Caitlin’s Supreme Pesto

Pesto

My son’s fiancee, Caitlin is a wonderful cook – and she shared her great Pesto recipe with me a while back.

I love how flexible it is and how simple it is to make! The ridiculous cost of Pine Nuts has kept me from making traditional Pesto, so I love this version – especially with the combination of basil and cilantro.

 

Ingredients

1 handful fresh basil
1 handful fresh cilantro
4 cloves garlic
1 cup of mixed nuts (any nuts)
1/2 to 1 cup olive oil (depending on the nuts)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
big pinch of kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Put everything in the food processor and blend until you get the consistency you like. Start with a half cup oil, and add more until you get a smooth consistency. You can also add more salt to taste.

Caitie’s note says: Put on everything and enjoy!

Warm Bourbon Sauce

This is a wonderfully boozy sauce that we love on Bread Pudding.  It’s from Emeril’s Louisiana Real and Rustic Cookbook.

Ingredients

4 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup bourbon
4 egg yolks, beaten in a small bowl

Melt the butter in a double boiler. Add sugar and whisk to dissolve. Add bourbon and whisk for one minute. Remove from heat.

Drizzle in several spoonfuls of the hot syrup into the egg yolks, stirring constantly. Return all to the pan, and continue whisking until the sauce is pal and slightly thickened. Serve immediately.

I store any leftover sauce in a mason jar, which I reheat by placing back in simmering water. If the sauce is too thick add a few drops of water.

 

Remoulade Sauce

We served Po’ Boys for our Halloween get-together with a choice of beef brisket, or Cajun Roasted Cauliflower. Super easy and delish, especially with this Remoulade Sauce from Emeril’s Louisiana Real and Rustic Cookbook – though Remoulade is most often served with shrimp.

It makes quite a bit, but to be on the safe side I doubled the recipe.

Ingredients
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped celery
2 Tbsp chopped garlic
2 Tbsp prepared horseradish
3 Tbsp whole grain or Creole Mustard
3 Tbsp prepared yellow mustard
3 Tbsp ketchup
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper.

Buzz all in a blender or food processor until quite smooth. Keeps in a jar in the fridge for several days.

Delish!

Boursin-Style Cheese Dip

I used the Boursin Cheese recipe from Food.com, and added a few more ingredients to make a slightly softer cheese spread.  This is great with crackers, flat bread or fresh veggies.

Ingredients:

8 oz butter, at room temperature
8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
2 Tbsp plain yogurt (unsweetened, full-fat)
3 Tbsp grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 tsp dried dill weed
1⁄2 tsp dried marjoram
1⁄2 tsp basil
1⁄2 tsp chives
1⁄2 tsp black pepper
1⁄2 tsp dried thyme, crumbled
2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley or 1 heaping Tbsp dried parsley
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder

Instructions:

Blend the butter, cream cheese, mayo, yogurt and parmesan cheese until smooth. Dump in all spices and mix well.

Can use immediately, but tastes better if it sits for a half hour or so.

Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce over Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Rice

Our friend Sharon recently served us this incredibly delicious Vegeterian/Vegan dish and was kind enough to share the original recipe with me, from CookieandKate.com. I made it almost exactly as shown, and then a couple nights later used the leftover peanut sauce as a dipping sauce for oven-roasted sweet potatoes. It is so delicious and uses ingredients you probably have in your pantry already.

INGREDIENTS

Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce

½ cup creamy peanut butter
¼ cup soy sauce (Can use Tamari to be gluten-free)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 and 1/2  Tbsp honey (or agave nectar, to taste)
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, crushed
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp water

Roasted vegetables

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1 inch long, ½ inch wide chunks
1 red bell pepper, cored, deseeded, and sliced into bite-sized strips
about 2 Tbsp olive oil (or coconut oil)
1/2 tsp cumin powder (I used more than original recipe.)
1 tsp Sea salt (to taste)

Rice and garnishes

1 1/2 cup jasmine rice (could use any rice, really)
3 green onions sliced into thin rounds (green and white parts)
Handful cilantro, chopped
Handful peanuts, crushed

Sriracha sauce on the side (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

In a medium bowl, mix 2 Tbsp of olive oil, salt and cumin. Put the sweet potatoes in a roasting pan and drizzle with about 2/3 of the oil. Drop the peppers in the remaining oil and toss them. You’ll add them to the pan a bit later.

Spread the sweet potatoes out, but leave about 1/4 of the pan empty. Bake for 15 minutes and toss. Then add the peppers in the empty space and continue roasting for another 20 minutes.  Check to be sure the potatoes are cooked and the peppers are soft and starting to caramelize.

In the meantime, cook the rice. Add 1 1/2 cups jasmine rice and 1 tsp kosher salt to a pot. Add a bit less than three cups of water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and cover and cook for 25 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Make the sauce: in a bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients. If the sauce is too thick whisk in a little more water.

To serve: Spoon rice onto a large serving dish, and top with sweet potatoes, then peppers, a nice heavy drizzle of sauce, and sprinkle chopped green onions, cilantro and peanuts. Serve any extra sauce in a little pitcher.

To serve it as a dipping sauce for sweet potato fries, just gently stir in the onions, cilantro and peanuts. So good!

Ina Garten’s Green Goddess Dressing Recipe

Adapted from Barefoot Contessa At Home

Every year at our big family potluck Christmas Eve, we choose a country and everyone brings food and drink from that country.  This year my very clever brother Ron and his wife Lisa suggested that instead of a country, we choose a time and so our focus this year was Betty Crocker.

Our Mom cooked a lot from the Betty Crocker picture cookbook, so we all grew up loving many of those recipes.  I remember being fascinated with name and story of Green Goddess Salad dressing, so that’s what I brought.  Ina has a wonderful recipe in her  cookbook and it was of course, delicious!!!

Ingredients

1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup chopped green onions (scallions), white and green parts
1 cup chopped fresh basil, packed
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp Asian Fish Sauce (Ina uses 2 tsp anchovy paste, but that’s something I’ve never used. Asian Fish sauce is basically anchovy sauce, and works pretty well, too.)
1 cup sour cream

Add all to a food processor and buzz just until blended.  It does make a lot of dressing, so you can easily halve the recipe.

It really needs nothing more than to be tossed with nice salad greens and halved grape or cherry tomatoes, but would also be great on a iceberg lettuce wedge salad.
Ina also uses it on asparagus and broccoli – which I’ve never tried but plan to do so.

Romaine Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

balsamir salad

Just made this for supper tonight, and this salad was so good – a real “lick the bowl” dressing.  Maya made Ina’s Salmon using honey mustard, since we were out of Dijon and she roasted some Butternut Squash with butter, salt and pepper.  They were so delicious and had lots of bright, vivid colors on the plate. I love eating dinners like this!

3 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar (Costco’s is amazingly good)
2 Tbsp Olive oil
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp honey mustard
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Hearts of Romaine, chopped
4 eggs, hard-boiled, peeled and quartered

Mix 1st 7 ingredients in a bowl.

Put romaine lettuce in a large bowl. Add hard-boiled eggs and dressing and toss. Our eggs were still warm from boiling which was a nice counterpoint to the cool, crisp salad.