Mayan Jaguar Lettuce Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette

The Mayan Jaguar lettuce lends itself to salads with strong, sharp flavors. Add some chicken (or more cheese, if you’re a vegetarian) and you’ve got a main dish salad. Note, this will serve 6 as a side dish

What You’ll Need

  • knife and chopping board
  • whisk
  • immersion blender, aka hand or stick blender
  • measuring cup and spoons
  • large bowl
  • salad tongs

Ingredients for the Salad

  • 1 head Mayan Jaguar lettuce (or other romaine)
  • ¼ cup blue cheese, crumbled
  • ¼ cup walnut pieces, toasted
  • 1 medium carrot, shredded

Ingredients for the Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2/3-3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp walnut or regular Dijon mustard
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper

How to Make the Vinaigrette

  1. Pour the vinegar into a bowl or tall container and add the salt. Whisk until the salt is dissolved
  2. Add the mustard, shallot, oil, and pepper. Using your immersion blender, blend the ingredients until emulsified and well mixed.
  3. Taste and add salt or pepper as necessary. The vinaigrette will keep, refrigerated, for a week.

How to Make the Salad

  1. Add the salad ingredients to a bowl.
  2. Toss with the about 1/3-1/2 of the vinaigrette. Add a little more if you like it more fully dressed.
  3. Serve immediately.
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Cooking Goetta and a Recipe for Goetta Grilled Cheese

Cooking Goetta

As promised, I’ve got some instructions on cooking goetta as well as a recipe in which goetta is the ingredient but not necessarily the star.

The key to cooking goetta is creating a crispy, but not burnt, exterior but without a mushy interior. I confess to being a bit of a neophyte, so you may have some goetta-tastic friends rolling their eyes at my instructions. Probably best to listen to them, not me!

GliersForSandwich

You’ll need to cut up the goetta first into half-inch (1.25 cm) slices. I’m using some Glier’s goetta here.
GoettaSlices
Then you’ll need to heat up your pan. Ideally you’d like to start with a hot, non-stick pan, so a well seasoned cast iron pan would be ideal. I do not have that. Instead, I used a non-stick pan, which I don’t place on a burner while it’s empty. Thus for me, I use some oil (neutral oil, such as grapeseed). There are those who consider adding oil sacrilege, while others have no such qualms. I know this, because I asked Dr. Google (she knows everything). So, I do add oil.

Next, when the pan (with or without oil) is hot, I add the slices o’ goodness. Cook for a bit (say 2-5 minutes) over medium heat until one side is brown and crispy, but not burnt.FryingGoetta Flip and cook the second side; this will take less time (about 2-3 minutes). Remove from heat and start with the next batch (adding a little oil if necessary). Repeat until you’ve cooked as much goetta as you want.

CrispyGoetta

A Recipe for Goetta Grilled Cheese

Goetta is delicious on its own, breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner. But goetta-as-ingredient is, as Martha Stewart would say, a Good Thing. So, I’m adding goetta to a grilled cheese sandwich here. This is delicious and simple. Ingredients are for one sandwich, so double if making two.

What You’ll Need

  • nonstick skillet or seasoned cast iron pan
  • box grater for shredding cheese (or food processor, if you are making multiple sandwiches)
  • knife for spreading butter
  • scale to weigh shredded cheese
  • board for assembling sandwich
  • spatula

Ingredients

  • 2 slices sturdy white sandwich bread, not the overly squishy variety, but some that has a bit of heft; do NOT substitute fancy country loaves—this is not the time to use your finest wood-fired artisan bread!

    THIS kind of bread, not your fancy schmancy loaves with the big, big, big holes.
    THIS kind of bread, not your fancy schmancy loaves with the big, big, big holes.
    Not this bread. NOT THIS BREAD!
    Not this bread. NOT THIS BREAD!
  • 1.5 oz 1 shredded Gruyere or Comte cheese (if unavailable, use a nutty Swiss cheese); this is about 1/3 to ½ cup
  • 0.5 oz shredded smoked Gouda cheese (about 2-3 tablespoons)
  • The Cheeses
    The Cheeses
  • unsalted butter, softened (there’s plenty of salt in the goetta and cheese, so do use unsalted if possible
  • 1-2 slices cooked goetta (2 slices of Glier’s works for me, but you might only need 1 slice from the rectangular Eckerlin’s or Mike’s loaves)
  • How to Make the Goetta Grilled Cheese Sandwich

