Archive for ‘Condiments’

April 25, 2011

Caesar Dressing–on a lighter note

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You have heard me gush about him before, and I fear I may have a crush, but I love Jamie Oliver and his recipes never disappoint!

This is a recipe that I have been looking to find for a long time. A Caesar dressing that tastes like something you would get from a great restaurant – by that I mean a high class restaurant that clearly makes homemade kick-ass Caesar dressing.

Let me also preface that I usually do not opt for salad dressings or most savory recipes that use yogurt, but because it was Jamie I decided it was worth a try. Boy am I glad I tried!

This recipe has the graininess of the grated parmesan, the saltiness of the anchovies, and the classic garlic flavor that a great Caesar has! All on a lighter note because it’s made with yogurt and no eggs. You will be super impressed how good this recipe.

1/3 cup greek yogurt (lowfat or nonfat)

2 anchovy fillets, mashed

1 garlic clove (I used 2)

2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/8 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano

Salt and pepper

(Note: parmigiano-reggiano is what REAL authentic Italian parmesan is called, everything else is not authentic but still damn good).

Now I realize some of you may have an aversion to anchovies, even if you are well aware that it is in your Caesar dressing, maybe you just have a tough time handling the anchovies. If this is you, you should get over it because you are really missing out on anchovies. I know, I’ve been you before, but I pushed through my fear and jumped and I won’t go back. Anyway, in the event you just can’t do it, you can use 1 Tablespoon of capers and whatever brine you scoop up with the Tablespoon of capers from the jar instead.

Now, I roughly chop the garlic and mash the anchovy, but then I put it all in a blender and let the blender run a few minutes. If you don’t have a blender then finely mince your garlic (or even mash it) and then mash the anchovy (to mash (garlic or anchovy): sprinkle a little salt on it and use the side of your knife and mash it into the cutting board).

If you don’t have a blender: Whisk yogurt, anchovies, garlic, lemon juice, and Worcestershire. Then whisk in the olive oil and cheese.

Toss the dressing with romaine lettuce, chicken is a yummy addition, and some homemade croutons. Top with shredded parm and some freshly ground pepper.

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April 21, 2011

Strawberry-Avocado Salsa with Cinnamon Tortilla Chips

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This recipe came from Cooking Light May 2011 Issue. I don’t know about you but I think Cooking Light always has the prettiest food! Full of color  and rustic backgrounds. I am really starting to like that magazine. Especially after this recipe. (Since I’m not as “healthy” as Cooking Light I added a little more oil (originally 2 teaspoons) and bumped the cinnamon sugar mixture (originally 2 teaspoons of sugar – I don’t know how you are supposed to cover 6 tortillas with that!) At the same time, I did not go overboard and lightly sugared and oiled the tortillas.

1 Tablespoon Canola oil
6 whole wheat tortillas
Cinnamon and sugar (I always keep this mixture on hand for cinnamon toast or cookies so if you don’t use it all you can save it for something else!)
2 ripe finely chopped and peeled avocados
1 cup finely diced strawberries (all the same size)
2 Tablespoons minced cilantro
1 teaspoon finely diced, seeded jalapenos
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
3/8 teaspoon salt

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • To prepare chips, brush oil evenly over one side of each tortilla. Combine sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle a little evenly over the oil-coated sides of the tortillas.
  • Cut each tortilla into 12 wedges (I used a fluted pastry cutter to make the chips more fancy); arrange wedges in a single layer on two baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until crisp.
  • Combine avocado and remaining ingredients; stir gently to combine.

Serve with chips. Enjoy~

February 6, 2011

Meyer Lemon Marmalade

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meyer lemons are one of my favorites fruits, sweeter than traditional store-bought lemons with a floral smell to them. As my daughter explained, they smell like a flower. Fortunately, for me, my friend Charlie had some Meyer Lemons to share with me. Thank you Charlie! (Your marmalade is on it’s way!)

This recipe is from Simply Recipes. This is my first attempt at marmalade – mind you, I have never made jam or jelly before. Going into it I knew making marmalade would be a process and during the process I wished I had taken one of Linda’s canning/jam classes to boost my confidence. Nonetheless, here I am winging it on my own, recipe in hand, and pruned fingers (from preparing the lemons). Preparing the fruit took a lot longer than I anticipated. Throughout the whole process I was feeling a little unsure of my skills – and I was hoping I didn’t just waste 2 1/2 pounds of Meyer lemons.

  • 2 1/2 lbs of Meyer lemons (about 9 lemons)
  • 6 cups water
  • 6 cups granulated sugar

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You will need to go through the long process of cutting the lemons in half, then quarter each half. Peel off any of the membrane that is easy to get to, cut off the pith from the middle of the lemon, and remove any seeds setting all this aside to use to make pectin. Once you clean out the membranes, pith and seeds, slice the quarters into thin pieces of lemon (think how big of a piece of fruit you would want to eat). (Note: the portion of lemon segments to water to sugar is 1:1:1 so weigh your lemons)

FIRST STAGE OF COOKING

Place the seeds, pith, and membranes in a double layer of cheese cloth, tie it up into a bag to become pectin. Place the lemons, water, and pectin bag in a pot.

