Wednesday, December 19, 2012

French connection: A Laughing Cow challenge

I've had a can of white beans in my pantry for about 126 days.

Or something like that.

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I'm not sure what I had intended to do with them but rest assured the dish never got made. And neither did the subsequent ideas that floated through my brain (bean dip, white chicken chili).

This poor can might have been destined for the next food drive at Mark's school had a mystery box not arrived at my door.

The folks at Laughing Cow had reached out to me a couple weeks ago with a challenge. They would send me a box with an unknown Laughing Cow item, and it would be up to me to come up with a creative way to use it.

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Surprise me they did because inside the mystery box I found Laughing Cow French Onion wedges -- one of the few, if only, flavors I have not had the pleasure of trying. Ideas were slow at first. Sure, it tastes great on a wheat cracker and, oh, how I love French onion dip but nothing seemed worthy of the challenge.

Until I saw the beans.

What transpired can only be called a product of my "fat" brain (a term coined by my beloved grandma) - just without the fat. Or most of it.

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A twist on the traditional seven-layer salad, this dish combines European flavors and my love of Ball jars. It's a delightful take-to-work lunch or an inspired idea for a holiday brunch. The flavors of the artichokes, olives and French Onion dressing are complemented by the red pepper, creamy white beans and spring mix.

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Oui, Oui Laughing Cow Layer Salad


Spring mix
Canned white beans, rinsed and drained
Chopped tomatoes
Marinated artichokes
Red onion, sliced
Red bell pepper, sliced or chopped
Laughing Cow French Onion dressing (below)
Chopped olives (I used garlic-stuffed Spanish olives that I picked up at a nearby international market)

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In a Ball jar, add about a cup of spring mix. On top, layer white beans (I used about a quarter-cup), chopped tomatoes, artichokes, red onion and bell pepper. Drizzle dressing on top. Garnish with olives.

Laughing Cow French Onion dressing (for one):
1 Laughing Cow French Onion Wedge
1 tablespoon plain Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1-2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
Pinch dry mustard
Pinch salt
Pinch ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl, adding more almond milk to reach preferred consistency.

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