Eva’s Salad Dressing -Vinaigrette

BEST HERB Vinaigrette SALAD DRESSING
Change your salad dressing from ordinary to extraordinary!  When we serve salad greens, everyone knows they will be getting my fresh ‘herb’ dressing with it.  Friends and family still rave about it to this day. “When are you going to add your salad dressing to your blog?” I hope you like it!
SECRET FORMULA:  The secret is twofold (1) The ‘FRESH’ herbs speak for themselves.  (2) You are looking for the right balance of oil and vinegar. Taste the dressing before serving.  I can not emphasize this enough.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1/3 vinegar – (blueberry + balsamic vinegar)
  • 2/3 oil – avocado, olive or hazelnut
  • 1/4 tsp pepper*
  • 1/4 tsp salt*
  • FRESH Herbs: Italian parsley, thyme -lemon thyme, tarragon, basil

The amount of herbs varies -no exact measurement.  Over the years, I have found that  you never put in too much herbs.
*FRESH ground pepper corn (and salt) adds a specific aroma
Hint: If you don’t have everything ..improvise.  Also, use best ingredients because you are not using that much of it.

Salt and Pepper

DIRECTIONS

  • Mix avocado oil with pepper + salt
  • Add vinegar – blend/shake in a small jar.
  • ADD HERBS**

**BEFORE YOU ADD THE HERBS – TASTE the dressing using a piece of lettuce [ This is an important step]

NEXT

TASTE TEST: The best way to test this recipe is with a piece of lettuce. The taste should be dull. You are looking for the balance of oil and vinegar. The dressing should not be too vinegary.  You need to keep in mind that the taste should be dull. The herbs will add a tangy lift.  A mistake some people make is to have the vinegar overpowering.
Last step ..add the herbs. They provide an exquisite bright flavour to your dressing. I add lots of herbs.

FARM TO TABLE 
The new trend serving prepared meals  directly from the farm to the table has captured a lot of chefs/restaurants.  I support this wonderful trend in natural eating, as we dig into our herb ‘farm’ to prepare this salad dressing.

Fragrant Basil Growing In Your Garden

FRESH SALAD DRESSING
I have heard people say that once you have had fresh salad dressing, you never go back to store bought again. It is true for me. I always have oil and vinegar in the house. There is no excuse not to make a quick dressing or vinaigrette in 5 minutes.

ARE YOU ABLE TO TELL IF VINEGAR IS BAD?
Vinegar has an indefinite shelf life. It can still alter in appearance and strength after five to ten years. Balsamic vinegar has a tangy-sweet taste.  It  is aged in oak caskets and becomes darker and sweeter as it ages.  Hints of the oak casket linger in this vinegar. The best place to store vinegar is in a fairly cool, dark place. aside: My friend who has wine from Abe Lincoln’s private stock  said, ” You don’t want to drink it. It tastes like vinegar. “

Blueberry vinegar is good for your health. Blueberries improve eyesight and memory.  The list goes on. You can even buy blueberry vinegar capsules for health therapy ( sometimes called ‘Nordic Tonic‘). Remember the apple cider vinegar trend? Everyone was taking a shot of apple cider vinegar as a daily tonic.  Healthy trends are good trends.

WE SHOULD EAT LOTS OF SALADS I really like watching the oil and vinegar blend with the herbs as I shake the bottle of dressing. I sometimes think about  shaking a bottle of champagne to celebrate the winner at the Grand Prix.  It’s a real joy  when your dressing wakes up your taste buds.
Delightful!

CREATIVE Blogger Award

How Kind!
Thank you to Stephen over at TillsVisaLaw for the nomination.
I was truly surprised and thrilled that someone took the time to nominate me for this award! In our community of bloggers, I am always amazed and humbled that even one person takes the time to read what I type. To be nominated for such makes me smile! The award comes with a few guidelines and in the true spirit of the creative ‘ blog’ award  ‘‘sharing is a good thing …and pass the blessing on to others.

Award Rules:
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and include a link to their blog.
2. Share 5 facts about yourself.
3. Nominate some bloggers in return and notify them about their nomination.
4. Notify bloggers that you included.
5. Keep the rules in your post to make it easy for everyone to know what to do.

