Quinoa Salad

I feel like quinoa popped up overnight.  One minute I’ve never heard of it, the next it’s all over the internet.  I have grown very fond of quinoa and it is now a regular part of my diet.  It is known as an ancient grain and isn’t considered one of the “bad grains” I’ve written about earlier.  Quinoa has twice the fiber and protein of brown rice or any other grain.  It also has a nearly perfect blend of amino acids which helps keep stabilized blood sugar, etcetera, etcetera. I’m probably boring and not as qualified as the rest of the internet, so do your own googling!

This is one summer salad that is so easy to make and it’s light, healthy, and delicious!  The ingredients are easily interchangeable so the flavor profiles are endless.  It also packs well so it’s great on a picnic or the next day at work or school.

I used a tri-color quinoa of red, black, and white, but using simple white quinoa is just as tasty.  I love that quinoa is easily made on the stovetop or a rice cooker, with water or vegetable stock.  It is a great rice substitute and it goes well with so much.  I have given approximate portions of what I used, but this is the type of recipe that doesn’t need exactness, you just put a little bit of what you like and a lot of what you love.

Quinoa Salad

serves 2-3

2C cooked quinoa

1.5C cooked black beans

1 mango

1/2 bell pepper

2 scallions

zest from 1 lemon

3T lemon juice

5-6T olive oil

salt & pepper to taste

First, cook the quinoa if you haven’t already.  This would be a good time to make the dressing.  Simply combine the oil, lemon juice and zest, with the salt and pepper in a small food processor to combine.  Then, chop all the fruits and veggies of your choice.

Once the quinoa has cooled to room temperature, combine it with the black beans in a large serving bowl.

Toss the veggies and fruits in.

Look at the lemony yellow dressing.  It’s BEAUTIFUL!

Pour it over the salad and toss thoroughly to combine.

Rest for at least an hour to let the dressing soak into the quinoa and serve chilled or at room temperature.

 

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Healthy Fruit Crisps

I feel like I have had an obsession with cherries and peaches lately.  And who can blame me?  It’s summer!  So I have allowed myself to entertain it and I started researching.  I knew I wanted to do a crisp, but I’ve been reading a lot lately about how grains are actually unhealthy!  Though I am not trying to be cynical, and may not be ready for a completely grain-free life, I am open to exploring new options and trying a few recipes to check it out.  I started with these crisps…and they were completely delicious!

I could not decide between the combination of cherries and blueberries or peaches, so I made both!  Even my husband loved them – hot and cold!

If you want to scar your idea of “healthy” whole grains, there are a lot of websites to read from, however, I like the way Katie writes about it here.  I “see the light” since I know a few people with celiac’s disease, so I try to cook gluten-free when I can, and this is further inspiration. Since I had to be creative and go grain-free, I got a lot of ideas from Kelly at Foodie Fiasco.  Here’s what I used.

Fruit Crisps

makes 4 servings – 2 peach and 2 blueberry-cherry

1 large peach

1 handful of cherries

1 handful blueberries

1/3C almond meal

1/4C shredded coconut

2T unsweetened applesauce

1t vanilla extract

1t coconut oil, divided

1t sugar, divided, optional

1/2t salt

Allow me to introduce you to rainier cherries.  If you have never had these, they’re worth the extra buck for a recipe such as these.  Compared to their darker cherry cousins, rainiers are lighter and sweeter and can only be described as golden.  They are definitely worth adding into your fruit basket!  Look at them!  They’re a blend of a lovely light yellow and pink.

Preheat the oven to 400.  After washing and drying your produce, cut the peach in bite size pieces and pit the cherries and slice them in half.  The rainiers are slightly larger than a normal cherry, so they were a bit difficult to maneuver into the cherry pitter, but it didn’t really bother me that the skins were a little scuffed up since they were cooked together with the blueberries and the scuffs weren’t noticed.

