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Monday, February 13, 2012

Sunday is for Dinner with Family

This Sunday I gave my uncle a break from cooking and prepared our weekly family feast. They live about an hour away from me so it was a bake-and-take adventure that, with a little reheating in their oven, turned out marvelous.
I awoke Sunday morning "dark and early" (I was literally up before the sun came out) and began by making the French bread. I got that recipe from La Fuji Mama's blog: imperfections.blogspot.com. It baked up nicely with a chewy and browned crust.


This was a classic lasagna made with extra lean ground beef, ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesean. Totally not the lasagna I would make if it was just for my mom and I -ours would probably be vegetarian and loaded with extra veggies that would be out-of-the-norm for traditional lasagna, but for "traditional" lasagna this was perfect. It was cheesey and herby and just look at that crisped cheese string pulling delicately from the edge there. My mouth is watering...too bad there are no left overs. Actually that's probably a good thing because besides the extra lean ground beef, this is not waist-line friendly. I got this recipe from the blog canelaycomino.blogspot.com.
Ah, and not the main dish but I belive it became the highlight of our meal, behold: Zucchini Ribbon and Olive Salad. I think the dressing is what really made this and I'm sad to say it was store-bought. I got the original recipe from Chef Louise Mellor at her blog louisemellor.com. Since I adapted the recipe so much I included it in this post. This salad is bright and healthy. It smells sweet from the dressing and the fresh squeezed lemon juice helps to really balance out the flavor. I made the salad several hours ahead of time and it helped the flavors really come together.

Zucchini Ribbon Salad
(adapted slightly from the original from Chef Louise Mellor)
(serves 8)
2 green zucchini
2 yellow zucchini squash
1 small can natural California black olives (whole)
1 large tomato
red onion, to taste (I used about 1/8 of a medium onion because it was very strong)
fresh squeezed juice of one lemon
half of a bottle of Braswell's Vidalia Onion and Summer Tomato all natural salad dressing (I found mine at Kroger next to the other salad dressings)
sea salt and fresh crack black pepper, to taste

1.) Using a vegetable peeler, or maybe one of those fancy-smanshy mandolins if you have one (I didn't), carefully shave the zucchini into ribbons. This can be tricky and I almost got frustrated when my ribbons didn't look pretty at all like Louise's but I just kept going and when I was finished I felt satisfied with the results, even though my slices weren't consistent or very "ribbony". I was serving this for my family, not Anthony Bourdain. Put the slices into a serving dish.
2.) Slice the red onion and the tomato thin. Cut the tomato slices in half. Arrange over top of zucchini ribbons.
3.) Arrange olives over salad.
4.) Drizzle the completed salad with Braswell's dressing and add the fresh squeezed lemon juice. Sprinkle with sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper if desired.
5.) Serve along side a hearty Italian meal or even add a protien source and make this salad dinner!



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