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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!

Vegan Lemon “Crazy” Cake

March 25, 2016

By Kath Dedon

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Cocoa “Crazy” Cake has always been a favorite of mine. So I was excited to find other flavors of crazy cakes on the Sweet Little Bluebird blog. I decided to try the Lemon “Crazy” Cake first.

Mary, the Sweet Little Bluebird blogger, uses regular all-purpose flour but I wanted to make it gluten-free. With a little searching, I found Jeanne Sauvage’s recipe for gluten-free Cocoa Crazy Cake and figured I could sub her gluten-free flour mix for the all-purpose flour.  I made the Lemon Crazy Cake using Mary’s recipe. I put the dry ingredients in the pan and then added the wet ingredients and mixed it all together right in the pan. (That’s what makes the cakes “crazy”.)

Mary’s Lemon Crazy Cake was very good, but it didn’t rise as much as my cocoa cake does. Comparing the two recipes, I realized that I use 1 tablespoon of vinegar and she uses 1 teaspoon. I wondered if that made a difference.  I also wondered if I had over-mixed the batter using the “crazy” method of mixing it in the pan. With the corners, it seems harder to me to blend the ingredients quickly. And it’s important to get it mixed quickly and into the oven because the vinegar starts reacting with the baking soda as soon as it’s added.

I made the cake a second time. This time I mixed the cake in a bowl and I also increased the vinegar and lemon extract. I was very pleased with the way the second cake turned out. So much so, that I asked Laura to make it for our Easter dinner. (Thank you, Laura! 🙂 )

If you are entertaining family or friends with food sensitivities, you may want to consider this Lemon Crazy Cake. It’s free of gluten, wheat, nuts, soy, dairy, and eggs, and yet it is quite delicious! And it’s nice to have a dessert that everyone can share.

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Lemon Crazy Cake

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Vegan Lemon Crazy Cake

(Inspired and adapted from recipes from Sweet Little Bluebird and Art of Gluten Free Baking blogs)

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 9

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Dry ingredients

1½ cups + 3 Tablespoons gluten-free flour* (recipe follows)  (or use regular all-purpose flour)

1 cup sugar (I used maple sugar.)

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

Zest of one large lemon

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Liquid ingredients

1 cup cold water

1 Tablespoon white vinegar

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1½ teaspoons lemon extract (do not substitute lemon juice)

5 Tablespoons oil

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For serving

Powdered sugar to sprinkle on the finished cake (optional)

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  1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  2. Stir the dry ingredients together in a bowl.

dry ingredients.jpg

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3. Measure the liquid ingredients into a 2 cup measuring cup.

ready to add liquids.JPG

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4. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir quickly to blend it together. (It’s OK if there are still a few streaks of flour in the batter.)

5. Quickly pour the batter into an ungreased 8×8-inch square cake pan and get it in the oven.

6. Bake for 30 minutes. Cool completely in the pan before cutting.

Cake number two

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7. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired, and serve.

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*Jeanne’s Gluten-Free Flour Mix (found on her Art of Gluten-Free Baking Blog)

Jeanne says that 1 cup of her blend is 140g. So if you use this blend for the cake, you need 236g if you want to measure the blend by weight. Be sure to stir the blend together before measuring.

Mix together and store in the refrigerator:

1 1/4 cups (170g) brown rice flour

1 1/4 cups (205 g) white rice flour

1 cup (120g) tapioca flour

1 cup (165g) sweet rice flour (Mochiko)

2 scant teaspoons xanthan gum

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In case you want to try mixing it in the pan, here’s how it’s done. Preheat the oven. Stir all of the dry ingredients together in an ungreased 8×8-inch square pan. Make 2 small indentations and 1 large indentation in the dry ingredients. When the oven is preheated to 350 degrees, measure the liquids. Have a cup of water ready to pour in. Pour the oil in the large indentation and the extracts in one of the small indentations. Then, and do this last, pour the vinegar into the other small indentation.  Immediately pour the water over all and quickly mix together. It’s OK if there are some streaks of flour in the batter. Put it in the oven immediately. Bake for about 30 minutes. Cool completely before cutting.

Here’s how mine looked just before I added the water. (Maybe the time it took me to take the photo was part of the problem.)

wacky cake

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Lemon Crazy Cake - Copy.JPG

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Oven-Braised Beef with Tomatoes and Garlic

February 28, 2016

By Kath Dedon

 

Oven-Braised Beef with Tomatoes and Garlic is the perfect lazy Sunday recipe. I discovered it on Smitten Kitchen.  Deb gave it rave reviews and said she adapted it from a recipe in the February 2001 issue of Gourmet magazine. It’s also in The Gourmet Cookbook. With such a great pedigree I trusted the recipe from the get-go.

It would be hard to find an easier recipe that delivers such great flavor! Just three ingredients, plus salt and pepper, go into the pot in the oven for 3 – 4 hours and you have a fabulous meal. I served the finished Braised Beef over egg noodles (I used Jovial Gluten Free Egg Pasta), but you could use orzo as Gourmet suggested. It would be great over polenta or with mashed potatoes, too.

Trussing is recommended to help the roast keep its shape so it will cook evenly and be easier to slice.  I used this method which was quite easy.

This is one of those recipes that is almost better the next day. We enjoyed it for Sunday dinner the day I made it, and it was fabulous heated up a couple of nights later for a quick weekday meal.

If you use unsalted tomatoes, don’t be afraid to season it generously with salt. I used Pomi Finely Diced Tomatoes (ingredients: tomatoes) and added a little over a teaspoon of salt to the sauce in the end.

Do keep this Oven-Braised Beef with Tomatoes and Garlic in mind when you have a lazy afternoon at home. It’s comfort food at its best!

 

Oven-Braised Beef with Tomatoes and Garlic

 

Oven-Braised Beef with Tomatoes and Garlic

(Adapted from a Smitten Kitchen recipe, credited to Gourmet)

 

(print the recipe)

 

Serves 6 (or 2 with a fabulous leftover dinner and a couple of fantastic lunches)

 

Deb used whole tomatoes that she cut up in the can with scissors. I used a 26.46 ounce box of Pomi Finely Chopped Tomatoes.

 It is so simple to add the garlic unpeeled. During the braising process the garlic manages to pop out of the peels and dissolve in the sauce. The peels are easy to pick out with tongs or a fork when it’s done.

 

1 28-ounce can of tomatoes (If they’re whole chop them up.)

1 (3 – 3.5 pound) boneless beef chuck roast, tied with a string

1 head of garlic, separated into cloves, left unpeeled

Salt and pepper, to taste

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  1. Preheat the oven to 300°.
  2. Put the roast in a pot with a lid.

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A 2.75-pound roast in my 40-year-old Le Creuset dutch oven

2.75 pound beef chuck roast

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3. Pour the tomatoes over the roast and put the garlic cloves in. Stir the garlic into the tomatoes. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.

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In the pot, just before I stirred the garlic in

Pomi Finely Chopped Tomatoes and garlic added.JPG

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4. Put the lid on and braise in the oven until it is done and very tender, 3 – 4 hours.

5. Remove the roast to a plate or carving board.

braised chuck roast

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6. Pick the garlic peels out of the sauce. Taste the sauce for seasoning. (If you used unsalted tomatoes you might want to add as much as 1 – 1 ¼ teaspoons of salt. Start conservatively, say 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon. You can always add a bit more if needed.)

7. Slice the roast and serve topped with the sauce.

 

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Oven-Braised Beef with Tomatoes and Garlic - Copy

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Green Salad with Mustard Dressing

February 11, 2016

By Kath Dedon

 

Jacques Pépin has a simple salad in his new book, Jacques Pépin Heart & Soul in the Kitchen that is terrific! Green Salad with Mustard Dressing is great for entertaining because you can do all of the prep ahead of time. Just toss the lettuce with the dressing when it’s time to serve.

I used a head of “Living Butter Lettuce” because I think it is the freshest lettuce available this time of year. The secret to making a great salad is to use the best lettuce you can find, wash it really well, and make sure it is thoroughly dry. I give the washed leaves a spin in a salad spinner. I then dump the accumulated water out of the spinner and spin the leaves two more times to get them as dry as possible. After drying them, I roll them up in paper towels, put them in a plastic bag and refrigerate them until I’m ready to toss the salad. The paper towels help to absorb any moisture that may be left.

The Mustard Dressing can be mixed in the salad bowl ahead of time. It is fine to leave it at room temperature until you are ready to serve. The dressing is a classic French vinaigrette. The ingredients are perfectly balanced and the quantity is just right for the 8 – 9 cups of lettuce that Jacques uses in the recipe.

I would encourage you to try this simple Green Salad with Mustard Dressing just as it is written, especially if the rest of the menu is complex or rich. I think you’ll enjoy it. But don’t hesitate to make it your own by adding a few other salad ingredients to it. Thinly sliced radishes and avocado would be good. Or homegrown cherry tomatoes this summer!

Green Salad with Mustard Dressing

 

Green Salad with Mustard Dressing

(Adapted from Jacques Pépin’s recipe in Jacques Pépin Heart & Soul in the Kitchen)

 

(print the recipe)

 

Serves 4 – 6  (Jacques says this serves 4, but I found that it easily served 6 as part of a large meal.)

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Living Butter Lettuce

Living Butter Lettuce

 

9 cups torn butter, Boston, or Bibb lettuce (I used a head of “living butter lettuce”.)

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon water

1/3 teaspoon sea salt (I used a heaping ¼ teaspoon of salt.)

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

 

  1. Thoroughly wash the lettuce and dry in a salad spinner.
  2. Spread the lettuce out on paper towels and gently roll it up in the towels.

Lettuce on paper towel

Rolled up.JPG

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3. Put the lettuce in a plastic bag and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.

In ZipLoc bag

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4. Mix the mustard, vinegar, water, salt and pepper together in a salad bowl.

Ingredients for dressing

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5. Slowly whisk the olive oil into the other dressing ingredients.

Mustard Dressing

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6. When ready to serve, put the lettuce in the salad bowl and toss it well so the dressing is evenly distributed. Serve immediately.

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Green Salad with Mustard Dressing - Copy

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Turmeric Chicken with Sumac and Lime

February 8, 2016

By Kath Dedon

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I’ve made Turmeric Chicken with Sumac and Lime twice and it’s a winner! The recipe is from Louisa Shafia’s beautiful cookbook, The New Persian Kitchen. I’ve checked the book out of the library twice. There are so many recipes that I want to try! Carrie got the book for Christmas and has already made several recipes. She has given them all rave reviews. I think this is a book that I will be adding to my library.

I made one major change to the recipe. Carrie made it as written and told me it was delicious but too salty. The recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of sea salt in the turmeric rub. That just seems like too much for four chicken thighs. I used just 1 teaspoon of sea salt and it was perfectly seasoned.

Looking at the ingredients, the recipe seems pretty ordinary but they all work together to make a fabulous, and quick, chicken dinner. Served with steamed rice and a big salad it’s a great main dish. Turmeric Chicken with Sumac and Lime is sure to be part of my regular rotation and I’m looking forward to trying a lot of the other recipes in the book.

Turmeric Chicken with Sumac and Lime

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Turmeric Chicken with Sumac and Lime

(Adapted from Louisa Shafia’s recipe in The New Persian Kitchen)

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 4

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1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper

4 bone-in chicken thighs

2 tablespoons oil

¾ cup water

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 juicy lime, quartered

Sumac, for garnish

 

  1. Preheat the oven to warm, and put an oven-proof plate in to warm up.
  2. Mix the salt, pepper, and turmeric together.
  3. Put the chicken thighs on a rimmed baking sheet. (I lined it with foil for easy clean up.)

Chicken thighs and turmeric rub.

4. Rub all of the turmeric mixture all over both sides of the chicken thighs.

ready to cook

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5. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. When hot, put the chicken thighs in skin-side down. Cook for about 7 minutes. Turn the thighs over and cook for an additional 7 minutes.

finished browning

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6. Reduce the heat to low. Add the water and garlic, stirring the garlic in the liquid.

water and garlic added

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7. Cover and simmer for 20 – 25 minutes, until done. (They will measure at least 165° with an instant-read thermometer.)

8. Remove the thighs to the warm plate in the oven. Increase the heat on the stove to high and cook the sauce for just a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally, to reduce it a bit.

9. Pour the sauce over the chicken. Dust with a bit of sumac and serve with a lime quarter to squeeze over the thigh.

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Turmeric Chicken with Sumac and Lime - Copy

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Cuban-Style Black Beans and Rice

January 30, 2016

By Kath Dedon

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Cuban-Style Black Beans and Rice makes a fabulous vegan main dish on its own. It’s perfect for Meatless Monday.  I am not a vegetarian, but I do enjoy flavorful vegetarian meals now and then.

It was also the perfect side dish with the Slow Cooker Cuban-Style Pork Roast with Mojo Sauce that I recently made. So this Cuban-Style Black Beans and Rice is a great main dish or side dish.

The recipe is adapted from the America’s Test Kitchen’s The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook. It’s very easy to make, but you want to remember to soak the beans the night before you want to make it. ATK did all of their usual testing and determined that you get the best results if you soak the beans in salted water. The skins of the beans are softer and less likely to split when you cook them.

They do offer a quick soak method if you forget to soak your beans the night before. Simply bring the water, salt, and beans to a boil in a large pot. Remove from the heat, cover and let sit for one hour. Drain and rinse the beans and proceed with the recipe.

If you try Cuban-Style Black Beans and Rice, I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we did!

 

.Cuban-Style Black Beans and Rice

 

Cuban-Style Black Beans and Rice

(Adapted from a recipe in ATK’s The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook)

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 6 – 8 as a main dish, or 8 – 10 as a side dish

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To soak the beans

1½ tablespoons table salt (I used sea salt.)

1 cup dried black beans, picked over and rinsed

2 quarts cold water

1. Dissolve the salt in the water. Soak the beans at room temperature for at least 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse.

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To Cook the Beans

4 cups water

2 large green bell peppers, halved, stemmed, and seeded

1 large onion, peeled leaving root end on the onion, and halved crosswise

1 head garlic (5 of the cloves peeled, minced, and reserved for the rice, the remaining head halved crosswise and left unpeeled)

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon salt

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1. In a large Dutch oven, put the 4 cups of water, the drained beans, 1 bell pepper half, the root end half of the onion, the halved unpeeled garlic head, the bay leaves, and the 1 teaspoon of salt. (Reserve the other 3 pepper halves, the half onion, and the 5 cloves of minced garlic for the rice.)

Beans ready to cook

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2. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and cook at a simmer for 30 – 40 minutes, or until the beans are just tender.

3. Discard the pepper, onion, garlic, and bay leaves. Drain the beans over a large bowl. Measure and reserve 2½ cups of the bean liquid to use with the rice. Add water to make 2½ cups, if you don’t quite have enough. Don’t wash the pot.

Cooked black beans

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Bean broth

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To Finish with the Rice

The reserved pepper halves and half onion

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

4 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano (or 1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano)

1 tablespoon tomato paste

The reserved 5 cloves of minced garlic

1½ cups long-grain white rice, rinsed several times until the water runs clear

Cooked black beans

The 2½ cups of reserved bean cooking liquid

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1½ teaspoons salt

2 green onions, sliced thin

Lime wedges, for serving

 

4. Adjust oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350°.

5. Cut the remaining pepper halves and onion half into 2-inch pieces.

Peppers and onion

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6. Pulse the pepper and onion in a food processor about 8 times, until the pieces are about ¼-inch, stopping to scrape the bowl down as needed.

Pepper and onion in Cuisinart

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7. Heat the oil in the now-empty pot that you used for the beans until it is shimmering.

8.  Add the peppers and onion, cumin, oregano, and tomato paste to the oil. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are softened and just starting to brown. This will take about 15 minutes. Stir in the reserved minced garlic and cook about 30 seconds. Stir in the rice and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds.

Pepper and onions in the pot

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9. Stir in the black beans, the reserved bean cooking liquid, the vinegar, and the 1½ teaspoons salt.

10. Bring the pot to a boil, cover, and put in the preheated oven. Cook for about 30 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked. Fluff the rice with a fork and let it sit uncovered for 5 minutes before serving.

Black beans and rice - 3

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11. Serve with the green onions and lime wedges.

Cuban-Style Black Beans and Rice

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Vegan Cuban-Style Black Beans and Rice

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Slow Cooker Cuban-Style Pork Roast with Mojo Sauce

January 27, 2016

By Kath Dedon

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This Slow Cooker Cuban-Style Pork Roast with Mojo Sauce was a huge hit at a recent family dinner! I researched different methods to make it and settled on America’s Test Kitchen’s version in Slow Cooker Revolution Volume 2. They developed a tasty method that could be quickly started in a slow cooker without marinating it overnight.

The delicious pork could be used for tacos or, a Seattle favorite,  Paseo-style sandwiches. I chose to serve it with another ATK recipe, Cuban-Style Black Beans and Rice. The Black Beans and Rice could stand alone as a vegetarian entrée, but it was great with the pork. (I’ll be sharing that recipe soon.)

If you’re looking for an easy slow cooker entrée, look no further than this Slow Cooker Cuban-Style Pork Roast with Mojo Sauce. It’s a winner!

 

Pork roast with Mojo Sauce (see the minced garlic on the roast from the sauce?) served with Cuban-Style Black Beans and Rice. Green onions and pickled jalapenos were great garnishes.

Cuban-style Slow Cooker Pork

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Slow Cooker Cuban-Style Pork Roast with Mojo Sauce

(Adapted from a recipe in America’s Test Kitchen’s Slow Cooker Revolution Volume 2: The Easy-Prep Edition)

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 6 – 8

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For the pork

2 cups water

1 onion, peeled and quartered through the root end

1 tablespoon minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce

1 teaspoon  dried oregano

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon pepper

1 orange, halved

The juice of 1 lime

1 (4-pound) boneless pork shoulder roast

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Onion, peeled, ready to be quartered through the root end

Peeled onions

 

  1. Combine the water, onion, chipotle chile, oregano, cumin, salt, pepper and lime juice in the slow cooker.
  2. Juice the orange. Remove any seeds and reserve ¼ cup of the juice for the Mojo Sauce. Add the rest of the juice and the orange halves to the slow cooker.

