Tempura with a Soy Yogurt Dipping Sauce

Tempura

What You’ll Need for the Tempura:
1 cup of unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup of panko bread crumbs
1 egg
1 – 1 1/2 cups of ice water
Veggies of your choice (We did mushrooms, sweet onions, zucchini and squash. I had planned to do sweet potato and asparagus, but the process of frying everything we wanted to try took longer than we thought it would initially so we nixed those two as we went along.)

Preheat oil while you are preparing the batter and your veggies. I fried these around 350 F.

Wash mushrooms and dry them. Slice onions into rounds like you would for onion rings. Slice zucchini and squash into rounds. Set aside.

In a medium sized bowl mix all ingredients together until batter forms. Dip veggies into the batter and place in the hot oil. Turn several times while frying. Remove when they are slightly golden.

Notes: The dipping sauce for tempura usually is rather salty so salt is not added to the batter. If you need to add more water do. It’s all about humidity and such when you’re dealing with flour. You want a slightly thick batter like you would make for pancakes that isn’t overly runny. You can also use this method to make shrimp tempura.

What You’ll Need for the Dipping Sauce:
1/2 cup of less sodium soy sauce
1/4-1/3 cup of Greek yogurt (Note: I used the fat free version.)
2-3 tablespoons of sesame oil

Whisk together ingredients and serve immediately with tempura.

Notes: The sesame oil gives the sauce a nice, nutty flavor, but if you don’t care for sesame oil you could use

Potato Skin

Potato Skins

Who hasn’t had a Potato Skin now and then when out at a restaurant or grill? But most people don’t realize they are super easy to make at home! It’s most definitely not something you’d eat everyday, but it’s nice to splurge every once in a while and these little babies go great with ribs!

What You’ll Need:
Small russet potatoes
Extra virgin olive oil
Shredded cheese (Cheddar, Colby, Monterrey Jack…What every you like or a mix of all three!)
Bacon, cooked and crumbled
Scallion and/or sour cream for serving (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Cut potatoes in half and place on the baking sheet cut side up. Bake for 30-35 minutes until potatoes stick done. (Note: Depending on the size of your potato it may take more or less time for them to cook. After 20 minutes check them every 10 minutes or so until done.)

Remove potatoes from oven, brush with a little extra virgin olive to moisten oil and flip over so flat side is down. (Note: Be careful…The potatoes will be hot!) Let sit until potatoes cool.

Once potatoes are cooled preheat oven to 425 F.

Scoop flesh out of each potato leaving 1/8-1/4 of an inch of potato in the skin. Place scooped out potato into a bowl and set aside. (Note: The pulp can be used for Potato Cakes, Mashed Potatoes or even as a part of Potato Soup. I usually put them in the fridge or a freezer container and freeze them until I’m ready to use them in another recipe.)

Sprinkle each skin with the cheese(s) of your choice and sprinkle with crumbled bacon. Bake for 5-8 minutes or until cheese melts.

Serve with sour cream and/or scallions.

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Spinach Artichoke Dip

I love spinach artichoke dip so it’s no surprise that I came up with my own. This dip has evolved over time and the latest rendition has goat cheese (surprise, surprise! ;o)), but every time I serve it it gets raves and I’ve even had people who thought they didn’t like spinach try it and like it. It’s one of my most requested dishes. It goes great with cut veggies, chips or other dip type scoopy foods.

What You’ll Need:
1 cup of light sour cream
1/2 cup of mayo
1 – 8 ounce package of light cream cheese
1 cup of Parmesan cheese, grated
1 – 5 ounce package of goat cheese, crumbled
A pinch of sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 cloves of garlic, minced or 1 teaspoon of garlic salt with parsley (If you use the garlic salt, adjust sea salt accordingly)
1 jar of artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
2 boxes of frozen spinach, thawed and drained (Note: I don’t remember the exact ounce of the package here, but I used Cascadian Farms boxed frozen spinach if you want to compare it to other brands.)

In a medium sized pot melt cream cheese, Parmesan and goat cheese with sour cream and mayo until smooth. Stir in seasonings, artichokes and spinach until blended and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and serve immediately or let cool and store in the fridge until ready to use.

To serve from fridge remove from fridge and place in an oven preheat to 350 F for 20-25 minutes or until warmed through or place in a microwave safe container and microwave on high for 3-5 minutes or until heated through.

Notes: This was the first time I had made my dip with goat cheese and it definitely was a wonderful addition. It gave the dip a hidden depth that wasn’t there before. You could leave out the goat cheese if you wanted, but I will be adding it from now on.

Deviled Eggs

Deviled Eggs

What’s Easter without Deviled Eggs? Everyone has their own twist, this is mine.

What You’ll Need:
12 boiled eggs, cut in half and remove yolks into the bowl of your food processor
1/4 cup of mayo
1/4 cup of sour cream
1 heaping tablespoon of yellow mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons of vinegar
A pinch of sea salt
A pinch of black pepper

In the bowl of your food processor mix boiled egg yolks, mayo, sour cream, mustard, vinegar (I sometimes use white vinegar and sometimes apple cider vinegar…today I went with white), salt and black pepper and process until smooth. Place egg mixture into a large pastry bag with a large star tip affixed. Squeeze egg mixture into the boiled egg whites and chill until serving.

Notes: You can add finely chopped blue cheese into the egg mixture or even Parmesan cheese for two nice variations. You can also sprinkle the tops of each egg with paprika and/or chopped parsley if desired.

Happy Easter Everyone!

