German BBQ Potato Salad

I made the following for my Oktoberfest event. You can read and get other recipes from the event HERE.

Joelen’s German BBQ Potato Salad
recipe adapted from HERE


6 large potatoes (about 2 pounds)
1 cup Bermuda onions, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup salad oil
4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 egg
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Thoroughly wash potatoes and boil with the skins on until tender (about 25 minutes). Remove potatoes from pan and drain the water. Return the potatoes to the pot and place over a low heat shaking constantly to dry the potatoes. Peel and chop potatoes into 1/4-inch pieces. Place potato pieces in a large bowl and toss with onions, parsley, salt and pepper. Set aside. Meanwhile combine the vinegar, water and sugar in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Whisk egg in a bowl and pour the vinegar mixture over top while stirring. Add salad oil and stir. Pour this mixture over potatoes and place in a large skillet or pot over a low heat. Cook until evenly heated. Top with crumbled bacon.

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Spicy & Saucy

Today’s lunch was last night’s supposed dinner. So much for meal planning! If it weren’t for my workout at the gym and getting stuck in a thunder storm with the tornado sirens going off, I may have been able to pull off dinner without a hitch!

But I can say that enjoying this on a nice, sunny day makes for a great lunch. I came across this recipe for Asian Spiced Pork Tenderloins with Apricot Sauce and loved the spices involved along with the sweetness of apricots. The verdict? It was not only easy to prepare, but flavorful and on the healthier side. I served this with steamed rice and broccoli.

Here’s the recipe for Asian Spiced Pork Tenderloins with Apricot Sauce:

2 12-ounce pork tenderloins
Easy Apricot Sauce (see recipe, below)

Asian Rub
1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Chinese five spice
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Easy Apricot Sauce
2/3 cup apricot preserves,
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 teaspoon soy sauce in small saucepan.
– Combine sauce ingredients and bring to boil; remove from heat. Cool to room temperature. Makes about 3/4 cup.

Prepare Easy Apricot Sauce. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Combine brown sugar, salt, Chinese five spice and pepper in small bowl. Sprinkle and rub mixture evenly on surfaces of pork tenderloins.

Prepare a medium-hot fire in grill. Grill tenderloins, uncovered, over direct heat for 15-20 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F., turning tenderloins over halfway through cooking. Transfer pork to cutting board. Loosely cover with foil. Let rest for 5 minutes.

Serve tenderloin with apricot sauce.

*I’m also submitting this to the Perfect Party Dishes blogging event, hosted by Dhanggit of Dhanggit’s Kitchen. The blogging event is in honor of her daughter’s first birthday. I chose this recipe because it can easily be made in advance and doesn’t require many ingredients for an elegant meal perfect for guests. Check out the round up for the event the week of August 15th on her site!*

Soggy, Wet & Drunk

After getting caught in a downpour this afternoon in the Argyle neighborhood of Chicago. Over some sweet and creamy mango ice cream bars, we sat in our car contemplating our dinner options. Rather than hitting up the numerous Thai and Vietnamese restaurants surrounding us, we headed home after being inspired to cook up some Thai food. With some veggies yearning to be used in my kitchen, I went to work and made Pad Kee Mao, also known as “Drunken Noodles.”
Drunken noodles (or Pad Kee Mao, ผัดขี้เมา) is a Thai noodle dish similar to Pad See Ew, but with more flavor. It is made with broad rice noodles, soy sauce, garlic, and usually meat, sometimes bean sprouts, and various seasonings. Chili and thai basil adds to its well known spiciness.

We thought we had enough heat to deal with, so I made Pad Kee Mao without chili tonight. No one knows where the name of this dish comes from. Some believe it is called drunken noodles because it’s an excellent hangover cure. Others believe that it is so hot that the eater has to be drunk to be able to stand it, while some are sure that it’s because one becomes drunk trying to drown out the heat with alcohol. Still others believe that the name comes from the wide assortment of ingredients the dish contains: The chef is drunk enough to throw in a bunch of vegetables and spices without thinking it over. The most probable explanation is that this is one of the only foods available on the streets of Thailand late at night and in the very early morning, the times when drunken partyers are looking for something to eat. It is very possible that the extremely “wobbly” noodles themselves give the dish its name.

