Three’s Company, y’all

Guacamole Sauce

Guacamole Sauce

It’s a marinade, it’s a dressing, it’s Super-sauce!!

Who doesn’t love efficiency in the kitchen?  So if you could spend a few minutes making one thing that could be used all week in several different ways, wouldn’t you be all for it?     I sure am!

Amazing Dip

Amazing Dip

Take this sauce for example… it’s a guacamole you’re going to love dipping into,  it’s a sauce to dress up some roast or grilled chicken, it’s a marinade to flavor fish or tofu, and finally, if you thin it out a little, it’s a dressing to dress up salads, from greens to veggies.

Use on a salad to wake up some greens or veggies.

Use on a salad to wake up some greens or veggies.

As I am prone to say at times like this..”that’s a lot of bang for your buck”.  And speaking of bucks, avocados seem to be plentiful now and the price is right.   Seems like the situation is just begging you to make this sauce/dip/dressing right now.   What are you waiting for?

 

MULTI-PURPOSE GUACAMOLE SAUCE

Yield:   Makes about 1 cup.  Adjust quantities to make more.

Ingredients:IMG_9230

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup low-fat sour cream
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. ground cumin (according to taste)
  • 1/8 tsp. ground red pepper, or dash hot sauce
  • 1 ripe peeled avocado, seeded and coarsely mashed

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Directions:

This couldn’t be easier…..put mashed avocado in a small bowl, add everything else to it, and stir to combine.

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Flavors will blend if you make it about an hour ahead of use time.  Cover and refrigerate till needed.

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 YUM_OH

SOURCE:   Carolyn’s Originals

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Beefy Bolognese Sauce

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These are the days when I think a lot about comforts….and comfort foods.   Which brings me to the question:  just what is a comfort food?

If each of you were to give me an answer, I would probably get over 400 answers, so that means everyone has their own definition of what comfort food is to them.  For me, comfort foods take me back to my younger days, when Mom was doing the cooking.  There were so many dishes she made that I loved, so anything that reminds me of one of those meals is a comfort to me.  Comfort foods are tied up with memories….the family eating together around a big table with lots of talk and laughter going on, and enjoying favorite foods.

Bolognese Sauce with penne pasta

Bolognese Sauce with penne pasta

One of my most favorite memories is the meat sauce that Mom always made from scratch, and served over pasta with lots of grated cheese over the top.  I’m guessing that pasta in some form is considered a comfort food by many people all over the world.  Therefore a recipe for a good meat sauce (Bolognese Sauce) should be in every cook’s repertoire.  It’s so versatile, it can be served over anything;  rice, bread, potatoes, polenta, and pasta, of course.  It goes with any pasta shape.

So welcome to my kitchen today while I prepare my best Bolognese Sauce for you.  This is not a sauce that needs to cook slowly on the back burner for hours.  What helps to speed up the blending of flavors is cooking it in a Dutch oven.  The Dutch oven, even with the lid on, allows the sauce to reduce a little, thus concentrating the flavors.  This method of cooking it also lets the layers of flavor come through, as the bacon, ground meat and veggies all get browned in the same pot, which is then deglazed with the cooking liquid.

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For anyone who might want to cook it in a slow cooker….I have done it that way, and find that the sauce is a little more liquid than I like it, so I would recommend using a little less broth, or omit the wine.  The end result will still be very good, but my first choice is the Dutch oven.

Also, since making this is so easy, I like to make double the amount, and freeze half of it, so it’s ready for a quick meal anytime…

BEEFY BOLOGNESE SAUCE

Yield:  Makes about 4 cups, or enough for 1 pound of pasta

Ingredients:

  • 3 slices center cut bacon, choppedIMG_9024
  • 8 oz. 90% lean ground beef
  • 4 oz. ground, lean pork, or sausage, casings removed
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup unsalted tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup unsalted chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup red or white wine
  • 1 ( 14.5-oz) can unsalted diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Directions:

1.  Place bacon in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat; sauté 5 minutes or until beacon begins to crisp.  Add beef and pork to pan;  cook 6 minutes or until partly browned, stirring to crumble.  Remove mixture from pan.

