Sunday, June 27, 2010

Five-Spice Chicken Noodle Salad

Oops! Took the photo before I sprinkled on the chopped peanuts.

2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp Chinese five-spice seasoning*
1 Tbls sugar
4 boneless, skinned chicken breast halves
1 C coarsely shredded carrots
1/2 C chopped cilantro leaves
1/2 C chopped mint leaves
1/2 C choppped peanuts
Rice noodles, prepared as directed on package.

Chile Lime Dressing
1/4 C sugar (dissolved in 1/4 C hot water)
1/4 C rice vinegar
1/4 C fish sauce*
6 Tbls lime juice
1 to 2 Tbls minced red jalepeno chile

Prep all ingredients: shred carrots, chop herbs and peanuts, etc.

Mix soy sauce, oil, five-spice seasoning and 1 Tbls sugar in a shallow dish. Turn chicken in marinade to coat; let stand 10-15 minutes. Drain chicken and grill or broil until cooked through. Transfer to a cutting board and let stand 5 minutes.

Prepare rice noodles as directed; drain. Divide noodles among dinner bowls. Slice chicken; set on noodles. Top chicken with shredded carrots, chopped mint and cilantro, and peanuts. Serve with Chile Lime Dressing.

* Like a lot of people, I'm sure, I don't like recipes that have a lot of ingredients I've never heard of. Fish sauce (and maybe the five-spice seasoning) might be a new one for you. If you cook many Asian recipes you'll run into it regularly, so at least it won't be some strange ingredient that never gets used again. Find fish sauce (and five-spice which is cinnamon, anise/licorice root, fennel, ginger and clove) in the Asian section of regular grocery stores; not really all that exotic. :)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Vanilla Cream Caramels

1 C butter
1 C light corn syrup
3 C dark brown sugar
1 C whipping cream
1 Tbls lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1 Tbls vanilla

Grease/spray a 9x9" casserole pan (or use a disposable aluminum pan - which may make it easier to remove the caramels, since you can bend the pan. If you use a disposable pan, set it on a cookie sheet for stability).

In a large 5-6 quart saucepan, combine butter, corn syrup, brown sugar, cream, lemon juice and salt. Heat over medium heat until butter is melted, then increase heat and bring mixture to a rolling boil at least 240° on a candy thermometer. If you don't get it hot enough, the caramel won't 'set''ll have caramel syrup (which is delicous, but not what we're really going for here!). Remove from heat and stir in vanilla (carefully...mixture will bubble up!). Immediately pour into 9x9" pan. Chill until firm enough to cut; at least a couple hours.

Remove from pan; use a large knife to cut caramels into 1" squares. Wrap each piece in wax paper: cut wax paper into 3x4" squares; roll around caramel squares and twist ends.

Store in frig; but best eaten at cool room temperature. :)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Pancetta Salmon Kebabs

Not difficult, but it does take some time to cut and wrap the salmon chunks.

5 Tbls olive oil
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 small garlic clove
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 lb skinned salmon fillet (1" thick)
4 oz thinly sliced pancetta*
3 Tbls chopped parsley

Combine 1/4 C oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and 1/4 tsp pepper in a small bowl; set aside.

Cut salmon into 1" to 1 1/2" chunks. In a bowl combine remaining oil and pepper. Turn salmon pieces in oil to coat. Unroll pancetta slices and wrap strips once or twice around salmon. Skewer 3 or 4 chunks on each kebab, slightly separated. (If you're using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 3 or 4 minutes first.)

Oil the grill (use a wad of paper towels dipped in oil). Heat grill to a medium high heat (400 - 450°). Set kebabs on grill; cook, covered, 5-8 minutes depending on size and thickness of salmon chunks...until fish is just fully cooked through. Remove from grill.

Arrange kebabs on plate. Stir parsley into dressing and spoon over kebabs. Serve with rice, or a warm crusty bread to dunk in the extra dressing.

* Sure, you can use regular bacon (thin sliced). But pancetta--Italian bacon, cured and spiced but usually not smoked--isn't hard to find. If you're going to go to all the trouble of cutting and wrapping and skewering...go for the good stuff!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

German Pancakes

The name can be a bit misleading...these are a lot more egg-y than pancakes, less like a bread. But very delicious!

