Summery Fresh Chip Dip

We picked up this recipe from the Egoist. It is exceptionally good. Fresh & snazzy taste. The problem is that no matter how much we make we never have enough. It’s gone by the end of the evening.

Defining quantity is difficult. How much do you plan to eat? Do you like cilantro more than red onions or vice versa? Which flavor do you want to be the strongest?

Here’s how we usually do it:
* 1/2 red onion, chopped into tiny pieces
* @ 5 stalks of cilantro, leaves snipped (we like big pieces of cilantro here, but not whole leaves)
* @ 2 TBSP Lemon Juice
* @ 2 TBSP Olive Oil

Mix well. Then you can eat it right away or let it chill until all the flavors are thoroughly blended. Eat it with corn chips. Or on a quesadilla. Or just plain with a fork.

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Friends of ours once served us this pizza from scratch, using the recipe from the cookbook “In The Kitchen with Rosie” by Rosie Daley. This pizza is magnificent. Wonderful crust, sauce, etc. It’s not the bland cheesy stuff you buy at the grocery store or even the somewhat wholesome stuff you make at home. It’s almost exotic.

So without further ado, the recipe:
Pizza dough
3/4 cup lukewarm water
1 tsp honey
1 tbsp dry active yeast
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup semolina
½ tsp salt
1 tsp olive oil
½ cup cornmeal
Light vegetable oil cooking spray
Mix the water and honey together in a medium stainless steel bowl. Sprinkle the yeast on top and set it aside for about 20 minutes to proof, until bubbles form on the surface.
Put the flour, semolina, and salt into a bowl of a food processor. Turn the machine on and slowly add the yeast mixture through the feed tube. Process for about a minute, until a dough ball forms, drizzling a little additional water into the feed tube in necessary. Continue to process for another 2 minutes.
Rub the surface of a large bowl with the olive oil. Transfer the dough ball to the bowl and roll it in the oil to coat. Cover with a towel and set the bowl aside in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
You can make eight small pizza crusts, or two large crusts. To make eight small pizza crusts, remove the dough to a work surface that has been dusted with the cornmeal and roll out evenly to a thickness of about 1/4″. Cut out eight 5 ½” circles, using a sharp knife and a saucer of that circumference.
To make two large crusts, remove the dough to a work surface that has been dusted with the cornmeal and divide the dough in half. Roll out dough to a thickness about 1/4″ thick.
Spray a cookie sheet 3 times with the vegetable oil to coat and put the pizza rounds onto the sheet. Bake for 3-5 minutes, until golden. Remove the baked crusts from the oven and add the toppings you want.
If you do not want to use the semolina you can just use a ½ cup of flour instead, but the pizza crusts will not turn golden.

* 1 1/2 Cups fresh basil leaves
* 2-5 garlic cloves, peeled (two seems like a ridiculously small number)
* 1/4 C. pine nuts
* 1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese
* 1/4 C. freshly squeezed lemon juice
~ Put the basil, garlic, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese into a blender. Drizzle lemon juice into the blender while blending the other ingredients. Puree until a smooth paste is formed.
(makes 3/4 cup of the pesto. my friend doubled it because we all love it)

* 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
* 1 Cup tomato puree
* 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
* 2 teaspoons dried oregano
* 2 teaspoons dried basil (we just used more fresh stuff)
* 2 teaspoons dried thyme
~ Mix all the ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over low heat for 10-15 minutes, or however long it takes the sauce to thicken.

The pesto should be put on the crust before the sauce. After the sauce, add all the glorious toppings you wish. We had sundried tomatoes, shitake mushrooms, sausage, pepperoni, peppers and parmesan cheese sprinkled on the top.

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Chicken Enchilada Cassserole

Chicken Enchilada Cassserole

* 4 C. Cooked Chicken, chopped into bite sized pieces

* 2 C. Cooked Rice
* 1 can each cream of mushroom soup & cream of chicken soup
* 1 can diced tomatoes
* 1 1/2 C. Chicken Broth
* 1 t. chili powder
* 4 t. minced onion
* 1/4 t. garlic powder
* 1/4 t. pepper
~ Combine

* 8 oz grated cheese
* 4-6 cups crushed tortilla chips

layer 1/2 chips, 1/2 chicken, 1/2 sauce and half cheese in a 9×13 pan. Repeat.* Bake at 325 degrees for an hour.

