3-1-1 Balsamic-Honey-Dijon Dressing, or 3-1-2 for the Kicked Up Version

The Grill-Meister and I had a salad at a Landry’s restaurant recently and really loved the dressing. We did some Googling, got some tips, and came up with our own version.  It is super-simple and really, really good, with a tangy kick that gets your taste buds to sit up and take notice.

You can make the 3-1-1 Balsamic-Honey-Dijon in 3 minutes or less, and everyone will rave about it.  The name of the dressing is basically the recipe, and is how we remember the ratios of the ingredients, as in: “Let’s have a salad with that 3-1-1 dressing tonight”.  Until now, of course, when we can look it up here.  Documenting recipes in the Glover Gardens blog is making it so much easier to repeat culinary successes these days.

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp excellent quality balsamic vinegar (we get ours at the farmers market)
  • 1 tbsp honey (we also get that at the farmers market)
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard, or 2 tbsp if you want an extra-spicy version
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Cooking Instructions

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir to mix well. Taste and decide if you want to max out the Dijon.


We serve the 3-1-1 dressing with a very minimalist salad, just mixed greens, halved grape tomatoes and toasted nuts, with more freshly ground pepper. You’ll have some dressing left over unless you’re making salad for a crowd, but it will keep well in the refrigerator.

This versatile dressing is also fantastic drizzled over a chicken breast, used as a marinade for grilled shrimp, tossed with heirloom tomatoes and cucumbers, or…there are a myriad of culinary uses for it. Let me know what you come up with!

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Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens

Zippy Cajun (Another Glover Gardens Spice Mix)

We use a lot of spices here at Glover Gardens! They run the gamut – from smoked paprika to the ubiquitous trinity of ground pepper (red/cayenne, white and black) to the tried-and-true flavor enhancers of freshly ground nutmeg or celery seed – and everything in between. We also use a lot of spice mixes, some that we buy already prepared, and some that originate right here in the Glover Gardens kitchen. Today I’m sharing the recipe for Zippy Cajun with you. A blend of herbs and spices that are commonly used in cajun-creole cooking, Zippy Cajun is super-convenient for us when we crave those flavors. It is very aromatic with balanced spiciness, a rich depth, and just the right amount of salt.

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Like its cousin, Zippy Southwest, Zippy Cajun is good in a myriad of ways – as an all-purpose spice mix for any cajun-creole dish, to kick up a chicken salad or filling for deviled eggs, mix with cream cheese for a quick spread, stir with olive oil to baste seafood or meat before grilling, spice up a quiche filling, sprinkle on french fries or popcorn…you name it!

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. + 2 tsp. dried oregano leaves
  • 1 tbsp. dried thyme leaves
  • 2 tsp. dried basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tbsp. onion powder
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp. white pepper
  • 2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp. finely ground black pepper

Instructions

Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container.  Makes about a half cup.

Note: To transform this delectable spice mixture into a blackening rub for meat or fish, add 2 tsp. of brown sugar per 1/3 cup of Zippy Cajun.

Another note: Zippy Cajun is great to have on hand at all times or to give away; you can make it in bulk by changing the amounts: 1 tsp. to 1/3 cup and 1 tbsp. to 1 cup.  


Zippy Cajun is also the perfect spice mix for gumbo – the Glover Gardens recipe is coming soon. In the meantime, if you make up a batch of Zippy Cajun, let me know how you use it!

Gumbo
There’s a big jar of Zippy Cajun in the middle of the assembled ingredients for gumbo

The other Glover Gardens spice mixes are Zippy Southwest and Everything Rub.

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens

Glover Gardens “Everything Rub” – Make It Now and Keep It On Hand for … Everything!

Honey-Chipotle Ribs with Chipotle-Fennel SlawI created a spice rub for ribs way back in the spring when I got brave and decided to tackle that venerable barbecue staple (read about them here). They turned out!  I’ve made them several more times and always have a little of the rub left over. I’ve started using it on other dishes, and wow, it is very versatile! A couple of nights ago, it made grilled ahi tuna steaks roar with flavor, and last night, it dressed up simple baked acorn squash. This was an epic accomplishment, because the Grill-Meister, who is not a fan of squash, had two portions!

I’m going to start making up batches of this all-purpose rub for holiday gifts – it’s that good! Spicy from the ground ancho chili peppers and the one-two punch of black and white pepper, slightly sweet from the brown sugar, southwest-tasting from the cumin and rounded out by the touch of nutmeg and coarse sea salt, this rub is a winner! Here are some other uses for Glover Gardens Everything Rub (or any good meat rub that you really love):

  • Mix with a little olive oil, then toss with vegetables before grilling them (think thick slices of onion, rings of bell pepper, portobello mushrooms, corn on the cob – yum!)
  • Toss with Brussels sprouts and olive oil, then roast them in the oven
  • Dust onto thick rings of pineapple, then grill or broil them
  • Season chicken wings
  • Mix with sour cream or cream cheese for a quick dip or spread
  • Spice up pimento cheese
  • Mix with olive oil and walnuts or pecans, then toast them
  • Sprinkle on bacon as it’s cooking to kick it up a notch
  • Mix with ground beef, eggs and some diced onions for a quick meatloaf
  • Toss with olive oil, chopped red onion and halved cherry tomatoes for a quick salad, or mix with oil and cider vinegar for a salad dressing
  • Mix with a stick of softened butter and then chill in a pretty dish for a spicy seasoned butter you can serve with bread or rolls
  • Use as a seasoning for eggplant, as my blogger friend the Pleasant Peasant did
  • And of course, as a dry rub on steaks, pork tenderloin or chops, chicken breasts, or even turkey

Glover Gardens Everything Rub

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This is the brand of ancho chile I use
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp coarse salt
  • 2 tbsp ancho or chipotle chilé powder (use paprika if you don’t like it spicy)
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

In a small mixing bowl, combine the spice rub ingredients.

