Enjoy A Meal With A Simple Spring Salad

Enjoy A Meal With A Simple Spring Salad The arrival of spring means that seasonal fruits and vegetables are in season. Produce like asparagus, strawberries, leafy greens and rhubarb among others.

We look through some of our favorite past cooking magazine issues and possibly yours as well to find the perfect spring salads.

Your family will love these vibrant, colorful and delicious salads. If you want to make a meal out of them, just add some chopped cooked chicken, or fish, like salmon, halibut, or tuna.

Both featured salads serve a table of four.

Arugula Salad Topped with Walnuts Strawberries and Parmesan Cheese

Vinaigrette 

1 cup halved fresh strawberries

2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar *see recipe notes below

1 tablespoon EV olive oil

1 teaspoon raw local honey (local to your area)
Add ingredients to a blender and blend until well mixed.

Recipe Notes

Aged balsamic vinegar may not be economical for you, as I thought it wasn’t for me. Unless you plan to regularly use it. A bottle of 12 year old aged balsamic vinegar is around $40 a bottle.

What we did, is brought a 1/2 cup of regular balsamic vinegar infused with strawberry (you can also opt for blueberry or pomegranate) to a boil over high heat in a small ceramic coated skillet. Cook until the vinegar begins to thicken and becomes syrupy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Let cool then follow vinaigrette recipe above.

Salad Ingredients

1 cup walnut halves

We found a cool way to candy the walnuts, and credit goes to private chef Chris Crary  with his candied walnut recipe featured at California Walnuts.

1/2 cup California walnuts

1 egg white

1 ounce sugar

2 tablespoons walnut oil

Salt to taste

Beat egg white until it forms soft peaks. Add the sugar and mix in to peaked egg white. Next add the walnuts and coat with the egg mixture. Place in a 300 degree oven for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Allow to cool. Once mixture is cool, toss in walnut oil. Set aside.

16 ounce bag of arugula

2 cups fresh strawberries, quartered

1/2 cup candied walnuts

Shaved Parmesan

Arugula Salad Topped with Walnuts Strawberries and Parmesan CheeseIn a large salad bowl, combine arugula, strawberries and candied walnuts. Plate salad and drizzle with vinaigrette and top with shaved Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

To make salad a meal, when mixing salad ingredients, add a cup or two of your choice, chopped cooked chicken, salmon, halibut, or tuna.

Mixed Greens with Smoked Salmon Avocado and Grapefruit Salad

1 grapefruit with white flesh, peeled, pith removed, and dice segments

5 ounce package of mixed greens

1 large avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced

5 ounce package smoked salmon, flake with a fork

Vinaigrette

Juice of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon of sweet garlic mustard (we found this at Whole Foods Market)

1 tablespoon of EV olive oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Mixed Greens with Smoked Salmon Avocado and Grapefruit SaladMix lemon juice, mustard, oil, salt and pepper to a large salad bowl.  Next add mixed greens, grapefruit, avocado, and smoked salmon. Toss until well coated with vinaigrette. Plate and serve.

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The Difference Between Stock and Broth

collage of broths and stocks - The Difference Between Stock and Broth What is the difference between broth and stock? It seems like they would virtually be the same thing as they both are a liquid, but there are slight differences. What is the difference? Basically, the difference is in how they are both made or prepared.

Stock is made from the bones and connective tissue of meat, and including vegetables. Though they are removed after the stock is cook, and use in another meal, and the stock is used as a base for soups among other things. Usally a chicken stock is administered when an individual has a cold or flu.

While broth is the cooked liquid with meat and vegetables left in and enjoyed together.

There is a  slight differences between the two, though they could be similar or the same.

What Is Needed to Make a Stock

The following is instructions to make a stock using vegetables along with either beef shanks, or chicken, including wings, back, neck, ribs, and giblets (except the liver). Most stocks are vegetable base only, and meat bones without the meat (in the case of chicken, it would be the leg bones without meat).

vegetable and - or meat stockIdeally for a stock using bones, you want to use bones that are cleaned of all of the meat. This can be hard to achieve in your own home kitchen.

However, you could buy some meat bones (usually beef bones only are found) at your local butcher who has cleaned the bones of all the meat.

To make a stock using beef, first arrange the beef shanks in a single layer in a non greased large shallow roasting pan.

Roast, uncovered, for 45 minutes or until nicely browned. Transfer the shanks and ribs to a stockpot.

Pour off all the fat from the roasting pan, then add 2 cups of  water to the pan and swirl it around, scraping any browned bits of meat or juices. Now add to the stockpot along with the remaining water.

