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  • Watercress Composed Salad with Citrus Dressing ~ March Daring Cooks


    I haven’t been living in one place for a long enough period of to really concentrate on joining any cook-alongs. It’s been over 6 months with this back and forth stuff! I’m so excited t his month to not join one of The Daring Kitchen’s challenges, but TWO!

    For March’s Daring Cooks’ Challenge, Ruth, Shelley and Sawsan asked us to totally veg out! We made salads and dressings, letting the sky be the limit as we created new flavors and combinations that reflect our own unique tastes.

    I’ve always made my own dressing. Probably because my mother always made her own dressing and my grandmother always made her own dressing. I will occasionally buy a dressing in a bottle, if I want a quick marinade for something, but otherwise I just find them … hmmm, ICKY! Thick and gloppy and off-tasting.

    This challenge was right up my alley!

    Many, many moons ago, Erie and I went to a Spanish restaurant in Queens (the name escapes me at the moment and perhaps she will chime in and let us know). We had the most wonderful composed salad – and I was surprised as I’m not usually a fan of composed salads.

    Since then, this is my go to company is coming, steak themed dinner, salad. It’s simple with lots of great ingredients.

    • 1 bunch watercress
    • 2 hard boiled eggs
    • 2 plum tomatoes
    • 1 can hearts of palm
    • 1 shallot
    • juice from 1/2 an orange, lime and lemon
    • 3 t extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/2 t oregano
    • s&p

    NOTE: I used plum tomatoes, use whatever tomatoes make you happy.


    Wash watercress thoroughly and cut off stems. Place watercress on a platter

    Quarter hard boiled eggs into wedges.  Scatter over watercress.

    If using Roma tomatoes, cut into wedges. If using other tomatoes, cut into chunks. Scatter over watercress.

    Slice hearts of palm into 1/4″ rings. Again, scatter over watercress.

    Thinly slice shallot into rings. Scatter over salad.

    Dressing salad

    In a bowl, whisk together citrus juices, oregano and s&p to taste. While whisking, stream in olive oil. When ready to serve salad, drizzle dressing over the top.

    Uncle Nicky’s Irish Cream

    Irish Cream

    They say that music hath charms to soothe the savage breast … and yes, it’s breast, not beast. I received 20 bonus points on an American History final for knowing just that!

    But, I digress …

    ’round our house, my Irish cream recipe has charms to soothe the savage Dad, or any other grumpy person that comes our way when there’s a pitcher of this around. We traditionally have this Christmas morning, but every once in a while, the boy can cajole me into making it just ‘because’. This recipe came from my Uncle Nicky, I tweaked it a tiny bit, changing whiskey to Amraretto – a mellower flavor in my opinion. But make no mistake, whether whiskey or Amaretto, this goes down VERY quickly and will soothe any bah humbug person and go to your head rather quickly!

    • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (12oz)
    • 12oz. heavy cream
    • 2 T Honey
    • 2 egg yolks
    • 6-8oz of Amaretto
    • squirt or two of chocolate syrup

    NOTE: I pour the heavy cream into the condensed milk can to make life easier. I usually go with 6 oz. We do, after all, usually drink this Christmas MORNING! You can sub in Whiskey or Bourbon if you prefer. I’ve never measured the squirt. It all depends on how chocolatey you like things. Add a squirt, blend taste, add more if that’s to your taste.


    Throw everything in a blender, blend well. Chill and serve.

    NOTE: Best ice cold.

    I always use Amaretto instead of whiskey as it gives it a much more mellow flavour, but the same KICK!!!

    Torta Senza Riso

    I am so pleased to be participating in the Holiday Recipe Club (if you want to join click on the link and send in an email)! I love these blog hops. So much fun to see what everyone else is doing and cooking and baking. I particularly love that this one is no pressure. I don’t work well with deadlines. This one is simple ~ a few weeks before the holiday you’re sent a list of ingredients. You have to use 1, 2 or all 3 in your recipe. How much fun is that?

    Back to the cooking!

    Growing up, one of my favorite things to have at any holiday was my Great Grandmother’s Torta. Plain and simple – a flaky pie-like crust, spinach, rice, parmigiano, eggs, baked and fabulousness. Then my Mother throws a wrench into the works with a recipe by her friend Celeste for something very similar, that she has now tweaked, but without the rice and using ricotta.

    • 1 pie crust ~ deep dish
    • 1 – 6 oz. bag baby spinach, roughly chopped
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 16 oz ricotta
    • heaping 1/4 C parmigiano
    • 1/4 t fresh ground pepper

    NOTE: For you do-it-yourselfers out there, by all means make the pie crust. I used a Pillsbury pie crust.

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    Roughly chop the spinach and saute until cooked down. Let cool and squeeze dry. If you don’t squeeze it dry, the whole thing will be too soggy and watery.

    Mix spinach, eggs, ricotta, parmigiano and pepper in a bowl.

    Pour into pie crust, smooth out top and bake for about 45 until lightly brown on top.

    This makes a wonderful lunch, light supper with a salad, or side dish.