Browsing Tag


Lisa’s Creamy Cucumber Salad

August 11, 2011
This simple little recipe made of garden cucumbers, mayonnaise, milk and a bit of salt has caused me more grief over the past couple weeks than almost any other recipe on this site. You see, I was given a difficult task by Joey: recreate his mom Lisa’s cucumber salad. This supposedly simple dish was a completely foreign concept to me, and seeing as that I have very little tolerance for anything than contains mayonnaise, I wasn’t exactly sure if what I was making tasted good at all.
My first trial was how I would have made the dish: with Cesar salad, a touch of mayo and some Italian seasoning topped with salt and crushed black pepper. I was terribly off base, as Joey soon informed me. Evidently this dish is supposed to be on the sweeter side and contain sugar. 
My second attempt was a bit closer, but I got a little heavy handed with the milk and didn’t add enough sugar. 
Third time was a charm when Joey declared that I had hit the nail on the head. And although I am probably not the person to give the ringing endorsement for this dish, Joey would argue that it’s one of the best ways to eat cucumbers in the summer, especially those of the home grown variety, which these were.
From a cook’s perspective, this sweet salad was incredibly easy to make and holds up well for days in the refrigerator. Wonderful qualities when you’re busy and looking for speedy side dishes to add to the dinner lineup. 
Lisa’s Creamy Cucumber Salad
*1 large cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
*1/2 cup mayonnaise
*1 tablespoon milk or heavy cream
*1 tablespoon sugar
*Dash of salt 
*Place cucumbers in a large bowl. Set aside.
*In a small bowl, combine the mayo, milk and sugar. Stir until well combined. Spoon mixture atop cucumbers and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt. Refrigerate until ready to serve. 
Happy Cooking!

Everyday Broccoli

April 7, 2011

Alright, I’ll admit it. I don’t eat broccoli every single day, but I’d be hard-pressed to think of a week in the past year that I didn’t eat broccoli at least once. Call me crazy, but aside from fresh green beans, broccoli is my absolute favorite veggie.

So much so that I ate the entire four cups of Everyday Broccoli for dinner last night.

And if you are reading this thinking about how much you dislike broccoli, I will make you a bet that if you try broccoli my way, you’ll change your mind.

Give it a try. I dare you.

Everyday Broccoli

*4 cups broccoli florets
*1 tablespoon olive oil
*Kosher salt
*1/4 cup grated Parmesean cheese
*Cracked black pepper

*Preheat oven to 425°F. Place broccoli on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Toss slightly to coat. Sprinkle lightly with salt.
*Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking. During the last two minutes of cooking, sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese. Transfer to a bowl and serve warm.

Happy Cooking!


Chef Scott Peacock’s Dinner Rolls

June 26, 2010

Having a weekend at home is, to say the least, absolutely divine. Since it’s been almost two months since I’ve had a weekend like this, please excuse the short post. I’ve got a lot more weekending (is that even a word?) to get back to! Browsing the farmer’s market, a birthday barbecue, a wedding, and consuming way too much delicious food make for a wonderful couple of days.

Before I leave you, a word or two should be said about these heavenly rolls. My first Scott Peacock dinner roll was made by the chef himself. Trust me when I say they were beyond perfect and I ate one too many. Buttery all over with a crisp exterior and light, airy interior, these rolls are everything packaged rolls strive to be but never come close. If you make these rolls, people will fall at your feet, proclaim you a dinner roll master, and do favors for you in exchange for more rolls. Next time you need a favor, come with a smile and a basket of Scott Peacock’s rolls. You won’t be sorry.

Have a happy weekend! 

Chef Scott Peacock’s Dinner Rolls
Recipe Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens magazine and Chef Scott Peacock 
(Printable Recipe)
* 1 cup milk 
* 6 Tbsp. butter (room temperature) 
* 1 pkg. active dry yeast 
* 1/4 cup warm water (105 degrees F to 115 degrees F) 
* 2 eggs, lightly beaten 
* 3 Tbsp. sugar 
* 4 to 4-1/4 cups all-purpose flour (not unbleached) 
* 1 Tbsp. kosher salt
*  Melted butter

* Heat the milk to 120*F to 130*F; add the butter and set aside to cool to room temperature. Meanwhile, in a large bowl dissolve yeast in warm water. Add cooled milk, eggs, and sugar to dissolved yeast and stir to blend. With a wooden spoon stir in 2 cups of the flour and the salt; stir until smooth. Add 2 cups of remaining flour, 1 cup at a time, stirring vigorously for 3 to 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic and only slightly sticky. (Only if needed, after 3 minutes of stirring and dough is overly wet, stir in 1 tablespoon flour at a time.
* Cover the surface of the dough with lightly oiled plastic wrap. Cover the top of the bowl with a second piece of plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled (1 to 2 hours). 
* Lightly butter 24 muffin cups. Gently press the dough to deflate. With lightly buttered hands pinch off generous 1-inch pieces of dough. Fold the dough over, turning and tucking the edges to form a ball. Pinch the seam together to seal. Dip in melted butter and arrange three dough balls in each muffin cup. Let rise until fully doubled (about 1 hour).
* Heat oven to 400*F. Bake rolls for 20 to 25 minutes or until well-browned. Remove from oven. Brush with softened butter. Remove rolls immediately from cups to a wire cooling rack. Let cool about 5 minutes before serving. Makes 24 dinner rolls.