Onion and orange peels.JPG

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3. Tie the roast with kitchen twine. Season it with salt and pepper and add it to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 – 9 hours, or on high for 5 – 6 hours. (I cooked it on low for 9 hours and then let it stay in the slow cooker on warm for about another hour.)

In the Crockpot

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4. Remove the roast to a cutting board. (The cooking liquid can be discarded.) Tent with foil and let it rest for about 15 minutes. Then shred the meat with two forks and serve with the Mojo Sauce.

Falling-apart-tender, ready to be shred with forks

Pork shoulder.jpg

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Mojo Sauce

The reserved ¼ cup orange juice

½ cup olive oil

¼ cup white vinegar

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon ground cumin

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  1.  Whisk the sauce ingredients together and serve with the pork.

Mojo sauce

 

I packed a great lunch with some of the leftovers!

Cuban-style pork and black beans and rice to pack for lunch.JPG

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Cuban-style Slow Cooker Pork - 2

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Curried Lentil Soup

January 17, 2016

By Kath Dedon

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I made this Curried Lentil Soup a couple of weeks ago and we really enjoyed it. I found myself craving it so I made it again and took photos to share with you.

The recipe, from America’s Test Kitchen’s The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook, is very easy to make. I chose to keep it vegetarian and used Swanson’s vegetable broth and it was great, but you could use chicken broth if you don’t need it to be strictly vegetarian. Homemade vegetable or chicken broth would surely take it to a higher level.

The recipe calls for 4½ cups of vegetable broth and 1½ cups of water. Since Swanson’s vegetable broth comes in 4 cup cartons, I used 4 cups of broth and 2 cups of water.

So I’ve made Curried Lentil Soup twice this month. I’m sure it’s a soup I’ll be making again. It makes a great, wholesome, warming meal for a winter night. Serve it with a simple salad and some bread and you’re all set!

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Curried Lentil Soup

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Curried Lentil Soup

(Adapted from the recipe in ATK’s The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook)

 

ATK used a blender to blend 3 cups of the soup and then returned it to the pot. I used an immersion blender right in the pot to blend it a bit. I recommend using an immersion blender if you have one. If you use a blender, it should be large enough that it’s not too full with 3 cups of soup. If not, do it in batches. While blending, use an oven mitt to hold the cover on. Hot soup can send blender lids, and soup, flying if you’re not careful.

 

(print the recipe)

 

Serves 4

 

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, chopped fine (about 1 ½ cups)

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained (I used petite diced.)

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon fresh thyme

1 cup lentils, picked over and rinsed

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup dry white wine

4 cups vegetable broth

2 cups water

3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

 

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot. Add the onion and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally for about 2 minutes.

Onion and carrots.

2. Add the garlic and curry powder and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

3. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf and thyme and cook for another 30 seconds.

4. Add the lentils and ¼ teaspoon salt. Stir, cover, and cook over medium-low heat for 8 – 10 minutes, until the vegetables have softened and the lentils have darkened a bit.

Lentils added

5. Increase the heat to high, add the wine and bring to a boil, stirring up any browned bits. Add the broth and water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat so the soup is simmering, put the lid on ajar and simmer for 30 – 35 minutes, until the lentils are tender.

Soup simmering

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Simmering with lid ajar

6. Discard the bay leaf. Use an immersion blender in the pot to blend the soup a bit. (Or put 3 cups of the soup in a blender, blend it and add it back to the pot. See note at the start of the recipe.)

7. Stir in parsley and serve.

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Curried Lentil Soup - Copy

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Quinoa Salad with Bell Pepper and Cilantro

January 6, 2016

By Kath Dedon

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This Quinoa Salad with Bell Pepper and Cilantro is from the America’s Test Kitchen’s The How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook. They wanted to give the salad a “Latin flavor” in a nod to quinoa’s Peruvian roots.

I loved the simplicity of this salad. It was quick and easy to make. Leftover salad was still great the next day so it would be perfect packed in a lunch.

America’s Test Kitchen developed a way to cook the quinoa so that it would not be overcooked and it would not clump together. I thought it worked quite well and I’ll be using their method whenever I cook quinoa in the future.

I was really pleased with the way this Quinoa Salad with Bell Pepper and Cilantro turned out. But, really, consider this just a quinoa salad template. You could increase the vegetables a bit, or add cooked black beans or leftover cooked chicken. Make it your own!

If you’re interested in learning more about quinoa, check out this interesting article on Well-being Secrets: 27 Science-Backed Health Benefits of Quinoa.

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Quinoa Salad with Bell Pepper and Cilantro

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Quinoa Salad with Bell Pepper and Cilantro

(Adapted from ATK’s recipe in The How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook)

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(print the recipe)

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Be sure to buy prewashed quinoa. If the package does not say that it’s prewashed, you’ll have to rinse it well to remove the saponins that coat it so it won’t be bitter. But it will be difficult to toast the wet quinoa, so I suggest buying prewashed quinoa which is available in most grocery stores.

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Serves 4

1 cup prewashed white quinoa

1½ cups water

¼ teaspoon sea salt

½ red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped fine

½ jalapeno chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced

2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion

1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons lime juice

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 garlic clove, minced

½ teaspoon ground cumin

Additional sea salt and pepper, to taste

 

  1. Put the quinoa in a medium saucepan and toast over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, stirring often.

 

  1. Stir the water and salt into the quinoa. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for about 12 minutes. The quinoa will have absorbed almost all of the water and will be almost tender.

 

  1. Spread the quinoa out on a rimmed baking sheet and set aside for about 20 minutes. The quinoa will absorb the rest of the water and become tender.

 

  1. While the quinoa is set aside, chop the vegetables and put them in a large bowl. When the quinoa is done resting, stir it together with the vegetables.

Chopped vegetables in my stainless steel mixing bowl

red pepper, jalapeno, onion, cilantro

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  1. Whisk the lime juice, olive oil, mustard, garlic, and cumin together. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well so it’s evenly distributed.

 

  1. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

quinoa salad

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Quinoa Salad with Bell Pepper and Cilantro 2

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Gluten Free Lemon Bars

January 4, 2016

By Kath Dedon

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One of the treats that I made over the holidays was Gluten Free Lemon Bars using some fabulous Meyer lemons from our friends’ tree in California. (Thank you, Mike and Liz!) They were a hit with everyone!

I adapted Elana Amsterdam’s recipe from The Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookbook. She likes to use agave nectar to sweeten desserts, but I prefer to use honey, maple syrup or maple sugar. For this recipe I used honey.

I also substituted melted butter for the grapeseed oil that Elana used because I think butter just makes it better.

I used the blanched almond flour from Honeyville that Elana recommends. It’s a much finer grind than most other almond flours. I’m happy to say that I can buy it at my Costco store.

If you don’t have Meyer lemons you can make the Lemon Bars with regular lemons. Just be sure to use freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Do give these Gluten Free Lemon Bars a try, especially if you’re looking for a gluten-free, naturally sweetened treat. This recipe is a keeper!

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Gluten Free Lemon Bars

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Gluten Free Lemon Bars

(Adapted from Elana Amsterdam’s book, The Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookbook)

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(print the recipe)

 

Makes 16 bars

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Crust

1½ cups blanched almond flour

½ teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter (or grapeseed oil)

1 tablespoon honey (or agave nectar)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

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Topping

¼ cup melted unsalted butter (or grapeseed oil)

¼ cup honey (or agave nectar)

3 large eggs

½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

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  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚.

 

  1. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan with a bit of oil or butter. Dust with some almond flour.

 

  1. Stir the salt into the almond flour.

 

  1. Mix the butter, honey, and vanilla together until they are well-combined and then mix well with the almond flour.

 

  1. Press the crust mixture into the baking pan, pressing with your fingers so it is spread evenly.

 

  1. Bake the crust for 15 – 17 minutes, until lightly golden.

 

  1. While the crust is baking, put the topping ingredients in a blender and blend until the mixture is smooth.

 

  1. Pour the topping mixture on top of the crust and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly golden.

 

  1. Put the baking pan on a cooling rack for 30 minutes. Then put the pan in the refrigerator for 2 hours so the topping will set.

 

  1. Cut into 16 bars.

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Lemon Bars

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Gluten Free Lemon Bars 2

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3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

December 24, 2015

By Kath Dedon

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If you have a jar of regular peanut butter you can whip up a batch of these 3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies very quickly.

I was searching the Internet for a wheat-free, dairy-free cookie that could be made with maple sugar and I stumbled upon Mary Younkin’s recipe on her Barefeet In The Kitchen blog. She uses sugar, peanut butter, and an egg. It seemed like it would be simple to substitute maple sugar.

Still, I was skeptical. So I was very pleasantly surprised that these cookies were SO quick and easy to make and great-tasting, too.

One tip: I have read that natural peanut butter, like Adams, will not work as well in cookies. For best results use a “regular” peanut butter, like Skippy or Jif.

If you have a jar of peanut butter you still have time to bake these 3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies for Santa!

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Quick Peanut Butter Cookies

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3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

(Adapted from Mary Younkin’s recipe on Barefeet In The Kitchen)

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(print the recipe)

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Makes 16 – 18

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1 cup sugar (I used maple sugar.)

1 cup peanut butter

1 egg

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  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚ and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat mat.
  2. If using maple sugar, sift it through a fine mesh strainer to break up any lumps.
  3. Stir the sugar, peanut butter, and egg together until the mixture is well-blended.
  4. Scoop the dough with a cookie scoop (I used a 2-tablespoon one which made large cookies) or roll the dough into 1-inch balls.
  5. Place the dough on the prepared baking sheet. Press the dough down with the tines of a fork in a criss-cross pattern.
  6. Bake for 12 minutes. Let them cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Peanut Butter Cookies

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Green Beans Amandine

November 29, 2015

By Kath Dedon

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Michael Symon’s Green Beans Amandine from his 5 in 5 for Every Season cookbook struck me as being a perfect holiday side dish. It’s quick, easy, and has enough butter and almonds to raise it above an everyday vegetable dish.

Symon uses 1/2 cup of almonds, 1/2 cup sliced shallots, and 4 tablespoons of butter for one pound of green beans. He cooks the raw beans in a skillet with the butter and shallots for about 5 minutes. He then adds the almonds and finishes them with a bit of lemon zest and lemon juice. Quick and easy.

After doing a bit more research, I decided to adapt the recipe using a Julia Child technique. In The Way to Cook Julia blanched the green beans in salted water. This can be done a few hours before you want to serve them if you give them an ice water bath right after draining. You then wrap them in a kitchen towel and refrigerate them until you’re ready to reheat them. When reheating, Julia suggested adding “several tablespoons” of butter. And she said you could add toasted almonds which was considered “ultra chic” in the 1930s.

Although Julia’s method required an extra step, it struck me that the actual last-minute part of the cooking was simplified which is appealing to me when making a holiday meal.

I really liked these Green Beans Amandine! They were simple and yet fancy enough to be part of our holiday meal. The aroma of the browning butter and almonds was mouth-watering. The few beans that were left over were still delicious the next day after gently reheating them in the microwave. I’ll definitely be making these again. I might try Michael Symon’s recipe next time to see how it compares.

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Green Beans Amandine were great with a rib roast!

Green Beans Amandine

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Green Beans Amandine

Adapted from Michael Symon’s recipe and Julia Child’s technique

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 6

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1 1/4 pounds green beans, washed and trimmed

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup sliced almonds

Salt and pepper, to taste

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Green beans

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  1. Bring about 6 quarts of water to a boil. Add about a tablespoon of salt and the green beans. Cook for 4 – 5 minutes, until the beans are done. (My beans were quite large; I cooked them for 5 minutes.)
  2. While the beans are cooking, get a large bowl of ice water ready.
  3. When the beans are done, drain them and immediately submerge them in the ice water. Leave them in the ice water for 3 – 4 minutes.

Ice bath

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4. Drain the beans again, and then lay them out on a clean dish towel.

On a towel

5. Roll them up in the towel, place the towel in a plastic bag and refrigerate until you’re ready to use them. (Can be refrigerated for up to 4 or 5 hours.)

rolled up in a bag

 

6. When ready to serve, melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the almonds and beans and cook, stirring often, until the beans are reheated. (It took about 5 minutes to reheat my beans.)

7. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

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Green Beans Amandine 2

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Crisp-Skinned Butterflied Roast Turkey

November 9, 2015

By Kath Dedon

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This Crisp-Skinned Butterflied Roast Turkey may be the best turkey I have ever made and it’s relatively easy. This recipe is from Serious Eats’ J. Kenji López-Alt. He’s been recommending this method for the last few years. Read what he has to say about it here.

In a nutshell, I found everything he said about this turkey to be true. It cooks much faster than roasting it conventionally, the skin is beautifully crisp, and the meat is juicy and delicious. You can add the backbone to the neck and giblets to make great turkey broth for gravy. Plus, there was enough room in the oven, with the turkey’s low profile, for me to use the second oven rack to slide in the casserole dish with the cornbread dressing to heat up.

I used Kenji’s dry brine which he says leads to a juicier bird with a crispier skin. You can, however, use this roasting method without brining the turkey.

I bought the turkey on November 2 and found that my supermarkets did not have fresh turkeys available yet. After reading an article in the San Francisco Chronicle rating several west coast turkeys, I decided to buy an O Organics (Safeway) frozen turkey. I have to say that it was a good looking bird in its raw state and delicious after roasting. The quality of the turkey probably had something to do with the success of my Crisp-Skinned Butterflied Roast Turkey.

I used a large rimmed baking pan with a rack for the recipe. Kenji says you could also use the top of a broiler pan if you don’t have a large rack.

If you’re looking for a fast and easy way to roast a turkey this holiday season, I highly recommend this Crisp-Skinned Butterflied Roast Turkey! The recipe may look long because I tried to make each step really clear, but, trust me, this is one of the easiest turkeys I have ever roasted!

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EDIT (December 3, 2018):  This is the only way I have roasted a turkey since this post. Three months after making this in 2015, I bought a Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum Commercial Baker’s Big Sheet. Its dimensions are 21 x 15 x 1 inches. It’s larger than the standard half-sheet I used in these photos, but it still fits in all standard ovens. It is the perfect size for roasting a 12.5-pound butterflied (aka spatchcocked) turkey, but I have found many other uses for it. It’s great to have the roomy pan for cookies, sheet pan meals, or granola.

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Ok, so it’s not a Norman Rockwell beautiful roast turkey, but it was excellent! 🙂

Crisp-Skinned Butterflied Roast Turkey

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Crisp-Skinned Butterflied Roast Turkey

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

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Although Kenji says you can use a 12 – 14 pound turkey, I found that my 12.5 pound turkey barely fit in the pan. You may want to stick with a turkey that’s no more than 12 – 12.5 pounds.

Be sure to allow adequate time to defrost a frozen turkey in the refrigerator. I bought the turkey on Tuesday. On Saturday it was defrosted enough to proceed, but it was still just a bit icy inside. The rule of thumb is to allow 24 hours for every 4 – 5 pounds.

For best results, dry brine the turkey, but this step can be skipped. You can just butterfly the turkey and roast it.

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(print the recipe)

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Special equipment: Rimmed baking sheet, wire rack or broiler pan top

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To dry brine the turkey:

2 tablespoons kosher salt (use just 1 tablespoon if using regular salt)

1 tablespoon baking powder

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  1. Butterfly the turkey. Remove the neck and the giblets from inside the turkey. Throw the liver out; reserve the neck and other giblets for broth. I also cut off the tail part (known as the “Pope’s nose”) to use for the broth. Turn the turkey on its breast and, using poultry shears, cut out the backbone. Turn it over, splay the wings and the legs, and press down hard on the breastbone to flatten it. You’ll hear a couple of cracking sounds. Check out Kenji’s excellent slide show to see step by step directions. (I enlisted Bob to butterfly the turkey for me and he did a great job!)
  1. Put the butterflied turkey on a rack in a large rimmed baking sheet. Stir the salt and the baking powder together and sprinkle it all over the turkey. Rub it in a bit. Place the turkey in the refrigerator, uncovered, for 12 – 24 hours. (You can brine it for up to 3 days, but if you brine it for more than 24 hours, cover it loosely with plastic wrap or cheesecloth to prevent moisture loss.)

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Turkey with salt/baking powder mixture sprinkled on it ready to go in the refrigerator

Dry brine

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Roasting the Turkey

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1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped

2 large carrots, scrubbed and roughly chopped

2 stalks celery, roughly chopped

1 (12 – 12.5) butterflied turkey (dry brined, if desired)

1 tablespoon oil

Kosher salt and black pepper (use salt only if you did NOT dry brine the turkey)

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  1. Put an oven rack in the middle position and preheat the oven to 450˚.
  2. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with heavy duty foil. Make the edge of the foil go up the sides if your turkey extends a bit over the edge of the pan.
  3. Scatter the chopped vegetables in the pan.

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Note how I made the foil go up over the rim of the pan.

Veggies in the pan

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  1. Place the rack directly on the vegetables and put the turkey on the rack.
  1. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels. (If you did NOT brine the turkey, sprinkle it liberally with kosher salt and black pepper.) Drizzle the oil over the turkey and rub it all over.

Ready for the oven

  1. Put the turkey in the oven with the legs towards the back of the oven and roast the turkey for about 80 minutes, or until an instant read thermometer registers 165˚. (I checked mine at 85 minutes and the temperature was well beyond 165˚, so do check at 80 minutes.) If your oven roasts unevenly, you made want to rotate the pan halfway through the roasting. 
  2. Remove the turkey on the rack to a new baking sheet or cutting board. (I found this easiest to do using a sturdy fork to lift up a corner of the rack so I could get a grip on it with an oven mitt.)
  3. Carefully pick up the foil with the veggies and turkey broth in the pan. Fold the edges up and pour the broth through a strainer into a measuring cup. These drippings can be added to your gravy.
  4. Cover the turkey loosely with foil and let it rest 20 – 30 minutes.
  5. Carve the turkey and serve.

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Turkey stock for gravy

(This can be made while the turkey is roasting, or the day before if you dry brine the bird.)

