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Hearts of Palm

Hearts of Palm & Olives

In Salads, Vegetables On April 16, 2011 0 Comments

A few years ago, while standing in the canned vegetables aisle of a supermarket, I picked up a can of hearts of palm, looked at it and thought, “I know I ate these somewhere, but they looked boring and tasted bland. Maybe tonight I can turn these ‘palmitos’ into an exciting dish”. Later that day, as I prepared dinner for my friends, I cut the hearts of palm into bite-size pieces and tossed them with olives, lemon, and other ingredients I had on hand.

My novelty appetizer-salad not only looked fresh and inviting, but my guests were amazed at how hearts of palm could become such a colorful and exquisite appetizer. That night, the Hearts of Palm & Olives must have been an instant hit because I never had a chance to put any on my plate.

Prep time: 10 to 15 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:
One 14-ounce can Roland’s® Hearts of Palm, drained and rinsed
½ cup Spanish olives
2 tablespoons chopped red onion, rinsed in cold water (excess water squeezed out of onion)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh, Italian flat-leaf parsley and 1 sprig (for garnish)
1 celery stalk, peeled and chopped into ¼-inch pieces
Juice of ½ lime
2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients (except the sprig of parsley) and gently toss together.

2. Taste and adjust oil and/or seasonings.

3. Transfer the salad to a serving bowl and garnish with the parsley sprig.

Serve immediately as an appetizer, accompanied by cheese, bread, your favorite wine, friends and music.

Note: “Palmitos” is Spanish for “hearts of palm”. The country with the largest production of palmitos is Costa Rica.

Text & Photograph ©2011 Nancy DeLucia Real

Caesar Salad (Eggless recipe)

Caesar Salad (Eggless recipe)

In Salads On March 29, 2011 3 Comments

Inspired by the Original Caesar Salad from Caesar’s Restaurante Bar (published on this blog), I came up with this version of the salad sans egg. I made both salads the same day for my husband and son. They were clearly impressed – they couldn’t even tell that there was no egg in this recipe. The consistency is a little thinner than the original Caesar Salad recipe, but my end note clearly states how to thicken the dressing. As they told me in Mexico last week, “Buen Provecho” (Bon Appetit)!

Prep time: 25 to 30 minutes
Serves: 2 as main course; 4 as appetizer course

Ingredients:
1 head Romaine lettuce, dark outer leaves discarded
1 tablespoon plain, nonfat yogurt or mayonnaise*
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (Grey Poupon® brand preferred)
2 teaspoons anchovy paste can be substituted
1 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup oil (in a 3/4-cup measure, combine half each extra virgin olive oil and vegetable oil – a perfect blend!)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Garlic croutons, for garnish (can be substituted with plain baguette toasts or Kalamata olive bread toasts)
2 to 4 leaves of Italian (flat leaf) parsley, for garnish
2 to 4 pitted Kalamata olives, for garnish

1. Rinse lettuce leaves under cold water; spin them dry and gently pat with paper towels.

2. Refrigerate lettuce leaves for at least 1 hour or more (this can be done the night before or early in the morning the day of).

3. Meanwhile, in a large wooden or stainless steel bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, garlic, mustard, anchovy paste, Worchestershire sauce, vinegar, lime juice, the lesser amount of salt and black pepper until well blended; set aside.

4. Slowly whisk in the combined oils in a stream until dressing emulsifies and all oil is absorbed.

5. Stir half of the cheese into the dressing and reserve the other half. Taste and adjust salt level, if needed.

6. Add the whole Romaine lettuce leaves to the dressing in bowl and gently roll them around until they are thoroughly coated. Alternatively, tear the leaves into slightly larger than bite-size pieces and then coat them with the dressing.

7. Divide the salad evenly among 2 or 4 plates. Garnish each serving with remaining Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, a few croutons, 1 parsley leaf and 1 olive placed in center of salad.

Serve immediately.

*Note: Before tossing the lettuce leaves into the dressing in bowl, you may thicken the dressing by adding 1 additional tablespoon of plain yogurt or mayonnaise.

Also, rather than saving half the grated cheese for garnish, I prefer to stir it all into the dressing before coating the Romaine leaves.

Recipe inspired by Original Caesar Salad Recipe of Caesar Restaurante Bar, Tijuana, Mexico
Text and Photograph ©2011 Nancy DeLucia Real

Nancy's Tastes & Trips - Caesar's Restaurante Bar, Tijuana, Mexico - Origina

Caesar’s Restaurante Bar, Tijuana, Mexico – Original Caesar Salad Recipe

In Nancy's Articles, Salads On March 28, 2011 2 Comments

The famous Caesar’s Restaurante Bar in Tijuana, Mexico, was recently remodeled and opened for business in the summer of 2010. Some people wonder, “Why is it famous?” or “I never heard of it.”

