Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Accidental Okie hummus 16

This recipe needs to start with a public service announcement. Do not make this hummus if you want to continue your love of the store-bought stuff. Once you make this, no hummus will ever measure up. No matter the brand, it will all have a tart aftertaste and the unmistakable twang of prepackaged foods. You may want to continue in your ignorant bliss. But if you want to make amazing hummus in big batches that will provide healthy, abundant and inexpensive snacks, get ready. Life may never be the same.

Homemade hummus is one of the staples I got used to when living in New Zealand. My host mum was a single mum and nutritionist who had an amazing ability to turn pennies into dimes and dimes into dollars when it came to her food budget. She still does it. I learned so much from Paula and I miss her and her family like crazy.

Accidental Okie hummus 1Homemade hummus starts with dried chickpeas aka garbanzo beans.

You can get canned, but canned beans are much saltier and more expensive. But if you do get canned, skip the soaking steps, just give your beans a good rinse and start with half the salt when making the hummus.

Accidental Okie hummus 2Now it’s time to soak. Soak the beans overnight. Change the water a few times throughout the process. 

It’s time for me to be vaguely scientific. See, when the beans soak, something is released. An enzyme, maybe? Whatever it is, this enzyme gives beans their…ahem…most notorious reputation.  Change out that water a few times and you’ll have hummus that won’t make you gassy. So change out the water, seriously.

Now let’s forget we talked about gassiness.

Accidental Okie hummus 3After the beans are finished soaking, they will have just about doubled in size. Change that water one last time and put them on to boil. They’ll boil for two hours or so. Make sure to check on them occasionally and add more water if needed. Two hours is a lot of time to boil.

Accidental Okie hummus 4a

From that little $3 bag of dried chickpeas, I got an entire 9×13 cake pan of chickpeas. That’s probably $10 worth of canned chickpeas.

At this stage, you can choose your own adventure. Take Door A and you can go on to make hummus. Take Door B and, after letting the chickpeas cool, put them in freezer bags and freeze them for later. The amount of chickpeas I boiled is enough for almost three batches of hummus.

Today, we’re taking the plunge to Door A! 

Accidental Okie hummus p1

First, we need to take a break from chickpea business to talk about roasting the bell peppers. Roast the peppers while your chickpeas are finishing up boiling or when you’re ready to make hummus. Red, yellow or orange peppers will work.

You can roast peppers in the broiler, directly on the burners of a gas stove, or on the grill. It gets messy, so I recommend the broiler or the grill.

It’s easy. Just grab some whole red bell peppers (or capsicum, as they’re called in some countries), one and a half or two per batch of hummus. Give them a rinse and put them on to roast. I used the broiler.

The peppers will get completely blackened on one side. That’s a good thing. Turn them occasionally until all the sides are blackened and blistered beyond recognition.

Accidental Okie hummus p2

This is a beautiful sight.

Accidental Okie hummus p3

The skin will easily peel off to reveal perfectly roasted peppers.

Accidental Okie hummus p4

Give the peppers a rinse to make sure all the burned bits are gone. Now you can easily just pull away the flesh from the seeds and stem. Rinse the insides to make sure all the seeds are gone.

Hummus aside, roasting peppers is, in my humble opinion, an essential cooking skill. Now that it’s in your arsenal, you can make roasted pepper dips, sauces, soups and anything else you want. If you ever want to be extra fancy, blend up a roasted pepper with a half stick of room-temp butter and some salt and cumin. Stick it in the fridge to harden back and serve little scoops on steaks. The butter and the peppers seep into the steak. People will give your dinner a standing ovation and then they’ll write a poem about you.

Accidental Okie hummus 6

 Back to the hummus. Get the garlic, lots of it. Sparkling vampires are going to stay away from you for a long time.

Accidental Okie hummus 7

And lemon juice. It’s a lot of lemon juice, so I use the bottled stuff. You’ll also get olive oil and salt.  Don’t use expensive olive oil for this. Blend it all up in a food processer.

Accidental Okie hummus 8

Now you have a bright yellow lemony, olive oily, garlicy base. Keep your eye on the hummus prize and resist the urge to stop here and put this on pasta.

Accidental Okie hummus 9

In goes half the chickpeas. Blend until you have a nice, smooth mix. Add the second half of the chickpeas. Mix again. Now it should look like hummus.

Unless you have an industrial food processor, your hummus will never have the smooth, paste-like quality of store-bought hummus. The good news is that the people making hummus for the past two thousand years didn’t have industrial food processors either. This rustic texture is closer to the real deal.

Accidental Okie hummus 11

Now it’s time for the tahini. Tahini is the sesame seed version of peanut butter. It provides a wonderful texture and flavor to hummus. You can find it in most natural food stores in the aisle with the nut butters.

Accidental Okie hummus 12Add the roasted red pepper and mix up again. This is where you’ll add water if you need it. I’ve never needed to add water when making roasted red pepper hummus because the peppers are so watery. But if your hummus is too thick, add a quarter cup of water to start with.

Accidental Okie hummus 13Finally, it’s time for the spices. Here I have roasted paprika, cumin and parsly (I forgot to buy fresh parsley so I used the dried stuff). Mix it up and taste it. Adjust salt and garlic as needed.

Accidental Okie hummus 15

Serve hummus with veggies, pretzels – these are Glutino Gluten-Free Pretzels – spread on sandwiches, or heck, just eat with a spoon.

Get creative and make your own flavors! Nix the bell peppers and add extra parsley for traditional hummus. Make jalapeño hummus or pesto hummus or kalamata olive hummus or roasted garlic hummus. 

Go forth and hummus your world. 

 

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus Recipe
Hummus is the perfect high-protein, low-fat, budget-friendly snack. Make big batches for the freezer and keep this scrumptious Mediterranean spread on hand all the time.
Print
Prep Time
11 hr
Cook Time
15 min
Prep Time
11 hr
Cook Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 cups cooked chickpeas (about 2 cups of raw chickpeas)
  2. 1/2 cup olive oil
  3. 1/4-1/2 cup lemon juice
  4. 1 tsp kosher salt
  5. 4-6 garlic cloves, whole
  6. 1/4 cup tahini
  7. 1/4-1/2 cup water (if needed)
  8. 1/2 tsp cumin (more to taste)
  9. 1/2 tsp smoked paprika (more to taste)
  10. 4 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
  11. 1.5 roasted red, yellow or orange peppers
Chickpea Prep and Cooking
  1. Soak chickpeas overnight, changing the water several times. Once they're soaked, change the water again and boil for 2 - 3 hours, or until soft.
Roasted Bell Peppers
  1. Roast red bell peppers in broiler, grill or on a gas stove burner until each side is blistered and burned. Use at least one-and-a-half bell peppers per batch of roasted red pepper hummus. Once cooled, peel the skin off and remove the seeds and stem. Rinse the peppers.
Hummus
  1. Blend the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic until incorporated. Add one-and-half cups of the cooked chickpeas and blend until smooth. Add the remaining chickpeas and blend again.
  2. Add tahini and red bell peppers and mix again. Add water if the hummus is too thick. Add the spices, blend and taste. Adjust the seasoning as needed.
  3. Enjoy as a dip or spread! Make several batches at once and freeze in containers for ready-to-go snacks.
Notes
  1. In the refrigerator, hummus will last about a week.
  2. Be inventive with your flavors. Some of my favorites are plain, sun-dried tomato and kalamata olives.
The Accidental Okie http://theaccidentalokie.com/

