Rocky Top Coleslaw – 2020 Update

I can’t remember the last time we finished a large jar of mayonnaise prior to its expiration date.  We don’t use a lot of mayo and most of the time half of the jar gets tossed.

Then Covid-19 happened.  We started eating more mayo.  Tuna salad the way Grandpa Jack made tuna.  Egg salad.  Chicken salad.  And coleslaw.  But many recipes change over time.  This coleslaw is updated for 2020.  Here’s my original Rocky Top Coleslaw which also contains a link to the original inspiration recipe from Bobby Flay.

It’s coleslaw so keep it simple.  Use a bag of pre-shredded coleslaw from the market.  The quantities for the dressing in 2020 have been reduced.  I find the slaw tastes just as good with less dressing (and less calories).

We’ll be grilling some Pandemic Burgers tonight with a little Rocky Top on the side.

Cole Slaw Dressing:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
garlic powder (to taste, about a tsp)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon celery salt
Pepper to taste.

  1. Everybody in the pool (large mixing bowl) except for the cabbage.
  2. Whisk until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasonings.
  3. Add your slaw and mix well.
  4. Chill for at least one hour before serving.

Can you visualize a huge scoop of this coleslaw on top of a cold turkey meatloaf sandwich?  Me too but I don’t have any leftover meatloaf.  Guess I’ll have to make Italian Meatloaf or Turkey Meatloaf this week.

 

 

Zucchini, Corn & Red Pepper

“How did you make this?”

When this question is asked at the table I tend to ramble on about the types of oils and other ingredients in the dish.  Over time I’ve come to understand that our guests don’t want to know what’s in the dish but rather how did I make this?

It’s a clear sign I need to write it down.  So I did.

  • two medium to large zucchini, sliced into one half inch coins
  • half one large red pepper, diced
  • one third sweet onion, diced
  • one cup frozen corn
  • one clove garlic, minced
  • grape seed oil
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • pinch dried basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat approximately one tablespoon of grape seed and olive oils over medium heat in a frying pan large enough to hold the squash without overlapping.
  2. Add the squash coins, flip the heat to high and fry until the squash is golden brown and caramelized.
  3. Flip the squash and repeat.
  4. When both sides of the squash are browned and caramelized remove from the pan, place into a bowl and set aside.
  5. Reduce heat back to medium, add a few dashes of EVO, onions, and red pepper.  Saute for about five minutes.
  6. Add the corn and saute for another five minutes.
  7. Add garlic and swiftly saute for about a minute.
  8. Add the reserved squash back to the pan, pinch of basil, salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Gently mix together and remove from the heat.
  10. Serve immediately or if allowed to fully cool, rewarm over low heat for a few minutes taking care not to overcook the squash.

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This recipe is NOT Tiny Taste Tester Approved.

Yet.

Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad

Full disclaimer:

Neither of these vegetables are my favorites.  Kale is evil.  Brussels sprouts are like tiny cabbages with a very strong flavor and the potential for producing troublesome gas bubbles.  Favorite DIL made this salad this weekend.  I watched her prepare the dish while expecting the worst.  I figured I’d limit my salad to a small portion.  But life is full of surprises.

I loved this salad and had two helpings.

This recipe is from Bon Appetit and may or may not be the basis for the salad I ate.  It’s pretty close and I’m pretty sure the recipe will change once I start playing around with it.  The recipe (for now) is reproduced in its original form.  Source link follows after the recipe.

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for seasoning
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large bunches of Tuscan kale (about 1 1/2 lb. total), center stem discarded, leaves thinly sliced
  • 12 ounces brussels sprouts, trimmed, finely grated or shredded with a knife
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/3 cup almonds with skins, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup finely grated Pecorino
  • Combine lemon juice, Dijon mustard, shallot, garlic, 1/2 tsp. salt, and a pinch of pepper in a small bowl. Stir to blend; set aside to let flavors meld. Mix thinly sliced kale and shredded brussels sprouts in a large bowl.

  • Measure 1/2 cup oil into a cup. Spoon 1 Tbsp. oil from cup into a small skillet; heat oil over medium-high heat. Add almonds to skillet and stir frequently until golden brown in spots, about 2 minutes. Transfer nuts to a paper towel-lined plate. Sprinkle almonds lightly with salt.

