Curried Vegetable Salad

We had a flag day potluck at work to celebrate the summer, which I love for a number of reasons, but also because flag day is my Grandma Freda’s birthday, and so any opportunity to celebrate on her birthday is fun.  I had planned to make a salad that’s been sitting in my list for awhile, but because I was leaving town a day or two afterwards and was trying to use up some of the items in my refrigerator, I went with this curried vegetable salad instead.  This is a recipe from the Minnesota Catholic Daughters Cookbook, which always has some fascinating recipes within it.  It had memories of the cashew coleslaw I made earlier this spring, which was highly enjoyed by some members of the family.

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Curried Vegetable Salad

2 1/2 c broccoli florets
2 1/2 c cauliflower florets
1 pkg dried cranberries
1/4 tsp minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp soy sauce
1/3 c mayonnaise
1/4 c oil
2 Tbsp + 2 tsp white vinegar
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp curry powder

Cut up fresh veggies, add cranberries.  Mix together garlic, soy sauce, mayonnaise, oil, vinegar, brown sugar, and curry powder.  Add to the veggie-cranberry mix and mix together.  Add 1/3 c toasted slivered almonds just before serving.

Bacon Candied and Curried Cashews

I was looking for a way to put together some cashews and use some up that I had in my cabinet, when I came across this recipe in the Smoke and Pickles cookbook.  I’ve been doing a fair bit of cooking from that cookbook recently, so you can anticipate more recipes will come from there.

Besides my oven rack being a little warmer than I would like, these were easy to do (I made them on Sunday morning before church) and had a good bit of kick to them.  The cayenne pepper was a nice addition to the other flavors.  The bacon, pre-oven cooking was nice and candied, and the cashews have been great to snack on this week.  I’d recommend trying them if you are looking for something different to have when sitting on the patio, sipping your cold beverage after having taken care of some yardwork.

Bacon Candied and Curried Cashews.jpg

Bacon Candied and Curried Cashews

6 slices applewood-smoked bacon, diced
2 Tbsp sugar
1 c cashews
2 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the diced bacon and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, until most of the fat has rendered and the bacon has started to get crispy.  Drain off all but about a tablespoon of the bacon fat into a small bowl; reserve.

Add the sugar to the skillet and cook, stirring for 2 to 3 minutes, until it has coated the bacon and the bacon starts to look shiny.  Add the cashews, curry powder, cayenne, salt, and black pepper, and toss together to coat the nuts.  If they seem a little dry, add another teaspoon of bacon fat and toss to coat.

Spread the nuts out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake for 12 minutes, or until lightly toasted.  Let cool to room temperature. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Roasted Chicken with Rhubarb and Tarragon

This rarely happens, but this is one of the recipes that I felt like turned out as nicely as the photo in the cookbook, so that makes my day, if nothing else!

I received the cookbook, Scandinavian Comfort Food from my sister and her family for my birthday last month and when I opened the cookbook, I opened it up to this recipe for roasted chicken with rhubarb and tarragon and immediately knew I was going to cook it.  And, with haste, because rhubarb was in season.  Literally, within four days of receiving the gift, I had made this chicken and it did not disappoint.

I had not previously done much cooking and not baking with rhubarb, to eat it in a way that was more savory and less sweets.  I enjoyed it so much and was glad to eat it throughout the week.  I couldn’t find fresh tarragon, so I used dried tarragon and chicken thighs, rather than a whole chicken.

Roasted Chicken with Rhubarb and Tarragon

Roasted Chicken with Rhubarb and Tarragon

1 organic or free-range chicken
2 shallots
3 garlic cloves, halved
10 tarragon sprigs
1 lb 2 oz rhubarb
1/2 c sugar
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Cut the chicken into 8 pieces, and the shallots into wedges.  Put the chicken pieces in an ovenproof dish with the shallot wedges, garlic, and tarragon.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast in the oven for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the rhubarb into 3/4 in chunks and mix with the sugar in a bowl.  Take the chicken out after its 30 minutes of roasting and place the rhubarb around and under the chicken.  Put back in the oven and roast for another 20 minutes.  Check to see if the chicken is done and if not, roast 5-10 minutes more.

Braised Bacon Rice

Recently, I have been flipping through a few random cookbooks where I had recipes flagged.  One such cookbook was done by a Top Chef contestant and is called Smoke and Pickles.  It features an updated take on southern cooking, an area of cooking where I have not done much experimenting, but was eager to try.  I found this recipe for braised bacon rice, and while I didn’t see a photo in the cookbook of the recipe, it looked yummy.  I was also pleased because I had the opportunity to incorporate some more cayenne pepper into my cooking, something that this midwestern gal is sometimes apprehensive to do, to say the least.

I was delighted by this recipe.  It had great flavor and with the hint of spiciness at the end of the dish.  It was nice and creamy, almost comfort food-like, and in the heat of the summer, it was a great option for on the stovetop.

Braised Bacon Rice

Braised Bacon Rice

8 oz slab bacon, cut into 1/4 inch dice
1 1/2 c chopped onions
1 c chopped celery, plus 2 Tbsp chopped celery leaves
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
4 c chicken stock
1/2 c tomato juice
1 c long-grain rice
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Cook the bacon in a large pot over low heat until it has rendered most of its fat, about 5 minutes.  Add the onions, chopped celery, and the garlic and cook about 6 minutes, stirring constantly to avoid burning the bottom of the pan.