Gluten-Free Meatloaf Cupcake Recipe

meatloaf cupcake

Meatloaf, like Brussels sprouts and kale, has enjoyed a culinary renaissance in the past years. Meatloaf cupcakes are one such incarnation.  They’re cute and trendy, and have the perfect amount of sauce coating topped with fancy mashed potatoes.  Serve them at dinner parties where you will wow your guests and eliminate the hassle of cutting individual portions, or make them for your family and store the conveniently sized lunch leftovers.  Either way, they are delicious.

Whether you make meatloaf as cupcakes or in a large loaf, my meatloaf is moist and delicious. The recipe is based on a recipe given to me years ago by my former boss and her sister.

First, get mashed potatoes going.  I’m not going to go into a recipe for this, as I assume you all have a recipe for mashed potatoes, and you all think your recipe is better than any other recipe. No matter your chosen method, it will be best, at least for this recipe, if you first peel your potatoes and you make them as unlumpy as possible.

Now on to the main event.

meatloaf milk and bread

Start by getting the oven going and cubing four pieces of gluten-free bread (or three pieces of regular bread).  I used Udi’s Whole Grain bread here.  Gluten-free bread is significantly smaller, which is why you add more.

Add milk and let the mixture sit together until the bread is mushy.  This liquid-infused binder is the key to the moist meatloaf.

cheese, carrots, onions

While the bread and milk are doing their thing (or thang as we say it in Texas), it’s time to prep. Shred a bunch of cheddar cheese and carrots (or be lazy like me and use matchstick carrots), and thinly slice the white and green parts of some green onions.  Yes people, this meatloaf has flavor.

milk and bread

After just a few minutes, the bread looks like this.  I used a fork to mush up the bigger pieces.
mixtureMix together the bread, two pounds of lean ground beef, two eggs, some salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce.  You want to mix this by hand because it can easily become over-mixed in a stand mixer.  That would result in thick, solid, and brick-like (read: sad) meatloaf.  And that’s not what we’re going for here.  So roll up your sleeves, wash your hands, and dig in.

After the base is mixed, add the veggies and cheese and mix just until everything is incorporated. I didn’t photograph this part, as my hands were a bit icky.

gluten-free meatloaf cupcakes | www.accidentalokie.com

Now your hands are clean and beautiful once more.  Lightly oil a regular-sized muffin pan.  I use a spray oil.  (Gluten-free beginners: spray oils can sometimes contain gluten, so make sure to read the label).

meat loaf cupcakesAdd meatloaf to the muffin pan.  Make sure to pack the meat in tight and make a domed top to give the appearance of a cupcake.  Remember, meat does not rise.

This recipes yields 12 cupcakes.

meatloaf sauce

While the meatloaf is cooking, make the topping.  This is an unholy union of brown sugar, ketchup, mustard and Worcestershire sauce.

meat loaf cupcakes out of the ovenAfter about 25 minutes, pull them out.  This is where you might say, “Oh look, my meatloaf cupcakes are gross and ruined.”  Have no fear!  They’re not.  The fat has cooked out of the meatloaf.  I used 93/7 meat, which is quite lean and still the cupcakes looked like this.  They’ve also shrunk.  Don’t worry.

meatloaf

Spoon each cupcake out and put on a cookie sheet.  The cupcakes still have five minutes to cook until they should reach their internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit, so do this step quickly – you don’t want the meat to begin cooling down, and carefully – you don’t want to burn yourself.

Liberally spoon the ketchup mixture on the cupcakes.  Imagine a bundt cake with lemon frosting perfectly oozing down the sides of the cake.  That’s the look you’re going for here.  Back in the oven they go for about five minutes.  When you remove them, they should be at temperature.

meat loaf

Now they look like this, which is pretty close to perfection.  But in the words of my infomercial friends…but wait, there’s more!

meat loaf frostingOh yes.  Potato frosting.  Fill a frosting bag or frosting gun with the non-lumpy mashed potatoes and using a large tip, frost the cupcakes.  When they’re all frosted and lovely, put them back in the broiler until the tips of the potato are slightly golden.

meatloaf cupcakeServe with extra potatoes and salad and look like a domestic goddess.  You’re welcome.

Gluten-Free Meatloaf Cupcake Recipe
Yields 12
Print
Meatloaf
  1. 1 cup milk*
  2. 4 slices gluten-free bread (I used Udi's Whole Grain Bread)*
  3. 2/3 c. finely chopped green onions, white and green parts
  4. 2/3 c. shredded (or matchstick) carrots
  5. 1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  6. 2 lbs. lean ground beef
  7. 2 large eggs
  8. 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  9. 2 tsp salt
  10. 1/4 tsp pepper
  11. * If you're not using gluten-free bread: 3 slices of bread and 2/3 c. milk
Topping
  1. 3/4 c. brown sugar
  2. 3/4 c. ketchup
  3. 1 tbsp yellow mustard
  4. 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and lightly oil a regular-sized muffin tin that makes 12 muffins.
  2. Make a batch of mashed potatoes, opting for peeled potatoes. When mashing the potatoes, make them as unlumpy as possible.
  3. Slice bread into approximate inch-by-inch squares, place in a bowl and cover with milk. Let sit for 5-10 minutes, or until the bread is soaked through and mushy.
  4. Shred the carrots and cheese, slice the onions.
  5. Once the bread is soaked through, in a large bowl, mix the meat, bread and milk mixture, eggs, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Just mix with your hands, so as to not over work the meat. Add the vegetables and cheese and mix just until combined.
  6. Fill each cupcake cup with meat so that it is packed in the cup and mounded on top to look like a cupcake.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the center of the meatloaf is nearing 160 degrees. While the meatloaf is baking, make the topping. You can microwave it for a few seconds if the brown sugar is not mixing in well.
  8. Remove cupcakes from the oven and carefully transfer each cupcake to a cookie sheet. Quickly spoon a liberal amount of sauce over each cupcake and return to the oven for about five minutes.
  9. Place mashed potatoes into an icing bag with a large tip. Remove the meatloaf cupcakes from the oven and "ice" with potatoes. Place under broiler until the potatoes are slightly golden on the edges. Serve.
Notes
  1. You can also make this as a loaf. To do that, line a large rimmed baking dish with foil. Put the meatloaf on the pan, forming into a loaf shape. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Top with sauce and bake for 15 minutes more. When making as a loaf, the topping measurements are: 1 c. brown sugar, 1 c. ketchup, 4 tsp. yellow mustard and 3 tsp Worcestershire sauce. No potato topping.
  2. Cooking on a large pan and forming the meat into a loaf (as opposed to a loaf pan) allows the grease to move to the sides of the pan. Remove the loaf and serve on a fresh platter for a beautiful dinner.
The Accidental Okie http://theaccidentalokie.com/

