01/5/13

Starting the Year Off

For Christmas, Mr got me a low profile mortar and pestle (he certainly knows how to make me swoon), it’s so awesome! With the pestle being a full opposite of the mortar, the whole bowl is a grinding surface. Needless to say we’ve been grinding spices like nobody’s business at our house.

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Along with the gorgeous mortar and pestle came Bite Me Too, Julie Albert & Lisa Gnat’s follow up to their first cookbook, Bite Me. They put together a cookbook that is really fun to read: a little bit sassy, with playful pictures, and lots of fun and funky recipes. The Stacked Sushi Bowls I made?   They were very loosely based on the stacked sushi recipe from their first book. I made some supremely tasty, retro fun caramel monkey bread to bring to a holiday potluck (I need to finish writing up the post for that too!). Anything I’ve pulled from their books has turned out marvelously, and when you’re talking about a cookbook, that is a beautiful thing.

Another thing that joined our house over the holidays was the game Cards Against Humanity. Mr had been looking to track it down since the fall and the copy I ordered him came in just in time for Christmas. He was so happy! It’s pretty much played like Apples to Apples (another very fun game), each round a player puts out one of the black cards, and all of the other players respond to the hypothetical question or statement with one of their white cards. The person who played the black card gets to pick which one wins and that person gets a point. It’s very sarcastic, irreverent, and has some black humor to it. Like the box cheekily says, it’s a party game for horrible people. I’ve been a little bit surprised at some of the content on the cards, I will admit that, but you can’t help but laugh at: “My plans for world domination begin with _____” answered with  “Chainsaws for hands.”

In the end, the holiday season treated my mister and I well.  We got to spend time with our nearest and dearest, and I think that is what that time of year is all about. But after all of the celebrations, libations and feasting that come with the the end of a year and the beginning of a new one, sometimes a person needs a recovery period. So, from my shiny new cookbook, here is Julie and Lisa’s delicious twist on a Greek Salad. Fill up on veggies!

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Greek Salad with Sugar Snaps

(recipe adapted from Julie Albert and Lisa Gnat’s Bite Me Too)

2 Cups sugar snap peas

1 long English cucumber

2 Cups cherry tomatoes

1 large red bell pepper

1 Cup feta cheese

1 Cup Kalamata olives

1/4 Cup olive oil

2 Tbsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

Directions

  • Trim the ends off of the sugar snap peas and then cut them into bite size pieces (mine mostly went into thirds or halves).
  • Cut the cucumber in half and remove the seeds. Dice into pieces bite size pieces.
  • Halve the cherry tomatoes.
  • Dice the red pepper to a size similar to the cucumber pieces.
  • Cube the feta cheese, once again maintaining a relatively similar size of cube.
  • Remove the pits from the olives and cut them in half.
  • Combine everything in a large bowl.
  • To make the vinaigrette, put all of the remaining ingredients into a jar or other resealable container and shake to emulsify,
  • Dress the salad and give it a toss to mix it up.
  • Munch away!

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Three awesome things about this salad: (1) snap peas in salads are fantastic! (2) no offense to greens, but lately I’m loving a salad that does away with them, this salad is a great example (3) normally, I find Greek salads really oily tasting. The vinaigrette they use is bright and citrus-y but it doesn’t coat your whole mouth with oil so that you can’t taste anything else. Fantastic.

What Mr thinks this salad is “awesome! But best as a midnight snack!”

This time last year: Petite Poutine

And the year before that: Chocolate Truffle Trio

 

 

 

 

01/23/12

“I’ll Have the Regular, Please”

Let’s play a game, shall we?

The Funky Kitchen has opened up a deli/sandwich shoppe. (Wouldn’t that be fun?) Say you were one of my regular customers, someone who could come in and say, “Hi Dana, I’ll have the regular please,” and I would be able to tell what it was.