1/2 C butter
1 1/2 C milk
3/4 C flour
1/3 C sugar
3 eggs
dash salt

Place a casserole dish in a 375° oven with the butter until it's melted and sizzling. In blender...mix all other ingredients, and blend until smooth. Pour into hot casserole, bake 20-30 minutes until edges are curled up and browned.

When you cut it, it will deflate a bit. Don't worry, that's normal and it's still delicious!

Traditionally, German pancakes are served with sweetened sour cream and fruit syrup or jelly...and/or fresh berries. Mix an 8 oz tub of sour cream with about a 1/4 C of brown sugar. (Use any leftover sour cream as a tasty fruit dip!)

For a quick large single or two person serving...
3 Tbls butter 
½ C milk 
¼ C flour
3 Tbls sugar
1 egg
pinch salt

I blend it in my mini-blender and bake it in a loaf pan.

Friday, June 11, 2010


1 1/2 C sugar
1 1/4 C lime juice
water - sparkling if you like

Combine sugar and lime juice in a saucepan; heat, stirring frequently, until sugar is completely dissolved; boil 2 minutes. Refrigerate until cold. Once cold, combine with about 5 cups of water and/or ice. Garnish with lime slices if desired.

Add 6 to 8 1/8" slices of fresh ginger when boiling the lime and sugar mixture. Boil mixture for 4-5 minutes instead of 2. Remove and discard ginger slices after boiling.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Myrtle's Hot Fudge Sauce

Myrtle is, actually, one of my great-great-grandmothers or great-great-aunts... This is one family tradition to continue and pass along!

4 Tbls flour
1 C sugar
3+ Tbls cocoa powder
dash salt
2 Tbls butter
1 C milk
1 tsp vanilla

Mix dry ingredients. (I use dark chocolate cocoa powder, but suit your own taste.) Add milk slowly, mixing smoothly. Add butter. Boil, stirring frequently, especially as it begins to thicken.

Let cool - not's best warm! Add vanilla.

Serve over ice cream. Or better a dip for fruit, like these strawberries fresh from my own garden! :)

Diced Veggie Salad

All too frequently I get into a mental rut, thinking "salad" = lettuce. And I get bored of that easily. So, this recipe - which isn't really a recipe at all - is here to remind me that there's more to salad--so MUCH more!--than lettuce. And that's a very good thing...after last summer's bumper crop of lettuce (I couldn't eat fast enough to keep up with it!), all the rain we've been having lately has brought out the slugs...and they've gotten to most of my lettuce before it's really had a chance! :( It's still early enough I can replant...

onion (red onion adds color)
pepper (red, yellow, orange, green)
garbanzo beans
white beans, kidney beans...

salad dressing (Italian, Ranch, French/Catalina, Blue Cheese, etc.)
Optional: add grated parmesan, cubed cheddar or other cheese(s), or even diced ham...

Dice your favorite veggies (more of what you love, less of what you're not fond of, but you know is good for you!). Add your favorite salad dressing and, if desired, cheese; toss to coat. Some of the veggies are best served fresh - like the mushrooms - but I also like it once the dressing has marinated everything for a few hours. Suit your own taste. :)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Yeast Bread

(Pictured: cheese bread, see options below)

5 C (more or less) flour
1 Tbls sugar
2 ½ tsp salt
1 envelope yeast
2 C very warm water
2 Tbls softened butter
olive oil

In a large mixing bowl, combine yeast and sugar with ½ C warm water; let stand until bubbly (5 min). Stir in butter and salt until combined/dissolved. Add 4 C flour and the rest of the warm water and mix 3 - 4 minutes. Continue to add the remaining flour until a very soft dough forms; it should still be very sticky. Knead (by hand or machine) 8-10 minutes or until dough is very smooth and elastic.

Thinly coat a large bowl with olive oil; place dough in bowl, turning to coat with oil. Cover with a clean, slightly damp towel and place in a warm place to rise for 1 hour. Punch down and knead until smooth. Divide dough in half; shape each half into a log and place each in a greased loaf pan. Let stand/rise until almost doubled (40 minutes to an hour).

Bake at 400° for 30 minutes or until loaves are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. Brush crust with butter if desired.

Options: Cheese Bread: add 1-2 C shredded cheese(s), sprinkle some on loaf tops; Garlic Bread: add 6-8 cloves crushed/diced garlic, roasted; Beer Bread: use flat beer instead of water