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145 posts categorized " 04) Accompaniments & Side-Servings"

12/05/2016

~ Mel's Deconstructed To-Die-For Pirogi Casserole ~

Pirogi -- a subject I know a thing or three about. I grew up eating these pillowy handmade-with-love potato-stuffed-dumplings in the kitchens of my Baba and Tettie (my Eastern European grandmother and her sister). I was about age seven when they added me as a semi-skilled laborer to the assembly line of their twice-yearly day-long pirogi-making marathon. Once filled and formed, they were frozen flat on trays, packaged into bags and divided amongst their two families -- to be cooked and served as a meatless main course or a side-dish to my mom's holiday baked ham or a roasted pork...... View full recipe for "~ Mel's Deconstructed To-Die-For Pirogi Casserole ~"

11/22/2016

~ How to: Oven-Roast Butternut Squash (Halves) ~

I love butternut squash and every Fall Joe's garden gifts us with a few beauties. Some are big and some are small, some are short and some are tall -- I love them all. Butternut squash, how do I love thee, let me count the ways: 1) Sliced raw and baked into main or side-dish casseroles. 2) Peeled, cubed, seasoned and roasted, or, sliced into halves, roasted and mashed as tasty side-dishes. 3) Steamed to make purée for appetizers, soups and desserts. A bit about butternut squash: Butternut squash is one of our healthy super-foods. That’s great but I'd eat...... View full recipe for "~ How to: Oven-Roast Butternut Squash (Halves) ~"

11/18/2016

~ Simon and Garfunkle's Roasted Butternut Squash ~

"Eat your squash". Three words I never heard as a child. At the tables I sat down at to eat, no one made squash -- not my mother, not my grandmother and no one in their immediate or distant families. Meat, potatoes, gravy, a green or yellow vegetable and "drink your milk". That was that. No squash. I never had to worry about squash. The first time I cooked and ate squash I was twenty. It was butternut squash at the apartment of a co-worker and close friend: Eileen. Eileen was born and raised in Brooklyn, and, like my husband...... View full recipe for "~ Simon and Garfunkle's Roasted Butternut Squash ~"

11/08/2016

~ Easy Amish Dutch-Style Sweet & Sour Coleslaw ~

Walk into an Amish market and you'll likely find a side-dish in the refrigerated deli-section simply labeled "Dutch slaw". It'll be right next to the ever-popular finely-minced "pepper cabbage" (also known as "overnight coleslaw") and the classic creamy-crunchy mayonnaise-dressed coleslaw. It's a monochromatic mixture of shredded cabbage, celery, onion and green bell pepper dressed with a pretty yellow-colored, celery seed and onion-laced oil-based sweet and sour dressing. Interestingly, the Amish label it "Dutch slaw" because it is the Pennsylvania Deutsch version of the Amish's own version of sweet and sour slaw (known as "Amish slaw" and dressed with a mayonnaise-based...... View full recipe for "~ Easy Amish Dutch-Style Sweet & Sour Coleslaw ~"

10/22/2016

~ Buffalo-Style Blue-Cheese & Celery "Slider Slaw" ~

Slider slaw. That's the nickname affectionately given to this tangy little concoction by the football-watching men in my life -- the ones who like my bacon 'n blue cheese hamburger sliders on college game day Saturdays, and, my Buffalo-style shredded chicken sliders on professional game day Sundays. While I first intended this to be a side-dish, nowadays, if you were sitting around my house watching football, you'd encounter my guys heaping it atop their sliders. Slider slaw. This is not a rocket science recipe. In fact, it took me twice as long to make it today because I had to...... View full recipe for "~ Buffalo-Style Blue-Cheese & Celery "Slider Slaw" ~"

10/11/2016

~Slovak Grated Potato & Onion Dumplings (Haluski)~

Potatoes have been a staple in the Eastern European diet for centuries. When Columbus discovered potatoes on Hispaniola (an Island in the Caribbean), he could never have imagined how they would eventually revolutionize eating habits globally. In the harsh, unforgiving climates of Eastern Europe in particular, the starchy potato got cooked and used in every imaginable way -- it literally saved generations from starvation. In the process of creating a long list of delectable potato dishes, these resourceful people experimented with their "exotic" tuber and found they could make vodka (an alcoholic beverage), potato starch (similar to corn starch), confectioners'...... View full recipe for "~Slovak Grated Potato & Onion Dumplings (Haluski)~"