Store in an airtight container for up to six months (although it won’t last that long!)

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If you make a batch, let me know what you do with it!

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

Found Recipe: Churrasco’s Chimichurri

I love to create in my kitchen on weekends, take a bunch of photos, and then recreate the yumminess in posts here in the Glover Gardens Cookbook blog.  Alas, there are no kitchen creations to post this weekend, as I have an early morning flight for a business trip tomorrow and am busy preparing and packing.  I do have a recipe to share, though:  Churrasco’s chimichurri sauce.  Have you had chimichurri before?  It is sooooo good – a foodie-worthy sauce that is very simple to make.  Churrasco’s is a Houston-based South American restaurant chain, and they deliver the real South American goods.  “Churrasco” means beef, or more generally, grilled meats, in both Spanish and Portugese.

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Photo from Food and Wine

That green sauce on the steak is chimichurri sauce, and it is wonderful.  Fresh, green and garlicky in its olive oil base, it brings a brightness to the steak.  I can’t get enough chimichurri, and it is good on so many other things!  Scrambled eggs, fajita tacos, grilled chicken, as a dip…the possibilities are endless.  In addition to topping steak with it, Churrasco’s serves chimichurri with dried plantain chips as an appetizer.

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Whenever I go to Churrasco’s, I bring home plantains and chimichurri sauce, to continue the South American party at home.

There are lots of chimichurri recipes out there, but I am loyal to this one from Churrasco’s, published in Food and Wine magazine.  Simple and delicious, it has only four ingredients and can be made in less than five minutes.  Although the recipe calls for curly parsley, flat-leaf parsley is also excellent, and you can substitute cilantro for a different south-of-the-border flavor.

Ingredients

2 bunches curly parsley, thick stems discarded
1/3 cup garlic cloves, crushed
3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Combine all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.  Refrigerate, but allow to come to room temperature before serving.

Here’s a link to the recipe in Food and Wine, which also has instructions for the steak.  Another of my finds at Churrasco’s was the Pisco Sour.

Found Recipe: This Marinade is The BOMB for Pork

During a quick afternoon visit last Sunday, my Dad asked what we were making for dinner, and offered up a marinade when I told him our main course was pork tenderloin.

He scanned the bookshelf in his kitchen, fingers gliding across dozens of cookbooks, until he found the right one.

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Ahhh.  A Junior League cookbook: Georgia on My Menu.  Has there EVER been a bad Junior League cookbook?  Not in my lifetime.  Those Junior League ladies have got the process down.  They have standards.  They must have 30 families test each recipe so they can perfect them.  Junior League Cookbooks are like war bonds or Superman or Sunday School teachers:  they can be counted on.  If aliens attack, I want to be protected by Junior League ladies.

So here’s the recipe.  As Dad noted, “Of course it’s good, the page is covered in drips and drops!”  Isn’t that right – all my favorite recipes are covered with the evidence of how many times they’ve been used.

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Dear Reader, after the recommendation from Dad, I made this marinade mostly as written (sans lemon, as we were sadly lacking).  I marinated our pork tenderloin for about 90 minutes in this potent potion, and  WOW!  I need to repeat that:  WOW!  The pork was savory, tender, succulent, umami-laden and just plain good.  I boiled the marinade after the tenderloin was committed to the grill and it was a great glaze for the finished product, which, in addition to the pork, included grilled fennel, onions and bell peppers.

To use business phrases, the “key takeaways” are:

  • Listen to Dad
  • Trust Junior League Recipes
  • If a cookbook page is crusty or stained, the recipe is a classic

This is my Dad.  There are no words to express the goodness he has brought to my life.  Including the pork marinade, of course.

Dad at the Stove

Zippy Southwest Spice Mix

Zippy is quick and easy to make.
Zippy is quick and easy to make. 

A few years ago, I realized that I was using a lot of the same herbs and spices when I created recipes or spiced up old standbys and decided to create a spice mix.  Zippy Southwest was born after a couple of tries and is a staple in my kitchen now. It makes a great seasoning for grilling meat, fish or vegetables. It can transform scrambled eggs, refried beans, steamed vegetables, French fries or anything that could benefit from a little more zip.

Ingredients

1 tbsp. + 2 tsp. oregano leaves
2 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. paprika
1 tbsp. onion powder
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. cumin
2 tsp. white pepper
2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. finely ground black pepper

Cooking Instructions
Mix all ingredients and store in an airtight container.

To transform the spice mix into a blackening rub for meat or fish, add sugar: 2 tsp. of sugar per 1/3 cup of Zippy SW.  The spice rub version will create a nice blackened crust on the grill.


This spice mix makes a great holiday gift; make it in bulk by changing the amounts: 1 tsp. to 1/3 cup and 1 tbsp. to 1 cup.

Copyright 2015 Glover Gardens Cookbook