Posts Tagged ‘lemon juice’

Unrecipe of the Week: Avocado Salad Dressing

June 22, 2015

Today, I officially got tired of my regular repertoire of vinaigrettes. I have been making them for so long, that I was craving something with a little more texture to pour over my greens. We love avocado, so it was only fitting that I used it to create a creamy, flavorful dressing without any eggs or mayonaise. You can use a blender, food processor, or immersion blender to make this silky smooth avocado dressing in a matter of minutes.

Avocado Dressing:

Scoop the flesh out of a ripe avocado and discard the skin and pit. Add the juice of one lemon, and a small clove of garlic, and puree. Drizzle in olive oil until the dressing smoothes out and becomes thin enough to pour over a salad. Add salt and crushed red pepper to taste, and enjoy on top of the salad of your choice.

To customize this basic dressing, add fresh herbs, such as parsley or cilantro and puree them until they are mixed into the dressing.

Photo:  Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Raw Artichoke Salad

May 11, 2015


One of my favorite dishes to eat in Italy in the summertime is a raw artichoke salad. It is delicous in it’s simplicity; small ribbons of sliced artichoke drizzled with olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice, with a pile of paper thin shreds of parmesean cheese on top.
Something has always held me back from making it. Artichokes can be a bit prickly to deal with, pun intended.  Today, I set out to conquer my fear of preparing fresh artichokes so that we could finally enjoy this seasonal specialty at home. What did I have to lose, except perhaps a few artichokes?


Artichoke 101:

Artichokes have tough outer leaves, which get progressively more tender as you get closer to the center. Once there, you will find the prickly purple core, called the choke. Some of the leaves also have sharp points on them, which need to be trimmed. All in all, not such a daunting task, except that the artichoke starts to turn a not-so-pleasant shade of brown, the minute it is cut and exposed to air. Yet, with a few tricks and some fast knife work, artichoke salad was enjoyed by all!

Raw Artichoke Salad With Lemon and Parmesean

Rinse artichokes thouroughly, getting in between the leaves to rid them of any dirty residue.

Prepare a large bowl of water, with the juice 1 or 2 lemons in it. Save the already squeezed lemon halves and toss them into the bowl.

Peel any of the tough leaves off of the artichoke and discard them. For this salad, you will want to get to the more tender leaves, which are yellow. Using a kitchen scissors, trim the tips of the remaining leaves to eliminate the sharp points. There is a tremenous amount of waste in preparing fresh artichokes, so brace yourself to throw out what appears to be more than you are keeping.


Slice the artichoke in half, lengthwise,and immediately rub it with one of the discarded lemon halves. Using a spoon or melon baller, remove the purple “choke” and discard it. Trim off the stem, and toss the remaining artichoke heart into the bowl of lemon water to prevent it from discoloring. Continue with the rest of the artichokes, always putting them back into  the lemon water as quickly as possible.

Squeeze another lemon or two into a bowl big enough to hold the artichokes.

Take one piece of the cleaned artichoke hearts at a time, quickly slice it into thin strips, and toss it in the lemon juice. Once all the artichokes are sliced and coated with lemon juice, add olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Spread it on a platter, and using a peeler, shave fresh parmesan cheese over the entire salad and enjoy!

NOTES: for 2 people, I used 4 very small artichokes and 2 tiny lemons. With larger artichokes, you may be able to get by with 2 or 3. The lemon quantity should be enough to coat the artichoke slices, without them swimming in lemon juice.

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Buttermilk

March 10, 2015


What do you do if a recipe calls for buttermilk, and you don’t have any?
Do you frantically dash to the store and get some? Calm down. There is no need to make the trek to the store if you have the ingredients to make your own.

Buttermilk adds an acidity to batters and reacts with the baking soda or powder to create airy, fluffy and tender baked goods.

