Saturday, July 16, 2016

Cabbage with Indian Spices - Recipe

     Here is the side kick for my Horseradish Beet Relish.  I made this yesterday to use up the extra cabbage I still had from the last farmer's market run.  So I thought, "How do I jazz up this cabbage?"  With spices of course!  Indian spices to be exact.  And healthy ones to boot.  For me, my must haves include turmeric and ginger.  I added garlic and cayenne to the mix too, to warm it up and round out the flavor.  I used garlic powder this time, only because I was in a hurry.  Feel free to use fresh minced garlic cloves to taste.  I must admit that sometimes it is nice to use that garlic powder though.  You get done in a flash.

Cabbage with Indian Spices

(Serves 6)

1 T. Palm Oil to coat bottom of pan
1 medium Head Green Cabbage chopped in 1-2 inch thick slices
1 tsp. Turmeric
3/4 tsp. Ginger
1 tsp. Celtic Sea Salt
1/2 tsp. Garlic
1/8 tsp. Cayenne Pepper

   Heat the palm oil in a Dutch Oven on medium heat.  Add the cabbage and begin to cook it down.  Don't stir constantly though.  Let it sit a bit to allow for a little browning.  When it begins to brown lightly, add the spices then sauté for a few minutes to distribute them evenly and release their aromas.  When the cabbage is soft, remove the pot from the heat and serve with a dollop of Horseradish Beet Relish on the side of each serving.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Horseradish Beet Relish - Recipe

     This is a spicy horseradish beet relish.  At the end of this week, I had a bunch of small young beets from the farmer's market still in my refrigerator and also a long horseradish root.  Hmmm.  I thought wouldn't it be nice to make a nice fresh relish with these two.  It could be used for all sorts of things.  I could add it to hot dogs, stews, yogurt or sour cream, or even a cabbage dish which I was going to tackle next (because I also had an extra cabbage left in the refrigerator from the market as well).  My family loves horseradish.  They can't get enough of it, so here it comes.  It made a lot, so I stored it in the refrigerator in a mason jar.

Horseradish Beet Relish
(Makes 2 3/4 cups)

8 inches Fresh Horseradish Root (1 cup chopped fine with a food processor)
1/4 c. + 2 T. Apple Cider Vinegar
1 bunch of small Beets (1 1/2 cups chopped fine with a food processor)
1 Shallot Bulb (1/4 cup chopped fine with a food processor)
1 tsp. Salt

     Before you begin working with the horseradish, open a window or turn on a fan for ventilation.  Peel the horseradish root and chop into chunks.  Place in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.  Place in a mixing bowl and add the vinegar.  Carefully stir.  The horseradish is strong, so you may need to look away while stirring to avoid the pungency.  Set aside.  Cut the ends off of the beets and scrub the skin clean with a vegetable brush.  Roughly chop them, leaving the skin on and process to the same texture as the horseradish.  Add the beets to the mixing bowl.  Peel and process the shallot in the food processor and add to the bowl along with the salt.  Carefully stir again and taste.  Adjust the vinegar and salt to taste.  Store in a jar in the refrigerator.  The horseradish will become less strong as it sits.

Horseradish processed to a fine dice.

Going in the mason jar.

Close up of Horseradish Beet Relish.

Paired with a Cabbage With Indian Spices dish I made up after making the Horseradish Beet Relish.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Summer Garden Gelatin Salad - Recipe

     This is a version of Perfection Salad that originated in 1905 in a recipe contest.  Many versions of garden gelatin salads exist and were especially popular in the sixties.  This salad is my take.  I prefer a less sugary salad with a more tart fruit and citrus flavored gelatin to hold the fresh vegetables.  The apple cider vinegar provides just the right tartness and brings forth a delicious apple flavor.  I used the sweet cabbage from Shenendoah Seasonal at our Loudoun Farmer's Market for the salad below.  It is the perfect cabbage for this recipe.  The heads are firm and heavy in the hand, which means they are super fresh.  You don't need a fancy jello mold to make this recipe.  If you have one that is fine, but I used a simple glass bread pan here.  You can also pull out a bundt pan too.  To unveil the artistry of unmolding a gelatin mold, in other words to avoid frustration, I provide detailed unmolding instructions to maximize your success.  As with childbirth, it is all worth it once the baby arrives.  I love eating this salad.  With each bite you get a crunch of fresh green veggies and a bit of salty savory from the olives all surrounded by a cider lemon gelatin.

