Monday, August 22, 2016

Kimchi Slaw

Kimchi Slaw












If you love Kimchi but think it's too much work then this might be the perfect recipe for you.  It's an easy slaw that uses the flavors of kimchi mixed with an easy bagged cole slaw mix so you can throw this together in minutes.

And once you've got a batch in the fridge the ideas are endless.  It's great on burgers and sandwiches but it's also great as an ingredient in other recipes.  I like to mix it with an egg and make kimchi fritters.  It's great in fried rice or soup.  

If I've got a bowl of this in the fridge your meals will be interesting all week.

Kimchi Slaw
Prep time: 10 minutes

Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce (gluten free)
  • 2 tbsp Korean pepper flakes, (Gochugaru)
  • 1 large clove garlic finely minced
  • 1 bag coleslaw mix (about 6-7 cups shredded cabbage and carrots)
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • ½ granny smith apple (grated or finely diced)
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds (optional garnish)

Video Tutorial: Coming Soon

Instructions
  1. In a small bowl add the vinegar, fish sauce, pepper flakes, and minced garlic and stir until well blended.
  2. In a large nonreactive bowl add the slaw mix, green onions and apple and stir to combine then add the pepper paste and toss well.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours but overnight is better tossing occasionally.
  4. Sprinkle with sesames to garnish before serving

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Almond Raspberry Jam Bars

Almond Raspberry Jam Bars













What a pleasure these Almond Raspberry Jam bars turned out to be.  Their soft delicate almond crust and sweet raspberry jam seem to be made for each other while the toasted slivered almonds on top add a textural juxtaposition that sends this dessert over the top. 

But beyond these bars being delicious, they’re also one of the easiest confections you can throw together when you have last-minute company.  Is it me or does it seem that family gatherings always seem to happen at the spur of the moment.      

In my case it was the birth of my first Granddaughter, the beautiful Charlotte Sophia that lead to the impromptu mass pilgrimage of relatives clamoring to catch a glimpse of the little bundle. 

Have no fear, with easy recipes like this,  you can easily bang out a couple of desserts to accompany that obligatory pot of coffee. 

But to really have a party you'll need a bit more than coffee and confections.  Try adding a cheese board with some charcuterie, fruit, nuts crackers, crostini and various nibbles. 

I guess you could call this blog post my blueprint for a bunch of happy guests while the host maintains some sanity.  

Welcome to the world baby Charlotte.

Almond Raspberry Jam Bars
Prep time: 15 min
Bake time: 35 min total (20 first then 15)
Servings: 18 small rectangles (cut 3x6)

Crust Ingredients:
  • ¾ cup softened butter (1 ½ sticks)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼  tsp vanilla or almond extract
  • 1 egg (room temperature)
  • 2 cups of Almond Meal (I used the blanched variety)
  • (1) 10 oz jar raspberry jam (I used polaner all-fruit)
  • ½ cup slivered almonds

Video Tutorial: Coming Soon

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF (or 175ºC) and line an 8x8 inch square pan with parchment paper sprayed with nonstick spray.
  2. For the crust cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla then add the egg and mix until it is well incorporated (at this point it will look curdled) add the almond flour and mix until you’ve got a soft cookie dough.
  3. Transfer the dough into the prepared pan use an offset spatula to spread it into an even layer on the bottom.  
  4. Bake the crust for 20 minutes then allow it to cool completely so it doesn’t break apart when you spread the jam.
  5. Once cooled top the crust with the jam and gently spread into an even layer.
  6. Sprinkle over the slivered almonds and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
  7. Allow the bars to rest in the pan to cool completely before removing the slab onto a cutting board.
  8. Refrigerate to chill completely before slicing. 

Notes: With a sticky dessert like this I like to use cupcake liners to make them easier to serve.  

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Ratatouille

Ratatouille 












As Summer is in full swing and the fun family gatherings are a frequent occurrence, I’ve got one question for you …

What are you bringing to the backyard barbecue?

Forget about the pasta or potato salad.  Ratatouille reigns supreme when it comes to the perfect summer side.  Alright I do love a good mustard dill potato salad too but I digress.  

Ratatouille has it all.  Besides being the perfect way to highlight all those summer veggies, it’s also a great dish to make ahead then serve cool or at room temperature during your family festivities. 

Can you think of a better sidekick to a piece of grilled chicken, pork or fish?  Heck it’s not half bad as a gourmet burger topper either.  But besides being a stunning side dish or condiment, ratatouille also easily adapts to be the star of the show.  

Just imagine the elegance of your ratatouille pressed into a ring mold then topped it with a fresh grape tomato salad and a drizzle of balsamic reduction.  You don’t have to imagine it.  I demoed the stunning light lunch in my video tutorial below.  

Honestly this might have been the tastiest lunch I had all summer. 

