Monday, September 25, 2017

Cauliflower Salad

Looking through the refrigerator this morning I found a few items that needed to be used or tossed.  Part of a head of cauliflower was the main ingredient that had to be liberated from the vegetable bin.

This is a wonderful little salad that pairs well with a sandwich.  It was a popular side dish that Tyra and I served in the Tea Room way back in our Midland days.  If memory serves me correctly, we also served this as part of a salad trio along with a marinated carrot salad and a small spinach salad.

Cauliflower, celery, black olives, Hellmann's, and Lawry's Garlic Salt; that's all

Separate the cauliflower into bite-size florettes. Dice the celery and slice the olives if you didn't purchase pre-sliced. I prefer slicing the whole olives. Give it all a gentle toss to combine.

Combine with the mayonnaise and garlic salt.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several of hours or overnight.  

It's crunchy and has a great garlicky flavor. 

Cauliflower Salad
Serves 4 - 6

3 cups small florettes raw cauliflower
1 cup sliced black olives
1 cup diced (1/4" dice) celery
1/2 cup Hellmann's
1/2 to 1 tsp Lawry's Garlic Salt

Rinse and drain the cauliflower.  Slice the olives and dice up the celery. Place all the vegetables in a medium mixing bowl.  Fold in the Hellmann's then fold in the garlic salt.  Blend thoroughly.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for several hours or overnight.

You will need to toss prior to serving.  Regarding the olives, you may buy olives already sliced but I prefer to slice whole black olives.  They seem to hold their shape better.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Turkey Burgers

I've tried recipe after recipe for turkey burgers and they always seem to end up blahhhhh. No flavor and they usually have the taste and texture of cardboard. I eat a lot of cardboard so I know how that tastes šŸ˜.  I found this recipe from Martha Stewart and it's actually pretty good and Lovey liked it; which is what really matters in this house if I'm making a burger out of turkey instead of beef.

There aren't a lot of ingredients; but the few that there are pack a punch of flavor.

Fresh sage.

Roasted garlic. This can be done earlier in the day or the day before. Here's how I do it.

 Provolone cheese.

 And, of course, ground turkey.  I prefer a mixture of white and dark.

Just mix it all up.

Divide the mixture into four portions and form into patties. Conveniently, these can be made early in the day or even the day before.

 I threw them on a medium-high grill for about 3-4 minutes per side.

NOTE:  I doctored my burger up like I do a beef hamburger with onion, tomato, lettuce and kosher pickle.  Although good, it really masked the flavors that this burger has.  I would suggest minimal condiments with this burger because the meat is flavored really nice with the sage and garlic.  The original recipe actually suggested using a simple tomato pureĆ© spread on it.

Turkey Burgers
Yields 4 burgers

1-1/2 pounds ground turkey - mixture of breast and dark-meat turkey
1/4 cup roasted garlic
2-1/2 tsp. finely chopped fresh sage
1-1/4 cups grated provolone cheese - about 5 ounces

1/2 tsp. each Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 hamburger buns
vegetable oil
melted butter

Mise en Place:
  • roast garlic
  • chop sage
  • grate cheese
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, gently combine with your hands the turkey, garlic, sage, cheese, salt and pepper.  Do not overwork the meat.  Shape into four patties.  Refrigerate, covered, until cold, about 1 hour or overnight.

Preheat grill to medium-high (if you are using a charcoal grill, coals are ready when you can hold your hand 5 inches above the grill for just 3 to 4 seconds). Brush grill and burgers with vegetable oil. Grill, flipping once, until cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Alternately, you can prepare inside using a cast iron skillet.

Brush both sides of buns with melted butter and place on grill until lightly toasted.

Serve with crispy oven fries.

Roasted Garlic 101

I use garlic more than any other ingredient in my kitchen.  I use it in sauces, soups, dressings, marinades and I sneak it in any dish I can; except ice cream.  I've never used it in ice cream. I don't believe I'll ever use it in ice cream.

Roasting it is so easy and you can use it in so many things.  I use it in turkey burgers, hummus, combine it with Hellmans as a sandwich spread, rub it under the skin of a chicken before roasting, and it's great smeared on toasted baguette slices.

I like to do four bulbs at a time.  You will get about 1/2 cups of mashed roasted garlic and it keeps in the refrigerator well.

Slice the tops off of each bulb.  Place on a piece of heavy duty aluminum foil and drizzle 1 Tbsp. of olive oil over the tops.

Wrap the foil up and around the garlic and place in a small baking dish.  Bake in a 400° F. oven for an hour and 15 minutes.

Open the foil pouch and allow to cool to the touch.

 Squeeze the garlic cloves into a mixing bowl then mash with a fork until smooth.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

 The tops of the bulbs that are cut off have alot of good garlic in them that I hate to waste.  I place them in a dish and cover them with olive oil.  The infused oil is great to using in all sorts of dishes.  You can also chop up the garlic and use it as well.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Ham Hocks and Beans

There's nothing more Southern then a pot of beans that has been simmered until tender and creamy, flavored with smoked ham hocks. There's also nothing more controversial than how to cook your beans.  Soak vs Quick-soak vs Don't Soak.......Change water vs Cook in soaking liquid.......Salt at the beginning vs Salt at the end.........Cook covered vs Cook uncovered; and on and on. 