Gluten-Free Chicken Noodle Soup with Homemade Egg Noodles

chicken noodle soup recipe | www.accidentalokie.com

Hello!  Sorry for disappearing last week.  After almost three weeks, The Professor is still recovering from the bug that sent him to the hospital a few days after Christmas.  I’ve been busy taking care of him and snuggling with him every evening.  As much as I love talking to all you nice people, The Professor wins for my time, especially when he’s as pitiful as he’s been.

After a week of him being sick, getting a little better, doing the smallest bit of activity (going out to dinner with friends…strenuous stuff), he had another relapse and was back almost to square one.  I didn’t know what to do.  He had medicine and rest and food-derived vitamins.  Something was missing.  There had to be something else I could do for him to really help him get better.  Then I realized there was one weapon left in my arsenal.  Chicken soup.

I’m not a big fan of broth-based soups like chicken noodle soup and vegetable soup, but deep in the recesses of my mind is a memory of a perfect chicken noodle soup eaten at a little cafe in an Arizona ghost town on a family road trip from California to Texas.  I still remember how flavorful the broth was.  And the noodles – big, thick, fresh egg noodles.  Not spaghetti noodles like the canned chicken noodle soup I’d come to despise.  (This was long before I was diagnosed with gluten intolerance).  It was like nothing I’ve ever eaten before or after.

I wanted to make that soup.  And I succeeded.

First I made really good broth.  Because the store’s whole fryer chickens were small, I used a whole fryer chicken and three chicken quarters – inexpensive cuts of the thigh, leg and part of the back.  Chicken pieces with the most bones make the most nutritious and flavorful broth.

chicken noodle soup recipe | www.accidentalokie.com

Next, get your veggies ready.  These won’t make it to the soup, but will just be boiled with the chicken to add flavor and nutrients to the broth.  There’s no need to cut them fancy.  A quartered onion, two ribs of celery cut into two-inch slices and a few peeled and cut carrots will do the trick.

chicken noodle soup recipe | www.accidentalokie.com

The broth also needs spices.  I added a handful of whole garlic cloves, a teaspoon of spicy chili flakes, and a few tablespoons of rosemary and thyme.  Oh and my mom got me a bunch of spices for Christmas including dried onion, so I added some of that too.

You could also add a bay leaf here.  I didn’t because my bay leaves came from my mother-in-law’s friend in the Caribbean and are incredibly pungent.

chicken noodle soup recipe | www.accidentalokie.comI wanted my broth to be extra brothy, so I added a tablespoon of Better Than Bouillon, my favorite chicken broth mix.  This got my broth super rich and saved me time because I didn’t have to cook it down after I removed the chicken.

Bouillon is salty, so add a little less salt than normal.  I added about two teaspoons.  Grind some pepper too, about a teaspoon.

chicken noodle soup recipe | www.accidentalokie.comThis is very important.  Are you listening?  When boiling chicken, always start with cold water.  I know if you put the chicken in hot water, it would cook faster, but it won’t be as tender or juicy.

Bring to a boil and then simmer until the chicken’s juices run clear.  Mine took about 40 minutes.

chicken noodle soup recipe | www.accidentalokie.comMeanwhile, you can make your egg noodles!  I made the noodle recipe from this post on Celiac.com.  It uses one of my favorite flours, Better Batter.

If you’ve never used Better Batter, I recommend it for recipes like gluten-free noodles and quick breads (like my gluten-free banana bread recipe).  Better Batter has a nice consistency and already contains xanthan gum, so it is great for beginners.

My favorite thing about this company is their financial aid program. They offer gluten-free families on food stamps products at a significantly reduced cost.  Being gluten free is expensive, but could you imagine the financial burden if your family was below the poverty line?

chicken noodle soup recipe | www.accidentalokie.comMeasure out two cups of flour into a large bowl.  Make a well in the middle of the flour, just like the little old Italian ladies do it.  I also recommend singing Italian music.  Or the song from Lady and the Tramp when they’re eating the pasta.  That counts.

chicken noodle soup recipe | www.accidentalokie.comIn a smaller bowl, mix together three eggs, an egg yolk, a little water and a little salt.  If you’re using a flour mix that already contains salt, skip the salt in this step.  It’s very easy to over-salt gluten-free baked goods – or dishes where flour is the main ingredient, so always be on the lookout for salt in flour mixes so you can adjust your dishes accordingly.

chicken noodle soup recipe | www.accidentalokie.comInto the well the egg mixture goes.  Mix it up with a fork or a wooden spoon.  It will be dry and pebbly, and you’ll be sure you did it wrong.

chicken noodle soup recipe | www.accidentalokie.comDon’t worry.  You didn’t.  It’s just the nature of gluten-free flour.  Smush and roll it together so it clumps up to form a ball.  You sort of knead it, although it doesn’t really kneed in the traditional way you would imagine wheat dough kneading.  Basically you want it to be a big cohesive ball.

If you feel like your dough is too stiff and it needs more water, simply wet your hands so the water is incorporated while you knead.  In my experience, this is enough water.  You don’t want to add water, realize you added too much water, add flour, realize you added too much flour.  Just a touch of water will do the trick and keep you off the vicious cycle of over adding.

chicken noodle soup recipe | www.accidentalokie.comIt begins to get more solid as you start rolling it out on a rolling pin.  Make sure to flour your work surface so the dough doesn’t stick.

chicken noodle soup recipe | www.accidentalokie.comSoon it looks like this.  Get the dough nice and thin.  The recipe I based this on said a sixteenth of an inch, but that even may have been a touch too thick.

chicken noodle soup recipe | www.accidentalokie.comMy noodles measured about half-an-inch wide by two-inches long.

I like homemade things to look homemade and imperfect (except sugar cookies.  I want my sugar cookies to look like they came from Neiman Marcus, but they never do and I always feel like a failure with my gingerbread men who look like stick figures).  Moral of the tangent: I wasn’t too worried about making my noodles exact.

