Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Best Cranberries Ever

I just served this salad/side dish/sauce/condiment multiple times during the holidays, as I have many times before. It is my go-to side dish for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and is about as easy as it gets!

Best Ever Cranberry Salad Side Dish

1 bag of fresh cranberries (may substitute fresh frozen if fresh not available. You will need 2 - 2.5 cups, thawed)
1 seedless orange, may substitute 2 or 3 tangerines
1 Granny Smith or other tart green apple
1/4 cup sugar or equivalent amount of non-sugar sweetener, adjust according to your sweet tooth (I actually like it best with no sweetener at all, but Val likes it a little sweet and so do most people)

Wash, drain and pick out any bruised or crushed cranberries.
Trim thick ends of orange rind off the orange, then slice the entire orange (peel and all) into chunks about 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch
Core the green apple, unpeeled, and cut into similar sized chunks.

Place all of the above into a food processor and process until everything is chopped up into pieces about 1/8 of an inch in size. Remove to a medium sized bowl, add sweetener... That's it!

Serve by itself or is also terrific in morning oatmeal, over yogurt or ice cream.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Yummy Pork Roast with Zippy Pan Sauce

Whoa, it has been a long time since my last recipe posting. Partly because we were surviving the bland food of the Maritime Provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick... but that's no excuse, because then we were in Vancouver and had some really delicious food... no reason at all. So here goes, with last night's main dish, posted here by special request of our guest, Tom.

Pork Roast with Zippy Pan Sauce

This recipe has a secret ingredient... no, make that TWO secret ingredients. All in good time, dear friends... Just make note that one would best have a large crowd with varied tastes for breakfast on the day one makes this pork roast dinner...

First, a word from Mark Bittman ("what would Bittman do?") of the NYT food section, about pork. He has no time for pork tenderloin, except for grilling quickly and serving pretty rare, not at all the taste for many folks. He does, however, recommend the "fattier" cuts of pork, and so I've been experimenting with those. More on pork fat later...

Serves 4

Preheat oven to 475 degrees

2 to 3 pounds of Pork shoulder (aka Boston Butt or Boston Blade roast. Can be bone-in or boneless. The recipe I was loosely following called for boneless, but I discovered at carving time that mine had a bone. No big deal, far as I can tell.)

The Rub:
Mix together equal parts (about 2 tsp to 1 Tbsp each) of:
Kosher salt
Mexican green chili powder
Regular chili powder
Penzey's Northwoods Seasonings (can use "Northwoods Fire" and leave out the chili powder here)
Roasted garlic pepper (remember, I get this at Cub Foods in the bulk spice section)
Powdered ginger (I think fresh grated ginger would be even better here)
Brown sugar

The Sauce:
Roasting pan drippings
1/2 cup of Red Apple balsamic vinegar (from Olive Grove in St Paul MN -- I received a sampler of these wonderful oils and vinegars from our friend Sue, thank you! Now I need to replenish my supply) or can use any flavorful vinegar or fruity wine here.
1/4 cup applesauce. (Full disclosure: mine was apple-apricot sauce)

Now for Secret Ingredient #1:
Bacon fat

Rub the roast all over with cooled bacon fat. (I guess one could substitute olive oil here, but really, if you're going to eat a somewhat fatty cut of pork, why bother? And we used Beeler's bacon,, so the hogs were content and happy and organic before they became our bacon.) Generously rub the roast with The Rub. Let sit at room temp for a few hours before roasting time (if you have time and thought about it in advance, but no worries if you didn't and it goes right in the oven.

Place in roasting pan and roast in the hot oven for 20 min, then turn the temp down to 300. (My loosely followed recipe called for 250, but I had other vegetables to roast and needed a hotter oven, so I tried 300 and it worked fine.) Cover loosely with foil. Roast unattended for 1-1/2 hours, then check temp periodically and continue to roast until the inner temp is where you'd like it: 145 for pink inside and courageous eaters (about 2 hrs), up to 165 for most of the rest of us who still worry about trichinosis (about 3 hrs, esp since I was opening and closing that oven door quite a lot for side dishes).

Transfer roast to a different pan and keep warm. Pour the pan drippings to a small saucepan, scraping up every last delicious crusty bit, of course, feel free to add a bit of water or oil to the pan to loosen it up. Add the vinegar and applesauce and simmer to thicken. In the last minute, add Secret Ingredient #2: a tsp of crushed or powdered instant oatmeal flakes. The sauce should thicken very nicely. Fish out any whole oatmeal flakes that accidentally fell in before serving your sauce!

Slice and serve with sauce poured over the slices or on the side.
Enjoy! Goes very nicely with roasted Delicata squash and a green salad.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Breakfast Bonanza

I haven't posted a new recipe in a while, so I've dug this one out of my files to share. Waffles are always a wonderful treat, and especially with real maple syrup. As we hope to get into maple syrup making, but not til next spring, this is probably a little early, but waffles don't respect seasons --- they are good anytime. 