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1 tablespoon oil

Turkey neck, giblets (except liver) turkey back, and tail

1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped

1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped

1 large stalk of celery, roughly chopped

1½ quarts low sodium chicken broth

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  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet.
  1. Add all of the turkey parts and cook, stirring occasionally until browned.
  1. Add the vegetables and continue to cook until they have softened a bit and are beginning to brown.

for broth

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  1. Remove the turkey and vegetables to a 3 – 4 quart saucepan.
  1. Pour a bit of the chicken broth into the skillet to deglaze the pan, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan. Pour this deglazed liquid into the saucepan.
  1. Add the rest of the chicken broth to the sauce pan. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a low simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes and then strain.

Turkey broth

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  1. Use the broth to proceed with your favorite gravy recipe, or use Kenji’s recipe.

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Crisp-Skinned Butterflied Roast Turkey 2

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Jacques Pépin’s Broiled Salmon with Miso Glaze – for Two

October 28, 2015

By Kath Dedon

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Jacques Pépin has a lovely new cookbook, Jacques Pépin Heart & Soul in the Kitchen. I was pretty sure that this would be a cookbook that I wanted to own, but I did what I usually do. I requested it from the library to check it out first. (I was one of the first people to request it so I got a brand new copy to explore as soon as the library received their copies. I love it when that happens!)

This is a wonderful book. It’s a very personal look at the meals that Jacques prepares for his wife, Gloria, and family and friends. It’s full of little essays by Jacques exploring different topics about food, cooking, and sharing food. There are a lot of beautiful photos of food and some of Jacques’ artwork.

Tom Douglas recently interviewed Jacques for the radio show he hosts along with Chef Thierry Rautureau, Seattle Kitchen. It was fun listening to these two chefs talk. I totally agree with Tom’s impression of the book.

Tom said, “This is a love letter. This is a love letter not only to home cooking, to food, but to your wife.” He went on to say that although Jacques says this is just what he and Gloria have for dinner, “That’s the most personal meal there is when you cook for your spouse.”

Jacques acknowledged, “There is nothing which can compare to sitting down around the table and sharing food.”

I have to admit, I have not thoroughly read Jacques Pépin Heart & Soul in the Kitchen. I have examined it enough to know that, indeed, I do want to add this book to my collection. I want to save the bulk of it to leisurely enjoy when I own it.

I do have a recipe to share with you from the book. Broiled Salmon with Miso Glaze was SO easy to make, and Bob and I both enjoyed it. I have seen so many versions of miso-glazed salmon and have been meaning to try it for quite some time now. Knowing how reliable Jacques Pépin’s recipes are, it was a no-brainer for me to try his version.

I made Broiled Salmon with Miso Glaze for Two. Jacques’ recipe serves 4, but it was very easy to cut the ingredients in half to serve 2. The only thing I changed was I broiled the salmon fillets longer than the recipe suggests. Jacques has acknowledged that he and Gloria like fish cooked so it’s “browned but still pink inside”. I cooked the salmon a bit longer because Bob and I like it when it gets to that “just done” stage. It was delicious!

This blog post is my love letter to Jacques Pépin. I find him so inspiring with his simple, perfect techniques. Check out his new book, and give this Broiled Salmon with Miso Glaze for Two a try. I think you’ll like it!

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Jacques Pepin’s Broiled Salmon with Miso Glaze served with steamed rice and a big vegetable salad on the side.

Broiled Salmon with Miso Glaze

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Broiled Salmon with Miso Glaze for Two

(Adapted from Jacques Pépin’s recipe in Jacques Pépin Heart & Soul in the Kitchen)

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 2, can easily be multiplied to serve 4, 6, or 8

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Jacques broiled the salmon fillets for just 4 minutes. If you like salmon cooked until it’s browned but still pink inside check it after 4 minutes. If you like it more done, broil a bit longer. 8 minutes was perfect for us.

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1 tablespoon red miso paste

1½ teaspoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon tamari or dark soy sauce (use gluten free tamari, if needed)

1 teaspoon rice vinegar

½ teaspoon hot chili sauce, like Sriracha

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2 salmon fillets, about 6 ounces each and about 1¼ inches thick

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I bought one 12-ounce King salmon fillet and sliced it in half for two servings. You can see the miso glaze I prepared on the left in a little bowl. You can also see the pin bones I removed.

King salmon

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  1. Combine the miso paste, syrup, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and hot sauce together. Mix until smooth.
  2. If desired, pull the pin bones out of the salmon with tweezers. (Click here to see how.) Put the salmon on a foil-lined baking sheet. Cover the fillets with the miso glaze.a

Miso glaze on salmon

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  1. Refrigerate the fillets for at least an hour, and up to overnight. (I chilled mine for about 3 hours. I did not cover the fillets as Jacques suggests because I couldn’t figure out how to do it without having the glaze stick to the plastic wrap or whatever I would use. I would figure out how to cover it if I were to refrigerate it for longer than 3 hours.)
  2. Take the salmon out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you want to cook it.
  3. When ready to cook, preheat the broiler with the cooking rack positioned about 5 or 6 inches from the heat.
  4. Broil for 4 – 8 minutes, or until done to your liking. My salmon was just the way we like it at the 8 minute mark.

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Broiled Salmon with Miso Glaze 3

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Union Square Café Bar Nuts

October 4, 2015

By Kath Dedon

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I did a Google search for a recipe for Union Square Café Bar Nuts and discovered ten pages of recipes. Yes, these nuts from Union Square Café in New York are very popular. They have been on my to-do list for some time and I finally made them yesterday.

I chose Jennifer Segal’s recipe from her outstanding blog, Once Upon a Chef, as a template but I made a few changes. Jennifer uses unsalted roasted nuts and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt. I like the quality and the mixture in Kirkland Signature (Costco) Extra Fancy Mixed Nuts so that’s what I used. They are roasted and salted. To me, they don’t taste nearly as salty as some other brands so I added just a bit of salt to the spice mixture.

You can use any kind of nuts that you like. If they are roasted and salted, you can omit the salt or just add a bit. If they’re roasted and not salted, add 1 teaspoon of salt. Raw nuts can be roasted for a bit longer (10 – 15 minutes) until they are lightly browned.

These Union Square Café Bar Nuts make an excellent snack or appetizer to serve with drinks. They’re so easy to make! I know they’ll be on the menu at Chez Dedon again soon.

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Union Square Cafe Bar Nuts

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Union Square Café Bar Nuts

(Adapted from Jennifer Segal’s recipe on her Once Upon a Chef blog.)

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(print the recipe)

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The amount of salt will depend on whether your nuts are salted or not. For unsalted nuts, use about a teaspoon of kosher salt.

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2½ cups Kirkland Signature (Costco) Extra Fancy Mixed Nuts (or your favorite mixture)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 teaspoons maple sugar (or dark brown sugar)

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

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  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚.
  2. Spread the nuts out on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper.
  3. Roast for 5 minutes.
  4. While the nuts are roasting, mix the rosemary, cayenne pepper, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl. Add the melted butter and mix until well combined.
  5. Add the roasted nuts to the bowl and toss well until the butter mixture is distributed well. Serve immediately.

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(Can be made ahead of time and then reheated in a microwave oven. Timing will depend on your microwave. About a minute on 80 percent power worked well with mine.)

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Union Square Cafe Bar Nuts 2

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Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

October 2, 2015

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By Kath Dedon

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We planted a plum tomato plant this year for the first time. I had hoped that they would be fantastic eaten raw in summer salads. We have had a terrific crop from the one plant, but they just aren’t that great eaten raw.

I have made Slow-Roasted Tomatoes three times now and this recipe is a winner! It transforms so-so plum tomatoes into tomato candy! They’re good tossed with pasta, chopped in a salad, or just eaten as a snack.

My inspirations for the recipe were a blog post on Smitten Kitchen and a recipe in Domenica Marchetti’s The Glorious Vegetables of Italy. I love the way Deb on Smitten Kitchen doesn’t use any measurement for the ingredients. Just use the tomatoes you have (she uses cherry tomatoes), drizzle with olive oil, add a few unpeeled garlic cloves and roast at 225˚. Domenica uses plum tomatoes, gives measurements for the ingredients and roasts at 275˚.

I went with the higher temperature that Domenica uses since I was also roasting plum tomatoes. Bob and I both loved the intense, sweet flavor of these tomatoes!

If you are harvesting plum tomatoes or picking them up at farmers’ markets I highly recommend Slow-Roasted Tomatoes. They are fantastic and there are so many ways to use them. Think pasta, salads, bruschetta; served with grilled meats, sausage, or polenta. Or just snack on the fabulous tomato candy!

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Slow-Roasted Tomatoes 2

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Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

(Adapted from recipes on the Smitten Kitchen and in The Glorious Vegetables of Italy)

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(print the recipe)

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Plum tomatoes, washed and cut in half lengthwise (Seed them if you want, but I tried seeding and not seeding and concluded seeding is not necessary.)

Olive oil

A few unpeeled cloves of garlic

Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

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Homegrown plum tomatoes

Homegrown plum tomatoes

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1. Preheat the oven to 275˚.

2. Spread the tomatoes out on a large baking sheet. (Line with foil or parchment paper, if you want.)

3. Scatter the garlic cloves around on the pan.

4. Drizzle with some olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

5. Roast for 3 – 4 hours until they are done as you like them.

Roasted Tomatoes

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6. Store covered with olive oil in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

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Cherry Tomatoes Variation from Domenica Marchetti:    Roast cherry or grape tomatoes for about 1½ hours.

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Pasta with Slow-Roasted Tomatoes, Basil, and Shaved Parmesan Cheese served with Green Beans

Roasted tomatoes with pasta

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Slow-roasted Tomates 3

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Slow Cooker Maple Baked Beans

September 7, 2015

By Kath Dedon

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Slow Cooker Maple Baked Beans are really easy to make and they taste great! I adapted the recipe from Elise’s recipe for Slow Cooked Boston Baked Beans on Simply Recipes.

Elise uses the traditional molasses and brown sugar for her beans. I subbed pure maple syrup and maple sugar. I also added a teaspoon of vinegar when the beans were done for balance. I used sherry vinegar, but you could also use cider vinegar.

I loved how simple it was to get the beans going. I know I’ll be making these Slow Cooker Maple Baked Beans again. I might try subbing dry Colman’s mustard for the Dijon mustard next time.

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Slow Cooker Maple Baked Beans

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Slow Cooker Maple Baked Beans

(Adapted from Elise Bauer’s recipe on simplyrecipes.com)

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 8 – 10 as a side dish

1 pound dry navy beans

1/3 cup pure maple syrup (or molasses)

1/3 cup maple sugar (or brown sugar)

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

3 cups hot water

½ pound salt pork (can substitute slab bacon), rind cut off and cut into ½-inch to 1-inch pieces

1 medium onion, chopped (1½ cups)

1 teaspoon sherry or cider vinegar

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1.Rinse the beans. Put them in a pot or a large bowl and cover with water so they are at least 2 inches below the surface. Soak overnight and then drain.

2. Combine the maple syrup (or molasses), maple sugar (or brown sugar), mustard, cloves, and hot water in a quart pitcher or bowl.

3. Using the fattiest pieces, put half of the salt pork in the bottom of the slow cooker. Layer half of the drained beans over the pork. Layer all of the chopped onion over the beans. Put the remaining beans over the onion and then top them with the remaining salt pork.

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Ingredients layered in the slow cooker

Beans and salt pork

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4. Pour the maple/water mixture over the beans. The beans should be just barely covered with water. Add a bit more hot water if they are not.

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Maple/water mixture poured over the beans

Water added

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5. Cook on Low for 8 hours, or until the beans are done. (The actual time could depend on how hot your slow cooker is, or how fresh the beans are. 8 hours was just right in my slow cooker.)

6. Stir in the vinegar and serve. Or you can cool, put it in a bowl, cover and refrigerate until the next day. Reheat and serve. Elise said it’s even better the next day.

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5 Slow Cooker Maple Baked Beans

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Peach Crisp

August 16, 2015

By Kath Dedon

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August is peach season, so it’s the perfect time of year for the Peach Crisp! I used Mark Bittman’s recipe from How to Cook Everything the Basics, although I did make some changes.

Mark uses cold butter which he cuts into ¼-inch bits and puts in the freezer for a few minutes. My butter was softened at room temperature. That’s what I used, and it worked fine. Either way, the butter goes with the other topping ingredients for a quick whirl in the food processor.

I also cut back on the sugar. Mark calls for 2/3 cup packed brown sugar. I used ½ cup of maple sugar and it seemed just right.

Lastly, I substituted an all-purpose gluten-free flour for the all-purpose flour and it worked just fine.

Sorry, but I didn’t take photos to illustrate the process. Frankly, I wasn’t sure this would be a “blog-worthy” recipe. However, I was really pleased with the way it turned out! I loved the topping and would use it with other fruits as well. Mr. Bittman suggests apples, pears, plums, cherries, or berries. If you use berries, toss them with 2 tablespoons of flour or cornstarch to help thicken their juices.

Served with a bit of ice cream, this Peach Crisp is a perfect summertime dessert!

aPeach crisp with ice cream

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Peach Crisp

(Adapted from Mark Bittman’s recipe in How to Cook Everything the Basics)

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 6 – 8

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5 tablespoons butter, plus more for greasing the pan (I used softened butter. If yours is cold, cut it into ¼-inch bits.)

6 cups pitted, sliced peaches (2 – 3 pounds)

Juice of ½ lemon (about 1 tablespoon)

½ cup packed brown sugar (or maple sugar)

½ cup rolled oats (not instant oats)

½ cup all-purpose flour (or gluten free flour)

¼ cup chopped nuts, optional (I didn’t use them.)

Pinch salt

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Vanilla ice cream for serving

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  1. Heat the oven to 400˚. Lightly butter a square baking pan or a pie plate.

2. Toss the peach slices with the lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of the sugar and put them in the baking pan.

3. Put the rest of the sugar, butter, rolled oats, flour, nuts if using, and salt in a food processor. Pulse a few times until everything is mixed but still has some texture. (Mr. Bittman suggests you can mix it by hand by mashing it together between your fingers. This would probably work better with cold butter than with softened butter.)

4. Sprinkle the topping over the peaches. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes. (Mine was done in 30 minutes.)

5. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Peach crisp 3

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Peach crisp with ice cream 2

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Simple Salmon Chirashi

August 8, 2015

By Kath Dedon

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Simple Salmon Chirashi is a great salmon dish from Sunset magazine. Their head notes explain that “chirashi” means scattered in Japanese and chirashi is typically a rice bowl topped with sashimi. Instead of using raw fish, Sunset uses cooked salmon.

This seemed like the perfect recipe for the special Koshihikari rice that Carrie brought back for me from Niigata. Many consider it the best sushi rice in Japan. Carrie found it packaged in a cute plastic rice kernel which is obviously designed for gift-giving.

For the salmon, we were lucky enough to have some that friends brought back from their fishing trip to Alaska. (You know who you are. Thank you! 🙂 )

This Simple Salmon Chirashi was very easy to prepare and I loved it! With the sauce that accompanies it, the flavors are very similar to sushi. If you love sushi, I think you’ll love this.

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Simple Salmon Chirashi

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Simple Salmon Chirashi

(Adapted from a Sunset magazine recipe)

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Sunset suggests using a medium-grain rice. I used Koshihikari sushi rice. I think any type of rice would work. It is gluten free with wheat-free soy sauce or tamari.

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 2 (with some of the delicious rice leftover)

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3/4 cup rice

2 fillets of salmon (each one 5 – 6 ounces)

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

¾ cup halved and sliced cucumber

½ large avocado, cut into cubes

½ sheet nori, cut into thin strips

1 green onion, sliced diagonally

2½ tablespoons reduced-sodium gluten-free tamari 

1 tablespoon wasabi powder

¼ teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds (optional)

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Look at the cute rice kernel container that the rice came in!

Koshihikari rice from Niigata

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1. Cook the rice. (I used this method in my rice cooker.)

2. Prep the vegetables while the rice is cooking.

3. Mix the tamari sauce, wasabi powder, and toasted sesame oil together to make the sauce.

Sauce ingredients

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4. Preheat the oven to 400˚. Line a baking sheet with foil and put the salmon fillets on it. I use clean tweezers to remove the pin bones.

5. Sprinkle the salmon with the salt and pepper. Roast the salmon for 8 – 10 minutes. (The rule is 10 minutes for every inch of thickness.)

6. Put some rice in two bowls. Top them with the vegetables, nori, and the salmon fillets. If using, sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds. Serve with the sauce on the side for dipping.

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Salmon Chirashi

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Chicken Salad Niçoise

August 1, 2015

By Kath Dedon

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This is turning out to be a record-breaking hot summer in Seattle and we, like many people here, do not have air conditioning. With good planning, though, I can still host a dinner party even when it’s too darn hot to cook. Last night this Chicken Salad Niçoise from Diane Rossen Worthington’s The Taste of Summer came to the rescue.

The chicken, potatoes, green beans, and hard-cooked eggs can be cooked early in the day when the kitchen is still cool. I cooked and shredded the chicken and put it in the refrigerator. The potatoes went in the bowl, followed by the other chopped vegetables. I whisked the salad dressing. Everything was ready to toss and serve when it was time to eat.

A traditional Salad Niçoise is usually a composed salad made with tuna, potatoes, beans, tomatoes, eggs, and Niçoise olives, and anchovies. I really enjoyed Diane’s tossed Chicken Salad Niçoise. It was colorful with a nice combination of flavors and textures. It was satisfying and yet a light meal for a hot night.

Homemade Guacamole and chips before dinner, bread and butter served with the salad, and sliced peaches and ice cream for dessert completed the menu. Summer entertaining made easy!

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Chicken Salad Nicoise Square

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Chicken Salad Niçoise

(Adapted from Diane Rossen Worthington’s recipe in The Taste of Summer)

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 6 – 7

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4 cups chicken broth (or water)

½ teaspoon Kosher salt, if using water

4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds total)

1⅓ pounds small red-skinned potatoes

1 cup cut-up green beans (1½-inch pieces)

2 medium carrots, peeled

1 large red pepper, cut in half and seeded

½ cup Niçoise olives (if you can find them. I couldn’t and used ½ cup pitted Kalamata olives cut in half.)