Here is my recipe for Pad Kee Mao, but you’re welcome to use various other vegetables you have on hand:

1 pkg flat rice noodles in “shards” or sticks
water to cook noodles
thai basil leaves – whole or chiffonade
assorted veggies such as:
sliced fresh mushrooms
sliced green & yellow bell pepper
2 plum tomatoes, wedged
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 large onion, sliced
2 eggs scrambled
1 large chicken breast (or your choice of meat)
cooking oil

Sauce (combine the following in a bowl):
1/2 cup oyster sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2-3 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons lime or lemon juice

In a pot, boil water and cook noodles until softened, about 5-7 minutes.
Drain noodles and set aside.
Prep veggies for stir frying.
In a large wok or skillet, heat oil to cover pan.
Add garlic and onions until it sweats.
Add peppers and mushrooms; cook until softened.
Add tomatoes and cook until softened.
Remove from pan and set aside.
Add oil if needed and fry up scrambled eggs.
Remove from pan and set aside.
Add oil if needed and stir fry chicken.
Season with salt & pepper if you’d like.
Combine all ingredients in pan and add sauce.
Toss until thoroughly coated with sauce.
Garnish with whole or chiffonade basil.
Serve hot.

Porking It

After a very productive shopping trip, I landed myself a big 6lb pork roast begging me to take it home. I didn’t have to the heart to refuse since it was only $.99/lb! So I decided to make use of it in a two ways. The first way was to make one of my husband’s favorite comfort foods ~ pork adobo.

Adobo is also a term used as the name for a common dish in the Philippines, typically made from pork or chicken or a combination of both. It is slow-cooked in soy sauce, vinegar, crushed garlic, bay leaf and black peppercorns, and often browned in the oven or pan-fried afterwards to get the desirable crisped edges. This dish originates from the northern region of the Philippines.

It is one of the first dishes Filipinos learn to cook as it is simple and requires just a handful of ingredients. In good-tasting adobo, none of the spice flavors dominates but rather the taste is a delicate balance of all the ingredients. As with most dishes, there will be slight variations in the ratios of the ingredients or the cooking process, and the cook’s unique touch is impressed upon the final outcome. Adobo is a very common packed food for Filipino mountaineers and travellers because of its relatively longer shelf-life. This stems from the vinegar content which inhibits the growth of bacteria.
Here’s my recipe for pork adobo:

1-2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon oil for cooking
1 lb pork, cubed
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup water

In pan, saute garlic & onion in oil.
Add pork and brown slightly.
Add remaining ingredients and let cook for 25-30 minutes.

The other way I used the remaining pork was to roast it with a premade rub of citrus grill seasoning. It consists of salt, sugar, lemon peel, ill, garlic, onion, red bell pepper, and a touch of paprika.
I really enjoy using various seasonings in my recipes for added depth of flavor and for the simple convenience of it all. This particular seasoning is wonderful with shrimp and chicken as well.
Here’s my recipe for citrus pork roast:
olive oil
1/4 citrus grill seasoning – or any preferred seasoning

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Rub pork roast with olive oil
Coat pork roast with grill seasoning
Bake pork roast in preheated oven to 1.5-2 hours or until internal temp reaches 145-150 degrees.
Allow pork roast to rest and so juices can be redistributed and for residual heat to continue cooking the roast.

I plan on using this roast in a few dishes in the future to really stretch the $6 I paid for it… stay tuned to see how!

BBQ in the Winter?

Yes… that’s right. We had BBQ for dinner! Not the traditional kind, but Korean BBQ. Specifically, I prepared kalbi.

Kalbi (or galbi) is a Korean dish made from beef short ribs, and sometimes pork ribs. Galbi literally means “rib” in Korean. It can be seasoned or unseasoned, and if seasoned variety, the ribs are marinated in a sauce made from fruit juice (usually Asian pear juice), rice wine, soy sauce, garlic, sesame oil and sugar. Most recipes contain these basic ingredients, although many variations exist, including clear marinades and spicier marinades.


For tonight, I decided to marinate the beef short ribs in soy sauce, rice vinegar, minced garlic, sesame oil, sugar and black pepper. I didn’t take any specific measurements for each of those ingredients, but you could try the “little bit of this, little bit of that” method.

In the bitter cold winds of Chicago, we grill in the winter using our panini press at our house… since we don’t believe in unitaskers! It came out succulent and perfectly seared. With the kalbi, I made sushi rice, seasoned with rice vinegar and a touch of sugar. Overall, our dinner was the next best thing to going to a Korean BBQ restaurant!

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