Tag Archives: rice wine vinegar

Green Goddess Sauce ll

Green Goddess Sauce ll

Having my green goddess sauce ll at your next party will be sure to turn heads. It’s kind of like wearing a new party dress! This green goddess sauce is made in mere minutes in a blender. It’s a blend of Greek yogurt, mayo, fresh mint leaves and cilantro, garlic, green onion, lemon juice, olive oil and rice wine vinegar.  You don’t even have to waste time chopping finely because it all get puréed anyways!

Decorating your party plates with my green goddess sauce will make for a lovely presentation, a more formal one, but having a bowl or pouring cup of the sauce on the table will do the trick quite nicely! In fact, the latter might be better since there’s a good possibility your guest’s will be going back for seconds.

This green goddess sauce is so versatile because it literally goes with all foods! It’s heavenly on seared scallops…all fish for that matter, swordfish, rack of lamb, pulled beef tacos, Sweet Potato Fries , Baked Crispy Fries, or Baked Coconut Shrimp and even cut veggies!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup mayo (I use Hellman’s)
  • 1/2 cup packed mint leaves (1 cup loose)
  • 1 cup packed fresh cilantro
  • 1 garlic clove put thru garlic press
  • 1/2 jalapeño diced
  • 4 lg stalks, 6 small of green onion chopped coarsely
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp “seasoned” rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar  – (NOTE: I forgot to add this in the show, but it really needs this for balance 🙂
  • s & p
  • If it’s not hot enough with the jalapeno add a dash of Siracha

Directions:

  1. Place all of the ingredients into a blender an purée for 10 seconds…be patient – you may need to stop and stir everything to get it going but do NOT add any more liquid
  2. Stop blender and scrap down sides to get the larger leaf pieces and blend for 5 more seconds and violà!
  3. Taste here and add salt and pepper
  4. Add a dash of Siracha – you need to taste the sauce first, sometimes a jalapeño can be super hot and other times it can be a mellow hot
  5. This sauce gets even better if you can pop it into the fridge for an hour and let the flavors mingle, the sauce will thicken up a little too!
  6. Make this ahead of time and keep sauce in a plastic container and refrigerate.  It stays nicely for days in frig.
  7. This green sauce is absolutely delicious on so many things…be creative.

Sweet Potato Fries & Green Goddess Dip lll

Sweet Potato Fries & Green Goddess Dip lll

IMG_3827The colors orange and green were stuck in my head for this Halloween episode and that’s why I decided to share my sweet potato fries & green goddess dip recipes with you! These baked sweet potato fries are so delicious all on their own but wait until you dip them into the green goddess sauce you’ll want to put green goddess dip on EVERYTHING! I make this dipping sauce when I cook up swordfish, shrimp, tuna, chicken and steaks also. Being able to make a homemade gourmet sauce like this in 5 minutes, in a blender is basically a no-brainer for me. I can’t wait until you taste this sauce. And here I go again, making my dipping sauce with Greek yogurt to balance out the mayo giving it yet another layer of flavor and tangy richness.  I do this also with my pink remoulade sauce too.

Baking the sweet potato fries is definitely healthier then frying and a lot less work!  Now if you don’t have cornstarch in the cabinets don’t let it keep you from making these fries because they will still be delicious. Dusting the raw sweet potatoes fries with a couple of tablespoons of cornstarch helps with the moisture content and gives them a little extra crunch.

I hope you enjoy making the sweet potato fries and green goddess dipping sauce and that they will become part of your go to appetizer list. You may want to venture off and some other appetizer’s like my Feta-Basil Pesto Dip,  Crab CakesSpanakopita Triangle’s, or some yummy Homemade Hummus! You can end with my Chewy ChocolateChip Cookies!