10/08/2016

~ Classic Pommes Anna: The Ultimate Potato Cake ~

This just might be the most impressive potato dish ever placed on a fancy-schmancy dining room table. It's a gorgeous golden cake constructed of layers of ultra-thin-sliced potatoes that have been baked in the oven (just like a cake layer) and turned out onto a serving plate. When sliced into wedges, each person gets a pretty, pie-sized wedge of potato heaven: buttery-rich, nicely-and-lightly seasoned potatoes, with a crispy golden crust and a soft tender center. Impressive to look at & surprisingly simple to make. While pommes Anna does take a bit of time to make, for a French dish, it...... View full recipe for "~ Classic Pommes Anna: The Ultimate Potato Cake ~"

10/02/2016

~ Duchess Potatoes (Pommes de Terre Duchesse) ~

Mashed potatoes are the quintessential American side-dish for the Sunday roast or pot roast and the gravy that comes with it. While there are a lot of ways to prepare potatoes, the ethereal smell of a chicken roasting in the oven or a pot roast simmering on the stovetop compels me to peel potatoes and bring a pot of water to a boil. To us Americans, mashed potatoes are the ultimate comfort food, and duchess potatoes, a fancy French-named mashed potato dish made of piped egg-laced mashed potatoes which are baked to a beautiful golden brown, is an impressive-to-look at,...... View full recipe for "~ Duchess Potatoes (Pommes de Terre Duchesse) ~"

09/22/2016

~ Asian Broccoli Slaw w/Honey-Sesame Dressing ~

My love affair with all types of Asian food is no secret. Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Korean, etc. You name it, I adore it. Give me a recommendation for an Asian restaurant in your locale, when I'm in your town, you can be sure I'm going there to eat. I dabble in cooking a great deal of it too. I crave Asian and rarely does a week go by without my needing it. Some of my recipes have been classically learned, while others are a product of my own creative cravings for Asian fare. Indulge me in this delish 5-minutes-to-fix Asian...... View full recipe for "~ Asian Broccoli Slaw w/Honey-Sesame Dressing ~"

09/08/2016

~ Grilling & Chilling: Chicken & Rice-is-Nice Salad ~

We grill a lot of chicken, and, for as long as the grilling season lasts (which is well into the Winter), we make it a point to put a couple of extra, generically-seasoned pieces on the grill because: I enjoy it cold the next day -- it tastes great and comes in handy when I'm pressed for time. That said, once refrigerated, I do not like it reheated. It tastes funky. Got cold chicken? Make me a sandwich or throw it in a salad. Reheat it? Out the door it goes along with you. My grilled chicken policy is: eat...... View full recipe for "~ Grilling & Chilling: Chicken & Rice-is-Nice Salad ~"

08/17/2016

~ My Deep-Fried Mexican Sweet Street Corn Fritters~

In my kitchen, when one recipe can be turned into a second dish the next day, foodie life is good. When the second recipe can be turned into a third on yet another day, foodie life is great. When dish number three tastes as good or better than the previous two and none of them make me feel like I am eating leftovers, that's when I take a bow. This scenario is especially appreciated by me, the family cook, when our fruit trees and vegetable garden is producing at peak levels. For example: I've got lots of prime-quality local sweet...... View full recipe for "~ My Deep-Fried Mexican Sweet Street Corn Fritters~"

08/15/2016

~Warm Mexican Sweet Street Corn Cups (Esquites)~

When you travel, if you enjoy exploring the ethereal world of street food, Mexico City just might be the mecca for this foodie sport. The native locals call it street-food-hopping -- it's bar hopping for foodies. While it's oh-so-much fun to participate in a street-to-street eat-fest like this with well-seasoned friends who have their own list of top-secret hot-spots, the street scene is so vibrant, if you're alone, you can sign on to take a professionally-arranged "street eats" or "taco tour" too. When it comes to Mexican street foods, high on my short list are: Barbacoa (agave-wrapped slow-roasted lamb barbecue),...... View full recipe for "~Warm Mexican Sweet Street Corn Cups (Esquites)~"

08/12/2016

~Classic Grilled Mexican Sweet Street Corn (Elotes)~

It's that time of year: sweet corn season. Where I live here in Central Pennylvania, it's hard to drive a mile in any direction and not encounter vendors selling it at a farmer's market or a home-grown stand in front of their farm. While in season, I buy it twice a week. We enjoy it, on and off the cob, cooked in lot of ways -- I even freeze the cooked kernels. For six years now, I make it a point to post a recipe or two each year that gives my sweet-corn-loving readers another way to serve this beloved...... View full recipe for "~Classic Grilled Mexican Sweet Street Corn (Elotes)~"