Browning all the meat.

Browning all the meat.

2.  Add onion, carrot, celery, and garlic; sauté 4 minutes.

Sautéing the veggies.

Sautéing the veggies.

Add tomato paste; saute 1 minute until it starts to darken.

Add tomato paste.

Add tomato paste.

Add chicken broth and wine; bring to a boil.  Cook 1 minute, scraping up browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Return beef mixture to pan.

Add liquids, then return meats to the pan.

Add liquids, then return meats to the pan.

3.  Stir in tomatoes, salt and pepper.  Cover; reduce heat to low, and cook about 1 hour, stirring several times to prevent sticking.  Taste before serving and add more salt, if needed.

Serve over your choice of pasta.  In the photos here, I used penne pasta.  Grate some fresh parmesan or Romano cheese over each serving and garnish with fresh chopped parsley.    DEEElish!

Oops, in my haste to take the photos, I forgot the cheese.  How could I ?

Oops, in my haste to take the photos, I forgot the cheese. How could I ?

Fresh Whole Cranberry Sauce

Fresh Whole Cranberry Sauce

Fresh Whole Cranberry Sauce

I think that cranberries are one of the best things about this time of year.  They appear on the scene as fresh fruit at just the right time.  All the color outside has just about disappeared and everything is looking very “gray”.   That probably won’t last long as we have a forecast for snow starting tomorrow.  (I so hope the forecasters are wrong!)  Anyway, cranberries show up with their perfect red color and suddenly things are looking up.

At one time way back when, I was very neutral toward cranberries.  Like,  “Oh, yeah, cranberry sauce with turkey..that’s nice”; and that’s all I thought they were good for.  But now-a-days, because they freeze so easily, we can cook and bake with the little jewels all year long.  But somehow they seem most welcome in the fall and through the Holidays.  I really think it’s because of their wonderful color when everything else around us is so drab.  They’re bright and cheerful, make you smile, and they’re a very flattering shade of red.

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Oh, you are SO gorgeous !

 

Now their flavor is something else!!  Most people are scared of a cranberry.  My goodness, how do you sweeten it up?  Try eating just one…..raw.    That little baby has major pucker power.  They are so tart they make an average lemon seem like a wimp.  But you know, that’s really the best part.  Cranberries provide a contrast.  Think about your favorite foods, aren’t there contrasts involved?  Savory against sweet; sweet decadent desserts with a little salt;  a crunchy topping on a smooth custardy base;  and cranberries—all twisted up with something sweet really get to shine.

Well cranberry sauce is like that.   A contrast in and all by itself.   It’s sweet, but it’s tart.  It can be smooth and jellied, or chunky and rough.   It’s satisfying and flavorful on its own, and it gets even better when other fruits are added to it.  Citrus fruits pair with cranberries very well, especially oranges, so I add some zest and some juice.  I also add some lime, the zest and juice, to deepen that layer of citrus you detect.   Making my own fresh cranberry sauce is so fun and this recipe can be dressed up with additional fruits like chopped apples, or pears and some raisins to turn it into a chutney.  Think of it as a garnish to go with whatever you may be serving and have some fun with it.  Cranberry with pineapple and ham, anyone?

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WHOLE CRANBERRY SAUCE

Yield:   about 12 servings, or 3 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 (12-ounce) bag fresh cranberries, rinsed and picked overIMG_8614
  • 2 cups granulated sugar  ( I use about 1  3/4 cups, as we like it less sweet)
  • 1 tsp. grated orange peel
  • 1 tsp. grated lime peel
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup water

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Directions:

1.  Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan.   Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes until the berries pop.

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Skim off any large amount of foam that may form on the surface.  Allow to cool to room temperature.

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2.  This sauce will thicken nicely as it cools because of the high level of pectin in the cranberries.  Store in the refrigerator in a covered container.  Serve with chicken or turkey, or any other entree of your choice.

