Bacon Corn Salad

This is some bbq chicken, peppers and corn salad I made a few weeks. It was delicious. I can’t stop making each of these things. But that corn salad…? I couldn’t not put bacon in it, so that’s what I did. 🙂 (See below pix for that version.)

Grilled Bacon Corn Salad:
2-3 Bacon Strips, 1/2″ cuts
2 Smoked corn cobbs in the husks, cooled enough to hold
1/4 Red Onion (can be raw or pickled – I use what I have on hand)
1 Jalapeno, seeded, fine diced
1/4 Smoked Sweet Pepper, fine diced
2 tbsp BBQ Dry Rub (of choice)

3-4 tbsp Italian Dressing
1 small bunch Parsley, chopped
Parm grated or Queso crumbled

In a pan or on a griddle, heat up bit of oil and lay the bacon over it to render out the fat. Add the veg and shuffle it around so nothing sticks to the surface and it gets cooked evenly. Add the dry rub and keep cooking the mix until the bacon gets crispy and the veg softens, about 5-8 mins.

Off the heat, dump it into a big bowl and roll it around with the dressing and parsley. Plate with the cheese of choice on top. Serve room temp or warm.

If making ahead of time, lay the corn salad in one even layer on a big sheet pan to rapid cool for up to 20 mins before storing in the fridge.

 

Nick’s Greek Potatoes

(From the archives)

We have the loveliest Greek customer who comes in from time to time – even from miles away now that he’s recently moved to a difference city. Every time he comes in, we visit. And every time I hear his accent and the cadence of his old world Greek accent, I instantly crave Greek potatoes in the worst way.

I guess I’ve wore Nick down over the last few visits because today he gave me his secrets to making the best Greek Potatoes ever. Can you get any better than a Greek telling you how they make potatoes in the oven at home?! I think not!

Greek Potatoes:
* 1+ lbs Yellow potatoes, peeled and cut into sections of your choice (halves, quarters or eights), dried with a kitchen towel really well
* 2 tablespoons olive oil (regular not virgin)
* S&P to taste
* 1/2 – 1 teaspoon each: oregano and thyme (or just thyme), pinched to release flavours
* Lemon juice from one lemon freshly squeezed
* Small dabs or brush strokes of garlic butter on top of each potato

Bake covered in the oven at 350 for 75 minutes. Remove the cover every so often and stir potatoes so they don’t stick to pan and burn. There’s no need to babysit them, so once or twice is fine. Each time, dab or brush a bit of the butter on the potato tops. Cook until fork tender. Uncover the pan and continue cooking the potatoes in the oven for the next 15 minutes on broiler setting to crisp up the edges.

Serve with rice, salad, and meat dish of your choice. Popular Greek meals include tender meats like lamb.

These potatoes will be a home run every time as long as you’re patient while they slow cook. The smells coming from your oven will be so delicious and overwhelming, you’ll be tempted to eat them half way through the cooking cycle. I’ve been there, done that. Heh.

This entry was posted on July 7, 2011.

Breakfast Kebabs

Although it’s not hot here – or when it is, it’s not deathly hot – like it in the deep southern part of the States, I still needed to use up some fruit I bought days ago that were on the cusp of aging out. I’m not about food waste if I can help it. I trimmed off the bad parts and used what was left to make five large fruit kebabs we ate as part our breakfast this morning.

It’s currently +22C. Not too shabby. I’ll take it.

That’s the breakfast hash I made using leftover baby potatoes, sweet potato, and hot sausage that I smoked on the bbq.

A&W Onion Ring Seasoning

It’s Canada day, a day of reflection upon who we actually are vs who we like to pretend we are. Hard ugly truths are bitter pills that are hard to swallow, but we must take our medicine at some point so we can start some kind of change for the better, right?

Also, Canadians don’t have much in the way of culture outside of the Indigenous, Inuit, Metis and Quebec peoples to lay claim to, but we do have a fast food franchise called A&W that makes the best onion rings I’ve ever tasted. I have been working on figuring out the secret or the formula off and on all year, but I had a chance meeting with an employee yesterday and they openly told me the secret.

We love A&W root beer in this house.

I was close, but not close enough. Here it is:

1 tbsp Onion Powder
1 tea Garlic Powder
1/2 tea Chili Powder

My last attempt at making these beautiful rings at home a few months back.

I figured out the increments for making a small batch at home. They could only tell me what the powders were but not how much since it wouldn’t help me unless I plan to open my own food shack tomorrow. 🙂

So, this blend is the seasoning you will add to your coating bowl in a 3-bowl dredge station. This should be enough to batter and fry up rings from at least two medium to large sized onions.