This is where Caesar Cardini, an Italian Mexican, invented the Caesar Salad. LOL if you thought Julius Caesar invented the salad in Ancient Rome over two millennia ago – the salad was invented in Mexico! Signor Cardini, a chef-restauranteur, immigrated from Italy to the USA and later in 1922, opened his first restaurant in Tijuana. This was during the Prohibition years when the manufacture, import, export, transportation, sale and consumption of alcohol and alcoholic beverages was forbidden in USA. As a result, many Americans, including Hollywood celebs, flocked down to Tijuana, aka “the party town”.

Recently, some friends recommended that my husband and I also head down to TJ to enjoy a meal at Caesar’s Restaurante Bar. A few days ago, we drove south from LA and, upon arrival at Caesar’s Restaurante Bar in Tijuana, we were warmly greeted by the valet parking attendant and the maitre d’ at the restaurant’s entrance.

I walked into a distinct 1930′s bistro setting which was inviting and comfortable, thanks to professional servers, who are always so eager to please their clientele.

I was introduced to the owner/manager who recounted a few versions of how Caesar Cardini invented his salad at his third Tijuana restaurant, established in 1927. Whether he made it for members of the Air Force late one night or when they woke up one morning, the sure thing is that Caesar made it on the spur of the moment with ingredients on hand. Cardini sure knew the art of “entertaining”, for he prepared it at table side – everyone was delighted (and so was I).

PLEASE READ ON!
As soon as I was served the salad, I was asked, “Quiere la receta?” This means, “Would you like the recipe?” While I almost fainted, I responded, “Surely, this is only for me, and not intended to appear on my blog post featuring your resturant?” The owner personally came to my table to tell me, “We would be honored if you posted our recipe on your blog.” My breath was taken away (I always get very emotional over food)!

And this is the original Caesar Salad (recipe follows)!

Thank you, Caesar’s Restaurante Bar – not only will I share this delectable recipe with my followers, but I will make this salad time and time again. I can’t wait to return for the exquisite food and impeccable service!

Original Caesar Salad Recipe (courtesy Caesar’s Restaurante Bar)
Recipe tested by Nancy Real of The Kitchen Buzzz (ingredients and text edited and clarified by Nancy Real)

Rinse lettuce leaves under cold water; spin them dry and gently pat with paper towels. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or more (this can be done the night before or early in the morning the day of).

To coddle the egg: set an egg in a 2-cup bowl. Pour boiling water over the egg and set aside for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large wooden or stainless steel bowl, whisk together the garlic, mustard, anchovies or anchovy paste, Worchestershire sauce, vinegar, lime juice, salt and black pepper until well blended; set aside.

Crack the egg – keep the yolk and discard the white. Add egg yolk to mixture in bowl, then slowly whisk in the olive oil in a stream until dressing emulsifies and all oil is absorbed. Stir half of the cheese into the dressing and reserve the other half.

Add the whole Romaine lettuce leaves to the dressing in bowl and gently roll them around until they are thoroughly coated.

Divide the salad evenly among 2 or 4 plates. Garnish each serving with remaining Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and a few croutons.

Serve immediately.

Caesar’s Restaurante Bar
Revolucion Ave. between 4th & 5th St.
Downtown Tijuana, Mexico
Reservations from USA:
01152-664-685-1927.

Text & Color Photographs © Nancy Real 2011 except for: Black & White Image of Caesar’s; Color photograph of Hotel Caesar and
Original Caesar Salad Recipe posted on this blog – Courtesy Caesar’s Restaurante Bar, Tijuana

Thank you, Caesar’s Restaurante Bar – not only will I share this delectable recipe with my followers, but I will make this salad time and time again. I can’t wait to return for the exquisite food and impeccable service!

Original Caesar Salad Recipe (courtesy Caesar’s Restaurante Bar)
Recipe tested by Nancy Real of The Kitchen Buzzz (ingredients and text edited and clarified by Nancy Real)

Prep time: 25 to 30 minutes
Serves 2 as a main course or 4 as an appetizer course

Ingredients:
1 head Romaine lettuce, dark outer leaves discarded
1 coddled, large egg
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (Grey Poupon® brand preferred)
2 ounces anchovies, broken up (2 teaspoons anchovy paste can be substituted)
1 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Garlic croutons, for garnish (can be substituted with baguette toasts)

Rinse lettuce leaves under cold water; spin them dry and gently pat with paper towels. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or more (this can be done the night before or early in the morning the day of).

