Monday, August 31, 2015

Deviled Eggs with Cucumber, Dill, and Capers

Yesterday I reviewed the wonderful new book, Martha Stewart's Appetizers. Today I am going to share with you one of the many simple recipes from this book. I am a huge fan of the deviled egg, and really appreciated the varieties featured in this volume. I also happen to like cucumbers, a lot, so thought this fresh variety sounded quite good. As it turned out, it was. Deviled eggs always seem like such wonderful bites of summer, but the addition of the cucumber here made it seem all the more so.
Deviled Eggs with Cucumber, Dill, and Capers
Makes 16

8 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons chopped capers
1/2 English cucumber, peeled and diced (I used
Melissa’s mini cucumbers)
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

In a saucepan, cover eggs with 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil; remove from heat. Cover and let stand 8 minutes. Drain eggs; run under cold water until cool enough to handle.

Peel eggs and halve lengthwise; remove yolks and transfer to a bowl. Mash with a fork, then mix in mustard, yogurt, dill, capers, and cucumber. Season with salt and pepper.

Fill whites with yolk mixture as desired (i.e. piping with a plain or open star tip or, as I did, simply spoon it in). Refrigerate until set, about 15 minutes or up to 2 hours.

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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Martha Stewart's Appetizers, a mouth-watering review

I come to this review with a bit of bias; I like Martha Stewart. I find that people either really like her or really don't, and that's okay with me. Years ago I met her at a book signing at The Library Ltd. bookstore in St. Louis. I stood in line with my mother for two hours to get my book signed, during which time we were served numerous and delicious small snacks made from the recipes in her latest book. Food! On silver trays! By a crisp apron-ed waiter. Classy. When we finally reached Martha she greeted us warmly, graciously signed our books, thanked us for buying them, and expressed sincere appreciation for the length of time that we had waited. I have been to a lot of book signings over the years, some from rather obscure authors, and never had such a positive experience.
I have come to learn, in my various attempts to emulate her, that a domestic diva and staff of thousands are capable of much more than just, well, me. It took me a while to come to grips with that, but I have. But Martha has been a great inspiration to me, and you're in denial if you say that she hasn't been to you as well because, even if you don't like her, she generally stirs up enough emotion in people for them to take action in one way or other. I'd say this is rare.
Her latest book is a real gem. Due for publication September 8th, Martha Stewart's Appetizers is a book worth standing in line for. Beautifully photographed and styled, there are more than 200 mouth-watering recipes for snacks, starters, small plates, stylish bites, and sips. Every fuss-free recipe in this book, and I have read each one, is doable by the average cook. Every. Single. One. Some of these recipes have as little as two ingredients. The recipe for the Hot-Crab and Pimiento-Cheese Spread is worth the price of the book alone. Another simple recipe is the one for Hot Artichoke Dip that knocks the ubiquitous version right out of the park.
There are tips on hosting a party, strategies for party planning, and information on serving essentials. In addition, the majority of the recipes are accompanied by helpful tips, or make aheadinformation to take some of the stress out of entertaining. It's like having Martha in the kitchen right beside you.
This morning I served us a rather unusual breakfast of Glazed Bacon Bites (three ingredients) and Cucumber, Dill, and Caper Deviled Eggs, one of six unique deviled egg varieties, the recipe of which I'll be sharing with you tomorrow.
This is a book to have fun with and I cannot recommend it enough. Seasoned cooks, new cooks, single cooks, anyone who eats, should have this book.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Refried Beans

Yesterday I posted a review for the wonderful crockpot cookbook, Fix-It and Forget-It® Slow Cooker Magic, 550 Amazing Everyday Recipes by Phyllis Good. Today I'm going to give you one of the recipes that I tried, with great success I might add, Refried Beans, attributed to cook Gail Shetler of Goshen, Indiana. All I can say is thank you, Gail! As you all know, I love Mexican food, all kinds, authentic or Americanized. In addition to the delicious main dishes, I also enjoy the sides, arroz (rice) and (frijoles) beans among them. In the past, the majority of my Mexican side dishes either came from a box or can, so when I saw an easy, crockpot recipe for Refried Beans I had to give it a try.

My expectations were pretty low, so I was delighted, after 9 hours of fragrant cooking, to find that these beans are delicious.  The original recipe is below, but I did stir in about a tablespoon of adobo sauce with the salt. I also had only a 1-lb. bag of pinto beans that equaled about 2-1/3 cups, so I cut back on the amount of water by two cups, leaving all other quantities the same. If you love frijoles like I do, give them a try, and let me know what you think.

Refried Beans
Makes 8-10 Servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 5-11 hours
Ideal slow cooker size: 5 quart.

1 medium onion, peeled and halved
3 cups dry pinto beans, washed and sorted
1/2 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped, or 1 T. canned jalapeno, chopped (more or less, to taste)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. black pepper (I used less)
1/4 tsp. ground cumin (Next time I'll use more)
9 cups water
3 or so teaspoons salt

Grease interior of slow cooker crock. Combine all ingredients in crock EXCEPT salt. (Salt can prevent or slow down cooking dried beans soft.)

Cover. Cook on high 5-7 hours or low 9-11 hours, or until beans are as soft as you like them.

Drain off a few cups of liquid and save liquid. Mash beans in crock with potato masher. Add some of saved liquid to reach the consistency that you like. Stir in salt.

These beans freeze well.

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