A Taste of Mexico

loaded nachos

My family loves Mexican food anytime of the year.  I find the dishes I prepare during cooler months to be much to heavy in the summer.  I have created a method for building, literally, loaded nachos that will stand up to what you will find on any Mexican menu!  We love these and with loads of seasonal fresh vegetables they are so healthy!

Here’s what you’ll need:

Good tortilla chips, we prefer white corn chips

1 small box heirloom cherry tomatoes

1 bunch fresh radishes

1 purple onion, peeled and chopped

2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce

2 fresh jalapenos, seeded and sliced

2 avocados, peeled and sliced

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup corn kernels, frozen or freshly cut off the cob (if using fresh you’ll want to steam them lightly to soften)

1 bunch fresh cilantro

1 package velveeta shredded cheese

1 package Colby/Jack shredded

Sour Cream for Garnish

To assemble:

Place a layer of chips topped with a third of the two cheeses sprinkled on top.  Place another layer of chips with the rest of the cheese on top, Pour the black beans and corn over this and top with the remaining cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about five minutes.  Top with all of the sliced veggies, fresh sour cream and serve your favorite salsa on the side!  Easy breezy and so delicious!  Enjoy!

A Simple Menu

This is one of my favorite warm weather menus.  I think you’ll enjoy it!  Pair this with a good, crisp white wine and you have a delicious meal!  Have a safe holiday weekend and enjoy!

 

Pan Seared Salmon with  Miso/Ginger Glaze

Sauteed Cucumbers and Fennel with Grape Tomatoes

Jasmine Rice with toasted Sesame Seeds and Fresh Chives

Vanilla Ice Cream with Candied Ginger, Toasted Almonds and Caramel Sauce

YUM!!!  Honey Garlic Salmon -  1 teaspoon garlic, minced ½ teaspoon ginger, minced 4 tablespoons honey 2 tablespoons soy sauce Mix & marinate salmon 15-30 minutes Pan sear Salmon to carmelize then Bake @ 350 for 15-20 minutes:

Pan Seared Salmon with Miso/Ginger Glaze

This recipe serves 4.  It can easily be increase to serve 8 by doubling the ingredients.

4 – 6 ounce wild salmon filets

1 tablespoon good olive oil

1/2 cup miso ( available at Island Natural Foods or any Asian Market in your area)

1/4 cup Mirin (Japanese rice wine) or Dry Sherry

1 tablespoon shredded, fresh, peeled ginger root

1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon good olive oil

French or Celtic grey salt and white pepper to taste

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  In a heavy, heat resistant pan (I used a cast iron skillet), heat the oil until it is sizzling.  Lightly salt and pepper both sides of each filet.  Place the filets, skin side down in the hot pan and sear for about 3 -5 minutes.  In a medium bowl, mix the miso, Mirin, ginger root and soy sauce.  Spoon this mixture over the top of each filet and put the pan in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.  The salmon continues to cook even after you remove it from the oven and it is best if left a bit rare in the middle.  Serve with Jasmine rice (see recipe below) and a crisp, sauteed vegetable mixture (recipe below).

Ginger-Sesame Rice | Cuisine at home eRecipes I think it would be best with Jasmine rice :-):

Jasmine Rice with toasted Sesame Seeds and Fresh Chives

1 cup Jasmine Rice

2 cups water

1/2 cup toasted sesame seeds

1 tablespoon butter

sea salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons chopped, fresh chives

Bring the water to a boil and add the rice.  Cook 20 minutes, or until tender.  Remove the rice to a bowl and toss with the remaining ingredients.  For serving I always like to use a large, professional ice cream scoop to put a nice mound of rice on each plate before placing the salmon next to it.  Additional chives, uncut, can be used for garnish.

* 1 tablespoon butter      * 2 cucumbers, peeled, halved lengthwise and cut into half moons      * Pinch of nutmeg      * Handful of herbs like tarragon, chives, chervil, thyme, or parsley      * Salt and pepper    ~ add butter melt over medium heat add cucumber for about 5 min till crispy then seasoning:

Sauteed Cucumbers and Fennel with Grape Tomatoes

You read that right….sauteed cucumbers.  They are simply delicious and a perfect accompaniment to this meal.  I love to add shaved fennel to this dish and lovely grape tomatoes.  A bit of fresh dill and all you’ll say is yum! Note:  if you are not a fennel lover, that ingredient may be omitted.

