Category Archives: appetizers

Perfect stuffed mushrooms

The best stuffed mushrooms | a simple recipe from alaskaknitnat.com
Photo Credit: Stacy Spensley Flickr via Compfight cc

Perfect stuffed mushrooms

Ingredients:

  • 1 carton of Costco baby portobello mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup panko flakes
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 of an onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 pound Italian sausage
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 4 oz. cream cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Remove the stems from the mushrooms. Chop stems finely and mix with the onions. Heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and onions until the liquid has been drawn out of the mushrooms and the onions are soft, about 7 minutes. Set aside to cool in a mixing bowl.

In the same pan, add another tablespoon of butter and stir in the panko flakes. Sauté until the flakes are lightly browned, about two minutes. Place flakes in the mixing bowl with mushrooms and onions.

In the same pan add the loose sausage (remove from casings if necessary). Cook until meat is browned, about 7 minutes. Place the meat on a cutting board and chop finely. Add to the mixing bowl.

Toss in the Parmesan, parsley and cream cheese and mix thoroughly (hands are best). Add salt and pepper.

Stuff each mushroom with a heaping amount of filling and place on a baking sheet. Top with more grated Parmesan.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve immediately.

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Baked broccoli fritters – how to use frozen broccoli for good, not evil

Since starting a full-time job a year ago, I’ve had to get creative with dinners. I have a limited amount of time before I put my son down for bed.

This evening I came home from work with absolutely no plan and a near-empty fridge. My freezer, however, was chock full of random Costco impulse buys: tamales, gyoza, hash brown patties, broccoli.

I contemplated the frozen broccoli. Why, why did I buy this? It’s never as good as fresh broccoli. It’s sort of chewy and crumbly. So I decided to get creative.

I fried up some hash brown patties, chopped up some thawed broccoli and came up with a seriously delicious side dish that’s sure to please the whole family. My husband ate five of them!

Baked broccoli fritters - the best way to use frozen broccoli | recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com
Photo Credit: famfriendsfood. Flickr

Baked broccoli fritters

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. frozen broccoli, thawed and set to drain
  • 1/2 onion, chopped finely
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 frozen hash brown patties
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 grated sharp cheddar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Heat the butter in a sauté pan and cook the onions till soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté another 30 seconds.

Place onions and garlic in a mixing bowl to cool. Place hash brown patties in the pan and brown on both sides. Crumble up and add to the mixing bowl. Finely chop the broccoli and add to the mixing bowl.

Once all the ingredients have slightly cooled, add the egg, bread crumbs, cheeses, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly.

Lightly grease a baking pan (I used a silpat mat instead). Form mixture into small patties. Bake 15 minutes, flip and bake another 15 minutes. Serve with sour cream.

Perfect Grilled Corn

When you grow up in Alaska you become accustomed to lackluster produce: flavorless cantaloupe, dry lemons, grey tomatoes and often unsweet corn.

At the beginning of our long weekend we had dinner up at my parents’ place and my dad served the best grilled corn I’d ever had. He’s always got a few culinary tricks up his sleeve and this recipe is no exception.

Sweet, caramelized, and just the perfect amount of char – this recipe is just what you need for your Memorial Day barbecue.

Perfect Grilled Corn | A tasty summer recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Memorial Day Recipe: How to Grill Corn on the Cob Without the Husks

Have you ever tried grilling husk-on corn on the cob? Tastes great, but what a mess you make of your grill what with all the pieces of black, burnt husk which get over everything, including the burgers or franks you’re going to grill next.

Continue reading Perfect Grilled Corn

Simple Dill Pickles | A Free Recipe

I grew up in a savory snack household. Give me salami, olives and pickles over any kind of sweet treat. Ever since Costco started carrying those petit cucumbers my dad has set out to master the homemade pickle. He tried garlic and lemon and various herbs, but today when he arrived at our house for a barbecue he proudly presented his tastiest variety – the simple dill pickle.

Homemade dill pickles | a simple recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Here’s his recipe.

Simple dill pickles

Homemade dill pickles | a simple recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com Continue reading Simple Dill Pickles | A Free Recipe

Grinch-themed birthday party

Our son, Jack, turns 4 this week. Since his second birthday we’ve let him choose his party theme. At 2 it was Pingu (please, have a look at this adorable Swedish claymation penguin show), last year it was the Lorax and when I asked him this year what he wanted, he chose the Grinch.

A Grinch-themed birthday party | Minimal organization and lots of running around is all you need for a fun kids birthday party. A photo gallery from alaskaknitnat.com
Pin the heart on the Grinch. It’s more of a tradition on my part to get me into the spirit of party planning. The kids play with it for about 5 minutes.

During the holidays we took Jack to a local restaurant to see the outrageous film based on the Dr. Seuss character. It was his first big screen experience so it must have left an impression on him.

Continue reading Grinch-themed birthday party

The secret to perfect hard-boiled eggs

There’s no other time that I feel as though I’ve failed at life as when I hard boil eggs. It seems like a simple endeavor: boil eggs, cool them, peel them. But usually my eggs are impossible to peel.

