Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Cornbread (or corncake, depending on your definition)

I'm not sure if anyone else feels this way, but I hate to waste food.  It may or may not be a result of the "clean plate club" that if you know my brother you have heard about. Either way, sometimes when I have leftovers in the fridge, I will plan an entire meal around them.  Tonight was sort of like that.  I had about 1/3 cup of corn leftover from a few nights ago that was not going to get eaten unless I threw it in another dish, so I felt like we should have corn bread, because what else are you going to put 1/3 cup of corn in?  This evolved into, let's use those ham hocks in the freezer, and some dried beans in the pantry, because I need to make some space anyway.  I had sort of hoped to do something more elegant with the ham hocks, but sometimes practicality wins.  Anyway, so cornbread sort of planned the meal for us.

Problem is, I don't have a "go-to" corn bread recipe. I try something new almost every time and tonight was no different.  I found a recipe that called for cornmeal (go figure!) only to realize that all I had was grits.  So this led to a google search on what is the actual real difference between cornmeal and grits, where I discovered much to my delight that grits are just coarsely ground cornmeal. So after all that research I had to change almost every thing else about the recipe too, so here is what we ended up with.  I will make this every.single.time.  Everyone loved it.

3/4 cup grits
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup honey
2 T baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup melted butter
3 small eggs (this is what I had.... if you use large I'd probably just use 2)
1 1/4 cup whole milk
and if you have 1/3 cup of leftover corn, just throw that in, too.

Mix the dry ingredients together, then mix in the wet ingredients.  I melted the butter in a 9X7 pan while I mixed everything else together, so my pan was already greased and ready to go once the butter melted.  Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes. Presto.  Cornbread/cake.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Squash Casserole

Several weeks ago, we visited friends and family in Tennessee, one of whom is a very sweet lady who I *may* have been named after.  She also is a fantastic cook, and normally serves vegetables that they have grown themselves and canned.  Clearly, sharing a name with her must have set me on this path.  It's destiny. 

 At any rate she makes the best squash casserole I have ever eaten, in my life, and I got her recipe.  I'm not going to give you her version, because I didn't ask her permission.  But I am going to give you my version (I had to change it a little because of some family preferences.)  Either way, this is a great way to eat yellow squash.  It might even work for zucchini, I just haven't tried it yet.

Squash Casserole

1 lb. Yellow Squash
2 garlic cloves
4 T. butter, divided
1 tsp. honey
1/4 cup mayo (I use Duke's. We're in the south)
1 egg
1/2 cup shredded cheese of your choice
salt and pepper
bread crumbs

Sautee squash and garlic with 1 T. butter in an oven-proof skillet until it is soft.  Mash the squash with a potato masher or fork and then mix everything else through salt and pepper together with the squash. We've used a variety of cheeses, normally at least two at a time when making this.  I usually add a little parmesan to everything.  And I'm always buying whatever cheese is on sale at Kroger in the deli.  I also love Monterey Jack so it finds it's way in a lot of dishes.  Just empty the cheese drawer.   Bake this for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees.  If you like, add the bread crumbs and cook for another 10-15 minutes, until they are browned.  I've done this with or without the bread crumbs.

Incidentally, I've started doing the cook & mash method with the zucchini (or squash) before I stick it in quiche or a frittata.  It's great because the kids can't pick it out, so they eat it! 

Also, I remade the corn & zucchini fritters using all zucchini, and they are great that way, too.  I have a lot of this stuff. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Zucchini & Squash Recipes

Last post, I mentioned we've been eating squash and zucchini almost daily it seems.  This is still mostly true. So, I thought I'd start keeping track of how many ways we have found to eat these great summer veggies for posterity.   Last night, we modified a family favorite, corn fritters.  All of my kids eat, and frequently request these corn fritters that are in my Williams Sonoma Comfort Food cookbook that is one of the best and most used cookbooks in my arsenal.  If you have never made these, you should.  We dip them in maple syrup and everyone eats them like candy. So, since I have zucchini coming out of every orifice, seemingly, I decided to swap out some corn for zucchini. 