08/05/2016

~ It's all Greek to Me: Except for this Tzatziki Recipe~

When it comes to posting ethnic recipes, even if the ethnicity is the one you inherited by birth and have the papers to prove it, it's best to start with a disclaimer. Too many an ethnic cook self-appoints him- or herself the sole authority on an entire cuisine, and, quite frankly, they get snarky about what goes on in the kitchens of others. If it's not the way their family prepares it, it's wrong. That's wrong. Disclaimer: I am not Greek. What I don't know about authentic Greek cuisine is a lot. What I do know about Greek cuisine is,...... View full recipe for "~ It's all Greek to Me: Except for this Tzatziki Recipe~"

07/12/2016

~ Skillet-Roasted Baby Carrots & Potato Medallions ~

Twelve minutes. Yes, in a skillet, in twelve short minutes, you can roast elegant-looking sweet-tasting fork-tender baby carrots and potato medallions. I roast all sorts of vegetables in the oven when I'm cooking for a crowd (if one is serving roasted meat, poultry and gravy, one can never roast too many vegetables), but, when I'm only cooking for Joe and myself, I turn to my skillet on my stovetop instead of my oven. It's a super-speedy method with a super-delicious outcome. While you can successfully roast all sorts of vegetables in a skillet on the stovetop, you can only combine...... View full recipe for "~ Skillet-Roasted Baby Carrots & Potato Medallions ~"

07/04/2016

~ Jumbo Shells Stuffed w/Shrimp Chop-Chop Salad ~

These yummy little appetizer-snacks, like my deviled egg creations, go to a lot of Summer picnics and a few early Fall tailgates too. The best way to describe them is individual and portable portions of chop-chop salad, and, most people can't keep their hands off them. They can contain anything your heart desires, as long as the ingredients play well together and are chopped into small morsels prior to judiciously drizzling (not drenching), with a cuisine-appropriate dressing or vinaigrette just prior to spooning the salad into the shells and serving. Since I cook all sorts of cuisines, sometimes my chop-chop...... View full recipe for "~ Jumbo Shells Stuffed w/Shrimp Chop-Chop Salad ~ "

07/02/2016

~ Nana's "Overnight" PA Deutsch Pepper Cabbage ~

From the land of Longhorn-colby cheese and ring bologna, I bring you pepper cabbage. If you identify with both the cheese and the bologna, you have roots in or some sort of affiliation with the Pennsylvania Deutsch community, and you don't have to be told: do not over-think this or any pepper cabbage recipe. It is simple, to the point, and, monochromatic (a big word meaning "consisting of one color or hue"): finely-chopped green cabbage and green pepper, tossed in a sweet and sour, sugar, vinegar and black-pepper-laced dressing, then macerated overnight in the refrigerator. As the name indicates, it's...... View full recipe for "~ Nana's "Overnight" PA Deutsch Pepper Cabbage ~"

06/22/2016

~ Lemony English Pea, Mint & Gold Potato Salad ~

The typical English pea salad, or English pea and potato salad, the one that graces picnic and potluck tables this time of year, has never been my cup of tea. While I have no ax to grind with most of the mayonnaise and/or sour cream concoctions it gets dressed with, traditionally it is loaded with chunks of cheddar cheese and bacon bits too, which I think does those pretty, little, freshly-picked green jewels a disservice. It's not easy being green -- please show some respect! For me this is a KISS (keep it simple stupid) salad. Why? The moment you...... View full recipe for "~ Lemony English Pea, Mint & Gold Potato Salad ~"

06/07/2016

~ Holy Trinity & Remoulade: Creole Macaroni Salad ~

Crunchy, creamy and cold, macaroni salad is a classic Summer staple on American tables everywhere. It's easy to make, tastes great, and, by changing out a few add-in ingredients here and there (and the fresh herbs and dry spices in your mayonnaise concoction too), you can personalize it to suit yourself, or, customize it to fit the flavor profile of the meal you're serving. In case you've just landed from another planet, the "holy trinity" (diced celery, green bell pepper and onion) is to the French-heritaged Cajun and Creole cooks of Louisiana what "mirepoix" (diced carrot, celery and onion) is...... View full recipe for "~ Holy Trinity & Remoulade: Creole Macaroni Salad ~"

