Sunday, August 22

"So wrong it's right" Potato Salad

This was my first time making my grandmother's famous potato salad, and when I read the ingredients I actually had to call Mom because the first ingredient on the list confused me so much.  It also explained why I loved this salad so much as a kid.  That's because the first ingredient is BUTTER - yes folks - a salad made with BUTTER.  According to Mom, my grandmother used to use a full cup of butter to make this recipe, but over the years Mom cut it back to 1/4 cup, and I think you could even cut this in half again to 1/8 cup. 

Anyway, that's why I'm renaming this from Peggy's Potato Salad to a more modern "So wrong its right" Potato Salad - because adding butter to any type of salad is so wrong, BUT it tastes soooo right.

Makes 5 lbs of potato salad - enough to feed an army

5 lbs red potatos
2 tbsp butter
1 medium Vidalia (sweet) onion, diced
2 celery stalks, sliced
1/2 green pepper, diced
4 oz jar pimientos, including juices
3/4 cup green olives, sliced
3 tsp mustard (any type will do)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp Nature's Seasoning
Several generous sprinkles of pepper and dried dill
1/2 cup mayonnaise

Boil potatoes in a large pot.  The easiest way to get evenly cooked large quantities of potatoes is to start them in cold water and once the water finally starts boiling (its going to take a while) boil them for 15 minutes.

While your potatoes are boiling, put the butter and the onions in a large bowl and microwave for 2 minutes until butter is melted and onions have started to soften.  Add all ingredients except mayo to bowl and set aside.

When potatoes are done boiling, drain water, then peel potatoes (the skin should pretty much come right off) and place them in the large bowl with other ingredients while they are still hot so they absorb the flavors.  Using two knives, cut the potatoes into large chunks and use hands to toss evenly with the other ingredients.  Allow to cool for 15 - 30 minutes on the counter, then add mayo and toss with hands to mix evenly.  Season with additional salt and pepper as needed, then chill until ready to serve.


Sunday, August 15

Grilled Tandoori Chicken

This recipe has a lot of spices that you may not have in your cupboard, but its worth the investment.  Besides, they last forever, and you may find a ton of new ways to spice your recipes!

Serves 4

1 chicken (3 to 3 1/2 lb), cut into 8 pieces and skin removed (Note - if you prefer all white meat, just buy 3 lbs of breasts)
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tbsp water
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 cup lowfat greek yogurt
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbsp chopped fresh ginger
1 1/4 tsp ground coriander
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp cayenne

Using a sharp knife, cut shallow incisions in the chicken pieces at about 1/2-inch intervals. In a large, glass dish or stainless-steel pan, combine the lemon juice, water, salt, and turmeric. Add the chicken pieces and turn to coat. Let the chicken pieces marinate for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the yogurt, garlic, ginger, coriander, cumin, and cayenne. Spread over the chicken; turn to coat. Let marinate for 10 minutes.

Grill the chicken over moderately high heat (425 - 450).  Grill for 10 minutes, then flip and cook for an additional 10 - 12 minutes.

Serve with toasted naan, hummus, and chick pea salad.


Grilled Stuffed Portobello Mushroom Burgers

Serves 2

3 portobello mushrooms
1/2 yellow bell pepper
1 medium shallot
1 garlic clove
2 tbsp fresh dill - chopped
2 oz shredded gouda
Kosher Salt
Cayenne Pepper
1/4 cup mayo

2 Fresh hamburger buns from the bakery (Ryan and I like brioche buns from the local farmer's market)
1 small bunch of arugula or baby spinach
2 thin slices of fresh tomato

Take the mushroom caps and clean with a damp paper towel, brushing dirt off the cap.  Remove the stems from the inside of the cap, cut away any dirt, and set aside.  Scrape the gills out of the two prettiest caps using a small spoon.  Set aside.

Take the third cap (the not so pretty one) an chop it up along with the mushroom stems.  Grind in a food processor until coarsely mixed, then set aside in a bowl.  Next, chop the bell pepper, shallot, and half the garlic clove into large chunks, and grind in food processor until coarsely mixed.  Saute bell pepper mixture in a pan with a little bit of olive or grapeseed oil until soft - about 5 minutes.  Add chopped mushroom to bell pepper mix, and continue to saute until liquid is almost absorbed - about another 5 minutes.

Pour sauteed mixture into bowl, and add shredded gouda and 1 tbsp of dill.  Stir to combine and season to taste with kosher salt and cayenne.

Heat a grill to medium heat (about 400) and grill the whole mushroom caps stem side down.  This is very important - if you start with stem side up, the cap will collect juices and you'll have to drain it before you can continue.  Grill for 7 minutes, then transfer them to a plate and fill with sauteed cheese mixture.  Place back on grill, filling side up, for another 5 minutes.

