Category Archives: appetizer

Not your grandma’s Cabbage Slaw

I know what you’re thinking. I was thinking the same thing. Cabbage coleslaw? Bleeeccch! Well this version couldn’t really be further from Bleeeccch! This is another fantastic recipe from the fabled Marissa. I know many of you have never seen her. Maybe she doesn’t exist… but if you believe she just might. Anyway, this is the stuff if you need a nice fresh summery/fallish/ really anytime salad and are tired of the boring old greens and with Newman’s Own dressing you usually make. Yeah, I’m watching you. Let’s spice it up. I can hear your hunger from here.

Ingredients:
1 Head of red cabbage
1/2 Red pepper
1/2 Walla Walla sweet onion
4 carrots grated.
3/4 juice of lemon
1 tsp salt or to taste
1 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp oregano
4-5 Tbsps olive oil

batterjunkie-1 The details of this slaw are inconsequential, it’s not hard to make. It is however hard to make correctly. Thinly chop the red cabbage, red peppers and onions. Grate those carrots and toss them all in bowl. The thin-ness of the chop seems to regulate taste, the thinner the better. Now mix in the other ingredients and in just a few minutes, you’re done!batterjunkie-2Let this mother sit for a while so that the flavors can really marry. This is really the key to making it good!

Thanks Marissa!

Enjoy!

I’ll stuff your Sausage…Mushrooms

Do you like mushrooms? If you don’t, I am judging you but I’m not too fussed. Maybe look at another recipe…Ok now that they’re gone, here’s the good stuff. These mushrooms will increase your penis size, make your breasts grow to epic proportions and super-charge your libido. You have been warned.

2 tablespoons butter
50 or so mushrooms (remove the stems)
1 pound HOT Italian sausage
1 small chopped onion
5 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 TBSP Dried Basil
2 TBSP Oregano
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 350 F (175 degrees C). Grease a baking sheet like you know you want to…real slow like…sorry I got distracted.
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Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Toss in the mushrooms and just like when you’re experimenting in the bedroom you want to do them for about 5 minutes a side until softened. Transfer the mushrooms to that sexy pan you greased.

batterjunkie-2Heat the skillet again over medium-high heat drop in your hot sausage, you dirty bastard. Once it’s sizzlin’ dump in the onion, garlic, and extra stem pieces and cook until the meat is brown and crumbly, about 10 minutes.

batterjunkie-5Drain excess grease and throw it out like a jilted lover. Toss the mix into a large bowl and stir in bread crumbs, 1/4 parmesan, 1/4 mozzarella, oregano, and parsley.

batterjunkie-6Now get your little love mushrooms and tenderly, gently, spoon the sausage mix into the little mushrooms cups. I like to press the spoonful up again the side of the pan really hard. This packs it. Then squish it into mushrooms.

batterjunkie-7Once they are all in the pan, dust the tops with the remaining cheese.

Bake in preheated oven until cheese is melted, about 30 minutes.batterjunkie-8Then put those hot little mushroomy balls into the closest person’s mouth.batterjunkie-9Enjoy.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries and Garlic Spinach

Hello friendly Batter Junkies. Today I made a meal with a friend of mine who wanted to keep the cholesterol to a minimum and thusly this lovely seasonal meal was born. Sweet Potatoes are a nice fall-ish flavor while the Garlic Spinach gives the meal some depth. We also made a nice salad to go with. It’s just been that kind of day. So if you’ve been chokin’ down too many burgers or licking sticks of butter like a sneaky kid at fat camp, this is the meal for you. Impossibly, we found the Baked Sweet Potato recipe from Paula Deen. This may be the only thing she’s ever made that doesn’t involve copious amounts of butter.

Ingredients Sweet Potatoes:
5 large Sweet Potatoes
3 TBSP olive oil
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
1 TBSP chopped fresh garlic or garlic powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper

Ingredients Garlic Spinach:
1 and 1/2 lbs washed, fresh Spinach
2 TBSP olive oil
2 TBSP chopped garlic
1/2 onion chopped
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 lemon
1 TBSP unsalted butter

Ok ya’ll preheat that there oven to 450 F (230 C).  (Make sure to read this with a thick Paula Deen-ish southern drawl) Then git yer sweet pataters and peel um, cut um into 1/4 inch slices and then slice those into 1/4 inch fries.

