Posts tagged ‘almonds’

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!

September 8, 2011

Golden Beet Salad with Fennel, Radish Shoots, Dates, Almonds & Gorgonzola Cream


I got the inspiration for this salad at Roadhouse in Davenport, Ca. Just a few miles from us here in Santa Cruz. It’s a gorgeous drive along the coast highway through the organic farms and vinyards. If your ever in this area here’s a great article listing some of our favorite places eat at and visit.


Golden Beet Salad
by Kelly Sterling

Method for the beets

6 small beets (any color)
2 cups water
1/4 cup organic sugar
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
Zest from 1/2 tangerine or orange (use a vegetable peeler to slice off large strips)
pinch of sea salt

Combine all the ingredients into a small sauce pan, bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until tender, about 40 minutes or so. When cool enough to handle, rub the skins off using paper towels. Slice and set aside.


Method for the Gorgonzola cream

4 ounces good quality gorgonzola (I used an Italian gorgonzola)
1/3 cup whole milk
pinch sea salt/ground black pepper

Using a mixer or blender, combine all ingredients and process until smooth and pourable but not runny. Depending on the softness of your cheese, you may need to + or – the amount of milk to get the right consistancy.


To assemble (mix quantities to your liking)

Reserved beets (from above)
Shaved Fennel (use a mandolin or vegetable peeler)
Radish sprouts or Arugula
Fresh Dates, chopped
Sliced almonds, toasted
Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette
Gorgonzola cream

You can plate this individually or on one large platter. Pool some of the Gorgonzola cream on the bottom of the plate. Toss together the beets, fennel, dates and radish sprouts with some of the vinaigrette and a small pinch of salt and pepper, place on top of the cream, sprinkle on the almonds. Serve immediately.




August 18, 2011

Andy’s Orchard and a Gorgeous Nectarine Tart

What a fun day this was! 
“Andy’s Orchard
award-winning, tree-ripened fruit is artisan fruit–grown, harvested, handled and shipped with special care– known for its flavor and delicacy; it has been featured in Gourmet and Sunset magazines”. Andy has one of the largest collections of stone fruit varieties on the west coast and is a noted fruit expert for the California Rare Fruit Growers organization. July-August are the peak harvest months for peaches, plums and nectarines – they were just perfect. I was invited as a guest to hang out at Andy’s with a fun group known as Bakers Dozen, they were having a special orchard tour and tasting this day. We must have sampled over 60 varieties, some common and some heirlooms that are very rare and not available anywhere other than Andy’s (ya, I know – don’t hate me). Each sample was sweeter and more complex than the next. With exhausted palettes, we staggered out to the orchards on an extended tour, our heads spinning in a heavenly sugar bliss. As we were guided through the orchard, we were free to hunt and gather our favorites from the tasting. It seemed like every other row was a different variety. Being tall, I definitely had the edge for getting to the untouched, perfectly ripe fruit on the upper branches!
What a jewel of a place, put this on your short list of places to stop by. Once you’ve tasted Andy’s fruit, no other will compare.

I knew before I got to the orchard that I wanted to make a tart, but didn’t realize there would be so many choices! The winner? Summer Fire Nectarines. Wow, these were perfectly sweet, slightly tart and firm but soft – so beautiful with their bright red center and brilliant orange flesh. I wouldn’t dare cook these, so I decided to make a Fresh Nectarine tart with hints of Meyer lemon and almonds. ~K.

June 27, 2011

Watercress and Spinach Salad with Blood Oranges, Strawberries & Vanilla-Cardamom Vinaigrette

Watercress and Spinach Salad with Blood Oranges, Strawberries & Vanilla-Cardamom Vinaigrette

I was super excited to receive some gorgeous blood oranges in my CSA share along with baby spinach and watercress. Of course, I immediately thought of a bright summer salad. I wanted to “warm” it up a bit with a vinaigrette made with cardamom and vanilla beans which are highly aromatic and go extremely well with sweet fruits. You can add fresh ricotta (see recipe here) and candied bacon (see recipe here) to make this (already) tasty salad out of this world. ~Kelly

Countdown to Hapa Ramen 1 week + 1 day

February 22, 2011

Two Salads and a Mandolin

Fresh Zucchini Salad with Avocado, Toasted Almonds and Feta

Fennel, Orange and Walnut Salad with Smoked Paprika Vinaigrette

I haven’t always liked the mandolin; it scared me, for the obvious reason – it can seriously hurt you! One of my first positions out of culinary school was at an amazing restaurant in Los Angeles. I dreamed about working at this place. I started in the pantry station (salads, hot and cold appetizers, pretty much the bottom of the brigade, but boy was I happy to be there!). One of the first jobs the Chef gave me was to slice a case of Brussels Sprouts. That’s probably the equivalent of the entire display at the grocery store, and I was to use a mandolin, gulp.

But why couldn’t I have just used my knife? “No, they need to be shaved extremely thin, like only a mandolin can do.” Surely this must have been a test. She could have easily given the job to one of the more experienced Chefs, who could do the job in a fraction of the time, blindfolded. This was one of those defining kitchen moments that would determine my destiny. If I’d failed, I’d have been humiliated and sentenced to peeling potatoes and chopping mushrooms for the duration of my stay.

So there I was, the newbie, and the only female on the hot line, sweating, not from the extreme heat but because of all the eyes fixed on me, giggling to themselves. They probably had bets going to see how long it would take me to get rushed to the hospital, quit, throw something or even worse – cry! Did I mention this was a non-paying internship?

Well, failure wasn’t an option, so I put on a triple layer of latex gloves, took a deep breath, put my head down and shoveled through the case, one by one. I survived with only minor injuries, which I kept to myself.

I’m not big on kitchen gadgets, I use very few of them. But the ones I own, I use all the time, and the mandolin is one of them. It’s a time saver that makes beautiful, uniform slices and ribbons of any size, from paper thin radishes for salads to potatoes, perfect to scallop or fry into chips. Few of us can manage this with a knife, and for the rest, there’s a mandolin. If you’re not already using a mandolin, I encourage you to pick one up. You may consider getting a pair of cut resistant gloves, because you can never be too careful. In my opinion, the Japanese Benriner is the best, it’s scary sharp, lightweight and for $20, the price is right! (click here for more info)

I received this amazingly fresh Zucchini and Fennel in my CSA share this week, and immediately knew I wanted to use them in salads, uncooked. These are bright, summery salads, and judging by the horrific weather a lot of you are having this winter, I hope it brightens your day a bit.

Fresh Zucchini Salad with Avocado, Feta and Almonds:
I was so excited to unwrap the ginormus, New York Times Cook Book for Christmas. One of the first recipes I flipped to was called “Zucchini Carpaccio,” it sounded perfect. I’ve adapted it a bit. I didn’t have pistachios or the oil, but I did have slivered almonds and almond oil, and thought a firm salty feta would be a nice addition. I also added the Thyme to the Zucchini as it marinated, I wanted the Thyme to have a chance to marry with the rest of the flavors in the dish, instead of adding it at the end as the recipe suggests. I have to say, this is one of the best salads I’ve had in a long time.

Fennel and Orange Salad with Smoked Paprika Vinaigrette:
I used the Tangelos and Lemons from my share, but any orange or tangerine will work great. If you don’t have a lemon, white wine or champagne vinegar will do the trick. I added the fennel fronds and fennel seeds to bring out the full flavor of the fennel. The smokiness of the Paprika plays well with the sweet tangelos and tart lemons.

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