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Ingredients and Directions for Sweet Potato Fries:

  • 3 extra lg sweet potatoes ONLY need 2 but I like to have an extra just in case
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp garlic granules
  • 1 tsp onion granules
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 425º.
  2. Peel and Slice sweet potatoes in 1/4″ sticks -CUT ENDS FLAT so they don’t burn
  3. Dab with paper towels to dry excess sweet potato moisture
  4. Drizzle with 1/4 cup olive oil and sprinkle with 1 tsp garlic granules,  1 tsp onion granules  and 1/2 tsp salt
  5. Mixed with hands and then spread out into even layer on cookie sheet
  6. Bake for 15 minutes then flip and back into the oven for 8-10 more minutes
  7. BE SURE TO keep an eye on them at this point so they don’t BURN 🙂

Ingredients and Directions for Green Goddess Dip lll:

  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup mayo (I use Hellmans)
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 garlic clove put thru press
  • 1/2 jalapeño diced
  • 4 green onion stalks
  • 1 tsp. grated vadalia onion ( or yellow onion)
  • 1 tbsp ( 1/2) fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp “seasoned” rice wine vinegar ( “oops” – I accidentally said red wine vinegar in the show but it’s rice wine vinegar)
  • s & p
  • Optional: dash of Siracha (Siracha is a hot chili sauce sold next to Tabasco at the store)
  1. Place all of the ingredients into a blender an purée and you will probably need to stop and stir everything a couple of times to get it going but do not add any more liquid (you will see that once it gets going it will be just right).
  2. You can make this ahead of time and keep sauce in a plastic container and refrigerate.  It  gets thicker as it sits in the fridge chilling and stays nice for a few days…  Yum!

Ingredients and Directions for Roasted Pumpkin Seeds:

  • Pumpkin Seeds for 2 pumkins
  • 1 tsp garlic granules
  • 1 tsp onion granules
  • 1/2 sea salt (plus a sprinkle at the end for a pinch more seasoning)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  1. Pre-heat oven at 425º.
  2. Wash pumpkins seeds to remove pulp.
  3. Dry between paper towels and leave on cookie tray to dry further over night (can roast right away if you don’t have time – just by sure to completely dry seeds)
  4. Drizzle olive oil over seeds and sprinkle all of seasonings and toss to evenly mix
  5. NOTE: you can add in cumin, cayenne, chili powder … add your favorite seasonings
  6. Roast for 10 minutes, take out and stir seeds, put back in oven for approx. 4 more minutes – Keep an eye on them at this point so they don’t burn

 

 

 

Pulled Beef Taco’s & Mango Salsa


Pulled Beef Taco’s & Mango Salsa

Just wait until you taste the flavors in this pulled beef taco dish that ONLY uses three ingredients! Yes, that’s right we only use three ingredients… red wine, Trader Joe’s Autentica Salsa and a chuck roast that braises in the oven for two and a half hours with the cover off. I almost feel like we are cheating here by only using these three items because it seems as though something this amazing in taste, similar to Boeuf Bourguignon, should involve way more effort and ingredients. I think it’s important here to use the oven instead of a crock pot because the dry heat helps to caramelize the beef really building on all those layers of flavors.

This is the perfect dish for having groups of friends over because it’s a total make ahead dish. You can even make my mango salsa the day before. If you are really in a pinch for time you could always buy fresh made salsa at the store. I personally like to make this homemade pulled beef the morning of the party so that the house fills with all the aromas of the braising chuck roast, red wine and tomatoes. Really gets the juices flowing!

You can use your favorite hard taco shells to serve up the homemade pulled beef, corn and flour tortilla’s or even serve it on a bed of lettuce with shredded cheddar cheese and my mango salsa! I would also offer sour cream and Siracha in the side fixin’s and just let people go to town making their own creations. How fun is that?
You may just want to make my decadent Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Chocolate Cake for dessert! You won’t believe how EASY it is to make! You could also try my Chocolate Crackle Cookies that melt in your mouth. Then there always Fresh Berry Granita or Berries in a Dreamy Cream for dessert too. You’ll be able to actually relax and have lots of fun with your family and friends.

