Gingery Cookies

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Crisp & Chewy Gingery Cookies

Crisp & Chewy Gingery Cookies

August in Seattle brings “Seafair” – an annual summer celebration.  Block parties, parades, hydroplane races and the Blue Angels. We always get invited to a Seafair party to view the dark blue planes screaming across the sky and to eat mostly deli food imported from New York.  Dessert?  A variety of  cookies, and this year I was asked to bake ‘em.

What to do, what to do?  I knew there were already peanut butter balls and chocolate chippers in the queue.  As much as I could live on chocolate, I decided to resurrect an old, really good recipe for spicy, sweet ginger cookies.

If you are a ginger lover, make these.  If you are a chocolate lover, dip half in chocolate. They are not your average molasses cookie, and instead of turning a burnished brown, they are golden, crisp around the edges. And unlike the hard ginger cookies you find in a box at the store, these are chewy in the center.

I must comment on the “Lyle’s golden syrup” in these cookies.  I’d never heard of Lyle’s but a client of mine from South Africa had me prepare her favorite cookies for a large gathering using Lyle’s instead of honey or maple syrup.  The cane sugar syrup is produced in the United Kingdom and is a popular sweetener in Great Britain, Australia and Africa.  I found Lyle’s cane syrup easily at my supermarket. And became an instant fan. (If you’re in a pinch and can’t find Lyle’s … maple syrup should suffice.)

Rows and Rows of Cookies

Rows and Rows of Cookies

This makes a nice number of cookies and they freeze well for up to three months.  I usually make what I need then form the rest of the dough into balls rolled in sugar. Then I flash freeze them and keep them in the freezer to bake a few at a time.

These are great with morning tea, and just a little unusual.  Kind of like me!

Gingery Cookies

Makes 3 ½ – 4 dozen 

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Ingredients:

  • ¾ c salted butter, softened
  • 1 cup minus 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • ¼ c Lyle’s golden syrup
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ¾  tsp.fine grained sea salt
  • 2 tsp. baking baking soda
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp. lemon extract
  • ¼ c chopped crystallized ginger
  • About 3 Tbsp granulated sugar to roll the cookies
Instructions

Preheat oven to 350.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Cream butter and sugar for six minutes at medium speed.  I know it seems like a long time but this adds to the delicate texture of these cookies.  Add the Lyle’s syrup then the egg and mix just until incorporated.

Combine dry ingredients and beat into butter mix until just combined…do not overmix. Fold in chopped ginger.  At this point I always refrigerate the dough for a half hour and wash all the dishes and clean the counters!

Form into 1+¼” balls, roll in sugar and place on parchment-lined cookie sheet.  Flatten each ball with a glass.  They will continue to spread even bigger, so I put 12 cookies per sheet.

Bake 10 minutes or until golden.

If you have frozen balls of dough, remove from the freezer for ½ hour then proceed with flattening and baking.  I often do two at a time in the toaster oven if I crave freshly baked cookies.

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Tasty Summer Tarragon Salad Dressing

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Summer Salad with Tarragon Dressing

Summer Salad with Tarragon Dressing

From mid-July on, my rooftop deck “garden” is in full swing.  I have two tomato plants in a container and they are loaded with beautiful yellow and small red cherry tomatoes.  All my herbs, peppers and red and green lettuce are ready to harvest.  Everything aligns just at the time I crave these herbs and vegetables and most days I make myself a large salad for lunch or as an accompaniment with dinner.

I first laid my lips on this salad dressing at a local neighborhood restaurant and was lucky enough to get the chef to share his recipe with me.  I’ve since changed it a bit (surprise, surprise), and I’ve actually tried it with cilantro and lime in lieu of tarragon and lemon. Surprisingly it wasn’t even close to the marriage of flavors you will enjoy in the tarragon version I’m sharing below. And initially I thought the recipe contained  too much lemon juice/vinegar proportionally to the olive oil, but it works and makes one of the best dressings in my repertoire.  For me, that is a huge statement since I can’t even count how many salad dressings I make.  This one always makes the cut in July when the tarragon grows like wildfire.

Tasty Tarragon Dressing

Tasty Tarragon Dressing

I should kindly ask you to make a salad for this lovely dressing that is somewhat delicate – think about fresh corn kernels, avocado, cherry tomato, paper thin slivers of white mild cheese…  nothing too crunchy or overpowering.  You’ll thank me.

