Archive for the ‘Food blogging events’ Category

Tasty Tools: German Potato & Sausage Soup

Tasty Tools: Soup/Stock PotWhen we were in Germany recently, we had a late lunch in Potsdam with our former exchange students Olaf, Hannah and Josi, and Hannah’s parents, Bettina and Frank. We had seen Olaf in April when he visited the U.S. and stayed with us for a week, but it’s been a couple of years since we’ve seen the girls and Hannah’s parents. It was great fun to see them all again.

I was pretty hungry, with the time change, so while most of the group had a coffee of some type and a pastry, I had the potato and sausage soup. I was expecting something creamy; it came out more brothy, although it was thick from the potatoes being cooked in it for so long. Our first full day back home was chilly and rainy, so I found this soup online and made a half-batch. It’s so good, next time I’ll make the whole recipe, so we’ll have more leftovers.

I used my lovely Flame Le Creuset Dutch oven for this wonderful soup.

Tasty Tools: Soup Pot with German Potato and Sausage Soup

German Potato and Sausage Soup

5 pounds potatoes peeled and diced to 1/2″ pieces
6 carrots peeled and diced
1 large white onion peeled and diced
4 celery stalks chopped
2 teaspoons salt
3 pounds Polish kielbasa
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon crushed dried red pepper
1 teaspoon black pepper, coarsely ground

Put potatoes, carrots, onion and celery in a large pot then add water to cover about 1 inch. Add half the salt, then cover with lid and set on medium flame.

Cut sausage into 2” pieces. Add water to cover bottom of frying pan and cook sausage piercing skin as it starts to harden. When cooked through, remove sausage to cutting board and dice into 1/2″ pieces; add to soup.

Add parsley, black pepper, red pepper, remaining salt and garlic. Cover and continue cooking on low heat for 2 hours; serve immediately.

This is my contribution to Tasty Tools: Soup/Stock Pots, a food blogging event hosted by Joelen of Joelen’s Culinary Adventures.

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GYO: Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Pasta

grow_your_own_logo-2009-bldgThis was almost a contest to see how many items from the garden I could use in a recipe 🙂 Turns out, a lot!

This is a great recipe if you like eggplant, which, event though I keep trying it, I just don’t really enjoy. The only way I really like to have it is in moussaka, drowning in spiced ground beef and tomato sauce, so I guess I’ll have to make some of that soon, since I have another eggplant given to me by my next-door neighbor.

This is my entry in Grow Your Own, the food blogging event that celebrates foods we grow or raise ourselves and the dishes we make using our homegrown products, started by Andrea of Andrea’s Recipes, and hosted this time by MomGateway. The onion, garlic, tomatoes, basil and parsley came from our garden, while the eggplant was a gift from our neighbor, in return for some of our abundant cucumbers that I gave to her.

eggplant-pasta

Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Pasta

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup Italian salad dressing
1 large eggplant
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 pound short pasta, such as penne or rotini (I used radiatore)
Sherry vinegar
2 cups diced tomato
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Salt
1/4 cup shredded or grated Parmesan cheese

Put chicken breasts and Italian dressing in a plastic bag for an hour to marinate.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the eggplant in 1/2 inch cubes. Toss them with 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large bowl . Place them on a roasting pan in a single layer and roast for 25 minutes or until they are soft.

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat, then cook chicken five minutes on each side, or until cooked through. Remove to a plate, cover with foil, and set aside.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook the pasta according to instructions on the box. Drain.

Heat a large skillet to medium. Pour in the other 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onion and saute until they are starting to color. Add the garlic, cook for 30 seconds, and then deglaze the pan with a splash of sherry vinegar.

Add the eggplant to the skillet along with the diced tomato, red pepper flakes, and basil. Bring the mixture to a simmer then add the pasta. Toss until the pasta is coated. Season with salt and sprinkle with the parsley and Parmesan cheese.

Slice chicken in 1/4-inch slices and place on top of the pasta. Serve.

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GYO: Maque Choux

grow_your_own_logo-2009-bldgI saw Rachael Ray make this on her “30-Minute Meals” show once, and it looked really good. So I made it, and it is really good 🙂 It’s full of healthy ingredients and is a delicious way to use extra corn if you grill too much. The original recipe doesn’t call for zucchini, but I had about a third of one left in the fridge so I diced it and tossed it in.

The red onion and parsley are from our garden this year, and the jalapeno is one I froze last summer. We had an abundance of jalapeno and Szechuan peppers last year. I put the extra jalapenos on a cookie sheet, froze them, and put them in a freezer bag, so I could thaw and use them through the year. And I dried the Szechuan peppers; as soon as I run out of store-bought red pepper flakes, I’m going to chop these in the food processor to make my own.

Maque Choux

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped zucchini
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
4 ears grilled corn on the cob, kernels cut off
A sprinkle sugar
Dash cayenne pepper
Salt
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 ripe avocado
1 lime, juiced

Heat a skillet over moderate heat. Add 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (1 turn of the pan), chopped onion, jalapeno and red bell pepper. Saute 2 or 3 minutes. Combine corn with peppers and onions. Season with a sprinkle of sugar, a dash of cayenne pepper and salt. When mixture bubbles, reduce heat to simmer. Cut butter into pieces and stir into corn mixture. Allow mixture to simmer and cook until creamy, 5 to 7 minutes. Spoon maque choux into a serving bowl, sprinkle with parsley and serve.

