Sunday, July 4, 2010

Just a Trifle

One of my favorite ways to narrow down a recipe search is to have one key ingredient in mind. "I need to use that Cream of Mushroom soup in the cupboard, what are my options?" You can also take the same idea with a kitchen gadget or resource for your dinner ideas. Break out the crock pot, focus on your deep fryer or use your rice cooker. This will help you save time searching blindly through recipes and also might get you to look through your kitchen at the different tools you have that you don't get to use every day. I know I'm due for one of these as my need for cabinet organization moves to threat level red.

We put the same idea to use when my sister looked for a recipe that would employ her trifle dish. I can't help but think of the Friends Thanksgiving episode when I hear the word trifle: Rachel's recipe stuck to the next page so the dessert she is so proud of consists of jam, whipped cream, beef and peas. As Ross says, "it tastes like feet!"

Check out this beautiful arrangement. The homemade creamy lime dressing in this Food Network find was a perfect accompaniment to a hot summer day and resulted in a filling meal that was not so heavy it took us out for the rest of the afternoon!
Shredded Tex-Mex Salad with Creamy Lime Dressing
Butter, for preparing 8 by 8-inch glass pan
1 (8.5-ounce) box cornbread mix (recommended: Jiffy)
1 large egg
1/3 cup milk
1 (15.5-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 packet sazon seasoning
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup salsa
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 head romaine lettuce, cut into strips
Creamy Lime Dressing, recipe follows
1 1/2 cups grated Monterey jack cheese
1 1/2 cups grated Cheddar
Special equipment: glass trifle dish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease an 8 by 8-inch glass pan with butter. Stir together the cornbread mix with the egg and milk. Evenly spread into prepared pan and bake on the middle rack for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan to cool completely. Mix together the beans with the sazon and season with salt and pepper. Toss the salsa with the tomatoes. When ready to serve, cut the cornbread into 1/2-inch croutons. Toss the lettuce with 3/4 cups of the dressing. In a clear trifle dish, layer the Tex-Mex Salad beginning with the black beans followed by the Monterey jack cheese, the tomato salsa mixture, the Cheddar, the dressed romaine and top with the cornbread croutons. Serve the remaining dressing on the side.

Creamy Lime Dressing:
2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon lime zest
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 cup sour cream
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Special equipment: blender

Blend all the ingredients except the olive oil until smooth. While machine is running, slowly drizzle in the oil until incorporated. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.Yield: 1 1/2 cups.

Enjoy your Fourth of July weekend!

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