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This is the first stage of cooking. Bring the water to a boil on medium high heat. Cook the lemons until they are softened. 25-35 minutes. Test one of the lemons make sure they are soft and not the least bit chewy. Any chewiness and you need to cook them a bit longer.

Remove the pot from the heat, and remove the pectin bag to a bowl to cool until it is cool enough to touch. Squeeze the pectin from the bag and add it to the lemon mixture.

SECOND STAGE OF COOKING

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This is is the second and final stage of cooking – add the sugar to the lemon mixture and turn the heat back on to about medium-high and bring the mixture to a rapid boil. This is the stage where you have to be very careful not to have the heat up too high so the fruit doesn’t burn. Also, be careful not to over cook the marmalade otherwise you get a gooey marmalade instead of a jelly one – that is how mine came out – more gooey than I wanted.

The marmalade may take anywhere between 20-35 minutes at this point. After about 15 minutes start checking it often. I put 3 or 4 spoons in the freezer and had them read to check.

If you put the jelly mixture on the spoon and it spreads out and thins immediately it is not done yet. If it holds it shape when it hits the spoon and then wrinkles a little when you push it with your finger that means you are good to go! Remove the pan from the heat.

CANNING

Make sure you have some glass canning jars.

I washed all my lids and jars in the dishwasher and when they were done washing I put the jars on the cookie sheet and put them in a 200°F oven while my marmalade was in the second stage of cooking. (they should be in there at least 10 minutes before using).

Using a ladle (to ensure you have evenly dispersed lemons) pour the marmalade into the jars, leaving about 1/4” head space in the jar for a vacuum seal. Making sure your lids are dry and you wipe the rim of the jar clean with a towel or wet paper towel. Place the lids on your marmalade and let sit out on the counter overnight.

You will hear “pop” sounds as the vacuum seal is created.

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Makes 6-8 half-pint jars.

In the end, some were impressed but I did not like the marmalade as much as I hoped I would. A friend had some Blue Chair Jam, Lemon Marmalade that I tried and I did not much like that one either. There is a particular taste that I do not care for that I tasted in both my and the Blue Chair version– but you may love this! It sure does look pretty though!

February 1, 2011

Frozen Herbs and Citrus

Few more freezer ideas for everyone!

Recently a few tips were shared with me, that I wanted to share with all of you. Thanks to my friend Linda (who once owned a restaurant and has a bunch of helpful tips like these. Lucky for me I can pick her brain – lucky for you, I can share them, here, with you!).  I am not sure about you, but it seems whenever I go to the fridge in need of chopped off up parsley to finish off my dish or when I need the zest of a lemon for my salad dressing I find wilted herbs and moldy lemons.  While I was helping Linda to organize her culinary life on the computer, I was mentioning some of the new ideas I had for my blog. She shared some great ideas with me for herbs and citrus. Most herbs freeze well for purposes of using them in cooking. Parsley will wilted upon thawing, but if you chop the parsley and then freeze it, it is ready to be added to soups, pastas, casseroles or whatever else directly out of the freezer. The flavor remains unchanged and parsley keeps its bright green color.

So for all of you who did not know this wonderful tip – Thank Linda!

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I am sure this will work with other herbs, but I haven’t tried any to test the color and flavor – let me know what your experience has been!

Freezing citrus zest and juice is another tip. First zest the citrus (lemons and limes are what I use most)  and separate your zest so you have one type in its own bag, label the bags and freeze.

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Now juice the lemons and limes and put the juice in ice cube trays to freeze. Once the juice is frozen you can put them all in one big bag and pull out cubes as you need them. 1 cube = about a Tablespoon of juice! Conveniently premeasured too!

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Those are a few quick tips for you…remember to label and date items you put in the freezer!

One last thing, a useful tip for keeping organized, I like to keep a list by the freezer with a list of the items in my freezer. This way I am reminded of all the great things I put in there so things do not go to waste. This is also my quick reference to what’s for dinner!

November 1, 2010

Pan Dripping Turkey Gravy

This recipe is a traditional type pan dripping gravy, with a twist. The turkey stock is made with roasted turkey wings to add depth to the stock. This gravy recipe is a collaboration of difference sources. I was watching Tyler Florence on Food Network one year and Tyler made gravy with a roasted turkey wing stock and I have made my stock for gravy with a roasted turkey wing stock ever since. Roasting wings is much easier than making an enitire roasted turkey or chicken. The wings have a lot of flavor so you will not miss out on using the entire bird. The base for my gravy I learned from my mom, which she learned from my grandmother. The milk idea I picked up from a friend one Thanksgiving and the brown gravy mix I have heard numerous people say they add to their gravy for added depth. So this recipe is a melting pot of tips and tricks I have picked up over the years. Enjoy!

