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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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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Garlic Honey Sockeye Salmon

garlic honey sockeye salmon

Sockeye Salmon is one of those wonderful things that — especially if you can get it fresh — makes all the difference between “ordinary” salmon (farmed with color added) and the real salmon, deep dark red and tender beyond delicious. But like most things with a really good fish, getting the sockeye salmon right means figuring out how to get the best of the salmon and add just a little added flavor, to set it off.

This garlic and honey salmon does just that. the flavors are perfect and there is no doubt that under the glazed coating on the outside, the salmon is perfect on the inside. The trick is to marinate the salmon for about an hour, then simply heat it gently in a pan until it’s done. The only thing to really worry about is how to avoid overcooking the fish, which means you can’t just let it cook and forget about it. You do have to watch it. Serve with a simple salad and you’re done.

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Seafood Paella

Seafood Paella

Paella is a wonderful summertime one-dish meal prepared on the grill. It evokes the essence of Spanish cuisine and is full of luscious seafood flavors tinged with smoky aromas and just a little spiciness.

To make the paella properly, you’ll need a paella pan, which is designed for use on an open fire or grill.

This version isn’t perfectly authentic. Personally, I’m not fond of dealing with peeling shrimp or messing with mussel and clam shells, so I pre-steamed the shellfish and peeled and deveined the shrimp before placing them into the paella mix, but you can do the more authentic version by skipping that step and placing the unpeeled shrimp and clams and mussels into the rice (just remember to remove unopened shellfish before serving). Some versions also include chunks of chicken, which is browned in the pan right after the sausage and added back to the mix when the sausage goes in. In truth, paella is kind of free form, meaning that you can make it from just about any combination of meat and seafood. I’ve even seen vegetarian versions.

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Walleye With a Wine Sauce

Walleye with Wine Sauce

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’ve officially arrived at Lake Erie, about two blocks from the actual water, and I’m now settling in. It’s much quieter here, and I really like living so close to the lake. Winter may tell a different tale, but hey, that’s life right? In any case, I’ve got something I haven’t tried for ages and ages, a nice Walleye with a wine sauce, that’s served with mushrooms and tomatoes over a little bucatini pasta.

It requires a bit of patience to get this to all come together at the right time (and by the way, this could also be done with several kinds of fish). You can make the white wine sauce and the bucatini ahead, but make sure that when it comes time to do the fish, you’ve got everything ready so you can focus on getting the walleye done right. The fish is prepared simply, with a light flour coating and some butter, the pan sauce and a hefty splash of wine sauce come at the very end.

I think I could eat this about three or four times per week. It’s an excellent way to make an all-in-one fish dish.

FYI, this dish started as a Food Recipe show (maybe Rachel Raye) but in the end, it really needed some flavor to suit me, so I played around with the recipe and this is what finally worked for me.

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Sous Vide Pork Chop with Brine

Sous Vide Pork Chop with Brine

I’ve no doubt mentioned this on more than a few posts, but you really have to try out a sous vide machine to understand what a great pork chop can mean. Seriously, I’ll never have a non-sous vide pork chop again, ever. But that said, there are a few things that can take even a good pork chop to a new level, and that’s with a simple, really good brine. With just a little bit of time, you can make a pork chop that has great taste, great temp control and with a broiler or one of those great little searing machines, you end up with something very special.

I’ve had brine explained to me a few times and while I understand how it works, to me it seems that some of the salt ought to be going into the pork, but the truth is, it really doesn’t. What the brine does do — and you can soak the pork for as little as a half-hour or as long as four hours — is add a lot more liquid to the chops and even a little flavor, if you like. Add the brined chops to a sous vide machine and the only thing you’re missing is a bit of color (which is where the broiler comes in). At about 140 degrees for about two hours, the chops are pretty much ready to go. And I promise, they are better than you’ve ever had. Period.

FYI: This brine came from @kitchn, but you can use any brine you like.

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