Sugar Snap Peas and Red Potatoes

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Egyptian Chicken with Sugar Snap Peas and Red Potatoes

Ingredients:
4 medium sized Red Pontiac Potatoes, cut in 2mm slices
2 cups Sugar Snap Peas
2 Tbsp Sour Cream
1 tsp Italian Seasoning
1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
1 tsp Balsamic Vinegar Glaze
1/4 cup Bacon Bits (Real or Soy)
1 Lime
1 tsp Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Directions:

  • In a bowl, toss the Potatoes with Italian Seasoning, Crushed Red Pepper, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Salt, and Pepper.
  • In a saute pan, on medium heat, add the Potatoes and cook until fork tender and browned, about 7 minutes. Toss and stir so they do not stick.
  • Halve the Lime, and squirt the juice over the Potatoes. Invert the peal and leave to cook with the Potatoes for 2 minutes, stirring.
  • Add the Sugar Snap Peas, Balsamic Vinegar Glaze, and Sour Cream, and 2 Tbsp water to the pan. Stir well, so everything is coated, and cook for another 3 minutes.
  • Toss in the Bacon Bits, remove from heat and serve.

Makes about: 4-6 servings

Notes: It is rare that I say this, but I prefer this with the soy-based Bacon Bits rather than real Bacon. One can also use fat-free sour cream and reduce the calories further. Be sure not to add too much salt to the potatoes, as they Bacon Bits will add some when added.

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Pommes de Terre Gratin avec Chèvre et Emmental

Ingredients:
6 lg Russet Potatoes, clean, skin-on
4 oz Chèvre Goat Cheese, room temperature
6 oz Mozzarella or other mild semi-soft cheese
1 cup Heavy Cream
1 cup Milk
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1 Tbsp Butter
2 tsp Herbes de Provence
Salt and Pepper to taste
6 oz Emmental or Swiss Cheese, sliced thin

Directions:

  • Preheat Oven to 350°F.
  • Slice the Potatoes in 1/4″ disks slices, discarding the ends.
  • In a sauce pot, bring the Heavy Cream and Milk to a simmer on medium heat–stirring with a wooden spoon. Do not bring it to a boil, and do not let it scald.
  • Break the Goat Cheese up and slowly add it to the Milk/Cream mixture, stirring constantly and allowing it to melt.
  • Do the same with the Sour Cream, Butter, and Mozzarella–not all at once, just in small portions, stirring as it mixes.
  • After all is melted and mixed well, remove from heat.
  • Line the Potato Slices in a 9×13 casserole dish. The slices should overlap like fallen dominoes. You can either put all the potatoes in one layer or divide into two layers–up too you. I prefer one Layer.
  • Sprinkle with the Herbes de Provence, Salt, and Pepper.
  • Cover with the Cheese/Cream/Milk Mixture.
  • Layer the Emmental cheese slices on top, covering the entire surface.
  • Bake covered for 45min to 1 hour, or until the top begins to brown and it is bubbly on the sides.

Makes 6-8 servings

NOTES: So this is really a Cheesy version of Scalloped Potatoes–scalloped referring to the shape of the potatoes and how they are placed in the dish. “Gratin” on it means there is a cheese covering–which is the only way to do potatoes like this, if you ask me. I incorporated two specific mountain cheeses–Emmental from Swizerland and Chèvre from France. In most parts of the US, one will just find them listed as “Swiss Cheese” and “Goat Cheese”. So don’t worry if you don’t find those specific names.

