Caesar dressing

We had one glorious almost-70-degree day here in Nashville and it made me SO READY for spring rightnowthisinstant. This, of course, made me want a good salad! I found this dressing recipe in Rick & Lanie’s Excellent Kitchen Adventures, which I love. The recipe is insanely quick, easy and good, which I also love.

Caesar dressing

Ingredients

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 Tbsp. water

Instructions

  1. Crush peeled garlic (putting it in the microwave for about 5 seconds first will make this easier) into a 2-cup glass jar with a lid
  2. Add all remaining ingredients into the jar, cover tightly and shake
  3. Store in jar in the refrigerator for up to two weeks

Enjoy, y’all. Spring is coming!

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Fresh limeade

Summer’s not quite over yet (as evidenced by the 90+ degree September we’re currently having in Nashville), so I thought I’d pass this one along while there’s still some heat in the air.

You can make this with lemon, lime, key lime or any combination thereof; today I had a bunch of limes so limeade it is.

Fresh limeade

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups lime juice (or lemon or key lime)
  • Additional 4 cups water

Instructions

  1. Heat the water and sugar together until the sugar is dissolved; you can do this in a saucepan on the stove or in a glass Pyrex in the microwave
  2. Let the sugar mixture cool and stir in juice and additional water
  3. Serve over ice, ideally on a veranda.

This may or may not be great with a splash of vodka. I haven’t heard either way. Ahem.

Guacamole

On a trip to Hilton Head Island the Yankee and I discovered this dish: guacamole topped with crab meat. This is a win. I set out to recreate it as soon as we got home, and I’m pretty pleased with the result! This is a huge party hit, too; I highly recommend.

Guacamole

Ingredients

  • Two ripe avocados
  • Two Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt to taste, but about 1/2 tsp.
  • Juice from one lime
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced (or some onion powder if you hate the crunch of raw onion)
  • Eight ounces lump crab meat, drained
  • Chips (obviously)

Instructions

  1. Scoop out the avocado into a bowl and mash with a fork
  2. Stir in tomatoes, pepper, cumin, pepper, salt and lime juice, plus onion if you’re using it
  3. Top with crab meat and serve with chips

Craisin peach crumble bars

Ohhhhh my moly.

If I were the demanding type I’d demand that you make these immediately. I’m not, of course so I’ll just strongly suggest it.

The peaches are so good this year and I bought more than I’ll ever be able to eat, so I wanted to some up with something to do with them. This is based on the apple crisp recipe, but with more of the crumble part so that you end up with a crust. It is OH so good.

Craisin peach crumble bars

Ingredients

  • 2 medium-to-large peaches, chopped
  • 1/3 cup Craisins
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and chop the peaches, then put them in a saucepan with the Craisins, cornstarch and sugar. Bring it all up to a nice bubble and let it cook till it thickens, then set aside
  2. Cream butter and sugar, then mix in remaining ingredients — it will look coarse like a crumble topping
  3. Take two cups of crumble mix and press into a greased 8×8 dish and bake till it’s lightly browned, around 10-12 minutes, then spread fruit mixture over crust. Sprinkle the rest of the crumb mixture over the top and bake till that’s lightly browned, about another 15-18 minutes or so

Fast and good! How can you beat that?

Cornstarch: your friend in the garden

Just like last year, I planted a bunch o’ tomatoes in the garden in the back yard. Unlike last year, my tomatoes this year came under attack (ATTACK I say!) by bugs. First it was worms (tomato worms? Hornworms? I don’t know. Icky worms). Then came the stinkbugs. All my tomatoes were being eaten and rotting before they even started to ripen and I hadn’t gotten a single tomato for me to eat.

I wanted to evict the bugs, for sure, but I didn’t want to do it with a bunch of chemicals — sort of defeats a large part of the purpose of growing them in the back yard, you know?

Enter: cornstarch. Seriously! Now my garden looks like this:

I use a powdered sugar shaker full of cornstarch to cover the leaves, the tomatoes, and the ground around them. The plants look ridiculous, sure, but guess what? The tomatoes are MINE again!

I’m not sure exactly why this works, honestly — I don’t know if it kills off the bugs or if it just keeps them away; as long as I’m the only one eating the tomatoes, I’m good. It even deters Vinny the squirrel a bit which is an unexpected bonus. A quick wash in the kitchen sink removes all the cornstarch and I’m good to go. Tomato sandwiches for everyone! 🙂

Mediterribbean punch

Some people come from money; I, on the other hand, come from funny (which is even better). My Uncle Steve named this drink. Don’t you love it?

The folks over at Pom Wonderful contacted me a while back and asked if they could send me some of their juice to try (for free, okay, FTC?). I was honestly a little hesitant because, um, I was pretty sure I was the last person who hadn’t tried pomegranate anything yet and I wasn’t sure what to expect. A lot of people love the stuff, however, so I gave it a shot.

For my first attempt I thought I’d try pomegranate molasses.

Fail, party of one. Not having a clue what I was doing following a specific recipe, I cooked the mixture too long and ended up with a giant Le Creuset-shaped lollipop. Oops.

Not wanting to wash that pan again repeat my mistake, I thought I’d try something different. And, if y’all haven’t noticed, it’s a million degrees outside so a cool cocktail sounded like the thing for my next pomegranate attempt.

Success! It is yummy and tart and sweet and limey (is that a word?) and I’m loving it.

Mediterribbean punch

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. simple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp. pomegranate juice
  • 1/4 cup rum
  • squeeze of lime

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients; serve over ice and enjoy!

This makes a sweet drink, so feel free to adjust the simple syrup as your little heart desires.

Lazy woman’s peach cobbler

This recipe comes from my great grandma, who maybe named it thusly? Or maybe that was always its name? Either way, it is, indeed, one of the easiest desserts you’ll ever make.

Lazy woman’s peach cobbler

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 cups fruit (cut up; don’t drain)

Instructions

  1. Combine sugar, flour, baking powder and salt; cut in butter like you’re making biscuits, or pulse in a food processor, then stir in milk till well combined
  2. Pour batter into a buttered cast iron skillet or baking dish and top with fruit and its juice
  3. Bake at 350F for 45 minutes; sprinkle sugar on top for the last few minutes of baking