Tag Archives: Condiment

DIY Yellow Mustard #SundaySupper

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Welcome to a holiday edition of Sunday Supper where this week we are featuring Thanksgiving Leftovers! You know you’re gonna have them, and you know you can only eat so many slapped-together sandwiches before you want to pull your hair out. So we are here to give you creative and delicious ideas of what to do in the days following Turkey Day!

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As soon as I heard today’s theme, I knew exactly what I wanted to make. You’re probably curious as to how making mustard could possibly count as a Thanksgiving leftover, but I promise, it does! In my family growing up, we weren’t all that big on transforming leftover turkey, so it would sit in the fridge in food storage bags, and one year in I believe late elementary school, I got the idea to take those cold shredded turkey pieces and eat them straight, dipped in yellow ballpark mustard.

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Okay, seriously, it’s one of the best things you’ll ever taste. I don’t know what it is, but it’s just soooo darn good! I have so many fond memories of sneaking into the fridge late Thanksgiving night, or the night after, and plowing through a bag of turkey, dipping each piece in yellow mustard, while watching TV or chatting on the phone with a friend. I was such a fiend for this little tradition of mine that one year we had fewer leftovers for some reason and I dipped into a stash of turkey reserved for a soup, and got in a bit of trouble. It was worth it, my friends.

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I could never convince my parents or sister of the merits of this little snack, but I have been able to convince Matt, and I hope I’ve encouraged all of you to give it a try too. For the record, Matt absolutely loves it and actually looks forward to it all year long.

DIY Yellow Mustard

So this year, the Sunday Supper team gave me a perfect excuse to make mustard from scratch, which I’d never done before. It’s very easy and the results are fantastic! Just let it sit at room temperature for about two to three days before using it. That’s about how long it takes to mellow into a “normal” mustard taste. Before that, the mustard flavor is strong to the point of almost horseradish spice levels. Personally, a bit much for my palate. But after a couple days, it was perfect.

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Be sure you check out my Sunday Supper gang and their wonderful recipes for repurposing Thanksgiving leftovers! And do try my mustard trick, even if it strikes you as odd. Let me know what you think, I’d love to hear from you!

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Source: Leite’s Culinaria

{One Year Ago: Indian-Spiced Cranberry Chutney}

Ingredients:
1 cup cold water
3/4 cup yellow dry mustard
3/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/2 cup white distilled vinegar

Directions:
Place the water, dry mustard, salt, turmeric, garlic, and paprika in a small nonreactive saucepan and whisk until smooth. Cook the mixture over medium-low to low heat, stirring often, until it bubbles down to a thick paste, 30 to 45 minutes. Please do this in a well-ventilated kitchen, or at least open your windows.
Whisk the vinegar into the mustard mixture and continue to cook until it’s thickened to the desired consistency—you know, the usual prepared mustard consistency, which ought to take anywhere from 7 to 15 minutes.
Let the mustard cool to room temperature. Transfer the mustard to an airtight container, cover, and keep at room temperature for 2-3 days, then refrigerate for up to 3 months. The mustard will be quite pungent the first few days, but will mellow with time.

Breakfast:

Cranberry Sauce Muffins by The Foodie Army Wife
Leftover Stuffing Breakfast Strata by Ruffles & Truffles
Sweet Potato Casserole Muffins by Magnolia Days
Turkey & Chorizo Breakfast Hash by Brunch with Joy
Italian Mashed Potato Pancakes by The Weekend Gourmet
Cranberry Sauce’d Corn Bread Muffins by Rhubarb and Honey

Main Dish:

Leftover Pie by Jane’s Adventures in Dinner
Thanksgiving Leftover Waffles by Foxes Love Lemons
Stuffing Hash by The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen
Turkey Pizza by Meal Diva
Turkey & Caramelized Onion Risotto by kimchi MOM
Turkey with Creamy Mushroom Marsala Sauce by Casa de Crews
Moroccan Turkey Stew by What Smells So Good?
Peruvian Cilantro & Turkey Soup by The Little Ferraro Kitchen
Turkey & Butternut Squash Stew by Cooking Chat
Turkey Kreplach Soup by Panning the Globe
Turkey & Stuffing Crepes by Peaceful Cooking
Cranberry Apple Pecan Chicken Salad by NeighborFood
Herbed Turkey over Cornbread Waffles with Cranberry Sauce by girlichef
Creamy Peanut Gochujang Pasta by Wallflour Girl
Cranberry Sweet Potato Soup by Take A Bite Out of Boca
Turkey Enchilada Pasta Bake by Curious Cuisiniere
Turkey Orzo Risotto by Family Foodie
Turkey Croquettes by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings

Side Dishes:

