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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Colcannon for All Hollow's Eve - Away A While Recipe Favorites



From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Back in the day, this was a perennial favorite on my Halloween table. Colcannon, a traditional Irish dish associated with Halloween, is made with potatoes and savoy cabbage and served with a well of butter in its center. It's simple and delicious and comes with folklore that's sure to please the curious or superstitious. The tale, as told to me, concerns the fate of unmarried women who would put the first and last spoonfuls of Halloween colcannon into a stocking and hang it on their doors. Their shared belief was that the first man who walked through the door would become their husband. Immigration statistics and the birth rate, all those years ago, lead me to believe this didn't work real well. Back then, the ingredients used to make colcannon could be found in any Irish country garden. The second bit of blarney revolved around the selection of a cabbage from that garden by a blindfolded, unmarried woman. The cabbage she selected would be used to make a colcannon into which a ring was hidden. Of course, the person who found the ring would be the next to marry. I must warn you that my recipe for colcannon uses classic ingredients but techniques that my grandmother would frown upon. There are two or three steps to assembling any colcannon. The meat, if used, should be cooked before the potatoes and the cabbage are started. I use a slab of bacon to make mine. Ham can also be used. I simmer it in water for about 45 minutes before dicing it. My potatoes are conventional enough, though I do steam rather than boil them. I prefer to cook my cabbage in a wok. It's the easiest way I know to assure crisp tender greens that aren't water logged. When it all is assembled it looks like a traditional colcannon, but there will be a hint of smoke to play against crisp cabbage. The recipe can be found here.

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                   One Year Ago Today:                                                      Two Years Ago Today:
          Crock Pot Chinese Hacked Pork                                           Day of the Dead Bread



             Three Years Ago Today:                                                                Four Years Ago Today: 
   Pumpkin and Cinnamon Squares                                                  Roasted Pepper and Tomato Soup

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Braised Pork with Cream and Cabbage - Away A While Recipe Favorites



From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I am what I eat, but is that all that I am? I'm passionate about many things, consumed by some and totally repulsed by others. I'm intense and commit totally or not at all. My Dad - first coach and cheerleader - would watch my antics, shake his heads and murmur to me and an invisible assembly, "Thank God, you're not a missionary!" I garden with the same intensity as I cook and that's how it happened that I was up to my knees in mulch on a wet, chilly Oregon day last week. It wasn't the bitter cold of winter, but rather a creeping, damp that chills the bone and afflicts serious gardeners wherever they may be. Soup and stew help ward it off, but there was no time to make either. I culled from memory a recipe - a golden oldie - that would provide warmth and comfort in a bit less than an hour. I'd forgotten how satisfying pork cooked in this manner can be. You'll need some bacon, pork chops, cabbage, wine and cream to pull it off. Then let imagination carry you to a French farmhouse kitchen with a roaring fire and bottle of vin rouge on the table. Grab a glass and pour. The recipe comes from the mountainous Auvergne region of France which is famous for rustic pork dishes such as this one. You can find the recipe, here.

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                   One Year Ago Today:                                                      Two Years Ago Today:
  Fresh Apple Bread with Caramel Glaze                                    Pumpkin Bread Pudding



          Three Years Ago Today:                                                             Four Years Ago Today: 
                     Soul Cakes                                                                    Chocolate Peanut Snowballs

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Salmorejo - Chilled Spanish Tomato Soup - Away A While Recipe Favorites



From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...This is a wonderful soup, and while I suspect it might become a favorite of those of you who are adventurous eaters, it will not have universal appeal. Salmorejo is a bit like gazpacho, but it is richer and much deeper in flavor than its more mild mannered cousin. It truly has attitude. I suggest that the first time you make this, you judiciously add vinegar to the soup. I personally found that the 2 tablespoons listed in the recipe below was overkill, and tended to make the soup more sour than I enjoy. I've found that a tablespoons works well for me and mine. While this cool and creamy tomato soup is nearly effortless to make, I do suggest you prepare it a full day before you plan to serve it. You will find that its flavor greatly improves with age. This is one of those soups that demands to be served with a thick crusty peasant bread. I'm told that in Spain they actually use the bread to mop up the last traces of soup remaining in the bowl. A glass of Rioja and a lovely crisp salad would also be wonderful accompaniments. I do hope, if only for the sake of novelty, you'lre tempted to give this soup a try. Chilled soups are a wonderful addition to summer meals and there are not a lot of recipes for them floating through cyberspace. This one is worth your time and effort. Here is how this version of Spanish Salmorejo is made. You'll find the recipe here.

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                   One Year Ago Today:                                                      Two Years Ago Today:
              Chocolate Pecan Coffeecake                                                 Raw Apple Muffins


          Three Years Ago Today:                                                             Four Years Ago Today: 
              Creamed Spinach                                                              Fusilli with Spinach and Ricotta

Monday, October 27, 2014

Welsh Rarebit - Away A While Recipe Favorites



From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Those of you who remember waffles for dinner on Sunday night, will also recall tonight's feature recipe. While Welsh rarebit has fallen out of fashion, back in the day it made regular appearances on American tables. At its most basic, the dish is simple and consists only of toast over which a thick cheese sauce is poured. We are told that in 18th century England  the poor ate rabbit, while in Wales, where rarebit originated, the population was so poor that rabbit was replaced with cheese. While I'm sure the story is apocryphal, it does help explain how the dish got its name. There are many versions of this recipe, some of which predate the settlement of colonial America, but they all share a common base of bread and cheese. The best of them are made with a sauce so velvety that, in theory, you'll forget there is no meat. More to the point, if you are fortunate enough to have one of the best versions, you won't care that there is no meat. This happens to be one of my favorite quick-fix meals and I make it often, using soup and a small green salad to round it out and make it substantial enough to serve as a light supper. For years, I used Jeff Smith's version of rarebit, but I when I stumbled on Alton Brown's recipe, which is made with a caraway rye bread, I switched my allegiance. These days, while it is probably overkill, I make the rye bread I use, so I can control the thickness of the rarebit base. I must also admit that I've become a bit of a cheese snob. While I'm not particular about its country of origin, I insist on using an aged white cheddar for the cheese sauce. I have a simple recipe for a light rye bread that I'll share with you tomorrow, but tonight I want to focus on the cheese sauce and the assembly of the rarebit. Please give this recipe a try. You will not regret it. The recipe for this rarebit can be found here.

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                One Year Ago Today:                                                        Two Years Ago Today:
       Cranberry and Almond Quick Bread                                       Hazelnut-Anise Cookies


                Three Years Ago Today:                                                 Four Years Ago Today: 
           Pumpkin Cheesecake Squares                                            Warm Black Bean Dip


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