We’ve all heard of aioli’s. They are all over current restaurant menus – but do you really know what it is? An aioli is a wonderful creation from France, originating in Provence where it was used in a variety of ways including as a sauce for seafood. A classic French aioli, in its basic form, is simply garlic, sea salt, pepper, egg yolk, lemon juice and olive oil. First the garlic is crushed with a mortar and pestle and then emulsified with the egg yolk. After that salt, pepper and lemon juice are added and lastly olive oil is whisked in until you wind up with this delicious, creamy goodness that you will want to dip, smear and slather into and onto anything you can find.
As you may or may not have known or noticed, the base ingredients are quite similar to good old mayonnaise. Now traditional mayonnaise doesn’t pack the flavor that an aioli can, and by making your own you can control the flavor as well as the consistency; thicker for a spread and thinner for a dip or sauce. Here is a quick and easy way to wow your friends and family in just a few minutes…
I found this great pic of my mom, niece and daughter while looking through old photos last evening. We had such a fun time all cooking together and this night really stands out. The inspiration for the cake was a bag of chocolate rocks that I found which later served as the fishbowl gravel. Just reminded me of all the fun times we had cooking and baking together as a family. Nothing is better than cooking with the people you love… Happy Throwback Thursday! <3
Using canned beans is not only quick and easy, it is pretty much commonplace in American households. I always see dried beans in the supermarket and at specialty food stores and I, probably like many of you, passed them up for a quicker, more convenient option…canned beans. So I decided to find out for myself which of these two alternatives was: 1. better tasting, 2. better for you and 3. the most economical. I love beans, they make whatever you are eating a lot heartier and healthier, they are after all packed with fiber and iron. But let’s face it, no one is going to take the time to cook beans from scratch unless they taste better and are better for you. So lets find out…
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Blueberries are at the peak of season in the summer, and while July is the official “Blueberry Month”, you can find delicious, plump, sweet blueberries from across the United States from May through August. Over the past few weeks, the blueberries in my area were not only very affordable but were packed with flavor. I picked up three pints and headed home to figure out what to make…
There was a short little article about making homemade nut butters in my local newspaper about a week or so ago. When I saw how ridiculously easy it is to make I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t done this before. I was now on a mission to make my own peanut butter so I ran up to the grocery store to grab a few ingredients. The peanuts happened to be on sale BOGO (buy one get one free) and I also had two coupons – score! I was excited just about making some yummy peanut butter, but now this was going to be a lot less expensive than buying a store brand – double score! When I returned home with the ingredients, I got out my food processor and literally in minutes I had delicious and creamy, homemade peanut butter – no banana was safe at this point. The texture was not the same as store bought PB, but I actually liked this better. It just tastes so fresh and natural, not “commercial and processed”. I put the remaining peanut butter in an airtight, hinged jar, wrote the date on the bottom and popped it in the fridge. And I am happy to report, nearly three weeks later, the peanut butter is not separated or hard-as-a-rock like many store-bought natural brands I have tried. This would be a great thing to do with kids and when placed in a decorative jar, it also makes a nice little gift for someone. I brought a jar over to my mom and she loves it. Here is all you need to do to have your own fresh peanut butter in minutes…
Everyone needs a quick and delicious go-to side dish for busy weeknights, to bring to a pot-luck or for a light lunch, so you can throw together a healthy dish in a pinch. This is one of my all time favorites and I make it at least once a month. Couscous is such a wonderful blank canvas – you can make the flavor profile anything you wish. This dish comes together in minutes and is light, yet flavorful. Enjoy it as a side dish to sautéed chicken, a grilled steak or your favorite baked fish or try it for lunch: stuff the center of a large tomato and serve it with some baked pita chips and fruit.
- 1 ½ C cooked Israeli couscous; cooled
- ½ C tomatoes, chopped or sliced
- ½ C cucumber, quartered and sliced
- ¼ C black olives, chopped
- 2 Tbs red onion, diced
- 2 Tbs crumbled Feta cheese, plain or flavored
- 2 Tbs of a lite Greek vinaigrette or dressing
- Add the tomatoes, cucumber, olives and onion to the cooled couscous; stir to combine.
- Mix in the Greek dressing.
- Let sit for about 10-15 minutes to allow the dressing to soak in.
- Plate and then crumble feta cheese over the top to serve.
- If you are making enough so you have leftovers, divide the mixture and do not put the Greek dressing on the portion to be refrigerated, do that when ready to serve.
This recipe just came to me the other night while I was preparing dinner. I’ll admit that we eat a LOT of chicken, brown rice and veggies for dinner at my home, and with good reason: it’s healthy, quick, easy and a great value if you buy the chicken on sale and stock up your freezer. The challenge here is to keep a good basic healthy meal from becoming boring. The easiest way to accomplish this is by mixing it up with a variety of different flavors. When you take advantage of the bounty of fresh seasonal vegetables and fruits in your local markets and grocery stores, you can quickly and economically transform a “blah” dish into a delicious dish. Seasonal fruits and veggies are also typically much lower in price, and best of all they taste the freshest.
Right now scrumptious, juicy cherries are in season. Cherries are generally in season late spring into summer, and recently I have been seeing them week after week in the grocery store and it started me thinking about different ways to start incorporating them in some dishes. Here is one that is so simple, yet so delicious. I hope you enjoy it…
I have to say, I was hesitant to mess with my banana nut bread recipe. When I brought it up to my daughter, who has grown up eating this on a regular basis she flat out said “No mommy… don’t do it.” Well I did it and she really liked it…
This is pretty much the same as my orignal Banana Nut Bread recipe aside from a few adjustments and of course the addition of yummy blueberries.