Deviled ham can entertain numerous variations

The Whole Dish podcast: Try these tips for perfecting your favorite sandwich

Taking my family’s Easter meal into the great outdoors let me off the hook for roasting a huge ham or laying a hearty brunch spread.

Nevertheless, our picnic had to be a little fancy and still stick with us for a day of egg hunting, followed by boating and fishing. To the de rigueur deviled eggs, I added cold, cooked chicken on the bone, my family’s favorite “savory puffs,” whole strawberries, ripe pineapple and ham sandwiches.

But these weren’t just any ham sandwiches. I love making deviled ham with the leftover Easter roast, and because leftovers of that variety weren’t in store this year, I purchased an all-natural Applegate brand ham steak, which was quickly dispatched into bits in my food processor.

There’s no big trick to deviled ham, of course. It can basically be mixed up with the same seasonings and condiments as deviled eggs before spreading onto bread. The simple format encourages variation, in fact, according to cooks’ tastes.

To my mixture, I added some prepared horseradish and fresh, snipped chives. I omitted the red onion and hot sauce listed in the recipe below to accommodate my kids’ tastes. I’m of the ilk who prefers a nicely homogenous, soft sandwich filling devoid of ingredients that make for a distracting crunch, which I’ll take on the side. In this case, however, a few radish microgreens added a spicy note, and I could assemble my kids’ sandwiches without them  

And although I love mayonnaise, I erred on the side of making the mixture drier so it wouldn’t ooze out during transport. To shore up the integrity of the white sandwich bread (crusts cut off), I spread one side with butter.

Try these variations with your leftover Easter ham, keeping them interesting all week, perhaps, with a different combination each day.

Tribune News Service photo

Deviled Ham

1 pound cooked ham, cut into bite-size pieces and minced in a food processor

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 small onion, peeled and cut into small dice

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 to 2 teaspoons paprika

1/2 cup mayonnaise, or to taste

Hot sauce, as needed

Salt, as needed

Black pepper, as needed

Combine the first five ingredients.

Add the mayonnaise a little at a time until you achieve desired consistency.

Add the hot sauce to desired strength.

Season and chill for one hour before serving.

Makes about 4 sandwiches.

VARIATIONS:

1. Swap part of the mayo for sour cream, creme fraiche or cream cheese.

2. Use a different mustard, like spicy Creole mustard.

3. Use green or red onions instead of white.

4. Add a tablespoon or two of pickle relish.

5. A clove or two of minced garlic never hurt anyone.

6. Try a squeeze of lemon juice or a spill of vinegar of your choice.

7. Add another veg, like a small dice of celery or carrot.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Gluten-free noodles essential in this Korean dish

The Whole Dish podcast: Classic Korean noodles can be adapted to any taste

Carbs, carbs … I confessed to my almost constant craving for them in this blog’s previous post. And I’m not talking about just any carbs. Noodles, specifically, never wear out their welcome.

While plain, old wheat constitutes my go-to noodle, rice, soba, mung bean and other gluten-free alternatives are better than going without noodles. Recently, I came across a noodle that’s no mere gluten-free substitute but rather the essential ingredient in a beloved Korean dish.

Sweet-potato starch is the chief ingredient in “dangmyeon,” a brownish, translucent noodle that I selected on the Asian foods aisle of Fred Meyer when I couldn’t find soba. Although both are brown, the similarity stops there. Chewy, nutty Japanese soba is made primarily of buckwheat flour. Sweet-potato noodles, on the other hand, are slippery and slightly gelatinous, a textural delight in many Asian countries and a treat on my palate.

Preparing dangmyeon with my favorite scallion sauce, some sautéed oyster mushrooms and ribbons of egg crepe, I was so impressed that I decided to keep them in my regular noodle rotation. But they were nowhere to be found at my usual store, Food 4 Less in Medford.

I have to imagine that the growing demand for all things gluten-free would recommend sweet-potato starch to many customers, so I mentioned dangmyeon to one of the store’s managers. It’s not such a stretch, given that Food 4 Less already carries the Korean fermented pepper paste gochujang. 

