Mr. Sweaty and I make dinner together most nights. It's a form of entertainment for us, and we keep it interesting by trying lots of new recipes. Only the best make it into the Recipe Roundup.
Here are our November winners:
Apple, Dried Cherry, and Walnut Salad with Maple Dressing
We tried this salad out on company (live dangerously, I say!) and it was a hit, even with the teenager. We've made it at least three times since. It's excellent exactly as written. If you share my distaste for soybean oil mayo, Primal Kitchen's avocado oil version is a great option.
Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad
Mr. Sweaty was suspicious of this one, but he's glad I prevailed. Even if you aren't a Brussels sprout fan -- or a kale fan -- you should give it a try. No mushy, boiled veggies here. The sprouts are served raw, sliced thinly and treated like crisp micro greens. I added a handful of dried cranberries to really take the salad over the top.
Grilled Red Pepper Dip
I assigned this dip to my mom, who hates to cook, for a Thanksgiving appetizer. She used jarred roasted red peppers instead of grilling fresh ones, and it still turned out delicious. We microwaved the dip to soften it up before serving. Hint: melt leftover dip into scrambled eggs for a savory breakfast. Yum.
The prep on this takes a bit of time, so pour a glass of wine and enjoy the process. It's hardly egregious, just more effort than I think the average home cook spends on a weekday evening. Trust me, the silky, tangy, buttery sauce is worth it.
Sweet and Sour Chicken
Ah-ha! Finally, a make-at-home sweet and sour chicken that tastes like good Chinese takeout! The recipe I linked to served as our starting place, but I mixed and matched from several other recipes to invent my own sauce.
Here's how to make the dish the Sweaty Equestrian way:
Eliminate the sauce ingredients (the last 6, sugar through garlic) from the original recipe. Make the rest of the recipe as instructed, but use this sauce instead:
3 Tbs soy sauce
1 cup pineapple juice (actually, a touch less than 1 cup) saved from the canned pineapple chunks
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup rice vinegar
3 Tbs ketchup
1 Tbs sambal oelek
1 1/2 Tbs cornstarch dissolved in 2 Tbs water (aka cornstarch slurry)
Combine the pineapple juice and soy sauce to equal 1 cup of liquid. Combine the pineapple-soy mixture with the next four ingredients (brown sugar through sambal oelek) in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently. Add the cornstarch slurry and simmer, stirring, until sauce reaches desired thickness.
Three Cities of Spain Cheesecake
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new house cheesecake! (That makes two.) I served this on Thanksgiving to rave reviews. A few notes:
1. The recipe mysteriously fails to specify pan size. I used a 9-inch springform.
2. I used my own graham cracker crust recipe. It's just crumbs and butter, pressed into the bottom of the springform pan only (not up the sides), baked at 350 degrees for about 7 minutes, and cooled before pouring in the cheesecake batter.
3. I baked the cake in a water bath with great success, thanks to this silicone pan protector, which may represent the best $20 I have ever spent.
4. In a nod to Thanksgiving tradition, I topped the cheesecake with Homemade Salted Caramel and toasted pecans. The caramel was delicious, but I'm more of a cheesecake purist, so I'll skip it next time.
That's it for November! Be sure to follow The Sweaty Equestrian on Facebook to get a heads-up on next month's roundup.
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How I Think About Food
Thanks for dropping by! I'm an endurance rider in the northwest region of the United States. I believe that how I eat and move impacts not only how I ride, but how I think and feel. This blog is about the practice of being my best self for my horse. I hope you'll come along for the ride. ~ Tamara
The Sweaty Equestrian