A Gluten Free Sauce for Veggies, Sandwiches and More!

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I had a few Sugar Snap Peas left in my fridge and wanted to try something different with them. My Fine Cooking magazine had a recipe for Snap Peas with Turkish Tarator Sauce so I tried it. What a find this was! The sauce was so delicious, I then served it with steamed artichokes. Another home run! It would be amazing as a spread for sandwiches or a topping for grilled fish or chicken. A wonderful dipping sauce for fried shrimp. There are many uses for this sauce and it is quick, easy and healthy too!

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I grilled my snap peas which gave them a nice smokey flavor. Then topped them with the Tarator Sauce garnished with some chopped toasted almonds. Delish!

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TURKISH TARATOR SAUCE

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup blanched whole almonds, plus 2 Tablespoons toasted and chopped for garnish 
  • 1/4 extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions

  1. In a blender, puree the almonds, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and 1/2 cup water until completely smooth and thick, at least 3 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Note

  • I used raw almonds as I didn’t have blanched on hand and it turned out delicious.
  • I added more lemon juice to taste
  • The sauce can be made up to 3 days ahead and refrigerated

(Printable recipe can be found in my recipe index under Sauces)

My Favorite Ways to Dress a Salad

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There is an endless number of ways to create salads with unlimited ingredients in every variety. You can make a specific salad with items that you select that will balance each other or a salad with any odd vegetables you may have in your crisper drawer. No matter what your preference or style of salad is, in my opinion; the dressing makes all the difference!

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I stopped purchasing bottled dressing a while back when I found that it was so easy to make my own and the difference in taste was mind boggling! My salad dressings can be as simple as a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of vinegar and a little salt and pepper or as complex as a pre-mixed dressing with a multitude of ingredients. The best part is that none of them are difficult to make and they all taste markedly better than bottled dressing!

Here are 5 of my favorites for you to try:

VINEGAR & OIL

The secret to a great vinegar & oil dressed salad is to use quality products. If I am making a simple green salad with minimal ingredients as a small side dish, I prefer to use the drizzle method of dressing my salad. 

I begin with crisp clean greens that have been torn or cut in to bite size pieces. I drizzle enough quality extra virgin olive oil to lightly coat the leaves. A sprinkle of kosher salt and a few grinds of fresh pepper is added to the lettuce and mixed together either by hand or with a couple of spoons. Then I sprinkle a little vinegar and toss to mix, tasting and adding as needed. The oil should only be enough to coat the leaves, which will then adhere them to the vinegar. The vinegar has to be enough to brighten the flavor but not create too tart a taste. For this type of salad, my favorite vinegars to use are flavored ones such as peach balsamic, fig or blood orange. Any flavored vinegar works great and you can vary it depending on what you are serving it with. Always taste the salad by trying a dressed lettuce leaf. That will tell you if it is the right proportion of ingredients and if it is enough, but not too much which may wilt your salad. You don’t want your salad swimming in dressing!

VINAIGRETTE

The ratio of vinegar to oil is what is important in a vinaigrette. I like to use the 3-1 ratio. 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar. You can always add more vinegar to taste if needed. I also like to use a bit of dijon mustard and some chopped  garlic or shallots and fresh herbs. You can vary this depending on what you are serving with it, so you may want to use fresh tarragon, basil, oregano, parsley or cilantro if that compliments your meal. Here is one vinaigrette recipe I use often and vary slightly as needed:

  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar 
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon shallot, minced fine
  • 1 ½ teaspoons fresh thyme (or 1 tsp. dried thyme)
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Whisk first four salad dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil until emulsified, then season to taste with salt and pepper.

Note:  You may substitute other vinegars such as balsamic, champagne, sherry, rice or use lemon juice or a combination of them based on preference and what you are serving with your salad.

When using a vinaigrette, always toss your salad. If you spoon the dressing on, you will not get an evenly dressed salad and it will taste quite different from one that is tossed and coated with just the right amount of dressing. Believe me, if you are making your own dressing that coordinates with your salad fixings, no one will need to select their own dressing from an assortment of store bought bottles!

CITRUS VINAIGRETTE

I often add citrus to my salads and this citrus vinaigrette is a wonderful accompaniment. You can mix in other citrus juices as well, but keep a balance of sweet and tart for the best flavor. It marries quite well with toasted nuts, avocados, feta or goat cheese, roasted fish, roasted beets, and so many other ingredients!

