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Three Bean Salads

This cold marinated salad became popular in the 1960’s and was commonly served at picnics, BBQs and as a side salad. I’ve adapted the original recipe by using fresh rather than canned green beans and yellow wax beans. I’ve also cut the sugar way back and used no added salt canned kidney beans and garbanzo beans.
Here is the green, yellow and kidney bean salad.

This is another version made with sugar snap peas, dark red kidney beans and garbanzo beans! Everything else is the same as the above 3 bean salad.

Snap peas are peas with an edible pod. The pod and peas are very tender and sweet and easier to prepare than peas. All you have to do is break off the stem end and in one continuous motion, tear off the string from one side of the pod. Voila!



Beans are trimmed and cut in thirds

Beans have been blanched for a minute and then rinsed with cold water and tossed with ice

Diced green pepper and onion 


Recipe:

5 cups yellow and wax beans, approximately, trimmed, cut in thirds and blanched for 1 minute and quickly cooled

1- 15 oz can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 green pepper, diced

1/2 cup onion, diced

  • Marinade: Whisk together in a large bowl:

1/3 cup sunflower oil or other vegetable oil, not olive oil

1/3 cup white vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon sugar

  • Add the prepared vegetables to the marinade.
  • Mix well.
  • Pour into a container with a tight fitting lid.
  • Refrigerate overnight.
  • Invert the container a few times every so often to distribute the marinade.

The other recipe is made the same, except instead of the green and yellow beans, use:

3 cups sugar snap peas, approximately, strings removed and blanched 1 minute and quickly cooled

1-15 ounce can garbanzo beans

Mrs. Field’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are said to be the secret recipe of the Mrs. Field’s Cookie Company. My friend Lisa Williams gave the recipe to me in 1988. It’s been our favorite chocolate chip cookie ever since! I’ve added a bit more salt and I usually omit the walnuts. My cookies are also smaller than Mrs. Field’s huge 4 inch cookies. I make 7 dozen cookies from this recipe.

All my ingredients, ready to go!

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  • In a mixer cream together:

1/2 pound softened butter

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed 

  • Add:

2 large eggs

3/4 teaspoon vanilla

  • In a medium size bowl whisk together:

3 cups flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 to 1 teaspoon salt

  • Add flour mix to the butter mixture.
  • Mix only just until barely combined. Don’t beat the dough or the cookies won’t be tender.
  • Add and mix only a few seconds:

12 oz chocolate chips or chocolate chunks (I prefer Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate)

1 cup chopped walnuts, optional

  • Drop by a teaspoon on a baking sheet with at least 2 inches apart.

  • Bake at 350 degrees F for 8-9 minutes. Don’t over bake! They will crisp up when cooling.
  • Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
  • Remove from baking sheet when slightly cooled, after about 4 minutes, and place on cooling racks until crisp and firm.


Enjoy!

Paella on the Grill

Last night Dave made his best paella yet! This is a Cook’s Illustrated recipe for Paella on the Grill, found in the July/August 2016 issue or online at CooksIllustrated.com.

Paella is a Spanish rice dish with many variations. We enjoyed paella in Albufera, a town near Valencia in southern Spain. They are known for growing rice and making their paella with a dry caramelized crust of rice that is the most prized part of the dish!  It’s called the socarrat. Traditional paella is made on the grill which provides a large cooking surface to develop the socarrat and a charcoal heat that gives the smokey flavor. The amount of shrimp, chicken and chorizo you see here is more generous than the traditional Valencia style. It’s all about the rice!

Notice the paella pan is thin, has impressions hammered on the bottom and is not covered with a non-stick surface.


Dave uses a 17 inch traditional paella pan we bought online. It does NOT have a Teflon-like coating. We coat it with oil after using to prevent rusting. He has a Weber charcoal grill with a gas starter. 

This is a great recipe to serve for family and friends!

Russian Easter Bread

My grandmother was from Byelorus, part of the former Soviet Union. This is her recipe for sweet yeast bread. My Russian and Ukrainian friends are familiar with this bread. There is a special tall, cylindrical baking pan they use, but we use empty vegetable cans. The shape looks like a mushroom! But my Grandma usually used traditional glass bread pans and she made this year round, not only at Easter.


1 cup milk

1/4 pound butter

4 and 1/2 cups flour, sifted

1 cup sugar

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon dry yeast

2 teaspoons sugar

1/3 cup warm water

1/2 cup raisins

  • In a saucepan heat milk. Add butter and melt. Keep warm.
  • In a large bowl beat eggs with a whisk till lemon color. Add sugar slowly and continue beating until thick and light
  • In a very large bowl combine flour and salt.
  • Add warm milk mix to eggs.
  • Add egg mix to flour and beat with the back of a wooden spoon against the front side of the bowl. Turn the bowl 180 degrees frequently.Or beat with the paddle of a mixer.

