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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Balsamic, Cilantro-Lime, And Lemon Vinaigrette

 

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I used to think there was no way I could ever make my own dressing. I learned that’s so not true. Watching cooking shows and reading cookbooks taught me how easy to make your own vinaigrette. I thought I’d share my three favorites with you, Balsamic, Cilantro-Lime, And Lemon Vinaigrette.

I mix all the ingredients for the Balsamic and the Lemon, right in their own 8-ounce jelly jar. The Cilantro-Lime takes an additional step of first processing the cilantro leaves. It’s simpler, for this vinaigrette, to be made in the food processor and then transferred to a jelly jar.

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Agave nectar, honey, or granulated sugar are a few of the sweeteners you can use when making your own vinaigrettes.

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Yields 8 to 10 ounces of vinaigrette
Equipment: Food processor, blender, or an immersion blender, four 8-ounce jelly jars, small bowl

Ingredients For Balsamic Vinaigrette:
Yields: 8 ounces
2 tablespoons of finely chopped shallot
1 tablespoon of freshly grated garlic
1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard (substitute spicy mustard)
1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon of Agave nectar (substitute honey)
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup of good balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup of *E.V.O.O.
1 tablespoon of freshly chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley (optional)

Ingredients For Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette:
Yields:
10 ounces
1 cup of fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 tablespoon of garlic, freshly grated
2 tablespoons of shallots, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons of Agave nectar (substitute granulated sugar)
1/4 cup of low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
1/4 cup of fresh lime juice
1 cup of *E.V.O.O.

Ingredients For Lemon Vinaigrette:
Yields: 8 ounces
1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice (3 juicy lemons)
2 tablespoons of shallot, minced (optional)
1 tablespoon of garlic, freshly grated (optional)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
2 tablespoons of Agave nectar
1/2 cup of *E.V.O.O.

Directions For Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette:
Start by placing cilantro leaves into a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add 2 tablespoons of *E.V.O.O. (the remaining olive oil will be added through the feeding tube) and pulse the leaves until they’re finely minced. Remove the processed cilantro and transfer to a small bowl. Back in the food processor add the ginger, garlic, shallots, fresh lime juice, Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, cayenne pepper, agave nectar, and low sodium soy sauce. Pulse all the ingredients just enough to combine everything.

Once combined, add the processed cilantro leaves back into the food processor. Place the lid and feeding tube on. Turn the processor to the ON position and slowly add the remaining *E.V.O.O. through the feeding tube until combined. Remove the lid, add the red wine vinegar and using a spatula, stir once. This recipe yields 10 ounces of vinaigrette so you’ll need 2 jars. Transfer the vinaigrette to the jars, place the lids on tight and give a good couple of shakes to combine everything.

Directions For The  Balsamic And Lemon Vinaigrette:
Add all the ingredients for, both of, the vinaigrette into their 8-ounce jelly jars. Finish with the *E.V.O.O. Place the lids tightly on the jars and shake really well.

Notes:
1). I prefer my vinaigrette to be one part acid to two parts oil.
2). Place the dressing in the bottom of the bowl first. Right before serving the salad, add the lettuce/greens, toss to coat.
3). It’s important to wash and then dry the leaves really well so the dressing will adhere to the leaves.

*E.V.O.O. is extra virgin olive oil.

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Panzanella Salad

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Having my daughter visit recently, I needed to make a “meat-free” dish for her. Now, in our house, Steve loves “meat-free” meals, once and a while, however; for the main course, he prefers to have some type of protein. I’m thinking what better way to do this than with a Panzanella Salad that makes everyone happy. This traditional Italian salad is basically a tomato and bread salad. Today I’m going to put a spin on tradition.

Sweet Basil (2)

fresh basil

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Red Onion

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Feta

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Homemade Ciabatta Croutons (3)

Homemade Ciabatta Croutons (2)

Homemade Croutons

Genoa Salami

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Prep Time:: 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Equipment: 2 rimmed baking sheets pans, large mixing bowl, medium-size mixing bowl, small mixing bowl, whisk, Chef’s knife, large serving bowl with utensils

Ingredients For Salad:
1 English cucumber, cut into half-moons then cut half-moon in half
1/2 red onion sliced into thinly sliced half-moon
1 large yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 pint of red and grape tomatoes, halved
1 pint of yellow grape tomatoes, halved
1 lemon, zested
3/4 pound of Genoa salami, diced (optional)
6 ounces of Feta cheese, diced
4 to 6 cups of Homemade Croutons
1/4 cup of fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped

Ingredients For Croutons, Oven Bake Method:
4 to 6 cups of bread cubes, 1 1/2-inch size cubes (1 loaf of Tuscan Ciabatta garlic loaf, or plain Ciabatta)
1/4 cup of olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons of Kosher salt, divided
2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper, divided
3 tablespoons of fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped

Ingredients For Lemon Vinaigrette:
Yields: 8 ounces
1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice (3 to 4 juicy lemons)
2 tablespoons of shallots, minced (optional)
1 tablespoon of garlic, freshly grated (optional)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
2 tablespoons of Agave nectar
1/2 cup of *E.V.O.O.

Directions For The Oven Bake Method.
Preheat oven to 400-degrees F.
Start by evenly dividing the bread cubes out onto two rimmed baking sheet pans. Add olive oil, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper, toss to evenly coat the bread cubes. Spread the bread cubes evenly into a single layer. Bake for 15 minutes turning them once halfway through the cooking process to make sure they brown evenly.

Note: The Homemade Croutons will absorb the dressing better when warm.

In the meantime, in a large mixing bowl, add the diced cucumber, halved tomatoes, sliced onions, diced bell pepper, lemon zest, and chopped basil, gently toss to combine.

In a small serving bowl add the diced Genoa salami allowing the option to add it to the individual Panzanella Salad once served.

This vinaigrette can be made while the croutons are in the oven.
In a medium-size mixing bowl add 1/4 fresh lemon juice, Dijon mustard, grated garlic, dried oregano, Agave nectar, Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper. Slowly drizzle in the  *E.V.O.O. whisk to combine.

Once the croutons are done, immediately transfer them into the bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad. Finally, add the diced Feta cheese, gently toss to combine.

*E.V.O.O. is extra virgin olive oil.

Homemade Ciabatta Croutons

 

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Watermelon And Feta Salad With A Lemon Vinaigrette

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Watermelon And Feta Skewers

This Watermelon And Feta Salad is so delicious and refreshing. Salty and sweet, a match made in heaven.

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One of my favorite gadgets is the salad spinner. Great for after washing and drying your greens really well. This will allow the dressing to adhere to the leaves.

Watermelon And Feta Skewers

 

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Equipment: Salad spinner, wooden skewers

Ingredients:
1 seedless watermelon,  rind removed and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 12-ounce package really good Feta
1 cup (4 ounces) fresh mint leaves, julienned (optional)
6 cups of baby arugula, washed and spun dry

Lemon Vinaigrette:
2 lemons juiced (1/4 cup)
1/2 cup *E.V.O.O.
1 teaspoon Agave nectar
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Directions:
In a small bowl, add lemon juice, Agave nectar, Kosher salt, and freshly cracked black pepper. Whisk all that together while slowly drizzling in *E.V.O.O.

Spoon the dressing over the Watermelon And Feta Salad. So simple right? Try this salad the next time you’re looking to try something a little different, I’m sure you’ll love it.

How about Watermelon And Feta Salad Skewers?
Alternate the ingredients, watermelon, feta, mint leaves (optional), and arugula onto a skewer. Drizzle with the Lemon Vinaigrette.

*E.V.O.O.: is Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

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