  • Slowly whisk remaining olive oil in cup into lemon-juice mixture. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.

  • DO AHEAD: Dressing, kale mixture, and toasted almonds can be prepared 8 hours ahead. Cover dressing and kale mixture separately and chill. Cover almonds and let stand at room temperature.

  • Add dressing and cheese to kale mixture; toss to coat. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Garnish with almonds.

    Source:  bon appetit online at https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/kale-and-brussels-sprout-salad.

Roasted Cauliflower with Parmesan

What do you do when you want to surprise your friends with a new dish?  You think of something that they probably never had, never thought they would like, and make it.  You sneak it in as a side dish.  Serve it with something familiar like Maple Soy Roasted Salmon.  You make…

Hipster food.  And if you’re thinking to yourself that cauliflower can’t possibly be hip and trendy I actually found a restaurant that has whole head roasted on their menu for seven bucks.

Here’s what I made:

Roasted Cauliflower with Parmesan

One head cauliflower
Extra virgin olive oil
Granulated garlic
Dried thyme
Shredded Parmesan Cheese
Salt and black pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Remove the green outer leaves and stalks from the cauliflower head. Tear and cut the cauliflower into florets, removing any hard tiny stalks. Each piece should be about a US quarter in width. Golf ball size is too big.
  3. Place the florets into a baking/roasting pan with sides.
  4. Drizzle the cauliflower with olive oil. Toss with a wooden spoon. You want a nice thin coating of oil on each piece.
  5. Lightly salt and pepper and sprinkle with a hint of thyme.
  6. Generously sprinkle granulated garlic over all.
  7. Place in the oven and roast for approximately 35-40 minutes. Shake the pan every 10 minutes or so to ensure most of the surfaces of each floret get browned (this is why you want a pan with sides).
  8. When nicely browned add a handful of shredded Parmesan cheese over the cauliflower. Roast for an additional 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
  9. Transfer the cauliflower to a serving bowl and add more Parmesan.
  10. Eat.

 

Unfortunately this dish is Not Tiny Taste Tester Approved.  She was not present at the dinner.

“What is a Collie Flower?”

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Frenchy’s Citrus Gazpacho

“Send pictures of the Tiny Human.”

“Only if you send me your Citrus Gazpacho recipe.”

The exchange was made and Frenchy’s recipe follows:


CITRUS GAZPACHO

For 6 Cups


  • 4 large ripe tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 TBLS white wine vinegar
  • 2 1/2 cups orange juice
  • zest and fruit of 1 orange-remove the peel and pith
  • zest and fruit of 1 pink grapefruit-remove the peel and pith
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded, diced
  • 1/4 medium red onion, diced
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and diced
  • 1 TBLS olive oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • Cayenne pepper to your taste


Instead of using fresh tomatoes which you must boil for 20 seconds, then dunk in ice water to stop the cooking, cool, peel, then dice-you can use a can of diced tomatoes.
Use an immersion blender or container blender to mix the tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, orange juice, orange and grapefruit zest. Puree.  Pour over the cucumbers, peppers, onion, orange and grapefruit, olive oil and seasonings.
This is best when it has been refrigerated overnight.  Top with fresh cut basil before serving.  A few pomegranate seeds in each serving for color.
Beautiful in martini or cocktail glasses as a starter.
Historical Note for Family and Friends
Frenchy is a real person and our friendship predates my marriage to The Boss.  When the Doctor and the Architect were tiny humans themselves we would have wonderful meals at Frenchy’s.  I’m positive I’ve had this gazpacho but at my age I can’t remember when.  Enjoy!

 

Semi-Organic Beef Vegetable Soup

  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 C sweet onion, diced
  • 2 large carrots,peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 small Yukon Gold potatoes, diced, skin on
  • 1 medium green squash, diced
  • 1 to 1 1/4 pound top blade roast
  • 1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes with juice
  • 4 large white button mushrooms, thick dice
  • 1/2 C frozen corn
  • garlic powder, to taste
  • pinch dried parsley
  • pinch dried thyme
  • 1 quart organic beef broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Makes about four healthy servings.

