July 3, 2012

Balsamic Pickled Cherries, Prosciutto, Goat Cheese & Watercress Salad

Balsamic Pickled Cherries, Prosciutto, Goat Cheese & Watercress Salad

Fresh cherries are one of my favorite fruits, and I always seem to get carried away and bring home way too many for us to possibly eat. A great way to preserve these little beauties are to pickle them. They are unbelievable in this salad and will also go great on a cheese platter or… in a grilled cheese sandwich!

I’d like to take a moment to thank Jo Packman and the wonderful team at Where Women Cook Magazine for the generous 12 page feature this month. It’s out on the stands now, and features many more amazing women, make sure to grab a copy!

I’m a huge fan of What Katie Ate blog, and was thrilled and quite flattered (to say the least) that she featured one of my photos from this post,  in her “All American Post 2012” (below) Thanks Katie!

June 19, 2012

Mango – Ginger Ice Cream Floats

 

Mango – Ginger Ice Cream Floats

Mango season is in full swing here in Florida. Everywhere we look there are trees overloaded with mangoes in every color and shape you can imagine. The varieties are endless, each with a different taste and texture. (When I say endless, I’m not kidding, we have about 200 of the 500 varieties world wide). My pal Valerie and I were coming back from a bike ride and stumbled across a tiny beach chair filled with the most beautiful mangoes, perfectly ripe and warm from the sun. And what a bargain at 2 for $1, these suckers weighed about a pound and a half each! Valerie treated us to $2 worth (thanks Val!). I barely made it inside the back door before eating the first one, leaning over the sink. I immediately knew the second one would be transformed into an ice cream. If you can’t find super ripe mangoes, you can use a mango puree for this ice cream – make sure to add the lime juice and sugar.

The first time I tried this Jamaican Ginger “beer” (a.k.a ginger ale) it knocked my flip-flops off. Sharp, gingery, unlike any ginger ale I’ve had in the past. I’m sure most of you can’t get your hands on this brand, but do try to find another good quality ginger ale for this recipe, it’ll make all the difference. For an extra kick, top the floats off with an extra squeeze of lime and ginger juice.

 

June 12, 2012

Baby Heirloom Tomatoes with Sorrel, Avocado & Yogurt Puree, Marinated Fennel, Brazil Nuts


Summer is in the air, and I’m California dreaming……

It’s just about time to shutter up the house, pack our bags, our little dog, and head to the West coast. How blessed are we, to be able to spend the summers with our much missed family and friends, and in my opinion, in one of the best places on the planet – Santa Cruz, CA! Ok, I may be a little bias, considering this is my hometown and all. So, dust off those winter lists girls (you know who you are), we have lots of exciting things to see, eat, smell, discover ~ and most importantly, enjoy our time spent together.


I’d like you to meet Bailey Sterling…

Baby Heirloom Tomatoes with Sorrel, Avocado & Yogurt Puree, Marinated Fennel, Brazil Nut Powder

Now, about this amazing salad.
I know, I know… it’s not quite summer, but I couldn’t resist these beautiful baby heirlooms. By layering the salad, not tossing it with the dressings, you get to enjoy all of the components; each bite is slightly different from the last. The subtle sorrel – avocado puree pools the bottom of the platter, allowing you to coat each tomato as you go. I made the marinated fennel slightly acidic so it wakes up the entire dish as it runs through the tomatoes. The sweetness of the brazil nut powder ties everything together.

June 5, 2012

Smoked Corn, Coconut and Shrimp Soup ~ Crispy Chard and Garlic Chip Salad with Sesame – Lime Vinaigrette

Smoked Corn, Coconut and Shrimp Soup – Crispy Chard and Garlic Chip Salad with Sesame – Lime Vinaigrette

 

SUMMER is IMMINENT…

Typically, I avoid eating soup this time of year, especially since it’s been so warm here in South Florida. I was in the mood for something comforting, yet smokey and summery. It’s just what I wanted, the soup is light and silky with a touch of smoke; a celebration to the warmer months ahead of us. The shrimp is gently cooked in the soup just before serving, we enjoyed it warm, not piping hot. In my opinion, the fish sauce is the star of any dish. Unless you are a Vegan, don’t omit it, it really adds a special layer. I use a lot of it, as you can probably tell by the empty bottle above, I had just enough for this recipe.

The baby chard was beautiful at the market, the leafs were so tender they required little, if any, cooking at all. The obvious choice for me would have been to make it into a salad, but I really wanted something crunchy to go with the soup, so why not make a crispy chard salad? It was light, crisp and really flavorful with the lime juice, soy and garlic oil. Don’t be shy with the garlic chips either; because the garlic was blanched in milk before frying, the flavor is sweet and mild. Be careful not to over cook the garlic, they will become bitter. I pull the chips out of the oil while they are slightly undercooked, by the time you get them on the paper towels they will be perfect. Also, immediately scatter them into one layer on the paper towels, if they are touching each other the oil won’t be able to drain properly and they will become soggy. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt while warm.

I have to say, this is officially my new favorite salad. You can use any variety of chard or kale for this recipe, the cooking time may vary slightly.

May 31, 2012

Lemon – Almond Popovers with Homemade Strawberry Butter

Lemon-Almond popovers

 

homemade strawberry butter

Lemon – Almond Popovers with Homemade Strawberry Butter

It’s been quite a while since I’ve made homemade butter, and I can’t imagine why. It takes no time at all, just one ingredient and a few minutes. There’s something healing and satisfying about making the most basic of staples – butter, jam, pickles, cheese, bread. It always brings me back to the day when this was how things were done, no big deal. Making the butter myself, along with (part) of the flour, feels freeing. We don’t always take time for life’s simple pleasures, when in fact, it’s exactly what life is all about. Your simple pleasures may be planting a garden, knitting socks, molding clay – mine is using my hands to nourish.

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