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Ingredients for the Pulled Beef Taco’s:

  • 3 1/2 lb. beef chuck roast (look for some good marbling)
  • 1 bottle of red wine – Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1 bottle Trader Joe’s Salsa – Autentica
  • 3 tbsn olive oil

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350º
  2. Slice  the chuck roast into 6 pieces
  3. Salt and pepper the pieces
  4. Add 3 tbsn of olive oil to a large pan on med/high heat and begin to add the beef pieces
  5. Turn up the heat to high and quickly sear all sides til browned – this takes 10 minutes
  6. Add in 3/4 of the bottle of red wine (be careful of steam here) and the whole jar of salsa
  7. Bring to a simmer and pop into the oven for 2 1/2 hrs.
  8. Every hour turn the beef pieces over so the other sides can caramelize
  9. At 2 1/2 hours take the braising meat out of the oven and begin to remove the beef to a dish wear you can start to pull apart the beef pieces
  10. Tilt the braising pan to the side so that you can skim off the fat that rendered out of the meat
  11. Pour the left over juice onto the pulled beef and serve with taco shells and my mango salsa…enjoy!

Ingredients for the Mango Salsa:

  • 2 lg mangoes chopped 1/4″ cubed – (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 avocado chopped 1/4″ cubed (1 cup)
  • 2 med/lg size tomato’s or 5 small tomato’s chopped 1/4″ cubed (1 cup)
  • 1/2 Vidalia onion (or yellow) FINELY chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 1 FINELY chopped jalapeno (2-3 tbsn)
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
  • a dash of Siracha (optional)
  • S & P

Directions:

  1. Add all of the ingredients to a large bowl and mix thoroughly.
  2. We really love to eats this salsa with blue chips too
  3. I have also served this salsa up on the tips of endive leaves, and or with a cooked shrimp on top of that ….yum!
  4. I must warn you this salsa is highly addictive……consume at your own risk! LOL

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TIP:  There is an easy way to get the pit out of a avocado which I have displayed in the pictures above.  After running the knife around the flesh of the avocado against the edges of the inside pit… put the knife down and twist the avocado halves and pull apart. Then stick the knife into the pit and do the same thing holding on to the knife with one hand and carefully twist the avocado pit and it will pop right out.  Then knock the pit off onto the board away from your hands.  This can be a little tricky the first time so I would advise that this would be for an adult to try.   Finally, Insert a large spoon and scoop the avocado along the edge of the avocado skin to remove avocado flesh.

Gourmet Caesar Salad

Gourmet Caesar Salad

Caesar salads are probably one of my favorite salads of all time. So many wonderful flavors and textures in this combination from the crunchy garlic croutons (shown below) to the sharpness of the Reggiano Parmesano shaved on top. Then there’s a creaminess with the grated Parmesan and dijon in the actual dressing itself and a tang from the lemon and Dijon. Let’s not forget about that savory flavor in the undertones that you just can’t put your finger on with the anchovy paste and Worcestershire sauce. This Caesar salad is a winner all around!

You will really like how perfectly simple this recipe is and how you can totally make the croutons ahead of time, even weeks ahead. One of the reasons I love this recipe is the make ahead concept which makes our busy lives more enjoyable. You can make my homemade garlic croutons weeks ahead and keep them fresh in a Ziploc baggie in the freezer. Then make my gourmet Caesar salad dressing the morning of your event  storing it in a container in the refrigerator until needed. Last but not least the romaine, which you can clean and cut up the night before storing that in a Ziploc baggie while taking the air out ensuring the freshness as I show you in my VIDEO. Cutting up the romaine into 1/2″ strips is key to serving this at a party or picnic making it easy to eat  and eliminating the need for unnecessary utensils.

Now there’s the whole dilemma on whether or not to use a raw egg yolk. If I am having a small group of foodie friends over I would definitely add in a raw egg yolk to my Caesar salad dressing because it makes it that much more decadent. If you have never tried it with a farm fresh or organic egg yolk yet you should definitely treat yourself! When I do use an egg yolk I drizzle in the full half cup of olive oil and also add in an extra tablespoon or two of rice wine vinegar and lemon juice . Adding in a tablespoon extra of each will give it a nice balance. It’s basically to get the desired thickness you want because that added yolk offers up an extra thick and creaminess to the dressing this way you thin it out a pinch. For the most part when I make this gourmet Caesar salad for parties and picnics where I’m not sure if there will be someone there with an allergy I play it safe and omit the raw egg. And NO, I am not worried about salmonella with the raw egg because I only use farm fresh eggs directly from the farm or organic brown eggs from the food market. The ONLY time I would buy bulk white eggs from the store is when we are boiling and dyeing eggs for a holiday like Easter. You have to be picky about your ingredients, even the eggs are very important.