2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced (cut the cucumber in half lengthwise to take the seeds out leaving crescent shapes to saute.)

1 fennel bulb, top removed and the bulb thinly shaved, with a mandoline, preferably.

1 pint grape tomatoes, washed and patted dry

1 tablespoons good olive oil

sea salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped

Heat the olive oil in a saute pan.  Add the cucumbers and fennel, tossing to heat through yet, still crisp, approximately 5 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and toss over the heat briefly.  Remove the pan from the heat and season with the salt, pepper and dill.  Serve with the salmon and jasmine rice for a delicious combination of tastes and textures.

Vanilla Ice Cream with Candied Ginger, Toasted Almonds and Caramel Sauce

I have to confess that I am a Ben & Jerry’s addict.  I control this addiction by not buying it too often, but for special occasions, I indulge myself and my guests in the fabulous flavors of their line.  For this dessert I choose their plain vanilla although I am a closet “Late Night Snack” and “Chubby Hubby” junkie.

Two pints will provide two nice scoops for four.  Place the two scoops in a bowl or serving piece of your choice.  Top with crumbled, candied ginger, a teaspoon or so per serving, sliced, toasted almonds and drizzle with caramel sauce.  There is a caramel sauce that I can almost faint over:  King’s Cupboard’s Three Chili Caramel Sauce.  Beware!  It does pack a bit of a “heated zing”, but I love the flavor sensation it creates when topping this recipe.

 

 

 

Simple & Delicious!


 

This is one of my favorite “go to” menus for entertaining in the summer.  It’s beginning to heat up outside!  I hope you’ll try and enjoy these recipes.  I’d love your comments as well!

Mojitos

Baratta Cheese with Heirloom Tomato “Jam”

Paella

Fresh Organic Arugula Salad

Crusty French Bread with Olive Oil 

Ice Cream Sundaes

Sangiovese Wine

mojitos

Mojitos

These are so delicious and easy!  In a pitcher combine 1 1/2 cups white rum; 1/2 bottle mojito mix; 1 1/2 cups blueberry/blackberry juice….fill to the rim with club soda, stir ad serve over ice with mint sprigs.  Refreshing and delicious!

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Baratta Cheese with Heirloom Tomato “Jam”

I got the idea for this recipe from a fabulous blogsite:  www.in sock monkey slippers.com, and am sharing the bloggers picture.    I expanded upon it a bit, it was delicious served with slices of french bread I toasted.

1 ball Baratta Cheese, at room temperature

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 small basket mini heirloom tomatoes, cut in half

1 clove garlic, finely minced

1 pinch of organic raw sugar

1/4 cup dry white wine

2 tablespoons capers, well drained

1/4 cup fresh basil, julienned

While the cheese reaches room temperature, begin making the tomato “jam”.  Place the tomato halves in the olive oil and simmer over low heat.  Add the garlic and sugar and continue to simmer until the tomatoes are breaking down.  Add the white wine and capers to the pan and continue cooking until most of the liquid is absorbed.  You’ll have a thick mixture that is so yummy.  If you like, you may season with a good sea salt and cracked black pepper.

Pour the tomato “jam” over the cheese and sprinkle with the fresh basil.  Place toast points around the platter and serve with the mojitos.

paella

Paella

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1 inch cubes

2 small andouille sausages, about six inches each, cut into 1/2 inch slices

1 pound fresh shrimp, peeled, leaving the tail on

1 bag littleneck clams

1 bag “Spanish” rice, with seasoning (this is a shortcut that you can pass on and use regular rice with a good pinch of saffron)

2 – 3 cups vegetable or chicken broth

1 large yellow onion, finely diced

3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced

1 can halved artichoke hearts, drained

1 can chopped tomatoes (16 oz.) drained

1/2 cup chopped, flat leaf parsley

Fresh orange slices for garnish, if desired.

