Archive | April, 2012

Crab Cake Sliders with Pineapple Kiwi Salsa

20 Apr

Crab. Spice. Kiwi. SLIDERS. Need I say much more? Are you in? That’s how I felt. All I needed was to see this picture and I knew it was the perfect dinner for a warm April night.

Similar to the Quinoa Salad I posted yesterday, this has three concoctions that you need to make which all combine to make the most delicious, delectable, mouth-watering sliders. The recipe is from one of my favorite sites – How Sweet It Is. Definitely high on my list of blogs to read every week. Love her blog, recipes, ramblings etc. Love. It. All.

Read it.

Ok, good chat.

Ready to make some crab cakes?!

Ingredients:

For the crab cakes (I halved the original recipe) – makes 4-5 sliders:

  • 1/2 pound lump crabmeat
  • 4 saltine crackers, crushed (I used large, textural multigrain crackers…which was perfect)
  • 1/2 large egg (I know what you’re thinking, but if you crack it in a separate dish and only use roughly half…it works.)
  • 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tablespoon plain greek yogurt or mayonnaise (If you go the greek yogurt route I put emphasis on plain yogurt. No vanilla yogurt. That’d be weird)
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil (for cooking the crab cakes…NOT for mixing in with the crab cakes)
  • 4-5 whole grain slider buns or dinner rolls

For the pineapple kiwi salsa:

  • 1 kiwi, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeño, chopped
  • 2 pineapple rings, chopped (I bought a can of pineapple rings – this is the easier route than using an actual pineapple)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • the juice of half a lime (about 1 Tbsp)
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the spicy lime sauce:

  • 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt (Again, no vanilla yogurt. Gross. Just plain.)
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce (or more if desired)
  • zest of half of a lime
  • juice of half a lime

How to Make:

I worked backwards, making the salsa first, then the sauce and then the crab cakes. I didn’t want any cold crab cakes! That’s just not right. So, salsa first.

Chop up your kiwi, red onion, jalapeño, pineapple rings and cilantro. Toss them all together in a bowl and then douse them with the half of the lime.

Set it off to the side and marvel and how fantastic it looks. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Perhaps have a taste test. Or two. Or seven.

Now for the sauce! Measure out your plain greek yogurt and pour it into a separate small bowl. Juice the other half of your lime and dribble in your Sriracha sauce. (I am not a huge fan of Sriracha sauce and now have a giant bottle in my refrigerator. If you live nearby, come and grab it. It’s yours. I only needed it for this recipe and have no idea when I’ll ever use up the entire bottle. It will take 27 years. Serious.) Zest your lime and sprinkle it in with the rest of the sauce and stir it all up. I popped this in the refrigerator while we made the crab cakes.

Crab cake time baby. Combine all ingredients except for olive oil (I was a moron and didn’t read the directions and combined this with my ingredients. Don’t be like me. Read the directions.) in a bowl and stir it all up until it’s all thoroughly mixed together. A spatula works best for this task.

Heat up a skillet on medium heat and drizzle in your olive oil. While it’s heating up, form the crab cake mixture into small, thick patties. You should have enough for 4-5  patties. (Note my awesome plate below…it’s from one of my best friends and says ‘big’ and then a picture of a giant smiling cheese. I giggle every time I use it. The end.)

Place them in your skillet and cook until they turn a lovely light golden color. This takes just about 4 minutes on each side. Your kitchen smells just grand at this point. Mmmmm…crab.

Once the sliders are ready to be eaten, put ’em on a plate, grab the salsa and sauce and begin assembling!

I slathered the sauce on both top and bottom buns and then placed the salsa in a nice, round heap on top of the crab cake patty. Bun on top and you are about to taste heaven.

Mmmmmmm….

Blueberry & Mango Quinoa Salad

19 Apr

Have you ever had quinoa (pronounced keen-wah)?! I never had, but have been hearing about it for quite some time. It’s usually in any list of ‘super foods’ due to its many health and nutritional benefits. But what are those benefits and why is quinoa so great?!?

