Egg Salad with a Touch

It’s fun looking for new tastes to wake up old standards. A nice summer staple around here is egg salad. A great use for left-over hard boiled eggs. And rather than settle for bland eggs and mayo, let your adventurous side take over. Sometimes it takes over our of curiosity, like when you’re getting bored of the same-old, and sometimes out of necessity, lite when you want to use something that’s been hanging around a while. Well this afternoon both of these conditions conspired to make the following zippy sandwich:

 

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Two large hard boiled eggs
  • Two tablespoons of light mayo
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • Two tea spoons of whole ground mustard
  • Salt and pepper

 

Simplicity itself, peel the eggs and mash them up with your fork. Add the other ingredients and mix well. Toast two slices of pumpernickel bread. Then, place some lettuce on the bread, add some egg salad, pour a glass of iced tea and enjoy. You should be able to get two sandwiches out this.

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Left-over Kasha’s New Life

I made kasha the other day and overestimated its appeal on my urban hipster dinner guests (strictly meat and potatoes crowd). So having made a nice side of kasha to accompany the main course, I found myself with three cups of left overs. So, with the help of a couple of cans of provisions from the pantry, I was able to turn this side dish onto a secondary main course in itself.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Three cups of cooked kasha
  • Two small cans of chicken or one cup of left-over chicken
  • One can of chicken gravy
  • One can of peas
  • One can of corn
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Open those cans! In a large skillet empty the chicken gravy, chicken, peas and corn and heat thoroughly over a low to medium heat. Wait for the mixture to bubble before turning the heat to low. Remember to keep stirring this so it doesn’t settle.

Take the kasha and nuke it in the microwave oven for about three minutes. Transfer it to a nice deep bowl and ladle the chicken and gravy mixture over it.

Serve with a nice deep lager.

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Parrot Bay Fruit Salad

With the fourth of July here already, it’s time to think of eating out doors. I know I’ve covered lots of salads and picnic foods here on this blog, but I don’t recall doing much in the way of fruit salads. So, because the where is hot, there’s sales on fruit, and the rum supply is ample… let’s get some things tossed together and put on ice.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • ½ of a pineapple
  • 2 bananas
  • 2 navel oranges
  • 2 kiwi
  • 1 mango
  • 3 tablespoons Parrot Bay coconut rum

Peel, halve, and core your pineapple. Dice up half of it and toss it in the bowl. Peel and slice up the kiwi fruits, and peel, pit and cut up as best you can that mango. I say this which the experience that dicing these stone fruits can be very dicey indeed. Peeling and slicing your bananas is simplicity itself in comparison, so go and do that now…. Tossing the slices in the bowl.

Now for something creative. Cut the top and bottom off the oranges just deep enough to expose the inner fruit. Following the curve of the fruit cut the skin and pith off the orange in panels. Holding the orange over the bowl cut between the membranes to free the citrus segments. Let them fall into the bowl as they are cut free. By hand, squeeze all the juice from the remaining membrane over the fruit, then discard. Repeat with the other orange.

Now, splash this collection of fruits with the coconut rum, about three tablespoons or so, and let this sit in the fridge for a ½ hour or so letting all the flavors meld.

Serve this with a light topping of whipped cream if you like that, or, chiffonade of fresh mint leaves for a slightly different sensation.

fruit-salad

Summer Salmon and Couscous Salad

As the weather warms up thoughts turn towards picnics. Yeah, picnic season is upon us and I’ve been working on a couscous and salmon salad just right for bringing to a spread out blanket. This is still early in the development stage. It combines a Moroccan style French couscous with an Israeli Tune Couscous salad. But for what it’s worth let head down to the lab and see what’s on the slab…

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup chopped shallots3 cups water
  • 2 cups of couscous
  • 14 oz can of salmon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 cup good olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pitted, oil-cured black olives, coarsely chopped (3 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup jarred roasted red peppers, medium-diced (4 ounces)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
  • 1 cup chopped scallions (6-8 scallions)
  • 1/4 cup julienned fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
  • Juice of 1/2 lime

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a medium-size saucepan. Add the couscous and reduce the heat to very low. Cover the pot and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes, until the couscous is just tender. (I pull the pot halfway off the heat.) Drain in a colander.

Meanwhile, combine the salmon, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, capers, olives, red peppers, garlic, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper in a large bowl. Pour the hot couscous into the mixture and stir well. Cover and set aside for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Just before serving, stir in the scallions, basil, juice of the 1/2 lime, and 1 more teaspoon of salt. Taste for seasonings and serve warm or at room temperature.

I like to garnish this with wedges if lime, so you might as well serve this with tequila coolers!

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Spring Potato Salad

For this potato salad I like to use the new potatoes. These are the small potatoes with the thin skin. I use them for salads because they have a high moister to starch content. These low starch potatoes work well with a quick boil because you don’t have a lot of starch to break down. This also means that you need to keep an eye on them as they do boil quickly.

 

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 pounds small potatoes
  • 5 eggs
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, or to taste
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 stalks celery, minced
  • 1 medium red onion finely diced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Place the potatoes in a pot with enough water to cover, and bring to a boil. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain and cool.

While doing that, place eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring water to a boil and immediately remove from heat. Cover, and let eggs stand in hot water for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from hot water, and place in a bowl of cold water to cool.

And while doing that, cook bacon slices until crisp.

Peel the eggs, and place 3 of them into a large bowl. Reserve the rest for later. Mash the eggs in the bowl with a fork. Stir in the mustard, mayonnaise, celery, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Crumble 2 of the bacon slices into the mayonnaise mixture. Reserve the rest for garnish.

Peel and chop the potatoes, and stir into the bowl until evenly coated. Slice the 2 remaining eggs, and place on top of the salad. Crumble the remaining bacon over the eggs.

