Ideally, after I make and photograph food to share, I’d be sitting here munching on it while I review the recipe. Instead I’m eating chips and salsa from a local taco shop. The salad is a few feet away from me, dressed and ready for me to dive in. I dipped my toe in and I’m not sure I’m impressed.
Here’s the thing: the dressing is good. And, had I followed the recipe closely, I’m sure it would be outstanding. In fact, I know it would be, because I had the real version on Friday at our office Halloween potluck. My coworker brought a Thai salad that was swoon-worthy. She said she’d had something similar at California Pizza Kitchen the week before and wanted to recreate it. And, after two helpings on Friday, so did I.
But weekends can be lazy. Actually, they should be. And I’m not a big fan of running to the grocery store for food when we already have so much food in the ‘fridge. I’d like to just make do with what’s around until we need more to survive. Also, last week I started with our local Harvest2U service. Once a week we pick up a box of freshly picked produce at a designated location. It’s all organic. All local. And all a complete surprise. It will make dinner preparation a little more challenging for my husband, but maybe we’ll get some extra nutrition out of it.
That said, Harvest2U gave me cilantro this week. I don’t like cilantro. Not even a little bit. I leave it out of anything that calls for it. But, here I was with a giant bunch of cilantro to use and all I could think about was my coworker’s potluck salad. She said the recipe was readily available on the Internet, so a quick search brought me here. I have no idea if this is where she got the recipe, but this is the one I used for the dressings.
Recipe: Lime Cilantro Dressing
- 1/4 small red bell pepper, cored and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 small bunch cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons honey
- 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon + 1 1/2 teaspoons lime juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons light corn syrup
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
- 1/4 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Place bell pepper and cilantro leaves in the work bowl of a food processor, then add remaining ingredients except for olive oil. Process until smooth, 30 to 60 seconds.
- With food processor on, add olive oil in a thin stream and continue processing for 1 minute after all the oil has been added; there should be no oil on the surface. Store covered in refrigerator for up to 1 week (whisk before using).
Recipe: Thai Peanut Dressing
- 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 1/2 teaspoons water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon (scant) cayenne pepper
- Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- Whisk together peanut butter, vinegar, honey, water and soy sauce. Stir in sugar, salt, cayenne and red pepper flakes. Add oil and continue whisking until smooth. Use immediately or refrigerate for up to five days. Bring to room temperature and whisk before using.
Okay, both of these dressings are tasty on their own, but become instant magic once they’re on the right salad. The peanut one is a little thick, but that isn’t anything a little tossing can’t fix. For me, this is where my recipe went south. At California Pizza Kitchen they give you all sorts of wonderful vegetables to throw this liquid wonder onto, but in our home kitchen we were a little on the limited side. I wanted to use the fresh romaine and other greens from my box, but what I didn’t realize is that dandelion greens might not be great for salads. At least, not for my tastebuds. But why bother trying them before I mixed them with my delicious romaine and dressing? Why bother testing it before ruining a bunch of food?
The moral of this story is: don’t buy dandelion greens.
No, no. That isn’t it.
The moral of this story is: allow yourself to try things again. Even if you hate them in nearly every form, there will be a way to enjoy them some way, some how. This cilantro dressing proved that to me this afternoon. So now, my challenge will be to pick the dandelion greens out of the romaine and try to find a way to enjoy them. As tempting as it is to stomp them into the ground or feed them to our turtle, I’m sure they can be rescued somehow. Maybe after I finish this salsa.
Anyway, hope you all have a spooky Halloween! We’re going to celebrate by seeing Paranormal Activity 3 and passing out candy to the neighborhood kids. Then, later, I will continue the festivities by hiding under the covers with a flashlight until I finally pass out around 3 am from sheer exhaustion and fear. Good times. Good times.