Monday, April 11, 2016

German Cucumber Salad

Who doesn't love Pinterest? Oh my goodness! I have so many things pinned I want to cook, fix, get my husband to make for me...I'm dangerous if I have free time on my hands.

Spring is here and before you know it, it'll be time to get the garden planted. Andy set out some sweet onions but the crazy weather has held him back on doing anything else. This past fall he went to the local Extension office and requested a soil testing kit. Hopefully their recommendations will improve not only our garden but our blackberry, blueberry and raspberry bushes too.

I can't wait until we have fresh, home-grown tomatoes and cucumbers. We love to eat them and flavor them with an assortment of dressings so we don't feel like we're eating the same thing over and over.

This recipe showed up in my "Picked for You" Pinterest feed and we loved it. I served it with a pork loin cooked in the crock pot and a baked sweet potato. Those three flavor profiles paired very well together.

3 small peeled cucumbers (5 if they're really small)
1 small sweet onion
3-4 small Roma tomatoes

Thinly slice the above vegetables. I like to separate the tomatoes and cucumbers and sprinkle salt over them and let them sit for about 30 minutes or more. This draws out the excess water.  I think the vegetables are much better adding this extra step. While these are sitting, in a bowl whisk the following ingredients.

1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 tsp. Deli mustard (spicy brown)
1 Tbsp. white vinegar
2 Tbsp. milk
1/2 to 1 tbsp. dill weed (if fresh, 2 Tbsp.)
 Salt and pepper to taste

Drain the water off the tomatoes and cucumbers and mix them and the onions in the dressing. Refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving.

I'd love to give credit where credit is due, but the pin only linked back to this graphic. So, if you are the owner, email me and I'll update the link.

My Quest For the Perfect Pool Room Slaw

You know how you try something and it's so good you can't get that taste out of your head? And nothing else compares? Several years ago, one of our local banks hosted a Hot Dog dinner as a Relay for Life fund raiser. They had little cups of the most delicious slaw to dress your hot dogs with. I could have made a meal out of that stuff alone. Everyone then said it was the famous Pool Hall Slaw that you get on a slawburger in Fayetteville.

Since then, I have wanted to find the best Pool Room Slaw recipe out there and the one I had that day is the only one that will do. I have two or three recipes on the backburner given to us by friends years ago. Do they hold the key to my search? Maybe. Time will tell. All I can say is that slaw was so good, it could be a permanent replacement for my Cucumber Relish . Now that warm weather is sneaking up on us, that means weinie roasts at the river, so I've got to step up my game.

Not too long ago, I was flipping through our Jack Daniels "The Spirit of Tennessee Cookbook" and low and behold, there was this recipe. It even claimed to be the Fayetteville version. Well you know I just had to go get the stuff to fix it. This one is really good, but it's not the same exact Relay for Life hot dog dinner slaw I remember. That one was a deeper gold/yellow and seemed like it was just a little sweeter. This one is a keeper though.

1 head cabbage
1 sweet onion
1/4 cup sugar
3 teaspons mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
Sweet pickle juice to taste (I use the juice from my homemade Bread and Butter pickles)
First things first. Cut the cabbage into big chunks and then finely chop it. We purchased one of these little contraptions out rambling one day and we love it! It was worth whatever we paid for it and it makes fine chopping veggies a breeze.Those three blades are very sharp, so be careful!
Chop your onion really fine.
In a bowl mix all your ingredients. Stir until everything is well blended. 
Let chill for several hours before serving. This stuff is good on brats, hot dogs, white and pinto beans. 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Kale Salad

You never know where your next inspiration will come from. One evening I stopped by our local WM to pick up a few items. I was rolling through the produce section, heading for the deli to get my hands on some proscuitto when lo and behold I saw this incredible looking salad in the deli section. I immediately bought a small bowl to see if it tasted as pretty as it looked.

This isn't an exact replica of what I bought but this is what I made a couple of days later. I have cooked with kale, but have never used it as a lettuce substitute in a salad. It's a really hearty leaf. When you eat it, it's not watery like iceberg lettuce and a slightly more substantial than Romaine. I could have been my imagination, but it seemed to be more filling. As better fruit produce is available, I'll be substituting the dried blueberries with fresh and experimenting with different viniagrettes. I didn't measure what I mixed, but tried to get a nice blend of a little bit of everything in every bite.

1 bunch of Kale
Mixed, dried berries (cherries, blueberries and cranberries)
Match stick carrots
Sliced almonds
Pine nuts
Small purple onion
Raspberry viniagrette
 Remove the stem from the kale and chop.
 Rinse the chopped kale and drain very well. There's a lot of hiding places for water, so be sure to give yourself plenty of time for draining.
 In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients. Add viniagrette and toss with tongs until all is well coated. 
Refrigerate and let chill for at least an hour before eating.
Add additional dressing, if desired, when served.