GARLICKY CAESAR SALAD … PASSIONATE PIZZA STYLE

This is the Caesar Salad recipe we served in our artisan  pizzeria, PASSIONATE PIZZA in Vancouver,British Columbia.   We tossed every salad to order.   It is the same salad we served in our French restaurant; ROXY’S BISTRO in Regina, Saskatchewan.   PASSIONATE PIZZA was voted Best Pizza in Vancouver and Best  Pizza in the Pacific North West.

GARLICKY CAESAR SALAD  … serves six

1/4 cup Hellman’s Mayonnaise.  Health concerns dictated we use mayonnaise in this recipe.

3 tablespoons freshly grated parmigiano reggiano, pecorino, or grana cheese (plus thin shavings of cheese for serving  – optional)

2-3 anchovy fillets, drained, plus more fillets for garnishing if you wish

2 generous tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 – 3 garlic cloves, smashed

a good  dash of Worcestershire sauce

a good dash of a Tabasco

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard and 2 tablespoons of capers

Freshly ground white pepper

One very large head of romaine or 3 chilled large hearts of romaine

Freshly ground black pepper and  garlic croutons (recipe follows)

1. In a blender, combine the mayonnaise with the cheese, anchovies, lemon juice, garlic, Worcestershire and Tabasco sauce and Dijon Mustard.  process until smooth.  Season with white pepper.

2. In a large salad bowl toss the roughly chopped romaine with the dressing, capers,  croutons  and season with black pepper.  Garnish with cheese shavings and anchovy fillets (if desired) and serve right away.

garlic croutons

In our pizzeria we would bake enormous trays of garlic croutons.  You could do the same but at home I prefer to saute the bread.   Slice  country-style  bread in thick slices  then roughly tear into large croutons.  Pour a generous amount of olive oil into a large skillet, toss in a few crushed garlic cloves, and over a low heat let the garlic cloves brown and flavour the oil.  Remove the garlic.  Increase the heat under your pan then add  your croutons.   Brown quickly on one side, then turn them over and continue browning.  It is this heady  aroma of garlic and the rich olive oil flavoured croutons that make this an outstanding salad.  The croutons taste best made fresh so indulge and nibble on any croutons left over.

Recipes for PASSIONATE PIZZA’S await you in MRS.BUTTERFINGERS kitchen.

GRATED CARROT SALAD . . . in the French manner.

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Carrot salad is on the top of my list for nostalgic food.   In those long- ago- by- gone days fresh produce simply wasn’t available in the bitter winters of Northern Saskatchewan.     However, hiding away in our dark root cellar in boxes of sand were carrots and parsnips from our garden.    We ate carrot salad, liberally sprinkled with raisins, almost every day during the winter months.

It’s late November and these outrageously orange and deliciously sweet carrots were pulled from my garden.   I will continue to harvest carrots from our winter garden until we get a killing frost.   I added a few tender parsnips to my basket because they were growing next to the carrots and called my name.

This minimalist French recipe for carottes ràpées is a sophisticated version of the old fashioned carrot salad.  It’s one you can vary every time you whip it up.  You take some grated carrots.  Organic carrots are a must but from there the variations are endless.  Then a couple of generous handfuls of various herbs, add a few nuts or seeds, and lavish it with different oils and vinegar.

The deep orange coloured  grated carrot salad combined with a sandwich or even a perfectly boiled egg makes a lovely lunch.

The recipe is in MRS BUTTERFINGERS kitchen.

IN PRAISE OF TOMATOES

 

I take just two ingredients,

Glittering  gray diamonds of sea salt

Gorgeous  globes  of

sun-kissed tomatoes,

I embrace my laziness

and stand over the kitchen sink,

juice running down my arms

Eating tomatoes.

It is perfection.

 

For dinner I’ll put summer on the table with this  salad  made with tomatoes and nothing else.  Just a drizzle of the finest extra-virgin olive oil,  some torn basil leaves, a few grinds of  pepper and salt.  No aged balsamic vinegar –  just these perfect vine-ripened tomatoes.

Any  tomatoes left over I’ll put on  a few slices of toasted artisan bread with mayo, a sprinkle of sea salt and a couple of grinds of pepper.  I’ll eat it open face.  Sublime.  You can’t improve upon perfection.

SUPER EASY SALAD DRESSING

 

When I shop for groceries I read the labels on the back of products.    When you read the label on the back of salad dressing invariably the first ingredient is water.   This means it is the main ingredient.  Then there is the list of unpronounceable words that translate into additives you really don’t want to be consuming.   If you keep your pantry stocked with a Dijon mustard, a really good red wine vinegar, virgin olive oil and honey you have the makings of a delicious salad dressing.  You can use SUPER EASY SALAD DRESSING on any tossed or chopped salad.  It is also delicious on warm potato salad.

