Simple Caesar Salad (Egg-Free, Anchovy-Free)
May14

Simple Caesar Salad (Egg-Free, Anchovy-Free)

You don’t need a blender, or fancy ingredients for this Caesar Salad, and it’s flavorful and delicious. For a lower calorie, lower fat version, add more tomatoes, less dressing, and no croutons.  Serve with Trader Joe’s Chicken Tenders & fresh Ciabatta Bread Caesar salad was created in 1926 in Tijuana, Mexico, by Chef Caesar Cardini, who left California for Mexico to sidestep Prohibition laws. Anchovies? His original version didn’t have anchovies—so I figured it would be okay to leave them out of mine! Raw Eggs? The dairy guy at Whole Foods spent 20 minutes—a VERY long time when you’re with a three-year-old—trying to convince me to buy “Pasture-Raised” eggs, which I was pretty sure wasn’t the same as “pasteurized.” I decided to save the $7, and skip the egg—once again. And it was pretty darn delicious! If you’re really dying to use a raw egg, go ahead! Follow the instructions below for making it safe. Parmesan vs Parmigiano Reggiano vs Pecorino Romano? This was my first time buying a block of parmesan and grating it myself—pre-shredded ones tend to be dry. Another Whole Foods dairy guy recommended “Parmigiano Reggiano Mita”—though I know I asked him for Parmesan! I hid my confusion and researched it online. Turns out, Parmesan is the English name for Parmigiano-Reggiano—made from cow’s milk—named after certain regions in Italy. The lesser known, Pecorino Romano—made from Sheep’s Milk—is sharper and more tangy. I felt very fancy finishing off the beautiful salads with freshly shredded cheese (LOVE my microplane grater). Definitely worth it! This one is from Gelsons Market What’s your favorite Parmesan Cheese? Do you grate your own? My favorite store bought parmesan is Trader Joe’s grated parmesan—see Trader Joe’s Shopping List >> You can make the dressing in a Blender or Food Processor, but I’d just as soon not have to wash any appliances! For special occasions stick all the dressing ingredients (except olive oil) in the blender (add one pasteurized egg if you like); pulse in 1/4 cup of the parmesan cheese and then add the olive oil in a steady stream through the tube. This will give you a thicker, creamier, more luscious dressing. I’ve seen Caesars made with many different oils and vinegars; if you don’t have red wine vinegar you can substitute with tarragon, rice vinegar or even just Heinz White Vinegar. I prefer using Olive Oil because it’s healthier, but you could use Canola or Vegetable Oil. Instead of black pepper you could use white pepper, or even tabasco sauce for a little kick.  Q & A What does it mean to Emulsify Dressing >> How to Pasteurize an egg Bring a...

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THE BEST Cowboy Caviar—healthy dip/salad/snack!
Feb05

THE BEST Cowboy Caviar—healthy dip/salad/snack!

I got this Cowboy Caviar recipe at a Mommy & Me recipe swap last summer, and every time I make it people inhale it as if it were crack! And everyone asks for the recipe. It was a huge hit at our Super Bowl Party, and I thought I’d just post it instead of handing out copies. Sharing the love… The first time I made it, my mother-in-law, Tammy, spoke to her sister, dear Auntie Lil—in Winnipeg, Canada, who was raving about a salad she had just tried; it turned out to be a variation of what I had just served in Los Angeles! But her version was called Mexican Corn and Bean Sierra, with black beans, red onion, and parsley—instead of black eyed peas, green onion, and cilantro. Funny! I’ve since seen variations popping up at grocery stores, parties, you name it. Trader Joe’s just came out with their own version of it. It’s obviously HOT HOT HOT right now! I hope you’ll try my version because it’s really fantastic. Serve with tortilla chips for the ultimate party food. Make sure to put out forks for the carb-counting-peeps, because it eats like a salad too. Or they can scoop it up on celery sticks. Oh—and I highly recommend doubling it. Orna’s Notes Many people are not fans of cilantro (you either love it or hate it), so you can substitute with Italian Parsley. Shoepeg Corn can be difficult to find; I found it at Gelsons Market. If you can’t find it just substitute with regular corn. What is shoepeg corn? Wikipedia description >> What part of the green onion do I use? Best Yahoo answer >> How to seed a tomato: Cut in half across the equator and scoop out the pulp with your finger. Cowboy Caviar 2013-08-05 17:35:41 Serves 10 7 Weight Watchers PointsPlus per serving Write a review Save Recipe Print Prep Time 30 min Total Time 30 min Prep Time 30 min Total Time 30 min 280 calories 34 g 0 g 12 g 12 g 2 g 151 g 285 g 5 g 0 g 10 g Nutrition Facts Serving Size 151g Servings 10 Amount Per Serving Calories 280 Calories from Fat 104 % Daily Value * Total Fat 12g 19% Saturated Fat 2g 9% Trans Fat 0g Polyunsaturated Fat 2g Monounsaturated Fat 8g Cholesterol 0mg 0% Sodium 285mg 12% Total Carbohydrates 34g 11% Dietary Fiber 8g 33% Sugars 5g Protein 12g Vitamin A9%Vitamin C18% Calcium6%Iron23% * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs. Does this look wrong? Ingredients 2...