Cheesy Mashed Potato Croquettes by Noshing with the Nolands
Whipped Carrots with Sriracha Butter by Healthy Delicious
Cranberry-Balsamic Glazed Cauliflower Wings by Cupcakes & Kale Chips
Parmesan Mashed Cauliflower and Potatoes by Momma’s Meals
Cheesy Jalapeño Potato Cakes by Bobbi’s Cozy Kitchen

Sandwiches:

Cranberry & Turkey Sandwich by The Redhead Baker
Monte Cristo Sandwich by Nik Snacks
Hot Brown Turkey Sandwiches by The Life and Loves of Grumpy’s Honeybunch
Sprouted Grain Turkey, Cranberry & Brie Panini by Amee’s Savory Dish
Turkey Cranberry Flatbread by Peanut Butter and Peppers

Condiments & Sauces:

Cranberry Vinaigrette by Nosh My Way
Leftover White Wine Syrup by Food Lust People Love
DIY Yellow Mustard by The Texan New Yorker

Dessert:

Banana Cheesecake with Pecan Graham Cracker Crust by Desserts Required
Cranberry Cream Cheese Bars by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
Gluten-Free Lemon Cake by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
Spiced Cranberry Sauce Buckle by The Wimpy Vegetarian

Cocktails & Drinks:

Cranberry Orange Crush by The Messy Baker
Cranberry Bellini by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures

SSbadge-150x150Join the #SundaySupper conversation on Twitter on Sunday!We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7 p.m. ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtagand remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Peach Salsa #SundaySupper

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Welcome to Sunday Supper, where this week we are Preserving Summer Produce! This theme is very good for me, because …… I’m really ready for fall. Okay, there I said it – it’s my shameful secret. This happens to me every year about this time. Even though I know I shouldn’t, I start becoming a tad ungrateful for all the beautiful summer bounty and I just want to make chili and watch a football game. And then bake something with apples…

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So thanks to my Sunday Supper gang for encouraging me to use up that summer produce while I still have access to it, and put off thinking about fall cooking and baking for a few more weeks, as I very well should.

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My grocery store is selling lovely, local Jersey peaches, so this week I snapped some up and made you this homemade, from-scratch peach salsa. I don’t know about you, but I have *always* been sorely disappointed by store-bought fruit salsas. I have a couple of brands I trust when it comes to store-bought regular tomato-based salsas, but it seems that the minute you add the word “mango” or “peach” to the label, well, brace yourself, cuz it ain’t gonna be pretty.

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There is no disappointment with this homemade peach salsa. Oh my, it is divine. It’s the perfect balance of sweetness to salty, with the peaches being front and center without overpowering the whole thing. So perfect.

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Oh, and this is so easy to make, too! The stovetop and food processer do most of the work for you. And I really can’t stress how delicious it is. That said, it’s not terribly spicy at all – probably very kid friendly. Leave the ribs and seeds in the jalapeno, or just add a second jalapeno if you prefer it hotter. So please try this one while you can still get fresh, in-season peaches. The salsa will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for at least a week.

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Oh and be sure you give some love to my wonderful Sunday Supper peeps!

{One Year Ago: Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Pasta Alfredo}
{Two Years Ago: Mussels in Red Chile Broth, Pickled Doughnut Peaches, Mexican Lamb Barbacoa}

Source: slightly adapted from The Homesick Texan’s Family Table by Lisa Fain

Ingredients:
1 lb. peaches (about 3 medium-to-large)
1 lb. plum tomatoes, halved
1-2 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded if desired, and halved
½ a red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into thick slices
3-4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
¼ red onion, peeled and root tip discarded
1 cup water
2 tsp fresh lime juice
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Kosher salt

Directions:
First you will need to peel the peaches. To do this, bring a medium to large stockpot of water to a boil – you need just enough water to cover the peaches. Using a small paring knife, make an “X” on the bottom of each peach, a shallow cut that just cuts the skin. Submerge the peaches in the boiling water for 1 minute. Lift them out with a slotted spoon to a plate or cutting board. Let them cool a few minutes, just until you can comfortably handle them. Starting at the bottom where you made the “X”, peel off the skins. They should come off easily; if a few little stubborn bits are insisting upon hanging on for dear life at the top, don’t fuss over it. Life’s too short. Now pit the peaches and cut them into quarters.
Add the peaches, tomatoes, jalapeno(s), bell pepper, onion, and water to a large stockpot. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer until the tomatoes are soft, about 10 minutes (I did a combination of covered and uncovered). Remove from the heat and allow to cool, about 10 minutes.
Using tongs, carefully transfer all the solid pieces to your food processor. Add the lime juice and pulse on and off until combined but still somewhat chunky. If it’s too thick, add some of the water left in the stockpot.
Stir in the chopped cilantro and salt to taste. Let it cool the rest of the way to room temperature, then either serve or store in the refrigerator.
This is fantastic as just a dip for chips, but it’s also wonderful on chicken or fish – as tacos or by themselves. Oh and it makes a ton – about 2 cups!