In a large skillet, that has a fitted top, heat the olive oil.  brown the chicken and the sausage, drain and set aside.  Place the chopped onion in the pan and saute for five minutes.  Add the garlic and return the chicken and sausage to the pan.  Add the canned, drained artichoke hearts, tomatoes, rice and broth to the pan.  Cover and simmer on low heat for one half hour.  Remove the cover and add the shrimp and clams, pressing them down into the rice mixture.  Cover and simmer for twenty minutes.  If all of the liquid has not absorbed, bring the heat up a bit and simmer uncovered for five minutes.  Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and orange slices and place the pan in the middle of the dining table for serving.  Casual and so yummy!

arugula salad

Fresh Organic Arugula Salad

I love the peppery sharpness of fresh arugula.  This is so simple, just toss the arugula with a mixture of 2 tablespoons good olive oil, 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar, a bit of dry mustard, sea salt and pepper.  A bit of parmesan cheese, shaved and sprinkled over the top adds a tasty zing to the salad.

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Crusty French Bread with Olive Oil 

Not a necessity, but always good on the side for those who indulge in bread from time to time!

Ice Cream Sundaes

Another indulgence!  I usually opt for Ben & Jerry’s because, what can I say, it’s the best!  We love a scoop of “Late Night Snack” with a scoop of “Heath Bar Crunch”, drizzled with a bit of caramel sauce and a sprinkle of hot red pepper flakes…..delicious!

Finger Foods!

I am sharing this menu from 2014.  This has been a rough couple of weeks with Mr. T in and out of the hospital and further testing going on.  There are days, I have to admit, when I don’t feel like cooking, writing or anything else, but The Permanent Tourist remains a healing focus for me personally!  Thank you to all of my readers!  New menus coming up soon!

Saturday evenings usually find us tired from working in the garden and ready to relax.  Mr. T and I love to entertain, having a couple of friends over for drinks and a few appetizers is just the ticket for warmer evenings.  I found a recipe on the internet for “Bang Bang Shrimp”, the appetizer made famous by Bonefish Restaurant.  Of course, I had to do some tweeking, making the final recipe nothing like what I began with….it’s just something I do.  Anyway…the result was so delicious.  We paired it with some yummy bruschetta and a bowl of pistachio nuts.  Rum drinks seemed in order and “Dark and Stormy’s” filled the bill.  It was actually just the two of us when I did the test run this but I’ll be preparing it for friends very soon!  Enjoy! (Note:  the shrimp recipe is also gluten free…always a plus for me!)

Spicy Thai Shrimp

Bruschetta

Pistachio Nuts

Dark & Stormy’s

bang bang shrimp 2

Spicy Thai Shrimp

1 pound shrimp peeled and deveined

1 egg white, lightly whisked

1 cup cornstarch

2 cups peanut oil

Toss the cleaned shrimp in the egg white and place in a large baggie.  Pour the cornstarch into the bag, seal the bag and shake well to coat the shrimp.  Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet until almost smoking.  Fry the shrimp in batches until golden.  Drain on paper toweling.

Sauce:

1 1/2 cups mayonnaise

1/2 cup sweet Thai chili sauce or regular chili sauce, i.e. Heinz

1 teaspoon hot chili oil or Tabasco

Mix the three ingredients in a large bowl.  Transfer the drained shrimp to the bowl and mix well to coat.  Serve on a platter lined with fresh lettuce leaves and garnish with chopped scallions and lime wedges.

bruschetta 2

Bruschetta

1 baguette, cut on the diagonal in 1/4″ slices

olive oil

1 heirloom tomato, diced

1 clove garlic, peeled and minced

10 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar

sea salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.  Brush each slice of bread with olive oil and place on a cookie sheet, lined with parchment paper.  Bake for 10 – 15 minutes, until lightly browned.  Combine the remaining ingredients, tossing to coat with the oil and balsamic.  Spoon a mound of the tomato mixture on each slice of bread and serve.

pistachio nuts lg

Pistachio Nuts (no recipe needed for this!)

dark & stormy lg

Dark & Stormy’s

Per drink:

1 1/2 ounce dark spiced rum, we like a brand named “Kracken”

Reed’s extra strong ginger brew

fresh lime

Place ice in a highball glass, add the rum and ginger brew, stir well.  Squeeze fresh lime juice into the mixture and also garnish with fresh lime.  Cheers!

A Few Of My Favorite Things!

