May 28, 2013

Potato Salad with Bacon and Dijon Vinaigrette and Hummus



You know why I am brilliant?

You're right, there's not nearly enough time to explain.

But let's go ahead and give one example: I think ahead. You see, on Memorial Day, I know that there will be food. Lots of food. Food sitting out in the hot sun, potentially for hours on end, being picked at and eaten and re-eaten and then eaten again. And this is all ok.

Until you throw the dreaded MAYONNAISE into the mix.

Beware the mayonnaise!! Run for the hills!

But really. Mayonnaise is gross. And it is the primary cause of all food poisoning on summer holidays. True story.

So I always try to make a potato salad without mayo. It's pretty easy actually. There are lots of recipes out there for Southwestern Potato Salad, or potato salads with vinaigrette's, and none of them call for mayo. But this year I had a TON of bacon to use up. Like, a TON.

And the only recipes I could find online that incorporated red potatoes and bacon (the 2 items I was determined to use in my salad), just seemed so bland and/or dry.

So I made up my own recipe, and would you look at that, it turned out healthy (forget there's bacon in there for a sec), and DELICIOUS! I am definitely reusing this recipe for future picnics, BBQ's, cookouts, and any other occasion where my salad might be sitting out in the sun for a few hours.

  

Potato Salad with Bacon, Dijon Vinaigrette... and Hummus


Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Servings: 8-10


INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 1/2 lbs. red potatoes
  • 5-6 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup dijon mustard
  • pinch each of salt & pepper (to taste)
  • 1 cup hummus*
*I used a homemade garlic hummus, but you can use your favorite basic store-bought hummus. Or try a flavored hummus and be adventurous! Just make sure the flavor goes well with the bacon and dijon... ;)


Boil potatoes in heavily salted water until you can pierce them with a fork easily (hence the phrase "fork-tender"). This takes about 20 minutes if your potatoes are the size of a small fist, but if you want to speed things up, I recommend cutting the large potatoes in half.

While boiling the potatoes, fry up bacon until crispy, cool & drain on paper towels, then tear into bite-size pieces. When potatoes are done, dice them and set aside in a large bowl to cool. Add bacon pieces to potatoes.

Finely chop 3 green onions (you can use the white and green parts, it's ok!!) and add to bowl with potatoes and bacon, reserving some to use as garnish.

In a separate bowl, combine olive oil, vinegar, dijon mustard, salt and pepper, and hummus. Whisk together until smooth. Pour over potato mixture and stir with large spoon. Garnish with green onions and place in fridge to cool. Eat!

*The best part about this dish is that it tastes great warm or at room temperature! And feel free to play around with the amounts of bacon or green onions, etc. to suit your tastes. This is not fine art here, everything tastes better when you adjust it to suit your own fancies! Have fun!

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October 10, 2012

It's time for PUMPKIN. Bread.



You guys. It's that time of year again! 

PUMPKIN SEASON!!!

I have 3 cans of pumpkin puree waiting for me in my cupboard at this very moment. I only bought them because I used my family-size can of pumpkin to make THIS:

Pumpkin Bread with Crumb Topping
adapted from Food for my Family   
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Servings: 2 bread loaves (or 1 loaf & 18 muffins)



INGREDIENTS:
  • 3/4 c. butter, softened
  • 3/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 3/4 c. dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 2 1/2 c. pumpkin puree (1 large, 29oz. can)
  • 3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. Allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 c. buttermilk
CRUMB TOPPING:
  • 1/4 c. butter, softened
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. oatmeal
  • 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 c. chopped pecans (optional)


Preheat your oven to 350º. Grease and flour the bottom of two 8" loaf pans (or prep one and grease the inside of 18 muffin cups). To make the topping, mix together all the crumb topping ingredients using a fork or pastry cutter until combined thoroughly. Set this aside when combined.
In a large bowl or mixer, cream together butter and both sugars. Add vanilla and eggs and mix until incorporated. Stir in pumpkin puree.

*the pumpkin puree always makes things curdle up and look like something from a horror movie. Don't be alarmed. All's well that ends well!

In a separate bowl, add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, Allspice and nutmeg. Whisk together until no lumps remain. Add half of the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture, blending well. Beat in buttermilk. Add remaining flour mix and beat lightly until smooth.

Pour batter evenly into two prepared 8" loaf pans. Do not fill pans more than 3/4 full, or you will regret it later when your loaf escapes over the side while baking! Cover each with half of the crumb topping mix. Bake at 350º for 70-80 minutes (mine was perfect at exactly 75 minutes) until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. For muffins, bake 20-25 minutes. 

*being a sucker for spice, I was definitely generous on my cinnamon, ginger, Allspice and nutmeg in this recipe. The original calls for about half what you see in my recipe (though truth be told, I used HEAPING quantities of what you see here). Personally, I love it with a stronger spice flavor - I think it really brings out the pumpkin and is so nice with the sweet crumb on top. But if you prefer less, go for it! 


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May 31, 2012

The Mushroom Melt



Holy mother of melty mushroom goodness, this sandwich is GOOD.

Like, seriously, GOOD.

This recipe is basically a low-class cousin to Closet Cooking's "Mushroom Melt". I say low-class because instead of their fontina/gruyere/parmigiano reggiano combination, I used what I had in my fridge. Mozzarella, sharp cheddar and grated Parmesan (confession: I didn't even grate it fresh - it was from a bag).

To this I say, "All hail peasants and working class!".

...speaking of working class, I actually did a little work and took step-by-step photos for this recipe. Lucky you!

It really doesn't matter what cheese you use, in this sandwich it's all about the mushrooms!


The Mushroom Melt
adapted from Closet Cooking
   
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Servings: 1

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion, sliced
  • 4 oz. cremini mushrooms (or baby bella), sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. thyme
  • 2 tablespoons white wine or broth
  • mozzarella, sharp cheddar and parmesan, to taste (or add whatever cheeses that tickle your fancy)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 slices bread (I used sourdough, my favorite for grilled cheese)
  • 2 tablespoons butter 
  • garlic salt


Melt the butter and olive oil in a pan over medium heat. 


Add the onion and saute until tender, about 5 minutes.


Add the garlic and thyme and saute until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.


Add the mushrooms and saute until they start to caramelize and turn golden brown, about 10 minutes.


Add the wine, deglaze the pan (get your spatula/whisk in there and get all the good bits off the bottom) and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated.


Season with salt and pepper (to taste) and set aside to let cool a little bit. 

Meanwhile, take your slices of bread, butter them religiously (the only way to get them good and browned in your pan) and sprinkle a little bit of garlic salt on them. That's my secret to a good grilled cheese!

Assemble your sandwich in the saute pan (yes, the same one your mushrooms were in! If there are any little mushroom bits left over you will be thankful when they end up crusted on your bread - yum!). Start with your cheese, then pile on those sauteed mushrooms.


Grill until the cheese has melted and the bread is golden brown, about 2-4 minutes per side.


Now quick, eat it before the melty goodness is gone!
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