    1. Read the recipe. Seriously. You don’t want to be half-way through, only to realize that you needed butter. Read through the recipe now.
    2. Assemble your ingredients. This is called mise en place, a French term for putting everything in place. Do this before you begin to cook ANYTHING.
    3. Okay, we are ready now. Butter ONE side of EACH piece of bread.
    4. Flip ONE bread slice over and place about 2/3 of the Gruyere on top of the unbuttered side.
    5. Place the cooked goetta on top of the Gruyere. You may have to chop a piece to fit onto the bread.
    6. Top the goetta with the rest of the Gruyere and add the smoked Gouda on top of it.
    7. The mostly assembled sandwich prior to cooking
      The mostly assembled sandwich prior to cooking
    8. Melt some butter in a nonstick skillet or seasoned cast iron pan over medium-low heat. You don’t want the heat too high, because you don’t want to burn the bread before the cheese melts. .
    9. MeltingButterinPan

    10. After melting the butter, place the sandwich in the pan, pressing down with a spatula.
    11. Cook until the bottom is crispy and golden brown, but not burnt.
    12. Carefully flip the sandwich over and cook until the second side is golden brown.
    13. GoldenBrown

    14. Remove from pan and eat.
    15. Sandwich1

    Sandwich2

    11 ounce/oz = 28.3 grams/g

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Braised Radishes

If you’ve only eaten radishes raw, try eating them cooked. This simple recipe adds another way of enjoying this root vegetable to your culinary repertoire. This recipe is based on one from Diane Morgan found in Fine Cooking (Issue 122).

What You’ll Need

  • knife
  • chopping board
  • large skillet or frying pan
  • measuring cup and spoons

Ingredients

  • 2 bunches radishes, tops removed (can save some of the radish greens)
  • 2 Tbsp butter, salted or unsalted
  • 3/4 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • salt and pepper
  • flat-leaf (Italian) parsley (or reserved radish greens)

How to Cook Braised Radishes

  1. Rinse and dry the radishes. Cut off the tops and root tails. Then slice into approximately ¼ inch rounds (if radishes are very small, feel free to halve or quarter them).
  2. Over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the radishes (with a pinch of salt), cover and cook them on medium-low for 5-10 minutes, stirring fairly often (of course, you’ll have to uncover them to stir). They should become noticeably softened.
  3. CookRadishes

  4. Once softened, add your stock and bring the mixture to a boil. Then add the vinegar, sugar, and salt (about ½ tsp, though you can use less if you opted for salted butter). Reduce heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally.
  5. Cook until the liquid is reduced to a glazy consistency.
  6. Garnished with chopped parsley or chopped radish greens. Serve immediately.

FinishedBraisedRadishes

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A Memorial Day Grill Fest: Grilled Lamb Kebabs with Turkish Spices

The Unofficial Start to Summer

Across the country, not just the Flyover States, Memorial Day serves as the unofficial start to the summer season. Pools open and cookouts beckon. The grills get fired up (and yes, I too plan to partake of this). In that spirit, I am sharing with you a recipe I’ll be grilling today: Lamb Kebabs with Turkish Spices. But before I do that, I want to take a look at Memorial Day, the holiday, the one without the potato salad and 40%-off sales

From Whence It Came: Decoration Day

Memorial Day got its start as Decoration Day back in the mid-1800s (May 30, 1868, to be exact). It was designed to commemorate the war dead—people were asked to decorate the graves of soldiers who’d perished in the Civil War, which ended in 1865. Approximately 20 years later, the name changed to Memorial Day, but the commemoration remained the same.

In the ensuing years, Memorial Day, which was once celebrated on May 30 but is now the last Monday in May, became associated more with the start of summer fun than a way to honor those who lost their lives in conflict. While I see nothing wrong with enjoying friends and family, I do believe it is important to remember the real reason for the holiday—a way to recall those who made the ultimate sacrifice. So, sometime this weekend, think of them, whether at a service or just a silent pause.

Grilling—The Warm-Weather Cooking Technique Returns

Okay, I haven’t fired up the grill since October, but with warm, summertime temperatures having arrived, it’s time to break out the charcoal (yes, I’m a purist—no gas for this girl!) and start generating that live-fire mojo. One of my favorite things to grill is local lamb, in this case lamb from Russell Sheep Company of Eaton, Indiana. Diane Russell’s smiling face is one of my favorite sights on my weekly trip to Minnetrista Farmer’s Market Saturday mornings. Her lamb is delicious and it’s local! I’ll write about Russell Sheep Company some other time, so you’ll learn all about it. But one form of lamb she sells is kebab meat, which I use for the kebabs (and I’ve also used it for stews and curries). And to round out my menu today, I’ll grill some local asparagus as an accompaniment.