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Caprese on a Stick—the perfect party bite!
Feb04

Caprese on a Stick—the perfect party bite!

This is the ultimate, easy-to-eat-and-prepare party bite! And healthy too! I found other versions of these online, but they all alternate a full tomato with a full mozzarella ball. I combine the two so that all the flavors pop in your mouth in each bite. I also use marinated mozzarella balls, which are more flavorful than the plain mozzarella balls (cieglini).   Gourmet Blends Traditional and Pomegranate Balsamic Vinegars are my absolute fav! They’re closer to a balsamic reduction in taste and consistency than a plain balsamic vinegar.   Mention OrnaBakes to get a discount!   If you don’t want to splurge on the Gourmet Blends vinegars, Trader Joe’s Balsamic Glaze is a delicious and more affordable option.   My mother-in-law recently brought me a beautiful basil plant, and now that’s the only way I buy basil. It stays fresh and smells great (though hubby does complain that it smells “green”) and seeing it inspires me to make dishes with fresh basil.   I usually keep my vinegars and olive oil in easy-pour bottles, but for this recipe I use plastic squeeze bottles to control the drizzle. Honey tomatoes are sweet and delicious and the beautiful yellow adds color to the dish. If you can’t find them just use all grape or cherry tomatoes. Make Ahead Tips Wash and dry tomatoes and put back in plastic container lined with a paper towel; saves you from cleaning another bowl. Do not refrigerate your tomatoes! Slice just before assembling and serving. The mozzarella balls can be sliced the day before. Don’t forget to taste your food to check seasoning before putting it out! (QC = Quality Control) Caprese on a Stick 2013-08-05 17:31:24 Yields 24 Write a review Save Recipe Print Prep Time 30 min Total Time 30 min Prep Time 30 min Total Time 30 min 62 calories 9 g 7 g 2 g 3 g 1 g 82 g 69 g 8 g 0 g 1 g Nutrition Facts Serving Size 82g Yields 24 Amount Per Serving Calories 62 Calories from Fat 20 % Daily Value * Total Fat 2g 3% Saturated Fat 1g 6% Trans Fat 0g Polyunsaturated Fat 0g Monounsaturated Fat 1g Cholesterol 7mg 2% Sodium 69mg 3% Total Carbohydrates 9g 3% Dietary Fiber 1g 3% Sugars 8g Protein 3g Vitamin A12%Vitamin C14% Calcium6%Iron2% * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs. Does this look wrong? Ingredients 12 honey tomatoes (Trader Joe's, Costco) 12 grape or cherry tomatoes marinated mozzarella balls (Trader Joe's, Costco) 24 small fresh basil leaves, or 12 medium...

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Orna’s Curried Veggies
Oct16

Orna’s Curried Veggies

This dish was inspired by the beautiful japanese eggplant and zucchini I found at the Tapia Brothers Pumpkin Patch in Encino. My first request when my dad comes to visit from South Africa is for my curry powder. Ok, the truth is, it comes a very close second… right after my Cadbury Top Deck and Cote D’or Bouchées. (If you don’t know what these two are you’re probably better off!) “Curry” is not necessarily synonymous with “spicy”. It is just a flavor which comes from a mix of spices (coriander, turmeric, red pepper, cumin, etc.) and you get many different types of “curry” dishes. I have such fond memories of going to the Oriental Plaza —the bustling Indian Market in Johannesburg—with my mother. I would happily tag along as she picked up fresh spices and magnificent fabrics, and then she would treat me to a fresh, hot samosa. (We pronounced it “samoosa”.) I don’t even know what spices exactly are in this fantabulous blend of curry-goodness that my dad gets custom-made by his special Indian lady, and shleps 10,000 miles for me. But when my nose comes anywhere near the bag, I literally start to salivate and daydream about what I can make with it. You, of course, don’t have to import custom-made curry from South Africa, but can buy any brand of yellow curry powder (Indian, not Thai) from your local grocery store. Even Trader Joe’s has a good curry blend. The first time I made curry for Sam (the husband), I didn’t fish out all the leaves, twigs and seeds, and he didn’t appreciate the “texture” of the dish. So I now strain it. But don’t worry, the kind you buy in the supermarket is just plain, simple powder. I’m sure the fancy, authentic Indian chefs would frown on me using ketchup and sugar in my recipe, and not cooking the spices first to bring out the flavor. But sometimes you don’t want to go to all that trouble, and this is healthy and super-delicious without all the work. Please try it and let me know how you do! Orna’s Curried Veggies Mild or spicy but always tasty! Notes: If you don’t like spicy food don’t worry, this will just be tasty but it won’t be hot. If you prefer more spice add 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Japanese eggplant is smaller and more tender than regular eggplant, so it won’t be bitter, and you’ll have less of the middle, pulpy part when you cut it up into small pieces. You can also use Chinese or Italian eggplant. Don’t cut up the eggplant until you are ready to...

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