Today sucked. I mean really and truly sucked.
But in other news, there’s water on Mars and the Blood Moon did not bring on the apocalypse and in the words of Scarlett O’Hara, tomorrow is another day.
I have a bunch of nice vegetarian sides and main dishes piled up in my to post file, so I thought this week would be a good time to focus on a few. Farm stands are still going strong, the weather can’t decide if it’s grilling or soup weather, this seemed like a safe bet.
Asian Pear and Grape Cabbage Salad
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp spicy brown mustard
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
Whisk together all the ingredients, except oil, slowly whisk in oil to create vinaigrette. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
- 1/2 head of red cabbage
- 1/2 head Savoy cabbage
- 1 Asian pear, halved, cored and sliced into thin strips
- 1 Red Anjour pear, halved, cored and sliced into thin strips
- 1 cup seedless red grapes, halved
- 1 cup seedless green grapes, halved
- 1/2 cup toasted walnut or almond pieces
Cut each cabbage in half to create two wedges, remove core and slice crosswise into thin shreds, toss with pears, grapes and nuts. Drizzle with vinaigrette and toss thoroughly. Let set for 10 minutes and serve.
This was going to be maple mustard glazed chicken but I used my leftover cranberry sauce instead of the mustard. It was a last minute call influenced by my extreme desire to not waste anything. I’ve been looking at the cranberries stuck way back there in the fridge ever since the holiday and decided now or never. The mustard will keep. It went down just like in the linked recipe. The chicken was juicy and tasty but I don’t know if I’d go with the maple syrup again. Honey would work. I have a big box of dried cherries and this is giving me ideas.
We were watching some freezing rain come down yesterday and that had us a bit down so we decided to bake cinnamon bread in the hope that the aromas would lighten the mood. Pioneer Woman has a nice recipe, we used it and it came out pretty well except the swirls wanted to come apart, at least the top one did. Maybe we should have given it the full two hours rise in the loaf pan but it was starting to get pretty big and I feared a collapse if I waited too long.There’s nothing much better than a slice of cinnamon toast with plenty of butter slathered on. Wow, talk about aromas – the toaster just added to what was already there. Mrs J started talking about one of her favorite things: Cinnamon French toast. She went on an on…… so I didn’t really have much choice for breakfast this morning. Not that I’m complaining, mind.
We’ve been having kitchen fun. Snow and cold temps have returned with the latest arctic blast so we are making do with browsing recipes online. Granola bars caught Mrs J’s attention the other day so we looked over a few recipes to get an idea of what would work and then went to the cupboard for ingredients. We pretty much cleaned out all the odds and ends leftover from other recipes and ended up with some tasty snack bars. Rolled oats are featured in most of the recipes we looked at, and peanut butter and honey were pretty common. From memory, here are the ingredients we went with this morning:
1-1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup honey (plus a drizzle of maple syrup we had left from waffles)
and enough of these to make up three additional cups of filler:
Melt the peanut butter in a small saucepan and add the honey and other liquids that sound good. (I had planned to add a little cherry preserve but forgot.) I spun the dry stuff in a food processor to mix it and chop some of the larger pieces a bit then dumped it into a large mixing bowl. Add the peanut butter mixture and mix thoroughly, then press it into a pan that you have lined with parchment paper. Mrs J used a plastic tumbler to roll it down. We used an 11″x7″ pan because an 8″x8″ pan looked a tad small. Refrigerate for a couple of hours. These are seriously good. I wish we had some other more colorful things about to toss into the mix. Dried cherries and blueberries? Mini M&Ms?
We had a sudden desire for cinnamon rolls yesterday and these 90 minute wonders came up. I have to say that the allrecipes site has been very good for me lately. They have a Youtube channel with the best recipe instructions – good photography and concise descriptions without silly banter. They feature the recipe and not some self aggrandizing twit being cute. The video link is on the page I linked to above and is well worth the few minutes it takes to watch. I heard the nice lady mention cream cheese icing towards the end of the video so I did a quick search and found a recipe:
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
We had some maple syrup on hand so I substituted a few ounces of that for the vanilla extract and used a hand mixer to beat it until it was smooth.
I had some bacon in the fridge that was getting old so I decided to cook the lot of it in the oven. I usually use maple sugar when I make this stuff but decided on brown sugar for this batch. While rummaging in the cupboard I ran across a jar of ground red pepper. The peppers grew on an “ornamental” pepper plant but they looked useful and I am loathe to throw things away. I ground them in my spice mill and put them back, waiting for a special occasion. Today I sprinkled them onto the bacon, along with ground black pepper and the sugar. You can see the tiny seeds on the bacon in the photos. This stuff is awesome. Bacon is not hard to cook in the oven, lay it out on a rack inside a baking tray. Cooking plain bacon you can get by without lining the tray with foil but this sugar coated stuff will make you wish you had the first time you forget. Or the second time. I’m slow. I set the temp at 350 for this batch, thicker bacon wants a lower temperature setting. Flip the bacon after 15 minutes and sprinkle the other side with the pepper and sugar. (Maple syrup works great on these!) The bacon will render as it cooks and will give up moisture, in the last few minutes the rashers go from not quite done to just right and you better be ready because another minute is too much. [Edit to add photo:]I mentioned that I was, um.. retentive. These are the little peppers I dried and ground and saved. In 2010.
Going to a potluck this weekend and want to wow everyone? This is the recipe. It’s from friends and a standard a their barbecues. Amazingly simple, but it takes ordinary canned baked beans up a notch. Go for good quality beans and sausage and real maple syrup and it’s a can’t miss. Sit back and accept all the compliments that will come your way.
Nita’s Baked Beans
- ½ lb spicy Italian sausage
- 28 oz can favorite baked beans
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
In saucepan, brown Italian sausage, drain well and crumble. Add beans and syrup, let simmer for 15 minutes to heat through and let flavors blend together.
Probably should think about doubling this recipe, because the leftovers are even better.