You'll never miss the anchovies in this vegetarian Caesar salad. (Wait, you knew about the fish in the salad dressing, didn't you?) I love to use anchovy paste in traditional Caesar salad dressing, but in this recipe, plain Greek yogurt and sharp, salty Romano cheese stand in for the sharp, salty bite from the fish. Plenty of garlic, giant crunchy croutons made fresh in a frying pan, and crisp, sturdy lettuce combine for a simple salad that relies on big flavor from every ingredient. Add some grilled chicken or shrimp, as restaurants often do, or pile on tomatoes, or bell pepper, or asparagus... well, you get the idea. I always blend some extra dressing, which keeps in the refrigerator for a week, so I have the basic salad for several lunches in a row, with different add-ons every day.
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What's more fun than cooking something until it falls apart, and then coaxing it into a state of total collapse by having at it with two forks? If this sounds like your idea of a good time in the kitchen, you need to get your slow cooker on and make a batch of tandoori pulled chicken. While a slow cooker can't replicate the smoky char of a tandoor oven, the spices do a good job of mimicking the flavor. Use the shredded chicken on wedges of naan bread, as we have here, or in a salad or wrap. You can go a bit further, and dress it up with typical Indian condiments, like yogurt, chutney, or chopped nuts. When I make this chicken, I use a kabsa spice blend I found at a gourmet market; it's easy to make your own, or substitute turmeric, as indicated in the recipe. Tandoori pulled chicken freezes well, so you can make it ahead and have lunch or dinner at the ready.
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When it comes to salad, I fall in love easily and often, and when I do, I eat the same salad for days until my affections find another to love. I fell hard for this bacon, lettuce and tomato salad, tossed with a creamy dressing made with fresh basil from my herb garden. You'll want to use fairly robust lettuce, the ripest tomato, and just enough bacon to remind you of the best BLT sandwich you've ever had. Don't skimp on the basil; the dressing should be vibrant and herby. If you absolutely need the bread for your BLT, add some large homemade croutons. This is an in-season salad, so enjoy it now with the end of the summer tomatoes and basil. Then, save the recipe for next summer. You'll fall in love all over again.
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First published in June 2008, this updated ingredient post features new photos and links. Marinated mozzarella cheese takes just minutes to make, and a few days to steep in the good flavors of the herbs. For a quick appetizer, just add toothpicks.
Who was more ingenious, the Provencal cook who first tossed together a few herbs growing on a hillside and gave it a fancy-sounding name -- herbes de Provence -- or the person who thought to market those herbs in an adorable ceramic crock ?
(You have one of those iconic little crocks on your spice rack, don't you? Me, too.)
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