Saturday, June 29, 2013

Wet Your Feet With Vinaigrette

No I don't really mean stick your feet into vinaigrette.  I'm just encouraging you to try making a vinaigrette.  It's easy and if you like being creative in the kitchen, vinaigrettes are a very accommodating sauce to make.  If you need or want more specifics than a recipe provides then come to my program "Dress Up Your Salads."  I'm going to share all that I know and love about making this tasty concoction.  
Dates and times are listed at the end of this posting
Here is our haul from the local farmer’s market while on vacation and we decided it would make a great salad.  
Before we left for our trip I was looking over this great cookbook-  Salad For Dinner: Complete Meals For All Seasons by Jeanne Kelley.   I found this unusual vinaigrette recipe that I thought would be fun to try.  If you enjoy cooking (and even if you don’t) vinaigrettes are worth learning how to make.  They are easy to do and can make a boring run of the mill salad turn into fabulous dish with out a lot of effort.  Almost like an edible pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

So get your feet wet and try making a vinagrette

Lime – Ancho Vinaigrette
Surprisingly the earthy quality of the ancho and cumin seasonings worked well with the sweetness of the beets and the lime was a nice counterpoint to the olive oil.

¼ cup lime juice
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup olive oil
You can put all of your ingredients in a jar with a lid and give it a really good shake (which is my preferred way to make this) or in a bowl dissolve your honey, salt, and seasonings in the lime juice.  Then slowly whisk in your olive oil.
For dessert we took the bananas we bought and stuck a fork into them.  Then we dipped them into some melted chocolate chips. Sprinkled the tops some broken up granola bars and froze them.  Simple and satisfying.

Dress Up Your Salads - Program
Wednesday July 17 at 7pm at Fairfax Library 415-453-8151
Wednesday July 24 at 7pm at Corte Madera Library 415-924-3515
Wednesday July 31 at 12pm at Civic Center Library 415-473-6057

Monday, June 10, 2013

Simple & Super Walnut Squares


Our family has been making and consuming these delicious bar cookies for decades.  When we bring them to parties we always get requests for the recipe.  They are very easy and quick to make.  As children we called them Noel Bars and we only made them during Christmas.  One of my brothers adores these cookies and starting asking for them year-round.  So now we called them Walnut Bars.  It is likely you already have these ingredients on hand in your kitchen.  Whip up a batch and I dare you to try eating only one. 
Walnut Bars
1 cup walnuts
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup flour
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
confectioners' sugar 

1) Use a 9x9 inch baking pan. Put the butter in the pan and place it into a 350 degree oven while you mix the rest of the ingredients.
2) If you are using whole walnuts, chop or break them up into smaller pieces.
3) Mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Then stir in the sugar, eggs, and vanilla.
4) Mix the walnuts into the batter.
5) Pull out the pan and gently swirl the browned butter around in the pan, making sure it is evenly spread out.
6) Carefully drop the batter into the melted butter in the pan.  Do not stir the batter in the pan.
7) Bake for 20-25 minutes. 
8) When the bars have cooled cut them into squares, turn them over and dust with a little confectioners' sugar.
This recipe can be baked in a smaller 8x8 in pan for thicker bars.