Sunday, July 5, 2015

Classic Broccoli Salad (with a Twist, of Course)

I had to use my fingers and toes to count how many years ago that I first had this dish. My best guess is about 32 years ago. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't done the math. That's why I'm officially calling this a "classic" dish. To the best of my recollection I first had this dish at a cousin's baby shower when I was still in high school in the 1980's, and I asked my cousin for the recipe. The original recipe calls for golden raisins and sunflower seeds. I substitute those items for dried cherries and shelled pumpkin seeds. The cherries are an homage to my Michigan roots. They are delicious.

Classic Broccoli Salad
4 cups broccoli florets
1/2 cup red onion, minced
8 slices of bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
1/4 cup dried cherries
1/8 cup shelled pumpkin seeds (or sunflower seeds)
3/4 cup mayonaise
3 Tablespoons of rice vinegar (or white vinegar)
1/4 cup of sugar

1. Gather all your ingredients.

2. In a small bowl mix together the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, and set aside. If you are feeling ambitious you can make homemade mayonnaise.

3. Mince onion and chop broccoli in florets. If you want a great time saver look for pre-cut florets in your produce department. Then you might only need to cut a few of the bigger pieces in half.

4. Add broccoli, onion, cherries, and pumpkin seeds to a medium sized bowl.

5. Add most of the bacon but reserve a handful to top the salad right before serving. I still love making bacon in the oven.

6. Add the dressing.

7. Carefully toss. This salad gets better after a couple hours of marinating in the dressing. If you can make ahead give it a final stir before topping with the remaining bacon.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Grilled Cheesy Smashed Potatoes with Rosemary and Olive Oil

I'm addicted to cooking on my BBQ! It's opening up a whole new chapter in my Foodie Journey Family Cookbook. Even if it is smokin' hot outside, it's better to cook outside than inside because you're not raising the heat in the house. If you have one of those BBQ's with a burner you can make this dish entirely outside. Otherwise, you do need to parboil the potatoes inside first. You can even do this ahead of time!

Grilled Cheesy Smashed Potatoes with Rosemary and Olive Oil
2 lbs. of small Yukon gold potatoes
1 Tablespoon of salt
finely grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon of dried rosemary or fresh if you have it
3 Tablespoons of finely grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

1.  Add clean potatoes to a pot of cold water and 1 tablespoon of salt. Bring to a low boil and continue to cook until you can pierce with a knife with little resistance.

2. Place potatoes on a cutting board and let cool to the touch. Use the heel of your hand to smash the potatoes while still keeping them whole.

3. Place potatoes in a grill basket and place the grill basket on a plate. Drizzle generously with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and crushed rosemary.

4. Heat grill on high for 15 minutes, brush clean, and place potatoes over high heat for about 6 - 7 minutes. Check and flip half way through if needed to create plenty of crispy bites. You can see that I was also grilling asparagus which doesn't take as long as the potatoes. So when the asparagus was done I was able to use a second grill grate after the flip.

6. Remove from heat and finish with more extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, and the parmesan cheese.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Summer Garden Vegetable Bolognese in a Slow Cooker

Whether you are enjoying the bountiful abundance of vegetables from the produce section of your grocery store, your local farmer's market, or your own garden this is a delicious way to infuse more veggies in an otherwise traditional pasta sauce.  Pasta used to be a staple in my life, and now it's a rare carbohydrate splurge. When I make this sauce I feel a lot less guilty! Plus, you can serve this sauce over spaghetti squash, zoodles (zucchini noodles), or your favorite pasta. My husband and I have even eaten this without pasta - just sprinkled with freshly grated cheese. It's that good! You can of course make this in a dutch oven on your stove but I love the idea of coming home on a Saturday or Sunday and having this waiting for you. This makes a great sauce for a large hospitality meal. You can also keep a couple of containers in your freezer for those unexpected guests!

Summer Garden Vegetable Bolognese in a Slow Cooker
3 lbs of ground beef
1 yellow squash
2 peppers (green, yellow, red, or combo)
2 zucchini
3 tomatoes
2 large portabella mushrooms
1 large onion
1/2 to whole head of garlic, depending on taste
7 oz tomato paste
1 heaping tablespoon of dried oregano
1 heaping tablespoon of dried basil
1 heaping tablespoon of salt, more to taste later
1 teaspoon of black pepper, more to taste later
fresh parsley, thyme, oregano, basil, or combo for garnish
freshly grated parmesan or pecorino romano

1. Place three pounds of ground beef in the bottom of a slow cooker. Sprinkle with 1/2 the salt.

2. I diced the majority of veggies in no particular order starting with the yellow squash. After cutting the squash in 4 quarters I did slice out the corner edge eliminating as many seeds as possible before adding them to the slow cooker.

3. Core the peppers, slice in half, and remove the seeds. Slice the pepper into strips and add to slow cooker.

4. Add minced onion.

5.  Then add the large diced zucchini in the same manner of the yellow squash.

6. Next up the portabella mushrooms.

7. Dice the tomato, add the tomato paste, garlic, the dried herbs, the rest of the salt and pepper.

8. Set the cooker on low for 6 - 8 hours or on high 3 to 4 hours. Gently stir the sauce and break up the hamburger meat as desired. Adjust seasoning as needed. Keep warm as you make your desired "pasta." Or, cool for storage in freezer.

9. Top with fresh herbs and cheese.


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