Learn how to …

Sip sunny cocktails and smoothies

Scoop up special salsas and sauces

Jump into jellies, jams and preserves

Pucker up for pickles

Slurp and spoon soup and a side dish

Dive into divine desserts

Sunday Supper Movement

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on Twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7 p.m. ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.


Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement?
It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

I Don’t Have Meat Drippings Texas Barbecue Sauce

Texas Barbecue sauce

Okay – story time! I’ve mentioned that our main dish on Labor Day was a complete, bona fide Kitchen Disaster, right? Well, here’s why.

The simple plan was to make Texas Salt and Pepper Beef Ribs, with mac and cheese on the side, and I whipped up this barbecue sauce to slather on the ribs. No biggie. Or at least, it’s should’ve been. If only Whole Foods had actually had the beef ribs…

No Meat Drippings Texas BBQ Sauce

But, they didn’t. They were out of the beef back ribs that I needed. So I ventured next door, to a kosher butcher shop. The man working the store that day was very nice, but it was obvious English wasn’t his first language. We had a hard time understanding each other, but I *thought* I had gotten across what I wanted. He handed me what vaguely looked like a slab of back ribs and I walked out, slightly scratching my head at the $37 price tag. Beef ribs aren’t usually that expensive, are they? But of course I rationalized it away.

No meat drippings barbecue sauce

Upon unveiling the ribs and seasoning them, Matt said he thought they looked funny. Oh they’re fine, I replied. Just put them on the grill. Okayyyy, he replied skeptically.

And so we grilled them the appropriate amount of time for beef back ribs, only to cut into them and find them very, very pink, like medium-rare to medium pink. Hmm. Undaunted, I took a bite, only to find them extremely tough and chewy. At first I assumed we had made some unpardonable grilling mistake, but after thinking on it and discussing it, we realized what had gone so horribly wrong. The guy at the butcher shop had given me a slab of short ribs that weren’t yet butchered into individual short ribs! They weren’t back ribs at all! Arrrrgggghhhhh…… Seriously not my finest moment…

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And perhaps the worst part about the whole thing was that this barbecue sauce is hands down the BEST barbecue sauce I’ve ever made! And it was wasted! Wasted, I tell you… well okay, not really. Fortunately I was able to find other uses for this amazing sauce. And so will you. Enjoy!

I Don't Have Meat Drippings Texas Barbecue Sauce

{One year ago: Tilapia with Chile Butter and Ricotta Grits Cakes}

Source: adapted from BBQ USA by Steven Raichlen

Ingredients:
2 slices bacon, chopped into lardons
½ cup cider vinegar
1 cup beef stock
1 cup ketchup
1 tsp onion powder
1-2 tbs hot sauce (I used Texas Pete’s)
½ tsp liquid smoke
Kosher salt and black pepper

Directions:
Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until the fat has rendered and it’s very crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon. Discard, or drain it on paper towels and treat yourself to a chef’s snack.
Stir in the vinegar and bring to a boil. Stir in the stock, ketchup, onion powder, hot sauce, and liquid smoke and let return to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and let the sauce simmer until the flavors marry together and it has slightly thickened, about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent scorching on the bottom of the pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate if not using immediately. Serve at room temperature.
Makes about 2 cups.

Cumin-Cilantro Chicken Sliders

Chicken Sliders with Chipotle Mayonnaise

Happy Friday y’all! I am so ready for the weekend. Is it just me, or are four-day weeks seemingly tougher than regular five-day weeks? Seriously…

mixing chicken sliders

Since it seems to be grilling season pretty much everywhere by now (YEA!!), I thought I would leave you with these tasty little sliders. They’re pretty guilt-free and perfect for grilling. As another big plus, they are simple to throw together, and who doesn’t love a platter of cute little sliders to dive into? Despite the presence of chipotle they really aren’t very spicy. I haven’t tested them out on small children, but I imagine they would be fine for their palates.

Cumin-Cilantro Chicken Sliders

Chipotle Mayonnaise

So I definitely think these should go on your weekend menu. Crack open some icy cold Mexican beers, serve some tortilla chips with salsa and/or guacamole on the side, and you’ll have yourself a laid-back and extremely tasty little feast! Enjoy!

