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Pickled Beets

16 May
Beets, in a pickle.

Beets, in a pickle.

Pickled beets for breakfast.  Why yes, I am a Russian.

Pickled beets for breakfast. Why yes, I am a Russian.

After I made pickled beets, I realized how versatile they are.  How did I ever live without them??

Breakfast: Pickled beets on cream cheese on Russian toast with green onions.

Lunch: Pickled beets in just about any sandwich.  Roast beef, falafel, or some garlicky hummus.

Dinner: Pickled beets with roasted chicken and couscous.

Drinks: Pickled beets are the world’s most perfect chaser for vodka.  And I’m thinking there’s probably a bloody martini in my future, with pickled beet juice and vodka.  There should be a better name for it, though….Blood Transfusion?

Pickled Beets:

1lb red beets

1/2 of a large red onion

1 cup red wine vinegar

1 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

3 teaspoons salt

4 bay leaves

1 tsp oregano or tarragon….or whatever dried or fresh herbs you have on hand.

If your beets are huge, cut them down to approximately golf-ball sized chunks.  Leave the skin on.  Boil them for about 30 minutes, until fork tender.  Drain, wait until they’re cool enough to handle, and rub off the skins.

While you’re waiting for the beets to cook, heat up the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, bay leaves, and other herbs in a pan until the salt and sugar are dissolved.  Let it cool a bit.

When your beets are done, slice them into thin, translucent pieces.  Thinly slice your red onion.  Layer the beets and the red onion in a jar or container with a lid.  Fill the rest of the jar with that liquid you just made that makes your kitchen smell like vinegar.  Take a knife and poke it down the sides of the jar to poke out any air bubbles.

Sooooo that’s it.  Put on the lid, throw the container in the fridge for a few days.  I didn’t want mine to be super-salty/sour so I just pickled them for about 2 days.  Breakfast was RAD!

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Chicken Matzo Ball Soup – PROPA!!

2 May

Actually, I lied.  This is the version of the soup I make when I’m a self-piteous ball of frowns.  It’s a low-labor-intensity meal.  Just throw a buncha stuff in a pot, cover with stock, and boil until it’s soup.

A pile of Delicious.  In Broth.

A pile of Delicious. In Broth.

I started with my trusty Boston Organics veggies: carrots, a yellow onion, and some potatoes.

Why is this picture so dark?  Oh yes, it was because of my personal storm cloud.

Why is this picture so dark? Oh yes, it was because of my personal storm cloud.

Regular soup base: carrots, an onion, celery, herbes de Provence, salt&pepper.

Wooden spoon not added for flavor.

Wooden spoon not added for flavor.

My mama always adds a LOT of dill.

What's the dill-io.

What's the dill-io.

Then I just threw the rest of the ingredients into the pot, covered with stock, and simmered for 1.5 hours.  You don’t have to cook it that long.  It’s pretty much done after about 30 min.  But I like for the meat to fall apart and for the potatoes to make it nice and starchy.

A soup is born.

A soup is born.

Aaaaand meanwhile, in the other pot, I just made some matzo balls according to the recipe on the box.  Nothing spesh.

Did y'all notice I only own three pots? Bet you didn't know you can make matzo balls in a sautee pan!  Thanks, Necessity!

Did y'all notice I only own three pots? Bet you didn't know you can make matzo balls in a sautee pan! Thanks, Necessity!

Soooo that’s it.  Recipe:

Chicken Soup

3 big carrots

3 big celery stalks

1 yellow onion

3 bay leaves

1/2 tsp herbes de provence

2 tbsp olive oil

big handful of dill

1/2 lb of potatoes, peeled, chopped

1 lb chicken breast (that’s about 3 chicken breast halves)

3 cups of stock, chicken or veg
Chop all the veggies into bite-size chunks.  Cook them down a bit in some olive oil with the herbs.  Add potatoes and chicken and dill.  Cover with stock.  Put the lid on and come back when it’s soup.

For matzo balls, I forget the proportions.  But what you need to have on hand is:

Matzo meal

vegetable oil

two eggs

water

seasoning if your mazto ball mix doesn’t have it already. All I added was salt and pepper. My mama also adds chopped dill.  It turns the matzo balls green.  Tee-hee!

Parsnip Curry Turmeric Soup

14 Apr

Oh, hello daunting Bag-o-Parsnips.  I can barely figure out what to do with one of you, never mind a pile of you.  Another roast?  Another mash? Too boring, too….beige.

Is it possible that the parsnips are making everything around the beiger?  Are they boring-ifying my world??

Is it possible that the parsnips are making everything around the beiger? Are they boring-ifying my world??

Fortunately I discovered a sunny yellow box of turmeric in the back of my cupboard.  And next to it, some damn spicy curry powder.  To the Soup Machine!!  On y va, mes amies!!

Here’s the soup:

1 bag of parsnips.  Probably 6 parsnips, or like a pound or something.  Cut them into 1-inchish pieces.

1 glug of olive oil

1 yellow onion, chopped but don’t try too hard cuz we’re gonna blitz them with the immersion blender anyway.

4 teeth of garlick, squashed and diced.

1 bay leaf, or more if they’re dried out and decrepit like mine

2 teaspoons of turmeric

1 tablespoon curry powder

3 cups of veg stock (or whatever stock is on hand)

salt & pepper

Sautee down your onion and garlick a bit, add bay leaf, turmeric and curry until everything’s yellow.  Then add parsnips and stock.  Burble away for like 40 minutes. Add salt & pepper, adjust curry/turmeric as needed, and remove the bay leaf.  Then throw everything in a blender and marvel at how awesome your kitchen smells.

