Monday, May 26, 2014

Classic American Potato Salad (adapted for pressure cooking)

One of my most top viewed and rated recipes on my blog is my mother's German Potato Salad. I can see why, because it's delicious-- and there's bacon in it! German potato salad is made with oil and vinegar. No mayonnaise, whatsoever. To add mayo to a classic German potato salad would be sacrilegious.

American potato salad, on the other hand, uses mayonnaise. I know some people who think mayonnaise is "gross". To each his own. I like it, but obviously, I don't eat it in massive quantities. Now that we're heading into warmer weather and BBQ Season, I was bitten with my yearly hankering for a  homemade classic American potato salad.

I think that a classic American potato salad should include eggs, mayonnaise and mustard. The rest of the ingredients are totally up to one's personal taste or imagination.  I like to add celery, green onion (I find regular onion can sometimes overpower the flavor), and a little bit of chopped dill pickle.  I love to add black olives (which my son despises and says ruins the whole thing).  On occasion, I've been known to add thinly sliced red radish, for some crunchy texture. Or not.

Recently, I've been featuring recipes I've made with my beloved pressure cooker.

I will be sharing how I made a pressure cooker cheese cake in 12 minutes-- (now, on the blog(! This was so creamy and delicious, and so easy to make!

I know that not all of my readers own a pressure cooker-- or, you've admitted that yours has been banished to your garage, gathering dust.  I am working on a post to share my suggestions/recommendations on how to choose a pressure cooker and why I think they're so wonderful to use. You can still make this without a pressure cooker-- however it will take an additional 30-45 minutes!

I've never posted my American potato salad recipe, because I don't measure when I make it. Today I'm going to share my recipe, but I have to give credit to Barbara of "Pressure Cooking Today" for sharing her genius way of making using a pressure cooker to speed up the process of preparing the potatoes and eggs.   This was so fast and easy that I could just hug her!

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Sunday, May 18, 2014

Chinese/Asian-Style Glazed Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Asian Slaw

Last week, our part of California got hit with a heatwave. For us, that's temps in the 90's to low 100's. I would wilt in parts of the country where really hot temps are considered "normal"-- Arizona, Texas, Florida... when I'm hot, I'm lethargic.  Very few homes, on the Monterey Peninsula,  have air-conditioners.  That's because the Pacific Ocean breeze and coastal fog usually gives us a perfect climate of average temps in the mid-70's. 

Speaking of lethargic--I'm still battling a nagging case of fatigue, which means that cooking/baking and blogging has taken a little bit of a break.  Coming home to a house that has internal temps of 86 and up didn't perk me up, much. So, we resorted to firing up the gas grill and throwing on chicken and veggies-- and cooling off with margaritas. I know, tough, huh?

Fortunately, the high pressure system has moved on, and the temps are now in the comfortable 60's and 70's.  Memorial weekend becomes the kick start for barbeques, and I'm so looking forward to spending weekends in our backyard. My husband has earned my admiration with his grilling skills.

We don't grill pork tenderloin often, though we love it. Because this cut of meat is so low in fat, it can easily dry out, if overcooked.  I saw this recipe on a recorded episode of "Cook's Country" (on one of those lethargic hot nights, when I was almost comatose).   The idea behind this recipe is to try and replicate the flavor of Chinese boneless style spare ribs. 

Cook's Country turns to pork tenderloins, that are butterflied, and pounded until thin.  Since I was cooking for just the two of us, I "halved" the recipe ingredients. NOTE: Remove the silver skin but sliding a knife underneath and carefully cutting it, trying not to remove too much pork.

I got totally sucked into this episode, because of the marinade and barbeque sauce, and I had all of the ingredients! The marinade had ingredients of soy sauce, apricot preserves, garlic, freshly minced ginger, hoison sauce, dry sherry, toasted sesame oil, Chinese Five-Spice and black pepper.  A portion of the marinade is set aside, to create the sauce that will "lacquer" the pork tenderloin.

To the reserved marinade, ketchup and molasses is added, and then cooked until reduced and thickened.

The pork tenderloion marinated for about an hour, while I prepped the sauce and, at the last moment, I decided to make an Asian-Style Slaw to complement this recipe. I didn't plan on blogging this cole slaw, but it turned out to be so tasty, that I had to share it with y'all!

For the dressing, I used fresh lime juice, a splash of fish sauce (I know, it sound scary, but it's good), sugar, rice vinegar, fresh ginger and toasted sesame seed oil.  I added  sliced cabbage (actually I used cole slaw mix, from Trader Joe's), sliced bell peppers, sliced green onion, peanuts and cilantro. (Recipe also slightly adapted from Cook's Country August 2007.)

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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Daffodil Cake (Angel Food Cake)-- and my baking "blooper"

I made this cake last spring. Twice.  In one day. This is round #2.

This is round #1.  Epic baking fail. I wanted to cry. But, I didn't. I immediately started over. I knew what I did wrong, and I will admit what it was, because I love you guys. I don't want you to make my same mistakes.  Plus, no matter how hard I tried-- I was not happy with my finished pictures.  So, I never published this recipe. After careful debate with myself,  I decided it would be worth poking fun at myself--to show that I do have cooking/baking failures. I just don't share them with you. Until now.  So, please keep on reading to learn what not to do, and what you should do. Thank you.

So, what is a Daffodil Cake? It's part angel food cake, and part "chiffon" cake (with egg yolks and orange flavor mixed in).  If made correctly, according to Cook's Country Magazine (April 2010), "Like the flower it's named for, this orange-kissed angel food cake is scented and sweet, with golden yellow and pale orange hues."  That sounds like a lovely spring cake! The only angel food cakes I've ever made, comes from a box of cake mix.  I wanted to make my own, from scratch.

So, we begin by processing sugar and cake flour to be fine and "powdery".  My food processor works great for this-- however I will forewarn you that billows of fine flour and sugar will look like smoke  coming out of the top!

Well, that was easy.

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Saturday, May 3, 2014

Easiest Homemade Concord Grape Jelly-- and Basic Canning tips

Sometimes, the inner child in me wants a peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich for lunch. The adult in me, doesn't want that white bread that I loved as a kid.  Whole wheat bread, please and thank you. 

Yes, I'm a dinosaur of the 60's, and I always loved Welch's Concord Grape Jelly. Maybe it was because of this commercial:

A blast from the past-- I do remember this commercial (in black and white). We also collected those jelly glasses. It's too bad they are long gone, or they'd be on eBay!

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