I am toying with gluten free these days so won't be making these for myself until I can adjust the recipe accordingly. But that doesn't mean someone else might not enjoy them. They are terrific. 

Bonanza Waffles (adapted from "Fast Break Waffles" from Natural Home magazine)

makes about 16

2 ½ cups regular (not instant or quick cook) rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
½ c ground flax seed meal
½ cup soy protein powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 c chopped walnuts
4 large eggs
2 cups plain Greek style yogurt
1 ½ c skim milk (or soy or almond)
optional: 1 tbsp vanilla extract

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix wet ingredients in separate bowl. Heat up waffle iron. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and gently stir in the blended wet ingredients. Batter will be slightly lumpy, but all ingredients should be well moistened.  Ladle batter onto the waffle iron and bake until golden brown. May bake to just underdone, then freeze and reheat in toaster. Also great for pancake batter.
Serve w yogurt and fruit, syrup or whatever!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Good Ol' Fashioned Chicken Salad? Um, Not So Much...

I have never been much of a fan of ordinary deli chicken salad... bland, bland, bland. As with my taste in coleslaw, I have upped the spice level on a couple of versions of one of those summer lunch delights, chicken salad. This should work equally well with cooked turkey, and might even work with canned tuna... if you are willing to try it. (I'm not.)

But before we get down to business and cook, a word about some of the ingredients. I have mentioned "herb paste" in tubes a few times and figure it is time I told you what the heck I am talking about. This... a selection of some of our "must have at all times" food items ... maybe only coffee exceeds these items in level of importance at Cascade Bluff kitchen. In the middle you see "Gourmet Garden" tubes, cilantro and ginger as examples. They also produce basil paste (not pesto as there is no garlic in it), lemongrass, garlic, and hot pepper. Probably others too. They are invaluable to have on hand for those many times that the fresh basil you brought home from the store yesterday (or was it the day before...?) has turned black, the cilantro is all...(shudder)... slimy and icky, the garlic is sprouting leaves, and the "fresh" ginger root is moldy. Come on, you know EXACTLY what I mean! These tubes keep for about 3 months and whatever radioactive materials they put in them to keep them nice and green, I frankly don't care, 'cause they taste great! And you don't have to put your fingertips in jeopardy dicing cilantro leaves or mincing ginger root, either. 

As requested by our friend Gayle, the brand of green curry paste we use is "Thai Kitchen" and the chili-garlic puree is "China Bowl." Also seem to keep well in the 'fridge.

So here are a couple of chicken salad variations I'll bet your mother never made for her bridge club!

Curried Chicken Salad

1/2 c low fat mayonnaise
1/3 cup fat free greek yogurt
1 Tbsp Penzeys Vindaloo powder (or other curry powder or your own curry mix)
juice of a lime
1 tbsp ginger paste from tube or freshly minced or grated ginger root
1 tsp Indian coriander chutney (Swad brand – really hot! Use more at your own risk...)

2 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
½ cup diced celery
½ c diced red pepper
½ c roasted cashew pieces (optional)

Mix dressing and mix well with other ingredients. Serve over a bed of lettuce or other greens. Makes 3 to 4 servings

Thai Green Curry Chicken Salad
·       1 lb cooked chicken breast (about 2 large breasts), diced
·       1 sweet bell peppers (red or yellow), diced
·       ½ c celery, diced (or jicama)
·       1/3 cup chopped fresh basil (use Thai basil if you have it, but regular sweet basil works fine)
·       ½ c diced sweet white onion or scallions

·       Dressing:
·        2 or 3 Tablespoons bland oil (such as canola)
·       2 to 3 Tbsp coconut oil, blended with canola
·       1/2 to 1 tbsp sesame oil
·       Juice of one lime
·       1 tsp lime zest
·       1 Tbsp grated ginger
·       1 to 3 teaspoon Asian garlic-chili sauce or other hot sauce to taste
·       1 to 2 Tbsp Thai green curry paste, to taste
Mix together all the salad ingredients, and in a separate bowl, the dressing ingredients. Toss to combine. Garnish as desired with chopped peanuts, or more basil. Serve over a bed of shredded Napa cabbage or lettuce. 

I have recently been adding chopped radishes to the second recipe and see no reason it couldn't work in the first one, too! And note: both dressings make a terrific veggie dippin sauce. 


Monday, June 18, 2012

Spicy Cole Slaw

Here's a "nothing-like-the-deli-counter cole slaw." I always hated the creamy sloppy kind of cole slaw, never understood the acidy vinegary kind, and think sweetening it up or adding ramen noodles is insane. This was vaguely inspired by some slaw I was served at a local Tex-Mex restaurant. (Theirs had raw chunks of jalapeno, a bit much even for me...)