I still haven’t seen dangmyeon in stock, but I know where to find them should I grow weary of waiting. When I get my hands on them again, I’ll make a point to prepare japchae, among Korea’s most iconic dishes. I recall it from a my childhood frequenting a popular Asian restaurant in Coos Bay, where noodle lover that I am, I was deterred by so many onions and bell peppers on the plate.    

This version from the Chicago Tribune also calls for onions and bell peppers but easily could be adapted to personal preference, even made vegetarian with tofu. The strips of omelet really make the dish. If, like me, you prefer lots of noodles, double the amount called for here.

Tribune News Service photo

Japchae

Marinade:

5 ounces tender beef (rib-eye, flank, or tenderloin), cut into 2-inch strips

3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1/4 teaspoon (or to taste) ground black pepper, plus more as needed

Noodles:

5 ounces dangmyeon (Korean sweet potato starch noodles)

1 tablespoon sesame seeds (toasted)

1/2 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons sesame oil

4 ounces spinach

3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided, plus more if needed

2 eggs, beaten

1 small yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced (julienne)

1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced into thin strips (julienne)

1 red bell pepper, cored and sliced into thin strips (julienne)

Kosher or sea salt, to taste

Ground black pepper, to taste

5 fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps cut into 1/4-inch strips, stems discarded

2 scallions, trimmed and cut on a bias

Combine the beef with the marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate, refrigerated, for 15 minutes. Remove beef, reserving marinade and holding in separate containers.

Add the noodles to a large bowl of warm water and allow to soften, for 15 to 20 minutes. Strain noodles, rinse with cold water and drain well. Toss noodles with the sesame seeds, sugar, soy sauce and sesame oil; set aside.

In a large pot of salted boiling water, blanch the spinach until wilted, for about 45 seconds; remove and shock in an ice bath. When cool, squeeze water from spinach and set aside.

Place a large, nonstick pan over high heat. When hot, add 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil. Add the beaten eggs; swirl to cover bottom of pan. Cook until underside is set, for about 1 minute. Flip over; cook until set through, for about 1 minute. Remove from pan; when cool, cut into julienne strips and set aside.

In a large saute pan or wok, add remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Stir-fry the onions, carrots and bell pepper until tender-crisp, for about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper; remove and set aside.

Add marinated beef and the shiitake mushrooms to pan; stir-fry until cooked through, for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove and reserve.

Add additional oil if needed, then add seasoned noodles. If more moisture is desired, add reserved beef marinade. Stir-fry until hot, for 1 to 2 minutes. Add all reserved ingredients; stir-fry until hot throughout, for 1 to 2 minutes. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust as needed. Garnish with the scallions; serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.                  

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Meager ingredients can make for a magical meal

Almost apologetically, I listed dry pasta — of any and all types — among pantry essentials in my most recent column and podcast.

It’s that persistent persecution, that dogmatic demonization, of carbohydrates that gives me reason to second-guess my recommendation. And then I always come around to the inevitable: Why?

Sure, pasta isn’t as wholesome as eating a whole grain. But it fills my stomach much more quickly when I haven’t planned ahead. Heck, sometimes I purposely skip a more nutritious meal made for my kids to wait until they’re in bed when I can kick back with a big plate of pasta and glass of red wine.

Carbonara, richly flavored with pork fat and egg, is a go-to. In the summer, it’s spaghetti, linguine or angel hair tossed with sun-warmed tomatoes and barely sautéed garlic, maybe a few shreds of basil. Nothing complicated for my palate’s purest of pleasures.

Even in the leanest of times, I can at least count on a rind of Parmesan in the fridge, maybe pecorino or asiago, too. And when I can only muster the barest effort to put pasta on a plate, there’s cacio e pepe, Rome’s signature spin on spaghetti.

Make no mistake: This is not cooked noodles topped with oil and grated cheese. This is an alchemical emulsion of oil and starch suspending the toasted pepper fragments. The technique conjures a sauce from the cheese, rather than leaving it stubbornly clinging to the pasta and sticking to the bottom and sides of the bowl.

