Wednesday, August 31, 2011

White Russian Malts

What's a more classic accompaniment to burgers and fries than a malt? But there are tons of malt recipes out there. I wanted to spice things up a bit--so I added alcohol! Mr. Kim Chee loves White Russians, and he also loves malts. It was an easy progression to smash the two together! And don't worry, I'll try to keep the Big Lebowski jokes in check.

Just a few simple ingredients needed. Malt powder, ice cream, Kahlua, and vodka.

I like the ice cream with the bits of vanilla bean. Two or three big scoops are perfect.

The ice cream goes into the blender, along with the Kahlua and vodka.

Malt powder is what makes this a malt. If you want a shake, just don't add the malt. Voila.

If your ice cream is really firm, you might want to add a little splash of milk--not too much, don't forget that the alcohol is a liquid, too. If your ice cream is on the softer side, an ice cube might be a better choice.

Blend until there are no bits of ice cube or lumps of ice cream. If you're really picky, you might need to scrape down the sides of your blender, since some the malt powder will likely stick.

Serve with a straw and a frilly umbrella (it really ties things together. I made it all the way to the end before saying anything...)

This is what The Dude would drink, if The Dude cared enough to take the time to blend everything together, which I doubt he would. But whether you're the Donny, Walter, Bunny, or The Dude of your group, it will take just one sip to sell you on White Russian Malts!

Recipe: White Russian Malts

3 large scoops natural vanilla ice cream
1 shot vodka
1 shot Kahlua
3 tbsp. malt powder
splash milk, or 1 ice cube (depending on the firmness of your ice cream)

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until the desired consistency.

BLT Salad

When summer arrives, it seems like salads are the go-to meal accompaniment. This salad is a great side dish to burgers, brats, and hot dogs, and is filling enough to even be a meal in itself. 

The first thing you want to do is prep your pasta. I used radiatori because the ridges are perfect for holding the dressing and the pieces are big enough to be bite-size. Any sturdy, ridged pasta would be fine.

I used half a box. It boiled in well-salted water until just cooked; then I drained it and rinsed it with cold water.

After the pasta's done and cool, you can start the dressing.

A big ol' spoonful of mayo and another big ol' spoonful of sour cream are the base for the salad dressing.

Add enough buttermilk to thin the mayo and sour cream into a dressinglike consistency.


Now grab yourself some bacon. Because without the B, a BLT is nothing.

Well, it's an LT. But who wants to eat a lettuce and tomato sandwich? I think most of us can agree that the B is the best part. The bread, lettuce, and tomato are just there to make it look like we're not just having bacon for a meal.

Cut the bacon into bite-sized pieces. Cook until nice and crispy.

While the bacon is cooking, dice up an onion and throw it in with the dressing.

Halve your tomatoes and throw them in too. Gosh, I love little tomatoes. All sweet and delicious, and they pop in your mouth...mmm.

For some color (and because my chive plants are out of control), I added some fresh chives.

Throw in the now-cooled pasta and toss together.

Now you can add the bacon.

Serve the pasta on a bed of lettuce, to complete the L in BLT. The creaminess of the dressing, the saltiness of the bacon, the sweetness of the tomatoes, and the crisp of the lettuce makes this salad something else.

Recipe: BLT Salad

1/2 lb. (1/2 box) pasta
salt, for boiling

1/2 c. mayo
1/2 c. sour cream
1/4 c. buttermilk
salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 onion
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tbsp. fresh chives, minced

6 slices bacon
1 bag prewashed lettuce

Boil pasta until just cooked. Drain and rinse under cold water.

In a large bowl, combine mayo, sour cream, buttermilk, and salt and pepper. Add onion, cherry tomatoes, and chives.

Cut bacon into bite-sized pieces. Cook until crisp. Add to the dressing. Toss well. Serve salad over a bed of lettuce.

Monday, August 29, 2011

We're Expanding!

Kim Chee Casserole finally has its own Facebook page! Become a fan here! And tell your friends--the more fans who follow, the more likely there will be more contests!

Kim Chee Casserole also has a new Etsy store. Right now all I've got is jam--Four Berry (made with strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries) and Peach-Ginger (sweet and peachy with just a slight hint of ginger.) Local people can arrange pickup, or I can ship them anywhere in the country. Live near Mankato and have a craving for something special, but haven't got the motivation to make it yourself? Let me know, and we can arrange something! I love making cakes, cookies, candy, bread, and other baked goods! Got some freezer space? How about some soup? I can make your favorite kind and freeze it so you can have it on hand later.

(Keep in mind that all food products are cooked in a home kitchen and have not been inspected or approved by anyone more official than Mr. Kim Chee.)

Is there anything you'd like to see from Kim Chee Casserole (blog, Facebook, or Etsy shop?) Send me a message and let me know!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Hasselback Potatoes with Chive Sour Cream

I wanted something new to do with potatoes--I love mashed, fried, boiled, roasted, baked, grilled, and shredded potatoes as much as the next person, but some days you just want something a little different.

I had these cute little potatoes ready to be turned into something new, and I settled on hasselback potatoes.

Hasselback potatoes are whole potatoes that have cuts going the entire length of the potato. You need to be careful not to cut through the whole potato, though--by keeping the potato whole, you'll have a nice series of slices but still an entire tater.

Cutting is really the most difficult part of this. You need to get a "feel" of how far is too far to cut. I cut until I start feeling resistance from the potato--then I stop. If you go any farther, you'll likely cut through the whole potato.

