Strawberry Shortcakes

These are THE SHIT, bro.  I cringe when I see those little “shortcake” things that are like the shallowest bowl ever to put your strawberries in… ugh.  Mine won’t act like a bowl, but it is about 9000% more delicious, without being too sweet.  This is the recipe I always make for friends who don’t like desserts that are “too sweet” or “too rich” – this is just right for everyone.

Approximately. 😛

  • 1.5 c. flour
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 c. cold butter
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 c. dairy sour cream
  • 2 Tbs milk
  • 5 c. sliced strawberries
  • 3 Tbs sugar
  • (optional) whipped cream

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Lightly grease baking sheet; set aside.

Decide now if you want to use a pastry cutter (aka pastry blender, aka that thingy like a whisk had an affair with some brass knuckles) or an electric mixer, and subsequently whether you want to use a large mixing bowl or electric mixer bowl for the next step.

In the bowl you just decided to use, combine flour, 1/4 c. sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Incorporate butter in manner previously determined, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

In small bowl, combine lightly beaten egg, sour cream, and milk.  Add to flour mixture; stir with fork until just moistened.

Drop dough into 8 large mounds on prepared baking sheet (you could make them smaller, I guess, but this way everyone gets one giant … scone blob thingy for themselves).  Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, or until edges become golden.  Transfer to wire rack and let cool.

Meanwhile, in large bowl, combine 4 c. strawberries and 3 Tbs sugar.  Using a potato masher, mash berries SLIGHTLY and set aside.

When ready to serve, halve shortcakes like you’re going to use it as a hamburger bun, and then put the strawberries inside like a raw, oozing hamburger of delicious sweetness.  Add whipped cream if you want to stretch this analogy to include “cheese” as “a sweeter and fluffier dairy product”.  Top with extra sliced strawberries if any remain.  Or don’t.  You’re the boss.

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Poe-tay-toe Sal-ahd!

deliiiiiicious, my preeeeecious…

  • 1.5 lbs new round red potatoes
  • 1 c. light mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbs yellow mustard
  • 1 Tbs white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 c. sweet relish
  • 1/3 c. sliced green onion
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs, coarsely chopped
  • 1 avocado, seeded, peeled, and chopped
  • 3-4 slices bacon, crisp-cooked and crumbled

Scrub potatoes thoroughly, and cut into bite-size pieces.  In large saucepan, place potatoes and enough lightly salted water to cover them.  Bring to boiling, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 8-10 minutes, or until just tender; drain.

Meanwhile, boil eggs, cook bacon, and prepare avocado.  Chop eggs into 8 pieces (once lengthwise, 4 times across).  Cut avocado into similarly-sized pieces.  Crumble bacon.

In large bowl, stir together mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, sugar, pepper, and salt.  Stir in pickle relish, then green onion.  Add the potatoes, then gently add eggs, avocados, and bacon.

Toss lightly to coat all ingredients with sauce.  Cover and chill 2-24 hours, then serve.

 

 

(You can boil ’em, mash ’em, stick ’em in a stew, OR make them into a salad! 😀 )

Cranberry Pork Roast

  • 3-lb boneless pork top loin roast (preferably a double loin, tied)
  • 1 Tbs cooking oil
  • salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 16-oz can whole cranberry sauce (or real cranberry sauce, if you have access to it)
  • 1/2 c. cranberry juice
  • 1/4 c. sugar (reduce if your cranberry juice has sugar added)
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 Tbs cornstarch
  • 2 Tbs cold water
  • optional starch to serve on/with – rice, rice pilaf, noodles, mashed potatoes, stuffing, etc.

In a 10″ skillet, heat oil, then sear roast, rotating frequently, until browned on all sides.  Place roast in 4- or 5-qt slow cooker; sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.

In medium bowl, stir together cranberry sauce, cranberry juice, sugar, mustard, and cloves.  Pour over roast.  Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 6-7 hours, or on high-heat setting for 3-3.5 hours.

Using tongs, transfer roast to a platter; keep warm.  Skim fat from juices in slow cooker.  Measure 2 c. of juices, and transfer them to a medium saucepan, along with most or all of the cranberries from the sauce.  In small bowl, stir together cornstarch and water; add to saucepan.  Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly; cook and stir 2 minutes more.  Serve sauce with roast (and optional starch).

Nutty Broccoli

  • 1 lb broccoli, trimmed and cut into 2″ pieces
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 1/2 tsp zested (or finely shredded) orange peel
  • 2 Tbs fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbs pine nuts or chopped pecans, toasted
  • orange wedges (optional)
  • egg (optional)

If desired, cut broccoli stem pieces lengthwise in half.

Place vegetable steamer basket in a 3-qt saucepan.  Add water to just-below-the-bottom-of-the-basket height.  Bring water to boiling.  Add broccoli to steamer basket; cover and reduce heat.

Steam 8-10 minutes or until broccoli stalks are tender.  Transfer broccoli to a serving dish.

Meanwhile, in 8″ skillet, dry roast nuts, stirring frequently, until lightly browned.  Add butter and heat until melted.  Then stir in shredded orange peel; cook and stir 1-2 minutes.  Carefully add orange juice and cook for 10 seconds.  Remove from heat; stir in desired salt.  Pour over broccoli; stir well to lightly coat broccoli in butter.

