May 30, 2014

Quick Pickled Radishes

These pickled radishes are the perfect punch to any salad or sandwich. They also taste great right out of the jar. They get much more potent the longer they stay in the fridge so beware.

Quick Pickled Radishes
Recipes adapted from here, herehere, and here
Ingredients:
  • 1 bag baby radishes (about 12 oz.)
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 3 sprigs dill
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
Directions:
Thinly slice the radishes, onion, and garlic cloves. I used a food processor for the radishes.
Quick Pickled Radishes | hardparade.blogspot.com
Quick Pickled Radishes | hardparade.blogspot.com
In a large bowl, combine the vinegar, water, salt, sugar, dill, and peppercorns
Quick Pickled Radishes | hardparade.blogspot.com
Add the sliced radishes, onion, and garlic to the mixture and evenly divide into jars
Quick Pickled Radishes | hardparade.blogspot.com
Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving then enjoy!
Quick Pickled Radishes | hardparade.blogspot.com

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May 20, 2014

Quick Bread n' Butter Pickles

These pickles involve little prep and little pickling time but not little flavor! I got this recipe from my friend who is a fantastic cook. These pickles are not canned or preserved and I do not know how long they will keep in the refrigerator. My suggestion is to add them to everything (salads! sandwiches! side dishes!) and then you'll have no need to be nervous about their longevity.

Quick Bread n' Butter Pickles
Ingredients:
  • 3 1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 1/2 cups hot water
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard seed
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 3 cucumbers, sliced (how thin you want is up to you)
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp red chili flakes (you can omit if you don't like spicy)
Directions:
Slice the cucumbers to your desired thickness. I used a squiggle cutter.
Quick Bread n' Butter Pickles | hardparade.blogspot.com

Combine the white vinegar, hot water, sugar, mustard seed, turmeric, salt, and chili flakes
Quick Bread n' Butter Pickles | hardparade.blogspot.com

Divide your cucumber slices evenly into jars as best as you can. I used 3 quart sized Ball mason jars
Quick Bread n' Butter Pickles | hardparade.blogspot.com
Pour the pickling liquid over the sliced cucumbers, making sure they're submerged
Quick Bread n' Butter Pickles | hardparade.blogspot.com
Fridge for at least half an hour, the longer the better! I put these on a tuna melt and the slight heat and sweetness worked nicely with the cheese and the bite of red onion (I mix red onion into my tuna salad).
Quick Bread n' Butter Pickles | hardparade.blogspot.com


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May 16, 2014

Bacon & Brussels Sprouts Pizza

Bacon & Brussels Sprouts Pizza | hardparade.blogspot.com
Pizza just tastes better on Friday, don't you think? I'm from an area on the East Coast where the bagels are boiled and the pizza crust is THIN and crispy so I've had to do some adjusting since moving to Boston. 
Do you fold your pizza when you eat it? I do and so does everyone I grew up with - it's gotta be a regional thing. The crust on this pizza is a bit thicker and chewier than I'm used to but overall, it's super tasty and I will definitely be coming back to it.

Bacon & Brussels Sprouts Pizza
Recipe modified from How Sweet It Is
Serves 2-4, Special Equipment: Cast iron skillet
Ingredients:
  • Crust (makes enough for two crusts)
    • 1 1/8 cup hot water (no hotter than 110f)
    • 3 tsp active dry yeast
    • 1 tbsp honey
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 and 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 and 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
    • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pizza (makes enough for topping one crust)
    • 6 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
    • 1 shallot, sliced
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1/2 lb Brussels sprouts, stems removed and thinly sliced
    • 1/4 tsp pepper
    • 1/8 tsp salt
    • 4 oz. Provolone cheese, freshly grated
    • 4 oz. Fontina cheese, freshly grated
    • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
      • A note on cheeses, you can really use whatever melting cheeses you like. Use less or more than the amounts listed to your liking.
Directions - Crust:
In a large bowl, combine yeast, honey, and olive oil. Add hot water and stir until just combined. Set it in a warm place until the yeast blooms, about ten minutes. Once it has bloomed, stir in the all purpose flour and 1 cup of the whole wheat flour along with the salt until it becomes sticky.
Bacon & Brussels Sprouts Pizza | hardparade.blogspot.com
Form the dough into a ball and work in the last 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour while kneading the dough on a floured surface. Rub the bowl you used before with some olive oil and put the dough ball in it, rolling it around to coat it with the oil. Cover with a tea towel and set in a warm area for 1.5 hours. 
Bacon & Brussels Sprouts Pizza | hardparade.blogspot.com
Bacon & Brussels Sprouts Pizza | hardparade.blogspot.com
After the dough has risen, punch it down and put it back on your floured surface. Divide the dough evenly in half. Put one of the dough balls on a well-floured pizza peel (or whatever you have that can substitute - I used the bottom of springform pan) and push, pull, and roll it into the size of your skillet. 
Bacon & Brussels Sprouts Pizza | hardparade.blogspot.com
Directions - Pizza:
Heat a large pan and add bacon, cooking until crispy and the fat has rendered. While bacon is cooking, slice the shallot, Brussels sprouts, and garlic.
Bacon & Brussels Sprouts Pizza | hardparade.blogspot.com
Remove the bacon to a paper towel to drain. Get rid of all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease from the pan, reduce the heat to medium-low, and add the sliced shallot to the remaining bacon grease. Cook for 5 minutes until soft and translucent then add the sprouts, garlic, salt and pepper. Sauté for 6-8 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Bacon & Brussels Sprouts Pizza | hardparade.blogspot.com
Put an oven rack directly under your broiler and preheat to the highest setting or just preheat if you have a separate broiler as part of your oven. Take out your cast iron skillet and put it on the stove over very high heat. It needs to be heated for 10 minutes during which time it may smoke, so adjust your temperature while still keeping it very hot.