Ratatouille
Prep time: 20 min
Cook Time: 1-1½  hours

Ingredients
  • 1 large eggplant, (diced into large cubes)
  • 2 zucchinis, (diced into large cubes)
  • 2 summer squash, (diced into large cubes)
  • 2 red bell peppers, (diced)
  • 1 large yellow onion, (diced)
  • 3 cloves garlic (sliced)
  • 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tbs fresh thyme
  • 2 tbs fresh parsley
  • olive oil (enough to saute all the veggies about ½ cup)

Video Tutorial: 


Instructions
  1. In a very large skillet over a medium heat add few tablespoons of olive oil with half the eggplant cubes and some salt and pepper then saute for a few minutes stirring as needed until the pieces all have a golden color while still maintaining their structure then remove from the pan and set aside. 
  2. Add the other half of the eggplant with a little more oil and salt and pepper repeat step 1.
  3. Add the summer squash with more olive oil, salt and pepper repeat step 1 then set them aside in a separate bowl than the eggplant.
  4. Repeat with the zucchini and when they have some color set them aside in their own bowl.
  5. Add the chopped onion and red peppers together since they both have similar cooking times and saute for a few minutes with more olive oil and salt and pepper then clear a space in the pan and add the sliced garlic with a little oil and toast the garlic for a minute before mixing it in with the peppers and onions.
  6. Add a 6 oz can of tomato paste and stir it into the veggies before adding a cup of water to dilute the paste into a sauce consistency then add all the veggies back into the pan with the parsley and thyme. 
  7. Stir it all together and at this point you can either put the whole mixture into a casserole dish and bake it in a 325 degree oven for ½ hour or finish it right on the stove-top over a low heat for 10 or 15 minutes.
  8. Let it rest for 10 minutes and serve or serve it at room temperature or reheated the next day.  

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Meat Stuffed Artichokes

Braised Meat Stuffed Artichokes












When I was a girl I remember my mother making large trays of stuffed artichokes for a holiday meal.  Actually, it was a team effort.  I was about 8 or 9 when she first handed me a pair of scissors and showed me how to trim the sharp points from each petal.  She did the real knife-work of course which basically consisted of trimming off the top and stem. 

I guess she didn’t want any preholiday ER visits.

She added the stuffing ingredients to a bowl while I mixed it all together.  We both stuffed them.  I’d watch her carefully and mimic her movements feeling accomplished as they began to take shape.  Before long we’d have tons of them done.    

Then during the holiday meal I’d grin from ear to ear when she told all the distant relatives how I made the artichokes.  A child’s pride is unsurpassed.

In this blog and corresponding YouTube video I did a small batch just to give you a scaled-down snapshot of how it’s done.  If I were actually preparing these for a holiday meal, let’s just say that filming and editing a video would have been nearly impossible.

  
Meat Stuffed Artichokes
Prep time: 15 Minutes
Bake Time: 1 ½ Hours
Servings: 2

Ingredients to Stuff the Artichokes
  • 2 artichokes
  • 6 oz ground beef
  • 1 cup fresh grated GF bread crumbs (toasted)
  • ½ cup pecorino romano
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • ½ cut lemon (to rub the artichokes during the prep)

 Ingredients for Baking the Artichokes
  • boiling artichoke water (enough to come up 1 inch in the baking vessel)
  • ½ cup white white
  • 1 clove garlic sliced
  • peeled artichoke stems sliced thin
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Video Tutorial: 

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF (or 175ºC) and have a baking dish ready that will fit the artichokes.
  2. In a medium bowl stir together all of the stuffing ingredients.  I like to use 2 forks to break apart the meat and keep the stuffing light and airy versus compacting the meat and other ingredients together.
  3. To prepare the artichoke have ½ a cut lemon ready to rub all the cut surfaces as you are working to keep the artichoke from browning.
  4. Remove any leaves along the stem and the bottom row of leaves then cut off the stem.
  5. Cut a thin slice off the bottom of the stem and discard then peel the stem and slice it on the bias it into thin rounds to be used during the baking process. Remember to toss the slices with lemon juice to keep them from turning brown.
  6. Cut the top ½ inch off the top of the artichoke with a sharp knife then use a scissors to trim the sharp points from every remaining leaf.
  7. Bring a pot of salted water to boil then blanch the artichokes (not the stems) for 15 minutes.
  8. Drain and cool the artichokes to a point where you can work with them. (reserve the artichoke water)
  9. Open the leaves until you are able to work your way down to the choke and small leaves and pull them out with your fingers or a scrape them out with a small spoon.
  10. Divide the filling into 2 parts and use half for each artichoke, opening the leaves as go so that you can work a nice amount of stuffing down into each leaf. 
  11. When they are both done prepare the baking dish by adding about 1 ½ cups of the salted boiling artichoke liquid, add ½ cup of white wine, the sliced artichoke stems and garlic and some crushed red pepper flakes to taste. 
  12. Stir the ingredients together then add stuffed artichokes to the dish.  Sprinkle with a little more pecorino, and a drizzle of olive oil then cover tightly with foil and bake for 45 minutes covered then, remove the foil and cook uncovered for 15-20 minutes more or until lightly golden and the leaves are tender.
  13. Spoon about 1-2 tablespoons of the pan juices over each artichoke just before serving.

Notes: 
  1. Since oven temperatures vary, make sure to check your artichokes for doneness by poking with a knife at the base to insure they are tender and testing to see that a leaf can easily be pulled out.  
  2. The braising liquid from the artichokes can be tossed with cooked short pasta, additional parsley, lemon slices, pecorino, and red pepper flakes for a nice accompaniment to the artichokes.  
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