Garden Eggrolls + Honey Chili Cider Dipping Sauce

My husbands family is made up of amazing cooks & bakers. No one is a professional chef, but any one of them easily could be. My mother-in-law could take a clove of garlic, a potato and some flour and come out with a delicious pot roast. My father-in-law has an extra chromosome allowing him to always grill a piece of meat over a wood fire perfectly. Needless to say, my husband inherited those genes. I grew up in a house where good food was a regular thing, but I didn’t really start cooking until college. I knew the basics, but I vowed I was going to learn to cook good food, and it was going to be delicious – no holds. My father is great at cooking more complex things, and my mom has a knack for comfort food. Thankfully I got a little of both sets of skills, though they took some time to flesh out. You never would have known I had the genes for it in high school when I opened a bag of salad – and it went all over the floor (first mistake – buying bagged salad).

So, with all that background aside, whenever we have time, Andy and I cook together. With the house renovations and other projects it’s become a rare thing, but when we can we absolutely do. It’s one of my favorite things.

Last week, after picking up a new fridge & dishwasher from my mom, Andy and I went out for some Thai food. Andy was immediately smitten with the egg rolls. That said, he’s smitten with egg rolls in general. This time though he mentioned we should try making them at home. We dissected one at the table (because we’re those people), and Andy took notes of the undertones of the chili sauce. In the words of Andy, “you don’t need a recipe, all you need is an idea.”

Our idea was inspired by what we had left in the garden; you can use anything you want to fill these. How we made them is below. There are no exact measurements for this recipe, so I’m taking a guess. As Andy said, “…it’s all optional. You can make it different every time.”

Garden Egg Rolls

Ingredients

  • Egg roll wrappers, found in most grocery stores in the refrigerated produce section (at least at our Shaws and Hannaford)
  • 1/2 head green cabbage
  • 3-4 kale leafs
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup diced green onion
  • teaspoon or two ginger powder
  • teaspoon or two garlic Powder
  • a bunch of basil
  • 1/2 to 1 cup diced white button mushrooms
  • 1lb ground pork
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges

Directions

1.) Slice and dice everything up small and cook together in peanut oil. Add in the basil, ginger and garlic and let it all cook down.

2.) In a separate pan cook your ground pork and keep cutting it up with your spatula so it doesn’t clump. Or, cook it like I did in a large thin patty and then chop up. Add salt and pepper to taste. Squeeze a lime into the pork. I sprinkled a little ground ginger on top too, why not?

3.) Combine the veggies and pork and set aside.

4.) Make sure your counter is dry and layout an egg roll sheet. Put a tablespoon or two of filling in the center on the diagonal. Fold the sides in first, then the bottom and then roll. Seal with just a little water. I just dipped my finger into a ramekin of water and pressed on the fold.

While you’re rolling start heating up your peanut oil, and gently place the rolls in the hot oil. Only do 2-3 at a time. You don’t want to crowd them, or let your oil boil over or you will have an oil fire. On second thought, keep your fire extinguisher close by anytime you fry. On third thought, never leave anything you are frying. Even for a second. Ever.

If you don’t seal them properly, like our first one, it will look like this. Delicious none the less, but it started to open. Andy was able to keep it sealed slightly with a spoon so the filling didn’t come out.

If you seal them right, they will look like this.

Now for the tasty sauce.

Honey Chili Cider Dipping Sauce

Ingredients

Everything below but make sure to also add in about 1/3 to 1/4 of a medium Hungarian wax pepper and a shake or 2 of cracked red pepper. As a note Hungarian wax peppers are less hot than a jalapeno but hotter than a banana pepper. Cracked red pepper is a different kind of heat, and it hits in a different way. We tried a second batch without either, but it just wasn’t the same. This sauce needs the heat, and it’s delicious.


Directions

This is a sweet sauce, that slowly transforms to have just enough heat to make the flavor profile unbelievably delicious. I asked Andy how he made it, so in his words, “You start off with a lot of sweet, add just enough liquid to make it thinned out and then it punches you with heat”.  If you don’t like any amount of heat, and want to leave it out then that makes me sad. But really, I would lessen the honey and add a little more vinegar. It will cut the sweet and give a bite. It won’t taste the same as with the heat, but it would still be okay. If you don’t have a wax pepper, sub any other hot pepper and see what happens.  We used a Hungarian wax because we have a plethora of them from the garden.

To translate:

1.) Start with about 3-4 tablespoons of honey

2.) Add a tablespoon or so of apple cider, and a teaspoon of cider vinegar to thin it out.

