Japanese Cabbage Salad

Hot and sticky summer is here. I usually keep Japanese pickled veggies in my fridge all year, but this time of year, in addition to the pickles, there are usually several containers of salads – American, potato, pasta, layered, congealed, vegetable and of course, always a Japanese salad. This cabbage salad is a favorite and super easy. the miso adds a tasty variation on the flavor and is good for you too! This salad sounds a lot like cole slaw and indeed, some shredded carrots are good added to this for color, flavor, and nutrition.  Of course, you can make a smaller version.  It keeps well and I like it better the second day.  This was given to me by a friend in my past and is from the Hakone area.  Good with meats, as part of an all salad meal, or I like as a lunch with steamed rice.  NOTE:  I use chopsticks to toss and mix food items to keep vegetables from bruising.

There was a yakinuku (grilled meats) restaurant near where I was staying at the time in Japan.  I ate there with regularity.  With great courtesy, this recipe was shared with me by one of the chefs shortly before I returned to the US.    I think he was charmed by my Southern American accent!

どうぞめしあがれ (douzo meshiagare  y’all!)  Eat well said by the cook to the eaters…

Cabbage Salad
1 tbs. white or yellow miso paste
2 tbs. soy sauce
Juice and zest of 1 lime
2 tesp. Rice wine vinegar
1 tsp. sesame oil
1/2 c. safflower or other neutral vegetable oil
6 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
3 thinly sliced green onions
Toasted sesame seeds

In large non-reactive bowl, whisk together miso paste, soy sauce, lime zest and juice, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil and vegetable oil. Toss cabbage in ingredients and let chill for about 1 hours, tossing several times. Garnish with sesame seeds when serving.  OPTIONAL:  Can add thinly sliced fresh snow peas, red cabbage, shredded carrots

cabbage salad 2

 

Super Simple Sunday Supper

So, it is just plain ol’ dreary and cold outside. Spring seems to have sprung everywhere but here. I don’t want an elaborate meal but I do want simple and satisfying. Hence, Chicken and Noodle Casserole served with a tossed salad and Double Strawberry Shortcake. I copied the recipe from back of a Campbell’s Soup can years ago and it has been a mainstay ever since. I made a few slight changes and to healthy it up a bit, I use the mushroom soup that is fat and sodium reduced. I don’t think it makes much difference really, but I feel like I’m doing something! When you read the recipes, you’ll see just how super simple this is. We aren’t going for gourmet, we’re going for yummy, tummy warming, smile making food.  S friend of mine makes this in the skillet after a hard day at work, so you don’t even have to put in the oven!  Sprinkle the bread crumbs over before serving.

You can use leftover chicken or a rotisserie chicken as well as canned.  I usually do this.

どうぞめしあがれ Douzo meshiagare y’all!

Chicken and Noodle Casserole
1 can cream of mushroom soup (regular or reduced sodium)
½ c. milk (or broth or water)
1 c. frozen peas (or broccoli florets or peas and carrots)
¼ c. chopped onion and celery, sautéed until tender
2 4.5 ounce cans canned chicken or equivalent of cooked chicken
2 c. medium egg noodles cooked and drained
2 tbs. dry bread crumbs
1 tbs. butter melted
Directions
Stir the soup, milk, peas, celery, onion, chicken and noodles in a 1 1/2-quart casserole. Stir the bread crumbs and butter in a small bowl. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes or until the chicken mixture is hot and bubbling. Stir the chicken mixture. Sprinkle with the bread crumb mixture. Bake for 5 minutes or until the topping is golden brown.

Triple Strawberry Shortcake
1 qt. fresh strawberries, sliced
Strawberry Ice Cream or frozen yogurt
Slices of pound cake or angel food cake
Whipped cream or whipped topping

Slice and macerate strawberries in about 1/4 cup sugar depending on sweetness of berries. When ready to serve, on slice of cake put scoop of ice cream, top with berries and juice and add dollop of whipped cream.

What? Meatloaf – again?

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I always think of that scene in the Rocky Horror Picture Show when the table top slides back to reveal the body of Eddie, ex-delivery boy played by Meatloaf. The participants in the theater audience all say in unison, “What? Meatloaf? Again?”. And in those days, many food commercials on TV showed families sitting around the dinner table looking at mom’s lackluster attempt to feed the family, groaning…”what? ? Again?”  Heaven forbid that a meal should be predictable and boring…

I like meatloaf. I adore meatloaf sandwiches from the leftovers. I DO NOT LIKE DRY FLAVORLESS MEATLOAF!!!

This meatloaf is moist, flavorful, easy….The Trifecta of comfort food. Best of all, it is cooked in a slow cooker so it saves energy, time (you can be doing other things while it cooks), can be made in the summer without heating up the oven and close environs. The recipe can be played with to suit your tastes.

