Apple and Celery Root Slaw

Picnics are a perfect time to perfect those chilled salads and slaws that remind us that it’s too warm for hot food. So, with picnics in mind I put together two great tastes that should go well together and blended them with a variation of the creamy coleslaw dressing I like to whip up. So lets try the Apple and Celery Root slaw.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cups mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons chopped tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated horseradish
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 bulbs (about 1 pound) celery root , peeled and cut into small matchsticks
  • 2  sweet apples (I use Macintosh) apples, cored and cut into small matchsticks
  • 1 large egg, hardboiled and finely chopped

Combine the mayonnaise, tarragon, lemon zest, salt, and horseradish in a medium bowl. Toss the lemon juice, celery root, and apples together in a large bowl and stir in the mayonnaise mixture and egg. Let sit at least 45 minutes before serving.

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Memorial Day Party Sangria

The past two days have had pleasant enough weather for trips out to Long Island’s north fork. The north fork is home to several of Long Island’s best vineyards. One of my favorites is the Osprey Dominion Vineyard out on route 25a. Osprey is one of the last vineyards on the fork so it isn’t often crowed as the vineyards on the west part of the fork. I often prefer to avoid loud crowds of out-of-town yahoos. So, why not avoid loud crowds of people you don’t know by hosting a crowd of people whose company you do enjoy. I have a good sangria recipe to help coax them out.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 3 bottles Osprey Dominion Regina Maris Chardonnay
  • 3  peaches, pitted and cut into 8 wedges
  • 2  oranges, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rings
  • 2  lemons, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rings
  • 1 pint strawberries, hulled and halved lengthwise
  • 1 liter sparkling water
  • Ice

Place all fruit in a large pitcher or bowl, add wine, and allow to sit at room temperature 4 to 24 hours. When ready to serve, add sparkling water and ice. Serve in a bowl with a ladle (make sure there’s fruit in every serving).

Simple Seared Scallops w German Coleslaw

The fresher the scallop, the more I prefer the simple sear cooking. I picked up some very nice large sea scallops and, as Best Yet market was running a sale on red cabbage, I figured that I would keep things simple, and use up the bacon I had left over in the fridge. Now, I know, most people would reflexively wrap the scallops in the bacon and grill them up, but I would rather add the bacon to flavor the coleslaw and leave the freshness of the scallop alone.

Here’s what you’ll need:

For the scallops –

  • 1 to 1 1/4 pounds dry sea scallops, approximately 16
  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

To prepare the scallop, remove the small side muscle, rinse with cold water, and pat dry thouroughly.

In a nice 12 inch non-stick sauté pan add the butter and oil. Turn the burner on high heat. Salt and pepper the scallops. Once the butter/oil begins to smoke, gently add the scallops. This ensures that the oil is indeed hot and the scallops will sear on the oil and not stick to the pan (if you’re not using a non-stick pan). Make sure they are not touching each other, or they will stick to each other. Sear the scallops for 1 1/2 minutes on each side. The scallops should have a 1/4-inch golden crust on each side while still being translucent in the center.

For the coleslaw –

  • 1 red cabbage
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 rashers thick cut bacon, diced
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp caraway seeds
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2/3 cup beef stock
  • 1/3 cup duck walk red wine
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • salt and black pepper

Remove outer leaves from cabbage. Cut into quarters, cut out white trunk. Slice cabbage into very thin shreds.

Set large heavy pan over medium-high heat. Melt butter and add the bacon and caraway seeds. Cook until the bacon starts to brown. Add sugar and onion, cook until softened and translucent. Add cabbage, stir to coat well with the fat then add the salt.

Next, add the beef stock and red wine. Cover and bring liquid to a boil, cook for 2-3 minutes, then remove from heat and add the vinegar, stir well, season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add the scallops and serve with a refreshing beverage…

As an option for you picnickers out there… You can let this refrigerate this slaw for a couple of hours and serve this cold, or room temperature.

Canned Salmon Cakes Twist!

OK.. let’s review the recipe – and add a comment about the sodium content of bread crumbs!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Can of salmon
  • 4 medium red potatoes
  • 2 ribs of celery diced
  • 2 medium onions diced
  • 1 egg
  • Bread crumbs
  • Olive oil
  • bacon!

Grab your grater and grate those potatoes, watch the knuckles. Toss this into a large bowl. Then add the salmon, celery, onion, and egg. Mix this together well. Add in the bread crumbs, fresh if you can get them from the bakery, canned from the store if you can’.

Now, a quick health note about canned bread crumbs. Get the Panko style crumbs, the Japanese one… I’ve checked all the sodium contents for the other types of crumbs including the plain old crumbs and the sodium is well over 20 mg. That’s not acceptable. We want bread crumbs, not salt-bread crumbs. The Panko crumbs have sodium counts under 50mg. Much better for my heart.

So, now that you have the mixture ready, here’s the twist – use a scoop to form balls from the mixture, not patties. But wait! there’s more! take a strip of thin cut bacon and wrap it around the ball, securing with a toothpick if needed.