Cumin Cilantro Chicken Sliders

Inspired by: Homemade with Love by Jennifer Perillo

Ingredients:
SLIDERS:
1 ½ lbs. ground chicken
1 generous tbs cumin
1 generous tbs chopped cilantro
1 large garlic clove, minced
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 small to medium onion, sliced into rings and grilled if desired
8 slider rolls, split and toasted, if desired

CHIPOTLE MAYONNAISE:
½ cup mayonnaise
1 chipotle in adobo, minced
1 tsp lime juice

Directions:
Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the chicken, cumin, cilantro, garlic, plus salt and pepper to taste. Mix everything together with clean hands, but take care not to overmix. Form 8 little slider patties and be sure to make a slight indentation with your thumb or forefinger in the center of each slider. This will prevent “burger bulge” when you grill them.
Make the Chipotle Mayonnaise: in a small bowl, add the mayonnaise, chipotle in adobo, lime juice and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk together thoroughly until no lumps remain. Refrigerate until needed.
Oil your grill grate and cook the sliders until they are just cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Use a meat thermometer if you are unsure. Another method for determining doneness is to gently poke the center of the sliders with your index finger. If they still feel squishy, leave them on longer. They are perfect when they feel firm but not rock hard – a little bit springy, if you will. Admittedly, this method takes some practice.
Remove the sliders from the grill and place them on each bottom slider roll. Top with some onion rings, and whatever other garnishes you might desire. Spread the chipotle mayo on the top roll, then place it atop the sliders. Serve immediately.

Cajun Crab Cakes with Jalapeno Tartar Sauce

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Quite early into our dating relationship, Matt and I discovered that we are both cat people, so when things turned serious, it pretty much went without saying that we would be adopting cats at the first opportunity. That opportunity came shortly after we got married. One weekend we ventured to a wonderful no-kill shelter and brought home two six-month-old male tuxedo kitties. At this point I should tell you that I have an undergrad in biology and Matt is a chemist for a pharmaceutical company. So we named our cats after the scientists who discovered DNA: Watson and Crick.

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This is Watson

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This is Crick

A year and a half later, we got their crystallographer, Rosalind Franklin.

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This is Rosalind

At first we said we would be good cat parents and not feed them any people food. This rule lasted  a few months, until I accidentally dropped a piece of raw chicken on the kitchen floor, one of the cats immediately snapped it up, and from that point on, it was all over. The begging in earnest began, any time either of us is in the kitchen.

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We’ve been rather indulgent over the years; as a result, Watson and Crick have developed quite sophisticated and frankly, quite snooty, palates. (Rosalind is one of those odd cats who doesn’t care for people food). But the boys have literally gotten to where they will only eat squid, lobster, crab, and imported cured pork products. They turn their nose up at everything else. I wish I was kidding.

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They really love their crabmeat, and they get very loud and demanding excited when I make crab cakes, because it means that after I sift the meat for cartilage, they get to eat the scraps and flecks of meat left on the plate. And they lick it clean. As in, literally licking-the-plate-across-the-floor clean, which is why I had to switch to a plastic plate for sifting the crabmeat. Ceramic plates make a horrid screeching sound when being pushed across a tiled floor. *shudder*

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So I guess you could say my entire family enjoyed this meal! I made these last week while still on my New Orleans vacation high, thus why they are Cajun. 🙂 We did love them. Despite being Cajun, they are not too spicy, although the jalapeno tartar sauce made up for it aplenty. Omit the chiles if you want it milder.

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Source: adapted from Mr. B’s Bistro Cookbook

Ingredients:
JALAPENO TARTAR SAUCE:
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup diced dill pickles
2 tbs capers, plus 3/4 tsp of their juice
2 tbs diced poblano chile
2 tbs diced red onion
1 tbs diced jalapeno, with seeds
1 tbs sweet pickle relish
1 tbs hot sauce
1 tbs finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp lemon juice
Kosher salt, to taste

CRAB CAKES:
1 lb. jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage
1 medium red bell pepper, diced fine
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
3 scallions, sliced thin
Juice of 1/4 a lemon
1/4 tsp hot sauce
1/2 tsp Cajun or Creole seasoning
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tbs unsalted butter

Directions:
JALAPENO TARTAR SAUCE:
In a large bowl, whisk together all ingredients until smooth. Refrigerate, covered, until needed. This will make about 2 cups as written.

CRAB CAKES:
In a large bowl, combine the crabmeat, bell pepper, mayonnaise, panko, scallions, lemon juice, hot sauce, and Creole seasoning, being careful not to break up the crabmeat too much. Using a round biscuit cutter that is 2 1/2 inches in diameter, fill the cutter with the crab mixture and form into 8 cakes. Place the cakes on plates and refrigerate, uncovered, for 1 hour to help set.
Combine the flour, salt and black pepper on a plate. Lightly dust both sides of the cakes in the seasoned flour. Gently tap off the excess.
In a large skillet, melt 1 tbs butter over medium to medium-high heat. When the skillet is nice and hot, add 4 crab cakes and cook about 2 minutes each side, until evenly browned and crisped on the bottom. Adjust the heat as necessary – you don’t want them burned, but you do want a golden brown crust. Remove the first batch of cakes to a plate and repeat with the remaining 4 cakes.
Serve 2 cakes per person with the tartar sauce on the side.