Get this…it has twice the protein of rice. Wow! It also has all nine essential amino acids, contains vitamin B12, B6 and E, magnesium, iron and zinc. It’s also high in dietary fiber AND….it’s not technically a grain (no gluten in those seeds!) so those gluten-free can still enjoy these tasty little guys.

I found all of these fun facts in my Power Foods cookbook. It also has tons of quinoa recipes which I’ll need to start trying out! The cookbook has both delicious recipes and fantastic photos so I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to start cooking healthy but is not into giving up taste. (Here, here!)

So, enough on the health lesson, quinoa is good for you but how does it taste? Similar to a rice or couscous, it’s all about how you cook it. I found a delicious looking recipe on pinterest that caught my eye and gave me the incentive I needed to buy and eat quinoa for the first time.

The pin took me to a great vegetarian blog, Veggie Belly,  that I encourage you all to look through, no matter if you’re a vegetarian or not. If this recipe is any indication of the taste of her other recipes, it’s bound to be a great site to explore.

Here we go…let the quinoa experiment begin!

Ingredients:

I didn’t alter the ingredients from the original recipe at all, so below is exact wording from Veggie Belly in all aspects of the ingredients and amounts. There are three separate things to make for this salad, broken down below by the ingredients needed for each:

For the quinoa
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup water

For the fruits and veggies
½ cup fresh blueberries
½ cup cubed ripe mangoes
½ cup cubed cucumbers
1/2 tablespoon dried cranberries

For the lemon basil dressing
1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
10 Basil leaves, chopped finely
Salt and pepper

How to Make:

Combine the quinoa and water in a skillet and bring it up to a boil.

I had mine at medium/medium high heat. Once it’s boiling, reduce the heat and cover. I had mine moved down to low heat for this. You’re going to now let it simmer for just about 15 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready to go when you lift up the lid and all that you see is quinoa and no water. You’ll then “fluff the quinoa” according to Veggie Belly – aka – stir it up from where it’s set in on the bottom of the skillet. You can let it cool completely or eat it slightly warm if you’d like too.

While you’re waiting for the 15 minutes of simmering time to pass…instead of the usual distractions of Hulu, making your bed or pinteresting (maybe that’s just me that does those things while killing time?!), you’ll want to chop your fruits and veggie.

Now, I had absolutely no idea how to slice a mango. As you can see, it was a day full of new experiences for me. You may be well-versed in mango slicing and can then skip this next piece. My sous chef for the day shared some wisdom about how this is done properly. Slice the mango the long way, on either side of the long, skinny pit. For each side you sliced off, you can then cube it as my super, expert sous chef does in the pictures below. We then decided the leftover middle chunk left around the pit was best for gnawing at instead of trying to also cube it for the salad. But up to you and how you like to use all parts of your mango.

Ok, I expect you know how to cube the cucumber and well, the blueberries just have to be measured. Combine those three things (and I even threw in the dried cranberries too) in a small bowl and refrigerate until you’re ready to add them to the quinoa.

Last step – the dressing. Add your lemon juice, lemon zest and olive oil to a small bowl.

Chop up the basil – which I do by rolling the leaves all up together and the chopping them all at once. Add your basil to the rest of the dressing and set it aside until you’re ready.

We were eating immediately and were doing so by the lake I live by. We plopped all three mixtures into little Tupperware containers and then once we got to our designated eating location, mixed everything up together in two bowls, one for each of us.

If you’re a person who likes only a bit of dressing, you don’t have to add it all. We used about 91% of it though (It was yummy and I couldn’t resist. At all.) and I didn’t find it too liquidy or oily in the slightest.

This was perfect for a light lunch for two – great for any Spring or Summer day.

Let me know what you think of the quinoa – I liked it and am looking forward to trying another recipe with it soon!

White Sangria

15 Apr

This is the last of the Easter posts and a short one at that. No fear though, short or wordy, all posts are still worthwhile of you reading. 🙂 There are plenty of other posts ready to be written after these Easter posts too, don’t you worry about that!

We hosted a larger group than normal at the Vose house for our Easter this year, and instead of offering our normal array of wine, beer and pop, I thought it’d be fun to add an additional ‘fun’ drink for everyone to enjoy prior to our mid-afternoon dinner.