04/14/2016

~ Carol's Herbaceous Simon & Garfunkel Potatoes ~

Carol is my neighbor -- across the street and a few doors down. Door-to-door -- about a 10-minute dog walk. I've known her for nineteen years now. She and her cocker spaniel Jack were the first to welcome me and my poodles to the neighborhood -- we were playing in the middle of a field, the future site of our new home, when she and Jack came by to say "hi". That chat started on a fine Spring afternoon in 1996, and, just ask our husbands, it has never stopped. Like a lot of you, I love potatoes and I...... View full recipe for "~ Carol's Herbaceous Simon & Garfunkel Potatoes ~"

03/21/2016

~It's Not Easy Being Green: Me & Creamed Spinach~

"Why can't you be more like your friend Melanie?", said the mothers of many of my childhood friends. A long, long time ago, middle-class mothers all cooked, and, when you were invited to a friend's house after school, it was common practice to be asked to stay for the evening meal. Those were hospitable times, and, that was my life during the 1960's (age 5 thru 14). If you are old enough to remember June Cleaver, Margaret Anderson and Donna Stone (Leave it to Beaver, Father Knows Best and Donna Reed), the image of each of those TV moms serving...... View full recipe for "~It's Not Easy Being Green: Me & Creamed Spinach~ "

03/14/2016

~Duxelles: Rich, Refined Mouthwatering Mushrooms~

Mushroom duxelles. To a mushroom lover like me, this is the crème de la crème of mushroom preparations -- the earthy caviar of my fungi food world. Each time I prepare it, I pay homage to the French for their meticulous attention to culinary detail. Without duxelles, my Veal Orloff, Beef Wellington and Coquilles St. Jacques would be ordinary veal, beef and seafood dishes. With duxelles on-hand in my refrigerator, I can change an unpretentious piece of toasted bread or a scrambled egg into a fine-dining experience. It enhances many of my sauces and gravies, and, soups and stews too....... View full recipe for "~Duxelles: Rich, Refined Mouthwatering Mushrooms~"

02/04/2016

~ The Hasselback Potato: A Majestic Baked Potato ~

The next time baked potatoes are on your mind or menu, and you have a bit of extra time, make a batch of sexy, stylish Swedish Hasselback potatoes. Want to feel like a rock star? Go the extra mile and make them using using small, fingerling potatoes -- people adore fancy-schmancy, darling-to-look-at, petite food. Place two or three on a plate next to a perfectly-cooked steak or pass a tray of them around at a cocktail party -- majestic -- to say the least. The Hasselbecken Tavern was established in the 1700's as a small red hut located in a...... View full recipe for "~ The Hasselback Potato: A Majestic Baked Potato ~"

12/07/2015

~ Dad's Mac & Cheese, or: What I Cook Just for Me ~

This isn't the recipe I planned to post today, but, it's what I'm cooking today, so, why not take a few photos along the way and type a few words too -- it's easy for me to do. Joe is traveling, so, what I eat on this day is all about me, and coincidentally, while entertaining some friends on Saturday, I got asked, "when you're not cooking for the blog or TV, what do you cook just for you?" It's not the first time I've been asked this, and, my answer is always the same: "Most times I just make...... View full recipe for "~ Dad's Mac & Cheese, or: What I Cook Just for Me ~"

11/24/2015

~It's Not Easy Being 60: The Green Bean Casserole~

Newsflash: The iconic green bean casserole turns 60 years old this year. Depending upon who you talk turkey to, the subject of "green bean casserole" will garner one of two responses: a loving look of childlike glee or a loathsome adult eye roll. In the event you are talking turkey to me, you'll get a unknowing shoulder shrug because the only thing I have in common with the green bean casserole is we were both born in 1955 -- I in a hospital in Palmerton, PA, and, the casserole in a Campbell's Test Kitchen in New Jersey. I've never made...... View full recipe for "~It's Not Easy Being 60: The Green Bean Casserole~"

