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Leeks, Kale, Lemon & Parmesan

This is a super tasty warm salad our niece Haley made for us last night out at WestWard. TPS made meatloaf with mashed potatoes–quite possibly the most comforting, homey duo ever. Her leek & kale salad a lovely balance. She walked me through it after supper, as I was taking a quick nap when she whipped it up. Ohhhhh, I do love Sundays…

Start with the kale, cutting away all the spines on the stems, leaving you with just those glorious leafy greens. Chop them up. Haley likes to put them in a big bowl and massages in salt, which helps to start break down a bit of the roughness kale can have. It just sits soaking up the salt while you get everything else ready.

In a good sized skillet, heat up extra virgin olive oil and add your cut up leeks. Sauté until soft and a bit browned. Then add another glug of olive oil and add the salted kale. Cook for just a few minutes to wilt the kale. Then turn off heat. Add the juice of half of a lemon and the zest of the entire lemon to the leek and kale mixture. The lemon will mix about with the olive oil creating just the lightest vinaigrette. Add a few cracks of pepper and a handful of Parmesan and the warm salad is ready to be served.



 

 

Parmesan, Lemon & Mustard Vinaigrette

20160602-061410.jpg This is such a simple dressing, a lemon vinaigrette, with the mustard emulsifying making it creamy and the addition of freshly grated Parmesan cheese to really pump up the flavor quotient.

Squeeze the juice of a good sized lemon into a bowl. We had 2 small lemons that I thought were close to equaling a large one. No pits please. Then a spoonful of mustard. I am not giving exact measurements as I want you to see how easy this is and you can make it more lemon-y or mustard-y by adding more or less. Then add a few good pinches of salt & pepper. Eyeball and add twice as much extra virgin olive oil as what is in the bowl. A 2 to 1 ratio of oil to acid is great here. Now with a fork, whisk it all together. The mustard will magically make it all mix together making a pretty darn yummy dressing. Now add the freshly grated Parm to the mixture. It adds a textured creaminess that takes it all to a different level. It becomes a thicker, richer vinaigrette, perfect served as is over your desired greens. Enjoy!



 

 

A Mustard Jar Vinaigrette

20150716-061057.jpg This is what you whip up when you have that pesky jar of mustard sitting in your fridge and there is still mustard in it. But not enough mustard to really do anything major with, but enough still left that you can’t bring yourself to toss it. This is the easiest thing in the world to do, with things you have a bit extra of. Take one lemon and quarter it. Squeeze the heck out of those slices over a cup or small bowl, making sure seeds do not enter the liquid produced. Add that lemony gold to the waiting jar of mustard. Then peel one good sized clove of garlic, smashing it just a tad with the back of the knife. Add the whole smushed garlic to the jar. Then add a few generous pinches of salt and a few cracks of the pepper grinder into the lemony mustard mixture. Almost there. Told you this was incredibly easy. Lastly add the best extra virgin olive oil you have around, about then again as much as the liquid in the jar. Typically twice as much oil to acid is a good vinaigrette ratio. Just eyeball it, and no huge deal if you add a tad more or less. Slip the lid back on. Check twice to make sure it is on nice and tight. Yes, I have made this error and it is not pretty. Now, shake, shake, shake that bottle. If music is playing in the background while you are doing this, even better. Done. You just made a really tasty lemony garlicky vinaigrette. Pour right out of the bottle over greens of your choosing, making sure to leave the garlic clove in the bottle. Any remaining will last in the fridge quite nicely. With the garlic continuing to infuse even more. Add a little more of all the above to the bottle and you can make another round with any leftover.