Monday, April 12, 2010

Kat's Awesome Potato Salad

So Aaron, my sister's bf, decided to have a BBQ this weekend, and me being me decided that I needed to make some side dishes.  I whipped up a random concoction of potato salad and it turned out amazing!

1.5 lbs red potatoes, 1 inch cubes(ish)
1 small red pepper, diced
1 small onion (spanish ideally), diced
3/4 cup frozen peas (thawed)
1/2 cup mayo
1 tbsp italian herbs
2 dill pickle spears, diced
1 tsp Frank's Red Hot
2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
TT Salt and Pepper

Put the cubed potatoes into cold water and bring to a boil, and cook until the potatoes are al dente (aka cooked but not soft).  While the water is heating up you can easily dice and mix all the other ingredients together in a large bowl.  Once the potatoes are done cooking, drain them and rinse them with cold water, then let them sit in the strainer for a couple minutes to let them dry off a little.  Then pour the potatoes into the mayo mixture, no need to cool them down first just dump them on in and mix it to coat all the potatoes with the mayo mixture.  This is when I taste it to see if I need to add anymore Salt and Pepper.  If you taste it before you put the potatoes in you may think it's too salty only to find out after the potatoes are in that it's too bland.   Then just refridgerate for at least an hour or until it's cool and enjoy!  Though I must admit I always eat some potato salad before it's cold because I love it so much.  For the note I have about spanish onions, I like using those in this recipe because it is raw and other types of onions can be a bit harsh, but spanish onions are a bit more mild and are much easier to handle raw.  And you may notice that I use Frank's Red Hot as sort of my secret ingredient in most of my dishes, even if it's not listed in my recipe I might have ended up using it.  Its something that if used in small amounts can really enhance flavors within the dish much like salt does, used in larger amounts it makes the dish pretty hot however, so start off small and work your way up a few drops at a time and always taste taste taste!


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Eggplant Lasagna

This is one of my favorite comfort foods to make that actually fullfills my craving for italian food since the consistency my "noodles" actually taste and feel like noodles.  It is one food also that actually gets better with reheating.  For some reason the eggplant noodles meld together in the fridge and when you reheat it it tastes exactly like normal italian lasagna.  My mom and I have both fooled finicky eaters with this reheated, we just neglect to tell them its eggplant instead of egg noodles until after their plate is empty.  And one nice thing about this is that you can really add what ever you want for vegetables in the intial saute.  My recipe is just what how I made it when I was experimenting.  This can easily be made vegetarian if necessary, I just am an omnivore.

3.5 oz Shiitake Mushrooms, sliced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb ground beef
1 Tbsp various italian herbs
1 large eggplant
1 jar marinara
1 lb shredded mozzarella
32 oz ricotta
2 eggs

Saute the mushrooms, onion, pepper, garlic, and ground beef in a hot pan until the beef is fully cooked.  Add the sauce and bring to a simmer and add the herbs. 

In a seperate bowl combine the ricotta and eggs and set aside. 

Peel the eggplant and slice thinly.

Take a deep dish and put the sauce down first, then layer the eggplant, ricotta, mozzarella cheese, and sauce. 

Make sure to finish with the sauce on top.  I did about 4 layers of eggplant.  Bake for about 1 hour at 375 degrees.  This will be VERY juice so definitely let it sit for a bit before cracking into it.  The only reason why I used a circular pan was because it was my only deep pan.  If you don't want to use egpplant you can also use zucchini slices in the exact same way as the eggplant for a similar texture.