I’ve made this once before for a bunch of my girlfriends – and that version I made the way the original recipe was written. This new version was created out of lack of pomegranate seeds and using the selection of alcohol available. I think white sangria can truly be a great experiment for anyone and you can throw in different fruits and liquids until you’ve found the concoction that suits you and your guests.

I found the recipe on Pinterest and it caught my eye because it was so pretty. It’s always more fun to serve a fancy beverage when it looks as great as it tastes, right?! The pin took me to this website (which I can’t wait to explore more!) and the recipe below:

Ingredients:

  • 1 bottle white wine (I used a different variety for the two times I made it and even for the different batches I made at both occasions. So, just pick a white wine that you like best.)
  • 3 cans 7up or Sprite (The first time I made this I had extra ginger ale leftover from another recipe…it works just as well if you don’t have 7up or Sprite on hand)
  • A splash of Grand Marnier (I didn’t have any for the Easter crew, so we used Triple Sec instead and I think it worked just fine as a substitute)
  • Seeds of 1 pomegranate (We couldn’t find a pomegranate or any seeds in the Mankato grocery store, so we got creative and used frozen strawberries to be consistent with the pop of red color. However, highly recommend using pomegranate seeds if you can find them!)
  • Two limes, sliced
  • Ice cubes
  • (For the Easter version, as we lacked pomegranate seeds, we used a splash of pomegranate juice…just so that subtle flavor was still in the mixture…but not necessary to include this if you in fact find the seeds.)

How to Make:

Ready for it??!? All you must do…mix everything together in one large punch bowl or glass pitcher. (Well, I do hope you slice up your limes first and if you do happen upon a pomegranate, seed it and then transfer the seeds into your concoction. However, it all ends up mixed together to create one pretty and one very tasty libation.)

A few recommendations, beyond the ingredient substitutes above…

  • I do recommend using either a clear bowl or pitcher – this is too pretty to not have on display.
  • Don’t forget to pour extra ice in as needed to keep it cool (Disregard I didn’t add ice yet to the pitcher in the pictures above…I did add that right after. I solemnly swear).
  • You may need two pitchers to house all the liquid, as for us at least, we didn’t have one pitcher quite big enough and the 4th of July themed punch bowl just didn’t seem suited to Easter with its American Flag design. So, no worries if you have a ‘back-up’ pitcher in the fridge while the other is out for your guests.

Enjoy (and don’t forget to enjoy the pomegranate seeds or frozen fruit substitute too)!

PB&J Potato Chip Thumbprint Cookies

14 Apr

Were you the cool kid who put potato chips on your peanut butter and jelly sandwich? I bet you were! There’s just something great about the mix of the sweet jam and the salty chips…not to mention a nice, satisfying crunch every bite would create.

However, if you’re thinking – what the heck!? Chips and PB&J? Who ARE you?! I hope you take second to gather yourself, and then read on. These are cookies that bring the best of the sweet and salty worlds together and I sincerely believe you’ll like them. I made them over Easter and my sample group of friends and family (who are extremely blunt) told me they were very tasty. I even doubled checked with a few to be sure they weren’t ‘just being nice’. I wouldn’t dare blog about a recipe unless it would be delicious for YOU to try!

When the results were in – these were a winner. They’re not hard to make, but are more fun when you have sous chefs or visitors to chat with while making. You’ll see what I mean.

This is a recipe from a blog I LOVE to read – Spoon Fork Bacon. They have it all with great pictures, tasty recipes and my kind of humor.

Ok – lets get to the cookies:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter (I don’t think crunchy would work as well for baking, but if you’re a rebel, give it a go!)
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups potato chips, crushed (pop the chips into a Ziplic and pound them onto the counter top or roll on top of them with a rolling pin. Or find other demolition possibilities.)
  • ½ cup jam of your choice (I used a classic [in my opinion] – strawberry. Go with your favorite PB&J jam flavor and I’m sure it’ll be an excellent choice.)

How to Make:

Preheat your oven to 375. Don’t forget this step! (We all know I tend to do that. Oopie.)

