Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Creamy Italian Dressing

I've never cared one way or the other about Italian Dressing which probably only goes to show that we didn't have it when I was growing up. My husband, however, did and when I tried out this Cook's Country recipe he was delighted. I, too, was delighted despite lack of previous experience. It is a delicious salad dressing.

I pass it along to you in case you are similarly delighted.

Note: I didn't care about a smooth texture and did care about not having to wash my food processor (have I mentioned lately how long it's been since my dishwasher has worked?). So I skipped that part and just whisked instead. Whatever you choose will be just fine.

Also, don't worry if you've let the dressing sit more than 4 days. Magazines have to put those warnings. Be realistic. Take a sniff, stir it up ... if it looks ok, it most probably is.

Creamy Italian Dressing

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper

Whisk vinegar, Parmesan, shallot, garlic, oregano and pepper flakes in small bowl. Microwave until cheese is melted (vinegar will look cloudy) and mixture is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Let cool.

Process mayo, sour cream, basil, and vinegar mixture in food processor until smooth. With motor running, slowly add oil until incorporated, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Serve. (Dressing can be refrigerated in airtight container for 4 days.)

Monday, March 04, 2013

Now That's Tasty ...

A quick heads-up for two products that we've been enjoying a lot.

Blue Plate Mayonnaise
I never heard of Blue Plate before until Cook's Illustrated did a tasting that placed Hellman's, our household standard, in third place. Frankly, I'd been unhappy lately about the change in Hellman's texture which has become less like real homemade mayonnaise (yes, I used to make it all myself, folks) and more goopy.

I'd seen their #2 pick, Duke's, praised and tried it out some time ago but was unimpressed. There was some odd aftertaste, or was it an odor, that bothered me.

I kept an eye out for Blue Plate and was both surprised and gratified to find it at Krogers of all places.

I was also very gratified to find it was more like the homemade mayonnaise I'd always loved, with a faint tang of lemon underlying the main flavor.

HEB Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream
Like Matt, I feel like a mega-jerk for reviewing an ice cream that is not available everywhere, but I just had to tell you about HEB's limited edition Mexican Chocolate. We don't have an HEB around here, more's the pity, but we do have their high end grocery, Central Market.

I love their HEB brand ice cream and have always wished they carried more than four or five flavors. Saturday I noticed a few Limited Edition brands and tried the Mexican Chocolate. It is a creamy milk chocolate with a swirl of thick cinnamon syrup (that is the consistency of a frozen chocolate syrup swirl). It packs a cinnamony punch that blends perfectly with the mild, sweet chocolate. If you can get your hands on this, try it out.