Starting to feel spicy....there should be a parsnip make-over montage here...

Starting to feel spicy....there should be a parsnip make-over montage here...

Bzzzzzz....

Bzzzzzz....

Ta-da!  It's soup!

Ta-da! It's soup!

Okonomiyaki – Cabbage Me to the Moon and Let Me Play Among the Katsu Sauce

14 Apr

Yes, I know that title makes no sense. So remember when we made Okonomiyaki last week? Here are the pictures from that.

Okonomiyaki kit in all its splendor.  Plus the extra ingredients not in the kit.

Okonomiyaki kit in all its splendor. Plus the extra ingredients not in the kit.

Dicing the shrimp.  I didn't take pictures of cleaning the shrimp.  You're welcome.

Dicing the shrimp. I didn't take pictures of cleaning the shrimp. You're welcome.

Okonomiyaki ingredients, pre-entanglement.

Okonomiyaki ingredients, pre-entanglement.

The Vortex Of....OKONOMIYAKI

The Vortex Of....OKONOMIYAKI

Oppressing the masses...with a spatula.

Oppressing the masses...with a spatula.

Egads, that is FREAKING DELICIOUS!!

Egads, that is FREAKING DELICIOUS!!

Okonomiyaki – A Symphony in the key of “Cabbage”

13 Apr

Yaaaaay Okonomiyaki!!! Remember that friend who gave me that awesome Kyocera ceramic santoku knife? He also introduced me to Okonomiyaki.  Then I became obsessed with it on a subsequent trip to Japan, but I never thought to make it at home.  I don’t even know how I made the leap between Okonomiyaki and an over-supply of cabbage.

btdubs, I can't find my camera, so forgive the impersonal photos.  I'll fix this post when my camera comes out of hiding.

btdubs, I can't find my camera, so forgive the impersonal photos. I'll fix this post when my camera comes out of hiding.

Ok, the basics.  Okonomiyaki is like a big, savory Japanese pancake with lots of fun toppings like katsu sauce and dried bonito flakes.  The batter is just flour, baking powder, a little dashi or veg broth.  The bulk of the pancake is shredded cabbage and two eggs.  The remaining contents of the pancake are totally flexible – you can add any meat, bacon, shrimp, squid, fish, veggies, whatevs.  I added diced shrimp, bean sprouts, and enoki mushrooms.

Another option is to buy a kit like this:

Okonomiyaki kit...complete with hilarious translated instructions and adorable Japanese cartoons.

Okonomiyaki kit...complete with hilarious translated instructions and adorable Japanese cartoons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The perk of the kit is that it contains the special yam powder.  That yam is hard to find.  It’s also kinda gross and viscous.  Sooooo let’s go with the powder.

So you make the batter and throw the rest of the ingredients into a big bowl.  Give it a few good turns but don’t mix too hard.  Then take a scoop, put it on a griddle or frying pan, and smack it down into pancake-shape using a spatula.  When it’s done, eat it with BEER!!!

For the toppings, I put furikake seasoning, which is pretty easy to find.  Sadly I had no bonito flakes.  But I did find this awesome katsu sauce and I highly recommend it:

Katsu makes everything better.  Or maybe just fried things.  I wouldn't like put it on ice cream.

Katsu makes everything better. Or maybe just fried things. I wouldn't like put it on ice cream.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Green Cabbage Panic Leads to Fish Tacos

13 Apr

How many cabbages have I purchased in the last like 15 years?  Maybe….2?  So what do I do when I get two cabbages in my not-quite-CSA box? Panic.

After the initial cabbage-induced anxiety attacks subsided, I realized there were plenty of cool things to do with green cabbage:

-Fish tacos with lots of shredded cabbage.  After a friend mentioned the terms “fish tacos” in passing, I couldn’t think about anything else for like a week. So that was good.

-Okonomiyaki….more on that in a future post.

-Salad

For fish tacos, I really wanted to emulate Wahoo’s Fish Tacos. I love these tacos in particular because of the piles of shredded cabbage.

Never thought I would be that happy to see a bowl of shredded cabbage.

Never thought I would be that happy to see a bowl of shredded cabbage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lemme tell you about that knife.  It’s a Kyocera 5.5″ Ceramic Santoku.  My friend gave it to me years ago, and it is still the sharpest thing in my kitchen.  Fantastic device. Never needs sharpening, and great for small hands.

This whole fish taco dinner thing was really easy.  The only thing that required any kind of prep was the fish.  We used tilapia.  All we did was season it with a little salt, pepper, lime, and olive oil, then we sauteed it.

Fish Taco Assemblage

Fish Taco Assemblage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s what’s on the table:

-corn tortillas

-some salsa from a jar (not very exciting)

-shredded cabbage

-fresh cilantro

-sour cream

-sauteed onions + green bell peppers

-lime wedges

-big bowl o’ tortilla chips

-and a little bowl of garlic Rooster sauce, per Wahoo’s.

…aaaaand the fish was in the sautee pan, out of frame.  But it was there.  I promise.

Soooo….guess who forgot to take pictures of the finished product?  Just imagine it looked like those Wahoo’s tacos above….