While a friend takes care of the grilling, mix mayo, remaining garlic (pressed or minced), and last tbsp of dill in a small bowl.  Season with pepper, and keep in fridge until mushrooms are ready.  Toast buns in broiler, and when mushrooms are done, spread sauce on both sides of the bun.  Place mushroom on bottom side of bun, and add tomato, arugula and a bit more shredded gouda if you like.

Slice in half, and serve hot!


Grilled Tofu Rice Bowl with Sauteed Greens and Egg

For this recipe, prepare the tofu as described in the Tofu Taco recipe (pressing the water out).  This time we'll lightly marinate the tofu in the sauce, rather than brushing the sauce on, but grilling instructions are also the same.

Serves 2

1/2 block of extra firm tofu, drained and pressed

2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/2 tsp brown sugar (heaping)
1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
1 small garlic clove, minced

1 1/2 tsp grapeseed or canola oil
6 oz washed spinach, stems removed, torn to bite sized pieces (I do not like to use baby spinach for this type of dish as I find it gets mushy)
1/4 cup thinly sliced shallots
1/2 zucchini, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
1 bell pepper, diced
2 eggs
Basmati Rice
Sliced green onion, sriracha, soy sauce, kimchi for garnish

Prepare tofu and set aside.  Mix the next 6 ingredients and pour into a shallow dish.  Dip the tofu in the marinade and allow to sit for 1 minute, then turn to coat other side.  Repeat 1x on each side, then grill for 3-4 minutes on each side at medium heat.  Dice tofu when finished and set aside.  Reserve leftover marinade for next step.

Go ahead and get the rice started (prepare as much as you want to your liking) before moving to the next step.

Add 1 tsp grapeseed oil to saute pan, heat on medium.  Once hot, add shallots and saute 2 minutes.

Add bell pepper and saute for another 2 minutes.  Add zucchini and tofu, then pour reserved marinade into pan and simmer for a final 3-4 minutes.  Finally, add spinach to mix, turn off heat, cover and move to final step.

Get out one last fry or saute pan.  Fry up two eggs - we like ours with the yolk really runny so that it cooks on the hot veggies and really adds flavor to the whole dish.

While you are frying your eggs, have a friend prep the dishes.  By now, your rice should be done, so portion it out into two shallow bowls.  Split the veggies and grilled tofu and pile on top of the rice.  Now the egg should be done - top both bowls with one fried egg.

Garnish with condiments to your liking.  I like mine topped with slide green onions, a bit of sriracha, and kimchi.


Tuesday, August 3

Corn-Cauliflower Chowder

This soup, an unrehearsed original, was inspired by one I had at Table 1280 in Atlanta. I have gotten it as close as I know how. Let me know if you have suggestions or other modifications!

4 cobs of corn, shucked and kernels removed
1 large bag frozen cauliflower, thawed- if you use fresh you want about 2-4 cups.
1 bunch of parsley
1 1/2 cup baby carrots
1/2 of large sweet onion
2 large stalks of celery
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 pint heavy cream
2-3 cups water
1 tbsp butter
2 cubes vegetable bouillon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Salt, pepper, and nature seasoning to taste.

Using a food processor, finely chop and grind carrots, celery, onion, corn kernels, cauliflower, and 1 cup fresh parsley, until they are a coarse puree. Combine with one tbsp butter in large soup pan over medium heat. Simmer vegetables for 10-20 minutes until they are soft. Add in vegetable bouillon, water and wine, as well as nutmeg, cayenne pepper, more salt and black pepper. Turn heat up to medium high and bring to a simmering boil for15-20 minutes. Reduce heat to low, allow to stop boiling, then stir in cream and continue over low heat for 5-10 minutes. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 1

Spiced Grilled Corn Salad

This was an amazing dish - we served it topped with grilled scallops and with a green salad topped with my Basil Garlic Buttermilk Dressing.  This would be a delish side for barbecue pork, or even Norman's Bomb-A** Shrimp!

Serves 4 as a side dish

1 small garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp red onion, small diced
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
3 large ears of corn, husked
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp smoked paprika (pimenton)
3/4 cup cojita cheese or queso fresco, crumbled
2 tbsp cilantro, coarsely chopped

Grill corn according to instructions in my Grilled Corn recipe.  Once the corn is grilled, cut kernels from cob into a large bowl and set aside.

Mix first garlic, onion, and lime juice in a small bowl and allow to sit for at least 10 minutes.  Whisk mayo, pepper, and paprika in a seperate bowl, and add to lime juice mix once its finished marinating.  Combine thoroughly and add to grilled corn.  Mix in cheese and cilantro, and serve.

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