Summer Garden Gelatin Salad
(Serves 8)

2 Packages Gelatin
1/4 c. Sugar
1 tsp. Salt
1 1/2 c. Boiling Water
1 1/2 c. Cold Water
1/2 c. Apple Cider Vinegar
2 T. Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
2 c. Green Cabbage finely shredded
1 c. Celery chopped
1/4 c. Green Pepper chopped
1/2 c. Pimento Stuffed Green Olives sliced

     Stir together the gelatin, sugar, and salt in a glass mixing bowl.  Add the boiling water and stir until dissolved.  Stir in the cold water, vinegar, and lemon juice.  Place uncovered in the refrigerator until it develops a consistency of sloshy egg whites.  We want it to be partially set, so when the vegetables are added they don't all fall to the bottom of the mold.  You will need to watch the timing carefully.  After 45 minutes, start checking by giving it a stir, then check every 20 minutes.  Timing will depend upon the temperature of your refrigerator.  In the meantime, prepare the cabbage, celery, green pepper, and olives.  Shred, chop, and slice as directed in the ingredient list.  It is ok if some pimentos fall out of the olives.  I use a simple box grater for shredding the cabbage using the large wholes (like you would use to shred cheese for a pizza).  Gently toss the vegetables in a mixing bowl and set aside.  Once the gelatin mixture is partially set, stir in the vegetables and pour into a lightly greased 1.5 qt gelatin mold or lightly greased 4.5 x 8.5 inch glass bread pan.  Place in the refrigerator uncovered until set.  Once set, I cover it in plastic wrap and keep it in the refrigerator until I am ready to unmold.  I let mine sit overnight.  Before turning out the mold, moisten the serving plate and the top of the gelatin with a small amount of water.  This will enable you to slide the salad into place should it not come out centered on the plate.  Before turning out the mold, soak the pan in some warm water.  For a thin metal mold, you may need just a few seconds.  For a glass bread pan, it will take longer.  Pull out of the water and try it every few seconds or so until it slides out.  If you overshot the timing and the gelatin salad has started to melt a little, don't panic.  Just use a paper towel to soak up the excess liquid on the plate, and it is ready for presentation!  Store in the refrigerator covered in plastic wrap.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Rye Crackers - Recipe

     Rye crackers are a thing with me right now.  Rye is a major grain seen in Nordic baking, plus  I love Scandinavian flavors and flatbreads.  I wanted a Nordic crispbread/vehicle on which to dollop my herring spread and cheeses.  So instead of just buying some bland tasting old crackers from the store, I embarked upon the journey of making my own rye cracker/crispbread.  To create one with texture and character, I am overjoyed to report that I found traditional stone ground rye flour by Hodgson Mill.  This is a coarser texture than I have ever used before for rye.  At first glance I could tell it was ground more coarsely, but after seeing it in the dough I was very pleased to see just how much coarser it was compared to a fine ground flour.  I think it would be awesome in breads too, but that is for another post.  I seasoned these crackers with some caraway seeds roughed up in a mortar and pestle, but feel free to experiment with other kinds.

Rye Crackers

(50 crackers)

1 c. Course Stone Ground Rye Flour
1 c. Whole Wheat Flour
1 T. Caraway Seeds (lightly crushed)
1 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
2 T. Butter
1/2 c. plus 2 T. Water

     Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.  Cut small pieces of butter into the bowl and then use your fingers to work into the flour.  There should be small gravel sized pieces when finished.  Add the water, and mix with your hands to form a ball of dough.  It should be sticky enough to easily hold together.  Add a tiny bit more water if necessary.  Wrap in plastic wrap and let it rest for ten minutes.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place parchment onto two cookie sheets.  Separate dough into four balls, keeping the unused dough in plastic wrap.  With a hand roller, roll out two balls of dough to 1/16th of an inch onto floured parchment for each sheet, adding flour as needed to the top of the dough.  I use wheat flour for sprinkling.  To start out the rolling, I hold onto one side and roll away from my hand.  With a pizza roller or bench knife, score the dough into 2-inch crackers.  Poke randomly with a fork and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.  Swap the location of the pans halfway through the baking time.  The edges should be crisp when done.  Slide off the pans or lift with a spatula onto a rack to cool completely.  Break into rough pieces.  If  some of the crackers are not as crisp as you would like, place them back onto a cookie sheet into a 200 degree Fahrenheit oven at five minute intervals until crisp.

Rolling out cracker dough.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Pickled Golden Beets and Greens - Recipe

     This Saturday at the Farmer's Market there were young golden beets.  There was also green garlic, which is really just young garlic that has not matured and divided into cloves yet.  I decided to make a dish to incorporate both the beets and their greens with the young garlic.  I pickled the beets on the stove with the garlic, and then steamed the greens just to make them bright.  I made a dressing with the left over pickling liquid and the rest is history.

