26 April 2018

Egg and Dill Tea Sandwiches - New West KnifeWorks Review and Giveaway

Egg and Dill Tea Sandwiches - New West KnifeWorks Review and Giveaway / www.delightfulrepast.com

Tea sandwiches must look as good as they taste. If you’re an afternoon tea aficionado, you know that tea sandwiches must be cut very cleanly; squished sandwiches and ragged edges are simply not the done thing.

As soon as I received the New West KnifeWorks Deli knife, the first thing I did was whip up a batch of Egg and Dill Tea Sandwiches to test the knife. It was fabulous, dahling! And a friend had an afternoon tea party coming up, so …

I took the knife over to her so she could try it out on the six dozen sandwiches she would be making. Knowing she has the dullest knives in town, I gave her the safety schpiel, reminding her that, though a sharp knife truly is a safer knife, it can do some serious damage if she gets distracted.

She called me midway through to rave about the knife! But it isn’t just for cutting tea sandwiches. You can use it for anything you’d use a utility knife for and anything you’d use a serrated knife for.

New West KnifeWorks Review and Giveaway - Egg and Dill Tea Sandwiches / www.delightfulrepast.com

Of course, you can’t slice a big loaf of bread with a 5.5-inch blade, but you can slice baguettes and bagels. And Toasted Teacakes! You can make paper-thin slices of tomato and cucumber and cut all kinds of fruits and vegetables. You could even carve a Small Roast Beef

See the giveaway below, which is open to readers everywhere. But first, check out one of my most-requested tea sandwiches. What is your fave?

Egg and Dill Tea Sandwiches - New West KnifeWorks Giveaway / www.delightfulrepast.com

Egg and Dill Tea Sandwiches

(Makes 24)

5 large eggs, cold
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon coarse black pepper
2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried dill
12 slices dill rye bread (1-pound loaf), bottom slices buttered with soft unsalted butter and top slices spread with mayo

1 Place eggs in a single layer in pan. Add enough room temperature water to cover eggs completely and an inch over. Bring to a boil over high heat. As soon as water is bubbling lightly, remove pan from the heat and cover tightly with the lid. Let stand for 14 minutes. Drain and add cold water to pan; repeat twice. Leave eggs to cool for 15 minutes in cold water. Drain, and proceed with recipe or refrigerate until ready to use.

2 In a 1-quart bowl, finely chop the hard-cooked eggs. Stir in mayonnaise, mustard, salt, pepper and dill. Taste and adjust seasoning. Divide egg mixture among the lightly buttered “bottom” bread slices; spread evenly, skipping the edges and round part at the top because they are going to be cut away.

3 Put lightly mayo’d “top” bread slices in place. Trim off crusts and cut each sandwich into 4, arranging on a plate in about 3 layers.

4 Lay a high-quality white paper towel on top of the sandwiches. Wet and wring out well another paper towel; lay the damp paper towel on top of the dry paper towel. (Placing the damp paper towel directly on top of the sandwiches would result in soggy sandwiches.) Wrap snugly with plastic wrap; refrigerate for at least an hour or up to several hours. This makes the sandwiches “hold together” and keeps them from drying out. Uncover sandwiches just before serving.

New West KnifeWorks Deli Knife Review and Giveaway - Also, Egg and Dill Tea Sandwiches Recipe / www.delightfulrepast.com

New West KnifeWorks Knife Giveaway

I chose the all black knife, but it comes in 7 other beautiful and unique New West color combinations you must check out. The knife comes with a beautiful leather blade protector.

This giveaway is open to readers everywhere who are 18 years of age or older. Leave a comment below (one entry per person). Tell me the first thing you'd make with the knife and/or which color you'd choose. Please include your email address in the body of your comment. Must enter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time Wednesday May 2.

Egg and Dill Tea Sandwiches - New West KnifeWorks Review and Giveaway / www.delightfulrepast.com

Winner will be chosen by random drawing and be announced here in the comments before noon Eastern time on Thursday May 3. If I don't hear back from the winner of the random drawing by noon Eastern time Sunday May 6, another drawing will be held and a new winner selected from the original entrants (those who commented before the giveaway deadline). 

Disclosure: New West KnifeWorks provided a knife for review purposes and one for the giveaway. The views expressed here are entirely my own. I always tell my readers what I really think!


19 April 2018

Oven Barbecue Pork Ribs

Oven Barbecue Pork Ribs / www.delightfulrepast.com

Oven Barbecue Pork Ribs hadn’t even entered my mind in recent months. But when I was checking out the meat counter at my local natural food store, I saw two packages of pork back ribs on sale for 30% off as this was their sell-by date.

