day 29: stone ground mustard, homemade!

There is nothing like running out of a beloved condiment in the midst of making a masterpiece sandwich, when it’s blaring cold outside and you have lost all motivation to drive anywhere for any reason. Arrrgh! What on earth is one to do? The way I see it … you have one of 3 options. Option A) get over it and go to the store; B) do without; C) make your own damned mustard.

We’re going to explore option C. Now, I realize that this may simply be silly to some of you. But, you don’t understand the depths of creation behind this sandwich. I need my mustard and I need it NOW. Here goes!

Homemade stone ground mustard + a sandwich saver!

Homemade stone ground mustard + a sandwich saver!

What you’ll need:

  • 4 tbsp black mustard seeds
  • 4 tbsp ground mustard
  • 1 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup water

What you’ll do:

  1. Using a mortar & pestle, grind the mustard seeds.
  2. Add ground mustard, vinegar, and salt
  3. Add water last
  4. Refrigerate and you’re all set to use (sandwich is saved)
  5. Enjoy!

*Special thanks to my sissy for the gift “One Good Dish” by David Tanis … the recipe was great, though I altered the recipe a smidge.

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day 10: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it … punchy pimento cheese

In keeping with yesterday’s theme of using what you’ve got on hand (and at the request of a follower here at akitchensomewhere.com), I dove into the depths of the snack drawer to see what other concoctions I could muster without a trip to the grocery. Pimento cheese it is!

Now as I understand it, this may be a completely Southern standard. But, as I believe … it should be anyone’s standard. You’ll find hundreds of thousands of takes on the classic, all of which I’m sure are someone’s favorite. However, there are a few ingredients that I simply have to object to no matter the recipe – cottage cheese, store bought shredded cheese, Velveeta (it has it’s place, this is not it) and olives or frozen vegetable add ins (gross) are a few. To the contrary, a few others are indicative of a delightful taste bud treat – sharp cheddar, a splash of vinegar and a bit of spicy specifically.

Let’s concoct, shall we?

Punchy Pimento Cheese

Punchy Pimento Cheese

What you’ll need:

  • 2 cups of cheese! ( I used about a cup of Vermont Seriously Sharp White Cheddar & about a cup of extra sharp cheddar)
  • 1 small can of diced pimentos, drained (you’ll find these in the canned vegetable section. If you can’t find them diced roasted red peppers will do just fine.)
  • 2 heaping spoonfuls of quality olive oil mayo or Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp of vinegar (apple cider, white balsamic, red wine – whatever you’ve got on hand)
  • 1 healthy dose (about a tsp) of hot sauce of your choice (I used sriracha because it’s the best thing ever)
  • a pinch of cayenne

What you’ll do:

  1. Shred your cheese. Please do not try to use that pre-shredded mess in the bag, it does no one justice.
  2. Combine all ingredients
  3. Serve it up on a sandwich, with celery sticks, pretzel thins, bagels, burgers, out of the bowl, or whatever else floats your fancy
  4. Enjoy!

day 7: baby, it’s cold outside …

I can’t lie … keeping up with this challenge is a fair kick in the ass for me … But, I’m doin’ it! Today you get a two-part “viking” challenge. I don’t know about you, but when I think of vikings I think of fur, brawn, meat and potatoes … perhaps a bit of vegetation for digestion. Thus, the inspiration for this meal.

Next time you crave steakhouse fare … do yourself a favor and start here.

A twist on a wedge

A twist on a wedge

What you’ll need:

  • Romaine hearts, washed and cut carefully in half
  • Grape tomatoes (the best you can find this season) washed & cut in halves
  • A just-ripened avocado, sliced
  • 1 lb. bacon, chopped and cooked to your desired level of crispness
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup sour cream or greek yogurt
  • fresh scallions, cleaned and chopped (green parts only)
  • salt & pepper
  • a healthy dash of lemon juice
  • a healthy dash of worcestershire sauce
  • 3 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 cup of quality crumbled blue cheese

What you’ll do:

  1. Combine sour cream, buttermilk, lemon juice, worcestershire sauce, blue cheese crumbles, salt & pepper to taste. Set aside in the refrigerator
  2. Cut bacon into 1 inch strips and cook until done to your whim ( I go for crunchy personally)
  3. Grill romaine hearts over high heat for about 2 minutes (you want grill marks)
  4. Plate romaine with avocado and tomato
  5. Top with bacon & scallions
  6. Drizzle with dressing
  7. Wait for the perfect steak …
  8. Enjoy!

day 3: beet, beet, sugar beet … sugar beet, beet, beet (pickle)!

The holiday season brings all sorts of traditions out in full affect. Things that we forget about every other day throughout the entire year. Then, like clockwork, the smells and memories come flooding back like a typhoon. Today is no different. Amidst the ornaments, pine needles, and holiday cards from days of old there’s the memory of my grandmother’s beet pickle.

I remember going away to college, being far away from my loved ones and friends, all the while thinking of her kitchen. Her infamous back room lined with the fruits of the season in those ever-so familiar mason jars. Green beans, apples, chow-chow (southern relish for everything) and my FAVORITE pickled beets.

As we age, it’s our responsibility to carry on these moments to the next crew of folks … be it kids, in-laws, extended family, friends who are your family and beyond. So, when my mother and my aunt took the time to learn to make these delicious pantry treats … well, let’s simply say I jumped on the opportunity to learn on my own. I’m sharing with you today. *Please remember this gracious gift when you’re out shopping and someone steals your parking spot.

And for you 80’s kids, with your throwbacks … ah, the memories!

Gran's Beet Pickle courtesy of Mom

Gran’s Beet Pickle courtesy of Mom

What you’ll need:

  • 2 bunches of fresh beets (6 medium sized)
  • latex disposable gloves (beets stain EVERYTHING – don’t try to cheat on this one)
  • 2 cups of quality apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1.5 cups of granulated sugar
  • 2 bay leaves (one for each jar)
  • 2 wide mouth mason jars

What you’ll do:

  1. Put on gloves
  2. Peel and rinse beets
  3. Cut beets into halves then into 1/4 inch slices
  4. Bring all ingredients to rapid boil, reduce heat to medium and allow to continue gently boiling until beets are slightly tender.
  5. Transfer beets into jars and cover with brine (pickling liquid – and yes, you’ll have extra. Save it, we’re using it tomorrow).
  6. Seal ’em up! And allow to cool to room temperature. This will preserve the pickle.
  7. Thank my mother for sharing her altered version of my grandmother’s recipe profusely
  8. Enjoy!

*Note: Pickled beets are delicious on salads, in the company of charcuterie platters, a side for your simple country ham sandwiches, by themselves or with slow cooked beans!

**Further note: The brine described about is a wonderful way to pickle just about ANYTHING (don’t forget, I’m a Southern gal).