Batter Licker

January 19, 2011

one-pot chili

I have been eating meatless meals all week, so it’s only appropriate that I can’t get chili out of my mind. My brain has an obnoxiously playful sense of humor when it comes to teasing my stomach and testing my willpower. And frankly, the chilly weather seems to be conspiring with my brain this time around because there’s nothing quite like a warm bowl of chili full of warming spices to combat a cold evening or refrigerated day at the office.


For me, there’s also no Christmas Eve dinner quite as satisfying as chili not just because of the usual late-December chill in the air, but also because serving chili on that particular night has been a family tradition for as long as I can remember.

However, chili isn’t just great for cold evenings and holiday eves. Chili is also the quintessential Super Bowl dish. (more…)

November 10, 2010

shrimp, green bean, and tomato salad with dilled lemon-dijon vinaigrette

I don’t know what kind of magic spells Dirty Girl Produce casts on their tomatoes, but their dry farmed, late season tomatoes are still some of the most flavorful tomatoes I’ve ever had. So even in the midst of butternut squash season, I find myself craving their sweet, juicy, deep red tomatoes and buying multiple pounds of them at the farmers market, afraid that next weekend they’ll be gone forever … or at least until next summer.


Some might say I’ve been devouring tomatoes since I was a kid. And they’d be right. As a child, I was very excited to help my mom plant seeds in our vegetable garden and grew impatient as I watched them slowly blossom into cherry tomatoes. Then, of course, I borrowed a tomato or two off the vine for a midday snack and lied about it. Tomatoes missing? Must have been a deer. Or a turkey. Or a rabbit. Or a crow. (Thankfully, I grew up in the boonies of California, where it was not uncommon to find deer snacking on our lawn. So my stories always worked.)


Here, tomatoes provide a juicy sweetness and green beans add a nice, fresh crunch to this salad, while marinated herbed shrimp have hearty meatiness and a bright, tangy flavor that matches well with the veggies and the tangy Dilled Lemon-Dijon Vinaigrette. (more…)

dilled lemon-dijon vinaigrette

Do you buy pre-made, bottled vinaigrette for your salads? If so, it’s okay. I’m not one to judge on this matter. Occasionally, I go on a Kraft Ranch Dressing bender. And I’ve been buying Girard’s Greek Feta Vinaigrette for years; with each purchase, I told myself that this one would be my last and that I was only making this last purchase so I could figure out how to recreate it from scratch with fresh ingredients at home. And so I lied to myself. Several times, and over several years. And I still haven’t even attempted it.

Having said that, vinaigrette is so easy to make at home, and tastes so fresh and delicious compared to the store-bought stuff that I really should make it from scratch more often. With a handy food processor or immersion blender (or even a whisk!) by my side, it literally takes seconds to come together.

With the citrusy bite of lemon and mustardy kick of Dijon balanced by a hint of tangy fresh dill and a touch of sweet honey, this particular vinaigrette is great on everything from salads and pastas to fish and chicken. (more…)

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