Banh Mi

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A banh mi just might be the best sandwich on the planet.  If you’ve never tried one before, I implore you to track one down in your city as soon as possible. Or just make this one!

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The banh mi sandwich is Vietnamese street food.  They are very popular in Ho Chi Minh City and in many North American and European cities with a strong Vietnamese immigrant community.  The sandwich came about as a result of French colonization of Indochina.  It’s truly a fusion of French and Vietnamese flavors.  In New Orleans, which has a large Vietnamese community, they are called Vietnamese po’boys. (Which reminds me, Matt and I are headed to New Orleans next week, I need to track one down while we’re there.)

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I ate my first ever banh mi about a year ago, in my own city of New York.  A little bit of searching Google and Yelp led me to a small restaurant on the edges of Little Italy and Chinatown called Banh Mi Saigon.  These are apparently the best in New York you can find, or so I was told. You know what? I believe it.  Matt and I both had a religious experience with those sandwiches.  They were so amazing, and I knew instantly that I had to make them at home sometime.

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A banh mi is marinated pork that is cooked up and sliced or shredded.  The sandwich is assembled on French bread, with mayonnaise (that part is not optional!), and pickled Asian vegetables, plus some sliced cucumber and sliced jalapenos.  You can add Sriracha as a condiment if you like. And some versions call for mousse pate. This particular recipe is based on the NOLA version and does not include it. And I do not recall the sandwich I ate in NYC having the pate. But some do.

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The recipe I made called for pork tenderloin to be grilled and sliced.  You could easily sub in the same amount of pork shoulder, then slow cook and shred it.  Making these at home does require some prep ahead of time, but they are much easier than I was anticipating.  I hope you will make these sometime soon.  There’s no reason to deprive yourself of such deliciousness!

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Source: Emeril at the Grill by Emeril Lagasse

Ingredients:
2 green onions, minced
1 fresh red chile, such as Fresno, seeded and minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbs sugar
1/4 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
2 tbs Vietnamese fish sauce
1 1/2 tbs fresh lime juice
1 pork tenderloin, trimmed
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 French baguette
Spicy Vietnamese Mayonnaise (recipe to follow), or plain mayonnaise
Pickled Carrots and Daikon (recipe to follow)
1 Kirby cucumber, thinly sliced
2 jalapenos, thinly sliced
Fresh cilantro leaves, to taste

Directions:
In a resealable bag, combine the green onions, red chile, garlic, sugar, black pepper, fish sauce and lime juice. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add the pork, turn to coat evenly, and seal the bag. Allow the pork to marinate, refrigerated, for at least 6 hours and up to overnight, turning it occasionally.
Remove the pork from the marinade and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat your grill to medium-high.
Pat the pork dry and brush it all over with the oil. Grill the pork, turning often, until a meat thermometer inserted into the center reads 145 F. Remove pork and let rest, tented with aluminum foil, for 15 minutes. Then cut it into 1/4 inch thick slices.
Cut the baguette crosswise into 4 pieces. Cut each piece in half horizontally, but don’t cut all the way through. Remove some of the interior bread so it is less dense. Spread both sides of the bread liberally with the mayonnaise. Divide the sliced pork evenly among the bottom halves of the sandwiches. Top with the Pickled Carrots and Daikon, then cucumber slices, then jalapeno slices. Garnish with a few cilantro leaves, then close the sandwich. Serve immediately.

SPICY VIETNAMESE MAYONNAISE

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Ingredients:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tbs Sriracha sauce
1 tsp fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 tsp Vietnamese fish sauce

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir to blend thoroughly. Serve immediately, or refrigerate a few hours to let the flavors marry more intensely.

PICKLED CARROTS AND DAIKON

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Ingredients:
1 cup rice wine vinegar
3 tbs sugar
1/4 tsp crushed chile flakes
1/4 tsp salt
2 carrots, thinly sliced on the diagonol
1 cup thinly sliced daikon

Directions:
In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, sugar, crushed chile flakes, and salt and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Transfer the mixture to a non-reactive bowl or baking dish and add the carrots and daikon. Make sure they are all coated. Refrigerate, covered, for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.

Fried Summer Squash with a Horseradish Dipper

When it comes to eating, I was the child every expectant parent secretly prays they don’t have. To say I was picky puts it rather mildly. I really couldn’t stand eating vegetables. My parents preached nutrition until they were blue in the face, and they always served meals that included a veggie of some sort. And I didn’t really care for any of them, sometimes not even potatoes.