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Creamy Avocado Dressing

Like me, you probably did your share of holiday indulging ( no, we weren’t counting those pigs in a blanket per se), but now it’s time to try to undo the damage, i.e., unwanted pounds, by walking that straight and narrow path of good intentions known as New Year’s Resolutions.  I resolve to eat my meals on smaller plates, and to make those meals healthier.  Ha!  Here goes….

Creamy Avocado Dressing

Creamy Avocado Dressing

Hopefully that will be a little easier with this incredible salad dressing.  It’s creamy and seems quite indulgent, but its thick texture and rich taste come from healthy avocados.  Toss it with lettuce, cucumbers, and halved cherry tomatoes for a simple salad, and you’ll feel like you’re being bad, when you’re really being so good!

Makes a simple salad feel indulgent.

Makes a simple salad feel indulgent.

CREAMY AVOCADO DRESSING

Very few ingredients.

Very few ingredients.

Yield:   Makes  1 1/2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe avocados, halved and pitted  (I used 1 large Florida avocado)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin oil
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

1.  Scoop the avocado flesh into the bowl of a food processor.*  Add the garlic and lemon juice and process until coarse.

2.  Add the vinegar and process until the mixture begins to look smooth.  Gradually add the olive oil and mix until totally smooth.  The texture can be thinned by adding a little water of desired.

3.  Season the dressing to taste with salt and pepper, and transfer it to a storage container.  The dressing will keep for up to three days in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

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*  No food processor?  Don’t feel like getting your big processor “dirty” with this small recipe?  Do this instead.  Make this dressing much like you would make guacamole, by using your trusty potato masher.  Be sure to mince the garlic well first, and add both the vinegar and oil gradually until the texture is smooth.

Another use for this mixture is to toss it with cooked quinoa or bulgur for an easy grain salad.

SOURCE:    Pure WOW

Carolina Root Beer Barbecue Sauce

Pulled pork with Carolina CoCola BBQ sauce.

Pulled pork with Carolina Root Beer BBQ sauce.

Today we had a real southern barbecue dinner.  Using the pork left from my Simple Savory Pork dinner, I made some pulled pork.  The recipe for the barbecue sauce is contained in a book my daughter gave me, written by a woman of the south, Vicki Prescott. (Sweet Tea )  In it she recounts her memories of growing up in North Carolina and the foods she ate.  Most meals were prepared by her grandmothers, aunts and mother, so I view them as authentic, family style meals.

In the book this recipe is called “Carolina CoCola Barbeque Sauce”, but root beer soda can be used with the same delicious results as I have done here.

Pulled BBQ Pork on a bun.

Pulled BBQ Pork on a bun.

CAROLINA COCOLA BARBECUE SAUCE

These few ingredients become a luscious BBQ sauce.

These few ingredients become a luscious BBQ sauce.

Yield:   Makes about 4 cups

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2  1/2 cups catsup
  • 1 cup Coca Cola, Pepsi, or Root Beer
  • 1  1/2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1.  Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat.  Stir in the onion and cook until translucent.

2.  Stir in all the remaining ingredients.

3.  Simmer over medium low heat for at least 30 minutes.

4.  Shred cooked pork and add to the sauce.  Serve on a bun, or any other way you can think of to enjoy this lusciousness.

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SOURCE:   Sweet Tea by Vicki Prescott

Blueberry Lemon Cornmeal Cakes with Lemon Sauce

Blueberry Lemon Corn Cakes with Lemon Sauce

Blueberry Lemon Corn Cakes with Lemon Sauce

This recipe makes the cutest little individual cakes, with a creamy lemon sauce poured over them.  More cake-like than muffin and not very sweet they are surprisingly sophisticated for your most elegant summer gatherings.  The addition of cornmeal to the batter provides some crunchiness and the zesty lemon flavor combines perfectly with the delicate flavor of blueberries.

Slightly crunchy from cornmeal, and studded with blueberries.