Pickled Golden Beets and Greens

(Serves 6-8)

12 Young Golden Beets (1 1/2-inch) with Greens
1 tsp. Palm Oil
6 Green (Young) Garlic Bulbs (3 T. diced)
1/2 Small Yellow Onion diced
1 c. Apple Cider Vinegar
1 1/2 c. plus 2/3 c. Water
1/3 c. plus 2 T. Organic Palm Sugar
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Butter

Wash beets and greens.  Slice off the roots and greens from the beets.  Slice the beets thinly with skins on.  Remove stems below beet leaves and discard, then tear the leaves into pieces as if for a salad.  Add Palm oil to a sauté pan on medium heat then add garlic and onion.  Sauté until clear.  Add vinegar, 1 1/2 c. water, beets, 1/3 c. sugar and salt.  Simmer till beets are tender stirring occasionally.  Depending on the thickness of the beets check for doneness after 20 minutes.  Remove beets with a slotted spoon and set aside.  Add the remaining 2 T. sugar.  Simmer till it begins to get syrupy and add butter.  Stir and simmer about a minute till glossy.  Add sauce to the beets.  Put greens and 2/3 c. water to the pan.  Cover and steam just till bright green and drain.  Place the greens on a serving platter and spoon the beats and sauce over the top.

Green Garlic

Golden Beets

Pickling beets on stovetop.

Steamed Greens

Pickled Golden Beets and Greens

German Potato Salad - Recipe

German Potato Salad
(Serves 8-10)

4 1/2 lbs. Yukon Gold Potatoes
1 (12-oz.) pkg. Bacon
1 lg. Onion
2 T. Flour
2 tsp. Salt

1/4 tsp. Pepper
3/4 c. Sugar
1/2 c. Vinegar

1 1/3 c. Water

     Boil the potatoes just until tender, drain, cool, and cut into 1/2 inch chunks. Set aside. Cut the bacon into 1 inch slices. Fry the bacon until brown in a 5 1/2 quart Dutch oven on medium heat. Dice the onion, add to the bacon, and fry until soft. Keep all the bacon fat in the pan. Add the flour, salt, and pepper. Simmer on low heat a minute or two stirring constantly. Add the sugar, vinegar, and water. Bring to a simmer stirring often until syrup-like. Adjust vinegar, salt, and pepper to taste. Pour over the potatoes and mix gently.

Note: Grama always said, "The flavor is in the fat." I never quite knew how much of a difference it made until I took it out of the dish before continuing one time. For this dish the fat stays! Grama was right.

Find this recipe and 139 more great recipes in:

I am so excited to introduce my digital book, Comfort Food Cookbook: Highlighting American, German, Norwegian, and English Heritage Recipes which is now available on iBooks®.

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     This is a comfort food cookbook that speaks to your soul.  It nourishes the body as well as the mind.  It is what your grandparents cooked on Sundays; it is holiday traditions.  These 140 recipes are the dishes that make my family feel loved and happy inside. The dishes are warm, gooey, savory, sweet, and sour.  I have highlighted the American, German, Norwegian, and English style of cooking I grew up with, because that is what I know and want to share with you.   I grew up in the Midwest where I went with my German grandmother to a small family farm for fresh vegetables every week in the spring, summer, and fall.  Dishes such as her sweet and sour German Potato Salad with bacon is unbeatable.  Plenty of braises such as Beef Brisket with Honey Mustard Glaze will fill your home with mouth watering aromas.  Drink a cup of Norwegian Gløgg with some Meatballs with Gravy and Lingonberries.  White Macaroni and Cheese with goat cheese and coconut milk updates the traditional dish.  English Prime Rib and Yorkshire Pudding finished with a Christmas Plum Pudding topped with brandied Hard Sauce creates an impressive holiday meal.  Originally these recipes were in print in 2011 under the title, Exceptional Comfort: The Recipes: Volume I, without the extensive photography.  Now enjoy this enhanced edition with hundreds of pictures as you scroll through the Appetizers and Beverages, Soups and Salads, Vegetables and Side Dishes, Main Dishes, Breads and Muffins, Desserts, Cookies, and Sauces and Condiments.  The first page of each recipe has a scrolling ingredient list with a featured photograph.  The ingredient list is shown again alongside the instructions on the next page, so the cook doesn’t need to swipe back and forth.  Many of the picture galleries show stages of preparation.  It is my intention to give the gift of Exceptional Comfort.  Enjoy!