Bring the water to a boil, uncovered, over high heat, skimming off any scum.

Next add the onions, carrots, tomato, garlic cloves, bay leaves, parsley, thyme, and salt. Partially cover and simmer for 3 – 4 hours, occasionally skimming off the scum.

Remove meat and vegetables, set aside. Pour the pot of liquid through a large colander or sieve, setting over a very large heatproof bowl.

Let the stock cool, pour into jars and cover with lid. Put into refrigerate overnight. The next day, discard the fat that has solidified on top. Use your stock within 3 to 4 days.

You could also ladle the cooled stock into ice cube trays, then freeze. Once frozen, place stock cubes in freezer bags or containers for future use.

Do the same above if using chicken, though you do not roast the chicken in the oven. Instead, add the chicken parts to a large stockpot. Add the water and bring to a boil, uncovered over high heat, skimming off any scum.

Next add the remaining ingredients, and simmer for 3 hours. Also at this point, you can add fresh herbs if you would like, but this is optional and not at all necessary for making a good stock, as you don’t want to dilute the flavors of the carcass.

Next, do the same with the cooked stock, chicken parts and vegetables, as the same with the beef stock, just before straining.

hearty brothWhat Is Needed to Make a Broth

Here’s how to make a broth using beef or chicken.

Heat some cooking oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add vegetables like garlic, onions, celery, and carrots. Cook the vegetables until softened.

Add 8 cups of water, with bay leaves, parsley, and thyme. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 45 minutes, or until meat is cook through.

When broth is cooked, you can go a step further for a more hearty broth by adding some cooked rice, noodles or legumes.

When to Use Your Stock Or Broth

The difference between stock and broth, is a stock is the liquid produced by simmering raw ingredients, with the removal of the solids (meat and vegetables), leaving a highly flavored liquid. You can also chose to make a broth without meat.

broth with vegetables and pasta The stock can be used as a base for many things like soup, gravies, and sauces among others.

Were as broth is a basic soup, where the solid pieces, the meat and vegetables, remain. A broth is often made more substantial by adding rice, barley, legumes, and even pasta. You can also make a broth without meat.

As you can see, there is a difference between stock and broth, though the way in how they are made are very slightly similar.

Here are some great soup recipes to try from the archives of Splendid Recipes and More

Red Kale Cannellini Beans and Chorizo Soup

Chicken Curry Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Sausage and Tortellini Soup

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Ingredients For Delicious Winter Salads

An younf woman eating a warm winter saladFood crops harvested in winter months with the use of hoop houses or hot houses (such as used in California, USA) and other methods that extend the natural growing season, and old-fashioned storage vegetables like cabbages and potatoes all mean that there are plenty of winter produce to choose from.

What winter produce that is available, is sufficient to enjoy delicious winter salads along with great homemade dressings and vinaigrette’s.

The different crops available in the winter months include among others:

Beets: Available in season from fall through spring in temperate climates, and those available during the summer months, are from storage.

Belgian Endive: This leafy green is forced to produce under artificial conditions, making them available year round. Their traditional season, as with all chicories, is late fall through winter.

When grown in open fields they are covered with sand for about 6 months to keep out the light. When grown in hot houses they are placed in darkness for 6 months before shipping to market for purchase.

Read more here about the endive (includes a recipe with video): Endive and Fruit Salad with Chicken

Broccoli: This and all other cruciferous vegetables can be grown year-round in temperate climates, but broccoli tastes best when harvested in the cooler temperatures of fall in most climates.

salad plate with Warm Winter Salad with Apples Spinach Blue Cheese and Walnuts

Warm Winter Salad with Apples Spinach Blue Cheese and Walnuts

Brussels sprouts: These vegetables are part of the cabbage family.  They grow on stalks, and they last somewhat longer than when sold packaged or removed from their stalks.

Cabbage: This vegetable is crispy when raw with bitter flavor, though it mellows and sweetens the longer it’s cooked.

Sweet Potatoes: This root vegetable is often referred too or interchangeable with yams. The two vegetables are different though.

Most yams in the USA are sweet potatoes. Yams are dry and starchy, and grown mainly in Africa and Asia. They can weigh up too 100 pounds.

Sweet potatoes store very well and are available year round in warmer areas. Though their season is from late summer through winter.

Other vegetables available in fall to winter months include, radicchio, radishes, turnips, winter squash, rutabagas, parsnips, chard, collard greens, cress, spinach, kale, carrots, leeks, fennel, and celery among others.

There are also a verity of fruits in season during the winter months that you can enjoy in fruit salads, or as a snack. To view the available in season winter fruits link here: Fruits Info – Seasonal Fruits.