Slightly crunchy from cornmeal, and studded with blueberries.

This is the dessert I mentioned in yesterday’s post that completed the pork tenderloin meal, but I think these would also be great for an outdoor picnic too.  Most people seem to enjoy it when they are served their own perfect little cake, so bake these in small custard cups or ramekins that hold between 5 – 6 ounces.  To serve them, turn upside down on a serving plate or shallow dessert dish, and spoon some of the lemon sauce over the top.  I particularly enjoy them when they are still somewhat warm; or they could be briefly heated in the microwave before serving.

BLUEBERRY LEMON CORNMEAL CAKES

Yield:  makes 8 small cakes

Ingredients:

  • 1  1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk or nonfat plain yogurt (not Greek)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon extract
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup blueberries, rinsed and dried

To Make the cakes:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350*F.  Lightly grease eight  5 to 6 -ounce ramekins or baking cups.

2.  Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Whisk together the remaining ingredients except the berries, then stir into the dry mixture until just combined.  Fold in the blueberries.  Divide the batter among the baking dishes/ramekins.

3.   Bake the cakes for 24 – 26 minutes, until the centers are firm to the touch.  Transfer to a rack to cool.

LEMON SAUCE

This recipe for lemon sauce can be made with either water or half milk.  The water version has a brighter lemon flavor; when made with milk it’s a little creamier.  That is how I made mine.

YIELD:  Makes  1 1/2 cups or about 10 servingsIMG_4122

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup milk 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

In a medium saucepan, stir together the sugar, cornstarch, salt and nutmeg.  Gradually stir in the water and milk, then bring to a simmer over low heat until the mixture thickens and becomes translucent.   Remove from the heat.  Stir in the butter, lemon zest and juice and serve.

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SOURCES:   For the cakes:   King Arthur Flour Baking Co.

For the sauce:  all recipes.com

Pineapple Chicken (or Turkey) Salad

Pineapple chicken salad

Pineapple turkey salad

This is one of my favorite ways to make use of left-over chicken or turkey.  Ordinarily we would associate cranberries with chicken or turkey, but here the fruit is pineapple.  You might think it rather odd, but trust me it really works.  The sweet bits of pineapple provide a counterpoint to the other savory ingredients.  Once this salad is made you have several options about how to serve it.

Second-time-around turkey makes a delicious salad.

Second-time-around turkey makes a delicious salad.

The obvious way to eat it would be as a sandwich on a crusty roll,  or you could serve it as part of a salad plate as I have done here, or it makes a very nice wrap, either using a tortilla or just a large lettuce leaf.  The recipe is quick to make, and seems like a perfect light meal for springtime or any special occasion you may have coming up.  I hope you enjoy it!

The original recipe called for chicken, but I substituted turkey as that is what I had left over.

PINEAPPLE CHICKEN SALAD

turkey salad on romaine, with tomatoes, cucumbers, and pineapple.

turkey salad on romaine, with tomatoes, cucumbers, and pineapple.

Yield:   about 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2  1/2 cups shredded or diced chicken  (or turkey)
  • 1/2 cup coarsely shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 3/4 cup diced fresh pineapple
  • 1/3 cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Directions:

In a large mixing bowl, combine the shredded chicken, carrots, green onions, celery and pineapple .

In another small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, yogurt, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Stir well to combine.

Add dressing to chicken mixture and stir well to coat and evenly combine.  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

A light, refreshing springtime lunch.

A light, refreshing springtime lunch.

SOURCE:    Cooking Light

Bread Pudding with Irish Cream Sauce

Bread Pudding with Irish Cream Sauce

Bread Pudding with Irish Cream Sauce

Bread pudding!  An old-fashioned dessert that many of us grew up with.  A way to use up bread going stale.  Break or cut the bread up, pour a warm custardy mixture over it and bake till brown and fragrant.  Served warm with a little cream poured over it,  it became comfort food in a bowl.

