Backyard Awesome Sauce

Backyard Awesome Sauce

You have all those herbs growing in your backyard, so now what are you going to do with them? Why make an awesome sauce, of course. In fact, let’s go ahead and just call this one Backyard Awesome Sauce.

I’ll tell you how I made mine, but please just take it as an inspiration. I got my idea from the divine Nigella and her salmoriglio sauce from Kitchen. Basically, all you need is garlic, lemon juice, fresh herbs, and extra virgin olive oil. Have fun with the herb combo, but most importantly, use what’s fresh and hopefully growing at your house. I used Italian parsley, oregano, and basil.

Fresh Herb Sauce

And once you’ve made it, the possibilities are endless. You can throw it on a sandwich, drizzle it over grilled meat, toss it with some pasta and Parmesan cheese, or just dip some nice crusty bread in it. I mean, you can basically stick this stuff anywhere.

The flavor is fresh and vibrant. It just tastes like green. I like to pretend I’m fancy and French and involve some baguette action, along with some charcuterie (a fancy word for salami) and some difficult to pronounce cheese  Throw in a glass of white wine and some Carla Bruni, and I might as well dust off the black beret I used to wear in high school. No joke. That really happened.

You can throw this together in about ten minutes then mix and match it for days of tastiness. How awesome is that?

Backyard Awesome Sauce with Fresh Herbs

Backyard Awesome Sauce
Yields 1
A quick and fresh sauce made with herbs from your own backyard
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Prep Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  2. 1 tsp coarse salt
  3. 30 grams fresh herbs (I used ten each of oregano, basil, and Italian parsley)
  4. 4 Tbsp lemon juice (don’t skimp, it really brightens the flavor)
  5. 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Instructions
  1. Put the garlic, salt, herbs, and lemon juice into your food processor and switch it on for about 20 seconds, or until everything is nice and pasty. You may need to scrape down the sides and give it a few more pulses.
  2. With the processor running, drizzle in your extra virgin olive oil. Process until it emulsifies, aka, turns into sauce.
  3. Drizzle over just about anything savoury that you’d like to make herby and delightful.
Adapted from Kitchen by Nigella Lawson
http://awesomeon20.com/
 

Sausage Rolls

sausage rolls

St. George’s Day is coming up, so today I’m celebrating all things awesomely English. My absolute favorite Anglo export is the dude sitting on my futon. We’ve been married for two years, and I’m still charmed by his accent every day. My second favorite English fellow has to be Mr. Harry James Potter.

On our visit to England we had some time to kill in London, so I pretty much insisted on seeing King’s Cross station and getting a cheesy photo at platform 9-3/4. If you visit the station, there aren’t any signs to help you find it, and it’s sort of impossible to see. The guy at the info counter will get annoyed when you ask where it is. You’d think they’d be over it by now.

platform 9 3/4

After completing this necessary duty, I fell in love with another English wonderment known as the sausage roll. Why oh why are these not sold on every street corner in America? It’s completely perplexing. It’s one of the most ingeniously delicious things I’ve ever eaten. And to have it at King’s Cross, where Jo Rowling’s parents met, was extra special. It was all thoroughly English.

sausage rolls on tray

It’s just yummy sausage wrapped in puff pastry and baked to a golden brown. So simple, yet so mind-blowingly delicious. I wish I could eat one every day. In England, they’re sold on nearly every street corner, but now that we’re back in America, we have to make them ourselves. Luckily, it’s quite simple. Moreover, you can eat them hot or cold, so they’re great for picnics or snacks, if you can get them to last that long.

If you’ve never had the pleasure of burning your mouth on a piping hot sausage roll, you simply must make some right this minute. Put down your sword, stop slaying dragons, get out of your castle, and get in the kitchen and make these. Then try and share with your friends. It’s the English way.

