Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Shut the door, I'm dressing!

One of my favorite cookbooks is The Junior League of Pasadena California Heritage Cookbook. I've had it since 1976. My dog, as a puppy, chewed the corner and many of the pages have stains. I love this cookbook. One of my favorite recipes is something they call Mexican White Dressing. Reading the recipe you might also wonder why it's called this, it's puzzled me forever.

This is one of those sweet dressings that goes well with avocado and citrus salads but the following is an old standby of mine. First, the dressing.

Mexican White Dressing
1 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 tablespoon of powdered onion
4 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt

Mix all the ingredients in a 1-quart covered jar and allow to stand at room temperature for 24 hours. Refrigerate 1 hour before serving. Shake well just before using. This dressing will keep for 1 week in the refrigerator.

Now, the salad. It couldn't be easier. You can add candied nuts or Gorgonzola, whatever you enjoy. The sweet dressing is a wonderful compliment to the strong cheese.

Napa Cabbage Salad
Chop into bite-sized pieces a medium head of Napa cabbage.
To this add walnuts and crumbled blue cheese and toss with dressing.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Artichokes and cream: what's not to love

If life were perfect I would have created this dish but nope, it wasn't me. It was another food blogger, Ree Drummond at Pioneer Woman. She's just come out with a cookbook but I've been reading her blog all along. She takes a million photos of the process for each recipe and has fun doing it. She has a handful of home schooled kids and a working cattle ranch. She is way too organized but has an honest blog that is fun to read and is a damn fine cook.

Spaghetti with artichokes and tomatoes

She touts this as almost entirely made from the pantry and I did use canned artichoke hearts but I had enough fresh Roma tomatoes so I blanched and pealed them. I had thought frozen artichokes but they might be to watery and Trader Joe's has a very nice canned product. It is easy, quick and very filling. I like to have a meatless dinner ever so often and this fits the bill.

Ree added the cheese a bit differently. Hot pasta into a bowl, drizzle with olive oil and then sprinkle a fair amount of grated Parmesan. Then top with the hot sauce. I think that helped to incorporate the cheese better. And like her, I use tongs to help mix this all together. Where ever would I be without tongs. They are on my family crest.

Editor's note: I got so wound up about this dish I missed one thing. It was delicious! My beloved enjoyed it and didn't even miss the meat. I could have eaten the whole bowl but held myself in check. Red sauce is on for me but I really have trouble with the acid. This had a yummy tomato flavor without the acid-reflux I usually experience. Do make this. Go to the store right now.