Creamy Cucumber Salad

This is an awesome summertime recipe. No cooking, cool, light, delicious.

Not much to say about this as far as preparation goes.

Yogurt subs in for sour cream in this healthy version of a favorite summer salad.

Ingredients

1 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
3-4 seedless cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced
¼ red onion, thinly sliced and roughly chopped (You can substitute any kind of onion here. I like using more onion and often add a ¼ Vidalia onion as well, I like that touch of sweet.)
1 clove garlic, pressed or minced finely
juice from ½ lemon (Want to go with a Caribbean flavor? Try lime juice here instead.)
¼ cup chopped fresh dill, plus more for garnish
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

Toss the cucumbers and onion in a medium to large bowl.

Mix the yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, dill, salt, and pepper together in a small bowl then add to the cucumbers and toss to coat.

Add more salt and pepper as desired and garnish with more dill.

Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving. Like most dishes, give it more time if you have it.

Creamy Cucumber Salad

Creamy Cucumber Salad (click to see full size)

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Pico De Gallo

This is a staple food for me.

I make at least a double batch a week when the ingredients are in season, it’s so good!

Simple but useful in eggs, tacos, as a dip for tortilla chips and on and on.

You can adjust ingredients to your taste, I like a little more spice so I use a tad more jalapeno pepper in mine.

Ingredients
8 Roma tomatoes
1 large white onion (you can use a couple of medium sized red onions here if you wish, I use whatever I have on hand)
3 medium jalapeno peppers
3 cloves of garlic
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 Lime, juiced
1/4 cup of chopped cilantro

Optional
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 can Mexican corn, drained

Halve and remove the guts of the tomatoes, then dice into small pieces. Place into a good sized bowl.

Peel and dice the onion. I vary the size of the dice some so there are some larger pieces as well as small ones.

Halve and clean the jalapenos, I remove all the ribs and the seeds. Mince these into very small pieces.

Add the salt and lime juice. If you like a little more lime flavor, you can zest the skin of the lime.

Chop the cilantro finely and add to the bowl

Mix everything together well. This will be good to serve as-is. If you have a few hours, chill it in the refrigerator and the flavors will be even better together.

I like adding the beans and corn for a little more variety, and the Pico will go farther this way too.

Pico de Gallo

Pico de Gallo, try to stop eating this with chips!

Pico de Gallo in Fried Potatoes.

Pico de Gallo in Fried Potatoes.

Pico de Gallo with Tortilla Chips.

Pico de Gallo with Tortilla Chips.

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Lebanese Roasted Stuffed Onions

This is a dish I was first introduced to by Jeff Smith, aka The Frugal Gourmet.

The combination if spices makes for an interesting tasting entree.

Lebanese Roasted Stuffed Onions

Lebanese Roasted Stuffed Onions

Ingredients
4 or 5 very large yellow onions
1 pound ground lean lamb or beef
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley, reserve some for garnish
1/2 cup long-grain rice, soaked in water for a 1/2 hour, then rinsed and drained
3 ripe tomatoes, diced
2 tablespoons white wine or cider vinegar
3 pinches of sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup beef stock

Place the whole peeled onions in a pot, and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil and boil the onions for 10 minutes. Remove, drain, and allow the onions to cool so they are easier to handle.

Filling
Mix together the lamb or beef with the cinnamon, allspice, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, parsley, and rice. Mix well, and then add the tomatoes, Gently mix again, be careful not to squeeze the juice out of the tomatoes.

Assembly
Cut the top and the bottom from the cooked unpeeled onions. Slice into the onions by making a cup down the side of the onion that goes to the center of the onion. Remove the outer skin, and then, very carefully, remove the outer leaves.

Place a spoonful of the meat mixture into each onion leaf and roll like a sausage.

