Posts Tagged ‘fast

23
Aug
09

Watermelon & Cucumber Salad

Beautiful colors from a summer garden, this salad is fast and simple to make

Beautiful colors from a summer garden, this salad is fast and simple to make

 

In 1970 I had the wonderful opportunity to live as an exchange student in Mexico.  Every Sunday, my host family and I would attend church services, which wasn’t much different from life in California with my folks.  The thing that set this Sunday morning ritual apart from my American life was the fruit vendor that waited outside the tiny church.  He was there, faithfully, every Sunday at 11:oo am.  We would line up to buy his sweet melons, pineapple and cactus fruit.  Paper cones were loaded with assorted fruit, lime juice was squeezed over the top and a dusting of chili powder finished it off.  The flavor was incredible!

I’ve been dealing with an abundance of cucumber from our garden this summer and wanted to make something other than the usual cucumber and red onion in sugar and vinegar.  This simple salad came together quickly and made me reminiscent of my 16th year and the simple life in Mexico.

Watermelon & Cucumber Salad

Seedless watermelon, removed from rind

Cucumber, peeled and seeded

Fresh lime

Salt

Chili powder

Cilantro

 

Cut watermelon and cucumber in bite size chunks and place in bowl.  Cut and squeeze lime juice over the fruit.  Season with salt and chili powder to taste.  Chop cilantro and add to salad.  Toss until the pieces are lightly coated.  Enjoy!

 

12
Aug
09

Spiced Plum Frozen Yogurt

Spiced Plum Frozen Yogurt

Spiced Plum Frozen Yogurt

 

My previous post was about that huge, loaded plum tree.  I shared with you what I did with some of those tons of plums.  So, now that I made a lot of plum syrup/sauce what am I gonna do with it?  I came up with a cool summer (or anytime) treat – Spiced Plum Frozen Yogurt.

My friend Nathan (from the Better Late than Never post) told me about a great use for my new ice cream maker.  “Just dump a container of yogurt into the machine and make frozen yogurt” he told me.   Brilliant! 

Greek God’s Honey Yogurt is fantastic.  If you haven’t tried it, I recommend that you do.  It’s almost like eating ice cream but tangy.  Super rich, it was the perfect foil for my spiced plum sauce.

I merely turned my Kitchenaid ice cream attachment on, dumped in a quart of Greek God’s Honey Yogurt and  one cup of the spiced plum sauce.  It took about 30 minutes for it to turn into the best frozen yogurt I have ever eaten.  Creamy, spicy and tangy and oh, so good!

I used a number 867 pastry tip and a pastry bag  to pipe frozen dessert for the presentation.  Old school champaign glasses work great and look classy, but you can use any type of serving bowl you like.  Be creative and have fun!

19
May
09

Croutons 101

“You make your own croutons?!” our dinner guest exclaimed. “I didn’t know people made their own croutons.”  “I always buy mine in a bag,” our other guest interjected. 

“Well, you guys know me, always showing off” I joked.  Actually, it’s really easy to make croutons and so much tastier. 

 Home made croutons can be any size you want;  teeny tiny for little mouths or jumbo for those giant maws.  They can be plain, salty, hot and spicy, garlicky, herby, cheesy, even sweet. They can be any flavor you want them to be.  Croutons are a great way to use day old French or Italian bread left over from last night’s dinner or party.  They are especially good in Caesar Salad.  Croutons can be used as snacks and are a nice addition as a garnishment for soup.

 Here’s all you need:

 An loaf of unsliced bread, day old preferred

Olive oil

Herbs of your choice

 A baking sheet, a Silpat or aluminum foil

That’s it.  Now let’s get started!

Start with an unsliced loaf of bread

Start with an unsliced loaf of bread

Using a serrated knife, remove the crust from the loaf

Using a serrated knife, remove the crust from the loaf

Crust removed and ready to cube

Crust removed and ready to cube

Slice the loaf lengthwise into three pieces

Slice the loaf lengthwise into three pieces

Make sure they are as even as you can make them

Make sure they are as even as you can make them

There, three fairly even slices

There, three fairly even slices

 

Now, slice each piece into 1/2 - 3/4 strips

Now, slice each piece into 1/2" - 3/4" strips

Cut the strips into cubes

Cut the strips into cubes

Cut them as large or as small as you prefer

Cut them as large or as small as you prefer

Place in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil, about 1 -2 tablespoons

Place in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil, about 1 -2 tablespoons

Add seasonings of your choice, 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoons each, or to taste

Add seasonings of your choice, 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoons each, or to taste

Toss seasoned bread cubes until evenly coated

Toss seasoned bread cubes until evenly coated

Place cubes on a foil or Silpat lined baking sheet and place in a preheated 350 degree oven

Place cubes on a foil or Silpat lined baking sheet and place in a preheated 350 degree oven

This is what they look like after 20 minutes at 350 degrees

This is what they look like after 20 minutes at 350 degrees

And this is what they look like after 30 minutes.  Be sure to taste the croutons after about 20 minutes.  If they are still a bit soft on the inside, give them more time.  These are done to perfection!

And this is what they look like after 30 minutes. Be sure to taste the croutons after about 20 minutes. If they are still a bit soft on the inside, give them more time. These are done to perfection!

Now, taste that!  You now have your first batch of home made croutons.  After they are totally cool, keep your croutons in an air tight container.  They should stay fresh for about two weeks, if they last that long!

Now, taste that! You now have your first batch of home made croutons. After they are totally cool, keep your croutons in an air tight container. They should stay fresh for about two weeks, if they last that long!

 

Have fun and be creative with your seasonings!

VG

05
May
09

Homemade Salad Dressing

Do you remember that Good Seasons salad dressing commercial where the lady is making a salad and then someone tries to pour a bottled dressing on it and she screeches “Bottled Dressing on my fresh salad?”  And then she claims to make a fresh dressing for said salad, out of some oil and a packet of salad dressing mix.  What’s the difference here?

 I never use bottled dressing either.  I make it fresh every time we have salad, which is almost every evening with our meal.  Here is my fool proof homemade salad dressing recipe:

Fast, Easy Salad Dressing

1 TBSP olive oil

1 TBSP vinegar, your choice

1 TBSP mustard, your choice

1 TBSP honey

salt & pepper to taste

Place in bowl and whisk until emulsified.  That’s it!

My current favorite combinations are olive oil, Trader Joe’s Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar, Trader Joe’s Aioli Garlic Mustard Sauce and Tupelo honey.

I like to find different varieties of each of these ingredients in my travels.  Wineries are great places to find all of these things.  Gourmet shops, road side produce vendors, and cheese shops are always ripe with these goodies as well.  Have fun with it.  Experiment, because that’s what cooking is all about.

Fast, simple dressing and salad

Fast, simple dressing and salad




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