Spring is the best time for "fresh new ideas" and learning favorite recipes.
So I was happy when St. James Manor and Villas, at 1251 E. Richton Rd., in Crete, asked my parents to join to host a free cooking show for readers as a great way to spend a Friday afternoon to welcome the weekend.
My "Spring From the Farm Cooking Show" is at 2 p.m. April 26 and promises plenty of fun, complimentary food and refreshments, excitement and lots of prizes for guests. And best of all, it's a free event.
But because of space, reservations are limited. Contact St. James Manor and Villas directly to R.S.V.P. at (708) 672-6700.
St. James Manor and Villas is a Trilogy Health Services community. Trilogy communities offer a full range of personalized living services, from independent and assisted living, to skilled nursing and rehabilitative services. I became familiar with St. James, which is located right off Highway 394, when I would join my parents to visit our friend Irene Hughes, the psychic known to so many, and her devoted husband Bill, after the couple retired to a private apartment at St. James in 2010.
During the afternoon program, we'll raise a glass for a tribute to Irene and Bill, who we recently lost, but their spirits live on.
As for the menu, I'll be whipping up three great recipes, starting with "Quick Fix Cheesy Rye Appetizers," followed by "Creamy Salmon Chowder" and a sweet finale of "Dieter's Delite No-Crust Cheesecake," the latter which promises a rich goodness, yet only 106 calories per slice. All three recipes are from by third cookbook, "Further From the Farm," published in 2010.
As for today's featured recipe, it comes from the creative young cooks of tomorrow in Mrs. Dawn Fricke's High School Food and Consumer Science class at Hanover Central High School in Cedar Lake. I've always wanted a "true" Caesar salad dressing recipe, but never hit upon a recipe exactly to my liking. After much time and testing, Mrs. Fricke's students have mastered a creamy and zesty work of art for drenching greens.
Caesar Salad Dressing
Romaine lettuce, prepared
1 small (2-ounce) can of anchovy fillets (approximately 4 fillets)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2-4 fresh garlic cloves (if they are small use 4) or to taste
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan (more for garnishing if so desired)
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
DIRECTIONS: Wash thoroughly and dry Romaine lettuce. Set on paper towel in a colander and place paper towel under and on top of lettuce or dry lettuce in a "salad spinner." Place anchovies into blender and add the following ingredients: Dijon mustard, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic cloves, and lemon and pulse. Blend on low speed, scrape down sides of blender and blend again until thoroughly combined and garlic is crushed. Now comes the most important step. Place oil in liquid measuring cup. With blender on low speed slowly add olive oil. The olive oil should be added in a slow drizzle. This process will cause the dressing to emulsify. Scrape down sides, add Parmesan, salt and pepper. Blend the mixture together until completely combined. Best if refrigerated for a few hours before serving over crisp bed of lettuce. Makes 6 servings.