Santa Fe Salad

I discovered this one watching a tv cooking show. It’s going to be in heavy rotation around here this summer, me thinks. I can already imagine it plated beside the smoked ribs we are going to make on our charcoal bbq. Oh, boy!

Santa Fe Salad:
1 sm can Black Beans, rinsed
1 1/2 C Frozen Corn, rinsed to thaw quickly
1/4 C Red Onion, diced
Pinch Cilantro leaves, fine chop (garnish)

2 Limes, Juices
1/4 C Olive Oil
1 Tea ea: Chili Pepper Flakes, Garlic Powder, Honey

Shake the dressing up in a mason jar. Pour over veg mix. Toss in the bowl right before serving.

Easy Pico de Gallo

I love Tex-Mex (and real Mexican food when I get my hands on it). Otherwise, I make what I can at home when I’m in the mood and the produce is at its best throughout the year. One of the easiest sides/toppers for any dish is a little mix called Pico de Gallo. I can’t get enough. *drooling*

Pico de Gallo:
4 large Field Tomatoes (or 6 Romas), 1/4″ dice
1 Red Onion, fine dice
1 bunch Cilantro, fine diced leaves
1/2 Garlic Clove, grated
1 Jalapeno, seeded/fine dice
Big pinch Salt

I find the longer this can sit in the fridge setting up, the better it tastes.

Auntie Stacey’s Tabbouleh

tabbouleh[ Click to embiggen ]

Tabbouleh is a great salad for the summer months when the heat is intense and the stove is ignored in our house. I really love eating it at room temperature, too. I’m weird like that. It makes a wonderful addition to salad bars, so keep this in mind for your next brunch. It’ll be a lovely unexpected surprise for your vegetarian guests. We all get stumped when planning meals for those who have specific eating habits, right? It’s all ok because tabbouleh is here to save the day, and your dinner parties!

Years ago I worked with a chef named Sami. Sami is from Lebanon. Sami’s mother taught him how to cook as a little boy. Many of the recipes she taught him he still uses today at work and at home. He used to make the best tabbouleh I have ever eaten, so one day I begged him to teach me the ways of his magical salad. Surprisingly, he was happy to pass it along to me, imparting some great home cooking philosophy along the way.

Here is a version of his mother’s tabbouleh based on my calculations and ingredient choices. He never gave me increments, just suggestions and steps. His feeling is that tabbouleh should be a free flowing salad that has some basics for structure but lots of freedom for using the freshest ingredients you can get your hands on, so feel free to look at this recipe as I do – as a guideline.

Auntie Stacey’s Tabbouleh:
1/2 C Bulgar
1 C Water, boiled
1 Tea Salt

1/2 Yellow Onion, medium sized, chopped to small dice
1 C Water, very hot
1 C Water, very cold

2 Tomatoes, medium Hot House (or 1 C chopped Grape Tomatoes)
1/4 C Herb of choice, fresh, washed and chopped up, packed down *

1/2 Tea Pepper, fresh cracked
1-2 Tea Lemon or Lime Juice, freshly squeezed
1/4 C Olive Oil

* Note: I have made this salad over the years using the following herbs: parsley (flat or curly – doesn’t much matter except for presentation aesthetics), mint (lovey when in season and the herb Sami liked to add a sprinkling of along with the parsley when it was in season), and cilantro (I love cilantro so I tend to use this a lot). This will be the first year I’m growing sorrel, and with its lemony tinged taste, I will be trying that in this salad as soon as I can, so I’ll report back at a later date about how well it worked, or didn’t.

Place the bulgar and salt (mixed up) into the boiling water for 30 minutes to cook. In the meantime, prep all the other ingredients. In a bowl, place very hot water from the tap over the small diced onion bits and let it sit for 5-10 minutes to take the sting off. Afterward, drain the hot water and cover with very cold tap water. Let it rest the same amount of time before draining and dumping the onion into a large container. Set this aside.

While the onion is bathing in the hot and cold baths, wash and chop up the fresh herb and measure it out to a packed 1/4 cup. Top the onion with it. Cut and seed the tomatoes. Dice them to a small but not too small size. Top the herbs and onions with the diced tomatoes. Crack the pepper over top and pour the juice of half a lemon (about 1-2 teaspoons) and olive oil over that.