Batterjunkie-7950Toss all them slices in a giant bowl with a half a stick of butt…OOPS! I mean 3 Tablespoons of olive oil. Mix um around until fully coated. Then sprinkle the pepper, salt, garlic and cayenne over the fries and mix again.

Batterjunkie-7951Now arrange them on a baking sheet (flatten them out so there are none on top of one and other) and pop um in the oven just as fast as Paula Deen lost her job.

Batterjunkie-7952Bake them for about 25 minutes. While doing that start on the Spinach!

In a large pot, we used a Dutch Oven because the Dutch don’t get enough airtime really, place the olive oil, onions and garlic. Cook them for just a minute or two and toss in the spinach.

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Using a wooden spoon or really any utensil of your choice (I recommend against your hand) stir the spinach for about 2 minutes and then put the lid on it. This will wilt the spinach. Add salt and pepper and stir for another minute or two until completely wilted.

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Squeeze some fresh lemon juice on it and serve. We did not place a pat of butter on top but to each his or her own. Also, we made a green salad to go along with, sheer genius really.

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Enjoy.

 

 

Spicy Corn Bread

Hello all. This Corn Bread was adapted from the Smitten Kitchen recipe. It once changed the course of a young boy’s life. I’m not sure how but, let’s just say he gets a lot more attention now. I find this is a good winter staple as it is hearty and dense. Let’s get on with it.

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
2 TBSP butter
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 TBSP brown  sugar
1 egg
1 cup of jalapeno pepper jack cheese (or whatever kind you like)
4 jalapenos, seeded and chopped into small pieces.
5 or so green onions chopped

Preheat the oven to 375 F (190 C).

Toss the butter in a cast iron skillet or in an 8-inch square baking pan over medium heat until it melts all over the pan like groupie backstage at a rock concert. Then turn off the heat.

Chop up the Jalapenos, the green onions, and grate that cheese.

Meanwhile, combine the dry ingredients in a bowl.Then add the jalapeno bits, green onions and cheese to the dry mixture. I find that adding chunky stuff to the dry ingredients incorporates it better into the bread.

Mix the egg into the buttermilk like it belongs there. Add that liquid mixture into the dry ingredient bowl. It will form a pasty dough. It should be kind of malleable and not too dry, somewhat like my wit. Add a bit more buttermilk if it’s too dry.

Glop the batter into the cast iron skillet full of butter and smooth it out with a spoon.


Bake about 30 minutes, or until the top is lightly brown and the sides have pulled away from the pan. Check it with a heroin needle, a toothpick or anything sharp you have sitting around precisely for sticking things.

Serve it up hot! Your friends will thank you.

Enjoy.

 

Goodbye Barça Two: Marissa’s Marvelous Mushrooms

If you don’t know Marissa, you’re missing out. This girl once marched over to her friend’s house in the middle of the night to make brownies for the sole reason that said friend had threatened to make them from, A BOX! The horror. This girl knows about home cooking and today we honor her with one of the first recipes she ever taught me, Stuffed Mushrooms.

This dish is not only elegant looking for a party but is an amazingly efficient way to get a huge amount of mushrooms into your belly in the shortest time imaginable. The lovely Rana and Ines will be your mushroom models today!

Ingredients:
20-30 large mushrooms (really as many as is humanly possible to eat)
3 Tbsp olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic to taste
1/2 onion (chopped)
3-4 sprigs of parsley (chopped)
white wine to taste
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Bread crumbs (we use the Italian Seasoned variety)

Heat up your oven to about 200 C (about 400 F)

Grab your pile of mushroom and wash them thoroughly. If you knew how mushrooms were grown, you would be careful to wash them. (and they say the subjunctive is dead in English) Wash them well to get the nasty off.

Then one by one hold each mushroom in your hand and grab firmly around the base of the stem with your other hand. Rock the stem around until it pops out. If you’ve done it correctly there will be a nice hole recessed into the mushroom. A hole which you will soon fill with hot cheesy goodness. Whew, that whole paragraph was not very family friendly. Here on the Batter Junkie we’re no stranger to euphemisms.  Oh well, family friendly is not this blog’s demographic. Save the stems.

