Thursday, August 26, 2010

Watermelon and Cucumber with Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

I went to a restaurant two weeks ago with my son for a chicken dinner. It was delicious, fried chicken, baked beans, jalapeƱo cornbread, cole slaw and an appetizer which was chunks of watermelon and cucumber with some frisee sprinkled over it. There was also a small dish with ranch dressing which was intended to be used to dunk pieces of chicken in. I decided to pour a little over the watermelon and cucumber, and thought, man, this is delicious.

For me, the sweetness of the cucumber with the tartness of the ranch was an ideal combination. So I went home and duplicated it using a recipe for buttermilk ranch dressing (compliments to Simply Recipes) which I think is an improvement because of the addition of the tartness of the buttermilk. Do give it a try.

Seriously, it's simple, quick, and absolutely delicious. (And by the way, when you're watching the ballgame the next night?  And drinking an adult beverage, it's easy to finish off the leftovers)  I'm just sayin'...

There's also a body of work that suggests watermelon is very good for you. Look at what Helen Nichols has to say on the subject:

And don't forget to consider a copy of my cookbook:

1 large cucumber, peeled and sliced into long pieces
1 cup watermelon, cut and cubed

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 cup fresh buttermilk
1/4 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon chopped fresh chive
1/4 teaspoon dried dill

Mix buttermilk and mayonnaise together until well blended. Add the balance of the ingredients and stir. Taste and adjust spice/taste to your preferences.  Refrigerate for at least an hour and preferably two hours to let flavors blend.

Spoon dressing over watermelon and cucumber on a serving plate.  Enjoy!

So simple, and so delicious.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Homemade Potato Chips

I'm ashamed of this post. I really am.  It's so simple, and so short I am self-conscious about posting it.

But I had to, because it's SO freaking good! Something I never thought about making at home but knocked
it out of the park when I did.

So here's the deal.  I told you about the Beringer Great Steak Challenge in a previous post. The night before the Saturday challenge the Beringer folks had a welcome reception at the Capitol Grille in Seattle. I had never been there but as soon as I walked in, knew I liked the place. Huge, a bit dark, heavy mahogany paneling, brass, a long bar, and nothing but dry aged steak. That's it, steak!  How appropriate considering we were all cooking a steak in competition the next day.

Anyway, after the reception, what better thing to do, than to mosey on up the bar, with my son, settle in, have a cold beer and a huge perfectly aged steak.

And as we're served a cold beer, the bartender placed some clear bowls of "bar food" in front of us. The bar food was......(wait for it)  ......                homemade potato chips!   They were out of this world. Thin, crispy, deliciously salted, browned to perfection!  I almost ate so many of them I didn't want a steak.

When I asked how they made them, they told me. White russet potatoes, deep fried, and salted. Whut???  And they taste this good?  And I've never made them?  Are you KIDDING me? They make Lay's potato chips taste like a piece of cardboard.

So I made them, and like I said, knocked them out of the park.  Do try these. A bit of a pain with the hot oil and all, but so simple.  I used sea salt on mine which was divine, but I'm thinking next time using some flavored sea salt. Like smoked sea salt?  Chipotle sea salt?  Imagine the possibilities.


2 large rusted potatoes, washed, not peeled.
Canola or peanut oil
Sea Salt

Using a Mandolin or a slicer of some type (a necessity because you want the slices thin) cut off the tips of the potatoes and slice the remainder into thin strips. (I used the next to lowest setting on mine) Place them in a large bowl and cover with cold water for one hour. (Takes the gumminess and some starch out of the potatoes)

After an hour, remove chips from water, paper towel them dry, and lay on paper towels for 15 minutes to let them dry further. In the water and while drying they will curl by themselves forming that perfect potato chip look.

Heat oil to 370 to 380 degrees.

Drop 7 - 10 slices into the oil at a time. They'll separate just fine. Cook for 2 minutes per side, turning once. Cook them a minute or two longer if you like really dark chips. (My favorite is the darker ones....)

Drain on paper towels and salt one side. I find less salt is better but it's your personal taste.

Let the oil heat again to the proper temperature in between batches of chips. Repeat until all potatoes are cooked. Now tell me, you didn't try one from the first batch you made..... I bet you did.

Store in baggies for up to 3 days. Enjoy, these are killer, and they won't last 3 days, I bet ya. ha ha

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Straight Up Egg Salad

Look, I know it's a lame photo. What happened was, I made a half a sandwich, photographed it, and then ate it. It was DELICIOUS!   So I made another half, and this time I loaded it up with the salad.....but didn't take photos. So this photo is merely a "ghost" of what YOUR sandwich could look like.

But here's the other thing.  As I looked at my lame photo, I realized it kinda makes ya wanna make an egg salad sandwich, and make a BETTER and BIGGER one. So, I think the photo works in a longing kind of enticing way.   Was that strange to say?   ha ha....

One of my favorite sandwiches is Egg Salad. I've tried recipe after recipe for years and like some, and not too crazy about most of them. I especially find I don't like the egg salad recipes that have ingredient after ingredient. So I tried messing around with the ingredients I know I like in my egg salad, along with another new one, and I loved it. This is probably my go-to egg salad recipe from now on. Check it out.

4 large eggs
3 tablespoons mayonnaise or salad dressing
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon chopped chives
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Smoked (Sweet) Paprika

that's it!  Quick and easy and delicious, especially after the flavors blend overnight.

Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Turn off and gently add the eggs into the water. Cover pan, remove from heat, and let sit for exactly seven minutes. (Yup, seven minutes, perfectly done egg for egg salad, you'll see) Immediately drain hot water and replace with cold water to arrest the cooking process.

Peel eggs, and using a fork, mash into smallish pieces in a bowl. Add the balance of ingredients and mix thoroughly.


On the bread of your choice, spread a thick layer of egg salad and enjoy. I especially like my egg salad on toasted bread or in pita bread. Enjoy!