cleverchickadee


Pretty Purple Slaw, a recipe by quornflour

Well, it isn’t really summer, but with the blue skies and sunshine and above zero temps, it sure feels like it.

So I made some fish and chips and slaw. Coleslaw is one of those foods that is either delicious or gross, it makes me sad when I have bad slaw. From the number of places I have had it in Minnesota, it seems to be pretty much a fact that Minnesotians can’t make slaw. No offence guys, but mayo and cabbage slaw does not make.

Here is what you need:

  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • 4 teaspoons of brown sugar
  • ½ a cup miracle whip
  • ¼ cup crushed pineapple
  • ½ a head of red cabbage chopped into thin strips
  • ¼ cup craisins
  • ¼ cup finely chopped pecans

In a bowl add vinegar, mustard seeds and red onion and set aside for about an hour.

Add the sugar miracle whip and pineapple and mix well. Stir in cabbage, nuts and craisins and let sit for at least an hour in the fridge.

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How to Cut a Pepper by quornflour

I am not sure why everyone does not know this, it is so simple…

  1. Cut the top and the bottom off
  2. Make a slice down the side
  3. Insert knife
  4. Roll pepper cutting along the edges of the pepper

You can pop the stem out of the middle of the top and use the meat as you like. Dry out the seeds and sprout them for your own plants or compost the middle.



Kickin’ Cranberry Chutney: a Recipe by quornflour

One of my very most favorite things about holiday food is cranberries. I freaking L-O-V-E love them.

I like cranberry juice ok, but I love cranberry sauce. So much in fact I buy them and put them in the freezer so I have them months later. I make tons of extra cranberry sauce and can it so I can enjoy it in the summer. I even eat the canned stuff.

The other day when we were sitting around talking about having a charity lunch with the theme east meets west, I offered to make cranberry chutney. Ok, I also offered to make Curry Mussels, which are delicious, but since I already made them, it was not going to make much of a new recipe blog post.

I remember making some form of a cranberry chutney when I was in middle school maybe, but I wanted something with more of a kick, so here goes.

Remember I made this for a charity lunch, so I made a lot.

  • 24 oz (2 bags) of cranberries – frozen
  • 2 oranges
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin

You also need a blender or a food processor…

Zest the orange and the lemon, trim off some of the pith, you don’t need to remove it all, and if your fruits aren’t too pithy you don’t need to bother with it.

Then everything in the blender (or food processor) and whirr it up.

It is tart and sweet and then leaves a little kick at the end.



We Got the Beet: a Recipe by quornflour

I love beets. I know a lot of people do not like them, but those people are silly.

One of my favorite ways to cook them is a result of a CSA grocery box years ago.

In this box there were these 4 giant red beets, and a big bunch of collards and a small red onion. The only thing you need to add is 2 tablespoons of butter (or olive oil if you want to make it vegan), a pinch of salt (around 1/8th of a teaspoon) and a quarter cup of water.

  1. chop up your onion into quarter inch pieces
  2. wash and cut your beets into ½ inch pieces
  3. cut your collards in half then into 1 inch strips
  4. in a 4-5 Quart Dutch oven on medium heat melt your butter
  5. caramelize the onions
  6. add the beats and the water
  7. cook until they are soft enough to poke with a fork
  8. add the collards and cook until they brighten

Serve warm.



Simple Pasta Salad by quornflour

If I do not have a ton of time when I get home, I like to throw together a quick pasta salad. I like to make this one because it is good both warm and cold, so it travels as left overs really well.

All you need is:

  • 1 cup of cooked pasta
  • 2 table spoons of coarse chopped basil
  • 1 large tomato chopped
  • 2 teaspoons grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 small finely chopped garlic clove
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons of olive oil

Toss it all together and enjoy. Quick, easy, delicious!



the Art of Snack Trays by quornflour

Ok, first of all, please tell me if you know someone who does not love a good snack tray, because I am pretty sure I do not know them.

