Chop, Dice or Mince?

My grandmother taught me that chop and dice are specific sizes, but I see and hear so many cooks using them interchangeably – small chop, finely chopped, large dice… So, what do these terms mean?

  • Coarsely Chopped / Large Chop / Rough Chop
    • about 3/4″ pieces
    • mostly used when further processing will be done later
  • Chopped / Medium Chop
    • about 1/2″ pieces
    • mostly commonly used
  • Diced / Finely Chopped / Small Chop
    • about 1/4″ pieces
    • mostly used when you do not want to bite into a large piece of what you are chopping
  • Minced
    • as small as I can get it – usually about 1/16″ or less
    • mostly used for garlic and other strongly flavored items such as ginger

Remember, when you are using onions and especially garlic, that the smaller you chop them the more pronounced the flavor. For more information about this see Whole, Crushed or Minced Garlic: What’s the Difference?.

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Brazilian Lemonade

We first tried this wonderfully different lemonade at La Parilla restaurant in Lawrence, Kansas. It is slightly creamy and very refreshing.

juice from 4 lemons
1 cup sugar
6 cups water
6 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend until sugar is dissolved.
  2. Serve over ice.

Dad’s Chili con Carne

This is my father, Steve ReVeal’s, recipe. I’m sure that he got the original recipe from a friend, but I don’t know who it was.  My father is a very good cook – his specialties are chili, pizza & Chinese food.

Makes about 3 quarts

2 lb ground beef
3 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 large onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped *
2 – 15 oz cans tomato sauce
1 bay leaf
2 – 15 oz cans kidney beans or pinto beans, undrained *

  1. Brown ground beef. Drain off fat.
  2. Sprinkle chili powder, salt & sugar over beef. Mix well
  3. Add onion, bell pepper. Cook until slightly softened, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add tomato sauce, bay leaf & beans. Cover & simmer for 1 hour.
  5. Remove bay leaf before serving.
  • I do not add the bell pepper.
  • My dad always used kidney beans, but my husband doesn’t like them so we use pinto beans.

Green Chile Sauce with Meat

This recipe is from my mother’s friend Charlene Herman. The original recipe does not have amounts for many of the ingredients, so I am updating it to include them.

Servings: 6

1 lb hamburger
1 cup onion
4 Tbsp bacon fat or olive oil
4 Tbsp flour
1 cup hot water
1 beef bouillon cube
1 cup green chile, roasted, peeled & chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
salt, to taste

  1. Brown hamburger & remove from pan. Drain off fat.
  2. Add bacon fat or olive oil to pan. Add onion & cook until softened.
  3. Add garlic & cook just until fragrant.
  4. Add flour and stir until slightly browned.
  5. Add hot water, stirring constantly until well mixed.
  6. Add bouillon cube & cook until dissolved.
  7. Add chile. Salt to taste & simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  8. Serve over pinto beans.
  • My mother always had a jar of bacon fat by the stove – she saved it every time she cooked bacon for breakfast. I don’t have this available (and probably wouldn’t use this much even if I did) so I use olive oil instead. If you want the bacon flavor, I would recommend chopping & cooking a couple slices of bacon and including the bacon as well as its fat in the recipe. Add enough olive oil to make a total of 4 Tbsp so that your sauce will be the right consistency.

Green Chile Sauce

This is a recipe that my mother had as long as I can remember, but I don’t know where she got it. It is very similar to the Basic Green Chile Sauce on the Focus New Mexico site. The original recipe was cooked in melted shortening, but I use olive oil for everything now, so I’m going to update the recipe.

Servings:

1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp flour
1 cup chopped green chile (roasted, peeled & seeded)
1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes (fresh or 15 oz can)
salt to taste

  1. Heat oil and saute the onion a few minutes, until softened.
  2. Add garlic and cook just until fragrant.
  3. Stir in the flour, cook two minutes.
  4. Slowly add the stock, stirring constantly.
  5. Add the chile & tomatoes. Cover and simmer 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add water or stock if sauce gets too thick.

One-Pot Creamy Ranch Chicken

This is adapted from Rachael Ray’s One-Pot Creamy Ranch Chicken Succotash. I love the flavors, but I prefer it without the beans. I also omitted the tomatoes & dill.

Servings:

1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
4 chicken breast halves, halved crosswise to make 8 pieces total
Freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/3 pound bacon, chopped
1 pound potatoes, diced
1 onion, chopped
1 Fresno chile pepper, chopped
1 cup chicken stock
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp fresh chives, finely chopped
2 Tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, grated
1-2 tsp hot sauce (to taste)
warm crusty bread, for serving

  1. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat the EVOO in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until browned. Remove the chicken to a plate.
  3. Add the bacon to the pot and cook until crisp, then remove to a plate.
  4. Add the potatoes to the bacon drippings and lightly brown for a couple of minutes.
  5. Add the corn, onions and chile pepper and brown 8 to 10 more minutes.
  6. Stir in the chicken stock. Return the chicken and bacon to the pot and simmer 10 minutes.
  7. Combine the cream cheese with the herbs and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Add the cream cheese mixture to the pot and stir until well combined.
  8. Add the hot sauce.
  9. Serve with toasted English muffins or warm sourdough bread.
  • You can substitute 1 pound ground turkey for the chicken pieces. This is not quite as fancy a dish, but it is very tasty & economical.

Buttermilk Scones

These are very different from most scones – they are made with yeast so they are softer and less like biscuits than other scones I have eaten. They are a very good way to use up sour milk since they use a quart at a time.