3.) A small splash of peanut oil next

4.) Whisk together and assess the thinness. It should easily drip off leaving just a thin coat on the spoon, i.e. not honey like at all. At this point the mixture is very sweet with just a little bite from the vinegar.

5.) Add a few shakes of cracked red pepper, just a tiny pinch of garlic powder and a pinch of salt.

6.) Here comes the deliciousness – dice up about 1/4 teaspoon or the Hungarian wax pepper and add it to the sauce. Stir in and taste. Preferably on a hot delicious egg roll.

If you want, add in a little basil at the end, it gives it another great level of flavor.

Oh. So. Delicious.

Happy Homemade Egg Rolls,

Heather

Kale Pesto, Beet-greens, Mushroom & Feta Omelet

This post won’t be too long, as we have a wedding to attend today for one of my best friends, but I had to share this before we got on the road.

As I rolled out of bed this morning, while Mr. A kept working on our addition, my stomach was grumbling hard. I quickly snapped some photos of progress (post to come soon) and then got into the kitchen before 8am to get a few things done before this afternoon. I was going to make pancakes for breakfast until I noticed we desperately needed to use up produce.

Last week I bought some beets with the greens still attached so I could sautee the greens and slice the beets to attempt salt and vinegar beet chips. I’ll be posting about that tomorrow when I bake them (they marinate for 24 hours in vinegar) but here’s a sneak peak.

Once I was done slicing the beets I had all the greens left over which were already starting to wilt a little. I knew they needed to be used asap. A little detective work also showed some kale pesto, mushrooms and eggs which were dying to be used into a yummy omelet for the hubs and I.

Ingredients

  • tomato basil feta
  • kale pesto (recipe here)
  • mushrooms
  • eggs
  • butter
  • garlic powder

Directions

I planned on making a large omelet for Mr. A and I to share this morning, so I sauteed an entire container of mushrooms and about two bunches of beet-greens in a pad of butter. By pad of butter I mean about a 1/2 inch of butter. It’s that kind of morning.

Once sauteed down pretty well, dust with garlic powder to taste and add in kale pesto. Feel free to skip the garlic powder if you aren’t a huge fan or you already made your kale pesto so garlicky it could kill a vampire – like we do. Set aside.

In a large pan heat some butter or olive oil. Whisk eggs in a bowl (about 4 for 2 people who are hungry). Once heated well, add the eggs and thoroughly coat the pan with them. I prefer a thin omelet, so I use my huge pan and get it nice and thin (but thick enough to hold the ingredients, think double to triple crepe thickness).

Once eggs are cooked through a little, add the mushrooms/greens mixture. Sprinkle feta on top. Be careful not to add too much feta, the kale pesto has feta in it so it’s already salty.

Flip into omelet form, cook on each side for just a minute longer to warm the feta through and then, as is tradition around here, mow down.


This was so good, but I put just a tad too much feta in ours. Oh who am I kidding. I love feta. It was just enough.

I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend! Off I go to get dolled up and put on a nice pair of heels, with beet stained hands.

Classy.

Happy Breakfast Noshing,

Heather

Mushroom Macaroni & Nutritional Yeast {It’s Delicious}

I’m not a vegan, or even a vegetarian but I have a soft spot in my heart stomach for a warm batch of Macaroni and Nutritional Yeast. I like it better than Mac and Cheese, sort of. I only compare it because most recipes do. If you made me choose one to eat though, I’d go with this stuff. Ok, so they do look alike.

{Best Simon Cowell impersonation} If I’m being honest, and I am, they taste nothing alike.

Wow, I’m really bad at British accents.

The point is, I don’t really consider these similar taste wise. Yes, they are both pasta covered in an ooey gooey sauce. That’s about it, in my humble opinion. If you’ve never had nutritional yeast I think it’s one of those things you either love or hate. I grew up on nutritional yeast. I love it. I sprinkle it on burritos, I make gooey sauce out of it, I sprinkle it on eggs with salsa. I’m a super fan. Not quite boy band fan level, but almost.

If you have no idea what Nutritional Yeast is,  it’s a yeast flake which is a complete protein and full of vitamins, especially B vitamins.

“Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast…it is a source of protein and vitamins, especially the B-complex vitamins, and is a complete protein. It is also naturally low in fat and sodium and is free of sugar, dairy, and gluten. Some brands of nutritional yeast, though not all, are fortified with vitamin B12. The vitamin B12 is produced separately (by bacteria) and then added to the yeast…Nutritional yeast has a strong flavor that is described as nutty, cheesy, or creamy, which makes it popular as an ingredient in cheese substitutes”Wikipedia

Does that help?