  • 1 cup blended oil (3/4 cup grape seed, canola or vegetable oil with 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil ) 
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons orange zest
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 3 Tablespoons capers, rinsed & drained and chopped
  • 4 anchovies, chopped (I use white anchovies/Boquerones)
  • 3 Tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Whisk the salad ingredients together in a bowl or shake together in a tightly covered glass jar.  Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired.

Note:  If I add other juices or liquids, it will vary the 3-1 ratio of vinegar to oil as in this recipe that includes orange juice. 

BLUE CHEESE DRESSING

I love blue cheese dressing! I eat it as a dip with fresh vegetable crudites, as a dip for celery and hot wings and as a salad dressing. It is great served on a wedge of iceberg or romaine lettuce topped with chopped tomatoes, green onions and chopped bacon.

  • ¼ cup crumbled Maytag or other type blue cheese
  • ¾ cups mayonnaise
  • ¾ cups sour cream or yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • dash cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Pulse the first 7 ingredients in a food processor and then season to taste with salt and pepper.

Note: Sometimes I substitute vinegar for the lemon juice. I always use Best Foods mayonnaise! If using yogurt, you will need to add some sweetener such as honey, agave or sugar. Just a teaspoon or so should do it depending on the tartness of your yogurt.

CAESAR DRESSING

My favorite salad is a Caesar salad. It’s not always a standard Caesar in my house. Sometimes I make it with grilled romaine, or with white Cheddar instead of Parmesan, or with pine nuts and sundried tomatoes, or with fried polenta croutons. But, whatever version I make, it always has this dressing from my good friend Shelly!

  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 egg, coddled (cooked in shell in boiling water for 45 seconds)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ c olive oil
  • 4 anchovies, rinsed and patted dry and chopped (I use white anchovies)
  • ½ c freshly grated parmesan

Mix the first 6 ingredients together in a blender. Add just enough parmesan to make the correct thickness and consistency. 

 

Use these recipes as outlines for your salad dressings and add your own creativity to them. Feel free to experiment with alternatives such as other herbs, seasonings, citrus, vinegars, etc. If you’re cooking a Mediterranean meal, add some cumin & coriander, if you’re cooking French, maybe some fresh tarragon. Check to see what is in your garden, pantry or fridge and alter the dressings accordingly. Have fun with it and let me know what creative dressings you have discovered!

 

The Right Tools Make all the Difference!

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Have you ever come across a kitchen gadget or utensil that you absolutely love and wish you had known about sooner? I find that the right tools in the kitchen make my job so much quicker and easier. So I decided it might be a good idea to share those items with you!

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For instance, I recently purchased a Beater Blade for my KitchenAid mixer that doubles as a spatula so it virtually eliminates the need for scraping down the sides of the bowl! What an ingenious product and it works great!

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These four utensils are everyday necessities for me. A quick squeeze allows me to get lemon juice directly into my measuring cup from this useful lemon juicer. (You can also use it for limes) For basting, I love my silicone basting brushes. They get the job done easily without losing fibers in my food and clean up is a snap. For cutting herbs, trimming vegetables, cutting pasta and a zillion other things I use these incredible Joyce Chen kitchen shears. I have had them for years and they still cut like they are brand new. For whisking sauces in smaller portions I love my little sauce whisk. It ensures that you reach every corner of your bowl or pot. (I have a larger one too!)

So, I have set up an Amazon.com aStore on my blog that you can link to and see these and other items I use everyday in my kitchen. I also have a category for some of my favorite cookbooks and personal care items. You can link directly to any of the items for a detailed description or to purchase, if you so desire. I plan to add items often, so be sure to check back regularly to see what new great new finds I have added!

You will find the link in the right column on my Welcome page. Take a peek and let me know if you have some other favorite items that you like to use in your kitchen. I’d love to hear about your fav’s too!

Preserved Lemons; so simple and simply wonderful!

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After posting my recipe for Golden Beet Noodle and Pea Salad, I received several requests for my Preserved Lemons recipe so I decided to post it for all to see. It is quite a simple process and now that I have fallen in love with them, I make sure to have a jar in the fridge at all times. They will last a year so it is an easy thing to keep on hand.

