Cheesy Sloppy Joe’s, Another Fun Summer Dish

Cheesy Sloppy Joe's

A few weeks ago, I happened to notice one of these cheesy Sloppy Joe’s recipes on a blog somewhere and of course, I didn’t save it and I should have. Needless to say, it’s been hanging around in my brain since. So a few days ago, I decided to make some from scratch and see if I could pull them off. Turns out it was pretty easy and the results were way better than I expected. I may have to do these more often, for a quick dinner or lunch.

If you look at the recipe, you’ll notice that there are no tomatoes and only a little ketchup and a bit of beef broth. I tried this with the tomatoes and the cheese really get’s lost, so my advice is to stick with the beef broth, which really makes the cheese stand out. I also used shredded sharp cheddar cheese (which I grated myself) and that was perfect, but I may want to try some other cheeses in the future, just to see what happens.

 

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Cool and Creamy Cucumber Soup

Cucumber Soup

This is one of those lovely French dishes that just makes summer. It’s a light, creamy and cool cucumber soup that turns an ordinary meal into something wonderful. That’s the best description I can give it.

The main thing I really like about this dish is that it really focuses on the cucumbers. And with just a small amount of mint (which is essential) and a little onion, there really isn’t much else in there. I generally use two cucumbers, nice medium size ones, and save only a few slices for garnishing it at the end. The rest goes in the soup and I’m actually thinking of trying to add even a bit more cucumbers. We’ll see. 

This is probably not a full meal. It really doesn’t have that kind of heft to it, but it is perfect for starting almost anything else you might have — a salad, some chicken, maybe even some beef. It adds to just about anything. When you can get them, use fresh cucumbers. They make enough of a difference you’ll want them. But the truth is, just about any good cukes will do just fine if that’s all you have.

Enjoy!!

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Lime Cilantro Shrimp

Lime Cilantro Shrimp

Cilantro is one of those things that some people love and some people hate. I’m a cilantro lover, no doubt about that, and these Lime Cilantro Shrimp are one of many reasons for that. The dish is fast to make — you can have a fresh dinner on the table in just a few minutes.

The preparation of the shrimp and the sauce is as simple as it can get. The shrimp is just sauteed in butter (or oil if you prefer) and the sauce is fresh lime juice and a whole mess of cilantro. That’s it. Nothing more complicated than that, but the shrimp is a dynamite main dish or perhaps a nice appetizer. And while the dish is simple, it’s also full of flavor and very satisfying. 

(FYI Folks, I took a small vacation last week, but we’ll be back at it at least until Labor Day.)

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Pilau Masala Vegetarian Rice

Pilau Masala

I don’t normally do vegetarian dishes, but this simple rice dish, known as Pilau Masala is so amazing, just as it is. So here it is, with just a few warm beans on the top, just to touch it off just a little bit.

The beauty of this Tanzanian dish is that it is pretty simple to make and, yes, you could add some meat if you want to, but do me a favor and try it just as it is here. I promise you won’t be disappointed. Seriously. The hardest part of the dish is assembling the spices (and that’s not really that hard). The rest is to make the “dirty” rice, add the vegetables and get some warm black or brown beans.

After that, it’s time to get ready to eat.

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Peach Pie, Getting It Just Right

Peach Pie

Peach pie is one of those things that, done right, is quite likely the best pie you can make. Done badly, it can be pretty awful. How do you make it the right way? Surprisingly, it’s actually pretty easy, but does require a little care in getting everything ready.

So to start out, you need a couple of pie crusts. I use the special Perfect Pie Crust I’ve used for many years. If you have another recipe or even want to use a prepared crust, go for it. You can also make a lattice crust if you like. The secret is how to deal with peaches, which can be way too juicy or, on occasion, too  dry. To handle that, after the peaches are peeled, put them in a pan with brown and white sugars and let them sit for at least an hour. If you then lift out the peaches and take that wonderful peachy juice that’s left behind, add it to some starch (I use tapioca, you can use cornstarch or what ever else works), cinnamon, nutmeg and some salt. Heat it until everything is dissolved and it starts getting nice and thick, and add it back to the peaches. Add a little butter and you’re done.

You can then bake the pie and that’s all there is too it. And with a bit of luck, you’ve got a pie that’s moist and flavorful.

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Avocado Pickles, Nice and Easy to Make

Avocado Pickles

Avocado Pickles isn’t something I’d have thought of by myself, but listen up guys, these are interesting and a great treat. And they’re great for a little summer appetizer.

First, though, the only reason I came across the idea at all came from my daughter, who among other things likes to keep me posted on the food stuff she comes across as she finds them. This one came from a website, and that in turn came from another cookbook, which I adapted a bit. I haven’t looked at the original, so I can’t say how much this is different from the original, but it’s actually very simple to make and there are plenty of things you can do with this recipe, if you have a mind to try it.

The recipe starts with a brine made up of vinegar, sugar, salt, some mustard seeds and some pepper. I had some Anaheim chili’s in the fridge, so I used them to give the pickles just a little spice. You can probably use whatever you happen to have, and you’ll find it makes a slight difference in the finished product. The avocado’s are sliced and then the brine is added to the top in a quart jar. Use some not quite ripe avocados, the brine will soften them a fair amount.

The avocado pickles are something that’s a little spicy and delicious. It will keep in the fridge for about a month or so.

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Belgium Toast Cannibal

Belgium Toast Cannibal

Yup. Seriously. Belgium Toast Cannibal is what this is really called. I learned this from a new friend, when we got to talking (somehow) about steak tartare and how those in Belgium do it —  mainly for those tend to turn up their noses at raw beef. I love the idea of Toast Cannibal. It really kind of puts this where it should be, but with a bit of humor and without the “tartare” hanging around to scare people off.

The meat filling has a basic combination of beef (use a really good lean steak tenderloin) with some shallot, mayonnaise, egg and capers. Add a little Worcestershire and a bit of red pepper sauce for just a small amount of bite and serve it on a good sourdough bread. Add a few cornichons and you’ve got a great appetizer.

This is really good if you’ve got very few other items in the appetizer department. It’s kind of filling and very delicious.

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