Tarragon Summer Salad Dressing

Makes over one cup

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Ingredients
  • 6 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (3 oz)
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp minced shallots
  • 2 ½ Tbsp minced fresh tarragon
  • 2-3 tsp of honey or to taste
  • ½  cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 10 grinds of fresh white or black pepper
Instructions

Put everything in the blender and process until smooth.  I actually use my immersion blender for this – so simple!

I put very little of the dressing in the bottom of the salad bowl, then add the lettuce and veggies and toss.  This dressing will keep, covered in the refrigerator, for up to two weeks.

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Rustic Galette

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A Gorgeous Slice of Gallette

A Gorgeous Slice of Gallette

Farmers Markets are to me are what fancy clothing stores are to so many of my friends. Open air food markets give me an adrenaline rush. Just the thought of all the seasonal produce at the stands makes my heart pitter patter like a school girl. The smells, the colors, the variety, the tastes!

I religiously visit two markets each week during the summer – the vendors know me by name, and I sometimes purchase more produce, especially fruit, than I can eat. I am still not over the fact that my sons’ baseball teams are not eating at our house. Nope, just two senior citizens with less capacity and appetite than those 18 year olds I used to feed. As my mother quipped… my eyes are bigger than my stomach.

So it came to pass last week when I was cleaning out the produce drawers of our fridge, as I always do on Fridays, that I happened upon seven nice apricots from a previous visit to the farmer’s market. They were definitely a bit mooshy and past their prime. What to do? Make apricot syrup? Stick them in smoothies? Make a crisp? Nope, I’m over that. They certainly weren’t firm enough for salsa or to slice in salads…

And then … Aha! I had some small discs of pie dough in the freezer so I defrosted one small ball of dough, peeled and sliced the apricots – adding just a few things to thicken them as they cooked and to enhance the flavor, and made a rustic tart or galette.

When it comes to making desserts, I much prefer to bake fruit pies over cakes. However, if I make a pie at home – half of it gets thrown away or sits in the refrigerator for five days or more. Not optimal, you see, to bake a pie for just two people. This galette, however, can be made to serve two or four or even 10 people depending on how much fruit you have and how large you make the tart…

Fresh out of the oven

Fresh Out of the Oven

Don’t be afraid of the crust! I’ve been making pie dough for years – with butter and/or Crisco – and I’ve settled on the following formula because it always works with no angst on my part. The dough rolls out like a dream. This recipe is adapted from my go-to publication, Cooks Illustrated which can’t be beat for instruction specifications.

I divide the recipe – which they say makes one double pie crust – and either make three single crusts that fit a 10-inch glass pie dish or four crusts for the gallette size to serve five or so. Even if I use this recipe for a double pie crust, I always have enough dough left for a single crust (I don’t really like thick pie crust, you see … I must prefer the light, delicate texture of thin).

Galette & Peaches

Galette & Peaches

Roll up your sleeves and try this. You’ll have four hunks of dough ready for a last minute fruit fix and for an impressive, fun dessert.

Rustic Galette

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Crust Ingredients

(For four galettes that are seven inches in diameter)

  • 2 ½ cups all purpose flour – divide into 1½ cups and 1 cup
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 12 Tbsp or 1 ½ sticks salted butter (cut into ¼ inch pieces)
  • ½ cup solid Crisco cut into 4 pieces
  • ¼ cup cold vodka (refrigerate or freeze for an hour – the vodka won’t freeze anyway)
  • ¼ cup cold water (I put water into a cup with ice for a few minutes, then measure what I need)
  • Extra flour to roll out the dough and 1 tsp sugar mix to sprinkle on top of each galette
Instructions

In a food processor, combine 1 ½ cup flour, salt and sugar with two one-second pulses. Add butter and Crisco and process for just 15 seconds. Scrape the dough from the edges of the food processor bowl and move the dough to redistribute evenly. Add the remaining one cup of flour and pulse until mix is distributed and starts to break up, about 4-6 quick pulses. Empty the dough into a larger bowl to mix.

