Thursday, March 19, 2015

Best Salad in the World!

This salad is so delicious that I choose to order it every time I dine at a certain Belgian restaurant. You might recognize it if you have eaten lunch there - you know, the one with the communal table.  I kept saying to myself, "I should figure out the recipe so I can make this at home".  It took me a while but it did it!  Wow!  It is truly the most delicious, healthy, and satisfying salad.  The basil vinaigrette is bright and fresh.  The combination of textures makes the salad out-of-this-world delicious!  The original salad also has julienne of cucumber, tiny cubes of tomato, frisee, and slices of spring onion.  I will add these next time but this was perfection as is.  The key to this salad is to use avocado oil in the basil vinaigrette. Let me know what you think!

Basil Vinaigrette for The Best Salad in the World
one to two basil cubes (recipe here)
avocado oil
kosher salt

Put a couple basil cubes into a measuring cup or small bowl.  Allow to defrost or put in the microwave on high for 20 seconds.  Pour avocado oil into the defrosted basil cubes using a small whisk to incorporate --make sure you put enough in to have a pourable vinaigrette.  Add the tiniest pinch of kosher salt and whisk again.

The Best Salad in the World
carrots, shaved
fennel, shaved or sliced thin
avocado slices
frisee, arugula, spinach (any combination of all three or two)
cooked french green lentils (just soak and simmer - make enough to store in fridge for the week)
flax seed
cucumber, fine julienne size
tomato, diced very fine
spring onion, sliced thin
fresh dill, chopped

Mix all the ingredients together (you choose amount!) except for avocado and flax seed.  Pour basil vinaigrette over the salad and toss.  Top salad with sliced avocado and a sprinkle (about a teaspoon) of flax seed.

Friday, March 06, 2015

Fennel Seed and Almond Biscotti


We have been eating biscotti daily for the past two weeks.  It's been so cold and it sure is comforting to dip these delicious cookies into a hot mug of tea.  The original recipe called for anise seed.  When I baked these for the first time I only had fennel seed so substituted them in the recipe. We tried the recipe several times with both anise seed and fennel seed.  Both taste great but we are partial to the fennel seed.  The fennel seed seems to enhance the almond flavor and increase the perfume of the cookie. Anise or fennel seed, these cookies are delicious and very easy to make.  You don't even need to pull out your mixer.  Love recipes that are mixed in a bowl with a large wooden spoon.  ;)

Fennel Seed and Almond Biscotti
Adapted from a December 1999 Bon Appetit recipe
3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
a scant ½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups sugar
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 large eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons fennel seeds, semi-ground
1 ¼ cups whole almonds, toasted, coarsely chopped (see How to Toast Nuts, here)
1 large egg white
Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.   To grind fennel seed cover with parchment paper and using rolling pin apply pressure while rolling over parchment.  Sift flour, baking powder and salt into medium bowl. Mix sugar, melted butter, 3 eggs, vanilla extract, and ground fennel seeds in large bowl – mix by stirring with a wooden spoon or large spatula. Add flour mixture to egg mixture and stir with wooden spoon until well blended. Mix in almonds.
Divide dough in half and place dough on the parchment-lined baking sheet.  Shape each dough half into 13 1/2-inch-long, 2 1/2-inch-wide log. Whisk egg white in small bowl until foamy; brush over top and sides of each dough log.
Bake logs until golden brown (logs will spread), about 30 minutes.
Cool logs on sheet on rack, about 25 minutes.
Transfer logs to work surface; using serrated knife, cut logs on diagonal into 1/2-inch-wide slices. Arrange slices, cut side down, on same baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes. Turn biscotti over; bake until just beginning to color, about 10 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

How To Freeze Fresh Basil

Basil Cubes=Delcious!
This recipe is as easy as they come.  These frozen basil "cubes" are packed with flavor.  I am using them to make Basil Vinaigrette for my favorite salad.  You can add these to soups and stews or put several together to have fresh basil pesto in just a couple of minutes.  LOVE this recipe and don't know why I didn't think to do this years ago.

How to freeze fresh Basil

Any amount of fresh basil leaves
Extra Virgin Olive Oil 
juice of half a lemon

Put fresh basil leaves in the bowl of a food processor.  Pour 1-2 tablespoons of oil over leaves.  Turn machine on and add a little more oil through feed tube as needed to make a thick paste.  Squeeze half a lemon over and process again.
Using a spatula, transfer contents of food processor bowl to a measuring cup --to make it easy to pour into your ice cube tray.  Pour basil mixture into each of the wells of an ice cube tray, using spatula to smooth the top.  Cover tray with plastic wrap and put into the freezer.  Once basil cubes are frozen store cubes in a freezer safe container for easy access.  They cubes come right out of the trays with a little help from an offset spatula or butter knife!