Grab your hand mixer (if you’re a sad person like me) or a stand mixer (if you’re one of THOSE people…yes, yes we know I want to BE one of THOSE people…) and cream your butter. I highly recommend you don’t attempt to cream together very cold butter. That would be a rookie mistake right?!? Who does that?! I’m sure you see where this is going…don’t be like me. Work with warm, room temp butter or if needed, pop it into the microwave for a few seconds to soften it up. Butter creams so much better when it’s not cold. (Your butter should not be clumpy like my cold butter in the pic below. I did microwave it a bit after this pic and it actually ‘creamed’ instead of ‘clumped’ after that.)

Add in both of your sugars and cream those in with the butter (I was a space cadet and just added the white sugar…as you’ll see in the pictures. Don’t worry, I did eventually come to my senses and add in the brown sugar. But avoid this moment by just adding in both at the right moment.)  This will take you approximately 3 minutes to cream everything together.

Add in the 1 whole egg (save the 1 egg white for later) and vanilla. Keep up the mixing so these two new ingredients are thoroughly mixed in there.

Grab yourself another bowl and “sift together” (Those are the words of gals on Spoon Fork Bacon. I don’t sift due to lack of sifter and just mixed in all ingredients like normal. If you want authentic cookies as SFB describes…sift your little heart out.) your flour, baking soda and salt.

Once it’s all mixed together well – add it  into your other ingredients and stir it all up to combine, just right. At this point add the PB and make sure it’s thoroughly mixed in. You don’t want any cookies to not have the proper PB taste…so mix well people!

Now, the fun part! Find a little bowl for your egg white – this will be station #2. Put your crushed chips out on a cutting board or a big plate – this will be station #3. Spray your cookie sheet with some Pam and lay it nearby – this will be station #4. Ready?

Roll your dough into a ball (station #1)…

…drop into the egg white (station #2)… [ignore the terrible pic…I’m posting just to show what station #2 looks like]

…then pull it out and roll it in potato chips (station #3) … (the below pic is like ‘Where’s Waldo’ except it’s ‘Where’s the Cookie’?)

then place it on your baking sheet (station #4). Rinse, repeat. Oh wait, that’s something else. You know what I mean…repeat until you have 12-15 balls on your baking sheet. Make sure they’re all evenly spaced (laying them in a 3×4 or 3×5 pattern works best I think).

Now for the finishing touch – find your pinkie finger…the left one…or the right one…or your Mom’s…doesn’t matter. Gently press the pinkie into the center of each cookie ball. Now, they’re oven ready!

Put them in the oven for 12-15 minutes. With the egg white coating, you’ll know they’re done when they start to get that golden hue on top. When I pulled out my first batch, the little pinkie prints hadn’t remained as imprinted as I would have liked, so I just went through and gently pressed each one back down again. No fear if this happens to you too!

Place the cookies on a cooling rack or cutting board until they’re cooled completely.

Once they have, NOW is the time for the jam! Fill each cookie with a small amount of jam, just enough to fill up the pinkie indent. Let them sit with their jam filled tops for about an hour, so they can ‘set’ as best as they can. We covered them in Saran wrap (as these were made the night before Easter) and the jam sticks just a bit to the top of the  plastic. But make sure to leave them out for about an hour before wrapping – that should help.

Fill up a glass of milk…grab a cookie (or two!) and enjoy the goodness of sweet/salty heaven. 🙂

Mustard Sauce

12 Apr

Ok, before you cringe and make a face and wonder what in the WORLD mustard sauce is….I encourage you to take  a deep breath and read on. It’s delicious and the perfect condiment for your Easter ham. To be fair, as a little kid, this was not my favorite recipe. I wasn’t a big mustard person. But I had one of those food epiphanies about mustard (also had a similar experience with countless other fantastic foods with a list too long to put in a blog post…) and I encourage anyone to give this a try. Even if you look at mustard and go “meh”…this isn’t so overwhelmingly mustardy and it’s the perfect tang to go with a juicy ham. Just try it. Ok? You promise? Ok!