Here is the recipe:

Corn & Zucchini Fritters

1 cup shredded zucchini
2 cups flour (I used whole wheat just because I'm like that)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
salt & pepper to taste
1 tsp. honey
1 cup fresh corn cut off the cob (from about 1 or 2 ears)
1 cup kefir (or buttermilk, use what you have)
2 eggs
lard (or oil), for frying

So.  I waited too long to pick a couple of zucchini and they were like 3 lbs. each.  I took one of those, which are super watery at this point, and shredded it.  You can do this with smaller zucchini, but either way you should put the zucchini in a colander and salt it, to get some of the moisture out.  If you wait too long to pick like I did, you may need to wait a little longer.  10 minutes or so should work.  Then rinse, and squeeze as much water out as you can with your hands.  You can freeze whatever you don't use to make more of these later or put in bread or something.

While the zucchini is sweating, mix all your dry ingredients together in a bowl
Put the honey, corn, kefir, and eggs in a food processor and puree.  Then mix it with the dry ingredients, and stir in your shredded zucchini.

Heat your lard (or oil) until it's good and hot.  I don't have a thermometer to measure what temperature this is, but if you are using lard, then once it has all melted and then started to heat up you should be close.  You can test it by dropping some of the batter in, it should float up to the top fairly quickly and begin to fry. Drop about 1 Tablespoon in at a time and fry up all the batter.  You should get about 40 or so.  I lost count because several of us started eating them before I was finished frying.  We dip them in maple syrup but they are tasty without as well. None of my kids love zucchini, and they all eat this. Even the two little boys, who don't eat dinner unless it's pizza or hot dogs ate these.  Any that are leftover are usually eaten for breakfast the next day. 

Note about frying in lard: the stuff you buy in the store is bad for you.  I only cook with olive oil and coconut oil, neither of which I would deep fry in.  If you can find a reputable farmer and render this stuff yourself, it is worth the time and effort.  Plus you can fry in it several times, just strain the big pieces out and put it in the refrigerator. 

Monday, June 2, 2014


I just truly don't even know where to begin.  Every spring I cannot wait to get out in the garden, and I normally plant at least one thing too early.  But soon, things start growing, and then I become just a little.... obsessed.  

For some reason I spend more time on the internet in the spring -  trying to diagnose my plants and whatever new spot they might have on them.  Or trying to find out what bug I just saw eating my plant.  And then running back outside to kill it. It's like this out of body experience in which I observe myself acting like an insane person caring about my garden so much but not being able to actually stop myself from the madness.  Inevitably, it is the squash every year that consumes most of my time and thought.  If I ever look deep in thought in the months of March, April or May, I'm probably thinking about squash. 

 There might be the off day, where the new thing I tried, like this potato box, isn't working (all of these potatoes have since died and I'm having to start over) and so you could catch me thinking about it for a few minutes.  

But then we're back to squash.  If there were one central squash place that told me exactly what I wanted to know, my life would be easier.  For example:  If your squash has bacterial wilt it will die and you cannot save it.  Do you know how many websites I had to go to find this out?  (My plants, thankfully, do not have this.  Yet.)  

At any rate, this year, I am hopeful that all the efforts will pay off at least a little.  We have eaten some kind of squash every day for the last week.  Fixed a different way, no less! (except for the day we had leftovers).
So, here is one of the new things we tried that I was super excited about and went to at least a dozen websites to try to figure out how to cook.  I will save you some of the research.

Squash Blossoms.

I really wanted to be able to make these days in advance, and I found one website that said you could use blossoms picked up to 2 days in advance (although they recommended same day).  You can but I wouldn't, because I did.  So you see the really wilty looking ones in the middle?  They were the same size as the really big beautiful ones on the day I picked them.  So they basically became half the size by picking them two days before.  The quality really declines quickly.  The ones picked the day before were fine, but the ones picked that day were great.  For two primary reasons:  1) The size and 2) It was nearly impossible to put the filling into the 2 day old ones because the petals were so fragile at that point.  I got almost 3 times as much filling into the fresh blossoms, which really changes the flavor if you consider cheese/flower/breading ratio.  So do what you will.  I sort of had to go this route in order to get enough blossoms for an appetizer for a dinner party.  Also, only pick the male blossoms (but leave some so that you still get your female blossoms pollinated!), and pick them early in the morning, when they are open.  If you let them close up (which they do mid-morning, early afternoon) then you may have some bugs closed up with them. Also, when you pick them - CUT them, leaving about 2 inches of the stem intact so you can hold on to it while you eat.  I had some leftover breading from a "zucchini chip" recipe that I had made earlier in the week, so here is what we did, and I'm assuming this would make about 12 or 15 blossoms - I made 18, but some of mine were wilty so if they had been fresher I would have needed more filling.  

