Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Crispy Crunchy Creamy Coleslaw


There's something about coleslaw that gives any summer holiday meal that summer holiday appeal.   Especially the 4th of July in the USA.  Coleslaw, grilled burgers or chicken or barbecue ribs, and Cowboy beans or good old Boston Baked Beans and/or corn on the cob are the summer celebration foods of choice for most Americans.

Coleslaw with a creamy dressing is one of my favorites.  Being lactose intolerant has been a bit of a challenge for any creamy or dairy based dressing.   Here's my version of this classic salad and I can say with some assurance that you can't tell it from it's "real cream" based cousin.

For the salad:

4 cups of finely shredded cabbage (or prepared coleslaw veggies)
1/4 cup diced yellow onion
1/2 cup chopped green apple (with peel)
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup coarsely chopped cashews - reserved (optional)

For the dressing:

1/2 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dried mustard
1 to 2 teaspoons raw agave nectar
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Toss the vegetables together in a large bowl.

Blend the dressing ingredients and pour over the vegetables.   Toss to combine.  Refrigerate for about an hour or so.  Sprinkle with the cashews just before serving.  The cashews really make this salad special.

The salad will seem a bit dry, at first, but let it marinate and it'll be perfect by the time you sit down to eat.  And to be honest, I think it's better the next day.

A couple of notes:  By now you probably realize that I love recipes that can be modified.  This is another example.

The dry mustard gives it a bit of a kick which is nicely balanced by the sweetness of the apples and the agave nectar.  I used 1/2 teaspoon but if you want less heat, just 1/4 teaspoon will be about right.

Regular yogurt is a little softer and creamier than the Greek but I prefer the Greek.

I've made this with red Delicious apples for a little sweeter version.  And honey would be a fine substitute for the agave nectar.  I just happen to love the mildness of the agave so always use that.  Sometimes I use light agave and sometimes I use the raw agave.

You could add grapes (red, green or purple) halved and tossed with the apples; substitute the cashews with chopped walnuts and you'd have a version of Waldorf salad.  How about adding 1/4 cup of raisins?

You see where I'm going with this.  Just remember that the more veggies and fruits you add the more dressing you'll need so adjust accordingly.  .

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Summer Sangria

This is a mighty refreshing beverage to enjoy over the Independence Day weekend.  It's a delicious sangria recipe from my daughter Stefani's collection of party treats.   It's colorful, full of fresh fruit and easy to prepare.

I don't know the origin of this recipe (pre-Stefani) or I'd give credit where credit is due but it's a keeper.

Here's the recipe:

Ingredients:
1/4 cup brandy
2 Tablespoons orange liqueur such as Grand Marnier.  (Triple Sec works, also.)
2 Tablespoons Amaretto
2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup sugar

Fresh fruit which you have cut in pieces.
I used 1 Granny Smith (tart green) apple, 1 peach, 1 kiwi and a handful of freshly picked strawberries.
Stefani used 1 granny smith apple, 2 peaches and a handful of cherries cut in half.  You could use grapes or any other fruit that appeals to you.
1 bottle of red wine (use a good one that you would drink just as it is).
1 bottle sparkling strawberry flavored water.

Method:
Mix the sugar, brandy, Grand Marnier and orange juice.  Add the fruit and marinate in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.


A couple of hours before you are ready to serve, add the wine.  Chill again.  Remove from the refrigerator about an hour before serving (although you can certainly serve it cold).  When your guests arrive, add the sparkling water and serve.

Garnish with fresh fruit on little skewers, if you like, and serve!

This recipe is perfect for modifying...for example, if you prefer a white wine just substitute that for the red.  The fruits could be pears, pineapple, kiwi, apples...whatever!

An assortment of cheeses and crackers plus a glass of sangria is fun and festive.

Rock on!

NOTE:  I first published this recipe on Lake Mary Musings last year about this time.  Now that I have this food blog, I'm moving and modifying those posts little by little.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

ABC Sticker Gift Wrap

 

We've been invited to a baby's baptism, this morning.  Yesterday I purchased a gift and when the clerk offered to gift wrap it, I said, "that would be great!"

It was pretty ugly.  She put it in a gift bag that was much too small and stuffed four small yellow and green tissues on the top then tied it with some pretty nondescript ribbon.

