Bacon Cheddar Soda Bread

I haven’t yet ventured into yeast bread, but I will make a quick bread, because I’m not scared of it. Yes, I am scared of yeast. So. Sad.

But here is a take in a recipe from one of my favorite recipe guys. Kevin – Closet Cooking.

D&D_28262 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded or diced
4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 tablespoons parsley (or chives), chopped

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add cheese and stir to coat with flour. Coat bacon pieces with flour as well. Stir in herbs. Form the dough into the desired bread shape, place on a baking sheet lined with parchment and bake until golden brown, about 25 – 30 minutes.

Simple as that, well, sort of, mostly.

Source: Kevin – Closet Cooking

Can’t help it – I love Kevin’s recipes. Simple and elegant and always changing.

Notes: Herbs from my potted garden – onion chives, garlic chives, and parsley. Woo hoo.

Apparently, I didn’t dice my cheddar small enough because it leaked out which was disappointing because I took great efforts to push the cheese and bacon to the inside if the dough.

Guess next time I’ll shred the cheese instead. I just thought in the interior of the bread if their was some nice bits of cheese – small chunks – it would be nice. Shredded just seems a little bit meh.

15 March 2018

One Pot Spaghetti

This recipe appealed to me because, in my small mind, spaghetti is always best as a left over. Kind of like meatloaf. I do not like warm meatloaf on a plate (isn’t meatloaf just such a strange word?), nor do I like spaghetti with sauce the day I make it. It does not really matter if it is my pasta sauce (vegetarian) or a meat sauce – it is always way (!) better when it sits in the fridge for a day or two.

My favorite way to eat spaghetti, which was always with a meat sauce when I was growing up, was a day later, reheated in a small pot on the stove – and then at the end, my mom would stir in small chunks of cheddar (a cheese she never skimped on – ever). So melty cheddar, meat sauce, soft noodles, and lovely goodness.

This recipe gets right down to that point. Cooking the pasta in the sauce makes a big difference, but I will still argue that waiting that one more painful day will make it just perfection. Let us just say, that I am right because I did it that way and it was just about everything I remember from the left-over spaghetti-ness of my childhood.*

1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 large sweet onion (softball-sized onion)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 cups water
15 ozs can tomato sauce
15 ozs can diced tomatoes with juice
1 Tbs dried oregano
1 Tbs dried basil
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
12 ozs spaghetti, broken in half
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
2 Tbs chopped parsley

In a large potter medium high heat cook beef and onion until soft. Add garlic and stir for a minute or two. Drain fat (there was not much).

Add water, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper. Bring to boil. Add spaghetti and stir. Reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook, stirring often, until noodles are cooked through, 15 minutes or so.

Stir in Parmesan and parsley before serving.

3 November 2017 – Tasty, but in my opinion needs more tomato flavor. Maybe use crushed tomatoes instead of diced. The Boy like the taste of it. Maybe a bit of tomato paste while adding the garlic?

Hoping the reheat on the next day will make it even better. This certainly will not be the last time I make it. And I can report now – yes – later is always better with spaghetti.

Can not wait to take it to lunch with some shredded extra sharp cheddar. That should just be the thing. This apple does not fall far from my childhood tree. D&D_2234

*Why does this come up so often? Because childhood food is really good food. That is why.

German Potato Salad

When I first started eating, and loving, German potato salad I was not even in my twenties, (let’s just say that was a while ago) and had no concept of the kinds of potatoes other than russet or baking potatoes and my favorites, red new potatoes. It wasn’t until I tried to start making German potato salad that I began to understand about waxy potatoes.  This recipe calls for waxy potatoes and my favorite are Yukon Gold. dd_1657

1 1/4 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes
4 slices of bacon, or more because it is bacon
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
2 Tbs white wine or cider vinegar
1 small onion, minced
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
2 Tbs canola oil
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
1/4 cup snipped chives
1/4 cup chopped parsley

Cook the potatoes in salted simmering water until just tender. Just test them with a paring knife – it is the best way to decide if they are done or not. Drain, dry, and peel and slice into 1/2 inch thick slices.

While potatoes are cooking, prepare dressing. Cook bacon in a sauté pan over medium high heat until bacon is crisp. Remove bacon to a paper towel-lined plate, leaving bacon fat in the pan. Crumble bacon into small pieces and reserve.

In a pot, bring broth, vinegar, onions, salt, sugar, and pepper to a boil.

Combine canola oil, bacon fat, and mustard with warm potatoes. Pour broth vinegar mixture over potatoes. Toss to combine. Add in reserved bacon and chives and parsley.

– I think the best thing you can do is dress a potato while it is still warm because will just be a sponge to the liquid you are including. Another reason to love any kind of potato salad – in my opinion.

I first learned this idea from a good friend who dressed her potatoes for potato salad with pickle juice from the jar right when they came out of the hot water – it makes a world of difference.

 

Cheddar Stuffed Mushrooms

It is, to me, really nice to find a recipe that I haven’t made in a while that really stands the test of time. I made this the first time over 8 years ago. Had set it aside for 6 years for no particular reason – just didn’t think to make it and a few weeks ago I had some stuffed mushrooms at an event and thought, Why haven’t I made any of these lately? No particular reason.  So I looked through the recipes I had and noticed all my notes about this recipe – things like, “easy” and “vg” (my shorthand, thanks to Bridget Jones’s Diary — the book, very good), and that both the MotH and his father liked it. So I thought what the hell, but let’s see if we can prep one day or so ahead and bake the day I wanted them. I know they are good warm or room temperature. Most stuffed mushrooms are – they are forgiving if nothing else. Notes of how to do this ahead of time below – dead simple. D&D_1060

1 lb button or crimini mushrooms, or a mix of both- this time crimini
5 Tbs unsalted butter / divided / 3 & 2
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped fine
1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced
1 small onion, minced
1 shallot, minced
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup finely fresh bread crumbs – 1 slice of bread whirred in the food pross monster*
Salt / freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees – if you are baking immediately.