A large shallow dish like the one I have in the photos and in my video show is a great investment for salads like this. I have found many gorgeous platters and bowls like this at very economical prices at stores like Home Goods and TJ Max…you should definitely check out those deals! When I have many friends over for dinner I often serve the Caesar salad in that large shallow bowl and if it’s a more intimate dinner party I even plate up individual size portions which also make for a pretty presentation. 

Not only can this bold full flavored salad hold up on its own as an appetizer but you can certainly pear it up with some crab cakeslazy mans lasagna, lobster mac & cheese, or some pulled beef taco’s and ending with chocolate eclairs would just put it over the top!

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CAESAR SALAD DRESSING 

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CAESAR SALAD DRESSING RECIPE:

  • 1 large/2 medium cloves of garlic put thru garlic press
  • 1 egg yolk farm fresh or organic brown eggs ONLY – EGG YOLK OPTIONAL
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon – Grey Poupon or Maille
  • 1 Tsp anchovie paste
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp fine blk pepper
  • 2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar “seasoned” (this comes original or seasoned …I prefer seasoned)
  • between 1/3 – 1/2 cup good olive oil
  • 1/4-1/3 cup grated Reggiano Parmesan
  • 2 good dashes of your favorite hot sauce (I use Siracha in this recipe)

DIRECTIONS for the CAESAR DRESSING:

  1. In a medium bowl add garlic thru press, anchovie paste, salt, pepper and Dijon
  2. Mash these items together with  the back of a spoon to combine and form a paste in a wooden bowl
  3. Transfer paste to a large glass bowl
  4. Add in 2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce, dash of Siracha and rice wine vinegar/ lemon juice mixture
  5. Separate egg yolk from white and add to glass bowl (EGG YOLK OPTIONAL) and whisk immediately
  6. Then very slowly whisk in olive oil so it emulsifies JUST DRIZZLE IN DROPS AT A TIME or IT WILL NOT EMULSIFY and you will have to start over
  7. NOTE: Adding in the egg yolk makes it super easy to emulsify the dressing
  8. Lastly, whisk in 1/3 grated Reggiano Parmesan
  9. Put the dressing into a canning jar for ease and pop it into the frig til you are ready to use
  10. Be sure to take out 30 minutes before you use the dressing so it can come to room temperature
  11. Will be good for a few days in the frig

DIRECTIONS- for Assembling the Caesar Salad:

  1. Cut ends off of romaine hearts then cut them in half length wise
  2. Wash and spin leaves
  3. Lay the leaves down on paper towels to catch any additional moisture
  4. Put 3 or 4 pieces at a time layered on top of one another and slice into 1/2″ strips which make it ideal for a party so there no need for a knife
  5. Here you can put the cut romaine pieces into large freezer Ziploc baggies and into the frig til you are ready to assemble the Caesar salad OR
  6. Put into a large shallow bowl, add dressing, and toss
  7. Top with shredded Parmesan and Italian garlic croutons (shown below) and mangia-mangia!

Garlic Croutons

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INGREDIENTS FOR GARLIC CROUTONS: Makes 12 -13 cups of Croutons – 1 Ex-Lg Ziploc Freezer Baggie of Croutons:

  • 1- 1 1/2  large loafs of good Italian bead (14-15 cups croutons-use 1/2 stick butter and 3 tbsp olive oil if you have 10 cup of bread cubes)
    • 4 large garlic cloves put thru garlic press
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 3/4 stick butter (salted) melted
    • 4 tsp garlic granules (not powder) – Sprinkle 2 tsp per cookie tray
    • 1 tsp salt
    • A couple dashes of your favorite hot sauce Siracha -you can find this with the other hot sauces at the super market
    • 2 cookie trays

