Pickled Young Ginger

Young Pickled GingerGinger.  Spicy, aromatic and pungent.  It’s presence in a dish adds an unmistakable zestiness.  One of my favorite ways to enjoy fresh ginger, is to finely grate it over tofu, with a sprinkle of green onions and a drizzle of soy sauce.  If you are fond of sushi, you no doubt, have had  pickled ginger served with your dinner.  It is so refreshing.  While commercially made pickled ginger is widely available, they don’t compare to this simple homemade recipe.

Assorted Fresh GingerThe ginger on the bottom left of the photo is what you will typically find at the market.  It’s perfect for any dish that calls for crushed, grated, or chopped ginger.  Young ginger, pictured to the right, is a must for pickled ginger.  It does not have the fibrous texture of mature ginger, which means you can slice it into paper-thin pieces.  You wouldn’t be able to do this with mature ginger.

Sliced Young Ginger

Pickled GingerMy friend Tamoe gave me a little container of powdered food coloring for this ginger, that she bought in Japan.  I added a few pinches to the sauce and thought it wasn’t quite enough. So I added more. I guess I should have been patient!  My ginger turned out “wildly pink” however it was delicious.

Pickled Ginger Plate Lunch

Pickled Ginger

Ingredients

1 lb. young ginger

Hawaiian salt

1 1/2 cups rice vinegar (not seasoned)

1/2 cup granulated sugar

Preparation

Peel the thin layer of skin off ginger.  Using a mandoline, slice ginger into very thin pieces. Place sliced ginger in a glass bowl.  Sprinkle generously with Hawaiian salt.  You may use kosher salt if Hawaiian salt is not available.  Toss ginger with salt, cover and soak over night.

Rinse ginger and drain on paper towels.  Mix vinegar and sugar until well combined.  Pour over ginger.  Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.  If you prefer a sweeter flavor, add more sugar.  Transfer ginger and sauce to a jar with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate for about 2 weeks, adding more vinegar or sugar according to your taste.  Ginger will keep well for many months, stored in the refrigerator.  It’s delicious served with a steaming bowl of hot rice and grilled bulgogi, teriyaki chicken or sesame tofu.

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Cheddar Jalapeño Cornbread

Cheddar Jalapeno CornbreadThere are so many cornbread recipes and most are generally quite good, but finding one that stands out from the rest is daunting.  So you have to go with your gut feeling and test a few to find the texture and flavor that appeals to you most.  Fluffy, extra sweet cornbread with a cake like crumb is not for me.  My mom’s cornbread recipe is simple, full proof, and hearty.  I continue to bake her cornbread but I was intrigued about this one from Lucinda Scala Quinn that included jalapeños.  We have a cupboard full of pickled nacho rings we canned this summer.

Fresh Corn

Bob's Hearty CornmealBob’s Red Mill products are superb.  It’s good to know we have a wide selection at Mana Foods and Whole Foods on Maui.  Cornmeal pancakes?  I’ll try it!

Tillamook CheddarJalapeño cornbread often incorporates some type of cheese, such as extra sharp cheddar.  Tillamook, found at most supermarkets, is my favorite extra sharp cheddar cheese.  Though I am lactose intolerant, there are a handful of dairy products that don’t bother me.  Natural aging breaks down lactose so many aged cheeses such as cheddar, contain zero grams of lactose.  Thank goodness, one of them is extra sharp cheddar cheese.  It’s so delicious.

Cheddar Jalapeno CornbreadWarm cornbread right out of the oven is divine.  But my favorite way to eat cornbread is to split each piece and toast it in my toaster oven until all of the edges are browned and crispy. Delicious.

Toasted Cheddar Jalapeno Cornbread

Cheddar Jalapeño Cornbread

Adapted from Leite’s Culinaria

Serves 6 – 8

Ingredients

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/4 cups stone-ground yellow cornmeal

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

1 1/2 cups milk (I use lactose free milk)

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

3 tablespoons melted butter (I use Earth Balance Buttery Sticks)

2 cups grated cheddar cheese (not packed)

1/2 cup fresh corn kernels (I microwaved the corn cob for 1 minute then sliced off the kernels)

1 tablespoon finely chopped pickled jalapeños

Preparation

Preheat oven to 425°

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cayenne. Blend in the milk, eggs, and butter.  Fold in the cheese, corn, and jalapeños.

Pour into a buttered 8-inch square baking pan and smooth over the top.  Bake for 30 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  Oven temperatures vary, so test at 30 minutes. If it needs more time, set the timer for 2 minutes and test again.

Set pan on wire rack to cool for 15 minutes or so before cutting into squares.  Cornbread freezes well.

