Monthly Archives: January, 2013

Avocado Tomato Bacon Salad

Avocado Tomato Bacon SaladThe last of my cherry tomatoes had finally ripened. Did you know that if you bring your green tomatoes in at the end of the growing season they will most likely continue to ripen? They in no way compare to the luscious orbs you get during the summer but they will be at least as good if not better than the kind you find in the grocery store this time of year.

I kept just a few this year, my harvest wasn’t very good, but it’s entirely possible to keep quite a few. I’ve layered them in boxes with newspaper before and it worked great. Every so often you need to go through and pick out the ones that are ripe or have decided to give up and rot.

So, what to do with these last reminders of the summer harvest? Well it just so happens that I had an avocado just sitting around waiting to be used. Bacon was a natural next step, I find it to be a natural next step to many things. This salad feels both rich and not rich at the same time, it’s hard to explain. I had it with a baked potato but it would be lovely with a big crusty piece of bread. You could also serve it as a side salad, it would go particularly well with steak. Continue reading →

Orange Salmon with Dukkah

ImageDukkah is Middle Eastern nut and spice blend primarily dip bread. The bread is basted or dipped in oil and then into the dukkah. Recipes vary widely but the nuts are usually hazelnut, pistachio, and/or almonds. The spices can include sesame, coriander, cumin, fennel and anise seeds, black peppercorns, mint, and slat as well as many others I’m sure.

Dukkah caught my eye while I was trolling the aisles of my local Trader Joe’s. It looked yummy and the ladies at checkout had great things (and ways to use it) about it. I had a few misgivings once I got it home and looked at the ingredient list. Trader Joe’s dukkah includes almonds, sesame seeds, fennel seeds, coriander, anise seeds, and kosher salt. I don’t care for fennel or anise, it’s a black licorice thing, don’t like it. Somehow I managed to put away quite a bit more bread than I had intended to when I used it as a dip though. It’s rather addictive! The fennel and anise don’t overwhelm and have a definite role in the background.

I can’t wait to try it on other recipes! The salmon was quite tasty but I like the idea of using it with chicken or grilled steak and I’m sure it would be great as a topping for veggies. There are many recipes out there for making your own dukkah; it doesn’t seem to be too hard; although, you’ll probably want to make sure you have a food processor. Continue reading →

Adzuki Bean Salad with Peanut Butter Dressing

Adzuki Bean Salad with Peanut Butter DressingIf you like Japanese food at all, you’ve probably come across the adzuki bean in its red bean paste form. It is a common dessert ingredient and quite tasty. Being from the West I wasn’t sure about beans for dessert but liked red bean paste from my taste which was in ice cream. This was my first experience of adzuki beans in their original form.  In size and texture I found them too much like black beans but with a taste more like red beans only sweeter.

What I found fascinating is that adzuki beans have been in cultivation since at least 4000 BC in Japan. To put that into context, which was about the time that corn was being domesticated in Mexico and the Great Pyramids were being built in Egypt. One little red bean has been grown and eaten for 6,000 years, well, it’s tasty, of course it has!

This salad is pretty quick to through together, particularly if you buy all your products prepped. The recipe for Peanut Butter Dressing can be found here. Continue reading →

Buttermilk Dutch Baby

Buttermilk Dutch BabyThe house was cold which made me want to bake. However, I was feeling far too lazy to actually bake something and a Dutch baby is pretty much a lazy way to make pancakes. I only discovered these lovely puffy pancakes a few years ago. My then boyfriend’s roommate made them for dinner one night. I was immediately enchanted with the idea. Pancakes without having to stand over the griddle? Baked goods finished in fewer than 30 minutes? Oh yes please!

The Dutch baby is of course a bit different than pancakes. They tend to puff more and have a slight custard texture. If you think the baby will puff right over the edge of the pan you can always poke a hole in the bubble. You can of course use milk in place of the buttermilk, but I like the slight tang that it adds. It adds depth to the flavor.