DIRECTIONS FOR GARLIC CROUTONS:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400º
  2. Slice bread into 3/4″ slices length wise
  3. Then slice into 3/4″ squares, you don’t want them to be perfect – that’s what’s lovely about hand made croutons they don’t look like they came from a box
  4. Melt 3/4 stick of butter
  5. In a large mixing bowl add 1/4 cup olive oil, 3/4 stick melted butter, 4 garlic cloves thru garlic press, 1 Tsp salt, and whisk  to mix
  6. Divide this mixture into two and pour onto the 2 cookie trays spreading them evenly all over the tray
  7. Divide up Italian bread cubes into 2 and put onto the 2 cookie trays right on the olive oil mixture
  8. Stir the cut up bread cubes all around the cookie tray to evenly coat and soak up all of the olive oil mixture. I use a pastry scraper (see photo) to do this…a tool which I use a lot!
  9. NOW sprinkle 2 Tsp of garlic granules on each of the cookie trays filled with Italian garlic croutons
  10. Put into the oven for 12 minutes til golden
  11. IMPORTANT – they go quickly at the end so you really need to watch them so they don’t burn
  12. Let the Italian garlic croutons cool before putting them into a Freezer Ziploc baggie
  13. I usually keep them on the counter for a few days then throw them into the freezer to store and keep fresh

Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing

Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing


BLUEI can’t think of anything more annoying then being out at a restaurant where they serve up a beautiful mescaline salad or heirloom tomatoes with blue cheese dressing from a bottle! My homemade gourmet blue cheese dressing recipe is gosh darn easy to make and all done in the food processor!

I have been making this homemade blue cheese dressing for over 20 years and it’s one of my favorite recipes. I love all blues whether they are pungent, and or creamy from Stilton, to Maytag, Danish, and Gorgonzola, and to die for sweet and creamy Cambozola. Last but not least is my Italian Gorgonzola Dolce which I make an incredible pasta sauce with (that’s not really “last” …the list of great blues goes on and on). Not to stray from the homemade blue cheese dressing recipe but you really ought to check out my gourmet Gorganzola Dolce Cream Sauce & Fresh Thyme that I serve on pasta or gnocchi featured on May 15, 2014 which you can make in 5 minutes blind folded!

The Chart House Restaurant makes one of my favorite blue cheese dressings and that’s where my recipe was hatched from. Of course, I changed up amounts, procedures and ingredients adding in several others until I got the taste I wanted and this is how I have been making it for over 20 years. My homemade blue cheese dressing is slightly chunky, on the creamier side where you sprinkle extra crumbled blue to the top of your salad at the end. The consistency is really a matter of personal preference. You can actually make it as smooth or chunky as you want by “pulsing” only when blending the ingredients in the food processor. You can also pulse til smooth in the food processor, then throw in a handful of crumbled blue and finish with a gentle mix using a spatula… it’s your prerogative to change it up how you see fit. I offer up the great list of ingredients and now you can be creative on texture!

buffdipI always make this dressing when I make my chicken wings or when I buy blue for my Buffalo Chicken Dip that’s always the first appetizer gone at my parties! Serving the blue cheese dressing up with the chicken wings and all of my favorite veggies on the side you can’t go wrong. Another great dinner idea would be layering grilled beef or chicken fillets, a couple of thickly sliced heirloom tomatoes, a drizzle of my homemade blue cheese dressing and a sprinkle of crumbled blue with crispy chunks of bacon on top of that … hot diggety! When you see how easy and crazy good this blue cheese dressing is you will never be happy with bottle again!

icemohitoYou may want to add in some other yummy appetizers like Homemade Salsa, or Spanakopita with Metaxa Mojito’s, and for an entré try Homemade Potato-Ricotta Gnocchi, easier than you think to make! You certainly shouldn’t forget dessert of Honey-Dripping Baklava or Death by Chocolate Meringue Pie! 🙂

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 2/3 cup (1/2 cup if you like a milder flavor) of Danish, Maytag, Stilton or what ever your favorite crumbling blue may be
  • PLUS 1/3 cup blue cheese extra for sprinkling on top of dressing when you plate the salads
  • NOTE: Should have beautiful blue veining in the blue cheese and Maytag and Stilton are not as crumbly as Danish so you will probably have to cut up with a knife instead of breaking it up with your hands
  • 1 cup Helman’s Mayonaise (I ONLY use Helman’s)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp “seasoned” rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp champagne vinegar
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Siracha (Asian hot sauce you can find at local Stop & Shop with all “hot Sauces”)
  • 1/2 tsp Colemans Dry Mustard
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp finely ground pepper
  • 1 Recipe Buffalo Chicken Dip

