Monday, October 15, 2012
Benihana Ginger Dressing
It's been a while.
Let's catch up.
*Disclaimer* This post is lengthy and chalk full of photos. Proceed with caution.
The weather finally cooled down enough to open the windows and discontinue the non stop AC. For a week. The cool spell was short lived and we are anticipating at least 10 days of 90 degree heat. That's October in Southern California for ya. So speaking of being able to open our windows...I have a Dear Abby question for you all.
We live in a townhouse and have shared walls with neighbors on both sides. Our living room opens up to a small patio area and allows a nice cross breeze of fresh, cool air. Except when our neighbor smokes on her patio. Her smoke immediately comes in all open windows on the back side of our townhouse, which also includes 2 upstairs bedroom windows. The breeze is not so fresh. She smokes a lot. I'm enjoying her secondhand smoke right this minute, at 7:57 pm on Sunday. We usually just shut our door and then get hot because the fresh cool cross breeze is no longer. Thus far, both Hubby and I have not had the courage to say anything to her. Like, hey, why don't you smoke in your own house instead of on your patio? Oh, you don't want your house to smell like smoke? Interesting. Maybe that's not the best approach. Is it even reasonable to say something? It's her place afterall. How would you handle it?
Sick of second hand smoke
Please feel free to put on your Dear Abby hats and leave any suggestions you might have in the comments.
Okay, sorry for the advice detour. Let's get back to catching up.
My two Aunt's on my Dad's side of the family came to visit from Connecticut for a few days in September. In honor of their visit I made a giant 3 layer apple cake with caramel buttercream frosting and caramel sauce on top (recipe from Baked Explorations).
It was delicious.
While my aunts were here, my step mom, aunts and I walked in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5K on September 23rd.
The walk was awesome, with 18,000 plus registered walkers participating. That's a lot of walkers! And I raised $1150 for the cause which is near and dear to me. So THANK YOU to my awesome family and friends for your support! You guys rock!
At the end of September Hubby and I spent a long weekend in central California to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary.
We were married in 2002 in Sedona Arizona, next to Oak Creek. I love this picture. It's like an enchanted forest.
Hard to believe 10 years has already passed.
We stayed at a little hotel in Cambria on Moonstone Beach. It was gorgeous.
We drove north up the coast and hiked in Big Sur. Also gorgeous.
If you have never driven on Highway 1 through the central coast, immediately add it to your bucket list.
We ate at our favorite restaurant in Cambria, Indigo Moon for our actual anniversary. We spent a day at a food and wine festival called Savor the Central Coast and ate and drank some fantastic foods and wines. So fun. This was our first food and wine festival, and it will certainly not be our last. We already talking about going back next year.
I started a diet on October 1st. I have my sights on losing 11 pounds to be exact. Because that's what I've gained over the last couple of years. As of week one, I'm down 1 pound. We'll see how I do tomorrow for my week 2 weigh in. My strategy is simple. Count calories. I log them on a free website called Fit Day. This worked well for me 3 1/2 years ago when I lost 30 pounds (I did excercise during this time as well). I'm thinking about exercising now too, but not fully committed to that just yet.
Speaking of excercise, remember when I told you all I started running? And knowing myself like I do, I couldn't say if it was going to be a regular routine. Well it didn't last long...not because I gave up...because I injured my feet. Like to the point where I was wondering if I would ever walk normally again. For real. Thankfully after 2 full weeks of hobbling, my feet returned to normal. Then I made a serious investment in new shoes...meaning no more excuses. I'll report back.
I sent my October box off to the military over seas last week.
Included in the box was ginger snaps, two types of shortbreads and I did my first fall baking with pumpkin bread. What I love about Baking GALS is I can bake, ship it off and not have to worry about too many temptations in the house. Which is key when you are counting calories.
I continued fall baking with an attempt at baked pumpkin oatmeal.
Unfortunately the result was a bit of a flop, lacking in pumpkin flavor, sweetness and a touch of salt. But I like the idea, so I'm going to do a little tweaking to the recipe since I still have some pumpkin to use up. If I can make it work, I'll post the recipe.
I found an online group dedicated to canning called Can It Up! The group is founded by Hima of All Four Burners. Hima loves canning and decided to ask others to join her with a monthly canning project centered around one ingredient. You choose your own recipe and can it anytime during the month. October's ingredient is apples. I made Caramel Apple Jam this weekend and can't wait to share it with you later in the week. It's pretty yummy.
Wow, this really is a long post. Congrats for sticking it out. The finish line is in sight.
Now, a little on ginger dressing.
Do you ever eat at Benihana? You know the teppan style restaurant where chefs cook the food in front of you and do antics like catching shrimp tails in their hat and making a steaming volcano out of onions? I've spent a lot of birthdays over the years at Benihana. They serve salad with fresh ginger dressing alongside all their meals. I LOVE that dressing. LOVE. I ask for an extra bowl of just dressing so I can thoroughly douse my salad in it. Really I do. It's a bit obscene.
So years ago, I called my local Benihana and asked if they have the recipe for their famous ginger dressing. I think I gave them a story about food allergies or something. My memory is fuzzy, it was a while ago. Anyway, they actually faxed me the recipe.
The recipe is very faded as it's on that old style fax paper where the print disappears over time. You can see at the top of the page it's from Benihana in Encino, CA. So it seems legit. But I still I find it hard to believe they would just hand out their recipe (already portioned down for a home cook's kitchen). Who knows? Well as much as I love the dressing, I have never gotten around to making it at home...until now.
It's not exactly like the restaurant's version. I used baby ginger root instead of mature ginger, so perhaps that had an impact.
I can't quite say what is off in the recipe, but I'll be playing around with this one. The most surprising ingredient? Tomato paste. That's what gives it that bright orange color. Would have never guessed that one.
Even though it's not an exact replica, it's tasty and it's diet friendly.
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup peanut oil
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger root (peeled and minced)
1 tablespoon chopped celery
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Dash of salt and pepper
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth.
Makes 6 ounces