That is the recipe on the card, anyway. When there is no chicken in the house, I use beef. Instead of cans of cream soup I prefer to make a white sauce (utilizing some of the grease from cooking the beef) and add mushrooms and beef broth powder. If there are no cans of diced tomatoes, I add a can of tomato sauce, a chopped tomato and then extra rice to thicken it up.If doing a “beef” version I use beef broth instead of chicken broth.
If a bit short on the ground beef, I do it one and a half times instead of doubling it and just use extra cheese (our family can always use more cheese). This makes one 9×13 pan and one 8×10 pan with one layer.
If everybody is starving, turn the oven up to 400 degrees (fahrenheit) and it will take less time.

This is one of my favorite recipes: it would also be good with black olives and sour cream served as garnishes.

*To use as a freezer recipe, prepare to this point and then cover well and freeze. To cook, put in the oven undefrosted and bake for two or three hours (it tends to be mushier if you defrost it first).

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English Trifle

* 1 prepared loaf pound cake (10 3/4 ounce, although I used a slightly larger size)
* 1/4 to 1/2 cup raspberry jam (naturally, I used 1/2 c. I’m always up for more raspberries)
* 1 package (3 to 3 3/12 oz) regular or instant vanilla pudding mix
* 2 1/2 C. milk
* 8 oz carton whipped cream (although I’m sure more wouldn’t hurt)
* slivered almonds
* maraschino cherries, halved

Slice pound cake in half horizontally. Spread with jam and replace top of cake. Slice cake into nine pieces. Line the sides and fill the center of a 2 qt glass serving bowl with cake pieces. Prepare pudding with milk. Cool if necessary. Pour over cake. Chill. Spread whipped cream over top. Chill at least 4 hours. Garnish with almonds and cherries.

Yields 8-10 servings.

This is actually very little work, and it looks bee-yu-ti-ful. Or, rather, it looks lovely until it’s been partially devoured. Then it looks spoilt. What you do at that point, though, is finish it ALL UP, wash the bowl and make another batch.

Originally posted in The Common Room by the HG

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Tomato and Onion Salad

This is one of those recipes that turns out to be about a thousand times better than anybody had a right to expect it to be.
IN an impromptu moment, Granny Tea called us yesterday while we were driving to church and suggested that we come to her house for lunch afterward. She said she and G-pa would pick up a batch of fried chicken, and we should just come without bringing any food.
So we did. She asked me to look in the fridge for salad fixings (this is a job each of us hates, so we give it to the other as often as we can).
There wasn’t much salad, but there was a ziplock bag of sliced onions and tomatoes. That bag had been hanging around for at least a week, because I’d sliced those things for grilled burgers over a week ago when we had burgers and brats with Granny Tea and G-pa. So, the first ingredient is:
1. Sliced onions and tomatoes, stored together in a ziplock bag in the fridge for at least a week. The tomatoes should look like they’ll be okay if you eat them right now, but you’re going to have to throw them out in a day or two.

I pulled those out, cut them up and put them in a bowl. I would say we had about three cups worth, half and half.
Granny Tea looked at it and said, “How about some Basil?” That sounded good, so Granny Tea went to the herb garden and brought in about a fistful of basil leaves. Granny Tea planted several kinds, and she planted them alphabetical order. But she’s forgotten what they were and where she started the alphabet. She knows she has some Greek Basil, and something that tastes like licorice, and something sort of like cinnamon, but we don’t know what all there is. Nevertheless, this is ingredient number two:

2. Small handful of fresh basil of various flavors, cut up with kitchen shears. This is not optional. Fresh basil makes this salad what it is. Without the basil, you’ve just got chopped up leftover hamburger veggies. With the basil, it’s sublime, divine, and perfectly prime. A fine wine of a salad.

I stirred that up and decided it needed just something extra. I would have preferred a balsamic vinegar and oil dressing, but Granny Tea had no balsamic vinegar, so I used what she did have:

3. A splash or two of bottled Italian Salad dressing.

We ate it all and wished for more.