Serve with orange wedges.  I often also fry up an egg in the butter-orange skillet and call it a complete breakfast. 😀

This makes multiple servings of broccoli, though, obviously.  An entire pound, jeez, I shouldn’t have to specify this. But some of that broccoli becomes breakfast for that morning, that’s all I’m trying to say here.  Maybe I’m over-thinking this.

Mango, Macadamia, Avocado Salad

The source recipe calls for arugula, but I find it has a weird aftertaste, so I always substitute the best lettuce I can find at the farmer’s market or, if I can’t make it to the FM that week, one of the “living lettuce” roots-still-attached lettuces at the regular store.

  • 5 c. lettuce, ripped
  • 1 large mango, cubed
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • (optional meat to make into a main dish – leftover cold chicken, cubed; leftover ground turkey, crumbled and refrigerated; leftover bacon, if such a thing exists; cold deli meat, ripped into bite-size pieces, etc.)
  • (optional ingredients – it’s a salad, you can get creative! Try pineapple tidbits, apple slices, golden raisins, other things you have on-hand…)
  • 3/4 c. roasted, lightly salted Macadamia nuts (if necessary, rub with paper towels to remove excess salt)
    • If you’re too cheap/lazy for Macadamia nuts, unsalted slivered almonds are the 2nd-best option

Combine all ingredients; toss with vinaigrette (below).

  • 2 rounded tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 rounded tsp orange zest
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 Tbs fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 c. white wine
  • 1/4 to 1/3 c. olive oil (to preference; I can’t deal with a whole 1/3 cup in mine)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients; toss with salad (above).

Source: http://kitchenofzig.wordpress.com/2013/04/11/arugula-mango-macadamia-nut-and-avocado-salad-drizzled-with-an-orange-and-cumin-vinaigrette/

Extra-Loaded Sweet Potato

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes (yes, boring white potatoes can be used, but they won’t be as tasty or nutritious or yummy or colorful)
  • 1 T  chopped shallots
  • 1 T minced garlic
  • 1 T Ghee or clarified butter
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 2 T chopped green onion
  • 1 c. plain greek yogurt
  • 4 slices bacon
  • cheese, cayenne, salad greens (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 F.  Cut the potato like you’re cutting it into rounds, but only cut about 2/3 of the way down, so the potato stays technically in one piece.  Cut 1/8″ thick partially-attached “slices” all the way down the potato.

Heat ghee in pan, then add garlic and shallots.  Do not cook, but thoroughly melt ghee and coat garlic and shallots.  Brush potatoes with the ghee mixture, getting some of the shallot/garlic bits left in between the “slices.”  Coat outsides thoroughly with ghee, then bake for 50 minutes.

Cook bacon in pan until 75% done, then remove from heat.  Cut into 1″ squares; set aside.

If desired, season greek yogurt by adding spices (such as rosemary), or blending it with goat cheese and capers, or stirring in random things from the back of your fridge.

After potatoes have baked for 50 minutes, add bacon squares between the “slices” and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until fork tender.

Garnish with greek yogurt, lemon zest, any desired cheese, and a sprinkle of cayenne.  Serve on a bed of salad greens, such as collard or kale.

Source: I dumbed-down this recipe: http://kitchenofzig.wordpress.com/2013/05/01/loaded-hasselback-sweet-potato/

Rich Chocolate Cake

Another cake recipe that I want to try… there’s a lot of places here where I think I could shortcut, but I’m going to try it their way and then try it “my” (quicker and lazier) way and see if there’s really a noticeable difference.

  • 1 c. freshly brewed hot coffee
  • 1/2 c. Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 3/4 c. packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 8 Tbs (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 & 1/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 & 1/4 c. flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1.5 tsp kosher salt (optional)
  • 1/2 c. dulce de leche (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Prepare 10-inch round cake pan by greasing with cooking spray and lining the bottom with parchment paper.

In medium bowl, combine hot coffee and cocoa powder until fully dissolved.  Incorporate brown sugar, then add yogurt and vanilla.  Stir until completely homogenized.

In electric mixer with paddle attachment, cream together the butter and granulated sugar until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add eggs and mix well, about 2 minutes.

In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.  With mixer on low speed, add 1/3 flour mixture and 1/2 coffee mixture.  Scrape down bowl of mixer, mix until homogenized.  Add another 1/3 flour mixture and remaining coffee mixture, mix, scrape down, remix.  Remove bowl from electric stand and fold in remaining flour mixture with rubber spatula.  Stir until all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.

Pour batter into prepared cake pan, then bake 25 minutes.  Rotate pan; bake another 20 minutes, or until cake passes toothpick test.

Remove pan from oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes.  Turn cake out onto clean plate, remove parchment, and turn cake back over onto a wire cooling rack.  Allow cake to cool completely.

If desired, melt dulce de leche in microwave until just barely liquid, and drizzle on cake.  Sprinkle with kosher salt.

Note:  There is supposed to be hazelnut brittle on here too, but the recipe already looks quite rich, and I refuse to put anything on this site that lists pure corn syrup as an ingredient, so I’m omitting that whole section of the recipe.  If you think that what this cake really needs is more butter, corn syrup, sugar, and hazelnuts, then check out the source:

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/29/rich-chocolate-cake-with-_n_1310887.html

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