Smothered cabbage

January 27, 2016

A comforting Cajun-inspired dish that’s easy to prepare and delicious served over rice.

Smothered cabbage

2 Tbsp. butter

1 large cabbage

1 onion, sliced

12 oz. ground cooked ham

1/2 tsp. brown sugar

salt and pepper

Quarter, core and slice the cabbage into thin ribbons.

Place heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add the butter to melt.  Add the onions, cooking and stirring until they begin to soften.  Add the ground ham and stir in with the onions, breaking up the meat.  Add the cabbage and brown sugar.  Stir together until cabbage begins to wilt.

Turn heat down to medium-low and cover tightly.  Cook covered, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is soft, about 20 minutes.  There shouldn’t be much liquid, but if there is, remove cover, turn up heat to medium high, and cook and stir until most of the liquid has evaporated.  Check before adding salt because it may be salty enough from the ham.  Add a generous amount of ground pepper.

Serve over rice with your favorite hot sauce on the side.


Ann’s homemade granola bars

June 1, 2015

granola bar

My version of granola bars is suited to my particular tastes. I like them chewy and moist, but with a variety of textures. I’m not averse to letting them put a toe or two over the line towards candy bar. I will admit that the last time I made these I used Cocoa Pebbles for the cereal component. I will admit to fantasizing about using Golden Grahams. I’m not a purist.

I was able to find brown rice syrup in the syrup section of my regular grocery store.

1 1/2 cups (150g) old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup (45g) sesame seeds, toasted
1/2 cup (60g) whole almonds, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup (75g) pecan halves, coarsely chopped
1 cup crispy rice cereal, flavored or plain
1 cup (125g) pitted and diced dates
1/3 cup (50g) dark chocolate, chopped into chunks or use chips
1/3 cup (35g) dried fruits like cranberries, raisins, blueberries, apricots, or cherries (choose one or make a combo)
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
1/4 cup (65g) smooth natural peanut butter
1/4 cup (80g) honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 – 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350F.

Line the bottom of an 8-inch (20cm) square pan with an 8×15-inch rectangle of parchment paper, making sure the ends hang over the edge.

Spread the oats, sesame seeds and nuts on a baking sheet and toast for 8-10 minutes, stirring once or twice while baking, until they are slightly browned. Let cool and scrape into a large bowl.

Add the rice cereal, dates, chocolate and dried fruit to the bowl. Stil to combine.

Warm the rice syrup, peanut butter and honey for 10-15 seconds in the microwave or in a small saucepan over medium heat. It should be warm enough to be pourable but not so hot that it will melt the chocolate. Mix in the vanilla extract, salt and cinnamon. Pour the liquid over the ingredients in the bowl and stir until everything is completely coated and starts to stick together in clumps. A silicone spatula or wooden spoon works well. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan. Use wet or lightly oiled hands to firmly press the mixture into the pan. I also like to use the oiled bottom of a heavy glass or a meat pounder so I’m able to exert a lot of pressure. You want to really pack it in so that the bars will stay together.

Using a bench knife, cut down through the mixture to make rectangles. Freeze the granola bars for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the freezer and run a knife around the edge to help release it from the pan. Using the ends of the parchment paper, transfer the bars out of the pan to a cutting board. Use the bench knife to recut into rectangles and wrap each bar in plastic wrap or waxed paper. Store in a airtight container.

Makes 8-12 bars.

Lickety-split pressure-cooker greens

November 6, 2014

Last night I arrived home from work with 2 thick-cut pork chops and some new potatoes.  I couldn’t think of anything better to go with them than some slow-cooked greens.   When there’s no time for slow-cookin’, greens can be ready in about 15 minutes, start to finish, using a pressure cooker.  Better yet, they’ll taste like they’ve been simmering all afternoon.

Lickety-split pressure-cooker greens

1/4 pound diced bacon

1 small red onion, sliced

1 garlic clove, sliced

1 lb. curly kale leaves, roughly chopped but still in large pieces

1 cup water or low-salt chicken broth

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

red-pepper vinegar or some hot sauce

Cook the bacon over medium-high heat in the cooker until limp.  Add the red onion and cook, stirring frequently, until bacon is beginning to brown.  Add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.  Add greens, broth, and salt.  Stir to combine everything.

Secure cover to pressure cooker and bring to high-pressure over high heat.  Turn to low heat after it reaches pressure.  Cook for 5 minutes.  Quick-release pressure according to the instructions of your pressure cooker.  I run cold water over the lid.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Shake on red-pepper vinegar or hot sauce to taste.

Serves 4

Chocolate balsamic vinaigrette

July 31, 2014

Chocolate balsamic vinaigrette

2 tbsp chocolate balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp walnut oil

1 tsp honey

Pinch of salt

A couple of grinds of black pepper

In a small bowl, slowly whisk oil into vinegar. Whisk in remaining ingredients.

Serve with fruit and cheese. Watermelon and feta is good. I think it would also be good over strawberry shortcake or a chicken/berry salad.



Favorite citrus vinaigrette

March 24, 2014


Favorite Citrus Vinaigrette

This vinaigrette is delicious with hot or cold food and it takes about 5 minutes to make. I have used it as a dressing for greens, chilled and hot asparagus; in sandwich wraps; and over hot salmon. It is very versatile.

2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed citrus juice

2 Tbsp. lemon-flavored olive oil

pinch granulated sugar

1/2 tsp. coarse-ground or Dijon mustard

Freshly ground pepper

pinch of salt

Pour citrus juice into a medium bowl anchored with a dish towl.  Begin whisking in the first tablespoon of olive oil by SLOWLY dripping it into the bowl.  If you see large pools of oil, stop pouring the oil until it has been incorporated into the juice.  The mixture should start to look slightly creamy.  Add the 2nd tablespoon in the same way.  Add the rest of the ingredients, tasting to make adjustments.  Whisk briskly until creamy.

Use immediately or transfer to a small container and store in the fridge.  Shake well before using.