Sunday, August 31, 2014

No-Egg Caesar Salad

Cool weather crops dominate both spring and fall in Central Texas. With the return of romaine lettuce comes a hunger for old-fashioned Caesar salad sans raw egg.


2 cups white or sour dough bread torn into 1/2-inch chunks
2 heads romaine lettuce, tender inside leaves only
2 - 3 anchovies
Juice of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus some for the bread
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt & fresh ground pepper to taste

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Toss bread chunks with olive oil,  garlic powder and any other herbs and spices to taste. We use Herbes de Tejas, a blend of thyme, lavender, basil, sage, savory, rosemary, garlic, chives, jalapeno crafted by Lake Travis Lavender. When well coated, spread evenly on a cookie sheet and bake until golden brown. 10 or 12 minutes. Stir once during baking to make sure they brown evenly.

2. Combine lemon juice, garlic, anchovies and half the oil in a food processor and mix well. Add Tabasco, Worcestershire, mustard, the remainder of olive oil with grated Parmesan and blend until smooth and creamy. Adjust seasoning to taste.

3. Tear the inside leaves of the lettuce into bite-sized pieces. Toss with dressing until all the pieces are evenly coated. Toss in the garlic croutons. Season with freshly ground pepper to taste and top lightly with shaved Parmesan.

~Adapted from Rachel Ray

Monday, June 16, 2014

Harissa Lentils and Cauliflower

This is a nice, easy dish for lunch or a light supper. Beware the harissa. It makes Tabasco seem tame. Add one tablespoon at a time to the lentils. You'll get plenty of heat and have sufficient harissa left to use a sauce for grilled shrimp, chicken or other roast meat. 

Image credit: Naturally Ella


2 cloves garlic
1 roasted red bell pepper
1 or 2 chipotle peppers in adobe sauce
1 or 2 tablespoons adobe sauce
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of one lime (or lemon)
1/2 cup cilantro

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 small red onion
2 cups cauliflower florets
1/2 cup red lentils
1 cup stewed tomatoes
1-2 cups vegetable broth


1. To make harissa, pulse garlic until minced in a blender or food processor. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until well combined. Taste and adjust seasoning to taste.

2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add onion and saute' until starting to tan, 10 - 12 minutes. While onions are caramelizing, steam cauliflower on the stove or in a microwave about three minutes. When onions are tan, stir in lentils, wtewed tomatoes, 1 cup of broth and 2 tablespoons of harissa or more if you like. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.

3. Serve with rice or couscous.

Source: Naturally Ella

Roasted Red Bell Pepper

Roasted bell peppers, like there summer cousins, tomatoes, flavor a bounty of dishes from bruschetta to hummus to soup. Easy peasy and so yummy.


4 large red or yellow bell peppers
2 tablespoons good olive oil


Preheat oven to 450 degrees

Slice the peppers in half and place face down on a sheet pan. Roast in the over for 30 to 40 minutes until the skins start to wrinkle and the peppers are charred. Remove the pan from the oven and immediately cover it tightly with aluminum foil. Set aside for 30 minutes or until the peppers are cool enough to handle.

Remove the peels and place the peppers in a bowl along with any pan juices that have collected. Slice, dice or leave whole covered with oil and keep refrigerated up to two weeks.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Lemon Turmeric Rice

This Middle Eastern, heart healthy take on brown rice is a nice alternative to couscous if you are avoiding wheat. Of course, it can be made with Basmati or any short-grained rice you like. The citrus adds a bright note. 



1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup brown rice
1 onion, diced fine
3 cloves garlic, diced fine
1 inch grated ginger (or 1 teaspoon powdered ginger root)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons turmeric
2.5 cups water or broth
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried (or minced cilantro)
Salt & pepper to taste


1.         In a heavy saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, melt the butter and add the olive oil. Add onions and garlic and cook until wilted. Add rice and turmeric. Stir to coat.

2.         Add broth, lemon, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper. Blend well, bring to a boil and simmer until cooked. Uncover and stir with a fork. Remove bay leaf before serving.

4 servings