I put up a respectable fight on the I-will-not-eat-vegetables front. I’m not saying I won or anything, but I made quite an admirable effort to not insult my taste buds. I whined and cried. I tried to flatly and calmly refuse. I tried to politely turn them down. (“Here’s some asparagus, Julie.” “Oh, no thank you.”) I held my nose and made sure to chew with my mouth wide open, thinking that maybe they’d be so grossed out they would relent. Most often though, I cut my vegetable servings into teeny, tiny pieces and swallowed them whole with my water or iced tea. It took a while, and often I was still sitting at the dinner table a good half hour after everyone else had finished, still consuming my vegetables as though they were medicinal pills. And like swallowing medicine, I shuddered and made faces after each swallow. I must report that nothing really worked. Night after night my plate was still filled with vegetables, and my parents never let up on making sure I got my nutrients.

One veg that I hated in particular was cooked yellow summer squash. I thought it was slimy and had a weird, unpleasant flavor. That being said, I would, however, make a mighty exception when it was breaded and deep-fried. On those (not terribly frequent) occasions, I popped it into my mouth like it was Halloween candy, and begged for more when it was gone. This dish definitely stands out as one of my childhood favorites that my mom made at home.

I was recently flipping through a cookbook of family recipes she gave me when I got married, and I realized I didn’t see it in there. I hadn’t had it in years, and suddenly I was craving it. I knew I could recreate it in my own kitchen. I decided to make a dipping sauce to accompany it. Since the squash is rather sweet, I wanted the dip to have some heat. Horseradish became the star, mixed in with some mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon, and scallions. The dipper is my contribution to my mom’s classic dish. I think it worked. Mom, if you ever try it, let me know if you agree.

FRIED SUMMER SQUASH:

Ingredients:
1 large summer squash, thinly sliced into rounds
1/2 cup flour
3 tbs cornstarch
1 tbs sweet paprika
1 tbs garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
Dash of cayenne
2 eggs
Dash of hot sauce, such as TX Pete’s
Kosher salt and black pepper
Canola oil, for frying

Directions:
Combine the flour, cornstarch, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, and a healthy pinch of salt and pepper into a pie plate. Mix to combine.
In a second pie plate, whisk the eggs with a splash of water and a dash of hot sauce. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Dip the squash rounds in the flour, then shake off the excess. Then dip them in the egg wash, letting the excess drain off. Then they go back into the flour, again shaking off the excess. Place a cooling rack on a rimmed baking sheet and lay the squash on the cooling rack in a single layer. You will probably need two sheets. Continue until the squash has been battered. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to let them set up.
Pour the canola oil into your deep fryer according to manufacturer’s instructions and begin heating up.
When the oil is ready*, fry the squash in batches for about 3-4 minutes, flipping once during the cooking. They’re ready when they are nicely browned and the bubbles start subsiding. Lift them out with a slotted spoon onto paper towel lined plates to mop up any excess oil. While they are very hot, sprinkle with a dash of kosher salt. Repeat until done. Serve with the Horseradish Dipper.
* To test the readiness of your oil, simply drop in a pinch of the flour mixture you used to batter the squash. If it sinks and otherwise does nothing, your oil is too cold. If it immediately burns, your oil is too hot. What you’re looking for is for the flour to immediately begin bubbling but not immediately change color.

HORSERADISH DIPPER:

Ingredients:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
2 rounded tbs prepared horseradish, drained
2 scallions, chopped
Juice of half a lemon
3 dashes of hot sauce, such as TX Pete’s
Kosher salt and black pepper

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk thoroughly, making sure to get all the lumps out. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving. This allows the flavors to marry.

Dr Pepper Can Chicken

I discovered the concept of beer can chicken soon after getting married.  It looked very intriguing, so I went to Bed, Bath & Beyond and bought a beer can roaster for less than $10. (If you don’t have one, I highly recommend it).  Then I ventured to the grocery store for a whole chicken, some beer, and some spices.  I got home and eagerly set the whole thing up, only to discover, mid-way through roasting the bird no less, that our oven was malfunctioning.  I let it go the stated cook time, but it was still pretty raw inside.  I threw the chicken out, pouted for a bit, and ordered a pizza for dinner.  The next day our oven was fixed, so I made a second attempt, this time with success!  Spicy, smoky, moist, tender success.  On the can is a fantastic way to cook chicken, it leaves the lean breast meat, which is so prone to drying out, extremely moist and flavorful.

