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Ask the Chef! Episode 27: Chana Dal, Caesar Dressing, Growing Your Own

chana masala

BMan asks:

Just doing some late night research. I am trying to find some new foods to add some variety to my diet and I was wondering if you have tired these beans Chana Dal? Did you have problems with spikes?

Well, I can tell you that for me, I have a bit of spike in blood sugar when eating pulses, legumes, and other low-GI foods. It isn’t so miserable for me, but my experience will be different than yours. (I am just a chef and writer after all.)

I can’t say that I have tried Chana Dal – as from what I gather it’s a black chickpea that has the skin removed, that resembles a split pea. The closest I have eaten is a dish made is with garbanzo beans (chickpeas.)

In that end, I think a few dishes here and there with chickpeas would be exactly what the chef ordered, wouldn’t you say?

"caesar" dressing

ZKo asks:

Can any one recommend a Caesar dressing i could buy or make prefer to buy but if have to make will do.

Great question! At it’s base, Caesar dressing is only:

  • fresh crushed garlic
  • wine vinegar
  • lemon juice or lime juice – fresh squeezed
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • raw egg yolks
  • olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • fresh-ground black pepper
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese

The idea is to make a dressing out of these ingredients – with the vinegar and lemon juice being around 1 part to 3 parts olive oil. The rest of the ingredients are just for flavor.

If you really want to cheat, then use an olive oil mayo, and just add the lemon juice, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and parmesan cheese to it – and voila! Caesar dressing! Would you all be interested in a Caesar dressing recipe from WDC?

True Leaves

Robert asks:

Following the planting of a few tomatoes a few months ago that have gone wild, my interest in growing other edibles has become an obsession with my herbal jungle increasing daily.
Nothing like the satisfaction of growing your own produce (preferably organic) and making it a good part of a healthy meal. We have had ideal growing conditions in Melbourne, Australia this year and most varieties are booming.
Chili, celery, spring onions, sweet potatoes (a little late, or early however they are going great), mints, beetroot, basils and others make some interesting dishes.
For those space restricted, a few pots with some quality potting mix or good garden soil can produce an abundance of healthy goodies.
With the never ending spiral of governments taxing anything that breathes or looks like it still has a few left, banks anouncing mega profits and crying poor, power companies hiking prices every time someone mentions CO2 any money saved is a bonus.
Excercise is an added bonus while pottering around in the garden also smake for a healthy lifestyle.
Let those green fingers go wild!

I agree Robert. In fact, get involved with my Garden Project as it progresses through the year.

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{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Jan February 20, 2012, 10:13 am

    I just perked up at your “cheater’s version” of Caesar dressing, which Beloved is very fond of. Doesn’t it have anchovies in it, though, or are they supposed to go in the salad itself? (I’m hoping for the latter option, so I don’t have to eat the salty, fishy little buggers.)

  • Jason Sandeman February 20, 2012, 1:22 pm

    @Jan – well, good news! The original Caesar salad DID NOT have anchovies on it. (The anchovy notes from the original came from the Worcestershire sauce.)
    I don’t use anchovies myself, and I honestly don’t miss them. More Parmesan and capers do the trick for me. If you don’t feel like using anchovies – don’t.
    If you are looking for gluten-free, you can’t use Worcestershire sauce, but you can get almost the same effect by using fish sauce instead.

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