FIVE FACTS ABOUT MYSELF
1. True Foodie: I am part of the ‘Foodie’ circle of trust. You don’t have to eat at expensive restaurants to be a ‘true’ foodie.  It just happens. My revelation was when I was 3  years old. It was Christmas time. Our family arrived for the festivities at the grandparents house. The table was set with white tablecloth, polished silverware and fine china gleaming below the sparkling chandelier.  I remember the white cake at the end of the meal. Moist with creamy whipped icing, as light as a feather. Every mouthful was celestial.  I will always remember that divine cake for the rest of my life. So moist and tasty – I still cherish the thought.  It was my first introduction to  the “FOODIE” world.  Note: My grand mother was a chef on an ocean liner.
2. Favorite Things: Reading in the still of the day/night with a cozy blanket and fluffy pillow. Sipping hot cocoa or soup on a chilly day. Watching a good movie that moves me; clever, joyful or a tearjerker.  It’s all good! Movies based on a true story are extra good.
3.Reading And  Writing About Food: I like to explore new recipes and examine the nutritional value of various foods. I embrace classic recipes that are so good. Learning great new ways of preparing  ‘carrot’  fries is so innovative. They taste very good and you can say you are eating fries. Having fun with food is delicious too.
4. Born To Be Wild:  I was born in Turku, Finland. One of the oldest cities that  erupted from the Medieval Times.  Turku was designated the European Capital of Culture for 2011. In 1996, it was declared the official Christmas City of Finland with its cobblestone streets, Aura River and seaport. It has it all. I am proud of my roots in Finland.

Floating restaurants on the Aura River in cental Turku. Photograph: Seilo Ristimaeki/Iloinen Liftari Oy

5. Joy in Life:  The ‘Joy’ of Cooking! A catchy title, n’est pas. That about sums it up. I am still learning and searching. The joy in cooking…yes indeed. Making that unforgettable salad dressing that everyone asks about (coming soon) is a real gift! I am here to share my joys with you and read about your joys …in life and cooking!

CREATIVE BLOGGER NOMINATIONS
1. conorbofin.com
Conor’s pictures and presentations are a foodie bloggers dream. People steal his pictures for their publications. How rude! (But, the highest compliment!)
2. backyardjournal.com
I like reading about the places traveled by this blogger and the great meals Karen shares with us along the way.
3. Cindyknoke.com
Pictures of nature are breathe taking. Cindy is not a one shot wonder. Her latest polar bears are 5 or 6 shot wonders as you watch them play.
Wonder-ful!
4. pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com
I found this blog an started following it. I was so surprised how interesting the stories are – from real people – that share their own archives. I am corresponding with an American (armed forces) in Libya. It is another world.
5. frugalhousefrau.com
Molly’s oven baked eggs – Hotel Eggs – recipe is very creative. Molly’s entire blog is so creative.  Her latest grape BBQ sauce reminded me when I made oven “baked” wings. In a pinch, I brushed the wings with home made grape jelly – fabulous!
6. Photofinlandrantasalot.wordpress.com
I like to see the season’s change and a photographer that does not show touristy pictures. Real life in the backyard is very good and their Tuxedo cat is cool too.
7. dinnerwithjulie.com
Very creative! This recipe (link) is about how to use yogurt or sour cream as it just passes the expiry date. Pretty good!
8. americaoncoffee.com
visited Zanzibar for their “spicy” beverages and local atmosphere.  Here, live bands singing Queen songs on weekends  (hometown hero Freddie Mercury, who was born in Zanzibar in 1946. )
9. goodgriefcooks.com
celebrates life. I encourage you to watch Lisa on TEDx Talk. (this link) A powerful message with chocolate chip  cookies.
10. myfavoritepastime.com
Did you know Lima beans were toxic unless you soak them in water? How about adding quick oats to your meatball mix?
Very creative!
There are so many other blogs that are very creative. I search for the hidden gems where true foodies live. They may not have 4,000 followers, but, have a wealth of information. I am so lucky to find these gems and enrich my life.