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Put all above ingredients into food processor EXCEPT 1/3 CUP OF BLUE and pulse slowly for 15 seconds until you get the desired smoothness…You may want to take off the top and get a better peak (you are saving that extra 1/3 cup of blue cheese to crumble on top when plating)
  2. You can also pulse til smooth, pour the dressing into a large bowl, toss in a handful of crumbled blue (that 1/3 cup) and mix in gently with a spatula and voilà!
  3. Dress salad or vegetables and sprinkle with extra crumbled blue on top… Enjoy!

After all this cheesiness  you may want to try my Perfectly Chocolate” Hershey Cakes, my chocolate crackle cookies, or chocolate pecan pie! YUM!

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Cucumber Salad

Cucumber Salad

This homemade cucumber salad is my version of tzatziki sauce which is a Greek cucumber yogurt dip except I use 1/2 Greek yogurt and 1/2 sour cream. My mother has been making this dish since I was little although mine is a somewhat different version. You can have it as a side with lunch or dinner or even jazz up chicken and steak sandwiches or vegetarian dishes with humus and mango salsa and or guacamole…YUM! . It’s really refreshing and bright on your palate. The Vadalia onion, which is the sweetest, is a wonderful addition to a Tzatziki sauce and fresh dill is always best. The cucumber and onion can be grated instead of sliced to make it more of a sauce then a side dish.

I use thinly sliced cucumbers instead of grating here, garlic, onion and cumin granules in this gourmet sauce which really develop nicely in flavor as you let them sit for a bit. This homemade cucumber salad is certainly not for summer only! I promise you will be delighted with my cucumber salad  recipe…let me know what you think. Enjoy.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cucumbers peeled with thin stripes left on them (only 3 – 1/4 ” stripes) AND sliced PAPER thin on Mandolin or carefully with a knife
  • 1 lg Vadalia onion sliced paper thin with mandolin or sharp knife
  • 1/2 c. Greek yugurt
  • 1/2 c. sour cream
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp garlic granules
  • 1 tsp onion granules
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt to release water from cucumbers and onions
  • s&p to taste at the end

Directions:

  1. Put sliced cucumbers and onion into a lg Ziploc with 1/2 tsp salt and let sit for 1-2 hrs. or over night
  2. Gently squeeze cucumber-onion mixture and drain liquid from Ziploc
  3. Put into a lg mixing bowl with the next 8 ingredients like in photos
  4. Mix with spatula
  5. Add desired s&p
  6. Can chill and serve or serve immediately …mangia mangia

Curry-Yogurt Dip

Curry-Yogurt Dip

This curry-yogurt dip is an elegant and refreshing way to have serve your vegetables. I really like this combination of the earthy asparagus and the lemony curry-yogurt dip. This dip was originally made with mayo only but mixing the two, half mayo and half yogurt gives you the best of both worlds. The creaminess from the mayo an the tang from the yogurt makes for a refreshing dip. The stalks on the asparagus are peeled with a potato peelers before you blanch them. This gives a vibrant green color and a nice feel when you bite into the asparagus not to mention putting in that little extra effort makes for a lovely presentation.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 asparagus recipe from sun-dried tomato aioli and asparagus
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 2 Tsp curry powder
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbps Rice wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp champagne vinegar
  • Juice from 1/4 lemon
  • A few dashes of Tabasco (optional)

Directions:

  1. Place all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and whisk
  2. Place into a small serving bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour to let the spices develop together
  3. Serve with large room temperature asparagus

If you like this curry-yogurt dip & asparagus you may want to other apps like:

Crab Cakes

Crab Cakes

Bacon Wrapped Scallops

Bacon Wrapped Scallops

Scallop Ceviche

Scallop Ceviche

Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

 

Caesar Salad

Caesar Salad

Caesar salads are probably my favorite of all time. So many wonderful flavors and textures in this combination from crunchy and garlicky with the Italian garlic croutons, to a sharpness from the shaved Reggiano Parmesano sprinkled on the top of the romaine and a creaminess with the grated Parmesan in the actual dressing itself. Then there is a tang from the lemon and Dijon, and an extra savory flavor in the undertones that you just can’t put your finger on but tastes delicious from the anchovie paste and Worcestershire sauce!