Take these bacon wrapped – great salmon balls and place them on a baking sheet then pop into a 350 degree oven for half an hour.

You can turn this recipe from a main course of large balls to an appetizer of small ball by using a melon scoop to form smaller balls and wrap with bacon slices cut in half. Either way these make a nice addition to your canned-salmon skills.

Giants!

Giants… yup.. the Giants. In this case we’re talking turkey… drumsticks to be precise. These make a main course fit for football kings, especially when you have them served up by someone wearing a jester’s hat.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 or 2 drumsticks per person
  • A grill!
  • Sauce!

SAUCE!

  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup Duck Walk red wine
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder

Make the sauce ahead of time. In a medium saucepan, add olive oil, garlic, chipotle powder, and cumin. Allow to heat through, while stirring, for 1 minute. Add red wine and brown sugar. Simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add in soy sauce, vinegar, ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat, allow to cool before using.

Game day – fire up the grill… remove the skin from the drumsticks and trim off any excess fat. Put sauce on them and on to the grill. Baste with the sauce as they cook. When ready… put them on a platter and call for the Jester.

What, you have no in-house jester you say… here’s how you make your very own jester:

Take little pieces of paper and make numbers 5, 10, 15, 20, all the way up to fifty. Put these pieces of paper in the jester’s hat. As your guests arrive, they have to pick a number. As the game starts, and the opening kick off is returned, find out who has the number that is furthest away from the starting yard of scrimmage… THEY’RE the jester!

Kick-off Crab Cakes

Well, the big game is a week away, and I’ll be focusing my attention on things from Long Island’s sunny shore that go well with watching a football game. So, I have been in the lab, that tiny slab of a kitchen, and with a sale on crab meat and jalepeno’s… well I can find a good way to work these two together… a newly minted classic – crab cakes with kick.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 lb lump crab meat
  • 1 jalepeno pepper (seeded and diced)
  • 1/2 small red pepper (finely diced)
  • 1 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon crab seasoning ( I use old bay)
  • dash of hot sauce
  • bread crumbs

Empty the crab into a large bowl, sort through, looking for pieces of shell to remove. Add jalapeno, red pepper, mustard, mayonnaise, crab seasoning and hot sauce.

Don’t be too rough when mixing these together. You don’t want to break up the crab lumps too much. Its not like making tuna salad. Now, add enough bread crumbs to keep it together, don’t use too much you don’t want these too dry, they’ll fall apart when cooking.

For an appetizer size portion, this should make about eight to ten little cakes, or four main course (man size) cakes. If you are going to fry these, roll the finished cake in bread crumbs. If you are going to broil them skip the extra bread crumbs and spray lightly with olive oil. Either fry in vegetable oil or broil until brown.

 

Smack-n-cheese

I went to a New Year’s Eve party and brought a dish. I wanted to bring something that would really sum up the outgoing 2011. I thought and thought of what I would create. I’ve got a little bit of a rep to maintain so I couldn’t just bring any-old-thing. Then, while watching one of those year-in-review shows it hit me! I’ll make some Smack-n-cheese!

What exactly is ‘Smack-n-cheese’ you might ask? Well I’ll tell you… its Charlie Sheen’s Mac-and-cheese, and this is the story of how I created it. First of, there is two versions of this dish. On the one hand you have a mild version which I labeled ‘the Goddess’ version which contains the secret ‘tigers-blood’; and then there is the ‘Violent Torpedo of Truth” version which contains an extra helping of the secret ‘Tigers-blood’ and the added ‘Adonis DNA’.

So let’s concoct these vessels of cheesy ambrosia… you will need:

• 1 lbs elbow macaroni
• 1 16oz package Sargento 4 cheese Mexican blend
• 1 stick of butter
• A couple of table spoons of flour
• 1 teaspoon of smoky paprika
• 2 Cups of milk
• 3 links of chorizo sausage, diced fine
• Half a dozen jalapeno peppers, diced fine
• 1 medium poblano pepper, diced fine
• Louisiana hot sauce (a.k.a. Tigers Blood)
• Chili powder (a.k.a. Adonis DNA)

Cook the macaroni as usual. Then, over a medium flame, in a large pot, sweat the chorizo and peppers till soft and fragrant. Remove these from the pot and toss in the butter, reduce the heat to a simmer. Melt the butter, the slowly add the flour to make your rux. Add milk to this slowly to make a white sauce. Now, fold in the cheese to make the cheese sauce.

Add the chorizo and peppers to the cheese sauce and blend well. Then add one table spoon of the hot sauce. Then, toss I the macaroni and mix this all together so the macaroni is well coated. Put half of this into one bowl and set it aside. This is the Goddess version.

Now, add another two tablespoons of hot sauce and one tea spoon of chili power to the remainder and mix this well. Put this into a separate bowl. This is the Violent Torpedo of Truth version.

Top both of these with a little shredded pepper-jack cheese and bring to your party. Have the host warm it a bit before serving and tell all the folks that only rock stars from mars are allowed to eat it!