Spicy Mango Chutney

This is a tasty and healthy condiment that will add that “je ne sais quoi to your dinner or appetizer.  It is the best version of mango chutney that I have ever had. Everyone likes it.  Even the cilantro haters do not notice the cilantro in it. Your crab cakes will never be the same.  You can serve it along side of your chicken schnitzel, veal, seafood. It is best made the same day and worth it.
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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large mango cubed
  • 1 small sweet onion, minced
  • 1/2 red pepper, minced
  • 1/2 jalapeño pepper, minced
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1 T. coriander* leaves minced
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg to the ingredients
  • 1 T. dried black currants
  • Olive oil

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DIRECTIONS
Combine all ingredients. Drizzle with some olive oil and toss.
Serve with crab cakes, chicken, veal or scallops.
To plate an appetizer, place chutney on plate and food on top.


DID YOU KNOW?
*CORIANDER
A vegetarian, gluten-free herb!  Like a rose by any name will smell just as sweet, call it what you may, hara dhania, coriander or cilantro, they are, one and the same ingredient.
*Coriander: Coriander is also known as Chinese parsley. The stems and leaves of which are usually called cilantro in North America.
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YOUR HEALTH IS YOUR  WEALTH
One cup of dice mango is 100 calories. YUM! The 20% folate (a form of vitamin E) in a mango is metabolized in the liver. Any drinkers with fatty livers will appreciate this fact. All peppers are loaded with antioxidants, but none as much as the brightly colored reds, yellows, and orange. Mango and peppers are a dynamic duo! Right Batman!

Trendy Grilled Cauliflower

In Living Colour

Cauliflower Steak

What’s popular in Paris today is braised or grilled cauliflower. It started last summer (2018), when everyone was grilling ‘colourful’ cauliflower.  A cheerful and healthy choice. We are featuring purple cauliflower for the nutritional value.
Purple cauliflower has the same antioxidant: anthocyanin, which is also found in red cabbage and red wine. The trend towards gluten-free and dairy free helps support cauliflower. Food companies are capitalizing on the low-carb, gluten-free trend by using vegetables like cauliflower to replace flour, rice and other simple carbs. Mashed cauliflower (see recipe below) instead of mashed potatoes is a welcome change.

Slicing Cauliflower Steaks for the Grill

Spicy Herb Oil : Use this oil to baste your grilled cauliflower.
Add basil, parsley leaves, garlic, lemon zest, salt and oil to a food processor: emulsify.
Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. It’s your basting oil, your taste buds. You never go wrong with fresh herbs. That’s the real secret.   Transfer the oil into a small jar or container. Make it hot (caliente) by adding  jalapeno and stir to combine. Baste the cauliflower with this oil mixture at the end of cooking.  Your Paleo  friends will applaud  your efforts.  Make enough grilled cauliflower to FREEZE and enjoy at a later date.

Colorful Grilled Cauliflower Trees -We Are Eating Healthy Today!

ADD FLAVOUR ‘when you kick it up a notch’: Click on -> Emeril Lagasse for his oil spice suggestions. Emeril  likes to add curry powder and/or cayenne pepper & garam masala to his basting oil  mixture instead of our  classic *basil, parsley and lemon mix*.  We are  all-embracing the healthy, exotic, eastern spices. Oven roasted instead of on the  grill works well for Emeril as he chooses flowerets for easy eating and coverage.  It’s all good, healthy and tasty!

Caliante (Hot) Basting Sauce  with ”Garam Masala’

BONUS recipe

CAULIFLOWER MASHED POTATOES
HEART SMART: This recipe  using ‘white’ cauliflower, cuts back on carbohydrates and starches in your diet  (part of the Paleo Diet Plan). . A healthy choice!  The big bonus is that some people can not tell the difference between your cauliflower mash and your traditional ‘starchy’ mashed potatoes  you have served for many years.

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Ingredients:

• 1 large head cauliflower
• 5 large cloves garlic, peeled
• ¼ – ½ cup light sour cream
• 1-2 Tablespoons unpasteurized butter
• 1/4 Tsp, Nutmeg
• Sea salt and black pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. Fill a four-quart stockpot with 1-2 inches of water and allow it to come to a boil.
  2. While water heats, wash and trim cauliflower and cut up the florets and stem.
  3. Place cauliflower and garlic into the pot, lightly salting. Boil 10 minutes, or until everything is tender. Drain out the water and transfer the garlic and cauliflower into a food processor (or high-speed blender).
  4. Add in butter, sour cream, salt, and pepper. Puree until smooth and serve hot

FREEZER TIME: 10-12 MONTHS. Cooked cauliflower can not sit longer than 2 hours before freezing or refrigerating for another 3-5 days. Properly stored, freezer cauliflower  will maintain best quality for 10 to 12 months. But will remain safe beyond that time.

