Wild Rice Pilaf

We love rice as a side dish. Whether it be Spanish rice or cilantro-lime rice with our Mexican dishes, or plain white or brown rice with our Chinese dishes and stir-fries, it’s always been a favorite around here. I’d picked up a few bags of wild rice the last time I was at Trader Joe’s a few months ago. I use it all the time in soups, but wanted to try my hand at a homemade wild rice pilaf. For too long I’ve relied on old Uncle Ben when I wanted that as a side dish, and it was high time we remedied that situation.

So, I took the recipe for Garlic Rice Pilaf that we’ve loved so long in our kitchen and modified it a bit. A quick saute of a bit of garlic, onions, carrots, and celery – then the rice is added for a quick toasting before adding chicken stock. Then it’s all poured into a baking dish to finish cooking in the oven. A quick fluffing with fork when it comes out of the oven, and you have a great side dish that goes with just about anything.

On a side note, we’ve pretty much completed the move. We weren’t even without internet for a whole day! I’ve just been lazy about posting. It was Pony Penning, and a bunch of family and old friends were in town – so we’ve just been having fun with them and adjusting to being back on the island. I really love the new house, and had an easier time than I thought I would leaving the old one. Now just to get it on the market and sold! Going to get Andrew registered for 1st grade this week, the excitement just never ends around here. Where is this summer running off to, guys?

Source: adapted from Annie’s Eats

Tri-Color ColeslawColeslaw is one of those things that is a “must-have” for a summer cookout buffet. Not only is it a great light and refreshing side dish, but it’s also a great addition to things – like barbecue sandwiches, burgers, or even tacos.

This recipe couldn’t be any more simple. I toss shredded red and green cabbage and carrots with a tangy dressing that comes together as quickly as it takes to combine everything. Let it sit for an hour to let the flavors mingle and you’ve got yourself a great slaw worthy of any summertime soiree.

It’s also a great base to add different flavor profiles. Sometimes I like to add a little chopped cilantro and chipotle, or sesame oil, peanuts, chopped cilantro and a bit of fish sauce for a Thai twist. The possibilities are endless, but this easy recipe is definitely the place to start!

Hush Puppies

Now that summer is here seafood season is in full swing here on the Eastern Shore. We had our first taste of crabs Memorial Day weekend. People have been catching black drum, rockfish, and flounder right and left. And, thanks to new breeding practices our salty Chincoteague oysters are available all year round now.

Naturally, there’s nothing that we love more than a good old-fashioned seafood boil or fish fry. And, no seafood feast is complete without a good hush puppies. The little seafood spot (Ray’s Shanty if you’re curious – great food too!) where I go to buy my seafood makes the best in the world. They have a ton of flavor with the addition of onion, yet are dense and light at the same time. I always end up eating too many of those, and then never any room for my meal…

This was my first attempt at making them at home, and they turned out great. I used a recipe from Saveur that looked promising. They were super easy to make, and quickly fried up to perfection once the “rise” was complete. It’s almost a proofing process – you mix up the batter, then let it sit for an hour to leaven. This made a light and airy hush puppies that had a wonderful texture on the inside, and a perfectly golden crunchy exterior.

It makes a lot of hush puppies though – like around thirty. I think next time I’ll probably cut the recipe in half for our family.

Hush Puppies

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
2 tbsp. baking powder
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. baking soda
2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
2 eggs
1 large yellow onion, grated
Canola oil, for frying
Tartar sauce, for serving

Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cayenne in a large bowl. Stir together buttermilk, eggs, and grated onion with their juice in a medium bowl. Pour over dry ingredients and stir together until just combined. Set aside to rest for 1 hour.

Pour oil to a depth of 2″ in a 6-qt. Dutch oven and heat over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer reads 350°. Using a tablespoon, drop small rounds of batter into the oil, making sure to not crowd the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally and flipping halfway through, until golden on the outside and crisp, about 3–4 minutes.

Remove hush puppies from the oil and drain on paper towels. Serve with tartar sauce on the side for dipping.

Source: Saveur

Old-Fashioned Potato Salad

Can you guys believe it’s already Memorial Day weekend? I am so thankful that summer is here! We spend a majority of our free time on the boat or at the beach in the summer months – a perk of be being sandwiched between the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean. We also love to cook and enjoy meals outside when it’s warm, a tradition that the boys have loved. They’re always so excited to hear we’re going to have a “picnic dinner” in the backyard.

One dish that I find myself making again and again over the summer is this classic potato salad. It’s old school, but it’s the perfect balance of textures and flavors. Starchy potatoes, hard boiled egg, celery, and crunchy onions tossed in a dressing made of mayo, Dijon, and celery seed. Then, for my signature twist I like to add a bit of Old Bay on the top. Honestly, that’s actually my mom’s signature twist – this is her potato salad. And, her mom’s potato salad. But, I’ve adopted it as my own. The seafood seasoning mixture kicks plain old paprika to the curb!

Great to enjoy for a cookout, a potluck, a beach lunch, or a random picnic…anywhere, really. I love to enjoy leftovers for lunch as well. Try this one for your Memorial Day get together this year, and you won’t be sorry!

Source: adapted from my mom’s family recipe