Hot Ring Bologna with Chow Chow

One of the most beloved foods my mom ate during her trips to visit her grandmother in Salona, Pennsylvania was hot ring bologna.

Every nook and cranny in this world has its version of a salty, cured and freaky-good processed meat product. This one, pictured below, is what you’ll find in gas stations, butcher shops, and mom and pop shops across Western Pennsylvania. Unless you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you’d be a clown not to try it.

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I’m a vocal fan of processed meats. Hot dogs, Spam, Slim Jims, really – any meat in a can or a forced into an unnatural round or square shape will do it for me.

Not that I don’t love real-deal proteins, like a just-arrived-from-New-Zealand, gore-y rack of lamb. That undeniably delicious – read: salty & fatty flavor – and my total ambivalence over what part of the animal I’m eating inevitably draws me to tubular shaped foods like ring bologna.

I asked her how she ate this – imagining a very specific cooking process, or maybe a go-to sandwich on a very specific bun with very specific toppings. It turns out, they just ate it. They’d cut it into pieces and eat it cold. It’s cooked & cured to hell and back, so there’s no need to complicate things.

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But I like to complicate things. I wanted to get it sizzly, and render some of that fat, and serve it family-style right out of the pan for swift ingestion. So that’s what I did. Topped with local Chow Chow, which is a spicy, pickled garden vegetable medley you’ll find in Centre County where my family hails from, I can’t think of a dish that sums up eating in that part of the country better. Serve it with a German-inspired whole grain mustard sauce with two ingredients – mustard & some sour cream, for an added Oktoberfest vibe.

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Eat a whoopie pie afterward, and you’re really indulging like a Western Pennsylvania native.

Too bad for us because I’d, predictably, already eaten all the whoopie pies.

I N G R E D I E N T S

Serves 2 – 3 as an appetizer.

          1 hot ring bologna, brand of your choosing

          4 – 6 tablespoons Chow Chow, brand of your choosing

          1 / 4 cup whole grain mustard

          1 / 4 cup sour cream

D I R E C T I O N S

1.       Combine the whole grain mustard and sour cream. Set aside.

2.       Cut the ring bologna into 1 / 2 inch slices, on the diagonal. Remove the outer casing.

3.       Heat a skillet on high, add the bologna, and render the fat in the skillet, cooking on medium-high for 8 minutes or so.

4.       Remove from the heat, top with the Chow Chow, and serve alongside the mustard sauce, or pour dollops on top of the bologna and Chow Chow. Serve hot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Potato Chips with Caviar & Herb Dip

Caviar screams New Years Eve to me. More than champagne. More than black sequin dresses and New Years Eve horns.

I wish I knew more about the applications for caviar in cooking. But what I do know, is that I love the pop-in-your-mouth texture and how it tastes exactly like the sea. And man, talk about pretty.

In my food world, caviar is a special occasion-worthy indulgence if there ever was one. It goes super well paired with an over-the-top crème fraiche sauce. Potato chips are the perfect vehicle – crispy, salty and not too bulky.

And when it comes to preparing a dish with caviar, I didn’t want to reinvent the wheel. Look at any recipe that features caviar, and you’ll find it consistently accompanied by the same flavor profiles – think chives, smoked salmon, lemon, egg yolk, all on a crunchy, carby vehicle.

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Ina Garten published several caviar and egg roe recipes that will blow your socks off. I have her to thank for introducing me to the world of caviar in cooking. I’ve made her Caviar Dip with salmon roe, Lemon Capellini with Caviar and Blini with Smoked Salmon.

The image that pops into your head when you think of caviar is likely the Beluga variety – black-colored, small beads. It’s generally the most costly if you’re in the market for caviar. For a pound of the stuff, you’re talking $3,000 to $4,000. Good thing we don’t need to eat caviar by the ladleful to get the full caviar experience. For weeknight eating, there’s also the more affordable salmon roe caviar, which gives you the same fishy, salty punch for a lot less dough.

Luckily, we live in a food-obsessed world. There’s someone who lives near the Caspian Sea whose job is to procure fish eggs, pasteurize them, package them, and ship them around the world. Directly to my local Whole Foods.

On an average shopping day, it’s admittedly tempting every time I go by the fish aisle to pass it up. But I’ve been so good this year. So I let myself slip into the splurge.

If you don’t love caviar, this could very well change your mind. May your 2019 be caviar-filled all year round. 😊

I N G R E D I E N T S

  • 2 oz. caviar, of your choosing
  • Fresh parsley, for garnish, if desired

F o r  t h e  P o t a t o  C h i p s

  • 1 large Yukon Gold potato
  • 4 cups canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt

F o r  t h e  D i p

  • 1 cup crème fraiche
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, minced
  • 2 tablespoons dill, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chives, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 / 2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon capers
  • 2 dashes Tabasco
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Slice the potato with a mandoline, placing the slices in a large bowl filled with water. Let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the potato slices from the water, and dry thoroughly with a paper towel.
  2. Heat the canola or vegetable oil in a large shallow pan. To test the oil, put a slice of the potato in the oil. When it bubbles and starts to fry, add the rest of the potato slices.
  3. Fry on medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, until the chips are golden brown. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels, and sprinkle immediately with salt.
  4. In the meantime, combine the dip ingredients in a bowl. Stir until incorporated. Chill for at least 15 minutes.
  5. To assemble the appetizer, place a small spoonful of the sauce on a chip, top with a 1 / 4 to 1 / 2 teaspoon of caviar, and top with a sprig of parsley, if desired. Arrange on a serving plate. Serve room temperature.

 

 

Salmon Carpaccio

The story behind this recipe can be found in Hankerings’ latest post, Bonita Springs, Florida. I hope you enjoy!

I N G R E D I E N T S

Serves 2.

