Archive for the ‘recipes’ Category

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banana cream pie (all-natural, no pudding box!)

January 14, 2019

First time making a custard, first time making a pie crust in easily a year, first time making a banana cream pie – what could go wrong?

This turned out – well, okay, not even close to perfect, but delicious anyway.

Recipe by Taste of Home and adapted by friedsig

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1 cup sugar 3/4 c sugar maybe 1/2 c sugar?
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups 2% milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons butter
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 pie crust (9 inches), baked
2 large firm bananas 3 large, firm bananas
1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped (optional: whipped cream, to top)

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1. In a large saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, salt and milk until smooth. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat. Stir a small amount of hot filling into eggs; return all to pan. Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir 2 minutes longer.

2. Remove from heat. Gently stir in butter and vanilla. Press plastic wrap onto surface of custard; refrigerate, covered, 30 minutes.

3. Spread half of the custard into crust. Slice bananas; arrange over filling. Pour remaining custard over bananas. Spread with whipped cream. Refrigerate 6 hours

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Even though I completely messed up the pie crust, this tastes absolutely incredible. A few notes for next time….

1. I was scared to let the milk get too hot because I know for some desserts you can’t let milk boil. I was also scared the sugar would burn. So I let it simmer just below boiling on a super-low heat… and it took maybe four hours. WAY too long! So, next time, I’ll start the milk on medium heat, and lower it to a simmer afterwards. Bet that’ll shave half the time off the custard.

2. The custard was amazing, but could use something to make the flavor a little more interesting. Next time, I will add a few drops of almond extract, or some hickory syrup to add a smokiness.

3. The recipe called for a cup of sugar, but commenters said it came out too sweet, so I cut it to 3/4 c of sugar. Still too much! Next time I’ll try a half-cup of sugar and maybe a little honey or something.

4. Okay, I know it has to have the whipped cream on top or else it’s not really a banana cream pie. But after 3 cups of milk, it honestly didn’t taste like it was in need of the whipped cream. This pie is common in the Midwest, and it’s always made with instant banana-flavored pudding. Usually, I need some whipped cream to cancel out that strange metallic artificial banana pudding flavor. This might be a contentious opinion, but between the homemade custard and the raw banana flavor, I don’t think this needs whipped cream at all.

5. I added a layer of bananas at the base, to protect the crust from the custard and also just to get a little more fruit in this dessert. Highly recommended.

6. Made this on Sunday (1/6), and ate almost the entire thing by Tuesday night. Maybe this is best made for a crowd, or for someone who has some self-control.

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Recipe by Taste of Home and adapted by friedsig

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salt-free seasoning blend

January 9, 2019

My first salt-free seasoning blend was improvised without a recipe. I made a ton, and it was perfect. No clue what I put in it, but my goal is to craft a recipe. Here’s round 2:

1 T coarsely ground black pepper 1/2 T coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 T whole white pepper, coarsely ground
1 T whole mustard seed, coarsely ground
1 T garlic powder or roasted garlic powder
1 T dried minced onion
1 T paprika
3/4 T ground chilli or cayenne
1/2 T dried chives
1/2 T dried basil
1/2 T dried thyme
1/2 T whole coriander seed, toasted and ground
1/2 T whole black or white sesame seeds, coarsely ground
1/4 t powdered ginger
3/4 t dried powdered orange zest
1/4 t smoke powder

There is no particular logic to how this ended up this way besides reading recipes by linda larsen at the spruce eats, bake at midnite, and christina at allrecipes, and whatever I read the first time I made this.

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Needs WAY less black pepper, WAY more sour (lemon zest?), and way more diversity of seasoning. Next time, I will add more smoke powder, more seeds or nuts, lemon zest, and way less pepper!

My salt-free seasoning blends are an essential part of my pantry, so I’m tagging this “favorite”. This will be a living document, edited constantly over time, so check back in to see its evolution!

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I’ll also be doing some different salt-free blends this spring – looking forward to trying a ranch seasoning with no dairy, and a mess of new smokey meat salt-free blends with the smoke powder Mark got me for the holidays. But for now, check out some of my favorite salt-free seasoning blends – like ras-el-hanout, bokharat / baharat, and numbing xi’an spice.

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charred onion and cucumber salad (vegan!)

January 6, 2019

In the middle of the winter, it’s easy to get tired of your favorite soups and heavy, stewed dishes. After a few weeks of holiday eating, I was craving something light and fresh. This recipe is from bon appetit.