Baked Stuffed Squash Blossoms

15 squash blossoms, washed, with stamen and pistil removed 
4 oz goat cheese
4 oz softened cream cheese
2 Tbsp. honey
1/2 cup bread crumbs or panko
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh chopped basil leaves
1 egg
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, 

Combine the goat and cream cheeses and honey together and whip until you have a spreadable consistency. Gently fill the squash blossoms, about 2 Tablespoons of filling per blossom (more or less to taste). When you are filling the blossoms, try to sort of squeeze the petals of the flower into the filling so that the filling is more or less enclosed by the petals.

In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, and basil leaves.

In another small bowl, stir the egg.  

Dip each squash blossom into the egg and then roll through the bread crumb mixture.  Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until bread crumbs are slightly brown and crispy.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

La Laverie 2014

I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned that we sort of call this dinner "La Laverie"  because all of the recipes come from the French Laundry cookbook, and La Laverie  is French for The Laundromat.  We call it this so far as it is printed on the menu.  
This year, I somehow got myself up to 7 courses, not including the gougeres which are the little cream-puff-like cheese biscuits that we just set on the table.  This was all well and good except that I was getting pretty full by course #5 and I was starting to feel poorly (hoping it's just allergies) around course #2.  So even though we added a course, we finished in record time, 3 hours. I also rushed through taking pictures of the food, and I still don't feel well, so I'm uploading them in their pure, untouched form, without extensive commentary.  Everything was good, a few things didn't turn out exactly how I was hoping, but it was all presentation stuff, not taste.  We also noticed part-way through the meal that I accidentally chose most of T.K.'s all American recipes, French Style.  For example:

#1 Soft Poached Quail Eggs with Apple-wood Smoked Bacon (a.k.a. "bacon & eggs")

I call them tasty little bites.

#2 Tomato Tart with Olive Tapenade, Mixed Greens, and Basil Vinaigrette (a.k.a "pizza")

That is puff pastry on the bottom, followed by roasted tomatoes and then raw ones.  Delish.  My tomatoes were a little too big though, I'm pretty sure it should have all stacked up nicely and been the same circumference.

#3 Crab Salad with Cucumber Jelly, Grainy Mustard Vinaigrette, and Arugula

This was mediocre this year.  I've made it before, but it called for Dungeness Crabs that you cook yourself thus imparting lots of flavor.  I couldn't find any sort of live or raw crab in any state anywhere in Augusta.  It was a shame.  So I did buy the lump crabmeat instead of the claw meat that I normally get.  It was good, just not awesome. 

 #4 Vine Ripe Tomato Sorbet with Tomato Tartare and Basil Oil

I've made this before too.  The sorbet didn't hold up very well, so it cracked when I made my scoops, but the taste was phenomenal.  I love this dish.  Every part of this dish is good by itself.  I did find a mistake in the cook book though.  T.K. no where calls for Basil Oil in the recipe.  It's actually Chive Oil.  Go figure, he's not perfect.

#5 Pan Roasted Sea Bass with Artichoke Ravioli and Barigoule Vinagrette

Here is the hated pasta, which I still must have made wrong because one side of it was supposed to be indented thus allowing for the sea bass to be neatly stacked on top.  Didn't happen, this was the best we could do.  The garnish kept falling off, too.  

#6 Perail de Brebis with Arugula and Lardons (a.k.a. "eggs in a basket")

The Quail Eggs surface again.  This time, in the middle of a perfect piece of brioche, served with sheeps milk cheese imported by me from Italy (that was not confiscated, and I am so grateful).  Bonus:  I still have quail eggs left over and may have to make this again with my left over brioche. This time, I can remember the lardons or bacon that I forgot to put on it.  

#7  Poached Banana Ice Cream with Dark Chocolate Banana Crepes and Chocolate Sauce (a.k.a. "banana split")

Need I say more.  Really.  This, truthfully, may be what I am having an allergic reaction to because I cannot stop eating it (I tasted it the entire time I was making all the different parts, and we have leftovers.  LEFTOVERS).  The crepes are filled with banana puree and chocolate mixed together, and the banana ice cream is divine.  I'm not even a fan of bananas.  

It was great, and I'm glad it's over!  Now I can finish getting my garden in.  

Thursday, March 20, 2014

We're back on!