Wow, you will really like the simplicity of this recipe and you can make the croutons a day or more ahead of time and make the dressing the morning of your lunch or dinner. It makes for such a nice presentation if you can use a large shallow dish like the one in the photos.  When I have friends over for dinner I often serve the Caesar salad in that large shallow bowl and then add slices of grilled or sautéed chicken breasts, or grilled salmon pieces going all around the outer edges and everyone loves it. Have fun with this and enjoy!

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CAESAR SALAD DRESSING RECIPE:

  • 1 large/2 medium cloves of garlic put thru garlic press
  • 1 egg yolk farm fresh or organic brown eggs ONLY – EGG YOLK OPTIONAL
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon – Grey Poupon or Maille
  • 1 Tsp anchovie paste
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp fine blk pepper
  • 2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar “seasoned” (this comes original or seasoned …I prefer seasoned)
  • between 1/3 – 1/2 cup good olive oil
  • 1/4-1/3 cup grated Reggiano Parmesan
  • 2 good dashes of your favorite hot sauce (I use Siracha in this recipe)

DIRECTIONS for the CAESAR DRESSING:

  1. In a medium bowl add garlic thru press, anchovie paste, salt, pepper and Dijon
  2. Mash these items together with  the back of a spoon to combine and form a paste in a wooden bowl
  3. Transfer paste to a large glass bowl
  4. Add in 2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce, dash of Siracha and rice wine vinegar/ lemon juice mixture
  5. Separate egg yolk from white and add to glass bowl and whisk immediately
  6. Then very slowly whisk in olive oil so it emulsifies JUST DRIZZLE IN DROPS AT A TIME or IT WILL NOT EMULSIFY and you will have to start over
  7. Lastly, whisk in 1/3 grated Reggiano Parmesan
  8. Put the dressing into a canning jar for ease and pop it into the frig til you are ready to use
  9. Be sure to take out 30 minutes before you use the dressing so it can come to room temperature
  10. Will be good for a few days in the frig

Directions for Caesar Salad:

  1. Cut ends off of romaine hearts then cut them in half length wise
  2. Wash and spin leaves
  3. Lay the leaves down on paper towels to catch any additional moisture
  4. Put 3 or 4 pieces at a time layered on top of one another and slice into 1/2″ strips
  5. Here you can put the cut romaine pieces into large freezer Ziploc baggies and into the frig til you are ready to assemble the Caesar salad OR
  6. Put into a large shallow bowl, add dressing, and toss
  7. Top with shredded Parmesan and Italian garlic croutons and mangia!

 

Sun-dried Tomato Aioli Sauce & Asparagus

Sun-dried Tomato Aioli Sauce & Asparagus

Sun-dried tomato aioli sauce and asparagus is a tasty and simple appetizer that you make ahead of time. Aioli is a mayonnaise based sauce or dip flavored with garlic and sometimes herbs, and or vegetables. With this sun-dried tomato aioli sauce I cut the mayo in half with one of my favorites, Greek yogurt, like I do with so many of my sauces. It’s just such a “good for you” thing that I love to do, plus I really like yogurt and I added in sun dried tomatoes to the aioli which are packed with an intense flavor.

I have you peel off the skins at the ends of the asparagus because it makes for an elegant presentation when serving as an appetizer like this. You don’t want the asparagus too cold when you serve this. It’s best at room temperature so since you will be probably making this ahead of time and storing it in the frig to keep well you should take the asparagus out first to bring it closer to room temperature before serving. And I want you to use the largest asparagus that you can find because not only does it present well but it tastes great. The larger asparagus are just as tender and earthy in flavor as the tiny ones.