Lamb Kebabs with Turkish Spices

Serves 4

What You’ll Need

  • measuring spoons
  • cutting board
  • sharp knife
  • bowl
  • garlic press (optional)
  • plastic wrap
  • skewers

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. lamb leg or shoulder meat, cut into 1-in pieces
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp dried thyme (or 1 Tbsp fresh)
  • ¼ tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (omit if you don’t like spicy food)
  • 1/8 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground cumin
  • 1-2 tsp ground sumac
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Pepper to taste

How To Make the Kebabs

Sorry, no pictures this time! I’ll add one after I grill them!

  1. In a bowl combine all ingredients except lamb. Taste for salt/pepper (add more if necessary)
  2. Pat lamb cubes dry and add to mixture in bowl. Toss to combine. Cover and place in refrigerator for about 4 hours
  3. Start a hot charcoal fire (direct high fire)—I said I was a charcoal purist!
  4. After coals have been started but before they are ready for grilling, remove lamb and thread onto 4 skewers (the flatter kind are best). When grill is ready, place skewers on grill and cook until a little charred (about 5-10 minutes). Turn occasionally to make sure that all sides get cooked
  5. Serve immediately.

And They Were Delicious!

LambKebabs

Edited this post to show everyone my Memorial Day dinner!
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Homemade Garlic-Chive Ricotta Spread

And by “homemade”, I mean that you’re making the ricotta as well.

It’s a Bit of a Family Reunion!

In that garlic and chives are both part of the allium family.

What You’ll Need

  • large saucepan
  • instant-read thermometer
  • colander
  • cheesecloth
  • knife
  • chopping board
  • bowl
  • measuring cup
  • measuring spoons
  • wooden spoon
  • garlic press (optional)

Ingredients

For the ricotta cheese

To make ricotta, all you need is whole milk, lemon juice1, and salt. And the salt is optional. Now, think about how impressed all your friends will be when you tell them that you made your own cheese. La-de-freaking-da!

RicottaIngredient

  • 2 quarts (or liters) whole milk, raw or pasteurized (NOT ULTRA-PASTEURIZED!!!2
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt

For the spread

  • 4 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or put through a press
  • salt and pepper to taste

How to Make the Garlic-Chive Ricotta Spread

Make the ricotta cheese and impress even yourself with how easy it is

  1. Line a colander with a triple thickness of cheesecloth and place it in the sink.
  2. In the saucepan, heat the milk over medium heat to approximately 195°F (90°C), stirring the whole time to avoid burning the milk. Remove from heat.
  3. HeatMilk

  4. Add the lemon juice and salt, then give the mixture a quick stir to distribute the juice. Let stand for 5 minutes or so.
  5. By this time, the curds should have coagulated or clotted; you should see white curds in a thin, milky whey. If you don’t see this, add a little more lemon juice and wait for another few minutes.
  6. CurdsWhey2

  7. Carefully pour the curds into the colander and let drain for 15-30 minutes (or longer, if you want a very firm and dry ricotta).
  8. DrainCurds

  9. When finished draining, you can transfer your ricotta to a different container. Place it in the fridge if you want to make the spread later—it’ll firm up a bit more. You should have about 2 cups of ricotta cheese.
  10. FinishedRicotta

  11. Post a picture to Facebook, so that you can show all of your 1794 friends that you just made some cheese.
  12. Place one cup of the ricotta in a bowl. Add the chives and garlic. Using a wooden spoon, stir together until well mixed. Salt and pepper to taste. If it’s too solid or thick, mix in a little cream or half-and-half until the spread reaches the consistency you like.
  13. MakingSpread2

  14. Be real Pinterest-y and garnish with some more chopped chives.
  15. GarnishedSpread

  16. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, so that the flavors can meld together.
  17. Serve with crackers or raw vegetables.

1Lemon juice is a coagulant that enables the cheese curds to separate from the whey. Other coagulants include certain kinds of vinegar (e.g. a good white wine vinegar) and citric acid. But I’m assuming that you probably don’t have any citric acid next to the boxed macaroni and the Cheetos.

2I’ve never used raw milk—I live in Indiana and unless I join a cow share, or buy my own cow, I can’t get any legally. But I CAN get pasteurized milk. Ultra-pasteurized is heat-treated to a higher temperature, which affects the proteins; thus, you can’t make ricotta with such milk.

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