RECIPE: Southwest Dressing from a certain (unnamed) Brewhouse

Let it be known:
1) I searched high and low for this recipe online.
2) I couldn’t find it online.
3) I frequented this Brewhouse’s establishment a number of times and will continue to do so happily.
4) I fully understand that I probably should not have this recipe.
5) I am not being paid by anyone to share this secret.

And yet I will refrain from releasing the name of the locale. But they brew beer (and root beer) and make deep dish pizzas and some really good cookies for dessert… and they just opened a joint here in town. They serve this sauce with a few of their dishes (southwest spring rolls and fish tacos, for instance) … and I just knew I had to figure out how to make this so I could enjoy it at home.

I ate at their location several times… going back over and over again just to taste the dressing (oh yeah, and to enjoy it on their fish tacos).

And then I just had to ask. And I finally found someone to share the ingredients of their recipe. (Thank you, my unnamed friend at this unnamed Brewhouse.)

But leading up to that moment I made my own versions of this sauce at home… at least 5 times. And each time I made it I got farther and farther away from the actual ingredients.

Here’s how simple it is…

4 easy ingredients: prepared “ranch dressing”, chili powder, ground cumin and cayenne pepper.

I used about 2/3 cup ranch dressing, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder and a pinch of cayenne pepper. (But you can add more cayenne if you like things spicy.)

Give it a whisk and serve with just about anything… it can be used on fish tacos, chicken quesadillas, taco salads, a southwest burger… use your imagination.

You can thank me later…

Dear Legal Dept at unnamed Brewhouse… I apologize in advance if this should have remained some sort of secret. I couldnt’ help myself. Your product is so good… I just had to share it.

Can you blame me?!

enjoy your time in the kitchen…


RECIPE: Saffron Risotto and sauteed Mahi Mahi with anchovy dressing

Well, I wasn’t sure I could get my hubby to eat this dish. I was going out on the ledge with so many vegetables! And I simply didn’t think he would be OK with the anchovy dressing.

But eat it he did! AND he enjoyed it…

Confession time: I may or may not have told him what the sauce was called before he ate it. OK, I did tell him… and he wasn’t as weirded out by it as I thought he’d be. Then I broke it to him that there are anchovies in a classic caesar salad dressing.

Starting with the risotto… thank you Mario Batali for giving me a recipe to start with. I’ll be tweaking it a little in the future. Hope you don’t mind…

I’ve been waiting to make this risotto ever since I bought saffron. And I’d been waiting to buy saffron ever since I ate at CinCin! in Poway, California. It was there that we enjoyed an appetizer that was my inspiration.

So come with me on a journey… and every journey begins with the first step.

Here is the first step… sweating the onions.

Then I added the saffron to the hot chicken stock so it would infuse the flavor nicely.

Next add the arborio rice to the onion and oil, stirring well to make sure all of the grains are coated with oil. Let the rice toast up for several minutes…

… add a little wine, a good dry white wine. The wine will evaporate pretty quickly but leave behind a really great flavor.

Then the process of ladling starts. And get ready for some stirring…

Look at that color! I can’t wait to eat this!

Keep ladling… one ladle at a time…

Yes, just keep stirring…

To break up the monotony a little I’ll take a break and get the veggies started. Tonight I’m grilling these in my panini pan. But first I tossed them in a little bit of olive oil and kosher salt.

AAAANNNNND… we’re back to ladling and stirring…

And more ladling and stirring… I know that my persistence will eventually pay off! I just know it…

In the meantime, it was time to start the mahi mahi. I sauteed it in just a little bit of oil and butter, seasoned with some kosher salt.

After checking the risotto, giving it a taste and checking for doneness, I put the final touches on the risotto (nothing like a lil’ butter and parmesan to top it all off!).

Still stirring… but almost done.

…and then it was ready!

And this is where the anchovy dressing comes into the picture. It will get ladled over the fish once it’s all plated up.

Can I have another piece of mahi mahi now?! That dressing is so darn GOOD!!!

Saffron Risotto aka Risotto Milanese
Recipe courtesy Mario Batali

1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 medium onion, cut into ¼” dice
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
2 cups chicken stock, hot
1 cups arborio rice
1/4 cup white wine
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for sprinkling

In a 12-14″ skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened and translucent but not browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile add the saffron to the stock, stirring to infuse. Once the onions are translucent add the rice and stir with a wooden spoon until toasted and opaque, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the wine to the toasting rice, and then add a 4-6 ounce ladle of the saffron-infused stock and cook, stirring, until it is absorbed. Continue adding the stock a ladle at a time, waiting until the liquid is absorbed before adding more. Cook until the rice is tender and creamy and yet still a little al dente, about 15 minutes. Stir in the butter and cheese until well mixed. Serve as desired… makes two “healthy” portions.

enjoy your time in the kitchen…

A dress(ing) for all occasions!

Please allow me to introduce you to a dress(ing) for all occasions! This is an anchovy dressing. And you will thank me for showing it to you… just trust me on this one!

I know, I know… I was scared of anchovies too. But after giving it a chance… well I’m no longer scared. I embrace anchovies!

Here’s where I started… lots of ingredients. canola oil, garlic-infused olive oil, THICK “W” sauce, chili garlic sauce, salt/pepper, anchovy fillets, spicy mustard, a lemon, a clove of garlic and an egg.

But first let’s take a look at these anchovies. They are packed in olive oil. It looks like there are about 10-12 in this jar. And yes, they smell like fish at first. The first few are a little tricky to get out of the jar… but once you get the first one out it gets easier.

Next I started assembling the dressing… food processor: check!

Add the anchovies, salt, pepper and clove of garlic.

And don’t worry too much about getting small bits at this point, the more we blend the more everything will break down. But you can scrape down the walls of the food processor if you want…

OK, OK… I did too.

Add your egg and keep blending…

Next is the lemon juice (about half a lemon) and the spicy mustard…

What’s next? Yep! Keep blending!

Place the top on and slowly stream in both oils while the blender is on full speed. This will create the beautiful emulsion you’re looking for in a good dressing…

No need to turn the blender off. Go ahead and add the “W” sauce (‘cuz I can never spell it correctly – no matter how hard I try) and the chili garlic sauce.

Give it a taste… if you want it thinner, add some water. Otherwise put it in a container with a lid and save it in the fridge until it’s time to use it over meat at dinner time.

This will be good on anything grilled: fish, chicken or beef. OR –> you can dip shrimp in it! Mmmmm!!! Or, as Emeril suggests you can pour it over poached salmon.

Tonight we will have it over grilled halibut… it will go alongside some saffron risotto and grilled asparagus! Mmmm…. oh wait, I said that already!

Anchovy Dressing
Inspired by Emeril Lagasse, with a few tweaks by Lori Jean

4 anchovy fillets
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 large egg
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup olive oil, garlic-infused
1/2 teaspoon thick Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
Water, as needed

In a food processor, combine the anchovies, salt, pepper, and garlic. Blend well. Add egg and blend. Add lemon juice and mustard, and blend. With the machine running, through the feed tube, add the vegetable and olive oils in a steady/slow stream, and blend to form a thick emulsion. Add the Worcestershire and pepper sauce, and blend to combine. Thin as necessary with water to desired consistency. Cover tightly and refrigerate until ready to use. (The dressing will keep refrigerated for 1 day.)

enjoy your time in the kitchen…