Tuesday, June 30, 2009

potato salad sans mayo

i find mayonnaise utterly disgusting. ditto for the miracle whip. you'll be surprised to know that despite being a true-blooded utahn, i don't care much for fry sauce. the reason for that is because 50 percent of the ingredients in fry sauce are comprised of mayo.

mayo is against my religion. let's think about what it is for a second... eggs and oil. whipped together. sick o rama! i have a very hard time with eggs, too. i will eat them if i cook them, but you won't see me eating a runny yolk egg or eating eggs with crispy brown skin on them. NASTO.

because of my hate for mayo, i've never really liked potato salad. add hard boiled eggs to potato salad and it's even worse. the double deadly combo: mayo AND hard cooked eggs?? mixed together??? i guess i don't have to tell you that i don't like egg salad sandwiches. besides the fact that egg salad takes two nasty ingredients and slams them together on bread with another oft-added nasty ingredient (pickles), it smells horrible.

saturday at the farmer's market, i bought some lovely new red potatoes and some fresh chives. i also bought a big bag of mixed greens. i had a package of hormel center cut bacon in my fridge waiting to be cooked... and i knew i wanted to make a potato salad to go with our steak and greens for dinner. i searched high and low for a recipe that i wanted, but couldn't find one that seemed to fit my needs. one had raw onions (meh...), one had flour stirred into bacon grease (icky) and many of them had mayonnaise.

i decided that i was going to be on my own... but i'd seen enough ingredients that i figured i could toss something together and it would be yummy.

i don't like to boil food - except for pasta. nothing kills flavor like boiling water (unless you're making coffee or tea...). so i knew i'd opt for roasting the potatoes. i realize that's not best on an 80 degree summer day, so i guess you could boil the potatoes, i just chose not to.

jenna LOVED this potato salad. paul had seconds. jake wasn't home, so he didn't get to weigh in.

roasted red potato salad (read entire recipe - ingredients are listed throughout)

*2 pounds new red potatoes
kosher salt
2 T olive oil

heat oven to 450 degrees F. wash potatoes, cut into quarters. spread cut potatoes on a cookie sheet (i use my pampered chef stoneware pan), drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. roast for 20-25 minutes. you want the potatoes to be tender, but not mushy. i rearrange all the potatoes so they are cut side down because i like the way it makes the sides crispy, but that's just me. it's not required.

1/2 cup sweet onion (or whatever kind of onion you have)
1/2 cup sliced celery
6-8 slices bacon

in a skillet, fry the bacon until crisp. remove bacon from the pan and pour off all but 1 T of the fat. reserve the poured off fat for use in the dressing. cook the onion in the bacon fat for about 10 minutes, or until the onions are soft and begin to darken. toss the celery in with the onions for the last 3-4 minutes of cook time. remove the pan from the heat. chop bacon into small pieces and set aside.

in a small bowl or mixing cup, prepare the dressing for the potatoes:

2 T balsamic vinegar
1 T bacon fat, from the reserved drippings
1 T Gulden's Spicy Brown Mustard
1 T brown sugar
2 T olive oil

whisk together the first 4 ingredients and then drizzle the olive oil in slowly while whisking briskly. taste the vinaigrette and correct seasons if needed. i don't add salt - the potatoes are salted and we'll be let's get ready to assemble this salad, shall we? you'll need one final ingredient:

small bunch of fresh chives, chopped (2-3 T ish)

when the potatoes are cooked, remove them from the oven and let them sit on the pan. when you are ready to make the salad, put the potatoes in a serving bowl and add the onions, celery, bacon and chives. give the vinaigrette a final whisk and pour over the salad. fold the dressing and the potatoes together until the potatoes are nicely coated. this should be served warm or at room temperature. if you don't have chives, i think using green onions would be lovely.

do you like potato salad? are you a lover of mayo? do you consider yourself a picky eater?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

pita bread

yeah so who the hell makes pita bread from scratch???

THIS GIRL. (oh...and i have two thumbs...) ((get it??))

anyway. i made pesto last weekend and i needed a vehicle to get it into my mouth. i love to toast pita bread and cut it into triangles and dip it in pesto. so when i went grocery shopping i bought the stuff i needed...

and i forgot the darn pita bread!! i got home and i was CRUSHED. and then i thought...HEY! i bet i can make it! so i started cruising the interwebs and i found two recipes that i combined.

pita bread

1 envelope of yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp)
1/2 cup warm water
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
2 to 2 1/2 cups white flour
1/2 cup wheat flour
1 tsp. salt
1 cup warm water

combine yeast, 1/2 cup water and 1 1/2 tsp. sugar in a mixing cup. let sit until very frothy; about 10-15 mins.

combine 2 cups white flour, 1/2 cup wheat flour, salt and water in kitchenaid with the dough hook attached. add the yeast mixture to the flour mixture. if the dough is too sticky, add the remaining 1/2 cup white flour. the dough should be smooth and stick to the dough hook but not to the bowl.

p.s. warm the bowl with very warm water before mixing the dough. :)

remove the hook from the dough and spray the bowl with pam. cover the bowl with a clean towel and set in a warm place for 2-3 hours.

preheat oven to 500 degrees F. on a floured surface, roll the dough into a log shape and cut into 10-12 even pieces. roll each piece into a circle, about 1/4" thick. if you roll it too thin, it will get too crispy. if you actually want it to split like pocket bread, err on the side of thicker.

