I love Greek salads and the simpler the better as far as I'm concerned. Fresh romaine lettuce, a few cherry tomatoes, a couple of kalamata olives, a sprinkling of salty feta cheese and a great Greek dressing = salad perfection.
I've tasted a lot of the Greek dressings that are on the market today they've all come up a little short of my expectations. A couple of years ago I decided to try and create my own dressing. It took a couple of tries but I finally found the right combination of ingredients and I've been making it ever since. It's a great way to use the basil from my garden too.
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 cups fresh basil
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley
1 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup oil
I simply put all of my ingredients in my blender and process them until it's nice and smooth.
When I make a salad, I put the lettuce in my salad spinner to wash it and then dry it. If you don't have a salad spinner - I highly recommend investing in one. When I buy a head of lettuce I wash and spin it and then put it in a produce container in my refrigerator until I'm ready to use it. Your lettuce will last a whole lot longer when you remove excess water. I also used my salad spinner to wash and dry my basil for the Greek dressing.
My Greek dressing comes out very green and it really doesn't make the prettiest picture. You're going to have to take my word for it that it really is good. I added some sliced avocado to my salad too because as you know - I think avocado makes everything taste better. I so enjoyed my Greek salad for lunch today and I think that my dressing is way better than any Greek dressing on the market.
Grilled Ahi Tuna
For the past several summers our family has participated in a friendly family fishing contest" in Lake Erie. It seems to get more competitive every year - this year we even gave ourselves fishing nicknames. This is my niece with her first big catch and my son, wearing his fishing hat and posing with the smallest fish of the day.
Since we don't live near the Great Lakes, when we come home we have to go to the next best place to get great fish - Trader Joes. If you are lucky enough to live by a Trader Joes - be sure to check out their frozen fish. You won't be disappointed. I picked up a couple of Ahi Tuna steaks yesterday morning and grilled them up for dinner last night.
Grilled Ahi Tuna Steaks
3 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons honey
2 Tablespoons fresh thyme (or rosemary)
3/4 cup olive oil
6 tuna steaks
Whisk together vinegar, 1/2 t. salt, mustard, honey and thyme. While whisking, slowly drizzle in oil. Reserve 1/4 cup vinaigrette for serving with fish. Brush both sides of tuna with vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper. Grill for 2 minutes and carefully flip. Cook about 3 more minutes. (Center should be red to slightly pink depending on your personal preference.)
This recipe came from the 2011 May/June Issue of Cooks Illustrated. It was absolutely delicious. I served it with a green salad and baked sweet potato fries. (also from Trader Joes) My kids are both big fans of the tuna that comes in a can but they generally don't care for tuna steaks. My son ended up eating quite a bit and my daughter thought it wasn't quite as good as canned tuna. Her loss - more for me.
Peach season is finally here! I love peaches - fresh peaches, grilled peaches, peach pie, peach ice cream, you name it. I found these white flesh peaches at the supermarket this week and they did not disappoint. I decided to try a new recipe that I cut out of a Cooking Light magazine in July of 2006 with some of these delicious peaches. (Yes, I really do save recipes that long - I think that I have a problem with recipe hoarding.) I made a few adjustments to the recipe and these peaches were absolutely decadent. A perfect summer dessert.
2 peaches, halved
1/2 cup dried fruit, chopped
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
2 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 cup vanilla yogurt
Scoop peach pulp to form a 2" circle in center of each peach half. Chop pulp and remaining ingredients. (except yogurt) Divide pulp mixture evenly among peach halves and place peaches in a baking dish.
Bake peaches for 40 minutes at 350. Top each peach with a dollop of vanilla yogurt just before serving.
A couple of weeks when I walked into the grocery store I was greeted by the sweet aroma of fresh peaches. I carefully selected the very best peaches out of the bin as I day dreamed about how delicious they would taste in my juicy peach pie. I brought my peaches home and started on my pie that same afternoon. I finished putting the lattice crust on the top just as my husband walked in the door from work and he was equally excited about the pie. Unfortunately, I had run out of time and I didn't have time to bake my pie before we had to head out the door again.
With much reluctance, I wrapped the pie in plastic wrap and then in foil before putting it in my freezer. (That was torture to my poor husband, by the way.) We have both been thinking about that pie ever since it went into the freezer. I am happy to report that this was the weekend that we finally baked the pie. We invited some friends to come over and share it with us which made the pie even that much sweeter.
basic pie pastry for a double crust
6 cups fresh peaches
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch of nutmeg
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 425. Roll out bottom crust and lay it in a 9” pie pan. Roll out pastry for the top crust and cut into 3/4” strips. Place the peaches in a large bowl. Stir together flour, sugar, salt and nutmeg. Add to the peaches and toss to coat. Pile fruit into pie dish. Top with bits of butter. Use the pastry strips to make a lattice top. Bake for 25 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 and bake another 25 minutes. Let cool and cut into wedges before serving.
Pies are the perfect make ahead dessert because they freeze really well. When I make fruit pies, I wrap and freeze them before they're baked. I defrost them in the refrigerator for 24 hours before I put them in the oven. This is my peach pie as soon as I took it out of the freezer.
This is what my pie looked like when it came out of the oven.
The pie lived up to all of my expectations. After weeks of dreaming about this frozen pie, I am pleased to tell you that it was just as good as I had imagined. Georgia peaches at their finest.
Cinnamon Buttermilk Muffins
This weekend marks the end of my 5 week workout rotation. That means that I get to start it all over again on Monday morning. I start every new rotation with a fitness test just to make sure that I'm at least maintaining my current level of fitness. I use the Fit Test that came with the Insanity workout. It is pretty basic really - doing specific exercises for 1 minute and counting the number of reps that I complete. I have a chart posted on the wall in my workout room and I can keep track of how my reps and how my fitness improves over time. When I finish with my Fit Test, I'm dripping in sweat and ready for some nourishment.
I baked a batch of cinnamon buttermilk muffins last night so that I can sit down and enjoy one with a cup of tea after my Fit Test. I will also have a small dish of Trader Joes vanilla yogurt to add some protein to my snack.
Cinnamon Buttermilk Muffins
7 Tablespoons butter Topping
2/3 cup sugar 1/3 cup sugar
1 egg 1/2 Tablespoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups flour 3 Tablespoons butter
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
Prepare 10 muffin cups with paper liners and preheat oven to 350. Beat butter and sugar in mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in egg. Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Add to butter in 2 additions, alternating with buttermilk and vanilla. Stir until just moistened. Scoop batter into muffin liners and bake 20 minutes at 350.
It is going to be really hard to eat just one muffin. I had my doubts when I was making the recipe because there isn't any cinnamon in the batter. The muffins are nicely spiced with nutmeg and a sweet cinnamon sugar topping is added to the top after the muffins are baked. These muffins baked up with nice rounded tops - beautiful.
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