What you will need:

  • A sterilized glass jar with a wide opening
  • 5-8 lemons depending on size and juiciness
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup Kosher salt

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I prefer to make them with Meyer lemons for the wonderful flavor that they impart being a cross between a lemon and an orange in flavor, however you can use any type of lemon. The first thing to do is to wash the lemons well. Since you are going to be eating the rind, you want to ensure they are completely dirt free. You also need to sterilize a jar that is large enough to hold about 5 lemons with a large enough opening to squeeze them in whole. You can do this in the dishwasher or on the stove by boiling it for 10 minutes in a pot of water.

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When your jar is ready, prepare your lemons one at a time since you won’t know exactly how many you will be using. Place 2 tablespoons kosher salt in the bottom of the jar. Remove the stem and cut the lemon in quarters being careful not to cut all the way through keeping the lemon attached at the base. Open the lemon with your fingers and working over a bowl, fill the lemon with about 1 tablespoon of kosher salt or as much as will fit. Squeeze the lemon closed and push it into the jar as far down as possible. Proceed to do this process with the next several lemons until your jar is quite full, squeezing and pushing on the lemons as you add them to extract as much juice as possible into the jar. If you find that your jar will not allow you to fit a whole lemon into a space, then you can cut a lemon in half and push it into the open space with the skin on the outside and the flesh against another lemon. Sprinkle kosher salt on the open portion of the lemon before pushing it into the jar. Once the jar is filled, leaving some air space at the top, give them another push to extract any extra juice. Fill the rest of the jar, still leaving air space at the top, with enough fresh lemon juice to cover the lemons. Make sure to use fresh lemon juice, not processed juice or water for this step. Top the jar with another tablespoon of kosher salt and secure the lid on the jar.

For the next four weeks, store the jar of preserved lemons in a dark place such as your pantry or cupboard. Every few days shake the jar to distribute the salt and juice around the lemons. They are preserved and ready to use after four weeks. Store them in the refrigerator and use them as needed, always ensuring there is enough juice to cover them when you replace them in the refrigerator. Add any more lemon juice as needed and/or press the lemons to continue to extract juice to cover.

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When using the lemons for a recipe, rinse them well to remove any excess salt or film from the liquid. I prefer to remove all of the flesh from them and use only the skin as the flesh is quite pungent. Slices of skin add a wonderful zing to many recipes such as salads, casseroles, and vegetable dishes. 

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Fresh English Peas are a Gift from the Heavens!

IMG_6752I was so excited to see English Peas in my Talley Farms CSA box this week! They are such a delicacy and so much more flavorful with a much nicer texture than frozen or canned peas. You can barely compare them to their pre-packaged counterparts. I decided to team them up with my Talley Farms golden beets for a fresh salad. I’ve been wanting to try spiralizing beets and this was my chance. I adapted a recipe from Inspiralized, the spiralizing guru and one of my favorite blogs to follow. I created my own version of a Golden Beet Noodle and Pea Salad.

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The first step was to shell the peas. Unlike snap peas or sugar peas, you do not eat the pod from English Peas. But not to worry, shelling them is a cinch and takes no time at all. I shelled enough to make 1 1/2 cups of raw peas and then I steamed them for about 3 minutes.

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On to spiralizing the beets. They need to be peeled with both ends cut for a flat surface so they can be set up on the spiralizer. (Check out my aStore from Amazon on my website for the spiralizer I love best) Beets are quite easy to spiralize since they are firm and don’t have any seeds or core center. A quick toss with a little olive oil, a sprinkle of salt and pepper and into the oven for a 10 minute roast.

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This salad is so easy to put together, it’s hardly any work at all! I wanted to add some fresh shredded baby romaine, a little crumbled feta and a hint of fresh mint as I knew the flavors would compliment each other well. For an extra touch, I added some sliced preserved lemon (I always have some in my fridge cuz they’re so easy to make and they last forever). With the lemon in the dressing, it was just the perfect addition to highlight the salad.

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The dressing is a light mixture of tahini, lemon juice, honey, garlic and olive oil. All mixed together with a little water and we’re set to assemble. I plated the salad on individual plates in baby lettuce leaves to give them a nesting place and add more greens to the dish.

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What resulted was a really nice mixture of texture and taste, very fresh and subtle with a little punch from the mint, feta and preserved lemon. Healthy and delicious!