11/07/2015

~ Hungarian Galuska (Small Soft Eggy Dumplings) ~

Raise your hand if you love doughy, hand-crafted noodles and dumplings. Among my favorites: flat and square Pennsylvania Deutsch pot pie noodles, odd-shaped short strands of German spatzle, my mom's almost-golf-ball-sized Russian halusky, small and nubby Italian gnocchi, and, I'm about to add these Hungarian galuska to this list (very, very similar to spatzle, galuska, a bit more "bare bones", are typically made with water, not milk, and contain no nutmeg). "If you can't make galuska, you can't cook Hungarian!" If you want to dabble in putting some authentic Hungarian fare on your family's table, which I have been doing...... View full recipe for "~ Hungarian Galuska (Small Soft Eggy Dumplings) ~"

09/26/2015

~ Southwestern-Style Honey, Lime & Jalapeno Slaw~

Coleslaw, one word, or, cole slaw, two words. It's a humble side-dish. It doesn't pretend to be flashy. It just sits in its bowl, patiently waiting for someone to take a scoop. What's sad is the quotes and jokes that get made about coleslaw, which, in my opinion are 100% unwarranted. When it's properly prepared, and correctly paired with the right entree, it is the master of crunchy cabbage goodness. It amps up the volume, of many meals, from ordinary to extraordinary. A bit about coleslaw: The words "cole" "slaw" come from the Dutch word "koolsla", meaning: "cold" "salad". Coleslaw...... View full recipe for "~ Southwestern-Style Honey, Lime & Jalapeno Slaw~"

09/22/2015

~ Mexican Pico de Gallo (Salsa Fresca/Fresh Salsa)~

For those who home cook more than their fair share of Tex/Mex fare, you likely have your pico de gallo recipe committed to memory -- I do. You also know that pico de gallo is much more than a condiment to dip tortilla chips into or plop on your tacos. In my kitchen it's a tasty topper for grilled or broiled chicken and fish, it's great on thinly-sliced flank, skirt or flat-iron steaks, and, a spoonful on fried, poached or scrambled eggs in the AM will change your outlook of the day ahead. Here in Central PA, my garden is...... View full recipe for "~ Mexican Pico de Gallo (Salsa Fresca/Fresh Salsa)~"

09/11/2015

~ Roast Beef Eatin' Horseradish-Mayo Potato Salad ~

Horseradish. It's powerful stuff and most folks aren't on the fence about this ingredient. They either love it or they hate it. If you are a lover of the stuff, you know you've got to carefully pick and choose what you pair it with and how you do it too. For my taste, freshly-grated horseradish, prepared horseradish and horseradish cream, mustard or mayonnaise go best with beef and ham. Some folks like it with lamb, but, for me, that's pushing the envelope a tad to far. My favorite way to enjoy horseradish is served with or on a good roast...... View full recipe for "~ Roast Beef Eatin' Horseradish-Mayo Potato Salad ~"

09/06/2015

~Please Pass the Homemade Crockpot Applesauce~

When my family of five sat down to dinner, unlike a host of other foods, I never had occasion to say "eat your applesauce". When applesauce was on the dinner table my kids would eat it. Applesauce had bargaining power too: "Finish your pork chop, then you can have another helping of applesauce." "Eat half of your green beans and you can have more applesauce." There's more: My boys weren't "big" on eating apple slices, but, if there was applesauce in the refrigerator, they were happy to slather it on a Ritz with a piece of Cracker Barrel cheddar. Applesauce...... View full recipe for "~Please Pass the Homemade Crockpot Applesauce~"

08/16/2015

~ Lemon-Pepper Pasta & Oodles of Zucchini Noodles w/Butter, Basil, Peperoncino & Parmgiano-Reggiano~

Pasta and noodles. Noodles and Pasta. It's hard for most of us to resist either in any shape or form any time of the year. Both staples in the world's kitchens, over the years, on our travels, I've experienced myriads of cultural versions. To the best of my recollection, I've never encountered a pasta or noodle dish that I didn't like, and, I don't think I've ever observed anyone eat either and walk away in a bad mood. Pasta and noodles are quintessential feel-good fare. What exactly is the difference between noodles and pasta? The difference between noodle dough and...... View full recipe for "~ Lemon-Pepper Pasta & Oodles of Zucchini Noodles w/Butter, Basil, Peperoncino & Parmgiano-Reggiano~"

08/13/2015

~ My Electric-Extruder Pasta-Machine Pasta-Dough ~

I love my pasta machine. By today's standards, it's is a dinosaur. It celebrated its 25th birthday over the weekend. I celebrated my 60th birthday over the weekend. It was my 35th birthday present. How's that for Kitchen Countertop Appliance Statistics 101. I'm hoping "they still make 'em like they used to" because the Italian-made Simac is an amazing piece of high-quality equipment. It has earned a place on my kitchen counter right next to my Simac gelato machine. No store-bought pasta product compares to scratch-made pasta in taste or texture. I've hand-mixed plenty of pasta dough and a put...... View full recipe for "~ My Electric-Extruder Pasta-Machine Pasta-Dough ~"

