Dressing Sauces & Condiments
Thanksgiving is tomorrow, so many of you are probably not thinking about what to make for dinner tonight. Since I will be on the road during dinner time, sweet potato pie oat bars will be keeping my belly filled. But for the rest of you, I have a quick and easy dinner idea. It’s called trapanese pesto and is filled with all kinds of wonderful things, such as cherry tomatoes, almonds, basil and a pepperoncini. Who knew pesto could be so much fun? If you have some time to spare, this is great served with some oven-fried chicken and a spinach side salad.
What are you plans for Thanksgiving? Are you hosting dinner or bringing a side dish to someone else’s home? Or will you be enjoying the couch, away from any responsibility in the kitchen?
I finally got my hands on a purple sweet potato!!! One day at lunch I noticed that Qing was eating something that had a beautiful purple color and I immediately knew what it was. You see, months earlier I had been searching for purple sweet potatoes after finding out they existed at all. Unfortunately my search produced no results. That was until Qing informed me that her friend grows them in his backyard! The very next day she came in and handed me the biggest sweet potato I have ever laid my eyes on. In other words, I am going to be making more than one recipe out of that baby.
This purple beauty came into my life at the perfect time too, because I recently discovered that November is “Better Nutrition Month”. Orange fleshed sweet potatoes are praised for being one of the best sources for beta-carotene (the precursor to Vitamin A). But what about purple sweet potatoes? Their purple color is caused by anthocyanins which have important antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. But no matter the color, sweet potatoes contribute greatly towards your daily intake of Vitamin A and antioxidants. Totally nutritious and delicious! Now let’s make some gnocchi out of it, because it’s my favorite thing to make out of potatoes.
Obviously, I do not expect you to find your own personal purple sweet potato grower but you can most definitely make these gnocchi with a regular sweet potato. I am not aware of any taste difference, but my color preference is most definitely biased. However, when trying to decide what kind of sauce to make with these gnocchi I was perplexed. At first I thought of a pancetta butter sauce, but felt like that was just an easy way out after the butter sauce I served with another sweet potato gnocchi recipe I posted. But then I though of the guiltless alfredo that I love so much and decided to change it up a bit with goat cheese instead of using cream cheese. Now I want to smother everything in this goat cheese alfredo sauce. It’s so stinking good! And not overpowering, for those of you that might not enjoy a strong goat cheese flavor.
I am a minimalist when it comes to my guacamole. All I do is mash up two avocados, add some diced Roma tomatoes, then a little salt and a clove or two of minced garlic. And commence inhalation. So when I saw this recipe for a guacamole seasoning, I was a bit hesitant at first because I love my simple guacamole.
But now that I’ve tried it, I would love to make a big batch of this seasoning and store it for later use. Might be a good gift too (since we are becoming ever closer to that gift-giving time of year). I also tried this guacamole with the Trader Joe’s black bean quinoa chips which were fabulous themselves. First time trying those too, and in combination with the guacamole I just might’ve eaten the entire bowl by myself O:-).
One year ago: Breakfast Quesadillas
Makes about 1-1/2 tsp seasoning for 2 avocados-worth of guacamole
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dried minced onion or onion powder
Pinch of cumin, to taste
1/4 tsp dried cilantro
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp salt
- Combine all ingredients. Store in an air-tight container if not using immediately.
- Too make guacamole, mash two avocados with the seasoning, then stir in 1 chopped Roma tomato. Add 1/4 tsp lime juice to prevent browning. Serve.
Source: Adapted from Peas and Crayons.
Have you ever heard of hazelnut praline paste? I know I didn’t until a recipe I wanted to make called for it. When I looked into buying some, it definitely was not a inexpensive item to purchase. So I sought out ways to make my own and sure enough found a recipe out there on the internet. It’s kind of like making your own Nutella but without the chocolate. Some of you may be saying “No chocolate? Why bother ?” – I say, why not? Although I am not a chocoholic (unless it is paired with peanut butter), I still think that those who are would enjoy this spread. Afterall, it’s hazelnut praline ground into a spread! I am not sure there is any way to say no to that. And actually, I ended up using it in combination with chocolate in a recipe which will be shared tomorrow.
Once upon a time I made dark chocolate peanut butter banana cookies. Then once day I decided to take those same three characteristics and turn them into a peanut butter spread! Check out this recipe in my guest post on Erin’s Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts today!
DARK CHOCOLATE BANANA PEANUT BUTTER
Source: The Spiffy Cookie original
Today is most unfortunate because I must return to Memphis after a very eventful weekend. Does anyone want to have dinner ready for me upon my return? I would totally be okay with something simple such as this dish. You heard correct, this long titled meal is actually easy to make.
Oh and the flavors in this dish: lime, avocado, cayenne, cilantro and some creaminess brought to you by Greek yogurt. Amazing-ness. And it’s even gluten-free. Just looking out for all my friends out there .
By the way, Luke pictures from my visit are on their way tomorrow!
The frequency at which salad dressing is homemade in my kitchen is less than a salad itself. And if you’ve read my blog long enough, you will have noticed that there is a whopping 4 posts that have the word “salad” in their title. I do eat a lot of green leafy things, but it tends to be in the form of green monster smoothies several times a week (it’s my ultimate lazy-no-bake meal option). But despite my history with salads, when I was given the opportunity to test the OXO Salad Dressing Shaker I couldn’t turn it down.