While your broiler and skillet are heating, start decorating your pizza (fun part!). You can assemble it however you want - I did cheese then sprouts and bacon (crumbled it first) then more cheese then more sprouts...you get the idea. 
Bacon & Brussels Sprouts Pizza | hardparade.blogspot.com
Put a thick towel or potholder on the handle of the skillet. Carefully slide the pizza into the skillet (while it is still on the heat!). After about 30 seconds, turn the heat off on the stove, grab the skillet (using the thick towel/potholder) and put it in the oven on the rack you set up. Broil for a minute, rotate 180, broil for another minute. Take it out of the oven and place on the stove. 
Bacon & Brussels Sprouts Pizza | hardparade.blogspot.com
Let cool for about five minutes then use a spatula to remove. Cut into slices and enjoy!
Bacon & Brussels Sprouts Pizza | hardparade.blogspot.com
Bacon & Brussels Sprouts Pizza | hardparade.blogspot.com
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May 15, 2014

German Apple Cake

German Apple Cake | hardparade.blogspot.com
Ever have apples lying around, starting to get soft and squishy? Before automatically tossing them into the garbage, why not dice them up into a German apple cake! This thick, chewy cake is easy to throw together and uses ingredients that are most likely in your pantry already, so no outsourcing for anything weird.

German Apple Cake
Serves  12
Ingredients:
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 cups peeled, cored, and chopped apples
    • I used Gala
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350f. In a large bowl, combine the all the ingredients except the apples. Mix thoroughly to combine; it will become a thick batter.
German Apple Cake | hardparade.blogspot.com
Peel, core, and chop the apples. I usually like to leave the skin on but these apples were pretty bruised up.
German Apple Cake | hardparade.blogspot.com
German Apple Cake | hardparade.blogspot.com
Add the apples into the mixed batter and keep stirring until combined (elbow grease!). Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray and evenly spread out the mixture.
German Apple Cake | hardparade.blogspot.com
Bake at 350f for 50 minutes. Let cool and slice into 12 pieces. Great on its own, for breakfast on the go, or topped with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream!
German Apple Cake | hardparade.blogspot.com
German Apple Cake | hardparade.blogspot.com
German Apple Cake | hardparade.blogspot.com
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May 13, 2014

Beer-Braised Short Ribs with Cornmeal Pancakes

Beer-Braised Short Ribs with Cornmeal Pancakes | hardparade.blogspot.com
It's hard to resist belly-warming short ribs, especially when they're on top of sweet and crunchy cornmeal pancakes. These babies can be for breakfast OR dinner making them a total hit. You can nix the pancakes and opt for creamy mashed potatoes to turn this into a heartier, show-stopping main course (not that it isn't already!). 

Beer-Braised Short Ribs with Cornmeal Pancakes
Recipe from the cookbook "Breakfast for Dinner" by Love and Olive Oil
Serves 6
Beer-Braised Short Ribs with Cornmeal Pancakes | hardparade.blogspot.com
Ingredients - Short Ribs:
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs beef short ribs
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • 1 can beer, preferably a stout
    • I used MOA Imperial Stout because it was both on hand and is delicious
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Directions - Short Ribs:
Preheat the oven to 300f. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Pat ribs dry then add them to the pot and sear each side, turning every 45 seconds until evenly browned on all sides, about 7 minutes. Set aside. Pro Tip: Patting dry the ribs help brown them better for a more delicious sear. 
Beer-Braised Short Ribs with Cornmeal Pancakes | hardparade.blogspot.com

Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion and jalapeno, cooking until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the beer and broth and cook for 1 minute, scraping the bits from the bottom of the Dutch oven. Stir in the brown sugar, tomato paste, honey, cinnamon, cumin, salt and pepper.
Beer-Braised Short Ribs with Cornmeal Pancakes | hardparade.blogspot.com
Put the ribs back into the Dutch oven and bring the mixture to a simmer. 
Beer-Braised Short Ribs with Cornmeal Pancakes | hardparade.blogspot.com
Cover it, put it in the oven, and bake for 2 1/2 hours, turning the ribs once halfway through the cooking time.
Beer-Braised Short Ribs with Cornmeal Pancakes | hardparade.blogspot.com
Beer-Braised Short Ribs with Cornmeal Pancakes | hardparade.blogspot.com
Transfer cooked ribs to a plate until cool enough to handle and shred the meat, discarding the bones. 
Beer-Braised Short Ribs with Cornmeal Pancakes | hardparade.blogspot.com
Transfer the liquid from the Dutch oven to a wide, shallow bowl and refrigerate until completely cool so the fat solidifies on the top and you can skim it off. (ew)
Beer-Braised Short Ribs with Cornmeal Pancakes | hardparade.blogspot.com
Return the liquid to a saucepan, simmer over medium heat until thickened and reduced a bit, about 15 minutes. Add the shredded short rib meat and stir until evenly coated and heated through.
Beer Braised Short Ribs with Cornmeal Pancakes | hardparade.blogspot.com
While the liquid is simmering, thickening, and reducing, start making your cornmeal pancakes.
Ingredients - Cornmeal Pancakes:
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 2/3 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels, about 2 ears
  • Olive oil (for cooking)
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, diced (for garnish)
Directions - Cornmeal Pancakes: 
Whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Stir in the egg and milk until the dry ingredients are evenly moistened then fold in the corn kernels.
Beer-Braised Short Ribs with Cornmeal Pancakes | hardparade.blogspot.com
Heat a little bit of olive oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Drop the batter into the skillet, spreading it into 3-inch rounds (do the best you can, I found this part a little difficult). Cook for 1-2 minutes per side or until golden brown.
Beer-Braised Short Ribs with Cornmeal Pancakes | hardparade.blogspot.com
Transfer to a paper towel to drain the excess oil and repeat until all the batter is used up. To serve, top the pancakes with a scoop of short ribs and a bit of diced apple!
Beer-Braised Short Ribs with Cornmeal Pancakes | hardparade.blogspot.com

Beer-Braised Short Ribs with Cornmeal Pancakes | hardparade.blogspot.com
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May 7, 2014

Chicken Shawarma Pockets

Chicken Shawarma Pockets | hardparade.blogspot.com

Chicken can be so boring, right? I used to stay away from it because I felt like it was always the same - marinated, baked, and sliced - BORING. Ever since starting Weight Watchers, I've been exploring more ways to cook chicken since it's so lean and I'm finally beginning to actually like it! Especially in this recipe.

One of my favorite takeout foods is shawarma (along with kabobs, gyros, falafels, etc...) so I was excited to find a stay-at-home version that was not only super easy to make but also extremely delicious. The only downside is now we have a huge container of tahini in the already-cramped condiments area of our fridge. Guess I need to start investing in some hummus recipes...

Spicy Chicken Shawarma
Recipe slightly modified from Cooking Light
Serves 4, Serving Size: 2 pita halves, PointsPlus: 10
Ingredients:
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/8 tsp ground coriander
  • 5 tbsp plain, fat-free Greek yogurt, divided
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice, divided
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced, divided
  • 1 lb skinless, boneless, chicken breast halves, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 4 pitas, halved
    • I use Joseph's Flax & Oat, only 2 points per pita!
  • 1/2 cup cucumber, chopped
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
Directions:
  • Combine parsley, salt, red pepper, ginger, cumin, and coriander in a large bowl, stir in 1 tbsp yogurt, 1 tbsp lemon juice, and 2 minced garlic cloves
  • Add chicken, tossing to coat
    • You can marinate the chicken for 30 minutes in the fridge for extra flavor
  • Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, add chicken mixture to pan, sautéeing until chicken is browned and cooked through, stirring frequently
  • While the chicken is cooking, combine remaining 1/4 cup yogurt, remaining 1 tbsp lemon juice and minced garlic clove, and the tahini in a large bowl, stirring until well combined
  • Spread 1/2 tsp tahini mixture inside each pita half then divide chicken evenly among pitas
  • Fill each pita with cucumbers, tomatoes, onion, and spinach

Have leftover tahini mixture? Use it as a healthy and delicious dip for veggies!
Don't forget to LIKE Hard Parade on Facebook!
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May 1, 2014

Celebrate: Cinco de Mayo Recipe Roundup

Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner and I have a bunch of recipes for you to make either just for dinner or a fiesta with friends. From tacos to enchiladas to soup, here are some flavorful, spicy, and healthy recipes for Cinco de Mayo. Don't forget to grab the tequila (or mezcal as I prefer) and make some margs!

Grilled Mushroom & Poblano Tacos with Pico de Gallo
Cinco de Mayo Recipes | hardparade.blogspot.com

Cinco de Mayo Recipes | hardparade.blogspot.com
Cinco de Mayo Recipes | hardparade.blogspot.com
Happy Cinco de Mayo! How are you celebrating and more importantly, what are you eating?! Let me know in the comments and don't forget to LIKE Hard Parade on Facebook for more food and fun!
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