Iceberg Wedge Salad with Green Goddess Ranch Dressing

This post is belated because I’m still recovering from my husband’s extravagant birthday feast. Recovering from preparing it… and from eating it (for many, many days!). 😉 I must say that it was well worth every minute AND every bite.

His special celebratory feast usually involves fried chicken with biscuits and gravy, macaroni and cheese, and his favorite Vanilla Bean Birthday Cheesecake for dessert. I have made Caesar salad as our “vegetable” in the past, but this year he requested a wedge salad. Yay! I love a change.

This recipe was adapted from Mad Hungry by Lucinda Scala Quinn, via Martha Stewart Living. I used 4 tablespoons of buttermilk to adjust the consistency of the dressing. I also adapted the way the iceberg lettuce was sliced to modify the serving size and simplify the eating process. We all LOVED it!

For the Green Goddess Ranch Salad Dressing:

Yield: Makes 1 1/2 cups

  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives and/or scallions, plus more for garnish, optional
  • 2 teaspoons anchovy paste or 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons mild vinegar, such as white-wine vinegar or tarragon vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed and minced
  • buttermilk or milk (optional)
  1. In a large bowl or blender, whisk or blend all the ingredients except the buttermilk.
  2. Add just enough buttermilk to thin to the desired consistency, if needed. (I used 4 tablespoons.)
  3. Pour into a jar with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to combine. Shake well before using.

Note: Dressing will keep fresh in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

To Complete the Salad:

Yield: 4 Servings

  • Green Goddess Ranch Dressing (recipe above)
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce, cut into thick slices or wedges
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked until crispy
  • English cucumber, cut into slices
  1. Prepare Green Goddess dressing and set aside.
  2. In a 9 x 13-inch pyrex baking dish, bake bacon at 350 degrees for 20 to 3o minutes, until crispy.
  3. Place 1 iceberg lettuce slice/wedge and 4 to 6 cucumber wedges on each plate.
  4. Pour some dressing over top with crumbled bacon and minced chives over each serving, as desired.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Three Years Ago:

Four Years Ago:

Classic Tomato Soup

Everybody needs a “gold standard” tomato soup recipe – especially in the winter. This is my new one! This tasty recipe was adapted from Mad Hungry Cravings: 173 Recipes for the Food You want to Eat Right Now by Lucinda Scala Quinn. A great book.

The soup is creamy but creamless; it is slightly pink from the emulsification of the tomatoes and stock. We ate it with extra-sharp cheddar grilled cheese sandwiches and green salad. Mmmm. Grilled cheese croutons would be wonderful as well. Stay warm! My kids are on snow day #3 today!! 🙂 :/

Yield: Serves 8 to 10

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving, if desired
  • 4 large shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 4 tsp coarse salt
  • 4 28-oz cans whole tomatoes in juice (I used Cento San Marzano tomatoes)
  • 4 cups chicken (or vegetable) stock
  • 6 x 1 1/2-inch piece Parmesan rind
  • grated Parmesan, for serving, optional
  1. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the oil. When it shimmers, add the shallots, carrots, and celery, season with the salt, and sauté until soft and golden, 6 to 8 minutes.
  2. Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, and Parmesan rind; bring to a simmer, and cook, partially covered, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes, until the soup has thickened slightly. Remove and discard the Parmesan rind.
  3. Working in batches, transfer the soup to a food processor or blender, and puree. (I used an immersion blender.)
  4. Reheat the soup, if necessary. Add more chicken stock if needed for the desired consistency.
  5. Divide among bowls and garnish each with a drizzle of olive oil and grated Parmesan, if desired.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Three Years Ago:

Mad Hungry Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes

I love Lucinda Scala Quinn- a Mad Hungry recipe has yet to fail me. Always delicious! This special pancake recipe was adapted from Mad Hungry Cravings: 173 Recipes for the Food You Want to Eat Right Now by Lucinda Scala Quinn. I modified the recipe by incorporating whole wheat flour. They were wonderful- the lemon zest brought these fluffy pancakes to another level. Breakfast perfection. 🙂

Yield: Serves 6 to 8 (Makes approximately 18 pancakes)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp coarse salt
  • 1/4 tsp (heaping) ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 T granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or thawed frozen blueberries (I used frozen wild blueberries)
  • 3 cups buttermilk (well shaken before measuring)
  • 3 large eggs
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • vegetable oil or vegetable oil spray for cooking
  • pure maple syrup, for serving
  1. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and sugar in a large bowl until throughly combined.
  2. Toss the blueberries with 2 tablespoons of the dry mixture in a medium bowl and set aside. (If using frozen berries, fold them in very gently at the end to avoid entirely bluish-purple-toned pancakes.)
  3. Make a well in the center of the dry mixture and add the buttermilk, eggs, and lemon zest.
  4. Whisk together the wet ingredients, gradually incorporating the dry mixture, mixing just until combined; some small lumps should remain in the batter.
  5. Let the batter stand for 10 minutes. Incorporate the blueberries.
  6. Preheat a double-burner griddle or a large cast iron skillet over medium heat.
  7. Brush or spray the pan with vegetable oil and ladle 1/3 cup of the batter per pancake onto the griddle. (I do 6 at a time.) When small bubbles appear across the surface of the pancakes and the edges lift from the griddle, flip and continue cooking until golden brown on the second side and springy to the touch, about 3 minutes total.
  8. Serve warm – preferably on warm plates- with pure maple syrup.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Indian-Spiced Chicken