  1. In a small stockpot heat olive oil until hot.  Salt and pepper the roast.  Brown the beef on both sides over medium high heat.
  2. Add the celery and onion.  Reduce heat to medium and saute for several minutes.
  3. Add garlic powder and thyme.  Add enough broth to almost but not completely cover the roast.  Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer.
  4. Simmer slowly for two hours.
  5. After two hours, remove the roast to a cutting board and allow to cool.
  6. Add the rest of the beef broth and tomatoes to the pot.
  7. Add the potatoes and carrots. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  8. After 30 minutes add the squash , mushrooms and corn.  Simmer for another 30 minutes.
  9. When the roast is cooled, trim any excess fat, cube and add to the soup.
  10.  Adjust your seasonings.  Add parsley.

My meals since Friday evening have been soup, cereal, soup, soup, toast/banana, soup, and soup.   The jeans are getting a little loose.  I cannot remember a weekend of such healthy eating ever.  Yes, The Boss is still sick.  Friday I made chicken soup.  Last night I made Vegetarian Vegetable Soup.  Today I decided upon Beef Vegetable for a change in pace.

A high quality beef vegetable soup is the end result of the right cut of beef and some high quality broth.  This recipe is semi-organic because most of the ingredients were organic but some were not.  The beef broth was hand selected store bought prepared organic broth.  I used top blade which IMO makes a big difference  due to the cut and marbling.

Tips

I remembered the mushrooms.   Use vegetables you have on hand.  I also decided to leave out peas because peas are not one of my favorite vegetables.  The corn adds a touch of sweetness.  Note the roast is braised whole for several hours, cooled, cubed and returned to the soup.  The beef stays tender this way.  You won’t end up with tiny hockey pucks.

A salad on the side and crusty bread would make this a meal.

So would a three pound top blade roast.  But with that much beef you might as well make Pot Roast.

Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagne

  • 10-12 lasagne noodles (more if you’re making a big pan of lasagne)
  • one big butternut squash, halved, seeded and baked
  • a bunch of fresh spinach leaves, 8 ounces minimum
  • one large sweet onion, sliced, caramelized
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups bechamel sauce
  •  dash of nutmeg
  • salt and peppers (black and white)
  • grated parmesan
  • shredded mozzarella
  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Take the squash halves, lightly grease the cut sides with olive oil, and place cut side down on a baking sheet.  Bake for approximately one hour.  Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  3. Once cooled, scoop the squash into a mixing bowl.  Smash with a fork and season to taste with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.  Set aside.
  4. Caramelize your onion and set aside.  No salt or pepper at this step.
  5. Wilt the spinach in a pan over medium heat.  Cool, chop, season with salt, black pepper, nutmeg and set aside.
  6. Prepare your bechamel sauce (half stick of butter, 1/4 cup flour, 1/2 cup parmesan, 3 cups milk, salt, white pepper).  Set aside.
  7. Cook the noodles until al dente.  Use more or less noodles, depending on how big you want your tray of lasagne to be.
  8. In a baking dish large enough for the desired dish of lasagne, cover the bottom with several spoonfuls of bechamel sauce.
  9. Arrange a layer of lasagne noodles in the baking dish. Spread prepared squash evenly over the noodles.  Sprinkle parmesan and mozzarella.
  10. Fold the spinach and onions into the ricotta.   Add another layer of noodles.  Spread some sauce, the spinach/onion/ricotta mixture, and cheeses evenly.
  11. Keep layering, alternating the vegetable layers, and ending with a plain noodle top.
  12. Cover the top with bechamel and cheeses.
  13. Bake uncovered for for 30-45 minutes or until bubbly.
  14. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes before serving.

I had forgotten how much time it takes to make lasagne.  This recipe in particular takes hours due to the vegetable prep.  The next time I make this I’ll prepare the vegetables the night before and assemble/bake the next day.  There are a billion of these squash and spinach lasagne recipes on the internet.  I bet virtually none of them tell you how long this sucker takes to make.

But it was worth it!  If you like butternut squash and you like spinach you will like this veggie pasta bake.  But in the effort of full disclosure I thought I’d screwed up this lasagne because when I got to the final naked noodle layer I realized I had left out a few steps.