When the bulgar is finished cooking, fluff it up and dump it over the other ingredients in the large container. Using a spatula or gloved hands, till all of the ingredients well in the container, until everything is sure to be covered by the citrus juice and cracked pepper. Taste the overall flavour, and adjust the amount of salt and pepper as desired at this point.

Cover and chill this salad for at least 24 hours before serving. It will be hard (I know!), but the ingredients need time to rest and marry with each other. Trust me, the wait will be worth the time and resistance.

Leftover Jasmine Rice Fritters

RiceFritter-1[ Click picture to embiggen ]

Sometimes the best meals are made with leftovers. Especially when it comes to breakfast meals. That’s a FACT. Dispute it all you want, but you’ll never convince me otherwise. I’m stubborn like that. 😉

Today I went on a bit of a cleaning jag, and before I knew it half of my fridge was cleaned and organized, all the turning bad food stuffs were recycled, and I was cleaning the dirty food containers when my stomach let me know it was time to turn my attention it.

I went back into the fridge because the thought of cereal made me weepy. I wasn’t into standard breakfast fare today. I spotted a huge container of jasmine rice and an idea formed. We love jasmine in this house. And since it’s a long-ish cook rice, we always make five times more than we need to every time go. We use the leftovers for fried rice typically, but I’m always looking to stretch my repertoire of things I can use this gorgeous, nutty flavoured rice with or in.

Today’s breakfast quickly took the form of a fritter. I grabbed an egg, some cornstarch, a nub of red onion that I grated, and mixed those items with some rice I heated up with a few sprinkles of water under plastic wrap for 40 seconds to soften and moisten it. I also threw in some dried parsley for colour and to cut the sting of the onion for good measure, and finished the mixture off with a bit of S&P.

Leftover Rice Fritters:
1 C leftover Rice, of choice (the meat of this fritter)
1 Egg, preferably room temp (for binding)
2 Tbsp Cornstarch (for crispness)
1-2 Tbsp shredded Onion (for sting)
2 Tbsp Parsley, fresh and chopped finely, or half this for dried version (for colour)
S&P, to taste (for seasoning)
Oil (for cooking)

Adobo Mayo Dip:
1 Tbsp Adobo sauce (for heat)
1 C Mayonaise (for creaminess)
1-2 dollops Sour Cream or plain Greek yogurt (for tempering) – optional

RiceFritters-2

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I used an ice cream scoop to drop six balls into the hot oil dancing in my frying pan, and slowly pushed the rice mixture down into patties with the back of my wooden spoon. When the first side was crisp and golden brown, I flipped them over to fry the backside. Each side took about 3-5 mins, more or less. I wasn’t paying attention since I was cleaning up my mess and making a dip as the fritters did their thing in the pan.

I made a great little kicker mayo dip to go with it that consisted of one tablespoon of adobo sauce and one cup of mayonaise. It wasn’t too crazy hot but if you eat enough of it, like I did dipping bite size chunks of the fritters into it, you will find by your third fritter the back of your mouth and top of your throat are starting to feel scorched. If that kind of heat isn’t for you, I recommend dropping a dollop or two of either sour cream or plain Greek yogurt in with the mayo to temper the sting.

I love fritters of all kinds. And before today, my favourite was the classic zucchini fritter. I can’t get enough of them in the summer. It’s amazing how many I have eaten in my lifetime now that I think about it. I’m surprised I never realized I had a wee addiction going on there until today. Ha.

RiceFritter-CrossSection

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This fritter recipe is a keeper. I think I will use this one for fall and winter times, though. The rice is on the heavy side, so I couldn’t eat more than three fritters with my cup of coffee and the mayo dip sauce. I got quite full quite fast. Sorta like I do when I eat half a Belgian waffle. I guess I’ll have to stick to vegetable fritters for the spring and summer months instead. I’m a bit of a lightweight eater that way. 🙂

Pico de Gallo Salsa Dip

PicoDeGallo

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Pico de Gallo Salsa Dip
2C diced up tomatoes of choice (I used grape, but you can use Roma)
1 small red onion chopped fine
1C chopped up flat leaf parsley or cilantro (if you have it onhand)
1/2 – 1 tea minced garlic
1/4 tea cayenne pepper (this & hot sauce are substitute for finely diced jalapeno pepper)
1/4 tea hot sauce (I use the Chinese hot pepper mix I use in my Asian dishes)
Freshly squeezed juice from one lime (more if you like it stronger)
S&P to taste

Mix well together in a large bowl and refrigerate in a mason jar for at least 24 hours so all of the flavours marry. (Though, at this point it will be rather tasty so you could serve it immediately if time isn’t on your side.)