Since I’ve been in and out of the hospital with Mr. T since last week I’m reposting one of my most favorite menus for all of you to enjoy.  We have weeks full tests and procedures but I’m doing my best to keep things going on-line.  All the best to all of you!

We’re going a bit lighter this week.  These are some of my most favorite recipes.  Easy, healthy and so delicious!  Here’s the menu for four:

Champagne Cocktails

Lemony Zucchini Bruschetta

Roasted Tomato and Fresh Herb Pasta

Pan Roasted Grouper

Fresh Berry Napoleons

Sauvignon Blanc

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Champagne Cocktails

For each flute, soak a sugar cube in Angostura Bitters, top with icy cold champagne and a twist of fresh lemon.

zucchini and lemon bruschetta

Lemony Zucchini Bruschetta

1 whole wheat baguette

1 small log goat cheese

1 organic lemon

2 tablespoons fresh chives, finely chopped

1 tablespoon fresh basil, finely chopped

1 organic zucchini

Shaved parmigiano reggiano

Slice the baguette on the diagonal, 1/4 inch thick.  Place in a single layer on a sheet pan and toast at 325 degrees until crisp, about 15-20 minutes.  Let the goat cheese soften at room at room temperature.  With a lemon zester or the fine edge of a grater, remove the zest from the lemon (the peel), mix with the softened goat cheese, adding 1 tablespoon of juice from the lemon and the fresh herbs.  Wash the zucchini and with a mandoline or very sharp vegetable peeler, cut thin strips lengthwise.

To assemble:  Spread each slice of bread with a thin coating of the cheese mixture.  place a strip of zucchini on top and curl, like ribbon candy (see picture).  Squeeze any leftover lemon juice over the top.   Top with a small bit of shaved parmigiano reggiano cheese and serve.

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Roasted Tomato and Fresh Herb Pasta

1 pound angel hair pasta (I use the gluten free variety made from Quinoa)

2 pounds organic plum tomatoes roasted (see instructions below)

Extra virgin olive oil

1 cup each of fresh basil, flat leaf parsley and scallions, finely chopped

1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

sea salt and pepper to taste

1 cup shredded asiago cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  The pasta takes very little time to cook so I usually leave this step to last, so after the water boils turn it down and let it simmer so it’s ready.  Chop the roasted tomatoes and place in a large saute pan with 1 tablespoon good olive oil.  As the tomatoes begin to sizzle, add the fresh herbs and cook for about five minutes.  You want the herbs to be slightly crunchy.  Bring the water back to a boil, cook your pasta, drain it well and add it to the saute pan.  Add the toasted pine nuts and season with salt and pepper.  Transfer the pasta mixture to a large platter and sprinkle with asiago cheese.  Garnish with large basil leaves.

Roasted Tomatoes:

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.  place halved plum tomatoes on the pan and drizzle with good olive oil, then sprinkle with sea salt.  Place in the warm oven for 3-5 hours.  You want the tomatoes to be slightly browned.  You can keep these stored in a container in your refrigerator for up to one week for use in all sorts of dishes that call for tomatoes.  Roasting the tomatoes in this way really enhances their flavor and gives them a sort of “candied” taste.

pan roasted grouper

Pan Roasted Grouper

1 1/2 pounds fresh grouper cut into 6 ounce serving pieces

2 tablespoons good quality olive oil

juice of one lemon

1/4 cup dry white wine

1 tablespoon butter

sea salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large, heavy saute pan over medium-high heat.  Add the olive.  Lightly salt and pepper the grouper pieces, carefully adding them to the hot pan.  Cook for three minutes on each side, remove to a warm plate and set aside.  Add the lemon juice and wine to the pan, swirl in the butter and adjust the seasoning with sea salt and pepper as you desire.  Return the grouper to the pan to coat with the sauce.  You may add capers and lemon wedges if you wish.

berry napoleons

Fresh Berry Napoleons

Do not be afraid of filo dough.  It is in your grocer’s freezer and it is a wonderful thing to keep in yours.  I have done both dessert and main course Napoleons and they are always delicious.  Take a deep breath and have fun with it!

1 package filo dough, thawed

1 cup sugar

1 stick butter, melted

1 carton each fresh strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries.