08/09/2015

~ Fluffy Lemon & Pepper Rice for Fish &/or Seafood~

The perfect, carefully-chosen side-dish really can turn an ordinary meal into an extraordinary one. Recipes for side-dishes aren't usually the most exciting thing to write home about, but, as a food blogger, I can attest to the fact that home cooks routinely conduct searches that clearly inquire: "What to serve with (meat, poultry, fish, seafood, etc.)?" That said, it's not uncommon to have narrower searches include the word(s) "vegetable" or "starch", and/or, "quick" or "easy" -- it seems that people don't like to spend a lot of time hovering over complicated side-dishes. I'm not making this up. I check my...... View full recipe for "~ Fluffy Lemon & Pepper Rice for Fish &/or Seafood~"

07/27/2015

~This Spuds for You: Loaded Twice-Baked Potatoes~

Everything tastes better with bacon, and, cheddar makes everything better too -- even broccoli. Everyone loves a steamy, creamy, buttered baked potato, and, twice baked potatoes are, well -- they're the Rolls Royce of the baked-potato world. Men love them, kids adore them, and, from a mom's perspective, they'll get you as many accolades as a hot fudge sundae. Every once in a while, I get so hungry for a twice-baked spud that I just gotta make 'em. Today is such a day. Making twice-baked potatoes is a method, not an exact recipe. A twice baked potato is exactly what...... View full recipe for "~This Spuds for You: Loaded Twice-Baked Potatoes~"

06/26/2015

~ GrandMa's Incredible Edible Classic Deviled Egg ~

We grandmothers of today are much different than the grandmothers of past generations. I know. I've been GrandMel for eight years, and, when I look around my kitchen, I see a sea of countertop appliances that make my work a whole lot easier: grind my coffee beans, blend my smoothies, chop my vegetables, mix my cake batters, steam my rice, make my pasta, bake my bread, press my sandwiches, fry my fritters and freeze my ice cream. The list goes on. By the time I was born in 1955, my grandmother had acquired a toaster, and, a fancy-schmancy Sunbeam stand...... View full recipe for "~ GrandMa's Incredible Edible Classic Deviled Egg ~ "

06/24/2015

~ Jamaican Curried Deviled Eggs w/Mango Chutney~

The incredible edible egg. That four-word sentence is Don Draper-esque advertising genius. Joe and I have been starting our days with eggs several times a week for almost thirty-five years -- even during 'the dark period' when the food police were patrolling the streets proclaiming the cholesterol in eggs was going to lead to the early demise of us American egg eaters. When it comes to food I love, I believe in living dangerously, and, eggs are the perfect eggs-ample. If you scout around Kitchen Encounters, you'll find all sorts of really good egg recipes from all over the world,...... View full recipe for "~ Jamaican Curried Deviled Eggs w/Mango Chutney~"

06/22/2015

~ My Devilishly Hot-Russian-Mustard Deviled Eggs ~

When you get invited to a backyard barbecue or a neighborhood picnic, what do you get asked to bring -- a dessert, a side-dish, an appetizer? Nine times out of ten, I get asked to make these deviled eggs. Amongst friends they're simply called "Mel's Eggs", and, they have a reputation for being egg-strordinary, which makes me chuckle because when I was growing up, they were quite ordinary. It's how my grandmother made them and taught me to make them. Horseradish is one of our most beloved Eastern European 'secret weapons'. Like any other deviled egg recipe, you can make...... View full recipe for "~ My Devilishly Hot-Russian-Mustard Deviled Eggs ~"

06/14/2015

~ My Sweet 'n Spicy, Summer Tropical Fruit Salsa ~

If you're looking for a change of pace to spice up your Summer menu, my tropical fruit salsa is your answer. While I love it served atop grilled white fish (like grouper and sea bass) on a bed of steamed jasmine rice, it is delicious on cheesy Tex-Mex nachos and chicken quesadillas. That said, it pairs equally as well with Thai-Asian fare like my ~ Crunchy Thai-Style Deep-Fried Coconut Shrimp ~ as an appetizer (recipe found in Categories 1, 11, 13 & 14), and, my East-meets-West fusion main course ~ Thai Turkey Patties & Rice w/Creamy Coconut Sauce ~. Newsflash...... View full recipe for "~ My Sweet 'n Spicy, Summer Tropical Fruit Salsa ~"