Festive Noodle Kugel

Ingredients:
12 oz Egg Noodles
8 oz Cream Cheese
8 oz Sour Cream
8 oz Ricotta Cheese
4 Eggs
1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Mace
1/2 tsp Salt
3-4 cups Graham Crackers, crushed
1/2 – 1 cup Raisins (optional)
Water for Boiling
Pinch of Salt for Water

Directions:

  • Bring Water to a Boil and add Salt and Egg Noodles. Cook till al dente. They will cook much quicker than regular pasta, so don’t leave it unattended.
  • Drain the Noodles, and set aside.
  • Preheat Oven to 350°F.
  • Divide the Graham Cracker crumbs and sprinkle on the bottom of a casserole dish (9″ x 13″ approximately).
  • In a large bowl combine the Dairy, Eggs, and Spices (and Raisins if using them). Mix well.
  • Fold in the Noodles.
  • Pour mixture (think scoop) into the Casserole dish, and even it out with a spatula.
  • Sprinkle with remaining Graham Cracker Crumbs.
  • Bake for 45-55 minutes.

Makes 6-8 servings.

NOTES: This Central European Jewish dish is traditionally served at Hanukkah, though it can be served throughout the year as a festive pudding/custard. I first learned this dish when I found evidence that a section of my family was Ashkenazim and had converted to Catholicism in the 1800s.

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

Ingredients:
1/2 cup Buttermilk
1/4 cup Sour Cream
1/4 cup Mayonnaise
2 Tbsp Parsley, chopped fine
1 Tbsp Chives, minced
1 tsp Dill chopped fine
2 cloves Garlic, minced fine
1/4 tsp Rosemary, chopped fine
1/4 tsp Granulated Sugar
1/8 tsp Dry Mustard
1/8 tsp Black Pepper
1/8 tsp Salt

Directions:

  • Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.

NOTES: You can vary the herbs based on your preferences.

Blue Cheese Dressing

Ingredients:
8 oz Danish Blue Cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup Sour Cream
3 oz Cream Cheese, room temp
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1/4 tsp Chives, minced
1/4 tsp Granulated Sugar
1/8 tsp Garlic Powder
1/8 tsp dry Mustard
1/8 tsp Black Pepper
1/8 tsp Salt

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients into a Food Processor, and Pulse until well blended.

NOTES: I prefer Danish Blue for this dressing, however you could use Stilton, Roquefort, Gorgonzola or some other Blue Cheese of your choice.

Hungarian Sauerkraut – Székelygulyás

Ingredients:Vegan Vegetarian Variation
2 lbs Pork Loin, cubed 1/2 inch
1 1/2 lbs Sauerkraut, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup White Onion, minced
2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
4 Tbsp Sweet Paprika (Hungarian preferred)
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 tsp Caraway Seeds
2 cups Tomatoes, crushed
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
2 Bay Leaves
1 cup Barley
1 1/2 cups Water
1/2 cup Sour Cream
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • In a large pot, brown the Pork, Onion, and Garlic in the Vegetable Oil.
  • Add the Paprika and Caraway Seeds and saute for 3 minutes.
  • Add all other ingredients except the Sour Cream and mix well in the pot so that everything is incorporated.
  • Pour into a deep baking dish and bake for 30-45 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven, and stir in the Sour Cream.

NOTES: This style of Sauerkraut is inherited from my family. I’ve heard about it being done with Ketchup instead of Stewed Tomatoes, but I just can’t bring myself to do that. The recipe came verbally from my paternal grandmother’s maternal grandmother Elisabeth Stefani Schwarz Lanser. The use of Tomatoes is a Hungarian/Slovak influence. She was from the town of Metzenseifen, now Medzev in Slovakia on the Hungarian border. The town consisted of Germans who had moved there in the 13th century. One can see the influence of the three cultures in this dish. The Hungarian name Székelygulyás signifies that this is thick cabbage goulash.

Variations:
Substitute sliced Kielbasa or Roast Duck for the Pork
Spice it Up: Add 1/2 tsp Hot Paprika or Cayenne Pepper

M›Ɣ – Leaving out the Pork Loin, will still yield a very tasty Sauerkraut.

