Entries Tagged as 'side dish'

A Trip to the Carribbean–Jamaican Jerk Chicken, Sweet Potato Risotto and Coconut Spinach

Google Reader.  It’s one of the things I missed most about not having internet.  I mean, all that gorgeous food, blog after blog of good eats, just waiting to be starred and find their way onto the grocery list.  Darius of Everyday Cooking posted a Caribbean meal that just screamed to be made, like, right that minute. [Read more →]

Attention Potato Salad Police: Rogue Potato Salad Spotted

Attention all units…a rogue potato salad has been spotted at the canaryhouse.  Please use extreme caution when approaching…this salad has NO recipe.  It has NOT been tested 100 times.  If you see this salad, grab a fork and sit down quickly.  Quietly.  And apprehend that sucker before anyone tries to get in the way. 

As I’m sure you’re all aware, Melissa at Alosha’s Kitchen had a run in with the folks at Cook’s Country/America’s Test Kitchen/Cook’s Illustrated, where she had adapted a recipe of theirs, noted her changes and credited the source…but that was apparently unacceptable behavior, because their recipes are PERFECT and are not to be changed by anyone, fer cryin’ out loud.  In my opinion, they can stuff their so called perfect recipe.  Recipes are *meant* to be changed, adapted, and perfected in our own ways.  Perfection in the kitchen isn’t measured in precise measurements and techniques, it comes from being creative, being happy and having fun.  If the folks over at CC/ATK/CI don’t see that, well, there’s something wrong in *their* kitchen. 

So, with that, I offer you my humble potato salad.  I’ll give you the ingredients I used, but I’m not posting a recipe, just the ingredient list. Personal adaptation and creative expression are encouraged. I was out of celery, so there’s none in there, but hey…I worked with what I had, and it tasted freaking awesome.  SO there.  I’d also like to enter this subversive salad into this month’s Potato Ho Down Event, hosted by Evil Chef Mom

Yes indeed…not only do I have rogue non-recipes, I’m a ho too. ;)  Deal with it. lol

Ingredients:

potatoes, cooked, peeled and diced
boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
red onion
garlic
celery (if you’ve got it)
mayonaise
sour cream (or quark cheese or Greek yogurt)
mustard
sugar
red wine vinegar
salt and cracked black pepper
parsley

Preparation:

Mix up the dressing ingredients and pour over chopped potatoes and eggs.
Feel free to add more stuff like peas, peppers, green onion etc.
Combine.
Taste it to make sure you like the seasonings and the tang factor.
Let sit in the fridge for an hour or so.
It’s even better the next day.

Michelle’s Incredible Lentil Salad

Do all of you know Michelle at Thursday Night Smackdown? If you don’t?  Get over to her site right now! I’ll wait.

No, seriously, I will.

Isn’t she great? She has the best sense of humor, and her blog is filled with delectable goodies ranging from appies to salads to mains to desserts. I discovered TNS a few months ago, and it has quickly become one of my “first reads” in the morning. Thursdays are “Smackdown” days. Michelle chooses a recipe from one her many cookbooks and makes it. Mondays are “Cheap Assed” days, where she uses pantry staples and inexpensive ingredients to make incredible meals for *under* *$5!* per serving. With today’s economy, that is one hell of a bonus! You may remember her Extreme Rotini and Cheese, that I am totally claiming as my own from now on (sorry Michelle! lol) As of late, she has been making meal after incredible meal…all spot on with my tastes. It’s as if she were trying to seduce me with her cooking. You’re not, are you, Michelle? lmfao I’m just teasing. It’s just that…I dunno…awesome food…swearing…getting my funny on…well, it’s just the best, that’s all. It’s like one stop blog shopping. Treats! Snark! Giggle! See what I mean?

So anyway…the other day she made this incredible looking lentil salad. Lentils! Salad! I’m so there. Not only is this salad good, it’s EXCELLENT. I even cheated. I didn’t cook my lentils with the oh so fun to make cloved onion. I used a jar of lentils. That I had in the pantry. Then added the ever so smallest pinch of ground cloves to the salad. Nobody noticed that I hadn’t spent that extra hour plus cooling time. See that? And? AND I was frugal, because I used pantry goods, as well as basil from my leetle basil plant on the patio.  I also subbed Feta cheese, because that’s what I had.  That salad was free! I had everything in the house. I bet you do, too.