About ¾ cup sliced sweet onion, the slices cut into 1½-inch pieces

2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained

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Dressing

1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

¾ teaspoon honey

¾ teaspoon Kosher salt

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Additional salt and pepper to taste

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Garnish

3 or 4 hard-cooked eggs, quartered

3 plum tomatoes, each cut into 6 wedges

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1. Put the chicken breasts in a pan and pour the chicken broth (or water and salt) over them. They should be fully submerged, so add more water if necessary. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for 15 – 20 minutes, or until the breasts register 165˚ in the thickest part. Remove from the heat and let the chicken cool in the liquid.

2. Put the potatoes in a large pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 – 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are just done. Drain and cool. When cool enough to handle, peel the potatoes and cut them into small pieces. Put them in the bottom of a large bowl.

Potatoes in my big shiny aluminum bowl

Red potatoes

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Green beans fresh from our garden! I cut them into 1½-inch pieces.

Homegrown green beans

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3. Bring a pot of water to a bowl and get a bowl of ice water ready. When the water in the pot is boiling, add the cut beans and cook for 5 minutes. Drain the beans and add them to the ice water to stop the cooking. When they have cooled, drain them and dry with paper towels.

4. Cut the carrots and red pepper into thin strips and add them to the salad bowl.

Carrots and Pepper

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5. Add the onion slices and the olives to the salad bowl.

Olives added

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6. Add the capers and the beans to the salad bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it aside until ready to serve. (You may want to refrigerate it if it will be more than a couple of hours.)

7. Drain the chicken breasts and shred them with two forks into thin pieces. Put the chicken in a separate bowl, cover, and refrigerate until you’re ready to toss it with the salad.

8. Make the dressing. Whisk the garlic, mustard, basil, lemon juice, honey, and salt together in a bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until it’s all well-combined. Taste for seasonings and add a bit of salt and pepper, if desired. Cover the dressing with plastic wrap and set aside until ready to serve.

9. At serving time, add the chicken to the salad. Toss with the dressing. (I used all of it and it seemed just right.) Divide the salad among 6 or 7 plates. Garnish each plate with tomatoes and hard-cooked egg pieces. Enjoy!

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Chicken Salad Niçoise served for 7

Chicken Salad Nicoise

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2 Chicken Salad Nicoise Square

Oven Fried Curly Fries

July 24, 2015

By Kath Dedon

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I was intrigued by all of the spiral cut vegetables I had been seeing on the Internet. Zucchini noodles are everywhere! And people seem to love using them instead of pasta.

So…when I saw last week that Amazon was featuring the Paderno Tri-Blade Spiral Vegetable Slicer as one of their sale items on Prime Day I took the bait.

I could have made zucchini noodles, a spiralized cucumber salad, or any number of low-carb healthy dishes. What did I make the first time I used my spiral slicer? Why, Oven Fried Curly Fries, of course!

My new kitchen toy cut the potato very quickly. It feels like a solidly-built gadget that will stand the test of time. We shall see.

The strips of potatoes were very long, so I cut them down to a more manageable length with a pair of kitchen scissors. After a quick toss with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt they were ready for the oven.

The Oven Fried Curly Fries were delicious and fun to eat! Bob totally approved and I know I’ll be making these fries again.

If you don’t have a spiral slicer, you could use a sharp knife to cut a potato into very thin fries and then proceed with the recipe. They won’t have the fun curly shape but they’ll still be tasty!

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Oven Fried Curly Fries, served with grilled chicken sausage, grilled eggplant, and a salad.

Oven baked spiral cut potatoes

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Oven Fried Curly Fries

(Adapted from Davida’s recipe on The Healthy Maven)

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 2

 

1 large russet potato

1 tablespoon oil

Salt, to taste

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A 12.75-ounce russet potato is big enough to serve 2!

Russet potato

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1. Preheat the oven to 400˚.

2. Cut the potato with a spiral slicer. Use scissors to cut the long strips into shorter lengths.

Paderno Spiral Vegetable Slicer

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Spiralized potato

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3. Put the potatoes in a bowl and toss with the oil.

4. Spread the potatoes out on a large parchment lined baking sheet. (I don’t know if the parchment paper is necessary. I had some, so I used it.)

Ready for the oven

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5. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn the fries over with a spatula.

6. Bake for an additional 5 – 10 minutes, or until done they way you like them.

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2 Oven baked spiral cut potatoes

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Chop Salad with Corn, Sugar Snap Peas, and Bacon

July 18, 2015

By Kath Dedon

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We celebrated Bob’s birthday with Slow Cooker Chicken Mole, Rice, and this Chop Salad with Corn, Snap Peas, and Bacon from Tom Douglas’ Tom’s Big Dinners. Dessert was Baklava!

Because this Chop Salad is so full of vegetables, it was perfect with the Chicken Mole. It took a bit of time to do all of the slicing and dicing, but since the Baklava had been made earlier in the day and the chicken was cooking in the slow cooker it was easy to give my full attention to the salad.

This Chop Salad with Corn, Snap Peas, and Bacon is very colorful and would be a perfect salad to take to a summer potluck party. Everything can be prepared ahead of time; add the lettuce and toss with the dressing just before serving.

I followed Tom’s recipe pretty closely, although I did omit the basil leaves (Bob’s not crazy about basil) and the Parmesan cheese. The cheese probably would have been good but I wanted the vegetables to be the stars with the bacon playing a major supporting role.

Tom suggests being creative with it. You could use diced salami instead of the bacon, or diced Gouda instead of the Parmesan. You could add diced celery or garbanzo beans. His only rule is that everything should be diced into small pieces and there should be more vegetables than lettuce.

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Update 4/24/16: Last night I successfully made this using frozen “petite white corn”. There’s no need to thaw it before using it.

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Chop Salad with Corn, Snap Peas, and Bacon

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Chop Salad with Corn, Snap Peas, and Bacon

Adapted from a Tom Douglas recipe in Tom’s Big Dinners

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(print the recipe)

 

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Serves 8

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½ pound bacon (about 5 slices of thick bacon)

6 ounces sugar snap peas (1½ cups), strings removed, cut in half on a diagonal

1½ cups fresh corn kernels (about 2 ears)

1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into ¼-inch dice

1 medium carrot, peeled and grated

½ medium red bell pepper, cut into ¼-inch dice

½ bunch radishes, thinly sliced (about ½ cup)

½ bunch green onions, thinly sliced (about ¾ cup)

½ pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half

½ head romaine lettuce (about 4 cups chopped)

1 cup fresh basil leaves (about 1 ounce), cut into thin strips (optional, I didn’t use)

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional, I didn’t use)

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Mustard Vinaigrette

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 2 cloves)

½ cup olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

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1. Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium-low heat. Drain on paper towels and chop into small pieces.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and have a bowl of ice water ready. When the water’s boiling, add a bit of salt and the sugar snap peas and corn. Cook for 1 minute, then drain and put the peas and corn in the ice water for a few minutes. Drain the peas and corn and set aside. (I spread them out on a paper towel-lined baking sheet to help them dry out.)

3. Make the vinaigrette. Put the vinegar, lemon juice, mustard and garlic in a bowl. Whisk together while slowly pouring in the olive oil so it emulsifies. (Or do as I did and shake it all up in a Blender Bottle if you have one.) Season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. When ready to serve, chop the lettuce and put it in a bowl. Add the peas, corn, cucumber, carrot, red pepper, radishes, green onions, tomatoes, and basil if using. Toss with the vinaigrette. If using cheese, then toss in the cheese. Put the salad in a serving bowl and sprinkle the bacon over the top.

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2 Chop Salad with Corn, Snap Peas, and Bacon

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Quick Rub for Roast or Grilled Chicken

July 2, 2015

By Kath Dedon

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I’ve become a huge fan of rubs. Rubs are a great way to quickly add a lot of flavor to grilled or roasted meats. There’s no need to plan ahead to marinate the meat. A good rub makes summer meals super simple.

I recently tried my hand at Tom Douglas’ rub for salmon and it was fantastic. Inspired by that experience, I wanted to come up with a rub for chicken.

I found a rub from Bon Appétit online. They call it 4-3-2-1 Spice Rub. The numbers refer to tablespoons: 4 tablespoons kosher salt, 3 tablespoons light brown sugar, 2 tablespoons paprika, 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper. That seemed like a good place to start, but I wondered if that much salt was necessary.

I’ve played around with it over the past month. I roasted a spatchcocked chicken. (It was my first time spatchcocking. It’s very easy to do with good poultry shears.) I grilled chicken thighs over indirect heat. And most recently, I roasted chicken thighs in the oven. This Quick Rub for Roast or Grilled Chicken proved to be excellent each time.

Using half as much salt as Bon Appétit used, the rub was still excellent. I have Aleppo pepper and I used that. I don’t know if it makes a real difference. If you can’t find it, just substitute ground ancho pepper or some other ground pepper with moderate heat.

So here it is. I think it’s ready for prime time. If you try this Quick Rub for Roast or Grilled Chicken, please let me know what you think.

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Rub for Roast or Grilled Chicken

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Quick Rub for Roast or Grilled Chicken

(Inspired by Tom Douglas’ Chicken Rub and Bon Appétit’s 4-3-2-1 Spice Rub)

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(print the recipe)

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Makes about ½ cup

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3 tablespoons maple sugar (I like the flavor that maple sugar contributes, but you can substitute brown sugar.)

2 tablespoons smoked paprika

2 tablespoons kosher salt

1½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (or substitute ancho pepper)

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon granulated garlic

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1. Combine all of the ingredients and store the rub in a jar.

Measured in the bowl

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Chicken Rub spices mixed together

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2. To use, generously sprinkle some rub over chicken and rub it into the skin. Roast or grill the chicken.

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Chicken thighs skin-side down in an oiled cast iron skillet. I spread the rub on this side.

rub on bottom of chicken thighs

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I turned the thighs skin-side up and generously sprinkled the rub on each one.

rub on top of thighs

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I then rubbed the rub in, covering the thighs.

rubbed in

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Ready for the oven! I roasted them in a preheated 450 degree oven for about 30 minutes.

ready to roast

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Here’s proof that I did spatchcock a chicken. This one’s ready to go into the oven. Chickens cook faster when spatchcocked; this was a big bird and it took about 45 minutes at 450 degrees.

spatchcocked chicken

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Happy 4th of July Weekend! 

Rub for Roast or Grilled Chicken 2

All-American Potato Salad for Two

July 1, 2015

By Kath Dedon

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Lately I have been craving potato salad. Maybe it’s because it’s almost the 4th of July so you could say it’s potato salad season. But I did not want to make a big batch of potato salad for just the two of us. Leave it to America’s Test Kitchen to come to the rescue. I made their All-American Potato Salad from The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook.

The recipe was so similar to the potato salad that I have made for years. I didn’t need to make many changes. I like to pour dill pickle juice over the hot cooked potatoes to give them more flavor. ATK used vinegar in the same way. I used both pickle juice and vinegar for this recipe.

The original recipe uses sweet pickle relish. I like sweet relish but Bob really hates it so I used dill pickle relish which worked fine. Use whichever one you prefer.

Working with small quantities, the recipe seemed easier than making enough to serve 8 – 10. It took less than an hour start to finish. It’s supposed to chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour, so it could be made early in the day before the house heats up. The only thing I had to do at dinner time was to cook some chicken and toss a Dedon House Salad.

If you’re cooking for a small household, give this All-American Potato Salad for Two a try. It’s a perfect classic potato salad and you won’t have a lot of leftovers. And it’s SO much better than your average supermarket deli potato salad. You can’t beat homemade!

P.S. The little bit that was leftover was delicious for breakfast!

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All-American Potato Salad for Two

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All-American Potato Salad for Two

(Adapted from a recipe in America’s Test Kitchen’s The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook)

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 2 – 3

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1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon dill pickle juice

1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

¼ cup mayonnaise

1 small celery rib, minced (about 1/3 cup)

1½ tablespoons dill pickle relish (or sweet relish, if you prefer)

1 small shallot, minced (about 2 tablespoons)

1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

½ teaspoon dry mustard

½ teaspoon celery seeds

1 large hard-cooked egg, cut into ¼-inch pieces

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Ingredients

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1. Put the potatoes in a medium pot and add water so they are covered by one inch. Bring to a boil, stir in the tablespoon of salt, and then reduce heat to simmer for 6 – 8 minutes, until tender.

2. Drain the potatoes and put them in a bowl. Pour the dill pickle juice and vinegar over them and gently stir with a spatula to distribute the juice and vinegar. Let the potatoes cool for about 20 minutes.

Cooked potatoes

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3. While the potatoes are cooling, make the dressing. Stir the mayonnaise, minced celery, pickle relish, minced shallot, minced parsley, dry mustard and celery seeds together.

Dressing ingredients

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Dressing mixed

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4. After the potatoes have cooled for about 20 minutes, gently stir the dressing and the hard-cooked egg into the potatoes. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

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All-American Potato Salad

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All-American Potato Salad for Two 2

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Etta’s “Rubbed with Love” Salmon

June 8, 2015

By Kath Dedon

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Back in 2001 Tom Douglas wrote in his Seattle Kitchen cookbook that “Etta’s Pit-Roasted Salmon with Grilled Shiitake Relish” had become a classic at his third Seattle restaurant, Etta’s. Etta’s opened in 1995. Today, 20 years later, you’ll still find Etta’s “Rubbed with Love” Salmon on the menu and it is still served with Etta’s Cornbread Pudding and Grilled Shiitake Relish.

Tom uses salmon fillets that have had the skin removed and he uses the spice rub on both sides. My Copper River Sockeye fillet still had the skin so I only used the rub on the flesh side. I don’t find it necessary to try to remove the skin because after the salmon is cooked it slips right off.

In the cookbook’s version of the recipe, Tom grills the salmon over a charcoal fire. But he also has a video showing how to start the salmon on the stovetop. Because the rub contains sugar, you need to keep the pan at a medium to medium-low heat so it doesn’t burn. Just a couple of minutes in the pan will beautifully brown the fish. At that point it can be turned and finished in a preheated 350 degree oven. To watch the video to see how he applies the rub (since I failed to get a photo of the rub on my fish) and to see how he cooks it click here.

When Tom wrote the cookbook it wasn’t that easy to find smoked paprika. He said you could buy Rub with Love Salmon Rub which uses the ingredient, or you could make the recipe in the book which calls for regular paprika. So if you want to make the rub yourself you can go either way. I had some Penzey’s Smoked Paprika so that’s what I used. (Since writing the book, Tom has added his own apple-smoked Smoked Paprika to his Rub with Love collection.)

Laura joined us for dinner last night. I cut the fillet into three 6.5-ounce portions and used Tom’s stovetop method. We all agreed that Etta’s “Rubbed with Love” Salmon is outstanding! The cookbook has the recipes for Etta’s Cornbread Pudding and the Grilled Shiitake Relish but I decided to keep it simple for a hot summer night. We enjoyed the salmon with corn on the cob and a salad made with lettuce from our garden. Delish!

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Etta’s “Rubbed with Love” Salmon (photo by Laura)

This photo illustrate’s how easily the skin slips off once the salmon is cooked. 😉

Etta's Rub with Love Salmon

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Etta’s “Rubbed with Love” Salmon

(Adapted from the recipe in Tom Douglas’ Seattle Kitchen)

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(print the recipe)

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I made the full recipe of the spice rub but only used half of it since I only had 3 fillets instead of 6. I saved the other half in a small jar for a future meal.

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Serves 3

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Salmon Spice Rub

3 tablespoons maple sugar (or use firmly packed brown sugar as Tom does)

2 tablespoons smoked paprika (or regular paprika if you can’t find smoked)

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1½ teaspoons freshly ground pepper

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

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Three 6 or 7-ounce salmon fillets

Oil for the pan (I used grapeseed oil.)

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1. Preheat the oven to 350˚.

2. Combine the five ingredients for the spice rub. Set half of it aside for another meal.

Tom Douglas' Salmon Spice Rub

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3. Preheat an oven-proof skillet over medium-low heat.

4. Just before you’re ready to cook (not more than 5 minutes before), sprinkle half of the recipe of the spice rub over the salmon. Gently press it on with your fingers so it will adhere well.

5. Heat the oil in the pan. Add the salmon, flesh-side down. Cook for a minute or two until the spice rub has caramelized.

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Note the thin tail portion of the fillet on the upper right. After caramelizing, I turned the tip under the fillet so it would cook more evenly as you’ll see in the next photo.

Start on the stovetop

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6. Flip the fillets over and put the pan into the preheated oven and cook for about 8 minutes, until the salmon is done to your liking. (Timing will depend on the thickness of your fillet. The general rule of thumb is about 10 minutes for every inch of thickness.)

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Ready to go into the oven. I turned that thin tip under the rest of the fillet before I put the pan in the oven.

Caramelized

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Thanks to Laura for this photo!

Etta's Rub with Love Salmon 2

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Ivar’s Famous Tartar Sauce

June 7, 2015

By Kath Dedon

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People in Seattle have been enjoying Ivar’s Famous Tartar Sauce since 1938. That’s when Ivar Haglund opened a small fish and chips stand on the Seattle waterfront. By 1946 his business was doing well but he realized that people wanted a sit-down restaurant so he opened Ivar’s Acres of Clams. Ivar’s Acres of Clams is still on the waterfront, although it is temporarily closed for the city’s seawall restoration project. Ivar’s website advises to “Keep Clam”; they’re planning to reopen on July 1, 2015.

Fortunately for Ivar’s fans, people have been able to get their Ivar’s fix during this closure at one of their many other venues. There are two other restaurants, seafood bars, and seafood stands at the major sports venues in town.

Throughout his career, Ivar was one of the greatest cheerleaders for the Pacific Northwest. He was famous for his puns, wacky publicity stunts, and later for his television commercials. He was truly a beloved Seattle character. He died in 1985 at the age of 79 but his legacy lives on with his restaurants and seafood company.

In December 2013 I went to a Tom Douglas Cookbook Social with Joan, Laura, and Carrie. Bob Donegan, the current President of Ivar’s, Inc., was there with a newly published cookbook celebrating Ivar’s 75 years, Ivar’s Seafood Cookbook, the O-fish-al Guide to Cooking the Northwest Catch by “The Crew at Ivar’s” and Jess Thompson. He was also serving samples of Chris Garr’s House-Made Bacon-Wrapped Halibut which was delicious. I made a mental note that I wanted to check out the book. Laura secretly bought an autographed copy and surprised me with it for my birthday a few weeks later!

