Dress Up Your Salad

September 21, 2012

Homemade vinaigrettes are apparently all the rage these days.  Who knew I was ahead of the trend?  I’ve been making them for a while now and the flavor of a homemade dressing simply cannot be beat.  You can mix up the flavors with different kinds of vinegar, herbs and sweeteners.  My favorite is Balsamic Vinegar, but I’ve also used Raspberry Vinegar, Tarragon Vinegar and Red Wine Vinegar.  Fresh thyme is my go-to herb and I go back and forth between brown sugar and agave nectar to sweeten things up.  No matter what, garlic is always involved, as is a little salt and pepper.  I’ve also been known to sub citrus for the vinegar/acidity, so you can make a lemon or lime vinaigrette and even Dijon mustard can make a tasty appearance now and again.

Everyone has a different theory on the ratio that should be used.  I like to go 50/50 with oil/acid.  However, a lot of recipes call for three parts oil to one part vinegar.  It really depends on how you prefer the “tangy-ness” of your dressing, so feel free to play around with the ratios and go with what suits your palate best!
Do you make vinaigrettes at home?  If so, what’s your favorite ingredients to toss in and what ratio do you go by?

BeFunky Warming on iPhone

Always served best in a good ‘ol southern Mason Jar

Basic Vinaigrette

printable recipe

  • 1 cup evoo
  • 1 cup vinegar (I used ½ cup balsamic and ½ cup raspberry)
  • 1 tbs, fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbs agave nectar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients in a Mason Jar, top with the lid, and shake.  Serve immediately or keep in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Not Your Mama’s Lasagna

October 26, 2011

This comforting dish not only looks and smells like fall, it tastes like it.

The sweet aroma of roasting root vegetables with maple syrup and nutmeg wafting from your oven will let your family know that it’s not just October outdoors, but that it’s arrived in your kitchen, as well.  Although, it’s not the traditional lasagna recipe with ground beef and marinara, it’s sure to be a family favorite and has certainly been added to my fall menu rotation.

A warm slice of heaven

Roasted Carrot and Butternut Squash Lasagna

Printable Recipe

Serves 8-10

  • 1 butternut squash, chopped into 1″ dice
  • 1 bunch carrots, chopped into 1″ dice
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons grated nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour, AP or whole wheat
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 12 sage leaves
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 2 amaretti cookies (amaretti is the Italian word for macaroon)
  • 1 1/2 cup grated Italian fontina
  • 1 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 package lasagna noodles, regular or whole wheat
  • 18 basil leaves  

 1.Combine the squash, carrots, half the olive oil, brown sugar, half the nutmeg, maple syrup, half the salt and pepper on a sheet tray. Roast at 450 degrees for 45-50 minutes, until it starts to caramelize.

Goin' in the oven

2.Meanwhile, make the bechamel by combining the flour and butter in a pan for a couple minutes. Add the milk and the remainder of the salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Whisk until it starts to thicken. Remove from heat.

DSCN4603

Whisk away!

3.Combine the roasted vegetables with the remainder of the olive oil, amaretti, and sage leaves in a blender. Blend into a thick puree. You can thin it out with the stock until it’s the right consistency, but don’t make it too watery.

DSCN4605

The food processor works great for blending

4.Put a thin layer of the vegetable puree on the bottom of a buttered lasagna pan. Put a layer of noodles and then a layer of puree and a layer of bechemel sauce. Sprinkle some of each grated cheese on top and spread out some basil leaves. Continue to layer in the same order until you have finished the puree and bechemel. Sprinkle more cheese over the top and drizzle some additional olive oil over the top. Bake covered with aluminum foil for 40 minutes at 450 degrees. Uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes until bubbling. Let cool 10 minutes until serving.

You can even serve a small slice of the leftovers cold as a dessert…or a late night snack ;0)

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