Fresh Basil Raspberry and Goat Cheese Salad

Fresh Basil Raspberry and Goat Cheese Salad

Fresh Basil Raspberry and Goat Cheese Salad

Fennel which is sometimes confused with Anise, is one of the ingredients in this fresh salad.

Fennel is a hardy perennial plant, that is documented as an herb, and all parts of the plant are eaten, were as with the Anise, only the seeds are used for consumption.

The fennel has yellow flowers and feathery leaves. It is a native plant to the shores of the Mediterranean.

Because of its highly aromatic smell and flavor, it has found its way, becoming naturalized in many parts of the world, especially on dry soils near the sea-coast and on riverbanks.

Fennel has found its way into culinary dishes and the medicine cabinet, as it has medicinal uses as well.

The seeds are used whole or are ground into a powder and used in many culinary dishes of India, Pakistan, Ground fennel seedAfghanistan, Iran, and the Middle East.

Fennel seeds are the primary flavor component in Italian sausage.

Chinese Five Spice PowderThe Chinese also use the seed in their Five Spice Powder, which we personally use for our desserts that call for pumpkin pie spice.

Now for our featured recipe: Fresh Basil Raspberry and Goat Cheese Salad, and here is what you will need.

4 cups of red leaf salad, or leafy spring greens

4 cups basil, fresh

1 fennel, thinly sliced

2 cups raspberries, fresh

1 medium red onion, sliced

6 to 8 ounces goat cheese

1 cup farro or wheat berries, cooked

Raw Honey Vinaigrette

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon raw honey

Make the vinaigrette by adding vinegar, oil, and honey to a jar, cover and shake to combine, and set aside. Next take the goat cheese and shape into small balls, about 1 inch round, and set aside.

Wheat Berry cooking in olive oilToast cooked wheat berry in one tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat until fragrant, about 5 to 8 minutes. Set aside and let cool.

Building the Fresh Basil Raspberry and Goat Cheese SaladStart building the fresh salad by first spreading the leafy greens over a salad platter. Next add the sliced red onion, then the sliced fennel, and lastly the chopped basil.

illustration of chopping basilChop the basil last as it can brown after the inner parts of the leaf act with the air. It is better to tear the leaves apart, but if you act quickly, you can use a knife to cut several at a time. As shown in the image, we collected together three leaves, rolled them up and made 4 or 5 slices across the rolled basil. The process can go fast, and the basil will not brown. Make sure though, the knife you will use to cut the basil is sharp.

Fresh Basil Raspberry and Goat Cheese Salad - close up

After building the salad take the goat cheese balls, and roll them in the toasted wheat berries and arrange them on the salad platter. Next add the raspberries, and drizzle the Raw Honey Vinaigrette over the salad. Plate and serve.

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Mediterranean Salmon Salad with Olive Dressing

Mediterranean Salmon Salad with Olive Dressing

Over the last three decades or so, Americans have learned to reduce fat in their diet. Some are still struggling, but many have made good head way to eating a whole food clean diet, for better health.

Even though fat has been reduced, we are still not eating enough of the healthy fats, which include omega-3 fatty acids, including DHA and EPA or both known as “docosahexaenoic acid” and “eicosapentaenoic acid.” Both are found in fatty fish, like tuna or salmon.

The recommendation of consuming omega-3 fatty acids, is 250 milligrams of DHA and EPA, at least 2 times per week, and 3 ounces at each setting.

Our featured recipe fits the bill, so to speak. The recipe is, Mediterranean Salmon Salad with Olive Dressing, and here is what you will need.

Mediterranean Salmon Salad with Olive Dressing

1 pound tiny new potatoes, halved if large

1 pound French green beans, stem ends trimmed

1/2 cup mixed Mediterranean olives, pitted

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon horseradish mustard

Preparing to bake Salmon - Mediterranean Salmon Salad with Olive Dressing1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon coconut sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 teaspoons lemon pepper

12 ounce fresh baked salmon, broken into chunks

Lemon wedges

Turn broiler up, sprinkle lemon pepper onto flesh side of salmon.

Place on a foil lined baking sheet. Place fish under broiler and broil for about 8 to 10 minutes or until fish is done, about 160 degrees. Let cool, chunk and set aside.