This is actually similar to a hollandaise sauce in that there’s butter involved and you do a lot of stirring. Put on some music, some Downton Abbey, or make sure you have other folks in the kitchen to harass while stirring. That’s how I cope. You may have a different coping mechanism.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 c. of sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c. milk (skim if you’re a cool kid…just putting that out there)
  • 1/2 c. vinegar
  • Butter the size of an egg. (Really. The size of an egg. This is as the recipe dictates. No more, no less. Egg size.)
How to Make:
Add your dry mustard and sugar together in a medium-sized mixing bowl until they’re thoroughly intermingled. Otherwise known as ‘mixed’. I like using other words. As you’re probably well aware.

Moving on! Take your two eggs and beat them! (Not like that.) Beat them until you’re satisfied they can’t be beaten anymore…and then add them to your mustard/sugar concoction. (I hope your egg beater is as hysterical as this one.)

Now add in the milk and vinegar. Stir…stir…stir.

Now…the butter. I know, the size of an egg?! What?! So I grabbed an egg and measured. It’s ABOUT 3.5 Tbsp of butter – as you can see in my picture. Perhaps you have bigger or smaller eggs, but I’d say 3.5 Tbsp should be approximately correct. I sliced up the butter into small pieces to aid in the melting/boiling process.

Pour your mixture into a saucepan and bring it to a boil on low/medium heat. You cannot stop stirring. CANNOT! Ok, perhaps to scratch your nose or give a high five…but that’s it. No excuses. Stir baby stir!

When it comes to a full boil, give it about 20 or so seconds before removing it from the heat and letting it cool to room temperature. You’ll see that the sauce has really thickened up at this point and it smells pretty dang good. If you’re into buttery mustard (Which I think you will be after tasting it…if you aren’t already).

We pour this into a gravy boat for serving and keep in the refrigerator prior to and after serving if needed. It can be reheated easily prior to eating and can be served warm or cold. It does only keep well for a day or so, but we usually go through the majority at Easter dinner (which usually involves 4-7 hearty servings total). Unless it’s just you enjoying this sauce all by your lonesome, you shouldn’t have too much leftover.

I hope you give it a try! It’s delicious with ham, but could be great with a chicken breast too I suppose.

Please let me know what you think if you do try this or any of the other recipes I’ve posted thus far! I love to hear your comments (even if they’re making fun of me…I can take it)!

Esther’s Lemon Poppyseed Bread

8 Apr

Back to a “Vose Favorite” recipe – this is my great-grandma Esther’s recipe…one of my holiday favorites. We have this bread at Christmas and Easter, almost every year. It’s always a hit – I don’t think there’s anyone who doesn’t like it (at least in my family). You can see the recipe card has gotten some use over the years!

It’s quick and simple to whip up too, usually made the night before the day of the ‘big meal’.

Ingredients: (Makes 2 loaves)

  • 1 package of Duncan Hines lemon cake mix (this is the brand we usually use, but I’m sure any brand would do…as you can see it was Betty Crocker this time)
  • 1 package of instant lemon pudding (make sure it’s instant!)
  • 4 eggs (yes, 4)
  • 1 cup of hot water (not warm, not scalding, but hot)
  • 1/2 cup Crisco oil (I used vegetable oil and you could too…unless you’re really into Crisco.)
  • 1/4 cup poppyseeds (This is one entire thing of the small 1.25 oz containers)
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts – but experiment with whatever you’d like!)

How to Make:

Preheat that oven to 350 and then locate your hand mixer or if you’re extra special, electric mixer. (Again, very very very very jealous if you have the latter.) You are going to mix up everything (yes, even the nuts).

You’re going to mix everything for 4 minutes. Little arm workout in for those of us without the fancy schmancy electric mixer. (I had to find a bigger bowl because I was a moron and used a little, small one. Mom kindly suggested I use a bigger bowl to mix in. She’s so smart.)

Grab your two pans and spray them with Pam or rub them down with vegetable oil. Sprinkle flour into the pans and get all sides and the bottom coated in flour.

Pour your batter evenly amongst the two pans…even if you have two pans that aren’t quite the same size, like me. You want everything to cook evenly in the oven!

Try to restrain yourself from taste testing the batter….it’s soooooo tasty. But there are raw eggs in there, so it’s probably not a good idea.

Put the timer on 40 minutes, pulling the bread out to test for doneness at that time. It may need a few more minutes if your toothpick/wooden skewer/other doneness-testing device doesn’t come out clean from the top of the bread.