Now, there are a couple of events that I want to participate in. My very good friend Shaye, at Smarter than Pancakes had a birthday recently, and would like us to bring something to her Birthday Picnic!

I’m bringing this salad. Not only because it’s freaking fabulous, but because it’s a dish that lends itself *perfectly* to an afternoon outside with friends. So, Happy Birthday, Shaye! MUAC!

Grace at A Southern Grace is also hosting an event, called Beat the Heat! 

that I’d like to participate in, seeing as it’s hot as Hades round here, and we’re all looking for refreshing dishes to combat the scorching heat of summer. The catch?  No heating up the kitchen!  Microwaves and ice-cream makers are allowed, but not the stove or oven or any other heat emitting appliance.  Grace, check this salad OUT man. Seriously. If this doesn’t beat the heat, maybe we’ll have to have a beer with it or something. ;) lol

Extreme Rotini and Cheese and a Gaw-jis Meatloaf

rotini and cheese

“So what in the Sam Hill is Nikki doing making meatloaf and mac and cheese in the summer for?” you ask? Well. Even though the temps are soaring, and the sun is blazing, I braved the house heating oven. For One Reason. Michelle, at Thursday Night Smackdown posted her oh so decadent creamy cheesy rotini. Did you see that stuff?! I may have slobbered all over myself. And cried with envy at that dish. She is such a fabulously funny writer, making *thee* most amazing of foods. I mean, this gal makes $55 sticks of butter for recipes, folks. Michelle is also the poached egg Master (Madame? Mistress?).  I bow down to her talents, people.  Seriously. 

So back to the Cheeeese….the Rotini and Cheese…I followed Michelle’s recipe pretty closely, though I did make a few changes, which I’ll note here:

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds (750 grams) rotini
1/2 cup butter
a few saffron threads
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 quarts (1 1/2 liters) milk
2 cups grated white Cheddar
1 cup grated Gouda
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Regiano
1 tablespoon garlic powder
plenty of freshly cracked black pepper
a spoonful of sweet Spanish paprika
a generous grate of nutmeg
2 chicken bouillon cubes, crumbled
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs

Preparation:

First, preheat your oven to about 350ºF/175ºC and get your pasta water boiling.
While this is getting started, get your sauce going.
Heat butter over medium heat.
Remove from heat and add saffron threads.
Stir this around a little bit so the saffron releases it’s color and aroma.
Add flour and whisk until creamy.Add the bouillon (be sure it’s pretty powdery, and whisk it through)
Add a bit of milk and whisk until thoroughly combined.
Add remaining milk and return to heat.
You’re going to have to whisk this pertnear (that’s a Minnesotan word, guys…it means “almost.”) constantly until it heats through and begins to thicken.
This will happen after about 10 minutes or so.
When the sauce is just beginning to thicken, add the remaining seasonings and stir through.
Now it should really start to thicken up.
Remove from heat and add the cheeses.
Taste a spoonful (or 5) to make sure the seasonings are right.
You might need to taste some more spoonfuls to be sure.
Once you’ve gotten the sauce right, cover and set it aside.
Your noodles should be about done by now, right?
Drain them and add them to the sauce.
Stir it all up.
Pour this into an oven proof dish.
Now, melt a couple of tablespoons of butter in the mic quick.
Add the melted butter to the bread crumbs and mix it up really well with a fork, until it has a sandy texture and appearance (yum! let’s eat sand!).
Sprinkle this all over the top of the noodles and cheese.
Bake about 20 minutes or until browned and bubbly.
See that?

rotini and cheese

“So what about this so called ‘gaw-jis’ meatloaf?” you ask…”And anyway, who the hell has ever seen a beautiful meatloaf?”  No one has.  It just isn’t possible, because meatloaf is ugly assed food.  But I don’t care, because it is really, REALLY good.  Meatloaf may not be beautiful on the *outside,* but it sure is gorgeous when you take that first tender bite, seasoned just so, with a kick of Sweet Baby Ray’s slathered over the top for good measure. 

gawjis meatloaf

Now that’s good eatin’.