So, we rescheduled for this Saturday. I spent the last week re-doing a lot of stuff that I had already done (except for the puff pastry).  The pasta turned out much better this time -and I have over a dozen so if a few of them flop, I have extra! I almost had a fleeting thought, that given the pasta roller, and now that I've done it a few times, recently, that it wasn't so bad.  I almost had that fleeting thought.  If I wasn't already so scarred the thought might have actually formed in my mind.  Anyway, I soaked anchovies, re-made the bread that I ended up giving to my neighbor, and did a few other random things, but this is what was most interesting from today.  This.  Quail Eggs.  

Aren't they pretty?  I almost couldn't even stand to do anything to them other than takes lots of pictures because I was just struck by how beautiful they were.  But then I remembered that I've been wanting to make this appetizer almost every year that I've done this and I've just never been able to find - or known where to look for -quail eggs to do it with.  I wanted to make it so bad, that I experimented with chicken eggs one year just to see if it would work.  And it didn't. So, needless to say, I was thrilled to find a wonderful woman locally that would supply me with some quail eggs.  AND she had sheep, AND cows, AND puppies, and that's just another story, just know that it was wonderful. Back to my eggs. 

I am actually using the quail eggs in 2 dishes - an appetizer and the cheese course.  Today was the appetizer. I had to saw the tops of the eggs off, so that I could dump them all at one time into my pot of simmering water to poach them.  There was a little bit of a learning curve on this one, but again, I only need 6 of these. This particular lovely woman that I mentioned before was so generous with her eggs, that I poached 2 dozen of them, just in case.  Never hurts to have a little extra.  I have only poached eggs once before in my life, and that was the time that I tried to do this with chicken eggs, and it was less than successful.  I can't even remember if I ate the poached chicken egg it just didn't look appetizing.  These are supposed to look just like an egg after they are poached - which required minimal trimming of a "tail" if done properly.  If not done properly, you have one that sort of resembles Halley's comet.

I have enough of the properly poached eggs for everyone to have 3, which means 3 bites, because that's how big they are.  We ate the comet looking ones today.  They were tasty.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


Well, most of the free world that cares knows we had an ice storm followed by mass power outages which sort of forced cancellation of our dinner party.  I was in denial on Wednesday, and so even though we didn't have power, I kept making preparations, like this one:

That's anchovies soaking in milk that I was supposed to put in a tapenade. I was certain the power would come back on and I would be able to use my food processor.  But, it stayed in this state, until I tossed it due to staying in the refridge without electricity for 3 days.

Some of us found other ways to entertain ourselves during the power outage.  Still not sure who won this arm-wrestling match pictured below. 

I had the use of my cooktop, so I made cream of wheat, or creme de farine if you're being fancy.  It was for the dessert.

This is the apple ice cream that I made while the temperature in our house was dropping to seeming sub zero temperatures.

And I made some bread that I got to rise by sticking it next to my gas burner that I had on for about 36 straight hours trying to heat my house.

In the end, we postponed the dinner.  My neighbor ate the bread, because she had an oven in the RV they were sleeping in.

I froze the ice cream in my mother-in-law's ice cream maker in Atlanta, where we decided to take a spontaneous trip.

Once we got to her house, I poached apples that were to have been in the dessert. (Never mind that one with a weird looking middle, I missed the first time with the apple corer)

The puff pastry held up just fine in the cooler and made beautiful cinnamon twists.

And we had fancy Valentine's day dessert in Atlanta.

Stay tuned.  We intend to reschedule.  And Nichole, I need to borrow your pasta roller again, unfortunately. 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Reflections on making pasta

This title is somewhat misleading.  There is really nothing to reflect on. I deplore it.
I am forever indebted to my friend Nichole who lent me her pasta roller. 

 Considering that I made my pasta dough slightly too thick, I would have been in tears by the end of today if it weren't for that device.  It was almost life changing enough for me to just go out and buy one, but the rest of the pasta making experience was such that I never intend to do it again.  Did I mention I only need 6 ravioli?  Since I made my dough too thick, I was able to get 8 out of my pasta recipe, I had enough dough for more (it was supposed to make 12), but it kept tearing and not sealing properly.  Two extra is simply not enough wiggle room for me.  I always like to have twice as many extra just in case some of them still don't seal properly and bust open when I'm cooking them.  I could have made more dough; but kneading pasta dough can be very time consuming and my hands are always sore after the fact, so I decided to cheat.  Please don't ever tell Thomas Keller if you meet him.  I had half a package of wonton wrappers in my freezer that have been there for a while.  So I decided to use those to make my extras for my "wiggle room."  Can you tell a difference?