Keep rolling out the extra dough and unused edges and cutting out noodles until the dough is gone.  I only had a dime-size piece of dough left, which I consider one of my greatest life achievements.

chicken noodle soup recipe | www.accidentalokie.com

Beautiful, homemade, hearty gluten-free noodles.

chicken noodle soup recipe | www.accidentalokie.com

By now the chicken should be done.  Remove it and let it cool.

chicken noodle soup recipe | www.accidentalokie.com

Drain the broth.  Look at how dark it turned out.  That broth is ready to take on the flu and win.

Taste the broth to make sure the flavors are right.  The broth will cook down even more when the noodles boil in it, so if it’s too salty now, add some water to dilute it.  Put the drained broth back in the stock pot and keep it warm.

Now’s a good time to chop carrots, celery, onions and garlic for the soup.  Keep the garlic separate.  These will be in the final soup, so make them bite sized and pretty.

This is where I took a ten-minute break.  The rest of the recipe comes together rather quickly, and you want to de-bone your chicken when it’s cool enough to handle.  You don’t have to take a break here, but exercise caution to not burn yourself on molten chicken.

chicken noodle soup recipe | www.accidentalokie.com

Okay, I took my break!

Bring the broth to a boil and carefully add the noodles.  Gently stir them to ensure they don’t stick together.  They will cook for about 10 – 15 minutes, or until tender.  Stir every few minutes.

chicken noodle soup recipe | www.accidentalokie.com

In a separate pan, sauté the carrots, celery and onions with butter and olive oil until they’re a little soft and have a bit of caramel color on them, about five minutes.  Four minutes into the sauté time, add the garlic.  It will burn easily, and you wouldn’t want all your hard work to be ruined by the unmistakable taste and smell of tart, burned garlic.

Sautéing the vegetables will bring out the flavors that are lost when sticking them straight into the soup.  This is where you can also add spices like thyme, a bit of salt and pepper.  I added my super pungent bay leaf here.

After the vegetables are slightly sautéed, add them into the broth to boil for ten minutes with the noodles.

chicken noodle soup recipe | www.accidentalokie.comJust a minute or two before the noodles are done, add the chicken to the sauté pan and heat on high to warm up and mop up any yummy flavors left by the sauteed vegetables.

Once the noodles are tender, add the chicken.  Taste the broth again and adjust flavors as needed.

chicken noodle soup recipe | www.accidentalokie.com

Serve to the sick, the weary or the cold, and let the hearty noodles, rich broth and juicy chicken do their magic.  I served my soup with Udi’s dinner rolls.

Gluten-Free Chicken Noodle Soup with Homemade Egg Noodles Recipe
Print
Chicken and Broth
  1. 1 fryer chicken, more chicken if you want
  2. 1 onion, quartered
  3. 2-3 carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
  4. 2-3 celery stalks, thickly sliced
  5. 1 tablespoon of Chicken flavored Better Than Bouillon
  6. 1 - 2 tsp kosher salt
  7. 1 tsp (or to taste) pepper
  8. 5 garlic cloves
  9. 1 tsp chili flakes
  10. 1 tbsp dried tyme
  11. 1 tbsp dried rosemary
  12. 1-2 tbsp onion flakes (optional)
  13. 1 bay leaf
  14. 4 quarts cold water (or enough to completely submerge the chicken)
Egg Noodles
  1. 2 cups Better Batter Flour
  2. 3 eggs
  3. 1 egg yolk
  4. 1 tbsp water
  5. 3/4 tsp salt
Soup
  1. 1 tbsp butter
  2. 1 tbsp olive oil
  3. 1 onion, diced
  4. 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  5. 2 celery stalks, diced
  6. 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  7. 1 tsp dried thyme
  8. salt and pepper to taste
  9. de-boned chicken
Instructions
  1. Rinse the chicken and put in a large stock pot with water and the rest of the stalk vegetables and broth spices. Bring to a boil and then simmer until the chicken is cooked. The juices will run clear when the meat is pierced. Remove the chicken and cool. Drain the broth with a fine mesh strainer.
  2. Chop the vegetables for the soup.
  3. To make the noodles, put the flour in a bowl, making a well in the center of the flour. In a smaller bowl, whisk the eggs, egg yolk, salt and water. Put the egg mixture in the bowl and mix until well combined and stiff. Put the dough on the counter and knead a few times, adding water to your hands if the dough is too dry. Roll out to just 1/16 of an inch and cut into 1/2-inch by 2-inch strips. Keep re-rolling the excess dough and making strips until the dough is used up.
  4. Bring the broth to a boil and add the noodles, stirring occasionally to ensure the noodles do not stick to each other.
  5. In a sauté pan, melt butter with olive oil, and on medium-high heat sauté the onions, carrots and celery for five minutes, until they are softened and slightly dark, adding the garlic at the four-minute mark. Add the vegetables to the soup where they will finish cooking with the noodles.
  6. De-bone the chicken, shredding the larger pieces of meat.
  7. In the last minutes before the noodles are finished cooking, heat the chicken in the sauté pan and add it to the soup.
  8. Serve!
The Accidental Okie http://theaccidentalokie.com/

Asian Sesame Clementine Salad {Winter Salad Dressing}

finished

Meet our most frequent winter meal.  As soon as winter descends and produce sections brim with clementines, our house is never without the crucial ingredients – ginger, garlic, clementines.   It’s a fresh and flavorful salad that breaks up the monotony of hearty winter meals.  As my sister, who is living with us for the next few months will attest, we eat this meal at least once a week, usually pairing it with a baked potato or gluten-free roll.

This dressing recipe started from Ree Drummond’s Ginger Steak Salad.  It’s been tweaked and modified, and has taken on a life of its own at our house.

And I love it.

www.accidentalokie.com | Asian Clementine SaladIf you want meat on your salad, start cooking that first.  To be budget friendly and because I knew I’d be serving the meat off the bone anyways, I bought a pack of chicken quarters for $3.50 and cooked them in my cast iron skillet with a little salt and pepper.

Next make the salad dressing.  It’s easy and amazing.  I like to make my salad dressings in a container with a tight-fitting lid.

www.accidentalokie.com | Asian Clementine SaladStart with a quarter cup of sugar.  Don’t worry, it’s not gross sweet.

www.accidentalokie.com | Asian Clementine SaladA quarter cup of soy sauce.  I use San-J gluten free soy sauce.  It’s ah-mazing!

www.accidentalokie.com | Asian Clementine SaladA quarter cup of olive oil.  Olive oil in an Asian recipe, you say?  Oh yes.  It works.  It’s good.

www.accidentalokie.com | Asian Clementine SaladOne-eighth a cup of lime or lemon juice.  You can even use the bottled stuff.  Sorry Barefoot Contessa.  I know you frown on bottled juices, but they’re part of my arsenal.

www.accidentalokie.com | Asian Clementine SaladTwo tablespoons of minced ginger.