Steven Raichlen has an entire cookbook on birds on the can, and he definitely doesn’t stop with beer.  It got me thinking of all the flavorful soft drinks out there that could be used for this method of roasting chicken. I naturally turned to my own childhood favorite, Dr Pepper (Texas bred and bottled!).  I really don’t drink it anymore.  As an adult, I don’t feel my waistline can afford the calories, nor am I confident my aging metabolism should consume that much sugar on a regular basis.  So Diet Coke is my vice now, and even that I try to limit.  But I still allow myself to occasionally cook with soda.

I spent a long time thinking of how a Dr Pepper can chicken should be seasoned.  Dr Pepper tastes of cherry undertones, and some people even think Dr Pepper and Cherry Coke are the same thing (they’re not).  But they have a point, so cherries became a focal theme.  I also added a slight hint of vanilla, and some chipotle for some smokiness and heat.

The first time I made this it turned out pretty well, except that I put the glaze on too early and it was almost burned.  Not quite, but pretty close.  So I resolved to correct for that. I’ve made this dish twice in the past month.  First for some friends, who absolutely raved over it.  I applied the glaze later on in the cooking process and voila! The problem was solved.  No almost burnt taste at all.  True story, my friends’ life insurance salesman even stopped by that evening, and he tasted and loved the chicken too.  So 1970’s, I love it!

One of said friends, a crackerjack cook himself, suggested I make a Dr Pepper barbecue sauce to accompany the chicken and tie all the flavors together.  I thought it was a fantastic idea, so upon returning home, I made the dish yet again, this time with the sauce.  And now the dish is perfect.  Thank you Mosi!  (And apologies for not getting any pictures of the barbecue sauce.  I guess we were in a hurry to eat!)

CHICKEN:

Ingredients:
1 whole 3-4 lb chicken
1 can DP, half poured out and reserved
1 tbs brown sugar
1 ½ tsp chipotle chili powder
2 tsp sweet paprika
Salt & black pepper
¼ cup pitted cherries, fresh or frozen
2 chipotle chiles in adobo
3 tsp honey
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 garlic clove

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F. Place the DP can in a beer can roaster. In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar, chile powder and paprika. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper. Then mix most of the rub onto all sides of the chicken. Put the rest of the rub in the opened can of DrPepper. Don’t worry if it fizzes.

In a small food processor, combine the cherries, chipotles in adobo, honey, vanilla extract, and garlic clove. Process until ground to a fine paste. Position the chicken over the can so that it is sitting upright. Fold the legs together to ensure even cooking.

Roast at 350 F for about 1 and a half hours, depending on the size of your chicken. Use a meat thermometer to ensure doneness, but to avoid overcooking. You want it to read 165 F when inserted in the middle of the breast. In the last 10 minutes of cooking (when the meat thermometer reads 155 F), brush the chicken all over with half of the glaze. You’ll use the other half in the barbecue sauce. Return to the oven and continue cooking. When done, remove from oven, CAREFULLY remove with tongs from the can, let rest for about ten minutes, then carve and serve!

DR PEPPER BARBECUE SAUCE:

Ingredients:
½ cup ketchup
½ cup chili sauce
¼ cup cider vinegar
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp chipotle chile powder
½ the cherry glaze
¾ cup DrPepper
Salt and black pepper

Directions:
In a medium saucepan, combine the ingredients and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down and continue to simmer for thirty minutes, until thickened. Shut off the heat and let come to room temperature. Serve alongside the chicken.

Grilled Salmon with Tamarind-Peach Barbecue Sauce

Peaches, peaches and more peaches!  That sums up the month of August in my kitchen.  I first tasted peach flavored barbecue sauce several years ago and found it delightful, a pleasant marriage of sweet and tangy.  That dish was a version of barbecue chicken, which, let’s face it, can be a little high in calories what with all that beautiful chicken skin. I knew I couldn’t let National Peach Month get away from us without making a peach barbecue sauce of some kind, but I wanted something lighter than a whole chicken.

Enter this recipe.  It fit the bill nicely.  The tamarind didn’t overwhelm but added some nice flavor.  It paired nicely with the salmon.  I must admit, as much as I love the texture, I often find salmon’s flavor to be on the bland side.  I look at it as a blank flavor canvas, so I always either marinate it, spice rub it, or sauce it up.  Or, I glaze it while it’s cooking.  That may be one of the best ways to have salmon.  The sticky lacquer of the glaze compliments the thick fattiness of the fish so beautifully.  Now I’m thinking I must make this kind of dish soon…

This barbecue sauce would make a fine accompaniment to pork or chicken as well.  The flavor did not overwhelm the salmon at all, but, given my love of glazed salmon, I found myself thinking the dish would have been better had some of the sauce ingredients been reduced down to make a glaze that would have been brushed on while grilling.  An idea for a different dish, perhaps.  I suppose I also think glazed would’ve been superior simply because I associate barbecue sauce with meat or poultry, and associate glazes with firm fish, like salmon.  Does anyone else feel that way, or is it just me?