1 jar good quality raspberry jam

1/4 cup chambord liqueur

1 small carton whipping cream

1/4 teaspoon good vanilla

Heat the oven according to the instructions on the filo dough package.  On a sheet pan, carefully place one sheet of dough, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.  Repeat this until you have eight layers of dough.  With a pizza cutter, cut the dough into 3″x4″ rectangles.  Bake until golden brown.  You’ll probably need to do two pans of this for four people.

Rinse the berries and toss together in a bowl.  In a small pan melt the jam, adding the chambord at the end, if the mixture is a bit thin you can add 1 teaspoon or so of cornstarch that has been dissolved in 1 tablespoon water, stir well over a low flame until slightly thickened.  Chill a medium sized metal bowl and use this to whip the cream until stiff peaks form.  Add just a bit of vanilla to give the cream extra flavor.

To assemble:  On each dessert plate place one square of pastry.  Spoon the jam mixture on the pastry and top with a heaping spoon full of berries.  Repeat this two more times, ending with berries on top.  Spoon a generous amount of whipped cream on each Napolean ad serve.  A nice cup of espresso is the perfect accompaniment to this yummy dessert!

Creole Vs. Cajun

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Redfish on the Halfshell with Creole Shrimp Sauce

I have been invited to speak before a group of fellow North Shore residents on May 17th.  The subject is the History of Food in Louisiana.  I’m researching and finding so many interesting things that I did not know or may have forgotten.  I was raised on the Gulf Coast of Texas which is almost like being in Louisiana.  We shared many of the same dishes and culture with our neighbors one state over.

pickled shrimp

Pickled Shrimp

I’m finding so many things about the difference between “Creole” cuisine and the traditional “Cajun” dishes we all know and love.  If a recipe includes tomato it is “Creole”, if not it is Cajun and the Holy Trinity….onion, celery and green pepper instead of the carrot you’ll find in a traditional French Mirapoix is always on hand with plenty of garlic as well.

gumbo

Cajun Gumbo

Louisiana has one of the most diverse culinary offerings of any state in the U.S.  I sometimes feel like I have landed in foodie heaven!  Follow along with me over the next few weeks as I share my journey with all of you.  There will be history, recipes and much, much more!

Salad Daze!

The weather is warming up and I’m turning to more vegetable based meals.  Salads are the perfect meal for my family!  I have to watch which cooked vegetables I serve due to a couple of picky eaters, but they’ll eat any vegetable raw.  So I take full advantage of local produce that is officially coming our way and plan yummy salads that provide protein and a deliciously light meal  I’m sharing three of my favorites with you today.  Serve them with grilled meat or on their own…it’s your choice!

Mexican Mixed Salad

Panzanella Salad

Arugula with Zucchini with Fresh Lemon Vinaigrette

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Mexican Mixed Salad

My friend, Holly McClure, has cooking origins that go back to her Native American heritage and her travels all over the world.  We recently joined her for dinner and she served the most delicious salad.  She shared the ingredients she used that evening.  This is a salad that is flexible.  You can add black beans, or any bean for more fiber, the nuts can be varied or you might want to add pumpkin or sunflower seeds.  Let your pantry be your guide!  The interesting thing about this salad is that part of the vegetables are lightly sauteed in coconut oil, a very healthy addition to our diet.  That same oil becomes the base for the dressing…it’s really yummy!

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 yellow onion finely diced

2 stalks celery finely diced

1 red pepper, peeled, seeded and diced

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 cup fresh or frozen corn off the cob (When corn is in I buy the organic variety otherwise I use the same, but frozen)

1 can white hominy, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup pecan pieces or nut of choice

1 head butter lettuce

2 cups thinly sliced fresh cabbage, red or green

2 cups organic baby spinach

1 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half

1 avocado, cut in chunks

Juice of 2 limes or lemons

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

Pink Himalayan salt and cracked black pepper

Heat the oil until just warm and add the onion, celery and peppers.  Lightly saute until the onion is just transparent.  Add the garlic, corn, hominy, beans (if desired) and nuts.  Heat through until then corn is just tender.  In a large bowl tear the salad greens and toss with tomato and avocado.  Pour the contents of your saute pan over the salad and toss with the lime juice and seasoning.  Serve with warm tortillas or flat bread.