The cookbook is a delightful history of Ivar’s with lots of photos, historical information, cartoons, and trivia. It’s a fun look at the past for anyone who was in Seattle in the ‘40s, ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s. Jess Thompson is credited for all of the puns that are in the book. They really capture the spirit of Ivar Haglund.

I made Ivar’s Famous Tartar Sauce and it worked really well with my Homemade Dungeness Crab Cakes. Making your own tartar sauce means you get to control the ingredients. I wanted to make an egg-free version so I subbed a vegan mayonnaise for regular mayonnaise. Serious Eats did a taste test of 4 different brands of vegan mayonnaise and Hampton Creek’s Just Mayo came out on top. I have to say that it’s pretty hard to tell the difference between it and regular mayonnaise.

Ivar’s Famous Tartar Sauce is great with seafood, but it would also be a delicious dip for vegetables or French fries. The cookbook even suggests adding some lemon juice and using it as a dip for asparagus. If you like being in charge of the ingredients in your food, I think you’ll enjoy this one. And if you love seafood and would like a glimpse into mid-century Seattle, I highly recommend Ivar’s Seafood Cookbook!

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Ivar's tartar sauce

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Ivar’s Famous Tartar Sauce

(Adapted from the recipe in Ivar’s Seafood Cookbook)

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(print the recipe)

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Makes 2 cups

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¼ cup chopped yellow onions

2 tablespoons chopped green bell pepper

2 tablespoons dill pickle relish

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1½ teaspoons sugar

½ teaspoon kosher salt

2 cups mayonnaise  (Use a vegan mayonnaise for vegan or egg-free.)

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Unsweetened pickle relish

pickle relish

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1. Put everything except the mayonnaise in a food processor and process for 10 seconds. (A small 3-cup capacity food processor works fine.)

small food processor

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2. Add the mayonnaise and process for an additional 15 seconds.

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Finished tartar sauce made with egg-free (vegan) Just Mayo

processed

Ivar's Famous Tartar Sauce

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Coconut Sweetened Vegan Chocolate Cake

May 18, 2015

By Kath Dedon

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Earlier this month, we celebrated a special birthday. Laura turned 30! (Wait! Am I old enough to have a 30-year-old?) I made a Coconut Sweetened Chocolate Cake and I baked it in two 6-inch cake pans to make a small cake for a small family dinner.

The recipe for Cocoa “Crazy” Cake makes just the right amount of cake batter for two 6-inch layers. This time I tried it with coconut sugar and it worked just fine.

For frosting, I used half of the recipe for Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Frosting. I subbed coconut sugar for the powdered sugar. It made way too much frosting for my little cake, but we found that the leftover frosting was delicious served as a little dollop over ice cream.

I’m really glad I invested in those 6-inch cake pans. It’s so much fun to make smaller versions of large cakes! If you like to try alternative sweeteners, I highly recommend this Coconut Sweetened Chocolate Cake. It was a big hit at our house.

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birthday cake

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Coconut Sweetened Chocolate Cake

(Adapted from the Cocoa “Crazy” Cake in The New American Diet, by Sonja L Connor, M.S., R.D. and William E. Connor, M.D.)

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(print the recipe)

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The cake is vegan. I used butter for the frosting, but you could swap the butter for a vegan butter substitute if you want to make the cake totally vegan. The parchment paper probably isn’t necessary in the pans, but I had some so I used it.

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Makes a 6-inch layer cake (or you could make a one layer 9-inch cake or 12 cupcakes)

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Coconut oil (or other oil) for greasing the pans

1½ cups (180g) all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup coconut sugar (or white sugar)

3 tablespoons oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon vinegar

1 cup cold water

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1. Preheat the oven to 350˚.

2. Prepare two 6-inch cake pans. Grease the bottoms and sides with coconut oil. Cut two pieces of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pans. Put the paper in the bottom and then grease the paper.

3. Stir the flour, baking soda, cocoa powder, and salt together in a medium bowl.

4. If your coconut sugar has a coarse texture, press it through a fine mesh strainer into the bowl to give it a finer texture. Stir it into the other dry ingredients.

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The coconut sugar I used was a bit coarse.

coconut sugar

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I pressed the sugar through a fine meshed strainer with the back of a spoon.

through a strainer

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5. Pour the liquid ingredients into a bowl and stir well with a fork or whisk until well blended.

6. Pour the cake batter into the two prepared cake pans.

ready to bake

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7. Bake the cake for 30 minutes, until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.

8. Cool in the pans on a cake rack for about 10 minutes. Then remove the cakes from the pans and finish cooling on wire racks.

baked

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cake cooling

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9. When completely cool, frost with Coconut Sweetened Chocolate Frosting.

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Coconut Sweetened Chocolate Frosting

(Adapted from Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Frosting recipe on the Hershey’s Cocoa box.)

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½ stick (4 tablespoons) butter (or a vegan substitute to make it vegan)

1/3 cup cocoa

1½ cups coconut sugar (or powdered sugar)

2½ tablespoons coconut milk

½ teaspoon vanilla

 

1. Melt the butter in a pan and pour it into a mixing bowl.

2. Sift the cocoa through a strainer into the bowl and mix well with the butter.

3. Blend the coconut sugar in a blender until it is as fine and powdery as you can get it. (Obviously, this step is not necessary if you use powdered sugar.)

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Blended coconut sugar

Coconut sugar blended fine

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4. Alternately add the coconut sugar and the milk to the butter/cocoa mixture, mixing well after each addition. Add a bit more milk if needed. Mix in the vanilla.

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Coconut Sweetened Chocolate Cake tall

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Hummus with Smoked Paprika

May 13, 2015

By Kath Dedon

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Hummus with Smoked Paprika, a variation of the Classic Hummus in The America’s Test Kitchen’s The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook, was a big hit at Chez Dedon recently. It was, as ATK says, “silky-smooth”. The smoked paprika added a lot of flavor and made the hummus a beautiful light orange color.

You may have seen other hummus recipes that claim that it is impossible to make a smooth hummus without peeling all of the little skins off of each and every chickpea. That has always sounded like way too much work to me and apparently the good folks at ATK agreed. They experimented and found that a simple technique using a food processor could achieve the same smooth results.

Their method involves processing the chickpeas and then slowly adding water and lemon juice while the processor is running. They then add a tahini and oil mixture slowly with the processor running. This method magically produces a super smooth hummus!

Give this Hummus with Smoked Paprika a try, and I think you’ll be hooked!

Hummus with Smoked Paprika_edited-1

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Hummus with Smoked Paprika

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

 

Note about food processors: If you have a mini food processor with small holes at the top for drizzling in oil, please learn from my mistake. The holes are too small to handle the lemon juice and the tahini. It clogged for me and I had quite a mess on my hands. It is easiest to use this method with a full-sized food processor. If you only have the mini version, I suggest trying to blend in the lemon juice/water and the tahini/oil mixtures a bit at a time. It should work well even if it isn’t quite as smooth.

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(print the recipe)

 

 

Makes about 2 cups

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Ingredients for Hummus with Smoked Paprika

Ingredients for hummus

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¼ cup water

3 tablespoons lemon juice

6 tablespoons tahini

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

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

1 small garlic clove, minced

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

Pinch cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

1 tablespoon thinly sliced green onion (the green part)

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1. In a small bowl, combine the water and lemon juice. In another small bowl, blend the tahini and olive oil together.

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Lemon juice and water on the left; tahini and olive oil on the right.

lemon juice with water and tahini and oil

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2. Put the chickpeas, garlic, salt, smoked paprika, and cayenne in the bowl of your food processor and process for about 15 seconds.

ready to process

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3. Scrape the mixture down into the bowl. With the machine running, slowly add the water and lemon juice. Scrape the mixture down and then process for about 1 minute more.

4. Scrape the mixture down and, with the machine running, slowly add the tahini and olive oil mixture and then process until smooth, about 15 seconds more.

processed hummus

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5. Put the hummus in a serving bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let it sit for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.

6. When ready to serve, drizzle a bit of olive oil over the top and garnish with the pine nuts and green onion slices. Serve with carrot and celery sticks and/or pita chips.

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Hummus with Smoked Paprika tall

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Homemade Dungeness Crab Cakes

May 8, 2015

By Kath Dedon

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We love Metropolitan Market’s version of Dungeness Crab Cakes, but I wanted to try recreating them to make wheat-free and egg-free crab cakes. In order to thoroughly test my recipe, I had to make Dungeness Crab Cakes twice in one week – first for Laura’s birthday and then for our anniversary.

The ingredients in Metropolitan Market’s crab cakes are: crab, mayonnaise, panko, mustard, garlic, and green onion. I went wheat-free and egg-free for Laura’s birthday. Instead of panko, I made bread crumbs using a gluten-free, egg-free baguette and I subbed a vegan (thus egg-free) mayonnaise for regular mayonnaise. It worked great! The crab cakes were fantastic even though they kind of fell apart a bit.

For our anniversary I made them wheat-free but not egg-free. I used The Essential Baking Company’s Gluten-Free Deli Slice White Bread to make bread crumbs and used regular mayonnaise. The crab cakes held together much better this time. Could the small amount of egg in the bread and the mayonnaise make a difference? I don’t know.

I have to say that the Dungeness Crab Cakes were fabulous both nights. With the price of crab, this is most definitely a special occasion treat, but it’s still less expensive than going out for dinner and you get to make the crab cakes just the way you want them.

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Wheat-free Dungeness Crab Cake for our anniversary

Dungeness Crab cake_edited-1

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Homemade Dungeness Crab Cakes

(Inspired by Metropolitan Market’s crab cakes)

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Use vegan mayonnaise and omit the egg if you want to make the crab cakes egg-free. The crab cakes won’t hold together quite as well without the egg, but they will still be delicious.

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 4 (Can easily be cut in half to serve 2)

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1 pound Dungeness crabmeat

½ cup mayonnaise* (see note above for egg-free option)

½ cup panko (can sub gluten-free white bread crumbs)

½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons minced green onion

1 beaten egg* (see note above for egg-free option)

3 tablespoons olive oil for frying

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1. Combine all of the ingredients except the olive oil in a bowl.

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Mmmm….fresh Dungeness crab!

Dungeness crabmeat

Fresh gluten-free bread crumbs

Homemade bread crumbs

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2. Divide into 4 equal balls and flatten into patties on squares of parchment paper. (The parchment paper makes it easier to transfer the crab cakes to a skillet.)

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Each crab cake weighed about 5.3 ounces.

5.3 oz crab cake

Crab cakes formed

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3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. (I used a nonstick skillet.) Cook the crab cakes for about 4 minutes on each side and serve.

The crab cakes can be made up to a day ahead of time. Put the formed crab cakes on a baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until you’re ready to cook them.

Covered with plastic wrap

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The wheat-free and egg-free crab cakes for Laura’s birthday dinner fell apart a bit, but they were still fantastic!

Egg-free crab cake

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Dungeness Crab cake tall

Brisket with Berbere & Whiskey Barbecue Sauce

April 27, 2015

By Kath Dedon

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Brisket with Berbere & Whiskey Barbecue Sauce turned out to be even more delicious than the recipe sounded! I’d had my eye on it in Amanda Bevill and Julie Kramis Hearne’s World Spice at Home ever since I had received the book and it’s Flavor Companion of spices for my birthday last December. (Thank you, Joan!)

I was planning the menu for a small birthday dinner for Rhett and I asked Carrie what she thought he would like. She replied, “Well, he loves beef!” Bingo! I knew the time had come to try this recipe.

The beef rub does contain a couple of unusual ingredients: Berbere (pronounced “bur-bur-uh”), which is an Ethiopian spice blend, and smoked salt. I had the World Spice Berbere as part of the spice set that Joan included with the book. Amanda and Julie do give a recipe in their book to make your own Berbere, but it requires 14 ingredients to make a ½ cup. I am most likely to order a ½ cup of ground Berbere from World Spice when I run out.

I thought it might be hard to find smoked salt but apparently well-stocked grocery stores do carry it. I found three different kinds at my West Seattle Thriftway. I had to decide between Hickory Smoked Salt, Mesquite Smoked Salt, and Alder Smoked Salt. I chose Alder Smoked Salt. It is really fantastic and I think I’ll find many uses for it.

Once I had the ingredients, Brisket with Berbere & Whiskey Barbecue Sauce was very easy to make. It’s a slow, oven-braised dish that’s great for weekend entertaining.

We all loved this recipe! The brisket was tender and the sauce was rich and flavorful. It was perfect comfort food! If you have a special dinner coming up, I can’t recommend this recipe enough! It’s definitely worth the effort to gather the ingredients.

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Brisket with Berbere & Whiskey Barbecue Sauce 2

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Brisket with Berbere & Whiskey Barbecue Sauce

(Adapted from Amanda Bevill and Julie Kramis Hearne’s World Spice at Home)

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 6 – 8

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Ingredients for the Whiskey Barbecue Sauce

Ingredients for Whiskey BBQ Sauce

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For the sauce:

1 clove garlic, smashed

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

½ cup whiskey

½ cup orange juice

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

¼ cup maple syrup

1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon soy sauce (use wheat-free soy or tamari for gluten free)

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

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For the beef:

3 tablespoons coarsely ground Berbere

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon smoked salt

3 pounds beef brisket

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

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1. Preheat oven to 300˚.

2. Make the barbecue sauce. Heat the 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add the smashed garlic and cook stirring for a minute or two, until fragrant.

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The mallet that Bob’s brother, Mark, made from me made it easy to smash the garlic! 😉

smashed garlic

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3. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients to the pan and stir well to combine. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

simmered BBQ sauce

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4. Combine the Berbere, brown sugar, kosher salt, and smoked salt together in a small bowl. Then rub the mixture all over the brisket.

Berbere and smoked salt

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brisket

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brisket with spice rub

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5. Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large oven-safe skillet over medium. (Cast iron is ideal). Brown the brisket on both sides and then remove the skillet from the heat.

browning brisket

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6. Pour the barbecue sauce over the brisket. Put a lid on the skillet and put it in the oven. Bake for 3 hours, or until the brisket is fork-tender.

sauce added

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If you don’t have a lid, you could tightly cover the skillet with heavy duty foil.

put a lid on it

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7. Remove the brisket from the pan and put it on a cutting board. Cover with foil and allow it to rest for 15 minutes.

8. While the brisket is resting, spoon off some of the fat that accumulates on the surface of the sauce. Heat the sauce over low heat, whisking it to blend it together.

9. Slice the brisket against the grain. (Check out this excellent tutorial from the kitchn if you’re not sure what it means to “slice against the grain”.) Serve with the barbecue sauce.

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Tall Brisket with Berbere & Whiskey Barbecue Sauce 2

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Slow Cooker Chicken Mole

April 16, 2015

By Kath Dedon

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Who knew it could be so easy to make really good mole sauce? Cooking Light’s recipe for Slow Cooker Chicken Mole in their April 2015 issue is amazingly good!

Carrie made the recipe before I had gotten around to it. She shredded the chicken to use for tacos (with homemade corn tortillas!) and told me that it was delicious. It wasn’t long before I gave it a try.

I did make a couple of changes. Cooking Light recommends cooking the chicken for 8 hours. I had read in America’s Test Kitchen’s Slow Cooker Revolution, Volume 2 that they recommend cooking chicken thighs on Low for 4 – 5 hours. I decided to try 5 hours.

The other change I made was a substitution for the smoked almonds that they used. I’m not crazy about the ingredients in the smoked almonds that I have seen. A little research revealed that many Mexican recipes for mole use peanuts so that’s what I used. For the smoked almonds, I subbed ¼ cup of roasted peanuts and ¼ teaspoon of smoked salt*.

Instead of shredding the chicken, I served the thighs over steamed rice. Thinking that Bob would want to add Tabasco sauce, as he usually does with this type of dish, I put some on the table. He thought it was seasoned perfectly as it was, so he didn’t need the Tabasco. This recipe is a winner!

This Slow Cooker Chicken Mole is very quick and easy to put together. If you are home midday, you can get it going and then have the afternoon free to do whatever you want. I think you will be amazed, as we were, at how fantastic it is! I made the full recipe for the two of us and we eagerly ate it two nights in a row. I also took some to school for my lunch, and it reheated beautifully in a microwave oven. This is a recipe that WILL be part of my regular rotation!

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slow cooker chicken mole

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Slow Cooker Chicken Mole

(Adapted from a recipe in the April 2015 Cooking Light magazine)

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 4

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8 skinless, bone-in chicken thighs

¼ teaspoon kosher salt (I subbed smoked salt)

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

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Mole Sauce

¼ cup water

¼ cup smoked almonds (I used ¼ cup peanuts plus ¼ teaspoon of smoked salt)

¼ cup raisins

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 chipotle chiles, canned in adobo sauce

1 tablespoon adobo sauce

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

4 garlic cloves, crushed

1 small sweet onion, chopped

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1. Sprinkle the chicken thighs with the salt and pepper and put them in a 5 – 6 quart slow cooker.

chicken thighs

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2. Put all of the ingredients for the mole sauce in a food processor and process until it is smooth. You’ll probably have to stop the machine and push the sauce down the sides of the bowl a time or two.

onion and tomato pasted added

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3. Spread the mole sauce over the chicken in the slow cooker.

mole sauce spread over chicken

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4. Cook on Low for 5 hours.

5. Serve the chicken and sauce over rice. (Or shred the chicken to make tacos.)

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slow cooker chicken mole tall

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A note about smoked salt – I needed smoked salt for another recipe (which turned out to be delicious and will be posted soon). I wasn’t sure I had ever seen smoked salt at my usual grocery stores, but I put it on my list when I headed to Thriftway.  They had 3 kinds of smoked salt, all produced by the same company. They had mesquite smoked, hickory smoked, and alderwood smoked. Their salts are naturally smoked over wood; there are no other ingredients. I chose the alderwood smoked salt and was blown away by the flavor. I have a new favorite ingredient!

Alder Smoked Salt

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Ingredients in alder smoked salt

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Spicy Carrot Salad with Pilpelchuma

April 8, 2015

By Kath Dedon

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Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s recipe for Spicy Carrot Salad in Jerusalem turned out to be a great side dish with our Easter ham. It’s actually best made ahead of time and served at room temperature so it is perfect for entertaining.