This is great with grilled chicken.

maque-choux-500w

This is my contribution to Grow Your Own, the food blogging event that celebrates growing and preparing our own food. It was originated by Andrea of Andrea’s Recipes and is hosted this time by Playing House.

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Kibbee and Bits

grow_your_own_logo-2009-bldgMy sister-in-law, Jennifer, is of Lebanese descent and when we were visiting one time, she showed me a cookbook she had – “Kibbee ‘n’ Spice and Everything Nice: Popular and easy recipes for the Lebanese and American Family,” by Janet Kalush. I was looking through it and talking about how much I like to try new things, and she gave me the book right there. Thanks again, Jen! 🙂

She also mentioned that kibbee is one of her favorite foods; I hadn’t heard of it before, but I tried it at Azar’s, a local Mediterranean restaurant, and liked it a lot. So I finally tried making it myself.

This is a variation of Lebanon’s national dish. The traditional way to make kibbee is to make the meat mixture shown below, then make another meat mixture to use as a filling; then the kibbee is baked or fried. I skipped the filling (this extra step is probably why I hadn’t made it earlier) and grilled them instead. You have to be very careful when grilling these; the bulghur wheat makes them a bit fragile. But it works!

btw, Dan kept calling it Kibbee and Bits, so here we are: Kibbee with bits of grilled potato 🙂

Kibbee Patties (spiced ground beef or lamb with bulghur)

1 cup finely ground bulghur wheat
1/2 medium onion, or one small onion
3/4 tsp. kibbee spice (see below)
2-1/2 tsp. salt
1 lb. finely ground beef or lamb
2 rounds of pita bread
tzatziki sauce (cucumber/yogurt sauce)

Kibbee Spice
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground allspice
1 tbsp. crushed dried mint (I used fresh mint from the garden, then dried it in the toaster oven at 200 degrees for 15 minutes)
1-1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

Combine thoroughly in a small bowl; transfer to a spice bottle and keep in a cool, dry place.

For Kibbee

Rinse the bulghur wheat in cold water twice and drain. Cover by half an inch with fresh water and let soak. Finely mince the onion in a food processor. Transfer to a bowl and add the kibbee spice and salt; combine thoroughly. Add the ground meat to the bowl and mix completely by hand.

Squeeze excess water from the bulghur wheat and add to the meat mixture. Mix by hand until well blended. Add ice water if necessary, to maintain a soft consistency.

Form meat into eight 3-inch patties, and press in the center with your thumb to form a dimple. Grill 3-4 minutes on both sides until cooked through.

To serve: Serve kibbee patties over tzatziki sauce or in pita pockets. To serve in pita pockets, briefly grill pita rounds to warm them a bit; cut in half. Put a few tablespoons of tzatziki sauce in each pita half and place two kibbee patties on top of sauce. Serves 4.

This is my contribution to Grow Your Own, the food blogging event that celebrates growing and preparing our own food. It was originated by Andrea of Andrea’s Recipes and is hosted this time by Andrea herself.

If you count the cucumber in the tzatziki, I used three ingredients from my garden in this meal: cucumber, onion and mint.

Kibbee patties ready for grilling
Kibbee patties ready for grilling

Kibbee with tzatziki sauce and grilled potatoes
Kibbee with tzatziki sauce and grilled potatoes

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GYO: Spicy Chinese Cucumber Salad

grow_your_own_logo-2009-bldgAs you can see, we have lots of really big cucumbers coming in right now, so I’ve been looking for new recipes to use them in. I came across this “Spicy Chinese Cucumber Salad” recipe that sounded really good and decided to try it. Delish!

It could use a bit more seasoning, but we liked it. Dan was worried it would be too vinegary, because I *love* vinegar-soaked cucumbers, but this had only a few tablespoons of rice vinegar, which is less acidic than the white vinegar I usually use, and other ingredients as well. It turned out very good, but I think I will double the chili-garlic sauce next time.

Spicy Chinese Cucumber Salad

1 large cucumber
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp rice vinegar, to taste
2 tsp sesame oil, to taste
2 tsp sugar, to taste
2 tsp soy sauce, to taste
1/2 tbsp chili paste, to taste (optional)
2 tsp sesame seeds, toasted

Wash and then peel the cucumber skins in alternating stripes (or peel completely or not at all). Slice the cucumbers in half lengthwise and scoop the seeds and pulp out with a spoon. Slice the cucumbers into 1/4-inch pieces. Sprinkle the cucumber slices with the salt and toss to coat evenly. Cover and place in refrigerator for an hour.

After an hour, squeeze the cucumber slices of as much liquid as possible with your hand. In a medium bowl, combine the cucumber with the rice vinegar, sesame oil, and sugar. Add a little soy sauce and mix the salad. Taste and add more soy sauce until you reach the desired saltiness. Stir in the chili paste and serve cold; it will taste even better if you let it marinate overnight in the fridge. Just before serving, sprinkle with sesame seeds

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spicy-cucumber-salad

This is my contribution to Grow Your Own, the food blogging event that celebrates growing and preparing our own food. It was originated by Andrea of Andrea’s Recipes and is hosted this time by Graziana from Erbe in Cucina (Cooking with Herbs). The roundup of all the tasty recipes is here.

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Homemade Holiday Gift Ideas

I just wanted to bookmark this page – it’s a round-up of Homemade Holiday Gift Ideas. I may want to use some of these later this year 🙂

Homemade Holiday Gift Ideas

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