The original recipe called for shredded coconut.   Due to weird sensory issues from childhood, I don’t really love the texture of shredded coconut.  I decided to try to be an adult and try it, but I still chopped it up further so it was tiny pieces.

Meanwhile, I combined the almond meal, coconut, vanilla, salt, and applesauce which will serve as the healthy, gluten-free, sugar-free crisp topping.  Putting half the sugar and half the coconut oil in a pan on medium heat, let it melt.

Then I cooked the fruit in separate batches for 3-5 minutes each.

The blueberries will give off a blueish, purple juice, but don’t worry – since it’s not being cooked too long, the color doesn’t effect the light cherries too much.  Melting the other half of the coconut oil and sugar, I repeated this step with the peaches.

Separate the fruit into oven-safe ramekins.

Then top with the crisp topping.  Because this isn’t a traditional crisp with butter and flour, it will not be very crumbly.  I carefully and evenly placed the crisp topping onto each ramekin with my fingers and a fork.

Then baked for 20 minutes.  You’ll know they are ready when the fruit is bubbly and the crisp is lightly browned.  Cool for a few moments on a towel or cooling rack and serve.  For a non-vegan version, fresh whipped cream or even ice cream would pair well with these lovely crisps.  However, on their own they are a delicious, healthy treat and they showcase the delicious flavors of the fruit.  Despite the non-traditional ingredients in the crisp, I was pleasantly surprised with how crispy the topping turned out.  (And for all the coconut haters out there, you could probably up the almond meal if you wanted to ditch the shredded coconut.)  Here’s the peach crisp.

And the blueberry-cherry crisp.

I can’t decide which is my favorite!  They are both so good!

Oh, I’m sorry.  Did you want some?  Oops!

Orzo & Wild Rice Salad

What an eventful week!  The 4th always brings lots of fun, memories, and food!  After the burgers & desserts that accompanied the fireworks I had to make something light, chilled, and refreshing for this HOT summer we’re having in Florida.  This little chilled salad is perfect!

I was inspired, once again, by J. Alexander’s and their orzo & wild rice salad.  That side is one of my husband’s favorites, so I decided to make my own version.  Cherries are in season and so delicious, so I wanted to make those the star of this dish.  This is the type of dish where measurements don’t really matter, as long as you’re happy with the look of the salad and ratio of ingredients.  But for all those OCD folks, I listed the measurements I used.

Chilled Orzo & Wild Rice Salad

Serves 10

2C orzo pasta

1C wild rice

1/2C red winter wheat berries

2 handfuls of fresh cherries

1 ear of corn

½ red bell pepper, diced

½ green bell pepper, diced

1 handful of raw almonds

5-10 basil leaves

1/3C olive oil

2T balsamic vinegar

1-2T lemon juice

1/2t pepper

1/4t salt

1T cherry juice, optional

Cook the orzo, wild rice, and wheat berries according to the package directions on the stovetop.  Meanwhile, roast your corn in the oven at 350 for 20-30 minutes.  Leave the husk on (it holds in juicy moisture) but rinse it off before placing in oven.  Also, this is a good time to stem, pit, and slice the cherries.  I used my handy dandy cherry pitter from Williams-Sonoma.  It shoots through the cherry taking only the pit and occasionally a small circle from the bottom of the cherry.  Otherwise the cherry is perfectly in tact.  I shot the pits directly into a deep garbage can…and still managed to get cherry juice on the side of my white fridge.  Clorox wipes to the rescue!

Since cherries are notorious for staining, and I didn’t want my pasta pink, I sliced them each in half and let them sit on paper towels for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, I roughly chopped the almonds.  If you want to save some time, or really want everything to be symmetrical, you could pre-buy slivered almonds.  But, I like the rough and tumble, all natural, hand-made, rustic feeling of this dish, so I roughly chopped away.

Then, I julienned the basil.

