Caesar Kale Salad

Kale SaladI didn't grow up knowing what veggies like kale or kohlrabi were, but in recent years learned uses and loving them with meals.  I posted a kohlrabi recipe then recently saw this kale salad on the Food Channel so gave it a try, but using my egg-free Caesar Salad Dressing which I've been making for years from a clipped newspaper recipe.

Kale goes a long way, is bulky, and sells for between a dollar and $1.50 a pound.  It cooks down like spinach or Swiss chard, having a broccoli, cabbage, or asparagus taste.

It can also be baked for chips served with dips.  I've cooked it with oil, bacon, onion and garlic for a veggie side dish many times, but decided to try this salad, which is attractive and very flavorful.  

I find Kale also has a longer refrigerator shelf life, than spinach or lettuce, so doesn't spoil for weeks. Cut leafs away from stems/ribs for use.

Kale Salad
Photobucket5 cups finely shredded or torn kale leaves, no stems
3  radishes, thinly sliced
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced, or shredded kohlrabi
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
juice zest of 1 lemon
Kosher salt

In a large bowl combine all  ingredients while making dressing.

Egg-Free Caesar Salad Dressing
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tsp. fresh garlic
1 Tab. Dijon mustard
1 Tab. mayonnaise
several dashes of hot pepper sauce
2 tsps. Worcestershire sauce
4 mashed anchovy fillets, or 1/2 Tab. of anchovy paste
1 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup fresh shaved Parmesan cheese, (use a potato peeler)
2-3 cups of fresh or store bought croutons

In a bowl, whisk lemon juice, garlic, mustard, mayonnaise, Worcestershire and pepper sauce. Add mashed anchovies and slowly whisk in olive oil until all is blended. Store in refrigerator. Makes 8 or more servings.

To bowl of greens (kale, romaine, spinach, mixed lettuce), add salt and pepper, Parmesan and croutons. Drizzle dressing as needed, gently tossing to evenly coat green and croutons.

Estimated cost: $3.20 or less; .40 cents a serving or less.

Kohlrabi, Side Dish or Salad

sauted kohlrabiTrying something new is always fun, so when I saw Kohlrabi as the farmers market, I decided to buy a few and learn about its uses.

It comes from the cabbage and turnip family from Germany.  I discovered it has a mild brussel sprout or broccoli flavor, with a very firm texture. 

 It can be cooked in stews, steamed, oven fried, sauteed or eaten raw in salads or slaws.  First it must be peeled.  We eat a salad every night, so adding it shredded was easy and flavorful.

kohlrabiAs a side dish I sauteed sliced onion until tender and golden in butter on medium high heat. Then added sticks of sliced kohlrabi, turned the heat down, added garlic and covered until it was tender, about 5 minutes. At the end I added roughly chopped basil, salt and pepper.

If desired, make like oven fries; toss in olive oil, season and bake at 375 until golden brown.  This recipe is featured on Weekend Potluck

1 peeled Kohlrabi cut into cubes, or sticks for frying
Shredded in Salad
2 Tabs. butter
1/2 sliced onion
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
2 to 3 Tabs. of chopped basil
salt and pepper to taste

Serves 4
Estimated cost: $1.00 or less; .25 cents a serving or less.

Here's an informative video I found interesting about it's origins and how to use it.

Sourdough Berry Pancakes

sourdough pancakes with bluberriesOnce I learned the knack of maintaining a good sourdough starter for making bread it's been much easier to make other recipes using it, namely -- sourdough pancakes.  A loaf of bread lasts us a week or more, so I figure the starter should be used for other recipes.

This recipe makes about 16 pancakes.  I freeze extras having them on hand anytime for breakfast.  We have blueberry, raspberry and blackberry bushes which we pick and freeze for use during the year. I used blueberries for this recipe.

During early summer months, farmers markets sell berries for around $3.00 a pint, which is a good time to stock up and freeze. Pancakes can me made without berries and also frozen.  The flavor is good old-fashioned goodness!

