Creamy Caesar Salad Dressing

Creamy Caesar Dressing--DIY Caesar Salad Dressing

Creamy Caesar Dressing–DIY Caesar Salad Dressing

My latest obsession is salad.  Crispy and crunchy vegetables with a drizzle of oil, and a splash of citrus or vinegar–what’s not to love?  Salads are a great way to get in a few servings of fresh vegetables in their raw state.  As much as I love salads, they can become a bit boring if you don’t mix things up a bit.  The easiest way to do that is to switch out the vegetables and the dressing.  I often make caesar salads with romaine lettuce, but sometimes I switch out the romaine and replace it with baby kale, or lacinto kale.  It makes for a hearty salad and an especially delicious twist to the standard caesar  salad, we are all used to.  I’ll post the recipe I use for the kale caesar another day, but today, I’m sharing my recipe for my favorite creamy caesar salad dressing.  It’s my go to dressing, when I crave a creamy salad dressing.

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Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: none

Ingredients:

1 clove of garlic pasted

2 Tablespoons of lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon of worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon of anchovy paste

2 large egg yolks

1/4 cup grape seed oil

5 teaspoons of olive oil

3/4 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese

black pepper to taste

Directions:  To a small bowl add the grated garlic and lemon juice, allow to sit for 10 minutes.  If you have a hand mixer like I do, add the lemon garlic mixture, (after it sits for 10 minutes), and the rest of the ingredients to a bowl and mix until the mixture thickens–about 1-2 minutes.

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Transfer to an air tight container and chill until ready to use.

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If you don’t have a hand mixer,  whisk worcestershire sauce, anchovies, and egg yolks into garlic/lemon juice mixture.



While whisking, drizzle grape seed oil and extra virgin olive oil into bowl in slow, steady stream until fully emulsified.


 Add 3/4 cup Parmesan and pepper to taste; whisk until incorporated:

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Lemon Infused Oil-How to Make Infused Cooking oil with a Slow cooker or Sous Vide circulator

 

Sous Vide/Slow cooker Lemon  Infused Oil

Sous Vide/Slow cooker Lemon Infused Oil

I’ve always wanted to try my hand at making infused oils.  I buy them all the time, but they are a little on the expensive side, so making my own seems like the better value.  Infused oils are a great way to layer flavor in almost anything, be it  a salad, warm or cold, or as a highlight to fish,  potatoes or a finish to a hummus.  The process is super simple–especially if you use a slow cooker or a immersion circulator.  I had originally planned to make this with my immersion circulator, but I didn’t want to exclude a lot of you from making it.  So I borrowed my mom’s crock pot, so that I could adapt this recipe to fit the needs of a slow cooker.  Sous vide and slower cookers have a lot in common, both cook food at low temperatures.  Immersion circulators offer the option of cooking at even lower temperatures than slow cookers.  If you have a slow cooker that has the option of allowing you to set exact temperatures then you’re ahead of the game.  If your slow cooker only has a low, medium, high, or warming settings, don’t fret, you can make this.  My mom’s slow cooker has a high, low and warm setting.  I went online and did some research on what exactly those setting are and found out that the low temperature setting on slow cookers is 200F, the high is 300F and warm is 145-165F.  I planned to set my circulator to 131F for 3 hours for this recipe, so the warm setting on my mom’s slow cooker was more than sufficient to match that. In fact it was sufficient enough to allow me to shave off a few minutes from the 3 hour cook time.  I did not, because I was busy doing other things while the oil was in the slow cooker, but if you’re anxious, you could take 15 minutes off of the cook time.  I made this lemon infused oil in both my immersion circulator and my moms slow cooker–set a timer for 3 hours for both.  The results were identical.  The lemon was nicely infused in both oils.  I used avocado oil, but this can be done with olive oil, grape seed oil, or any oil that you choose.

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Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 3 hours

Ingredients:

1 cup of avocado oil–or oil of your choice

peel of 2 medium sized lemons

Directions for slow cooker:  fill slow cooker with water and set to 131F,–if your slow cooker has an exact temperature setting– or set it on the warm setting–low if your pot doesn’t have a keep warm setting. Place oil in a bag, then add lemon peels–making sure to bend and twist them to release oils.

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If you’re using a ziploc bag place the bag in the slow cooker and seal using the water displacement method, then cook for 3 hours.  If you have a vacuum chamber sealer that allows you to seal liquids like I do, then seal the oil and lemon mixture in a bag for 10 seconds with a 1.5 second seal.

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Directions for Sous vide:  Fill a pot or container with water, then set the circulator to 131F and wait for the water to come to temperature. Meanwhile add the oil and lemon peels to a bag–making sure to bend and twist them to release oils.

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If you’re using a ziploc bag place the bag in the water bath and seal using the water displacement method, then cook for 3 hours.  If you have a vacuum chamber sealer that allows you to seal liquids like I do, then seal the oil and lemon mixture in a bag for 10 seconds with a 1.5 second seal.

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At the 3 hour mark, carefully remove the oil from the water–remembering that even at 131F-165F water is very hot.