And made the dressing.  I first combined the salt, pepper, half the basil, & vinegar

with the lemon juice.  This would be the time to add a Tablespoon or two of cherry juice if you’d like, but if not, add extra lemon juice.

Blend together well.

Once blended together, slowly, and I mean slowly incorporate the oil a little bit at a time, and set aside.  At this point, the corn should be about ready and whenever the orzo, wild rice, and wheat berries are ready, they should be cooling at first on the stove top, then in the fridge.  Don’t forget to rinse the starch from the orzo.  Though it looks like rice, you’re still dealing with pasta!  Cut the corn off the cob and assemble your ingredients together.  You’re almost ready!

I first started with the orzo, wild rice, and wheat berries to make sure I had a good ratio of each and that it looked pleasing.  (I didn’t end up using all my wild rice.)

Then added the veggies (I used them all!)

then lastly the nuts, fruit, remaining basil, and dressing.  Stir well and chill for at least an hour to let the flavors develop.  Enjoy!

Black Bean Hummus

Hummus is a staple in our household.  (If you didn’t already figure that out from my Garlic Hummus recipe.)  We eat it with pita chips & vegetables, and also use it as a spread on sandwiches or tortilla wraps.  Hummus is so versatile you can make it fit with whatever flavor food you’re preparing.  I make black bean hummus a lot because I always have black beans in the pantry and we eat Spanish food so much, that this is perfect!  I love this recipe because it can be made in less than 10 minutes.  Plus, with all the Puerto Ricans we know who are a little shy of chick peas, this is a great gateway hummus.

I call this my Latin Hummus!  For the first six months of marriage, my husband didn’t know what to cook in the kitchen because I didn’t have Adobo – a Latin staple.  I learned to change it, and learned why all the Puerto Rican and Dominican cooks that I know love it!  So for all you Latin food lovers and hummus lovers alike, here you have it:

Black Bean Hummus

makes about 1 cup

1 C cooked black beans (if using canned, drain and rinse well)

1/8 C tahini

3T water

1T lemon juice, or about half a lemon

2 cloves garlic

1/4t salt

1/4t Adobo

1 small handful of either parsley or cilantro

Put all ingredients in a food processor.  I started with the beans, parsley, and garlic.

Then added the lemon juice, water, seasonings, and tahini.

Process until smooth and at a consistency you like.  To get it more thin you can add more water, lemon juice, or a small amount of olive oil.

Viola! Delicious, healthy snack.  I like to refrigerate mine before serving.  Enjoy!

Guacamole

Chips are a staple in our house.  The first time I crumbled them up and sprinkled them over my husband’s breakfast omelet, he nearly fainted in joy.  To accompany chips, you need something good.  Guacamole fits the bill.

I did not like avocados or guacamole for the longest time.  Perhaps I just had bad experiences with both.  The first time I tried guacamole and loved it was in Manhattan at Mama Mexico.  They made it fresh right in front of you, and you got to pick the ingredients that went in.  I had an aha moment: Guacamole is only great fresh!  The canned, tubbed, bagged stuff you can buy at the store does not hold a candle to homemade guac.  This converted me to be an avocado lover as well.  I’m grateful that food buds evolve as adults!

Homemade Guacamole

Makes 4 cups

4-5 ripe avocados

2-3 tomatoes

½ C scallions I’ve also used Spanish onion & red onion before

3-5 cloves of garlic

1 jalapeno

1 lime

Salt to taste

Because avocados brown quickly after air exposure, I saved those for the end and diced all my ingredients.  A note on the tomatoes: remove the seeds and liquid parts- they will water down and discolor the guacamole.  Thankfully, guacamole doesn’t require precise measurements, so if you like yours more spicy or garlicky or whatever, you can adjust as necessary.

Roll the lime under your palm before cutting it open to release the juices.

Then cut your avocados open.  Ripe avocados should be soft to the touch, but not mushy.  It’s ok if the skin is black, so long as there isn’t mold growing out of the peel.  I cut them in half first,

then slice squares without puncturing the peel behind it.