Combine cold vodka and water and pour all over the top of the dough, using a rubber spatula to mix and make a solid mass. Try not to touch it much with your hands and know that it will be sticky and wet. Divide into four fairly even balls and flatten each into a four inch disk. Wrap each with waxed paper or plastic and refrigerate up to two days or freeze for up to three months.

When ready to make the tart, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Add about two tablespoons of flour to a counter (I use a pastry cloth). Roll the dough into approximately an 11 inch circle. Transfer to the parchment and pread the filling (below) to within 1 ½ inches of the edges, and overlap the crust to leave the center exposed but contain the fruit – kind of a free form pie. I sprinkle the exposed crust with a teaspoon of granulated sugar. Because this is rustic, you don’t need to be neurotic and make a perfect circle, make this paper thin, crimp the edges or make it look magazine perfect. That’s why it is called rustic, silly!

Galette Filling

Serves 5-6

Ingredients
  • 2 cups peaches (peeled) or apricots or a combo 1 ½ lbs Italian plums and 2 peaches or all Italian plums. I cut peeled fruit into roughly ¾ inch pieces
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp grated lemon rind
  • 2 Tbsp sugar/cinnamon mixed – add more or less depending on how sweet you like your pie
  • Pinch of salt
  • About 1 ½ Tbsp flour
Instructions

Fold all these filling ingredients above into the fresh fruit until well combined.

Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until the crust is nicely browned. Cool well (just put the parchment on a rack).

Serve the galette slightly warm or room temperature with softly whipped cream or vanilla bean ice cream or plain greek yogurt and enjoy!  Just the name “galette” will make you a super star.

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Marvelous Marinated Cucumber Salad

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Cool Cucumber Salad

Cool Cucumber Salad

During the long, warm days of summer I love eating cold (or room temperature) crunchy, cool and juicy fruits and vegetables. It’s hard to choose among my favorites – but this dish is tried and true … I’ve been making it for least twenty years and it never fails to please me. I would often suggest this salad when catering for large crowds because it is inexpensive to make, beloved by the masses and, for some reason I haven’t quite figured out, it always rounds out menus and buffets and even small family gatherings. I bring this to picnics or barbeques in place of a green salad or coleslaw. Brunch, lunch, dinner … barbeques or spontaneous picnics in the park, this should be on YOUR “to try” list too.

My Mandolin - and GLOVE!

My Mandolin – and GLOVE!

I happen to own a really inexpensive mandoline for slicing the raw cucumbers, and I also have a sturdy protective glove for using the mandoline so I don’t cut my fingers off since I’ve come close to doing that more times than you can imagine. However, you can slice the cucumbers by hand as long as you can make even and thin slices about an eighth of an inch thick. For me, the mandoline works better and I can make this salad in the blink of an eye. It keeps for several days in the refrigerator – although the color isn’t as vibrant. No worries about that though – you can use leftover cucumber slices as a fresh and delicious addition to summer sandwiches.

Colinwood Farm - Port Townsend, WA

Ballard Market – Friendly Vendor from Colinwood Farm

I usually use English (aka Burpless) cucumbers, and recently picked up what I thought was this variety. However the vendor at the farmers market (pictured here) informed me these cucumbers were Japanese Slenders because they had “bumps” instead of ridges. I love learning new things! Either English or Japanese cucumbers will work; neither requires peeling and they have tiny seeds that don’t need to be removed.

Super easy, very few ingredients, healthful. Salty, a bit spicy, sweet. Delicioso! Just my kind of recipe…

Marinated Cucumber Salad

Serves 4 or more

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Ingredients
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp. fine Sea Salt
  • 2 English or Japanese cucumbers
  • Purple onion or radishes for color or garnish, if desired
Instructions

Slice the cucumbers (unpeeled, not seeded) into a large glass bowl by hand or with a mandoline. Boil together the vinegar, sugar, red pepper flakes and salt just until sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes from the start. Pour hot dressing over the cucumbers, stir around a bit and refrigerate the glass bowl with everything inside covered with plastic wrap. Leave in the refrigerator for about an hour. Once the salad has cooled, transfer everything to a tupperware container with a lid that you can seal and shake to distribute the dressing and coat all the cucumber slices. Refrigerate overnight or for several hours, and shake it around a few times when you remember to do so.

