a little of each

A family's cookbook

Summer Chicken Salad July 26, 2013

Filed under: Main Dishes,Sandwiches — alittlemoreofeach @ 9:54 pm
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Crunchy, tender, sweet, savory, and other opposites.

Crunchy, tender, sweet, savory, and other opposites.

I strive for peace on Friday around dinnertime.  I strive, and I hope, and sometimes it’s a big, fat failure with bickering or takeout pizza (sins of equal weight somehow). And tonight, the mister was still at work, and I had no meal planned after just arriving home at the time I’d prefer to be blissfully blessing the wine and gazing at my dressed and brushed children over a lovingly prepared meal that they’d eat with the gusto reserved for macaroni and cheese.  The only saving grace was I knew I had some frozen challah.

So, yeah, it was a bust already, right?  So me and my what-the-hell attitude rummaged in the kitchen. And I came up with a practically defiant chicken salad.  My ladies have never seen chicken salad before, but it’s a trifecta of pickiness – a (1) mixture of ingredients (2) touching each other (3) in a sauce.  Oh lord.  To the table, I added the challah, a plate of grapes, and cheese sticks so that when faces recoiled in disgust, I couldn’t be accused of starving my children.

Hands washed, hairs unbrushed, still in summer camp clothes, we lit the candles, we blessed the bread, and you know what?  They didn’t recoil in disgust when they saw their plates.  The big one ate her challah, some grapes, and then she gingerly tried a bite.  She said, you’ll never guess, “Mmmm.”  I said, “I’m so glad you like it.  I hoped you would.”  And then she tried a piece of chicken with a grape, and then a piece of cucumber with a grape, and then chicken and celery, and with each combination, she exclaimed, “I didn’t think I’d like this, but it’s so yummy.”  And then the kicker, “And I love how it looks so fancy on the lettuce all spread out.  You should make it again, and soon!”

Now the little one gave a good college try of two solid bites, and only one slight gag.  I call that a homerun.

We watched the candles standing tall with only a very occasional flicker, we talked about the giant pile of garbage floating in the Pacific, and we laughed at the little one’s potty jokes.  Just as Shabbat is meant to be.

Go easy on the dressing, and don’t leave out that brown sugar – it’s a definite secret ingredient sort of enhancement.

Ingredients
Half of a rotisserie chicken, skin removed and diced
Half of a cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
Half of one celery stalk, chopped small
One cup of red grapes, cut in half
Romaine lettuce leaves

Dressing
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 mayonnaise
1 Tbl fresh lemon juice
1 Tbl brown sugar

Directions
Whisk together ingredients for the dressing. In a separate bowl, combine the salad ingredients. Add half of the dressing, stirring gently, and then add more to your taste, careful not to oversaturate the salad. Lay some Romaine leaves on a plate, and serve a scoop of the salad in the center.  The leaves can be used like taco shells, and just like that, chicken salad is a finger food!

Variation
For a tropical flavor, try these ingredients:
Half of a rotisserie chicken, skin removed and diced
Half of a mango, peeled and diced
1/4 cup cashews
One cup of red grapes, cut in half
Romaine lettuce leaves

Dressing
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 mayonnaise
1 Tbl fresh lemon juice
1 Tbl coconut milk powder
1 Tbl sweet curry powder

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Cuban Sandwiches a la George May 20, 2013

Filed under: Sandwiches — alittlemoreofeach @ 8:18 am
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Having grown up in Tampa, George knows a good Cuban sandwich when he sees one (or rather, eats one).  According to him, it should be made with Cuban bread.  It should have roast pork.  It should have pickles.  It should be pressed.  Anything less would just be a sub.  Being in North Carolina and far from Cuba and its bread (or even a Publix), Stephanie took on the challenge to try to make as authentic a Cuban as she could.  Lucky for her, it got two thumbs up.

cuban sandwiches

 

Ingredients
1/2 pound thinly sliced ham (Stephanie used Boars Head)
1/3 pound thinly sliced roast pork*
1/4 pound thinly sliced Genoa salami
1/4 pound Swiss cheese
One loaf Cuban bread**, cut in half lengthwise
Kosher dill sandwich pickles
Yellow mustard
Mayonnaise
1/2 stick butter, melted

 

Directions
Open up bread and spread surfaces with both mayo and mustard.  Evenly layer the meats, topping with cheese.  Distribute pickles down the length.  Assemble sandwich with top.  Use a sandwich press if you have one, brushing the outer surfaces of the sandwich with melted butter and cooking on medium to medium high heat until golden, pressing and flipping once.  The cheese should be starting to melt.  Cut on the diagonal into as many pieces as you want – 2″ if you want to serve as an appetizer, otherwise into sandwich serving sizes. Makes one to two long sandwiches, depending how long your Cuban loaf is, and how high you stack your ingredients (warning:  the more meat and cheese, the harder to press).
*Stephanie cannot find Boars Head roast pork in NC, so she buy a small tenderloin, roast it in the oven and slice it as thinly as possible.