Mushroom Macaroni & Nutritional Yeast

Given the garden I really needed to add some veggies in, so I’ve gone off course from my regular recipe to add in some garden garlic and a whole lotta mushrooms {which were store bought}. I love me some mushrooms. Everyone who likes this enjoys it differently. My suggestion is to start basics and then taste as you go. This is why I haven’t given exact measurements.

Ingredients:

  • cavatappi pasta
  • 16 ounces mushrooms
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • Butter or vegetable oil to sautee garlic and mushrooms in
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • liquid of choice (recommend milk or water)
  • 1.5 cups nutritional yeast
  • Soy Sauce to taste (about 2 tablespoons)
  • worcestershire to taste (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 tablespoon tumeric
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

1.)  Start your water boiling and cook pasta according to the box
2.) Mince garlic and mushrooms
3.) Put butter or oil in a separate larger pot
4.) Saute garlic for a few minutes, add mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms soften to your preferred consistency. Do not drain liquid.
5.) Add 1/2 cup of flour to the mushroom and stir until mixed. It will be similar to a roux, but not exactly due to the mushrooms and garlic.

6.)  Once smooth, add liquid and stir until smooth again. Start with about a 1/2 cup of liquid and keep adding until you reach a nice consistency. Remember you’ll be adding in nutritional yeast, so it’s ok to be slightly more liquid than thick. Stir in nutritional yeast, 1/2 cup at a time. Add more liquid if necessary to keep it smooth and moving. The nutritional yeast should be fully dissolved.
7. )  Add in turmeric, soy sauce, worcestershire, salt and pepper to taste.
8. )  Drain your pasta (if you haven’t already) and add into the sauce. Gently turn to coat the pasta.

Eat. Eat. Eat. Om. Nom. Nom.

Happy trying something new, something yummy and something gooey,

-Heather

Flourless Beef Stroganoff

Our wedding is only a couple weeks away. There has been so much to get done I haven’t been in the kitchen as much. It amazes me, even with our simple backyard bash, how fast the tiny details add up into a lot of work. Last night, I spent hours gluing programs to popsicle sticks to make fan type programs. I will be posting a blog on those too – but first I need to regain the stamina to write about them. I have about 85 more to go. Wish me luck.

With everything going on for the wedding, and the weather feeling more like March than May, I decided we needed a comfort dinner. Specifically I was craving Beef Stroganoff. I decided to go with a recipe from Kansas City Steaks. I liked the simple ingredients, but I had a couple changes I made along the way. One of the biggest ones was I didn’t add the flour in. To be entirely honest, it was a mistake – but one that I ended up liking.

Beef Stroganoff, adapted from Kansas City Steaks

Serves Four

  • 1 lb. sirloin steak thinly sliced (your grocer can cut a steak for you at no extra cost)
  • 1/2 large onion thinly sliced
  • 1 shallot
  • 3 tbsp. butter, divided
  • 4 cups mushrooms, sliced  (I used a mix of baby bella and storebought wild mushroom mix)
  • 3/4 cup beef broth
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • few pinches of salt to taste
  • one package egg noodles, cooked

Directions: Heat heavy skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 tbsp. butter and quickly saute the sirloin strips until well browned.

Remove meat and keep warm. Once rested, chop into bite sized pieces. Add remaining 2 tbsp. butter to skillet. Sauté onions until very tender, 6-7 minutes. (please ignore my very dirty stove – that is on the roster to be cleaned very soon!)

Add mushrooms and sauté 5 minutes. (Due to the quantity of mushrooms, I would likely saute these in a separate pan and drain off all but a tablespoon of the liquid next time and then add to the onion.)

Stir in beef broth, wine and seasonings. Heat to simmer. Stir in browned meat.

Reduce heat to low. Blend in sour cream. (In lieu of flour, cook your noodles until almost done but not quite, then add your noodles to the sauce and simmer on low. The starch in the noodles will help thicken everything up just enough to give the noodles flavor, and it will still taste delicious.) Stir until sauce is heated and smooth and the noodles are fully cooked.

This truly was one of the most delicious stroganoff’s I’ve ever taste. Even though flour is in the original recipe, I didn’t miss  it a bit. It wasn’t as thick but it was plenty tasty. We ate it down so fast that we didn’t notice the different! You will be sure to like this recipe, it’s nice and solid.  If you want it thicker, stir in a couple tablespoons of flour before adding any liquid. Yum yum yum. This will be on the menu again!

Happy Cooking,

Heather