Serves 6-8

Turkey Stock:

  • 2 Turkey Wings
  • 1 onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2-3 sprigs thyme
  • water
  • salt and pepper

Gravy:

  • pan drippings from roasted turkey
  • butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3 cups turkey stock (see above)
  • 1 packet brown gravy mix
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400°
  2. Roast wings for 2 ½ hours.
  3. Chop onion, celery, carrots and sauté in butter.
  4. Add thyme bay leaf and wings (with drippings from the roasting pan). Cover with water and bring to a boil. Skim any foam and reduce the heat and simmer for 1 ½ – 2 hours until the water reduces.
  5. Strain off the solids and cool the stock if you will freeze it, or use it right away.

Turkey Stock

  1. GRAVY:Once you remove your roasted turkey from the pan, place the whole roasting pan over the med-low heat on the stovetop (my roasting pan takes up two burners so I turn both on med-low heat). Or transfer the pan drippings to a pot.
  2. Once the pan drippings are bubbly add enough butter to make about ½ cup of fat. Whisk in the flour and cook stirring frequently about 2 minutes.
  3. Once the roux is golden brown whisk in the turkey stock, milk and gravy mix packet, salt and pepper to taste. Whisk until the mixture is smooth. (I add the milk to help cut the greasiness from the turkey drippings but keep the flavor of the drippings).
  4. Simmer until the gravy has thickened to your likeness, about 10 minutes.
I submitted this recipe for a contest with Food52 which all winners will be added to the Food 52 cookbook that results from the year of contests. As well as the chance to win some money to Williams Sonoma, and other gift packages from Viking cookeware, and OXO. Wish me luck! Hope you try this gravy this holiday season, it’s super good! I will be making my wing stock shortly!
September 9, 2010

Guacamole and Mediterranean Salsa

My first “official” gig in which I wasn’t making food for an event I was planning myself. I was asked to make a few dips for a party of about 40 people.

I was a little scared at first, not knowing how much food to estimate or how much time I would need to make that amount of food. How to keep the guacamole from turning color. Things that I did not ever put too much worry into. I guess when you are making food for someone else’s event it is just more stressful. Probably questions everyone asks when they first start making large quantities of food for OTHER people! It was not as bad as I anticipated! Whew!

It was a fun and exciting new challenge and hope I get the opportunity to do this more often! I love to feed people’s bellies so this was a privilege for me!

Here is what I made:

Guacamole – this recipe is on my site already, but I’ve updated it with a photo

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Next was Mediterranean Salsa which in a previous blog I promised quite some time ago…sorry for the delay! This recipe doesn’t make enough for 40 it makes enough for probably a crowd of 15 or so.

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Mediterranean Salsa

1 lb. tomatoes, seeded and diced

1 English (seedless) cucumber, diced

1 bunch of parsley, finely chopped

2 sprigs of mint, finely chopped

3 green onions, thinly sliced in rounds

juice of  1/2 lemon

1 clove of garlic

3T olive oil

1/8 tsp salt

1/4 c. feta cheese

Toss the first 4 ingredients in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, mix lemon juice, minced garlic, olive oil and salt. Pour over tomato and cucumber mixture and toss.

Serve with Pita chips or toasted Lavash Chips.

August 15, 2010

Jalapeno Aioli

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1 whole jalapeno, stem cut off

1/2 cup mayo

1/4 sour cream

1/2 bunch of cilantro

S&P

Place jalapenos in a food processor or blender until coarsely chopped. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until all combined.

Yep that’s it! The shortest recipe ever! Enjoy!

May 24, 2010

Guacamole!

Guacamole

I get rave reviews on this guacamole where ever I take it. So here it is…  Use this recipe for the chimichangas! MMM…

3 avocados
2 small tomatoes, seeded
3 green onions
1/2 bunch of cilantro
1/2 T cumin
1/2 lemon, juiced
salt and pepper

Cube avocados add to bowl and mash VERY little. Dice tomatoes in small pieces. Finely chop green onion and cilantro. Add together in a bowl sprinkle with salt, cumin, and squeeze in lemon juice. Mix together until incorporated together.

April 24, 2010

Homemade Croutons

Croutons

When I buy bread for garlic bread I never seem to be able to use it up as fast as it starts getting hard so now I turn that bread into something! Croutons. We can always use croutons for our salads and now I don’t have to waste bread or buy croutons!

The rest of a loaf of bread going stale
olive oil
salt
1t. garlic powder (or use garlic infused olive oil)
I have also used the Johnny’s Garlic Spread seasoning and it came out really good.

Tear or cut the bread into cubes. Let it get dry out over night (or you can skip this step and it will take a little longer to toast the bread).

Drizzle oil over croutons and toss. Add your seasoning or salt and garlic powder and toss again.

Toast the croutons until they brown – 5 minutes or so. turn and toast the other side for another 5 minutes or so. Or until the croutons are to your toastiness!

March 16, 2010

Barbeque Sauce

I love vinegar-sweet sauce and have played with this recipe a lot. Everytime I make it I seem to alter it maybe a little more. But this is the best version yet.

1/2 white onion (Or 2 shallots)
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 c. beer
1 can tomato sauce
1/4 c. vinegar
2/3 c. brown sugar
1T worchestershire
1T soy sauce
1T hot sauce
1t. mustard powder

Saute onion and garlic in butter for 2 minutes. Add beer next and stir. Add the rest of the ingredients – adding the tomato sauce last. Simmer for 1 hour.