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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Klunker's slow cooker potatoes

Klunker's slow cooker potatoes

I am always on the lookout for new potato recipes and ideas.  I love them, and I love how many things you can do with them.  If you look at it close, they are almost like tofu (settle down) in that they are a canvas that you can add lots of different flavors, and it absorbs it and becomes even more amazing.
I grew up in a German household, and so the mighty potato was a staple.  We ate potatoes all the time.  Mashed, fried, baked.......It was cheap and easy to feed a big family.  So, even after all these years, I want them......I almost need them.  

Sometimes I want to make something that I can do first thing in the morning, and they are ready when I get home.  Or, put in when I go to bed, and by morning, a meal to eat or pack.
I love my Instant Pot, but I also love my slow cooker.  They both play a major roll in my house.  This recipe can be made in the IP, just use the slow cooker feature.
OK, too much talking, lets get into the recipe.


Ingredients:

8 medium yukon gold potatoes, washed good
4 cups mushrooms
1 large onion, peeled and cut in half
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. salt and pepper
(included in the picture is my onion jam, I put that on top of the last layer.  It is not part of the recipe though.  The recipe can be found here)
You will also need a mandolin, food processor with a slicing blade, or sharp knife and your slow cooker


You will need to do a little prep work here.  You need to wash/clean your potatoes, mushrooms, and peel your onion.  You will cut the onion in half, and then place on your mandolin or food processor with the slicing blade attached.
After slicing, place in a bowl.  Do the same for the mushrooms.  I sliced the potatoes on the mandolin, mainly because I can adjust the thickness.




After you have gotten everything sliced, combine the spices (oregano, garlic powder, and salt/pepper)


Now the fun part.  Layering.  Start by putting a scant layer of onions and mushrooms on the bottom of the slow cooker.


Add a layer of potatoes


Sprinkle with some of the seasoning mix.  (make sure to cover all the pieces)


Now, add onions and mushrooms on top of the potatoes, another layer of potatoes, spices, repeat.  You want to end with a layer of potatoes and seasoning. (this is the layer I put the onion jam on) You could also put sauteed onions or garlic on top too.


Now place the lid on, and turn it on to low for 8 hours.  You can do this on high for 5 hours also.  ***just a side note***  When using a slow cooker, never take the top off while cooking.  Otherwise you are starting from square one.  Just let it do its magic.  You can also cook on low for 4 hours and high for 2 hours.
The mushrooms and onions make a gravy, and it adds to the great flavor.
When your time is up (well, not you, but your potatoes) serve.  



You can sprinkle fresh herbs over the top if you like.  Also, you may want more salt and pepper, or a squirt of sriracha. 


Most of all, enjoy.  It makes a good portion.  I will get 4 meals out of this. 
Please let me know if you try this, and if you liked it.  Also, I am always open to suggestions, so please feel free to share. 


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Klunker's Thai sweet chili sauce

 Klunker's Thai sweet chili sauce

I am about a week overdue with this recipe.  I promised to make it last week, and then I moved and got caught up in all that.  So, I hope late is OK.
I am so thrilled how this sauce turned out.  It is spicy and sweet.  I can think of so many things to use this on too.  Baked fries and steamed veggies will be the first thing I use this on.  

***I feel I need to put a note here.  Yes, there is a lot of brown sugar in this recipe (less than the store bought stuff though).  Don't panic!  This isn't soup.  You are not eating this whole recipe in one sitting.  This is a condiment, and you will only use a little bit at a time.***


 It is so easy to make.  There are not a ton of ingredients, and you can make this in under 30 minutes, easy.

Ingredients:


3 Thai red chili's.  Mine were about 4 inches long without the stem
1 tablespoon sambal oelek (ground chili paste)
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup brown sugar (or date sugar, or whatever you use for sweetener, but brown works best)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons starch (I used corn starch) you can use any other you want
4 tablespoons water (this will be mixed with your starch to make a slurry)
You will also need a blender, a small sauce pan, and a spoon to stir.