A chile and garlic blend called Pilpelchuma, popular in Tripoli, is what makes it spicy. It’s pretty potent, but only one tablespoon is used in the salad. It makes it very flavorful without being too hot. It’s suggested that Harissa can be substituted but you may need to adjust how much you add, which will depend on the heat of your Harissa.

A carrot salad is often a part of an appetizer spread (meze) served in restaurants in Jerusalem. Ottolenghi and Tamimi take the typical salad of carrots, oil, garlic, and lemon juice or vinegar to the next level with their spicy version. I highly recommend this Spicy Carrot Salad!

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Spicy Carrot Salad 2

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Spicy Carrot Salad

(This is adapted from an Ottolenghi/Tamimi recipe in Jerusalem. They credited Pascale Perez-Rubin for her recipe that inspired them.)

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 4 very generously, 6 – 8 as part of a meal with many other dishes

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6 large carrots (1½ pounds/700g), peeled

3 tablespoons sunflower oil

1 large onion, finely chopped (2 cups/300g)

1 tablespoon Pilpelchuma (recipe below) or Harissa

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon caraway seeds, freshly ground

½ teaspoon sugar

3 tablespoon cider vinegar

1½ cups (30g) arugula leaves

¾ teaspoon sea salt

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1. Place the peeled carrots in a large pot. Cover with water, bring to a boil, and then cover, lower the heat and simmer for about 15 – 20 minutes, until just tender. Drain and allow to cool.

2. While the carrots are cooking, put half of the oil in a skillet and cook the onions over medium heat until golden brown, about 10 – 15 minutes.

3. In a large bowl, combine the onions, the other half of the oil, the Pilpelchuma, cumin, caraway, sugar, cider vinegar, and salt.

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Cooked onions added to the mixing bowl

golden brown onionsa

4. When the carrots have cooled, cut them into ¼-inch slices and stir them into the salad. Let the salad sit for at least 30 minutes before serving. (It can be made the day before. If so, cover and refrigerate but allow it to come to room temperature before serving.)

5. Just before serving, add the arugula or simply serve it on a bed of arugula. (If there is salad leftover, the arugula will wilt. I removed the arugula from our leftover salad.)

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Spicy Carrot Salad

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Pilpelchuma

(Leftover Pilpelchuma will keep for about a month in the refrigerator. The authors suggest pouring a thin film of oil over the surface to keep it from drying out. Use it as you would Harissa. Suggestions include smearing on root vegetables before roasting, mixing with oil and herbs to use as a meat rub, or mixing in scrambled eggs.)

 

Makes about 1 cup

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 I found dried ancho chiles in the section featuring Mexican ingredients.dried ancho chili

12 g chili

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You’ll need a small glass container that will hold about 1 cup

1 large ancho or pasilla chile or other dried chile with some heat (12g)

4½ tablespoons (25g) cayenne pepper

3½ tablespoons (25g) sweet paprika

2½ teaspoons ground cumin

1½ teaspoons caraway seeds, ground (I used a coffee grinder)

16 – 20 cloves garlic, peeled (2¾oz/75g)

¾ teaspoon sea salt

5 tablespoons (75 ml) sunflower oil

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Caraway seeds ready to be ground in a clean coffee grinder

ground caraway seeds

One head of garlic had 16 cloves of garlic, weighing 76g

76g garlic - 16 cloves

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1. Use Ottolenghi and Tamimi’s method to sterilize your container. Fill the container with boiling water. Leave it for a minute or so, and then empty and let it air dry.

2. Put the dried chile in a bowl and cover with hot water. Let it sit for 30 minutes.

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soaking the chilia

3. Put the ground spices in a skillet. Stir them over medium-low heat for about 2 minutes.

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Cayenne pepper, ground caraway seeds, ground cumin, and paprika

spices

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4. Put the spices in a small food processor and add the garlic and salt.

5. Remove the chile from the bowl of water. Seed it and cut into pieces and add it to the food processor.

6. Process the ingredients a bit, and then add the sunflower oil and process until it is a well-blended paste.

7. Put the Pilpelchuma in the sterilized container. Put a thin film of oil over it and then put the lid on and refrigerate.

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1 cup of Pilpelchuma

Pilpelchuma

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Spicy Carrot Salad tall

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Coconut Macaroons for Two

March 31, 2015

By Kath Dedon

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Bob loves coconut macaroons so I was excited to find this recipe for Coconut Macaroons for Two in the recently published book, Dessert for Two by Christina Lane. The book is full of great sounding desserts made in small batches to serve two people. I’m really looking forward to trying some more of Christina’s recipes!

The Coconut Macaroons recipe (Christina calls them Coconut Macarooooons) uses just five ingredients. With no flour, it’s naturally gluten-free and it is sweetened with honey. And it makes just 6 cookies. Perfect!

We loved these cookies! Bob proclaimed that they are right up there with my baklava. He ate the last one today and asked if I’d make them again. It’s not happening today, but I know it will happen again very soon.

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Coconut macaroons

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Coconut Macaroons for Two

(Adapted from the recipe in Dessert for Two by Christina Lane)

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(print the recipe)

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Makes 6 cookies

 

1 cup packed (3 ounces) unsweetened finely shredded coconut

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

3 tablespoons (45 mL) honey

1 large egg white

¼ teaspoon almond extract

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Parchment paper for the baking sheet (or cooking spray)

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Just five ingredients: honey, coconut, almond extract, an egg white, and salt

Ingredients for macaroons

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  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚ and line a small baking sheet with parchment paper (or spray it with cooking spray).
  2. Stir the coconut and salt together in a bowl.
  3. In another small bowl, lightly beat the honey, egg white, and almond extract together.
  4. Pour the liquid ingredients into the coconut and stir well until it is all blended together.
  5. Make 6 balls of dough, packing each one as tightly as you can, and put them on the prepared baking sheet.

Ready to bake

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  1. Bake for 17 minutes, or until golden brown.
  2. Place the baking sheet on a cooling rack and let the macaroons cool completely before removing them from the pan.

Cooling

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8. When they’re completely cool, remove the macaroons to a serving plate.

Coconut macaroons for 2

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Coconut macaroons a

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Corned Beef sans Cabbage

March 18, 2015

By Kath Dedon

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Corned Beef is traditionally served in many American homes on St. Patrick’s Day. I’ve thought about trying something else, like Irish stew or even salmon, to celebrate the feast but it just doesn’t seem right not to have Corned Beef.

I’ve always used my slow cooker to make it, but this year I made a wee change. I was intrigued by the recipe in America’s Test Kitchen’s Slow Cooker Revolution, Volume 2: The Easy-Prep Edition. I had always used just water, but they replaced half the water with chicken broth. I wondered if that could make a difference. Trusting all the research that ATK does I decided to try that this year.

I thought the difference was very subtle but positive. I think the added broth gave a bit more depth of flavor to the vegetables without tasting like chicken broth.

I also loved the idea of using whole small potatoes. (Why didn’t I think of that?) They used small red potatoes. I went with Yukon Gold because it is my favorite potato. Either way, the presentation is much better if you use small potatoes instead of cutting up larger ones.

There’s only one thing I might do differently. Next time I might cook the cabbage. It’s a last minute step that I completely forgot. But we nonetheless had a great St. Patrick’s Day feast complete with Southern Corn Bread (which turns out to be a great gluten/wheat-free alternative to Irish Soda Bread) served with Kerrygold butter and 3 kinds of local honey.

Who could blame me for forgetting the cabbage? We had the fun surprise of having an Irish American friend from the East Coast join us for dinner. And she brought her button accordion! It was incredibly fun to hear the accordion and to sing old Irish ballads with her. We were all so glad you could come, Mary Kate! 🙂

Truth be told, the cooked cabbage is my least favorite part of the dinner, and not one person said, “Where’s the cabbage?” Maybe we have a new tradition – Corned Beef sans Cabbage.

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Photo by Laura

Corned Beef

 

Corned Beef sans Cabbage

(Adapted from a recipe in ATK’s Slow Cooker Revolution, Volume 2)

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 6 – 8 (Serves up to 8 if you have a 4-pound corned beef)

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Note: You need a large slow cooker for this recipe. America’s Test Kitchen suggests a 6½ – 7 quart cooker. Mine is a 6 quart cooker and everything fit, but barely.

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1 (3 – 4 pound) corned beef brisket, fat trimmed to ¼ inch

1 can reduced sodium chicken broth (I used Swanson’s Natural Goodness)

About 2¼ cups of water

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1½ pounds small potatoes (cut in half if larger than 1 to 2 inches in diameter)

1½ pounds carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise if large, and cut into 3-inch lengths

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1. Place the corned beef with its pickling spices in the slow cooker.

Corned Beef and pickling spices

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2. Put the potatoes in.

 I cut the larger potatoes in half.

Potatoes added

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3. Add the carrots.

 Carrots added

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4. Pour the chicken broth into a 4 cup measuring cup. Add water to make 4 cups.

5. Sprinkle the thyme over the carrots, and then pour the broth over everything.

Corned beef ready to cook

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6. Cook on Low for 9 – 10 hours. (I cooked mine for 10 hours.)

10 hours set

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7. Remove the vegetables to a bowl. Remove the corned beef and cover it with foil to keep it warm. Let the corned beef rest for 15 minutes. Return the vegetables to the slow cooker set on Warm.

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(This would be the time to remove some of the broth to a large skillet to braise cabbage wedges for 10 – 15 minutes if you want cabbage.)

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8. Slice the meat against the grain and serve with the potatoes and carrots.

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Photo by Laura, resized by Kath

Corned Beef 2

Pecan Pie for Two in honor of Pi Day

March 15, 2015

By Kath Dedon

Yesterday was the best “Pi Day” of the Century. It was 3/14/15 and the first five digits of Pi are 3.1415! The next 3.1415 Pi Day won’t happen until 2115. I had to make a pie!

Since it was just the two of us for dinner, I decided to make Pecan Pie for Two. I bought a 6-inch pie plate and Internet research proved that its 4-cup capacity is exactly half of the 8-cup capacity of a 9-inch pie plate. That means I can simply cut any pie recipe in half to make a small pie for two.

I turned to my trusty Pecan Pie recipe and went to work. It was actually pretty easy, but I did have to deal with using 1½ eggs. If you have a kitchen scale, you can measure ½ of an egg by weight. I put a bowl on the scale and set it to zero grams. Leaving the bowl on the scale, I broke an egg into the bowl. My large egg weighed 48 grams. Still leaving the bowl on the scale, I whisked the egg. I then used a spoon to remove spoonfuls of egg until I had 24 grams left in the bowl. Voila! I had ½ of an egg. If you don’t have a scale, you could just whisk the egg and eyeball it. Just spoon out what looks like about half of the egg. 😉

I was quite pleased with the way my Pecan Pie for Two turned out!  It was actually quite adorable. Bob thought it should literally be “for two”, as in cut the pie in two – half for me and half for you. I pointed out that that would be like eating ¼ of a 9-inch pecan pie. This cute pie serves four.

If you’re interested in baking smaller pies (or quiches?) to serve two people, I highly recommend getting a 6-inch pie plate. Maybe you’ll make my Pecan Pie for Two for yourself and your honey!

Pecan Pie cooling on rack

Pecan Pie for Two

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 4 (or 2 if you want really big pieces)

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Olive Oil Pastry for a Single Crust Pie

(Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book)

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 I used to use Gold Medal Flour, but found that King Arthur Flour gives much better results! It makes a difference.

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3/4 cups (90 g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour 

1/4 teaspoon salt

2.8 (almost three) tablespoons extra light (mild tasting) olive oil

2 tablespoons cold milk

½ teaspoon vinegar

Waxed paper for rolling the dough

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A 6-inch pie plate is needed for this recipe

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1. Combine the flour and salt in a bowl.

2. Put the olive oil in a 1 cup measuring cup.

3. Add the milk and the vinegar to the same cup with the oil.Add the oil mixture to the flour all at once and stir with a fork just until it can be formed into a ball.

4. Form the dough into a ball and put it on a 12-inch sheet of waxed paper.(If you put a little water under the bottom of the waxed paper, it won’t slide around when you roll out the dough.)Flatten it with your hand; put another sheet of waxed paper on top and roll the dough out until it’s large enough to fit in the pie plate. (You can put the pie plate over the dough to judge the size.)

5. Carefully remove the top sheet of waxed paper. Lift the bottom sheet and dough up and put it paper-side up over the pie plate. Carefully remove the waxed paper and fit the dough into the pie plate.

6. Finish the edge of the crust the way you like. I simply use a fork to press into the dough around the edge.

Pecan Pie Filling

1 1/2 eggs (See tips in blog post for measuring ½ of an egg)

1/4 cup honey

2.8 (almost 3) tablespoons pure maple syrup

Pinch of salt

2.8 (almost 3) tablespoons melted butter

¾ cup pecan halves (it’s OK if they’re broken)

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1. Place a large rimmed baking sheet in the oven andpreheat to 350˚. (Don’t skip the baking sheet. It catches spillovers.)

2. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs slightly with a fork.

3. Add the honey, maple syrup, and salt and stir until well-blended.

4. While stirring constantly, pour in the melted butter; mix well.

5. Stir in the pecan halves. Pour the pecan filling into the prepared pie crust.

6. Place the pie on the baking sheet that has preheated in the oven (350˚). Bake for 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted off-center comes out clean. (If you have an instant-read thermometer, it should read 185°.) Cool on a wire rack.

6-inch Pecan Pie

My 6-inch Pecan Pie for Two sitting in my 9-inch pie plate

Pecan Pie sitting in a 9-inch plate

Two of the four servings of my 6-inch Pecan Pie for Two

Two servings of Pecan Pie

Petite Pecan Pie tall Read more…

Petite Flourless Chocolate Cake

March 5, 2015

By Kath Dedon

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I wanted a Petite Flourless Chocolate Cake.

You might remember when I made an Easy Flourless Chocolate Cake from Molly O’Neill’s One Big Table. It was so easy. It was fabulously chocolatey. And it was BIG. It’s supposed to serve 8 people, but it’s so rich I found that it could serve at least 12 people. I wanted that same great cake in a smaller version.

This very handy baking pan substitution chart shows that a 6-inch pan holds exactly half of the volume of the 9-inch pan I originally used. So I invested in the cutest little 6-inch cake pan.

The ingredients for the Easy Flourless Chocolate Cake were simple to cut in half. (I didn’t have to deal with things like 1½ eggs.) I was pretty sure it would work.

It worked beautifully! This Petite Flourless Chocolate Cake will definitely be one that I will make again when serving a small group of chocolate lovers! And I can’t wait to play around with other recipes to make other petite cakes in my new pan. Stay tuned…

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I used the same round serving platter for both cakes. You can see the difference in size.

My Petite Flourless Chocolate Cake

Tiny Chocolate Cake

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My original Easy Flourless Chocolate Cake

9-inch Flourless Chocolate Cake

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Petite Flourless Chocolate Cake

(Adapted from a recipe in One Big Table)

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When I made the original Easy Flourless Chocolate Cake I used sugar. This time I substituted maple sugar and it worked just fine. You can use whichever granular sweetener you prefer.

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 4 – 6

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1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus a tablespoon more for buttering the pan

1 tablespoon cocoa powder (For the pan. You can also use 1 Tbsp. sugar as in the original recipe, if you don’t have cocoa powder.)

1/2 cup sugar (100g) (or 100 grams – 1/2 cup – maple sugar)

7 ounces dark chocolate (60% cacao), broken into smaller pieces

large eggs

Parchment paper for the pan

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Ghirardelli’s 60% Cacao Chocolate is perfect in this cake!

Chocolate

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1. Preheat the oven to 350˚.

2. Use the extra tablespoon of butter to grease a 6-inch round cake pan. Use about 2 teaspoons of it to grease the pan. Then cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan. Put the paper in the pan and use the remaining teaspoon of butter to grease the paper. Sprinkle the cocoa powder (or a tablespoon of sugar) in the pan and shake it back and forth to cover the bottom. Pour out any excess.

Prepared 6-inch pan dusted with cocoa powder

Dusted with cocoa powder

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3. Melt the 1 stick of butter and the chocolate together in a heavy medium saucepan over low heat. Stir it constantly once it starts to melt. When it has all melted and blended together, remove from the heat and allow it to cool a bit.

4. Beat the eggs with a mixer until light. Add the sugar a bit at a time, mixing at medium speed for about 6 – 8 minutes. The mixture should be pale and fluffy.

5. Fold the egg mixture into the chocolate and gently stir until well blended.

6. Pour into the prepared 6-inch cake pan.

7. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes. Check the cake after 30 minutes. The top should be a bit crusty(kind of like brownie tops)and the cake should feel firm. You can test it with an instant read thermometer. Put it in the center of the cake without touching the bottom of the pan. If the temperature is at least 140˚ the cake is done.

8. Cool the cake on a cake rack. When cool, run a knife along the side of the pan and turn the cake out on a serving plate.

9. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream, if desired, or simply dust with a bit of powdered sugar.

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Tiny Chocolate Cake 2

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Apple Crisp (or any Fruit Crisp)

February 11, 2015

By Kath Dedon

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Apple Crisp is one of the easiest desserts you can make. It’s perfect for entertaining. It can be made ahead of time and then reheated in the oven later. Leftovers can be eaten the next morning for a tasty breakfast treat. (I speak from experience.)

This particular recipe uses less sugar than many others and I love the way it turned out. It’s moderately sweet and the flavor of the apples is not overwhelmed by sugar.

Most recipes call for half flour and half rolled oats. I did not use flour. I used quick oats to make it wheat-free. Without any flour in the mix, I think the quick oats made the texture better than it would have been had I used regular rolled oats.

I made an Apple Crisp, but you can really use a variety of different fruits to make a Fruit Crisp. Laura recently used this recipe to make an Apple/Pear Crisp. She used four medium Granny Smith apples and four not-quite-ripe pears and it was delicious! Apple/Cranberry Crisp would be great when cranberries are available. In The Food Matters Cookbook, Mark Bittman suggests using peaches, pears, plums, or even mangoes in Fruit Crisp. So just get creative with it and use 6 cups of whatever fruit you’d like.