This is how meager ingredients become a magical meal. Particularly with a glass of red wine.  

Tribune News Service photo

Cacio e Pepe

6 ounces dry spaghetti

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons freshly, coarsely ground black pepper

3/4 cup freshly, finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

1/3 cup freshly, finely grated pecorino

Heat a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Stir in the spaghetti, lower heat a bit and cook until almost tender-but-firm (say, 1 minute less than the package suggests). While pasta is cooking, set a large serving bowl over pot to warm for a minute or two. Scoop out 1 cup cooking water. Drain pasta.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over high heat. Scatter in the pepper and toast, swirling pan, until fragrant, for about 30 seconds. Careful of spatter, pour in 1/2 cup cooking water, boil for 1 minute. Slide in cooked spaghetti and toss with tongs to coat each strand.

Heap pasta into warmed bowl. Sprinkle on half the cheese; toss. Sprinkle on remaining cheese and toss until pasta is coated in creamy sauce, drizzling in a little more cooking water, if needed. Cover and let rest for 1 minute. Toss. Taste for salt (it won’t need much). Twirl a nest of pasta onto each of 2 plates. Enjoy.

Makes 2 servings.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Lentils, couscous accommodate any vegetable

Skipping trips to the grocery store by falling back on a well-stocked pantry has become more and more appealing over the years.

After eating my words that I’d “never” be able to grocery-shop just once a month, I advocated for exactly that, 10 years after posting such a naïve statement to this blog. I simply can’t approach the grocery store with the same enthusiasm for crafting exciting menus now that I have kids in tow. So meals have to entail minimal fuss but still pack plenty of flavor and nutrition.

A guide for stocking a serviceable whole-foods pantry accompanied my biweekly column in this week’s food section. My companion podcast gave some ideas for adding variety to the list and swapping items to suit your family’s cooking style. I suggested sampling the gamut of lentils, for example, determining which varieties worked best in soups or stews, which stayed intact after cooking to lend texture to salads.

Whole grains is another genre for which I voiced a preference for millet over quinoa, owing to its comparable amino acid profile at half the price. Each are healthful substitutes for couscous, which is actually a refined wheat product.

Consider those alternatives in this recipe. Try serving the cooked lentils and veggies over steamed millet or quinoa. Experiment with brown, or even black beluga, lentils for a striking contrast to the light-colored grain.

Lastly, choose in-season vegetables for this stew, rather than the zucchini suggested by the Kansas City Star. In this transition season, I’d reach for fennel to accompany the onion and another root vegetable, beets perhaps, to complement the carrot. Instead of bell pepper, I’d use my freezer stash of roasted chilies from last year’s garden.

The simplicity of this recipe shows that, with a few pantry staples, it can fill the bill any time of year.

Tribune News Service photo

Rustic Lentils on Couscous

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped

1/2 red bell pepper, cored and chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1/2 zucchini, not peeled, chopped

3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

2/3 cup green lentils

2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced, no-salt-added tomatoes, with liquid

2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes

Salt and pepper, to taste

Hot, cooked couscous, for serving

Shredded Parmesan cheese, for garnish

In a Dutch oven over medium high heat, heat the oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until onion is tender. Add the bell pepper, carrots and zucchini; cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.

Stir in the lentils, tomatoes, 1 cup water, the Italian seasoning, pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes or until lentils and vegetables are tender.

Ladle lentils and vegetables over the hot couscous. Sprinkle with the Parmesan.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tikka masala sauce gives naan a pizza persona

Among harried cooks, who hasn’t called a quesadilla — bulked with leftover vegetables and meat — a main dish?

Who hasn’t skipped saucing pasta for simply tossing with a blanched vegetable, bits of cooked meat and Parmesan?

Who hasn’t topped Top Ramen with strips of Kraft singles? Well … maybe not.

I couldn’t resist posting a “recipe” for that last one, proof of one of the unholiest processed food combinations I can imagine. Only “cheese” squirted from a can onto ramen noodles could be worse.

