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!


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.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Mom's mustard gravy

Mom's mustard gravy

I never fully understood, or respected, the level of love my mother had for preparing my meals.  I can now say, that I really took it for granted.  She was/is an amazing cook.   I have found myself trying to recreate her food more and more.
This recipe is one that I didn't know about.  It was my favorite growing up, but after finding out how she made it (using the dripping from our Sunday roast) I didn't know if it could be done.  I got creative in the kitchen today, and the end result was so close to what I remember.  I was thrilled.  So much, I made some mashed potatoes, just so I could eat more. 

Now, before you look at this recipe and say hell no, this is too much effort!  Just think about this;  You get 3 cups of fantastic gravy.  You can use different mustard, and get different tastes.  You can double the recipe and make enough for the whole week.  It may be the gateway gravy to convert your non-plantbased I need to go on?  (hahahaha)
OK, lets get down to the recipe.


1 medium onion, peeled, cut in half, and sliced into half moon pieces
5 large cloves of garlic, peeled and left whole
1 large carrot, peeled, and chopped roughly
1 rib of celery, cleaned and chopped
2 cups sliced mushrooms (I used cremini) 
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce (you can use whatever sub on this one)
1/2 tsp. dried oregano (or 1 tsp fresh chopped)
1 tsp. sugar in the raw (or your sweetener of choice)
4 cups water
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (you can change this up with regular mustard, grainy mustard, spicy mustard.....)
2 tablespoons thickener of choice with 2 tablespoons water (slurry) (I used low sodium corn starch, but you could use rice flour or sweet potato starch)

You will also need a large saute pan, a whisk, a blender and fine mesh strainer

(sugar in the raw) 

Place your saute pan on the stove, and heat up on Medium.

Add your onions and garlic.  

Break apart, and saute for 5 minutes. 

After 5 minutes, they should just start to take on some color.

Add the remaining veggies (carrots, celery, mushrooms) and the spices and sugar.

Stir well, and saute for 10 minutes.  Stir often, and if things stick too much, add a little water.  You want to try and get things to brown a bit (FLAVOR)

After 10 minutes, turn the heat up to medium high.  Add your water and soy sauce.

Stir well, and allow to come to a simmer.  Simmer for 10 minutes, uncovered.

While it is simmering, clean up your mess.  
After 10 minutes, remove from the heat, and pour (carefully!) into a blender.  
Blend on high for about 30 seconds.
Pour the mix through a fine mesh strainer (now, if you are adventurous, you could leave all the blended stuff in the gravy, I don't like chunky gravy)

You should have about 3 cups of liquid at this point. 

 Return the strained liquid to the pan.

Add the mustard, and whisk until smooth.

Bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Add the starch slurry you made and whisk until thick.

Serve right away.  You can serve over mashed potatoes, over baked potatoes, over pretty much anything you want gravy on.  
Put the leftovers in a glass jar, and store in the fridge.  It will keep for a few days.  It just needs to be warmed up and enjoy.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Crispy baby potato bites

Crispy baby potato bites

I realize that I could just update my other post, for crispy mushrooms (found here), but these were so good, and I used different flavors......Well, it just needed it's own post.
My kids ate the whole recipe with me, and it left us all wanting more.  That is always a good thing.
These would be really good for snacks at a party.  Make some different dips (although ketchup was really good)  You could also make these spicy by adding red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper to the mix.
Here are the simple ingredients and instructions.


1 lb (or more) baby potatoes, washed, and sliced in half
1/2 cup masa flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 cup water
1 cup of panko bread crumbs

2 large bowls
a spoon to stir
a whisk
a baking sheet with parchment paper lined

a wire rack if you have it

Preheat oven to 425°f 

Dry ingredients added to a large bowl

Baby potatoes


Whisk the dry ingredients to blend

Add 1 cup water, and whisk until smooth.  You want it to be the consistency of pancake batter.
Add your sliced potatoes, and stir to cover them all in the batter.

In another large bowl, add your panko bread crumbs.

I made a little production line, wet to crumbs to pan.

After you get all the potatoes covered in batter, move them to the bread crumbs.  Cover and press the crumbs in.

If you are using a wire rack, place the slices on the rack.  If not, place the slices cut side down on the parchment paper. (you could use a silicone mat too)

Place the potatoes in your hot oven, and bake for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, remove and turn the slices over.  Put back in the oven and bake another 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes (trust me, you cannot eat them right now anyways)

Serve while hot.  You can serve with BBQ sauce, Ketchup, or just on their own.
I hope you give these a try.


1 lb (or more) baby potatoes, washed, and sliced in half
1/2 cup masa flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 cup water
1 cup of panko bread crumbs

2 large bowls
a spoon to stir
a whisk
a baking sheet with parchment paper lined

a wire rack if you have it

Preheat oven to 425°f 
Bake 30 minutes, remove and turn each one, put back in the oven for another 10 minutes.  Remove and let sit for 5 minutes before serving. 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Michelle's spicy pumpkin soup

Michelle's spicy pumpkin soup

One of my favorite things to do, is create a recipe from requests.  It shoots a new idea in my head, and allows me to explore things I wouldn't have before.
My friend Michelle, who I really admire, requested this soup.  So it was only fitting to name it after her.  I love seeing pictures of her food, she always spikes everything with red chili flakes.  So, I know for sure that she loves spicy food.
The ingredients and cooking time for this soup are super easy.  There is lots of room to add other things too.  So, use this as a basic recipe and get creative. 


1 medium pumpkin (kabocha squash) peeled and chunked (aprox. 4 cups or 512g)
1 small cauliflower, cleaned and cut into chunks (about the same size as pumpkin) (256g or 2 cups)
1 large Thai red chili, sliced thin (you can remove the seeds if you want less spicy)
1 large shallot, peeled and sliced thin
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thin
6 cups (1200ml) water
Juice of 2 limes

1/2 tsp. ground coriander 
1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
1 tsp. onion powder
1/8 tsp. galangal powder (you can use fresh if you have it, or you can use ginger)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
red pepper flakes to garnish

Place a large pot on the stove (I used my large wok) and turn heat to medium.
Add the shallots and garlic.  Saute for 5 minutes.  If things stick, add a little water.

After 5 minutes, add the carrots and Thai red pepper.  Saute another 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, add the pumpkin and cauliflower.  Saute for 2 minutes.

After 2 minutes, add the water, and stir well.

Add all the spices.

Stir well again and increase heat to medium high, and bring to a boil.

When it comes to a boil, cover and reduce the heat to medium low.

No peeking!  Cook for 28-30 minutes. (Check at 28 minutes).  You want the pumpkin to almost be broken down.  It adds to the thickness of the soup.  Turn the heat off, and add the lime juice.

Stir well, check seasoning and add any salt and pepper, and serve right away. Garnish with some red pepper flakes.
This soup is even better the next day.  All the flavors meld together and it thickens up a bit.