Cut the stems off your chili peppers.  Cut in half, and then each half cut lengthwise.  Put into your blender.  Add the garlic, sambal oelek, salt, and apple cider vinegar.


 Blend for about 10-12 seconds.  It will pretty much puree it, but there will be a few small chunks.  


 After blending, pour into your saucepan.  Pour your water (1 1/2 c) into the blender to get all the good stuff left behind.  Pour that into the pan too.  It will be a little frothy, but that will go away fast.



Add the brown sugar and stir in.


Turn the heat on medium, and let heat up for about 10 minutes.  Stir a couple of times while it is heating up.


After 10 minutes, the mixture should be hot, almost to a simmer.  
Stir your slurry together (starch and 4T water) and add to your sauce.  Make sure to stir well, until it is blended.  Now stir for the next 2 minutes.  This allows it to thicken a bit.  If you want it really thick, you can add another tablespoon of starch with 2 tablespoons water.  


Now remove from the heat, and set aside.  Let cool completely before transferring to your container.  I was able to get 3 1/2 half pint jars from this recipe.


Now, just store in the fridge.  It will last a long time in there.  
I hope you give this a try and if you make this, please let me know how it turned out.


Thursday, February 9, 2017

Onion Jam

Onion Jam

I needed something new for my baked potatoes.  I wanted something that I could just keep in the fridge, and take a dollop or two and be good to go.  
Now, understand that sometimes good things take time.  The nice thing, you can make this first thing in the morning and forget about it all day long.  Even if you make this in your Instant Pot, I would suggest using the slow cooker mode.  You want the onions to release their natural sugars and flavor.  I have both and IP and slow cooker, and I would strongly suggest using the slow cooker.

Ingredients

4 lbs. sweet onions (Vidalia, red, Mayan sweets) peeled, and sliced very thin (by mandolin or food processor with slicing blade)
1/2 cup of maple syrup (seems like a lot, but you are not eating the whole recipe in one sitting.  This is a condiment)

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 
1 tsp. kosher salt (optional)
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2-1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. liquid smoke


Now, the first part is going to be sad.  You will cry, and that is OK.  You need to slice 4 lbs. of onions, and you need to slice them thin.  To make it easier, I suggest using a mandolin or food processor.  


 Put the sliced onions into your slow cooker.


Add all the remaining ingredients on top.


With a wooden spoon, stir everything up.


Now, wipe your tears away, because you can now cover the onions, turn the slow cooker on low, and walk away for 10 hours.  You read that right, 10 hours. Don't overreact, it isn't like you have to sit and watch it for 10 hours.
Might I suggest using that time to clean up your mess?
After 10 hours, come back and remove the lid.



You should have brown, soft, and delicious smelling onions.
Using an immersion blender, or with a blender (carefully, and in shifts) give the onion mix a course chop.  You are not wanting to puree them, just break down a bit.  You still want it to be chunky.


Now, transfer into your choice of container.  I used pint jars.  Let it cool completely.  Store in the fridge.  Because of the sweetness and the vinegar, you can store for a couple of weeks in the fridge.  (I really don't see it lasting that long though).
I hope you give this a try, and enjoy!!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Sweet and smoky baked black beans

Sweet and smoky baked black beans

I am not the worlds biggest fan of beans.  I don't mind them, but I don't crave them either.  I am more often happy as a bean, rather than eating them.
When I do eat beans, I expect them to wow me.  I want them to taste good and make me not regret eating them.  So, writing a bean recipe means I want them to be good.  I think I hit the nail on the head, and actually really enjoyed these little black nuggets of gas.
This recipe is pretty simple, even though it seems like there are a ton of ingredients.  It comes together fast, and you will be happy that you made them.  These are great on their own, as a side, or put on a nice baked potato, or over rice.