This morning I searched for wrapping paper but couldn't find anything appropriate.   I did find a slightly wrinkled white paper bag.  And I spied two books of alphabet stickers in the box of crafty stuff that I keep on hand for the grandkids.

I pressed the bag with my iron to remove most of the wrinkles and decided to decorate it with the baby's name...Hudson.

It turned out quite nice, if I do say so myself.



These were my supplies...a plain white bag, a couple of sticker books and a roll of red ribbon.


I used the blue and white ribbon from the original gift wrap plus some red curling ribbon to tie the handles of the finished gift bag.


Then I stuck the letters H - U - D - S - O - N at random spots on the white tissue paper.

Pretty nifty.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Breakfast Turnovers


These little pastry pockets are really delicious, easy to prepare and they can be frozen!

This is the most tender, flaky pastry I've ever made.  Melt-in-your-mouth good.  It's a form of pâte brisée except there's no sugar in this recipe.   A cinch to make if you have a food processor but can be put together using a Pastry Blender, too.  The filling is reminiscent of quiche lorraine.   I'm going to try this with a variety of fillings from time to time.


FLAKY BREAKFAST TURNOVERS

What you'll need:

For the pastry:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoonKosher salt
1/4 cup ice water

For the filling:

1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup chopped white onion*
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, plus 2 yolks
3/4 cup + 1 Tablespoon heavy cream (divided)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated, if possible)
1 Tablespoon snipped chives
1  cup + 6 Tablespoons shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese (divided)
5 or 6 slices thickly cut bacon, cooked and chopped

What you do:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Pulse the flour, salt and the butter in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade attachment until it's the texture of coarse meal. 
Add the ice water in a steady stream until a soft dough forms. 

Remove the dough and pat into a disc.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill until the dough is easy to roll...about an hour.



In medium-sized skillet cook the chopped onion in 1 tablespoon of butter over medium-low heat until the onion is soft and translucent...about 4 or 5 minutes.

Whisk eggs, yolks, cream, salt, pepper and nutmeg in a medium bowl; then add 1 cup of the shredded cheese. 

Add this mixture to the onion in the heated pan and gently whisk until eggs start to set which will take 8 to 10 minutes.  Spoon the mixture into a bowl and stir to cool, then add the chives and the crisped bacon pieces and set aside.

Line a baking pan with parchment paper.  Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces and roll each into an 8-inch round circle.

Place 1 Tablespoon of the shredded Swiss Cheese on the pastry circle and then spoon an equal amount of filling (not quite 1/2 cup but a little more than 1/3) in the center of each pastry circle.

(In this photo I spooned the cheese on top of the egg mixture but have since decided that placing the cheese on the pastry, first, helps keep the pastry from getting soggy.  Also, make sure the egg mixture is not hot when you make the pockets.)

Dampen the edges of the pastry with a bit of water and fold the dough over the filling.

If you want them to be pretty, you can trim the ragged edges (well, mine are always ragged) with a pizza cutter or a knife.  Won't make them taste better but they'll look nice and professional.  Crimp the edges of the pockets with a fork to seal.



Transfer to the baking pan, and brush each turnover with the remaining 1 tablespoon of heavy cream.


Bake about 20 minutes until they're golden.

Remove from the baking pan and let cool just slightly before serving.

Terrific for brunch because they don't have to be piping hot...or they can be...whatever.  Serve these with a fresh fruit bowl - oranges and kiwi fruit is a favorite - and you've got a simple but memorable offering for guests.

Make them ahead of time, freeze them and you're good to go for last minute house guests.

To freeze:

I cool them thoroughly then wrap each turnover in Press 'n Seal.  Or you can use plastic wrap.  I like the Press 'n Seal because it forms so nicely to whatever it is you're freezing.

Then I put them in freezer bags or freezer containers and label them with the recipe name and the date.

To reheat, place the unwrapped turnovers on a baking sheet and heat in a 350 degree F oven for about 15 minutes.

NOTE:  Although you could use yellow onions in this recipe, I chose white onions to add a more delicate flavor since it also has the snipped chives.  It's a nice balance.

There's a great explanation about the difference between yellow, white and red onions on The Cooking Dish blog.

Recipe inspiration came from an issue of  Country Living magazine.