Blueberry Sweet Corn Salad

Thursday, April 14, 2016

I get so excited when I think I am being creative in my food. Like I am on to the next big thing. Well, last night I had a bit of everything in the refrigerator, yet not enough of any of it to make a complete meal. I had half a pint of blueberries, a bag of corn, tomatoes, cucumbers. I made a tomato cucumber salad.That was a given. What to do with the blueberries and corn? While my husband was grilling chipotle chicken , I got a hairbrained idea to add the corn and blueberries together. I added fresh basil, salt , pepper, olive oil, a pinch of garlic salt and a bit of white wine vinegar. No measuring, just threw it together. I let it sit in the fridge for a bit to meld the flavors.My husband and kids looked at it when I put it on the dinner table and turned their noses up. But I made each of them , (hubby too) try it. And they all said it was good. And ate it all. I have to admit the flavors really did go great together. The slight tartness of the blueberries, the sweet corn, the basil. I loved it and instantly wished I had made more. So I snapped a pic and had these huge plans to reveal my great recipe to the masses this morning. But I googled. And quickly realized I was not on to anything . It has been done before. Sure, some corn blueberry salads have more ingredients. Some not. Some use roasted corn, some use small Maine blueberries. But, all in all I am not original....this time. But here is my version of the salad, nonetheless. Oh, and I learned something else last night. After so many years of marriage, I found out my husband does not like raw blueberries. In muffins, cakes and sweets, they are ok. But just popped in a salad or eaten from the fridge, not so much. Huh? Why has he never said anything? Men. But he ate the salad . And said it was good. I like to think he wouldn't tell a little white lie to make me happy. Or would he? ;)

Blueberry Corn Basil Salad

2 cups corn
1 cup blueberries
4-6 leaves of basil, cut into thin strips
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of garlic salt
2 T olive oil
1 tsp white wine vinegar

Mix all ingredients together . Refrigerate to meld flavors. Serve cold.

No Knead English Muffin Bread

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

I have always been intimidated by baking my own bread. I always figured it was easier to buy artisan loaves and not worry about yeast and rising and kneading. But a few years ago (well, really about a decade ago) I started making my own loaves of bread when my oldest started school and I was pregnant with number two and so very bored during my days at home.  Over the years I have made many loaves with different flours, different techniques and different flavors. Some are super time consuming and complex. And others, like this recipe, are super easy and tastes wonderful out of the oven. This bread is called english muffin bread and while it doesn't have the holes that traditional english muffins have, this bread is dense and is perfect toasted with butter and jam. Perfect! And it is no knead. Just mix the dry , warm the wet , combine ,let rise and bake. It rises for about an hour  and bakes for about 20 minutes, so from start to finish, you can have a fresh, warm loaf of bread in less than two hours . I highly recommend this technique to newbie bakers or hurried moms like me. I can make a loaf or two and have it rise and bake while I am preparing dinner. I can't say enough good things about this recipe.

No Knead English Muffin Bread
Recipe courtesy King Arthur Flour

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 cup milk
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
cornmeal to (sprinkle in pan)
1) Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and instant yeast in a large mixing bowl.
2) Combine the milk, water, and oil in a separate, microwave-safe bowl, and heat to between 120°F and 130°F. the liquid will feel quite hot (hotter than lukewarm but not boiling)
3) Pour the hot liquid over the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl.
4) Beat at high speed for 1 minute. The dough will be very soft.
5) Lightly grease an 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan, and sprinkle the bottom and sides with cornmeal.
6) Scoop the soft dough into the pan, leveling it in the pan as much as possible.
7) Cover the pan, and let the dough rise till it's just barely 1/4" over the rim of the pan.  This will take about 45 minutes to 1 hour, if you heated the liquid to the correct temperature and your kitchen isn't very cold. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 400°F.
8) Remove the cover, and bake the bread for 20 to 25 minutes, till it's golden brown and its interior temperature is 190°F.
9) Remove the bread from the oven, and after 5 minutes turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. Let the bread cool completely before slicing.

Easy Weeknight Korean Beef

Monday, April 4, 2016

This is a tried and true recipe that everyone in my household loves. Korean Beef. Sweet, spicy carmelized ground beef over steamed rice. So good. And it is so quick to put together. And inexpensive to make. You can always add steamed veggies to the meat to make it more substantial. If I have fresh broccoli or cauliflower , I will usually serve it on the side. But it is just as good without the veggies. 1/4 c of brown sugar is enough for us ( and a scant one at that) , but you can add up to 1/2 c if you like the meat a bit sweeter. And you can sub  the Sriracha sauce for crushed red pepper. I usually use the crushed red pepper, but my husband prefers the Sriracha. There are never any leftovers with this one.

Weeknight Korean Beef
1 lb lean ground beef
1 T vegetable oil
3 T brown sugar
1/3 c low sodium soy sauce
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 to 1 tsp crushed red pepper (or Sriracha sauce,to taste)
1 bunch green onions

1.Heat the sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the ground beef and garlic. Brown an drain off the fat.
2.Add the brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger, black pepper and crushed red pepper ( or sriracha sauce). Simmer for a few minutes to heat through, stirring well.
3. Serve overrice and top with sliced green onions.