Ingredients:

2 pounds (1 kilo) ground beef
1 egg
2/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 cup milk
garlic powder…lots, at least a tablespoon
1/2 envelope of Knorr Onion soup mix
a bunch of cracked black pepper
a good splash of Worcestershire sauce
a good splash of HP Sauce (or Heinz 57, or A1)
Sweet Baby Ray’s bbq sauce to cover the top

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350ºF/175ºC.
In a large bowl, mix everything except bbq sauce really well.
You may need to use your hands for this, it’s just easier.
Spread the meat mixture into a loaf pan, or make a free form loaf on a lipped baking sheet or jelly roll pan.
Cover with bbq sauce.
Bake for about an hour, until cooked through.
Drain off excess liquid and allow to rest, covered for about 15 minutes.
Slice and serve.

I decided to serve this with some steamed asparagus, bathed in butter and lightly seasoned with sea salt and cracked pepper.

asparagus

Man. This is living. So THAT, my friends, is why I made rotini and cheese and meatloaf in the summer. I bet you anything you want to do the same right about now. LOL ;)

Proximamente…las recetas en español. :)

This week, it’s Peter’s turn to be stalked by me. LOL Cheese Stuffed Keftedes

Yeah, so earlier in the week I had posted about staring at Peter’s (of Kalofagas) delicious Eggs Benedict recipe…Staring at Peter’s recipes is nothing new for me.  His site is a daily read.  He has a wonderful sense of humor, and is a phenomenal cook.  You should SEE some of the delicious things he cooks up!  He is of Greek descent, and, luckily for us, he shares his mouthwatering recipes, and the fun stories of Greece and his heritage that go along with them.  Not too long ago he had posted his recipe for Cheese Stuffed Keftedes (couldn’t you just *die* at how good those sound?)…well, I knew I had to put those on the menu.  I mean, Come ON!  Keftedes?  Stuffed with Cheese?  I may have fainted into my keyboard.  Actually, I’m pretty sure I did, because I had these weird square bruises on my forehead. ;) This week, I could wait no more.  Monday I bought the ingredients to make his hellaciously good recipe. 

cheese stuffed keftides

I’m not going to post Peter’s recipe, because I actually followed it pretty much to the letter…I had to substitute Gouda cheese (see it trying to escape there? lol) for the Greek cheese, though, since I can’t get the types he recommended for the recipe.

To go along with these delicious morsels of Greek joy, I decided to make a fresh tzatziki (pictured here) and hummus (pictured below).

 tzatziki

Tzatziki Ingredients:

2 cups plain Greek yogurt, strained overnight
1 large cucumber, peeled and seeded, diced
1 smaller bunch of mint, minced (about 1/4 cup)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

Mix all ingredients.
Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight.
Drain any excess liquid thay may have formed before serving.

The hummus was an excellent dip for both the keftedes and the pitas.  I tell you, this is perfect summer food, you guys. The next time you plan on grilling plain old burgers? Forget that idea, and make these instead! Seriously, they are amazing. :D

hummus

Hummus Ingredients: 

1 jar garbanzo beans (14 oz, 800 grams), mostly drained
2-3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons tahini
juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt to taste

Preparation:

Using a food processor, mince garlic first, then add garbanzos and process until semi-smooth.
Add tahini, lemon juice, olive oil and salt and continue to process until creamy.
*If mixture still seems a bit thick, add a tablespoon or two of water to help it along.

