Sunday, August 7, 2011

Kathy's Asian Slaw

Finally, for all those who have requested this, here's the recipe for the slaw. I can't even begin to say how many this serves, because I've never not run out of it long before appetites for it were exhausted.

I've never really made this exactly the same way twice, so you should feel free to make additions and substitutions as you like. If you want this to be a bit more filling, you may toss in some cooked spaghetti, rice, or ramen-type noodles. We also like to top this with some thin slices of soy-sauce and garlic marinated flank steak, or shrimp. Now that I think of it, edamame would probably be good, too, as would daikon.

One gadget I use to cut the jicama is a mandolin. You can cut these 1/8" matchsticks by hand, but the mandolin saves a lot of time.


1 head celery cabbage - about 1.5 lbs (Napa works, but isn't quite the same flavor)
1 small head bok choy - about .5 lb
8 oz. snow peas - fresh, not frozen
1/2 medium jicama - about 3/4 lb.
12 oz. bag broccoli slaw (you can handcut the brocolli stems into 1/8 inch matchsticks, if desired)

Slice the celery cabbage crosswise very finely, about 1/8 inch - almost chiffonade
Slice bok choy crosswise very finely, also about 1/8 inch slices - if  the leaves on the bok choy are very broad, make three of four lengthwise cuts before slicing crosswise.
Cut snow peas lengthwise into 1/8 inch matchsticks. Just discard the string edge, rather than prestringing the pods. (Using kitchen shears to do this works very well.)
Peel jicama and shred on mandolin, or cut into 1/8 inch matchsticks.

In large bowl, combine celery cabbage, bok choy, snowpeas, jicama, and broccoli slaw. Toss to evenly distribute all ingredients. Cover bowl with shower cap, or damp towel and refrigerate.


1/2 cup Vietnamese spring roll sauce
2 Tbsp. cup soy sauce
1 inch piece of fresh ginger,very finely grated
2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup tahini
1 clove garlic, crushed

Place all ingredients in medium bowl and whisk 'til completely combined and smooth. Alternately, put everything in a food processor and let 'er rip.


Chopped peanuts 
Sesame Oil
Fire Oil


Right before serving, pour dressing over slaw and toss thoroughly. Sprinkle 2 Tbsps. white sesame seeds and 2 Tbsps black sesame seeds over slaw and toss lightly.  Sprinkle Add-ins as desired.

Ratatouille-inspired Vegetables with Garlicky Sauteed Scallops on a Bed of Garlic Mashed Potatoes

I came up with this one this morning to use up some Farmer's Market vegetables and some old wrinkly potatoes. I also had some large scallops in the freezer and thought that sounded good. Mediterranean cooking at its most Teige. : ) If you want to reduce the carbs even further, omit the mashed potatoes. Also, lemon zest may be used where I list Lemon Verbena, although the dish will be more acidic. Scott is allergic to citrus, so I've developed some tasty alternatives. The amounts below serve 4 for lunch.

Ratatouille-inspired Vegetables

6 Tbsp. olive oil
6 oz. frozen pearl onions
4-5 large fresh garlic cloves
3 small (4-5 inch long, 1-1.5 inch diameter) zucchinis
1 Japanese eggplant - 2.5 to 2 inch diameter x 10 inches long
2 medium (2.5-3 inch diameter) fresh tomatoes
Thyme - 1/2 tsp. dry or 2 tsp. fresh
Oregano - 1/2 tsp. dry of 2 tsp. fresh
1/2 tsp. finely minced fresh lemon verbena leaves
1/2 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Roll cut or dice eggplant into small pieces, approx. 3/4 inch
Roll cut or dice zucchini into small pieces, same size as eggplant
Peel and minch garlic
If using fresh herbs, remove leaves from stems and finely mince thyme and oregano together.

Heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 Tbps. olive oil to pan. Swirl to coat. Add frozen pearl onions. Cook, shaking pan every few minutes 'til onions start to caramelize, approx. 7 minutes. Pour onions into small bowl. Set aside.
Return skillet to medium high-heat. Add 4 Tbsp. olive oil to skillet. Add eggplant pieces and immediately toss or stir to coat evenly with hot oil. Continue cooking 'til eggplant softens, about 5 minutes. Add last Tbsp olive oil, the garlic, and the zucchini. stir and continue cooking for 2 minutes. Add pearl onions, chopped tomatoes, thyme, oregano, lemon verbena, and 1/2 tsp. salt to eggplant and zucchini in skillet. Stir. Reduce heat to medium. Continue cooking 'til juices thicken, about 10 more minutes. Cover, and reduce heat to low. If vegetables start to become too dry, add water 1 Tbsp at a time to maintain thick, but moist texture.

Garlicky Mashed Potatoes

3 medium russet potatoes, preferably a little old or flabby
3 large cloves garlic
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp salt

Fill medium saucepan with 2 inches cold tapwater. Peel potatoes. Cut crosswise into 1/2 inch slices. Place in water in saucepan. Peel garlic cloves and place in saucepan with potato slices. If needed, add cold water to barely cover potatoes and garlic. Put over high heat until water boils. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and continue cooking until potatoes are tender, approx. 10-15 minutes. Drain.