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GOLDEN BEET NOODLE AND PEA SALAD

Ingredients

Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons water
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Salad:

  • 1.5 cups cooked peas
  • 1 large beet (or 2 medium), peeled and spiralized (Blade C)
  • 1 cup shredded baby romaine or 1 cup arugula
  • 1/8 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon chopped mint plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 preserved lemon, meat and pith removed, rinsed and sliced thin (optional) 
Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Whisk together all of the ingredients – except for the water – in a medium bowl until creamy. Add water as needed to make creamy. Taste and adjust to your preference.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay out the beet noodles. Drizzle with the olive oil and toss together to coat. Season with salt and pepper and roast for 10 minutes or until softened.
  4. In a bowl, toss together the beets, peas, lettuce, mint and preserved lemon if using. Transfer to individual plates or serving bowls lined with 1 or 2 baby lettuce leaves, sprinkle with feta cheese and drizzle with lemon-tahini sauce. Serve with extra sauce.

Send me a note if you’d like to get instructions on how to prepare your own jar of preserved lemons. I don’t suggest purchasing them ready made as the difference is amazing and they are so simple to do yourself.

(Printable recipe can be found in my recipe index under Salads)

Guilt Free Tacos made with Cauliflower Tortillas!

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If you thought making rice out of Cauliflower was amazing, just wait until you try Cauliflower Tortillas! They are simple to make with the tips I am going to give you and super scrumptious! Honestly, they are great eaten on their own as you will probably notice as you nibble away while cooking them. But, eating them as a taco is pretty incredible! Not to mention the many other ways you can serve them with other types of toppings. Yes, my Turkey Tacos with Cauliflower Tortillas are really great!

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I started by making turkey taco meat seasoned with some of my favorite seasonings such as cumin, coriander and New Mexico chili powder. Then I mixed up a batch of my famous chipotle aioli. Next was the preparation of my taco toppings. I used chopped cherry tomatoes, sliced radishes, sliced back olives, shredded baby lettuce and chopped avocado. I served my tacos with Trader Joe’s salsa, although you could certainly make your own.

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Next on to the tortilla production. I pulsed the cauliflower in my food processor into small pieces a bit smaller than what I used for cauliflower rice. Then tossed them in a bowl into the microwave for 4 minutes on high. From there the cauliflower went into one of my flour sack towels to wring out as much water as possible. Next I mixed the cauliflower with a little tapioca flour, unbleached all purposed flour, eggs, salt and pepper. 

If you don’t have any tapioca flour, you can use one of the following substitutes:

  • 1 tablespoon of cornstarch or corn flour = 2 tablespoons of instant tapioca flour
  • 1 tablespoon of potato starch or rice starch or flour = 2 tablespoons of instant tapioca flour
  • 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour = 2 tablespoons of instant tapioca
  • 1 tablespoon of Arrowroot = 2 tablespoons of instant tapioca flour

If you want to use a substitute for the all purpose flour, you can use the following:  buckwheat, chestnut, quinoa, corn, and oat flours

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In a non stick pan, using just a touch of oil, you fry 1/2 cupfuls of the batter for each tortilla, cooking one at a time. I used a rubber spatula to spread the batter out into about a 5 inch diameter circle. The key is not to use too much oil, not to make them too thin and to turn them when they are nicely browned underneath. Use a large enough spatula to hold most of the tortilla as they remain a little soft, not as durable as a regular tortilla. 

Then top them with your favorite toppings and enjoy!  I served the tacos with a fork since I filled them too much to pick up, but they are easily eaten without the help of a knife.

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TURKEY TACOS WITH CAULIFLOWER TORTILLAS

Ingredients

Turkey Taco Meat

  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon New Mexico chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 Tablespoons water

Chipotle Aioli

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup plain yogurt or sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle chile in adobo
  • sauce, minced to a paste with 1/2 tsp adobo sauce
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • dash chili pepper
  • dash red pepper
  • dash garlic powder
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cauliflower Tortillas

  • oil
  • 1 large cauliflower cored, chopped and processed into fine pieces
  • 2 Tablespoons tapioca flour
  • 2 Tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Toppings

  • 1 tomato diced  (or 8 cherry tomatoes)
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives
  • 6 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 1 cup baby lettuce, shredded
  • salsa (homemade or store bought)