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1 medium English hothouse cucumber, sliced into rounds

1 small to medium onion

1 Fresno chile, thinly sliced into rings, seeded if desired

4 tablespoons red wine vinegar, divided

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for serving

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon dried oregano

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GRILL DIRECTIONS:

Prepare grill for medium-high heat. Combine chile and 2 Tbsp. vinegar in a small bowl; set aside.

Place onions on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with 2 Tbsp. oil; season with salt and pepper. Turn to coat. Grill onions directly on grate until lightly charred and softened, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a large bowl and toss with remaining 2 Tbsp. vinegar; let cool.

Coarsely chop ½ cup grilled onion and return to bowl. Add chile and soaking liquid, cucumber, dried oregano, and 2 Tbsp. oil and toss to combine; season with salt and pepper. Serve drizzled with more oil.

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NO GRILL DIRECTIONS:

Heat a cast-iron to be ripping hot on the stovetop, probably at least medium-high heat. Combine chile, vinegar, cucumber, oregano, and oil. Set aside.

Heat onions on cast iron until charred. Remove from pan and transfer to separate bowl with vinegar. Let soak five minutes, then combine everything.

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The seasoning of just red wine vinegar and oregano makes it taste exactly like an East coast style sub sandwich/hoagie. I found it extremely nostalgic. This was great brought along to lunch and used to top salads, sandwiches, and grains. The flavor is simple and uncomplicated. Next time, I will experiment with charred onions and cucumbers by adding some other spices, so it doesn’t taste like a sandwich. Mark suggested adding some toasted cumin. I think I will try something even more balanced and complex, like dukkah, or numbing xi’an spice. Or maybe it’s better to go simple, with some fresh dill and other herbs, and a pinch of sugar to bring out the caramelization of the onions. Whatever you do, charring the onions does add something interesting, so experiment and let me know what you think!

(If you live on the East coast, this red-wine-vinegar-and-oregano combo might not be all that exciting, so can I recommend slicing cucumbers and adding some garlicky Syrian yogurt and tahini sauce? It’s one of my favorite ways to eat a cucumber.)

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recipe adapted from bon appetit by friedsig

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laghataq (vegan eggplant, tomato, and pepper dip from afghanistan)

January 4, 2019

one whole eggplant
one red bell pepper
2 medium tomatoes

2 cloves garlic
1 T whole cumin seed
1 T whole coriander seed
1 t paprika
pinch of garlic powder

1 T tomato paste
1 small can tomato sauce
olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

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preheat oven to 300

roast eggplant whole on 425 in skin. strip and discard some skin and anything burnt, and slice eggplant into rounds. place on baking sheet in one layer.

separately, toast coriander and cumin in dry frying pan. grind. grab your blender and add the ground cumin/coriander, a small can of tomato sauce, 1 T tomato paste, 2 whole cloves garlic, lots of olive oil (to taste,) and a pinch of garlic powder.

back to the baking sheet. layer sliced pepper and tomatoes on top of eggplant. top with sauce.

bake 1.5 to 2 hrs, or until eggplant is soft.

let eggplant cool. add everything to blender and pulse until chunky but not pureed.

top with plain, unsweetened yogurt with a little garlic powder and salt mixed in.

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recipe adapted from Humaira’s recipe at Afghan Culture Unveiled – adaptation by friedsig

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This was a little disappointing. I felt it could really benefit from lemon juice or vinegar, or something else acidic to cut the bitterness of the eggplant and the tinned tomato sauce flavor. I cut the tomato sauce from a regular can to a small can because I’m trying to eat low-sodium now, and added a bit more olive oil. Hard to imagine this dish with any more tomato sauce – it was extremely tomatoey. It tasted more like a mildly seasoned spaghetti sauce than a dip or an eggplant dish. I used a good quality Palestinian olive oil, but if you only have supermarket olive oil, you may want to skip this recipe, as a ton of the flavor comes from the olive oil. I also cut the cumin and coriander from a tablespoon of ground spices to a tablespoon of whole spices toasted and then ground, because it seemed a bit excessive, but maybe using the whole amount would help cut some of the aluminum can flavor.

Reminds me a lot of Mughlai-style eggplant from India, but lighter without the ghee and heavy cream.