Here’s before the oven:

Once your breads are done, let them cool for a few minutes in the pans. Then gently slide them out to cool on a wire cooling rack or cutting board to finish cooling completely.

Here’s a slice, cooled and ready to be enjoyed. This is a perfect bread for holidays – easy to make ahead of time and it seems somewhat fancy, which is ideal for a festive occasion! It’s also extremely good to boot. Just sayin. 🙂

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Chipotle & Rosemary Nuts

8 Apr

I’m back for an Easter morning post. (Happy Easter to all!)

This was a recipe I tasted for the first time back during my Memphis visit with my friend Marissa (can you tell we ate a lot of delicious food?!? Marissa knows her stuff, let me tell you.)

This is an Ina Garten (the Barefoot Contessa) appetizer/snack recipe from her cookbook How Easy is That (one of my new favorite cookbooks. It’s awesome. Go buy it.). It went over very well for the visitors we had at the Vose house this weekend, and the whole amount is almost gone. You can also keep these in Tupperware to pull out for another event days down the road.

Ingredients:

  • Vegetable oil
  • 3 cups whole roasted unsalted cashews
  • 2 cups whole walnut halves
  • 2 cups whole pecan halves
  • 1/2 cup whole almonds
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup (I used a mixture of pure and store-bought syrup. Mom mixes up a concoction of both so you get the best of both worlds.)
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice (Mine was not freshly squeezed – I used Simply Orange and it was tasty. Use whatever orange juice you have, but if you can do freshly squeezed – DO! 🙂  )
  • 2 teaspoons ground chipotle powder (Took me a bit to locate this on the grocery store shelf as not all spice brands had it…but it’s worth the time of looking. This is the key ingredient.)
  • 4 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves, divided (Highly encourage fresh> dry)
  • Kosher salt

How to Make:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Locate a nicely sized sheet pan and rub it down with vegetable oil. Or Pam would work too. Up to you.

Now time to mix some nuts! Mix up your cashews, walnuts, pecans, almonds…

Add in 2 Tbsp of vegetable oil, maple syrup, brown sugar, orange juice and chipotle powder. All of those items were added though there aren’t pictures of all steps below.

I encourage you to mix it up in a bowl as it’s a bit easier than Ina’s direction of mixing it up on the pan. But perhaps you possess greater “mixing abilities” and the pan would work for you. Toss everything around so all nuts are evenly coated in tasty goodness.

Now grab the rosemary and mix that it too. Ina suggests adding 2 Tbsp now and 2 Tbsp after cooking. I plain forgot this and added 4 Tbsp right up front. It may make a difference adding it after, it may not. Up to you and your personal preferences with rosemary. But I think adding it all in prior to the oven works just fine. Add in 2 tsp of salt as well and toss everything evenly.

Spread the nuts in one layer, as best you can. Roast them in the oven for about 25 minutes, pulling them out to mix things about 2-3 times during that time. You’ll know everything is done when the top is “glazed and golden brown” – according to Ina. Below is the halfway point.

Once the 25 minutes is up or the nuts look done, pull ’em out of the oven. Add in 2 more tsp of salt and (if you didn’t add all 4 Tbsp in prior to the oven…) the remaining 2 Tbsp of rosemary.

Toss everything so the salt and rosemary (if you added it after) are evenly coating all the nuts. It will be sticky due to the maple syrup and brown sugar, so you’ll want to continue to mix the nuts around as they cool to prevent as much of the sticking together as possible. They will naturally clump a bit, which is alright, but you don’t want the whole thing to be one, big, massive pile. Which is what it will become if you don’t get in there and fix the situation. Serious.

I used wax paper to let everything cool while spread out and at the same time, not causing more unnecessary mess to the pan or another surface.

Store in Tupperware and pull it out to astound your guests with your amazing cooking skills (they don’t need to know there are only a few steps and it’s extraordinarily simple to make)! Enjoy!

Granola

7 Apr

This is the second of the flurry of posts that will be coming about due to Easter weekend cooking at the Vose house. This recipe is not a Vose recipe, but one that I wanted to make this weekend nonetheless. It’s excellent with yogurt – normal or frozen. You can also add whatever variety of ingredients you’d like.