Clearly, that was rhetorical.  I don't care if mine explodes if I can just get 5 of those beautiful yellow ones (don't you just love the color of an egg yolk when you use it the day that it was layed?) to work, then we'll be good.  If not, then I will have to pan fry the wonton ones.  Since I had plenty of artichokes, I decided to use up all my wonton wrappers and just have this for dinner tonight.  When I tried to boil them, this happened.  

I am so glad that I tried this little experiment tonight and did NOT make this discovery next Friday.  So I pan fried one (so I now only have 6 of the wonton variety left), and it turned out like this.  Not the look I was going for, but obviously a better option than the above catastrophe, and it tasted wonderful.  

Regardless of how I feel about the pasta, this is now checked off of my list, and I can go on with my life.  I also made this fine little reduction today.  This will be a vinaigrette that will go with the artichoke pasta.  Previously, it was 7 cups of liquid.  When finished reducing, it was 1/3 cup.  

That is all for today.  Hopefully tomorrow, my quail eggs will be ready to pick up!  

Friday, February 7, 2014

Getting Started

For some reason, I have 2 complete mental blocks in the French Laundry cookbook.  They are 1) making puff pastry, and 2) making pasta.  The only thing I can think of, is that these were two of my first attempts at really making something from scratch, back before I really knew how to cook, and they were so arduous at the time that this has been forever etched into my memory.   The last couple of times I've made either of them, once finished, I have this thought of "Oh, that wasn't so hard, why did I have such angst about starting that?"  But then when it comes time to make it again, I put it off and put it off and just put it OFF until I either have to make it or remove it from the menu.  So this year, I tried to be a little more proactive and make both of these very freezable dishes the week before so that I could be less stressed out about the entire event.  I started with puff pastry, because that is #1 in the "I wish I could just buy this from the store" column. 

Ever wonder why puff pastry tastes so good?  You see that glob of yellow stuff in the middle of the dough?  That's a pound of butter.  Not to mention the other 8 tablespoons in the dough itself.    

Here's my conclusion.  Puff pastry is NOT hard.  Why can't this piece of information get re-etched over the old one?  The only time consuming part is waiting for the butter to get hard in fridge so you can do the double-turns. 

 Last time I checked, putting something in the fridge wasn't that complicated.  

 On to the pasta.  This year, I am making an artichoke filled raviola.  I learned on our recent trip to Italy that raviola is singular, ravioli is plural.  So I guess technically I am making ravioli, 6 of them.  Each person will be blessed with a single raviola.  So, I got started with the artichokes.  I love artichokes.  It just happened to be artichoke season a few weeks ago and we ate them at least once a day and prepared in a different way every time.  Never in pasta though.  It seemed fitting.  Aren't they pretty?  

And that's where we stand.  No more pictures, no pasta.  The artichokes can last a whole week in my fridge before I actually have to do something with them. This isn't helping my cause.  I can't get over this hurdle.  Instead of making pasta dough yesterday, I shoveled up my compost pile that was covering about 1/4 of my back yard, seemingly, because my chickens had gotten into it.  So I got the post hole digger out, a random 4X4 scrap, and some chicken wire and shoveled for over an hour cleaning up and containing a compost pile all to AVOID MAKING PASTA. I keep thinking I need to just go DO it.   Laundry has never looked so appealing.  

Friday, January 24, 2014

Relaxing in the Kitchen

One of my current resolutions (I don't make New Year's resolutions because I'm always finding plenty of faults with myself that cannot wait until the calendar rolls around for me to start working on them), is to relax a little.  Sometimes it seems with school and daily tasks and appointments and sports and lessons that I have no energy left to just relax with the kids.  I find myself in a perpetual hurry.  There are about a thousand ways that we're trying to deal with this, but one that pops into my mind a lot is to take a short cut cooking.  I haven't given in to this temptation yet because 1) I take, probably too seriously, the quality of the food that we eat, and 2) short cuts never, ever, ever, ever, taste as good.  And if I'm going to take the trouble to cook it, I want it to taste good.