Drain before serving – the salt in the recipe causes the cucumbers to release a lot of liquid. Wonderful and easy!

Note: if you use regular cucumbers, be sure to peel the skin, cut the cucumber in half lengthwise and remove the seeds! Then slice into half rounds and proceed.

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Lemony Lentils

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Luscious Lemony Lentils

Luscious Lemony Lentils

I love lentils and legumes in general, not for reasons that most people turn to beans (they’re so darn healthy!).  For me … they just taste really great and provide a blank slate for sweet or savory ingredients.  This is one of those recipes I watched being prepared and then I tasted and then I HAD to try making it myself. I believe the mixture started with a recipe from Deborah Madison…but this version bears little resemblance to that.

No quantities or recipe was actually given during the demonstration, but I jotted down key ingredients I wanted to utilize, and came up with this version.  Actually, my lentils are superior to those I tasted way back when, if I do say so myself.  I still plan to try to make this using French green lentils; I chose  Beluga or black lentils this time because they take less time to cook and I was (shocking) in a hurry.

Lentils & Lemons

Lentils & Lemons

I call this a vegetable side dish, although technically lentils are legumes.  Low in fat, high in fiber and protein, cooked lentils have an earthy taste.  With the added mint and parsley and lightness of the fresh lemons and preserved lemon too, this dish screams summer.  Serve it at room temperature, top it wily a little crumbled feta and eat it “as is” or scoop some on top of a nice lettuce or vegetable salad.  Putting a poached egg on top of these warmed lentils becomes dinner.  You’ll be full for a long time, I promise.

Lemony Lentils

10-12 large servings

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Lentil Ingredients
  • 2 cups French, green or beluga lentils
  • 1 onion, cut in half and skin removed
  • 3 sprigs of tarragon
  • 3 carrots, cut in 3 inch pieces
  • 1 clove of garlic, smashed
  • ½ tsp salt
Lentil Instructions

Rinse the lentils, cover with water by 1 ½ inches.  Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil.  Cover the pot and cook until pretty soft – about 20-30 minutes for black lentils.  French Green lentils take around 45 minutes, but read the package instructions. Once soft, drain until no water remains.  Remove the onion, , carrots and any remnants of the tarragon sprigs.

You can fold in the next set of ingredients (beets, mint, parsley, preserved lemon) while the lentils are still a little warm.  Finally dress with the vinaigrette and add more salt, pepper or herbs to your liking.

Salad Ingredients
  • 1 bunch beets (about six or 1 ¼ lbs) peeled and cooked (see this recipe for cooking method).  Chop into 1/4 inch cubes
  • 1  preserved lemon (Rinse, cut in half, squeeze and save the juice then and scoop out the flesh inside the lemon. Discard this inside meat you removed from the peel. Dice the preserved lemon peel into 1/8 inch pieces.)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh mint
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ cup of crumbled feta per serving (optional)
Vinaigrette Ingredients
  • 2 tsp chopped shallot
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp grated lemon peel
  • pinch cayenne
  • Juice you squeezed from the flesh of the preserved lemon
  • Ground black pepper
  • Sea salt (start with 1 tsp)
  • 1 ½ tsp honey (or to taste)
Vinaigrette Instructions

For the dressing, use a hand blender  to combine all the ingredients.  The dressing will be thick and yellowish and this recipe makes about twice as much as you will need. Save the half of the vinaigrette you don’t use to drizzle on top of cooked asparagus, fish or another grainy salad!

Next time I’m going to try French green lentils and golden beets, just to switch it up!

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Middle of Summer Garden Chicken Salad

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Summery Salad

Summery Salad

Bear with me, people. I know I frequently publish recipes for salads – Summer, Fall, Winter or Spring… it doesn’t matter to me. I enjoy eating salads, whether they are vegetarian, lettuce-based, grainy, quinoa-y, fruity – you name it and I usually can’t get enough of it! I write about what foods I love to make and to eat and, as you’ve likely learned by now, one of the things I never tire of is hearty salad. That said, I’m not the kind of girl who can live on a meager, lettuce-y, no dressing type salad. In fact, I am so hungry after eating a tiny portion of lettuce with minimal calories that I often come home and have a sandwich or several cookies. A hearty, filling salad, though, keeps me satisfied for hours, and in the summer this is often our dinner.