Ginger is really fibrous, so it needs to be cut into small pieces.  You can even bruise it a little with the flat edge of your knife.  Also, about half an inch of average-width ginger is a tablespoon.  After making this salad every winter for a few years, I can accurately gauge the ginger about ninety percent of the time.

I know.  You’re equal parts amazed and jealous.

www.accidentalokie.com | Asian Clementine SaladFour cloves of minced garlic (or four teaspoons of bottled minced garlic).  Vampires beware.

www.accidentalokie.com | Asian Clementine SaladSesame oil is amazing.  It has a subtle toasted sesame flavor and is best in small doses.  Just a teaspoon or so will add a rich flavor.

You can buy a little bottle for five or so bucks at the fancy grocery store or a bottle this size for about a dollar at the Asian grocery store.

www.accidentalokie.com | Asian Clementine SaladSriracha sauce is a spicy Thai sauce made from smoked chilies, sugar and vinegar.  And in my world, it’s a kitchen staple.

www.accidentalokie.com | Asian Clementine SaladStart with half a teaspoon.  Sriracha is spicy!

Seal up your container with a tight lid and give it a good shake.  Taste and add more Sriracha if you want it spicier.

www.accidentalokie.com | Asian Clementine SaladAfter the meat has cooled, add some to the top of your lettuce.  Use whatever kind of lettuce you want.  I’m preferential to hearts of romaine.

www.accidentalokie.com | Asian Clementine SaladFinally, top with clementine slices, green onions (not pictured because I forgot them…major bummer), and sesame seeds.  Spoon on the dressing to get an even distribution of the garlic and ginger.  Behold the perfect winter salad.

www.accidentalokie.com | Asian Clementine Salad

 

Asian Sesame Clementine Salad
Serves 4
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Dressing
  1. 1/4 cup sugar
  2. 1/4 cup olive oil
  3. 1/4 cup soy sauce
  4. 1/8 cup lemon or lime juice
  5. 2 tbsp ginger, minced
  6. 4 cloves garlic, minced
  7. 1-2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  8. 1/2 tsp Sriracha sauce, more to taste
Salad
  1. Lettuce
  2. 1 clementine per salad, pealed and wedged
  3. 1 green onion, sliced per salad
  4. 1 tbsp sesame seeds per salad
  5. chicken or beef, grilled or pan fried
Instructions
  1. Make the salad dressing in a shakeable container. Assemble the salad and add the dressing. Enjoy!
  2. Yields 4 small salads or 2 dinner salads.
The Accidental Okie http://theaccidentalokie.com/

 

Cheese Ball Recipe

I made a cheese ball.  It was amazing.

My coworker Rebecca introduced me to this recipe, and it may be the best thing I’ve ever eaten.  I think it’s pretty standard, as far as cheese balls go.  I found similar recipes across the interwebs, but know that this specific recipe is Accidental Okie approved.  And when I say approved, I mean that I might have eaten the leftovers for breakfast.

www.accidentalokie.com | cheeseball

It’s really easy, too.  Two blocks of cream cheese.  I used neufchatel cheese – the low-fat version of cream cheese.

In my head, it’s pronounced new-fan-chang-el.  I have a suspicion that might not be correct.

About three-fourths cup of mayo.

www.accidentalokie.com | cheese ball recipe

The green and white parts of three green onions, thinly sliced..

www.accidentalokie.com | cheese ball recipe

One heaping teaspoon of dried dill.  Mmmmm.

And Bacon.  How did I forget to take a picture of the bacon?  It’s a disaster!!!!

Add about five slices of cooked and chopped bacon, or about a cup of smoked bacon pieces.  But really, add however much you want.  Because when has anyone ever said, “Oh no!  I added too much bacon to that recipe!”  Never – that’s when.

I had a bag of smoked bacon pieces from Costco similar to these in my fridge, so I used them.  They’re not bacon bits – but real smoked bacon.

If you don’t add bacon, add salt to taste.

www.accidentalokie.com | cheese ball recipe

Roughly chop about a cup-and-a-half of pecans.

www.accidentalokie.com | cheese ball recipe

Mound into a half sphere on your serving plate and coat with pecans.

www.accidentalokie.com | cheese ball recipe

And you’re finished.  Make sure to wipe off the rim of the plate of any rogue cheese smears and chill for at least 30 minutes.  You can make it the day before.

Serve with crackers or veggies (if you’re healthy like that).  I served mine with Glutino Snack Crackers.  They are these amazing new gluten-free crackers.  I used both the Sea Salt and Rosemary & Olive Oil flavors.  All the gluten-free people and non gluten-free people thought they were delish.

Cheese Ball Recipe
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Ingredients
  1. 2 8-ounce blocks of cream cheese or neufchatel cheese, softened
  2. 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  3. 3 green onions, green and white parts thinly sliced
  4. 5 slices bacon, cooked and chopped - or - about 1 cup chopped bacon
  5. 1 tsp dried dill
  6. 1.5 cups pecans, roughly chopped
Instructions
  1. Mix the softened cheese and mayo in a stand mixer or hand blender until they're combined. Add the onions, bacon and dill. Mix until combined. Form into a half sphere on a plate and coat with pecans.
  2. Chill for 30 minutes before serving.
The Accidental Okie http://theaccidentalokie.com/

Pomegranate Hazelnut Vinaigrette Recipe

I love homemade salad dressing.

Salad dressing is easy to make, contains no mystery ingredients and tastes much better than most store bought-dressings.  Every season I have a salad dressing that becomes the usual.  This fall has been no different.

It took a bit of tweaking, but I created a salad dressing that complements all my favorite flavors of fall.

It has just a few ingredients, each unique and bursting with rich flavor.

Pomegranate molasses is ultra-concentrated pomegranate juice.  Every time I get out my bottle from the fridge, this loud 1950’s Charlton Heston-esque epic movie voice comes in my head and says: The juice from a thooooooooooousand pomegranates. 

Sorry – just keeping it real.

Pomegranate molasses is incredibly inexpensive.  I think my bottle – which I’ve had for two years – was $5.  It is sweet and tart and unmistakable.

Next is roasted hazelnut oil.  You could also use roasted walnut oil.  Either way, don’t use a refined version of either oil.  These roasted oils are rich and flavorful, and not meant for cooking.  They are made for salad dressings and drizzling on things.  This La Tourangelle oil is my new favorite thing.  It’s a bit pricey and should be stored in the refrigerator after opening.

