Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Mashed Potato Salad...sort of like Masako's, but only sort of!

At a recent ladies' get-together vegetarian night, Masako brought some wonderful Japanese potato salad.  I loved it and wanted to make it some time.  Finally I did it!

Mashed Potato Salad the way I made it:

Start by scrubbing three or four Russet potatoes then microwave them in their skins for 6-10 minutes on high until they are mostly tender.  If there are a few little chunks that are more "tooth-resistant", that is ok, unless you have really picky eaters.

Let the potatoes cool enough to handle, then chop them up into the size you want and place in a large bowl.  Leave the skins on unless they annoy you...remembering that you DID scrub them really well first, right?!  As you chop them, they may more or less disintegrate...which is why I call this mashed potato salad.  Masako's salad was more or less mashed potatoes.

Finely dice 1/2 to 1 whole red onion and toss on top of potatoes, depending on your love of onions.

Harvest a big handful of chives from your herb bed.  Wash them, discarding any stems with blossoms on them, then snip them into the bowl with kitchen shears.

Finely dice one or two scrubbed celery stalks into the bowl.

If you want to add color, grate one large carrot into the bowl.

If you are really really lucky and have hardneck garlic growing in your garden, if it is the right season, harvest one or two garlic scapes.  Wash them and chop them finely and put in bowl.  Don't use the blossom part.

Dress with mayonnaise.  If you want to be fancy, you can add a little vinegar and sugar to the mayonnaise before putting it on the salad. Use the equal amounts of vinegar and sugar, i.e. 1 Tablespoon vinegar and 1 Tablespoon of sugar.  Be sure to stir the vinegar and sugar well to dissolve the sugar.

 Toss all the vegetables with the mayonnaise.  Taste.  Add salt and pepper as needed.  Depending on how spicy the garlic scapes are, you may not need much salt OR pepper!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Chex Mix

Chex Mix is a treat we reserve for holidays, and not all holidays, at that!  This recipe is filled with salt and other taste delights.

Chex Mix

3 cups corn chex
3 cups wheat chex
3 cups rice chex
1 cup peanuts OR mixed nuts
1 cup tiny cheese crackers
1 cup small pretzels or thin pretzel stitcks
6 Tablespoons butter, melted
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon onion powder

In a very large bowl combine chex, nuts, and pretzels.  In a small bowl combine melted butter, salt, garlic, and onion. Be sure to stir VERY WELL.  Pour butter mixture over the chex mixture then stir and stir and stir, but gently as you don't want to break up the cereal.

Now it is time to cook it.  Traditionally you place in a large baking pan and bake at 275 degrees F. for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Pour into a large bowl that has been lined with paper towels and let cool.  If you can,

The newer way to cook the chex mix is to put the prepared mixture into a large microwave-safe bowl and cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes.  This does seem to work pretty well.

Things I did:  for the mixture, I ran out of wheat chex so I put in some plain original cheerios.  When I ran out of other chex I added more cheese crackers.  For the microwave-safe bowl, I used our Crock Pot insert.

This makes a nice treat.  Sometime I am going to make this again but will sift on some dried ranch dressing mix over the top after cooking the chex mix.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Vegan Broccoli Soup/Dutch Potato Stew with additions

Dutch Potato Stew (vegan)

2 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
1 cup finely diced onion
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
4 cups water, divided
4 cups diced potatoes
3/4 cup raw cashews, soaked and rinsed well
1 good-sized broccoli "tree", chopped finely and lightly steamed.  Can steam first and then chop.

Place raw cashews in a 2-cup measure and fill with cool water.  Let sit for 30 minutes, or as long as you can wait.

In frying pan heat olive oil over medium heat then add onions and smashed garlic and salt.  Stir with wooden spoon until onions are clear.  Remove from heat and let sit.

Place 3 cups water in  heavy-bottomed three- or four-quart saucepan and bring to boil.  Add diced potatoes and bring back to boil then simmer about 10-15 minutes until potatoes are soft.

Drain raw cashews and rinse well.  Place 1 cup water in a blender along with the 3/4 cup of raw cashews.  Let blend until the cashew "cream" is completely smooth.  If you have a Vitamix or Blendtec, it will be fairly quickly.  If you have a less robust blender, it will take as much as  five minutes.  (Some ear muffs are kind of handy at this time!)

When cashew cream is ready, put steam broccoli in pot with potatoes.  Using a rubber spatula, scrape onions, garlic, salt, and oil into the potato pot.  Add cashew cream and stir well.  If necessary, reheat on low heat, stirring constantly.  Add some ground black pepper if you like it.

This is really delicious...a real challenge to only eat one serving per meal.