In my baked asparagus wrapped in prosciutto appetizer there isn’t any need to peel the ends of the asparagus because they are covered with a cream cheese-grated onion & Parmesan mixture and then wrapped in the prosciutto so you don’t see the ends. Other appetizers that you may want to serve with this sun-dried tomato aioli sauce and asparagus are baked coconut shrimp, sea scallop ceviche, mussels in a lemon grass-fennel sauce, or best ever guacamole.

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Ingredients for SUN-DRIED TOMATO AIOLI SAUCE:

SUN-DRIED TOMATO AIOLI SAUCE

  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 lg garlic clove put through garlic press
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbps Rice wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp champagne vinegar
  • Juice from 1/4 lemon
  • 1/4 Tsp chile paste (OPTIONAL) – you can use a few dashes of Tabasco or Siracha (chile hot sauce sold with Tobasco at the market) if you don’t have the paste

Directions:

  1. Place all of the ingredients for the sun-dried tomato aioli sauce into a blender an purée
  2. You will probably need to stop and stir everything a couple of times to get it going but once it gets going it will be just right…you can always add in another Tbsp of olive oil if you need to loosen it up a little
  3. You can make this ahead of time and keep sauce in a plastic container and refrigerate.  It stays nicely for days in frig.  Yum!

 

Ingredients:

ASPARAGUS

  • 24 asparagus – the larger the better
  • 1 Tbsp salt for cooking the asparagus in water

Directions:

  1. Bend asparagus to find the proper “break” point then cut the ends off to even them up
  2. Using a potato peeler, peel off the skins of the asparagus at the bottom – 2″ up from the ends as shown in the photo
  3. Put asparagus in cold salted water and bring to a simmer
  4. Cook til tender but NOT mushy …this will only take a few minutes once it comes to a simmer
  5. Drain and give them ice bath to shock …don’t need to make them ice cold just want to shock to retain vibrant color
  6. Dry off asparagus on a paper towel and place on a serving platter

Cold Asparagus-Ginger Salad

Cold Asparagus-Ginger Salad

Wow…this cold asparagus-ginger salad is such a God send in the busy spring and summer days when you want something refreshing, super flavorful and a total make ahead dish so you can focus on having fun with your family and friends. The longer this sits in the frig the better the flavors get so make this the night before and that will be one less thing to do when you have to grill the Asian salmon, skirts steaks, or sautéed chicken breasts with a roasted garlic & cannellini purée, or perfectly mashed potatoes with red onion. The dressing with the asparagus is really my go to Asian dressing that I use for many dishes and you should add this to your repertoire also. With the toasted sesame seeds you should always toast more then you need and keep them in a jar or Ziploc because for such a simple task it adds a lovely nutty flavor to any dish.

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Ingredients: Makes enough for 6 people

  • 2 lbs. fresh asparagus
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp good olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar “seasoned” (I get the seasoned)
  • 1 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Tamari (a dark brewed soy sauce…you can just use 2 Tbsp of reduced sodium soy if you don’t have this on hand but it’s a delicious item to add to your cabinet)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 Tsp sugar
  • juice from 1/2 lime

Directions:

  1. Toast sesame seeds on medium heat in a small pan shaking the pan periodically back and forth
  2. This happens quickly once they heat up…it will only take about 3-4 minutes so it’s best not to leave the pan or the stove so they turn golden evenly
  3. Once the sesame seeds are golden remove from the pan, place in a ramekin and set aside
  4. In a large bowl mix together soy, toasted sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, lime juice, olive oil, fresh grated ginger with a microplaner, sugar and 1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds and set dressing aside
  5. Bend asparagus to find the proper “break” point then cut the ends off to even them up
  6. Put asparagus in cold salted water and bring to a simmer
  7. Cook til tender but NOT mushy
  8. Drain and give them ice bath to shock …don’t need to make them cold just want to shock to retain vibrant color
  9. Dry off asparagus on a paper towel and place on a serving platter
  10. Cut dried asparagus into 4 pieces and add to dressing bowl, toss and pop into the frig to marinate the flavors for 1 hour to overnight
  11. Serve with your favorite protein and sprinkle a dusting of toasted sesame seeds on top