Preheat oven to 350°
You will need a large saute pan, and an ovenproof pan (I have a Pyrex baking dish) 


Ingredients

2 14.5 oz cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 lb. mushrooms, cleaned and sliced thin
1/2 large red onion, sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped fine

1 medium red bell pepper, cleaned, seeded, and chopped small
1/4 cup dark brown sugar 
1/2 tsp. salt and pepper (each) (optional)
1 tsp. dried oregano 

1/2 tsp. dried mustard powder (I use Coleman's brand)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 tsp. liquid smoke
2 tablespoons bourbon (if you must, you can use bourbon extract)
1/4 cup of your favorite ketchup




Place a large saute pan on the stove, over medium heat.  Let it warm up for about a minute.

Add the onions and garlic, saute for 5 minutes.



After 5 minutes, add the red pepper, mushrooms, salt and pepper. (the salt helps draw out the moisture in the mushrooms)  Saute another 5 minutes.





After 5 minutes, remove from heat, and add everything else except the black beans.  (brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, liquid smoke, spices, bourbon, and ketchup)



Mix together well.
Add the black beans (finally, I know)  Mix everything together well.


Now, dump that glorious pan of yummy stuff into your baking pan.


Spread it out and make it look pretty.
Place in your oven, uncovered, for 45 minutes to one hour (check after 45 minutes).  This will give you enough time to clean that mess you just made.
After 45 minutes to 1 hour, removed from the oven (carefully, don't burn yourself) and place on a hot pad.  Admire what you just made.  Smell the delightful aroma coming from this pan.
Now, stir it up, to spread all the caramelized goo to every bean.


Well, what are you waiting for?  Dive in!!
I hope you enjoy this recipe, and can make it a happy and tasty part of your menu.  If you don't, let me know.  If you do, let me know.

(***I have not made this in my IP.  Until I do, I will not have instructions for making it.***)

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Klunker's smoky shredded brussels sprouts

Klunker's smoky shredded brussels sprouts

Growing up, there were two things that I remember, Butter and Bacon.  I guess being German, it was part of the package.  I remember my mother making some of the most amazing dishes, and they included butter and bacon.
Buzz forward to now, and I find myself wanting to make some of those dishes.  Problem is, butter and bacon.  It is taking some creative effort to recreate some things.
Now, growing up, I was not a fan of brussels sprouts.  It was an acquired taste for me, but now I love them.

I am grateful for mushrooms and their ability to mimic flavors that I miss.  Mind you, I love mushrooms, no matter how they are made.  For the sake of this recipe, they have taken the roll of bacon.  
OK, lets make some delicious food!

Ingredients 

1 1/2 lbs. fresh brussels sprouts, trimmed and shredded (you can slice super thin, use a food processor, or some stores sell them pre-shredded, see image)
1 lb. mushrooms, cleaned and sliced super thin (easiest way is with a slicing blade on your food processor, see image)
6 large cloves garlic, peeled and chopped fine
1 tsp. liquid smoke
2-4 tablespoons Carolina barbecue sauce, or your favorite hot sauce
salt and pepper to taste
You will also need a large, nonstick saute' pan and a wooden spoon.



Now, here are the simple instructions
Place your large saute pan over medium high heat.  Let it heat up for about a minute.



Add your mushrooms



Your garlic



and your liquid smoke



Stir together well.  Saute for 5 minutes.



After 5 minutes, stir around again.  Saute' another 5 minutes.  If your mushrooms are extra moist, you may need to saute a little longer.  You want to saute until they are almost dry.



Now, add your brussels sprouts



Stir them into your mushrooms.  Saute for 5-8 minutes, turning often.  You do not want to overcook them.  You want them to still have a little crunch.



Now, drizzle with your Carolina BBQ sauce, or hot sauce.  Mix around.
Test for salt and pepper.  I like to lay the pepper on thick.
Serve right away.  
Now you see, it was just that easy. 
If they are not done enough for you, saute a little longer.  Try to not overcook though.



I served mine with some grilled polenta and sliced grape tomatoes.