05/19/2015

~Eliot's Angel Hair Pasta with Creamy Vodka Sauce~

Eliot, our middle son, developed a somewhat serious interest in cooking around the age of fourteen (1985-ish). I allow myself to believe it had something to do with me, but, if there is one thing I have learned over the years it's: you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. Not the case with Eliot and cooking. For the most part, he had a natural instinct for combining the right spices with the right ingredients. When he got old enough to take on a Summer job, he became a waiter in an upscale, downtown Italian...... View full recipe for "~Eliot's Angel Hair Pasta with Creamy Vodka Sauce~"

05/03/2015

~ Sweet Heat: Strawberry Salsa for Cinco de Mayo ~

Strawberries to make salsa? If you are a skeptic, all you'll need is one taste and it will make perfect sense to you. Just like tomatoes, they are full of naturally sweet and tart flavor which makes them terrific used in savory ways. Simply substitute them for tomatoes in almost any Tex-Mex-flavored salsa recipe, and, add the usual suspects: a bit of acid (lime juice), an herb (cilantro), spices (salt and a bit of sugar to bring up the flavor too), and, of course, the always-necessary onion (or green onion). If it's heat you're craving, mince up a jalapeno pepper...... View full recipe for "~ Sweet Heat: Strawberry Salsa for Cinco de Mayo ~"

04/27/2015

~ Russet & Sweet Potato Salad w/Chile-Lime Mayo ~

One potato, two potatoes, three potatoes, four -- make enough potato salad, they're coming back for more. While we're playing the counting game, I don't think one can have too many recipes for potato salad -- people love the stuff. Baked, boiled or roasted, gold, red, russet or sweet, potatoes, when paired with the right dressing, can complement a meal from a multitude of cuisines -- in fact, every culture that eats potatoes makes a version of potato salad. Here in America, potato salad recipes vary from region-to-region and our American Southwest is no exception. Today's recipe is the one...... View full recipe for "~ Russet & Sweet Potato Salad w/Chile-Lime Mayo ~"

04/07/2015

~ Farfalle w/Roasted Asparagus & Grape Tomatoes ~

Today we enjoyed our first thick, juicy outdoor-grilled steak of the Spring season. Yes, Joe does grill off-and-on throughout the Winter, but, there's just something celebratory about the official opening day of grill season. This simple, straightforward side-dish was the only thing I needed to turn a steak-on-a-plate into our entire meal, and, we gobbled it all up. While this pasta dish goes great with chicken or shrimp tossed into it, I enjoy it the most served next to a steak. That said, it is also well-balanced enough to be served "as is" as a dang-good meatless meal. This has...... View full recipe for "~ Farfalle w/Roasted Asparagus & Grape Tomatoes ~"

02/28/2015

~ Creamy Smashed Cheddar 'n Mint Gold Potatoes ~

Lots of people add cheddar cheese to mashed or smashed potatoes. It's a well-documented fact that "everthing tastes betta with chedda". That said, if you've never tasted cheddar potatoes with dried mint flakes added to them, I implore to take a page out of my playbook. Don't roll your eyes. I've served these potatoes to a couple of schooled restaurant chefs who have changed their menus to serve "Mel's potatoes" with lamb or lamb chops. You gotta trust me on this one! I didn't invent the pairing of potatoes, cheese and mint. My Eastern European ancestors did that for me....... View full recipe for "~ Creamy Smashed Cheddar 'n Mint Gold Potatoes ~"

02/15/2015

~ My Grandma's Butter-Braised Cabbage & Carrots ~

Both of my grandmothers' kitchens were close to home -- dad's mom lived 4-5 miles from us, mom's mom lived 9-10. We visited them both often, and, both of them every Sunday -- lunch at mom's mom's, dinner at dad's mom's. Until I was age ten or eleven and invited to my girlfriend Cathy's house for Sunday dinner, I assumed everybody's house smelled like cabbage on a Sunday. We Eastern Europeans cook "Sunday cabbage" like Italians cook "Sunday gravy"! Braised cabbage is buttery & melt-in-your mouth tender! I like cabbage a lot, but I wouldn't say I'm "crazy for cabbage"....... View full recipe for "~ My Grandma's Butter-Braised Cabbage & Carrots ~"