Add the stuffed leaves seam side down to a hot, pan coated with olive oil. Brown for about 2 minutes. Add the vinegar then sprinkle sugar over each of the onion leaves. Add some beef stock and simmer for about 20 minutes covered. Turn the onions about halfway through the cooking time.

Garnish with fresh parsley.

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Taco Seasoning Mix

Tacos are among my favorite thing to eat. I mean, who doesn’t love a good taco?

This seasoning mix can be used for tacos, as well as most any other Mexican dish, enjoy!

Homemade taco seasoning mix, photo by Dave Emmons

Homemade taco seasoning mix, photo by Dave Emmons (click to enlarge)

Taco Seasoning Mix

Ingredients

4 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
4 teaspoons flour
3 teaspoons kosher salt
3 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Instructions

Combine ingredients in a small container and shake to combine. I used a clean 1 pint cottage cheese container. Store for up to 1 month.

To use, break up a pound of ground beef in a wide skillet over medium heat. When the meat starts to sizzle, sprinkle a tablespoon or two over the meat and continue stirring.

As the moisture from the meat cooks out and simmers, it will be thickened by the flour.

Note, you can vary the amount of salt to your taste. I tried this with 4 teaspoons of salt an thought it was too much. You mileage may vary.

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Tomato Cucumber Onion Salad

Summertime.
Who doesn’t enjoy a chilled salad made from fresh ingredients?
This is one of my favorites and is an easy dish to make.

Ingredients

1 cup diced cucumber
1 cup diced fresh tomato
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup diced red onion (I like onions so I usually add 1/4 cup of Vidalia onion as well.)
1 teaspoon white pepper
salt to taste

Optional

Cilantro, basil, or parsley to garnish

Directions
Toss cucumber, tomato, olive oil, red wine vinegar, red onion, and white pepper together in a large bowl; season with salt. Garnish as desired. Refrigerate until slightly chilled, 10 to 15 minutes. 

Tomato Cucumber Onion Salad

Tomato Cucumber Onion Salad (click to see full size image)

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New Recipes Coming Soon!

Really.

I promise.


d a v e

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Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast

Chipped Beef on Toast

A creamy, delicious dish, good for lunch, dinner, or breakfast.


This is an old one. Many people frown on food like this. I suspect they’ve never made their own. I’ve grown to like it.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients
5 oz. dried chipped beef (Can’t find dried chipped beef? Use roast beef luncheon meat.)
3 1/2 cups half-and-half (you can substitute or whole milk or cream)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsalted butter
Fresh ground pepper to taste

Directions
Melt the butter in a large pan over medium-high heat.

Tear the chipped beef into small pieces and add it to the butter.

Cook the beef for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges begin to curl. The meat will release some of its salt as it cooks.

Gradually add the flour to the pan, stirring until a thick paste forms.

Pour in the half-and-half and reduce heat to medium-low. Continue stirring until the sauce is thick and creamy.

Cook the mixture for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until desired thickness is reached.

Toast 4-6 pieces of bread and set aside. I’ve used regular sandwich bread as well as Texas toast. Feel free to get creative with your bread choice here.

Once the sauce is thick enough for you, heat it back to a boil and whisk vigorously for about a minute.

Taste and season with pepper, Spoon a combination of beef and sauce over the toast.

Enjoy!

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Homemade Mayonnaise

Mayonnaise

Easy to make, you’ll truly enjoy having fresh mayonnaise on hand for recipes requiring it or as a condiment.



Homemade Mayonnaise

A homemade mayonnaise recipe is simple to make and has better flavor than store-bought. Also, mayonnaise is the mother, or base, recipe for a lot of other sauces out there. These include aioli, Rémoulade, and Thousand Island Dressing.

All ingredients should be at at room temperature before you begin. Since the egg isn’t cooked, use a pasteurized or a very fresh one.

Once made, the mayonnaise should be stored in an airtight container and should be stored in the refrigerator. It can be stored and used for up to 4 days.