If you break the mushroom too irreparably with your big sausage-finger man hands, not to worry. Just throw that mushroom in with the stems. We’re going to use them in a minute. Finely chop up the stems and any mushroom causalities.

Heat the olive oil in a pan and toss in the onions and garlic. After a few minutes add the stems and white wine. Saute those naughty little flavors together for about 5 minutes and remove from heat.

In a bowl combine the mushroom mixture, cheese and bread crumbs until they form a kind of sticky gooey cheesy mess of yum. If the mixture is too dry add some olive oil. If it is sopping wet add a few more bread crumbs. Once you’ve made these a few times (oh and you will make them a few times at least) you will figure out the consistency.

Now it’s time to get rough. Take a handful of filling and stuff it into one of those unsuspecting innocent little mushrooms. Place your submissive mushrooms on a baking sheet as you fill them. Once they are all full and happy sprinkle a little olive oil over the whole tragic scene. This will help them stay moist in the oven.

Pop them in the oven for about 25-40 minutes. They will brown on top when they are done and the mushrooms will reduce in size slightly. Due to bad planning and mostly ravenous hunger, no pictures of the mushrooms “up close” were taken. They are shown here in the distance. You can imagine that they are beautiful!

I recommend baking the mushrooms right before your guests arrive. That way you can eat them all yourself saying, “What mushrooms? I didn’t see and mushrooms.” You’ll never be forced to make them against your will either because only you and I will know the secret. Shhhhh!

Thank you once again to the lovely Marissa!
Enjoy.

Labels: appetizer, mushrooms

Goodbye Barça One: Bruschetta

Today marks my 40th recipe!
It is bitter sweet however. It is with heavy heart that I turn my back on the place I have called home for the last six months. As an American citizen who just wanted to spend a little more money here in Europe I fail to see the financial advantage of sending Devo packing but alas, I must away. On my final Friday we had a little get together where we each did an appetizer for dinner. The first one, bruschetta, is brought to you by the most swarthy and amazing Italian I know, Simone. So without further sappy ado I present to you, an Italian classic.

Ingredients:
5-6 Large tomatoes
4 Tbsp olive oil
tsp salt
tsp sugar
5 or so cloves of garlic
a loaf of nice bread (In Seattle I use Essential Baking bread)

Preheat the oven to Barry White hot (250 C or 465 F).

Yeah that’s about it. Can you believe it? Now I’ve seen a lot of bruschetta recipes and this one is by far the simplest, but guess what, it’s the tastiest as well. The magic happens, as Simone says, when you have  fresh, high quality ingredients. So don’t make this with tomatoes that have been sitting in the fridge since you last called your mother.

Cut up the tomatoes into large 1/2 inch chunks an place them in a bowl. Make sure to get as much of the tomato juice in the bowl as possible. Try to look Italian, like this guy.

Pour the olive oil, salt and sugar into the bowl and mix around with a fork.

Cut the bread into slices and toast them on a baking sheet for about 5 minutes or until the bread become a bit crunchy.

Here is where I was amazed and delighted. When the bread came out of the oven, Simone took a piece of raw garlic and rubbed it on the bread. Now all previously held conceptions of garlic, and bread for that matter, were whisked away with the flick of an Italian wrist. The bread, once toasted, is sufficiently coarse enough to actually grate the garlic onto it. Neat!

Rub the garlic onto all of the slices of bread.

With a large spoon get some of the juices from the bowl of tomatoes and drizzle them on each slice of bread. With that same spoon, or with another if you like doing extra dishes, drop a healthy amount of tomatoes onto each slice.

Serve it right after you put the tomatoes on because after a while the bread will become soggy and no one likes soggy things, in cooking or in life. Beware, this will happen to your eyes if you eat too many.

Remember fresh ingredients and avoid the soggy. You heard it here first folks!

Enjoy.
Next time we’ll do the mushrooms you see in the distance near the horizon of magazines and European people.

Labels: Italian, appetizer, tomatoes

Hummus – The Great Unifier

With all of the strife in the world, it is a wonder that one thing continues to unite people. This paragon of food is spawned from the simple loins of the courageous chick pea, resilient, proud and strong. It is known by many other names, the Garbanzo bean, Nohut, Indian pea or Ceci bean. I have had hummus in many countries and with varying degrees of garlic but one things remains the same, it is almost always good. This particular recipe was given to me by a one Ali San, Rana’s papa.

