These last few days have been focused around my son’s nine year old surprise birthday party, and not a whole lot else. We focused on the real basics, from what he really loves to do (baseball and collect bugs), to getting the items he enjoys…
Month: May 2009
This classic salad is one that you do not see at the dinner table all that often. When you do see the salad being served at a restaurant, you, or at least I, quickly think, ‘man, that sure looks good’. We often forget about the array of goodies that come with the cobb salad. Two of my favorite items are on the salad which include bacon and blue cheese. I had a hankering for the cobb salad this past weekend, and it was long overdue to make. This excellent salad really brought some excitement to the table, and was great for everyone around it, including my kids, as they could choose things such as chicken, eggs, bacon, or lettuce. Did I mention how killer the dressing was?
- 3 hard boiled eggs, quartered
- 6 slices of bacon, crumbled
- 1/2 head of romaine lettuce
- 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
- 2 tbsp green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 bunch of small watercress, cleaned, dried, stems removed
- 1 chicken breast, poached in salt water, cubed
- 1 avocado, cubed
- 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
- 1/4 lb blue cheese, preferably Roquefort, plus a tablespoon for the dressing
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- pinch of salt and pepper
- 1/3 cup of olive oil
Begin by picking out your serving plate. I used a nice platter that we received as a wedding gift, after all presentation counts as well right? Lay a bed of romaine lettuce to serve as the base of the salad. Next, what I like to do is create strips of the following; diced chicken, hard boiled eggs, bacon, blue cheese, tomatoes, and watercress, and avocado.
To make your dressing, combine in a small bowl, the red wine, Dijon mustard, garlic, salt and pepper, and worcestershire sauce. Whisk. Next add in a tablespoon of the blue cheese, and mash it with a fork. Whisk again. Note the creaminess. Drizzle in the olive oil and whisk to make your dressing.
Sprinkle the parsley over the salad, and drizzle some of the dressing over the salad. Place the remaining dressing in a small bowl and let your friends and family serve themselves.
Everyone loved this salad, and it will be a nice addition to our summertime gatherings. Enjoy.
As you might recall I recently traveled to New Orleans for a conference, and during that time I was able to take in some really great food, which included gumbo, shrimp po’ boys, and beignets to name a few. There was one dish however that I did not order while in Louisiana, and that was a delicious bowl of red beans and rice. So for the last several weeks, I have been thinking about making a batch of red beans and rice, and this past weekend was a perfect opportunity to make this wonderfully delicious, and comforting dish.
The name red beans and rice sounds really easy to make, and it is, but there is a lot more that goes into this dish besides red beans and rice, a lot more in fact, however it is really cheap to make and can vegetarian as well. This is a perfect dish to make on a Sunday, and have later that day, or better yet, serving it on Monday. This recipe makes quiet a bit so feel free to store in the freezer for few weeks, or invite as many guests over and get your red beans and rice on.
- 1 lb of red kidney beans, cleaned, and soaked overnight
- 4 cups of beef stock
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, finely diced
- 1 green bell pepper, trimmed, and finely diced
- 6 ribs of celery, trimmed, and finely diced
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 6 links of Andouille Sausage, thick sliced
- 1 ham hock
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp dry thyme leaves
- 1 tbsp Cajun Seasoning (Zatarain’s works well)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Tabasco to taste (I use a garlic tabasco)
- Cooked white rice
The night before you are going to make this dish, soak your beans in a large pot of water. When you are ready the next day, clean your beans by picking any floaters, or ones that are not looking too well, and disgard them. Rinse and drain the beans and add them back to the pot, covering with fresh water. Bring the beans to a boil and cook for about 45 minutes, just until tender.
While the beans are boiling, this is a great time to prep your vegetables. Bring a large skillet to medium-high heat, and add the olive oil. Bring to temp, then add in your onions, celery, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook until the onions are soft, about 8 minutes.
Now, once the beans are tender, drain them again, and add them back to the pot, this time adding your beef stock and any more water to cover them up. Toss in your ham hock, sausage, and sauteed vegetables, and give them a nice stir. Add in your thyme, bay leaves, cajun spices, worestershire sauce, and tabasco. Give a nice pinch of salt and pepper to the mix. Give another good stir. Bring this to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer.
This is going to simmer on the stove for roughly three hours. Taste as the beans simmer and adjust your flavors accordingly by adding more salt, pepper, or tabasco, and give it a stir every time. You will take notice as to how creamy the texture is becoming which is truly inviting and difficult to resist.
This is a good time to get your rice cooking if you haven’t done so already.
You have a couple of options now that everything is cooked. Serve them now as you cannot resist a bowl of delicious red beans and rice, or let them cool down before storing, and serve them the following day. You will be surprised at how the flavors are enhanced by serving them the next day.
This is truly comforting and truly a great dish from Louisiana.