Admittedly, a collection of dishes for nights when cooking goes out the window didn’t do much to reassure me, despite the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s best intentions. Save for one recipe that I would actually make with an ingredient that I routinely stock in the freezer.

Part of packaged naan bread’s appeal is its forgiving nature from freezer to stovetop to plate, where one would hardly guess it had been frosty just minutes before. Put it in the oven, and it’s got even more going for it, namely a pizza-like persona.

It’s easy enough to slather the Indian flatbread with some jarred marinara, then layer on some cheese and whatever pizza toppings you prefer. Make the sauce a jarred, Indian-style simmer sauce, and you’ve suddenly got an example of globally inspired fusion to help salvage supper. And with several types of simmer sauce on the market, from mild korma to peppery jalfrezi, in addition to tikka masala, this is a dish that should be granted regular suppertime status.

Tribune News Service photo

Tikka Masala Naan Pizza

4 naan flatbreads

1 1/2 cups tikka masala simmer sauce (from a jar)

4 chicken thighs, cooked and diced

1 1/4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

6 large mushrooms, sliced and sautéed

1/2 cup fresh spinach, washed

Preheat oven to 400 F. Place the naan on baking sheets and heat in oven for 2 to 3 minutes.

Remove from oven and spread with the tikka masala sauce. Top with the chicken, mushrooms and cheese. Place the whole leaves of spinach on top. Bake in preheated oven until cheese is melted and naan is browned at the edges.

Makes 4 servings.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Simple additions make a meal of instant ramen

Intent on maximizing weekend fun in fine weather, I planned activities around my kids, instead of in the kitchen.

So a day of romping in playgrounds and through hands-on children’s exhibits until dinnertime concluded as such days occasionally must: with fast, filling food, preferably of the genre that keeps kids’ spirits high until bedtime. I told a friend who accompanied the expedition that he was welcome to join us for a “very simple meal” of macaroni and cheese with raw veggies on the side.

“Like, Annie’s macaroni and cheese?” he asked. “Out of the box?”

Yep. The very same. And given that it’s his preferred brand, too, I knew he’d feel right at home.

At least I didn’t offer Top Ramen, which I recall discovering at my grandparents’ house, where it must have appealed to my high-school and college-age aunt and uncle. Simmered with that thirst-inducing seasoning packet, it never looked like the noodle dish on the package. But that’s not hard to do. Just add a few veggies to the boiling water and garnish with bits of green onion.

If you want a meal that incorporates all the food groups, add an egg and, of all things, a slice or two of American cheese! Blame the unlikely addition on Los Angeles chef Roy Choi who grew up eating it with that bit of fusion flair.

The following recipe was included in a handful of dinner suggestions for nights when cooking simply isn’t in the cards, courtesy of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Tribune News Service photo

Perfect Instant Ramen

3/4 cup broccoli florets

1 pack ramen noodles with flavor packet (save on sodium by using 1/2 packet)

1 large egg

1/2 tablespoon butter

2 slices American cheese

1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

1/2 scallion, green part only, thinly sliced on the bias

Bring 2 1/2 cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the broccoli and cook for 2 minutes. Add the noodles and cook for 2 minutes. Add the flavor packet and continue to cook 30 more seconds.

With broth at a low simmer, carefully crack the egg into broth. Do not stir; pull noodles over egg and let sit for 3 minutes to poach.

Transfer everything to a serving bowl, add the butter, cheese and sesame seeds, and mix everything all together. Garnish with the sliced scallion.

Makes 1 serving.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Breakfast casseroles free up cooks to entertain

Omelet-soufflé, touted in this blog’s previous post, is a favorite breakfast dishes that graced the weekend breakfast table when I was growing up. Because my mom worked in a breakfast restaurant, my family didn’t go out for that meal very often. Yet she was only too ready to play the role of short-order cook of big breakfasts at home, despite the big mess they leave behind in the kitchen.

I’m more of the make-ahead ilk, both to save time cooking and cleaning up in the morning. That’s exactly what I did when it was my turn to entertain my mom, dad and sister for Christmas. The morning meal was very simply a savory bread pudding, also known as strata, basically a breakfast casserole.