Sourdough Berry Pancakes
1-1/2 to 2 cups of blueberries set aside, or berries of choice - fresh or frozen
1 cup of sourdough starter
1 cup room temperature or lukewarm water (or milk)
1 cup all-purpose flour
sourdough pancakes with bluberries1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 egg
Mix all ingredients. Let set for a few minutes or a few hours.
sourdough batterWhen ready to make pancakes, mix in:
1 teaspoon baking soda combined with 1 tablespoon water.  Batter will bubble and get fluffy.
sourdough pancakesHeat a large skillet over medium heat with oil to coat the bottom. Add about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of batter to the skillet. Sprinkle several blueberries on top. Don't put berries in batter before making pancakes or it will darken with the berry juice.  When top of pancakes begin to bubble and set, flip and lightly brown other side.  Stack and keep warm then serve with favorite toppings: butter, syrup or more berries. 

Makes 15-18 medium-size pancakes. Serves 6 to 8.
Leftovers freeze well.  I stack them between wax sheets and freeze in zip lock bag.  To serve from freezer, reheat for about 30 seconds in the microwave.
Estimated cost: $3.60 or less with purchased berries; .23 cents per pancake or less.

I modified a recipe from a blogger at

Sourdough Starter and Bread

SourdoughI finally found a method of making sourdough starter and bread that works for me.  I've tried starter you feed and put in the refrigerator, but with little success. 

Then tried this method suggest by a foodie message board poster: feed and mix several days and store starter on kitchen counter for 6 days, then make bread on 7th day, baking in a Dutch oven.

For the starter, called the "Mother."
On day 1: In a 1-1/2 to 2 quart glass bowl mix 2 cups of regular white flour with 1-1/2 cups of warm water and a pinch of active yeast. Mix with wooden spoon and cover bowl with a damp cloth.  I bought a tall clear glass canister with a lid and use that.

Each day for 5 more days add in and stir 1/3 of flour and 1/4 cup of water; cover again.

On 7th day, remove a cup and a half of starter to make bread, and set aside the remaining "Mother" letting it rest that day. You will continue the next day to again add 1/3 cup of flour and 1/4 cup of water to replenish it for 6 days before making another loaf.

Making Sourdough Bread
1-1/2 cups of starter you removed
3 to 4 cups of flour
2 cups of water
1 tsp. salt
corn meal for sprinkling pan

Early in the day, in a large gallon size glass bowl, mix and combine starter, flour, water and salt.  Use your hands or stir with a wooden spoon. It will be sticky. A very large bowl is needed as it will greatly increase in size when rising.  Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rise 8-12 hours at 80 to 100 degrees temperature.

Dutch Oven soughdough
When ready to bake:

CAST IRON DUTCH OVEN METHOD - Put gallon size Dutch oven pan with lid on in the oven and turn oven to preheat at 400 degrees.
Cast Iron

Using a cotton towel, spread lots of flour until it is covered. Pull risen dough out of the bowl and put it in the middle of the towel. Sprinkle the top with flour and then fold over the edges of the dough to form a mounded loaf.

Turn dough over so the rough edges face down. Don't knead, just gently fold dough to shape. Cover dough with a towel and allow to set for at least 30 minutes or until oven is ready.  I've let it set for and hour or more until I was ready to bake.
When the oven is ready, using mitts pull your pan out, remove lid, and sprinkle bottom with cornmeal. Place hands under towel and flip dough over into pan, put lid on and bake for 30 minutes. Take lid off and bake 10 more minutes.  Internal temperature should read 200 degrees.

Stainless Steel Pot
Flip it out of the pan to wire rack to cool.
If not having a cast iron Dutch oven, a stainless steel soup pot with lid works well, too.

COOKIE SHEET METHOD - Dust your counter with flour. Divide dough, knead and form into 2 smooth-topped balls. they look like balloons. The bottom will be rough. Coast top with flour. Sprinkle sheet with cornmeal. Put on sheet. Cut a couple of slashes on the tops.

Let loaves sit 4 hours or so (they need to re-rise from the kneading). When ready, put in preheated 400 degree oven for 30 min, or until crust is done. 200 degrees internally and it's done.

Starter can also be used for pancakes, biscuits, rolls, pizza dough and other recipes available on the internet.

Estimated cost: .90 cents a loaf or less for one large loaf.

Blackberry Pie

Himalayan Blackberries grow wild in Oregon and ripen in August.  They can take over a yard so cutting our big patch back every year is a chore, but worth it.  It's very common to see people stopped along road sides or vacant lots in August picking berries.

Our area hosts an annual Blackberry Arts Festival near the end of August featuring an abundance of blackberry treats: ice cream, pies, fudge, jams, jellies, candies, cobblers, wines, and other sweet treats.