The only things I changed were the milk and eggs: I used ketchup and steak sauce in less the amount of milk called for the recipe. I used one beaten egg. I also used Italian, rather than plain, bread crumbs. And it was still moist and sliced well.

People think usually, you just dump stuff in a bowl to make meatloaf. No. No you don’t. I beat together my liquids first in a small bowl.  In a large bowl, I add my dry ingredients on top of the ground beef and then pour the liquids over and mix with my hands – if you over mix, your meatloaf will turn out dry. I mix to barely incorporate all ingredients which is why I beat the liquids and then add on top. I also do not use cheap fatty ground beef. I like to use a mixture of ground round and ground chuck. However, in the interest of frugality, these two items are usually purchased when on sale and divvied up into recipe size portions and frozen, then thawed when it is time to use. You can also use ground turkey. My aunt has been using ground turkey for a couple of years. She adds a small amount of Kitchen Bouquet to color the meat. Her husband has yet to figure out he is no longer eating beef and if you tell him, she will sic her Pekingese on you. And he is a little beast, I can assure you.

So…on to the recipe. I hope y’all enjoy. I made this yesterday for dinner and today for lunch, I am having a meatloaf sammich and a big ol’ glass of sweet iced tea. Oh yeah. That’s what I’m talkin’ about. While eating, I’ll be grinnin’ like a possum eatin’ a sweet tater. (and for y’all not sure, that means very happy in my neck of the woods here in the south).

どうぞめしあがれ (douzo meshiagare) y’all!

Ingredients
2 eggs, beaten
¾ c. milk (or liquid seasonings such as ketchup, steak sauce, etc.)
¾ cup dry breadcrumbs
1 envelope dry onion soup mix
2 lbs. lean ground beef

Instructions
To remove loaf when done, line crock with wide strip of aluminum foil, coming up sides of crock. Spray foil with cooking spray. In a large bowl combine liquids. Over meat, add soup mix and breadcrumbs. Pour liquids over and mix. Shape into a rectangle or oval that won’t touch sides of crock. Place in crock. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3 hours.  NOTE:  About the last 30 minutes of cooking, I spread some ketchup on top.  You can add grated cheese if you like as well.  Also, at this time, any drippings that have cooked out of the meat (and it can be a lot depending upon fat content and the amount of water added to the meat when processed), I ladle out and dispose of.  You can do this step sooner, if you like.

Thank you Public Domain for the photo.  And the meatloaf does look like this… 🙂

Colcannon – Irish Yum Food

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Colcannon is quick, cheap, and easy.  Not to mention delicious and comforting.  Good on its own as a simple supper with biscuits or as a  hearty side dish to baked chicken or pork chops.   A lot of recipes call for kale.  I was raised to use cabbage.  After all, the name colcannon or cál ceannann means:  white headed cabbage.  I use cabbage, not kale.  I will purchase a small cabbage, about a pound, to use for this.  I discard the tough outer green leaves (putting outside for roving bunnies), cut the cabbage into quarters, core, and shred.

Usually served in the fall or at Halloween, colcannon used to have charms put in it.  Dependent on the charm you spooned onto your plate, you’d end up being single or married.  Many young Irish lasses would fill a sock with colcannon and hang on the door handle.  The first man to enter would supposedly end up being your husband.  I’m sure there were some kind of rules in place to exclude the village priest or a brother or other male family member.  Personally, putting a bunch of mashed potatoes with cabbage in a sock doesn’t sound all that great to me, but the colcannon on the plate, without the charms or the sock is a grand dish!   All you need is some Guiness stout or Harp to wash it down.

Colcannon
1lb 6oz potatoes – (do not use waxy type)  peeled and quartered
8oz spring cabbage, chopped ****
1/2 cup scallions/spring onions, roughly chopped
1/4 cup scallions/spring onions, finely chopped
4 oz butter + 3 tbs
salt and pepper

Simmer the potatoes in lightly salted water until cooked – when pierced with a sharp knife and the potato is soft in the middle.   Chop 3/4 of the spring onions roughly and the other 1/4 finely. Add the roughly chopped scallions/spring onions to the cabbage. Saute  lightly until tender in the 2 tbs. butter. Drain the potatoes and add the rest of the butter. When the butter has melted, mash the potatoes until smooth and creamy. Add the cabbage mixture and mix. Stir in some salt and pepper to taste for seasoning and garnish with the finely chopped scallion.

Thank you Wiki for the photo!

Confession of a Secret Guilty Pleasure

Do I have your attention???? Yeppers, I thought so. We all have secrets tucked down in our souls – Things we blush for anyone else to know. Well…..one of my most secret pleasures is…….Rice Krispie Treats. Oh yeah – sticky, sweet, crispy Rice Krispie Treats. Among the guides in the past for this is:  Best if consumed within two days. Don’t keep longer than two days in an airtight container.