Put potatoes and garlic cloves through a potato ricer into a medium metal bowl. Add cream, butter, and salt and stir until smooth. Do not overstir, however, as potatoes will become gummy if overworked. Put 2 inches of fresh water in the pan you used to boil the potatoes and bring to simmer. Cover bowl holding mashed potatoes and place it over the simmering water to keep the potatoes warm.

Garlicky Sauteed Scallops

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic
12 large sea scallops

If scallops are frozen, be sure to thaw thoroughly before starting Garlic Mashed Potatoes. 

Mince garlic cloves
Pat scallops dry with kitchen towel.

Place heavy skillet over medium high heat. Add olive oil and butter. Melt butter and wait for for foam to subside. Add scallops to hot oil around edge of skillet and cook for one minute. After this one minute, add the garlic to center of pan and cook with scallops for one additional minute. Turn scallops and cook for two additional minutes. Remove skillet from heat.

To serve: 
Working quickly, spread a quarter of the Garlicky Mashed Potatoes (approx 1/3 cup) in a 5-6 inch circle on a dinner plate. Carefully spoon a quarter of the Ratatouille-inspired Vegetables (approx 3/4 cup) into potato circle, leaving 1/2 inch edge of potatoes visible. Place three scallops on each plate, on top of the bed of vegetables. Over the scallops, spoon a bit of the liquid remaining in the skillet, including some of the garlic bits. Sprinkle red pepper flakes and salt to taste over all.


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Kathy's Spinach Quiche

By popular request, I've figured out measurements for this so y'all can make them too. I'm posting the really easy version to demonstrate that anyone can do this.

1 frozen deep dish pie crust
1 10 oz. package frozen chopped spinach
2 Tablespoons chopped onion (the frozen stuff works fine)
9 large eggs
3/4 cup half-n-half
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup mild cheddar cheese

Remove pie crust from freezer to allow to thaw.
Thaw frozen spinach. (If you're in a hurry, you can just microwave it for 4 or 5 minutes, then run some cold water over it to make it cool enough to handle.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Place spinach in kitchen towel and squeeze to remove as much water as possible. (You may also just squeeze it in your hand, but be sure to really squeeze.)
Check thawed pie crust for cracks. Press edges together to make repairs, if needed.

In food processor, combine eggs, half-n-half, onion, and salt.  Pulse a few times to blend. (This may also be done by hand in a large bowl with a whisk or fork. Beat thoroughly to blend completely.)
Add drained spinach. If using the food processor, pulse a few times. If working by hand, break up spinach before adding it to egg mixture. Stir thoroughly.

Put pie crust on cookie sheet. Spread half the cheese over the bottom of the pie crust. Pour egg and spinach mixture into pie crust. It will be very full.
Place in oven and bake for 45 minutes, or until blade inserted in middle of quiche comes out clean. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake an additional 5 minutes to melt cheese.

Remove from over and allow to cool. To store, let cool for an hour, then cover with plastic wrap. Press lightly onto quiche to reduce condensation. Refrigerate. (This also freezes beautifully; just wrap the whole thing, or put in big ziplock bag before placing in freezer. alternately, cool completely, cut into slices, and freeze each individually. Remove from freezer and allow to thaw before eating. You may put it in the oven to reheat, if desired. You may also microwave it, but the crust texture will suffer.)

To make a lower fat version, you may use Egg Beaters and skim milk instead of the whole eggs and half-n-half. It will still taste good, but the texture will not be as lovely. You may also dispense with the crust entirely, baking this in a greased pie pan or spring form pan.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Spicy Shrimp with Sweet Corn

4 ears sweet corn with husks
2 slices thick cut bacon
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon Dust of Death (hot paprika will do)
1 pound cleaned, shelled shrimp
1/4 cup dry white wine (Chardonnay,Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, etc.)
salt to taste
(optional) 1  teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Chop silks off corn cob. DO NOT remove husks. Place corn in cold oven. Set oven to 350 degree F; start. Corn will stay in the oven as it rises to temperature, for a total of 25 minutes. Remove from oven. Cool for five minutes. Remove husks and cut kernels from cobs. Place kernels in bowl. Set aside.

Cut bacon into 1/4 inch dice. Mince garlic cloves.

Place large skillet over medium high heat. Once skillet is hot, add diced bacon. Cook til bacon is browned and fat is rendered. Add butter to skillet. Melt. Add garlic, thyme, paprika, and Dust of Death. Cook for 1 minute. Add shrimp. Stir to even coat with spice mixture. Add wine. Cook, stirring often, til shrimp is barely cooked through, about 4 minutes. Stir in corn kernels. Cover and cook til heated through, about 3 minutes.

Serve in shallow bowls. (Pasta bowls are good.) Sprinkle with salt to taste and Worcestershire if desired.