In a bid to cycle through items I’d had for a few months in the freezer, I used bread that I had diced up and frozen just for this eventuality, plus frozen, diced winter squash and diced jalapeno-seasoned bacon. Combined with some sautéed onion and collard greens, immersed in egg beaten with milk and topped with cheese, the dish represented a departure from our family’s usual brunch but freed me up to enjoy the holiday spirit — and focus on dinner.

I didn’t use a recipe for the casserole, generally speaking, a free-form concept. But some ratios can be helpful when faced with a pile of ingredients. This is how recipe testers for the Detroit Free Press describe the process.

Bread: Use plain sandwich bread, sweet challah, leftover rolls, croutons or anything you have on hand. Cut bread into cubes or leave in slices. Figure a good 6 cups of bread cubes if you’re using a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Make sure the bread is several days old and dry. If necessary, dry it in a 300-degree oven for 30 minutes.

Cheese and add-ins: Use shredded cheddar, Monterey Jack, mozzarella, fontina or fontinella. Cheese blends such as Italian or Mexican also work well, or you can use some Parmesan or Gruyere. The amount of cheese you include, according to epicurious.com, is about half the amount of bread you used. If you used 4 cups of bread cubes, use 2 cups of cheese. Add-ins include cooked sausage and bacon, sautéed ham and vegetables like peppers, onions, spinach and kale.

Eggs and milk: Epicurious.com recommends using equal parts eggs and milk. These, along with the bread, help bind the casserole together. The combination of eggs and milk should equal or come close to the amount of bread you use. If you use 4 cups of cubed bread, use 2 cups of milk and 2 cups of egg, then add in seasonings, herbs or ingredients such as hot sauce and Dijon mustard.

Assemble: Butter a baking dish and scatter or layer the bread in the dish. Scatter cooked meat and vegetables over the bread. Sprinkle with all but about 1/2 cup of the cheese. Pour the milk-egg mixture over the bread. Press down slightly on the mixture so all the bread gets some moisture. It’s OK if some bread is exposed at the top. Sprinkle with reserved cheese. Cover with foil and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.

Bake: Remove casserole from refrigerator, keep covered with foil and bake in a preheated 350- to 375-degree oven about 20 minutes. Then remove the foil and continue baking until casserole is puffed and lightly brown and the center is set and doesn’t jiggle. Or bake according to the recipe. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.

This recipe makes good use of leftover holiday ham, suiting it to Easter. And for spreads that feature mini croissants, this would be a fine way to recast the leftovers.

Tribune News Service photo

Overnight Croissant Breakfast Casserole

12 to 15 day-old mini croissants

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

8 ounces diced ham

1 1/2 pounds sweet onions or other onions, peeled and chopped or sliced into 1-inch long pieces (about 4 cups)

5 ounces baby spinach, roughly chopped

6 large eggs

2 cups whole milk

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

6 to 8 ounces fontina cheese, shredded (about 2 cups), divided

Lightly butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Arrange the croissants, slightly overlapping, in dish into 2 rows.

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat. Add the ham and saute until lightly browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer ham to a large bowl. (If using country ham, reserve drippings in skillet.) Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to skillet; stir in the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until deeply browned, for about 20 to 30 minutes. Add the spinach; cook, stirring often, until wilted, for 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer onion/spinach mixture to bowl with ham; let cool for 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, mustard, salt and pepper. Add egg mixture and 1 1/2 cups cup of the cheese to bowl with onion mixture and stir to combine. Pour mixture over croissants. Sprinkle top with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and chill for 8 hours or up to overnight.

When you’re ready to serve, preheat oven to 375 F. Uncover casserole and place on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven until golden-brown and center is set, for about 50 minutes to 1 hour. Cover with foil after 25 minutes, if necessary, to prevent excess browning.

Makes 10 servings.

Recipe adapted by the Detroit Free Press from Southern Living Magazine’s December 2018 issue.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dutch or German, omelet-souffle epitomizes eggs

My latest column in the weekly food section isn’t full of hot air on the subject of soufflés.