**Cuban bread is difficult to find, so she uses the closest thing.

 

(But I Don’t Like) Pimento Cheese May 15, 2013

Filed under: Appetizers,Sandwiches — alittlemoreofeach @ 2:23 pm
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Adapted from a recipe from the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina.

Ingredients

8 oz block white cheddar, shredded
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 – 4 oz chopped pimento (depending how much you like or dislike the red stuff)
1 – 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Mix all the ingredients together, by hand or with a mixer.  Chill.  bring to room temp before serving.  Serve on thinly sliced pieces of sour dough bread, toasted if desired.  Can also be used as a sandwich spread, with crackers, on top of a hamburger, in grilled cheese, and as a facial masque.  (Just kidding about the last one.)

 

Grilled Feta March 28, 2013

Filed under: Sandwiches — alittlemoreofeach @ 9:33 pm
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This is truly one of the best things you’ll ever eat.

It’s made at a small diner-style restaurant in St Petersburg, Florida, called The Kopper Kitchen.  My family has been going there for decades.  And we’ve been ordering this pita sandwich that entire time.  Some people (yours truly) omit the onions, others remove the tomatoes and grill the onions, everyone makes a mess while eating it.  And don’t tell Owner Fred, but I’ve made it in a frying pan, and it worked.

Ingredients

1 pita bread

3 Tbl feta cheese

2 tomato slices

bean sprouts

onion, sliced and grilled

Thousand Island salad dressing

 

Directions

The grilled feta is prepared on a griddle at low heat. Do not use a frying pan. Cut pita bread in half to form two pockets. Spread dressing inside bread. Place cheese inside bread. Layer tomato, sprouts and onions on cheese. Place sandwich on griddle and heat both sides until cheese is melted and bread is toasted.

 

For the Thousand Island Dressing:

2 cups mayonnaise

½ medium onion

½ green pepper, pureed

1 ½ tsp. garlic, pureed

¾ cup sweet relish

½ cup catsup

 

Combine all ingredients. Mix well with a wire whisk. Makes three cups.

 

Poopoo on Toast

Filed under: Sandwiches — alittlemoreofeach @ 9:28 pm
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Don’t judge.  This is really and truly what we called this broiled ground sirloin sandwich when we were growing up.  And we loved it.

 

Spread some fresh ground sirloin on a slice of wheat bread. Sprinkle garlic salt on top of the meat. Place under the broiler for a few minutes, until meat is brown.

 

 

Lara’s Smoked Salmon Quesadillas

Filed under: Sandwiches — alittlemoreofeach @ 9:25 pm
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Ingredients 

1 package flour tortillas

1 ½ cups smoked salmon, flaked

1 ½ cups asadero cheese, grated

2 Tbl green onions, chopped

chili powder to taste

 

Directions

Mix together salmon, cheese and green onions in a bowl. Place one corn tortilla in a greased pre-heated skillet, spread filling over it evenly, and top with a second tortilla. Heat, turning once, until tortilla begins to crisp and turn golden, and cheese is melted. Place on a plate lined with a paper towel. Sprinkle with chili powder. Repeat.

 

Free Range Quesadillas

Filed under: Sandwiches — alittlemoreofeach @ 9:23 pm
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Jen says these go great with Mexican Tomato Lime Soup. “It’s a great combination to make for a guest at lunch. I know because Papa John had me make it two days in a row!”

 

Ingredients

2 avocados, diced

2 tomatoes, diced

1 (14 oz) can artichoke hearts, chopped

1 package 10” flour tortillas

1 cup sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded

¼ cup chopped green chile

Lettuce, diced tomato and sour cream for toppings.

 

Directions

In a small bowl, mix the tomatoes, artichoke hearts and avocados. Set aside. On a tortilla, create layers of cheese, green chile and approximately ¼ cup of the avocado mixture followed by more cheese. Top with another tortilla. Cook in a frying pan with no-stick spray. Brown the first side, then carefully flip and brown the other side. Cut into wedges and serve.

Variations:  Add shredded crabmeat or shredded chicken.