19 January 2018

Gimme somma that sweet, Sweet Poppy Seed Slaw

Last week I made kimchi, and I had too much cabbage. The result was this lovely slaw, which I have been eating all week. (Hint: the dressing is great on its own and keeps well in the fridge, too.)

Sweet Poppy Seed Slaw

1/2 head green (or red, or mixed) cabbage, thinly sliced
1 small carrot, shredded
1 tablespoon chopped red onion

poppy seed dressing:
1/4 cup white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon grainy mustard
3 teaspoons mayonnaise
1/4 cup olive oil

Combine all dressing ingredients and whisk thoroughly.  Add vegetables and stir to coat evenly.  Refrigerate at least one hour (and then give it another stir) before serving.

What's it good with? 

Last week's Vegetarian Red Beans and Rice recipe

On top of fish tacos

12 January 2018

Red Beans and Rice, hold the meat (unless you want it)

I always forget how great canned chipotles in adobo sauce can be--smoky, earthy. and spicy--and how little I need meat if I put them in a dish.  (However, Field Roast's "Mexican chorizo" is also kinda the bomb if you're into vegetarian "sausages"...)

Vegetarian Red Beans and Rice

Serves 4-6

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
5 celery stalks, finely diced
1 large green bell pepper, finely diced
1 pound dry red kidney beans, soaked in water overnight, drained, and rinsed
3 bay leaves
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped
2 teaspoons hot sauce (I like Franks Red Hot), more to taste
6 cups vegetable broth or water
Salt, to taste
Cooked rice and sliced green onions, for serving

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium high heat. Add in the onion and cook until very tender and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.

Add the garlic, celery, and bell pepper, and continue to cook until just softened, about 3 minutes.
Add the soaked and drained kidney beans, bay leaves, thyme, oregano, cayenne pepper, black pepper, chipotle peppers, red pepper sauce, and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for about two hours, or until the beans are very tender.

Season with additional salt and hot sauce. Serve with cooked rice and top with sliced green onions.

05 January 2018

Mocktails for January

If you have been reading this blog for a while, you already know of my penchant for cocktails, craft beers, and wine of (pretty much) every price point.  So it feels a little funny to be writing this, but I'm trying to drastically cut back.  Those news articles talking about all the kinds of cancers my happy hours are going to give me are freaking me out. (Here's one to keep you from sleeping tonight.)

I always rolled my eyes at Drynuary, which I first started hearing about a few years ago, and I'm not doing it now.  But I am planning on going from having 1-2 drinks 5-6 nights per week to 1 drink 2-3 nights per week. I started this week, and I'm finding that I have two difficulties:

1. I miss happy hour! I love the excuse to push back from the computer at 4:30pm, crank up some tunes, make a nice cocktail, and enjoy with a little snack while going over the day's dramas with the hubs.
2. Alcohol tastes so much more interesting than everything else.  I don't mean I need to be drunk (I rarely get drunk thanks to my steady tolerance-building I have maintained since college). I mean, there's so much more depth of flavor in a nice whiskey than in a glass of juice.  Juice is so BORING!

So, in order to keep my nice little hygge ritual and have a little fun while swallowing liquids, I'm amassing a Mocktail menu. Here's what I've got so far:

Cider, Thyme + Tonic Mocktail
Serves 1

3 ounces apple cider
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
tonic water 
thyme sprig and lemon slices for garnish

Pour apple cider and lemon juice into a highball glass and stir. Top with tonic water and garnish with thyme and lemon

Ginger Mojito Mocktail

Serves 1 

8 fresh mint leaves
2 ounces fresh lime juice
Ice cubes
1 teaspoon brown sugar
8 ounces ginger ale
3 ounces club soda
In a tall glass, muddle together the mint leaves and lime juice.  Add the sugar and fill the glass with ice cubes. Add the ginger ale and club soda, and stir well.
Garnish with a lime wedge before serving (optional).

29 December 2017

What to do with those terrible neon cheese balls at Safeway

You know those cheap cheese balls in the grocery store, the ones that are bright orange and covered in ground up nuts, stored next to the Sabre hummus and other things you really should just make yourself? In a rare moment of optimism, we picked one up at the beginning of the holiday season. It wasn't good.  It didn't cause any gastro-intestinal distress, but that's about all I can say for it.  So, we choked some down with crackers and beer one night and then shoved it to the back of the cheese drawer. TYhree weeks later, the thing was still edible, but not edible enough to actually put on any more crackers.  I hate to waste food, so I wondered what I could do with it.

If you have ever found yourself in this situation, I can highly recommend these two super-easy recipes that will also help you use up some other holiday meal leftovers shoved in the fridge. And if you'd like to try making a cheese ball you and your guests will actually enjoy for New Year's Eve, there's a recipe for that at the bottom, too.

Party Mac and Cheese

Serves 4

1/2 pound macaroni or pasta shape of your choice
4 oz. or so of your sad cheese ball
1/2 cup leftover vegetables (I leftover pesto peas from Christmas: pesto stirred into some thawed frozen peas and gently heated by Chef Mike while my dad carved the turkey)
2 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomato (optional)
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
salt and crushed red pepper to taste

Bring a well-salted pot of water to boil.  Cook the pasta al dente and drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Stir in the cheese ball and Parmesan, if using, adding some of the cooking liquid if necessary (try a tablespoon at a time) to form a smooth sauce.  Stir in the cooked vegetables, sun dried-tomatoes, and season with salt and red pepper.  Serve hot.

Cheese Ball Potatoes

Serves 8 as a side

4-6 cups leftover mashed potatoes
1/2 cup (4 oz) leftover cheese ball
2 eggs

Mash everything together and spread in an 8x8 pan. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
OR, to make it faster, reheat the mashed potatoes in the microwave before adding everything, bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, then move it to the top rack in the oven. Broil for 2-4 minutes (check at two minutes), until browned on top.

Edible Cheese Ball

Serves: depends on how drunk you are

16 oz softened cream cheese 
3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3/4 cup crumbled cooked bacon (don't you dare use Bacon Bits)
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped pecans 

Whip the cream cheese and cheddar cheese together in a high power blender, food processor, or stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Form the cheese into a ball, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1-2 hours, until firm.
In a medium bowl, stir together the bacon bits, green onions, and pecans. Roll the cheese ball in the mixture.
Wrap the ball tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to serve.