Directions

  1. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large heavy skillet set over medium-high heat, add the onion and cook for a few minutes until almost translucent. Add the garlic and salt and continue to cook for a couple more minutes, then add the the ground turkey. Continue cooking until the turkey is no longer pink, then add the black pepper, cumin, coriander, New Mexico chili powder, onion powder and water. Stir and continue cooking for a few minutes until the meat is completely brown. Set aside.
  2. Make the aioli:  Mix all ingredients together and adjust seasonings to taste.
  3. Make the tortillas:  Use a food processor to prep the cauliflower into small pieces. Place the cauliflower in a microwave safe bowl and cover loosely; microwave for about 4 minutes on high. Let the cauliflower cool for a few minutes until it can be handled safely and then squeeze it in a clean towel to remove as much water as you possibly can. Put the cauliflower into a medium bowl, along with the rest of the ingredients for the tortillas and mix with a large wooden spoon until well combined. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a small skillet set over medium heat. Drop 1/2 cup of the cauliflower mixture and spread it out in a 5 inch diameter circle with a spatula. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the top looks set and the underside is nicely browned. Flip the tortilla and continue cooking for about a minute, until it’s completely set, then transfer to a plate while you cook the remaining tortillas.
  4. Assembling the tacos:  Place a tortilla on each plate and top with some chipotle aioli, then turkey taco meat followed with lettuce and other toppings. Drizzle salsa on top to taste.

Award Worthy Neighborhood Gem in San Francisco!

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I’m thrilled that my son just moved to San Francisco so that I can merrily work my way around their culinary scene! My first tasks are to find the best neighborhood spots within walking distance and on our first try we landed on an award worthy neighborhood gem called Aliment.

I was a bit baffled by the name Aliment until I found out that it means food; nourishment. I loved their open spacious design, sleek style and comfortable acoustics. It is a small restaurant but does not give you a feeling of confinement. They offer a rotating beer and wine list along with a seasonal menu that concentrates on local sourcing. I found the menu to be current, yet innovative and interesting. Daniel did a great job helping us decide what to order and ensured we were well taken care of.

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Every item was well received by our group and enjoyed immensely. We weren’t super hungry so we each opted for either an entree or two small plates. I tasted them all and was duly impressed! The first of two small plates was their Kale Salad made with lacinata kale, avocado vinaigrette, pepitas and shaved parmesan. The dressing was a silky coating on the crisp kale softening it ever so slightly and engaging with the other ingredients.

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 The Braised Duck Bits small plate was a medley of pickled radish & choy sum (Chinese flowering cabbage) salad with red curry sauce and glazed duck legs. Vibrant with a lively taste from the salad segment balanced with the sweet tender morsels of duck. Loved the small plate bowls!

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A sublime piece of certified sustainable Arctic Char adorned with crispy skin and topped with an almondine sauce. It was served with a dual variety sweet potato hash with a succulent pork belly prize hidden within!

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My entree was their Pork Chop. A thick bone in pork chop that I have no idea how they made so absolutely juicy and perfectly cooked without being underdone. They did the work of cutting it into easily accessed pieces which was a nice touch. The chop was covered in a yakatori sauce that was out of this world!  As an accompaniment, they served Japanese eggplant and zucchini slices mixed with shredded chicory and crisp little rice fritters they called ovalettes. A unique combination that all worked together.

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Dessert was really unnecessary at this point, but after listening to Daniel describe the four current flavors of their house made ice cream, we couldn’t resist and ordered their Spearmint Chocolate Chip and Toasted Coconut to share. The spearmint ice cream tasted like a subtle blast of fresh mint leaves spiked with chunks of rich dark chocolate. Not even comparable to the standard mint chip variety you have ever tasted before. The toasted coconut ice cream was also creamy and delicious with a subtle taste of pure coconut. It inspired me to go home and retrieve my resting ice cream maker for some new experimentation of my own!

Aliment is going on our list of places to re-visit often so that we will have the opportunity to try more of their delicacies on their changing seasonal menus.

 

Orange is the Star in this Heavenly Meal!