Las Recetas en Español:

Keftedes de Peter (traducido directamente de su página web), Ingredientes:

1 kilo carne molida
2 cebollas, ralladas
4 rebanadas de pan, humedecidas con agua y desmenuzadas
1 cucharadita de ajo en polvo, o ajo fresco majado
2 huevos
1 cucharadita orégano
1 cucharadita perejil picado
1 pizca de comino
sal y pimienta al gusto
queso en lonchas para rellenar (Vlahotyri o Kasseri) (yo utilizé Gouda)

Elaboración:

Mezclar todos los ingredientes en un bol (mejor con las manos).
Formar hamburguesas finas, y reservar en un plato.
Tapar con film transparente y meter en la nevera durante al menos 4 horas.
Antes de asar, dejar que los keftedes vuelvan a temperatura ambiente. Cojer una loncha de queso y
ponerla en el centro de una hamburguesa. Ahora, tapar con otra hamburguesa y presionar por los lados a cerrarla bien.
Procurar cerrar los keftedes muy bien por los lados para evitar que se escape el queso cuando los ases.
Asar a fuego medio unos 5 minutos cada lado.
Servir con mostaza, mayonesa, Boukovo (chilis picantes molidos), ensalada y pan.

Tzatziki, Ingredientes:

2 vasos (de Nocilla) yogur Griego, escurrido durante una noche
1 pepino grande, pelado y con las semillas retiradas, en daditos
1 manojo pequeño de hierba huerto, picadito
2-3 dientes de ajo, majado
sal y pimienta al gusto

Elaboración:

Mezclar todos los ingredientes.
Tapar y dejar en la nevera varias horas o una noche.
Si se haya suelto algo de líquido, escurrirla antes de servir.

Homus, Ingredientes:

1 bote de garbanzos (800 gramos), escurridos
2-3 dientes de ajo
2 cucharadas tahini (crema de sésamo)
zumo de 1 limón
2 cucharadas aceite de oliva virgen
sal al gusto

Elaboración:

Poner todo en el robot de cocina y procesar hasta que esté cremoso.
Si te parece un poco espeso, añadir unas cucharadas de agua para ayudarlo.

 

 

 

Who Said Frozen Salad isn’t any Good? Sorbete de Gazpacho

Did I scare you? I mean, the idea of frozen salad probably isn’t that appealing. LOL But. And this is a pretty big BUT. (no, it’s not mine! :P ) Gazpacho. Sorbet. Combine the two and you have a bit of frozen heaven. This traditional Spanish soup is always served chilled, and often with ice…why not go just another step and turn it into a savory sorbet, I asked? Top that with the traditional finely chopped vegetables for added crunch, and you have entered into yum world. This one is going to be making regular appearances at our summer table, folks. It’s the perfect way to begin a meal in the sweltering heat of summer, or even as an afternoon snack. It’s packed with vegetables, very low in fat, and delicious. Oh!  And super easy.  So whatcha waitin for?

sorbete de gazpacho

Ingredients:

2 pounds (1kilo) very ripe tomatoes
1 cucumber, peeled
1 small red onion
2 cloves garlic
1 italian pepper
olive oil to taste (about 3 tablespoons)
red wine vinegar to taste (about 3 tablespoons)
salt to taste
4 cups ice cubes (or more)

Preparation:

Roughly chop all vegetables, reserving a bit of tomato, cucumber, pepper and onion to garnish.
Place all ingredients in blender or food processor and process until smooth.
Add ice and process until smooth.
Serve sorbet garnished with a bit of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and topped with finely chopped tomato, cucumber, pepper and onion.

Y en español:

Ingredientes:

1 kilo tomates maduros
1 pepino, pelado
1 cebolla roja pequeña
2 dientes de ajo
1 pimiento italiano (para freir)
aceite de oliva virgen (3 cucharadas, mas o menos)
vinagre de vino rojo (3 cucharadas, mas o menos)
sal al gusto
4 vasos de hielo (o mas)

Elaboración:

Cortar las verduras en trozos (no tiene que ser muy pequeñas), reservando un poquito de tomate, pepino, cebolla y pimiento para adornar.
Poner todo en la batidora o robot y triturar hasta que esté bien molido y homogéneo.
Añadir el hielo y triturar hasta que esté suave.
Servir adornado con aceite de oliva virgen, vinagre de modena y las verduritas reservadas (picadas muy finas).

canarygirl




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