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Panzanella Salad

Nothing says warm weather more than fresh, vine ripened tomatoes and basil.  There always seems to be part of a baguette from dinner the evening before in my kitchen.  This salad is the perfect solution for a dinner everyone loves, serve with your favorite grilled meat of leave it as a healthy plant based meal!

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 baguette, day old (1/2 of the longer baguettes serves about four, if you have more to feed use the entire baguette), cut into 1 inch cube

1 teaspoon Pink Himalayan salt

2 ripe tomatoes, seeded and cut into chunks

1 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced

1 large seedless cucumber, peeled, halved and sliced

1 cup fresh basil leaves, hand torn

1 cup pitted black olives, I like to use Kalamata’s because of the salty factor they add to the mix

1/2 cup crumbled feta or goat cheese

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the bread cubes, sprinkle with salt and allow to cook, tossing the often, until they are golden brown all over.  Toss the cubes in a large bowl with the remaining ingredients and top with the following vinaigrette.

Vinaigrette:

1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Pink Himalayan salt and coarsely ground black pepper to taste

Whisk all ingredients together and toss with bread mixture.  Enjoy!

zucchini carpaccio

Arugula with Zucchini with Fresh Lemon Vinaigrette

This is one of my most favorite summer salads.  I’ve been preparing it for years and it’s always a hit.  I like to make zucchini ribbons by using a potato peeler to cut long, thin strips for this dish, but you can always cut it in slices or chunks.

1 box of organic, baby arugula

1 large zucchini, washed and cut in strips, slices or chunks

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

Sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste

shaved Parmesano Regianno for garnish

Wash the arugula and gently pat it dry with paper toweling, chill until ready to assemble the salad.  Prepare the zucchini to your liking and chill.  Whisk the olive oil and lemon juice with the garlic and seasoning.  Place the arugula and zucchini in a large bowl and toss with the dressing.  Garnish with the cheese and serve with crusty bread.  This is also good topped with grilled shrimp.

Staying Fit!

I’m sharing a tried and true recipe that I’ve been preparing for years.  Marilyn Diamond wrote the “Fit for Life” cookbook to partner with her then husband, Harvey, as they led many devotees to a healthier lifestyle back in the 1980’s.  I’ve got both the small paperback’s as well as Marilyn’s “American Vegetarian Cookbook” that is filled with some of the most delicious recipes.  I’m not a vegetarian, preferring to think of myself as a “Flexitarian”.  I eat red meat when my body craves it, which is not often.  This particular recipe is enough to sate anyone’s appetite with delicious fingerling potatoes mixed in with all sorts of greens, all topped off with a yummy lemon garlic vinaigrette.  You can easily bring meat into the meal with a grilled steak, chicken breast, fresh fish or seafood.  So, here is one of all time favorites, updated a bit from the original recipe!

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Award Winning Potato Lover’s Salad

1/2 pound yellow, fingerling potatoes

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika

2 cups broccoli florets, slightly steamed, substitute with string beans or asparagus if you’re not a broccoli lover

4 cups butter lettuce, chopped

2 cups organic baby spinach

1 cup radicchio, shredded

1/2 purple onion, finely diced

To assemble the salad:

Steam the potatoes in a vegetable steamer until just fork tender.  Remove the potatoes, save the water for the broccoli to steam.  Melt the butter and combine with sea salt and paprika.  Toss the tender potatoes in this mixture.  Break the broccoli into two inch pieces and steam for about 3-4 minutes, drain and rinse in cold water.  Place all of the salad greens and onion into a large salad bowl with the brocolli.  There are two methods you can choose from to prepare the potatoes.  I saute them in a skillet until they are a bit crusty and browned.  You can also put them under your broiler, on medium high, and cook them that way if you choose.  When the potatoes have cooked, scattered them over the top of the salad and drizzle with lemon garlic vinaigrette.

For the dressing:

1 large clove garlic

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

Freshly ground black pepper.

Crush the garlic and put into a small mixing bowl.  Add the remaining ingredients and whisk to combine.  Drizzle this dressing over the salad with more on the side if needed.

That’s it!  Simple and really delicious!  I’d love to know if you try the recipe.  Happy Thursday!