And finally, the little black dress of vinegars – balsamic.  Sweet and tangy and scrumptious.

Pomegranate Molasses

Start with the pomegranate molasses.  Just one tablespoon will do. It is thick and decadent.  You’ll fall in love with it!

Next add a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.

Swish the two together.

hazelnut oilNext add six tablespoons of hazelnut oil.  It is light in color and rich in flavor.  It smells like roasted hazelnuts and could be eaten by itself.

Just a bit of kosher salt will bring out all the flavors without making the vinaigrette salty.  A bit of brown sugar will cut the tartness of the pomegranate molasses and make the dressing the perfect complement to sweet, sliced apples or yummy pomegranate seeds – both essential ingredients to fall salads.

One mistake I made when testing this recipe was adding dijon mustard.  The molasses is tart enough on its own.

The final result is a light but flavorful complement to the perfect fall salad!  My favorite salad to accompany this vinaigrette is made of lettuce, sliced gala apples, sliced green onions, Parmesan cheese, black pepper and pecans.  It’s perfect with roasted chicken on a crisp fall evening.

This recipe makes about eight tablespoons of vinaigrette.  I make such a small batch because with the expensive oil, I don’t want any to go to waste.  This amount is enough for two or three large dinner-sized salads or four to six small side salads.

Pomegranate Hazelnut Vinaigrette Recipe
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Ingredients
  1. 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  2. 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  3. 6 tbsp roasted hazelnut oil
  4. 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  5. 1/2 tsp brown sugar
Instructions
  1. Mix the pomegranate molasses and vinegar. Next add the roasted hazelnut oil. Mix together. Add the salt and sugar. Taste and add more sugar if you'd like.
  2. Enjoy on your favorite fall salad. Other great topping suggestions: spinach, pomegranate seeds, persimmons, dried cranberries, hazelnuts, walnuts, feta, pears, figs, roasted and shelled pumpkin seeds. It's all the tastes of the season in one salad bowl!
The Accidental Okie http://theaccidentalokie.com/

Sushi Rice Bowl Recipe

I love me some sushi…well, wimpy sushi of the Philadelphia roll variety.

There are several sushi consumption options available to me: I can buy sushi from one of the sushi places in town.  But by the time you buy a few little rolls, you’re looking at $18 including tax and tip.  That’s a lot for a quick dinner.  Or I can make sushi from scratch, but rolling sushi takes a long time.  It’s not a week night sort of endeavor.

The predicament left a big sushi-shaped hole in my heart…until one fateful night when everything changed.

{{Dramatic reenactment}} I was trying to find a creative use for leftovers after making sushi rolls for company.  My guests stayed late and I was too tired to distribute each ingredient into its own little bag where – if I’m being honest – it would go to die after being forgotten in the fridge.

Not knowing what else to do, I threw all the leftovers – rice, julienned veggies, smoked salmon, spicy tuna sauce – into a container.  In my exhaustion the next morning, I grabbed it out of the fridge and took it to work for lunch.

I was expecting the result to be the sushi equivalent to the Island of Misfit Toys – a cacophony of unwanted sushi bits.  But I was wrong.  It was amazing – the taste of a perfect sushi roll.  The ease of a rice bowl.  The sushi rice bowl was born.

To make your own sushi rice bowl, first get some sushi rice going.  Click on the link for a full tutorial.  Sushi rice is simultaneously easy to make and persnickety.  You just have to know a few secrets, and then you’ll become a sushi rice master.

What do you love in sushi?  I love cucumbers.  Peel them and cut them thin, long slices.

And avocado. Yum.

And green onions.

I also would have blanched asparagus, but all the stores were out, which I attribute to a conspiracy against my dinner.  Or asparagus was out of season.  One of the two.

Other options: mango, red bell pepper, and anything other veggies you want.

Boil shelled edamame per the directions on the package – about 5 minutes after the water reboils.  Give them a beautiful flavor by adding a splash of gluten-free soy sauce into the water.  Mmmmm.  When the edamame is finished, drain it.  It’s ready to go for dinner.

Make spicy tuna sauce.  It’s mayo and sriracha sauce.  Add the sauce until you’ve reached your spiciness preference.  Sriracha is super spicy, so start slow, add, taste, adjust, repeat.  My mix is about 1/2 cup of mayo to 1 tsp of sriracha.  After you make it a time or two, you’ll be able to make it by sight, gauging how pink you want it.  The darker the color, the spicier.

A little dollop of this on your rice bowl will make the flavors of the rice and toppings come alive!

Crumble up smoked salmon. You can buy this in the deli or fish section of most stores.  One four-ounce package costs about $5 and goes a long way.  You could also use shrimp or crab or even teriyaki chicken, or any of your favorite sushi meat ingredients.  If you’re a vegetarian, of course you can skip this.  Sushi rice bowls are all about you, your preferences and your creativity!

I don’t recommend using raw fish.  Remember – the raw fish used by sushi restaurants is sushi-grade.  It’s not a slab of raw tuna from the grocery store’s dollar meat bin.  If raw fish is a necessity to you, and you have access to sushi-grade fish, more power to you.  But please be super cautious.

Serve up other sushi necessities: soy sauce, pickled ginger and wasabi.  I happen to think wasabi tastes like spicy dirt, so I did not serve it up. I put the pickled ginger right on my rice bowl.  Others like to mix it with their soy sauce for a more subtle flavor.

If you are worried about missing the taste of the nori (the seaweed sushi wrappers), you can buy shredded nori at the Asian market to sprinkle on top.  It looks like seaweed confetti.  Nori is not my favorite thing, so I don’t bother with this step.

This is not The Professor’s favorite meal.  I last made it when he was out of town, and my friend Amy joined me for dinner.  Chick food + girl time = pretty place settings.  And just to make sure we’re being cross-cultural, we have Japanese food served on a Spode Blue Italian pasta bowl and chopsticks from a Vietnamese market.  It’s very authentic.

Set your table with the rice and all the toppings.  Assemble to your preference.  And enjoy!

The final product is fresh, healthy and beautiful!

Tell us in the comments – what would your perfect sushi bowl contain?