02/12/2015

~ My Passion for Potato Perfection: Seriously-Crispy Roasted Caraway-Seeded Heart-Shaped Potatoes ~

Seductively crispy on the outside, steamy soft and tender on the inside -- is there anyone who has the will-power to resist perfectly oven-roasted potatoes? I didn't think so. From poultry to pork to pot-roast and prime-rib, they are that one special side-dish that everyone desires. As you can tell, I am quite passionate about this subject -- as it turns out, I am not alone. What's that you say? A better way to roast potatoes? It seems that while I was stranded on that deserted island with my head stuck in the sand, food scientists took it upon themselves...... View full recipe for "~ My Passion for Potato Perfection: Seriously-Crispy Roasted Caraway-Seeded Heart-Shaped Potatoes ~"

01/22/2015

~ Creamy & Cheesy Hash Brown Potato Casserole ~

Real-deal, properly-prepared hash brown potatoes are a favorite of mine. Golden brown and crispy on the outside, creamy-textured (but never mushy) on the inside, they are the Holy Grail of breakfast potatoes. I make really good ones, but, I must admit to being too lazy to make them unless it is a really special occasion. I'd rather be on the treadmill than hand-grating and drying a boat load of Russet potatoes early in the morning (and I hate being on the treadmill). My ~ Baked Eggs in Birds Nests (Hash Brown Potatoes) ~ are living proof that I know what...... View full recipe for "~ Creamy & Cheesy Hash Brown Potato Casserole ~"

12/31/2014

~ Basic Machinations for Mashed Potato Perfection ~

'Twas the season for mashed potatoes. First there was the Thanksgiving turkey feast, followed by the Christmas prime rib feeding frenzy, and, it's not quite over yet. The clock is ticking down to the mother-of-all pork festivals: New Year's Day. This morning, in a moment of reflection, it occurred to me that the combined total of these three holidays equates to approximately 50-60 pounds of heavy hunks of meat roasted, and, about 25-30 pounds of potatoes mashed. It's hard to imagine my food world without mashed potatoes. They are an institution -- a way of life. They're the quintessential side-dish...... View full recipe for "~ Basic Machinations for Mashed Potato Perfection ~"

12/28/2014

~ GrandMel's Creamy Potato and Egg Salad Recipe~

I have a confession to make. I am a potato salad snob. I want the old-fashioned, down-home, classic, creamy and chunky "grandma's-type" with no hype -- nothing trendy or flashy with a grandiose name or gourmet ingredients. My favorite potatoes for potato salad are: creamy Yukon golds or small "new" reds. I always peel the golds and cut them into bite-sized chunks. I never peel the reds, leaving their soft skins intact, and, cut them into bite-sized halves or quarters. I always boil my potatoes until fork tender on the outside, yet still firm and slightly undercooked in their centers....... View full recipe for "~ GrandMel's Creamy Potato and Egg Salad Recipe~"

11/26/2014

~ Basic, Moist & Classic: Soft White Bread Stuffing ~

This is the stuffing that takes us back to the beginning. Grandma ripped up some stale bread then tossed in some sauteed celery and onion seasoned with salt, pepper, and perhaps an herb or two. Once she mixed those together, she slowly added some turkey stock, just enough to make the mixture really moist without any liquid puddling in the bottom of the bowl. Sometimes she added a lightly-beaten egg too. "Back in the day", oven space in the home kitchen was almost always limited, so, stuffing was almost always baked inside the bird -- a smart way to get...... View full recipe for "~ Basic, Moist & Classic: Soft White Bread Stuffing ~"

11/06/2014

~ Tettie's Baked Mashed-Potato Stuffing Casserole ~

If you're sarcastically mumbling, "just what the food world needs, another stuffing recipe", you are going to regret it. This is my Great Aunt Mary's recipe -- she lived to be 99 and was one of the best cooks I have ever known. This is a trip back to a kinder, gentler time. A time before self-appointed gourmets and TV celebrities started adding everything from chorogi artichokes to whortleberries to stuffing. This is pure, simple, unadulterated, beloved, comfort food: that warm, soft, subtly-flavored white bread stuffing that nobody talks openly about but everybody remembers, loves and longs for. Cathy Guisewhite,...... View full recipe for "~ Tettie's Baked Mashed-Potato Stuffing Casserole ~"