sausage rolls inside

Sausage Rolls
Yields 12
A homemade version of the perfect British street food
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 sheets frozen puff pastry
  2. 1 pound of your favorite sausage meat, uncooked (I like Jimmy Dean hot)
  3. 1 egg
Instructions
  1. Let your puff pastry thaw on the counter. 30 minutes should be plenty.
  2. Preheat your oven to 400.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, unfold the sheets. With a pizza cutter or a sharp knife cut each one down the middle, then cut into thirds in the other direction to make six squares per sheet.
  4. Divide your sausage meat evenly between each square. Smoosh it into a line down the center of each square. It’s okay to go right to the edge.
  5. Crack your egg into a bowl and beat it with a fork until well combined. You can add a bit of water to thin it out, if you like.
  6. For each square, carefully fold the sides of the puff pastry over the sausage so they overlap. Press the dough together to seal it, then using the fork dipped in your egg mixture, press the tines into the seam. The egg will help act as a glue.
  7. Place the roll seam-side down on a parchment lined baking sheet. Depending on the size, you may need to use two baking sheets or work in two batches.
  8. With a sharp knife cut 2-3 slits into the top of each roll.
  9. Brush each roll with a thin layer of your egg wash. This makes them all shiny and lovely.
  10. Bake for 20 minutes or golden brown. Allow them to cool for as long as you can stand it. At least 10 minutes.
  11. Try not to burn your fingers when you finally sink your teeth into one of these bad boys. It’s not easy. Patience is overrated.
http://awesomeon20.com/
 

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A Reason to Celebrate and Swiss and Bacon Dip

I have a confession to make. I haven’t been playing my own game the last couple of months. With my husband being out of work, it’s been a little like Greece around here lately, and not because of an over abundance of pita and hummus. We’ve had to put in place some serious austerity measures. It’s been dour. Decidedly unawesome. I’ve been trying to spend as little money as possible, so $20 a day was definitely out of the question.

Sad times
Sad times

But after more than ten weeks of only a trickle of income from web design projects, my husband was finally offered a job today. I know he is thrilled to have somewhere to go and something to do again. And I’m breathing easier myself knowing that we don’t have to live off of my very meager income.

Awesome times!
Awesome times!

I get to spoil myself again. No, this doesn’t involve Coach bags or trips to the spa. This is real life, kids. Tomorrow I’m going to the ATM and taking out my $140 for the week. Then I’m going to the grocery store and buying myself some chicken breasts so I can actually make some of the recipes on my list. This is what the lower tax brackets get excited about. Chicken. It’s true. And a six pack of ciders. That will probably be in my basket, too.

Swiss and Bacon Dip
Swiss and Bacon Dip served at our wedding. Photo by Lindsey Vandolah

When you get news this good, you have to celebrate. I almost never have a party for which I don’t make Swiss and Bacon Dip. It’s got to be one of the best things I’ve ever put in my mouth. Warm gooey cheese with bacon on sour dough bread. Just look at that sentence.

Every time I make this, it completely disappears. There isn’t a crumb left behind. It’s mind-blowing. So think of an excuse for a party and make this. Just got a haircut? Party. Stubbed your toe? Party. I don’t care, just celebrate. And raise a glass to my husband ’cause he’s totally awesome.

Swiss and Bacon Dip in a Sourdough Bread Bowl

Swiss and Bacon Dip
Serves 6
The most delicious hot dip there is. Gooey Swiss cheese and crisp bacon will blow you away.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
15 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 8 slices bacon, chopped (I use scissors)
  2. 8 ounces softened cream cheese
  3. 1/2 cup mayo
  4. 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  5. 10 grinds of pepper
  6. 1-1/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
  7. 3 scallions, chopped (use the scissors again)
  8. 1 round loaf of sour dough bread
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Cook your bacon to desired crispiness, which for me is nearly burnt. Drain the bacon on a paper towel.
  3. Add cream cheese, mayo, mustard, and pepper to a mixing bowl and mix until combined and smooth.
  4. Add cheese and scallions and mix to combine. Then throw in the bacon and mix that in, too.
  5. Scoop out the mix into a shallow baking dish. Bake it uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes until gooey.
  6. In the meantime, cut the top out of your bread loaf and pull out the guts of your bread to make a bread bowl. Tear the bread and arrange it on your platter around the loaf.
  7. When the dip is hot, carefully scrape it in to the bread bowl. Steal a piece of bread to clean off the baking dish for taste testing purposes. Don’t skip this step.
  8. You could serve this with carrots or other veggies if you like. I’m not gonna eat that. Really, the bread is all you need.
Adapted from Rachael Ray
Adapted from Rachael Ray
http://awesomeon20.com/
 

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