Monday, June 7, 2010

Easy Livin' and Caesar Dip

We've been busy around the yellow house. Really busy. A cute hen house has been built, a porch redecorated, and pots are over flowing with flowers. I've worked really had on my vegetable garden - I think it's the best one ever. I think I say that every year. This year I mean it. Doug (with Henry's incessant prodding) has begun work on our new grill patio and is building an inspired retaining wall to re-use the limestone from a removed path.

However, with all the work that's been done, we have taken a few moments to enjoy the good things. Like the amazing fragrance of the honeysuckle vines that have bloomed as never before.

Gathering on the porch for fruity rum drinks and catching up with friends. Always a great place to people watch - we've met new neighbors and a couple nice dogs, too.

Slowly but surely, I've been returning to the kitchen. I may be a farmer at heart but the kitchen is where I belong. Memorial Day weekend I put together a tasty little dip for snacking on the patio. While it only took a few minutes, it is one of those recipes that makes me sooooo happy, I just had to share it.

Essentially, a Caesar salad dressing with a bit more body, served with big, crunchy croutons and small leaves of romaine. A perfect patio snack. Whip some up and then kick back and enjoy.

Caesar Dip with Big Croutons and Romaine
adapted from Gourmet Game Night by Cynthia Nims

1 (1 1/2#) round loaf artisan bread
1 large had romaine lettuce, trimmed

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/4 cup top-quality mayonnaise (I used homemade)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (this quantity makes it really lemon-y)
2-3 anchovy fillets (in a pinch substitue anchovy paste to your taste)
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pre-heat the broiler and set the oven rack about 6" below the heating element.

Cut 4 slices from the center of the bread loaf, each 3/4" thick, saving the rest for another use. Cut the bread slices across into strips about 3" long and 3/4" wide (you should have about 24 strips). Arrange the strips on a baking sheet and broil until lightly browned and crisp, 3-4 minutes turning the pieces half way through. Set aside to cool. Don't stress too much about this part - I made as many as I could out of the bread - there was plenty of dip. I also like the croutons crispy on the outside but still chewy on the inside.

In the food processor place the Parmesan, mayonnaise, lemon juice, anchovy fillets and garlic then process until smooth. Taste the dressing for seasoning, adding salt (if needed) and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until you are ready to serve.

I initially used only the smallest leaves of romaine whole for serving. The larger leaves, can be cut in half vertically. The orginal recipe suggests removing the central rib but I like the extra crunch the rib provides when using the larger leaves.

This recipe makes lots and keeps well.

Now back to incessant grind of yard work, pseudo-farmer, cook.....


1 comment:

Georgine said...

Yum, caesar dip sounds good. I love your toe polish!