Pumpkin Soup with Crème Fraîche and Fried Sage

Disclosure: This recipe is part of FIJI Water’s “Perfection Takes Time” campaign. I am being compensated for my recipe development and photography; all opinions are 100% mine. I grow Cheese Pumpkins in my garden every year and one of my favorite ways to use them is in this gorgeous-hued Pumpkin Soup. I thought it would … Read more

Grilled Endive, Steak, and Tomato Salad with Homemade Ranch Dressing

*Disclosure: This post is part of my ongoing relationship with the folks from California Endive Farms. I’ve received complementary boxes of endive over the past few months and I am being compensated to develop recipes to share with you; all opinions expressed here are 100% mine.

I discovered grilled endive last year when I came up with this grilled endive caprese salad; I make it all the time now. Pretty much every time I fire up the grill, I throw some nutritious endive on there: the heat softens it up and does away with any bitterness.

Grilled endive is great on it’s own as a side dish; it’s also a nice addition when chopped and thrown into salads.

salad 2_

You can also slice it lengthwise…

grilled endive

…and put it on a sandwich.

sandwich 1_

This grilled endive salad recipe and the related open-faced sandwich (above) is something I’m a little obsessed with lately. I’ve devoured one or the other a couple of times this week after I’ve been to the gym in the morning (where I do crossfit or lift weights for an hour or so). With the veggies, the protein from the steak, the carbs from the sourdough bread, and the high quality fat in the homemade dressing, it’s the perfect lunch as far as I am concerned.

(The open-faced sandwich is basically the same as the salad in terms of its components. I love salads, and find them super easy and satisfying to eat, but sometimes I like something I can really sink my teeth into, you know? The only difference between the salad and the sandwich is that I left the steak slices larger, I cut the endive differently, and I used a bigger tomato from my garden instead of a bunch of little ones. If you make everything for the salad, but you aren’t really in the mood for a salad, you will have more than enough to make 2 open-faced sandwiches.)

About the dressing: I am not sure it’s really a ranch dressing (maybe it’s more of a “green goddess”?), but I am sure it’s awesome. Seriously awesome. I usually stick to olive oil-based dressings, but I thought a creamy, herby dressing would be perfect for this salad. I was right!

dressing 1_

The dressing whips up in a jiffy in the blender. I used a combo of my diy crème fraîche and buttermilk as the base and I just love it. Greek yogurt (or an all-natural sour cream) would work too, I think. Feel free to play with the amount of herbs and the garlic. Have fun with it, and use the leftovers for dipping all sorts of veggies and anything else you can think of. Heaven.

I really like the chunks of slightly grilled bread in this salad, but you can leave them out and have your bread on the side, if you like. Or omit it from the meal entirely if you don’t “do” bread. If you don’t eat bread, I’d add another form of carbs to this meal: maybe some quinoa or rice or another grain, or some fruit. Too many carbs in the diet can be problematic but I am not really of the opinion that’s it’s healthy to eat very low carb.

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Caramelized Red Onion Dip

caramelized onion dip

I know what you’re thinking: where was this dip a couple of days ago, when I was planning my Superbowl party? Believe me when I say I really wanted to share this with you before now; but I couldn’t, because this month’s Secret Recipe Club reveal was not until today. Don’t wait until next year’s … Read more

DIY Crème Fraîche

True crème fraîche is a type of cultured cream; it was originally made in France by allowing raw (unpasteurized/unhomogenized) cream to ferment and thicken with the help of naturally occurring bacteria. This isn’t something most people can successfully do at home, but a great crème fraîche stand-in (I am calling it diy crème fraîche) can … Read more