Then scooped the flesh into the bowl.  This can be done with a spoon or fingers.  To get the pit out, you can scoop it out with your fingers as well, or smack a knife into it and wiggle it out of the avocado flesh.

Toss avocado into a bowl.  You can mash with a large spoon or potato masher, but I usually use a fork so I can get the guacamole to the exact consistency I like.  If you’re in a hurry, or don’t mind really smooth guacamole, you could always toss the ingredients into a food processor.

Add the remaining ingredients and mash until it is a consistency you like.  I usually keep a pit or two in the guacamole mix – it keeps the guacamole from browning!  (I learned this at a party, thanks Kim!)

Refrigerate (either with the pit in and/or in an air tight container with parchment paper pressed down onto the guacamole to remove all air) for 30 minutes and serve!  This guacamole is great for dipping, topping quesadillas, or stuffing in burritos!  You can always store extra guacamole the same way you refrigerated it, though in our house there are rarely leftovers.

Baked Falafel

Oh, falafel. I could sing its praises for a long time. It is tasty, vegetarian and often times vegan, portable, and really easy to make! I fell in love with falafel when I lived in Israel, since it is the primary fast food in the Middle East – move over, McDonald’s. Falafel is traditionally deep fried and accompanied by hummus and tahina sauce. In Israel, it is served in a pita pocket, making it an easily transportable, quick lunch.

If you plan on frying the falafel (which is easily done on the stovetop with olive oil) it is better to use dry chickpeas and soak them for 2 hours, up to overnight. Canned chickpeas are too soft and tend to fall apart during the frying process. Since this recipe is baking the falafel, either canned or soaked chickpeas may be used.

I have tried several different falafel recipes, but I found one from a fellow foodie who spent some time in Israel, and I thought her recipe was so close to authentic! I made a few changes, and came up with this healthy version of the tasty falafel.

Baked Falafel

adapted from theshiksa.com

makes 12 falafel discs, serves 3-4

1C chickpeas, rinsed

1 small onion

1/2C spinach leaves

1/2C parsley leaves

3 garlic cloves

1T flour (I used spelt to keep these gluten free)

1t salt

1t cumin

1/2t ground coriander

1 pinch of cayenne

1 pinch of ground cardamom

Freshly ground pepper to taste

1/2t baking powder (to help them rise with the lack of gluten)

For falafel sandwiches:

Pitas

Hummus

Tahina Sauce

Chopped tomato

Spinach or lettuce

Chopped cucumber

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Assemble all falafel ingredients in a food processor.  Parsley:

Spinach & spices:

Baking Soda:

Roughly chopped onion:

Flour:

And Chickpeas:

Pulse until a course meal is formed. I personally don’t like my falafel to be the texture of baby food.

I used a cookie dough scooper -which to you might be a melon baller- to form the falafels on a baking sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes, then flip and bake 15 minutes on the other side. Due to the baking nature, the falafels will only be crispy on the sides that touch the pan. Though you could probably bake them and maintain a round shape, I chose to smash them and make them discs for ease.

Serve them hot with either hummus or tahina or both, or in a pita as a sandwich.  I slathered my pita with hummus (see my recipe link above), stuffed it with falafel, spinach, tomato, and tahina sauce (recipe also above.)  Or they’re delicious on their own, served with a traditional Israeli Salad.  Yum!!

Here’s a picture that I took in Israel of a postcard.  The recipe is pretty close!

Israeli Tahina

Here’s a basic recipe composed of what I could remember from my Israeli cookbook that got lost in one of my house moves.  This thin, white sauce is a tart/tangy condiment that is designed to be paired with falafel.  Though many people use it to accompany hummus and other dishes, I love to pair this with falafel.  Bonus, it is vegan and gluten free, which in my book means you can have as much of it as you want!