French Onion Dip

French Onion DipFrench Onion Dip

Ingredients
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 cups Yellow Onion, minced
1 clove Garlic, minced
1/4 tsp Salt
2 cups Sour Cream
1/4 tsp ground White Pepper
1/4 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 Beef Bouillon Cube

Directions:

  • In a skillet, on low heat, sweat the Onions and Garlic with the Olive Oil and Salt.
  • Crush the Bouillon Cube and dissolve in the Oil.
  • Add the Worcestershire Sauce, and let the liquid reduce.
  • Remove from the heat and let cool.
  • In a large bowl, combine the Sour Cream and Onion mix until well incorporated.
  • Serve Cold.

Variations:
Blood Onion Dip
Add 1 Tbsp Red Food Coloring. This is a great way to make a Halloween themed dip, with little effort, and great taste!

Halloween Onion Dip
Divide the Dip into two bowls. In one bowl, add 1/2 Tbsp Black Food Coloring; and in the other add 1/2 Tbsp Orange Food Coloring. You can then pour the two into a third bowl… with the Orange on one side, and the black on the other.

Christmas Onion Dip
Divide the Dip into two bowls. In one bowl, add 1/2 Tbsp Green Food coloring; and in the other add 1/2 Tbsp Red Food Coloring. You can then pour the two into a third bowl…with the Red on one side, and the Green on the other.

Beef Stroganoff

Ingredients:
1 lb Ground Beef (you can use sliced beef too, cut into bite-size pieces)
1/2 cup White Onion, diced
1 clove Garlic, minced
2 cups Button Mushrooms, sliced
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Dill
1/2 tsp Cardamom
1 cup Sour Cream
1/4 cup Butter
1/3 cup White Wine (Pinot Grigio)
1/2 cup Beef Broth

Egg Noodles, cooked al dente, drained

Directions:

  • In a large Skillet, melt the Butter and add the Onions, Garlic, and Beef.
  • When Beef is browned, add White Wine, Beef Broth, Spices and Mushrooms. Let cook down for 5 minutes.
  • Add the Sour Cream and incorporate into the whole mixture.
  • Season to Taste (you can add more Dill or Cardamom if desired).
  • Serve over Egg Noodles.

Variations:
Substituted Ground Chicken or Ground Turkey to cut down on the fat.

Guacamole

Ingredients:Vegetarian
5-6 ripe Haas Avocados, skinned, pitted, and cubed
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 cup Yellow Onion, diced
2 large Jalapeño Peppers, seeded, diced
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1 cup Tomato, diced
1 tsp Salt
2 tsp Cumin
2 Tbsp Lime Juice
2 Tbsp Cilantro, chopped

Directions,

  • In a large bowl, mash the Avocados.
  • Add the Garlic, Onion, and Jalapeños.
  • Now add the Sour Cream, and Tomatoes, and mix until no Sour Cream can be seen.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
  • Garnish with fresh Cilantro and Lime Wedges

NOTES: Guacamole comes from the Nahuatl word āhuacamolli meaning “avocado sauce”…well sort of. The Nahuatl word for Avocado (āhuacatl) means “testicle” because of its shape. Traditionally, Guacamole would not have Sour Cream, and would made in a Mortar and Pestle device known as a Molcajete and Tejolote which is more course than a Mortar and Pestle.  I prefer the use of Haas Avocados because they are sweeter and do not as vein-ridden.

Guacamole

Green Goddess Salad Dressing

Ingredients:
1 cup Mayonnaise
1/2 cup Sour Cream
3 Tbsp Tarragon Vinegar
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1/2 cup Parsley, fresh, chopped finely
3 Tbsp White Onion, minced
3 Tbsp Anchovy Paste
1 tsp Chives
2 tsp Capers, chopped
1 clove Garlic, minced
1/8 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp Black Pepper

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  • Refrigerate until used.

Makes about 2 1/2 cups

NOTE: Can serve on salads, or as a Dip with fresh vegetables.  This Dressing was created by the head chef of the Palace Hotel in San Francisco in 1923 to honor George Arliss and the play The Green Goddess. No, this is not a hippie food.