Monday, August 25, 2014

Summer Salad with Potatoes and Avocado Dill Dressing

Adapted from Marie Simmons Fresh & Fast Vegetarian

Going with the creamy, but not-too-rich theme of the month, I want to share my new most favorite salad dressing in the world. Behold the wonder of Marie Simmons Avocado Dill dressing. It's in the same vein as tatziki, in that it's not overly heavy and would be a great dip for vegetables or a side sauce or drizzled on any protein. I discovered it as the dressing in her recipe for this beautiful summer salad that has enough potatoes to be a full meal by itself. It's not a quick throw together at the last minute type of deal, but look at how pretty it is! It's just as elegant an experience to eat it and peel through the layers with that amazing creamy dill dressing in every bite.

Summer Salad with Potatoes and Avocado Dill Dressing
1/2 avocado
3 tablespoons cup greek yogurt
1.5 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/4 cup dill, chopped
1/4 cup cucumbers, roughly chopped, seeds removed
1 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
The rest of that cucumber, sliced
2 tomatoes sliced
1/2 pound potatoes (I used a combination of gold and purple yukons, which added some nice color)
1/4 cup onions sliced thin with a mandolin if available
1/4 cup radishes, sliced thin with a mandolin, again, if available
1/2 pound greens of your choice

Boil a pot of water and toss the potatoes in there to start cooking and then start making the dressing. Toss avocado, greek yogurt, mayonnaise, dill, and 1/4 cup of rough chopped cucumbers, and salt into food processor and blend until very creamy. Scoop it into a bowl and cover before setting in the fridge to chill. After the potatoes have softened (probably about 20 minutes of boiling depending on size), set them aside to cool as you prepare additional vegetables. Slice tomatoes and cucumbers into 1/2 slices and sprinkle with a hit of salt. Mandolin the onions and radishes, but make sure to leave the onions separate. The pretty presentation depends on the onions resting daintily on top.

After potatoes have cooled, slice them into 1/4 inch slices and set aside. Grab plates and you can start layering. Start spooning the dressing onto the plate and swirl in circles until it's about a inch away from the edges. Place the potatoes down directly in the dressing arranged in a circle before layering the tomatoes, cucumbers, and radishes on top. Drizzle with a little more dressing before topping with the greens and thinly sliced onions and yet another drizzle of dressing. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Simply Delicious Tatziki

I had one of those beautiful, it's not just me, moments this past weekend while I was camping with a dear friend who mentioned how overwhelmed she got when googling for a simple tatziki recipe. Either the portions are insane, there is clearly too much garlic, or some weird obscure ingredient that you'd never thought would be in this simple Greek sauce. Even some of the tried and true corners of the internet that usually have great recipes seem to over-complicate, so I decided to mess around with portions until I found a consistency and flavor I liked.

This is what I came up with and it's pretty great, if I do say so myself. Add this to anything that needs a little luscious creaminess without a ton of fat. I put it on simple veggie kebobs Sunday night and it was the healthiest and tastiest meal I had all week.

This is a side dish that will sauce a meal for approximately 6 people. If you have extra, use it as a delicious veggie dip. It's a crowd pleaser!

Simply Delicious Tatziki 

1.5 cups greek yogurt (I used Fage non-fat, but feel free to use any fat content you like. Full fat yogurt might require less olive oil)
1 tablespoon dill (yes, that is a lot, trust me)
1/4 cup cucumber, sliced (about 8 slices of a large cuke)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 a garlic clove

Combine all ingredients into food processor and blend on high until the cucumbers are just slivers. If you prefer a creamier sauce, add a touch more olive oil and continue to blend until it reaches the desired consistency.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Lunch on the Go - Serious Eats 17 Fresh and Healthy Recipe Ideas

Head over to Serious Eats today for a look at 17 excellent fresh and healthy recipe ideas. I plan on trying this Brown Rice Bowl with Charred and Nutty Romesco ASAP. Serious Eats is a great place for recipe ideas and food news from around the US.

Cajun Style Ooey Gooey Green Bean Casserole

Sometimes you just need something warm and comforting that barely counts as healthy. This has got lots of green beans and veg that adds flavor, but the predominate feature is the cream. Yummy rich cream that bakes into a gooey delight. Make this for yourself the next time you want something decadent, but want to at least get some nutrients with all of that fat. I was inspired by an episode of Diners Drive-ins and Dives feature on the Old Coffeepot Restaurant's Big Easy Green Bean Casserole. That recipe is here on the food network website, but you must always remember that no one tries those before they post the video, so they always need some adaptation. My version uses vinho verde instead of sherry and coconut oil instead of butter. The idea of using artichoke hearts and bell peppers in the stock base was brilliant and gave this a true Cajun flavor, that I love! I left out the carrots to keep the sweetness down and didn't regret it.

Cajun Style Ooey Gooey Green Bean Casserole
1 pound green beans, trimmed and snapped in half
1 quart heavy cream
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/4 cup artichoke heart bottoms, diced
1/4 cup bell peppers, diced
1 small onion, diced
2 large stalks celery, diced
1/2 cup cremini mushrooms, diced
1/2 cup white wine(I used vinho verde, just go with what you have)
2 cups vegetable stock (maybe the Joe Yonan version you made at home)
1 tablespoon corn starch
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons salt

Add coconut oil to the bottom of a large dutch oven or other deep pot with onions, celery, bell pepper, and artichoke heart bottoms with a teaspoon of salt. After the vegetables have a golden brown to them, add the white wine and green beans and continue to stir until about 1/2 of the liquid has evaporated. Add the vegetable stock and another tablespoon of salt and simmer for 10 minutes (green beans should be getting soft). Turn on your oven and set to 350 degrees so it has time to pre-heart. Turn the heat to low and add the cream and stir at which point the mixture will look a lot like a cream of mushroom soup with green beans in it.

While that mixture is on low, combine the cold water with corn starch to make a slurry. Slowly stir it into the pot to thicken the mixture. Pour the whole thing into a casserole dish and sprinkle with breadcrumbs before popping it into oven for 15 minutes, allowing the top to get a golden brown cover. Serve in a bowl and enjoy!