I came across this recipe from a coworker of mine passing it along. I was in search of the perfect granola recipe and wasn’t having a ton of luck in my internet searches. Although hard to believe from some of my more caloric recipes previously posted, I do like to make healthier things to have on hand in my kitchen. Granola was something I wanted to be a healthy snack or dessert and many recipes are actually much higher in sugar and carbs than needed.

NOT saying this is the healthiest recipe on the planet, but it’s not terrible for you. Take it or leave it – but I think it’s very tasty. Course I only post things on here I think are tasty so perhaps I’m slightly biased. Oh well.

This recipe is taken from Leite’s Culinaria website with only slight variations from me.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes or shreds (this time I didn’t use the coconut as the individuals eating it weren’t huge fans. However, I’ve previously made this and enjoy adding this in. Your choice about your personal views on coconut.)
  • 1 cup whole raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil (I’ve used both and found both to be similarly effective. Use what’s on hand.)
  • 1/4 cup mild honey or light agave nectar (I like honey, though agave nectar may be better for those more health conscious. I should be more of that…oh well.)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped dried fruit (I usually used dried cherries or cranberries. Cranberries was used in this version.)

How to Make:

Essentially all you need to do, is mix everything together. However, there’s a slight method that is suggested.

Preheat the oven to 300°F. I’m the master of forgetting to preheat and then have to sit around wait for the oven to heat up. Don’t be like me.

Grab yourself a nice large bowl and mix your oats, coconut, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon. I know my brown sugar usually gets a little chunky so try to break those up as best you can.

Next in a separate microwavable safe bowl, microwave the oil and honey for 20 seconds. Pour the heated mixture into the dry ingredient mixture and make sure everything is thoroughly coated. Add in the vanilla too and stir it in.

Once everything is all mixed up, pour it into a 9×13 baking pan and spread it out evenly (you want everything to bake evenly don’t you!?). Nicely done sous chef, nicely done.

I put the timer on for 25 minutes, but the original recipe says 25 – 40 minutes total. You want to bake it until the top turns golden brown. Also, pull out the pan about 2-3 times during the baking process to stir it around. You want all the granola to be baked well – not just the top. Below is the half-way point.

Your kitchen smells pretty dang good at this point. Serious.

Once you have a golden brown mixture, pull it out and mix in your dried fruit. Then it’s suggested that you push the granola to one side so that it cools in nice little clumps. If you’re into clumps then yes, follow this method. If you prefer clumpless (not a word, but it felt like it should be used here) granola, then spread it out evenly to cool.

Throw it into yogurt, ice cream, oatmeal or whatever other fun item you’d like!

Da Mama’s Potato Salad

6 Apr

Be prepared for several blog posts in the next few days – I have been a cooking machine! With assistance, of course. The majority of recipes coming up will be some “Vose Favorites” which are either homemade recipes or passed down through my parents.

First up is one of my personal favorites, great for Spring or Summer in particular. It’s my mama’s potato salad – Da Mama as she is often referred to. She made up this particular concoction, as many probably do with their potato salad recipes. I love this one because it’s both simple and full of bacon. I have no shame in admitting the latter.

You don’t need a terrible amount of ingredients:

Ingredients:

  • 5 big Idaho potatoes – peeled and diced in quarters (or smaller pieces if they’re extra massive)
  • 1 celery stalk – diced
  • 2 hard boiled eggs – diced
  • 4 slices of bacon – diced
  • 1 tsp of relish
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (you can always add more as you go, but start with between 1/4 and 1/2 cup)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How to Make:

First up – locate two eggs.

Plop them into a saucepan with water and a dash of salt – boil them up. As soon as the water begins boil, put the lid on the saucepan and turn off the heat. Let it sit for 30 minutes. This is Da Mama’s process.

Meanwhile….grab your potatoes and your potato peeler. At one point, when I made Mom’s potato salad I had no utensils as I happened to be living in Europe and was dirt poor…I used a knife. If you choose the latter method – just be careful and don’t peel anything other than the potato. I speak from experience. Ouch doesn’t quite cover it.