So why haven’t I made it in such a long time?  Maybe because other more flashy desserts got my attention. What ever the reason I was reminded of bread pudding just recently when I was looking through a magazine in a waiting room  (dentist appointment, Ugh).   Coincidentally I had a large French baguette that I wanted to use.  The light bulb went on and when I got home, I started in making this version of  bread pudding.  When my mother made bread pudding she often made a lemon sauce to pour over it,  but I decided to make a sauce using some of the Irish Cream that I wrote about here.  To make the sauce compatible with the pudding, I used some sliced almonds in the pudding along with some raisins, since there is almond flavoring in the Irish Cream.  A match made in heaven,  thank-you very much!

Bread Pudding

Bread Pudding

Please note in the photos you see here, I made half the recipe by cutting all ingredients in half, except I used 3 eggs; and I baked mine in an 8-inch round cake pan, overlapping the top slices of bread for a “shingled” effect.

BREAD PUDDING WITH IRISH CREAM SAUCE 

SERVINGS:    9

For the Pudding

  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 5 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2  2/3 cups  2% milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 long French baguette,  dark crusts removed, sliced about 1/2-inch thick
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 Tablespoons raw sugar (demerera sugar)
  • cooking spray

For the Sauce:

  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup  2% milk
  • 1 Tablespoon Irish Cream Liqueur

1.  To prepare the pudding:  Combine 2/3 cup sugar and eggs in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk.  Heat   2 2/3 cups milk, vanilla, and cinnamon in a medium, heavy saucepan over medium heat until tiny bubbles form around edge–do not boil!

2.  Gradually add hot milk mixture to egg mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk.  Return milk mixture to pan;  cook over low heat 6 minutes or until mixture coats the back of a spoon.   Remove from heat.

3.  Spray an 8-inch square pan with cooking spray.  Cover bottom of pan with bread slices, fitting them close together.

Fit bread slices snugly for a bottom layer.

Fit bread slices snugly for a bottom layer.

Sprinkle on half the raisins and half the sliced almonds.  Repeat the layers again:  as much bread as you can fit, raisins, and almonds.

Add almonds and raisins.

Add almonds and raisins.

4.  Pour milk mixture over the bread and allow the bread to absorb some of the milk.  Wait about an hour before baking.  Before baking sprinkle top of pudding with the 2 Tablespoons raw sugar.

repeat layers and pour egg-milk mixture over the top.

repeat layers and pour egg-milk mixture over the top.

5.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Place baking dish in a 13 x 9 inch baking pan;  add hot water to pan to a depth of 1 inch.***  Bake, covered, at 350* for 20 minutes.  Uncover and continue baking an additional 40 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Bread Pudding, warm and custardy.

Bread Pudding, warm and custardy.

***Cooking the pudding in a water bath ensures creamy results.

6.  To prepare the sauce:  Combine 2 Tablespoons sugar and egg yolks in a medium bowl,  stirring with a whisk.  Heat 1/2 cup milk in a small, heavy saucepan over medium heat until tiny bubbles form around the edges—do not boil.

7.  Gradually  add hot milk to egg yolk mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk.  Place milk mixture in pan; cook over low heat 6 minutes or until mixture coats back of a spoon. Remove from heat and stir in the liqueur.   Allow sauce to cool to room temperature.  This may be hastened by placing the pan in an ice-filled bowl and stirring constantly.

8.  To serve, cut pudding into  9 squares, and serve with sauce over warm pudding.

Bread Pudding with Irish Cream Sauce

Bread Pudding with Irish Cream Sauce

SOURCE:  Cooking Light Annual, 2007

Creamy Garlic Coleslaw

Creamy, Garlicy Cole Slaw

Creamy, Garlicy Cole Slaw

In the days before food processors, making coleslaw was a laborious task involving cutting the cabbage with a knife.  In my growing up years I was very used to having coleslaw that was cut extremely fine, and mixed with a dressing consisting of mayonnaise, thinned with a little vinegar or pickle juice.