Salads To Enjoy In The Winter Months

Chilly temperatures, and dark winter days are traditionally suited to cheese, meat, and vegetable casseroles, including pastas. A salad filled with raw vegetables may not seem appealing in the cold winter.

But what if you could prepare a warm winter salad, like this one – Warm Kale Salad with Dried Cranberries and Walnuts. This recipe is offered by a professional chef, author, recipe developer, educator and certified health coach at A Food Centric Life.

THE RECIPE

Warm Kale Salad with Dried Cranberries and Walnuts

1 large bunch of organic kale (Tuscan, Lacinato or Dinosaur)

a white salad plate with Warm Kale Salad with Dried Cranberries and Walnuts

Image Credit: A Food Centric Life

1 large shallot

2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 large cloves of garlic, minced

Handful of dried cranberries

Small handful of chopped walnuts

1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar (suggestion: infused balsamic fruit flavored variety like dark cherry)

Salt and pepper, to season

Bring a large pot (5 quart/liter) of water to a boil while you are trimming the kale leaves and slicing the shallot. Trim the ribs out of the center of the kale leaves, and then cut the leaves crosswise into ribbons. Slice the peeled shallot crosswise into thin rings.

When water boils, add 2 teaspoons salt, then drop the kale leaves into the water and cook for 2 minutes (called blanching). Drain well through a sieve and place kale on a clean kitchen towel. Alternatively you can steam your kale for 2-3 minutes, and then proceed with the recipe.

In a medium sauté or fry pan, heat the olive oil over medium low heat until warm. Add the shallot rings, then the garlic. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring until softened. Be careful not to let them burn. Add the cranberries, walnuts, and vinegar. Stir and cook for a minute, then add the cooked kale. Toss the kale ribbons to coat and warm, season up with salt and pepper, and then serve.

Make this a even more warm winter salad by either serving the warm salad as a side dish with roasted chicken, as Sally the author of “A Food Centric Life” explains, or as a foundation for roasted salmon. She also suggests placing the warm salad over a bed of quinoa for a vegetarian or vegan entree.

Sally says you can use a fruit flavored infused balsamic vinegar like dark cherry or fig when making the vinaigrette.

Another great warm winter salad you can enjoy is: Sweet Potato, Kale and Shrimp Skillet

2 tablespoons olive oil

salad plate with Sweet Potato, Kale and Shrimp Skillet½ cup onion, diced

Red pepper flakes, to taste

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups sweet potatoes, diced

2 cups fresh shrimp

3 cups trimmed and coarsely chopped kale leaves

Salt and black pepper to taste

Heat a a ceramic coated cast iron pan over medium heat, add olive oil.

Next add onions and red pepper flakes, and saute until onions are soft and browned.

Next add garlic and cook about 30 seconds more.

Next add sweet potato and cook until soft, about 10-15 minutes. If necessary add a 2 or 3 tablespoons of water to help cook the sweet potato.

Next add shrimp and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until they are pink in color.

Turn heat to low and add kale, stirring in until wilted.

Season to taste with salt and pepper (optional).

Plate and serve.

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Red Kale Cannellini Beans and Chorizo Soup

Red Kale Cannellini Beans and Chorizo

When the suns behind the winter clouds and not able to warm your skin, the next best thing is Red Kale Cannellini Beans and Chorizo Soup.

The cannellini beans or white beans are also known as white Italian kidney beans. The skin of the white kidney beans are much thinner and more delicate than their red cousins. White beans also have a smooth, but slightly nutty tasting interior.

Concerned about your daily fiber in take? A half cup serving of cooked cannellini beans are a excellent source of dietary fiber, providing you with 7 grams of your 30 grams of fiber needed daily for good health.

Here is what you will need for this simple and nutritious Red Kale Cannellini Beans and Chorizo Soup.

Our ingredients are all organic grown and harvested and pasture fed meat.

red kale2 tablespoons avocado oil

12 ounces pork chorizo sausage, 1-inch slices

1 medium red onion, diced

3 gloves garlic, minced

1 medium purple carrot, diced

1 rib celery, diced

4 cups chicken stock

2 15 ounce cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 teaspoon Himalayan salt optional

4 cups red kale, stemmed and leaves torn

spooning from the sauce pot - Red Kale Cannellini Beans and ChorizoOver medium heat, add oil to a large sauce pot. Once heated add meat and brown. Next add onions, and garlic. Stir until garlic and onion is just browned about 1 minute.