I forgot to put any parmesan or mozzarella on any of my layers.  I forgot to add parmesan to the spinach/onion/ricotta mixture.  Too late to deconstruct so I put the dish in the oven and hoped for the best.  To my surprise I didn’t miss the missing cheeses.  The lasagne turned out OK.  Less cheese allowed the flavors of the vegetables to shine.

I guess this recipe is a keeper.

 

 

Ampaipitakwong Fried Rice (aka Pete’s)

 

Pete’s Fried Rice

  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 3-4 C cold leftover rice
  • 3 T canola oil
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 2 eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Beat the eggs in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Heat 1 T canola oil in a nonstick wok over high heat.  Coat pan with the hot oil by twirling.
  3. Add the egg and fry until golden brown and curling on the edges.  Flip and brown the other side.  When cooked through, remove to a plate and set aside.
  4. Add the remaining canola oil to the wok, heat on high, and twirl your wok.
  5. Add carrots and broccoli, stir fry for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Add onions and stir fry for a minute.
  7. Add rice and stir-fry while breaking up the clumps until rice is heated through.  Add more canola oil to prevent sticking, if needed.
  8. Turn heat down to medium-high.  Cut the eggs into large dice.  Add the peas, corn, and eggs to the work.  Stir constantly until the frozen vegetables are heated through.
  9. Season with salt and pepper. Add sesame oil.

 

There have to be as many versions of Fried Rice as there are cooks.  I wrote this line several years ago for another fried rice recipe.  I was making fried rice for dinner when suddenly I realized that one of my favorite fried rice recipes was not written down anywhere.  So after dinner I sat down at my computer and…

Ampaipitakwong Fried Rice!  Number One Son was a damn good soccer player and he had some damn good coaches.  Coach Ampaipitakwong was one of those coaches.  Watching Coach dribble was like watching a professional dancer. His son Ant went on to play professional soccer in Thailand.  But I digress.

At one of those pot luck soccer get togethers that kid soccer teams do all the time Coach Ampaipitakwong brought a tub of fried rice.  It was incredible!  And after years of producing clumpy bad fried rice, I finally got it down.  Here is my version of Coach’s fried rice.

Nobody could pronouce Ampaipitakwong correctly.  So we shortened his name to Coach Pete.  Pete’s Fried Rice.

Tips – The rice needs to be cold and leftover from the previous day or two.  Be daring and use different vegetables.  Add animal protein.  Add fried tofu.  On second thought, don’t add fried tofu.

May your fried rice never clump.

 

 

Semi-Organic Vegan Split Pea Soup

You’re probably thinking to yourself what kind of parent forces this type of soup on their children?  Well, before you flame me in the comments section, my parents never fed this soup to me as a child.  As a parent, I never made or force fed my children with this soup.  The origins of this soup are simple.  It’s Sunday.  So what do you want for lunch?  It’s winter.  Soup.

How about some split pea soup?  Rather than mine the internet I went to my cookbook collection.  After a few unsuccessful look ups I settled upon Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison.  My recipe is adapted from Madison’s recipe.  After over 40 years of cooking I’ve finally figured out why I can never follow a recipe.  

I can’t follow a recipe because I usually don’t have all of the ingredients.

The reason why this soup is semi-organic is because not all of the ingredients are certified organic.  I’m pretty sure the organic portion is due to the fact those ingredients were on sale.  (I want a healthy soup, not the most expensive split pea soup ever made).  11:00 am.  Soup should be ready by noon.  My recipe gets posted only if it tastes good.

  • 2 cups split green peas, rinsed
  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 T dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1.5 quarts vegetable stock or broth
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Soak the split peas in water while preparing the soup ingredients.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat.
  3. Add onion, celery, and carrots.  Saute for around 10 minutes.
  4. Add garlic and dried herbs, and fresh black pepper.  Saute for another 2-3 minutes.
  5. Drain and add the split peas.  Add the vegetable stock/broth and bring to a boil.
  6. Stir often so the peas don’t stick.
  7. Reduce the heat, partially cover, and simmer gently for approximately one hour.
  8. It’s yummy tummy time.

For the curious regarding semi-organic: carrots, vegetable stock and most of the herbs were organic.  The rest of the ingredients were high quality but not USDA certified organic.