Another Super Summer Salad: Apple and Carrot Salad

Summertime heat makes me crave cold food all the time. I've been trying not to use that as a reason to eat potato salad 3 meals per day. This refreshing salad is fast and sinple to make, and low in calories, making it a great addition for your lunch bag or a pre-dinner snack.

  • 2 large apples (1 granny smith and 1 fuji or other red apple makes the prettiest salad) cored then cut into matchsticks with your mandolin or grated
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 3 cups carrots, grated
  • 1/4 cup(s) chives, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 oz feta cheese, crumbled

Toss apples with lime juice. Add remaining ingredients. Makes 8 servings. 1 pt each for those of you on WW.

Seven-Layer Brownies

Since we are off to the fair today, I have snacks on the brain. Thus once a twitter friend was trying to decide on some brownies to make, I felt prompted to share my friend Carolyn's recipe, which I wheedled out of her when we
did a holiday cookie exchange several years ago.

These are truly the
most fabulous 7 Layer Brownies I've had, and so simple to make.

1. Melt 1 stick of butter in 9"x13" pan, then add the following layers:
2. 1 cup of graham cracker crumbs
3. 1 cup of grated coconut
4. 3/4 of a 12 oz bag of chocolate chips
5. 3/4 of a 12 oz bag of butterscotch chips
6. 1 cup chopped nuts (Carolyn used pecans)
7. Pour 1 can of sweetened condensed milk over the top

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Refrigerate for nugget style brownies.

I mean, how can any recipe that starts off with melting an entire stick of butter *not* be fabulous???

Potato Salad, Two Ways

Potato salad has been the quintessential summertime food to me for as long as I can remember. The highlight of any picnic as a child was cold fried chicken accompanied by my mom’s creamy potato salad.

So when the most recent heatwave turned our otherwise lovely apartment into an oven, I cracked open my 5 lb bag of red potatoes and got boiling.

After chopping about 3 lbs of the potatoes into bite-sized chunks, I tossed them into salted boiling water. I let them boil about 10 minutes until the average size pieces were cooked through (tested by spooning one out, cooling it with water, and tasting it.) At this point I tossed in some French green beans that I snapped in half and cooked for another 2 minutes.

After pouring the potatoes and green beans out into a footed colander and letting cool about 5 minutes, I split them into two bowls with roughly the same potato to green bean ratio.

In the first bowl, I added three heaping serving spoons of sour cream, 1/4 of a large red onion roughly chopped, and a teaspoon of grainy mustard, plus salt and pepper then stirred til combined. We used this as a side for our fried chicken.

In the other bowl, which had about a potato more in it, I added three heaping serving spoons of mayo, 1/4 of a large red onion roughly chopped, 1/2 cup of solid salami chopped into small chunks, 2 cups of shredded cabbage, a teaspoon of grainy mustard, a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar plus salt and pepper then stirred til combined. I took this salad for lunch, and had small portions as an after work snack all week.

Sorry for the lack of photos on this, but potato salad is one of those foods that looks so wrong, but tastes so good.

Mini Bluberry Muffins

Made these babies again today.

Muffins2

In my fabulous mini muffin tray. MMMM. 

Muffin_pan

I love that I can just use these silicon pans without prep — no liners, no buttering each cup. And they make perfect teeny muffins that even the dieting ladies at my office will eat. That's what I call a win/win.

Non-related, this place has been devoid of photos for the last few months due to my fabulous new computer. Leopard broke my ancient copy of Photoshop. And though I tried to find a free or chea or lite photo app, I ended up not taking pictures out of annoyance at not being able to play with them the way I like to.

But last week, I gave in and bought Adobe Photoshop CS4
. And I love it. Worth every penny.

Nilla Wafer Pudding

It has already been established within these pixels that I do love white trash 70s food. It is the comfort food my mom made while I was growing up, so I can't help it.

Tonight, I'm making Nilla Wafer pudding.

INGREDIENTS

1 box Nilla Wafers
1 box instant vanilla pudding
2 cups milk for the pudding
2 bananas

ASSEMBLY
Make pudding. Line small round dishes with Nilla wafers on sides and bottom. Slice rounds of bananas and cover the bottom layer of Nilla wafers with them. Pour 1/3 of the pudding over the top. Make a layer of Nilla Wafers on top of that, then bananas, then pudding, repeat again.

BAKING
Pop into a 350 degree oven and heat until warm throughout (15-20 min). Enjoy the leftovers for breakfast tomorrow.

Easy Pulled Pork

Pulled PorkI love pulled pork. If I see it on a menu, I am compelled to order it. Despite this love, and my frequent making of roasted pork tenderloin, I had never tried to make it at home prior to last week.

I'd ordered a pork tenderloin from the grocery delivery but ended up with a pretty sturdy looking roast rather than the slim tenderloins I was used to. So I decide to throw caution to the wind and make some slow roasted pulled pork.

Here's what I did…

Preheated oven to 300 degrees.

Prepared large glass baking dish by coating the bottom with olive oil. Placed roast in the pain. Seasoned with salt and pepper. Poured can of coca cola over the top. Placed in oven. Turned meat over after a half hour. After another half hour, returned meat to its initial position, and added in some tiny creamer potatoes cut into bite-size chunks (sprinkled olive oil over them and salted them), and added 2 apples, cored and sliced into 8-pieces each. Baked another 45 minutes or so.

