Thursday, June 30, 2011

Bringing Back Potato Salad

Potato salad is so underrated. You may have had it awhile back and remember it being kind of dull or it may not have made any impression on you at all. Well I'm bringing potato salad back. Follow these instructions for a tasty surprise.

1. Cube the potatoes and boil them on the stovetop adding 1 tablespoon vinegar for every 1 quart (4 cups) of water. Boil for 15-20 minutes or so. Keep checking the potatoes to see if they're cooked through. (Don't be fooled if they aren't clearly soft looking, the vinegar will help them keep their shape.) Then let the potatoes cool in the fridge for a bit.

2. For the dressing add 1 tablespoon of mayo at a time until the potatoes are evenly (and lightly) covered in mayo. Add the following spices in desired amounts - garlic, black pepper, and salt plus a bit of yellow mustard (not too much that it's noticeable).

3. Prepare the "extras" in advance (or right before, it doesn't matter) but don't add them till you're ready to serve the salad. These are the "extras": sauteed or carmelized onions (these you can add right away), shredded carrots and or diced celery, and diced (sour) pickles! Don't forget the pickles. These are the key ingredient.

Serve cold or room temp and enjoy!

Sorbet Series: Melon

This basically requires no explanation and yet it is ridiculously delicious. Cube the melon (cantelope in my case) and freeze in a food storage baggie. Once it's frozen take them out and puree them in a food processor or blender. Then make a 2 parts sugar to 1 parts water mixture (on the stovetop). Add the mixture a little at a time while puree-ing some more. Put in the freezer and serve when ready!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Got Cabbage?

Cabbage is a great sources of Vitamin C (surprising to me) plus all sorts of other good stuff and it can be really cheap. (Yes, that will be a theme.) I actually came across a site with over 200 cabbage recipes!

Things you can make with cabbage:

1. Turkey Cabbage Wraps
I used to eat these all the time in college. They were absolutely delicious and so easy to reproduce that I convinced Yoni pretty quickly. (See this previous post.) Whip up some coleslaw (I like to add mayo, vinegar, salt, black pepper and maybe a bit of garlic), get your tortilla wraps out, lay down your turkey deli slices, pile on a bit of coleslaw, wrap up and enjoy!

2. Coleslaw
Try above recipe or see this post.

3. Stir fry
Cabbage is a great base for a stir fry with tofu (marinate in sauce beforehand), mushrooms, snap peas, carrots, celery... etc.

4. Sauerkraut
Courtesy of the cabbage website, here's a really simple recipe. Seems like it could get more complicated but that's up to you.

5. Cabbage Casserole
This looks interesting. I would substitute ground veggie meat instead of ground beef and I definitely think we'll be trying this out soon with all our leftover cabbage.

6. Red Cabbage and Apple Salad
Yoni makes a salad like this and adds roasted walnuts.

There are of course, many other recipes of things you can do with cabbage including soups and stuffed cabbage but that's about it for my easy and/or tried and true suggestions.

Budget Menu in Season Only, Please

One of the challenges Yoni and I have talked about recently is keeping variety in our meals despite certain limitations. One - budget, two - availability of ingredients, and three - time. I have been doing a lot more of the cooking lately AND I'm constantly looking for new recipes using "old" ingredients. Plus I should probably mention that we don't have an oven yet which means I need recipes that I can make on our two measly electric burners.

So, I think I may have a solution. In addition to posting different recipes I/we make, I'll also focus on different foods one at a time, possibly talking about them a bit (although that's really more Yoni's thing), but really just collecting a whole bunch of interesting/delicious/simple recipes with ingredients that I can easily find. This is really an exercise I want to do for myself but since I would have found this helpful (had this already existed... maybe it really does) I hope you will too.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Split Pea Soup + Stovetop Croutons

The sub title for this post should be "A lesson in preparing your ingredients ahead of time". No wonder all those chefs on TV make cooking look so easy - all they have to do is throw their ingredients together and wait. No offense chefs on TV.

For this soup I basically used this recipe because I had all the ingredients it called for. To sum it up (I've rearranged the order so you too can learn the lesson of preparing ingredients in advance):
1. Dice carrots, potatoes
2. Prepare your 8 cups of chicken stock (OSEM soup mix)
3. Dice onions, mince garlic
4. Saute onions and garlic with olive oil, oregano, black pepper and salt
5. Add the carrots, potatoes, chicken stock, and split peas
6. Boil, simmer... etc... Cook until soft.
7. Zuzh or not, up to you.

And for the croutons... Another discovery that you don't need an oven to eat delicious food...
Dice up the bread, saute/fry (?) with seasoning (your choice) and olive oil. You can probably use any bread but I like to use the ends of the sandwich bread that have no other purpose in life. (Israeli style - they make them extra thick here). If you must see a more detailed (it's pretty simple) recipe try this one.

Simple yet delicious.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Spicy Mexican Eggs and Potatoes

Eggs and potatoes are the two food items we always have around. I wanted to try something different with them so tonight I made Spicy Mexican Eggs and Potatos or at least my version of it. First off, I made my own Fajita seasoning since I didn't have any. I left out the cornstarch, chili powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper since we didn't have any but it still tasted good so edit away. To make the eggs and potatoes I basically followed the recipe only I used a green pepper instead of a yellow (they're cheaper/do yellow peppers exist in Israel?), boiled the potatoes whole (just because I didn't pay enough attention to the recipe), and I let the potatoes fry for longer than a minute to see how crispy they'd get (I like crispy fried potatoes - who doesn't??).

Recommendation: if you're going to try this recipe, dice the potatoes and then boil. Peeling and dicing hot potatoes is a challenge. Also, I basically skipped the heatproof dish under a grill business since I didn't really know what that meant/how I could implement that part.

All in all it tasted good although hash browns with the fajita seasoning and regular old scrambled eggs/omelettes would have tasted just as good if not better.