I always make a point of buying humanely raised, non-GMO, antibiotic-free, etc, etc; and that’s a lot more expensive than supermarket meat, so I always look for the sales. And many times that turns my menu plans upside down!

The two packages each had a little slab weighing about 3/4 pound, perfect for the two of us. Then I just guesstimated how much dry rub and sauce I should make, and it worked out perfectly, with no waste.

The ribs turned out soooo good, I kind of don't care anymore that we haven't gotten around to replacing our outdoor grill. They steamed to tender perfection in the foil wrap and then developed the sticky, crusty finish unwrapped.

Of course, barbecued (oven or otherwise) ribs are like meat candy, so I don't eat a large serving or have them very often. 

Mr Delightful was really happy with these ribs, so I'm going to be making them again. They really call for my Perfect Potato Salad, but that wasn't happening, so I diced some potatoes and fried them nice and crispy. And next time, Daddy's Broccoli Salad instead of peas. Are you a rib fan?

Oven Barbecue Pork Ribs / www.delightfulrepast.com
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Oven Barbecue Pork Ribs

(Serves 2 or 3, but recipe can be easily multiplied)

1 1/2 to 2 pounds (0.68 0.91 kilograms) pork back ribs

The Dry Rub

2 tablespoons (0.875 ounces/25 grams) dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground dried chiles (I make a little mixture of my own)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon cayenne

The Barbecue Sauce

(Makes about 1/3 cup)

1/4 cup organic ketchup
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon country Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Pinch of cayenne

1 Preheat oven to 250F/120C/Gas1/2. Tear off a piece of 12-inch-wide aluminum foil about 18 inches long, fold it in half and place it in a 13x9x1-inch quarter sheet pan. Tear off a 9-inch long piece for the “lid.”

2 In a small bowl, stir together all the dry rub ingredients.

3 In a small bowl, stir together all the barbecue sauce ingredients.

4 Put the rack(s) of ribs meat side down on foil. Peel off the tough membrane, if there is one, on the bony side of the ribs. Prick the back of the ribs with a knife in several places. Apply dry rub all over. Put the top piece of foil over the meat-side-down ribs and fold the edges to wrap tightly. Place the quarter sheet pan with its package of ribs in the preheated oven for 2 hours.

Note: May be made ahead to this point, refrigerated and finished the next day.

5 Remove from the oven; turn the heat up to 350F/180C/Gas4. Remove the top foil and carefully drain off all the liquid. Brush a third of the sauce on the meaty side, put it back in the oven with the foil open for 15 minutes. Repeat twice, cooking for a total of 45 minutes.

6 Let ribs rest for 5 minutes before cutting apart. 


12 April 2018

Intermittent Fasting 16/8 - It's Not Just About What You Eat, But When You Eat

16/8 Intermittent Fasting (this photo - loose leaf black tea, the only thing I consume during the fasting) / www.delightfulrepast.com
Why a photo of loose leaf black tea? Because it's the only thing I consume during the fast.

Note: This post was updated 08/18/22 after having more than 4 1/2 years of experience with intermittent fasting. See the updated version at Intermittent Fasting - Update Four and a Half Years Later.

Intermittent fasting is something I've been researching for several months (I don't like to rush into things!).
Other than my emphasis on sustainable, local, organic whole foods, I don’t follow any particular diet or have a lot of food rules. Just three:
Always interested in maximizing my health and preventing problems before they occur, I’ve always believed something Mark Hyman, MD, said so succinctly: The most powerful medicine is at the end of your fork.

I do a bit of daily exercise, including weight training, to prevent the loss of muscle mass that starts occurring much earlier in life than you might imagine. According to WebMD: Physically inactive people can lose as much as 3% to 5% of their muscle mass each decade after age 30. Even if you are active, you'll still have some muscle loss.

The other key to avoiding muscle loss is maintaining healthy insulin sensitivity. And that is what got me interested in intermittent fasting, specifically 16/8 intermittent fasting.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor of any kind, have no formal education in the field of diet or nutrition and would suggest that anyone who is under a doctor’s care for any condition should consult their doctor about dietary changes as their medication dosages will likely need adjusting. According to Dr Fung (see next paragraph), people who should not fast are those who are: underweight, malnourished, children, pregnant or breastfeeding. And if you’ve ever had any sort of eating disorder, consult your doctor. I'm not an expert, I’m simply telling you what works for me.

But there is plenty of information out there from people who are experts. There are YouTube videos of nephrologist Jason Fung, MD, and others.

This is not “a diet”—I don’t believe in temporary diets—it is a way of eating that can be done for a time or for a lifetime. So I spent months researching it before deciding to do it. I learned it has many benefits and is really quite easy to do. You can choose any 16 hours to fast, including however many hours you sleep. If you sleep 8 hours, that’s half of it right there.