Most recipes you’ll find entitle this “Tahini Sauce” to differentiate it from “tahini paste” (ground sesame seeds,) but I distinctly remember it being referred to in Israel as “Tahina” (pronounced tuh-(c)hee-na with a little back of the throat action on the hee part.)

Tahina Sauce

makes 1 Cup

1/2C Tahini paste

2/3C Water

Juice of 1 lemon

2-3 Garlic cloves

Handful of parsley

Salt to taste

1/2t Dill, optional

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until smooth.

At this point, taste and adjust as necessary. Mine needed more salt to bring out the flavor, and more water to reach the desired consistency. Tahina sauce should be thicker than water, but thinner than tahini paste.

Enjoy with some yummy falafel!

Tangy Vinaigrette Chopped Salad

Years ago I cruised to the Bahamas with my husband and some close friends.  While ashore, we dined in the Atlantis Hotel at Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill restaurant.  I fell in food-love!  Not only was the restaurant gorgeous itself, but the food presentation and flavor was unlike anything I’d ever seen or tasted.  Perhaps this would be a good time to mention that the small town I live in only has a Chili’s and an Outback….ahem.  Moving on.  I loved the style of food at the Mesa Grill which is perfectly described as “explosive flavor from the southwestern kitchen.”  I could eat quesadillas every day, so when I ordered the Smoked Black Bean & Corn Quesadilla with Avocado and Toasted Garlic Creme Fraiche I was in quesadilla Heaven.  The way Chef Flay combines spicy chilies with sweet notes in his food instantly made me a fan.  I talked about it so much that one Christmas, my sweet mother & father-in-loves (yeah, better than in-laws!) bought me the Mesa Grill cookbook!  I was ecstatic!

Though several recipes are quite fancy – as in, I’d never have the guts to cook, or eat, duck – there are many that I’ve made several times for both casual dinners and special occasions.  This salad is so simple, yet delicious!  The secret is how you make the dressing.  Now, I respect a chef. But, there’s still something in me that urges me to try things a different way.  So, normally I don’t mess with a good thing, but this is my interpretation of Chef Flay’s “Sophie’s Chopped Salad.”

And yes, maybe I am referring to him as Chef Flay just in case he reads this and wants to hire me.

Tangy Vinaigrette Chopped Salad

adapted from Bobby Flay

Serves 4-6

For the vinaigrette you’ll need:

1/4 C balsamic vinegar

1T Dijon mustard

1t salt

1/2 t pepper

1 C canola oil, divided in half

For the salad you’ll need:

3 C chopped romaine lettuce

2 ripe tomatoes of your choice seeded and diced

1/2 C canned kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 C canned garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 C chopped stems of scallions

3/4 C 1/2-inch-cubed white Cheddar cheese

3/4 C 1/2-inch-cubed Monterey Jack cheese

4-6 corn tortillas

With a salad like this, you really don’t need to measure the ingredients exactly, you just want an even blend of the beans, cheeses, tomato, and scallions.  No worries if the measurements aren’t perfect.

After washing and drying the veggies, chop the lettuce to bite size pieces.

Next, add the beans and cheeses!  Try not to eat too many on their own.  I know it’s tough.

Chop the scallions.  I only used the green parts because though I love onion, I didn’t want that to be the predominant flavor of the salad.

And the tomatoes.  I waited to put them in the bowl until after the vinaigrette and tortillas were ready so their juices didn’t run around all cray cray.

Now it’s time for the vinaigrette!  This is one of the first home-made salad dressings I tackled, and it showed me there’s no need to be intimidated by salad dressings!  They’re not too hard to pull off.  This one can be made in a blender, in a bowl with a wisk, or as I did, in a small food processor.

Add salt & pepper,

Dijon mustard,

And add the vinegar.

Blend together until smooth.