Sushi Rice Bowl Recipe
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Ingredients
  1. 1 batch sushi rice with vinegar mixture
  2. 1 - 2 avocados
  3. 1 small cucumber, peeled and julienned
  4. 1/4 c. sliced green onions
  5. 1 bag shelled edamame, boiled until tender and drained
  6. 1 package smoked salmon (avoid the black pepper and Cajun flavors)
  7. 1/2 c. spicy tuna sauce - a mixture of mayo and sriacha to your preferred spiciness
  8. Any other sushi-appropriate veggies, fruits or meats! Use your imagination.
  9. Soy sauce (gluten-free soy sauce if you're gluten-free)
  10. Pickled ginger
  11. Wasabi
Instructions
  1. Make rice, prepare veggies, fish and sauce. Boil the edamame per the package instructions.
  2. Serve while the rice and edamame are hot. Let each person assemble per their own tastes. Enjoy!
The Accidental Okie http://theaccidentalokie.com/

Roasted Okra

My parents are both part of the first generation in their respective families to not grow up on a working farm. This means that I, a second generation city girl, have one and three-quarters feet planted firmly in suburbia and one big toe at home in the dirt.

I remember picking okra at my grandmother’s house. My mom’s parents live in a small country town in Texas between Fort Worth and Waco. When we picked okra, it was so fresh that we couldn’t touch it without gloves because the okra’s fuzz would make our hands itchy.

My grandma fries okra in a cast iron skillet with a mixture of squash and onions that have been dredged in milk and eggs and coated in seasoned corn meal. My favorite part was always the okra – the real taste of the vegetable. And it always left me wondering how to eat okra in some other non-fried preparation.

I discovered roasted okra and the world changed. Cut in half lengthwise, the toasted, shriveled seeds and crispy browned edges crunch in your mouth. Slicing the okra allows the inside seeds to become crisp.  It also removes even the smallest hint of sliminess that many find unpalatable about okra.  The flavors are layered – simplistic and symphonic. Roasting brings out the okra’s peppery taste while the crunch of kosher salt and the subtle flavor of olive oil add more delicate flavors.

Wash and completely dry your okra. If you’re smart, you’ll wash your okra in advance. If you’re like me, set it on a tea towel and dry it off. If it’s not dry, the olive oil and salt won’t stick. This little trick has improved all of my vegetable roasting efforts.

Now is a good time to get your broiler going so it’s nice and hot.

Chop off the top and then slice the okra down the middle. It helps if you have pale, sausage fingers and florescent fingernail polish.

See these big, crunchy seeds? They become extra delectable when roasted. That’s why I slice all of my okra except for the littlest pieces less than an inch long.  Slicing also helps get rid of that sliminess that’s given okra a bad rap.

Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Do not add pepper – the okra has a beautiful, natural peppery taste on its own, and you don’t want to mask that.

Mix the okra around so that it is evenly coated with olive oil and salt. The okra should glisten with olive oil on all sides, but not be overly oily. The salt should be evenly distributed but not perfectly. This is a low-stress veggie. You can toss the oil and salt with the okra in its own bowl, but if you gingerly toss everything on the pan, you won’t have to wash the bowl. And that’s a win in my world. After you’ve tossed, rearrange the okra so the pieces are seed-side up.

Put the okra on one of the upper drawers under the broiler until it’s crispy. Pull the pan out of the broiler and flip the okra with a big spatula, let it broil again until the opposite side is crispy. The time will vary for every oven, the intensity of your broiler and the rack level you ultimately choose. For me, it takes between 5 to 7 minutes per side. Please watch very carefully to make sure your precious, delectable okra doesn’t burn.

And voila! Perfection. I served my okra with a baked potato and leftover steak. Look at those crunchy seeds!

Roasted okra is a gateway drug to other exciting ways to eat okra. Once when I was making roasted okra, I ate a piece of it raw. And it was good! Really good. One of my favorite snacks at work is sliced raw okra. I have a picnic container of salt hidden away in my desk. I sprinkle a bit on each piece before I eat it.

Oh okra. You are the new asparagus.

Roasted Okra Recipe
Print
Cook Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 lb fresh okra - or more!
  2. 1 - 2 tbsp olive oil
  3. 1 tsp kosher salt
Instructions
  1. Turn on broiler.
  2. Rinse and dry okra. If it’s not completely dry, the olive oil and salt won’t stick.
  3. Chop off the tops and then slice the okra lengthwise. Slicing the okra allows the inside seeds to become crisp. It also removes even the smallest hint of sliminess that many find unpalatable about okra.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, and mix together so the okra glistens with olive oil on all sides and the salt is evenly distributed.
  5. Broil on both sides until equally crispy and browned, about 5 minutes per side. Every oven is different, so keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t burn.
  6. Adjust the amounts as needed. These are so good that you may find that 1 pound isn’t enough!
The Accidental Okie http://theaccidentalokie.com/
A printable recipe card is available at Tasty Kitchen.

Thai Beef Recipe

Thai Beef or Larb is one of my favorite recipes.  It’s on our dinner rotation, especially when my mint garden is thriving.  Because it’s just enough interesting and just enough tame, it’s become my go-to meal when taking dinner to people who’ve just had babies – which seems to be all of my friends lately.  The ingredients of this recipe – rice, ground beef, onions, fish sauce, sriracha, lime juice – are staples in my kitchen, which makes this recipe cheap and quick and available.

My friend Heidi gave me this recipe from her friends from Thailand who were in America going to seminary to prepare to go back to Thailand and minister to people in their culture.  I feel like this recipe has a heritage, and being from Thai people, it is the real deal.

Over the years, I’ve made modifications to make the recipe my own.  I started preferring the red onion to the shallots, and liking my onion sliced quite thick.  Rather than using chili oil and cayenne pepper, I opt for sriracha sauce – I love its spice and smokiness.  Sriracha also has two ingredients that make any condiment better – sugar and vinegar.

Get the rice cooking first.  It will take longer than the Thai beef.  I like sushi rice without the vinegar mix or jasmine rice.  Traditionally this recipe is served on a bed of lettuce, so you can go that route too.  To take it in a totally different direction, I think it would make excellent filling for lettuce wraps, but if you do that, cut the onions smaller.

thai beef recipe - www.accidentalokie.comGrab mint from your garden.  Mint is the only thing I can successfully grow, so this sentence is exciting for me to write.  Normally all I grab from my garden are dead brown things – evidences of my brown thumb. You can also buy mint.  Rinse it, dry it on a dish towel, and then strip the leaves by pulling your thumb and fingers down the stems.  Give the leaves a rough chop.

It’s important to prep this first.  Washing and drying and stemming mint takes longer than you think it will.  And this recipe goes fast, which is why I love it!

thai beef recipe - www.accidentalokie.com

Slice an onion or a bunch of shallots.  I’m lazy, so I use an onion.  Slice with the grain of the onion.

Get a wok (or a big pan) nice and hot with a tablespoon or so of oil.

thai beef recipe - www.accidentalokie.com

Cook the onions hot and fast so they still have a little crunch but they’re caramelized on the outside.  I got the nice color on the onions by making sure the pan was very hot and then by resisting the urge to stir the onions constantly.

thai beef recipe - www.accidentalokie.com

When your onions are just about ready, add a few cloves of garlic and cook for just a minute or so.  Garlic burns easily, and once it’s burned, it turns bitter and gross, and there is nothing you can do to salvage your dish.  So watch it carefully.  This is also where you could add the 1/4 tsp of ground cayenne pepper, but I skip it because I’m a wimp.