For fun I have included many of the comments Ali made when he gave me the recipe. His comments are in Blue.


Ingredients:
1 400g can of cooked garbanzo beans (14-16oz)I do not peel them. You need that roughage in your system!
3 Tbsp of their own juice
3 Tbsp of olive oil
1 Tbsp of tahini (optional) (the spell check insisted on changing it to Tahiti, beware!)
2-3 cloves of garlic
1 tsp cumin
Salt
flakey red pepper to taste
Juice of ½ a lemon (more or less, to taste)
Once you’ve collected all of your ingredients, drain the garbanzo beans (save the juices) and place them in a blender. In my case I didn’t have a blender so I simply put then in a giant bowl and used my blending wand! Then throw in the additional ingredients and commence to blendin’.

Ali says to blend until you get a moist, fluffy, but not runny consistency. You can experiment and get to that point by adding more or less of its juice and olive oil. I like to leave mine a little chunky!

To give it a little color and put your guests on notice, sprinkle a little flaky red pepper on top…and enjoy. (Now I’m confused, the spell check can’t make out the difference between “flakey” and “flaky”. Nor can I.) 

Also my a Lebanese friend taught me that you make a little divot in the middle of the hummus and pour in some olive oil. I hope you like this as much as my guests did! I did not nor do I usually include Tahini. It is hard to find in other countries and not 100% critical to good hummus. Serve with fresh cut carrots and peppers or pita for dipping.
Enjoy.

Labels: Hummus, side, appetizer, 

Tostones with mojito sauce – a gift from Cuba

These puppies are amazing. I can’t tell you how tasty they are. If you’ve never had one, it’s kind of like mixing a banana with a potato and then deep frying the whole thing. How can you go wrong with that? These are brought to you from the kitchen of the lovely Marina with “would you like to call a friend” help from her mom in Malaga. I first had them in La Casa del Mojito in Seattle.

Ingredients:
6-7 large green plantains (in Spanish they are called platanos machos)
5 cups or so of vegetable oil

Mojo Sauce:
This sauce is sometimes called Mojito sauce but is not to be confused with the amazing drink.
1/3 cup olive oil
6 to 8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or minced
2/3 cup sour orange juice or lime juice
(or equal portions orange juice and lime juice)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
chopped cilantro (optional)

Let’s make the sauce first!
In a small sauce pan place the olive oil and over medium heat cook the garlic for about 30 seconds. Pour in the mixture of orange and lime juice. Be careful because the oil will splatter. Add in the cumin, pepper and salt and bring to boil. After you remove from heat you can add in chopped cilantro, but my mythical Cuban grandmother says that’s not traditional Cuban style Mojo. Set that aside to cool while you make the vehicle for this sauce.

Now on to the tostones. The technique here is really what is important. First you have to peel the plantains. If you have ever tried to do this you will know it is not a picnic. Cut the plantains (peel and all) into about 2 inch long sections.

Cut the section with a knife lengthwise and stick your fingers in the slit. Pull the peel off slowly until it starts to give and it should pull completely away. I feel like I’m giving marital advice, here.

In a very large fry pan, place enough oil to cover the plantain bits while they are laying down. Heat the oil to medium high and drop the plantains into the oil.

Let them cook for about 5 minutes, just to where they are getting firm. Then carefully pull them out and set them aside. I would recommend using metal tongs and not your fingers.

Here’s where talent, experience and patience came into play. We had none of the above so we just charged ahead. We had no idea what we were doing so we did what any self respecting cook would do, we phoned mom.

She explained that it is best to place the semi-cooked plantain between two pieces of a paper bag or saran wrap or some hard plastic and squish it down flat with a drinking glass. The saran wrap was not the best but soon all of the plantains were little squished version of their former selves. Onward to the present…

Place them in some warm water for a few minutes. Be sure to dry them off a bit. Then heat up the oil again and place them back in, in their squished format. Let them fry for another 5-10 minutes and pull them out. Check them frequently as they should not be hard just a little crunchy and golden brown.

Pour on your sauce and serve to some very happy people.

Enjoy.

Thanks so much to Marina and her mom. Please let me know if I missed something or misrepresented part of the process.