When I asked my friends on social media why I can’t seem to successfully peel an egg, I got all sorts of egg-cellent suggestions from running them under water as I peeled them, to shaking them vigorously in a jar of water (totally didn’t work). The most frequent response I got was I was using too-fresh eggs.

I dutifully tried every suggestion but got no closer to a peelable egg. Finally, I heard a new one: steam the eggs.

I tried it. It worked. Here’s how to make the perfect hard-cooked egg. *note: after trying this method three times, the only successful batch was when I steamed 4 eggs. When I tried to steam 12 they didn’t get cooked through enough — but they were incredibly easy to peel!

The best way to hard boil an egg is not to boil it, but to steam it! | Life hack from alaskaknitnat.com

What you’ll need:

Some eggs

A pot

A steamer basket

Directions:

Fill your pot with about an inch of water and bring it to a boil. Place your eggs in a steamer basket and lower them into the pot. Cover, turn the heat to medium and steam for 13 minutes.

A couple of minutes before the eggs are done, fill a bowl with ice and cold water. Transfer the eggs to the bowl and let them cool for 15 minutes.

They peeled perfectly!

Yay for life hacks.

Looking for a good egg salad recipe? Try my chicken salad but substitute eggs!

Chicken Sandwich

Moña’s Fried Cauliflower — A Mexican side dish

Our family just came back from a two-week vacation in Nayarit, Mexico. One of the perks of the place we stay in is a housekeeper who cooks for us. Moña used to run a restaurant out of her home and she’s the best Mexican chef I know. I yearn for her chiles rellenos and chilaquiles.

One of her specialties is battered, fried cauliflower. I’m not a cauliflower enthusiast, but when it’s prepared like chiles rellenos, I’m sold.

Florets are coated in a delicate egg batter, pan fried and tossed in a simple tomato sauce. The florets turn out perfectly tender, almost like al dente pasta.

The difficulty with my trying to make Moña’s recipes back home is our lack of delicious produce. Our fresh tomatoes are usually terrible and our onions aren’t nearly as sweet.

Here is my attempt at one of Moña’s signature side dishes. It’s accompanying pulled pork enchiladas and mexican rice. Look for the rice recipe below.

Moña's fried cauliflower | florets coated in a delicate egg batter, pan fried and tossed in a tomato sauce. It's the perfect side dish for any Mexican meal. Recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Moña’s fried cauliflower

Serves 4

Moña's fried cauliflower | florets coated in a delicate egg batter, pan fried and tossed in a tomato sauce. It's the perfect side dish for any Mexican meal. Recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower, trimmed into small/medium florets
  • 5 eggs
  • 1, 14.5-oz can of diced tomatoes
  • about a cup of vegetable oil
  • 1/4 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Place the flour, chicken stock, sugar, chile powder and tomatoes in a blender. Blend until smooth. Set aside.

Separate the eggs and whip the whites until stiff. Fold in the yolks.

Moña's fried cauliflower | florets coated in a delicate egg batter, pan fried and tossed in a tomato sauce. It's the perfect side dish for any Mexican meal. Recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Pour oil in a small sauté pan. There should be about a half-inch of oil in the pan. Heat over high heat. When hot, dip florets in the egg batter till covered and drop them in the pan. You’ll need to do several batches but they brown pretty quickly. Spoon oil over the florets as they brown on the first side, then turn them all over and brown on the other side.

Moña's fried cauliflower | florets coated in a delicate egg batter, pan fried and tossed in a tomato sauce. It's the perfect side dish for any Mexican meal. Recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Moña's fried cauliflower | florets coated in a delicate egg batter, pan fried and tossed in a tomato sauce. It's the perfect side dish for any Mexican meal. Recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Drain the florets and place on a paper towel-lined platter. Set aside.

Moña's fried cauliflower | florets coated in a delicate egg batter, pan fried and tossed in a tomato sauce. It's the perfect side dish for any Mexican meal. Recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large skillet and sauté the onion and garlic until soft. Add the blended tomato mixture and oregano. Stir until thickened. If too thick, add more chicken stock. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Moña's fried cauliflower | florets coated in a delicate egg batter, pan fried and tossed in a tomato sauce. It's the perfect side dish for any Mexican meal. Recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Add the cauliflower florets and simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Moña's fried cauliflower | florets coated in a delicate egg batter, pan fried and tossed in a tomato sauce. It's the perfect side dish for any Mexican meal. Recipe from Alaskaknitnat.com

Serve on a platter and sprinkle with cojita or monterey jack cheese.

Mexican rice

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup white rice, uncooked
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Heat the butter in a large sauté pan. Toss in the rice and cook, stirring for a few minutes until the rice is lightly toasted. Pour in 1 cup of stock and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for five minutes.

Add another cup of stock, the carrots, onion and garlic. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.

Check the rice every now and then to see if it needs more liquid. Add more stock if necessary.

Add salt and pepper to taste.