Thursday, April 26, 2012

Recipe Share: BLTV Salad (Home Made Croutons and Dressing!)



So, tonight was one of those "seeking inspiration when you look at the clock and realize that it's dinnertime and you haven't even defrosted anything yet or sat down and even contemplated a menu plan for the week and it's Thursday" type of evenings.
 
It's been a long week already with appointments all around, stress over money (like who doesn't have that right?) and car problems with my husband's car that he's had since he was 16 (which led to part of my stress over money), so I just plain didn't have a lot of get-up-and-go in the elaborate meal department.  So, I threw open my fridge and scanned through what I had in five seconds flat or so and just started pulling things out onto the counter and then went to my freezer and found the one thing that would cook super quick (comparitively) even from frozen...fish!

So, this meal was sort of thrown together, but it came out so well  that I decided to share it just to prove that I can actually share more than baked goods on the blog *laugh*.  I'm going to not share the fish recipe though as it was just fried up in the bacon "tid bits" left on the bottom of the cast iron skillet after I poured off the bacon grease, with some seasoning and then baked until done.  No biggie there.  The salad though, ohhh yes, the salad!

And yes, the pic above is accurate.  My husband was too busy working on the aforementioned car problems to eat dinner with me, so I was eating this wonderful dinner alone.  Probably one of the reasons why I got "taking picture" crazy with the food *laugh*.

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BLTV (Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato and Vinaigrette) Salad With Home Made Croutons
  • 4 Cups mixed greens (I buy the prepacked Field Greens from Carrs)
  • 1/2 container grape tomatoes, cut in half (can't do tomatoes?  Try dried apricots or dried cranberries.  Those would be tasty too!)
  • 4 Pieces Nitrate Free Bacon (I use Hormel brand), cooked till crispy (you can also microwave it in between pieces of paper towels for about 1 minute or so to get it crispy without a lot of the grease)
  • 1 Recipe Croutons (recipe follows)
  • 1 Recipe Creamy Vinaigrette (recipe follows)

1.  Wash greens and then put through salad spinner or dry between a few layers of paper towels to remove excess moisture (I put mine in the sink with 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar to help kill any errant bacteria for about 15 minutes...it'll also help to "perk up" wilting lettuce too).

2.  Place in large salad bowl (ain't mine cute?  I got it at the used store for 3.00 one fine day).  Add your tomatoes and then taking kitchen shears (I find this makes life easier) cut the bacon into "bits" over your salad. 

3.  I don't add croutons or salad dressing to the big bowl of salad to stop the croutons from getting mushy and to not put too much dressing on someone's salad.  So, serve with croutons and vinegarette.

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Gluten Free Croutons
  • 4 Pieces Udi's Gluten Free White Sandwich Bread or other gluten free bread of choice (you want an artisan style one if you have it)
  • Olive oil
  • Onion Powder
  • Salt
  • Italian Herb Blend Seasoning (I have a garlic free one I found at Three Bears in their bulk spices section)
1.  Preheat oven to 425 F.

2.  Cut four bread slices into about 1" squares (you know, crouton size) on a cutting board with a bread knife.  Place on a parchment lined baking sheet in a single layer (no overlapping).  Drizzle olive oil over the pieces and then toss the pieces with your (clean!) hands a couple of times to coat both sides of the bread well (trust me the residual olive oil on the baking sheet will be enough).

3.  Sprinkle liberally with onion powder, salt (I used iodized sea salt for this as you want a fine grind to it) and then sprinkle the Italian Herb Blend over the croutons.  Toss with fingers again to evenly distribute seasoning over bread pieces (trust me there's enough residual spices on your cookie sheet to get the job done).

4.  Place in 425 degree oven for 5 to 8 minutes.  Start checking the bread after 5 minutes, but do NOT leave your stove!  Trust me bread burns fast, so be sure to stay there and if you smell toast before 5 minutes is up it's time to get the door of the oven open).  When slightly brown on the edges (brown people not black) take a spatula and toss the croutons.

5.  Place back in oven for 1 to 2 more minutes to make sure both sides of the croutons are browned evenly (the second time things cook quicker, so once again DON'T LEAVE).  
6.  Remove cookie sheet to stove top and let bread cool for a few moments before placing in a bowl.  Serve with salad.
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"Creamy" Vinaigrette
  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar or Cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 TSP Ground Mustard Powder
  • 1/2 TSP Dried Basil
  • 1/2 TSP Onion Salt (use 1/4 tsp if using onion powder and then add salt to taste) or Garlic Salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 2 TBS Nutritional Yeast or Parmesan Cheese (depending on dietary restrictions)

1.  Mix ingredients in salad dressing shaker.  Shake to combine (thus mustard will help to keep an emulsification going, but you still might have to shake the dressing by the end of the meal to re-combine the seasonings.  
2.  Serve over salad of choice.  Store in fridge (it'll solidify due to the oil being refrigerated, but just bring it back to room temperature the next time you need it) and shake before each initial use.

And there you go folks.  A nice salad, complete with dressing and croutons, for you to try out sometime.  Enjoy!

2 comments:

Kelly H said...

I can't wait to try this dressing. I have been using nutritional yeast when I make a diary free ceasar dressing. It gives it a great kick. I use vegenaise, coconut (or other diary free) milk, dill, onion powder, nut yeast,salt,parsley, chives(from the garden) and a little pepper. Love it!

Erika @ Those Who Help Themselves said...

Neat! Sounds like a great dressing. I might have to try it in a REALLY small batch for me to try sometime :).