  • 1 lb. filet of fresh, fatty salmon
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 / 4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon capers, plus 1 teaspoon caper juice
  • 4 oz. parm reg
  • Fresh parsley, for garnish, if desired
  • Olive oil, as needed
  • Salt, as needed
  • Pepper, as needed

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. With a thin, flexible knife, shave thin slices of the salmon and place them on a platter. Continue to shave until most of the meat has been removed from the filet, cutting off dark red pieces of the salmon for better presentation and taste.
  2. Cut the lemon in half. Combine the juice from half the lemon with the sour cream, capers, a pinch of salt, a pinch of pepper, and a teaspoon or so of olive oil. Stir to combine and set aside.
  3. Cut the remaining half of lemon into slices. Arrange them on top of the salmon. Pour half the sauce over the top of the salmon, saving some for additional use later, if desired.
  4. Shave the parm reg over the salmon, and sprinkle with minced parsley, if desired. Garnish with cracked pepper as well, if desired.
  5. Serve room temperature.

Steamed Shrimp Cocktail Dumplings

If I see shumai on the menu, I’m getting them. They remind me of our dinners out at our local Chinese spot, Jade Billows, where I ate as a kid. There’s something about that chewy, pillow-y texture of the wontons that’s super craveable and familiar.

I make a lot of shrimp cocktail. It has slowly evolved from what should be a special occasion appetizer, to something I make at least twice a week. I can make cocktail sauce with a blindfold on. We’ve upgraded our monthly ketchup supply to a 64 ounce bottle, and we probably eat more horseradish in a month than the average American eats in two years.

So combining these two shrimp-loving appetizers was a no-brainer. This is another serious Frankenstein recipe for the books. The cocktail sauce – you guessed it – is an Asian-flavored version of the cocktail sauce we all know and love.

This was my first times folding, and steaming, dumplings – so I enrolled the help of a Google search to find ways to steam the dumplings without the traditional bamboo steamer. Some genius thought up the idea of balling up aluminum foil and setting the plate a few inches above simmering water. It worked like a charm. Not only does it save me from attempting to create room for a cooking tool I literally do not have room for, it’s idiot-proof.

The best part? Now you can make steamed dumplings whenever you want. You can substitute equal portions ground pork in the recipe below, or minced sautéed mushrooms, water chestnuts and carrots to make veggie dumplings.

I think sheer volume is the biggest plus to making your own dumplings. When I order Chinese takeout, there’s never enough dumplings. What person is satiated with six shumai? They’re like oysters, I just can’t eat enough.

So go to town on these – make fifty of them if you’d like. Any leftovers will get eaten, just like your Chinese takeout always does. Trust me. 😊

I N G R E D I E N T S

Serves 2.

  • 1 1 / 2 lb. shrimp, peeled, deveined & minced
  • 1 package refrigerated wonton wrappers
  • 3 scallion stalks, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce, plus 1 teaspoon
  • 1 tablespoon sambal oelek, plus 1 teaspoon
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon hot sesame oil, plus extra for steaming
  • 1 teaspoon hot chili oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  • 1 / 4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 egg, whisked

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Make the cocktail sauce. Combine the ketchup, horseradish, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon sambal oelek and 1 teaspoon soy sauce. Mix until combined. Set aside.
  2. Combine the shrimp, scallions, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, mirin, fish sauce, 1 teaspoon hot sesame oil, chili oil, 1 tablespoon sambal oelek, salt and pepper. Mix until incorporated.
  3. To make the dumplings, take 1 wonton wrapper, coat the edges with your finger with egg, put 1 tablespoon of the filling in a corner of the wonton, and slowly crimp the edges until the dumpling is in a half-moon shape. Replicate for the others until no more filling remains.
  4. Fill a pot large enough to fit a small dinner plate with 2 to 3 inches of water. Take 2 3-foot pieces of aluminum foil and ball them until they are about 6 inches in diameter. Flatten the tops slightly, and place in the pot, flattened side up. Place the dinner plate so it sits on top of the balls of foil.
  5. Coat the plate lightly with hot sesame oil, and place dumplings on the plate, giving each about 1 to 2 inches of space on either side so they have room to steam.
  6. Once the water is simmering, cover the pot with a lid, and steam each batch of dumplings for 7 to 8 minutes. Remove the dumplings once cooked through, and continue until all batches are done.
  7. Plate the dumplings, serving hot or warm, along with the cocktail sauce.

Grilled Goat Cheese Boats

The story behind this recipe can be found in Hankerings’ latest post, Country Grilling in Lexington, Virginia. I hope you enjoy!

I N G R E D I E N T S

Serves 2 to 4, depending on appetites.

  • 1 / 2 baguette (sliced lengthwise), bread removed from center to form a well
  • 1 / 2 head garlic, skins removed, minced
  • 1 / 3 cup olive oil
  • 1 / 2 lb. non-crumbly, fresh goat cheese, of your choosing
  • Parsley, torn, for garnish

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Preheat a grill to medium-low heat (approximately 250 to 300*).
  2. Heat the olive oil in a pan, and add the garlic. Saute on low heat until the oil is infused with the garlic, about 3 to 4 minutes. Make sure the garlic does not burn.
  3. With a brush, spread the garlic oil across all of the bread, being sure to coat the sides.
  4. Cut the goat cheese into slices or crumble into large pieces, layering inside the bread so that when it melts, the cheese will ooze into the center of the well.
  5. Create a makeshift holding dish for the baguette using aluminum foil. Place the baguette on the grill, enclosing the baguette so the heat from the grill melts the cheese inside. Open the foil to check on the cheese every 5 or so minutes. When you see the cheese has melted, remove the baguette from the foil, and plate it. Sprinkle with fresh parsley, cut into serving pieces, and serve hot.