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I receive the most luscious navel oranges and tangerines from my Talley Farms Fresh Harvest CSA boxes. They are super juicy, both sweet & tart, and absolutely scrumptious! Although divine eaten alone, they create sensational recipes when paired with other ingredients. The meal I created to showcase them was with recipes I adapted from Insalata’s Mediterranean Table cookbook (can be found in my Delish-Dish amazon.com aStore link on website) for Winter Greens and Orange Salad and My Columbian Recipes blog for Salmon con Salsa de Mandarina (Salmon with Tangerine Sauce). Two extremely simple recipes that will knock your socks off!

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What makes the salad so sensational is the fresh citrus flavor in both the dressing and the orange segments in the salad. Combined with Talley Farms fresh and colorful baby lettuces, crunchy radishes and buttery avocado slices, this salad is an explosion of flavor in every bite. 

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Add some sliced toasted almonds and a Catalan Vinaigrette made with orange zest and juice, capers, anchovies and chopped parsley, and this salad makes everyday ingredients soar to new heights!

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The salmon dish is quite fast and easy to make. You begin with a quick 20 minute marinade of fresh lime juice, garlic, salt and pepper. While you are pan frying the salmon, you can start cooking the sauce. In about 12 minutes and you are ready to serve simple, clean food that is good enough for a 5-Star restaurant!

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WINTER GREENS AND ORANGE SALAD

Serves 6 (with extra dressing)

Ingredients

Vinaigrette:

  • 1 cup blended oil, equal parts olive, grape seed and sunflower (or any combination you favor)
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons grated orange zest
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 3 Tablespoons capers, drained and chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped anchovies, about 4 whole (I use Spanish white anchovies/Boqeurones)
  • 3 Tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Salad:

  • 6 cups assorted baby lettuce, torn into bite size pieces
  • 1 large ripe avocado, sliced or chopped into large chunks
  • 4 large radishes or 6 small, sliced thin
  • 2 oranges peeled and cut into segments
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled (optional)

Directions

  1. To make the vinaigrette:  In small bowl, whisk together the Blended oil, sherry vinegar, orange zest, orange juice, capers, anchovies, parsley, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning. The dressing can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
  2. To make the salad:  In a large bowl, combine the greens and about 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette, adding more as needed to coat the leaves. Arrange on a platter. Using the same bowl toss all of the remaining salad ingredients except the almonds with 3 more tablespoons of the vinaigrette or to taste. Scatter over the dressed greens. In the same bowl, toss the almonds with 1 teaspoon of the vinaigrette and sprinkle them over the salad.  Serve immediately.

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SALMON CON SALSA DE MANDARINA (SALMON WITH TANGERINE SAUCE)

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 4 salmon fillets
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil

Tangerine sauce

  • 2 tablespoon of butter
  • 1/4 cup grated onion
  • 1 cup of fresh tangerine juice
  • 1 teaspoon of tangerine zest
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 1/2 tablespoon of cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. To cook the salmon: Place the salmon in a glass casserole dish and add the lime juice, garlic cloves, salt and pepper. Turn to coat and let it sit top down for about 20 minutes.
  2. In a large pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. (Make sure the pan is hot before adding the salmon. It should sizzle to get a nice sear) Place the salmon top down in the pan and cook until golden brown underneath, about 2 minutes.  To get an even sear, place a flat lid or press on the fish to adhere the complete surface to the pan.
  3. Turn the salmon over and continue cooking skin side down until golden underneath, about 2 minutes more for medium-rare, or until done to your liking. (Always undercook fish slightly as it will continue to cook once removed from the pan)
  4. Transfer the salmon to a platter, season with salt and cover with aluminum foil.
  5. To make the sauce:
  6. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and sauté until the onion is tender, about 3 minutes. Add the tangerine juice, honey and tangerine zest and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes.
  7. In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and water until the cornstarch dissolves. Whisk a little of the cornstarch mixture into the sauce and simmer until the sauce thickens, adding more as needed 1 to 2 minutes. Use immediately.

(Printable recipes can be found in my recipe index under Salads and Main Entrees)

Cauliflower; One of the Most Versatile Vegetables

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I truly love Cauliflower!  It is one of the most versatile vegetables around. I love it in soups. I love it in gratins. I use it in tarts, in salads, with pastas and grains. I make it like mashed potatoes for a healthier alternative. And now, I have discovered how to use it as rice! I just made Cauliflower Fried Rice and it was fantastic!

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The first step was to break the cauliflower into little florets and small pieces. Then working in batches, I pulsed it in my food processor until it became tiny little pieces that look like rice.