*Our pickled jalapeños are hot!  If yours are mild or if you want extra spicy cornbread, add another tablespoon.

 

 

 

 

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Vinegar-Roasted Beets

Vinegar Roasted Beets SaladI’ve always loved roasted beets.  I was looking for something a little different from what I have done in the past. These beets are infused with a tangy-sweet flavor after being roasted in vinegar with fresh herbs.  They emerge from the oven perfectly seasoned and add beautiful color to any salad.  The beets are moist, tender, and as Chef Jaime Malone says “they are dressed from within.”

Golden BeetsMana Foods had some pretty golden beets, so with this recipe in mind, I brought a few home and popped them in the oven.

Beets in Vinegar with Herbs & GarlicSo simple.  Rice vinegar, water, salt, a bit of sugar and some herbs and garlic.  It takes just 5 minutes hands on time while the remainder is spent in the oven (I used my toaster oven).

Vinegar Roasted Beets SaladYou could eat the beets alone, with a drizzle of good olive oil and some Maldon sea salt and pepper.  I made a big salad with some homegrown tomatoes and crunchy cucumbers, sprinkled a bit of feta cheese over the salad, and used my favorite dressing.

Vinegar Roasted Beets Salad

Vinegar-Roasted Beets

Food & Wine Magazine

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups rice vinegar (unseasoned)

1 1/4 cups water

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 1/2 pounds small beets

2 thyme sprigs

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 bay leaf

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 425°.  In a large, deep oven proof baking dish, whisk the vinegar with the water, sugar and kosher salt.  Add the beets, thyme, garlic and bay leaf. Cover the baking dish with heavy-duty foil and roast for about 50 – 60 minutes, until tender, turning halfway through the cooking time.  Remove the beets from the baking dish,  and let cool completely, then peel and slice into rounds or wedges.

*If you have a toaster oven that will accommodate the baking dish, by all means use it.  There’s no need to pre-heat the toaster oven.

 

 

 

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Mango-Pineapple Jam

Mango-Pineapple JamThis past summer we once again had a good harvest of mangoes and were looking for a new jam recipe to try with our beautiful fruit. So after a bit of searching on-line, we tried Rachel’s recipe from her blog Coconut & Lime.  The combination of mango and pineapple is delicious.  Rachel mentions in her comment section that this particular jam is on the loose side.  The jam tasted fantastic, but I wished it were just a bit firmer.  The original recipe calls for liquid pectin.  The second time we made it, we tried using regular powdered pectin.  This still did not make for a firmer jam so we tried low-sugar pectin and adjusted the amount of fruit and sugar and it worked perfectly.

Maui Gold Pineapple Adding fresh pineapple gives this jam a lovely tropical flavor.  Being able to can the jam so that it is shelf stable for up to a year is the key to enjoying the flavors of summer even when summer is long gone.

Making Mango-Pineapple JamThe fruit, lemon juice, rum and pectin are cooked on the stove before adding the sugar.  Once the sugar is added you continue to cook the mixture until it is thick and jammy as in the photo below.  Scrumptious.

Mango-Pineapple Jam

 Mango Pineapple Jam

Adapted from Coconut & Lime Blog

Makes 6 half pint jars

Ingredients

3 cups diced mango

3 cups diced fresh pineapple

2 tablespoons dark rum (optional)

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 box low-sugar pectin

4 cups sugar (725 grams)

Preparation

Wash jars and place them in boiling-water canner.  Fill the jars and canner with water to the top of the jars.  Cover and bring water to a simmer over medium heat, do not boil.  Prepare the two piece closures.  Wash lids and place in a small saucepan and cover with water.  Heat to just a simmer but do not boil.  Do not heat screw bands.

While jars are simmering, pour fruit, dark rum, lemon juice and pectin in an 8 – 10 quart pot, preferably with high sides.  Place over high heat, stirring constantly with a long-handled wooden spoon.  Bring to a rolling boil that cannot be stirred down.  Still stirring, add sugar.  Return to a boil that cannot be stirred down, and boil for exactly 1 minute.  Remove from the heat.

Lift the canner jar rack and fix into place on the rim of the canner. Remove one jar at a time from canner and empty hot water back into the canner. Place jar on a cutting board and place a canning funnel in the jar.  Ladle hot jam into jar leaving 1/4 inch head space.  With a clean damp cloth or paper towel wipe jar rim to remove any food residue.  Using a magnetic utensil, lift hot lid from water, center it on the  jar and place screw band on jar.  Tighten screw band evenly and firmly just until resistance is met.  Then increase to finger tip tight.  Do not over tighten.  Return jar to canner rack.  Continue filling jars individually until all jars are filled, lower rack into canner and ensure that all jars are covered by 1 inch of water.  Cover canner and bring water to a full boil over high heat.  Process for 10 minutes, starting timer only when water reaches a full boil.