Lovely Lettuce From my Garden

Lovely Lettuce From my Garden

More vegetable-based than lettuce-centric – Summer Garden Chicken Salad came into my repertoire because I wanted to utilize what was growing up in my rooftop garden. As I often do – I was also foraging through my kitchen and wanted to incorporate extra vegetables from my fridge and the end of a baguette from the farmers market. We had this as a main dish for dinner the day after the 4th of July, when the thought of having leftover noodles, potato salad and beans kind of turned my stomach. I was craving something “clean.”

This salad is summery, seasonal, filled with texture, pretty and very tasty. Don’t overdress it because garden lettuce is soft and fragile. The hubby pronounced this “better than good.” So I knew I had to share it!

Summer Garden Chicken Salad

Serves 3 large eaters

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Ingredients for the salad:
  • 1 ½ cups fresh garden lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • ¾ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ¾ cup English Cucumber, diced into 3/8 inch pieces
  • 1 cup leftover grilled or cooked chicken, skin and bones removed and cut into pieces the same size as the cucumber
  • Kernels of one ear fresh corn, cut off the cob
  • 1 Tbsp fresh mint leaves, cut or torn into small pieces
  • 1 Tbsp fresh basil leaves, chiffonaded
  • 1 tsp fresh parsley leaves, cut roughly
  • 10 grinds of fresh black peppercorns
  • ½ cup baguette croutons (cube bread and put it on a foil lined tray in the toaster oven. Drizzle with two teaspoons olive oil and bake for about 10 minutes at 375 degrees.)
  • ½ avocado, peeled and diced into squares the size of the cucumber
Ingredients for the Dressing

Makes ¾ – 1 cup

  • ¼ cup White Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 ½ Tbsp Honey
  • 3/4 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tsp shallots, finely diced
  • Pinch sea salt
  • Pinch fresh ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Dressing Instructions

Dump all the dressing ingredients into a tall, narrow vessel and use your hand blender to combine until thick. Taste and adjust – it should be like honey-mustard dressing with a little “bite”.

Note – this makes about double what you need so save the remaining dressing for another salad or another day

Salad Instructions

Combine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, chicken, corn, herbs and pepper in a 3-quart glass or stainless steel bowl bowl. Toss to fully combine.

Drizzle dressing along the sides of the bowl and toss – add more dressing on the bottom of the salad bowl or along the sides rather than putting directly on the salad greens so the lettuce doesn’t get soggy. At the end, add the croutons, toss lightly and top each serving with the avocado pieces as a garnish.

And for your information, this makes a terrific Salad in a Jar!

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Tangy Noodle Salad

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Tangy Noodles!

Tangy Noodles!

It’s almost the 4th of July and if you are invited to or in charge of  a potluck, you might be scratching your head, trying to come up with something delicious and easy to prepare. Potato salad? Baked beans? Coleslaw?   If you’re like me, you’ve been there and done that.  Time to think outside of the box.

Folks, this is it.  Another tried and true recipe from my catering days!!  If my children are reading this, they are gagging by now since they all, at one time or another, worked for me in my commercial kitchen, and had to boil noodles, grate carrots, toast sesame seeds or put together batches of tangy noodle (aka capellini) salad.  We’d don disposable gloves to toss the noodles and dressing together, then this salad was stored in huge, full-sheet deep pans.  After six hours of nonstop cooking before a huge event (think 400 guests) I’d make a little extra of this salad to take home and then grill and add sliced chicken and make it a meal in one.

Sometimes my son’s entire baseball team ate at our house so I kept this handy for those 17 year old boys.  They loved it, the adults loved it, everyone loved it! Alas… my kids begged me to stop making tangy noodles.

All eating phases generally end, and now my children happily eat this salad if I make it in their homes or when they are visiting Seattle.   It’s perfectly balanced and satisfying and an inevitable crowd pleaser. Plus it’s a little different and visually attractive enough for any 4th of July buffet!

Go forth (or 4th!) and try this.  You can also omit the grated carrots and instead dice up yellow, red and/or orange bell peppers to give it a celebratory appearance. I’ve also added chopped cilantro or black sesame seeds to the top in lieu of green onions. Leftovers really keep well too – at least for a few days.  I’ve even stir fried the noodles as is with some type of protein just to be fancy.