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For this recipe, I started frying chopped bacon and used the reserved bacon fat to fry the eggs and soften the vegetables. I added a little crunch with toasted slivered almonds and some flavor with soy sauce.  The result was a nicely textured faux fried rice!

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I served it as a tapas dish for my guests and they loved it. It would also make a perfect side dish for any meat, poultry or fish. The next morning, my son cooked up some fried eggs and topped them with the leftover Cauliflower Fried Rice for a protein and flavor packed breakfast!

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CAULIFLOWER FRIED RICE

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 6 slices thick-sliced bacon, chopped (optional)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4-6 small carrots, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup corn, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 cup peas, fresh or frozen
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds or other nuts
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons soy sauce 

Directions

  1. Cut the cauliflower into florets, discarding the tough inner core. Working in batches, pulse the cauliflower in a food processor until it breaks down into rice-sized pieces. You should have 5 to 6 cups of cauliflower “rice.”
  2. Cook the bacon in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat until crispy. Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain. Drain off all but a teaspoon of bacon fat (or use 1 teaspoon vegetable oil), reserving the fat.
  3. Place the pan back over medium-high heat. Whisk the eggs and pour them into the skillet. Quickly scramble the eggs or make an omelet. Transfer the eggs to a cutting board and roughly chop into pieces.
  4. In the same pan, warm 1 tablespoon of bacon fat or vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the ginger and garlic, and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the carrots and sauté until crisp-tender, 2 minutes. Stir in the corn, peas, and the cauliflower “rice” into the pan, mixing the ingredients thoroughly.
  5. Lower the heat to medium, cover the pan, and cook until the cauliflower is tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Uncover and stir in the bacon, eggs, green onions, almonds, and 2 tablespoons of soy sauce. Taste and add more soy sauce to taste. Serve immediately.
  6. Leftovers will keep refrigerated for about a week.

Note

  • For a spicier version, serve with Sriracha sauce.

(Printable recipe can be found in my recipe index under Side Dishes)

 

 

 

Citrus Berry Bread for Breakfast, Snack or Dessert!

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Since I’m not a big dessert eater, I prefer making sweets that can serve multiple purposes. This Lemon Scented Blueberry Bread is a wonderful example of something that goes equally well as a breakfast side, a snack with afternoon tea or as a dessert topped with extra berries and a dollop of creme fraiche. The lemon juice in the recipe offsets the sugar keeping it in the medium-sweet category. You can substitute or combine other citrus juices, vary the berries or use brown sugar as an alternate. There are several variations that would work nicely with this recipe.

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You can opt to ice the bread with a lemony glaze as I did or none at all. It adds a nice moist finish to the bread but is not critical to the flavor as the bread is quite moist itself.

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I served it as a side with a light breakfast of baked eggs, fresh cut grapefruit and cappuccino. A perfect way to start a beautiful weekend morning!

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LEMON SCENTED BLUEBERRY BREAD

Makes 2 loaves

Ingredients

  • 1 cup  butter
  • 2 cups  sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon  baking soda
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 2⁄3 cup  buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons tightly packed lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons  fresh lemon juice
  • 8 ounces  blueberries
  • Icing

  • 1/2 cup  powdered sugar
  • 1⁄8 cup  butter, melted
  • 3/4 tablespoons tightly packed lemon zest 
  • 1⁄8 cup fresh lemon juice

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°.
  2. Grease and flour two loaf pans.
  3. Cream butter and sugar.
  4. Add eggs and beat until smooth.
  5. Add buttermilk.
  6. Mix dry ingredients together and add to buttermilk mixture.
  7. Blend well.
  8. Mix in lemon juice and zest.
  9. Gently fold in blueberries and only mix until incorporated.
  10. Pour batter into loaf pans.
  11. Bake loaves on the middle rack of the oven for 60 to 65 minutes or until lightly golden and a toothpick test comes out clean.
  12. Cool bread 10 minutes, remove from pan and place on a plate top side up.
  13. For icing: Combind icing ingredients in a bowl.
  14. Beat icing with an electric mixer until smooth.
  15. Drizzle icing over the warm loaves.
  16. The icing will harden when the bread cools to room temperature.

(Printable recipe can be found in my recipe index under Desserts)