What would your regular have on it? What would it be on? I ask because people’s answers vary so much, and due to the extremely adaptable nature of a sandwich, there are a lot of interesting ideas out there. If there was a signature sandwich with your name on it, a perfect sandwich for you, what would it be?

The Dana

(Sopressata sandwich on an English muffin, with all the right fixings)

Start with an English Muffin, vaguely toasted. I really like the size of English muffins for a sandwich, and also the spongy texture. I’m not known to be the greatest advocate of toasted bread, but a lightly toasted English muffin is perfect for the Dana sandwich. The little bit of crunch adds to the texture.

To the bottom side of the sandwich (depicted at the left) add a little bit of mustard, and to the top side (depicted at right) some mayonnaise.

To the bottom of the sandwich: a few slices of sopressata. Sopressata is my favorite deli meat by a fair measure. To the top of the sandwich: 2 or 3 layered pieces of romaine lettuce. I love the crunch of romaine, and the slight bitter flavor it has.

Atop the sopressata: a few shavings of old cheddar cheese. Atop the lettuce: A slice of tomato with black pepper cracked over top.

Stack the sandwich parts together, and voila! My most favorite sandwich. If you don’t have English muffins available, or are looking to have a larger sandwich, rye bread would be a close second choice for me.

Mr’s signature sandwich seems to be a riff on a club sandwich, and is much more gargantuan than mine. From the bottom, he has: toasted white bread, mayo, pepperjack cheese, bacon, chicken, toasted white bread, kolbassa (coarse garlic sausage), lettuce, tomato, cheddar cheese, more bacon and a third slice of toasted bread. Quite a sandwich! Maybe that’s what I should make next.

I’m looking for interesting ideas for what to put between slices of bread; what would your perfect sandwich be?

This time last year:  Spaghetti with Spicy Italian Sausage, Roasted Acorn Squash and Labneh

10/3/11

A Question, a Tip, and an Admission

Deviled eggs make me want to party. This is probably because of where I tend to consume them; a particular Auntie of mine always has deviled eggs at parties, and so they make me think of gatherings, birthdays and holidays. She makes a mean deviled egg, too.

Why are they called deviled eggs? My reading tells me that a ‘deviled’ food tends to refer to a food spiced with the hot seasonings cayenne or mustard. Also, the concept of the deviled egg has apparently been around for quite a while.

In making these, I learned a thing or two about myself, first that if you are impatient and do not let the eggs cool entirely, the shells will not peel off very easily, and second that I am rather impatient. Luckily, after I made a mess of the first few, I figured out it would be best if I just waited. It really does make a great difference.

I don't own a piping bag. I just use a resealable bag and cut off one of the corners. You can control how much comes out by how much you cut off, and you don't need to wash it when you're done.

Deviled Eggs

12 eggs

1/3 Cup mayonnaise

2 tsp Dijon mustard

2 tsp fresh dill, chopped

1/4 tsp salt

paprika, for dusting

Directions

Hard boil the eggs (not sure how to do that? Check here). Let them cool completely; keeping them immersed in cold water for a while helps the process along swimmingly. Gently remove the shells, preserving the hard boiled egg’s roundness, and discard. Using a knife, cut each egg into halves longitudinally, so that the halves are symmetrical. Scoop out the beautiful yolks into a bowl, and set the whites aside. To the bowl with the yolks, add the mayonnaise, mustard, salt and dill, and mash until everything is smooth and combined. Scoop the yolk mixture into a piping bag, or a resealable plastic bag with the tip of one corner cut off (no one will be able to tell the difference), and pipe the yolk into the wells left in the whites. Sprinkle with paprika, and serve. Keep refrigerated if not serving immediately.

They certainly did taste like a party! Some were casualties to my impatient peeling of the shells and some became casualties of freezing, the fridge seems to be set too cold, but the ones that made it to the table? Fantastic.

Mr. says: deviled eggs are delicious, and that they aren’t so difficult that a person shouldn’t make them.