Aaron and I harvested our first kohlrabi last week. Pretty exciting.
To be fair, Aaron harvested Mr. Kohlrabi. From his garden.
I’m not really a cake girl. I mean, I’ll eat the cursory wedding or birthday piece, but I don’t typically bake cake, except perhaps a pound cake once or twice a year.
But that’s all about to change, friends.
I (finally) made an angel food cake. I have been madly in love with angel food cake since my mom first introduced it to me many years ago. Oh, it was heaven (ha!). Sweet, but not too sweet. Light, yet still rich. Spongy, and a touch melt-in-your-mouth. I became a fan for life.
A few weeks ago, we harvested a few beets from our (Aaron’s) garden. I remembered my mom serving kind of sweet beets (though they were canned) when I was a little girl, so I asked my dad about how they were made. Were they candied? Pickled? He wasn’t sure, but he thought there was probably cloves in them. Hm. At least that was a start, right?
I did a few internet searches and found a wide variety of recipes, so I just made up my own. As a result, I have no idea what the measurements were of any of the ingredients. Sorry, Charlie. You’ll live.
To make these candied/pickled (???) beets, first slice up some beets (There she goes again with the rocket science…).
Marvel at their color, then toss them in a pan with some water, sugar, vinegar (just a splash), and cloves.
Usually recipes call for only one or two cloves. I don’t understand this (as you can tell from the photograph above). I like WHAM-O flavor, so I used several cloves. Several. You do it how you like it, though. By all means only use one or two (or zero) cloves. You could even sprinkle in some cinnamon. They’re your beets! Spice ’em how you like ’em!
Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the beets are soft (probably upwards of 30 minutes). I didn’t use very much sugar, just enough to bring out the natural sweetness of the beets. But again, do it how you like it, girl! (Or boy!)
I used to be a Duke’s girl.
As in Duke’s mayonnaise. If you don’t live in the South, you’ve never heard of it. I learned that lesson when I moved to California for graduate school and went grocery shopping for the first time. I stood in the condiments aisle for a good twenty minutes, scanning the labels, sure that I must be missing the Duke’s.
But I wasn’t.
Because Duke’s is Southern.
Then one day, a couple of years ago, I noticed “NEW! Kraft Mayo with Olive Oil!” So I committed a little light treason and purchased the Kraft. It was good.
This mayonnaise is neither Duke’s nor is it Kraft w/OO. Although it is made with olive oil. Go figure. It tastes like a big ol’ spoonful of… wait for it… olive oil. Not what you want in a good mayo (or maybe you do).
Happy 4th of July!
You’re planning to grill hamburgers today, right? Hotdogs? You know what you need with those ‘burgers and ‘dogs? Pickles. And I’m not talkin’ Vlassics here, folks. I’m talking home. pickled. cucumbers.
So far this year, we have picked about a gazillion cucumbers from our teensy little backyard garden. I enjoy a good cucumber, but I don’t necessarily care to eat twelve cucumbers a day. So, pickles it is!
I’m rather choosy about my pickle type. I don’t bother will sweet pickles. I don’t jive with bread & butter. I do devour dill.
I didn’t think I had quite enough cucumbers piled up to justify a full-out canning session, so I looked for a refrigerator pickle recipe. I made a small batch (two jars) first, to test the taste. No need to waste bazillions of pickles on a yuck-o recipe, right?
This recipe (after a few tweaks) produced excellence. Aaron said they were the best pickles he’d ever eaten. And he’s not just willy-nilly with his “the best ever” statements. He’s really not.
But he was right. These are the best. And they are like, twenty-seven easy. That’s really easy. Especially on a scale of one to ten.
So make these! Pile ’em on your burgers! Chop ’em up for relish on your hot dogs! And step outside, take a deep breath, and meditate for a moment on your blessings. We live in a pretty choice country.
Refrigerator Dill Pickles
adapted from recipe in Bon Appétit
1 small sweet onion (such as Vidalia or Maui), thinly sliced
1 bulb garlic, peeled
2 pounds medium pickling cucumbers, scrubbed, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
1 large bunch dill, coarsely chopped (stems included)
1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
2 teaspoons whole peppercorns
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons coarse kosher salt
Divide sliced onion and garlic cloves between two 1-quart wide-mouth glass jars.
Pack cucumber slices horizontally in jars. Top each jar with dill.
Using mortar and pestle or resealable plastic bag and mallet, crush mustard seeds and peppercorns together. Place crushed spices in medium saucepan. Add vinegar, 1 cup water, sugar, and coarse salt. Bring mixture to boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves.
Ladle mixture evenly over cucumbers. Leave jars uncovered and chill 24 hours. Cover glass pickle jars tightly with lids. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 week ahead. Keep refrigerated.