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Transfer the oil to a clean container–removing all of the peels–you can leave one or two for decoration if you’d like.

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The lemon oil is ready to use. There are so many uses for this oil.  Drizzle a little on avocado toast, or on roast chicken–the uses are endless and always delicious!

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Mango Ice Cream

Mango Ice Cream

Mango Ice Cream

My husband loves mango’s and is especially fond of mango kulfi–an Indian ice cream.  It’s a special treat that he likes to enjoy whenever we go out to eat at an Indian restaurant. Although Kulfi is delicious, most recipes call for corn flour as a thickening agent.  I prefer the use of egg yolks to thicken my ice cream.   This ice cream is ultra creamy, not as rich as a Kulfi, but delicious none the less.

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Prep time: 30-45 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

3 cups of organic mango puree

1.5 cups of organic milk

2 cups of organic heavy cream

4 egg yolks

1 vanilla bean

1/4 cup-1/2 cup of maple syrup more if you like it ultra sweet or if your mango’s are not sweet

Directions:

In a medium bowl, beat together the yolks, and your sweetener of choice.

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You can beat by hand using a whisk, or use a hand mixer. Beat until thoroughly smooth and creamy. (A couple of minutes by hand.) If you’re using maple syrup, or agave, the mixture comes together quite quickly.

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Put 1 cup of the cream, and all of the milk, into a medium saucepan over medium heat.
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Scrape the vanilla seeds from the bean with the tip of a small knife, and place into the pan; add the pod too. Heat the mixture until just before it starts to simmer (DO NOT LET IT SIMMER). Remove mixture from heat.Strain the hot mixture, reserving the milk and discarding thevanilla bean pod.
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Add half of the hot mixture to the egg-yolk mixture, and whisk until blended. Be careful when adding the hot mixture to the egg mixture, go slowly you don’t want scrambled eggs.  Stir this mixture into remaining hot mixture in the sauce pan,add the last cup of heavy cream and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, add in the mango puree,and cook until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.

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Remove from heat.  Quickly cool the mixture by pouring the hot mixture into a bowl over an ice bath, or let it cool to room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Once the cream has cooled sufficiently, freeze in an ice-cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.

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If you don’t have an ice cream maker, check out this Link to see how make ice cream without one.

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You could also freeze the cream in popsicle molds, or make a instant pop in a Zoku Quick Pop Maker–like I did below!

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DIY BBQ Rub–Lazy Girl All Purpose Barbecue Seasoning

Lazy Girl BBQ Spice Rub

Lazy Girl BBQ Spice Rub

By now you know that I love to make my own dry rubs and seasonings. I am a particular fan of the Trader Joe’s brand BBQ rub, but it’s not organic, and it contains sugar.  So of course I had to make my own version–without the sugar. I find that most things that call for sugar, either need less than the recipe calls for, or  don’t need it at all.  If you want to add sugar to this, then by all means add it, 1 teaspoon of maple sugar won’t kill you, but it really isn’t necessary for this recipe, this seasoning is fantastic all own its own. Also a bit of spice is nice in the recipe but I have made it optional.  My daughter isn’t a fan of spicy foods, so I often leave the spice as a later addition for the grown ups.  This truly is an all purpose seasoning, it taste great on chicken, pork, tofu, or steak.

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Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: none

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons of smoked paprika

1 teaspoon of onion flakes (can sub onion powder)

1 teaspoon of satsuma powder (can sub 2 teaspoons of orange zest)

1 teaspoon of cumin

1 teaspoon of ground coffee

1 teaspoon of himilayan sea salt

1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (optional)

 

Directions: Add all ingredients to a small bowl,

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Mix well:

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This is such a great seasoning, and it’s not just something to use on grilled meats.  I used it to make oven roasted barbecue chicken the other night, and it was a huge hit!

 

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Green Bean Chicken

Green beans with Chicken

Green beans with Chicken

We are having a rough week here. Page is finding adjusting to school harder than any of us had hoped. She was fine initially, but has had a delayed reaction to being separated from me.  Yesterday was an especially hard day for us all.  She cried all day at school, and when I picked her up from school my heart just broke.  She looked like she had been crying all day, and the way she fell into my arms…let’s just say that I was reduced to one giant puddle! Needless to say, I never got around to posting my blog yesterday.

A few weeks ago we were out running the last of our Christmas errands, and stopped to eat a Chinese restaurant.  As we browsed the menu, I asked Page what she wanted to eat.  She quickly removed the menu from my hands, took a few seconds and said “I want the green beans mom!”  With her tiny finger she pointed to a picture of a plate of glimmering green beans and said ” I want this one!” Under normal circumstances I would ignore her, and get her what I think she might eat, but she was so confident in her choice that I ordered the green bean chicken for us to share. I’m so glad I did!  I don’t know who enjoyed the dish more, me or Page.  The beans were crisp and fresh, and Page devoured almost all of them!  The moment I tasted this dish, I knew that I had to try to recreate it at home.