That said, my dear friend Missy, is the top snack tray maker in the country. You get a snack tray from her and you are pretty sure you have died and gone to whatever version of heaven you might believe in. If you do not believe in heaven, then these snack trays make you think about changing your mind. Yes, they are just that good.

I have no idea why, it might be the liquor she serves with them, but I am pretty sure it is the combination of veggies and cheese and other crunchy goodness.

It could also be the lack of ranch dressing. I get it, people love the crap, but seriously, it is gross.

I have these memories of childhood of ranch dressing ads and them giving it to people, these people standing there stumbling around, minds.blown. I could not wait to try it. I did not understand the fuss. I still don’t. I am pretty sure it contains the craek.

Anyway, the few glasses of wine I had before writing this have most certainly caused me to digress, just a tad. Where was I?

Oh yes, snack trays. They are great when folks come over, or you want to have some dinner, but do not want to have to actually assemble it for others.

This past summer, it was hot and I traveled a lot so I made a lot of snack trays.

Here are some:

Staring simple we have the semi generic fancy seeming cheeses (brie, Colby and extra sharp cheddar) and round water crackers. I get this sense that when a cracker is round, and not a Ritz, it is fancy. Even a Ritz has a fancy name!

The Frenchie-McFrencherson: brie, hard peppered salami, green apple and blueberries. This provides a nice punch of sweet, tangy and salty and is gluten free!

The Italian Job: mozzarella, basil, tomatoes, sour dough bread and hard peppered salami. You will feel like a mobster when you eat this. Just don’t hang out in the sauna after you eat this.

The Better than the Airlines Can Do Cheese Tray: mozzarella, brie, tomatoes, cucumbers, pecans, hard peppered salami, spreadable chive cheese and pita bread. With this one you will feel like you have been whisked away, but still have all of the comforts of home, no jetlag and sadly you still have to clean up after yourself.

Lastly, a favorite stand-by the Buffy the Caprese Slayer: cherry tomatoes, basil wrapped mozzarella, drizzled in garlic olive oil and balsamic vinegar. This one is a favorite of the germaphobes, plus it is a great way to keep kids busy in the kitchen while you are pouring the wine, um I mean cooking other things.

Now these are just a few, there are loads more. Share your favorites and I will post more later!



Clever Kids by quornflour

Recently, while staying with friends in Seattle, I was making dinner. My friend’s youngest daughter was home and needed something to do.

We were throwing a party and there were to be a load of people at the house. Yes I go visit friends, cook food, invite people over and leave the dishes for someone else. Ok, sometimes I help with clean-up, but as my friend once said, “it’s a cook thing you are an excellent chef, because you make a mess in the kitchen!”

Anyway, I was at my friend’s house and her younger daughter who is in first grade who is super smart and helpful needed a project.

So first up I had her make some Caprese skewers, I had picked up a pint of colorful cherry tomatoes and some tiny balls of mozzarella, pretty much everyone who has ever been on Pinterest has seen the various versions of this. Yes that is what I was making, but with a little more basil.

Simple instructions:

Cherry tomatoes, small mozzarella balls wrapped with basil leaves: stab on skewer.

After skewered: drizzle olive oil (garlic olive oil if you are fancy like me) and balsamic vinegar.

So first I had her (with a little help from her Uncle Peter who wrapped the mozzarella – not because she couldn’t but because he was there) make those.

Simple and delicious and saved me about 30 minutes.

I was preparing mussels, for which I wanted to use basil grass. Basil grass is finely sliced basil leaves, it is pretty and adds a nice burst of flavor since it crushes the leaves a bit.

So her second job was to make basil joint, cigars, rolls… they have many names, I suppose with a lot of people with kids, maybe rolls is a better word choice.

Anyway, to do this, you lay basil leaves on top of one another about 10 deep. You can use this for practice counting as well.



Then you roll them up starting at one long side.

Once you have done this, cut the basil in small strips and ta-dah! Now you are fancy with your basil grass.

Don’t you feel fancy?




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