Next add diced carrots and celery, and stir until you see the vegetables brighten in color, about 2 minutes. Next add chicken broth, beans and salt.

a large sauce pot of Red Kale Cannellini Beans and ChorizoBring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer, and add kale, then stir in. Place lid on pot, and on simmer let soup cook another 5 minutes.

Red Kale Cannellini Beans and Chorizo - close upTo thicken the soup a little, as we did not use potatoes (their starch content will thicken soups), you can add some arrowroot starch. In a small glass add 1 tablespoon of starch and stir in a teaspoon of fresh water, and add when soup is boiling. When soup has thickened some, lower heat to a simmer. Add kale and stir in, then place lid on soup pot and let cook another 5 minutes.

Red Kale Cannellini Beans and Chorizo

According to Mangia Bene Pasta, the Cannellini beans are difficult to harvest when ripe and therefore are harvested in the fall when the pod is completely dry.  As a result, the beans are rarely eaten fresh.

In some parts of Italy, the beans are a popular accompaniment to tuna and pasta dishes containing poultry. In the United States, vegetarians often utilize the hearty beans as a fish or chicken substitute, due to its protein source (WiseGeek).

The dried beans double in size when soaked, so a few beans go a long way in a dish.  Cannellini beans are available in supermarkets in both dried and canned form. If cannellini beans are unavailable, great northern beans or navy beans can be used, though they are a much smaller bean.

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Leafy Green Salads With Homemade Cheese

Leafy Green Salads With Homemade CheeseThrowing some leafy greens with other vegetables together on a plate and topping it with some nuts, seeds and your favorite dressing or vinaigrette is a great way to get your daily servings of vegetables.

How about going a step further and adding some cheese, like Parmesan, grumbled goat cheese, or even some of your own homemade cheese made in an hour? What? Yes you read right, homemade cheese made in one hour.

One Hour Cheese by Claudia LuceroWe were listening to NPR this past week, and the program was All Things Considered, and I was very intrigued at hearing that you could make cheese in one hour.

Listen here to the 3 minute interview with Claudia Lucero who runs Urban Cheesecraft in Portland, Oregon, and authored the book “One Hour Cheese” (CLICK HERE TO HEAR INTERVIEW). 

After listening in the car to the interview with Claudia, the very next day with a gallon of milk from Whole Foods Market, I ventured to make some homemade cheese in my own kitchen for the first time.

Here’s what you need to do to make your own cheese in an hour….

Pour 4 cups milk into a 2-quart saucepan and heat it on medium as you stir.

Look for foam to begin forming around the inside edges of the pot as well as little simmer bubbles coming from the bottom—not a rolling boil. Stir continuously so that a skin doesn’t form on the milk’s surface.

Once you see a soft boiling of the milk, slowly add 1/8 cup of fresh lemon juice. You can also use vinegar. Apple cider or white vinegar will do.

As you are slowly pouring in the lemon juice, stir gently to incorporate it until you see the clear separation of curds, which will be white solids, and whey, a clear liquid.

This separation of curds from the whey is called coagulation.  When you see coagulation and the liquid no longer looks like plain milk, turn the heat to low and stir the curds very, very gently as you cook them for 2 minutes more after the coagulation begins.

Have a cheese cloth placed in a small strainer over a bowl, and using a slotted spoon, carefully spoon out the curds and place them into the cheese cloth, and let any excess whey drain off.

After the whey has drained off, you can add some sea salt or Himalayan salt to the cheese and mix in.

We add some garlic seasoning, which gave it a great flavor. In Claudia Lucero’s book, she even shows you how to make a faux cheddar cheese (which takes days to make) in an hour by just adding turmeric to give it that orange look that you see when purchased at the market.

Here is what we got at our first try making homemade cheese.

making homemade cheese

The cheese is much like a crumbled cheese you would buy at the market. Here are a few leafy green salads we put together using our homemade cheese.

Leafy Green Salad With Homemade Cheese

               Leafy Green Salad With Homemade Cheese

This salad is a few handfuls of leafy greens (your choice) topped with sliced radishes, pecan pieces, pomegranate vinaigrette, and homemade crumbled cheese.

making a leafy green salad with root vegetables and homemade cheese

Our next salad is a plate of leafy greens, with a fried egg and some root vegetables, consisting of sliced radishes and golden beets. We topped the salad with a olive oil and sweet balsamic vinaigrette, homemade crumbled cheese and fresh thyme.

Leafy Greens With Root Vegetables and A Fried Egg And Homemade Cheese

Leafy Greens With Root Vegetables and A Fried Egg And Homemade Cheese

As we mentioned at the on set of the article, this is a great way to get a few servings of your daily need of vegetables, and a added treat you make yourself, Homemade Cheese.

