Caesar Salad

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My daughter loves, loves caesar salad. She loves it so much, in fact, that every time we eat out ( which is not that often;-) she orders a caesar salad as an appetizer.

In all the years that she has asked for them, I have come to realize what a good caesar salad is. A good salad is not one that has chopped romaine lettuce, croutons,  shredded parmesan and caesar dressing. Everybody can do that!!!

A good caesar salad needs to have a real caesar dressing made from scratch!!!

Gerhard’s cafe, here in Spartanburg makes his from scratch and it is fabulous. My brother-in-law also makes a good one. I actually learned to make my dressing from him. Though in 20 years, my recipe may have changes a bit from his.

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Ingredients for 4-6 people:

  •  1/2 tsp of anchovy paste
  •  1/2 tsp of dijon mustard
  • 1 small garlic clove minced or pressed
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp of fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1/16 tsp of freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp of grated parmesan
  • salt to taste ( you may need any as the anchovies are salty
  • 2 heads of romaine salad, rinsed, and chopped
  • 1/2 cup or more of croutons
  • 1/4 cup of shredded parmesan
  1. In a large bowl, mix the garlic, anchovy paste, egg, lemon juice, and pepper together.
  2. In a slow stream pour the olive oil slowly in this mixture while whisking the dressing. Whisk until the dressing is thickening.
  3. Add the parmesan to the dressing and whisk.
  4. Add more salt, pepper or lemon juice if you deem necessary.
  5. Add the chopped salad and toss.
  6. Add the croutons, the shredded parmesan and toss again.
  7. Serve on individual plates and eat up;-)

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So easy and so yummy!!!

This salad dressing will only keep for 1-2 day as the yolk is fresh and not cooked!!! Do not keep longer!!!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Thyme Beef Kabobs

When you go home to your family, do you ask them what they wish to eat? and what do they answer? I don’t know…. well, at my house they never really know what they want to eat, but they surely know what it is that they don’t want to eat… So my suggestions always end up nowhere, and I end up fixing either pasta, or potato something for the 3/4 of my family. I was going to grill my chicken, so since I did not want to spend hours in the kitchen, I thought to serve them beef tenderloin kebabs. Quick, and good!’

Recipe: 3 large tenderloins steaks, 1 red bell pepper, 1 purple onion, olive oil, 2tbsp of thyme fresh or dry, 1/16 tsp of pepper, 1/8 tsp of salt.

Cut the meat, and the bell pepper in 1 inch square. Cut the onion also in larger chunks so that you can use them for the kebabs. Place all in a large bowl. Add the olive oil, the thyme, salt and pepper and mix well. Skewer the meat, bell pepper and the onion onto the wooden skewers that you would have previously soaked in water ( to avoid the wood from burning on the grill). Grill on high for 2 1/2 minutes on each side.

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

A Summer Must: Andalusian Gazpacho

In this heat, I don’t really feel like eating. And if I do eat, I want to eat refreshing things like salads, tomato sandwiches, seafood with salsa..I must not be the only one as I see more and more ceviche,  and cold soups as appetizers instead of the traditional heavier appetizers. Today I will offer you the recipe of one of the most popular summer soup: Gazpacho.

Gazpacho is “ is a cold Spanish tomato-based raw vegetable soup, originating in the southern region of Andalusia. Gazpacho is widely consumed throughout Spain, neighboring Portugal (where it is known as gaspacho) and parts of Latin America. Gazpacho is mostly consumed during the summer months, due to its cold temperature and acidic bite. Gazpacho has ancient roots. There are a number of theories of its origin, including as an Arab soup of bread, olive oil, water and garlic that arrived in Spain with the Moors, or via the Romans with the addition of vinegar. Once in Spain it became a part of Andalusian cuisine, particularly Córdoba and Seville, using stale bread, garlic, olive oil, salt, and vinegar” Wikipedia.

There are two types of gazpacho. One called Andalusian which is very smooth and guests can add thinly diced vegetables to it, or you can have the more traditional gazpacho that is a soup made of coarsely chopped vegetables. Both are excellent..

The recipe I am using today is based on that of Anya Von Bremzen. It serves 6 people: You will need 8 slices of day-old country bread ( without the crust), and 4 slice of old -bread with the crust, 3 lbs of ripe tomatoes preferably homegrown, or vine tomatoes diced, 6 medium garlic cloves, 1 long European seedless cucumber peeled and diced, 1 green pepper, 1 red bell pepper, 1 yellow bell pepper, 1 medium red onion, 1/2 cup of very good quality olive oil, 4 tbsp of very good quality sherry vinegar, a small pinch of cumin seeds, sea salt  and ground pepper to taste.

In a large bowl, place the diced tomatoes, diced cucumber, half of the diced onion, half of the bell peppers. Sprinkle coarse sea salt over the vegetables so that the vegetables will let out some juices and liquids. Let it rest for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, shred 8 slices of bread in pieces in a bowl. Squeeze the juices of a few tomatoes and 1 tbsp of sherry vinegar over the bread, and let this mixture rest for a few minutes. While the bread is soaking using a pestle and a mortar, crush 3 garlic cloves, and the cumin with 1/2 tsp of sea salt.

Take the bowl of bread and with both of your hands massage the bread to make it a paste. Mix this paste with the garlic mixture. Place the whole thing in a food processor and process until very smooth. Slowly add your vegetables: tomatoes, cucumbers, half of the diced onion, and only half of each bell pepper. You will want to add the olive oil at the same time in 3 additions. Once the whole thing is finally ground, pass it through a sieve. Once you have passed the whole mixture through the sieve, add 3 tbsp of sherry vinegar or more ( according to taste). Salt and pepper as you feel as well.

Chill the gazpacho for at least 3 hours but no more than 6-8 hours or the garlic will overwhelm the taste of the gazpacho.

The Croutons: with the remainder bread, lightly toast the bread in a toaster, grind the garlic cloves over the bread. With a pastry brush, brush olive oil over the bread slices. Sprinkle salt and pepper over them. With a knife or a pair of scissors, cut small squares of bread that you will lay on a silpat. Bake in a warm oven at 325 for a few minutes, or cook them in a frying pan. Make sure to watch that they do not burn so keep on stirring them and turning them while they are cooking.

Place the garnishes in 3 individual bowls. Place the rest of the diced onion in a small bowl, place the croutons in another bowl, and place the left-overs diced red, green and red bell pepper in another bowl for your guests to serve themselves.

Serve the gazpacho in wine glasses and sprinkle a few diced bell peppers on the top of the gazpacho. Let your guests help themselves to the garnishes.

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!!