Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette

Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette
This is a wonderful, basic, go-to dressing to whip up and use on any salad…. so much better than any store-bought dressing out there!  Very classic in taste, yet so easy to make.  Once you start making your own salad dressing you’ll wonder why you ever bought bottled to begin with!
                                                              Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette
1/3 cup good-quality balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons chives, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
Combine all ingredients in a bowl or cruet  and mix or shake well.  Drizzle over salad and toss lightly.

Cherry Pecan Bread

I love quick breads, and this is one of my favorites.  I made it over the holidays and took it to work for a pot-luck we had on Christmas Eve.  It went over as well there as it does with my family and friends.   Maybe because of the pretty red color, but I do tend to make this mostly over the holiday season…something I just may change this year! 
Cherry Pecan Bread

Cherry Pecan Bread

                                                Cherry Pecan Bread
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup sugar
½ cup butter, room temp
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup chopped pecans
1 8-10 oz jar maraschino cherries, drained and diced
Preheat oven to 350 ͦ
In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat together the sugar and butter until creamy.  Add the eggs and vanilla and continue to beat until light and fluffly.  Slowly add some of the flour mixture, then the buttermilk, alternating between the two until each is incorporated well.  Fold the pecans and cherries into the batter and turn the batter into a buttered or sprayed 9inch bread loaf pan.  Bake for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a baking rack to cool completely.
*No buttermilk on hand?  Measure just under one cup of milk and add 1-2 tablespoons of white vinegar; mix until the milk looks “curdled.”  It’s a perfect substitute for buttermilk!

Japanese Mushroom Soup

Happy New Year! Working in retail, the holiday season was a busy one for me so I haven’t been blogging much but I hope to do more of it now!  And I was cooking this soup up today so I figured what better time to start.
One of my girls loves the Japanese steakhouse near us… in fact we’ve gone there every year for her birthday as long as I can remember.  We all love the near-clear soup they serve, with just a few mushrooms and onion bits floating in it and when I found this recipe I knew I had to try it.  I tweaked it a bit and, while it’s not exactly like the local  restaurant’s, it’s pretty darn good as is.  
Japanese Mushroom Soup
                                                               Japanese Mushroom Soup
1 celery stalk
1 small onion
2 carrots
Canned French fried onions
1 small piece fresh ginger (about 1 inch long)
3 garlic cloves
2 large beef bouillon cubes
2 large chicken bouillon cubes
2 cups thinly sliced mushrooms
8 cups water
Cut the celery, onion and carrots in fourths and add to the water in a large stock pot.  Cut the ginger and garlic into a few pieces each and toss into the water, along with the bouillon cubes.  Cover the pot and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for a least an hour.  Strain the vegetables, discarding them and leaving just the broth.  Add the sliced mushrooms and simmer a few minutes more.  Serve with a few French fried onions sprinkled on top. 



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