Remove jars to a cooling rack and leave them undisturbed for 24 hours.  After 24 hours check lids for proper seal.  Remove screw bands  and press down on the lid with your finger.  Sealed lids will curve in and will show no movement when pressed.  Jars that haven’t sealed properly must be refrigerated immediately or reprocessed.  Wipe jars and store in a cool, dry place.  Label and date jars.  Properly sealed jars will keep in your cupboard for up to one year.

 

 

 

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Red Wine-Braised Short Ribs

Red Wine Braised Short RibsBraised meats are one of my favorite indulgences.  There’s something so satisfying about a big pot of beef stew or, in this case, short ribs, gently cooking for a few hours until the meat is meltingly tender.  I found this irresistible recipe in Bon Appetit: Red Wine-Braised Short Ribs.  An entire bottle of red wine mind you.

Short RibsAfter a quick trip to the market, I returned home with some very nice looking short ribs and a bottle of red wine.

Browned Short RibsAs with most braised dishes, the meat is first browned well before adding the other ingredients.  Those leftover bits of goodness on the bottom of the pan are priceless and add so much flavor to the dish.

Thyme, Oregano, Parsley, RosemaryThough there’s sparse pickings in our garden now due to the weather being so hot,  we do have a few nice tomato bushes (trees!) and an abundance of mangoes.  I’m grateful for the various selections of herbs that grow so well in this dry area of Maui.  They come in handy when you need just a few sprigs of this and that, as is the case with this recipe.

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs

Adapted from Jenny Rosenstrach & Andy Ward/Bon Appetit Magazine

6 Servings

Ingredients

5 lbs. bone-in beef short ribs, cut crosswise into 2″ pieces

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons canola oil

3 medium onions, chopped

2 medium carrots, peeled and finely chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 750-ml bottle dry red wine (I used an Australian Cabernet Sauvignon)

10 sprigs flat leaf parsley

8 sprigs thyme

4 sprigs oregano

2 small sprigs rosemary

2 small bay leaves

8 garlic cloves

4 cups beef stock

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°.   Season short ribs generously with salt and pepper.  Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. (I used my 5 1/2 quart Le Creuset which neatly fit all ingredients. Feel free to use a larger sized oven safe pot but not smaller).  Working in two batches, brown short ribs on all sides about 8 minutes per batch. Transfer short ribs to a plate.  Pour off all but 2 tablespoons drippings from pot (my short ribs were trimmed well so I didn’t have much fat to pour out).

Add onions, carrots, and celery to pot and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until onions are browned, about 5 minutes (adjust heat as needed).  Add flour and tomato paste; cook , stirring constantly, until well combined and deep red, about 2 minutes.  Stir in wine, then add short ribs with any accumulated juices.  Bring to a boil; lower heat to medium and simmer until wine is reduced by half, about 30 minutes.  Add all herbs to pot along with garlic.  Stir in stock and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Bring to a boil, cover and transfer to oven.

Cook until short ribs are tender, 2 – 2 1/2 hours.  Spoon any accumulated fat from surface of sauce and discard; season sauce to taste with freshly ground black pepper and additional salt if desired.  Serve in shallow bowls over mashed potatoes with sauce spooned over.

 

 

 

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Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette

Cherry Tomato VinaigretteSummer is officially over yet this record hot weather will be with us for at least another month.  Nevertheless, it hasn’t deterred me from baking brownies or simmering short ribs for 2 1/2 hours in the oven, but it does bring to mind meals that can be prepared in a jiffy, like this simple tomato sauce.

Cherry Tomatoes

Pan Fried Cherry TomatoesThough the recipe refers to this as a vinaigrette,  it is also referred to as a condiment and as such, is equally delicious on grilled sourdough bread, or grilled chicken, pork or fish.  It adds beautiful color to all these dishes. I love serving the tomatoes on thin capellini noodles for a summery lunch or dinner.

Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette on Capellini

Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette on Capellini

Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette

Bon Appetit Magazine

Serves 2

Ingredients

1 pint cherry tomatoes

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 shallot, finely chopped

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons finely chopped chives

crumbled feta (optional)

Preparation

Cut half of the cherry tomatoes in half.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the shallot, and cook, stirring often until softened, about 4 minutes.

Add halved and whole tomatoes to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to release juices, about 4 – 6 minutes.  Crush some of the tomatoes with the back of spoon.

Add 1 tablespoon vinegar and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil; season with kosher salt and pepper.  Serve warm or at room temperature; add chives just before serving and sprinkle with feta cheese.

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