There will be enough butter in the pan that you won’t need more when they’re served. I like powdered sugar or syrup (whatever’s on hand) on top of mine, but you can use any kind of topping you like. I would stay away from anything you would need to spread as the texture is more delicate than regular pancakes, so maybe not peanut butter. Continue reading →

Not Quite Ranch

Not Quite RanchWhat happened to Thursday? There I was bumping along in my week and all of a sudden it was Friday; although, now it’s technically Saturday. Ah well.

I was hoping this recipe would be close to a buttermilk ranch, it’s not. It’s far too tangy to qualify for any kind of ranch. It does have quite a punch though that will wake up your palette. It’s important to pair it will strong veggies, this ain’t no iceberg lettuce dressing. It’s fairly thick, so it also makes a nice dip. Continue reading →

Bacon Stuffed Crescent Rolls

Bacon Stuffed Cresent RollsAh, the cleaning out of the fridge after all the holiday stuff was stuffed into it. There are always ingredients leftover from stuff I meant to make. This one proved to be a nice, albeit calorie laden, snack as well as an horderves recipe. It’s adapted from a recipe on http://www.kraftfoods.com. Continue reading →

Marinated Mushroom Salad

Marinated Mushroom SaladThis might seem like an odd recipe to call a salad and not a condiment, but I ate a surprising amount of it. I thought it might be a little much just to eat mushrooms but the onions and garlic really make a difference. Even after a few days in the marinade, the mushrooms where still firm and tasty. Of course, this is a side salad, I wouldn’t want to serve it as a main dish. I served mine with salmon but I think it would team up with beef or pork just as well.

I used crimini mushrooms but I think that just about any type of mushroom would work well. I’d like to try it with my favorite, Lion’s Mane, when they’re in season. Don’t worry about the flavor being to pickle like, the balsamic vinegar is very mild and it’s closer to a dressing than a brine. Continue reading →

Banana Almond Smoothie

Banana Almond SmoothieMornings have never been my thing…ever. Even after a full night’s sleep, or several full night’s sleep, I am still bleary eyed and nonfunctioning in the morning. Nope, caffeine doesn’t really help. I like coffee but it doesn’t help my functioning unless I’m suffering from lack of sleep or working graveyard and it has no immediate effect on my alertness. Once I drag myself from bed, I get out the door in the morning based on adrenaline and preplanning. I make my lunch the night before, I generally lay my clothes out the night before (or at least make sure acceptable options are clean), anything that has to go out the door with me is by the door (or better yet, in the car). I’m not that organized, really, it’s a survival plan based on years of experience of running out the door late and forgetting everything but my clothes. If I don’t do these things then I have no lunch and I forgot whatever it was I was supposed to take with me.

Given my aversion to mornings (aka, any time of day after I wake up), you can imagine that breakfast isn’t really my thing. I’m not usually hungry until I’ve been awake a couple of hours, and then all of a sudden I’m starving. My body still doesn’t really like much to eat even at that point. Skipping breakfast completely is not an option, I can get cranky and my blood sugar may do weird things if I don’t eat. It’s not pleasant, it really isn’t.

Smoothies have become my savior. They’re tasty, healthy, easy, and filling. I put my smoothies together the night before. You just combine all the ingredients in the blender and set it in the fridge, a couple of minutes of blending the next morning and voilà! Breakfast is ready. Continue reading →

Peanut Butter Dressing

I forgot to take a picture of the salad so...here's my dog. Isn't he cute?

I forgot to take a picture of the salad so…here’s my dog. Isn’t he cute?

Well, it’s a few days into the New Year, how you doing with your resolutions? I’ve decided I need more vegetables in my life. When it comes to improving your health there is one thing that the experts can agree on, eat more vegetables; although, they seem more than willing to argue about which vegetable you should eat. For motivation I’ve decided to post a salad or dressing recipe every Thursday this year.

Growing up salads consisted of iceberg lettuce topped by ranch, blue cheese, or Italian dressing but there is a whole world of ingredient combinations that can be salad. This recipe is an example, if I hadn’t had Thai food I wouldn’t have thought of using peanut butter as a salad dressing. Continue reading →

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