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.

Ginger Honey Syrup

We are crazy about Celestial Seasoning’s Jammin’ Lemon Ginger tea, and I created a honey syrup that goes with it. Caitlin suggested adding lemon juice after straining it – which would also be amazing.

1/2 cup fresh grated ginger
1 cup honey
1 cup water

Bring everything to the boil. Reduce heat and cook 10 minutes until slightly thickened. Strain into a mason jar, discarding ginger. (If you’d like you can add 3/4 cup lemon juice, too.)

Good with tea. Someone also mentioned a drink called a Panacea, which is:

2 oz. syrup
2 oz. Scotch

Blend these in a glass, and fill glass half full of ice. Stir well. Not sure how this would taste, but it’s interesting!

Emergency Niobrara Salad Dressing

When you’re staying in a cabin and miles from any grocery store, sometimes you have to get creative! Since we often stay a week or more, I bring a pretty good selection of things from home. One time though, I had everything for salad but no dressing. So I grabbed the buttermilk and mayo from the fridge and the garlic bread seasoning mix from Costco and voila – a terrific, creamy salad dressing! You could probably use any seasoning mix you have on hand – steak seasoning mix would probably be great, too.

1/4 cup buttermilk
1/8 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 tsp Johnny’s garlic-bread seasoning mix

Blend and enjoy.

Kumy’s Spicy Rustic Spaghetti Sauce

Kumy first made this Spaghetti sauce in August of 2011 and he’s made variations ever since.  It’s a spicy, rustic sauce that’s delicious on pasta.

1/2 to 3/4 cup olive oil
5 small tomatoes, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper seeded, and cut into four pieces
pinch of Sage
1/4 tsp Rosemary
1/4 tsp Thyme
3/4 tsp Basil
1/4 tsp Oregano
1/4 tsp Parsley

Heat oil, and add garlic in. Saute garlic for a couple minutes and add the chopped tomatoes and all the rest of the spices. Cook for another 10-15 minutes.

Serve over pasta sauce with Parmesan cheese.