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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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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Asparagus with Sauce Gribiche

Asparagus with Sauce Gribiche

Asparagus with Sauce Gribiche. It sounds elegant and with just a little bit of work on the sauce-making front, it turns into something that’s actually tastes even better than it looks. The lovely white asparagus is nice to have and looks great on a plate, but this would work well with green asparagus and plenty of other veggies and quite possibly even a good fish dish, under the right circumstances.

There are a couple of things that have to do with the french way of making asparagus — mainly using a vegetable peeler to skim off the skin from the bottom of the sprout to the end of the stalk. That’s true whether green or white asparagus. But the real trick here is a great sauce gribiche, which it turns out is only a little work and takes the regular dish and improves it a lot. The main thing is that it requires a hard boiled egg, and it will be a lot better if you make it the night before and have it ready and nearly room temperature when you use it. I don’t know if that’s how the French do it, but I love it much more after it’s had a chance to sit around a bit.

Like a lot of recipes, this started as a blog I saw somewhere and after getting the recipe tested and adjusted a bit, this is what I came up with. I like it a lot.

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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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