Add the mustard, cayenne, and paprika and stir, then add the chicken stock and tomato juice and bring to a boil.  Add the rice, stir, and lower the heat to a slow simmer.  Let the rice cook, uncovered, for about 16 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed.

Add the chopped celery leaves, butter, and salt and pepper to taste to the rice.  Turn off the heat and let the rice stand for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.  Serve hot.

Cornmeal Cookies

I don’t know why, but the dining hall on my campus makes sugar cookies that, to me, have a slight hint of cornmeal in them that truly enhances their flavor in a way that I could sit and eat a dozen of them in one sitting.  Ridiculously, then, I thought I should try to recreate that flavor at my house because you should always keep stock of the things you will overeat.  Nevertheless, when I saw this recipe for cornmeal cookies in the Iowa State Fair cookbook, I thought I should try them.  Luckily for me, while they taste great, they don’t quite have that component of I-can’t-put-them-down that the on-campus cookies contain.  A few notes — I didn’t find them to spread nicely, so I ended up flattening some of the cookies in later batches.  I also didn’t include the raisins because I was planning to serve them with an ice cream which I did not believe would be enhanced by raisins.  I did, however, add a sprig’s worth of rosemary to the dough for later batches.

Cornmeal Cookies

Cornmeal Cookies

3/4 c butter or margarine
3/4 c sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 c flour
1/3 c cornmeal
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c raisins

Mix butter, sugar, egg, flour, and cornmeal.  Stir in vanilla and raisins.  Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets.  Bake in a 350-degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes.

Strawberry Ketchup

If you are experiencing the summer we’re having in Iowa, strawberries might be in season for you.  And, if you are like me, you might be looking for some new ways to cook with and/or serve them to others.  Well, I was looking through my copy of the Smoke and Pickles cookbook and came across this recipe for strawberry ketchup.  It was just intriguing enough that I knew I wanted to make it and try it out.  Thus far, I’ve tasted it on its own and with beef, and it hasn’t disappointed in either setting.  I think it could compete with a number of other spices going on in a meat, and so I would be hesitant to serve it alongside a heavily-seasoned meat item, but it’s definitely not sweet enough to be confused with a jam or jelly.

The ketchup has a nice sweetness, without being overpowering, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I imagine setting it on the table at a barbecue and having people put a little dab on their plate, but then enjoying it enough to go back for more.

I will say that I ended up cooking it for quite a bit longer after pureeing it and adding the other seasonings because I wanted to thicken it up more than it automatically did during the cooking process.  Take that into consideration, should you choose to make it as well.

Strawberry Ketchup

Strawberry Ketchup

1 lb fresh strawberries, washed and hulled, sliced or halved
1/2 c chopped onion
1/2 c apple cider vinegar
1/2 c brown sugar
2 tsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground cloves

Combine the strawberries, onion, cider vinegar, brown sugar, and soy sauce in a small pot, bring to a simmer over medium heat, and cook for 14 minutes, until the strawberries are soft and broken down.

Transfer the berry mixture to a blender and puree on high.  Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl.  Discard the solids.

Add the white vinegar, ginger, salt, white pepper, paprika, cumin, and cloves.  Whisk well.  Transfer to two small jars, cover, and refrigerate.  The ketchup will keep up to a month in the refrigerator.

Double-Frosted Bourbon Brownies

My dog Meg has a best dog friend.  She gets along with all the dogs in the neighborhood (or at least those who tolerate her), but has a special adoration for her friend Daisy who lives down the street.

Meg and Daisy hanging out tonight. #thatsmymeg #dogbff #wheatensofinstagram #wheatensofig

A post shared by Gwen Schimek (@gwenschimek) on

Due to a number of different circumstances (mostly working on my doctoral degree), I have not branched out much to get to know the people in the neighborhood until Meg arrived in my life.  I have become 1,000 times more social with the folks around here since that occurred.  As a result, I’ve come to adore Daisy’s owners/parents/insert-preferred-dog-language-here.  As they are getting ready to move away from the neighborhood, each step of the journey has occurred, from selling the house, to one of them finishing up her work last week as the school year ended.  Meg and I wanted to acknowledge the day, but Meg ended up getting sick on the last day of school and so we were delayed by a day in helping her start her celebration of being done with work.  But I think these turned out pretty well.  The bourbon flavor is light, and not overly noticeable.  The recipe came from the Iowa State Fair cookbook.

Double Frosted Bourbon Brownies

Double-Frosted Bourbon Brownies

Brownies:

3/4 c flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c sugar
1/3 c vegetable shortening
2 Tbsp water
6 oz semisweet chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/2 c chopped walnuts (I omitted — because I forgot about them entirely)
4 Tbsp bourbon whiskey

White Icing

1/2 c butter or margarine, softened
1 tsp vanilla
2 c powdered sugar

Chocolate Glaze

1 Tbsp vegetable shortening
6 oz semisweet chocolate chips

Sift together flour, soda, and salt; set aside.  In a saucepan, combine sugar, shortening, and water.  Bring to a boil.  Stir constantly until sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat.  Stir in chocolate chips and vanilla.  Beat until smooth.  Beat in eggs, one at a time.  Add flour and walnuts; mix well.  Spread in a greased 9-inch square pan.  Bake for 30 minutes in a 325-degree oven.  Remove from oven.  Sprinkle with bourbon; cool.

Icing: Combine butter and vanilla; beat until creamy.  Add powdered sugar; beat until smooth.  Spread over cooled brownies

Glaze: In a saucepan, melt shortening and chips.  Spread over iced brownies.  When glaze has set, cut into squares.