 

 

THE DECONSTRUCTED BLT

 

BEL’OCCHIO   …   the beautiful eye

BLT SALAD

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There is nothing quite so wonderful as a BLT Sandwich.   Layers of smoky crisp bacon, juicy tomatoes and crisp lettuce, a slather of mayonnaise all  sandwiched between slices of crusty toasted bread

Can you think of time that isn’t perfect for a BLT.  BLT for lunch, or a mid-night snack.  A BLT early Saturday morning  with a cup of freshly brewed coffee,  the morning newspaper and Willie Nelson serenading you.

Deconstruct this perfect sandwich and you have a salad that is a meal in itself.

This recipe take the luscious components of a BLT, adds crisp romaine lettuce and dresses these ingredients with a killer buttermilk dressing.    You can prepare the ingredients ahead of time, and assemble them just before serving.  Click on BLT SALAD  for this new take on an old favorite.

BOLD BEAUTIFUL BASIL

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Leave your garden for a week and you return to a garden spilling over with the bounty of summer.  Grab a basket and capture the taste of summer.

Fill your basket with basil.

Grab some garlic.

Put on the soaring music of Summer from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.

Now whip up a few jars of Basil Pesto, or in this recipe Pistou – basil pesto without the nuts.  The word pistou comes from the Latin word pestare, which means “to crush”.  Click on PISTOU and you’ll have this French version of basil pesto.

EASY SWEET PICKLES

 

 

 

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EASY SWEET PICKLES is a divine pickle recipe you can almost eat-right-away.  It’s perfect when you have a craving for a sweet/sour flavor.  It gives a wonderful lift to your favorite deli meat sandwich.  It is positively addictive on a grilled hamburger.  Add it to chopped salads.   Plus the jars look so beautiful  in your refrigerator.    It only takes 15 minutes to make.  It’s ready to go in eight hours, and it will last, refrigerated, for up to 5 days.

ROMAINE SALAD WITH MANDARINS AND ASIAN DRESSING

This is the perfect salad to compliment your Christmas dinner.   The buttery avocados and the sweet Mandarins combine beautifully with the exotic Asian dressing.

Almonds and avocados, mandarins and crisp romaine lettuce combine beautifully with my favorite Asian Dressing.  The exotic flavors of this salad will compliment your Christmas turkey.  The recipe is on MRS. BUTTERFINGERS.

PASSIONATE PIZZA’S CAESAR SALAD

GARLICKY CAESAR SALAD  –  6 servings

1/4 cup Hellman’s mayonnaise

3 tablespoons freshly grated pecorino, parmesan, or grano cheese , plus thin shavings of cheese for serving (optional)

2-3 anchovy fillets drained plus more fillets for serving (optional)

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2-3 garlic cloves, smashed

2-3 tablespoons good extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon of Dijon Mustard, and 2 tablespoons drained capers

a good splash of Worcestershire and Tabasco sauce

Freshly ground white pepper and a smidge of salt

A very large head of romaine or 3 large hearts of romaine

Freshly ground black pepper

Home made garlic croutons (recipe follows)

l.In a blender, combine the mayonnaise with the cheese, anchovies , lemon juice, garlic, Worcestershire and Tabasco and Dijon Mustard.  process until smooth.  Season with white pepper.

2. In a large salad bowl, toss the romaine with the dressing, capers and croutons and season with freshly ground black pepper.

GARLIC CROUTONS

In a large skillet pour a generous amount of good olive oil and a few crushed garlic cloves.  On low heat gently brown the garlic.  Remove garlic.

Slice thickly good country bread, then tear the slices into generous croutons.    Increase the heat  and saute the bread in the oil.  Turn to brown both sides.

AVOCADO CORN SALAD

This is a refreshing make ahead salad.  Corn kernels are lightly cooked just to develop their flavor.  Then mixed with chunks of smoky roasted chiles,bell peppers, luxurious avocado and crunchy sharp scallions.  To make two or three days in advance, mix all the ingredient except the avocado and store in the refrigerator.  Add the avocado shortly before serving.

This recipe  is from Mesa Mexicana.  The book is by two of our favorite chefs, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger.

AVOCADO CORN  SALAD

Makes  6 generous cups

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2  cups fresh corn kernels (about 5 ears) or if you’re making this out-of-season use frozen corn kernels

1 tsp salt, 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

2 avocados, peeled and pitted

2 large red bell peppers, cored and seeded

4 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled and seeded

6 scallions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced on the diagonal

1/2 cup red vinegar

Heat half cup of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Sauté the corn with seasonings, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to a large mixing bowl and set aside to cool.

Cut the avocados, bell peppers and roasted poblanos into 1/2 inch dice.

Add to the sautéed corn along with the scallions, red wine vinegar and the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil.  Mix well and let sit twenty to thirty minutes to blend the flavors.

Serve at room temperature.  Corn relish can be stored , tightly covered, in the refrigerator up to a day.