Cabbage and Ginger Salad

Another slow, sleepy weekend for me, so I wanted to make something that didn’t require a lot of ingredients or cook time. This salad includes pickled ginger – you can make it yourself or buy it at most Asian grocery stores. The recipe also calls for mirin, a Japanese sweetened sake, that can be found in the ethnic food aisle at many large grocery stores.

Cabbage and Ginger Salad

Ginger and Cabbage Salad

Ingredients

  • 4 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 3/4 cup pickled ginger, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup peanuts, crushed (plus more for serving, if desired)
  • 6 green onions, sliced (plus more for serving, if desired)
  • 1/4 cup mirin
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. I like to use one with a lid so I can shake it all up. Top with additional sliced green onions and crushed peanuts.

Source: Adapted from AllRecipes

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Pickled Carrots

I have long pondered the virtues of baby carrots vs. whole carrots (okay, that’s an exaggeration, but I do kind of have strong feelings on the topic). Baby carrots are convenient and great to pack in lunches or as snacks. BUT, I find that baby carrots are less consistent when it comes to taste and level of sweetness than are whole carrots (and they’re usually more expensive, too). Hence I’m more likely to choose whole carrots, peeling and cutting them up if I want to make them more portable. I used whole carrots in this recipe, though one can easily substitute baby carrots if desired.

Pickled Carrots

IMGP3385

Pickled Carrots 1

Ingredients

  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 (5- to 6-inch) sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves stripped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 tsp black peppercorns, cracked
  • 1 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Heaping 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • Heaping 2 tsp brown mustard seeds
  • 1 1/2 lbs carrots, cut into 3″ by 1/2 ” sticks

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar, water sugar, thyme, peppercorns, red pepper flakes, salt, and mustard seeds. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool briefly. Stir in the last 1/2 cup of vinegar.
  3. Put the carrots in a large bowl, and pour the warm brine over them. Let the carrots and brine cool to room temperature.
  4. Wash whatever canning jars you’ll be using. I used three pint sized jars, and the carrots fit perfectly in them, and fit better in my fridge than larger jars. Use whatever works for you.
  5. When the carrots and brine are cool, place the carrots snugly in the jars (hands/fingers work well). Use a ladle to pour the brine over the carrots until they’re covered. If you don’t have enough brine, mix 2 parts vinegar and 1 part water to finish the job.
  6. Seal the jars tightly and refrigerate for a week (if you can wait that long!)

I eagerly await the outcome of the pickling process.

UPDATE: After one week, the carrots still taste pretty carrot-y (with a bit of a kick from the red pepper flakes). I’m going to give them another week or so.

Source: Adapted from A Homemade Life

Black Bean and Corn Burgers

I love me some sweet corn, and I love using it any way that I can.

Black Bean and Corn Burgers

BBC Burgers 1

Yield: Six burgers

Ingredients

  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cups (or 2 cans) cooked black beans, divided (if using canned, drain and rinse beans before getting started)
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Pinch of fennel seed
  • Pinch or two of red pepper flakes
  • 2/3 cups oats
  • 3/4 cups fresh (or thawed and drained) corn
  • Optional: add a bit of Liquid Smoke

Instructions

  1. Pour olive oil into a large skillet. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for eight to ten minutes, or until soft and starting to brown.
  2. Add 2 cups of the beans, cumin, paprika, chili powder, sea salt, fennel seeds and red pepper flakes.  Mix everything together and heat until warmed through.
  3. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  4. Put the oats in a blender or food processor and pulse until they’re about the consistency of bread crumbs (you can sub bread crumbs if you like). Add the onion, garlic, and bean mixture to the oats. Process/blend until the mixture is well combined but not completely smooth. Add a bit of water to the mix if things get stuck.
  5. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining black beans and the corn and mix with your hands. If the mixture is sticking to your hands, add some more oats and incorporate into the mixture.
  6. Shape the mixture into six patties. Place the patties on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, flipping once through. For added crispness, brush one or both sides with olive oil and broil for five minutes per side.

You can grill these burgers if you like, but mine were too fall apart-y to do that. I like these with a little tomato, avocado, and spicy mustard.