Labels: Cuban, appetizer, tostones

Fresh Thai Salad Rolls and Peanut dippin’ sauce

I don’t care what mis/pre/immaculate/conceptions you may have about Thailand but I will tell you this: the food lives up to the hype. Back in 2001we had the good fortune to travel in this amazing country. We ate fresh, flavorful and most of all, spicy as hell, food for one glorious week. Upon our departure my parents left me in the Bangkok airport to fend for myself before continuing on to Spain. Even the airport had great food. Yeah, it’s that awesome there.  This is a recipe that I deconstructed from a little place called East West cafe in Tacoma of all places. I know that is embarrassing but you can see it from the freeway so, no harm no foul.

The sauce is a soon-to-be-no-longer secret recipe developed by the Carroll family, and our Thai ancestors.
This is the longest intro ever, so lets get started.

The final product

Ingredients:
Rice or tapioca paper wrappers
3-4 carrots
1 bag thin rice or bean thread noodles
1 bunch of cilantro
1 bunch of fresh mint
1 bag of bean sprouts
2-3 heads of Romain lettuce (in Spain I discovered you can get baby Romain heads, they are perfect)
Sauce:
2-3 Tbls soy sauce
1 cup peanut butter (I use Adams)
1 cup chicken broth
4 Tbls chopped ginger (or as much as you can stand)

This is a labor of love. These little wraps of wonderment are so yummy, but you may be disappointed with how fast they disappear. I find that they are best to make when many people are around and that’s just what we did here.

First, let’s make the sauce so we can allow it to cool a little.

In a sauce pan over medium heat combine the soy sauce, peanut butter, broth and ginger. Stir for about 5 minutes until thick and remove from heat. Easy sauce, huh? Well, you’re about to make up for it with the wraps.

To make the salad rolls I usually clear a large work surface and set it up like an assembly line, each ingredient separated from the other. Then you can have your friends help.

To prepare, wash all of your vegetables well, grate the carrots, and separate the leaves from the mint and cilantro. In a large pot boil enough water to cover the thin rice noodles. Remove the pot from heat and put your rice noodles into the pot. Let them sit for about 2 minutes. If they are soft, drain them into a colander (strainer) and set them in a bowl. (At least that is what I think it says to do on the bag. I’m not sure because it is all in Chinese but it seems to work.)

Now you’re ready. Boil some water. Pour about 1/2 inch of water in the bottom of a large sauce pan.

From here the lovely Rana will demonstrate the assembly process:

1) Place one of the rice wrappers into the water. Be careful! That was just boiling. Leave it in for only about 10 seconds or less. This will soften the wrapper. Remove and lay it out on the counter.

2) Place a large segment of lettuce on top of the wrapper and place small amount of all of the ingredients into it.

3) Pull the lettuce to the edge closest to you and begin rolling up the wrap.

4) When you get about half way, fold in the sides so they seal the ends. Then continue rolling it up.

5) Repeat steps 1-4 until you run out of motivation or rice wrappers.

Once you have a tray full of these, dip them in the peanut sauce and enjoy. They are great appetizers but we often eat them as a dinner.

Check out what happened when we made them last time:

Labels: Thai, salad, appetizer, dinner, dip,

Caprese Salad


To kick off our summer “health run” I give you one of the finest gifts Italia ever gave the world, the caprese salad.

Long ago there was an Italian family in the Campania region pondering the omnivore’s dilemma, what to have for dinner. All they had in their garden were, tomatoes, basil and mozzarella (ok so they probably made the mozzarella but that’s not the point). Rather than eat these seemingly benign ingredients by themselves, dona (insert-italian-surname-here) said “why not put them together?” A culinary star was born.

Ingredients

2 large tomatoes
20 basil leaves
10 slices of mozzarella cheese (buffalo mozzarella if you are of the posh persuasion)


salt 
pepper
olive oil
balsamic vinegar (optional)
This recipe is extremely difficult and requires precies cutting skills so pay close attention. Cut the tomatoes into rounds and wash the basil leaves. Now arrange them on a plate starting with a tomato and then alternating between basil, cheese, and then back to the tomato.

Pour olive oil and vinegar (if you’ve opted for it) over the top. Dust with salt and pepper and serve. Whew, we made it. That is literally it. Serve with red wine and some appropriate main dish.

Enjoy.
Lables: salad, appetizer, Italian