This is wonderful served over grits, for those who are less carb and/or calorie sensitive. If you need to cut back further on your carbs, reduce to 2 cobs of corn, for 1/2 ear per serving. This is pretty high protein either way.

Daddy's Dust of Death

One of the difficulties of creating recipes out of what I cook is finding substitutes for unique ingredients. A prime example is Daddy's Dust of Death, which is a homemade smoked chili seasoning my husband, Scott, makes. The girls named it Daddy's Dust of Death when they were little and had lower tolerance for spicy.

Scott makes a batch of this every summer, when the peppers and chilis at the Farmer's Market are at their peak. There is no really set in stone recipe, but the essentials typically involve fresh dark green pablonas and red, ripe jalapenos. A ration of probably five pablonas to one jalapeno is about right. A batch at our house requires at least thirty pablonas and six jalapenos.

Cut and discard the stem ends of the chilis; cut fruits in half. Remove seeds, but you don't have to remove all the rib. Leave to dry for a day or two, cut-side down, to flatten a bit. On the third day or so, heat up a smoker using fruitwood or hickory for smoke. Smoke the chilis for 45 minutes to an hour, til they are quite dark and rather crispy. Remove from the smoker and cool.

If the chilis are still moist at all, put them in a dehydrator for a few hours, until they are quite dry. Grind to powder in a spice grinder and place resulting powder in an airtight jar for storage.

This is excellent on anything that benefits from paprika, but the smokiness adds a much fuller dimension than that obtained using any commercial product I've found. If you have the equipment, this is well worth the effort.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Grilled Bratwurst with Sauerkraut and Grilled Sweet Onion

Four servings:

4 bratwursts (approx 7" long)
1 1/2 cup sauerkraut  (approx. 1 can)
1 large sweet onion (Vidalia, Wala Wala, etc.)
2-4 heaping tablespoons whole grain mustard
 (Optional: 1/4 teaspoon caraway seed or 1/4 teaspoon dried dill)

Preheat grill to high (or start, heat, and spread charcoal)
Cut sweet onion into 1/2 inch slices. Spread onion slices on large plate and microwave for 4 minutes on high.
Heat sauerkraut in microwaveable bowl. Two minutes on high should be fine. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Get out four shallow bowls or plates for arranging servings.
Place grill basket on grill. Put onions into basket and toss. Put brats on grill.

Using tongs, turn brats and stir onions every 2 minutes. After three turns, turn heat to low and cover. After 4 minutes, lift lid, turn brats, stir onions. Lower lid and cook an additional 4 minutes on low.( NOTE: Depending on the size, of your brats, cooking times may vary. If you're not sure if they're done, cut one in half to check.) Lift lid; remove onions and brats to clean plate/platter.

To serve; toss together onions and room temperature sauerkraut. (If desired, add optional caraway or dill before tossing.)  Divide among four shallow bowls or plates. Slice brats into 1/2" rounds. Place one brat's worth of slices per dish. Spoon 1/2 to 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard over brat. Lightly toss before eating.

This is a great way for the carb-sensitive to join in a family barbecue. This combination is excellent served on a sesame bun toasted right on the grill for the family members who don't have to watch carb-intake. A little barbecue sauce is good on this too, if you can take the sugar.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Blood Sugar Issues: What's a Foodie to Do?

Recently, I've been more serious about dealing with my slightly elevated fasting blood sugar levels. I have a strong family history of Type 2 diabetes, and had gestational diabetes when I was pregnant with my 18 year old daughter, and am overweight, so having blood sugar issues didn't come as any surprise. I don't rise to the level of actual diabetes, but am in the broad, and often undiagnosed, category of pre-diabetic.

Over the last month, through regular testing and experimenting with foods, I've figured out ways to keep my sugars within normal range, which may even keep me out of the pre-diabetic category. I've discovered that I just can't eat at all after 8 pm, If I want to have a <100 morning/fasting sugar level. I've also lost ten pounds in the last month - yay!

As is the case with all diabetics, both pre- and full-fledged, carbohydrates in the diet are problematic for me. This is not to say that I can't eat any carbs at all, but especially since weight loss is a continuing goal, I'm being pretty careful. Fortunately, I like vegetables, and although they do contain carbs, most of them are pretty much "free" food. I also like a huge variety of meats, fishes, nuts, dairy, and shellfish, so it's not all that hard to stick to this way of eating.

The nutritionist at the Bloomington Diabetes Center, and many current recommendations allow up to 45 grams of carbs per meal. For me, 45 grams per meal stops my weight loss dead in its tracks, so I stay below that number. I do obsessively read labels and have a number of calorie and carb counting websites bookmarked, and have confronted this problem as yet another area that I can conquer through information gathering and compulsive record keeping. In other words, it's right up my alley!

So for the next months, I plan to use this blog to share recipes I create, and information I discover. Up front disclaimer: I'm no nutritionist, so I make no claims about exact carb counts, etc. in any recipe; my goal is to share ideas for really tasty foods that are working for me. I also hope that I may keep myself accountable through regular sharing. I ask y'all for your support through this ongoing experiment that is life.