Since I had already stopped after-dinner evening snacking a few years ago, it was really just a matter of postponing breakfast until 10:00 in the morning. So I do all my eating between 10 am and 6 pm. This might mean packing a breakfast to have at work—something with lots of protein, not Starbucks and a donut!

But no need to get obsessive about it. If the 16/8 schedule won't work for you some days, just make it 15/9 or even 14/10. It's all good!

Intermittent Fasting 16/8 - It's Not Just About What You Eat, But When You Eat / www.delightfulrepast.com
Black tea - my beverage of choice during the fasting hours
(and every other waking hour!)

Benefits of 16/8 Intermittent Fasting

  • Regulates insulin and glucose, lowering the risk of diabetes, obesity, fatty liver disease, fatty pancreas
  • Stimulates metabolism for slow, steady loss of body fat (including that dangerous excess visceral fat) rather than loss of lean body mass
  • Improves lipid profile and heart function
  • Stresses the brain in the same (good) way that exercise stresses the body, reducing amyloids in the brain and lowering the risk of stroke, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and dementia
  • Increases human growth hormone and boosts immune system
  • Reduces oxidative stress and stimulates the body to maintain and repair cells and tissues
  • Increases energy level
  • Eliminates food cravings
If this is something you think you might like to try but think it's going to be difficult, I'd just like to tell you it's really quite easy. If you like, you can build up the number of fasting hours gradually. It's compatible with any diet (vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, keto ...), compatible with any schedule and doesn't require willpower.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on fasting, dieting, nutrition and health. And don't worry, I'll be back with a really good comfort food recipe next week!


05 April 2018

One-Pan Skillet Lasagne

One-Pan Skillet Lasagne / www.delightfulrepast.com

I was craving lasagne this week but was not inclined to go all out and make my classic Lasagne. And I really wanted to make it a true one-pan thing, so for the first time in my life I picked up some no-boil lasagne. Now I’m kicking myself in the heinie for not trying it sooner!

Just be sure no pieces of the pasta are sticking up out of the sauce when you pop it into the oven because they will come out just the way they went in. Of course, if I’d baked it with the lid on for the first 15 minutes, maybe I wouldn’t have had that one uncooked bit? Next time.

I decided to use cream cheese instead of ricotta because it’s easy to use up the rest of an 8-ounce package of organic cream cheese, but the rest of a 15-ounce container of ricotta would have gone to waste around here this week. And I really hate that!

My favorite thing about one-pan dishes like this? You use just one pan! My regular lasagne would have used the skillet, the big pot and colander and the baking dish. Do you like one-pan dishes?

One-Pan Skillet Lasagne / www.delightfulrepast.com
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Skillet Lasagne

(Serves 4 to 6)

Sure, my full-on classic Lasagne has a few things this doesn’t, but it’s a process I’m just not up for this day/week/month. So this is my quick, no-muss-no-fuss version, meaning it is baked right in the skillet.

The Meat Sauce

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 pound extra lean ground beef
2 tablespoons tomato paste, optional
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1/2 cup drinkable dry red wine or water
1 tablespoon parsley flakes
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
A pinch to 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf

The Pasta

4 ounces (113 grams) no-boil lasagne, broken into 3 or 4 pieces

The Cheese

3/4 cup (2.5 ounces/71 grams) shredded Parmesan
3 ounces (85 grams) cream cheese
3 ounces (85 grams) mozzarella or unsmoked provolone slices, cut or torn into about 4 pieces

1 In large oven-proof skillet (I use the All-Clad 5112 Stainless 12-Inch Fry Pan), heat oil and cook chopped onion for about 5 minutes, or until very soft. Add ground beef and cook, breaking up the meat, until it is well browned. Take the time to cook off most of the liquid. With extra lean ground beef, there will be no excess fat to drain off. Stir in the tomato paste, optional, cooking for a few minutes to "toast" it. Stir in remaining sauce ingredients. Bring to a simmer. Simmer, loosely covered, for about 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaf. Taste and adjust seasoning.

2 When you start the simmering, preheat oven to 350F/180C/Gas4. Off heat, stir the broken lasagne noodles into the sauce, leaving them sort of spread out flat and evenly distributed throughout the sauce.

3 Sprinkle on the Parmesan. Pinch off little chunks (about 25 or so) of cream cheese and distribute evenly. Add the pieces of sliced mozzarella, tucking some of them in over the chunks of cream cheese and placing some of them on the top.

4 Bake for about 25 minutes, or until crusty and bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing and serving, or just scoop out.

Note: Can be assembled the day before. If I did that, I'd probably pour on about 1/2 cup of water just before putting it in the oven. 

One-Pan Skillet Lasagne / www.delightfulrepast.com

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