  • Combine 2 teaspoons sugar and 1/3 cup water. Dissolve and mix in yeast. Cover with a towel and allow to rise to double in volume.
  • Add yeast to dough and continue beating until smooth and glossy.
  • Pour dough into a buttered large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, a rubber band and a towel. Rise until doubled.


  • After risen once, cut through the dough with a spatula. 
  • Add raisins.
  • Pour into 3 buttered and floured cans. Fill to only 1/2 full. 

  • Rise till dough reaches the top of the can.
  • Bake at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes.
  • You can drizzle with a thin icing if you like.

Rhubarb Jam with Cayenne

Rhubarb comes in many varieties. My neighbor Ruth Clark has strawberry rhubarb plants which look like every other rhubarb, but the strawberry variety retains its red color. Isn’t it pretty?


Here I spread my rhubarb jam on buttered toast and sprinkled it with flaked sea salt. I served it with a fried egg. The egg yolk was broken and melted with cheddar cheese. Then I sprinkled it with smoked paprika and flaked sea salt.


I’ve made many different jam recipes. This is the first time I used a candy thermometer! I cooked the jam to 210 degrees F. It turned out perfect! It took about 30 minutes of cooking.


4 pounds trimmed rhubarb, cut in small pieces

4 cups sugar

1 lemon, cut in half, and juiced and include the seeds which have lots of pectin to thicken the jam!

1 and 1/2 cups water

1/8 teaspoon or so cayenne pepper is optional

  • In a large bowl combine the rhubarb, sugar, lemon halves, juice and seeds, and water. Let sit 1 hour at room temperature 

  • Pour this colorful mix into a large cooking pot and bring it to a boil over medium high heat. Stir almost constantly to prevent sticking. Add the cayenne if you like a little kick!
  • After 15 minutes lower to a slower boil at medium heat. Boil another 15 minutes and use a candy thermometer to measure the temperature. Stir frequently! When it reaches 210 F, remove from the heat. Check my video to see what a slower boil looks like.


My method of canning is to use boiling hot jars, boiling hot utensils and then process the filled jars for 5 minutes. Here’s how I do it.

  • In a large pot of boiling water place your 8 – 8 ounce canning jars for at least 5 minutes. Keep them in the hot water until you are ready to fill them.
  • In a small pan of hot, but not boiling water place your 8 canning lids.
  • Use utensils that have been boiled at least 5 minutes
  •  Use a funnel to fill the jars
  • Wipe off any spilled jam from jars with a clean paper towel
  • Cover with hot lids
  • In a large pot of boiling water place a kitchen towel to cover the bottom and help keep jars stable
  • Place 6-8 jars in the pot, making sure water covers lids by 2 inches
  • Boil 5-10 minutes
  • Remove from boiling water and cool on your counters.

  • Voila! This takes a day to set and it won’t be as thick as your store bought jam. 😉
  • I adapted this recipe from Leitesculinaria.com.
  • I follow this same procedure for strawberry jam. Except I don’t add water or let the mix sit at room temp an hour before cooking. The quantities needed are:  

8-10 cups or 4 quarts strawberries, washed, dried, stemmed and crushed to measure 6 cups

6 cups sugar

1 lemon, halved, juiced, seeded with seeds included

Optional is to add about 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper or 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper for a kick!

Russian Orthodox Easter Eggs


My grandmother was Russian Orthodox and she was from Belarus. She made these types of colored Easter eggs with dried yellow onion skins. Her technique was to combine cooked eggs and onion skins in a large pot of water and then soak them for several hours.

I like to give the eggs a marble look and also at the same time cook the raw eggs with the yellow onion skins.

  • Wrap medium to large pieces of dried skins from yellow onions around each egg in varying degrees of cover to make patterns.
  • Secure skins by wrapping further with string. Don’t tie too tight.
  • Place eggs in a large pot in a single layer with not too much crowding.
  • Add water and cover the eggs by 2 inches.
  • Cover pot and bring to a boil.
  • Turn heat to the lowest possible level.
  • Cook 20 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and let the color absorb for 1 and 1/2 hours or so.
  • Drain, dry and voila!
  • A quicker technique is to not wrap the onion skins and only combine them in the pot.
  • As Grandma Korzin would say at Easter in Russian “He is Risen!”

Almond Milk and Frozen Cherry Smoothie

  
I’ve had fun making smoothies this month. NutsandBlueberries.com inspired me! Here is a favorite:

In a blender combine and blend till smooth:

3/4 cup almond milk

1/2 cup frozen sour cherries with no added sugar 

1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds

2 Medjool dates, pitted

Pour into a glass and top with fun things like:

Coconut shavings

Chia seeds

Matcha (powder fine ground green tea leaves)

There’s a lot of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals here, plus it’s low fat and low sugar! Drink up!

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