Do what works best for you. It's important for you to figure out what works best for you with your equipment, altitude, etc.  This is what works for me.

Simple ingredients can sure produce a tasty, stick-to-your-ribs meal.  Here we have Great Northern beans, smoked ham shanks (ham hocks are good too), onion, garlic, thyme and bay leaf.

I quick-soak.  Place 1 pound of rinsed, dried Great Northern beans in a large pot of water; enough to cover the beans.  Bring to a boil then remove from heat, cover and let soak for 1 hour.

 While the beans are soaking chop up your onion, dice the garlic and make a bouquet garni of 1 sprig fresh thyme and 2 bay leaves. For this recipe I chose to wrap my bouquet garni in cheese cloth so I don't have bits of thyme floating around in my beans.  I just want the flavor.

After the soaking period add to the pot the ham shanks or hocks, onion, garlic, and bouquet garni.  Add enough boiling water, if necessary, to cover beans.  Bring to a boil then simmer, uncovered, until beans are tender.  Check at 1 hour.  Add additional boiling water if necessary to keep beans submerged.  Beans are usually done in an hour to an hour and a half.

I salt at the end of cooking for a couple of reasons:  1) I agree, from experience, that salting at the beginning toughens the skin of the bean and it takes longer to cook; and 2) you never know just how salty your hocks will be.

Serve with cornbread.  It's the law.

Ham Hocks and Beans

1 pound dried Great Northern beans
8 cups water
1 large yellow onion
1 large clove garlic
1 sprig fresh thyme
2 bay leaves

1 pound smoked ham hocks or ham shanks
Extra water, if necessary
Kosher salt, to taste

Rinse beans and place in 5 quart pot.  Cover with water and bring to a boil.  Remove pot from heat, cover and let soak for one hour.

While the beans are soaking, chop the onion and garlic and set aside.  In a small square of cheese cloth wrap up the thyme and bay leaf and tie with kitchen twine.

Add the onion, garlic, bouquet garni, and ham hocks to pot of beans. If necessary, add enough boiling water to cover beans.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until tender.  Check at 1 hour and add any additional liquid to keep beans covered (be sure to boil water prior to adding to pot).

Remove hocks or shanks.  When cool, remove meat and return to pot.  Serve with hot cornbread.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Drunken Fruit Bread

Lovey loves date nut bread to enjoy with his coffee in the mornings.  I can take it or leave it; I'm more of an eggs and bacon kind of gal.

 Lucille gave Lovey and me a basket of dried fruit for Christmas. It had dates, apricots, papaya, peaches, prunes, pineapple, and angelino plums

As you can see, there aren't enough dates for a loaf of bread so I thought I'd make a bread with a combination of all the fruits.  I also decided to soak all of the fruits in booze for three days rather than the 30 minutes the recipe normally suggests.

I chopped up about 2 cups of the fruit combo to fit in a pint mason jar (I packed the jar fairly tight).  Then I grabbed a bottle of brandy and poured over the fruit until it reached the top. There wasn't quite enough brandy in my bottle so I used a little rum to fill the jar. You can use whatever booze you choose; brandy just seems to pair well with fruit.

Put the lid on tight, give the jar a gentle shake and place in a cool, dark place for three days.  If you think about it you can give the jar a shake each day.

After three days of soaking it's time to bake.  Butter the bottom of the pan line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper.

 Butter the parchment and the sides of the pan then sprinkle with flour.  Set the pan aside.

This is a typical quick bread recipe where the butter and sugar are creamed

then the eggs and flavorings are added

 The flour and spice mixture is added in alternately with the liquids which for this bread include freshly squeezed orange juice and the brandy from the fruit.


The fruits and nuts are then stirred in by hand

The batter is turned into the pan, put into a 350° oven

and this is what you get after about an hour.

It's a dense but moist bread with a beautiful texture and flavor.

Rather than the typical flavor of a date nut bread  this had the distinct flavor of a fruit cake due to the different fruits used along with the dates.   And it is v-e-r-y boozy.  I liked it with a slathering of butter.

Drunken Fruit Bread
Yield 1 loaf

2 cups dried fruit, coarsely chopped
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. grated orange zest
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. round cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

 3 days prior to baking prepare the drunken fruit.  Chop all fruit and pack, somewhat tightly, into a pint Mason Jar.  Pour enough brandy into the jar to cover the fruit.  Secure lid tightly on to jar and store in a dark, cool place.

On baking day, preheat oven to 350°F.  Prepare pan by buttering the bottom of an 8-1/2" x 4-1/2" x 2-1/2: loaf pan.  Line the bottom with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pan.

In bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar. with the mixer on low speed add the egg, vanilla and the orange zest.  Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt.  With the mixer still on low, add the flour mixture alternately with the orange juice to the butter mixture, mixing only until combined.

Drain the brandy from the fruit into a measuring cup.  Fold the fruit into the batter along with a little under 1/3 cup of the drained brandy (if you have more of 1/3 cup brandy drained off, treat yourself and sip on  it).  Fold the pecans into the batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top.  Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.