Really????? They actually last for two days?!?!? Wow. Two hours is a record. And this time of year, I am reminded of them when I see boxes of red, green, and regular mixed colored cereal. Ho, Ho, Ho….Merry Rice Krispie Treats to you and yours. If you don’t have colored cereal in your area, please please please use sprinkles or something to give them that Holiday Season joie de vivre.

Below is the recipe. Cut into squares, star or tree shapes, pour a big glass of cold milk and enjoy a guilty pleasure.

And…..please tell me, what is your guilty pleasure?

Rice Krispie Treats

3 tbs. butter or margarine (not diet or light spread)
1 10 oz. pkg., about 40, regular marshmallows or…
4 c. miniature marshmallmows
6 c. Rice Krispies cereal

In large saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. Add dry cereal. Stir until well coated. Using buttered spatula or waxed paper, evenly press mixture into 13 x 9 inch pan coated with cooking spray. Cool. Cut into squares. Best if served the same day. (!!!)

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Simple Sunday Supper – Baked Steak

Today, while my husband napped, I took advantage of him being safely out of the way to do some baking and preparing for a simple Sunday supper.

While I took a walk in the gorgeous woods, my supper baked in the oven.  No way was supper going to keep me from enjoying this crisp, sunny day.  Spicy smell of leaves and loam under my feet, fresh air, leaves starting to turn to the colors of flames….and down at the creek, clear water running over rocks and fallen leaves – aki no mizu – the crystal clear water of autumn, unmuddied by summer storms.

In my oven earlier, I fixed pumpkin bread.  when I left for my walk, there was a pan of the oven roasted veggies I recently posted and a foil covered pan of Baked Steak.  Childishly simple but so savory and making the house smell wonderful.  In a few moments, I’ll put in a pan of home made biscuits while the veggies and steak take a “rest”.

I hope you all enjoy.  This is home cooking at its best – simple, filling, and just plain good.  Thanks to my Aunt Gay for this recipe.

Baked Steak
1 pkg of cubed steak, about six pieces or,
1 nice piece of round steak cut into six pieces and tenderized with a mallet.
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 soup can water (plus 1/2 can more)
1 onion chopped
1 tbs. kitchen bouquet
flour, salt, pepper, oil

Preheat oven to 375. Rinse off meat, salt and pepper and then dredge in the flour. Into a large skillet, let oil heat. Add meat and brown both sides.

Place into 9×13 baking dish and top with onions. Mix soup, water, kitchen bouquet and pour over meat. Cover with foil. Bake for 1 1/2 hour – 2 hours, until meat is tender and gravy is thickened

Oven Roasted Autumn Vegetables

I like oven roasted veggies!  The roasting sweetens them and gives them depth of flavor steaming or boiling cannot.  I grew up with roasted vegetables, before they became stylish. Whether savory or sweet (sweet potatoes, apples, acorn squash, honey, spices…oh my!) we ate them on a regular basis.  Hot out of the oven, room temperature, or even cold, roasted veggies are a delicious and easy way to get your veggies.

The recipe is forgiving and you can use whatever you have on hand.  Just keep in mind some veggies, such as onions, peppers asparagus – are more delicate and break down quicker.  Add them the last 20 minutes of cooking.  If you find the temperature is too high, then lower.  I often loosely cover them with foil for about 20 minutes, remove the foil, and add in the delicate veggies.  You can add a good sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan cheese at the end and use whatever herbal flavorings you prefer.  I also like to line my pan with parchment paper to help with clean up.

I do not use olive oil as do some people.  Olive oil has a lower smoking point and when oil smokes, carcinogens and toxins are released.  I use a good neutral vegetable oil instead.

どうぞめしあがれ  Douzo meshiagare y’all!

INGREDIENTS 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed 2 red bell peppers seeded and diced 1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed 3 Yukon gold potatoes, cubed (or other potato) 1 large red onion, quartered 2 parsnips, cut into 1 inch slices 1/2 lb. Brussels sprouts, cut in half 3 tbs. balsamic vinegar 1/4 cup. vegetable oil 2 cloves garlic, minced 3 tbs. minced fresh herbs: parsey, thyme, rosemary, basil, whatever

DIRECTIONS Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine the (heavier” veggies. Put delicate veggies in a separate bowl. In a small bowl, stir together seasonings, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Divide between the two bowls and toss until well coated. Spread heavier veggies evenly on a large roasting pan. Loosely cover with foil and cook for 30 – 40 minutes. Add delicate veggies and stir in well. Do not replace foil and continue to cook for about 15 minutes more, or until cooked through and browned. If you do not like your veggies as soft, then of course, don’t cook as long.

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