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Salsa Verde 1.0

Did I mention that there was a big sale on lime at Western Beef last week? Oh, I probably did. Well, while I was there I also picked up a bunch of tomatillos. These are the green Mexican tomato cousins that form the base of a salsa verde. Unlike tomato based salsas, these tomatillos need to be cooked before becoming salsa.  To cook the tomatillos, you can either roast them in the oven, or boil them. Roasting will deliver more flavor; boiling may be faster and use less energy. Either way works, though boiling is a more common way to cook the tomatillos.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 lb tomatillos
  • 1/2 cup chopped white onion
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 tablespoon sea salt
  • 2 Jalapeño peppers chopped

Roasting method Cut in half and place cut side down on a foil-lined baking sheet. Place under a broiler for about 5-7 minutes to lightly blacken the skin.

Boiling method Place tomatillos in a saucepan, cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove tomatillos with a slotted spoon.

Place tomatillos, lime juice, onions, cilantro, chili peppers, salt in a food processor if you have one, I use a basic blender, and pulse until all ingredients are finely chopped and mixed. Cool in refrigerator.

Serve with chips or as a salsa accompaniment to Mexican dishes.

tomatillo salsa verde

Tomatoes Stuffed with Crab

Hazy Hot and Humid… So, yesterday I mentioned making a chicken salad stuffed tomato. Well, I decided to stop off at the fish shop on the way home and got a great deal on crab meat. So, instead of chicken salad stuffed tomatoes, I made crab salad for them. I like to make these easy meal items that go straight from the fridge to the plate on these hazy, hot, humid days.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 fist sized ‘slicing’ tomatoes
  • 1 pound crab meat
  • 1 lime
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 rib celery
  • 2 spring leeks
  • two tablespoons mayo
  • sea salt and pepper

Start by cutting the crab meat into modest chunks. Cut the lime in half and squeeze the juice over the crab meat. Take a butter knife and shave off some of the lime pulp into the crab meat. Combine this thoroughly. Then add the minced celery and onion, then cut the leeks lengthwise and chiffonade and add the shreds to the crab. Now, add the mayo and mix thoroughly.

Take each tomato and hollow them out. I usually fine that one of those serrated grapefruit spoons works well for this task. Save the innards for making salsa, or chunked into a side salad. Now, stuff the crab salad into the tomato and store them in the fridge till you are ready to serve them up.

Tomato Stuffed with Crab

Crab Salad w Spring Leeks

From the sustainable seafood section; here’s a salad that works well by itself, or as a filling for a picnic sandwich. It uses those wonderfully sweet spring leeks that seen so plentiful at H-Mart, the local Asian market, and the crab meat on sale at Western Beef. So, grab some crab and a lime and lets get cracking.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 pound crab meat
  • 1 lime
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 spring leeks
  • two tablespoons mayo
  • sea salt and pepper

Start by cutting the crab meat into modest chunks. Cut the lime in half and squeeze the juice over the crab meat. Combine this thoroughly. Then cut the leeks lengthwise and chiffonade. Add the shreds to the crab. cut the red onion into fine shreds and add this too. Now, add the mayo and mix thoroughly.

A simple salad that stands on its own, or nestled inside a kaiser roll. Take it along on your next picnic.

 

Post Memorial Day Waldorf Salad Variant

I know it’s a day after Memorial Day, but I’m still not done. Another great summer treat is Waldorf salad. We are working on a variation on a theme and I think the theme is picnic food. I like light, easy, pack-n-go salads for picnics. This particular salad is vegan friendly, but I will check with my vegan friends and confirm this. I do know that no animals were present in the making of this treat.

 

Here’s what you’ll need:

 

  • 3 granny smith apples
  • 3  tablespoons of cider vinegar
  • 1 cup mayo
  • Sea salt and Pepper
  • 2 ribs of celery
  • 2 teaspoon curry powder
  • ½ of a small red onion shredded
  • Boston lettuce

Chop three apples granny smith, cause I like granny smith apples, into small chunks. Then wash them in 3 tablespoons cider vinegar. This prevents browning. Then fold these into one cup of good quality mayo, add a pinch of seal salt and a grind or two of pepper. This is the basis, a well balanced basis of the salad.

Now, for the variation, add to this base; 1 cup raisins, 2 tea spoons of curry powder, 2 ribs of celery, and ½ of a red onion shredded. Fold each item into the salad till its well mixed. Finish with a garnish of chiffonaded mint leaves and you are certainly good to go.

The waldorf salad is traditionally served on lettuce leaves, and for this I have a personal preference for Boston lettuce leaves as they are particularly ‘bowl-like’ in shape.

Braised Red Cabbage w Bacon

This side goes well with the crock-pot pulled pork. A nice head of red cabbage and good thick cut bacon are the real stars of this dish. As always, I highly recommend the thick cut bacon from Western Beef (now where’s my check for product placement!). This is also one of the sides that’s great a room temperature, even if that room is outside. The weather is fantastic way are you not picnicking.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 medium red cabbage shredded
  • 6 rashers of bacon chopped
  • 1 medium red onion diced
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup Duck Walk red wine
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp caraway or rye seeds

In your cast iron pot, brown the bacon  then saute the onion. Te crispiness of the bacon is up to you, i tend to prefer mine non-crispy more chewy. Add the cabbage and the caraway, or rye, seeds and season with a little salt and pepper ‘to taste’.

Toss this until the cabbage wilts down, about four minutes or so. Then add the water and wine, cover and turn the heat to low. Let this simmer about 15 minutes.

Add the vinegar, cover and cook until the cabbage is tender. As this is a personal test for done-ness, I prefer firmer, crunchier cabbage so I only cook this for an additional five minutes or so.

Extract the cabbage with a slotted spoon and pack it for your picnic.