I had an aunt who was my mother’s sister, and she spent a great deal of time at our house.  One of her special skills was cutting the cabbage for coleslaw.  She removed the hard rib from each leaf, tightly rolled up the leaf (like a cigar), and cross cut it into very fine shreds. She thought nothing of spending an hour or more doing this, and it was her contribution to dinner.  I share this story with you so you will know that where coleslaw is concerned I am very ” spoiled”.  I like it shredded very thin therefore,  I rarely use packaged coleslaw mixes.

My solution to getting cabbage shredded thin is to use a plane grater which is adjustable for thickness, and it does a pretty good job of getting the cabbage as thin as I like it.  Which brings me to my recipe for today.  I cooked fish this past weekend, and I aways think that coleslaw is a good side dish with fish, so I made some.  Besides the usual cabbage, mayonnaise and vinegar, this recipe includes shredded carrots, a few stuffed green olives sliced thin, and some parsley for color.  The dressing includes garlic, grainy mustard, and sugar.  There is such a good balance of flavors that no single one stands out, but together they make a tangy, cool, crunchy, taste sensation.

Cool, Crunchy and Tangy

Cool, Crunchy and Tangy

CREAMY GARLIC COLESLAW

SERVINGS:  about 12 – 1/2 cup servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups  shredded cabbageIMG_2083
  • 1 large carrot shredded
  • 12 – 14 pimiento-stuffed olives, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 or 2 small garlic cloves, minced ***
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 Tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grainy mustard
  • ***note to myself in my recipe book: ” Be sure to use enough garlic”

DIRECTIONS

1.  In a large bowl, combine the shredded cabbage, carrot, olives, and parsley;   mix well and set aside.

2.  Combine  the garlic and salt in a mortar and press with a pestle until mixture becomes a paste.  Scrape into a small bowl.

3.  To the garlic paste, add the mayonnaise, and mix well.  Add the vinegar, sugar, and mustard.  Mix well with a whisk.

Shredded vegetables in one bowl, dressing ingredients, in another.  Mix together and chill.

Shredded vegetables in one bowl, dressing ingredients, in another. Mix together and chill.

4.  Pour dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss to coat.  Cover and refrigerate as long as possible before serving.  The time allows the flavors to meld, and the cabbage to become crisp.  It is best served cold.

Creamy, Garlicy Cole Slaw

Creamy, Garlicy Cole Slaw

Another way that I love this coleslaw is on a sandwich with pulled pork.  You won’t believe how good it is unless you try it!   XOXO

SOURCE:    Simply Vegetables,   Linda Fraser

Dressed to Impress

During this most recent bout of super-warm weather I’ve been trying to come up with meals that are cool and refreshing to eat, and don’t require the generation of more heat in my kitchen. The end result has been a variety of salad plates that incorporate greens, raw or cooked vegetables, hard-cooked eggs, bits of cooked meats like ham, chicken, or steak and cheeses. More and more often I’m including fruit in my salad plates, and also in my side salads.

The dressing you use on a salad should compliment each of the ingredients, and turn the various parts into a cohesive whole. When fruit is part of the mix, I think the dressing should be a little on the sweet side. I’m not quoting any rules here, that’s just my opinion! So I came up with a salad dressing that I feel is complimentary to any salad that has fruit in it. What started out as a regular oil and vinegar salad dressing, became one that contains a little sugar and a tiny amount of Almond extract. That subtle flavor of almond makes all the difference. Here’s how to make it:

ALMOND VINAIGRETTE DRESSING

  • 1/4 cup salad oil
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons MALT vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract

In a screw-top jar combine oil, sugar, vinegar, salt, and almond extract. Cover and shake well to dissolve the sugar and salt. Chill.

Some of the salad combinations I have used it on include:

1. Mixed greens with red grapes, sliced pears, celery, crumbled feta cheese and walnuts

2. Mixed greens with roasted golden beets, mango, and green onions.

3. Mixed greens with thinly sliced fennel, orange sections and pistachios.

4. Romaine lettuce, roast red beets, orange sections and walnuts.