Place potatoes in a 4-quart pan and add water to cover. Bring to boiling, and reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Next add beans and return to boiling.

Reduce heat, cover and simmer another 5 minutes or until potatoes and beans are just tender. Drain well, and set aside.

pitted mixed Mediterranean olives - Mediterranean Salmon Salad with Olive DressingMeanwhile, place 1/2 cup olives, oil, mustard, lemon juice, sugar, and pepper in a blender. Cover and blend until smooth.

To serve, plate potato and beans mixture and top with salmon chunks. Drizzle with olive dressing. Garnish with a lemon wedge, if desired.

If the dressing is to thick after blending the ingredients together, you can thin it a bit by adding a little more oil, or a little of the brine from the jar of mixed olives.

 

 

 

 

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Quinoa Tuna Patties

Quinoa Tuna Patties

We were hungry, and I thought fast, and this is what I came up with, “Quinoa Tuna Patties.” Quinoa is a gluten-free whole grain, will actually it has been simulated to be called a whole-grain.

Wikipedia describes quinoa best by saying, ” Quinoa is a species of goose-foot, it is a grain grown primarily for its edible seeds. It is a pseudo-cereal rather than a true cereal. It is not a member of the grass family, it is closely related to species such as beetroots or spinach.”

Quino Nutrition Label Quinoa is the only eatable plant grown for consumption that has the perfect balance of all 9 essential amino-acids essential for human health. The only other food that is eaten with all 9 amino-acids is beef, poultry, and pork. meat. It also contains some vitamins and minerals as shown in the Quinoa Nutrition label image.

It is recommended to rinse quinoa before cooking it. Why?  Because the seeds are coated with saponin which is  a bitter substance that protects the seeds from predators. However, most packaged quinoa sold in the U.S. has been pre-rinsed, but taking the side of caution is best.

Tuna when purchased fresh will contain between 22 and 24 grams of protein. The “yellowfin” has the most protein from all ocean harvested tuna. If purchasing canned tuna, keep in mind it is pasteurized during the canning process. If the meat is dark, 100 gram serving has 25 grams of protein, were as white meat tuna has 23 grams. Tuna also provides essential amino-acids.

Both quinoa and tuna are secondary sources of energy (complex carbohydrates are first) with their primary purpose, being to build muscle, and protect the integrity and health of human cell tissue.

This meal can also be prepared in 30 minutes and is also considered a Salad as a Main Course, because of having a meat mix in with it.

Now for our featured recipe: Quinoa Tuna Patties, and here is what you will need.

12 to 16 ounces of mixed leafy greens

10 ounces (2 5 oz. cans) tuna

1 or 2 medium eggs

1/4 cup bread crumbs, prepared with toasted sourdough bread

1/8 teaspoon Himalayan salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 cup mixed vegetables

2 to 3 tablespoons avocado oil

Vinaigrette for leafy greens to follow.

Mixing ingredients for - Ouinoa Tuna PattiesCook quinoa according to package instructions and set aside. While you are cooking the quinoa, heat some water to boiling, place frozen mixed vegetables into a large bowl and pour hot water over them for about 2 minutes, or until thawed out. Drain off water and set aside.

Open the cans of tuna and drain off water. In the large bowl with vegetables add tuna, eggs, salt, garlic, and bread crumbs. Mix together until well incorporated.

frying tuna patties in avocado oilYou and either form a ball of tuna mix with your hands and fry in a large heated skillet with avocado oil or as we used a cookie cutter, to form the tuna patties. We only used one egg, therefore it did not hold together well. Next attempt at this meal, we will use two eggs and possibly 1/3 cup of bread crumbs. Cook on both sides just enough to warm the ingredients and cook the eggs, about 2 minutes on each side.

Plated Quinoa Tuna Patties Mix in a small jar 1/4 cup ginger syrup (purchased at Natural Grocer’s, or your favorite health food store), 4 tablespoons avocado oil ( a 1 litter bottle at Costco is $9.79 – 2014) and 2 tablespoons rice vinegar. Place lid on jar, and shake. Plate leafy greens, drizzle vinaigrette over greens and top with a Quiona Tuna Pattie, and serve.

