Thursday, May 26, 2011

Green Pea and Cheese Salad

Every spring, I start seeing recipes using fresh green peas yet I have never seen them in the market. Green peas are not a Southern crop and they are too perishable for shipping. Therefore, when I want peas, I buy frozen, which are quite good.  (I find many frozen vegetables to be unpalatable). 

After I made this salad, and ate a delicious, refreshing serving, I mused that I must have already been thinking about our upcoming Curry-Palooza.  It is my turn to choose a recipe, which we will post (always the first Friday of each month) on June 3.  I chose the recipe, Muttar Paneer, which is curried peas with cheese. But Muttar Paneer is nothing, nothing, like this salad, they just happen to share the same two main ingredients. We would love to have you cook along with us. Just let Grapefruit or I know and we will happily send you the recipe we are using. 

Back to the pea salad, here is a recipe for you. Make the dressing first and refrigerate until needed. Making it the day before is even better. This enables the mayo to lose that gloppy appearance and acrid smell I don't care for.

Green Pea and Cheese Salad
16 oz. frozen peas, thawed
1 cup diced celery
1 small sweet onion, diced
3 - 4 Tbsp. chopped sweet pickles
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
Half a red pepper, diced
4 oz. cheddar cheese, diced into small cubes

1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. honey
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp. fresh, minced dill weed

Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Toss together the peas, celery, onion, pickles, egg, pepper, and cheese. Stir in the chilled dressing and stir gently to blend. 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Cauliflower Cheese

Just the fact that it is called Cauliflower Cheese, not cauliflower and cheese, or cauliflower with cheese sauce, or even cauliflower gratin, alerts you this is quintissential English fare.  It can be served as a side dish, often with the Sunday beef roast dinner. I put the cauliflower in indivdual baking dishes and served it as our main dish.  Delicious and satisfying. For this dish, please choose an excellent quality, sharp cheddar cheese. I used my favorite extra-sharp Vermont white cheddar. 

Cauliflower Cheese
1 large cauliflower
3 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 tsp. mustard powder
1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
8 ounces freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup breadcrumbs

Wash the cauliflower and cut into florets. Plunge the florets into a pot of boiling, salted water; lower heat and simmer gently until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well in a colander and set aside.

In a saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the flour until well blended, then whisk in the milk until the mixture is smooth. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to boil. Stir in the mustard powder, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste.  Remove from heat and stir in half the cheese. Add the cauliflower to the cheese sauce and mix gently to coat.

Place the cauliflower mixture into a buttered 2 quart baking dish, or individual dishes.  Mix the breadcrumbs with the remaining cheese and sprinkle over the top.  Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes (10 - 15 minutes for individual dishes) until golden brown and bubbly.

Serve right away.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Fruit Summer Rolls and Peanut Dipping Sauce

Part of the beautiful food my husband came home with recently included a pineapple and two mangoes. I used half of the pineapple and one mango to make the salsa for my fish tacos.  With the other half of the pineapple and the other mango, I made these delicious and refreshing Summer Rolls.  I blogged about Summer Rolls before and gave more information about the rice paper used, here

Pineapple and Mangoes

For this version of Summer Rolls, I used spears of fresh pineapple and mango, carrot sticks, red bell pepper and cucumber strips, as well as freshly washed and spun dry baby spinach leaves. And I served them with a peanut dipping sauce.

Peanut Dipping Sauce
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3/4 cup peanut butter
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
Juice of 1 lime
Dash of cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
1/2 cup water--or more as needed

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring constantly, until tender. Add ginger to the onions and saute a couple minutes more. Place the onions and ginger along with all the remaining ingredients in a blender and puree into a creamy paste. Carefully add more water, a little at a time, until the consistency you desire is reached. 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Homemade Grape Jam and Angel Biscuits

Sometimes my husband likes to shop for groceries. And when he does, he brings home the most beautiful foods.  He will call and ask if I need anything; if I do I say, but otherwise I tell him to buy whatever looks good to him, bring it home, and I will cook it. I love when he does this.  It inspires me to make things I may not have ordinarily thought of.  He recently came home with a bag of grapes

I thought about those thin-skinned, seedless red grapes for a couple of days, then decided to make a small batch of grape jam, which is one of Pritchard Parker's favorites for his Amazing Waffle Stack.

A Small Batch of Grape Jam
Approximately 2 pounds seedless, thin-skinned grapes
2 cups sugar
Juice from half a lemon, about 1 Tbsp.

Wash the grapes and slice in half. Put into a large pot with sugar and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir often to make sure the mixture is not sticking to the bottom of the pan. If it starts to stick, lower heat to avoid scortching.

Pour the mixture into a clean pint jar and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until used--which probably won't take long.

My friend, Melynda, recently blogged about Angel Biscuits (even though she is not a Southerner-wink wink) and some of the things she made with the dough. I loved her idea of cutting the biscuits into a scone shape, rather than rolling them out. 

I blogged about Angel biscuits a couple of years ago. I listed my recipe here and blogged again about what I did with those bits left from rolling and cutting the dough, here.

When I made my Angel biscuits, earlier in the week, I divided the dough and used half to make the scone shaped biscuits. The other half of the dough has been hiding out in the refrigerater for a couple of days and today I have a surprise for it.  So stay tuned. . .