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Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

1 pound of fresh  organic green beans, ends trimmed

1 tablespoon of garlic paste

1 teaspoon of ginger paste

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

3 tablespoons of rice vinegar

1 chicken breast. cubed

sea salt to taste

Directions: Heat the oil, garlic and ginger paste in a saute pan just until the garlic and ginger become fragrant (about 30 seconds).

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Season the chicken with sea salt and add it to the hot pan.  Toss well, and allow the chicken to cook through about (5-7 minutes).

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Once chicken has cooked through, add in the soy sauce, rice vinegar and green beans.

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Cook for an additional 5-7 minutes–the green beans should still be crisp, remove from heat, serve and enjoy!

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Pan Seared Sous Vide Rib-eye Steak

Sous Vide Rib-eye Steak

Sous Vide Rib-eye Steak

 

I have really been enjoying my Anova Precision Cooker‘s. I expected my cooking to improve, but I never expected how much sous vide would change the way I cook.  This past Sunday I went to my local farmer’s market and Whole Foods and as I was plotting out what I would cook for the week, it struck me: I could cook everything that I needed to make for the week with my sous vide cooker in one day–that day–Sunday–in less than 2 hours–1.5 hours to be exact, of non active cook time!  Que the bells people, this thing is LIFE CHANGING!!!!! I don’t think I can cook any other way now.  Cooking sous vide is a lazy girls best friend! I’m 4 meals in and there is no turning back for me! Every meal is fresh, restaurant quality and quick to make.  If you’re in the market for a Christmas gift you might want to put an immersion circulator on your wish list–two words–LIFE CHANGING!!!  Now to this steak.  It was delish, the best steak I’ve eaten in some time!  It’s actually the first time that I’ve cooked a rib-eye inside on a stove top.  I always have my husband grill them.  As great as the steak was I would have liked it a bit more rare than it was.  But my husband likes them medium well, so if you happen to like it the way I do, then set the temperature on your circulator lower than 140F,  138F would probably work better.

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Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 1 and 22 minutes hours

Ingredients:

1 pound rib-eye steak

4-5 sprigs of fresh thyme

1 teaspoon butter

1 clove of garlic smashed

sea salt and black pepper

For pan searing

2 Tablespoons of butter

3 tablespoons of a high temperature oil like grape seed or safflower.

3-4 sprigs of thyme

Directions:  Fill a pot with enough water to come to cover the minimum level line on your circulator. Set your circulator to 140F and wait for it to bring the water to temperature.  Meanwhile season both sides of your steak with sea salt and black pepper.  Add the steak to a vacuum bag, top with butter, thyme and garlic.  Seal bag shut using your vacuum sealer or water displacement method.

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Once the water has come to temperature add the sealed steak to the pot and cook for 1 hour and 22 minutes.

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Once the steak has cooked for 1 and 22 minutes remove it from the water if you are ready to cook it right away, remove it from the bag and pat it dry and let it rest while you heat the oil in a skillet.  If you plan on cooking it later even if it’s only a few hours later place into an ice bath (1 cup of salt dissolved in 4 cups of  warm water, then add 2lbs of ice).  Let the steak sit for 1 hour in the ice bath before refrigerating.

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When you’re ready to cook the steak.  Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a cast iron skillet. Remove it from the bag, discard the thyme leaves and garlic.  Season the steak with a little more sea salt.

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Once the oil is hot add the steak, brown it on both sides making sure to flip it constantly.  Add the 2 tablespoons of butter and allow it to melt.  Add in 3 sprigs of thyme and baste the steak with the oil in the pan. Making sure to focus on the areas of steak that have fat–you want to brown those parts.

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Once the steak is nice and golden brown–about 5-6 minutes remove it from the pan, serve and enjoy–no need to rest a sous vide steak.

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Five DIY Food Gifts For Under $5

Gourmet Popcorn -- Homemade gift giving

‘Tis the season for giving! I am one of those people who loves to give.  It makes my heart happy to give.  One of my favorite gifts to give as well as receive is food.  Unlike most gifts food is useful, so you don’t have to worry that your money will be wasted on a gift that will not get used.  If you make these you can avoid the chaos that is the mall, and spend a lovely stress free 20-30 minutes in an uncrowded grocery store.  Did I mention that you could skip going to the mall? Best of all, these gifts are delicious, but inexpensive, at about $5 per person or family they won’t break the bank.

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Caramel Popcorn with Almonds and Coconut Flakes

This popcorn is AMAZING!!! Every time that I make it, the people lucky enough to taste receive it, tell me that I should quit my day job, and package this for mass production asap!  They’re probably right too.  But I just could never do it.  Lucky for you;-)

Caramel Popcorn

Coconut Kettle corn

This stuff is like inhaling air, it’s light, salty, and sweet in all the right places!

Coconut Kettle Popcorn

Citrus powder

This can be sprinkled on fish, chicken, steak, veggies and rice, it will be the gift that keeps on giving months down the line.

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Sour salts

Sour salts are in the pantries of some of the best chef’s in the world, why not add one to your favorite chefs arsenal?

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Marshmallows

‘Tis the season for gifts and marshmallows.  These are way better than the high fructose laden, store bought version.  They’re made with maple syrup, and lots of love!

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