The recipe you will read below has morphed over the years…the original called for black Chinese sesame oil and Chinese balsamic vinegar and fresh noodles, too.  I’ve tested and retested to develop a recipe that is easy – featuring ingredients that can be found at most supermarkets or in your pantry.

Tangy Noodle Salad

Feeds at least 10-15 eaters on a buffet

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Ingredients:
  • 1 lb. dried Angel hair (capellini) pasta
  • 3 Tbsp dark toasted sesame oil (I have Trader Joes brand)
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • ¼  cups tamari sauce (I’ve used soy sauce in a pinch, but prefer tamari)
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon chili oil* – it must be spicy (add more the next day if needed but be careful!)
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1/3 cup toasted sesame seeds  (sometimes I use black sesame seeds to switch it up)
  • 1-2 large grated carrot
  • 2 scallions (light green and white parts) sliced into thin rings-for garnish
  • 1/3 cups salted cashews – for garnish
Instructions

Fill a large stock pot with water and add two teaspoons of table salt and bring to a boil.  Meanwhile, combine the rest of the dressing ingredients (the oils, Tamari, vinegar and honey) and whisk together in a small bowl.

Put the angel hair  noodles into the pot and keep boiling them until they are al dente (a little less than package directions – mine took three minutes).   Drain really well, shaking off all the water.  Keep them in the colander, and let them cool a bit, but keep stirring the noodles in the colander so they don’t stick together.

Add half of the dressing to the slightly warm noodles and toss well to combine. I do use disposable gloves to do this.  I add the remainder of the dressing about a half hour later when the noodles are more room temperature.

Stir in the sesame seeds (reserve two tablespoons for garnish) and the grated carrot (reserving a tablespoon for garnish).  Refrigerate overnight or for at least an hour at room temperature.  Right before serving, toss and taste, adding more balsamic vinegar or tamari as needed for your taste buds.   For me  it is seasoned most often well and I do not need to add another thing, but see what you think.

I like to serve this at room temperature – the flavors seem more robust to me this way.  Garnish the finished dish with the reserved sesame seeds, carrots, scallions and cashews. Enjoy!

*I’ve been in places without chili oil, and I simply add cayenne to the dressing until it is fairl

 

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Eggs For Kids

“So what do you cook when your grandchildren visit?”  This is a question I am asked by curious friends who know I love to bake and make special things for my children and their kids as well.

There are many foods I love to make, but breakfast is a particularly special time for me. Sometimes I’ll make  a batch of granola or hot cereal or french challah toast or pancakes.

But my eggs are legendary. There are two types of breakfast eggs I reserve for these kids, and they originate from my childhood.

Chicken in a Basket

Chicken in a Basket

1) Chicken in a Basket

AKA toad in the hole aka bulls eye,  the name “chicken in the basket” was what my mom, Merry Klass, called this concoction.

Take a slice of bread (I use whole wheat but any type is fine) and cut a hole in the middle with a glass.  Heat butter in a frying pan, place the bread in and crack the egg inside the hole of the bread.  I fry the circle of bread alongside the egg/bread slice.  Flip over gently and serve with some pepper and salt.

Yellow Egg Sandwich

Yellow Egg Sandwich

2)  Yellow Egg Sandwich

My mother concocted – and named – this delicacy. Basically you whisk an egg, add one tablespoon of milk and fry it on medium heat in butter.  Don’t stir, but flip the omelette over when it will hold together.  Heat briefly on the second side, then put it on a piece of bread skimmed with a layer of mayonnaise or butter or what have you.  Top with another piece of bread much like a sandwich and cut in half.

I must admit that I love yellow egg sandwiches and make mine more gourmet with tomato slices, curly lettuce, even avocado. At times I make this sandwich when I am rushing around, and I wrap it in foil to eat in the car.

What are your favorite things you make for your kids or grandkids??

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A GRATE Cooking Tip!

microplane orange

So Simple – So Smart

Those of you – and I know this means each and every one of you – who regularly read my posts understand that I don’t use a lot of fancy dancy kitchen equipment.  I’m not a proponent of the latest greatest gadgets out there; I’m really a minimalist when It comes to what I keep around my kitchen.