We pick enough in our yard every year to freeze and last a year.  Our kids grew up helping with picking and earning some extra money selling full milk cartons to neighbors and friends.

They freeze well by spreading on a cookie sheet then storing in freezer bags.

My Berry Patch
blackberry pie

So far I've used them to make wine, cobbler, pie, ice cream, syrup, jello molds, and of course sprinkle them in hot and cold cereals for breakfast. 

I use Krusteaz mix for making quick pie crusts at little cost. A cup of mix and a few tablespoons of water makes one crust for about .80 cents.

PhotobucketBlackberry Pie
6 cups blackberries
1 cup sugar, plus little to sprinkle on top of pie
3 Tabs. cornstarch
1 tsp/ lemon juice
2 pie crusts for 9-inch pie, homemade or store bought
2 Tabs. of  diced butter
1 egg. lightly beaten
Optional: pie bird to let steam escape
Preheat oven to 400
PhotobucketIn a large bowl, mix well and toss berries, sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice. Let set 20 minutes, occasionally stirring.

Place one dough round in bottom of pie plate leaving some overhanging the edge.  Place pie bird in center and spoon berry mixture into pie shell around pie bird, then dot the top with butter.
pie bird
Pie Bird

Make a small slit in middle of second dough round and arrange berries around the pie bird and into pie.  Crimp edges to seal. Brush top of pie with egg and sprinkle with sugar.

Place on a cookie sheet and bake 45 minutes to 1 hour. If edges brown too quickly cover with foil or use pie edge shields. Let cool before serving.  Serve with ice cream or whipped topping.
Serves 8.

Blueberry and Chicken Salad

Summer says "salad time" to me. With fresh produce and fruits readily available, especially at farmers markets, it's so easy to make attractive salads.  Sumptuous Spoonfuls recently blogged this delightful salad which was a hit in our house.

I must  admit we like Wendy's chicken salad with pecans. cheese and apples and I've cloned it at home.  This salad is just as tasty, and what could be healthier: nuts, cheese, greens, chicken and fruit all in one dish.

This salad is a good way to use leftover roast chicken, otherwise use a cooked chicken breast. I keep almonds on hand in the freezer to keep them fresh for recipes.

I also used bottled raspberry dressing, but any homemade vinaigrette dressing would work.

Be creative! Other herbs or veggies can be added.

Here's the basic recipe.

Blueberry and Chicken Salad
3 to 4 oz. cooked chicken, cubed or sliced
sliced onion onion
1/3 to 1/2 cup of blueberries
toasted almonds
mix salad greens
crumbled goat cheese
cherry, pomegranate or raspberry vinaigrette dressing
optional: edible flowers or croutons for garnish

While chicken is cooling fill a salad bowl or plate with salad greens. Top with as many blueberries as you desire, then sprinkle with onions, almonds, and crumbled goat cheese. Add the chicken, drizzle with the dressing.  Salad can be garnished with edible flowers, pansies or nasturtiums.

Estimated cost for one salad: $1.00 or less.

Roast Cabbage with Bacon

Cabbage is a great side dish and so economical, especially during the summer.  I recently tried and tweaked this roast cabbage recipe from Green Lite and my husband raved, so it's a keeper.

I served it with breaded pork chops and a salad.

A splash of balsamic vinegar was also added, as we like it on cabbage, brussel sprouts, and also spinach.

When I buy a head of cabbage for the two of us, I  slice it in half and make cole slaw to have on hand for meals, then use the other half for a cooked or roasted vegetable dish like this.

Roast Cabbage with Bacon
2 tsp. olive oil 
4 Tabs. cooked chopped bacon
3 Tabs. lemon juice
2 Tab. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper (or less to taste)
1 medium head of cabbage,cut into 4 wedges
aluminum foil to wrap each wedge.
Balsamic vinegar when serving.
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
Preheat the oven (or grill) to 425 degrees.

Mix olive oil, bacon , lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper to make a marinade.

Place wedge on foil and drizzle a few tablespoons of marinade over wedge, then wrap each wedge and bake 20-30 minutes. If they're going to sit awhile, take out at 20 minutes. If desired, splash with a bit of balsamic vinegar when serving.

Leftovers can be frozen and reheated in the microwave.

Serves 4.

Estimated cost: $2.00 or less; .50 cents a serving or less.