Hot Polka Dot
25Jun/13

The Secret Ingredient.

Cheesy Ranch Mashed Cauliflower via @hotpolkadot

We're going to take a little detour today. This blog is normally cruising down sweet street toward glistening pink frosting, melting chocolate chips and happy rainbow sprinkles. Today we're taking the road less travelled, today we're speeding down savoury street toward crisp green onions, melting cheddar cheese and tangy ranch dressing.

Today's detour is brought to you by the kind folks at Hidden Valley Ranch. You may recall last year around this time I shared with you a delicious Vegetarian Ranch Pizza that remains one of my all-time favourite pizzas. This year for the Ranchify Recipe Challenge we are once again tasked with creating a recipe with ranch dressing that makes eating your vegetables not only yummy but fun!

At our house, we're a huge fan of mashed potatoes. As a picky kid, I used to hide my distasteful vegetables under my mashed potatoes, so I thought why not do the same thing as an adult? Mashed cauliflower is far better for you than a mound of starchy potatoes and, honestly, I think it tastes way better! I like to think of myself as a reformed picky eater. I try to sneak as many vegetables into our meals as I can and this challenge was the best excuse to go one step further.

With loads of fragrant garlic, punches of powerful parmesan, potatoes for texture and, of course, a little help from tangy Hidden Valley Cheese Ranch dressing this is an entree to fool any picky kid or stubborn adult. Cauliflower is the same colour as potatoes so it's the perfect crime. Feed it to your unsuspecting family and dare them to list the secret ingredient!

Cheesy Ranch Mashed Cauliflower via @hotpolkadot

Cheesy Ranch Mashed Cauliflower via @hotpolkadotCheesy Ranch Mashed Cauliflower via @hotpolkadot

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18Jun/11

For Dads Everywhere.

They say that scent is the strongest sense tied to memory. When I think of my dad certain smells indicative of dads everywhere come to mind. Cedar sawdust, freshly mowed grass, crisp soap, gunpowder, campfire smoke, soft leather, pine trees and BBQ. Especially BBQ.

Instead of making a dessert to celebrate Father's Day this year I decided to make something that dads appreciate most. Meat and lots of it. A quarter pound of beef mixed with fresh pesto and grilled to perfection. A dinner any dad would be happy to eat.

Just a little way to say thank you for all the wheelbarrow rides and movie nights. Photography advice and piggy back rides. Butter and sugar on soda crackers. Guitar solos and surround sound. Blueberries and Carnation milk. For patiently sitting through makeovers complete with hair gel and bobby pins. Target practice at the gun club. Grapefruit and Led Zeppelin. Extra rare filet mignon and Lipton noodle packages. Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday.

I love you dad! Happy Father's Day!

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16Oct/10

That’s Amore!

I am so grateful to have advanced to the fifth round of Project Food Blog! Thank you everyone who voted for me! I appreciate the support of my loyal readers and new friends.

“One recipe, 100 variations! We're challenging each of you to put your own spin on the same recipe. How you do it is up to you. Will you try out some molecular gastronomy techniques? Share a super-secret trick? Or re-envision the dish from a different perspective? You'll be asked to put your own spin on pizza. For the purpose of this contest and challenge, we are defining pizza as having a solid base, a sauce and at least one topping.”

When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie... That's amore!

Everyone knows that song. It's about finding love in the unlikeliest of places. It's about being suddenly seized by love. Some people find love in a darkened movie theatre, at the bottom of a box of chocolates, between intertwined fingers or in a perfect slice of pizza.

Some people might not consider pizza classy or romantic like flowers, chocolates, jewelry or fancy dates. Don't get me wrong. I love roses, cordial cherries, diamonds and filet mignon as much as the next girl. But it's pizza that holds a special place in my heart.

When my boyfriend and I were separated by 3,373 km (2096 miles) the telephone was our only connection. One evening after a long day of work, tired and just a little lonesome, I was talking to my honey over the distance when there was a knock at my door. I wasn't expecting anyone. Intrigued, I swung open the door.

There in my doorway was a pizza delivery guy holding a pizza. For me. My pizza. Free of charge. Lee had called my favourite pizza place and ordered my favourite pizza. Even two provinces away he was still doing such sweet and thoughtful things for me.

Now that miles have shrunk to inches and everyday is filled with reasons to fall deeper in love, I thought I'd learn to make his favourite pizza.

This is my first attempt at making pizza. Oh sure, I've had a lot of experience eating them. Ordering them. Burning them. Even accidentally baking a frozen one with the cardboard still under it then proceeding to violently and vehemently slice through it. Gives a whole new meaning to cardboard crust, doesn't it?

This time I had motivation. This time it was perfect. I love that man, he loves me and we both love this Chicken Pesto Pizza.

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