Happy Baking!


Green Bean Summer Salad

May 16, 2010

Being at home in the kitchen is always so inspiring, opening up my mind to simple dishes I might not have thought of putting together myself. Until just a couple hours ago, I had fully planned on posting an entirely different recipe, but while I was sitting at the kitchen table, putting together a post, my mom was in the kitchen, chopping and drizzling, and tossing. And I, as usual, got my fingers into what she was making for the neighborhood potluck. Lucky for me, my mom was willing to share both the recipe and an extra helping of this Green Bean Summer Salad.  

Preparing the green beans properly is the most important element of a successful green bean salad. Say it with me, “I promise not to overcook my green beans.” Overcooking is one of the biggest mistakes made when preparing vegetables. Just a short bath in boiling water is enough for most vegetables to achieve a crisp-tender quality, meaning they are cooked to a point where they still retain some of the crunchiness of raw vegetables; think of it as a middle ground between fully cooked and raw.

I’m pretty positive I would have eaten the entire bowl of this salad had my mom let me instead of whisking it away to the neighborhood potluck. Crunchy, sweet roasted pecans and savory bits of onion tossed in a light lemon-dill dressing makes for one heck of a summer salad. I often neglect lemon when cooking. Big mistake, since adding lemon to this salad is like a little burst of sunshine making every other flavor better, brighter, more prominent. Now that I have this salad all I need is a potluck!

Green Bean Summer Salad
(Printable Recipe)
*1/2 cup chopped pecans 
*1 1/2 lbs. green beans, trimmed
*1/2 a medium onion, finely chopped
*1/4 cup olive oil
*Juice from 1/2 a lemon
*1/2 tsp. dried dill
*1 to 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
*1/2 tsp. black pepper

*Preheat oven to 350*F.
*Place pecans on a baking pan or oven-going baking dish and toast in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Set aside.
*Place green beans in a large saucepan and add enough water to come about halfway up the green beans. Bring to boiling and cook 5 minutes, or until green beans are crisp-tender, meaning they still have some crunch to them, but are pleasantly tender. Drain beans and place in a large bowl.
*Add the toasted pecans and chopped onions to the bowl.
*In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, dill, salt, and pepper.
*Drizzle the olive oil mixture over the green beans and toss to coat. Serve immediately at room temperature, or refrigerate up to a day and serve chilled.

Happy Cooking!


Fingerling Potato Salad

May 12, 2010
Summer is just around the corner, or at least that’s what my calendar keeps telling me. But if you took a trip to my neck of the woods, I’m convinced you would agree with me when I say it feels much more like October than the middle of May. As far as states go, Iowa is the biggest tease of all. Hot, cold, rainy, sunny. Heck, it wouldn’t surprise me if it starting snowing tonight. 
In response to this cold and rainy weather, I’m staging a protest against all things cold weather related (except black tights, which I begrudgingly wore to work today). Instead, I’m filling my kitchen with warm weather foods, like this potato salad, made with all sorts of yummy ingredients like basil, honey mustard, Parmesan, and olive oil.
I love the color contribution the purple fingerling potatoes make to this dish – even if the color has no impact on taste. Though I don’t normally have fingerling potatoes in my kitchen, these little beauties fell into my lap (one of the many perks of my job) and I have been itching for a reason to use them ever since. If you don’t have fingerling potatoes on hand, can’t find them, or don’t want to drop the extra cash to buy them, any small potato would work as a substitute. And since I am not big on drowning summer salads in mayonnaise, I’ve made this potato salad olive oil-based. Perfect for summer barbecues, or rainy May days in Iowa. 

Fingerling Potato Salad

(Printable Recipe)

*1 1/2 lbs. fingerling potatoes, or other small potato variety
*1 Tbsp. cider vinegar
*1 tsp. kosher salt
*1 cup fresh basil leaves
*1 Tbsp. lime juice
*1/3 cup olive oil
*2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
*2 Tbsp. honey mustard
*2 Tbsp. Greek yogurt or mayonnaise
Additional kosher salt and black pepper

*Place potatoes in a large pot with enough salted water to fully cover the potatoes. Bring water to boiling and continue to cook potatoes for 10 to 15 minutes, until fork tender. Transfer potatoes to a strainer and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
*Transfer strained potatoes to a large zip top bag with the cider vinegar and kosher salt. Shake to evenly coat and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, up to one day.
*Meanwhile, prepare the dressing. In a food processor or blender, combine the basil leaves, lime juice, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, honey mustard, and Greek yogurt or mayonnaise. Process or blend until creamy.
*Place the refrigerated potatoes in the food processor, with the dressing, and pulse until potatoes are coarsely chopped but not blended. Transfer to serving bowl and sprinkle with salt and black pepper.

Happy Cooking!