Oh man. These cookies. These cookies are a-mah-zing.
Once upon a time, like a few months ago, I met Aaron at Subway for lunch. As Aaron was paying, I noticed them: “NEW! Raspberry Cheesecake Cookies!”
Did anything ever sound more delicious?
I didn’t try one because we kind of have an unspoken sandwich-only policy at Subway, but I did scurry on home to find a recipe. This is the closest I could find.
I ain’t complainin’, though. These cookies are delicious. Even Bronson got in on it. Well, he got in on the raspberries. He ate them like candy.
Raspberry-White Chocolate Cookies
8 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1-1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup fresh raspberries, washed & dried
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cream butter and both sugars with an electric mixer. Beat in eggs, vanilla and cream, then beat in baking soda, salt, and cornstarch. Add flour and stir just until blended. Stir in white chocolate. Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
Carefully slice raspberries into halves. Gently press pieces of raspberry in cookie dough rounds.
Bake for 12-13 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Oy vey. The past couple of months have been… *whew*
Aaron went to Kuwait for business. I hated it. Um, Skype is cool and all for friends, but for a husband? I prefer breathing the same air.
Oh, and then I like… had emergency surgery and stuff. Whatever. This is a food blog, though, so we won’t discuss unpleasantries.
We will, however, discuss sushi. Do you love sushi? Because I ♥ sushi.
Oh, the thought of eating raw fish makes your intestines burn? Well that’s okay! This sushi uses smoked salmon. Not raw. Intestines: fine.
Philly (Philadelphia) Rolls are my all-time favorite. I adore smoked salmon. I devour avocado. I adulate cream cheese.
You’ll likely really love Philly Rolls too. And if you already love them, just, you know, you love them in the restaurant, you should most definitely try making these at home. You will feel accomplished, empowered, and maybe even a tad frugal.
P.S. Nori is basically sheets of dried seaweed. I have found packs in Whole Foods, EarthFare, and World Market. Your supermarket may carry them in the international foods aisle.
Rice, cooked (you may use sushi-specific rice, or you may use whatever you happen to have in your home)
Smoked Salmon, cut into long, thin strips
Cream Cheese, cut into long, thin strips
Avocado, cut into long, thin strips
**other veggies of choice, cut into… you guessed it… long, thin strips
Lay the nori, rough side up (make sure the perforations are running horizontally). Spread a thin layer of cooked, cooled rice on the nori, ending a couple of sections from one edge. Lay out the salmon, cream cheese, avocado, etc. (This is a photograph of Aaron’s roll. He added carrot and cucumber to his creation.)
In lieu of proper sushi rolling mats, we used some bamboo placemats we had stuffed in a drawer. I abandoned the placemat ship two rolls in. I found it easier to just roll it up sans mat. Supposedly they help make a tighter roll, but I found I was able to keep things snug by hand.
Brush the bare edge of the nori with water so it will created a nice seal once all rolled up. Slice roll into six to eight pieces.
I used a lot of garlic.
Cloves. Bulbs. Well, maybe a bulb. The flavor was all like, “Garlic!” I ♥ed them.
I also ate like 12 thousand when I had a terrible cold. I’d like to think the garlic helped me heal. They sure helped me feel happier.
Pan sauté 1 diced potato. Toss together with lettuce, roasted beet, and feta. Top with olive oil & vinegar.
Garlic-Cheddar Mini Scones
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
5+ cloves garlic, minced
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Stir together first 3 ingredients in large bowl. Cut butter into flour mixture with a pastry blender until crumbly and mixture resembles small peas. Freeze 5 minutes. Add 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cream, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in cheddar and garlic.
Turn out onto wax paper; gently press or pat dough into two 3-inch rounds. Cut rounds into 8 wedges. Place wedges 2 inches apart on a lightly greased baking sheet. Brush tops of wedges with remaining 2 tablespoons cream just until moistened.
Bake at 450 degrees for 13 to 15 minutes or until golden.
I had a whole slew of leftovers that I needed to use (not to mention a gallon of glaze from the sesame chicken), so I just threw together a little salmon & salad. Super easy; I won’t even bother to write out recipes. I just basted the salmon with the leftover glaze, then broiled for 5 minutes each side. For the salad, I tossed together spinach, colored bell peppers, red onion, and shredded mozzarella. And I topped with sesame seeds and a ridiculously good salad dressing (okay, I’ll share the recipe below). [Note: my older sister, Heather, shared the dressing recipe with me. Thanks, sis.]
If you make nothing else, make this dressing. And slather a spinach salad in it. Slather.
Spinach Salad Dressing
1 c. olive oil
3/4 c. sugar
3 tbsp Dijon mustar
1/3 c. white vinegar
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp celery salt
Combine all ingredients & enjoy!