Sunday, September 24, 2006

The Dallas Morning News: Fresh Broccoli Salad with Craisins and Pecans

Despite the fact that I have a deep and abiding love for broccoli, when my mother first pulled this recipe out of the paper, I was less than enthusiastic.  I mean, raw broccoli is just so...bitter.  And how could you possibly cover that up?  Well, it's possible.  This may now be my favorite salad.  I whip this bad boy up whenever I need to bring something green to a potluck.  And I get to watch peoples' faces as they realize how delicious it is.  And of course, BACON.

Fresh Broccoli Salad with Craisins and Pecans
Adapted from The Dallas Morning News, 7 June 2006

¾ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup sugar
1½ tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 (12-ounce) bags broccoli florets (about 8 cups)
1 cup Craisins
1 (11-ounce) can Mandarin oranges, drained
½ cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
½ cup sliced green onion
12 pieces bacon, cooked crisp and diced

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sugar, soy sauce, and vinegar.  Chill.

Bring 4 cups water to a rolling boil.  Put the broccoli florets in a colander and pour the water slowly over them to blanch.  When cool, break apart larger florets so they are all a similar size.

Combine florets with Craisins and oranges, if using, and enough dressing to lightly coat.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Just before serving, fold in pecans, green onion, and bacon.

Makes 10 servings

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Food Network: Joe's Screaming Stuffed Jalapeño Poppers

It's that time of year again. Time for the obsessive watching of your favorite college teams pummeling each other on the gridiron. And what would a college football game be without some serious tailgate food? I've never actually been to a real live tailgate party in the parking lot, but we had a contest at work to see which team could make the best replica. I must say that my team won the contest, and I think it was partly due to the amazing stuffed jalapeños that I presented. I've also never eaten stuffed jalapeños before, but I was assured these are scrumptious. I thought they had just the right level of spice, and I must admit the bacon really made them melt in my mouth. If you want a much spicier pepper, you can leave the seeds and membranes intact. Enjoy!

Joe's Screaming Stuffed Jalapeño Poppers
From Food Network

20 whole jalapeños
2 packages cream cheese, softened
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
2-3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
1 pound thinly sliced bacon

Cut a slit down each jalapeño pepper and gently remove seeds and membrane without breaking pepper open. Set peppers aside.

Beat cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Fold in garlic, tomatoes, basil, and salt to taste. Using a small spoon or pastry bag, stuff each pepper with cheese mixture until full, but not overflowing. Cut bacon slices in half and wrap half a piece around each pepper, placing seam under the pepper. If you really like bacon, you could use a whole slice for each pepper, but you would need more bacon than indicated above. Place wrapped peppers on a foil lined baking sheet. Set oven to broil, and place peppers under the heat for about seven minutes or until bacon is cooked and peppers gently blister. Serve with lots of water!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Classic Japanese Cooking Course: Japanese Miso-Mayonnaise Salmon

I'd had this really good salmon dish at some Asian buffets, but I could never figure out the recipe. I knew it had miso paste in the topping, but beyond that I was clueless. Well, it turns out the topping is a mixture of mayonnaise and white miso paste. The sauce is spread on top of the salmon, and then shredded cheddar cheese is sprinkled on top along with a little bit of Japanese seven spice powder. The whole thing is cooked in an aluminum foil packet to keep in the moisture.  While it sounds a bit icky to have mayo on your fish, it keeps the salmon moist and creamy.  Also, the trick is to use Japanese mayonnaise which has a different texture and flavor than the American stuff.  Try Kewpie brand.

Note: I had an extra leek hanging around, so I sautéed thin slices in some butter and put it under the salmon before cooking.  Delicious.

Japanese Miso-Mayonnaise Salmon
Adapted from Classic Japanese Cooking Course by Masaki Ko

4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets, skin on, bones removed
½ cup Japanese mayonnaise (such as Kewpie)
3 tablespoons white miso paste
1 ounce sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
Seven spice powder (shichimi)

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Mix the mayonnaise and miso paste until well combined.  Cut four pieces of foil large enough to enclose each fillet completely.  Place one salmon fillet on each piece of foil.  Spread the sauce evenly over the tops of the fillets.  Sprinkle with the Cheddar cheese and seven spice powder.  Fold the foil tightly to enclose the fish fillets completely and prevent leakage.  Place the packets on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes.  Open the foil and bake another 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and starting to brown.  Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Beverly's Restaurant: Fingerling Potato Salad with Stilton Cheese

So last weekend was my dad's birthday, and we decided to cook him a meal instead of dragging him to a restaurant. He's not a big fan of strange new tastes or odd smells and colors, so I had to go easy on him. We decided to be very traditional and have rotisserie chicken, deviled eggs, and potato salad. But not just any potato salad. A potato salad made with multi-colored fingerling potatoes and Stilton blue cheese. Because why make a regular potato salad when you can totally go over the top?

The recipe comes from this great little restaurant halfway between Athens, TX and Palestine, TX. It's called Beverly's Restaurant, and it's inside of BK Ranch's main building. I loved it at first bite. Luckily the recipe was online for me to plunder.

Fingerling Potato Salad with Stilton Cheese
From Beverly's Restaurant, Athens, TX

1 pound fingerling potatoes of various colors
2 ounces Stilton blue cheese, crumbled
3 slices applewood smoked bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 tablespoons shallot, minced
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
2 teaspoons parsley, chopped fine
2 teaspoons chives, chopped fine
4 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of one lemon
Salt and white pepper

Place potatoes in a pot and cover with cold water; season well with salt. Cook potatoes over high heat until almost cooked in the center. Pierce potato with a toothpick to test for doneness. Remove the potatoes from the pot and spread on a baking sheet; place in refrigerator to cool. Once potatoes are cool, slice them and place in a mixing bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and toss salad to mix. Season with salt and white pepper.