I got this recipe from a recipe exchange, but unfortunately I did not make a note of who submitted the recipe. If you know where this recipe came from, please let me know.

Servings: 8

2 Tbsp yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water
1 qt. buttermilk (or sour milk), warmed
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
8 cups flour

  1. Soften yeast in water.
  2. In a large bowl combine buttermilk, sugar, oil, salt, baking powder, soda, and softened yeast.
  3. Add 4 cups flour and beat until smooth.
  4. Add enough of remaining flour to make a soft dough.
  5. Cover and let rise until doubled.
  6. Punch down, cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or overnight.
  7. Roll out circles appx 6″ diameter and 1/2″ thick. Mark each circle into 6-8 triangles with a fork.
  8. Bake at 350℉ for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.
  • I have always baked them, but the original recipe says to cut the dough into rectangles and fry at 375℉ until golden brown – these are called Utah Scones or Mormon Scones.

Judy Joo’s Krazy Korean Burgers

This recipe is based on Judy Joo’s Korean Food Made Simple on Cooking Channel.  The recipe was not posted on the network website, so my daughter, Alycia, & I estimated the ingredient amounts while re-watching the episode – we think they turned out great!  These burgers are tender and wonderfully seasoned. 

Servings: 4

1/4 lb pancetta or bacon
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp grated ginger
1 lb ground beef
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 Tbsp sesame oil
2 tsp sesame seeds
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
2-3 tsp gochugaru (Korean chile flake)
1 Tbsp gochujang (Korean fermented chile paste)
1 Tbsp doenjang (Korean fermented soybean paste)
1/4 cup carbonated water

  1. Combine pancetta or bacon, onion, garlic & ginger in  a food processor and pulse until finely ground.
  2. Place in a bowl & add remaining ingredients.
  3. Mix gently with hands until thoroughly mixed.
  4. Form into patties and grill.
  • Judy serves this with Korean Ketchup (1/4 cup ketchup mixed with 1 Tbsp gochujang) and Asian Mayo (Korean mayo thinned with kimchi juice). I have not tried the mayo yet, but the Korean Ketchup is my new favorite burger topping! 
  • If you haven’t used gochugaru or gochujang before, this may seem like a lot of chile, but it is not a very spicy chile. You can reduce the amount if you like. 
  • We like to make these as sliders – it makes about 10.  Hawaiian rolls make delicious buns for these. 

Irish Seafood Chowder

After my daughter Alycia came back from a semester abroad at Cork University College in Cork, Ireland she wanted to recreate some of the wonderful food that she enjoyed there. She found this recipe on the website for Poachers Inn in Bandon, Cork. This is a wonderful, rich chowder with salmon, shrimp & crab.  I have added conversions from grams & liters to cups & ounces as well as instructions for a few of the steps that they assumed you would know how to do.

Servings: 4-6

150g (⅔ cup – about 2 ½ Tbsp each) carrots, fennel, celery & onion, diced
oil
1 liter (≈ 1 quart) milk
500ml (≈ 2 cups) cream
1 Tablespoon fish bouillon powder or 2 shrimp bouillon cubes (see notes)
salt, to taste
Roux, to thicken (equal quantities of oil & flour mixed to a paste)
1 ½ lemons (zest & juice)
6 star anise (wrapped in cheesecloth for easy removal)
½ teaspoon garlic, finely chopped
250g (½ lb) salmon, cut into ½” pieces
150g ( lb) firm white fish (e.g. cod, haddock) , cut into ½” pieces
3 Tablespoons white wine
100g (¼ lb) crabmeat
100g (¼ lb) prawns (shrimp)
1 Tablespoon chives, chopped

  1. Heat skillet over low heat. Add enough oil to just cover bottom of the pan. Add carrot, fennel, celery & onion. Cover pan. Stir occasionally, cooking until veggies are translucent and soft, but have not started to brown – about 5 minutes.
  2. Place the salmon & white fish on an oven tray and place in a pre-heated 180 ℃ / 350 ℉ oven for 10 minutes. It should be slightly undercooked, since it will be cooked further after adding to the chowder.
  3. Place the cream, milk, bouillon, salt & garlic in a pot and place on full heat and whisk well.
  4. When the pot is just at boiling point (be careful here not to let it boil over as it can “split” the milk) add a tablespoon of roux and whisk it well for a couple of minutes and leave to cook for a further 5 minutes to allow the flour taste to cook out (add more roux at this point if you think it needs more thickening).
  5. Add lemon juice & zest, whisking as you add.
  6. Add salmon & white fish and stir well, then add star anise.
  7. Add white wine and cook for 10 minutes. If it is too thick, whisk in some hot water to thin it out.
  8. Add crab & prawns. Cook just until done.
  9. To finish, remove star anise and stir in cooked vegetables.
  10. Garnish with chives and serve with fresh homemade brown bread.

NOTES


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Southwestern Chicken Salad

The creamy, spicy sauce from Southwestern Chicken Pasta also makes a great salad. Great for hot summer days.

Servings: 4

1 cup salsa
1/2 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
1 tsp chipotle pepper, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 lb chicken, cooked & cubed
2 cups tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup green onions, sliced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 avocados, chopped
salad greens – optional

  1. Combine salsa, sour cream & chipotles.
  2. Combine chicken, tomatoes, onions, cilantro & avocado.
  3. Toss salsa mixture & chicken mixture.
  4. Serve alone or over a bed of greens.
  • I usually use yogurt in place of sour cream.
  • You can reserve some of the salsa mixture to be added separately if this is too hot for some.