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4 Commonly Asked Questions About Cast Iron Cookware

Cast Iron Cookware

Whether you’re new to cast iron cooking or have been using your favorite pieces for years, chances are you may have a few questions about how to use and care for your cast iron.

Here are four common questions about cast iron cookware:

1. Question: I bought a new cast iron skillet and it says it’s “pre-seasoned” and “ready to use.” Is it really? I’ve heard so much about the proper seasoning of cast iron, this
just doesn’t seem right.

Answer: This is a tricky question two-part question which actually can be answered both “yes” and “no.”

Yes, you can cook in new “pre-seasoned” cast iron cookware without going through any seasoning process. However, it is not truly “ready to use.”

You should still rinse your new cast iron piece in hot water to remove any of the dust or dirt it picked up on the store shelf. Then, dry it completely by heating over a burner set to medium-high heat for about one minute. Once it is completely dry, allow your pan to cool before lightly coating with a good food-quality oil or fat with a high smoke point. Adding a light coat of oil after each use will help build up an even better patina on your pan surface over time.

2. Question: I had a really nice seasoning on my cast iron skillet, but now it seems to be peeling and chipping. What happened?

Answer: There are a few things that can cause this. The most common causes are washing your skillet with a harsh soap or letting it soak overnight in the sink. Both of these actions can soften the finish and cause it to peel off or disintegrate.

The recommended method for washing your cast iron is to give it a quick rinse in hot water, wipe with a paper towel, and dry thoroughly on a hot burner. This will maintain the cast iron patina.

Cooking highly acidic foods or using metal cooking utensils can also damage the patina on your cast iron pieces. For instance, if you are making something with a lot of tomatoes, you may see some distress or dulling on the finish. To combat the reaction that acidic foods have on the finish, be sure to cook other types of food in the same pan often.

Fortunately, if the patina is very well established, a little acid isn’t going to hurt it. It’s really in those first stages that you might have some pitting and softening. Just watch it closely and avoid acidic foods as much as possible in newly seasoned cookware.

3. Question: I recently pulled out my grandmother’s old cast iron skillet and noticed that rust had formed where the pots were stacked together. Is it ruined?

Answer: No, definitely not. While it can be discouraging to find rust on your favorite pieces of cast iron, it is not impossible to remove.

There are a lot of remedies out there, but the most natural methods for rust removal are often the best and safest. Simply sprinkle salt onto the area, cut a lemon in half, and rub the lemon over the salt. Let the cast iron sit out to dry, then rinse. Repeat the process to remove any remaining spots of rust.

The nice thing about this method is you are not going to hurt the pan, and you can repeat it as often as necessary. Be wary of any suggestions that a spray-on oven cleaner is the only remedy. A little salt and lemon will remove the rust without severely stripping whatever patina you have already built up.

4. Question: I really want to wash my cast iron cookware, but I keep hearing people say I should just wipe it out to keep the finish nice. Isn’t that just asking for trouble with germs?

Answer: In a perfect world, soap would never touch your cast iron cookware. However, there are times when a little mild dish soap on a sponge is needed. The key is to not overdo it with harsh detergents or abrasive surfaces so you don’t damage the patina.

If you’re worried about germs, soap and water isn’t the only solution. Heat your cast iron over high heat and add some oil to the pan. Allow the oil to heat to just below the smoke point. Then, remove from the heat, let cool and wipe with a paper towel. No germs will survive through this process.

If you still want a water bath, add water to the cookware and bring it to a boil, then pour it out, and dry on a hot burner, wiping the cookware clean. If you absolutely must use soap, then do so sparingly. Wipe the cookware with a sponge (never a scrubber) and a dab of dish soap. Then, rinse and dry thoroughly. Be sure to brush on some oil or grease after each cleaning, regardless of what method you use.

Keep in mind, there are different methods to care for your cast iron cookware depending on the types of foods you cook in them. For example, if you cook a lot of chili or other acidic food, you may have to season your cast iron more often. If you use a skillet just to fry eggs and bacon, you can probably just wipe it out with a papertowel and you’ll be good to go.

With a little practice, you’ll know exactly what your cast iron needs to perform perfectly every time.

Come back later  and we will show you how to oven roast a whole chicken using a 10.25 inch cast iron skillet.


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