Monday, August 29, 2011

no-egg vegetarian caesar dressing

Is it spelled caesar, ceasar, or cesar? According to Rachel Ray, the above spelling is correct, but I saw it all different ways on the internet. I was looking for a ceasar salad dressing I had tried a few years ago: no anchovy, no egg, dead easy and delicious! I tried this dressing, which was close, but quite a bit too lemony. The version below is what I want to try next time:

No-Egg Caesar dressing
(slightly adapted from Rachael Ray)

  • 1 clove garlic
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon (should measure this next time, maybe 2 tsp?)
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (Tabasco)
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, can use shredded or I just cut a good-size block
  • salt
  • coarse black pepper

1. Place all ingredients except oil, salt, and pepper in blender (I use the mini food processor attachment for my precious and often used hand blender).
2. Blend until everything is super chopped up.
3. Add in oil, a little at a time especially at first, and keep blending. Over time it should start to emulsify and get creamy.
4. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.

makes 1/2 cup dressing -- enough for 4 large salads

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Harriet's Dolmades

Yesterday I helped my 88-year-old neighbor pick grape leaves for some dolmades she was making. I expressed some interest in learning how to make them, and pretty soon she gave me the grape leaves to prepare and said she would come over today to show me how to make them. SO after an afternoon of cooking, this is the recipe we made.  She usually puts meat in hers, but since Mahesh is vegetarian I wanted to learn how to make them vegetarian and she obliged.

makes 2 9x13 pans full

-- about 60 tender grape leaves, stemmed, washed, and blanched
-- about 12 big non-tender grape leaves for the top and bottom of the dish

-- 2 cups uncooked rice
-- 1/4 c. olive oil
-- 2 cups onions and/or leeks, minced (can use food processor for veggies)
-- 1/4 c. minced fresh anise (Harried wandered down the street and picked this wild from our neighbor's yards) (could probably use mint instead)
-- 1/2 c. minced parsley
-- 1/4 c. tomato sauce, can add more tomatoes if not serving with lemon sauce
-- lemon juice would be good in there too, if you are making a more sour one (less tomato)
-- salt and pepper to taste

For pouring:
-- 2 cups vegetable or chicken bullion or stock


-- Mix all the filling ingredients together, maybe with a little water.
-- Then, line two 9/13 baking dishes with half the uncooked big grape leaves.
-- To roll dolamdes, take blanched grape leaf, vein side up, and add about 1 scant tablespoon filling at the base of the leaf. fold in the two bottom bumps loosely, folds the sides in, and then roll up very loosely, keep in mind the rice will double in size as it cooks and it needs room. Place in baking dish.
-- Roll all dolmades and put them in the baking dish. Do not place them too tightly as they need room to expand. Then, cover with a layer of olive oil, place remaining grape leaves over the top, and add bullion/stock and water to just barely cover the dolmades.
-- Cover the pans with a lid or aluminum foil.
-- Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 35 minutes or until the rice is cooked through. Check on them from time to time and add boiling water if necessary to make sure the pan doesn't dry out.

-- I tried one plain and decided it needed more salt than I had put in the mix, also a squeeze of lemon made it better. Overall, quite a success! I am thinking of planting a grape vine so I can make more dolmades next year!