Indeed, soufflés are decidedly doable for all their decadence. They really don’t take that much time or very many ingredients, just a light hand and some attention to detail.

Yet they hold even lifelong cooks at bay with their aura of the gourmet. My mom, for example, confessed that she’s never made one. Maybe it’s because the egg-dish mash-up that she does make on a regular basis is so satisfying.

An omelet soufflé — a “schaumomelett” — mixes the beaten egg yolks of a standard omelet with the whipped egg whites of a soufflé. When heated on the stove, this mixture cooks into a dish that is ethereally light and delicious. It has lemon zest in it for added flavor and a bit of sugar for sweetness.

In my family, this specialty of a restaurant my mom managed for nearly 30 years has been dubbed a “Dutch baby,” although it’s often widely known as a “German pancake.” Apparently, it’s good enough that more than one European country wants to claim it for its own. It also can be baked in the oven, where the sides rise up even higher above the pan’s edge, soufflé-style.

That’s the way they do it at the Pancake Mill restaurant in North Bend, where it’s served with my preferred fresh lemon wedges and a shaker of powdered sugar. Combine the two, and the pancake gains a sheen of sweet-tart icing over the slightly custardy center.

Even better, according to Daniel Neman of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, is a layer of jam or fruit spread, liberally applied to the eggy surface before it’s folded in half. Suddenly, he says, what was once an omelet becomes something more: a crepe, perhaps, with delusions of grandeur.

Tribune News Service photo

Omelet Soufflé

4 eggs

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Salt

Grated rind of 1 lemon

1/2 tablespoon butter

Fruit jam, sauce or preserves, for serving

Separate the egg yolks from the whites. Beat egg yolks with the sugar, a dash of salt and the grated lemon rind. Beat egg whites to soft peaks and gently fold into yolk mixture.

Melt the butter in a 9-inch skillet over medium heat; add egg mixture. Cook slowly until bottom of omelet is golden-brown. You may cover pan until top of omelet is thoroughly cooked, or you may serve it with the top slightly runny, as with a regular French omelet. You may also turn it over if you want it browned on both sides.

Spread with the fruit sauce or preserves (apricot, strawberry or raspberry preserves are especially good with this). Fold in half and serve.

Makes 2 to 4 servings.

Recipe adapted by Tribune News Service from “The German Cookbook” by Mimi Sheraton.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Spice blend flavors sausage roll like favorite bagel

Using frozen phyllo pastry, a staple of Greek and Middle Eastern cuisine, gives India’s favorite street food, samosas, a global feel. The method in this blog’s previous post is a shortcut to from-scratch pastry.

Frozen and refrigerated pastry, from phyllo to puff pastry to plain, old pie dough, not only promotes more frequent baking. It also encourages creativity and improvisation. If you’ve got a few leftover roasted veggies, not really enough to constitute an entire side dish, wrapping them in some kind of pastry and baking for a few minutes infuses them with new appeal.

Similarly, if I have past-its-prime fruit, it’s simple enough to cut it up and fold it into premade pie dough for off-the-cuff turnovers. I’ve said before that there’s no shame in the savvy use of processed foods to yield a dessert, appetizer or snack with much less sugar, salt, fat and preservatives than a version prepared entirely in a factory.

Plus, you can expend your effort on fashioning your own fusion recipes, rather than fabricating dough. Like the Mediterranean-Indian mash-up billed as samosas, the following recipe, courtesy of the Detroit Free Press, seasons Britain’s beloved sausage roll like New York’s essential bagel, using Trader Joe’s Everything But the Bagel Seasoning.

Tribune News Service photo

Chicken Sausage in Puff Pastry and Bagel Seasoning

6 fully cooked chicken sausage links

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 egg, beaten

1 to 2 tablespoons Trader Joe’s Everything But the Bagel Seasoning

Pat the sausage dry with paper towels. Unroll the puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface. Cut pastry into 6 equal pieces. Lightly brush puff pastry with the Dijon mustard. Roll up 1 sausage link in pastry, making sure edge seals. Place on a plate and chill in freezer for 15 minutes. Repeat with remaining puff pastry and sausage.

Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Brush rolls with egg wash and sprinkle all over with bagel seasoning. Cut each roll into 5 or 6 pieces. Place seam-side down on baking sheet.

Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes or until puffed and golden-brown.

Meanwhile, make optional dipping sauce, if desired. Remove from oven and serve warm or at room temperature with dipping sauce, if desired.

Makes about 24.

DIPPING SAUCE: In a small bowl mix 1/3 cup mayonnaise and 2 tablespoons Dijon or favorite mustard.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Adapt samosas to phyllo pastry, sweet potatoes

My latest podcast made passing mention of samosas, that quintessential Indian street food.

The context was adapting recipes to any palate, and my suggestion to add a peas to a soup-turned-stew composed primarily of sweet potatoes. The combination of potatoes and peas, of course, constitutes the most popular filling combination for samosas, which migrated from the Middle East to the Indian subcontinent so long ago that they’ve become far more associated with the latter region than the former.

A vegetarian samosa has broad appeal in a country with plenty of vegetarians, although a beef version from Pakistan was featured on the front page of last week’s Savvy Living section (see the e-edition) with instructions for homemade dough. This blog also posted in 2014 a version using phyllo, as the below recipe suggests, and the aforementioned sweet potatoes.

Here’s the recipe touted in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s story, which anchored the March 10 Savvy Living section. I’ve also added the mint chutney recipe acknowledged as samosas’ de rigueur dipping sauce.

Tribune News Service photo

Potato and Pea Samosas

1 tablespoon vegetable oil, such as sunflower, plus more for brushing samosas or optional frying

1 teaspoon mustard seeds (any color)

1 green chili, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon Indian chili powder (see note)

1 teaspoon mango powder (amchur; optional)

1/2 teaspoon garam masala

2/3 cup fresh or frozen peas

5 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, boiled and mashed

1 package phyllo sheets, thawed, or homemade samosa dough

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds. Once they begin to pop, stir in the green chili, salt, chili powder or cayenne, optional mango powder and garam masala; mix well.

Add the peas and cook until they are softened, for 1 minute for frozen or 5 to 6 minutes for fresh. Add the mashed potatoes, mix well and cook 2 minutes until well-combined. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

If using the phyllo dough or you wish to bake homemade dough, preheat oven to 350 F; phyllo should be baked. Take 1 sheet of phyllo, covering remaining sheets with a damp towel. Fold phyllo in thirds, lengthwise, and brush edges with water. Place 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons potato mixture about 1 inch from 1 end and fold over to form a triangle. Continue folding as you would a flag, tucking last edge into slot formed by sheet.

If using homemade dough, divide dough into 10 balls. Roll out each ball into a thin circle. Cut each circle in half and moisten edges with water, using your finger. Place 1 tablespoon filling in center of each semicircle and fold dough over in half, sealing edges.

If baking, place samosas on a lightly greased baking sheet (brush oil over tops of samosas if using phyllo). Bake in preheated oven until golden-brown, for about 25 to 30 minutes.

If frying, heat at least 3 inches oil to 375 F and fry 2 or 3 samosas at a time until golden-brown on both sides, about 3 or 4 minutes.

Makes about 20 servings.

NOTE: Indian chili powder is not related to American chili powder, which is not a substitute. It is available at international food markets. If you do not have it, use 1/4 teaspoon or more of cayenne pepper.

Recipe adapted by Tribune News Service from “Chai, Chaat & Chutney,” by Chetna Makan.

 

Mint Chutney

1 3/4 ounces mint leaves

1 3/4 ounces cilantro leaves

1 small onion, peeled and roughly chopped

3 small green chilies, stemmed

4 garlic cloves, peeled

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1/4 cup lemon juice

Combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor, and process until smooth. This chutney can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days.

Makes 8 servings.

Recipe from “Chai, Chaat & Chutney,” by Chetna Makan.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
  • Categories

  • Archives