I’ve waxed poetic about my microplane grater, which I use a ton for grating citrus zest and hunks of Parmesan cheese.  So here is a little tip I learned while taking a cooking class at The Book Larder with the incredible Rachel Coyle of Coyle’s pop up bake shop.

Turn the microplane upside down and grate your zest with the microplane’s sides facing up so you can see how much you have grated.  The sides make almost a three sided box so the grated stuff won’t pour out.  Otherwise, if you are anything like me, you will be peeking at the underside of this tool, scraping off what sticks there  with your finger to see how much has collected.

This is so genius that I keep wondering why I didn’t think of this first?  And it’s another reminder of why I continue to take cooking lessons.  I always learn something new and useful!!

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Kale & Cauliflower Salad

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Kale & Cauliflower Salad

Kale & Cauliflower Salad

I know, I know. Everyone is sick to death of kale. Kale salad, in particular. Me? I really love kale salads – not to mention sauteed kale and kale in soups. But in salads I only like it when the bitterness of the kale leaves isn’t overpowering.

Let’s begin at the beginning. I eat in restaurants less than most of you, but I love to occasionally patronize my Queen Anne neighborhood place in Seattle, GRUB. It’s consistent, the food isn’t fussy but it’s always fresh and seasonal, the ambience is nice and homey, and it’s obvious that the owner loves what she does…how could I not support a place like this?

The point is, though, that they have a wonderful, room temperature-ish kale and cauliflower salad. It might just as well be called a cauliflower-kale salad because there are about equal parts kale and cauliflower. I always order this whether we stop by for dinner or appetizers.

I loved it so much I decided to try a similar version at home. Originally I thought I’d make mine with lacinato kale, also known as dinosaur kale or black cabbage. It is one of my favorite types of kale because it is pretty tender and tasty. Grub’s kale salad is composed of curly, firmer kale that tends to be more bitter.

Curly Kale

Curly Kale

But hold on. When I visited my daughter in early April, she did HER rendition of the salad using curly kale and adding in tiny tiny barberries that she soaked. The salad went from a “9” to a “10” in my eyes. The tiny, ruby barberries were the perfect addition. These little barberries, available in Middle Eastern grocery stores, are tart with a hint of sweetness and I love love love them. I’m already figuring to other ways to use them in my baking and cooking…

Beautiful Barberries

Beautiful Barberries

Now this salad is in my lineup. It is locally sourced, vegan, non-GMO, non dairy…in other words it fits all the popular foodie parameters. If this sounds bland or tasteless or non-appealing, think again. THIS RECIPE IS FAB!

Kale & Cauliflower Salad

Serves 4-6

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 Ingredients
  • 4 cups green curly kale (I used redbor kale from my farmers market)
  • 4 cups cauliflowerettes, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • ½ cup cooked and rinsed garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
  • About ¼ cup lemon tehina dressing
  • 2 Tbsp fresh chopped mint
  • 2 Tbsp dried barberries, dried cherries, dried cranberries or pomegranate seeds-depending on the season. If using cherries or cranberries, dice them into tiny currant sized pieces.
Instructions

Preheat the oven to 425 and line a large, rimmed cookie sheet with parchment or foil.

Begin by removing kale leaves from the stems until it looks like you have 4 cups worth, and roughly tear into pieces that are about 1 ½ inches. Add ½ tsp sea salt and massage for 3-5 minutes. Taste the kale and if it is no longer bitter, you are done and should get a masseuse license! When you are finished it will have decreased in volume and feel softer. Set aside while you do everything else.

Toss cauliflowerettes with olive oil and bake on a prepared cookie sheet in the oven for 15 minutes. They won’t be finished but you can add beans to the pan and do both at the same time!

Dry the garbanzo beans well and coat them with one teaspoon extra virgin olive oil and roast along with caulifloweretttes on the same rimmed sheet. Continue cooking both the beans and cauliflower for another 10 minutes or until nicely browned, sizzling and even charred on the edges. Remove from the oven.

Whisk together the tehina dressing.

You can make the salad while the vegetables are still warm or do it once they are room temperature. Add the kale to the roasted vegetables, barely coat with tehina dressing.  Season with salt and pepper if needed, and fold in barberries and chopped mint. Eat. Eat more!

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