Source: Adapted from Food 52

Rosemary Focaccia Bread

Here we are on Sunday evening. I’m exhausted after my first full week at my school site, and wanted to whip up some sort of tasty bread to serve as comfort food before heading back tomorrow. This focaccia recipe is dairy-free, and I had most of the ingredients at home already. Enjoy!

Rosemary Focaccia Bread

 

bread panIMGP3199

Ingredients

  • 1 envelope active dry yeast
  • 1 3/4 cups warm water
  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 to 5 sprigs fresh rosemary (depends on size; you want about 2 Tbsp of leaves)
  • A few pinches of sea salt

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Wait a few minutes for it to get foamy, and you’re all set to go!
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the flours and salt. Add the yeast mix and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Mix with spoon until it’s pretty smooth.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about 8 to 10 minutes. Add flour as needed, to keep the dough from sticking to you and the surface.
  4. In a large bowl, pour 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Put the dough in the bowl, and cover all sides with the oil. Cover with a kitchen towel and place in a warm place for about two hours. The dough should be about doubled in bulk when the time is up.
  5. Rub about 1 teaspoon of olive oil onto the sides and bottom of a baking sheet. Punch down the dough and stretch it out to cover the bottom of the baking sheet. Cover again with a kitchen towel and let sit for about 35 minutes.
  6. When there are about ten minutes of resting time left, move one of the oven racks to the middle, if needed, and preheat the oven to 450. Prepare the rosemary by washing thoroughly and stripping the leaves from the stems. Cut up any large leaves.
  7. Once the dough has rested, sprinkle the rosemary over the dough. Make dimples in the dough using your fingertips, and drizzle 2 to 3 teaspoons of olive oil over the dough. Sprinkle with sea salt.
  8. Place in the oven and turn the heat down to 375. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown.
  9. When the bread is done, you can remove it to a cooling rack if you’d like, though I just ate it right from the pan. ; )

I enjoyed my focaccia with a little tomato basil soup that I whipped up using the remnants of the canned tomatoes used in last week’s ratatouille recipe.

Next time I will probably mix some rosemary, and maybe other herbs, into the dough to get more herb-y flavor throughout the bread.

Source: Adapted from the kitchn

Ratatouille

Writers get writer’s block, and folks who cook get… knife block (ha!)? Whatever it is, I’ve had a case of it for the last few days. I try hard to make recipes that don’t require me to buy a ton of new ingredients, but I hadn’t been able to find one that I was interested in making. I finally decided to go through my cookbooks page by page and see what I could find.

And what do ya know –  there’s a delicious ratatouille recipe in a cookbook that I bought at Monkey See, Monkey Read in Northfield, MN years ago. Bon appetit!

Ratatouille

Ratatouille 1

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Lots of olive oil
  • 1 cup yellow squash, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 cup zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 cups thinly sliced onion (about one large onion)
  • 10 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 (28 oz) can peeled Italian tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed torn basil leaves
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Place eggplant in a colander over a bowl and sprinkle with teaspoon salt. Cover with wax paper and set two soup cans on top. Let sit for 30 minutes, and pat dry when time is up.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add some olive oil (level of heat and amount of oil really depend on how hot your pan/burner is…). Cook the yellow squash and zucchini together until tender and light brown, about 6 to 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  3. In the same skillet, add more oil and red and green peppers. Cook until tender and lightly browned – about 7 minutes. Set aside.
  4. Add more oil and cook eggplant until tender and lightly browned (are you seeing a trend here?). Set aside.
  5. Add more oil to the skillet and cook the onion for about 5 minutes. They will soften and start to turn ever so slightly brown. Add the garlic and cook for five more minutes.
  6. Add the canned tomatoes, breaking them into the pan (and being careful not to squirt juice ALL OVER). Raise the heat to high and cook the onion/garlic/tomato mix until it thickens up a bit. This is the part where it starts to smell amazing. Mmmm…
  7. Add the squash, peppers, and eggplant, and cook for about 3 minutes. Stir inthe basil and cook for one minute longer.
  8. Turn off the heat and season with salt and pepper. Add more olive oil to the vegetables before serving, if desired.

I highly recommend enjoying this with some slices of toasty baguette.

Source: Adapted from It’s All American Food by David Rosengarten