Here's what the potato should look like when you're done. I made cuts probably about every 1/4 inch.

If you do accidentally cut all the way through, just smush the two cut ends back together and pretend it never happened.

Now, you've gone to all the effort to make those nice slits--might as well stuff them with seasoning! Grab yourself a garlic clove.

Smallish potatoes, huge garlic clove. These cloves are seriously getting ridiculous.

Slice the garlic into very thin slivers.

Stuff a sliver of garlic into the potato; I put a piece of garlic in every few potato cuts.

Hm. Time for a manicure. Or something.

Here's what a finished potato looks like.

You want to get the garlic in as far as you can, but don't manhandle the potato, or you may end up snapping that little bit of uncut potato that's holding everything together.

Drizzle some olive oil over the top of each potato.

Then give the potatoes a good salting and peppering.

Then each potato gets a pat of butter. The butter will melt into the potato cracks while baking, making each slice a little golden brown.

Pop 'em in a 425F oven for about 35-45 minutes (depending on the size of the potatoes.)

With all those delicious ridges, how could I not make a topper to go with these potatoes? I have a ton of chives growing right now, so I threw some in a bowl with some sour cream.

Mr. Kim Chee put some of this bacon salt in my Christmas stocking last year. I hadn't thought of anything to use it on until now.

It basically Bac-os and salt. If you've got fake-o Bac-o, I don't see the harm in adding some.

Yes. I eat fake bacon. Sometimes.
So in went the bacon salt, and some pepper.

Stir the sour cream mixture together, and slap a big dollop onto your potato of choice.

These potatoes are great. They're like baked potatoes, only crisper. They're like sliced fried potatoes, but creamier. The cutting was a bit of trouble, but apart from that, they're easy and require very little attention. Your kids will love them because they won't need any help cutting their own dinner. And your guests will be impressed with the effort!

Recipe: Hasselback Potatoes

garlic cloves, sliced very thinly
olive oil
salt and pepper

Make cuts every 1/4-inch down each potato, being careful not to cut all the way through.

Tuck garlic slices in every third cut in the potatoes.

Drizzle potatoes with olive oil. Salt and pepper, to taste. Top each potato with a pat of butter. Bake at 425 for 35-45 minutes, until done. Top with Chive Sour Cream (recipe below.)

Recipe: Chive Sour Cream
1/2 c. sour cream
1 tbsp. fresh chives
salt and pepper (bacon salt if you've got it!)

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients.  Mix well.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wilted Greens

One afternoon, I found myself needing corn, so I stopped at the side of the road to buy some from a nice young man selling it out of a truck. The nice young man had an "aw, shucks" demeanor, and was so polite. (I feel like I'm about 80 right now...) He asked me if I liked greens, and I said yes. He said he had some kale and chard that he had picked out of his garden that morning. He brought out a plastic kitchen bowl full of his home-picked greens. I totally fell for his country boy charm and found myself with not only a dozen ears of sweet corn but a large bag full of greens as well.

Since greens have a short shelf life, and we were away from home when I bought them, I had a very short window of time to decide how I was going to cook them. Since I hadn't time to run to the store, I decided that I would make it easy and use things I already had in the house. And since I've got a kid and a husband not 100% sold on the idea of greens, I wanted to make them appealing as possible.


The first thing I did was wash the greens thoroughly. They looked pretty clean, but since they grow so close to the ground, you never know. I stuck them in a colander and let the water run over them, but you could fill your sink with water and wash them that way too.

Then I separated the leafy greens from the tough stems.

You know, you could use any greens you wanted. Collared, mustard, spinach, or even lettuce.

Cleaning the greens takes a little time. So I doubled my efficiency by grabbing some bacon.

The bacon got a rough chop and got tossed into a large-ish pan to render out the fat.

Medium heat is fine--you don't want it to get really crisp.

I diced up an onion, too. And I smashed quite a few garlic cloves.

While the bacon rendered its delicious fat, I rolled the greens into a cigar shape and cut them into smaller, bite-sized pieces. You should have a rather large mound of chopped greens when you're done.

When the bacon was just beginning to get some color, I tossed in the onions and garlic. They got to saute for just a couple minutes, to soften.

Then you can add your greens. You might have to add them in several additions, depending on how large your pan is. This is half the greens.

They wilt down quite a bit.

Saute the greens for about 5 minutes; just to get them wilted thoroughly. If your pan looks dry, you might want to add a little water or chicken broth. I didn't drain the greens before adding them, and that was a sufficient amount of liquid.

If your greens look older or have a bitter flavor, you'll also want to add a little liquid; the extra liquid will help leech out the bitterness.

Right near the end of your cooking time, add a splash of vinegar. I used red wine.

Nothing like a flavorful way to get your vitamin C for the day! And it's so easy to use the leftovers. I made pasta the next day and added a few large spoonfuls to the sauce. You could also add leftover greens to quiche, eggs, rice, salads, or even meatloaf or burgers. Support your local farm boys and buy their garden greens!

Recipe: Wilted Greens

1 large bag greens, any kind
3 slices bacon
1/2 onion, diced
4-5 garlic cloves, smashed
salt and pepper
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar

Clean the greens by soaking them or rinsing very, very well. Remove tough stalk. Roll leaves into a cigar shape and slice.

In a large pan, cook bacon until fat renders but bacon is still pale. Add onion and garlic; saute until softened.

Add greens; saute about 5 minutes until wilted. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

Add red wine vinegar; cook an additional minute or two. Serve immediately.