Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Caesar salad you've been dreaming of is right at your fingertips...

There's just something about taking a big bite of a really good Caesar salad that gets me every time.  Maybe it's the parmesan cheese.... perhaps the incredibly pungent yet lovable raw garlic?  I'm not sure, but all I can tell you is that this dressing is a staple in my kitchen.  If you've eaten at my house in the past year or two, chances are, you've tried it.  My darling husband calls this dressing "Man Caesar" because there's so much of a bite to it. Try it- you'll see!  It's really pretty easy to make, and will keep for a week or so.  I usually make a 4x batch, but you probably only need a 1x batch to feed 4-6 people for starter salads.  Make a 2x batch if the salads are main course.  You're going to be thanking me for sharing this one!  :)

Here we go:

Erin's House Caesar Dressing

1 Whole Egg
3 TB Fresh Lemon Juice
1 TB Minced Garlic
1/2 tsp Worchestershire Sauce
1 TB Red Pepper Flakes
1 TB Dijon Mustard
2 Anchovy fillets, mashed (or 1 TB anchovy paste) **DO NOT OMIT**
1 C Oil (I use Canola)
1/2 C Grated Parmesan Cheese
Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Black Pepper to taste

Whisk egg, lemon juice, garlic, worchestershire sauce, red pepper, mustard and anchovy.  Slowly drizzle oil and whisk to emulsify.  Stir in cheese and season with salt and pepper. 

*Kitchen Tip*   Invest in some good-sized squeeze bottles that you can get at a kitchen supply store. Cut the tips so they are a little bit wider. They're only a couple of bucks, and it will keep your dressing fresh and make it much easier to use! 

Monday, October 4, 2010

Fall Vegetables are HERE!!!

Who loves Fall?   Me!   I'm going to throw two recipes your way today that could be my ABSOLUTE favorite ways to enjoy Fall vegetables!   The really awesome thing about both of these recipes is that you can prep them ahead easily and have them ready for last minute Fall gatherings!!  Multiple times this past week or two I have been lucky enough to have some fantastic friends pop by for imporomptu gatherings- and here were two things always on the menu:  Kale Chips & Lemon Beet Salad.

Now it's YOUR turn to feed your friends!

Kale Chips


2 bunches of Kale
Kosher Salt

Preheat oven to 350degrees. Wash kale well. cut the leaf (don't use the stem) into 1 1/2" pieces.  Ideally they will all be about the same size. Uniformity will help it to roast evenly in the oven.   Toss the kale with a little bit of EVOO- start small, you can always add more.  You want the kale to be evenly coated with a light amount of oil.  Spread them in batches (usually 4 batches for a standard size baking sheet) onto a baking sheet.  It is better to have too few than too many on the sheet, so it roasts instead of steams the kale.  Sprinkle a nice coating of Diamond Kosher Salt over the kale and roast it at 350 for about 6 minutes.   Toss the kale and salt lightly again. Bake until it is crispy all the way through, taking into account that it will continue to cook a little bit after taking it out of the oven.

The kale will keep in an airtight container at room temp for about 5 days.

Lemon Beet Salad

You will want to prep all of the vegetables for this so it takes about 5 minutes to warm up when you want to make it! 

1/2 stick butter
4 big beets or 6 medium sized beets
2 large leeks or 3 small-medium leeks
1 1/2 bunches of sweet carrots or 1# of organic carrots (don't buy this huge thick carrots- the smaller ones are typically sweeter)
2 springs of fresh parsley
1 lemon

Prep ahead:

Wrap Beets up individually in tinfoil that completely covers the beet- with the seam at the top.  Place the beets on a small sheet pan and roast at 350 degrees until you are able to put a paring knife into the beet all the way to the center without ANY resistance.  I usually start at 40-45 min, check them, and adjust accordingly.  Let them cool enough that you can handle them and then unwrap them, carefully use papertowels to rub the skins off of them. They should just fall right off.  Cool the beets in the refrigerator. When they are cool, slice them into 1/2" cubes. Refrigerate for later.

Boil a medium-sized pot of water. (I always use my electric steam kettle. It makes magic!) When it is boiling, season it with salt. It should taste like the ocean.  Prepare an ice bath:  a bowl with ice and water, and a colander or strainer in it.   Slice your leeks in half length-wise, then into half-rounds 1/2" thick.  Peel the carrots. Cut into 1/4" rounds.  Blanch the carrots until they are starting to be soft, ice them, blanch the leeks until they are soft, ice them.  You can store both of these for later.  Have 1 lemon at the ready.

When you are ready to make Lemon Beet Salad,
Pull everything out of the fridge:  
Roasted, Diced Beets
Blanched Carrots, Leeks
1 Lemon
1/2 stick butter

Chop your parsley.
Melt your butter on Med-Low. Grate 1 lemon's zest into the butter.
Add the Carrots and Leeks, stir to coat.   Add the Beets, being careful not to add any residual liquid.
Stir to coat all.  You are just trying to get everything warm, not piping hot.   Stir frequently.  When a piece of beet is warm all the way through, pull off the heat.  Season with a good amount of Salt and Pepper to taste.   Serve immediately on small plates!


Until Next Time.....

Erin "the Food Fairy"