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tempeh Sloppy Joes

If you are not familiar with tempeh, please allow me to introduce it. Although not a common item in most households in the United States, tempeh, with its distinctively nutty taste and nougat-like texture, is increasing in popularity. It easily absorbs the flavors of the other foods with which it is cooked making it adaptable to many types of dishes.

Tempeh has been a staple in Indonesia for over 2000 years. It is a highly nutritious fermented food traditionally made from soybeans and its high protein content makes it a wonderful substitute for meat. It is typically made by cooking and dehulling soybeans, inoculating them with a culturing agent, and then incubating the innoculated product overnight until it forms a solid cake.

For more information about the health benefits of tempeh, please click World's Healthiest Foods.

Pritchard Parker and I really go for tempeh. I have been eating it and cooking it for years and I just recently realized I have never posted a recipe for it here on Sage Trifle. I find it very easy to find nowadays, usually in the Produce Department of major grocery chains.

Tempeh Sloppy Joes
One (12 oz.) package tempeh
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. maple syrup
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. chili powder
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
One (10 oz.) can RoTel tomatoes
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tsp. Worchestershire sauce

Dice or crumble the tempeh.  In a skillet, over medium heat, saute the tempeh in the olive oil until golden brown. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Saute the onions, bell pepper, and garlic in the same pan until tender. Add the maple syrup, salt, pepper, chili powder, tomatoes, ketchup, and Worchestershire sauce to the onion mixture; stir together well.  Mix in the reserved tempeh.

Cover and simmer slowly, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve on toasted buns.  Add cheese if desired.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Rajmah (Kidney Bean Curry)

Curry-Palooza #2

Grapefruit chose the recipe for our second curry cooking project.  She chose Rajmah from the blog, Quick Indian Cooking.

I found this recipe milder than most curries I have eaten, but I did serve it with a hot and spicy chili relish because I like my curries to be quite assertive.

Grapefruit found the recipe simple to make. She has much more experience with curries than I do and the whole point of this Curry-Palooza project is to help me hone my Indian cookery skills.  I found the recipe rather difficult to follow and I certainly wouldn't consider it "quick cooking".   I like a recipe that lists ingredients in the order they will be used and Malika's did not. I found myself going back and forth between the ingredient list and the directions. Even after I had all my ingredients, which were many, assembled, it still took more than an hour to cook.

Also, I didn't really understand some of the wording on the recipe, such as "fry this masala mixture until the pungent aroma of the spices goes". Goes? No clue what that means. Another one was, "lower heat and simmer until you see oil coming out in little pores in the mixture". I watched the mixture and guessed at that one. And finally, "simmer the mixture until you can smell the beans in the mixture and the onions disintegrate". I simmered the mixture for an hour, until the beans were beginning to split open, but the onions never "disintegrated". 

The finished dish was delicious and in all fairness, I should reveal that I had a screaming headache while I was cooking the Rajmah, which was likely part of my difficulty. I have tried to simplify the recipe below.

(adapted from Quick Indian Cooking)
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 bay leaf
4 whole cardamom
4 whole cloves
1" cinnamon stick
1 small onion, finely chopped
2" fresh ginger, grated
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. coriander powder
2 tsp. cumin powder
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. turmeric
1 large tomato, roughly chopped
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
Water, as needed
1/2 tsp. garam masala
Salt, to taste

In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil and add the bay leaf, whole cardamom, whole cloves, and whole cinnamon. When the spices start to sizzle, stir in the onion, ginger, and garlic. Fry until golden brown.

Add the coriander, cumin, black pepper, chili powder, and turmeric. Fry for five minutes them add the chopped tomato. Cook and stir this mixture for a few minutes, then add water to cover. Lower the heat and simmer until very fragrant.

Stir in the beans and add water to cover. Simmer for 1 hour, stirring and adding more water, as necessary. Finish by adding the garam masala and salt to taste.

Note: the next time I make this, I will add about 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper. We needed some heat.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Hamburger Stroganoff

I recently went through a spate of not-so-successful experimentations in the kitchen. As a result, I became frustrated, and we were faced with eating our way through some things we would just as soon not eat. I don't like to hear Pritchard Parker say, "not bad" about a meal I cooked.  I want to hear, "Mmmmm, this is delicious". 

I decided to back up and make something tried and true, down to the letter of the recipe. I turned to my most beloved cookbook, Betty Crocker's Cookbook, which is also my first cookbook.  This book really helped me gain confidence in the kitchen when I was a young bride. I like to think I am much more advanced in my culinary skills now, but sometimes I am forced to back pedal to my beginnings, including the cream of soup. 

In addition to this Hamburger Stroganoff, I still use a few other recipes from this book, including the Toffee Bars, the Potato Salad, and the Lasagna.

"Quick 'n Easy"

"Company coming on short notice? Here's a recipe that belies its speed. Good on rice, too."

1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup butter
2 Tbsp. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 can (8 oz.) mushrooms
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
2 cups hot cooked noodles
Snipped parsley

In large skillet, cook and stir ground beef and onion in butter until onion is tender.  Stir in flour, salt, garlic, pepper, and mushrooms.  Cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.

Stir in soup;  simmer uncovered 10 minutes.  Stir in sour cream; heat through.  Serve over noodles.  Sprinkle with snipped parsley. 

"4 to 6 servings"

I am sharing this recipe with Mom's Sunday Cafe for Cookbook Sunday