To coddle the egg: set an egg in a 2-cup bowl. Pour boiling water over the egg and set aside for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large wooden or stainless steel bowl, whisk together the garlic, mustard, anchovies or anchovy paste, Worchestershire sauce, vinegar, lime juice, salt and black pepper until well blended; set aside.

Crack the egg – keep the yolk and discard the white. Add egg yolk to mixture in bowl, then slowly whisk in the olive oil in a stream until dressing emulsifies and all oil is absorbed. Stir half of the cheese into the dressing and reserve the other half.

Add the whole Romaine lettuce leaves to the dressing in bowl and gently roll them around until they are thoroughly coated.

Divide the salad evenly among 2 or 4 plates. Garnish each serving with remaining Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and a few croutons.

Serve immediately.

Caesar’s Restaurante Bar
Revolucion Ave. between 4th & 5th St.
Downtown Tijuana, Mexico
Reservations from USA:
01152-664-685-1927.

Text & Color Photographs © Nancy Real 2011 except for: Black & White Image of Caesar’s; Color photograph of Hotel Caesar and Original Caesar Salad Recipe posted on this blog – Courtesy Caesar’s Restaurante Bar, Tijuana

Fancy Fennel Salad

Fancy Fennel Salad

In Salads On August 17, 2010 3 Comments

Due to the pronounced anise flavor of fennel, it has always been difficult for me to eat this bulb. I discovered that if I combine fennel with other ingredients, such as lemon, olive oil, and mint, it transforms into a delicious food. Recently, I arranged it on a plate with tomatoes and oranges. The color scheme turned out very lively and the fennel salad – quite fancy.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:
2 fennel bulbs, green stems discarded
2 vine-ripened tomatoes
4 medium oranges, peeled, rind removed
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
4 tablespoons finely shredded mint leaves
12 assorted pitted olives (I use 6 kalamata and 6 green olives)
1. Using a potato peeler, lightly peel outer section of fennel bulbs.

2. On a cutting board, slice the bulbs lengthwise, making 1/4-inch thick pieces; set aside.

3. Cut tomatoes and oranges into 1/4-inch thick slices and arrange them with fennel slices, intermittently, on a plate.

4. Add lemon juice, salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.

5. Finish the salad with a sprinkle of shredded mint leaves and garnish with olives.

Serve Fancy Fennel Salad alongside Salmon Nicoise Salad; Kiwi, Mozzarella & Papaya Skewers; or Roasted Peppers (recipes previously published by The Kitchen Buzzz).

Text and Photographs ©2010 Nancy DeLucia Real

Roasted Peppers (Peperoni Arrostiti)

Roasted Peppers (Peperoni Arrostiti)

In Salads, Vegetables On July 12, 2010 0 Comments

ENTER OUR KITCHEN, WATCH & LEARN

Although red bell peppers are delicious when freh and added raw to salads or other foods, they’re quite succulent when roasted. This is because their naturally sweet flavors are enhanced in the roasting process. Make this traditional “peperoni arrostiti” salad and discover why Italians have such delicate palates. After savoring every ingredient in this delicacy, you’ll never go back to ready made roasted peppers!

 

Active prep time: 5 to 20 minutes
Inactive prep time: 10 to 15 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:
3 to 4 large red bell peppers, cut in half lengthwise, seeds and stems discarded
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 to 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
3 tablespoons fresh chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley or fresh basil

1. Line a 12 X 18-inch baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place peppers, rounded side up, on foil-lined sheet.

2. Place baking sheet with peppers on an oven rack positioned 6 to 8 inches away from overhead oven broiler/grill.

3. Roast peppers 8 to 14 minutes or until skin is charred.

4. Transfer baking sheet with peppers to a counter and cool, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove and discard the charred skins from roasted peppers.

5. Cut the peppers lengthwise into 1/2-inch thick strips. In a glass or porcelain serving bowl, toss the peppers together with remaining ingredients. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Serving tips: Enjoy roasted peppers with Italian breadsticks called “grissini” or on toasted bread.

Accompany with some cheese, a salad and a favorite wine.

Buon Appetito!

Text ©2010 Nancy DeLucia Real
Roasted Peppers Salad Photograph Only ©2010 Nancy DeLucia Real