Friday, March 3, 2017

Back to Fresh!

I arrived back home from my trip to Jefferson City last night at about 9:45 pm.  I had to eat cafeteria food for breakfast and lunch (it was honestly delicious), and then fast food for dinner.  My friend and I stopped at Slim Chickens in Lebanon for some tasty chicken.  If you haven't been, there is also one in Rogers, Arkansas.   I felt very sluggish today; some of it due to my seasonal allergies, the rest definitely due to poor nutrition.  Today I was certainly ready to return to fresh eating!  I began the morning with my steel cut oatmeal with fresh blueberries.  For lunch, I had Subway.  I know it's not the greatest dietary choice, but my sandwich did have a lot of veggies.  Tonight, I'm made a salad with homemade dressing.  Delicious and fresh!

Gather your ingredients: heart of romaine, red and yellow heirloom tomatoes, 1 Meyer lemon, parmesan cheese, mascarpone cheese, salt, pepper, and olive oil.   Always wash and dry your produce to remove harmful pesticides and dangerous contaminants.  Maybe one day I'll tell you a story about the time I ate contaminated bean sprouts.
I always, always, always prep my ingredients in individual bowls before I begin cooking.  I've found this to be the best way to ensure I never skip an ingredient or step.  I love my little glass bowls!  For this recipe, I used the juice of the entire Meyer lemon, 1 tablespoon of parmesan, and 2 tablespoons of mascarpone.  If you only have traditional lemons on hand, I suggest using about half as much juice.
Whisk together the two cheese and the lemon juice in a bowl.  Slowly whisk in about 3 teaspoons of olive oil.
At this point, my husband entered the kitchen and asked the obvious questions "Why are you taking pictures of your food?"  I explained that it was Slice of Life time again, and he began giving me tips on lighting and camera angles.  He also panicked about me using a stained kitchen towel in my pictures.  The bad news is all of my kitchen towels are stained because I actually cook!  Continue to whisk until smooth and a little bit fluffy.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  I recommend freshly ground pepper.
The dressing is good and lemony as is at this point, but I wanted something with a bit more depth.  I decided to add two of my favorite ingredients.  Freshly minced garlic and diced shallots are a way to add big flavor with just a tiny bit of ingredients.  Make sure you dice the shallots very small.  A stain on my towel is clearly visible here.

Whisk in the garlic and shallots, and add a bit more salt and pepper.  
This creamy, lemony dressing is similar to Caesar dressing but without the anchovies.  I despise fish!  It made about 1/2 cup, but I only needed about 2 tablespoons for my salad.  I put the rest in a glass bowl to use with lunch tomorrow.  I think the dressing would keep for a few days or up to a week.  Top the salad with as much dressing as you like.  I just wanted a light coating on the vegetables.
Mix the dressing in with salad, add salt and pepper to taste, and top with a spicy peperoncini pepper and enjoy!
If you like spicy foods, I think you could add some crushed red pepper to this dressing for a little extra kick.  

Tomorrow, I bake cupcakes!  They won't be a fresh as this delicious salad, but they will be from scratch.  Come back for pictures and a recipe!


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