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Barley Chicken Salad for Ten

Barley chicken Salad for ten

4 cups cooked barley
4 cups chicken; diced cooked
1 cup Celery; diced
1 cup Tomatoes; chopped
1 cup Red onion; chopped
4 Tablespoons Lemon juice
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
Lettuce, about three cups, torn (the amount is really up to you- how lettucy do you want it to be?)

Mix the lemon juice and Dijon together well.
Toss all ingredients together in a bowl, stirring well to coat. This is also a nice main dish lunch. As a main dish, this is probably enough for six healthy eaters, or 8 dieters.
Serve with ranch dressing if you like, or eat it as is.

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Rice Salad for Twelve

Rice Salad for Twelve

6 cups cooked rice (we use brown rice)
1-1/2 cups cooked kidney or garbanzo beans (about one can, I think)
3/4 lb. turkey ham, cut in small strips
3/4 lb. Gouda cheese, cut into cubes
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. red onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper (some people like more)

Mix the above ingredients in a bowl, tossing well, so you don’t get a pocket of all the red pepper in one bite.

3/4 cup olive oil
6 Tbs. cider vinegar (balsamic is also good)
1-1/2 tsp. Italian herb seasoning (we just sprinkle in basil, marjoram, oregano, and thyme to taste- heavy on the basil, which is our favorite)

Pour all these ingredients and salt and pepper to taste into a container with a good lid. Shake vigorously until emulsified (or put it all into your blender and blend) and pour over salad. Stir it all together a few times to coat all the ingredients with the dressing, and then refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

Posted in Asian, grains, legumes, main dish, salad | Leave a comment

Strawberry Soup

This is absolutely the perfect lunch for hot and muggy days.

1 bag frozen strawberries (just under a pound, we think)
3 pints sour cream (fat conscious types can use plain yogurt)
3/4 cup pineapple juice
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup water
six ice cubes

Mix this all in a blender until well blended. Ladle into bowls and serve immediately. This served 7 of us, as two poor souls missed out, being away that afternoon. We felt very sorry for them, but our sympathies did not extend so far as to go without our lunch in order to save some for them.

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Beet Salad

Beet Salad
* 1 can (16 ounces) diced or julienned beets
* 1 package (6 ozs) lemon flavored gelatin
* 1 1/2 C. cold water
* 2 TBSPs finely chopped onion
* 1 to 2 TBSPs prepared horseradish
* 4 tsps vinegar
* 1/4 tsp salt
* 1 1/2 C. celery, diced
* 1/4 C. artichoke hearts, diced

Drain beets, reserving the beet juice; add water to the reserved liquid to bring the liquid amount to two cups. Place in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat; stir in gelatin until dissolved. Add cold water, onion, horse radish, vinegar and salt. Chill ’til partially set. Stir in the beets, celery and artichoke hearts. Pour into an 8 inch square dish. Chill until firm, about three hours. Cut salad into squares.

The HG wrote this when she posted it originally at The Common Room: The DHM doesn’t think many readers are at all interested in a beet salad recipe; the Head Girl is, as a general rule, completely empathetic with this point of view. In her opinion, beets usually taste like some poor vegetable gone astray. This salad is different; the beets have been brought back to the straight and narrow path and are combined with many delightful flavors.

This is one of my favorite side dishes at holiday meals. The color is so festive, and the flavor is piquant, refreshing, and light. This year I am wondering if it could be made with plain, unflavored gelatin and some lemon juice or lemon extract.

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Microwave Caramel Corn

Microwave Caramel Corn
* 1 C. brown sugar
* 1 C. Margarine or butter
* 1 C. Dark Corn syrup (or a little less than a cup of honey)
* 1 tsp vanilla
* 1/2 tsp Baking soda
* 4 quarts popped popcorn

– Bring the sugar, margarine and corn syrup to a boil in a microwave safe bowl, about one minute on High. Cook one minute longer. Mix in vanilla and baking soda.
Pour the mixture over the popcorn and mix. Place the coated popcorn in a large paper bag. Microwave four minutes, shaking the bag each minute (watch closely as microwaves vary in power levels)
Eat immediately [our family’s favorite option] or spread on wax paper to cool for eating later.

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