Tuesday, June 15, 2010

summertime yum

Did you notice the absence of dinner last night?  Fortunately - thanks to my amazing sister who took time out of her busy life to help me clean before our trip - I now have just a few moments to talk about dinner.  And it’s a good thing, too, because you wouldn’t want to miss out on this amazing dinner salad.  Seriously.  
I would have had my dad choose dinner last night, because it’s his birthday this Wednesday, but I totally forgot.  Now he’s going to have to wait two weeks for his birthday shindig... it was mr’s turn to pick and when I called him up at work to get his choices before I headed to the grocery store, he was in a meeting.  Oops.  So he didn’t really have much time to talk OR the means to search around for a yummy meal.  BUT, I did get this much information out of him: 1. Dessert MUST be fruit pizza.  2. Dinner MUST be LIGHT - but no fish.  Maybe some kind of salad?
Hmmmm... it appears that mr has been feeling a bit bloated with the Monday Food Fest recipes we’ve been trying lately.  Soooo, I decided to humor him.
It’s summer, after all.  We all need a little lighter fare for summertime.  No one wants to cook in the heat - and in our current situation of 88% humidity, no one feels much like doing anything (as it would require “swimming” through the air to get anywhere), even eating.  So why NOT a big dinner salad?  
I found this recipe on recipezaar for what I thought looked like a great salad option.  It was different from the typical side/house/chef salad and seemed like a great new piece to try out on the family.  I was wrong.  It wasn’t great.  It was PHENOMENAL.  The whole family loved it, even bug (yes, seriously).  We loved it so much, I am putting the whole recipe right here, just in case you guys read these posts and just skip over the links because you don’t want to click to a different page.  You won’t want to miss this one for your light summer eating.  Trust me.  I will include the recipe in purple and my variations in red.
6 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1-2 tablespoon white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
pepper, to taste
paprika, to taste
onion salt, to taste
(I fiddled with the amounts of all of the above.  I also added some fried chopped onions.  I put in too much paprika at first and then had to add stuff to compensate.  Feel free to use this only as a guideline.)
lettuce, to taste
bacon bit, to taste (I used pre-cooked bacon that you heat in the microwave and crumbled it up.  WAY better than bacon bits - it gives the salad a great flavor.)
raisins, to taste (I used craisins instead.  We love craisins.  Especially bug.  Plus, I hate raisins.)
banana chips, to taste
shredded coconut, to taste (I left this out of the salad and just put a bowl of coconut on the table so people could add it to their own salad.  I had to do this because mr insists that eating coconut is like eating toenail clippings.  When he has ever eaten toenail clippings is beyond me, but he will not be swayed.)
tomato, chopped, to taste
green onion, chopped to taste
I also added cilantro - about half of a bunch.  It complimented the flavors so nicely, I’m really glad bug had the idea.  Yes, that’s right.  In the grocery store, he pointed at it as I picked out the romaine and told me he wanted some cilantro.  What the heck - why not?  Right?
I also used some baby spinach along with the lettuce to give us a nice mixture of good for us greens.
Whisk salad dressing ingredients together.
Toss salad ingredients together.
Toss salad with dressing.
So very yummy.
It may surprise you (then again, probably not) to know that I have never made fruit pizza before.  My mom was unavailable for questioning, so I tried to locate a good fruit pizza recipe on my own.  Did you know that it’s impossible to find a recipe that does NOT use sugar cookie crust?  I grew up with an unsweetened crust of some variety I could not recall when it was necessary to do so, and when I moved to Utah, I took a huge heaping piece of fruit pizza at a church potluck of some sort.  When I bit into it, and got the sugar cookie crust, I was shocked and a little dismayed.  I had no idea people did that.  But, that’s what I get for being greedy I guess.  Anyway, with all of the sweet going on in the filling and fruit, I couldn’t bring myself to use sugar cookie dough.  Finally, I ended up going with the crust from this one (which seemed the LEAST sweet) and the filling of this one.  (I did not use the orange glaze, but may try it at some point.) 

8 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon milk
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
16 ounces cream cheese (softened)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar

 I used strawberries, blueberries, and kiwis.  IT WAS GREAT!  The crust was nice and soft, and not too sweet.  The fruit was ripe and tasty and I love cream cheese filling on pretty much everything.  mr claimed it was a little too rich for his blood, but he’s in the land of dairy now - where we have a love affair with cream cheese (or any kind of cheese for that matter.)
These are now two of my favorite summertime staples, and I’ll be making them again and again.
Oh, and by the way, in case you were wondering what my mom’s secret was to HER fruit pizza crust - pillsbury crescent rolls.  Who knew?

And, just so she doesn't feel left out, mini ate gerber "puffs" for dinner - for the first time!

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alicia said...

Thanks for linkin up! Love these light summer ideas. Lovin this meme. Hope you come back and play again next week!

Jami said...

I have a great recipe for the non-sugar cookie crust too. I wonder if it is similar. Love it! and I can't wait to try that salad. :)

Alisa said...

You are such a crazy cool wife and mom...it's fun to see...I love the part about the 88% humidity. What you didn't mention is that it's been cold here. BUT Wisconsin is like the ONLY place on earth where it can be cold but you can still be hot because of the 88% humidity. INSANE.

Unknown said...

I looked it up, it really IS 88% humidity. I wish it would go away. I just want normal sunshiney hot for summer, thanks.


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