Remove the onions, but don’t rinse out the pan.  It would be sad to lose all that oniony goodness.

With your pan still hot, begin browning the ground beef.  I use 96/4 ground beef.  It’s low enough on fat that I don’t drain it, but if you use a higher-fat ground beef, drain it after it’s browned.

thai beef recipe - www.accidentalokie.com

While the beef is browning, make a mix of fish sauce, sugar, a splash of soy sauce, sriracha sauce and lime juice (or lemon juice).  Confession – I use the bottled lime juice.  Sorry Barefoot Contessa.  I have failed you.

Fish sauce is essentially ground anchovies and water.  It is the way Thai food is salted.  At a specialty store, you’ll find a small bottle for $4 or $5.  If you go to an Asian grocery store, you’ll get a huge bottle for $1.  I recommend the huge bottle.

This sauce looks pretty gross.  Don’t be fooled.  It tastes so good!

After it’s browned, add the lime/fish sauce mix.

Make sure the to get the meat browned before you add the sauce.  If you don’t, the acid in the lime juice will partially disintegrate the meat.

thai beef recipe - www.accidentalokie.comKeep cooking until the meat is done.  Now it looks like this – which looks sort of gross and too saucy.  Do not fear.  Amazing, life affirming things are about to happen.

thai beef recipe - www.accidentalokie.com Add back all the onions and the mint.  Now there is the perfect amount of sauce, and it’s very pretty!

thai beef recipe - www.accidentalokie.comSprinkle on extra sriracha sauce to customize your spice level.  You can also serve it on lettuce instead of rice.

I enjoy serving with green beans that have been sauteed with garlic.

thai beef recipe - www.accidentalokie.comI made a double recipe, part for The Professor and me, and part for some friends who just had a baby.  It’s the perfect meal to take.  Package up the meat mixure, the rice and a steamer bag of frozen green beans.  It’s always been a hit with my friends.

Thai Beef Recipe
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Ingredients
  1. rice
  2. 1 lb. lean ground beef
  3. 1 bunch of mint, stemmed and chopped
  4. 1 red onion or 6 medium shallots
  5. 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  6. 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  7. 1 tbsp sugar
  8. 4 tbsp lime juice
  9. 4 tbsp fish sauce
  10. 1 tbsp gluten-free soy sauce (if you're gluten-free)
  11. sriracha sauce to taste - start with 1 tsp
  12. 1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper (I skip this part because it's too spicy for me)
Instructions
  1. Get rice cooking. Wash, stem and chop mint. Mix the sugar, lime juice, fish sauce, soy sauce, and sriracha sauce in a bowl. Slice onions and brown onions hot and fast with the vegetable oil. Add garlic and cayenne pepper for the last minute of cooking. Remove onions and brown the meat. After it's partially cooked add the sauce mix and cook until the meat is finished cooking. Add back the onions and then the mint.
  2. Serve with rice and green beans. Make sure to have sriracha sauce at the table so people can spice their meal to taste.
The Accidental Okie http://theaccidentalokie.com/

Roasted Beets Recipe

People say they don’t like beets, but what they mean is they don’t like pickled beets.  Pickled beets, the ones in the canned vegetable aisle, have a particular taste.  They’re sweet, but more than anything, they radiate that unmistakable pickled taste.  Roasted beets are nothing like that.

Roasted beets are sweet.  Some of their edges are caramelized.  Cooked with kosher salt, they have a salty crunchiness, and they have the beautiful undertone of olive oil.

Roasted beets are the perfect food.  Their subtle sweetness is paired perfectly with feta in salads, or with herbed cream cheese on sweet corn fritters or on burgers if you’re in the Antipodes or if you’re me.

Here is how you roast beets.  First, and this is important, change clothes.  Change into something you don’t care about getting ruined.  There’s a reason beets have been used as dye for thousands of years.  Oh, and turn your oven on to 400.

I got orange beets and then forgot to cook them.  A few weeks later, I got red beets.  The orange beets were a little mushy, but they were fine to cook.  Beets are low maintenance and forgiving like that.

Give the beets a good scrub with the brush you use to scrub potatoes.

Cut off the heads and the tails.  The tails are the rat tail looking root thing.

Aren’t they so pretty!

Cut them into halves or quarters…or smaller if you want.  I was in a hurry, so I cut them in sixths.  The smaller they are, the faster they cook.  If you cut them in half, they’ll take an hour to an hour and a half, or so.  Cut into sixths, they took about 30 minutes.

Drizzle them with olive oil, kosher salt and pepper, and then wrap them up good and tight in foil.

This step is important.  Put your foil-wrapped pouches into a pan.  They can sometimes leak, and an oven full of burning beet juice is not a happy oven.

Let them roast.  If you’ve cut them up, check them after 30 minutes or so.  A knife should go in with minimal resistance.

Cut off the skins.  (The orange beets’ skins caramelized, so I left them on.  I’m not sure if that’s okay, but I didn’t die, so I guess it was fine.  Just be sure to give them a really good scrub at the beginning).

PS – pardon the blurry picture.  By this time, my guests had arrived.  I was cooking and entertaining and taking pictures of my food.  Thankfully, it was my sister-in-law and brother-in-law who came over.  And they already know that I’m weird.

And voila!  Roasted beets.

They’ll change your life.  Oh and public service announcement: if you eat a lot of red beets in a short period of time, they’ll change everything that comes out of you magenta.  Everything.  Sorry for the TMI, but the first time I ate a lot of beets, I thought that I was dying.  And I don’t want that to happen to you.

Roasted Beets
Serves 4
Roasted beets are sweet, carmelized and amazing. They pair well with feta in salads or herbed cream cheese on corn fritters!
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 bunch ofbeets
  2. Generous drizzle of Olive OIl
  3. 1 tsp kosher salt
  4. Pinch black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Scrub, head and tail and cut beets into halves, quarters or sixths, depending on how much time you have to cook the beets.
  3. Wrap part way in foil. Drizzle with olive oil, kosher salt and pepper. Wrap foil the rest of the way so the beets are completely enclosed. Place package in a cookie sheet to catch any possible spills, and place in the oven.
  4. Roast at 400 degrees until a knife goes in easily - a minimum of 30 minutes for small cuts of beets. Up to an hour and a half for whole or halved beets.
  5. Enjoy on salads, burgers or as a side!
The Accidental Okie http://theaccidentalokie.com/