Microwave Artichokes with Herb Sauce

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Spane really likes artichoke heart salad, so I thought it was times for him to try a real artichoke. Problem is A) I don’t have a large pot and B) I really don’t want to heat up my kitchen putting something on the stove top to cook for that length of time. What to do?

Well, microwave it, of course! I prepare my artichokes as I would for normal steaming by cutting the tips off the outer leaves, and actually taking about an inch off the top to make a nice presentation. I removed the stem to cook in the water. Then they’re ready for their quick trip in the microwave, followed by the refreshing cold of the refrigerator, and waiting to be presented at the dinner table with some nice herb dipping sauce.

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Coleslaw with Microwave Boiled Dressing

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To Boil or Not to Boil

The good thing about boiled dressing and cabbage is that once the hot dressing hits the cabbage, it immediately wilts it. That’s a good thing if you sometimes don’t want your coleslaw to feel like eating tasty tree trunks. The other good thing about a boiled dressing is that the coleslaw has to refrigerate to get to serving temperature, and while it’s doing that it’s absorbing all that flavor.

Coleslaw made with mayonnaise dressing is great, too, especially if you have other vegetables like carrots, or fruit, like raisins or pineapple in it. Then you don’t want to necessarily use a hot dressing. The hot dressing is also a lot richer than its cold brethren.

Too Hot to Boil Anything!

Considering it’s a holiday, I wanted to have the richness, but I also didn’t feel like standing over a hot stove. Well, I came up with a solution. The Microwave is my friend, and your coleslaw’s friend, too. Boiled Dressing without the fuss!

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Apple Streusel Microwave Mayonnaise Coffee Cake

Apple Streusel Microwave Mayonnaise Coffee CakeRecipes in this Post

Too Hot to Handle!

It’s the middle of July here in Glendale, California, and it was 88 degrees in my house. My house is pretty cool because I face north, and there is a nice awning over the windows, so it doesn’t get that hot inside. Our kitchen has the stove tucked in a corner, with no ventilation except the regular fan. The heat does not dissipate, and once the oven is turned on, it stays hot in there for hours. That’s great in the winter, but not when it’s 92 outside. What do you do when you want to have cake and it’s just to darned hot? You use the microwave.

This was my first time baking in the microwave, too, but armed with toothpicks, I was able to tell right away when the cake was finished. The texture is not quite the same as a regular cake, it is very dense, but actually quite good.

Mayonnaise is your Friend

I know you think that sounds yucky to put mayonnaise in a cake, but it truly keeps it nice and moist, after all, when you look up the ingredients in your head, you will see that it is mostly eggs and oil, both of which make cakes moist. Egg whites also bring airiness to the table. So, it’s a good thing.

This is my first mayonnaise cake. I looked around for recipes, and they all had chocolate, but I wanted coffee cake, and the landlord gave me apples from his tree, so chocolate was out. I followed standard recipes, omitting the chocolate, and it turned out just fine.

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Summer Bean Salad with Lemon Mayonnaise

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Hellman’s Mayonnaise in California

Hellman's in California with and Bestfoods MayonnaiseWhat!!!!! What did you say? Hellman’s Mayonnaise in California? Well, actually, no it was Hellman’s Sandwich Spread in Glendale, California.

Spane and I were at the 99 Cents Only store on our way to visit Alexandria’s Archives‘s President, and stopped at the store to get a Danish or something, and I spied these jars of Hellman’s. I was amazed, and then found a jar of Bestfoods next to it. I couldn’t help take a picture, considering that I will probably never see the two brands together in the same place, unless I take it upon myself to start rock climbing or something. Don’t get your hopes up, folks, this was a jar of Hellman’s that will expire in August, 2014, just a few weeks after this post. So, no, we won’t be buying that.

I have to say I was flabbergasted when I found Hellman’s in Glendale. I told Spane that the jar was very, very far from home. Hellman’s is typically not sold west of the Rocky Mountains, where Best Foods is sold. The ingredients on both are the same, while some people prefer Best Foods because it is perceived to have a more tangy flavor, more vinegar. Wikipedia has an interesting article about the history of the popular condiment.

Mayonnaise is a great starter for sauces, including my Summer Bean Salad with Lemon Mayonnaise. It also has a host of other uses, but we will talk about those another day.

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Pesto Stuffed Chicken Thighs

Pesto Stuffed Chicken Thigh
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I love going on Pinterest and getting ideas for recipes. I saw a picture of Greek chicken that was made by dipping chicken in herb flavored yogurt and then grilling it. I always have plain yogurt in the house. We have it frequently for breakfast, and I love to make yogurt salad and yogurt soup out of it.

Coincidentally, I had made a batch of Fresh Basil and Pine Nut Pesto that I needed to use up. I thought that Italian pesto with a yogurt marinade would be quite tasty, and good for you. I was right, the chicken was delicious. We had it with steak cut potatoes and a salad. Very nice.

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Savory Watermelon Basil Salad

Savory Watetmelon Basil SaladRecipes in this Post

I love when spring comes and all the fruits and vegetables you missed over the winter come into season. I especially miss watermelon. There are all sorts of watermelon flavored things, but they are just not the same, and who knows what’s really in them.

Last year, I found a great recipe from Jeff Potter’s book, Cooking for Geeks, for a watermelon and feta cheese salad. It was an experiment in sweet salty that I made one of the times I was Guest Chef at Ascencia in Glendale.

Spane had gotten a good report card and had requested Jambalaya for dinner. It’s spicy food, and with Global Warming Climate Change giving us warm nights already, we needed something to cool down our selves and our palates. I was reminded of the watermelon salad I made last year, and it was time to make another.

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