Saturday, August 29, 2009

Honey Dijon Dressing ~ I want to swim in your ocean

I use this recipe for just about everything: Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta Salad, plain old green salads, baked potatoes, a dip for bread, drizzled over steamed veggies, just about anything that will sit still. Truth be told, I sometimes just eat it with a spoon. There - I admitted it out loud. If I could fill a pool with it, I just might swim around in it for a bit. All that mayo would be super conditioning for the hair, right? They might lock my up in a looney bin afterward, but I would taste nice.

Here are the cast of characters:

  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1/2 c. olive oil
  • 1/2 c. cup honey
  • 1/4 c. grated pecorino romano (or parmesan) cheese
  • 2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbs. white balsamic vinegar (or just white vinegar though I truly do prefer the balsamic)
  • 2 Tbs. chopped shallots
  • 2 Tbs. chopped parsley
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 t. sea salt
  • 1/2 t. fresh ground black pepper
Place all ingredients in food processor and blend until combined. Here's a picture of a double batch that I just made for the Chicken Cordon Bleu pasta salad I am making for the ward dinner tonight. Someone, get me some bread to dip in this stuff, stat! I happen to know there is a loaf of roasted garlic bread over there on the counter just waiting to be eaten.

Just look at those lovely specks of dijon mustard, shallots, and parsley! Those little pastas can't wait to go swimming in this stuff.

And just for your viewing pleasure, some Italian parsley goodness, straight from the garden less than 5 minutes before this picture was taken. *sigh* I love summer time.

Much love and belief -


Monday, August 17, 2009

Big, Fat, Texas-Style Flour Tortillas

These babies are thick, hearty, and don't take smack-talk from nobody. If you are looking for the large, thin Sonoran variety of tortillas, these are definitely not the ones. (Don't get me wrong, I love those kind too. They just serve a different purpose, like for burritos or cheesy quesadillas). This recipe produces tortillas that can stand up to some serious fajita fixings or black bean dipping. Just make a bunch of them because they tend to disappear before they make it to the table.

  • Two cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cups of warm milk

  • Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and oil.
  • Slowly add the warm milk.
  • Stir until a loose, sticky ball is formed.
  • Knead for two minutes on a floured surface. Dough should be firm and soft. (I used my KitchenAid & kneaded it at 2 for 1 minute - it was perfect. If you want to knead it by hand, please go right ahead and do so. I won't think any less or more of you, I promise.)
  • Place dough in a bowl and cover with a damp cloth for 20 minutes. Go do some laundry or empty the dishwasher or better yet, check your email.
  • After the dough has rested, break off eight sections, roll them into balls in your hands, place on a plate (make sure they aren’t touching) and then cover balls with damp cloth or plastic wrap & let them hang out for 10 minutes. (I can't believe I am actually admitting to the fact that I will weigh dough before breaking it apart, divide that number by 8, then weigh each ball before placing it on the plate to make sure they are all equal. I don't fuss if they are within 1-2 grams of what they should be but any more than that and they have to be's the scientist in me.)
  • After dough has rested, one at a time place a dough ball on a floured surface, pat it out into a four-inch circle, and then roll with a rolling pin from the center until it’s thin and about eight inches in diameter.
  • In a dry iron skillet, cook the tortilla about thirty seconds on each side. It should start to puff a bit when it’s done.
  • Keep cooked tortillas covered wrapped in a napkin until ready to eat.
  • Can be reheated in a dry iron skillet, over your gas-burner flame or in the oven wrapped in foil.

Makes eight tortillas. I always double the recipe so I have some to freeze for later. Just slip some waxed paper between each tortilla, wrap it tightly in saran wrap & then a freezer bag. They sure are handy to have around when Mom is to tired to make a real meal. Whip these babies out, wrap them in foil pop them in a 350 oven for a couple of minutes and you have the beginnings of a great meal.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Blooming Dutch Oven Bread

This is a recipe I originally found over at The Pioneer Woman. The bread is so delicious and so lovely, I had to include the recipe here. Next time I make it, I promise to get some good photos of it before we dig into it!

Dutch Oven Herb Bread


1 teaspoon active or instant yeast

1 c. H20

About 4 cups all purpose flour
½ c. warm olive oil

¼ - 1/3 cup fresh chopped herbs

1 1/2 teaspoons salt (I prefer Redmond’s Sea Salt)

Kosher salt for sprinkling on top


· Dissolve yeast in water & let proof for 10-15 minutes.

· Stir chopped herbs into warmed olive oil (this helps release the flavor of the herbs)

· Combine flour, salt, olive oil & herbs with yeast mixture & knead for 10 minutes.

· Cover dough & let it rise until double in size.

· When dough has doubled in size, punch down & knead lightly to redistribute yeast.

· Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

· Pour generous amount of olive oil in bottom of cast iron dutch oven & then place dough inside, turning once so it is covered in olive oil.

· Score the dough with a large, deep X so bread can “bloom” while baking.

· Drizzle with more olive oil & sprinkle with kosher salt.

· Bake for 30 minutes in preheated oven with lid on, then remove lid & finish off bread for another 15 or so minutes. Internal temp of dough should be about 200-210 degrees.

Best Ever Black Beans

Now I know this doesn't look like black beans, but trust me, it is. It's just the beginnings of black beans. If you look carefully, past the brilliant orange tomato (very good on BLT's too, BTW), the "red" onion (come on folks - it is really purple!), the red peppers, the garlic cloves, and the bay leaf, you can see the little beans swimming around in there. This picture was just to beautiful to not use it here!

So here's the dealio on this recipe: it makes a big old pot of beans. Enough for a couple of meals. I like to make a batch of beans this size and then freeze a bunch of them for later. That is, if I can get to them before Mr. Amazing Man and the boys gobble them all up! I have taken to making large batches of beans, flank steak strips, and homemade tortillas all on the same day and then freezing 2-3 meals worth of the stuff for later. Mess the pans up once, eat four different times! That's my kind of cooking.

Here's the recipe:

2 lbs. dried black beans, washed and soaked overnight

¼ cup olive oil

2 medium tomatoes - halved

1 green pepper - quartered

1 whole medium onion - quartered

1 whole garlic cloves

2 whole bay leaves

2 T. olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1/2 whole medium green pepper - chopped

2 whole clove garlic - minced

2 tsp. oregano

1 tsp. cumin

1/3 c. red wine vinegar

salt to taste (approx. 2 Tbs.)

Tabasco as needed to kick up the heat

Drain the beans and combine with ¼ c. olive oil, halved tomatoes, quartered pepper, quartered onion, whole garlic cloves, and bay leaves in pot. Cover with water to about 1” above beans. Simmer until beans are tender & then remove tomatoes, pepper, onion, garlic, and bay leaves and set aside.

In a sauté pan, heat olive oil. Toss in chopped onions. When translucent, add in chopped pepper & garlic. Sauté until tender then add in oregano, cumin, and salt. Add in red wine vinegar and mix well. When combined, stir into beans and add more vinegar, salt, or Tabasco as needed.

(Note: I used what I had on hand today - a red onion instead of white, orange tomatoes instead of red ones, and a red pepper instead of green. There was no culinary reason, it was just that I didn't have the other stuff. The beans turned out perfectly all the same.)