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Citrus Fennel and Avocado Salad

Citrus Fennel and Avocado SaladAccording to Vegetarian Times,  avocado and grapefruit are a common salad combination in Spain and France. Citrus Fennel and Avocado Salad is like capturing sunshine in a dish!

Our featured recipe couples the citrus fruits of navel oranges, and ruby-red grapefruit with zesty arugula, the unique flavor of fennel, and creamy avocado. It also has a homemade vinaigrette that includes extra-virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, Italian parsley, and the unique flavor of fresh thyme leaves.

dill and fennel flowersAre you wondering about fennel? Well, fennel is a bulb shaped vegetable with tall, thin, wispy, fronds that have the appearance of dill.

Though the two are from different plant spices. Dill is from the celery family, and fennel is from the carrot family.

Apart from the crunchy rather spicy vegetable, the fronds can be used in salads as well.

Fennel is a firm and crunchy vegetable, and has a flavor much like licorice and anise. Sometimes in the market, the produce worker will refer to fennel as anise, though it is not. Just like comparing yams and sweet potatoes, also very different from one another.

Now for our featured recipe: – Citrus Fennel and Avocado Salad – and here is what you will need.

1 teaspoon Himalayan salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, remove leaves from stems

2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley chopped

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

1 large pink grapefruit, peeled and pith removed, cut segments into 3’s

1 large navel orange, peeled and pith removed, cut segments into 3’s

1 fennel bulb, quartered and thinly sliced, reserve fronds (optional)

4 cups arugula

1 ripe avocado peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks

lemon and olive oil dressingMix first six ingredients in a large bowl, and set aside.

grape fruit with peel removed grapefruit segmentsPrepare fruit, fennel, leaving avocado last so flesh doesn’t brown.

Using a knife remove peel from both the orange and grape fruit. Be careful while cutting away at the peel, so as to remove as little of the fruit as be possible.

Next slice away any white pith, again removing as little fruit as possible.

Arugala and Fennel in a salad bowl with dressingAdd the arugula and fennel to the vinaigrette and mix until well coated.

Citrus Fennel and Avocado Salad - image2On individual plate’s spoon salad mix and top with 1/3 cup grapefruit segments and 1/3 cup orange segments. Next add 4 to 6 chunks of avocado. Before serving add a few cut fronds to the plated salad. Prepares about 4 salad plates.

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Shredded Candy Cane and Green Apple Slaw with Pecans

Platted - Shredded Candy Cane and Green Apple Slaw with Pecans over Boston Lettuce

Candy-cane

Image Credit: Christmas Wow

When you hear the word candy cane, it is always associated with a candy that is in the shape of a small cane with white and red strips through it.

Or a small rounded candy you would receive at a restaurant after enjoying a meal.

Did you know though that there is a root vegetable that is also referred to as a candy cane? Yes, the beet root called “Chioggia,” and it has stripes of red and white on the inside its flesh.

shredded candy cane beetThe beet is nothing new to the vegetable market, as it is a Heirloom, meaning heirloom vegetables are open-pollinated cultivars, and have a reputation for being high quality and easy to grow (The Heirloom Vegetable Gardener’s Assistant).

Open-pollination is a particular cultivar that can be grown from seed and will come back “true to type.”

Our featured recipe contains these heirlooms, the candy striped Chioggia. Here is what you will need to make your “Shredded Candy Cane and Green Apple Slaw with Pecans.”

1 large chioggia beet, peeled and shredded

1 large Granny smith apple, shredded with skin on

1/4 cup pomegranate dressing (can be purchased at your local Whole foods Market)

1/3 cup pecan pieces

pomegranate dressingFirst add the dressing to a large mixing bowl. You can add more than 1/4 cup of the dressing if you wish.

shredded candy cane beets and green applePrepare the the produce, and add to the mixing bowl. After shredding the beet, and apple mix it right away with the dressing, as it contains vinegar, which will coat the produce and stop it from browning to fast. Isn’t that amazing how the chioggia beet looks so much like a candy cane?

adding pecansMix the shredded beet and apple together until it is well coated with the dressing. Next add the pecan pieces and mix in.

Shredded Candy Cane and Green Apple Slaw with PecansNext spoon the slaw into a salad serving bowl.

Platted - Shredded Candy Cane and Green Apple Slaw with Pecans over Boston Lettuce Plate and serve over a piece of Boston lettuce leaf, and your favorite meat dish.

This side salad can make a great addition to your “Turkey Dinner” this coming Thanksgiving (November 26th) or Christmas (December 25th).

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