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I may need this cookbook!! (I’ve also tried the German Apple Cake & Busy Day Chocolate Cake from this book- both absolutely wonderful!!) In this dish, chicken thighs are braised in a delicious and spicy tomato sauce. We ate it with Butternut Squash Basmati Rice (the inspiration for the meal), warm naan, and sautéed kale & chard (with CSA leeks & garlic). A WONDERFUL hearty feast on a cold and rainy day!!

This recipe was adapted from Mad Hungry by Lucinda Scala Quinn, via Martha Stewart Living. I used ghee instead of vegetable oil, increased the amount of garlic, and used a jalapeño.

Angie of The Novice Gardener asked for Indian food, so I am bringing this one to Fiesta Friday #41 this week! Enjoy!

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or ghee
  • 10-12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • one small onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 1 small green chile (I used a jalapeño)
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 tablespoons garam masala
  • 1 28-ounce can pureed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high to high heat. Add 2 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil.
  2. Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to hot pan. Brown on both sides. Cook in batches if needed.
  3. Remove chicken from pan and add onion, garlic, and ginger. Cut a slit into the chile lengthwise and add to pan. Saute the onion mixture until softened, about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add spices and cook for 30 seconds.
  5. Add tomatoes and 1/2 cup water and stir. Add chicken back to pan and bring up to a simmer. Cover and simmer until chicken is cooked through and sauce is thickened, about 30 minutes. Turn chicken occasionally throughout cooking.
  6. When ready to serve, uncover and stir in cream. Simmer for 1 minute and serve.

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One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

German Apple Cake

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I love apple baking season!! My son has also become obsessed with cinnamon-sugar ever since pumpkin doughnut muffins became part of his life. 🙂 Apples and cinnamon-sugar are a match made in heaven- not to mention eating tasty cake a la mode- the whole dessert was heavenly!

I chose this recipe because the presentation was so pretty- so happy it was equally delicious. This cake was AMAZING. The recipe was adapted from Mad Hungry by Lucinda Scala Quinn, via Martha Stewart Living. I used Ginger Gold apples because they were the most tart and best baking apples available at my farmstand at the time. It would also be wonderful with a combination of Granny Smith, Winesap, or Cortland apples. I usually prefer to combine varieties, but I couldn’t wait to make this cake. 🙂

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  • cooking oil spray
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar, separated
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 large, tart apples, such as Ginger Gold, Granny Smith, Cortland, or Winesap

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  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (on convection). Butter (or spray with cooking oil) a 9 x 7-inch or an 8-inch square pan, or other equivalent-size baking dish. Line with parchment paper, butter or spray the parchment as well.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and 1 cup of the sugar. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and beat until combined. Spread the mixture evenly in the prepared pan.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/3-cup sugar with the cinnamon.
  5. Squeeze lemon juice into a medium bowl. Peel, core, and slice the apples into the bowl. Add the cinnamon-sugar mixture and toss to thoroughly coat each apple slice.
  6. Arrange the apple slices on top of the batter in overlapping rows, pressing lightly into the batter. Drizzle remaining cinnamon-sugar over the top.
  7. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

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One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Busy Day Chocolate Cake

This is the easiest cake I have ever made, and it is delicious.  The recipe is from Lucinda Scala Quinn’s “Mad Hungry” cookbook; I got it via Everyday Food.  I used a 9×9 pan and the cake was done after 25 minutes on convection.  I used my favorite buttercream recipe which is from Food and Wine.

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 cup cold water
  • sprinkles, for garnish, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In an 8-inch square baking pan, whisk together all-purpose flour, sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking soda, and coarse salt.
  2. Make a well in center of flour mixture and add vegetable oil, pure vanilla extract, white vinegar, and cold water. Whisk until well combined.
  3. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 25 minutes (on convection) to 40 minutes. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack.

For the Buttercream Icing:

  • 6 T unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of coarse salt
  • 2 T heavy cream or milk
  1. Mix the butter on medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.
  2. Add powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt and mix until combined.
  3. Add cream and mix until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  4. Garnish with sprinkles, if desired.

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