To make a good substitute, add a tablespoon of plain white vinegar or lemon juice to a scant cup of milk and let it sitat room temperature

for 5 to 10 minutes. The lemon or vinegar will begin to curdle the milk, and it will thicken slightly. If you use a heavier dairy product, like half and half or cream, the end result will be thicker than if you use regular milk.

Another option is to thin out plain yogurt or sour cream with one part water to three parts dairy. For instance, 3/4 cup of yogurt, thinned with one quarter cup of water. Stir until it reaches a more liquid consistency, and use in place of buttermilk in recipes.

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Avocado Toast

December 26, 2014


Over the holidays, we have somehow become addicted to avocado toast. Maybe it’s because it’s so easy to make, maybe it is because we think it’s healthy, maybe it is because it is so satisfying and comforting, but most likely it is because it tastes so good! We have been making it on mini slices of toasted baguette as an appetizer, but you can use whatever type of grainy, delicious bread you have and make a meal of it.


Avocado Toast:

Brush slices of bread with olive oil, and sprinkle it with sea salt. Toast it in the oven until it just starts to brown. Watch is carefully, as bread goes from barely brown to burnt pretty quickly!

In the meantime, mash up a ripe avocado and mix it with the juice of  1/2 of a lemon, sprinkle it with some red pepper flakes and a little sea salt to taste.

Spread the mixture on the toasted bread and devour  enjoy!


Get creative with it: Rub a garlic clove on the bread before toasting to give it a little more flavor. Sprinkle some diced tomatoes on top for a little extra color. Mix in a few chia seeds for some added health benefits. Serve with a poached egg or some smoked salmon and make a meal out of it!

Photos: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Balsamic Marinade

July 22, 2013


It’s grilling season, and marinades help lock in moisture and add flavor to foods.

Whether you are tossing meat, chicken or vegetables on the barbeque, or cooking in the oven, this unrecipe will become a staple in your repertoire.

Balsamic Marinade:

Combine ½ cup balsamic vinegar, juice of 2 lemons, ½ cup olive oil, a big dollop or two of Dijon mustard, a couple of minced garlic cloves, and salt and pepper. Whisk to blend. Pour over meat or chicken and allow it to marinate for several hours or overnight. Vegetables should be marinated for a very short time, to avoid getting soggy.

Kitchen tip:

Never pour leftover marinade that the raw meat has been soaking in over cooked food. Once the food has been put on the grill, use a clean plate to remove it to avoid contamination.

Bringing the leftover marinade to a full boil for a couple of minutes will kill any bacteria and allow the sauce to be safely used. Cooking it for 5 or 10 minutes will allow the liquid to reduce, and give you a slightly thicker consistency for a finishing sauce.

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photo: Glasshouse Images


Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Taking the Bite out of an Onion

July 2, 2013


Do you love raw onions but hate the strong aftertaste? There is a solution for that.

Soaking sliced raw onions in a bowl of cold water will take some of the sulphur compounds out of the onion, resulting in a mellower flavor. Soak the onions for at least 10 minutes. For a little added zest, mix in a little lemon or lime juice.


photo: Glasshouse Images

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Cream of Tartar

May 14, 2013

Cream of tartar is a natural substance often used to stabilize egg whites and whipped cream. It is derived from tartaric acid, the white powdery substance that forms in the barrels during the wine fermentation process.

While it’s commonly known for it’s culinary uses, cream of tarter also has hidden talents when it comes to cleaning.


Make a paste of cream of tartar and water and use it to polish your stainless steel appliances and cookware.

Mix it with a little lemon juice to polish copper.

Raw carrot in a copper saucepan

Cream of tartar and hydrogen peroxide can lift off that nasty bathtub ring.  Apply it to the ring, let it dry, and wipe the solution and the ring right off!

It’s also a great way to remove mildew from grout.

