Surprise, it’s me again!
It’s been awhile since I last put together a guest post for Leah. She usually lets a few months go by before she politely “suggests” that I “volunteer” to put another post together. The only other guest posts I’ve produced have been to show you one of my work trips to San Diego and to tell you about my journey to becoming healthy.
Leah’s new bright idea (among her many bright ideas) is to have me be on dinner duty at least once a week and then to blog about it. Fun, huh? I sure think so. In all seriousness, I do appreciate the opportunity to hone my cooking skills and share (at least a small portion of) the cooking around here. Plus, there’s the added benefit of Leah getting a much-deserved night off from cooking every now and then.
I’m continually amazed by my wife’s ability to produce meal after meal, while ensuring that each one is mostly healthy and that we get plenty of variety in the foods that we eat. And although I do my best to help out with the chopping and dishes, I know she deserves more of a contribution from me. It’s about darn time I “volunteer” for cooking duty don’t you think?
Years ago, when I had to cook for myself. The healthiest meals I made were different variations of CAESAR SALAD. For whatever reason, I was in love with them (and still am). I rarely measured anything and almost never followed a recipe. Tonight, I thought I’d challenge myself by trying to follow a recipe so that I could better document the ingredients for you, and help Leah with her calorie counting.
6 cloves garlic, peeled
3/4 cup mayonnaise
5 anchovy fillets, minced
6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cups day-old bread, cubed
1 head romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
Mince 3 cloves of garlic, and combine in a small bowl with mayonnaise,
anchovies, 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese, Worcestershire sauce,
mustard, and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
Refrigerate until ready to use.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cut the remaining 3
cloves of garlic into quarters, and add to hot oil. Cook and stir
until brown, and then remove garlic from pan. Add bread cubes to the
hot oil. Cook, turning frequently, until lightly browned. Remove bread
cubes from oil, and season with salt and pepper.
Place lettuce in a large bowl. Toss with dressing, remaining Parmesan
cheese, and seasoned bread cubes.
Almost every one of my Caesar salads are different, but here are some of the basics that I always try to adhere to:
- Always use fresh garlic!
- Always use freshly squeezed lemon juice.
- Never use anchovy paste! Stick with the fillets.
- The longer the dressing sits, the better it gets.
- Add freshly grated parmesan to the dressing right before you’re ready to eat.
The fresh ingredients make more of a difference than you’d realize. And waiting to add the cheese until the very end helps provide the perfect consistency.
Unfortunately, the only parmesan we had in our house was the tub of already graded cheese we got from Costco. Also disappointing was that the last head of garlic we had in the house had gone bad and I was forced to use the tub of already minced garlic (also from Costco) that we had lying around. Oops! That’s what I get for not planning properly.
One of the best things about making Caesar Salads is that you would have to work very hard to make a bad Caesar dressing. Stick with the basics, but don’t be afraid to get creative. For instance, I’ve found that (for the most part) you can use eggs, mayo, and plain yogurt interchangeably. Feel free to tweak almost any recipe to your desired level of healthiness by making minor substitutions. Or, simply tweak any recipe because you’re feeling adventurous.
Here are the substitutions I made tonight:
- I pretty much DOUBLED the garlic
- I used 3/4 cup plain yogurt and 1/4 cup mayo instead of 3/4 cup mayo
- I used 8 anchovy fillets instead of 5
- I TRIPLED the Dijon
- I TRIPLED the lemon juice
- I used boxed croutons instead of making my own
I basically threw everything into a food processer and played around with the ingredients until I got it just the way I wanted it. Turns out, I’m not very good at following a recipe. Oh well, maybe next time.
While I was obsessively altering my Caesar recipe I dry-seasoned a salmon fillet, put a little olive oil in a skillet, and blackened each side of the fillet for about 4-5 minutes each side.
Right now you’re probably thinking…
Where are all your photos?
Sorry for neglecting my camera duties. I got distracted by making dinner. My bad. I’ll try to be a better multi-tasking, wanna-be foodie in the future.
Well, that’s probably enough about Caesar salads for now. I’ll try to think of something more exciting to make for dinner next time.