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Apple crisp

Apple Crisp

(Adapted from a recipe from Spud.com, contributed by Jen McColl)

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 6 – 8

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Apples

3 pounds apples (6 large or 8 medium)

¼ cup packed brown sugar (I used maple sugar.)

½ teaspoon cinnamon

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Topping

1 cup quick oats

½ cup sliced almonds, chopped just a bit into smaller pieces

¼ cup packed brown sugar (I used maple sugar.)

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon salt

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 Almonds chopped just a bit into smaller pieces

Chopped, sliced almonds

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1. Heat oven to 375˚

2. Peel and core the apples. Chop them into ½ – ¾-inch chunks.

Apples

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3. Toss the apples with the ¼ cup of sugar and ½ teaspoon cinnamon.

4. Put the apples in a 6-cup baking dish. (An 11 x 7 x 2 rectangular dish, or an 8 x 8 x 2 square dish, or a 9-inch pie plate would all work.)

Apples in the pan

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5. Cover the apples with foil and bake for 20 minutes.

6. While the apples are baking, make the topping. Combine the topping ingredients in a bowl. Stir with a fork until the butter is well-distributed.

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Topping ingredients, ready to blend in the butter

Crisp topping ready for butter

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7. After the apples have baked for 20 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and distribute the topping mixture over the apples.

8. Put the pan, uncovered, back in the oven and bake for an additional 30 minutes, or until the topping is browned a bit and the fruit is tender.

9. Best if cooled just a bit so it is still warm when served. (It can also be reheated in a 200˚ oven for about 30 minutes.) It’s delicious served with vanilla ice cream.

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Apple crisp 2

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Super Bowl Eats

January 27, 2015

By Kath Dedon

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It’s an exciting week to be in Seattle. The whole town is ecstatic about the Seahawks winning that crazy NFC Championship Game over Green Bay and now, for the second year in a row, our team is playing in the Super Bowl!

Watching the Super Bowl when your team is playing takes the experience to a whole new level. The game becomes much  more important than the commercials and half-time show! And it calls for some good eats.

So without further ado, here are a few suggestions for recipes that might work for your crowd.

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Go Hawks!!

Go Seahawks

Just click on the title of each dish to see the recipe.

Guacamole

From Gourmet magazine. Really good and really easy.

Gourmet's Guacamole

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Chinese Chicken Wings

This is what I took to last year’s Super Bowl party. (Seahawks 43 – Broncos 8)

 chinese chicken wings 2

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Slow Cooker Mexican Pulled Pork Tacos

This may be my favorite crowd-pleasing main dish.

Slow Cooker Mexican Pulled Pork

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Emeril Lagasse’s Smoked Sausage and Black-Eyed Peas

This is my most re-pinned photo on Pinterest!

 Smoked Sausage and Black-Eyed Peas 3

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The New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies

Make the cookie dough Thursday or Friday to bake on Saturday. It’s worth the extra time. The.Best.Chocolate.Chip.Cookies!

 Chocolate chip cookies!

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Katharine Hepburn’s Brownies

This is still my favorite brownie recipe.

 Katharine Hepburn's Brownies - square

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Mandarin Orange Cake

This cake will not win a beauty contest, but it is so easy and so good.  It’s always a party hit.

Mandarin Orange Cake 3

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Braised Beef Short Ribs with Caramelized Onions & Baharat

January 26, 2015

By Kath Dedon

When I tasted a friend’s Braised Beef Short Ribs with Caramelized Onions and Baharat, I knew I needed the recipe. The ribs were melt-in-your mouth tender and the sauce was incredible. I was already familiar with Amanda Bevill’s and Julie Kramis Hearne’s new book, World Spice at Home. Tasting these ribs made me positive that I would have to add the book to my library.

Amanda is the owner of a wonderful local spice shop near the Pike Place Market, World Spice Merchants. Julie is a professional chef who has coauthored three other cookbooks. Together, they created a book full of exciting recipes using exotic spices which may be new to you.

Our friend, Jill, who made the short ribs for us, just so happens to be Julie’s mother-in-law! She not only had the book, but also the World Spice at Home Flavor Companion. It’s a collection of 16 different spices and spice blends: Ras el Hanout, Harissa, Tikka Masala, Kashmiri Curry, Kashmiri Garam Masala, Israeli Za’atar, Syrian Za’atar, Poudre de Colombo, Berbere, Dukkah, Baharat, Besar, Chinese Five Spice, Urfa Biber, Aleppo, and Sumac. Each jar contains two tablespoons of spice, enough to try at least a couple of the recipes.

After Jill’s fabulous dinner, I not-so-subtly let it be known that I wanted World Spice at Home and the Flavor Companion. My sister gave me both for my birthday last month. (Thank you, Joan!)

The Flavor Companion makes it very easy for people unfamiliar with some of the spices to give them a try. However, with a well stocked spice pantry, you can make the spice blends yourself. Amanda and Julie give the recipes for all of the blends in the book.

I recently made the Braised Beef Short Ribs with Caramelized Onions and Baharat for Carrie’s birthday dinner. Because it’s a slow braise, it takes some time to make it but it is very easy. It’s a great dish for entertaining! Since it may be the BEST short ribs recipe I have ever tasted, I’m sure I’ll be making it again. Probably soon! I would definitely make this just for Bob and me and I’d be thrilled to have leftovers to enjoy!

I am really looking forward to exploring some of the other recipes in World Spice at Home!

I served the ribs and carrots over mashed potatoes.

Braised Beef Short Ribs with Caramelized Onions & Baharat

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Braised Beef Short Ribs with Caramelized Onions and Baharat

(Adapted from a recipe in Amanda Bevill’s and Julie Kramis Hearne’s World Spice at Home)

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 6

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Because I had already used a lot of the Baharat in my Flavor Companion to season steaks, I blended up some more for this recipe. It was very easy to do. I use a Krups coffee grinder. To clean the grinder, grind raw white rice or bread crumbs.

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Baharat (makes 1/3 cup) 

½ teaspoon whole cloves

1 tablespoon allspice berries

1 tablespoon cumin seeds

1 tablespoon black peppercorns

2 teaspoons coriander seed

1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika

½ teaspoon cardamom seed

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Put all of the ingredients in a spice or coffee grinder and grind together. Store in an airtight container.

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Spices for Baharat

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Baharat

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Short ribs

½ cup flour (I used brown rice flour to make it wheat free)

2 tablespoons baharat

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 – 5 pounds beef short ribs

3 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 sweet onions, cut into 1/2–inch slices

1 cup beef broth

½ cup ketchup

½ cup beer

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

½ teaspoon dry mustard

6 medium carrots, peeled and cut at an angle into 2-inch pieces

1 dried bay leaf

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Beef short ribs

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1. Preheat the oven to 350˚ and position a rack in the middle of the oven.

2. Mix the flour, baharat, salt and pepper together. Dredge the short ribs in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess.

3. Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter and olive oil.

4. Brown the ribs in batches (you don’t want to crowd the pan) for 3–4 minutes on each side.

5. Remove the ribs from the pan.

Browned ribs

browned short ribs

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6. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the sliced onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until they are softened.

cooking onions

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7. Put the onions and the ribs in a large Dutch oven. Stir in the broth, ketchup, beer, brown sugar, vinegar, and mustard.

braising the ribs

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8. Cover the pot and braise in the preheated oven for 1½ hours.

9. Add the carrots and bay leaf to the pot. Cover, and put the pot back in the oven to braise for another hour, or until the meat is fork-tender.

10. Serve over mashed potatoes or polenta.

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Braised Beef Short Ribs tall

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World Spice Flavor Companion

World Spice Flavor Companion

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World Spice Baharat

World Spice Baharat

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Chocolate Chip Mint Frosting

January 24, 2015

By Kath Dedon

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A few months ago when I noticed Kristan’s recipe for Mint Chocolate Chip Cake on her Confessions of a Cookbook Queen blog, I knew it would probably be the perfect birthday cake for Carrie. She has always been a huge chocolate/mint combo fan and confirmed that she would love to try the cake.

I made my favorite Hershey’s cocoa chocolate cake and frosted it with Chocolate Chip Mint Frosting. It was so easy to make and it tasted fantastic! It’s very “minty” which I loved. It was a huge hit at Carrie’s birthday dinner with all but one. Laura doesn’t like mint so she didn’t really care for it.

If you do like mint flavor that is as intense as Peppermint Patties, you will love this Chocolate Chip Mint Frosting!

Kristan used green food coloring, which I chose not to use. Do hop on over to her blog to see her gorgeous photos. Add the green food coloring, if you want.

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Chocolate Chip Mint Frosting_edited-1

 

Chocolate Chip Mint Frosting

(Adapted from the recipe for Mint Chocolate Chip Cake on confessionsofacookbookqueen.com)

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(print the recipe)

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Makes enough to frost a two-layer cake or 24 cupcakes

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Kristan advises against using chocolate chips because they make the frosting difficult to spread. I used half of a 4-oz Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Baking Bar.  

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2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, slightly softened

1/3 cup heavy cream (I used cream, but I’m sure you could use milk instead.)

2 teaspoons mint extract

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon salt

4 cups powdered sugar

2 ounces of a semi-sweet chocolate bar, finely chopped

 

1. Beat the butter, cream, the mint and vanilla extracts, and the salt together at medium speed until they are well-blended.

2. Turn the mixer speed down to low and gradually add the powdered sugar. When it is all mixed in, increase the speed to medium and beat for about a minute. If it seems a bit too thick, add in another tablespoon or two of the cream. (I did find I needed to add a bit more cream.)

3. Reduce the speed to low to mix in the chopped chocolate.

4. Frost your favorite chocolate cake which has been completely cooled after baking.

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cake with Chocolate Chip Mint Frosting

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Chocolate Chip Mint Frosting tall

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Tortilla Soup

January 22, 2015

By Kath Dedon

I can’t believe I haven’t shared this Tortilla Soup recipe before today. It used to appear fairly regularly in my dinner rotation because it was something the whole family enjoyed.

The original recipe is from the 2001 edition of Cook’s Illustrated’s The Best Recipe: Soups and Stews. The folks at Cook’s Illustrated concluded that canned broth works just fine in this recipe which makes it especially quick and easy for a weeknight dinner.

Tortilla Soup is also perfect for easy entertaining. I multiplied it by 1.5 to have enough to serve 9 people on Christmas Eve. It was simple to serve and I think everyone enjoyed it.

When serving the soup, make sure the broth is boiling hot so it doesn’t cool down too much when added to the chicken, avocado, and tortilla strips in the bowls.

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Tortilla Soup 2

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Tortilla Soup

(Adapted from a recipe in Cook’s Illustrated’s The Best Recipe: Soups and Stews)

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 6

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6 corn tortillas

1 tablespoon oil for the soup, plus more to brush on the corn tortillas

1 medium chopped onion (about 1 cup)

2 large cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons chili powder

2 quarts chicken broth

2 tablespoons lime juice, plus 1 lime cut into wedges

16 – 20 ounces boneless and skinless chicken breasts, cut in half if large

1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained

2 medium ripe avocadoes, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/2-inch dice

1½ cups grated Monterey Jack cheese

2 medium jalapeno chiles, thinly sliced

½ cup packed fresh cilantro leaves (very good, but optional)

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If I don’t have homemade broth I use Swanson’s Natural Goodness Broth.

chicken broth

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1. Preheat the oven to 350˚.

2. Place the tortillas on a large baking sheet and brush with oil.

Brushing tortillas with oila

3. Stack the tortillas and cut in half. Then cut the halves into thin strips.

Cutting tortillasa

4. Spread the strips out on the baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, until crisp and lightly browned.

Toasted tortilla strips

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5. Heat the 1 tablespoon oil in a large pot. Add the chopped onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is soft and starting to brown. This will take about 5 minutes.

6. Add the garlic and chili powder and cook, stirring, for about 15 seconds.

onions

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7. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil.

8. Add the lime juice and chicken breasts. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes, with the pot partially covered, until the chicken breasts are cooked through. (Cut the largest breast piece in half to see if it’s done.)

simmering

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9. Remove the chicken from the pot and shred it into bite-sized pieces.

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Cooked chicken breasts

chicken breasts

Shredded

Shredded chickena

10. Add the tomatoes to the broth. Bring it to a boil and cook for about 5 minutes.

11. To serve, put some tortilla strips, chicken, and avocado pieces in each bowl.

avocado, chicken and chipsa

12. Top with hot broth and serve.

Broth addeda

13. Pass the cheese, jalapeno peppers, and lime wedges at the table for everyone to add to their soup. (And the cilantro, if you’re using it.)

Jalapeno, jack cheese, lime wedgesa

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Tortilla Soup 3

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Pork Ragu for a Crowd

January 2, 2015

By Kath Dedon

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Pork Ragu for a Crowd is a perfect choice for a winter dinner party. It easily serves up to 12 people and it can be made ahead of time. In fact, it is one of those dishes that tastes even better the next day.

I found the recipe for Pork Ragu for a Crowd in Domenica Marchetti’s Big Night In – More Than 100 Wonderful Recipes for Feeding Family and Friends Italian-Style. Domenica says it makes enough to sauce at least 3 pounds of pasta and she recommends using a short pasta shape, like rigatoni. I decided to serve it with polenta instead and I loved the rich, meaty sauce paired with the creamy polenta. (Bob totally disagreed but that’s because he just doesn’t like polenta.)

I made the ragu a couple of days before the party and refrigerated it. Then all I had to do was heat it up on the day of the party.

Whether you use pasta or polenta, I absolutely recommend that you try the Pork Ragu for a Crowd even if you’re not serving a crowd. The leftover ragu will freeze beautifully for future meals.

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Pork Ragu for a Crowd, served with Easy Slow Cooker Polenta

Pork Ragu for a Crowd served with polenta_edited-2

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Pork Ragu for a Crowd

(Adapted from a recipe in Domenica Marchetti’s Big Night In)

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Technically, the ragu I made was Pork and Chicken Ragu because the grocery store was out of pork sausage and I used chicken sausage. It worked fine, but I would use pork sausage next time.

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 10 – 12

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Some of the ingredients for the ragu

ingredients

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3 pounds boneless pork shoulder, in one or two pieces

Kosher or sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil

2 large yellow onions, diced (about 5 cups)

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup dry red wine

7 cups chopped canned tomatoes with their juices

4 bay leaves

1 large or 2 small sprigs of fresh rosemary

1 pound mild Italian pork sausage

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I cut the large roast into 2 pieces

boneless pork shoulder roast

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  1. Heat the ¼ cup of olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  1. Salt and pepper the pork on all sides. (I cut the large roast into 2 smaller pieces.) Brown the pork on all sides in the hot pan. Remove the browned pork from the pan.

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Browned pork removed to a stainless steel bowl.

browned roast

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3. Reduce the heat to medium and add the 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Add the onions and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until the onions are softened.

onions

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4. Put the pork back in the pan and add the wine. After it has cooked for about 1 minute, add in the tomatoes with their juices, the bay leaves and the rosemary sprigs.

5. Reduce heat to medium-low. Remove the sausage from its casing, break it into small pieces and add it to the sauce.

6. Cover the pot and simmer for 2 – 2½ hours, until the pork roast is very tender. Adjust the heat, if necessary, so the ragu is gently simmering, not boiling. (I had to turn my burner to the lowest setting to maintain a gentle simmer.)

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Gently simmering

Ragu simmering

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7. When the pork is fork-tender, remove it from the ragu and shred it using two forks. Add it back to the ragu and heat briefly so the meat and the sauce are both hot.

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Shredding the pork

Shredding pork

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8. Serve with pasta or polenta. Leftover sauce can be frozen.

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Finished ragu

After simmering a while_edited-1

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Served with Polenta

Pork Ragu for a Crowd

Easy Slow Cooker Polenta

January 2, 2015

By Kath Dedon

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Easy Slow Cooker Polenta couldn’t be easier. I used the America’s Test Kitchen’s recipe for Easy Polenta in Slow Cooker Revolution. You simply whisk the polenta and salt into water in a slow cooker and cook it on Low for 4 – 6 hours. When it’s done, you stir in Parmesan cheese and butter and serve.

This is the perfect way to make polenta if you’re entertaining. There’s no last minute-stirring at the stove. In fact, you can have the polenta finished before your guests arrive and it can be held on the warm setting of your slow cooker for 1 – 2 hours. Just stir in a bit of hot water if it gets too thick.

I made this Easy Slow Cooker Polenta to serve with Pork Ragu for a Crowd and it was a perfect pairing.

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Easy Slow Cooker Polenta with Pork Ragu for a Crowd

Pork Ragu for a Crowd served with polenta_edited-2

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Easy Slow Cooker Polenta

(Adapted from a recipe in ATK’s Slow Cooker Revolution)

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(print the recipe)

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Be sure to get polenta, not just any kind of cornmeal. Polenta is finely ground, but it doesn’t have any powdery bits of corn flour. According to the folks at the America’s Test Kitchen, if you use a cornmeal that does have floury bits in it they will make your polenta “taste gluey”.

Polenta

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Serves 8 – 10

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Vegetable oil spray

7½ cups water

1½ cups polenta

1½ teaspoons of salt

2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons butter

Additional salt and pepper, to taste

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1. Spray the inside of a slow cooker with the vegetable oil spray.

2. Add the water to the slow cooker. Whisk in the polenta and salt.

Whisking in polenta

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3. Cover and cook on Low for 4 – 6 hours.

4. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and butter.

Freshly grated Parmesan

Grating parmesan_edited-1

5. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

6. Serve immediately, or hold on Warm for 1 – 2 hours. If held on Warm, stir in a bit of hot water if it thickens up too much.

Today is the 5th Anniversary of my blog!