My other tomato paste and eggplant recipe is Georgian-style eggplant stuffed with carrots and parsnips, but laghataq is less sweet without the carrots and parsnips. I think I’d still recommend the Georgian-style dish over this one if you wanted something healthy and interesting and very different from a tomato sauce. You could also serve as a dip with fresh pita, crackers, raw carrots and other veggies, or whatever you like – but I far preferred this as a tomato sauce than as a dip. For my tastes, this laghataq is not exactly a dip. However, if you are looking for a really unique spaghetti sauce, or a tomato sauce to eat with grits, or something to flavor white beans or okra, or something different for an egg dish like shakshouka, or something to freeze and bring down for chicken parmigiana, try this laghataq!

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make your own sausage with your hands (without casings!)

November 27, 2018

Recently learned you can make a great sausage without any special tools! No blender, no meat grinder, no sausage stuffer, no casings!

If you eat meat, you’ll love this recipe: buy ground pork, and just mash it up with your hands with some spices and herbs. THAT’S IT!

You can either form them into patties, or dump the whole mess into a pan and break it up with a spatula to make little sausage chunks like for pizza. Either way, you can cook them on a grill pan, cast-iron, or regular ol’ non-stick pan on a medium or medium-high heat.

Here are some I have been experimenting with lately to get your imagination running wild. Don’t let these recipes limit you! Add some curry powder for some currywurst patties… or jalapeno and cheddar… or sundried tomato and roasted garlic… fresh herbs, fruits, anything! If you make your own sausage, post a recipe here!

Enjoy!

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maple breakfast sausage

3/4 tablespoon paprika
1/2 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1/2T salt 1t or less salt (or more to taste)
3/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 c maple syrup splash of pure maple syrup
~0.8-0.9 lbs ground pork
a little minced lard

recipe adapted by friedsig from epicurious

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sage breakfast sausage

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
1½ teaspoons kosher salt 1 t or less salt (or more to taste)
1 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
~0.8-0.9 lbs ground pork
a little minced lard

* a little bland – could really use a kick – next time I will try adding some more of everything

recipe adapted by friedsig from bon appetit

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currant and clove reduction pan sauce

October 15, 2018

Nothing like an autumnal pan sauce! This recipe disappeared from “new scandinavian cooking” – but thanks to the wayback machine at archive.org, it still lives on! This is a version I am making up, because I don’t have the blackberry syrup called for in the original recipe.

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meat, like chicken or steak
1 cup stock or broth
4 cloves
1 star anise
currants (or blackberry jam or syrup)
splash of red wine (optional)
lemon juice
butter
salt and pepper

1. Cook meat in a heavy-bottomed pan.

2. Add stock to pan and scrape out the solidified stock in the bottom with a spatula (unless it is burnt – if so you should make the sauce in a clean pan).

3. Add cloves and star anise, and reduce by two thirds over high heat. (Taste the stock as you go. Remove the spices if they start to give off to much flavor).

4. Stir in some currants and red wine, and let simmer until currants are soft. Add lemon juice and remove from heat. Whisk in 1 tablespoon butter.

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recipe adapted by friedsig – original recipe by “new scandinavian cooking” and accessible via the wayback machine

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edit 10/2018 – definitely worth making. this was great with chicken, but it might be even better with a beef roast. these flavors are so great together that maybe even vegans should try making a pan sauce with blackberry or blueberry jam, veggie stock or broth, a star anise, cloves, and some lemon juice. wouldn’t that taste great served alongside some perfectly roasted brussels sprouts?

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hot and numbing xi’an style spice

September 17, 2018

This is by far my favorite new condiment. I made a batch for numbing Xi-an style oven-fried chicken, and ate the entire container of the spice blend within a week. Since then, I’ve made two or three more batches, because it’s amazing on eggs, in salad dressing, on pork, on popcorn… everywhere!

This is now a blend I keep in the house at all times, along with my salt-free seasoning blend, bokharat / baharat, ras-el-hanout, and a simple curry powder.

The heat comes from the chili. The “numbing” comes from the Sichuan peppercorns. It’s sweet, savory, hot – a really magical flavor when it comes together. It’s impossible to describe the flavor. Just try this:

It couldn’t be easier. Just toast 1 tablespoon whole cumin seed, 1 teaspoon whole fennel seed, 1 tablespoon dried red pepper flakes (preferably Thai,) and 1 tablespoon whole Sichuan peppercorns, seeds removed. When toasty, grind in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. Add a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of brown sugar.

Recipe from kenji at serious eats

I can’t recommend this highly enough! If you like spicy, you’ll love this! Tagged favorite because it’s just that incredible.