May 04 2010

Gonna dress you up in my love…

So I have a slightly small obsession with salad dressing. Store bought, make my own, I pretty much love salad dressing. I’m about to unveil the ridiculous number of dressings I currently have housed in my fridge door. When on South Beach a year or more ago, I happened upon these delights:

Galeo’s – Their slogan is “One taste and you’re hooked for life” – yep…I pretty much cry when the Nugget is out of stock.  Oh my god how I love me some low-fat miso…What? You don’t get all hot and bothered over salad dressing? 

Miso Sesame is my favorite. With only 22 Calories per tablespoon, 2 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of carbs and the shocking low 35mg of sodium…it’s MONEY! Totally worth ordering online if you don’t have some overpriced/stuffy market nearby.

Mr. Trader Joe’s Champagne Pear Vinagrette also worked its way into the photo – it’s a sweet pear and gorgonzola dressing – shelf life isn’t too long, so I only buy it on occasion…when I have tasty pears on hand. I like a variety…I want to be able to have a different dressing daily if possible. I pretty much eat a salad for lunch on most days.

Next up…Girard’s – I’ve been in love with their Light Champagne since forever. My Mom used to use the full fat version and I found the light version and it was a perfect substitute, still fabulous taste and fewer calories and fat. 

To my surprise….I found 3 additional flavors at the grocery store this past weekend. Apple Poppyseed, Light Raspberry (Love their full fat Raspberry and this one is another perfect substitution) and Peach Mimosa. I got home from the store, whipped out my container of spring mix and started taste testing. I loved both the Apple Poppyseed and the Peach Mimosa…gotta find the right salad fixings for those puppies. Any ideas or perfect combos you can think of? I’ve already used the Light Raspberry on a spring mix, goat cheese, walnut and fresh raspberry salad – Yum!

In the homemade dept. I got a really cool Bonjour salad dressing container/mixer  for Christmas from a girlfriend. She also got me the Salad Dressing 101 book and I’ve been mixing up a storm ever since. I often make the following simple dressing:

Maple Mustard Dressing
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
3 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
3 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup – use the good stuff!
1 1/2 Teaspoon Salt

I usually cut down on the Dijon a bit…but overall, it’s great when I’m feeling that I need a change from my other 27 bottles.

The crazy thing…Dan pretty much only likes Thousand Island dressing…

Nothing beats a lunch time salad by the pool with my latest catalog…love me some home decor catalogs. Today’s salad consisted of mixed greens, radishes, tomatoes, asparagus, green onion, feta and pecans…I used the balsamic from my handy-dandy Bonjour container. I teamed that with a Thomas’s Everything Bagel Thin with Laughing Cow Light Cheese. Mah belly is happy.

Now it’s back to work for me.
 

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May 03 2010

The Cauliflower Tabouli Experiment…

So I had the head of cauliflower from last weekend’s farmer’s market trip. I had come across a 6 easy side dish page in my latest Food Network Magazine and I immediately thought “Yep, gonna try my hand at Tabouli” – My first stop was Wikipedia…um WTH is Tabouli? I found various spellings, but learned that Tabouli Salad is a Middle Eastern delight that usually contains wheat bulgar or couscous. This all started making sense. The recipe was replacing the bulgar or couscous with cauliflower…nice!

The first step was to gather all of the ingredients:

1 Head Cauliflower
2 Diced Plum Tomatoes – (I only had sweet cherubs – no problem)
1/3 Cup Lemon Juice
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce (I used light)
2 Chopped Scallions
1 Bunch Chopped Parsley
2 Tablespoons Chopped Mint
Salt and Pepper

The second step was to wrestle the cauliflower into submission.

Now to get the smaller pieces graded. I’ve always had a fear of the grater…probably because I do it wrong. I purchased a Good Cook brand standing grater and that helped a lot.

Wow…someone has pudgalicious fingers… I proceeded to grade all of the florets. The pieces were kind of inconsistent, but it didn’t seem to matter in the end.

I had my bowl of cauliflower pieces and was ready to add the other ingredients. I just kept dumping things into the bowl and then gave it a good stir.

I took the final dish outside for a photo shoot. The backyard is starting to come out of its winter slump…

The perfect setting for the perfect new side dish. I ended up putting the dish into the fridge for a good 4 hours before diving in. I think the acid from the lemon really helped to soften the cauliflower. If you like tangy things…then give it a try. I will definitely be making this again, but for now, I’ll be enjoying it all week – I could not pay Dan enough to even give it a try.

Enjoy!

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May 02 2010

Red Potato Salad

Last weekend I took my first trip to the downtown Sunday Sacramento Farmer’s Market. ZOMG, it was the most amazing spread I’ve been to since San Francisco back in my bay area farmer’s market days. Fresh fish, grass-fed beef, free range chicken, pork,  breads, eggs, cheeses, olive oils, flowers, herbs, indoor and outdoor plants, japanese maple trees, nuts, dried fruits, lavender, soaps, oh me oh my….

My haul last Sunday consisted of the following:

Everything looked awesome. I managed to eat my way through the oranges, the grapefruits, some of the radishes and breads and the gerber daisies are still alive and well. I spent yesterday working with the red potatoes. I had found a Paula Dean recipe for Red Potato and Bacon Salad on the Food Network website. I looked over the ingredients and had everything but bell peppers and it wasn’t that I had run out, I pretty much don’t like bell peppers, especially the green ones.

I propped up the iPad and recipe in the kitchen, gathered my ingredients and the prep and cooking began.

Green onions…yum!

I got everything chopped while the potatoes were boiling and while the bacon was cooking.

I swear they aren’t smoking like it looks in this picture…

After the bacon finished, I drained it and left it on paper towels to dry while I worked on the dressing to pour over the chopped potato, onion and bacon.

In a small bowl I whisked together 1/4 cup olive oil, 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar with garlic, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 4 tablespoons light mayo, freshly ground pepper, a dash of salt. I felt like it was a little too bitter, so I added a tablespoon of maple syrup…it totally helped. Next time I probably will use just plain red wine vinegar, not the red wine/garlic vinegar and maybe a little less Dijon and even more mayo. I got everything whisked together, drained and cooled the potaoes…got those babies cut into chunks and then added my bacon (7 slices instead of Paula’s 2- 3 – I was feeding boys and boys love bacon), 1/2 red onion and 4 scallions. I gently tossed everything together and then put it in the fridge to chill.

We packed it up and headed to a BBQ with friends. It was enough for 6 people and I still came home with a serving or two. I will definitely be making this again. Paula’s recipe called for less mayo and bacon with bell pepper, but I’d still make it the way I did.

We had a great evening. We grilled chicken and also had a green salad….the evening ended with a traditional board game of clue. Colonel Mustard in the conservatory with the rope…oh yah, I kicked Clue butt…

Today I’m going to play with cauliflower and kale. I think it’s about time I tried my hand at kale chips.

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