Born and raised in Humboldt, this week’s cook, Sarah Wright, enjoys cooking so much, she made it her career. Sarah, the daughter of Sherry and Steve Kunert is a Humboldt High School graduate. After high school, Sarah earned a BA in Ceramics from the University of Iowa and just recently received her Culinary Arts Certificate from Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts School in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN. She is currently employed as a cook at The Farmhouse restaurant in Kansas City, MO.
Besides cooking, Sarah enjoys crocheting, sewing, painting, drawing, reading, and writing in her blog (http://knivesandnimblefingers.wordpress.com ). She recommends the cookbook “In the Small Kitchen” by Cara Eisenpress and Phoebe Lapine and the recipe website: www.foodgawker.com  as great resources for the kitchen. Her favorite kind of menu has classical comfort food with a special twist, like macaroni and cheese with mushrooms and brie cheese instead of the normal cheddar.
This is a very basic salsa recipe; feel free to alter it to what you like!
8 Roma tomatoes, fine diced
1 yellow onion, fine diced
1 Jalapeno, seeds removed, fine
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 green onions, sliced on a bias
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, minced
Zest of 1 lime, grated
Salt and Pepper to taste
Prepare all ingredients and place in a large bowl, mix well. Chill the salsa in the refrigerator at least 2 hours before serving to allow the flavors to meld.
Like it smoother? Once your ingredients are mixed, pulse in the food processor until the desired texture is achieved.
Like it spicier? Keep the seeds in the jalapeno.
Like it cooked? Roast the tomatoes and onion in the oven at 375◦ F for 30 minutes, then let cool before adding the rest of the ingredients.
It is so easy to make your own rice pilaf and it will taste even better than the box stuff! Plus, you can control the amount of salt, which makes it a healthier option for you and your family.
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup spaghetti noodles,
broken into small pieces
1 cup plain rice, uncooked,
brown or white
2 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Place a medium size sauce-pot on medium-high heat on your stovetop, cook the onion and garlic cloves in a little vegetable oil until the onion begins to be translucent. Season with a little salt and pepper. Add the uncooked rice and spaghetti noodles. Cook until the spaghetti noodles are a nut-brown color. Add parsley, paprika and chicken broth. Cover, bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat so the rice simmers for 15-20 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed by the rice.
Remember: Make sure your heat is just low enough for the rice to simmer. If the heat is too high you will have burnt rice on the bottom! It is also important not to peek and lift the lid off the pot. You need to keep the moisture inside for proper cooking.
This side dish is like a hug in a bowl! The perfect comfort food and compliment to any dinner.
15-1/4 ounce can whole kernel
14-3/4 ounce can cream-style
8 ounce package Jiffy corn
1 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 to 1-1/2 cups shredded
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350◦ F and grease a 2 quart casserole dish (9x9 baking pan). Mix the corn, corn bread mix, Greek yogurt and butter together in a large bowl. Add in the shredded cheese.
Pour the mixture into the pan and bake for 55 minutes to an hour. The casserole will be done once the center does not jiggle when you move the pan. Let the casserole sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.
(Recipe adapted from www.seetatthetable.com ).
Asian Turkey Dumplings with Ginger Dipping Sauce
This Asian dumpling can be used as a side dish or as a main meal. It is fun finger food and great to make with friends and family.
10 ounces ground turkey
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon yellow onion, fine
1 teaspoon grated ginger, fresh
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
Wonton wrappers, square or
Combine the turkey, cilantro, onion, ginger, vinegar, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar and sesame oil together and marinate for at least 30 minutes. Have a large pot of boiling, salted water ready on the stove to cook your dumpling. Get a small bowl of water; this will be used to seal your dumpling. It is best to work with one wonton wrapper at a time. Place one teaspoon of the dumpling mixture in the center of the wonton wrapper. Using your finger, wet the entire outer edge of the wrapper, then fold it over sealing the edges together, enclosing the filling. When sealing the dumpling, try to push out any air pockets. (This is the very basic dumpling fold. www.youtube.com  has great video tutorials if you are interested in learning other kinds of folds.)
Boil the wontons in boiling water for 6-7 minutes. Boil your dumplings in two or three batches, keeping the finished dumplings warm in the oven in a greased, covered casserole dish.
This is only one method of cooking the dumplings. They can also be pan fried or steamed. Enjoy these dumplings with the Ginger Dipping Sauce. Yield: 40-50 dumplings.
Ginger Dipping Sauce:
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons grated ginger,
2 tablespoons yellow onion, fine
2 tablespoons vinegar
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
Mix all ingredients together and keep in the refrigerator.
Chicken in Creamy Mustard Sauce
This French dish is originally called Lapin a la Moutarde Sause, and made with rabbit. Chicken thighs are a perfect substitute- and inexpensive. This rich dish is great for a date night or special occasion.
4 chicken thighs, skinless,
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 celery stalk, sliced thinly
1 small yellow onion, sliced
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine (use
whatever you have on hand)
1/4 cup cream
Salt and pepper
Preheat a large non-stick skillet on high heat. Add enough oil to lightly coat the bottom of the skillet. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and place in the skillet until they are a golden brown color. Take out and set aside. Add onions, celery and garlic into the pan, adding more oil if necessary. Cook the vegetables until the onion begins to look translucent. Season with salt and pepper. Add white wine, scraping the bottom of the pan to release the brown bits from the bottom, this is called “deglazing.” Add bay leaf, mustards, chicken stock and cream. Mix until sauce has combined.
Add chicken thighs back in, making sure that the thighs are mostly covered with the liquid. If you need to, add a small amount of water or chicken stock. Simmer the chicken for 45 minutes or until it reaches the internal temperature of 165◦ F. Remove the chicken thighs and keep warm under foil. If desired, you may thicken the sauce with a slurry. A slurry is equal parts water and cornstarch. In this case, 1 tablespoon each of water and cornstarch will work. Make sure the sauce is boiling before adding the slurry, and once it is added, stir quickly until the desired thickness is achieved. If the sauce is not boiling, then the slurry will not thicken it. Serve with the sauce covering the chicken and a side of mashed or roasted potatoes.
Fish Tacos with Cabbage Slaw
Tilapia is the perfect fish for these fresh tacos. The spice rub and the cool slaw complement each other perfectly. Great for a quick summer dinner!
4 tablespoons chili powder
Zest of 1 lime, grated
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 pounds tilapia fillets
Mix ingredients together and rub on the tilapia fillets. Marinate for 30 minutes. Drizzle with oil and bake at 350◦ F for 15-20 minutes.
1 bag cabbage slaw
1 Roma tomato, diced
3 green onions, sliced
1/2 bunch cilantro, finely
Toss ingredients with a little bit of olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper. Serve on top of fish.
(Recipe adapted from www.caciqueinc.com ).
60 Second Puppy Chow
This single serving dessert curbs the puppy chow craving without all of the work. Be careful- it is addicting!
1 cup Rice Krispies
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 tablespoon chocolate chips
In a microwave safe bowl, combine the peanut butter and chocolate chips. Microwave for 30 seconds. Stir well until the chocolate chips have completely melted. Add Rice Krispies and stir until the cereal is well coated. Feel free to add in powdered sugar or use other cereals.
The COOK OF THE WEEK 3rd Edition Cookbook is available. Cost per copy is $10.70, plus $4.80 shipping/handling. Order a copy today by sending a check or money order, along with name and shipping address, to: Humboldt Independent, 512 Sumner Ave., Humboldt, IA 50548.