Source: Emeril at the Grill, by Emeril Lagasse

Ingredients:
2 tbs unsalted butter
1/2 cup diced red onion
1 tsp minced garlic
1 serrano chile, stemmed, halved, and thinly sliced
4 cups peeled, pitted, diced peaches
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 tsp orange zest
2 tbs cider vinegar
2 tbs brown sugar
2 tsp tamarind paste or tamarind concentrate
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
4 (6 oz.) pieces salmon fillet, pinbones removed
1 tbs olive oil

Directions:
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and chile and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the peaches and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the ketchup, orange juice and zest, vinegar, brown sugar, and tamarind. Stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook 30 minutes, or until thickened. Puree the sauce with an immersion blender until it’s smooth. Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl, pressing with a rubber spatula to extract all the juices. Discard solids. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Allow sauce to cool to room temperature before serving.
Preheat a grill to medium heat level.
Brush both sides of the salmon with the olive oil, then season to taste with salt and black pepper. Place fish on the grill and cook for about 2 minutes. Then rotate the fish 45 degrees and cook an additional 2 minutes. Turn the fish over and cook for another 2 minutes, or until it’s cooked to your desired doneness.
Serve the salmon drizzled with the barbecue sauce.

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

One of the tastiest restaurants I’ve found thus far in New York is called The Meatball Shop.  It’s located on the Lower East Side, a very fun neighborhood, and their focus is almost solely on meatballs.  Cooking Channel featured it a few years ago and their business took off like the Road Runner on crystal meth.  Now they have two other locations and I won’t be the least bit surprised to find more in the future.  When Matt and I first ate there, it only had the one (extremely tiny) location, and they didn’t take reservations.  So we showed up and were told there’d be a thirty minute wait.  Fine.  We milled about and came back at the stated time.  Then, and this has never happened to me before, we were told we could either wait another thirty minutes for a table or……. Eat standing up.  At first I thought they were joking, but no. They have two back-to-back tables about chest-high with no chairs, because there literally isn’t room for chairs.  The table is shoved into a corner where you literally have your back to a wall, and people crowding you on the other side.  It made for a claustrophobic dining experience, and this comes from someone who gets extremely and irrationally claustrophobic at times.  I’ll run in heels to make sure I ride the subway on one of the end cars because they are usually less crowded.  So it was a dining experience I didn’t care to repeat, despite the outstanding food.

A few months later, the owners of the restaurant released a cookbook with their recipes, and I didn’t hesitate to grab it.  They very nicely afforded me the opportunity to sample their delicious creations in my own home where I always have the choice to eat sitting down.

I’ve made several of their meatballs and have loved them all.  This is one of my favorites.  It’s tasty, of course, and surprisingly not too spicy.  Stick toothpicks in them and it’s deceptively elegant for a cocktail party.  The recipe calls for all chicken thigh meat, and I’d encourage you to heed their advice.  If you don’t have a meat grinder, you can always take some thighs from the packaged meat section and have the butcher grind it for you.  It’ll be worth the extra step, I promise.  Dark meat is a little fattier, so it stays really moist and tender this way.  Using all breast, or even a mix or dark and white, tends to dry out your end product.

Source: adapted from The Meatball Shop Cookbook, by Daniel Holzman and Michael Chernow

Ingredients:
1/2 cup buffalo sauce OR combine 4 tbs melted butter with 1/3 cup Frank’s RedHot original sauce
1 lb. ground chicken, preferably thigh meat
1 large egg
1/2 celery stalk, minced
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp salt
Blue Cheese Dressing (recipe to follow)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450 F. Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish. Set aside.
Combine the buffalo sauce, chicken, egg, celery, bread crumbs, and salt in a large mixing bowl and mix by hand until thoroughly incorporated.
Roll the mixture into round, 3/4 inch balls, making sure to pack the meat firmly. Place the balls in the prepared baking dish, being careful to line them up snugly and in even rows horizontally and vertically to form a grid. The meatballs should be touching one another. As you can see from the pictures, mine did not, and they turned out fine.
Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, or until firm and cooked through. A meat thermometer inserted into the center of a meatball should read 165 F.
Allow the meatballs to cool for 5 minutes in the baking dish before serving.

BLUE CHEESE DRESSING:

Ingredients:
3/4 cup sour cream
1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/3 cup whole milk
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp salt or more to taste
Black pepper, to taste
1 tbs red wine vinegar

Directions:
Place the sour cream, blue cheese, milk, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, and vinegar in a medium bowl and whisk thoroughly to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.