So Delicious!

 

I am officially back in the business of catering.  Since I never do anything halfway I made my local debut yesterday when I catered brunch for 55 people at the home of a friend.  I’m sharing a recipe today that was a huge hit AND it’s gluten free!  The rest of the menu might not have been quite as health oriented, but it was delicious and the event was a big success.  This recipe is for a quiche with a shredded sweet potato crust instead of the traditional crust made with flour.  It went so quickly I didn’t get a chance to photograph it so I am sharing a photo I found on Google Images that is as close as I can come to what I created.  The recipe is all mine and I think you’ll love it!

quiche with sweet potato crust

Google Images

Quiche with Shredded Sweet Potato Crust

Preheat oven to 425

1 large sweet potato, peeled and shredded

1 egg beaten

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Sea Salt and Cracked Black Pepper to taste

Combine the ingredients and pat them into a glass pie dish or spring form pan that has been lightly greased.  Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes.  Reduce the heat in the oven to 350 degrees.

For the filling:

2 cups shredded Swiss Cheese

4 eggs, beaten

1 1/2 cups half ‘n’ half

1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg

Sea Salt and Cracked Black Pepper to taste

Place the shredded cheese in the prepared crust.  Beat the eggs then add the half ‘n’ half and seasoning.  Place the pan on a baking dish to prevent spilling.  Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees or until a knife, inserted in the middle of the quiche, comes out clean.

I know you probably wonder what the rest of the menu was so I’ll share that as well!  Creme Brulee French Toast, Creole Mustard Ham and Hashbrowns with the Cajun Trinity.  Bloody Mary’s and Mimosa’s were flowing and it was a wonderful time.  I’m thrilled to be “back in the saddle” again!  Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Tropical!

 

 

 

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On Sunday I promised a post on my favorite new eating spot!  Carmo….A Tropical Cafe on Julia Street in New Orleans is just my kind of place.  Healthy foods, all made from scratch and creatively combined to offer a menu that has me wanting to go back for more!

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The healthy juices you’ll find at Carmo are literally “Super” juices brought in from Brazil.  You won’t see these power packed elixers anywhere else.  With names like Caja, Cupuacu, Graviola and Acerola you’ll enjoy the flavors as well as the healing qualities each of the juices featured contain.  Get your daily vitamin C as well as plenty of anti-oxidants.  And if you want something more on the cocktail side have a shot of  Cachacha, the famous Brazilian spirit that will help you relax at the end of a busy day!

Chef Dana Honn and his lovely wife, Christina, are co-owners.  You’ll find Wataru Sacki cheffing in the kitchen as well as Beth Korn as General Manager.  What a winning team!  They provide a splendid fusion of Southern Coastal, East Indian, Caribbean, West African and, of course, South American.  They are on the bandwagon with sustainable food, seasonal and locally grown.  Here is just a sample of what you may enjoy when you visit!
carmo salad

A scrumptious array of freshly made salads.  The Carmo that includes Rice, pineapple, avocado, almonds, cashews, raisins, cucumber and so much more.  You can order the salad with or without the smoked ham.  This cafe is a vegan’s paradise!

broken noodle salad

Two other salads we loved were the Esmeralda, packed with high protein Quinoa and black beans with a delicious dressing, toasted pumpkin seeds and fresh cotija cheese top it all off.  Then the Broken Noodle Salad which combines rice noodles, mung bean sprouts and lots of yummy fresh veggies.

pulled pork at carmo

I loved the gluten free sandwich, the “Rico, that is comprised of a grilled plantain patty topped with melted cheese, freshly smoked pulled pork, avocado and a fabulous salsa fresca.  The pork is raised at George Family Farm near Tuscaloosa  and the flavor is outstanding.  When you taste pork that is raised this way with the just the right corn and other grains being fed to the livestock you will not believe the difference!

There are always wonderful specials daily at affordable prices.  This is the place you’ll run into the healthy “Hip” crowd in New Orleans.  You may also want to know that Carmo has a great private party room on site for your next special occasion as well as full catering services.  Carmo has it all and I thank Chef Dana for being such a great host!

Cafe Carmo – 527 Julia St. – (504) 875-4132 – http://cafecarmo.com/