beans

(Adapted from Michael Natkin’s recipe on Serious Eats)

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 10 – 12

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1/4 cup oil (I used avocado oil)

1 medium white onion, diced (about 1 cup)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried oregano

¾ teaspoon ground cumin (optional, I forgot to add it and the beans were still great)

1 pound dried pinto beans, rinsed and picked over for stray material

8 cups of water

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To add after cooking:

1½ teaspoons salt

1 – 2 tablespoons bacon grease or butter (optional, but good!)

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Onions, garlic, dried oregano, pinto beans, and the cumin that I forgot to add 😉

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  1. Press the Sauté button on the Instant Pot. Add the oil and onion. Cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and oregano and cook, stirring, for about another minute.

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3. Press the Keep Warm/Cancel button to turn off the Sauté function.

4. Add the beans and the water to the pot. Stir and seal the pot. Make sure the pressure release handle is in the sealing position.

5. Press the Manual button and set the time for 45 minutes.

6. When the 45 minutes of pressure cooking is up, press the Keep Warm/Cancel button to turn off the pot and let the pressure release naturally. (This will take up to 40 minutes. I noticed the float valve was down at 40 minutes, but it may have popped down 5 or 10 minutes before that.)

7. Open the pot and use good pot holders to remove the stainless steel cooking pot. Drain the beans, reserving the cooking liquid.

Draining the beans over a Pyrex pitcher in the sink

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8. Put the beans back in the pot.

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9. Add the salt, bacon grease, and 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Using an immersion blender or potato masher, blend the beans to the desired consistency. Add more cooking liquid, ¼ cup at a time, if needed. (I didn’t need additional liquid.)

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10. The beans can be kept warm in the Instant Pot. Put the lid on and press the Keep Warm/Cancel button. My beans kept fine for a couple of hours.

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Quick Curtido (Mexican Cabbage Slaw)

January 23, 2017

By Kath Dedon

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Quick Curtido (Mexican Cabbage Slaw) is a recipe that I found on Serious Eats. Author Lauren Rothman says that Curtido is popular in many Latin American countries and it adds a welcome freshness to many rich, long-simmered meat and bean dishes.

Traditionally, Curtido is made days in advance, but this quick version can be made the same day you serve it. Leftovers keep well, and stay crispy, for several days in the refrigerator.

The original recipe calls for 2 teaspoons of sugar. I decided to swap the sugar for Truvia, a stevia and erythritol sweetener that I had never used before. I was amazed at how well it worked. I recommend it if you have any concerns about using sugar.

We had a Mexican feast for Carrie’s birthday dinner last night. Dinner included Slow Cooker Mexican Pulled Pork tacos, Instant Pot “refried” beans, homemade guacamole, and this Quick Curtido. The Curtido, as simple as it is, really was terrific with the other dishes.

I know I’ll be making Quick Curtido again. It’s so quick to make if you have a food processor to do the slicing for you. It’s great with Mexican food, but I’m thinking it would also be welcome at summer barbecues!

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Quick Curtido (Mexican Cabbage Slaw)

(Adapted from Lauren Rothman’s recipe on Serious Eats)

 

(print the recipe)

 

Makes about 5 cups

 

½ small (2-pound) green cabbage, cored and thinly sliced (about 4 cups)

½ medium white onion, peeled and thinly sliced

2 carrots, peeled and shredded

1 small jalapeno pepper, ribs and seeds removed, minced

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 teaspoons sugar (or 1 packet of Truvia, or ¾ teaspoon bulk Truvia)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

 

  1. Put the cabbage, onion, carrots, and jalapeno in a large bowl.
  2. Heat the cider vinegar, sugar (or Truvia), and salt in a small saucepan, stirring just until the sugar and the salt is dissolved.
  3. Pour the vinegar mixture over the vegetables and toss well to distribute.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  5. Remove from the refrigerator to bring to room temperature before serving.

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