Spicy Summer Slaw

2 packages of cole slaw mix or broccoli slaw mix (10 oz each) or 6 cups of thinly sliced cabbage of whatever color looks good, or broccoli finely sliced
½ c olive oil
½ c apple cider vinegar
¼ cup chipotle flavored mustard, Silver Springs is one brand that's good
1/8 cup cilantro paste from tube, or ½ cup finely chopped cilantro leaves
1 Tbsp Penzey’s Northwoods Fire seasoning

Make dressing and pour over the vegetables. Better on day 2! 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Gitchi Gami Trout version 2.0

Had another stab at making Lake Superior trout tonight when we had friends over for dinner. Now these aren't just any friends, mind you, but Nan and Deb, the owners and proprietors of one of the famous local eateries, The Lockport Store in Lutsen, MN. At Lockport you can have some of the most delicious baked goods, lunches and breakfasts on the planet... oooh, the pancakes!! And the Hiker's Special... Ah!  So I felt a bit intimidated to be cooking for them. But it turned out well, so here goes with another version of how to make Lake Trout.

Gitchi Gami Trout 2.0

Lake Superior trout fillets, 1/3 to 1/2 pound per person, as fresh as you can get them (see previous post about our wonderful local fish market, The Dockside Market.)
Olive oil
chopped or minced garlic
A few tsp of lemon zest
Penzey's Florida Seasoned Pepper (a citrus pepper mix, salt free)
Penzey's Mural of Flavor herb mix
1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese

Rinse fish fillets and dry with paper towel. Lay them in a flat baking dish or roasting pan, skin side down. Brush with olive oil then smear a thin layer of minced garlic on the flesh. Sprinkle with lemon zest and lightly season with Florida Seasoned Pepper and Mural of Flavor. Let sit at room temp for about 1 hour.
Prepare grill or broiler. Transfer fillets to a fish grilling pan, lined with foil, or broiling pan, skin side down. (Note, this recipe doesn't work well with cedar or other wood planks as they overwhelm the citrus flavors.) Grill fish for 10 to 12 minutes (longer for thicker fillets), remove from heat and sprinkle with grated Parmesan. Return to grill or hot oven for an additional 3 to 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and edges are beginning to brown.

Serve immediately. Goes well with a simple salad and maybe some roasted vegetables (I served roasted cauliflower and some steamed green beans with a bit of Irish butter and almonds.)


Monday, May 28, 2012

Gitchi Gami Trout

The closest metropolis (pop 1300) to my up north kitchen with a view is Grand Marais, MN. Just as you come into town from the west/south on Hwy 61, the only route into town, following the shore of Lake Superior (Gitchi Gami, according to the First People up here), you pass Dockside Fish Market run by the Toftey's, which if you've been up here will sound very familiar. (Tofte is the second town to the west of Grand Marais and an old fishing family name.) These folks still fish the big lake (seasonally) and pull fresh lake trout, whitefish, herring, and the occasional Atlantic salmon from the frigid waters. They smoke stuff there too, which is extra delish. But this is my recipe for a very easy, tasty northern way to cook Lake Superior Lake trout. FYI this trout is more like a mild salmon than anything you'd pull out of a smaller lake or a stream. These big trout have pink flesh from eating fresh water shrimp. NOTHING like the much milder rainbow trout in flavor, hence the recipe which balances the fish with some robust flavorings. And you really ought to cook it the same day it comes to shore! Mmmm...

Kathy's Lake Trout

1/2 pound fresh lake trout fillet per person, lightly rinsed and blotted dry with paper towels
Place skin side down in a large roasting pan
Smear 1/2 tbsp of basil paste (can be store bought in the tube, or pesto, or homemade basil pesto) on each fish (on the flesh, obviously, since the skin is down)
A dollop of minced garlic on each fish (if you are using the non-garlic containing tubes of basil paste)
Generous sprinkling of whatever pepper you like (I've been using Penzey's Florida Pepper) and a light sprinkling of salt
Let sit at room temp for 1 hr to 2 hrs (covered, if you have a cat)

Bake in preheated oven 375 degrees for 12 minutes for 1-1.5 pound fillets and 14-16 min for larger ones.
Remove pan and sprinkle the fillets with a few tbsp of grated Parmesan cheese. Return to oven and bake for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, just until the cheese is melted. Remove from oven and allow to sit for about 5 min (continues to cook for a bit.)

The fillets can usually be lifted off the skin easily. Serve simply, with just some roasted veggies (we've been eating lots of roasted cauliflower and kale chips)

Whatever you do, don't squirt lemon juice on these or try to force tartar sauce on anyone! Yechh!

This can also be done on the grill (use a flat mesh pan for the fish), on cedar planks on the grill (follow the instructions on the plank package to prevent a conflagration) or under the broiler. Broiler style needs less time cooking, usually, as the heat is coming through the fleshy part, not from beneath the skin.

Mmm! Summer is here, the Dockside is OPEN!