place dough circles on stoneware pans or pizza stones to bake and bake in batches, one pan at a time for 6-9 minutes, or to desired doneness.

my family ate these as fast as they came out of the oven...and there were no leftovers. my husband even ate pesto. be still my heart!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


i have a giant crush on pesto. i would marry it if were legal to marry food. i love basil...the smell, the flavor...it's probably the perfect herb. i also love garlic and parmesan cheese, so it's only natural that i have great love for pesto.

this year, i finally got to plant some basil. i've always wanted to grow it in pots, but i never have. i vowed this year would be different. my plants are doing well...and they smell amazing. AMAZING.

many people like pesto but seem to think they can't make it at home. i assure you, it's super easy. you do need a food processor, but most of you have one of those, right? RIGHT? pesto is also one of those recipes where you can alter the ingredients to suit your taste. the measurements are only guidelines...not carved in stone. i prefer pesto on toasted pita bread (i'll post a recipe for this soon! SOOO tasty, SOOO easy) but it's also great on pasta, veggies or crackers. i could eat it just plain on a spoon.

pesto makes me happy... and i think it might make you happy, too.


*1 cup packed basil leaves
*1/2 cup pine nuts* (i buy these at a kitchen specialty store. you can substitute walnuts)
3-4 medium cloves of garlic (more is not better in this case), peeled
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/3-1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
pinch kosher salt

i don't wash the basil unless it's really dirty. pat it dry if you need to rinse it. place the basil, garlic, pine nuts and parmesan in a food processor. toss in the pinch o salt. pulse until well blended. turn food processor onto lowest setting and drizzle the olive oil in until the pesto is the consistency you want.

i like to serve this immediately, as it will turn brown over time. it's great tossed with hot pasta. if you want to save it for a few days, pour a thin layer of olive oil on the top to keep it from darkening.

pita bread recipe soon, i promise!!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

brown sugar pancakes

dudes. you have GOT to make these pancakes. get this: i made them for BREAKFAST on a SCHOOL DAY.

two things: i never cook breakfast. breakfast is poured at my house. topped with milk, which is also poured.

second, cooking on a hectic morning? crazeh!! O.o

you should make these pancakes b/c they will make you happy.

brown sugar pancakes

*1/2 cup white flour
*1/2 cup wheat flour
*2/3 cup oatmeal (regular or quick cooking)
*1/3 cup brown sugar
*1/2 tsp baking soda
*1/2 tsp salt

mix together in a small bowl.

then in a separate bowl (i like my pampered chef batter bowl) mix:

*1 egg
*2 T oil
*1 c. buttermilk (i use reg milk plus 1 tsp vinegar to make sour milk)

add the dry ingredients to the wet, mix until just combined. pour onto a hot griddle (i like to spray lightly with cooking spray).

serve with butter and syrup. makes about 10 pancakes. awesome with glazed baked thick cut bacon.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

raspberry jello dessert

i'm posting this for cristi... but it turns out that even though she has a temple recommend, she doesn't have any jello. so put this on file and make it.

trust me, it's delish.

raspberry jello dessert

*1/2 cup melted butter
*2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
*2 T sugar

mix together and press into the bottom of a 9x13 pan, reserving 1/3 cup of mixture for garnish.

*1 qt raspberries (or two 10 oz. frozen packages of raspberries)
*1 6 oz package raspberry Jello
*2 cups boiling water

mix together in a bowl, let sit until set - may need to refrigerate. spread over top of graham cracker crust.

*8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
*3/4 cup powdered sugar
*2 tsp. vanilla
*1 pt heavy whipping cream, whipped OR 1 tub (8 or 12 oz, whatever) cool whip, thawed

mix cream cheese with sugar and vanilla. fold in whipped cream or cool whip. spread on top of raspberry mixture. place in refrigerator for a few hours to set up. garnish with reserved graham cracker crumb just before serving.

this is awesome for 4th of july. you can decorate the top like a flag with blueberries, strawberries and raspberries to look like a flag.

Monday, June 1, 2009

strawberry shortcake

may is awesome. it's summer outside. soccer season is winding down. strawberries are amazing.

shortcake makes me happy.

i don't like angel food cake and those store-bought twinkie-like cakes are sicko. so i make my own little shortcakes.

i'm not sure where i got this recipe... but i do know it's fabulous.

shortcakes with berries and cream

*1 quart strawberries, hulled and sliced or quartered
*1 box raspberries
*1 cup whipping cream
*1 T sugar

wash berries, prepare strawberries. toss with raspberries and sugar. let rest at room temperature.


*2 1/2 cups bisquick
*2/3 cup milk
*sugar in the raw

mix the milk and bisquick just until the mix is all combined. you can prepare this two ways: pat out and roll into a square. sprinkle with sugar and roll up into a log. slice into 8 pieces. brush the tops with milk, sprinkle with a bit more sugar. OR you can form the dough into a log, roll in sugar and cut into slices. brush the tops with milk and sprinkle with more sugar.

bake at 450 degrees F for 9-10 minutes. remove from oven and let cool slightly.

while the shortcakes bake, whip the cream. add sugar and vanilla to taste.

dessert time!!

split the shortcakes in half with a knife. place the bottom on a plate, spoon berries onto the shortcake. top with whipped cream. place the shortcake top on the top, add more whipped cream and garnish with additional berries.