I am extremely sensitive to onion fumes, so I don’t know why it took me so long to put these on my wish list. If you become a sniveling, weepy mess every time you have to chop onions, head over to Amazon to get yourself a pair right now. They really work and you won’t be sorry! My only problem with them is that they are so comfortable, I often put them on to chop the onions and forget that I am wearing them and I’ve been known to have them on for an hour or more before I realize it!
My mom was invited to a Serbian Christmas party last week, so she asked me to look up some Serbian recipes for her. Serbian Christmas was on January 7th. One of the recipes I found was for a Serbian Potato Salad and I decided to try it. I do prefer an oil/vinegar potato salad to a mayo one, and this one seemed easy and I had almost all of the ingredients on hand. It is delicious, highly recommended!
My tweaks: I used champagne vinegar instead of white vinegar and reduced the oil to a little more than 1/4 cup, but not a full 1/2 cup. I only had fresh red bell pepper, so I used that and added smoked paprika for “roasted” flavor. I used sweet onions, didn’t peel the potatoes, and I sprinkled with a little bit of kalonji (onion seeds).
Every year there’s a cookie walk bake sale fundraiser for the animal shelter where I volunteer. This year, I wanted to make something gluten-free and found this recipe online. I’ve made them many times in the past few months and everyone (even “gluten-eaters”) thinks they are great. The cookies are very easy and they always come out perfect. They don’t last long in our house!
My Tweaks: I use melted Earth Balance instead of the oil and Enjoy Life Mini Chips. I’ve made several versions and they have all been good: Vanilla Cake Mix with Chocolate Chips, Vanilla Cake Mix with Raisins and Cinnamon, Chocolate Cake Mix with Chocolate Chips.
I became obsessed with Shishito peppers last Summer when I grew them in my garden. I had never heard of them before, but when I was buying plants at the farmer’s market I saw Shishito plants and bought them because they were something new. As they started producing these adorable little green peppers, I looked online for information about how to prepare them. They are a Japanese variety and are often served grilled or pan-fried at Izakaya bars. About one in 10 is hot and spicy, so it’s a fun game of pepper roulette!
You might be able to find Shishito peppers at Japanese grocery stores, or look for Twist Peppers at Korean grocery stores. (Twist are a variety of Shishito). Now that it is Winter and my garden is gone, I’ve had better luck finding them at the Korean stores.
Here’s the super simple recipe: Grilled Shishito Peppers Recipe
My Tweaks: I use a hot frying pan with a little oil instead of the grill and toss the peppers every few minutes until they blister and start to char. At the end I sprinkle with togarashi, sea salt and some additional toasted black sesame seeds.
Ddeokbokki (pronounced duck – bOHki) is a sweet, spicy, chewy comfort food from Korea. I first encountered it while watching the Korean Tasty Road restaurant show on the mnet channel. It sounded so interesting that I started searching for recipes and found a simple on one mykoreankitchen.com.
If you have a good Korean grocery in your area (along the lines of H-Mart or Assi Plaza, or even a small neighborhood market), look for fresh Ddeok rice cakes. If you can’t find fresh, they will probably have them in the frozen section. Also look for the gochujang sauce (in a little square tub).
Here’s the recipe: Stir Fried Rice Cake with Gochujang Sauce (Ddeokbokki in Korean)
My Tweaks: I left out the fish cake and added peeled eggplant at the beginning of cooking (with the onion). I also added some julienned carrots towards the end so they got a little cooked, but just enough to stay crunchy. I sprinkled with toasted black sesame seeds before serving.
According to my late Grandmom, it is Italian tradition to make lentil soup on New Year’s Day for good fortune. The lentils represent little coins. Here’s her recipe.
Grandmom’s Lentil Soup
2 cups (one pkg.) Jack Rabbit or Goya Lentils
2 small whole onions, peeled
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 carrots, chopped fine
2 ribs celery and leaves from inner ribs, chopped fine
8-ounce can Hunt’s tomato sauce
1 T. olive oil
1 bay leaf
3-5 qts. cold water (depending on how soupy you like your soup)
8 oz small pasta – pastina, tubetini, or small elbows – cooked al dente before adding to the soup
salt to taste (after cooking)
Pick over lentils, wash and drain. Place in large soup pot with all of the above ingredients. Simmer until lentils are tender (one hour). When finished, add pasta, then salt to taste.
It’s a very simple soup, but very comforting.
To make this gluten-free, I use rice pasta instead of the regular pasta. I also like to DOUBLE the amount of carrots, celery, garlic and onion. I use 3 qts of water because I like a thicker soup. I also added some organic tuscan kale (leafy part – ribs discarded) in the last 10 minutes of cooking time. The kale adds the health benefits of dark, leafy greens. Another option would be to add escarole right at the end. I find this needs lots of salt because it is made mostly with water, not broth or stock. I salt when serving or reheating. I could’ve used the pressure cooker for this, but I decided to cook it on the stovetop, the way my Grandmom always did.
Happy New Year!
I got this bad boy for Christmas last year and it has been so much fun to use (Thanks, Kathleen!). I’ve always been afraid of the “old-fashioned” stovetop pressure cookers, but this electric one is so foolproof and monitors its own temperature and pressure.
It’s so liberating to be able to cook beans, rice, potatoes in just a few minutes.
I highly recommend this cookbook to go along with it:
I happened to stumble upon this recipe today on gojee.com and it looked so good and easy. I’ve had a package of FIG brand organic cannellini beans in my cabinet for a few months and had all the other ingredients (or substitutes on hand).
I whipped it up in about 10 minutes and I can honestly say that these are the best baked beans I’ve ever had. I usually feel like baked beans taste like the can they came in, so this fresh version is a new favorite. I live on beans, so this will be a welcome addition to my repertoire.
Click here for the recipe:
My small revisions:
I used brown sugar in place of the rapadura sugar and also used up an open jar of pasta sauce (Rao’s Arrabiata Spicy Tomato Sauce) in place of the tomato puree. This added a little heat, which is great with the sweetness. Next time I might sauté some chopped onions at the start of the recipe to add a little crunch and texture.
Welcome to my new blog. I’ll post great recipes that I found online, let you know if and how I tweaked them and how they turned out.