Once it’s all blended slowly add 1/2 cup of oil to the mix.  If using a whisk, this will be easy, and if your food processor has an opening on top this will be easy.  Since mine does not, I would stop, add a little then blend.  Stop, add a little more then blend, and so on until all the oil had been encorporated.  This is the tricky part!  I’ve made this dressing before and once I dumped the oil in all at once and it did not blend correctly and separated afterwards.  It wasn’t right.  Make sure you add the oil slowly a little bit at a time.

When it’s done right, you get this!

The last component to this delicious salad is the crispy element.  Heat the remaining oil on medium-high heat.  Once the oil is ready, lightly fry both sides of each tortilla.

Once all tortillas are finished, add the tomatoes to the salad and mix well.  Plating is fun since the tortillas acts as a “plate.”  The tortillas tear easily with the fork to add a bit of crunch in the salad.  Garnish with freshly ground black pepper, dried parsley, or anything else you’d like!  It’s soooo delicious.  This might just become your new favorite salad.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts & Cauliflower

I never had brussel sprouts as a child.  And due to everything you hear about them as a child, I determined to never try them if I was given the opportunity.  The opportunity never really presented itself until about two years ago, where I tried them at a lovely restaurant called J. Alexander’s.  I had never had anything at J’s that I did not like, so I recklessly thought, why not!  Well, I don’t know about all brussel sprout preparations, but these are good!  I was determined to always make brussel sprouts this way and make vegetable converts of those around me!

My husband liked them the first time I made them, and convinced his father – who claimed to not like brussel sprouts either – try them.  Dad liked them. Yes!  My veggie revolution had begun!  The secret is in the panko breadcrumbs.  They’re bigger than usual breadcrumbs and give a crunch to the dish that could otherwise be another pile of limp vegetables.  I carefully studied the simple looking recipe and came up with this copy cat version.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts & Cauliflower

a lovely side dish serving 4-6

1 head cauliflower

1 bag of brussel sprouts, I prefer smaller ones

Panko breadbrumbs

Olive oil

Rosemary

Salt & pepper to taste

Parmesan, shaved, shredded, or powdered, optional

I used two types of breadcrumbs this go around, but usually I only use one, the one that makes J. Alexander’s so wonderful.  The lovely panko breadcrumbs.  You can even get them in whole wheat, so no guilt required!

Preheat the oven to 400 then wash and cut the veggies into bite size chunks.

I sliced the brussel sprouts in half, lengthwise, so they’re bite-size, but don’t fall apart completely.  I also chopped any dark end pieces and peeled off any wilty leaves.

Then I threw the vegetables into a bowl that had a lid like so…

added a tablespoon of olive oil, some salt & pepper, and some Italian breadcrumbs.  I used these breadcrumbs for the spices it had, but if you’re using plain panko, you could also add italian seasonings, garlic powder, or anything else that you’d like.

Then I put on the lid tightly and shook all the stuff around to evenly coat the vegetables.  And dumped them onto a baking sheet with sides.

Shake the rosemary over the whole pan, and add more salt & pepper if you wish.

At this point, liberally shake the panko breadcrumbs onto the veggies, and drizzle with more olive oil to coat the breadcrumbs.

I make this recipe a lot and have to switch it up now and then.  Though J. Alexander’s does not do this, sometimes I’ll add some freshly grated Parmesan before popping them in the oven.

Place on the top rack in the oven and roast for about 15-18 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.  Then, broil for 3-5 minutes.  You’ll need to watch the broiling process carefully as seconds too long could scorch the entire pan.  You want some outer leaves of the brussel sprouts to be crispy, and some cauliflower pieces to have browned, but what you don’t want is vegetables that taste like coal.  Bleck!

Serve immediately!

You, too, can prove that brussel sprouts are good!  Enjoy!

Crispy Oven Fries & Bistro Sauce

This is the sequel to last week’s post!  The delicious, crispy, herb drenched fries and the sauce that cannot be described, only consumed.  This sauce is inspired by Nordstrom’s Cafe Bistro, who serves it with their own crispy, herb drenched fries.  My husband and I were introduced to Cafe Bistro years ago and have fallen in love with it.  They have great salads, sandwiches, pizzas, and desserts!  We seriously refer to this pink dip as “Heaven Sauce” in our household, and it has caught on with friends who love the Cafe as much as we do.