I started out by making a homemade Italian salad dressing which was destined for marinating zucchini. The markings on the side of the shaker really helped in reducing the number of dirty dishes created since there was no need for measuring cups (yay!). The dry seasoning then went for a swim before screwing the top on.
Make sure the pour spout is closed and then shake shake shake. Shake your booty! No seriously, when I shake things a lot my whole body starts to join in. But moving on… so once your dressing has been fully shaken, You just push open the spout with your finger and pour all in one fluid motion. Afterwards, any leftover dressing can be stored in the shaker with the spout closed. Did I mention this contraption reduces dirty dishes?
Now that I know how easy it is to make my own dressing at home, you might see a few more salad posts pop up in the future. Maybe I will even use the dressing on an actual salad next time - gasp!
Want a salad dressing shaker for yourself? Just answer this simple question in a comment on this post: What is your favorite salad dressing? Giveaway ends on Tuesday, May 15th at 11pm central time. Winner will be notified by e-mail and given 24 hours to respond. GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED.
The winner is #16 Lynna from Hearts in my Oven.
The other day while driving home at night I was being a bad driver by taking my eyes off the road to crane my neck up to see the stars out my car window. Orion is one of the first constellations I spot every time I look at the night sky, and I have always been amused by how he is upside down. That was until Bob ruined it by telling me he is in fact up right. Mind-blowing. My entire life I have believed that he was upside down and now I have to completely readjust how I look at him in the sky. I was not okay with this realization and proceeded to look away from the road to stare at Orion in disbelief. No worries I did not crash.
Yesterday Bob decided to rub it in even further by sending me this XKCD comic about Orion and his mysterious stars between his legs (the stars are what sparked the conversation about which direction he was positioned in the sky – yes I have unusual conversations with my friends). It’s cruel to keep killing my childhood memories of gazing up at the stars with my family while waiting for meteor showers. I need to move to the Southern hemisphere so that I can be correct about my views on Orion. Am I the only one you thought this?
While we are on the subject of being wrong, have you ever made a grocery list and omitted something because you “knew” you had it only to discover that it has mysteriously disappeared (aka you used it all and forgot)? This happened to me when with the almond butter in the chocolate almond cupcakes I shared with you yesterday. But I came to the rescue of myself by whipping up some from scratch! Thank goodness for my zombie-apocalypse-worthy pantry of supplies which contains several large Sam’s club sized bags of nuts.
Making this almond butter from scratch was so easy that I almost feel ashamed for buying any sort of nut butter from the store. I see many nut-butter creations in my future.
One year ago: Over Easy Breakfast Bagel Sandwich
HOMEMADE ALMOND BUTTER
Makes approximately 1.5 cups
2 cups raw almonds
1 tsp salt
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Spread almonds on a 9×13-inch baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool for 20 minutes.
- Place roasted almonds in a food processor and grind for 15 minutes, stopping regularly to scrape down the sides. After 15 minutes the almonds will turn smooth and creamy. Add the salt and blend. Keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Do you have a favorite homemade pizza sauce recipe? Most of the time if I don’t buy it jarred, I will use a jar of pasta sauce instead and add a bit of seasoning. But when I found a homemade pizza sauce recipe I thought I would give it a try. With a great flavor that was simple and quick to prepare, I have reused this recipe a few times already. It’s also great for dipping!
One year ago: Peanut Butter Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies
HOMEMADE PIZZA SAUCE
Makes 3.5 cups
1-15 oz. can tomato sauce
2-6 oz. cans tomato paste
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp ground sweet paprika
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
4 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp white vinegar
- In a large bowl or container, mix all ingredients.
- Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator if not using immediately.
Source: Adapted slightly from Baking Jenn
I don’t think I have ever seen a can of store-bought pumpkin in my dad’s kitchen. I’m not sure I knew such a thing existed until recent years, because he was always cooking up whole pumpkins and stashing away its guts in the basement freezer, taking it out when the occasion arose to make the first pie I ever loved – pumpkin pie.
It’s really great to be able to make and store your own pumpkin puree because you can avoid all the shortages of canned pumpkin at the grocery. And it’s incredibly easy to make. You can really do this with any sized pumpkin so long as it fits into your oven. My dad is not convinced that the “pie” pumpkins are really any different other than their size (he has baked with both). Just be sure to keep align the rack in your oven away from the heating source to avoid burning.
Also, be warned that the puree with not be as dense and dark colored as the canned stuff. You can thicken it up a bit by following the extra step in the directions below, to drain out some of the liquid. I ended up not taking that extra step because my puree seemed thick enough to me.
HOMEMADE PUMPKIN PUREE
Yields about 1 lb puree
6 lb pumpkin, whole
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a rimmed baking sheet and set aside.
- Remove the stem, and cut pumpkin in half from top to bottom. Scoop out the guts (reserve seeds for another use) and place cut-side-down on the prepared baking sheet. Cook until fork inserts easily, about 45-50 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool before scooping the flesh from the skin. Place flesh into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
- If you would like your puree to be thicker, line a large fine mesh strainer with paper towels or cheesecloth. Transfer the pumpkin puree to the strainer and allow to drain for one hour. Once drained, transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate up to 1 week or freeze up to 3 months.
Source: My dad and Sweet Pea’s Kitchen.