My personal preference is to make the mayonnaise ahead of time so it can be chilled properly and to let the flavors mingle. You know me, good things come to those who wait.

Ingredients
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
2 2/3 cups canola oil
4 teaspoons white wine vinegar
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Makes about 2 1/2 cups

Instructions
Combine the eggs and Dijon mustard in the bowl of a food processor fitted that has a blade attachment installed. Process the mixture until it is evenly combined.

With the food processor lid on and the unit running, slowly add the oil in a thin stream until the ingredients are completely combined. Pay attention to the consistency of the mayonnaise stopping the flow of oil before you reach the level of thickness you want. Add the vinegar and pulse until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

I have seen an alternate method used to make mayonnaise. Use an immersion blender instead of a food processor. Instead of the bowl, use a glass measuring cup the blender fits into. Combine all ingredients in it. Place the blender all the way in until it’s at the bottom. Then turn the blender on and let it run until the mayonnaise begins to form, Slowly tilt the blender in the cup so it pulls more of the ingredients into the blender. Once that is set up and mayonnaise, slowly pull the blender up so it can continue combining the ingredients. Do this until you are at the top and everything is combined.

Edit: I made this again and substituted stone ground mustard for the Dijon. Oh my goodness, the extra zing of flavor the mustard seeds give the mayo is amazing!

Let me know if you try anything different.

* Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish, or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness, especially if you have a medical condition.

Equipment List
Simax Glassware 3843 4-Cup Cooking and Measuring Cup, Large
OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons with Magnetic Snaps
OXO Good Grips Silicone Jar Spatula
KitchenAid KFP740CR 9-Cup Food Processor
Cuisinart CSB-79 Smart Stick 2-Speed Immersion Blender

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Easy Crockpot Carnitas

Serves: 10-12

Ingredients
4-5 lbs. pork shoulder
5 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon chipotle hot sauce
juice of 2 limes
1/2 cup orange juice
12 ounces beer
1/2 cup salsa

Instructions

Place the pork shoulder in the slow cooker. Roughly chop the garlic and place in the slow cooker.

Sprinkle the meat with salt, cumin, chili powder, black pepper, oregano, cinnamon, and cayenne. Rub seasonings onto the pork.

Add lime juice, orange juice, beer, and salsa. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

Shred meat with two forks directly in the slow cooker (or take out, shred, and replace in sauce). It should fall apart easily.

Preheat broiler. Line a baking sheet with aluminium foil. Place the shredded meat on the cooking sheet and pour a few spoonfuls of sauce over the top. Broil for 5-10 minutes or until you get browned edges on the pork.

Serve on tortillas with fresh cilantro, avocado, and lime juice.

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Ranch Dressing

Ranch Dressing

Creamy, delicious homemade ranch dressing.
(Photo licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.)


Where to begin?

This dressing is near iconic. Yes, most of us only know it from the commercial Hidden Valley Ranch product we’ve known for years.

But let’s go back in time, to when the dressing was made from scratch with no preservatives or anything fake.

Back to the original Hidden Valley Ranch itself, founded in 1954. (Read more at Wikipedia)

Mix some up, let the flavors come together as they chill in the fridge.

Then use it on a salad. Dip some cut vegetables into it. Dip some fries.

Taste the difference, you won’t want the bottled version any more.

Ingredients
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons sour cream
3 tablespoons Italian parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chives, finely chopped
4 teaspoons lemon juice
1 medium clove of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper

Makes: 1 1/3 cups

Instructions
Place all of the ingredients in a jar or other container with a tight fitting lid. Put the lid on tightly and shake to evenly distribute all the ingredients. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as desired. Refrigerate until chilled and the flavors have melded, about 1 hour. The dressing will last about 3 days in the refrigerator.

Variants
Try using lime juice in place of the lemon juice.
Squirt a couple shots of Sriracha Sauce into the dressing for an extra zip of flavor.
Make your own mayonnaise to make this a truly homemade dressing.

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