Served all the above inside pitas, with sour cream and white cheddar cheese on top. Simply yum. It is a real pain to clean up the pan afterward, but it's tasty enough to merit it.

 

Mmmm Chili

San Francisco had been cold and blustery for a week or two when I decided I was going to spend last Sunday making chili. Of course that meant it cleared up and we had sunny warm weather all weekend. But no matter– I made the chili anyway. I am stubborn that way.

Start making your chili 3 or so hours before you wish to be eating it.

  • 1 red onion diced
  • 1 shallot diced
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced or grated
  • 12 small carrots, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into small chunks
  • olive oil
  • 2 cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can white canellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 lb. beef stew meat
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 1 draught can Guiness or other dark beer
  • Chili sauce to taste
  • Taco seasoning or mixed chili seasoning to taste

Start browning your ground beef and your stew meat in separate skillets. Meanwhile, dice your onions and garlic, and add them into a large stock pot, over medium-low heat, that has had olive oil added to it. Dice your remaining vegetables and add them to the stock pot, adding additional olive oil if necessary to coat the additions. Reduce to low heat until your meat has been browned and drained.

Add 1 package of taco seasoning or same amount of chili seasoning (2-3 teaspoons) to the ground beef, plus 3/4 cup water, and simmer for 6 or 7 minutes (until liquid is reduced to thick coating on the meat.) Cut the beef stew pieces into bite-sized pieces.

Add all meat to the stock pot, plus the beans, and stir. Pour in chicken broth and 2 teaspoons chili sauce, stir again, and increase to medium heat. Add in a teaspoon or 2 of chili or taco seasoning. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to keep chili simmering. Check every 15 minutes or so and stir. Once the liquid has substantially reduced, add in the can of beer. Simmer another 30 minutes, then taste and add in more chili sauce to taste.

Once you have a dense, dark mass of chili in the pot, with most of the liquid removed, you are ready to eat. Garnish with sharp cheddar, sour cream and diced onions. Makes 4-5 servings.

Buttermilk Pancakes

OK, I have to admit it — my made from scratch pancakes are always made with Bisquick, unless I am using sourdough starter. For whatever reason, they just turn out better (and save me from washing measuring utensils.) Here's my recipe.

Buttermilk Pancakes
2 cups bisquick
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup milk

In a bowl, mix the ingredients in the order listed, until combined. Heat a grill until a few sprinkles of water on the grill sizzle. Ladle 2 full spoonfulls of batter per pancake onto the griddle. Cook on 1 side until it is brown (the top should have bubbles and no longer be liquid), then flip and cook other side until brown. Makes about 4 large pancakes. Serve with butter and maple syrup.

Taco Pie

A recipe in the current Everyday with Rachael ray magazine inspired me to make a quickie taco pie last night. It's like a pizza, but with tortillas and taco fixings as toppings. My version has very little prep, and is ideal for a night when you want to pop something into the oven for a half hour and sit down to some comfort food.

  • 1.5 lb cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 lb chorizo, crumbled (i.e. slice off the sausage casing and rip the meat into chunks)
  • 1 jar taco sauce (I used Fronterra)
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 cans refried beans (I used the taco bell ones, for nostalgia's sake)
  • 6 thick organic flour tortillas (can double up 2x regular soft taco tortillas)

Preheat oven to 375. Coat large baking sheet (one with a lip is preferable) with butter. Layer your tortillas to fill the baking sheet, overlaping as necessary. Put a few fork pricks into the tortillas to keep them from puffing up while baking. Sprinkle 1/3 of the cheese on the tortillas. Bake for 10 min.

Crumble or thinly slice your chorizo. Slice your onion into thin, bite-sized individual slices.

Remove your "crust" from the oven. Apply a thin layer of cheese, then the refried beans, onions, chorizo. Drizzle taco sauce across the pizza, keeping in mind how hot the sauce is, and how much of it you would want in a mouthfull of pizza. Top with the rest of the cheese. Bake 25-30 minutes. Let sit for a minute, then cut into individual plate-sized pieces. Makes 6 servings.

Lazy Sangria

Yes, my theme this week is making yummy food stuffs when you are feeling far too lazy to do much of anything in the kitchen.

Over the weekend, I made sangria for a gathering of about 20 people. It was one of the tastiest, and easiest, varaiations on my usual sangria recipe.

1 bottle of Rosenblum Vintner's Cuvee zinfandel
24 oz of cherry cider (I would have preferred cherry apple cider but couldn't find any)
3/4 or so of a bag of Trader Joe's pre-sliced apples (about 3 fuji apples worth)
1 pint of strawberries
3 shots of white rum
2 shots of grand marnier
1 lime sliced into thin circles
1 teaspoon sugar
Lots of ice

Clean and quarter ripe strawberries, and place in a a large ziploc bag. Add shots of Grand Marnier and rum, plus sugar. Seal bag and refrigerate for 2 or more hours prior to making the sangria. Pour liquids into a large punch bowll. Add fruit and stir. Add a few handfulls of ice. Drink and enjoy your afternoon.