So, I've decided to let the kids help a little bit more than I normally do.  They almost always ask, but 4 or 5 chairs and stools lined up take up all of my counter space, so I'm not always jumping at this proposal.  But, I've been trying to find a few recipes that I can use a little more help with, and the following recipe is a perfect intro to helping in the kitchen for just about any age, and it can even be turned into a math lesson if you feel inclined.  One of the perks of this recipe is that i'm pretty sure I made it wrong, and it still tasted great.  It's kind of hard to mess up.  Here is the recipe (it comes from Williams-Sonoma's Italian cookbook),  and it's not really as fancy as it sounds:

Gnocci with Quattro Formaggi


1 3/4 lb russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (plus extra for dusting)

2 large eggs

Quattro Formaggi Sauce:

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup shredded fontina cheese

1/4 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese

1/4 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp fresh thyme

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 lb pancetta [my addition]

Ok.  So, what you are supposed to do for the gnocci is boil the potatoes , then put them through a ricer or food mill, mix it with the flour and eggs, and then knead it for a few minutes until it's soft.  Divide into 4 pieces, roll each into a 1/2 in rope and cut them into 1 inch lengths.  Use the tines of a fork to make little indentations on each piece and then set aside until you're ready to cook.

What I did, was first of all:  I didn't measure my potatoes.  I sort of guessed.  And then I didn't rice them or put them through a food mill, I just stuck them in my mixer with the paddle, and then switched to the dough hook for kneading.  Probably because I didn't measure, I needed more flour (which I use whole wheat), and have no idea how much I added.  Just until it looked like dough.  Then, I had the kids roll it all out and cut it and even though Ansley was able to do the imprints with the tines on the fork, no one else did, and what we ended up with was not pretty AT ALL.  But we weren't so concerned with presentation, so who cares. This was very much like playing with play dough, except useful, and you could do everything from counting, to addition, to fractions with your little ropes while you cut them out.  Since this is the most labor-intensive part of the recipe, I was pretty excited about not having to do hardly any of it.   The other thing I had the kids do for this recipe, was grate all the cheese.  Another somewhat arduous task that i'm not at all upset about handing over.

For the sauce, you combine the cream, fontina, and gorgonzola (which i used another milder blue because I'm not really a fan as much as I try to be), and heat gently until the cheeses melt, then add the other two cheeses until they melt, then the thyme, salt and pepper (which I didn't use ANY salt).  And keep warm.

I again, just sort of eye-balled my cheese here, so I had to add more cream to get it creamy.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the gnocci for about 3 or 4 minutes (until it floats) and then drain, and mix in the cheese sauce. And you're done.

If you add the pancetta like I did, then you will need to cook it first in the oven (on a cookie sheet at about 400 for about 5 or 8 minutes, just until it's crispy), and then sprinkle it in when you stir the cheese and gnocci together.

Not only did the kids make half of this, they all ate it, which in my house is just short of a miracle.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Dinner tonight, or last night rather.

Even though I only had one person defriend me on facebook after that last post (that I know of anyway), I thought I'd keep this one light.

We have started eating leftovers once a week, and usually it's Tuesday. But we were running a little low on leftovers because we had eaten most of them for lunch; so when a friend of mine asked what we were having for dinner, I was pondering this very thing, and had decided I would probably make a quiche.  What I did not account for was that my crust was frozen solid and I hadn't thawed it out.  And given that we are in the midst of a polar vortex and my house was not much warmer than my freezer, it wasn't thawing on the counter.  So we had a kitchen sink salad, that ended up being such a hit I had to share it.  Actually, the main thing I was so excited about was the dressing, because it was fabulous.  I am a little obsessed with the avocado-lime dressing at Chick-fil-A, and a different friend had pinned this avocado dressing recipe, so I stole it, and then decided to post my little twist here because if you actually click on the picture in pinterest, a very obscene website pulls up, so I don't want any of you to do this and if I remember I'm going to go delete the pin so I need a record of this concoction somewhere.

The ingredients in our salad aside from the dressing were:  spinach, a few slices of deli ham sliced up, shredded monterey jack cheese, boiled eggs, tomatoes, carrots, sliced beef and mushrooms (the only leftovers we had left), the crumbs from an almost empty bag of tortilla chips, bacon, and I think that's it. There are so many other things that would have been awesome if we had had them, like corn, black beans, cucumbers, really a dozen or so things, but like I said, provisions were momentarily low and I didn't have time (read: energy) to go to the store.

Here's the dressing though:

Avocado-Lime Dressing:

1 avocado
2 Tbsp lime juice
1/2 cup plain kefir (you could use greek yogurt, which was what the original recipe called for and I was out)
1 tsp hot sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup cilantro

Blend all that stuff together.  Presto.

My kids hate avocado and every single one of them at this dressing and thought it tasted like a ranch.  I was happy that it was a homemade dressing without sugar and vegetable oil.  The kefir in it was just bonus.  Next time I might add just a smidge of cumin or cayenne to give a little more flare, but it was great just like this!