I loved this sauce so much I once asked for the recipe and though they sell cookbooks with their recipes, they so generously jotted it down for me.  Now, that was quite a while ago, so I’ve long forgotten where that little receipt has ended up.  Thankfully, my somewhat functional memory and my culinary instincts could reproduce it!  It’s amazing!  Also, I’ve learned a lot about baking fries since my last fry post.  From soaking the potatoes in water to cooking them on a rack with air circulation, it’s all good things I’ve learned.  I’m excited to share this recipe with you!

Crispy Oven Fries & Heaven Bistro Sauce

Serves 2-3, Fries inspired by thetalkingkitchen.com

3 small/medium potatoes

1/2 t garlic powder

1/4 t onion powder

1 small bunch of parsley, I used Italian flat leaf

4-6T mayonnaise, I used Vegenaise

2-3T Greek yogurt (optional)

2-3 cloves fresh garlic

8-12 Kalamata olives

Juice from 1/2 a lemon

4T olive oil

Salt & Pepper to taste

First, I washed and cut the potatoes to desired fry size.  I wanted skinny fries in the attempt to make them nice and crispy.  I also left the skin on and was not disappointed.

Then soaked them in ice water for about 5 minutes to let some starch out.  At this point, I pre-heated the oven to 400 degrees.

I then rinsed and drained the potatoes, and dried them out on a towel.  I rubbed the towel back & forth over them to ensure they were fully dry.

I then mixed the powders, salt, & pepper together.

Side note: I used a chimichurri sea salt that I picked up at a farmer’s market recently.  Bless the Lord, it’s good!  Recipes like this are a fun time to experiment with new seasonings or different flavored salt & peppers.  Also, if you’ve never had chimichurri sauce…get on that.  It will change your world.

Then added the olive oil.

And added the fries.  At first I tried to toss them with a spatula, but they weren’t getting sufficiently coated, so prepare to get your hands a little dirty.

I lined a cookie sheet with aluminum foil, just to make clean up a little easier.  And since I don’t own a cooking rack, I used an all metal cookie cooling rack to put the fries on.  Apparently, air circulation makes the fries crispier, and you don’t need to flip them half way through the cook time.  I’m not sure how I feel about that since I got some crispy fries, and some softer ones.  Good thing I like both kinds.

I made so many I had to cook them in two batches because they didn’t all fit on the pan!

I baked them for 30-35 minutes, or until nicely browned.  Meanwhile, time to roll up your sleeves, bust out the food processor and make the sauce of Heaven!!!

I first tossed in 4T mayo.  I subbed out some mayo for Greek yogurt to cut down the fat and up the protein in this dip.  This is optional of course.  You could go mayo all the way if you’re not as vain as I am.  I use Greek yogurt as a sub for mayo and sour cream often in recipes.  The kind I buy by Fage has 0 fat and 20ish grams of protein per serving.  This is fantastic news to my heart!

Then added the garlic.

Oh, yes, I used my mini food processor since I’m not making but 1.5 cups of this goodness.

Then added the Greek yogurt, lemon juice, and some salt & pepper.

Add the olives.

And blend it!  This would be the time to adjust seasonings to taste.  You’ll know when it’s right for your taste buds.  The consistency you’re looking for will be slightly more runny than mayonnaise.  Place in the fridge until the fries are ready.

While the fries are finishing in the oven, chop the parsley finely.

When the fries are ready, pull them out of the oven and allow to cool for 1-2 minutes.

Toss with parsley, and serve with Heaven sauce immediately.  So delicious!!!  Enjoy!

I used the sauce throughout the week as a sandwich spread and dip for pita chips.  It’s just that good.