Did you know that you can mix it with baking soda to make baking powder in a pinch?

photo: glasshouse images

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Perfect Salad Dressing

April 16, 2013


Homemade salad dressing is so easy to make, and so much better than the store bought variety. A simple vinaigrette can be made with oil, and anything acidic, such as vinegar, or citrus juice.
As a baseline, dressing should be 3 parts oil, to one part acid. Depending on the ingredients, and what the dressing is being used on, that might need to be tweaked a bit. Personally, I tend to  err on the side of extra acid, preferring a little more tang to the dressing.

To make the perfect salad dressing, start out with a good quality oil. Olive oil is the most common base for a vinaigrette, but other clean, flavorful oils such as walnut can also be used.  Vinegar, or citrus juice can provide the acid.

There are lots of types of vinegars on the market. Balsamic vinegars can range from tart, to syrupy and sweet, depending on how long it has been aged. There is even a white balsamic, that has a milder taste. Red wine vinegar is a bit more tart, and half wine vinegar and 1/2 balsamic can be a nice blend. There are also flavored vinegars which add an extra element.  Lemon juice is a nice alternative to vinegar, as is lime or even grapefruit juice.

Whisking, or shaking the mixture will cause it to emulsify, thickening it slightly.
Once you have the basic recipe, it is fun to experiment with fresh herbs or other condiments.

One of my favorite tricks is to make the dressing in a dijon mustard jar that is almost empty. Just pour the oil and vinegar or lemon juice into the jar, and shake it vigorously. The mustard left on the sides of the jar will mix in and add another level of flavor to the mix.

Once you start making your own dressings, you will never want to go back to bottled versions, which are laden with preservatives and other unnecessary ingredients.


Photos:Glasshouse Images

Don’t Bug Me

August 2, 2012

Mosquitos love me. I don’t know why. If there is a mosquito in the ‘hood, it will find me, and attempt to eat me alive.

This year the insects seem to be of epic proportions. Their bites are red, raised and itchy.

But hey, no worries…relief is often found in your kitchen cupboard!

Apple Cider Vinegar has antiseptic properties and takes away the redness and itching associated with insect bites.  Mix a little of the vinegar with water, and apply it with a cotton ball to the affected area.

Vodka can also relieve the itchiness. Icy cold vodka, stored in the freezer of course, combines the antibacterial properties of alcohol, with the comfort of a cold compress. Apply it directly to the area with a washcloth. If you do not find relief right away, pour it into a glass, add a twist of lemon and drink it!

That brings us to our next cure, lemon juice. It is a natural detoxifier,  which helps to reduce swelling and itching. Squeeze the lemon into icy cold water, and apply with a washcloth, or spray bottle.

Lavender oil is said to have soothing properties for the skin. It is also reportedly a natural bug repellant. Spray a little lavender oil on your skin before exposure, to help avoid annoying insect bites in the first place.

Photo: Glasshouse Images

Unrecipe of the Week

January 22, 2010

This warm tasty spread is sure to be a crowd pleaser. It is incredibly easy to make, and always delicious.

Hot Artichoke Spread with Garlic Pita Toasts

2 cans artichoke hearts

1/2 cup mayonnaise (low fat or the real deal)

juice of 1 lemon

1 cup grated parmesean cheese

garlic, to taste ( 2 or 3 cloves, pressed or very finely minced)

Drain and mash the artichokes. Add the other ingredients. Mix well. Place in a baking dish,and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Serve with pita toasts.

Note:The consistency before baking should be thick and chunky. If it seems runny, add more cheese. If it seems to dry, add a little more mayo. This truly is an unrecipe, and the measurements listed should be used loosly.

Pita Toasts:

Slice pita bread into 6 triangles, and place on a baking sheet. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic salt.

Place in a 350 degree oven and toast until slightly brown. Serve warm

Note: you can toast the pita while the spread is baking. Be sure to watch it, as it can burn very quickly once it starts to brown.


This is also great with store bought pita chips, which makes the recipe even easier. Use the sea salt or multigrain flavors.

photo: Glasshouse Images

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