December 31, 2014

By Kath Dedon

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Today is the 5th Anniversary of my blog! WordPress.com even sent me anniversary greetings! I made public note of my 1st anniversary in 2010 because I was actually kind of amazed that I had kept at it for a full year. And now, here I am on the 5th anniversary. It’s been a fun ride! Looking at my stats, the most popular recipe today is Smoked Sausage and Black-Eyed Peas. I guess everyone needs their good luck black-eyed peas. I know I’m making this great recipe for New Year’s Day tomorrow. As good as it is, it didn’t make the top five of the year. a

Happy New Year with Emeril Lagasse’s Smoked Sausage and Black-Eyed Peas Smoked Sausage and Black-Eyed Peas 3

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Here are the top five recipes for 2014:

#5 Quick and Easy Chicken Noodle Soup has been a favorite in our family for over 15 years. Quick and Easy Chicken Noodle Soup a

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#4 Boiled Lobster Tails is ridiculously easy for a special occasion. Boiled lobster tail a

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#3 Slow Roasted St. Louis Style Ribs – Yes, you can enjoy great ribs in the dead of winter! Slow Roasted Pork Ribs 2 a

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#2 Melt-in-your-mouth Homemade Cheese Crackers Until this year, this cheese cracker recipe was the most popular post on my blog. crackers a

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#1 Perfect Rib Eye Roast This recipe was the most popular this year and it also became the #1 recipe of all time, pushing the cheese crackers into second place. It’s also the recipe that has received the most comments, mostly favorable. 😉 Slices of Perfect Rib Eye Roast a

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I still have a few recipes from 2014 that I will be posting soon – a fabulous Italian Pork Ragu that’s perfect for entertaining, a slow cooker recipe for Polenta that is so easy, and a tasty blueberry muffin that is wheat-(and gluten-)free. And, I’m excited to explore some new cookbooks that I received. (Bob declared that this Christmas was the year of the cookbook. Not that he is complaining.) I’ve already started sticky-noting the recipes I want to try.

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Cookbooks 2014

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And Byron chose a wonderful cookbook for me, Sharon Kramis’ & Julie Kramis Hearne’s The Dutch Oven Cookbook. However, it’s one that I like so much that it’s a book that I already own. I’m thinking of exchanging it for Cooking Light’s Global Kitchen. I checked this one out from the library and I’m pretty sure I need to add it to my collection.

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See all those blue sticky notes marking interesting recipes in this library book?

Global Kitchen

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So I’ll be busy in the kitchen in 2015. Because I do like to eat well! And I’ll continue to share the good stuff on this blog. So stay tuned. Happy New Year! Thank you so much for taking the time to visit In the kitchen with Kath. I appreciate each and every one of you. I hope you’ll be sharing many happy meals with family and friends in 2015!

Almond Flour Pie Crust

December 30, 2014

By Kath Dedon

I have made Elana Amsterdam’s Paleo Pie Crust two or three times since Thanksgiving. It makes a great grain-free option for pies. Everyone seemed to enjoy it and it’s very easy to make. I thought it was about time I shared it.

I used this Almond Flour Pie Crust to make pecan pie, but it could be used with whatever filling you like. Elana uses only 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, but I found that 3 tablespoons worked better for me. It was a little crumbly with the smaller amount.

Honeyville Blanched Almond Flour is the flour I used. I can find it at my local Costco. It is a much finer grind than other almond flours or meals. You could probably use other brands, but I haven’t tried any of them.

If you, or someone you love, eats wheat-free, gluten-free, grain-free, or paleo, give this Almond Flour Pie Crust a try. You’ll be their super hero!

 

Pecan pie in an Almond Pie Crust

Pecan pie in an almond crusta

 

Almond Flour Pie Crust

(Adapted from Elana Amsterdam’s recipe on elanaspantry.com)

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Be sure to use the baking sheet in the oven. I found that each time I made the crust, there was oil on the outside of the pie plate after I baked it. I’m not quite sure how to avoid that; I was glad to have used the baking sheet.

 

(print the recipe)

 

2 cups blanched almond flour

¼ teaspoon sea salt

3 tablespoons coconut oil

1 egg

Blanched almond flour

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  1. Place a large rimmed baking sheet on a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350˚.
  1. Put the flour and salt in a food processor and pulse.
  1. Add the coconut oil and egg and pulse until it comes together.

almond crust in the cuisinart

  1. Press into a 9-inch pie plate.

almond crust ready to fill

  1. Fill with your preferred pie filling and bake on the preheated baking sheet for 40 – 50 minutes. (Exact time will depend on your filling. 40 minutes was plenty for my pecan pie.)
  1. Or, for a pre-baked crust, bake it without filling on the baking sheet for 8 – 12 minutes.

Pecan pie in an almond crust 2

Curry Dip with Crudités

November 17, 2014

By Kath Dedon

 

This Curry Dip with Crudités is a flash from the past for me. Because my dad worked for Northwest Airlines, we luckily had the opportunity to fly often and we were often upgraded to first class. This was back in the day when first class food was pretty delicious.

Northwest served this Curry Dip with vegetables to first class passengers in the late ‘60s and/or early ‘70s. It was quite popular. In fact, I think my mom got the recipe from either the Minneapolis Star or the Minneapolis Tribune, the local newspapers at the time. It had been published at the request of a reader.

The Curry Dip became one of mom’s “go-to” recipes when entertaining. The whole “crudités with dip” thing was quite popular at the time, and this dip was better than average.

Flash forward to the early ‘80s when Bob and I were hosting a dinner party. I wanted an easy appetizer to serve so I called mom to get the recipe. I still have the list of ingredients that I wrote down on Bob’s sailing paper.

It had been years since I last made it, but it turns out that Curry Dip with Crudités is just as good as I remember it. It’s great for the upcoming holiday season because it can be made ahead of time and covered and refrigerated until needed. In fact, it probably is best to make it ahead of time so the flavors “marry”.

I kept it simple with carrot sticks, celery sticks, and sugar snap peas, but you could use any raw vegetables that you like. It’s a great way to get your family and friends to eat a serving of vegetables before they even sit down at the table!

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Curry Dip

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Curry Dip with Crudités

(From a recipe that Northwest Airlines served in first class)

 

I was tempted to use more curry powder, but I stuck with the recipe. I did use a “hot” curry powder, however. The curry flavor is subtle and works well with the other ingredients.

 

(print the recipe)

 

Makes enough dip to easily serve 6 – 8

 

1 cup mayonnaise

2 teaspoons Heinz chili sauce

½ teaspoon curry powder

1/8 teaspoon dried thyme

½ teaspoon salt

Dash pepper

2 tablespoons tarragon vinegar

 

1. Whisk all of the ingredients together. (How easy is that?) Cover and refrigerate until serving time.

2. Serve with vegetables of your choice.

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The list of ingredients I wrote down when I called my mom

Recipe for Curry Dip

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Curry Dip 2

Maple (or honey) Sweetened Pumpkin Bread

October 31, 2014

By Kath Dedon

 

One of the most popular pins on my Pinterest boards is the one for my Pumpkin Bread, and for good reason. It’s delicious and it is so easy to make.

I have wondered if I could successfully make it using honey or pure maple syrup instead of the 1½ cups of sugar in the original recipe. Yesterday I gave it a try.

I used ¾ cup of grade B maple syrup instead of the sugar. I also eliminated the 1/3 cup of water since I was using a liquid sweetener.

I was quite pleased with the way this Maple Sweetened Pumpkin Bread turned out! It did not rise as high as the original one did, but the texture and the flavor are excellent.

I think next time I’ll try honey instead of maple syrup. I liked the subtle sweetness of this bread, but Bob thought it wasn’t quite sweet enough. I think using honey, which is sweeter than maple syrup, will make it perfect.

I’ll definitely try it again! My favorite way to enjoy pumpkin bread is to toast it and spread butter on it (preferably Kerrygold salted butter!). It’s easy to toast it in a toaster oven. If you have a regular toaster, be sure to cut a thick enough slice so it won’t fall apart.

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Maple Pumpkin Breada

Pumpkin Bread Sweetened with Maple Syrupa

 

Maple (or honey) Sweetened Pumpkin Bread

(Adapted from a classroom recipe; original source unknown)

 

(print the recipe)

 

Makes one loaf

 

1 2/3 cups (200 g of King Arthur’s All Purpose) flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

¾ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg

½ cup oil

2 eggs

1 cup canned pumpkin

¾ cup pure maple syrup (or honey)

 

1. Preheat the oven to 350˚.

2. Grease an 9 x 5 – inch bread pan.

3. Mix flour, soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl.

4. Make a well in this mixture. Pour in the oil, eggs, pumpkin, and the maple syrup or honey. Mix well with a sturdy spoon.

5. Pour into the greased baking pan. Bake for 1 hour or until done.

Maple Sweetened Pumpkin Bread

6. Cool in the pan for about 15 minutes, and then remove the bread from the pan and continue to cool on a wire rack.

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T Pumpkin Bread Sweetened with Maple Syrup

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Braised Beef Brisket

October 28, 2014

By Kath Dedon

 

Braised Beef Brisket is perfect for a rainy Sunday afternoon. Once you get the brisket in the oven, you can settle down with a good book while it braises for three hours. You do have to get up about every half hour to turn the brisket, but how hard is that?

The recipe in Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything calls for a whole 5-pound brisket, but I chose a smaller one which was about 2¼ pounds. I didn’t reduce the quantity of the other ingredients because I wanted plenty of sauce. That was a great decision!

Mark says browning the brisket is optional, but I chose to do it because it’s almost always a good first step and it only adds about 10 minutes to the prep time.

I loved the simplicity of his recipe and it all came together beautifully. The onions pretty much melted into the flavorful sauce. I could just eat the sauce by the spoonful!

Braised Beef Brisket is a great dish for fall. We thoroughly enjoyed it with our Yukon gold potatoes and Swiss chard fresh from the garden!

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Beef brisket 2

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Braised Beef Brisket

(Adapted from Mark Bittman’s recipe in How to Cook Everything)

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 4 – 6

(I used a half brisket. You can follow the recipe exactly as it is written using a whole 5-pound brisket to serve 10 or more people.)

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1 tablespoon oil

Beef brisket (about 2¼ – 2½ pounds)

Salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons butter

2 cups chopped onion

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1 teaspoon minced garlic

3 cups chicken broth or water (I used homemade chicken broth)

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1. Heat the oven to 325˚.

2. Heat a large oven-proof Dutch oven with a lid over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the oil and swirl it around the bottom.

3. Sear the brisket for about 5 minutes; turn it over and sear the other side for 5 minutes.

Sear

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4. Remove the brisket from the pan. Salt and pepper both sides.

5. Using a paper towel, wipe the oil out of the pan.

towel

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6. Reduce the heat on the stove to medium and add the butter to the pan.

butter

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7. When the butter is foaming, add the onions to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 – 15 minutes, or until softened.

onions

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8. Sprinkle in some salt and pepper and add the tomato paste and garlic to the pan.

tomato paste and garlic

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9. Stir in the chicken broth.

broth added

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10. Add the brisket to the pan. Cover and put the pan in the preheated oven.

roast

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11. Cook the brisket for 3 hours, turning it every 30 minutes or so. It should be very tender after 3 hours.

12. Remove the brisket from the pan and put it on a cutting board or platter. Cover with foil and let it rest about 10 minutes.

13. While the brisket is resting, boil the sauce without a lid for a few minutes to boil it down and thicken it a bit.

14. Slice the brisket against the grain and serve it with the sauce.

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Beef brisket t

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Rack of Lamb for Two

October 2, 2014

By Kath Dedon

 

If you and your sweetheart like lamb, this Rack of Lamb for Two is perfect for a special evening at home.

Is it just me, or has rack of lamb become wildly expensive in the past few years? It’s always been expensive, but I don’t recall that it seemed prohibitive 30 years ago. It was something that was part of our regular rotation when we were newlyweds.

On a trip to Costco this week I spotted rack of lamb from Australia for $11.99 a pound. That’s still expensive, but it’s much less expensive than what I see in the grocery store. Having had good luck with other meats from Costco, I decided to give it a try.

I used my favorite recipe from my old Sunset Cooking for Two…or Just for You cookbook. It’s foolproof, and that’s what you want with an expensive cut of meat.

The lamb was fantastic and a real treat! I am glad to know that I can get a top-quality rack of lamb at a more reasonable price at Costco.

I like to make the lamb the star of the meal, so I usually serve it with a simple vegetable and a salad. Serve with a glass of red wine and  it feels like a “date night” at home!

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Rack of Lamb for Two_edited-1

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Rack of Lamb for Two

(Adapted from a recipe in Sunset Cooking for Two)

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 2

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1½ tablespoons butter, at room temperature

1 tablespoon minced parsley

1 small clove garlic, minced or pressed

Dash of salt and pepper

An 8-rib rack of lamb

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Costco rack of lamb

Costco rack of lamb

  1. Preheat the oven to 400˚.

 

  1. Mix the butter, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper together.

Ingredients

  1. Put the rack of lamb, meat-side up, on a rimmed baking sheet. (I covered mine with foil for easy clean-up.) Spread the butter mixture over the meat.

Butter spread on lamb

  1. Roast for 30 minutes.

 

  1. Remove lamb from the oven. Cover with foil and let it rest for 10 minutes.

 

  1. Cut the roast into individual chops and serve.

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Rack of Lamb for 2

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Brussels Sprouts with Sausage

September 30, 2014

By Kath Dedon

 

Today I present a new recipe, Brussels Sprouts with Sausage, from Mark Bittman’s brand-new cookbook, How to Cook Everything Fast: A Better Way to Cook Great Food. I can’t wait to get my hands on it; I pre-ordered it and it will be delivered 1 week from today.

One could argue that I already have too many cookbooks, including several by Mr. Bittman. So why do I need this new tome of 2,000 recipes? If you’re at all familiar with my blog, you know that I am a Mark Bittman “groupie”. I love his simple instructions and relaxed attitude. Don’t have a certain ingredient? Use something else. In fact, he usually offers suggestions for substitutions. The message in all of his books: Don’t make cooking harder than it needs to be. Cooking delicious meals with real food does not need to be difficult.

I always learn new and useful information from his books. Even his most basic cookbook, aptly titled How to Cook Everything the Basics, taught me a thing or two. My current favorite roast chicken recipe is from that book.

Anyway, I am eagerly awaiting my new Mark Bittman cookbook.

The Seattle Times recently published an article about Bittman and included two recipes from the new book: Fastest Chicken (or Eggplant) Parm and Brussels Sprouts with Chorizo. Since I had Brussels sprouts in the refrigerator I decided to try that one.

I wanted to use Isernio’s Chorizo, but the store I chose was out of it. They did have Isernio’s Hot Chicken Sausage so I bought that. Bittman had suggested that chorizo, sausage or bacon could be used for the recipe. The sausage was really good, but I think chorizo would make it even better!

I really liked this recipe for Brussels Sprouts with Sausage. It takes just a small amount of sausage to deliver a lot of flavor, especially if you pick a hot variety. It’s a great side dish to serve with grilled or roasted meat or fish. It could also be paired with a substantial meatless dish to make an almost vegetarian meal. (The article did mention that several Times readers said they liked to use Soyrizo, a vegan meat substitute. So that’s an option as well.)

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P.S. If you’re in the Seattle area you can hear Mark talk about his new book and fast cooking at 7:30pm on October 14 at Town Hall. 🙂 http://goo.gl/ffWM6o

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Brussels Sprouts with Sausage

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Brussels Sprouts with Sausage

(Adapted from a recipe in Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Fast)

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I used ghee since I had just made a fresh batch, but you can also use olive oil as the original recipe suggests.

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(print the recipe)

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Serves 4

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2 tablespoons ghee (or olive oil)

3.3 ounces fresh hot Italian sausage (each Isernio link is about 3.3 ounces)

1½ pounds Brussels sprouts

½ cup water

Salt and pepper to taste

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Ingredients: Sausage (I used only one link), ghee, and Brussels sprouts

Ingredients for Brussels Sprouts with Sausage

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  1. Trim the Brussels sprouts and cut them in half.
  1. Heat the ghee in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 3 – 5 minutes.

Sausage in the pan

 

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  1. Add the Brussels sprouts to the skillet. Add the ½ cup of water. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, or until just tender. (Smaller sprouts may take less time.) Check on them a time or two and add a bit more water, if necessary.

 Sprouts after cooking for about 10 minutes

Brussels Sprouts with Sausage in the pan

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  1. When the sprouts are just about done, remove the cover and raise the heat to medium high. Cook, stirring just once or twice, for a couple of more minutes. The liquid should evaporate and the sprouts should be starting to get brown.
  1. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Serve hot or warm.

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3 Brussels Sprouts with Sausage

 

 

 

 

 

Cucumber Tomato Salad with Feta Cheese

September 2, 2014

By Kath Dedon

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Yesterday was Labor Day and we had a simple family dinner. I grilled cheeseburgers and Metropolitan Market’s superior nitrite-free hot dogs. Laura was thrilled that I had bought some cream cheese and made caramelized onions so she could have a “Seattle dog”. (I have to say that the sweet-salty-creamy combo is quite good.)

The burgers and dogs were clearly the stars of the meal. I wanted a side dish that would be simple and fresh to serve with them. With our abundance of cherry tomatoes, a recipe on Jeanette’s Healthy Living sounded perfect. I swapped cherry tomatoes for the 2 tomatoes that Jeanette used, and 1 English cucumber for the 2 regular. She added extra-aged goat cheese to her salad. Knowing that Byron doesn’t like goat cheese, I used feta.

The Cucumber Tomato Salad with Feta Cheese was the perfect side dish with the rest of the meal. I only took one quick iPhone photo of the salad, but I just had to share the recipe. It’s so quick and easy to put it together. I highly recommend it, especially if you have fabulous homegrown tomatoes. It’s like summer in a bowl!

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Cucumber Tomato Salad with Feta Cheese

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Cucumber Tomato Salad with Feta Cheese

(Adapted from a recipe on the Jeanette’s Healthy Living blog)

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(print the recipe)

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If you use regular cucumbers you may want to seed them. It’s not necessary with the English cucumber.

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Serves 4 – 5

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1 long English cucumber, peeled (or 2 regular cucumbers)

2 – 3 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half (or 2 tomatoes, chopped)

1 red pepper, chopped

1 green onion, cut into thin slices

2 -3 ounces Feta cheese, cut or crumbled into small pieces

A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

A drizzle of white balsamic vinegar

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  1. Cut the peeled cucumber into quarters lengthwise and then slice.
  2. Toss all of the ingredients together in a bowl.

Could that be any easier?

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We need a ladder to harvest the cherry tomatoes from our 9-foot plant!

Bob harvesting tomatoesa

Cucumber Tomato Salad with Feta Cheese 2

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