Wash mushrooms**, let dry on paper towels. Remove stems and finely chop them.

Finely chop walnuts and parsley and add to a medium bowl. Mix in bread crumbs and cheese. Season with freshly cracked black pepper.

Heat 3 Tbs of butter on medium and add onion and shallot. Sauté for a few minutes. When aromatics are starting to get soft, add mushroom stems and a nice pinch of salt and cook until liquid is release and the pan begins to dry just a bit. Let cool.  Add cheese / bread crumb mixture.

Here is where I deviated a bit and hopes it works – update – it did. I put the mushroom caps in a zip top bag with a couple of paper towels and plan to hold them there for a day and a half. I let all the stuffing pieces come to room temperature and then refrigerated it to stuff the mushrooms for Christmas Day appetizer.

The plan is to put the mushrooms on a baking dish, brush the with butter as in the original recipe then fill them or stuff them,  as it were, with the cheese mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Serve warm or room temperature.

Source: No earthly idea – long before I started keeping up with those sorts of things. Or blogging about food.

—–

Update – So took the stuffing mix out of the fridge for about 30 minutes. I did put the mushroom caps on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil and filled them pretty well, but totally forgot to brush with butter. It was not a problem at all. That step, in my opinion, can be skipped unless you just want to do that.

* Had not thought of this phrase in ages. When I used to make things in the food processor, I would prepare the Boy by saying I was about to use the food pross monster. How that, in and of itself, didn’t scare him, I don’t know, but the noise didn’t bother him because he knew it was coming. That was my sad little 4 cup food processor, but it did what I needed at the time. Things you forget.

** AB says it is okay to rinse mushrooms. And I do it and have never had a problem with it. Just rinse them in a colander and dry them on paper towels.

Christmas Eve 2007 – SR / WR liked, very easy

16 August 2008

10 May 2009 – Mom’s day w/ W & J

25 December 2015  – v.g.

 

Red Creamer Potato Salad

The right time of year for really small red creamer potatoes is longer than it used to be since most of the farmers’ markets that carry them get them from our local farms in the area. This is great for me because I love these tiny potatoes. When you roast them they almost become candy-like. And I mean that in the best possible way.

D&D_0192

Roasted Creamer Potato Salad

To me potato salad is an elusive thing. That makes it sound exotic, like an Indian tiger, but that is not really what I mean. But it is elusive. It is one of those things you have in your head, but that doesn’t mean it is easy to execute.

Again, this is a no-recipe, recipe. If that makes any sense at all – likely not. But sometimes you really do just have to wing it in the kitchen. Trust your gut and your taste buds.

So I love these potatoes roasted and as soon as they came out of the oven, I doused them with rice wine vinegar. I think it is important to do when they are hot – they just soak it up. I did not want a traditional mayonnaise-based potato salad. I had tried that the week before and loved it, but wanted to go in a different direction. So vinegar, lemon juice, lemon zest, Dijon mustard and Italian parsley. I really liked it. It is not your traditional Southern potato salad, but it was really good. Again, just trust your palate. And remember that when you taste hot potatoes, they are going to be different when they are cold. Err on the side of more vinegar while the potatoes are hot. I kid you not. It really works.

Couscous Salad

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Couscous Salad

Me and Mr. Peabody are in the WABAC machine for this recipe – if it can be called a recipe at all. This is another in a long line of things I made while in my vegetarian phase – if you can call a decade a phase, but that I continue to make because it is just so damn good. I have been thinking of making this for a while now. It uses things that I don’t tend to have on hand, red onion and orange juice.  It is a mix of a lot of strange things, and I could not tell you, have no idea, where the original recipe came from. But somehow all these weird things come together and if I am honest, which I can occasionally be, it is the red onion and orange juice that totally make this for me. Worth that trip to the grocery store – yep. Every time.

1 cup orange juice
1/3 cup raisins or sultanas
1/2 medium red onion, diced
1/3 cup toasted nuts, coarsely chopped
1 scallion, sliced thinly
1 cup couscous
Handful of minced flat-leafed parsley – not totally required really – but pretty much.

Heat orange juice in a saucepan until simmering gently. Add raisins. And let the raisins enjoy themselves.

Toast the nuts in a small pan, stirring often until just fragrant. Coarsely chop.

Place diced red onion in a heat proof glass dish with just enough water to cover. Heat in microwave for about two minutes. Let sit for a few minutes, then drain. Add a splash of vinegar, which ever kind you prefer to the onions.

Turn up heat to a nice simmer on the orange juice, add the couscous with a tablespoon of olive oil. Mix, cover and let sit off heat to steam. Fluff with a fork. Add scallions, red onion, nuts, and parsley and mix to combine.

D&D_0256

Couscous Salad – or something like it …

Notes: I like regular small couscous. I tried it this time with “pearl” couscous, which I think is just a bit too big, too toothy – if that makes any sense, so I went back for the tiny couscous and made it again. Yep – that is what I remember – fluffy couscous with all sorts of weird flavors that really work together. Let it sit over night and it gets even better – no joke. Amazing, flavorful, and really great for breakfast – but I am the girl that likes cold Pad Thai for breakfast too. There it is.