Cauliflower has several properties that may help with weight loss. First, it is low in calories with only 25 calories per cup, so you can eat a lot of it without gaining weight. … As a good source of fiber, cauliflower slows digestion and promotes feelings of fullness.

Chicken Marbella

CHICKEN STORY -Juicy!  Chicken Marbella recipe was voted the fan favourite dish of the 25th anniversary edition of the Silver Palate Cookbook. Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins get top billing for popularizing this chicken dish. The  real inspiration was from  the tajines of Morocco and from the cuisines of southern Spain. It also has a similarity to the classic French dish “lapin aux pruneaux“.  It was never discovered in  Marbella but in New York city.  However, the flavour influences were from those areas.   S.S.F. has given this dish a new healthy spin. This recipe is S-O-O-O delicious. It is a great dish for entertaining and can be served hot for dinner or even cold for an outdoor picnic. It will be a smash hit every time. Three bay leaves helps makes this a stunning dish famous for its sweet, tangy, briny, garlicky flavor. Cutting back on the brown sugar maintains  the right balance of flavors.

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Chicken Marbella Recipe

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour
  • Marinating time: 3 hours to overnight
  • Yield: Serves 5-6

Although the original recipe calls for 4 small chickens to be quartered, you could easily do this recipe with 5 pounds of chicken pieces, thighs and breasts. Bone-in pieces would be more flavourful.

This recipe can easily be doubled.

Ingredients

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 chickens, 2 1/2 lbs each, quartered, bone-in, skin-on
  • Garlic cloves, 5 minced
  • 4 Tbsp dried oregano
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pitted prunes
  • 1/4 cup or 8 large pitted Spanish green olives, cut in half
  • 1/4 cup capers with a bit of juice
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar or preferably a brown sugar substitute
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 Tbsp fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped

METHOD

Marinating Chicken

1 Marinate the chicken: In a large bowl combine garlic, oregano, salt and pepper to taste, vinegar, olive oil, prunes, olives, capers with caper juice, sugar substitute, wine and bay leaves. Add the chicken pieces and coat completely with the marinade. Cover and let marinate, refrigerated, several hours or overnight. (You can also optionally freeze at this point.)

2 Preheat oven to 350°F. Place chicken in a large baking pan, top with marinade. Arrange chicken in a single layer in the pan and spoon marinade over it along with all the other ingredients: prunes, olives, capers, etc.

Final Touches

3 Bake until done: Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, basting occasionally with the pan juices. Chicken is done when a sharp knife inserted into the thigh pieces, at their thickest point, run with clear yellow juices (not pink).

4 If the sauce is watery, remove the chicken and reduce the sauce  to make it thicker and more flavourful.

5 Serve with pan juices. With a slotted spoon, move the chicken, prunes, olives, and capers to a serving platter. Pour some of the pan juices over the chicken and sprinkle generously with parsley. Serve remaining juices in a gravy boat.

6. If serving cold, let the Chicken Marbella cool to room temperature in the cooking juices before transferring to a serving platter. If the chicken has been covered and refrigerator and you are serving it outdoors or at a picnic site, allow it to come to room temperature before serving. By the time you arrive at the al fresco site or have your table set and the sides out, the temperature should be fine. Spoon some of the reserved juices over the chicken.

Chicken Marebella -Plated For A Starry Night

DRIED PLUMS OR PRUNES YOU’VE BEEN IGNORING: Whether you have 1 prune or 10 prunes a day, you not only improve muscles, bones, digestion, you improve your eyesight. Vitamin A and K are included in this super food. Bone density is improved more with prunes than any other fruit. Some doctors claim after 3 months reverse osteoporosis occurs when adding [100 grams = 10 prunes = 240 cal]  prunes to your daily diet.  It is also a deterrent for arthritis.  You can adds prunes to your smoothies, trail mix or simply snack on a prune if you are looking for a sweet treat!

NUTRITION INFORMATION
Serving size: ¼ of recipe Calories: 402 Fat: 25 Saturated fat: 3 Unsaturated fat: 15 Trans fat: 0 Carbohydrates: 29 Sugar: 13 Sodium: 829 Fiber: 4 Protein: 10 Cholesterol: 25