If you have a sous chef – as I happened to last evening – have them dice up the celery while you’re peeling potatoes. Please harass them throughout the dicing/peeling process. It’s a necessary step.

Once you’ve peeled your potatoes, slice them in 4 or 6 pieces each, depending on the size. Note the nicely stacked diced celery. Nicely done sous chef.

Then pop the potatoes into a pot with water high enough to cover the potatoes. Boil them until when you stick them with a fork, the fork can easily splice the potato. Avoid overcooking – consistency of cooked carrots (aka gross mush). Avoid undercooking – consistency of apples (aka crunchy).

After your eggs sat for their 30 minutes with the lid on, pour out the water and pour in cold water instead. Again, let your eggs hang out for 30 minutes in their new cold water bath. This is the continuation of the Da Mama’s process.

Now it’s bacon time! Grab four slices and lay them on top of a paper towel upon a large dinner plate. Pop into the microwaved and heat in 1 minute increments, flipping them each time. Or, if you’re into the stovetop cooking – fry up your bacon that way. Depends on how much time you’d like to devote to both cooking the bacon and cleaning the splatter after. I usually cook via stovetop – but Mom insisted with the microwave to both save time and her stovetop from grease dots.

Once your bacon is thoroughly cooked, dice it up into small pieces. When the potatoes are cooked – dice them up into bite size pieces and throw them into a bowl. Dice up the hard boiled eggs too once they’ve finished their cooling process. Throw in the celery too.

Throw in the mayonnaise. Start with only a bit…about 1/4 cup. Stir it in and assess how much you need to add in. I added just about 1/2 cup total. Mix in all in. Everything should be lightly coated but not glooping (is that a word?) with mayonnaise. That would be gross. Don’t do it.

Now, add in your bacon. Doesn’t it look excellent? It MAKES the potato salad. I’m not joking. One bit.

At this point you can also add in your tsp of relish. Mix it all in – salt and pepper it up as well. More pepper than salt. Lotsa (yes, that’s a word) of pepper according to Da Mama.

You have now made the best potato salad on the planet. Be very pleased with yourself. Then, dish yourself a nice full dish and devour it. Maybe you even want a nice full larger dish. No judgment from this person. Mmm…Da Mama’s Potato Salad.

Lox Bagels

3 Apr

Need a good way to start the morning? Need a little zip when you begin your day? Do you enjoy delicious food to get you out of bed in the morning? I sure hope you would say yes to ALL three of those (because I sure do)!! I have a simple, delectable, wondrous, magical…ok, lots and lots of good adjectives…recipe/assembling order for you.

Lox bagels baby! These can be made in a variety of ways and this just happens to be how I prefer it. But as I say in many posts, experiment and make your own concoction!

First, I highly recommend finding some Everything (also known as Kitchen Sink) bagels. They have a such a great mix of flavor, which I think is one of the best parts of this meal. I found some great bagels at Whole Foods that are from the St. Paul Bagelry. For anyone in the area – encourage you to give these a try!

Slice up the bagel and pop ’em into a toaster. I like mine toasted, though you may decide untoasted is your thing. Either way, these bagels will be tasty. You can’t go wrong!

Grab a white onion and slice a few rings off.

Find some tasty looking tomatoes. Only tasty looking tomatoes will do. Chose wisely.

Cut a few slices…one or two for each bagel.

Set your sliced veggies aside and grab some cream cheese. I think this concoction works best with plain cream cheese, but you could always use a vegetable cream cheese, chive cream cheese – anything with a little zip would probably work well. I really like to let the Everything bagel be my main flavor, which is why I go with plain.

Spread it on your bagel and then grab your lox. I didn’t have a great reason for why I picked the brand I did, but it looked like it would be good, so into my basket at Whole Foods it went.

Slice it into pieces that will fit well onto the bagel. I had about 3-4 pieces layered on each bagel half. It didn’t quite use up the whole salmon slab, so I have a bit leftover to use for another bagel.

Now it’s time to layer! On top of the cream cheese slathered bagel halves, lay your lox pieces…then the tomato… and finally the onion…and TA-DA! Lox bagels baby!

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