 

Boxty

Boxty

Apparently there’s an old Irish proverb that if you can make Boxty you’ll get your man! I guess it’s like the old adage here that the way to man’s heart is through his stomach! 😉

What You’ll Need:
1 cup of grated potato
1 cup of mashed potatoes
1 tablespoon of potato starch
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of sea salt
2 tablespoons of melted butter
2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
1/2-3/4 cups of milk

Mix ingredients and form into patties. Pan fry over medium heat in butter or nonstick spray, until browned on each side. Serve warm.

Baked Salmon Dip

Baked Salmon Dip

I LOVE salmon! But I don’t like it smoked and I don’t like the stuff they put into a can. It’s a waste of perfectly good salmon! Over the years most of the salmon dip recipes that I came across called for either smoked or canned salmon and that just wouldn’t work. So I came up with this little recipe. I play with it from time to time, but it’s delicious none the less!

What You’ll Need:
1 – 8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened
1/2 a red onion, chopped
4 scallions, chopped
1 teaspoon of dried dill (at least)
A pinch of sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 baked salmon filet, skin removed and flaked

In a bowl cream cream cheese until smooth and set aside.

Chop red onions and microwave for 1-2 minutes until tender, but the onions retain their color. (This helps take a little of the bite out of them.) Add chopped scallions to the bowl with red onions and microwave for 30 seconds to a minute.

Stir cooked onions into the cream cheese mixture until mixed.

Stir in seasonings and mix well.

Last add flaked salmon and stir until just mixed so as not to completely tear apart the salmon pieces. Serve with crudités and/or bread and crackers.

Baked Salmon Dip

Note: Baking salmon is easy. Just take a salmon steak, drizzle it with a little olive oil, sea salt, black pepper and dill (optional) and bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 F or until done.

Vegetable Eggrolls

Veggie Egg Rolls

In honor of the Chinese New Year I thought it would be fun to make some egg rolls! I had never made them before, but I figured it wouldn’t be too hard and I was right! They’re fast, easy and delicious!

What You’ll Need:
1 carrot, cut into matchstick pieces
1/8 of a head of cabbage, cut into strips
1 leek, cut into strips
A pinch of sea salt
A pinch of black pepper
2 teaspoons of rice wine vinegar
Egg roll wrappers
Peanut oil for frying

Step One:

Heat oil to 350 F.

Step Two:

While oil is heating, in a medium sized skillet saute veggies with salt, pepper and vinegar until just tender and remove from heat. The filing is now ready to fill the egg roll wrappers.

Egg Roll Filling: Cabage, Carrot And Leek Cooked

Step Three:

Lay an egg roll wrapper flat and place some filling in the middle.

Egg Roll Step One

Step Four:

Fold bottom corner to the middle and tuck under the filling.

Egg Roll Step Two

Step Five:

Fold and tuck corners. It will resemble an envelope at this point.

Egg Roll Step Three

Step Six:

Close and seal your “envelope” by rolling the egg rolls over. Dip your fingers in some water and run along the seam and gently press closed to seal.

Egg Roll Step Four

Step Seven:

Fry egg rolls for 45 seconds to 1 minute until brown. Once removed from oil the egg rolls will continue to brown. Don’t over do them!

Egg Rolls Frying

Step Eight:

Remove from oil and drain on a paper towel. Serve immediately or you can reheat them later by placing them in a warm oven for 5 to 10 minutes.

Makes 6 egg rolls.

“Refried” Beans

Piping Hot Refried Beans

This version of Refried Beans is a very basic rendition. They aren’t as unhealthy as some varieties, but every bit as delicious. There’s no lard, or pork, making this variety vegan as written. It’s also made in a slow cooker, so you can set it in the morning and make them right before dinner. “Refried” Beans are very easy to make and much better for you if you do! Try them! You’ll love them!

What You’ll Need:
1 small package of dry pinto beans, rinsed and soaked overnight
1 1/2 red onions, chopped
A pinch of sea salt
A pinch of cayenne pepper
A pinch of black pepper

Beans

Cover beans with water until just covered and bring to a boil Reduce heat to a simmer and stir occasionally. Half way through cooking time stir in chopped onions. Cook for several hours (4-6 hours) until beans start falling apart.

Remove from heat and mash beans with a potato masher until pasty. Stir in seasonings and serve.

Notes: You can add in a chopped red onion when cooking if you like.

Cheesy Salsa Dip

Cheesy Salsa Dip

Back in the day we used to make dips with Velveeta, but I don’t use it that much these days. I do get some occasionally, but I thought it would be interesting to see if you could adapt the recipe for a cheesy salsa dip with other alternatives. This dip is tasty and just as good as the stuff with the Velveeta.

What You’ll Need:
1 – 8 ounce block of cream cheese
1 cup of Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
1 cup of Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 – 16 ounce jar of salsa

Dump ingredients into a large glass Pyrex bowl and microwave for 2-5 minutes until completely melted.

Serve with tortilla chips or crudités .

Isn’t that easy??

Note: I do not use preshredded cheese. They put weird stabilizers in them and they don’t melt properly.

Vegetarian “Sausage” Balls

Vegetarian "Sausage" Balls

Today I tried out a sausage substitute and adapted an old sausage ball recipe I used to use and it worked out PERFECTLY! Trust me, you’ll never know the meat sausage is not there!

What You’ll Need:
1 – 8 ounce bar of cheddar or Colby cheese, shredded
2 cups of baking mix (I used Bob’s Red Mill Buttermilk Biscuit Mix)
1 package of Gimme Lean Sausage Style
2 tablespoons of butter
1 tablespoon of olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In the bowl of your mixer dump all the ingredients and mix until crumbly. It looks crumbly, but it will readily stick together when mashed. Form into small balls using roughly 1 tablespoon of crumbles and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

Makes about 3 dozen.

Note: The vegetarian sausage does have the fat content that meat sausage does so you have to add a little fat into them to get them to bind together.